Thursday, 24 April 2014

Leafing Around


I've had lots of fun with bee blocks this month!  Di asked for two 12" (finished) blocks and wanted one to be made from either a 12" or a 9" leaf and the other to be made from smaller leaves, with a creamy background.  Of course, I had to be different (some would say awkward), didn't I?!  I knew I would far prefer to make small leaves rather than one giant leaf and a couple of small leaves so I asked Di if she would mind me making several small leaves instead.  She very kindly agreed (and wondered, along with Nicky, just how small I would go), so I hopped straight to it and got busy choosing fabric whilst planning to see just how small a leaf I could manage and still have it square and with all the points intact.


I started with a couple of 3" (finished) leaves to get me warmed up:


Daddy leaves
I have no idea what either of these fabrics are (they're from the fabric fairy!) but the one on the right (yes, Hadley, the brown one!) is gorgeously soft and lovely to work with.

I then moved down a step and made some 1.5" (finished) leaves:


Mammy leaves
The leaf on the right has had some work done since this photo was taken and is looking much more balanced in her upper points!
The two 'solid' fabrics are Oakshotts - they really catch the light (in person, not so much in a photo!) and shine.

And then moved down another (final!) step and made some 0.75" (finished) leaves:

And then there were three!
The green leaf got a little tweak to make its leaves more even - it looks better in the next photo!!  They also all finish a little larger than 0.75" but I decided that I could cut myself a (very) little slack and leave them alone!  
The orange leaf is a Kona solid and the green leaf is an Oakshott.


Once I'd made a siggy block (a 6" (finished) 'reverse' leaf, which felt huge after the smaller blocks!), they all had a family photo taken:


The Leaf family - Bee A Brit Stingy blocks for Di (April Queen Bee)
The Leaf family


The leaves then had strips added to all four sides to make them larger (and to make it easier for Di to add them to her quilt without worrying about chopping off tiny points!) - the 3" and 1.5" leaves were made up to 6" blocks and the 0.75" leaves were made up to 3" blocks.  They had one more photo, taken in the sunshine, before trooping off to their new home:


The Leaf family are off to their new home!
The siggy block was inside, sulking, and refused to come out and join in the fun.  Something about it being too windy.

All the leaves were (machine) pieced using Aurifil 50wt 2326 (tan) and I used 2311 (pale cream) to attach the strips.  I do love this thread and I was lucky enough to win a thread collection when Lynne had a giveaway - I chose the Pat Bravo Quilting Heart collection as I knew the colours of (50wt) thread were perfect for my usual colour palette (I use the 50wt for both piecing (machine and hand) and machine quilting).  As soon as it arrived I took the spools out of the box and added them to my thread box as I knew that if I left them as a complete collection I'd find it really hard to separate them!  Cindy at Fluffy Sheep Quilting has a great selection of Aurifil (as well as gorgeous fabrics) and her prices are also really good - pop over and have a look!  (Cindy hasn't asked me to do this, I just wanted to support a great small business that's run by a good friend.) 



I've now got the rest of the month to do some sewing for me and am going to see if I can manage some quilting on the DP quilt.  Or at least mark the remaining lines.  I'll let you know how I get on!



The other thing I've been doing is gardening (both watching the landscapers completely change my garden and pottering about with plants and compost).  My last post was so long ago you probably don't remember that I was having my garden landscaped and that I planned to do the (easy) planting myself.  The (fabulous) landscapers very kindly planted all the shrubs I had before they left but I'd sort of forgotten that I would have to dig holes for the extra shrubs I needed to buy.  I've managed to plant three shrubs (spread over a few days) but am taking a few days off before starting again some time next week.  There are (numerous!) photos in my Flickr album but here are a few (too many?!!) so you can see how it looks now (I missed the sunshine by a few hours so these photos are a little dull due to the fret that had rolled in by the middle of the afternoon):


Garden today
The empty pot on the patio (well, full of soil, empty of plant!) is going to have a false spiraea in it (once I've dug it up from Mam's garden) and it's going next to the front door, if I can move it!

Garden today

Garden today
I sat on my seat this afternoon with a cup of tea and admired the garden - it felt as peaceful and private as I'd hoped!

Garden today
Archie loves that lone paving stone - it gets nice and warm in the sun and he loves to lay on it and soak up the heat!

And a collection of my favourite photos taken at various points in the last few weeks:

garden collage
1. https://flic.kr/p/mJmeRj 2. https://flic.kr/p/njGm6Y7 3. https://flic.kr/p/niT2fN 4. https://flic.kr/p/nhDsFb 5. https://flic.kr/p/nhjRWW 6. https://flic.kr/p/mPGcQ5

I absolutely love it!  I also love the way it's not a finished garden (if there is such a thing!) - I very definitely wanted a garden that I could just add to as time went on and that's exactly what I've got.  I'm going to keep popping to the garden centres and plant nurseries every few weeks or so and get a couple of plants each time.  That way I spread not only the cost but also the planting and it also means that it'll be easier to make sure I have year round interest and not just lots of plants that look lovely in the spring and then do very little else!


Archie also seems fond of the garden (or rather, he hasn't been at all bothered by all the changes and he loved having the landscapers round - all that fuss and all those biscuits.  Very few of them were actually for him but there were biscuits nonetheless and he lived in permanent hope of one falling to the ground.) and he's found his favourite spot (when he's not exploring the raised beds!) - this was taken this afternoon, before the fret:



Archie's new favourite spot
You know what would make this moment perfect?  A biscuit.  Do you have one?

His new favourite spot can only be a foot or so (if that) from his favourite spot in the 'old' garden - I think he measured where it was from the back of the house and suggested that stone should go there!  This afternoon I put a bed outside for him but he paid it no attention and stuck to his (warm) stone like glue!!


I've managed a few more things since I last blogged (and there are quite a few things I haven't blogged about at all/in ages and have made progress on) so I'm going to try to come back on Fresh Sewing Day (a week today) and do a photo-heavy catch-up post (that'll make a change, then!) and then I'll see if I can start posting more often to keep up with things.  (Probably not but I'll give it a go!)

Thanks for popping in, I hope you're well!!


28 comments:

  1. You are completely insane!! Those blocks are tiny! You must have thumbelina fingers! I sooooo wish I had your beautiful garden! I'm fighting a losing battle with scratchy, patchy grass! Jxo

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  2. Your teeny tiny leaves are wonderful Helen, and the resulting blocks look terrific. Lucky Di.
    Love what you've done with your garden. x

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  3. Those tiny leaves are amazing! Your garden is looking lovely and I think your plan to slowly plant it up is great.

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  4. Your garden is so eautiful. It looks lovely. Not sure I will ever attempt. 3/4" anything!

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  5. That beautiful weeny stitching and piecing leaves me for dead.

    I like the idea of a cup of tea in that happy place!.... 'tis ANZAC Day today, so perhaps I could pop over with some ANZAC Biscuits!

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  6. Lovely sewing, lovely garden, lovely photos and lovely Archie. Lovely to read your post. :-) Xxx

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  7. The garden's looking fab! Your blocks are amazing! Such tiny piecing! Xx

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  8. Garden make over looking great - love the idea of spreading the work / cost / interest by doing a bit every few weeks!
    Those leaves are wonderful. I can't believe how tiny some of them are - well done!

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  9. I didn't realise the wee ones were so tiny, you are totally mad. Garden looking grand, Archie looks like Lord of the Manor!

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  10. Loving the leaves (although found myself singing to myself 'how low can you go' as I scrolled down!), and the garden looks great - that's kind of how my mum and dad have their back garden set up, the builders couldn't believe they didn't want a lawn lol

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  11. Love the teeny tiny blocks, should add some real fun to the quilt for Di. Glad to see you're able to enjoy the new garden too, looks lovely! :o)

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  12. your garden is so beautiful! I loved watching the progress and it will be so lovely in summer! Great work on the tiny leaves! Absolutely stunning

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  13. Love those wee tincy blocks!

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  14. Those wee blocks are crazy small but amazing! And your new garden is wonderful.

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  15. Love those tiny leaf blocks Helen, can't imagine how you got them so small!. The garden is looking amazing, what a transformation!

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  16. The garden looks great, and the blocks are awesome, but I have serious doubts about your sanity msking blocks *that* small!!!!!

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  17. I think I will be making some little maples today, yours are very inspiring! I am also loving your garden progress, more inspiration for me there.

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  18. those leaves are amazing! I think that brown floral in the first picture is Denyse Schmidt Katie Jump Rope, but I wouldn't like to put money on it ;-)

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  19. Loving all those little blocks. Have just seen Charlottes comment and was going to say that Brown fabric is KJR by Denyse Schmidt. The bits I have from that range have a lovely hand - the same as Mendocino by Heather Ross. I'm glad you've finally got your garden sorted. It's looking great.

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  20. All well here. Lovely to see your new garden and those teeny blocks.

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  21. Loving the teeny tiny leaves...the siggy block sure does look giant against the others but they are all lovely. Your garden renovation is fabulous, I do remember the last pic and the fence painting, it's come up a treat...enjoy...

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  22. Amazing blocks! Your tiny piecing is fantastic Helen - although I'm not at all tempted to try making any that small ;o)

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  23. As you know I've been following you're garden progress on Flickr. It's looking fab! And the blocks are amazing , bet Di loves them!

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  24. Ok, those 0.75 finished leaves are bordering on the insane. Especially since you made them on the machine. Hand sewing them would have only been a little crazy :)
    The garden is looking good. I can see why Archie would like that spot

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  25. I love your blog. Any place with animals and quilts..I'm happy. Hi Archie! Leisel, Charlie, Olivia, Pooh, Dear Watson and Barkley the Foster say hello. And I love maple leaf blocks. They are my favorite, I think. Or top 5 favorite quilt blocks. :) Take care. I'm a new follower.

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  26. I'm officially in awe! Teeny, tiny leaves! Talk about a physical challenge!!

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  27. Those tiny leaves are incredible! I love them! And your garden is taking shape nicely. We've been having some lovely sunny not-too-hot, not-to-cold weather lately. I hope you are too :)

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