Five fat quarters – step 1

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Measure twice, cut once. Isn’t that what you are supposed to do…?

Well… I had my plan and headed to the cutting board. I’m a cm girl normally, but as the fabric had come from the US it was a quarter of a yard rather than a quarter of a metre I decided to go imperial. At the point where I had cut into my first piece I realised that the idea I had in mind wouldn’t work with squares once the bits were sewn together.

However, I am committed to 6″ squares now so I am already moving onto Plan B.

Cat x

Take five fat quarters

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Despite having now completed a small number of quilts I still regard myself as something of a novice on the patchwork front. I have the obligatory cutting board and have amassed a small stash but the number of different patterns I have tried is still in single figures.

Some time ago, a very kind lady gave me a pack of five fat quarters in yellow, white and black. Not colours I would necessarily have chosen myself but they have been blinking hopefully at me every time I open the cupboard door. Having spent the last few weeks clearing up in Spare ‘Oom I am resolved to use both this and a Sew mama Sew charm pack before I start on anything else new.

The problem is, what do you do with five fat quarters? I have found lots of inspiration for my favourite jelly roll and quite a lot of ideas for the charm pack, but can I uncover any easy little projects for my lovely quintet? No. I don’t want to go to the fabric warehouse to go and select extras to go with it, not least because I’ll be tempted to buy other stuff as well (and there is already fabric booty winging its way to me through the post) and that would scupper my ‘no more stash until I’ve used some of what I have got’ resolution.

With my limited experience I have come up with a little plan. I’m not going to tell you yet. You’re just going to have to watch this space…

Cat x

Off to the land of ‘Spare ‘Oom’

Once upon a time I built myself an office because a) I work from home and b) I had the space.

It is a very nice office, complete with sofa, armchair and coffee table there is plenty of space to rattle around in. Unfortunately, as part of the planning process I failed to pay attention to where we were putting the windows. They are very nice windows, but when I’m sitting at my desk I can’t actually see out through any of them. Which, for a sticky beak like me is a bit of a problem.

So, I decamped back to the house, moved KC into the spare bedroom and snitched his box room back as my office cum sewing den. I turned my lovely new build into a kids’ play space (complete with football table) and left them to it.

However. The lure of their own separate room away from Mum and Dad was not enough for the kids. Having to return to the house to raid the fridge was too much of a pain and they could never find the key for the door. Meanwhile, my working space was becoming less like a den and more like a cave, and a very untidy one at that. With so many things on the desk, the floor, the windowsill and the bookshelf there was no room to think let alone do.

So, at Christmas I made the resolution that I would take back my Spare ‘Oom as a dedicated sewing space. The first step has been to take all of my stuff out there. I didn’t know I had so much!

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I keep finding things in the house, and I haven’t even started on my magazine collection.

It’s a bit of a sobering sight really and prompts the question that maybe I need to concentrate on working my way through my fabric collection before I buy any more. Then again a friend has just offered to bring me some more back when she goes to the US in April…

New Year Optimism

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There’s something inherently smiley about the hyacinth, especially in the long winter days after Christmas when all those necessary journeys seem to take place in the dark. It doesn’t matter that you know the days in the Northern Hemisphere are getting longer, the appalling weather makes Spring seem such a very long time away.

If you are lucky, however, someone will have bought you some bulbs that arrive sleepily but full of promise on Christmas Day. Less than 2 weeks later, in the warmth of an ever busy kitchen they have sprung to life and in a day or so the room will be full of scent.

I was lucky and these lovely blooms are acting as a cheery reminder of all the good things that are to come. I’m not a great maker of resolutions (normally ‘eat less chocolate’ features in the number one slot) but I’m going to make this the year when I remind myself that there are lots of things I can, and do, do well and that I don’t need to beat myself up about the rest. Not everything I make can, or should be, department store perfect and not everything needs to be made with a sale in mind.

I am going to continue to buy copious numbers of sewing and crafty magazines (a girl has to have a few vices) and more fabric/ribbons/buttons because I like them. I’m not going to make protestations of projects that will be undertaken during the year because then I won’t feel a failure if I just don’t get round to them. I am going to embrace the slow movement and use the time spent sewing and making as more of a meditative journey rather than a chore which needs to be completed. And I’m not going to spread myself thinner than KC’s marmite on his morning toast.

So you’ll just have to watch this space to see how things pan out. Who knows what might happen. Most of all I hope that the happy atmosphere generated by these three simple little bulbs lingers the whole year long.

Cat x

Day 12 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

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OK I know that this is definitely cheating and were it not the last day of the Challenge I wouldn’t have done it. But with Day 11 sitting drying on the kitchen table I was all out of ideas. And anyway, in the toss up between 12 drummers drumming and 12 freshly baked iced buns, which would you rather have!

Destructa Dog has been eying these up ever since they came out of the oven, in fact Mr Cat caught him in mid manoeuvre so the family will be lucky to have any for themselves unless they are particularly quick. I made them in a bit of a hurry so, in the words of the infamous Mr Hollywood, they are a little over proved, but delicious nevertheless.

Cat x

Day 11 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

Nearly there!

As Kitty pointed out to me about 10 days ago, it seems a pity that as the deadline approaches on this particular challenge, the more things I actually have to make. Not only is there the pressure of coming up with the idea in the first place but I then have so much more to do.

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It would have been rude to revert to the decoupage so soon, therefore I have used some very plain wooden decorations, and in the words of my favourite Aunt ‘tarted them up a bit’. Some of them are sporting little ribbon bows I made using a handy little trick with a fork I learned from the fabulous Handimania site. If you haven’t come across this one yet can I suggest you go and hunt them out.

Cat x

Day 10 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

Until Kid and KC came along I always used to make my own Christmas cards. It was a bit of Christmas one upmanship (came back to bite me on the bum didn’t it!) and also because I really am not a fan of the wholesale commercialisation of Christmas. Cards really are incredibly easy to create as some of my efforts over the years will prove.

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You are going to have to take my word for it that there are 10 of these cards. I know that I painted 10 because I cut 10 out and I’m pretty sure that I stuck 10 on, but who’s counting! I’ve taken advantage of the good old die cutter only this time I used sparkly silver paper. I then spent a very therapeutic hour or two doing some old fashioned colouring in. I heard on the radio this morning about occasional ironing being good relaxation, well stuff that, there is nothing nicer than getting out the marker pens or paintbox to create something beautiful.

I’m going to get some gold envelopes to go with these and next year, who knows, they could be brightening up someone’s letterbox or mantelpiece.

Cat x

Day 9 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

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There’s nothing I like more than a new crafty skill, not least because I can add some more stuff to the children’s ‘art and craft’ cupboard. Even better is when it’s a craft that really doesn’t require masses of practice and trial and error to achieve a great result.

So it is with decoupage. It doesn’t matter how random your approach to this particular craft, providing you have a small amount of patience and the right tools for the job i.e. glue and paper you can achieve some pretty great results.

I bought myself some cotton baubles (mainly because they didn’t have the size I wanted in polystyrene or cardboard) glued in some ribbon I found in my stash and then got on with the sticking. Because these baubles were pretty small I found it easier to do all of them on one side first then go back and do the other. This meant that I always had one dry side to leave on the newspaper.

Cat x

Day 8 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

On the eighth day of Christmas someone’s true love sent them eight maids a milking. One presumes therefore that they must have brought their own cows with them to make it a truly spectacular present. Today’s homes are a little too bijou for such a grand gesture (thank goodness) and heaven only knows where you would store all that milk, or the dung for that matter.

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My offering is ultimately more manageable. I’ve made eight felt poinsettias out of green and red glitter felt. Some time go I purchased a die cutter – which Mr Cat claims he has never seen before every time I get it out! This handy little gadget makes short work of cutting out complex shapes but the big downside of it is that the dies which go with it are not at all cheap so I don’t have a vast collection.

Fortunately however, one of the dies I do have looks pretty much like a poinsettia to me and has been used on numerous other occasions for Christmas purposes. I cut eight shapes from each type of felt, arranged them in a slightly offset manner and then joined them together using some tiny silver seed beads. These may find themselves on a wreath or table decoration next year, I’m yet to decide what.

Cat x