Friday, 24 July 2015

AFRICA DOWN UNDER

With A Colonial Twist

A couple of months ago it was decided that some of my family from Australia would be coming over for a summer holiday (lets hope they bring back the sunshine), they asked me to make them a quilt reflecting our African roots but that wouldn't look out of place in the classic, colonial style decor of the intended room. Being more of a reload than retreat kind of gal, I accepted the challenge and whilst I have still got a way to go, I thought you might just like to see my progress so far.....



small selection of African fabrics

My first thought was how am I going to mix these two rather different themes together? Starting with the obvious I went in search of African style fabrics, being careful not to make it to cliche I opted for small, fairly broad prints, in mostly neutral colors. My thinking was that I would use them in small doses, more as an accent rather than the feature, and use traditional block layouts and designs to bring the elements together.



I just love this block, it is one from the Modern Quilting Bee book I have blogged about before, but in case you missed that post, you can find it here. Surprisingly it comes together really quickly and with some fussy cutting the whole design can totally change.












 I have done and am continuing to do a lot of research for this project, part of the fun for me is in researching different ideas and trying something new, there are an infinite number of blocks and combinations out there to choose from, some of which seem impossible but as I said earlier "reload not retreat". I do so love a challenge and to push my skill set, so on occasion madness strikes me and I will try to make something I have seen without having a pattern for it....going old school with graph paper and a pencil!! Don't get me wrong I am in no ways a pro (yet) but this time I struck it lucky and the block worked.



The aforementioned picture








The finished result

You can never beat some classic log cabin either so I threw some of that into the mix as well. You may notice the African twist in there, although in terms of general color I have tried to keep it calm and neutral with a few accent shades to lift the blocks and bring the two themes together. I am not quite sure if it is working but I am pleased with what I have done so far, all the points and joins meet where they should so right now I am winning!!




I haven't exactly decided on a layout for this quilt, or where to place the blocks, however as I previously said I do so love a challenge, so below is a photo of the 2025 squares all 1 1/2 inches in size that I have cut out.....Kerry Q refused to help me, but whatever could they be for?? I am afraid you will just have to wait and see.



The point where madness set in


Happy Quilting
Kerry xx







Friday, 17 July 2015

CHUCK NOHARA?!

Please Don't Encourage Me

It's a well known fact that I have a serious condition - Fabricitus, my sister tried to tell me once that this wasn't an actual disease and that I might be a little bit deluded, I nearly fell right off my unicorn!! I mean really? As if Fabricitus isn't an actual thing?? In about 3 weeks it will be time for Festival...can I get a "hell yeah!!" and then we will see who is right, Caity or me!! 

I have desperately been trying to avoid all this Chuck Nohara lark, I really really have, but everywhere I turn it seems to be following me, I think it might be time to face the fact that it has accepted me as its human. At first glance it isn't really anything splendid, it looks fairly old and out dated, there aren't many instructions and the ones that are there are not in English.





BUT don't let that put you off, inside is an Aladdin's cave of deliciousness, hundreds of lovely, quirky blocks crying out to be made in new ways, new sizes and new fabrics. There really is something for everyone crammed in this treasure trove, a variety of blocks for all skill levels and tastes.







It is literally everywhere on my Instagram feed, many of the fab blogs I love to read and follow, my Pinterest everywhere and the gorgeous examples are only making my growing obsession worse!! Look at this beauty over on Thimbleanna






And then there is the utterly fabulous version currently being created by Sharon of Lilabelle Lane, if you have never visited her blog you absolutely should, the woman is the very definition of inspirational, and largely responsible for my diseases and addictions!!





There are just so many gorgeous examples calling softly to me, that I am seriously considering making this my Festival focus!! But now I have the task of deciding what to make it in....








A popular choice seems to be making it out of scraps, I really like this idea firstly because I have an abundance of scraps most of which are from quilts or blocks I have made. Secondly because each block will then be a small reminder of everything I have done, each block would mean something different to me depending on which fabric it was made from and therefore become a sort of memory quilt. And finally because I am not very good at be spontaneous and uncoordinated in my fabric choices and as such this would be a huge challenge!! It is also something that I can keep as an ongoing project to dip in and out of, making a few blocks as I finish projects to use up my scraps. Of course I never can resist the buying of new fabric, and I have a serious issue with AMH, Tula Pink and Art Gallery Fabrics so maybe I should take the opportunity to start a whole new collection just for this?? I think I have totally just sold it to myself ha ha ha Kerry Q will be shaking her head and rolling her eyes right about now.

It's really not my fault, sometimes things literally leap off of shelves right into my arms, like this in John Lewis when I was totally minding my own business and absolutely not at all looking for any fabric....




Happy Quilting
Kerry xx

P.S If you are currently working on your own version of Chuck, I would love to see it and hear what's been inspiring you, we can start our very own Quilters Anonymous 






Saturday, 11 July 2015

21 QUESTIONS

A Few Things About Me You Might Not Have Known....


1: What is your current fashion obsession? I wouldn't necessarily call myself fashionable, having struggled with my weight for most of my adult life I tend to go with the motto - The Baggier The Better, however at the moment I am loving the whole over sized shirt (told you - baggy) open over a vest top.




2: What are you wearing today? pyjamas and there is absolutely nothing you can do or say to make me change my mind.

3: Hair? Unwashed, in a bun, a-la top knot style!! But in general life platinum blonde and honey blonde highlights half way down my back rocking the spiral perm God gave me. 

4: Do you nap a lot? I wish!! I'm fairly sure in another life I was a sloth, and I yearn for those days of bygone times!! I do love a good lay in though and on my days off DO NOT phone me before 10am.

5: Why is today special? I have had a taste of what it might be like to be a parent, I have spent the morning doing loads of washing and making home made pies for lunch......for my parents who currently have no kitchen/utility room due to the renovations being done on their house....parenting the parents??







6: What would you like to learn to do? Run!! I would love to learn how to find the motivation and determination to run every day, all the cool kids do it, I wish I could to. 

7: What's for dinner tonight? Whatever you are making me!! But I am super partial to Chicken Pesto Pasta, so maybe that. 




8: What are you listening to right now? Borrow My Heart by Clare Bowen, Sam Palladio and Jonathan Jackson. I absolutely LOVE Nashville, it's like Glee for grown ups but Country style!! And secretly I've always wanted to be a singing cow girl. 




9: What is your favourite weather? The hotter the better, having experienced a few Californian summers, I would totally say that!!

10: What's the last thing you bought? Ingredients to make the aforementioned chicken pies and the new issue of Love Patchwork & Quilting




11: What are your essentials when travelling? A list of all the quilt shops and fabric shops within a suitable distance to where I am staying/visiting, to be clear a suitable distance is anything within a 3 hour driving radius!! My Sunglasses and a good pair of spangly flip flops.

12: What's your style? Whatever is clean on the day! 

13: What is your most challenging goal right now? to be honest I have 2. Firstly trying to lose this last 5lbs!! I have lost 45lbs over the last 18 months and I just can not get rid of that last 5 to make an even 50lbs!! It's so frustrating!! And secondly to keep remembering that I deserve better and not to think that this time might be different because it won't , I may not be perfect but I deserve better.

14: If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be? A big old Brownstone in New York, preferably close to and overlooking Central Park....absolutely beautiful. 






15: Favourite Vacation/Holiday Spot? Huntington Beach, California





16: Name the things you cannot live without: My parents, my sister, my bestests Joelle, Chantal, Lauren and Kerry Q, chocolate and fabric!!  

17: How was your childhood? A mixed bag just like everybody else.

18: What would you like to have in your hands right now? David Beckham, I mean come on?? Look at him, he is absolutely just the most gorgeous being that's ever walked the earth!! 


GOD ALMIGHTY!!

19: What are you most excited for? It's a secret that's not mine to tell, I'm so excited I might just wet myself!!

20: If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? I would go home and hang out with my favourites









21: Which countries/cities have you visited? I have been very blessed with a wonderful family who love to travel so I have been very spoilt - New York, Florida, Boston, Rhode Island, Huntington Beach, La Jolla, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Carmel Valley, Santa Monica, Cape Town, Joberg, Durban(obvs!), Wales, Scotland, Yorkshire, Barcelona, Rome, The Vatican City, Paris, Calais, Bruges, and a few more I am fairly sure I have forgotten to write down here.

I was set the challenge of these 21 Questions by my Aunty Gilly over at Gill's Jottings, if you fancy taking part in the challenge, I'd love to hear from you so post a comment with a link to your blog post in it.

Happy Quilting
Kerry xx

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

EVERYTHING'S BETTER WITH SEQUINS

And Great Friends!!

When little children are excited about things coming up they count in 'sleeps', it's not a law written down anywhere it's simply accepted that if a count down of 'sleeps' is involved, it's serious!! Why I ask you is this only exclusive to little children?? I have been counting down from about 200 sleeps until Taylor Swift would be in Hyde Park and I would be there singing very loudly with my favourites!! And on Saturday 27th June there no more sleeps, the actual day had arrived, we were going to Shake It Off along with 65,000 other people living out one of my Wildest Dreams, singing a Love Story whilst watching Sparks Fly all the while hoping there wouldn't be Bad Blood. And it was absolutly amazing!! Taylor Swift might just be the most beautiful person I've ever seen in real life, she's so tall and has such a gorgeous figure and oh my those costumes!!! So many sequins in so many colours every Disney Princess would be jealous. 









The fun didn't stop there no Sir, it has been a few weeks of no stop partying for the crazy Smith girls! This Saturday saw us go back in time to the hay day of our parents (who are actually rather Young for my age) and head off to Club Tropicana, an 80s theme night club of sorts where 80s inspired fashion is the only acceptable form of attire permitted, sooooo.........












As you can see we were true to form and totally got involved, go hard or go home right??!! There was everything from Footloose and Fame to I Wanna Dance With Somebody and no party is complete without Ooops Upside Your Head......complete with dance moves of course!! 

I learnt a few things last week about someone who I thought I knew and who had at one time meant a great deal to me, turns out he was a total liar and he just made a mockery of my thoughts and feelings. I felt really sad to begin with, as anyone would when they confide in a person who just lets them down, but when I thought about it I think I feel more sad for him and the woman he is probably still lying to given he was with her the whole time. Thank God I had a lucky escape from yet another liar, someone else who just isn't worth my tears or my time!! It does mean however that I am still on the market for my knight in shining armour/ Prince Charming, so if anybody has David Beckham or Jamie Dornan on speed dial, hook a sister up!!! 

I haven't just been partying I have been working very hard on a few projects and have some exciting things in the pipe line.......honest!!

Happy Quilting
Kerry xx 


Sunday, 28 June 2015

TWO CHEEKY MONKEYS SNUGGLING ON THE BED...

And A Whole Lot Of Shopping!!

So the quilts made it safely across the oceans and found their way to these two cheeky monkeys






And as you can see they loved them!! Look at those smiles and those chubby cheeks, just to beautiful but then I am a very biased Aunty. Something else I am very biased about is how breathing taking The North is, if you have never ventured up there I can't tell you enough how much you should, just don't tell my Granny she won't be pleased if I start sending hoards up there!!

Half of my family is from Yorkshire, it is a fair distance - 263 miles if you want to be picky about it - from where we live down south, so for one week of the summer my Granny (who is rather young to have that title) and I head up to make the rounds visiting friends, friends and quaint little villages that time has forgotten, eating far to many pub lunches and baked goods and of course stopping off at as many quilt shops/ fabric shops that can be found!!   











This is Whitby Abbey, one of my most favourite places on earth, it is set high on top of the cliff face where only the brave can reach it, not because of the cliffs or the heights oh no, but because of the 199 stairs one has to climb to get there!! That is a lot of stairs, I know it looks like a lot of stairs and even saying 199 stairs you know it is a lot of stairs but you don't really, until you have climbed those stairs and then have to turn around and walk back down those stairs...then you will know!!

It was a busy start to the week with lots and lots of walking around all these beautiful places and the end of the week was just as busy with possibly even more walking around at Sandown for The Quilt Champs!! Did you go? Wasn't it wonderful?? I thought so, my bank account didn't however!! 

















These are just a small number of things that caught my eye, mostly the really beautiful quilting, a lot of which is free motion and something I really wish I could master!! I'd love to see what caught your eye if you were there?! And if you have any gorgeous projects you are working on I'd love to see them to, not that I need any encouragement to start yet another new project!! Kerry Q already despairs of me, she might just disown me if I start something else!!

Happy Quilting
Kerry xx