Keeping busy 


Hello Dear Reader,

It actually tried to snow here today, which is really unusual for Cornwall. I’ve kept myself busy today with my biggest UFO to date. I’ve put this off for so very long as I made this for DB’s fiftieth birthday, which was last December! Anyways, I got it basted yesterday and today I’ve almost finished quilting it. Getting a king sized quilt through a regular sewing machine is like wrestling an anaconda and a really good workout.

It’s been a good way to spend a day off seeing as it’s so cold outside. I’ll show you the finished quilt tomorrow…….I have so much other sewing to do.

How about you, any fellow sewers with a job unfinished that’s just begging for you to get on with it.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

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Woodland quilt 

Hello Dear Reader,

It’s been ages since I shared any of my quilting with you. I had some odd fat quarters that I’ve wanted to add into a quilt for ages. Previously, I thought of an autumn quilt and now I’m thinking woodland.

I’m using Bonnie Hunter’s quilt design called Bricks and Stepping stones but I sized the four square blocks up to 4.5 by 4.5″ and the ‘bricks’ to 4.5 by 8″. It makes slightly bigger blocks and I can get the quilt made quicker.

Here’s the link to the original pattern with Bonnie’s brilliant instructions. I love her patterns and find them so easy to use.

Below is the pattern I used before with the original sizes of blocks. It gives a lovely repeating patterns and you can add a border to get it to the size you’d like. I seldom make and edge to edge quilt as I like a border.

bricks-and-stepping-stones-quilt

I’m currently sorting through my fabric to make another quilt as I’ll have this one made in no time. I never look forward to the wrestling a huge quilt through my machine when I come to quilt it but as I have neither the space or huge financial investment to buy a long arm machine, I just use a regular machine to quilt and bind. It’s a workout.

I’ve just about finished all the blocks today. Just in case you’re wondering, yes, I’m still quilting all the time and aim to make around three king size or queen size quilts a year and a couple of throws. All of the quilts I’ve previously made are in France now so I need to get quilts finished for here.

Who else is quilting? Anyone else making or going to make Bonnie’s ‘En Provence’? I’m on the hunt for some magenta and lilac fabric and will be nosing around charity shops for shirts next weekend. I might not have much luck with the magenta!

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Working on a UFO

  

       

Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve been working on a big quilt. It’s intended for the flat in Huelgoat but I’ve struggled as I’ve lost heart with it and have just had to learn to like it. I haven’t been exact enough in my square cutting so it doesn’t line up on the diagonals as it should. I have used surplus squares and 2.5″ strip to make the edging. I’ll add a yellow binding to this when it’s finished. It’s big at 93″ by 103″ so just big enough for a king sized bed. It’ll be a wrestle to layer it and I use spray baste and lay it out on the floor and then stitch in the ditch with a conventional sewing machine.

       

There’s a mixture of fabric in here, leftovers from other project, yardage I bought for £2 a metre, fat quarters bought for less than a pound from the quilt show last year, thrifted clothes as I can see a few shirts and even pyjamas.

        

Here’s my other unfinished quilt but another one of my favourites. I love scrappy quilting as it just grows organically and literally anything can go into it. It’s also got bits of quilts that some of you have started and sent to me in the post as you’ve felt it’s better used than sat in the cupboard. All orphan blocks are welcome here xx

I must get back on with it as it won’t finish itself.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxx




     









Time off for quilting and a catch up with the house renovations


          

  Hello Dear Reader,

It’s half term and I’ve got loads of catching up to do. I’ve felt that our lives here have been on hold for months on end as we’ve channelled our energies literally across the channel. Time, money and effort have gone into ‘the house’ and I’ve forgotten that we have hobbies and lives here. I’ve dug out quilt books, scoured them, re-learnt quilt blocks and rekindled my great love of sewing. 
                     
                          

I’m going to fill a scrappy quilt with random blocks that I’ve learnt just for the fun of it. I love the square within a square and a diamond within a diamond. You all know that star blocks are my favourite.

          

I also love the random and organic way that some quilts just grow. No rules, or colour scheme. I add in mainly thrifted fabric with a few cheap fat quarters. Anything goes as long as there is some sort of colour contrast. Whilst we’re staying here for the week, the French electricians have been busy and sent some photographs of the progress.




Our electricians have finished re-wiring the house in France. There are still electrical elements to change later but everything is safe, legal and earthed. There are plenty of lights and we’ve opted for utility over decorative qualities as I just wanted a kitchen that had plenty of light to work by. I don’t like the water heater in the kitchen but it’s safe, it works just fine and we’ll have to lump it for a few years as it just doesn’t need replacing. I’m not keen on the tiles either but again, there’s nothing wrong with them and I’ll have to live with them. I don’t like to spend money replacing things if there’s no need.

French electrician in action!

The garden is still work in progress. The weather in France has been worse than here with storm after storm and the tree surgeon has left our work, which can wait as there’s no urgency, and has attended instead to storm damage where he’s needed to make trees safe. You can really see the forest behind the house now with all the trees cut down. He will be back to take all of the little branches to the tip and to stack the logs to dry. 

I’m looking forward to pulling all that ivy off the house, I think it chokes it and I really don’t like it. I also can’t wait to sand down and paint the dingy shutters and as for the red lichen…..well, that’ll have to go! It’s all locked up again and can quietly just get on with existing for a few months until we return again.


                                        

It’s so different from when we first viewed the house or should say struggled to view it. Even the estate agent described it as hidden. It’t now totally revealed. It will be fun to look back at these photos next year and see the state the place was in when we first bought it!


Back to life here. We’re staying at home and getting our breath back! Lie ins, feet up with coffee, plenty of reading, some walks if it ever stops raining, a day trip if we can and general lolling for a few days.

I’ve been absent from here for a few days with an illness that has wiped me out, a few antibiotics seem to be helping along with rest, plenty of fluids and some pain killers. I’m on the mend and some quiet quilting is just what I need. 

I’ll back for another chat tomorrow,

Until then,

Love Froogs xxxx







Quilting up a storm

       
Hello Dear Reader,
I’ve cheered myself up by keeping warm, listening to music and sewing. No surprise, it’s rained all day. South East Cornwall has been under a serious weather warning all weekend and we’ve been battered by storms. DB has been chief cook and wife feeder and has boiled, cooled and sliced a gammon joint for me, then cooked ham, egg and chips for us all. He really is a star!
                            
I’ve dug out all the works in progress. I got really cross with the yellow and red quilt I was making as I didn’t get the blocks to line up. I’m over it and if it doesn’t line up then it doesn’t. I’ve got a memory quilt on the go from my daughter’s childhood pj’s that I’d kept just for the fabric and a scrappy quilt that I add to periodically. I’ve watched a Missouri Star Quilt Co. Tutorial and made a square in a square block and three others to go with it. 
They’ve all been packed away for the week and I’ll get back to some sewing next weekend. 
There’s nothing like a bit of quilting to blow away the storm clouds.
Until tomorrow,
Love Froogs xxxxx

Scrapping around in my sewing room

              
                       
Hello Dear Reader,
I just can’t part with fabric. I love using every last scrap of it. I’m in the middle of making a quilt……for me! I’ll share that with you when it’s finished.
I’ve spent the day cleaning. I’ve had a thorough clean today and have cleaned with white vinegar. It doesn’t leave a smell but whilst I’m cleaning, the love the acidity that cuts through any dirt. My windows, hard surfaces, wall and floor tiles are gleaming. I usually use ecover, but I missed the local store that closes for the weekend on Saturday lunchtime. I’d almost forgotten what an amazing cleaner vinegar is. 
The floors are swept and washed, the beds are freshly changed, everything has had a deep clean as we prepare for a short break. We’re off to Finisterre in Brittany, staying in our friends’ home and it’s very kind of them. We have a list of places we’d like to visit from Pont Aven, Quimper, Pontivy and little villages here and there. 
The quilt above, now known as our holiday quilt, is coming with us. Below? That’s the making of a new quilt made entirely of scraps. I’ve made 11″ squares and used 1.5″ strips to join the blocks. 
                        
I’m off to visit friends tomorrow and get the door key.  We go somewhere every August bank holiday to celebrate our wedding aniversary. I’ll cook on Monday to take food with us so we have evening meals ready after days out. A few cheap lunches in cafes and picnics (weather permitting) and lots of walking and cycling. We’ll be back again on Sunday night. 
DB has an odd request of something to see in Brest…..I hope we find it as he’s looking forward to it. Anyone want a guess? We’ll be staying in La Foret Fousnant, pronounced la foraay fwee non. We’ll have fun for a short break discovering new places.
Until tomorrow,
Love Froogs xxx

  

My view for a few nights!

Hello Dear Reader,

All quilters have some neglected quilts. You know the ones. They keep being ‘forgotten’ whilst others are made. The quilter will often think to themselves that they must finish this quilt or that quilt and then pretty fabric jumps out of the cupboard and says make something from me. I’ve made other quilts whilst this poor quilt has languished, unloved at the bottom of the cupboard.

I took pity on it today and borrowed some space to lay out and baste the quilt. It’s a very scrappy, scrappy quilt made from all the leftovers of other quilts. I’ve now made so many quilts since I started this that I have other scraps from other quilts and I now have enough to make another scrappy quilt!


The quilting doesn’t take long but there’s only so much I can hold and balance on the table whilst I feed it through a standard machine. I’m sure people who buy a lottery ticket dream of a holiday home, or a fast car but I know that quilters will dream of a free motion quilting machine and frame. I know I do. I need to add ‘save for a free motion quilting machine’ to my dream pile.

I’ll be at this for a few nights, with the radio on and the last of the evening sun. I always stop when the light fades.

Over to you dear quilting readers, admit it, you’ve got ‘forgotten’ quilt tops somewhere that you really need to get basted and quilted. Or is it just me………….I have three quilts, including this one, that need basting and quilting and I’ve set the target of getting them done before I go on holiday!!!

Feel free to give me a verbal kick up the unmentionable to get this done! I want to lay this quilt on the beach and sit on it in seven weeks!!!

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

Getting it wrong and getting it right

Hello Dear Reader,

Whilst I was merrily sewing my blocks together, it dawned on my that I’d not read the block sizes correctly and I’ve made them all too big. Not to worry! I’ll just make a different quilt from the blocks, well in fact, two quilts as the blocks are bigger and I have far too many. I will make a king size and a single bed quilt, there’s always someone who needs a quilt!

As with recipes, or put it together furniture or sewing instructions I should have checked and read again and then read again. Never mind. The fabric came from the quilting show and all the reds were £1 a fat quarter and the yellow floral block was £2.99 a metre from Trago. It’s not the end of the world and I’ve made worse mistakes before! The final quilt will be a sort of Irish chain. Whatever, it’ll be pretty, homemade and will keep someone warm.

 Now onto getting it right. I bought a large gammon joint for £5. I always buy ‘ham’ like this and boil it and slice it myself. It’s great quality, lovely in sandwiches, salad or as tonight is Friday night, with homemade oven chips and a poached egg. 

I’ve had my slicer for years, it’s simple to take apart and clean and it gives really thin even slices. I then keep the ‘ham’ in a sealed airtight container and it’s fine to eat all week.

Home cooked ham and homemade oven chips – getting it right! Cutting and sewing my blocks to the wrong size – epic fail!

 To make my chips, I peel, chip and make sure they are dry by wrapping them in a clean tea towel. I then toss them in one tablespoon of oil, a dusting of thyme and smoked paprika and pop them on a baking tray for thirty to forty minutes.


Over to you? Any epic sewing fails to admit to? Any thrifty food moments that taste great, are better than the shop and have saved you money?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Journey’s End……..in sight.

Hello Dear Reader,


What ever you do, the beginning and the end is always the hardest. When I started quilting, just as an example, I found everything hard. Cutting the shapes was difficult as I was inconsistent, I didn’t get the corners sharp which threw the quilt out of shape. You would think that it would get easier. As a quilt gets bigger, it gets more difficult to manage, the layering and basting almost pulls my shoulders out of my sockets. The final stage of the journey, the quilting, leaves me with aching wrists, sore hips and a painful back. 

I have three UFO’s. Today, the journey towards the end involved preparing the backs of the quilts. I’m using some vintage yardage I bought off a lady who’d retired from quilting due to ill health. I’ve also cut 2.5″ strips to fold and iron for the binding. 

In the meantime, my sewing room is in chaos but I’m in the final stage of the journey. I now have to borrow space to lay out my quilts as I just don’t have the space anymore. 

Whilst thinking about journeys, I often think of my own and maybe you’ll think of yours. It was only two years ago when we restarted our process of downsizing and being able to live well below our means. We are again getting towards the end of a journey where we want to become mortgage free. Hopefully, we’re six years away. It is hard to keep going when you’ve been at the frugal coal face for longer than we’d like but the journey continues. 

Part of that journey towards being mortgage free means on top of my main job, I’m a jobbing freelance writer and today you can find my thoughts on cutting back at Easter here http://www.dontfretaboutdebt.net/do-you-need-to-splurge-at-easter-ideas-for-saving-money-on-your-easter-celebrations/

It would be great if you could pop over and have a read. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

Staycation Day One.

Hello Dear Reader,
I shall get this quilt top finished today. It’s not just been me. Scruffy at my feet, Dolly and Bobby by my side. I’ve had my ipad set up and I watched two episode’s of Simon Rimmer’s documentaries in the Caribbean. 
Dinner tonight is a sausage casserole out of the freezer with mashed potatoes and greens. 
I’ve lit the fire and I’m keeping warm in this horrible weather!
I add these a few minutes ago. I added a double border. I also dug out the scrappy quilt I made previously. I must get to the local craft shop and buy some quilt batting.
The staycation is going well so far!
How about you?
See you tomorrow.
Love Froogs xxxx