13 August 2014

Taking a break

I am taking a break for a week as we are off for a family holiday in the sunshine.
I am hoping to crack the scavenger hunt list (wish me luck), take plenty of photos and come back with stories to tell...
See you on the other side.

11 August 2014

the finished quilt

This quilt has been in the works since Christmas but owing to uni work, revision etc, it wasn't until this summer that I really made it a priority to work on it.

There is something so special about going into a project knowing it will be a gift. Handmade is so precious. It is magical to think you are making something unique.

To make this quilt I used a jelly roll from Moda. These are strips of fabric that are designed to coordinate with one another. They are pre cut into 2.5" strips which is fab for those of us who are lazy cutters, (not that I am one of them, ahem.)

I tried a few new things with this quilt. First up was machine quilting it together. For this I used my darning foot on my machine. Rather than feeding the fabric through the machine, the darning foot just sends the needle up and down in the fabric so that you are free to move it as you will. A bit like drawing yet you are moving the paper rather than the pencil.

To keep it simple I just moved the fabric in big swirled patterns. I love the texture it gives.

I also tried a strip piecing ( I think that is the term) technique to patchwork the top. This really speeded up the process and made the quilt look far more detailed and time consuming than it was!
Strip piecing is super simple:

Grab as many strips as you want in your row. Here I have demonstrated with five. Sew these together where I have marked the dotted lines. Press the seams.
Now cut these strips horizontally like so. Keep repeating this process with different combinations of fabric.
Now join these horizontal strips together again to make the square.
I am so pleased with how the quilt turned out. It is pretty large but all the more room for snuggling! 
One of my favourite parts of quilting is finishing off with the binding. I chose a very pale pink stripe because, a. it certainly didn't need any more bright colours and b. you can't go wrong with a stripe.

A finished quilt. All packaged up and delivered to a special friend. I have to admit I was sorry to see it go but her face when she opened the package was just the best!

Homemade. It can't be beaten.

9 August 2014

One photo & twenty words

A little late with this meme today. The weekend rushed away with me! Always lovely though to see a few of you posting along even when there isn't a link. Thank you, thank you! 

The pleasure of homemade present giving. A quilt in the works since Christmas. What a delight to see her joy.

My challenge for you today. Find one photo and choose up to twenty words to tell its story. Jot it down and link back here. The link will stay open for a week so you have plenty of time to join in! 

5 August 2014

me on monday or tuesday as it were

 This weekend was a granny moving (not her you understand, just her sofa), pinterest looking, quilt finishing, cookie baking sort of a weekend. Throw into that lots of sleeping after a busy week which involved National Trust volunteering and starting a new job. Just a few evenings a week, helping out a mum and her two little ones. Just my cup of tea.
Many reasons therefore to be a joy jumper this week. Lots to look forward to, a new job to get the hang of and a holiday on the horizon. Hooray for August!

What did your weekend look like?

Thank you Sian for inspiring such a lovely weekly meme. 

2 August 2014

Photo tips- taking photos at a party

Last weekend we held a small family party for my Granny's birthday. As per usual I had my camera out. I didn't take hundreds of photos but those I did were natural enough to make me happy and showed enough of the party atmosphere to please my Granny!

These are my tips for shooting at parties and other lovely summer events...

Capture the details before people arrive. 
I think that the details really set the scene and give context to the event you are trying to photograph. I like to go around before the guests arrive and take a few snaps when everything is in place and ready to go.

Sort out your settings.
Capturing the details before the event can also be an ideal time to sort out the camera settings. I tend to always shoot on manual but if the weather is changeable (which as it is Britain, is quite likely), then I will choose the "aperture select" mode. This lets me select my f-stop which I put as low as possible to get the lovely blurry background but means I don't have to bother with getting the other settings correct as the camera sorts out those.
This is also the time to pop on your favourite lens!

Make the camera invisible.
I carry my camera everywhere. It is awkward for the first ten minutes however the guests soon forget you are photographing them, especially if you get long distance shots. The more pictures you are taking the more normal it becomes and you will get natural smiles and not poses.

Anticipate the moment.
I try and work out when the ideal picture will come. For instance here, I had the camera on my knee and was watching some of my family looking over an old photo. The jokes were flying and I started snapping, knowing that the laugh was on the way. The scene was already set up, it was just being in the right place at the right time and taking lots of shots.

Take lots of shots of the same scene.
Like above, I always figure I will have more chance of getting the photo I want, if I take lots of photos of that one scene. This is particularly true if there is a certain photo that you want to capture. As it was my Granny's birthday we wanted a picture of her cutting her cake. It made sense therefore to take lots of photos of that one event to make sure we got one we were happy with.

Call a name. 
I love this technique and use it all the time. Place your camera up to your eye, focus on someone who isn't looking at you and then call their name. As they turn, snap the photo and the result is a relaxed and unposed shot.

Let someone else have your camera for a bit. 
If all else fails let someone else have your camera for a bit, although the shots may not always be what you wanted...!

Do you have any tips for photographing a party? Do you prefer to have the camera or are you happier drink in hand, being photographed?

29 July 2014


My layouts are up on Cocoa Daisy today.
I'm pleased with the PL ones but I am really chuffed with the 12 x 12, partly because I never thought I would scrapbook like this again. Funny what comes back when sitting in front of a piece of card stock and patterned paper....

Thank you so much for all your support and encouragment through this process. Blog friends are the best.

27 July 2014

Let's sit and have a cup of tea.

Hello, come on in.
Isn't the weather glorious, shall we take our tea outside?

If you were meeting me today I would usher you to our big weathered wooden table. The tea pot would already be placed along it along with the mugs and a whole selection of cakes and puddings.

Your eyes would light up at the sight of the sweet treats. I would explain that we had a family party yesterday, hence the mountain of food left and the slightly weary expression on my face! Mum is a fantastic cook and a big fan of Mary Berry. She whipped up this pudding in no time and it went down a treat. I'm sorry there isn't any left for you to sample but I can promise you it was fab!

Speaking of Mary Berry, I have heard on the Facebook grapevine that the new series is starting in August. Are you a fan I would ask? I'm not really too keen on reality tv but the bake off is quite gentle and the cakes always look very scrummy.

I would pour your mug of tea and we would sit back and look around the garden. It is a beautiful place. full of roses and lavender and a crazy climbing passionflower. As usual, tea in hand, leaning closer, the topic would get onto craft and scrapbooking. I would, with a smile, thank you for your sweet comments on my last post. The support from blog friends still astounds me. I am also amazed at the opportunities that have come my way through blogging. What a magical place the internet is sometimes. You would probably ask me how I found paper scrapbooking and I think I would have to take a bite  of cake before I answered. It was so much fun. More fun than I expected. I loved working from a kit because it got rid of all that decision making!
Leaning in further and said in a very quiet voice I would confide to you that I would like to slowly get back into it. Not in a big way, you must understand. Just as something for the holidays, a few pages made with special photos. We'll see though.

Look at me, wittering on to you. Tell me what projects you have been working on. Can I offer you a top up? Another slice of something whilst you tell me?
What are your summer plans?
We had a lovely day out in London last week. the weather was scorching. We wandered to the Tate modern and looked at the Matisse cut outs which are well worth a visit if you are in the city. We then headed to the imperial war museum. It was very very busy but interesting. We had great fun in the shop looking at some first and second world war posters. Isn't this one fantastic?

If I was having tea with you now the time would run away from us as we chatted over this and that, about family, friends and plans. I would tell you how the boy and I sat down the other day and started the conversation about teacher training. The process is a long one and although the application doesn't open until November, a form, a personal statement, references and a choice about where to go has to be made. Thankfully the summer is long and there is time. It's a very funny thought though that there is just one year left of my degree. How time flies!

We would look down at our plates, crumbs scattered about and dregs in the cup. I think you would probably laugh and I would comment that really nothing beats tea and cake and a catch up with a good friend. I hope you would agree.

We would rise slowly and walk to the garden gate, stopping every few feet as another topic of conversation begins. Reaching the gravel drive I would hug you tightly and ask you to come again next month.
I can't wait.

If you were having tea with me today, 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!