Friday, 31 August 2012

The countdown begins!

With holidays and the like ticking things off my to-do list has been a bit hit and miss this month, but I am delighted to report that I have managed to sneak in under the wire with my project for August for the 12 WIP's in 2012. For some reason I decided that August with temperatures of 35degrees+ was the perfect month to finish a Christmas project. No, I don't quite understand my thought process either! Still, I am delighted to have finished the Countdown to Santa mini quilts, which have been on my to-do list since I bought the Nancy Halvorsen pattern book many moons ago.

It was a bit bizarre sewing Santa figures in blazing sunshine but then I guess that is not unusual for quilters Down Under! I have had the pattern and the material for these mini quilts for several years and every December 1st realise that it is too late to do anything about it for yet another year, but not this year. I have lots of Christmas fabrics winging their way to me from the Christmas in July 10" Charm Swap so who knows I might even get another set made for my son and daughter-in-law before Decemeber 1st this year. I am not promising anything though, just in case :)

The stand for the quilts and buttons for the Santa quilt have been on order from the US for nearly a month, but haven't turned up yet. Fingers crossed that they too will make it before December 1st, or I will be really miffed!

I can't complain about the PO however, as my bag of scrappy goodness from Grammie Q's giveaway arrived whilst I was on holiday so I picked it up today.

I can see a happy hour ahead sorting these scraps into my ziplock colour bags. I have already spied several triangular scraps in there that will be ideal for the Up, up and Away quilt in the Sunday Morning Quilts book that I would love to do someday. The quilt is based upon corner square triangles and needs some astronomical amount of triangles, so it will be a while before I get to starting it but every little helps as they say.

This was not the only goodness winging my way recently as I was also the lucky winner of Celtic Fusion Fabric's recent giveaway so found a bundle of Scandinavian goodness in my postbox.

Gwen has some great fabric bundles she calls cloth stacks too, so I couldn't resist popping a couple of the Simply Citrus bundles in my basket. Forgot to take a photo of them but you can see what tempted me at the link above.

It has been a while but it is nice to have a finish to link up with at  TGIFF , Can I get a Whoop-Whoop , Little Quilt Monday and Manic Monday.

Don't forget to link up your paper pieced projects at Quiet Play's PPP Blog Hop link party  there are some great prizes up for grabs.

If you haven't already check out this week's bloggers on the Let's get Acquainted Blog Hop at

Aug 28
        Lucy from Charm About You
        Ella from throw a wench in the works
Aug 30
       Elaine from Dashasel Sews
       Jess from The Elven Garden

Have a great weekend

P.S. That is the number of days left before the bearded gentleman arrives! 

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Bee blocks and Brocantes

Although I planned to get my Star of Africa Bee block for August finished before I headed off on holiday, life got in the way so I ended up taking it with me. May, whose month it was, had asked for a pink or pastel block based upon architecture. Now whilst I don't have a lot of pink fabrics in my stash, I am surrounded by some wonderful architecture so there was no shortage of inspiration.

Our apartment is in the middle of the Art Nouveau district of Riga so that was my starting point for the block. I doodled all sorts of Art Nouveau motifs before finally settling upon a fairly simple tulip, both because it seemed achievable but also because this motif is painted all the way up our stairwell! I did entertain fond notions of trying out stained glass applique for the block, but as I knew that I would only have one chance at getting it right decided to save that for another day :)

So here it is, instead of a signature I added a tiny embroidered map of Latvia so there would be no question of where the block came from! This Bee is really pushing me to try things, which is nerve-wracking but enjoyable too. The request for this month's block is for a block based upon animals, my thinking cap is still on for that one :)

Whilst on holiday we visited a couple of Brocantes (Flea Markets) and Vide-Greniers (empty-attics), where we thoroughly enjoyed nosing around. The biggest Brocantes we visited was in a town called Riberac, where the market takes over most of the town for the day. I don't know about you but I haven't seen too many fleas with access to notions like these

or linens like these

There were so many fabulous linens at Riberac but fortunately (or unfortunately) none with appropriate initials otherwise I would have been very tempted, for which my wallet and my bank manager were both relieved. I did buy some fabric remnants (coupons in French!) but forgot to take photos so you will just have to take my word for it that they were worth buying.

Upon our return to Riga yesterday I discovered that other Bees had been busy as there were two lots of blocks from the Sunday Morning Quilts Bee waiting in the postbox. 

I also won Grammie Q's scrap giveaway whilst I was on holiday so I am hoping that the parcel I need to collect from the PO later is a whole pile of scrappy goodness destined for my stash.

Don't forget to link up your paper-pieced projects at Quiet Play's Practically Paper Piecing Linky Party Kristy has some great prizes lined up.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Babushka Backpack - a PPP Blog Hop tutorial

When Kristy first announced the Practically Paper Pieced Blog Hop I thought it was a great idea so was especially delighted when she then asked if I would take part. My heart sank when I realised that I would be on holiday for most of the Blog Hop. I was so pleased when she managed to squeeze me in near the end of the Hop even if it did mean that I ended up sewing and writing a lot of my tutorial sitting in the shade on holiday!

Being a relatively recent convert to Paper Piecing I do not have many orphan PP blocks around but that wasn't going to stop me, as this would be the perfect opportunity to try out a block that I had been admiring for a while.

The block is called Lil' Matryoshka and is from Quiltmaker 100 Blocks Volume 5. (The block measures 12.5" x 12.5" so any similar sized block can be substituted in the instructions below.) My project for the PPP Blog Hop was a bag, so once I had my block sorted out I got my thinking cap on and came up with the Babushka backpack! (Babushka is the Russian term for a grandmother but is also used to describe a headsquare tied under the chin).

I knew I had made the right decison when I found the Matryoshka doll fabric that I used for the lining in the bargain bin at my local fabric store.

To make your own Babushka backpack read on

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Taking a break

This is where you will find me for the next couple of weeks!


Whilst I am (hopefully) sunning myself look at all of the wonderful bloggers waiting to entertain and inspire you!

Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop

Aug 7
     Liz from What I Did on My Summer Vacation
     Susan from Canadian Abroad

Aug 9
     Kirsten from Gemini Stitches
     Stephanie from Sewing by Stephanie

Aug 14
      Sarah from Sarah Sews Quilting Blog
      January from Sew Sew Go

Aug 16
       Alison from Little Bunny Quilts
       Cathy from Blueberry Patch

Aug 21
        Marta from From Marta with Love
        Marion from My Quilt Diet

Aug 23
       Sunni from Love Affair With My Brother
       Ginny from Fish Creek Studio

And in the Practically Paper Piecing Blog Hop all of these wonderful bloggers have some inspiration lined up for you too

August   6 Charise from Charise Creates
              7 Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts
              8 Kiera from Kizzie’s Korner
              9 Marieka from Bespoke Bites
            10 Sally from Sally Bally Creations
            11 Jane from QuiltJane
            12 Sunday – Day off
            13 Taryn from Pixels To Patchwork
            14 Jane from Where Jane Creates
            15 Laura from Quokka Quilts
            16 Emily from Emily the Enabler
            17 McKenna from Textile Diva
            18 Sat Lauren from Renrad Craft Studio
            19 Sunday – Day off
            20 Fiona from Finding Fifth  
            21 Beth from Plum and June
            22 Megan from Jaffa quilts
            23 Juliet from Tartan Kiwi
            24 Katy from The Littlest Thistle
            25 Sat Tracey from the Peony Teacup

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Linens and gilded domes

I have mentioned before that whilst quilting cotton is difficult to find here in Latvia, the same cannot be said for linen. The best linen bargains, however, are to be found in a factory shop a two- and a bit hour drive away in Lithuania. So, when I found out that my husband had a business trip to Lithuania planned, you can imagine what was on my agenda!

Linens are piled high all around the shop, so choosing can be a lengthy process. In the end all of these found their way into my basket. Well I don't know when I will be back and at around £5 per metre, it would be nuts not to take advantage, wouldn't it?

Some of these were destined for my Armchair Athlete Cushion, but some like this 

And this

were just because purchases! They are bound to come in useful someday :) Suggestions welcome, naturally!

On the way back from Lithuania we stopped for a coffee in a town about an hour outside Riga, and came across this lovely church.

Aren't those domes gorgeous? We definitely picked the right day to visit it, the gilding on the domes were glinting beautifully in the sunshine.

Hope you have all been enjoying some sunshine too.

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