30 September 2013

Back to quilting

When Autumn comes I feel the need to create, to make beautiful soft blankets in which to snuggle in the winter months. 
I love quilting. I love the feeling of taking small pieces and creating them into something bigger and more meaningful than their separate parts. 
I like that each step of quilting is different but there is also a great sense of repetition. 

I knew I wanted a new quilt to take up to Durham. 
I knew it needed to be heavy and warm as when you are paying your own bills, the heating won't be on much! 
I knew it needed to be fresh and light as my new room is in an attic and could easily look dark and den like. 

Beyond that I just went with the flow. I stuck to simplicity with little details. I used an accent thread for the first time when quilting this baby up and love the effect. I don't think I can go back to white cotton now.

I used the quilt as you go method again and like how neat it makes my quilt.
I was also super lazy with quilting the front to the back. I just put right sides together sewed around the edges and turned it inside out.

The backing is heavy twill so it didn't really need to be quilted to the front. I love the weight this gives to the quilt. 

As always I embroidered my name in the bottom corner of the quilt. You can just see my initials and the year.

This quilt turned out much bigger than I expected and I love that quilting still surprises me. I can't wait to participate in Fiona's friendship quilt and learn some new techniques and skills. In the next week I am also going to post a few tips and techniques for quilting on a budget.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

Blogging is sporadic at the moment as I am learning how to live in a house and getting used to being back in my favourite city. Thank you for still taking the time to read my blog even when I don't come and go as regularly on yours. 

27 September 2013

Let's sit and have a cup of tea


It's so good to see you. Come in out of the cold, yes it is cold, it's the north! 
This is our student home and we are so excited to be here. 

If you were meeting me now I would usher you into our lounge. We have two squidgy sofas and a lovely wooden table. Take your pick. Would you like tea? The kettle is on and we have lovely eclectic collection of mugs to choose from.

I have lots to catch you up on. As you took your first swig of tea I would offer you a slice of birthday cake and dive into my news. As of yesterday I am settled into my first little house. It is very sweet and a bit quirky. You would probably laugh and tell me that all student houses are like that! I would tell you that I have a little attic room at the top of the house and I am enjoying the challenge of decorating it and trying to make it light and airy. 

As we leaned back on the sofa and I curled my cold toes up around myself, I would laugh and tell you that I am excited to start this adventure of living out. That I am nervous about being fully dependant on myself and that we have already negotiated the mysteries of the county Durham bin collection. I would tell you that we had our first bill through the post and we officially feel like very scared adults! 

I would apologise for wittering on like this and ask you how you are? How has September been for you? I would tell you that it is always my favourite month although it is strange when everyone starts back at school and work and I am still waiting to head back to uni. You would ask me about my birthday, how kind, and I would smile broadly. I had the best day with lovely parcels from blog friends and home friends alike. The boy popped around too along with my best friend and we enjoyed an indian with my family. I was also treated to a new lens from my family. I would tell you that I felt very spoilt and very loved. 

As we mentioned my birthday I would get up and offer you two different birthday cakes. Yes, that is two. My mum insisted on packing me up with some homemade cake from home and then when I arrived in Durham my housemates put on the best surprise treasure hunt all the way around the house complete with cake at the end. So yes, two cakes and both chocolate. Diet, what diet? 

I would offer you a top up and then we would lean in close to chat about crafts and blogs and making pretty things. I would tell you that I was shocked and awed by the response to the jot article. That I feel so lucky to have had a chance to write in it and consequently have found many new people to follow. I would ask you what projects you have on the go at the moment. I would mention that I have a few things on my desk but what with setting up a new house I am feeling busy so am trying to keep it simple. I would mention that I feel guilty about  not getting around to visit many blogs recently but keep reminding myself that I have to go at my own pace. Peaks and troughs, swings and roundabouts, going with the flow may become my mantra for the year! 

Before you left I would give you a quick tour of the house. My bedroom is up two flights of stairs so yes, I am going to become very fit by the end of the year! I have a beautiful skylight in my room and I opened it early this morning to listen to the sounds of the city waking up. If you didn't gather, I am so excited to be back! 

With that we would walk slowly downstairs, lingering at the door to say goodbye. I would make you promise to come again next month and give you a big hug before you walked back down the hill, hand waving in goodbye. 

If you were meeting with me now, what would you tell me? 

If you would like to write a "tea" post please add it to the linky at the bottom so we can all sit and share with you! The linky will be open for a week so you have plenty of time! 

26 September 2013

a little invitation

"Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things." 
Chaim Potok 

On Friday 27th I would like to invite you to pop over to my lovely new student house for a cup of tea and a good (virtual) catch up. 

If you are new here it would be a joy to get to know you over a cuppa, if you are a long time friend I cannot wait to share life with you again over some left over birthday cake. 

On Friday I will be sharing the goings on in my world. You are so welcome to just pop over sit back and listen to my ramblings, share your news and views in the comments or even write your own "tea post". 

A "tea post" doesn't have to be long. It can be three lines, ten words or a list of bullet points. On the other hand if a mini essay takes your fancy, a long chat never goes amiss! You can share as much or as little as you want, hopes and dreams, a funny story or just what you have done that morning. Whatever it may be we are excited to read what you have to say and get to know you better.

A "tea post" doesn't even have to be a tea post. If coffee, hot chocolate or even a cocktail takes your fancy, run with it! 

Whatever it may be, what would you tell me if you were sitting down to tea on Friday? 

I can't wait! 

Previous "time for tea" posts can be found in the tab on the right hand sidebar. There you will find my chats over the last few months as well as links to the beautiful conversations women the world over have shared each month. 

24 September 2013

Hello 21

Today. I officially reach adulthood. Well sort of. (Why 21 is significant I don't really know but it feels grown up!)
When I was little I assumed I would understand everything my 21. Right now though I am feeling like I  am just working things out and I wonder if that feeling will ever change!

I am so excited for what this year holds.
For another year in my favourite city, for another year studying, for living with my closest friends, for learning how to cope in my first house.
I am excited to see where I go creatively, what new projects may come my way, what blog posts are going to be written and where I will end up this time next year.

I am excited to do life with the boy. To grow up with him. To see him mature and change and graduate by this time next year. To fall more in love.

I am excited for what this year holds with my faith, for leading cell group at church and a bible study group in college. To gr
ow closer to God.

21. Wonderful, exciting, big things are coming up. I can't wait.

21 September 2013

Rinda's scavenger hunt

Today I am linking in with Rinda for a final hurrah of summer. I love the scavenger hunt she creates. I love searching for the objects, thinking outside the box and watching a community of cloud watchers appear on instagram.

Life got in the way this summer so I didn't capture all of the images but I loved looking out for the items on the list and sharing the finds on instagram. There were some really fun items on the list this year that had be laughing away as they were posted!

So without further ado here are the items I did find with just a simple sentence for their story.

We headed down to the reservoir near our house. A hidden expanse of water and a haven for fishermen.

I found this sign funny. Who plans to run off with one huge fish under their arm?

A little ride on aeroplane in the sweetest toy shop.

Someone spookily out of place. This hedge was spotted at a natural trust property and gave us a fright!

A peaceful spot to sit in our hot summer weather. A pretty bench outside.

On the ferry to France we stood on deck and I spotted this police boat in the far distance. A dubious find for my fire truck or police car!

A dimly lit cathedral in Quimper and this incredible stained glass window. I sneekily took a photo.

This tower made me smile. So beautifully quirky.

The last evening of our holiday and we were treated to this incredible sunset.

A lovely weathered old fence by the sand dunes.

Due to the lack of beautiful windmills near us I had to resort to the model variety.

The same was true for the dinosaur...

He is nearly constantly napping, the brave and fierce cat that he is.

And finally this weekend. The boy took me to London for an early birthday present and we got to see Matilda the Musical.

Rinda thank you so much for the time and energy and effort you put into the hunt. I always have so much fun.

17 September 2013

Simply a moment

It's early morning. Well early for me.
That autumn cold has crept in and as usual my feet and hands are taking a while to warm up.
I can still smell the smoke from the wood burner on the air. We lit a fire last night. The first of the year. 

I turn to my task. I am spread out on the floor, squares of material around me pins at my side.
I like this process of quilting. The different steps, the contrast between fabric.
Brushed cotton in one hand, canvas in the other.
I pin them together, lining them up, seam to seam.
The room is quiet except for the audio book playing from the laptop.
I don't like sitting in silence. I hardly need listen to the words as I know the books so well. Harry potter. My guilty pleasure.
The voice in the room is comforting somehow. I have always enjoyed having stories read to me. 

I pick up my newly joined pieces. 
Again I am struck by the contrast of quilting. Going from the soft quiet task of piecing and pinning to the clatter and hum of the machine.
Foot on the pedal I feed the material through.
My hands brush against pins and material in turn. Softness and pin pricks in equal measure.
I study the fabrics I have chosen and feel pleased with my choices.
Strong colours sitting with neutrals. 

Materials picked up in a French market. They already hold stories. 

I come to the end of the row. The clatter of the sewing machine is replaced by the snip of the scissors.
The moment of truth, do the corners meet?
Some do but others are gloriously off centre. I don't mind. Beautiful handmade imperfections that they are. 

I look out of the window. The dew is nearly gone. The sun is bright and the autumn crispness lingers. In this odd month of limbo before term starts I need days like this to feed material through the machine, to create something to snuggle in in the winter months.
I am nesting and preparing the best way I can. 

Today I am joining in with Alexa's beautiful meme, "Simply a Moment." Do stop by her blog to read both Alexa's words and other bloggers as they record their moments. 

15 September 2013

the student makes - diy marble paper

Welcome to another post on my mini series "the student makes". I am trying to create a collection of simple and cheap DIY's that use many things you may have on hand already. 

This DIY has been floating around the web recently and I was itching to have a go. I almost feel like it is cheating to post a tutorial because it is just so easy! 

Supplies: (I have estimated cost because you will probably have a lot of these things lying around at home) 
Three or more different coloured nail polishes: free or you can probably pick some new ones up for a £1.00 a bottle.
Cocktail sticks: £1.00
Card, paper, tags or anything you want to marble.

An icecream tub or similar and some old newspaper to dry your creations on.

1. Fill your plastic tub up with a few inches of water. Unscrew the lids of your nail varnish. You have to work quickly with this DIY so preparation is the key.

2. Drizzle your first colour nail varnish across the surface of the water. The first colour will spread the most so it will be the most dominant on your finished piece.
Quickly drizzle your second and third colours across the water.

At this stage if you want to create a very swirly effect grab a cocktail stick and swirl the nail polish. You have to be quick to do this though or the polish will just stick in a clump.

3. I found it best to fold my card in half, then holding one half of it, making sure it is flat against the water, dip. The nail polish will cling to the paper and when you pull it out you end up with patterns like this. 

Leave your cards to dry and keep on experimenting!  

This project is so versatile. You can try different colours of polish, dipping the paper in more than once or dipping other objects into the paint. 

There are also a hundred and one things to do with the finished paper. I chose to cut some of my mine into tags to wrap onto presents. I also made some into gift cards and tied them up with twine to give as a present. 

Super simple and cheap project, if a little bit messy!

12 September 2013

Project Life week 36- a short film

Week 36 and I am shaking some things up!

I thought I would play around with this weeks project life and try and record my digital process. I sped up the recording, put it to some cheery music and voila, a little "in the process" short film. This is definitely not a tutorial video- it is far too speedy for that- more of a, this is how my afternoon looked! I hope you enjoy it! (It is best viewed small as the quality is ok but looks yucky when made big!) 

This week I joined in with
Alinor's challenge to use just eight photos and eight journalling cards. Admittedly I cheated a bit and may have used more than the eight photos but I had great fun trying to stick to a rule and it really livened up project life for me this week.
Thank you for the inspiration Alinor. 
The spreads featured in the film are below.

11 September 2013

One photo & twenty words

This is us. In September. Autumn light and an iPhone. I can't quite remember why I laughed. I love him.

My little challenge for you today. Find a photo and try and tell its story in just twenty words. Suddenly twenty words aren't very many and each one takes on a bit more importance!

10 September 2013

Learning to be a grown up

This is a story of numbers
3 weeks. In 3 weeks I am learning how to be a grown up. 
In 3 weeks I will move into my first house. 
A house with 3 hilarious, silly, kind and generous girls. 

I have spent 1 week learning how to cook. 
In truth though I have known how to cook for many years. I have spent this past week learning how to follow a recipe, how to time different dishes so they arrive on the table at the same time and how not to fry onions to the bottom of the pan. 
This has happened 2 times already. 
There have been at least 5 soaked pans on the draining board this week. 
The longest one was there for was 3 days. Welded might be a better description of the food stuck to it. 

There has been only 1 emergency run to the supermarket. 
So far I have cooked 2 different types of meat, done potatoes 2 different ways and made 1 batch of bread dough. 
I have also figured out the perfect plastic tub in which to store meal leftovers. 

The best figure of all though is that from Monday to Friday there were 5 hot, edible and tasty meals on the table each evening. 

This grown up lark...we're getting there! 

The photos are from the party we held this weekend and the food is therefore not my creations but my mums- I have the best teacher! 

7 September 2013

the student makes- DIY sewing tidy

With the nights closing in, the children back in school and the students lazing around at home I thought I would kick start my mini series!

I ran "The student makes" last year and had so much fun trying to come up with fun projects that could be made with a couple of pounds/dollars. 
As a student I have little spare cash but strongly feel this doesn't stop me trying to create beautiful things. These are therefore projects for everyone, student or not, whether you have cash to splash or just change in your pocket. I'll try and create a bit of a mix too, some decor projects, some paper, some photography. Enjoy! 

So first up, a little sewing board....

I hate having my spools of cotton and bobbins littering my desk. When I am sewing I need to have things to hand so I made this little sewing board that can sit against my desk and tidy my things away. 

Supplies: (I have estimated cost. I had most of these things at home already)
Salvaged wood. Mine was 12 x 8" but work with what you've got: If it's salvaged it's free! 
Acrylic paint sample: £2.00
18 Tacks or small nails: £1.50

Hammer, sand paper, paintbrush, ruler. 

1. Grab your piece of wood and give it a good sand. I made sure the edges were smooth and free of splinters and that it was dirt free. My piece of wood had previously been treated so if you want to give it an aged look now would be the time to stain it. 

2. With your ruler mark where you are going to hammer in the tacks. I placed my nails approx 1.5 inches away from each other. This seems to be the right distance to hold a spool of cotton. 
I marked six nails for each row and did three rows. 

3. Hammer in your nails where you have marked. Try not to hit your finger ( not that I have done this!).  I find it helps to get low so you can see how far you need to hammer the nails in. It doesn't matter if it is a bit wonky! Don't hammer in the nails too far though as you need them to provide a shelf for your cotton. 

4. Turn the wood 90 degrees and write freehand a word of your choice. I chose "sew" and then painted over it in white paint. 

5. Add your cotton reels and stand back to admire your creation! When I moved this to my desk I added bobbins and a pair of scissors to some of the nails too. 


6 September 2013

Gauging some interest

Because I like autumn and I like the feeling of being organised and uncluttered I have started clearing out my desk. 

In the process of doing this I have found a huge amount of mostly cardstock and patterned paper that I am not intending to use. 

I was planning on running a garage sale out of my blog to try and sell some of this stuff on. There is loads and it is good quality! I wouldn't be asking much, a couple of pounds and postage costs. 

If I sold packs of cardstock and patterned paper would this interest you? This is no pressure to commit to anything I merely want to see if it is worth me putting these things up for sale. 

Thank you!