Friday, 31 January 2014

Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2014 - January

Firstly, I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone who visited as part of the Grow Your Blog party - it was really good to get so many lovely comments.

Right-ho, so just by the skin of my teeth here is my Crazy Quilt Journal Project for the month of January!  I'd completed the block itself a couple of weeks ago, and started the embellishment but then got a little 'stuck' with where to go next with it.  After a few evenings searching on the internet for inspiration I got back on track (phew!) so I'm just in time.

And here are a few photo's of it as it progressed along and some close ups of some of the details:


I'm actually really pleased with how it has turned out, although it's difficult to know where to stop and sometimes I do feel that less can be more, but hey, crazy quilts are all about embellishments!!

Sorry this is only a short post, I've been playing the proud mother tonight at my daughter's Air Cadet presentation evening, she got 6 certificates and a trophy!!   :)

(Edited 01/02/2014 to add:

After posting this yesterday I thought maybe I should recap on why this block centre has the word Giggles.  It is part of my wanting focus on the positives this year and recording the things that I am grateful for so I decided that my blocks for CQJP 2014 should all be a reflection of these.  The giggles in question were a night spent watching films and enjoying finger foods with my family, we shared a lot of giggles and I found it a particularly good night.  

I chose quite bold and bright fabrics for the block, wanting to keep with the cheerful theme; and am not sure whether I will for the remainder as it was difficult deciding on the embellishments not wanting them to be overshadowed by the fabric.   That said I am pleased with the block and I'm looking forward to what Gratitudes February will give me.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Grow Your Blog 2014

So today is Grow Your Blog 2014 day!  It's a sort of blog-hop organised by Vicki at 2 Bags Full (here - whereby people sign up with their blogs that they would like more followers for and then return the favour by visiting other blogs and liking the ones that appeal to you.

Hopefully I will find one or two people that my blog appeals to - I don't really like talking to myself - we shall see!

As you may know I have Fibromyalgia (diagnosed in 2010) and struggle with varying combinations of pain. fatigue and depression.  I had to end my nursing career as a result and went through some very low, tough times; gradually I returned to crafting as a form of therapy and I started this blog in November 2013 as a way to help me focus on the positive achievements in my life as I am a strong believer in focusing on what you want more of.  This will be my 10th post and so far I have I have managed to include a new piece of work (whether it be complete or not) in each.  My aim for the next year is to post at least twice a month, but not to beat myself up if I don't - it's all too easy to fall into that trap and it can start a vicious cycle.

I guess I'm a bit eclectic in my crafting style(s) - I like playing with fabrics and getting messy with inks too.  I've tried my hand at stained glass making, knitting, crochet, jewellery making (last year I gained a City & Guilds Level One qualification in this) I really love all the different sorts of Mixed Media and Altered Art especially Altered Books and intend to include more of these projects as my blog progresses.

These are photos of a few of the things I have created over the last couple of years, I think the only real theme is that there is no theme at all!!

I hope you take time to have a look through my earlier posts and if you like what you see, please consider following me.  Thank you

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Making Progress

Hiya - well I've not got as far as I would have liked to do as I've had a few sick days and had to rest up BUT this is my positive outlet so I'm not about to dwell on that.

What I did want to share is the naked block ready for a crazy quilted round robin I'm about to participate in, titled Under the Sea.  I'm really looking forward to this and to the Novice one I've also signed up to, I shall be piecing that block next week, and also finishing off the one for CQJP2014 - can't fall behind with that especially in the first month!!

So, my Under the Sea block - I really liked the idea of this and I had a few marine themed fabrics from a little lap quilt I made at the very beginning of my quilting journey - it was an Elemental quilt in log cabin, with a section for each of the elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water and with Spirit a part of all, here's a few pictures of it:

So I took my marine fabrics, one with bubbles, one with seahorses and one with shells on as a starting point and then I waded through my 'small' fabric stash :) to find some more to put with them.  I came across a fat quarter with some multi-coloured fish on, it came in a bundle of fabrics that I bought cheaply and was one I never really thought I'd use but I did add some of it into this block.

Having not done a crazy quilting round robin before I was worried about using too much fabric with specific images on in case it detracts from all the embellishments that are going to be added but I'm hoping I've got the balance about right.  I also included some batik fabrics in bluey-greeny shades and with a pinkish blush which reminded me of the look of coral.  Last but not least was some dark green velour which feels lovely and I feel it adds a lot to the block.

I'm posting it off over the weekend and really looking forward to see how it evolves - slightly nervous about my own contribution to all the blocks coming my way to work on, it will certainly be a learning process (!) but that's exactly what I signed up for!

There'll be another post tomorrow (what!? two posts in the same week!?) as it's time for the Grow Your Blog 2014 blog-hop courtesy of Vicki at 2 Bags Full you can follow the link on the side-bar or take a look here

Thanks for reading :)

Monday, 13 January 2014

January ~ First Full Week In

So I can't believe it's January 13th already!! Time to check in and see where I'm at with all my crafty endeavours ........

First up ~ Crazy Quilting.  For my Attitude of Gratitude block this month, I'm working on the theme of 'Giggles'.  I've chosen this so it will remind me of a lovely night spent with my daughter and my other half ~ nothing fancy but we watched a film, had bits and bobs of finger food and shared some giggles.  I've decided that the centre of each block will be a little stitchery as I enjoyed all the stitcheries I done on the run-up to Christmas.  The block itself isn't finished yet, but here's a little peek at the planning stage of the stitchery bit ~ you'll have to wait for the rest.

I've also signed up to two Round Robins over at Crazy Quilting International, a novice one and one titled Under the Sea so I'm waiting to get the schedule details of those.

As for the other bits of craftiness they're on hold until I finish organising my stash, which has gotten a little out of hand to be honest!!  So, I've gone through all my stamps and put them in categories, they now have a drawer each.  I may have made a little mistake in letting my daughter make the Dymo labels though ~ she thought it would be a great idea to personalise them for me ~ Faeries became Scaeries and my Wheely Stamps in the bucket photo became Kneely Cramps (quite appropriate for me!) and those are just the ones I can really share!!

I thought I was doing really well and then my Christmas present from Phil came (I know it's a bit late but it came all the way from the US of A!) it was a mystery box from Prima ~ apparently a lot of the craft companies in the States have a warehouse sale at the end of the season to clear out that stock and make way for the new season's stuff coming in.  Prima, and Maya Road is another, do a sort of mystery box, you buy a box but don't know what exactly it will contain until it arrives.  They are really good value and obviously very popular in the US, there are lots of YouTube videos of people opening theirs.  The drawback with getting them from overseas is obviously the postage and the worry about possible import taxes, so I looked into the tax bit quite seriously and realised that the Prima box would be under the taxable threshold and as Phil was at a loss as to what to get me, we bit the bullet!  Well it arrived and I'm really impressed ~ Phil said I looked like a little girl opening my present and going through all the goodies inside!!


There were allsorts! Stamps, stickers, vintage metal embellishments, stencils, rub-on's and of course Prima flowers too.  I think I may just have to buy another next time round .........  Does mean that I've had to buy a few more storage boxes to keep it all in!!

Speaking of flowers, there's a new challenge up at Craft All Day ( it is to include handmade flowers on a project, obviously that means I can't cheat and use my new goodies but it does mean I can try out making some for myself!  I feel that may be the next post......

Thanks for reading :)

Thursday, 2 January 2014

2014 - Working with the Attitude of Gratitude

I have decided that I've played victim to the Fibro far too much over the past few years - don't get me wrong - it's hard NOT to be a victim to it - the levels of pain and exhaustion really take their toll and as for the effect on your mental health ....... well enough said.  What I mean is that I know I've reached the point in my personal journey where I need to reintroduce some form of structure, some regularity.  I've found that being able to complete little projects has boosted my self-esteem - BUT - I also know that when I've had to stop part way through something or missed an event I've really beaten myself up about it.  So how to avoid the pitfalls of setting goals that you may possibly fail at but still get the benefits?

What I've decided to do is to join in with some monthly projects timed to start with the New Year and to run on throughout the year.  The best part of these seems to be that there is no true deadline, you get to work at your own pace with the aim of completing a project within each month but if you don't it's ok. I've seen that on one of the projects that has run for a few years one participant has just posted pictures to show she's finally completed hers from two years ago.  No-one's wagging any fingers, and all comments are really appreciative and complementary of her work.  That sounds like it's for me and will fit in well with the unpredictability of my illness.  I know there will be days/weeks when I can't craft and equally there will be the days/weeks when I can - I just need to teach myself how to balance those up, and focus on the positives.


One thing I've read a lot about is the effect that being positive can have, and I've particularly liked the idea of a Gratitude Jar - basically you keep a jar and put a little not inside of positive things that happen throughout the year, then on New Year's Eve you take out all the notes and read through them as a way of remembering how much good stuff has happened.  It helps you to focus on the positives and ignore (as much as possible) the negatives.  They say that what you focus on is what you attract more of - so this can only be a good thing - right?!

I've thought about this and decided in my own way to take it a little further.  I was lucky enough to just catch the sign up for the Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2014 - - this involves making up crazy quilted blocks at a rate of one per month to a size equivalent to 6" square (this means they can be an odd shape as long as their area equates).  I really love the look of crazy quilting but have only had one go at it so far - see below - and I thought it would be a really cool idea to create a crazy quilt of gratitude - just need to work out exactly how!!

I think this is the project I'm looking forward to the most but I have also signed up to a quilting block of the month, the Sugar Block Club at Stitchery Dickory Block - - and an Altered Book class: A Year of Altered Books - - I know this sounds like a lot but with the altered books class all the resources stay accessible indefinitely so it won't be too big a problem.  (Fingers crossed anyway!!)

If I get on ok with these I would like to try some of the monthly challenges that craft blogs run, this would include Tim Holtz's '12 Tags of' challenge that he runs annually.

BUT before I can really start this I need to clear up my crafting space - I am really lucky that my other half (Phil xx) made me my own craft storage/worktop area last year - this has proven to be more storing than doing just lately and so I need to organise my crafty stash and get on with some creating!!