Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Goodbye Blogger

I have finally decided to close down this blog and simply continue with my Wordpress blog. This one will disappear for ever in a couple of weeks time. For those of you who do want to follow me and get my blog updates, you can subscribe. If you don't want my blog posts cluttering up your Inbox I wish you farewell, thank you for your company and hope that you keep on enjoying your creative journey.

Maggi

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Lots of bits

I have a new post on my blog which you can read here

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Bag Lady

I have posted on my other blog is you want to follow the link

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Trichomonosis





Do you have fluffy lethargic greenfinches in your garden? If you do the chances are that they have a disease called Trichomonosis which is caused by a parasite. It has decimated an otherwise healthy population in my garden and apparently is rife across the country. This is a link to the RSPB page which provides information on what happens and what you can do to stop it spreading.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Catching up

There is another post on my Wordpress blog.  I almost forgot to add the link via this blog but you can always subscribe by email ( see the link on the sidebar of my other blog) which means that you will get an email every time I publish a new post. For those of you who follow me regularly you know that you will, therefore, NOT be inundated with emails. Incidentally have you all come across the way in which Google reader can be customised? It  means that you can read any new posts on Blogger blogs that you follow really easily and quickly and you are able to have the comments available too? Thanks to Jackie of Dog Daisy Chains I have whittled down the time I spend looking for new posts by a lot by following this tutorial. I may be preaching to the converted but it is new to me and I like anything that saves me time.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Brief update

There is a brief update on my fabric painting class, my Mystery Monday quilt and my thread booklet on my Wordpress blog if you feel like taking a look.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Playing with Paint

I have added a new post on my Wordpress blog if you care to visit.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Lots of bits

A new blog post on my proper blog is here, if you would care to pay a visit

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Very hot = stay off the computer

I  have just posted on my other blog if you would like to follow the link here

Monday, 21 June 2010

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Postcards and samples.

Another new post on my other blog if you would like to pay a visit.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Saturday, 5 June 2010

See what you missed.

A slide show of the open day at Stone Station is now showing here

Friday, 4 June 2010

New quilt and an advert for Stone Station Open Day

Lots of new things on my other blog. If you would like to take a look go here

Monday, 3 May 2010

Orphans and UFOs

I have created a new post on my other blog and there is also a tutorial for the Lotus books if anyone is interested.

Maggi

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Addictive little books and failed aversion therapy.

Now showing over in my Wordpress blog if you want to take a look.

Maggi

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Friday, 9 April 2010

Quilts in the Garden

I have posted a slideshow of some of the quilts on my other blog. Please follow this link if you would like to take a look To Dream to Stitch

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

I am leaving Blogger

After the fiasco with Picasa making photos on most blogs invisible earlier in the week I have decided to go over to Wordpress and see how it goes. I am not closing this blog down entirely as I have not yet discovered how to get alerts to your new posts yet so will have to pop back here on a daily basis. My first impressions are that it is much easier to work with, particularly regarding photos, and I like the clean lines.

For the time being I will just put up a link on here each time I create a new post, which will take you straight to it. I have asked for your input though as I am still in two minds.

The new blog is here - same name, different look.

I hope that some of you will pop over and see me but whatever you decide enjoy what you are creating.

Maggi

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Eat your hearts out Chris and Kate

There are certain advantages to finishing work at three o'clock in the morning, not least the fact that there is no traffic on the way home but this morning I discovered  a whole new one. When I arrived home I started  to watch a programme that I had recorded, while trying to decide whether to go to bed or stay up and watch the Grand Prix. I was about thirty minutes into the programme when the cat started to behave oddly so I looked out of the window thinking that there might be another cat lurking and upsetting him. It wasn't a cat that I saw but two badgers, munching their way through the bird food that was still on the lawn! These creatures are supposed to be easily startled, but not these two. They ignored the fact that there was a very excited female standing peering through the patio door, fully lit, and were completely unfazed when I rushed upstairs to get my camera and opened the bedroom window to take a couple of photos, complete with flash. Unfortunately the quality of the photos is not good and the battery died after the second one but I feel very privileged to have had the company of these nocturnal visitors.




I think that maybe a decent camera should be next on my wish list!

For anyone who is wondering about the title, over here in England we have a regular series of programmes called Autumnwatch and Springwatch during which, amongst other things, they try desperately to present glimpses of  badgers with carefully concealed cameras, often to no avail. The presenters are Chris Packham and Kate Humble. 

Apologies too to any farmers reading this as I do appreciate that they are not your favourite animals but this was an event that I really wanted to share.

Nothing creative to show at the moment as I have been working on my show quilt and so can't reveal that just yet.

Until next time enjoy whatever you are doing at whatever time of the day or night.

Maggi

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Why I love to dye silk

It seems to be a long time since the last post and much of my time has been spent dyeing and working. I did several loads of acid dyed silks and viscose wool felt, mainly because I just love dyeing silk for the effects that it creates but also I needed something suitable for an embellisher-made bag swap.


Medium weight habotai



Various silk sheers



Silk tops

And because I was going to be using the embellisher, I threw in some viscose wool felt.



I liked the piece that I made for the bag so much that I came very close to keeping it and turning it into a piece for the wall but I stuck to my original aim and made a bag for Cath. I am glad that I did now as she loves it and so it has gone to a good home



The original fabric

and the bag ...



Just because I had the fabrics out I also made another wrapfolio and a postcard.




This month's Technique of the Month was overpainting fabric with metallic paint. As I had a pretty unprepossessing piece of fabric that had not dyed well, I decided to use that and it certainly improved it although I can't say that I love it.



The  same group that is doing the bag swap have also been doing a bookmark and quiltie swap. These are the bookmarks that I received from Jytte, Angela and Marian. Now I can enjoy reading lots of books at once.




This is the quiltie that I made for Joan, again using silk and felt and with the flowers and leaves made from thermogauze



If you have managed to get down this far, can I recommend a beautiful book to you by Virginia Spiegel, 'Wild at the Edges'. This has the most beautiful images and thought provoking and inspiring narrative. For those of you who have been considering that they might have a book in them, this one is self-published by Blurb and I was surprised at the excellent quality. If you want to have a peek inside the book go to Virginia's blog.


Last but not least I managed to win myself some fabric last week from Just Hands On TV, just for being a subscriber. Do check out the site. You can get there by clicking on the logo on my side bar.

I'll try not to take so long before the next posting, so until then, enjoy whatever you are doing.

Maggi


Tuesday, 2 March 2010

A really mixed bag

Another sunny and warm day today. Dare we hope that Spring is finally here? I decided to take the opportunity to drive over to Eccleshall in Staffordshire to visit Gallery@12 to buy some of Angela Smith's jewellery that I had seen on her blog.  It is a beautiful gallery with so many lovely things all made by Staffordshire artists, well worth a visit and, if you are a quilter and go on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, Pollyanna Patchwork's shop is directly opposite. I decided to avoid that added temptation! I was not, however, able to resist the temptation to buy a gorgeous matching bracelet and earrings.  It was really good to meet Angela also who happened to be working in the shop today. I just love the way that blogland can lead us to new people.



Saturday was another Chris and Barbara class but this time at Stone Station and with Barbara trying to keep us in order on her own. It is a lovely venue, recently refurbished and very light and airy - just don't try talking as the trains go by, or even as they stop. Yes, it is still a working station. The class was Reversible Runners, creating both sides of the block at the same time so they only have to be sewn together with binding afterwards and it  is finished. I decided that mine looked better as a square and Barbara also decided that I should make it into a larger piece as a star. "You just need to do another twelve blocks" she said! I have to admit that I do like it and so will get on and do the twelve blocks although it may mean dyeing some more fabrics. Photos of everyone's work is on their blog so do head over and take a look. It was a very small and pleasant group and we all worked so hard that lunch was very short and I even forgot about the biscuits, although there was cake near the end.

The right side



The reverse side




I am currently taking part in a Birthday Club through the Popular Patchwork Forum. There are 24 of us and it involves sending a card and a piece of fabric, designated by the host mum Jan. I got a lovely selection of purple fabrics and some gorgeous cards.






Although it is hard to single out any one card, this one from Kerstin from Germany is awesome.



And another card received today from Jo as part of a Quilting Together one-to-one swap.



I love this, it reminds me of the way that the sun tracks through the sky.

While I was suffering from my cold recently I had a craving for some crisps, not something I normally eat but I think it is the salt thing when you have a cold. Round about the same time I happened across a post by Lynda Monk about crisp packets and decided to give it a try. I can't remember exactly what I did  use although I know I got out the Gesso, acrylic paint, writing ink and Lumiere paint. What an amazing result, and yet another way to recycle!






I even managed to find time to make another wrapfolio and a couple of ATCs. Two of these wrapfolios have now gone to good homes.



To those of you who have been wishing me well with my Classical Greek studies, I apologise but I decided yesterday that I am not going to continue. I have been getting excellent grades in the assignments and I understand the language as we are progressing but ... and it is a big but, I simply cannot retain the vocabulary. We are not allowed to use a dictionary in the exam and the vocabulary list that we are going to have to know is huge. It has been causing me quite a lot of stress lately and I always said that if I stopped enjoying my studies then there was no point in going on with them. I don't need the qualification and was just doing it out of interest so having made the decision to withdraw, I still have all the course books and can just plod along at my own pace with no pressure. I did agonise a lot over the decision, feeling of failure etc, but now that it is made I feel a huge sense of relief and can at least devote more time to creativity. 

So until the next time, find enjoyment in whatever you are doing.

Maggi

Friday, 19 February 2010

Dyeing and other bits.

A very quick post tonight as I need to go and eat soon. Up for work at 5 am tomorrow so I don't like to eat too late.

The dyeing didn't turn out too badly. Certainly I have got plenty to play with for a while.


All dyed in the same container.



Backing for my Trentham entry

There are some people who don't like to cut into hand dyed fabric or don't think that they will work in more traditional settings. I say go for it. and just to show that they can work in traditional blocks I have made up Chris and Barbara's three sampler blocks using the fabric in the top picture and some cream cotton sateen. The patterns are on their website so do take a look - you might even find some classes that you fancy, all come highly recommended




Carrie Nation Block


Clay's Choice block



Old Maid's Puzzle block

While it snowing yesterday (all gone today but more forecast) I made some postcards and ATCs as I had some painted batting left over. I also found  a piece that I had done with transfer paints at a workshop at Husqvarna several years ago so that got cut up and made into postcards as well.




I am feeling frustrated as my machine isn't back yet. I think they are waiting until a couple of attachments that I ordered arrive as they know I have a long way to travel. Trouble is I want to get started on the quilting for my Trentham entry and  my nice big table does not fit this one.  I can see that it's going to be a last minute thing again.

Hope you all have a good weekend and that the snow doesn't create the chaos that it did last time around.

Maggi

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

TOM a little late

I was a bit late finishing the Three Creative Studios Technique of the Month for January, largely because I forgot how long things take to dry in this weather. The technique was painted batting. I have tried several different kinds. This one was cotton/bamboo mix and I used  Adirondack sprays on it. As you can see from the photograph it looks pretty unremarkable.


However, it became transformed when I foiled it, added some soya silk, covered it with dyed silk chiffon and quilted it. It is a dream to work with.



Well, I couldn't stop there could I so I made up a mini wrapfolio, and liked it so much that I just had to make another one. Same batting but with gold foil instead of copper. I am missing my machine which is still in Sheffield as it has some gorgeous automatic patterns on it. I can't complain though as this one has done its stuff.



I rather think this could become addictive. I have four more pieces of batting painted and ready to embellish. Thank you Sue, Terri and Vicki for a great site.

I have also done a load of dyeing today, nothing to show as it is all sitting in the garage overnight.

I hope that you are having as much fun as I am at the moment. Don't worry, it won't last as I'm back to work on Saturday.

Maggi

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Back home from its travels.

Almost a year ago I sent an embellished piece off to Australia for the Connections Challenge that Dale Rollerson of the Thread Studio had organised. It didn't win anything but is well-travelled and has been seen by many people along the way. The other day the piece arrived home with a lovely selection of rayon threads as a thank you for entering. I had forgotten to take a photo of the finished piece before I sent it off so I am now able to show it fully finished.


The Stitching Tree

These are the threads that came with the piece

"I will help you to arrange them"         



"Why do you want threads anyway, you got me?" 


The threads ...                   


Things seem to have been quite felty lately. I made some pieces of Nuno felt the other day (a good way to keep warm), dyed them and was also able to throw in some left over pieces of silk which now coordinate nicely.  I love the way the different silks produce varying textures. 


The felts


The silks 


I have some ideas for a project, albeit a small one for the felt but I can't reveal it at the moment as it may well become a swap.

I know that journaling is something that many of you out there do on a regular basis but I am a real procrastinator when it comes to using sketchbooks etc. I tend to launch straight into the stitching and see where it takes me.  Myfanwy Hart has set up a blog about journals and so I decided that while my trusty Bernina is having a service (I can't believe that it gave me an actual message telling me to contact my dealer!) I would do something that didn't require too much in the way of stitching. A quick dabble last night produced several pages and some lovely pieces of paper that will come in handy sometime.



In the post from Jan this week was my ATC. It is a beautiful rainbow of pleated sheers. 




My order from the Thread Studio, along with some used Shiva sticks also arrived. I didn't take a photo of the latter but they are going to be really useful as none of them are colour that I have already.


And last, but by no means least, just before  started this blog post I was browsing through the ones that I follow and discovered hat I had won Jan's giveaway which is a beautiful bag, so thanks again to Jan.

Thank you too to all of your good wishes over my cold. It has now gone thank you.

Nothing more for now so enjoy being creative until next time.

Maggi



Monday, 8 February 2010

ATC swap

I have recently joined a small Yahoo group and as a starting point we decided to do an ATC swap. I had forgotten how enjoyable these can be. I decided to use a quilted sampler that I had made ages ago which I had then painted with metallic paint and added a reactive solution. The addition of some beads and some previously worked Tyvek was all that was needed. Not only fun but all recycled.





To Jo



From Fiona

I think that this was Fiona's first venture into ATCs and it is really lovely.

You may remember that I started a curved log cabin hanging in a class with Janice Gunner some time ago. That has now finally been finished. I decided that all it needed for the quilting was a curved line around the strips of the blocks and a sort of wavy square spiral pattern in the border. It was all quick to do and is now hanging in my work room. I found it very difficult to photograph and it doesn't show the quilting. Must go back to my camera manual.



That is really all I have managed to do since the last posting owing to work and what, at one time, seemed like a cold but now appears to be more like flu. I have been trying to read blogs but it has been an effort and certainly my ability to comment has been spasmodic. Still, I know that I will recover and it is a minor event compared to what others are suffering at the moment.

Enjoy creating and stay healthy.

Maggi

Monday, 25 January 2010

When it's cold, grey and wet, make felt.



                       

Both the pieces are Nuno felt but the blue piece is made with silk organza and the other with silk chiffon.

I made the mistake of using some Lanarte Sumo wool with the chiffon, not realising it was only 50% wool and so I struggled to get it to felt. Have to say that the texture has turned out really well although it doesn't show it in the photo.  And all this because I went to a bag making class on Saturday with Chris and Barbara. We made a basic tote first and then should have moved on to a more intricate bag in the afternoon. The trouble was that I spent too much time on the quilting of my tote so didn't get started on the second although I realised that it was an ideal project in which to use felt - hence making a start on the felt today. There are  photos of the class and the bags that were made if you follow the link to Chris and Barbara's blog. I have said it before but these classes take you back to the real joy of quilting and are excellent value for money if you live close enough  and if you don't live close enough - travel!

This is the tote, together with a padded heart with hare that I made last week from a Tone Finnanger pattern.  The assistant in the RSPB shop was most impressed when I used it today and everything except 2 x 12.5kg sacks went into it!



... and close up of the amount of quilting I did.





You may remember the book I purchased recently by Charlotte Ziebarth. I couldn't resist having a play with her techniques and made a cover for a small sketchbook.

  

Good fun and it also gave me a chance to play with some of the automatic patterns on my machine.

I joined Dale's Holey Moley class before Christmas but seem to have had little time to get anything done. except a piece from one of the layers classes. I have used the technique before but like the results. I used a heat gun on the right hand side of the piece and a soldering iron on the left hand side. There is virtually no difference except that the soldering iron allows for more precise control of the burning and the heat gun is much quicker.

 

I really should stop enrolling in classes unless I have the time to give them my undivided attention. I also enrolled for Susan Sorrell's Fertile Earth class. I haven't even finished the first lesson yet in which we had to use a vegetable as our source. Mine went from this ...





to this ...



and finally to this, which is still in progress and requires a lot more stitching plus some beads I think ...




Bet you wouldn't have guessed it was celery if I hadn't  shown the first photo.

My only other news is that if it snows again I will be able to get up and down my road and my drive. I got so fed up over the last cold spell that I finally decided to exchange by lovely BMW (sob, sob) for an All Wheel Drive car. I was going to show you a photo but it is black and it is dark outside. My window cleaner was most impressed today that I had bought a "Scooby". (I just need the right kind of baseball cap and drug dealer connections to go with it - only joking, honest!) I thought that I might have made the biggest mistake of my life but I love it - it's fast and fun!

Having bored you for long enough I should now go and try to get some actual sewing done.

Enjoy your creativity.

Maggi