Saturday 25 June 2011

Mary Jane, the antique version

The unofficial European Bag Lady Club is launching today their newest bag. This time we have made the Modern Mary Jane bag by Loft Creations. Simone won the pattern in Stephanie's giveaway (you can see three version in this link!), and Stephanie was so generous that she sent the pattern as a gift to Melanie and me so we could all make this nice and useful bag as a "Bag of the Month". Simone already made one version using the kit she won, but today we'll see her second Modern Mary Jane.

I decided to use an old, stained tablecloth with torn hemstich and a hole.

This is my Antique Mary Jane:

I used the best part of the tablecloth for the panel, and cut the remaining embroideries for the squares around it, adding some colours of the stitcheries for fun. Inside I added a zippered pocket:

I remembered I had a vintage button from Stephanie, and the size and colour were just perfect for the bag.

This is the backside. I had some old linen for the back panel and the handles.

Finally a closer look at the front. Many of the embroideries are worn from use and washing, so this has been a well-loved tablecloth. I'm happy to give it a new life.

Thank you Stephanie, this was a nice and easy pattern. I like roomy bags with something special, just like this one. Now everyone, pop in to see what Simone and Melanie have put together!

A while ago Stephanie told a sad story about an empty robin's nest in her garden, so I thought I could cheer you up with these pictures. We have three couples of pied flycatchers (ficedula hypoleuca) in our birdhouses, and they are all busy feeding their young babies.

I just read that the babies eat about 15,000 insects during their 16 days in the nest, so we should be really grateful for the mama and papa birds. Above is the mama bringing a mouthful to the babies, and below  the papa looking for new prey.

Have a nice Midsummer!

Thursday 23 June 2011

Crumble block quilt top, and tomato news

The big peonies are opening their flowers in our garden, just for Midsummer.

This week I took my pile of crumble blocks and added white sashings with black cornerstones (from stash, naturally) to make the quilt look less wild. This will go to Australia for Oz Comfort Quilts. Jan is working all the time to make quilts from donated tops or QAYG blocks and sending the finished quilts to places where they are most needed: flood victims in Queensland, earthquake survivors in Christchurch, New Zealand, abused kids or homeless people. Read this post on her blog Oz Comfort Quilts.

These pillowcases - fabrics I couldn't resist for 70 % off the price in the fabric shop now closed down forever - will find their way to kids through Jan as well. Can you imagine, she has sent 396 quilts this year alone! Naturally, she has "sub-contractors" all over the world, but joining the QAYG blocks or making quilts from donated quilt tops is a huge effort. In her spare time (!!) she knits scarves and beanies to keep those people warm as it is winter now down there. If you feel like you could join in and help, you find more information on Jan's blog. If you don't feel like sewing or knitting but still think you want to help her with the postage fees, there is now a donate button on her blog, and on the other blog as well: Sew Many Quilts, Too Little Time.

The beginning of the summer here has not been as warm as the end of spring in May. However, our tomatoes are doing fine, they have grown higher and there are first signs of tiny buds to be seen. How are your tomatoes, Candace? On Sunday I sowed radishes in front of the tomatoes, and this morning there was a green row to be seen already! Melanie, these were left over from last year.

On my way home the other day I saw the first wild strawberries by the roadside. The ones in our yard are not quite ready yet, but I think we can celebrate Midsummer with a handful of them.

Saturday 11 June 2011

Lazy days

Writing a new blog post takes longer when you don't have anything to show. The weather has been hot, +27 C  and more (80 F), far too hot for me. The plants need water. Yesterday we were sure there was going to be a thunder but all we got was a few drops of water and some rumbling sounds. I have not sewn anything worth showing. It is too hot, and I need a new cutting mat.  I have been getting to know my new  toy:

I had some birthday money and decided it was time to give Mr. K his lovely little pocket camera back and get my own. This big camera is not so easy to carry along, but on the other hand, I always have big shoulderbags, so I'll just leave out the umbrella and the book if I want to take the camera with me. I'm only learning, and I have not yet read through the 195 pages of the manual. Uploading the next pictures on blogger I noticed the huge size of them, about 2.4 Mt compared to the first one, 83.9 kt. I need to find out how I can take smaller pictures!

At the beginning of the summer I like to use the new harvest, when the green things start to grow again. Nature is ready to give us organic food which is rich in vitamin C and iron, nettles:

I wear rubber gloves and use scissors when I cut the top three pairs of leaves of the nettles growing at the edge of the woods. This loosely filled bucketful was enough to make three meals. I rinsed them in cold water and blanced them for a minute or two, and pureed them. I mixed one third with potatoes and cream to make a soup, and the rest  of the nettles went in the freezer. They can be used like spinach, and taste almost the same.

I wanted the bigger camera so I could take better pictures of the birds without disturbing them. This blackbird father was struggling with a big worm he was going to take to his babies, and he didn't notice me at al because I could sit on the verandah while he was down on the lawn.

You can click on the picture to see the details. If your don't like his kind of food, click on my soup plate instead.
Now it's time to drink some cold water before I melt. I promise to sew something for the next post!

Wednesday 1 June 2011

Stash use report for May

This has been a productive month after all. I have used lots of fabrics (5.3 m in May) from my stash to make the QAYG blocks I have already shown in my last post, but I wanted to use the too short bits as well, and started making crumble blocks to clear the sewing table. I tried to use colour themes for the blocks:

I even used tiny triangles to make squares to start a block:

Sometimes there were no matching fabrics long enough for the last 6½" side, so I pieced them too:

At the end of the project I noticed I was trying to make log cabin blocks with no system at all.

Finally I had my blocks, packed the remaining scraps in the plastic bag and looked under my desk: No bits wider than 1" in the waste!

I estimate the blocks used up about 1.5 m fabric. Hip hurrah! The Raggedy  Friends Quilt took about 3.7 m; I have been working on it since last July, but not counted the fabrics until now that it is finished.

I used 2.7 m for a jacket and lining, and 0.9 m for a slip, and gave away 0.7 m fabric for the Bag Club ladies, which is also counted as using my stash. This means that 14.8 m of fabrics have stopped being in my stash! On the other hand, I have only bought 2.2 m new fabrics, balancing very well the ugly results of April. Now I can feel relaxed and think about the fabric store selling all fabrics for 40 % off, as there is not much time left.

I waited for the apple trees to look like whipped cream again to take a lovely picture, but before I could really see the blossoms, white petals were blowing in the wind! I hope it was warm enough for the bees to fly so there will be apples in September.

In October Mr. K and I planted some Phlox Subulata on the slope facing the street.

They survived the Winter very well and are blooming now!

The narcissi are blooming for the first time in their new place, last year they just made buds.

Today is the first day of Summer, and at my time it meant the beginning of a three month summer vacation. Have a happy Summer, holiday or not!