Monday, 1 September 2014

the Jones family went on holiday

I've noticed my blog is looking quite light on personal stuff recently, and while I don't want to share the ins and outs of my usually boring days, it does feel better to share here's a recap of the family's trip to Portugal.

If you're a regular visitor to the blog you'll know we haven't had the best year, there's been a lot of ups and downs - my job as editor of Quilt Now and the fabric I've designed for Art Gallery being the extreme ups and my husband's brain haemorrhage being the extreme low (as well as the effect it had on our oldest child, and how difficult it has been for her to deal with things).

As a family we hadn't been away for 4 years. Financially we didn't have the money, things have been really tough (as they have been for so many people) and so this break was a huge thing. Last year I was going away with the kids but that was cancelled literally at the last minute when Warren went into hospital, we were packed, we were ready, the cats were at the cattery...and then we didn't go.

This year it was going to plan....until I went to check in online for our flights and realised I had the days wrong, we'd missed our outward flights. Work has been so crazy and I'd tried to get so much organised before I left that I had written the wrong day in my diary. Stupid stupid stupid, KJ. So there were a lot of tears (I was ridiculously hysterical, when I phoned Warren to tell him he thought something awful had happened, so he was actually pretty relieved when it was just the flights), until I managed to book us flights the following day but cutting short our break by a day and a half, effectively (and making the holiday more expensive than it should have been).

(So for those of you that always ask, how do I manage to do everything....sometimes I really don't, I'm usually organised, I'm usually pretty good, but I managed to completely mess up!)

We eventually headed to Portugal, which I'm told is beautiful but honestly, all we saw was the hotel, the pool and the beach. We did no exploring, we just slept pretty much and that was perfect.

It was the teenager's 15th birthday while we were away, which we celebrated by lazing around and doing nothing (here's a rare picture she allowed us to take of her...pulling a stupid face, of course)

I did a little bit of stitching, I read a couple of books, I spent a lot of valuable and precious time with my most favourite people, and we had the best almost a week away in the sunshine.

Little Ginge even managed to get a bit of colour on his skin (although mostly he just got freckly)

The husbeast already had plenty of colour...

Next year, by hook or by crook, we will go away again. Sometimes you just need a break, and next year is a pretty big year. I turn 40 (ouch), Gracey turns 16 and leaves school, we definitely need to get away again...this time for a full week in the sunshine, and maybe I won't be in charge of the flight details this time.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

what's new pussycats?

Well I'm back from my holidays! We had a great time, lazing around, doing nothing at all. It was exactly what we needed as a family, and we realised when we were on the plane (and Ginge was getting a little over excited) that the last family break we'd had was 4 years ago, so it was well overdue.

Anyhoo...enough on that, what about the fabric shopping?

I'm rather loving this bundle selected by my favourite man quilter (and second favourite man in the world, after my husband), John Adams. It's available right now from Fat Quarter Shop.

These peppered plaids are just gorgeous, and in stock now at Pink Castle Fabrics

For those of you (like me) that love a 108" wide quilt about this from Contemporary Cloth? It's new from Windham.

Here's a couple of my favourite prints at Sew Me A Song....

This is a great navy and perfect for boys and as a stash builder

And this is a perfect texty print

A couple of new arrivals at Bobbie Lou's that I'm loving...

this ever so useful dot

and this gorgeous floral from the Ghastlies

There's a great selection of the forever useful pearl bracelets at cuts of cotton
I love this colourway so much. it's a great alternative to using a solid as a background.

Skipping over the pond to the Uk now, and at the village haberdashery autumn has come at the perfect time with the new sevenberry cords
Corduroy is lovely to sew, and you can use it to back quilts for snuggly cozy warmth, it really is amazing stuff you know.

There's a flash sale (it ends tonight) on craft books at Plush Addict. 20% off!!!

It's a great way to stock up on some books for Christmas gifts, there's a great selection and something to please all the crafters you know.

Whilst I'm on the C word subject, elephant in my handbag have a fantastic selection of sewing boxes that would make great gifts too.

I love this one...

While I was holiday I did a bit of embroidery...I'm not especially good at it (I'm rubbish to be honest) but I really enjoyed doing some simple stitching. One of the things I was stitching was the free gift from the next issue of Quilt Now (issue 3). It's an exclusive Kiriki kit, and I'm really excited to see Backstitch has other Kiriki kits in the shop so i can make more!

Simply Solids have sew yummy from Cloud 9 Fabrics in stock now!!!! I love these fabrics!

Last but not least....I absolutely love this print newly arrived at Fabric HQ, I do love a doggy...not quite as much as kitty cats, but almost

And that's it from me! I'm off to apply a lot of moisturiser so my tan doesn't fade! Have a lovely Sunday!

Saturday, 30 August 2014

camp gone glamp

Next November (2015) I'll be in Ann Arbor for Glamp Stitchalot. You know how I went to Camp Stitchalot, the small and friendly retreat hosted by Brenda and Pink Castle Fabrics?, well this is the same but on a new glam level.
I'm excited because the teachers are awesome, it's a bigger camp, and it's in a fancy new venue, Kensington Court in Ann Arbor. Tula Pink, Sarah Fielke, Alison Glass, Jeni Baker, and Violet Craft are all going to be there teaching, as well as little ol' me.

We get to hang out, we get to learn stuff, eat, drink and be merry (and, of course, sew).

The dates for your diary are November 12-15 (Thursday thru Sunday) 2015. If you've never been to Ann Arbor in Michigan before let me tell you, it's such a great place. It's a cool college town with gorgeous buildings, a really hip little downtown area with amazing places to eat and it's super close to Detroit Metro airport for those (like me) who'll fly in. Obviously we'll be in our (super luxury) hotel but you could (and should) spend an extra day just checking out Ann Arbor. I would move there in a shot, it's a gorgeous town.

So what will you be doing at Glamp Stitchalot? You'll be taking a class with each of the 6 teachers and each class will give you a new skill to contribute to those that you'll need to make a mystery medallion sampler quilt designed exclusively for camp by Tula and Brenda together with the rest of us teachers. Pus you'll have plenty of time to work on your own projects and just hang out with friends, both new and old, and us teachers.

Obviously any retreat is an expensive vacation, but Brenda has thoughtfully set up a 6 monthly and also a 12 monthly payment plan to help you spread the cost.

I really hope you can make it, you can find all the details and the booking information over on the Glamp Stitchalot page.


Thursday, 28 August 2014

in shops now!

Issue 2 of Quilt Now came out today. It has a European Summer theme (that's nautical with a few other colours thrown in for fun).

It'll be on sale in the major supermarkets (Asda, Tescos, Sainsburys, and Morrisons) as well as WHSmith, local quilt shops and for the US peeps Pink Castle Fabrics...I'll update that list when I'm back from my holidays with other stockists when I know who they are). Plus there's a digital version for those that prefer it/are overseas. You can find out more about that at the quilt now blog.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Coffee Koozie

I love the free patterns Fat Quarter Shop are doing with tutorials on You Tube for those that prefer visuals (or, like me, who just like to listen to Kimberly talk because she has such a cute accent).

This is the latest - it's fun, it's super fast and it's perfect for scraps. I'm thinking this would make a really fun Christmas gift for teachers or work friends or maybe even neighbours if you like them enough. My pink (glittery!) coffee cup was really cheap from Asda...which is the UK version of Walmart (and as horrendous to visit). You could add in some treats, like chocolates or some coffee beans - which conveniently I can get from the husbeast's coffee shop without paying for them. Nice for me. A little bit on the cheap side, maybe, but just don't tell anyone, ok? And if my work friends are reading (they're not, they're too busy/disinterested in my life, I'm sure) I paid for those coffee beans you're getting for Christmas. 

You can pick up the free pattern here and view the video here.

I made a couple, and then put them both on my glittery coffee cup. Because...well..why the heck not? It's extra koozie now!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Jelly Roll Jam 2

Fat Quarter Shop are at it again with another fast, fun and free pattern using pre-cuts. This time it's the return of the jelly roll jam...for part 2! I love it when I get an email from Kimberly asking if I'd like to play along with a new pattern or a blog tour

You can download the free PDF pattern here and check out the video tutorial here.

I chose to make my version in an indigo jelly roll from Moda. It's a range of fabrics that I wouldn't normally choose, but I was drawn to the denim blues and the texture to the prints and thought it'd be a really good line for either a man, or for a classic baby quilt for a little boy. Particularly for a baby with parents that have modern tastes who might be a little put off by a 'regular' baby quilt. I've been seeing a lot of indigo dyed fabrics and clothing on pinterest and it's stuck in my head as something I'd like to try. I never have any time for much other than work these days, so I realise this is the closest I'll get to indigo dyes for a while!

I picked out the blues for this quilt (I still have a couple of blues and the beige colours left for a second quilt - this pattern makes two quilts from one jelly roll!)

It's still just a quilt top...because I'm trying to decide whether I can hand quilt it, just simply, kantha style, or whether I should machine quilt it. I'm also toying with the idea of getting more fabric to make it bigger, I just love the way these fabrics look. What do you think? Go bigger? (It'd make a really good Christmas present for a friend of mine if it was a tad bigger).

Visit the jolly jabber for more versions of this fun quilt pattern! And grab a jelly roll and the free pattern from Fat Quarter Shop today!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

what's new, pussycats?

Last weekend I was at the festival of quilts in Birmingham. It was a busy, tiring, and long few days selling subscriptions and magazines for Quilt Now, but it was a great experience and there were so many positive comments about the mag that I felt pretty fab. I got the impression from a few people since I got the job that I was employed as a face to front the mag, but that someone else did all actual editing type of work. (To be fair, I would probably have thought the same thing, I have no experience after all). Truth is - it's me. I commission the projects, I sort out the layout (as in where stuff goes in the mag), I do have help with the spreadsheets and stuff because I am useless with those, the look and the feel is down to me as well as my art editor, Denise, and our photographer, Rachel. We're on it together. It's been a tough learning curve, I've had to learn the job fast and I'll probably make mistakes. I don't fully understand the production schedule yet, but that'll come. But in short - what you see with Quilt Now is down to me, it's my baby. If you like it, yay, thank you. If you don't, I'll take it personally (but it's ok, I'll just like you a little less).
So, to everyone that came last weekend and said hi - thank you. For all the lovely things you said, thank you a million times. I can't begin to tell you how much it meant to me! Seriously, it was fantastic and it made my heart burst with pride. Denise, the art editor, came along for one day and she absolutely loved how positive and complimentary people were.

But now, on to fabric....

Pink Castle Fabrics have Priory Square on pre-order. That's my fabric (oh heck, it's been a busy few months - you have no idea how tired I am right now!) (as I'm typing this that link isn't working...hopefully it'll be sorted in a little while, maybe they're down for some server work)

Fat Quarter Shop have the new line by Frances Newcombe in stock, Cherie. Love this collection so so so much!

Newly arrived at Contemporary Cloth is Winged by Bonnie Christine. This butterfly print is my favourite of all the collection, I love it. I might have to sneak some of this in with my fabrics in a quilt....

Dreamin Vintage is in stock at Sew Me A Song . I got this bundle recently but I love it too much to cut into it yet!

Bobbie Lou's have a ton of Art Gallery Fabrics in store

This print from Safari Moon is one of my favourites from the year. it's such a great blue

This super useful bundle of minimalista is on sale at cuts of cotton

Hopping across the pond to the village haberdashery and indelible by Katarine Roccella is in stock now. You need this in your life.

Backstitch has a great selection of patterns, I'd like someone to make me these shorts in my sunday clippings print for market (please) 

I'm planning on making this date night dress out of the sunday clippings voile too. (from Fabric HQ)

Simply Solids recently started stocking some Art Gallery Fabrics. They're going to stock my fabric too...Justine is my best friend, so she didn't really have any choice to be quite honest.

I got a little over excited by Art Gallery Fabrics there didn't I? Other fabrics do exist.....

Elephant in my Handbag has Rustique by Emily Herrick for Michael Miller, which I love.

At plush addict Woodwinked from Dear Stella is in stock

And I think that's it! Next week I will be away again - I'm going on holiday, and believe me, after the year we've had we need a break. I am hoping to be completely internet free, although I may lurk about on instagram documenting my tan progress.

Issue 2 of Quilt Now is all done, it's going to come out while I'm away. It'll be in shops on August 28th, so keep an eye out for it and buy it, so I keep my job. Thanks.