Sunday, 25 November 2018

Burning the (scented) oil

Welcome to November's New to Me link party!

As you know the New to Me link party is our chance to celebrate our attempts to move out of that comfort zone and have a go at something new.

Until yesterday I had nothing New to Me to show you but, fortunately, I had booked places for myself and my son's girlfriend to go on a candle making workshop whilst the men in our lives attended the international rugby match up the road.


These lovely candles were the results of our labours!

The workshop was run by Kerry at Can to Candle and was a great experience from beginning to end.



We were provided with all of the materials to make our own hand poured scented candle. We selected a fragrance from the extensive collection shown above and mixed that with our melted soy wax before pouring it into the glass and leaving it on the windowsill to set.

Then, we set about creating our own bespoke fragrance oil.

We had all of these different fragrances to select from so it was a slow process! We were advised to daub the fragrances on a paper taper and choose no more than three in combination to create our blend. It was much harder than it sounds, but after much deliberation I eventually decided on a combination of Frangipane, Fig and Cedarwood for my fragrance oil. The blended oil has to sit for several days before being used to scent wax, so we purchased two of the starter kits that you can see in the bags above to make our own bespoke scented candles in the next week or so. Along the way we were given all sorts of insights into candle creation and use, so smoky candles and burned out middles will be a thing of the past in the Celtic Thistle household!

So, that is my New to Me for this month now it is your turn to link up anything that you have tried for the first time in November. It doesn't matter whether your attempt was successful or not, as we are all about keeping it real here so successes and failures are treated equally here!

As ever the link up will remain open until the end of the month, so if you have been thinking of trying something new but just haven't managed to get around to it here is the gentle nudge that you need :)





Thursday, 1 November 2018

Tucked Away Treehouse

Today is the day for the next reveal in the Endeavourers Quilt group, this quarter the theme was Improv. I must confess that my heart sank when I read the post announcing the theme. I have made Improv blocks in the past for Bee mates but I cannot honestly say that I enjoyed the process.

As usual I dithered over how to approach this challenge for (too many!) weeks and finally decided that I would take a slightly different approach to the theme from the Improv blocks that I had attempted before. Rather than stitching up wonky blocks for a wonky quilt I decided that I would try a new technique and then switch it up and see where it went.

Here is what I ended up with - I am calling it Tucked Away.

The piece, which is comprised of three 6" Chenille blocks, was inspired by this tree seen on a recent woodland walk.


Each block consists of 6 x 6.5" squares of fabric layered on top of each other and then stitched together with random lines of stitching.




 In the first block that I made, which I blogged about here, I stitched the wavy lines a bit too close together as the Chenille cutter wouldn't fit through so I had to resort to scissors in places.

So on the next attempt I left a larger gap between the stitched lines and had no trouble fitting the Chenille cutter in between them. I also switched up the order that the fabrics were used in between the blocks.

For the third block I opted to give the circular Chenille blade a go and so drew out a rough spiral to stitch around. I ended up ignoring the drawn outline though, as I had the block in the machine the wrong way round for the drawing so just had to wing it!

The blade guard on the circular cutter is much shorter than the regular cutter so it went round between the spiral lines without any problems.


Once the blocks were washed they looked like this.

In regular patchwork loose and frayed ends are not a good thing but in this type of quilting they are a positive bonus, it is quite a freeing mindset!

Now for the fun part, embellishing the blocks

with beads, you can just see them peeping out between the frayed edges in the bottom right and middle top,

with stuffed silk Suffolk puffs

and with a padded felt door and machine wrapped creeper cords!

Here is my Tucked Away Treehouse in its' natural setting :)

I am not 100% sure that this hanging fits the Improv theme but I really enjoyed making it and there was a fair bit of improvisation involved in creating the end result so, hopefully, it will pass muster!

Head on over to the Endeavourers blog to read more about the improvised aspects of this piece and find out how my fellow Endeavourers have risen to the Improv challenge.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

The Quilt that kept on growing!

We have reached the end of another week so it is time to celebrate with another TGIFF party!




My finish for this week has been a very long time in the making.

Fat Stash Brit Bee FQ sent



The quilt started when I sent out these FQ's of fabric to my Bee Mates in the Fat Stash Brit Bee in March 2014 and asked them to make this block.


Fat Stash Brit Bee request


They really rose to the challenge and by June 2014 I had this set of blocks to put together.


Fat Stash Brit Bee quilt layout



Then for reasons now lost in the mists of time the blocks gathered dust in my stash. I took them out a couple of times over the intervening years and played around with the layout, but it was only when I managed to track down more of the solid fabric at a quilt show in Edinburgh that any progress was made.

At my recent Quilt Retreat the blocks, which now totalled 24 in number were once again taken out and arranged and even sewn together! I came home with 5 rows of 4 blocks stitched together and the remaining blocks ready to be joined.

Then I lifted a quilt top from a pile in my sewing room and discovered another 4 blocks stitched together in the layout above, which was no longer the layout I was using :( So, they were unpicked and an extra 4 blocks made to complete the rows.

This monster is what I have ended up with! The final quilt is destined for my youngest son, who is over 6' tall, so will have no trouble keeping warm under that :)

I am delighted to have finally completed this quilt top as it was beginning to look like it would never be finished.

Now it is your turn to share your Friday finishes. As ever a bit of encouragement is always welcome so check out your fellow linkers and share some of the celebrations around. Include the TGIFF blog button in your post if you link up so that your followers can check them out too.








And if your Friday finish involves a New to You technique or you have tried something New to You this month link that up too to this month's New to Me Link party here

New Horizons

Welcome to another New to Me Link Party, where we celebrate the effort involved in trying something for the first time.



This month my New to Me's are all travel related, as we spent the early part of the month exploring the New to Me region of Northern Spain.

We learned about the cuisine of the region at a Cookery Class in San Sebastian creating amongst other things the stock for a seafood paella!

Then savoured the results of our labours with this elegant roasted vegetable and lobster starter!

Naturally we didn't pass up the opportunity to sample the regional wines :)

We visited the stunning Comb of the Wind sculptures on the coast at San Sebastian.

Then were entranced by the equally stunning Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao!.

Then blown away by the magnificence of Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, the final point of the Way of St James pilgrimage route and reputed burial place of St James.

As you can see it was an amazing trip!

So those are my New to Me's this month now it is your turn to link up and share the trials and tribulations of trying out something or somewhere for the first time. We keep it real here so whether it works out or not we want to read about it :)

As ever the Link Party will remain open until the end of the month so if you have been procrastinating over trying that new technique, consider this a nudge to jump off that fence and give it a go!





Thursday, 18 October 2018

A Mackintosh Inspired TGIFF

Last weekend I attended the first of our Embroiderers Guild workshops for the coming year, which was on the theme of a homage to the Glasgow Architect and Designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh. It is now150 years since Mackintosh's birth, so there are lots of celebratory events being held in my part of the world.

Our tutor, Marjorie, brought along some examples of her work to kick start our creative process.

We were given lots of examples of Mackintosh designs to pick from for our own piece.I chose a flowing leaf design and then set to attempting to draw a pattern for my embroidery.

Next up we picked a piece of hand-dyed silk for the applique pieces.

We used our design and a lightbox to create the applique pattern pieces on Bondaweb.



Once the applique pieces were applied we were ready to couch the cords. We had two thicknesses of cord to work with, so I chose to use the thinner cord to outline the leaves.


Then used the thicker cord for the leaf stems.

Once the embroidery was complete I felt that it was a bit flat so decided to add some beading to the piece.



I didn't want to detract from the clean, uncluttered lines of the piece so only stitched some beads between the stems.

And here is the finished piece ready to be stretched and framed!

So, that is my finish for TGIFF now it is your turn to link up and share your Friday finishes. As ever a bit of encouragement is always welcome so check out your fellow linkers and share some of the celebrations around. Include the TGIFF blog button in your post if you link up so that your followers can check them out too.






Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Stitching and slashing

Welcome to September's New to Me link party, your chance to share your experiences good or bad when trying something for the first time this month.


This month I attended my first ever Quilt Retreat and took part in my first (and maybe only!) Drum Workshop!

I have also been trying out a New to Me tool.


 A Slash Cutter, as I have been having a go at some Chenille squares.


Some of my stitching on this square was so close together that the cutter wouldn't fit through so I had to resort to using scissors, but I am really pleased with the effect that was achieved, so will definitely be having another go.

Image result for San Sebastian Map

By the time you read this I will have chalked up another New to Me, a New to Me city - San Sebastian in Northern Spain. I am really looking forward to visiting such an amazing region.

So, that's my New to Me's for September now it is your turn to link up and share the trials and tribulations of trying out something or somewhere for the first time. We keep it real here so whether it works out or not we want to read about it :)

As ever the Link Party will remain open until the end of the month so if you have been procrastinating over trying that new technique, consider this a nudge to jump off that fence and give it a go!




Saturday, 22 September 2018

Sounding the Retreat

Several months ago I signed myself up for my first ever Quilt Retreat, and as the time to head off drew closer I began to regret my decision! So, I headed off with a car boot stuffed with sewing supplies and some trepidation. Getting lost on the way there did nothing to ease the apprehension I can tell you :)

The Retreat, which was held in Netherurd the Activity Centre for Girl Guiding in the Scottish Borders, is tucked away down a country lane hence the difficulty in finding it. There were 21 of us on the Retreat, only a couple of whom I had met before hence too, some of the nerves :)

Once I was set up in the bright and airy sewing room things definitely began to look up. My companions were a delight and the securing of an agreement to share a bottle of wine that night certainly lifted my spirits :)


Despite these being in close proximity spirits were the only things being lifted though :)

We had a visit from the very enthusiastic proprietor of Biggar Stitches who brought along a lovely selection of pre-cuts for our perusal



as well as these lovely quilts to showcase the charm squares, layer cakes and jelly rolls. Needless to say some retail therapy might have been indulged in!

On the second night of the retreat the organisers had arranged a mystery activity for us that everyone had to participate in.



You can probably imagine our surprise when we entered the room to find lots of these laid out for us! Nomad Beat a local music charity had been booked to give us a drum workshop, well we certainly weren't expecting that :)

It was a brilliant way to spend an evening with lots of laughter, noise and fun even if my fingers were looking a bit bruised the next morning.

Well that is my excuse for not actually finishing the project that I had taken with me, although I did make some progress so it was not entirely a lost cause in terms of stitching. (It was in terms of photographs as I completely forgot to take any of my project whilst I was there!)

Fat Stash Brit Bee blocks received

These are just some of the blocks that I took with me and I am pleased to report that the quilt top is now 5 rows long and ready for the borders.

We ended the Quilt Retreat with a Show and Tell (naturally!) and confirmation of the dates for next year. Where do I sign??
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