Saturday, 25 July 2015

Celebrating the New - A colourful canvas

Welcome to another New to Me Link Party!

It's that time of the month where we celebrate the trying, if not the succeeding at trying something new in the month.

My New to Me activities were very thin on the ground this month, I have only one to report!

The June meeting of my local Embroiderers Guild was a full-day workshop with the very talented Beryl Frank. Beryl is a quilter but our project for the workshop was a counted canvas piece based upon a swatch of Kaffe Fassett fabric, it sounded like fun!

This is one of the examples that Beryl brought along to demonstrate what she planned for us, the photo does not do the intensity of the colours justice at all.

Having never attempted counted canvaswork before there was a steep learning curve involved for me :) Needless to say the stitching was nowhere near finished by the end of the workshop!

However, I can happily report that I have now finished the canvas centre for my piece, as you can see below.

I was lucky enough to find the perfect beads lurking in a nearly hidden basket at my local quilt shop, as I was struggling to work out the sizes that I needed when I tried to order them online. Bead sizes in millimetres mean nothing to a girl raised in feet and inches :)

There were some definitely New to Me stitches in this, Woven Rice Stitch (the centre and corners) and Mosaic Stitch (the orange border) being ones I had never even heard of before, never mind stitched :)

Next up, I have to take a deep breath and make the fabric mount for the canvas centre with the fabric you can see above. An iron and Bondaweb is involved so it could all go pear-shaped from here on in!

So, that's my New to Me activities this month, now it is your turn.

As ever please help to spread the word by linking back to this post in your post and/or adding the blog button to your sidebar.

Check out the other links too and, maybe, leave an encouraging comment along the way. The emphasis of this link party is to celebrate the trying of something new, whether it works out exactly as planned or not, so a little encouragement here and there would not go amiss! 

The link will remain open until 23.59GMT on July 31st, so you have some time to try something new and link up and join the party :) If your New to Me involves a Christmas in July project then don't forget to link up to this month's Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party too, you could just win a mini charm pack for your efforts :)

You will find the Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew Link Party this month at Weekend Doings and Patch the Giraffe

Looking forward to seeing what you have been up to this month!

Linking up to

Stitcher Link Party Button

Thursday, 23 July 2015

A Russian feast for the eyes

When we travelled around the Baltics during our stint there one of my favourite occupations was visiting the Russian Orthodox Church in any town we visited. They were always so colourful inside and out.  On a sunny day the golden-domed churches were especially dazzling!

So, as you can imagine, I was really looking forward to having the opportunity to see some particularly stunning examples on our recent trip to Russia. I wasn't disappointed!

Here are some of the highlights :

This rather sombre, black-domed church is in a town called Uglich, which was our first port of call after leaving Moscow.

This much more flamboyant blue-domed church, the splendidly named Church of Dimitry of the Spilled Blood, is, however, the main reason for visiting Uglich. The Dimitry in question was the son of Czar Ivan the Terrible, who didn't have the best of luck with his offspring. He killed his eldest son and heir himself during an argument by hitting him over the head with a staff, Dimitry's throat was cut when he was ten and another child fell in the river and drowned whilst very young. Mind you Ivan had six wives so he was doing his best to keep the line going despite the misfortune befalling several of his children :) It didn't work though, as his eventual heir wasn't up to the task and was the last of the line!

The Churches in Uglich both had the most common onion-style dome but this church overlooking Moscow has the older, less common helmet shaped dome.

These fabulous, golden domes are on one of the three Churches situated within  the grounds of the Kremlin in Moscow. Each church was apparently either for hatching, matching or dispatching the Czars!

These silver domes are actually wooden and apparently can also look green or gold depending upon the way that the light is hitting them. They are the top of a beautiful wooden church that is currently being restored on the island of Kizhi.

You can see where the Church is being restored better here. The island is now an open-air ethnographic museum and other wooden structures have now been brought there for preservation.

Of course I couldn't finish this post without including a mention for the most outrageously over the top Churches of them all :)

The Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood in St Petersburg, a riot of blue, yellow and green tiles

and St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

Aren't they just the most riotous collection of colours you will ever see, and a feast of quilting inspiration to boot :)

Linking up to

Live A Colorful Life

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew - a Christmas Cushion

Welcome to another monthly Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party. As we are now in the seventh month of the year, it is definitely time to start thinking about that big holiday looming at the end of the year!

To get your Christmas and Holiday crafting kickstarted we have not one, but two, great tutorials lined up for you this month and two wonderful blogs to check out too.

Martha, who blogs at Weekend Doings is a wonderfully talented blogger who takes the most beautiful photos of her makes. Martha's photos of the produce from her garden will have you drooling :) Martha has a very stylish iPad cover to share with you this month.

Chelsea, who blogs at the brilliantly named Patch the Giraffe is sharing her tutorial for a Flying Geese Christmas tree pillow that you should definitely check out. Having made a tree skirt last month Chelsea is definitely a Ho, Ho, Ho-er :)

As ever our mission is to have you all organised and calm by the time December 25th comes around, and to help us we have gathered together a great bunch of bloggers, who are posting tutorials for gift and home decoration projects throughout the year. You can find all of the previous tutorials by following the link at the top of the page.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party without a giveaway and this month's giveaway comes courtesy of the lovely people at the Fat Quarter Shop


                                                                Quilting Fabric at the Fat Quarter Shop

This month one lucky winner will get to pick their favourite from the Fat Quarter Shop's range of mini charm packs, and all you have to do is link up your Christmas or Holiday makes for July to be in with a chance of winning. The winner of last month's giveaway was Sue, who blogs at SuperMom - No Cape!

My own Christmas make this month was inspired by a block that I made several months ago for the Fat Stash Brit Bee.

The block is from this book Modern Holiday by Amanda Murphy.

I thought when I made it that it would make a nice cushion cover (the pattern in the book is for a quilt). So that is what I did!

I used red linen for the background and the wreath fabrics were all from a pile of layer cake Christmas fabrics that I received in a fabric swap a couple of years ago. It is difficult to see from the photo but the red linen has a Christmas bell pattern woven in to it, so was ideal for this Christmas cushion. Needless to say the linen fabric was brought back from Latvia and there is a lot more where that came from :)

So, now it is your turn to share your Christmas and holiday makes for July, you can link up either with Martha at Weekend Doings or with Chelsea at Patch the Giraffe, the choice is yours!

As you know we couldn't do this without the support of these generous sponsors who have provided us with such great prizes throughout the year.

Crafty Trimmings

Logo Sew Hot

Plush Addict Logo

Quilting Fabric at the Fat Quarter Shop
Linking up to Sew the Library at Weekend Doings

Behind the Seams Sewing

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Good things come to those who wait!

A long time ago, so long ago we were still living in Latvia, I joined my first ever online Quilt Bee, the wonderfully named Star of Africa Bee, set up by the lovely May. The Bee was made up of quilters all around the world, who were a wonderfully creative bunch.

Instead of having a particular block to make each month we had a theme, and when it was my turn to be Queen Bee I was very much taken with Schoolhouse block quilts, so asked my Bee mates to send a block that represented houses from their neck of the woods.

As with most things life got in the way, deadlines slipped and Bee mates fell silent in Flickr, but recently to my surprise two blocks arrived in the post from the aforementioned May, who has most definitely had lots of other things on her mind recently.

Aren't they just the cheeriest blocks? Thanks May, I really appreciate you thinking of me in the midst of your upheavals.

With the arrival of these two blocks I now have enough to put together for a quilt top.

Who knows I might manage to finish 2 Bee quilts this month, keep your eyes peeled for that blue moon :)

Linking up to

Quilter in the Closet
Fresh Poppy Design

Friday, 3 July 2015

Double first!

In the last year I joined my first ever Charity Quilting Bee,the Siblings Together Quilting Bee, who make quilts to be handed over to children in care who have been separated from their siblings.

March was my month as Queen Bee and I asked my fellow Bees to make Merry-Go-Round blocks for my STQB quilt. Needless to say my fellow Bees were all prompt in making and sending their blocks, the delay in putting them all together was entirely down to the fact that I took ages to make my own Merry-Go-Round blocks to complete the top!

Well, I am delighted to say that I have not only finished the last block but have even managed to join all the blocks together, so I now have a completed quilt top to share :)

STQB quilt top complete

Not only is this the first Charity Quilt top I have completed, but it is also the first completed top from any of the several Bees that I have been part of, so a double first!

Tomorrow there is a fabric sale in a local village hall, so I am heading off early in the hope of bagging some wadding bargains and fabric for the backing, wish me luck :)

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts

Thursday, 2 July 2015

A different daily commute

For those of you who regularly travel by Metro or Underground, I thought you might like a glimpse of some of the amazing Metro stations that we visited recently in Moscow. We were very proud of ourselves for managing to negotiate the network on our own, as all the Cyrillic language station signs took a bit of deciphering. However, it wasn't until we took a guided tour of the Metro stations in the evening that we realised just how stunning some of the stations are.

The Ploschad Revolyutsii station is the stop nearest Red Square, so it is probably not surprising that it is one of the most beautiful.

The platforms were decorated with 76 bronze statues like the one above, and even included 4 bronze hunting dogs whose noses supposedly needed to be rubbed for luck!

 Clearly lots of Moscow commuters think they need some luck :)

My favourite station was the Kiyevskaya Station, which is the underground station for the railway line from Moscow to Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine.

The Metro stations on the first line built in 1935 were intended to be seen as "people's palaces" and the Kiyevskaya Station certainly lives up to the billing.

The Ukraine was Russia's bread basket so the station is decorated with wonderful plaster mouldings of wheat sheaves as you can see above, and frescoes depicting life in the Ukraine.

I thought at first these ladies were sewing but alas not :)

The lighting in some of the stations was another highlight,

 Check out the platform lighting at Novoslobodskaya Station

and the chandeliers at Komsomolskaya Station. I felt that I should be in a cocktail dress and evening gloves :)

Wouldn't this make a wonderful quilting pattern?

This one just made me think of Discworld!

Apparently the Moscow Metro system is the busiest metro system outside of Asia and the world's busiest by daily users, but every station that we visited was absolutely spotless so you would never have guessed. If you ever get the opportunity to visit some of the beautiful stations on the Moscow Metro, then I highly recommend that you take it. We will definitely be going back!

Linking up to

Live A Colorful Life

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