Feathers everywhere.

Sunday night again? That rolled around fast. Sigh and so begins another week at work. But there are still a few hours of weekend left and with an exciting looking Super Furry Animals documentary on  TV there is time for a quick post!

This week I resumed one of my back projects, Alison Glass’ Feather Quilt.

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It is my first time working with paper piecing and to be honest after a long break between sewing sessions it takes a while for me to get my head around the method of this again. Paper piecing feels like I’m working backwards and back to front. Constantly having to line up the pieces of fabric backwards while holding them up against the light to cover the sew lines is a bit of a pain. When using navy fabric this becomes even more difficult.

I try not to sew too late into the night with this , If I lose my sewing mojo and make too many mistakes  unpicking the paper more than once really compromises the  integrity of the paper.

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Also the strips become quite small so when trying to place fussy cut fabric, I have to pray I have cut them perfectly centered. There’s not much room to move the position of the seams.

Each one is taking its sweet time, I have to trim and press each seam line before I move to the next line. Not the fastest to make.

More on this eventually..

wpid-20150426_145131.jpg‘scuse the not so bright photos, Britain has been plunged into a crap, non stop soak you through,  frizz creating drizzle.

On the baking shelf this week.

Not sure what the baking revival with me is at the moment, but I had a sudden urge yesterday to make Madeleines . After all I had bought a half price tray in Lakeland so rude not to.

I used Nigella’s recipe from “How to be a domestic goddess” (I will never be a domestic goddess, I’m never going to  be organised enough). I had the impressions that making them was going to be difficult (I have that impression about all French food). It wasn’t at all difficult to make but…..

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Makes 48, mine made 12..I know I’m not the best at maths but even I know somethings wrong..

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They turned out nice, just a bit too eggy for my liking. I wonder if there’s an egg free version? I might try Rachel Khoo’s version next.

That is all for this evening!

 

 

In the jungle

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Amazingly in a shorter time than I thought, I got Rockette’s Playtime dress finished over the weekend. That’s no small feat for me. I feel bad that I did ignore Rockette for a lot of Sunday… but she got a dress out of it, im sure all is forgiven.

 

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I’m loving the pattern for this Oliver + s dress/ tunic/ legging thing. I went for the dress as leggings are so cheap to buy in the UK that I don’t know if I would make a pair.

I normally get my patterns out of sewing books which generally overlap each other. It made for a nice tracing experience.

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The sewing was all straight forward and both parts of the dress were quite similarly constructed to other of clothing I had made in the past. I only got a little excited when I was finishing the inner seams and….( important lesson here, if your on the phone put the scissors down), I cut a bit of the  seam too far and hacked into the dress. What a donut I truly am .But  I think I’ve hidden it well,  It’s mostly inside the seam now.

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I love the cute little hot pink detail round the neckline. So sweet.

It was also my first foray into pattern matching…was crapping myself just a bit. Everything you read and hear on the matter is so intimidating. Look at the Great British Sewing Bee ” oh you haven’t matched your pattern” “look at that complete lack of pattern matching”  “that’s not aligned”, “You’re going to hell because you didn’t pattern match” (alright not the last one, but you get my drift).

So I was super careful and used the lion heads for guides. To be honest I’m pretty pleased, nay amazed at the results. I expected it to be upside down here, back to front there etc etc.

Yeah yeah it’s  not perfect ,the GBSB would have kicked me off the show but It’s good enough for me.

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It’s a bit big and roomy for her (super long and skinny) but I wasn’t brave enough to adjust the pattern yet. Maybe when I make it next time.

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The reason for the bias binding in the middle was to break up the pattern it. It was just a bit too much to have an all over print.

wpid-20150420_172816.jpgIt’s really hard to get a kid to pose properly…

The fabric was Michael Miller Origami Oasis.

Next I really need to get on with the unfinished quilts. But I also want to go to Goldshawk and buy some more dress making fabric. I’m a bit addicted.

On the baking front?

This week I made the Australian classic Lamingtons, which was fellow antipodean’s  Dan Lepards recipe from his book Short and Sweet. Bloody delicious! Sponge, jam, chocolate and coconut. What more do you want?

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Ohh I can make a blouse now.

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Continuing in the clothes making vein, I have taken another detour (kind of) from the quilting to make another item from Tilly Walnes “Love at first stitch”. This time around it was the Mimi blouse.

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The general advice is the make a toile first, but the fabric I was using was some cheap polyester stuff I picked up at one of the fabric stores at Walthamstow market. At £1.75 a meter I wasn’t going to get much cheaper. It was heavy to work with!

It was my first time using a dressmaking pattern. The first half of this turned out great, the other half turned out not so aligned . For example the collar on the left was longer than the right, the hem on the right was longer than the left, the arm seam on the left didn’t perfectly align with the seam of the bodice. But these are all my dumb school boy errors.

Maybe it says more about how my brain works,  I concentrate really hard on the first attempt and then get a bit cocky when I come to do the second part. This also explains why I had to make 2 sleeves for the right arm because the seam at the bottom became randomly frayed.  Also annoying me is  that I took too much off the  back neckline, I did try to add some bias binding to hide this, but it looked weird so I left it.

Considering that this was my first attempt I’m pretty pleased with it.

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And I put buttons in! I had a great fear of this, but it took no time at all. I just did the colossal error of going a bit nuts with the seam ripper and ripped the top off. Idiot.

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I can’t tell if it’s nice and modern or something that my Nan would wear , thin line. But that’s just down to the weird fabric. The pattern is great and I’ll make it again, next time in a more stiffer material like a cotton.

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Again for more info you can visit Tilly’s wonderful website.

http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/

I’m moving onto kids wear next. I’m starting on the Playtime pattern by Oliver + S

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I haven’t stopped quilting, I do have many ongoing things. The main project  I can’t write a lot about because it’s going to be a gift, but I’ll put a block here and there up.

I love this cube block, which is from Tula Pink’s book 100 modern quilt blocks. One day I’d like to do a whole quilt made up of just these and featuring my favourite prints.

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I just happened to be listening to Split Enz while making that. It’s a brilliant album.

The Glitter of Eurovision

Rule 101 in blog world is apparently not to confuse your readers by blogging about random things.  But I would hope that all the lovely people who do read my blog will not freak out. This is a blog about sewing and music, and today this is about music…well almost.

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Loved around Europe but ridiculed in the UK , the Eurovision song contest turns 60 this year.

For those unaware of what the Eurovision song contest is, it is a competition for the best song in  “Europe” in which 40 countries compete. After two semi finals participating countries are knocked out of  the competition via public vote to the final, where they are joined by the winning country of last year and the big 5 (UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain) who are the main sponsors of the competition so instantly qualify .Each song is then voted for by each participating country who can score 12 entries a maximum of 12 points descending in order to a minimum of 1. This year will be different as Australia will also join them in the final as an extra country..as a one-off 60 year special. (No you havent lost your mind the geographical map is still the same)

I stated watching the competition properly with parties in 2003. I’ve been devoted ever since. It is a thing of strange beauty, it’s full of farce, strange gimmicks, bizarre dance routines, block voting controversies and really odd intervals.

The UK has done poorly in most years since they last won in 1997. Considering the UK’s rich tapestry of musical input past and present, to the novice they should walk it. But they generally don’t  send good representation. They send the likes of  Daz Sampson (creepy & pervy ), Scooch (they thought camp would do well), Jemini (the uk’s only nil points result) , Bonnie Tyler (love her, bad song) and in my opinion the worse entry Josh Dubovie meets Pete Waterman. Someone forgot to tell the selection panel that it wasn’t 1988 anymore. There have been decent attempts with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jade Ewen in 2009 but it was against Fairytale (see below) it really didn’t have a chance making it to a decent 5th.

There concludes this history bit, I could write a book on the bloody thing. I can go on.

Eurovision Song Contest's Greatest Hits Part 2

So as I started, Mr CM was incredibly lucky  to get tickets to the Greatest Hits show  on Tuesday at the Hammersmith Apollo in London (but not in the west end, as it may be broadcast as). I was thrilled and to be honest I can’t remember the last time I genuinely had a really great joyful time at a show.

I’ll say now that we were prohibited by the BBC to take any photographs or videos so I’m going to have to use the promotional ones from the Eurovision website.

http://www.eurovision.tv/page/timeline          Thomas Hanses (EBU), Guy Levy / © BBC 2015

Hosted by the very funny Graham Norton and Petra Mede,  It was a show of winners and then some. Quite a few were before my Eurovision time such as Bobby sox, The Herreys and Anne-Marie David  but they were still entertaining.

The atmosphere was pretty festival like, full of devoted enthusiastic fans which made it so much more fun.These fans were hard-core who put me to shame. They had been to most of the finals night in past years around Europe and had travelled quite a distance to be at the London performance. It made quite a difference from watching it at home with people who really are not bothered about it.

They all did sound amazing, even acts like the Brotherhood of Man who appeared in 1976, still sounded the same. Other amazing performances were some of my favourites such as Loreen and Lordi who probably got the biggest applauses of the evening.

Eurovision Song Contest's Greatest Hits Part 2

I didn’t realise that the lyrics to 3 time winner Ireland’s Johnny Logan’s “Hold me now”had lay dormant in my head since 1987  (It was massive in OZ, I think I had it on some now ’87 compilation) and magically all spouted out of my mouth like a spring. You see I can’t remember how to do long division but random lyrics, this I know.

Eurovision Song Contest's Greatest Hits Part 2

What you won’t see in tonight’s broadcast is the what is becoming mandatory booing  (not  from me) poor Dima Bilan received because he is Russian. This happens every year at the Eurovision shows due to Russia’s political stance. I did feel sorry for Dima, it’s really not his fault (unless his involved somehow that I’m not aware of).

Graham Norton got (rightly) quite cross with the audience and reminded them where they were and to behave. After that scolding the audience behaved and Dima took it in very good grace. In the end he did a great performance and was appreciated by the audience. They made us re-record the clapping to dub the introduction.

The highlight of the evening was Conchita, she sounded even more amazing live. But the bigger highlight was Dana International and Conchita performing Waterloo together. Amazeballs.

Eurovision Song Contest's Greatest Hits Part 2

I just hope I wasn’t filmed shamelessly singing like a nerd in the second row..(on the side).

With over 1,400 songs ever entered into the contest I have picked  up my top 14 favourites over the past years making this 1% of all entries. I could have written the top worse but that would just make me no better than the cynics who think Eurovision is pathetic. I suppose I could do the most strangest entries which would included singing pirates, boastful bands, bad rapping, the elderly, and DJ Bobo letting us know vampires are alive. Not today tho.

Bar 2 all of  these are after 2003, and there’s not a “Waterloo” or “Making your mind up” to be seen.

14. 1979-(West) Germany – Dschinghis Khan-

This did not win, but its a good introduction to what to expect from Eurovision. A German group performing a disco pop number about a 13th century invader. The dancing Genghis  is what makes this, his really a bit scary.

13 1982- United Kingdom – Bardo- One Step Further

I’ve just added this, to be honest I forgot about this until last night, it was bugging me that I had excluded it. Not sure what happened to this on the night because the recorded version of this sounds a lot better.  Whats with that crazy on all fours dance? I think she over exerted herself. Tipped to win, came 7th. John Peel quoted at the time that this was his favourite Eurovision song of all time.

12.2011 -SWEDEN – ERIC SAADE-POPULAR

Almost but not quite, coming in third. Love a bit of smashing glass. Not to worry, Sweden won it the following year.

11. 2003- TURKEY-SERTAB ERENER- EVERYWAY THAT I CAN

Since this won you will now find that in most years there will be a song that sounds like it from any number of random countries. The singing is a bit off, and I’m not sure about the rapping/talking bit. Nonetheless, winner.

10. 2007- MALTA- OLIVIA LEWIS-VERTIGO

I said this at the time and I still stand by it…how did this not even make it through the semi-finals? It scored pathetically low. There was a lot of blame of block voting in 2007 stopping quite a few western european countries getting through to the final.

When I was visiting my grandfather in hospital about 6 months after the event ,a loud debate broke out in the next room which included most of the ward patients, visitors and staff (this is Malta after all) as to why Malta didn’t get into the final. The general consensus was that Europe was racist and  that going with a Japanese theme was her big mistake…, that is that.

9. 2006 -GREECE- ANNA VISSI- EVERYTHING

Rock ballads away! Bit Bonnie Tyler a bit Meatloaf. It never had a chance against Lordi but some years are just better than others. If this was entered in 2010 it may have done a lot better. (I say this just becuase I though 2010 was a poor year)

8.2004-GREECE-SAKIS ROUVAS-SHAKE IT

Eurovision is full of pretty boys, but none of them are Sakis I have a little crush on Sakis.

7. 2011-IRELAND- JEDWARD-LIPSTICK

This is the kind of stuff people watch Eurovision for. Poor Jedward should have done better but 11th isn’t bad. If that wasn’t enough they returned with the pretty unforgettable Waterline in 2012.

6. 2008- BONSNIA & HERZEGOVINA-LAKA-POKUSAJ

It’s so quirky, it’s not in english. Something about the sea and love. This song doesn’t require translation for me I just love the song.

5. 2009 – NORWAY- ALEXANDER RYBAK – FAIRYTALE

Norway are better known for receiving more nil points than any other country in history. But that was changed with fairytale. Isn’t he sweet? Having the ability to play a violin also helped this win by the biggest points difference in Eurovision history with 387 points.

4.2006-FINLAND- LORDI- HARD ROCK HALLELUJAH

It was loud, there were costumes involved, and axes and fire. It’s novel but the song is also great. Possibly the first rock track to be crowned victors. Dont know how much it harmed their “metal” reputation.

3. 2014-AUSTRIA-CONCHITA WURST- RISE LIKE A PHOENIX

Austria has had a bad run in the past, so bad that they left for a few years. Like a phoenix they came with this song .It’s all class, you forget about the beard or if it’s a man or woman.  Should be a Bond theme. 2015 is probably going to be full of copies.

2. 2013-SWEDEN-LOREEN-EUPHORIA

The beauty of this performance was there was no gimmicks. There was nothing to distract you from the song other than the shadow lightning. Wonderful dance track, It won deservedly.

1. 2008-FRANCE-SEBASTIEN TELLIER-DIVINE

We all know I love Tellier, and its something that must happen once or twice in a lifetime where your real life music loves crosses into the world of Eurovision. Its bizarre, and so was this performance. It had everything , a drunk Frenchman, women with beards before Conchita, a golf buggy and helium filled globe . Sadly the rest of Europe didn’t feel the same (including the French who weren’t happy that it was sung in english, hence the one line sung in french “why must I sing in french?”) and it finished 19th.

 

While were on the Subject of Eurovision I have to mention the greatest episode of Father Ted ever made. In “A song for Europe” , egged on by father Dick Burn  Ted and Dougal enter the song “My Lovely Horse” into the contest representing Ireland. It makes the final chosen because it’s so bad that Ireland can guarantee they wont win (and therefore not need to host ) it again.

There are calls from fans every year for Ireland to enter ‘My Lovely Horse’ (written by the Divine Comedy), it was put for consideration to  the Irish  government for this year’s contest. It was turned down… maybe they don’t want to win.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-28066759

 

 

*Eurovision Greatest Hits is on the BBC 1 tonight at 9pm.

 

Spring cleaning has taken over…

I’ve neglected my house for weeks and weeks, now it’s time to spend countless hours attempting to clean it and  declutter. I say declutter, but really I’m just shifting shit into different places. I did put in a “if it’s not used in a year it’s gone” policy…which I have never ever stuck too.

As if  the clutter isn’t bad enough in my little house,  the time has come to clean in the disgusting places, like under the food cabinets  and around the oven (sigh we did that not long ago mofo! ) and the fridge that everyone is too afraid to move out. ( I can still see a baby dummy on the side that was Rockettes).

Rockettes room is a mother flipping nightmare, I keep wanting to do something innovative with it, but just end up sticking more hot pink IKEA expedit (now kallax) shelves in there. I’ve been looking for some good charity to donate a massive  load of never played with soft toys too, but I’ve come up with nothing. If anyone knows of a place to donate to under privilege children’s charity please let me know. In the meantime they are hogging a lot of room and not doing a lot.

So because of all of this, I can not get on with the construction of my blouse, instead I’m just going to post the most organised thing in the house at the moment which is my stash cupboard. Housed in an old antique book cabinet, story has it it came from a old mansion clearance in the 1950’s  or 60’s.

    I’m worried that this is the most organised thing in the house..

Betty Boop just doin’ the do.

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Sometimes I have projects that almost finish me off and I swear that I’m never touching my sewing machine again.

No matter how much I plan these things out it,  as a rule I always end up having a manic rush in the end. Its up till 2 am the night before, then  back up 7 am; and when I’m supposed to be at the birthday lunch and I’m still in my pyjama’s doing the bias binding.

This was the Brick wall pattern quilt which was designed by Lynne Goldsworthy of Lily’s quilts and was a feature in Issue 3 of Quilt Now magazine.

http://www.quiltnow.co.uk/item/420-qn3-onsale

The fabric was picked not by me but by the recipient, for it was her birthday after all (not that she was aware there was a reason behind my quizzing at Plush Addicts open day at the time) and her choice of fabric being the Betty Boop range by Camelot  and some racy Alexander Henry.

For me the fabric was way to chaotic. After looking at all the patterns around I decided on the Brick Wall one as it wouldn’t distort the feature fabric too much.  The print is so large, it’s difficult to do anything more intricate without losing the detail.
Now thinking of it I suppose I could have done some smaller circles appliqued on a white background fabric bit like bubbles in the air say. I Always get ideas much too late.

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Everything was going so well, all the squares were cut exact and everything was matching up. But I ran out of fabric (I forgot to buy an extra 5 FQ when I bought the bundle). Then when it came to piecing the lot together things began to unravel. I don’t know what happened but one panic attack later ,I spent all Friday & Saturday at my dining table . Bad Planning…I just underestimated how long it would take .

Then various other things started occurring such as

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I measured everything with precision, so I’m going to blame my measuring tape (maybe I used  the one that I had accidentally sliced off the top inch of) ;But all of my ends were 5 cm too short. I had to add extra stuff on everywhere!

Also this happened

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What in the F@$ck?!! How did that even happen??!! So that was annoying.

Also my machine needle decided to break, or fall out,  or the thread kept coming out, or just decide not to sew.

In the end I also tried and yet again failed to get mitered corners on my binding…I have read lots of books on technique and watched tutorials,  and I STILL cant do it!!! My BFF just finished her first quilt – with immaculate borders…I just do not have that ability. Mid (bias binding) meltdown my little Rockette did come up to me and say “you shouldn’t try to be like our friends mummy, you should be like yourself!” Well being myself is squared crappy corners.

There’s no picture of that, so I’ll just put another one in.

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I still have 4 rows of 66.5 cm long strips and I’ve no idea where they were supposed to go and a random 77.5 cm one too.

I used a bamboo wadding, which felt nice but got everywhere. Like one of those beardy shrubs.

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The backing was a mixture of beautiful expensive Alexander Henry and cheap and functional IKEA fabric. I love IKEA for backing fabric.

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But it worked out in the end, and the pain was worth it for my amazing mother in law who very much deserved it. So all’s well that ends well as the saying goes..

And now to something else

I’ve gone on a slight non-practical fabric binge.

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Why do I buy fabric that I lust for and not actually need? Because there’s normally 10- 20% off involved.

I have bought from a range of stores over the weekend, Village Haberdashery http://www.thevillagehaberdashery.co.uk/, M is for Make http://www.misformake.co.uk/ and The Fabric Fox. http://www.thefabricfox.co.uk/

I finally bought some more Cotton and Steel and the pony Kokka stuff I’ve been hankering for 2 years. But the find was the Cotton and Steel Coral arrows. I’ve been looking for the same print in navy which appears to have sold out in the UK everywhere. (OK everywhere bar one place, which are charging quite a bit for it. On tight arse principles I not going to buy it at that price).

None of these fat quarters are practical for the girls dress making that I’m now looking towards for my next project, so I really didn’t need them…….But I wanted them….

What about the play list this week?

I have been listening to the debut album by fellow Melburnians Pearls. Part shoegazer ,part electronica (a bit like Goldfrapp) and part Jack Ladder (who sounds like Nick Cave.) . I have again judged this album by its cover and I’m happy I did. I’m really enjoying it.

Until next time you are free to go!

I make an actual skirt…

Whenever Tilly Walnes released ‘Love at first stitch” and around the time I started this blog in fact, I started to make a mock-up of her Clemence skirt. It looked easy but it took until last week to finish it. About 10 months! True, I have unfinished quilts older than that, but it was the first piece of adult clothing I attempted.

Anyway I don’t know what possessed me, but I got it in my head that I was going to finish that friggin’ thing and make the real thing. Surprisingly I did it all within a few days!

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I’m not entirely sure how it ended up looking perfect, seams matching up etc etc. I do have my BFF for helping with the zip  insertion. But as beginners go, It’s pretty bloody fine if I do say so myself. It does ride up slighty, I could have done with making the waistband a bit smaller but I love the swooshy feel of it. It was quite easy to make saying that from a quilter’s perspective.

I’ve already got the fabric to make at least another two. But they also have patterns on them, so now I’m faced with trying to pattern match…scarry stuff.

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Now I’m a woman possessed! I have started on making the Mimi blouse with fabric I bought from Walthamstow all that time ago. (Mr CM giving a surprised look”what your going to make it with buttons and all?”) I have a deadline for a quilt coming up soon, and I’ve just pushed that aside to itch this clothing scratch I’ve got.

It’s all quite a new adventure, dealing with pattern cutting and stuff. But it all seems quite logical.

Tilly’s website is pretty cool if you want to check it out.

http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/

What else this week?

I did go to another stitch show, the first one with Rockette…she got bored fast! I bribed her with quite a bit of cake and a Pez dispenser.

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I did buy a beautiful echino layer set which I have plans for it to meet the Patchwork City book. Hopefully  they will be great friends. But I’m not starting that until all of my other unfinished stuff is done! I’m determined. If I leave the quilt I started a year ago for Rockette any longer, she would have grown out of all of that pink.

I did also pick up all these other brilliant bit’s of fabric. It was hard to be restrained.

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On the baking shelf.

I made some cupcakes this week as is customary when it’s ones birthday in the UK (In Australia I recall people buying you a cake). I did whip up some Hummingbird bakery cupcakes which I thought turned out well.

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But I wasnt expecting the comments on the note I left.

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Its great when a bake turns out well.

And music?

Music wise I did get a turntable for my birthday (Along with Jack White and Pond lp’s) so I’ll be rediscovering the vinyl I’ve bought over the years. I have also been listening to Gaz Coombes (Supergrass) new album Matador. It’s brilliant. I’m always doubtful when artists go solo but this has been a pleasant surprise. Really enjoying it.

I’ll leave you alone now, you’re free to go!

 

Love Beads for a wedding.

I could see how that title could be misconstrued! (No it’s not of the Thai sort.)

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After the weeks of hen’s do’s, planning and panic, my friend’s wedding day came and it was beautiful. As I had said in last posts I had been making Sarah Fielke’s Love Beads quilt from the book “Hand Quilted with Love”. It’s the second quilt I have made from the book and I found It was quite easy to follow. I was orginally  thinking I should have gone for something a bit more complex (like say wedding rings) but with that and a cake to make I didn’t want to over exert myself, I know what I’m like. (and after looking at the complexity of the wedding rings block I just didn’t have the time)

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 I had been buying fabric from here there and everywhere for this. I used Amy Butler for all of  the center hexagons, plain Kona’s and Dashwood’s Flurry  for the little triangles and a mixture of Bark and Branch  (Eloise Renouf Coud 9 Fabrics), Foliage Grid Botanics (Carolyn Friedlander Robert Kaufman) and Priory Square (Katy Jones Art Gallery fabric).

I forgot to buy the Priory Square fabric at the start. I only realised after I started laying it all out. So I thought I will sew it in two parts and then when that fabric arrives in the post I can just insert it in. That was a bad move. It was tricky to sew the two halves together.

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The cutting was easy and straight forward. They looked so pretty together but once I put it all together I really wasn’t sure if I had made the right fabric choices. But as with most things I should just trust my instincts, once it was all together it looked fine.

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Also in my failing’s in all things that require thought or purchasing or measuring; I under bought the bias binding by 60cm. The day before the wedding was when I realised. My local shops didn’t have the same fabric..I had to make my own with the green Dashwood flurry (I didn’t take a photo of this, I’m a donut).

…packing it up was a challenge, We couldn’t find a big enough box on the Friday afternoon..

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Did someone say cake?

I’ll just share the Wedding Cake photo too, It was my first foray into fondant icing (I am normally a buttercream person) and it didn’t turn out too bad really. I was too sacred to use Royal Icing in case I stuffed it up.

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This monster was 7  layers of Vanilla sponge (using Hummingbird Cupcake recipe).  In some crazed Thursday morning inspiration I thought I’d make it orange Ombre on the inside. The problem with doing this is that it’s difficult to see the end product. It was a bit wonky too, I’m hoping only I noticed that.

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Ii turns out I was way too conservative with my colours and was so disappointed when I was sent a photo ( it wasn’t cut up and served on the night) and seen that it didn’t really work. I was really upset to be honest…(no tears though) and I did get two layers mixed up, oops…donut.

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I’ll know for next time..but it did taste bloody nice if I do say so myself, and isn’t that the point?

Now that’s done, unfinished skirts and quilts demand my attention….

I almost forgot!

As my little blog is still very small, I’m linking up with the wonderful Lilys Quilt blog. Hello if your visitng for the first time!

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<a href=”http://lilysquilts.blogspot.co.uk&#8221; title=”Small Blog Meet”><img src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-6iMIYmlPpeU/U9tBqP6cV5I/AAAAAAAAKtU/4IIKnJE0IKo/s1600/Untitled%2BDrawing.png&#8221; alt=”Small Blog Meet” style=”border:none;” /></a></div>

(That above link is acting weird, I’ll re check it in a bit).

More “Toast” anyone?

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It was a cold night on the 13th of February in London my friends, and even colder inside the Forum venue in Camden, London. Colder than the Arctic circle. It was so cold that the security kept their thick outside jackets on.

We were here to see Matt Berry perform a rare music set, and not a stand up comedy set. Despite him being a comedic actor and not a stand up comedian, people still think’s this is what he would be doing on a cold night,  in a venue to tight to put the heating on. Perhaps they (the forum) thought it was bad luck being Friday the 13th.

With 4 albums under his belt, these albums are a magical mixs of folk, prog and rock, Aside from his last album “Music for Insomniacs” which was as the title suggest, is a 2 track album which begins in the sublime and transcends into the mad, I wouldn’t try to listen to it while trying to fall asleep.

I digress I am a big fan of his second album “Witchazel” I always describe it as the soundtrack that should be on the film the Wicker Man (original not remake). There are beautiful songs on this, and no denying in the past I’ve had a little Matt Berry crush.

I did have until he came on stage and opened his mouth.

One of his fellow band members is heavily pregnant. Straight off the bat he anounces “This show is for the “twins”” She may have been pregnant with twins but they were not the twins he was referring too. If once wasn’t enough he said it again.

Well that burst the little romantic image I had of him. Who still speaks like that?? I have many male friends and worked in many a bawdy work place, so I wouldn’t say I’m of a sensitive nature. Is the 90’s? It was just rude. I’m starting to think how much of Steven Toast is Matt Berry.

But he writes beautiful songs and he did redeem himself with a cover of Todd Rundgren  “I saw the light” he should record it, it was fantastic. The set list was exactly what I would have requested so no complaints there.

Despite the cold and the complains of his aches he and his band were in good form musically, at some stages breaking into a prog rock feast which must have been what it was like siting through Rick Wakeman concerts. For the encore  David Arnold was brought on to play a cover of the Bond theme. That was pretty , pretty good.

It was all over in 90 minutes and I was left satisfied.

The Set list for those interested

Gather Up

Medicine

Devil Inside Me

A Song for Rosie

October Sun

The Signs

Take My Hand

Solstice

So Low

Love is a Fool (Again)

Woman

The Encore

The Pheasant

James Bond Theme

(I didn’t take notes at the show, this list comes from http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/matt-berry/2015/the-forum-london-england )

If your interested in listening to his stuff I suggest giving Witchazel a whirl.

 

 

A month of musical rich spoils.

I have been busy, very busy. I know I have neglected my lovely little blog. But hopefully as of next week everything will settle down and I can write more often. For now I have written up all the new music I’ve been listening to.

Haven’t we been spoilt in January! Lots of music out.

Pond – Man It Feels Like Space Again

I know now what will be at the top of the end of 2015 list for me already. I love this. I LOVE this. Bit’s of it remind me of 90’s Australian garage bands where in other places more like the best parts of the Flaming Lips.There has been a lot of comparisons to MGMT for this, but I think they are supremely better. You can probably hear this most in the track Heroic Shaft, but it’s bigger more thought-out , beyond the beyond. The best tracks “Holding out for you “,”Waiting for Grace” and the epic title track “Man it feels like space again” which in itself is a thing of beauty. It’s a journey through time and space. (I’m aware I’ve quoted the Mighty Boosh, but sometimes these things are apt).

I’ve gone on  and on about Pond before so I’m not going to break it down. Just listen to it.

Felicity Groom- Hungry Sky

I’ve been listening to this for at least two months now almost non stop, so much so I had to check if I had already put something up about it. To be fair this was released last year.

This is Groom’s second album and I’ve been having trouble comparing it to anything else I have heard. I’m sure there are artists out there that are in the same vein but none of them come to mind.

The single Higher,Higher, Taller, Taller has an infectious mis-step beat . I have found myself tapping it out on my thighs whilst in conversation with others (because that’s not at all  distracting) and I’ve been walking out the rhythm whilst going up and down stairs. Which probably makes me look a bit mechanical.

This is an album of changing tempos. Where Raising the Roof and Better Days has an almost ethereal feel to them, Move your Muscle has an electronic tribal beat  as it’s backbone. Where Talons could have been of an 80’s film soundtrack, Ultalum has a lullaby effect.

This is a beautiful album. It should be getting much more recognition.

Belle and Sebastian Girls in Peace Time Want To Dance

The first two tracks are classic Belle and Sebastian, there’s no surprises and like a security blanket, it could have been lifted from any of their other albums. But from track 3 something happens. The party line is an indie disco fulled track, whenever it’s on I dance involuntarily. After that it’s back to familiar territory  phew.

But turn to Side 2 enter “Sylvia Plath” and it presents itself as a contender for the next UK entry for Eurovision (then maybe the UK would have a chance of winning…heaven forbid). It’s all catchy bridges and disco euro pop, what’s going on? This continues on “Everlasting Muse” which sounds reminiscent of a Russia drinking song. The album continues in these two polarised themes of classic such as the beautiful “Have a little faith” and the  more upbeat style of “Perfect Couples”.

It’s no surprise that the first thing that came to mind is the Eurovision connection, this was intentional as in this interview with Rolling Stone magazine Stuart Murdoch explains that ‘I want to do an album that one song feels like it could be the Cyprus entry for 1974,’

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/jan/21/belle-and-sebastian-eurovision-song-contest

It may take a couple of listen to get your head around the eclectically of this album,  it’s a welcomed change for their 9th album.

Father John  -Misty I Love You, Honeybear

On first hearing Father John Misty on the surface I gathered was a wonderfully romantic album songs from a newly wed man about love and the future, which is refreshing. But on closer listen to the lyrics although still romantic the songs have a more sinister and filthy tone to them for example “I wanna take you in the kitchen, lift up your wedding dress someone was probably murdered in”  the music is so beautiful that he puts you in a beautiful place.

One time member of the Fleet Foxes, Misty sounds more like a modern-day Graham Parson and a bit of Dennis Wilson thrown in for good measure. It has a classic sound that’s less honky-tonk and much more balladeer. Most of this album is a celebration of his recent nuptials. Or in the “Ideal Husband “is an angry admittance to all of his flaws laid out bare for his bride to be to see.

My god it is such a beautifully amazing album. Even with the lyrics of Chateau Lobby #4 ,it is still a love song and something I would still play on my wedding day because it is so goddamn sweet at the heart of it.(just make sure Great Grandma isn’t paying close attention)

Natalie Prass- Natalie Prass

This album sounds like something I have heard before somewhere, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Something that’s a little Karen Carpenter, a little Emmylou Harris and something that you think is from a Disney soundtrack but you couldn’t find out online which one.

In saying that this is not an album of re-hash, this is an album for 2015 with a classic feel. Of a time when songs were well constructed, strings were used everywhere and the drum machine hadn’t been invented yet. It is such a pleasant listen, when was the last time you could have said that about an album?

She has toured with Matthew E White and you can tell how much of his influence is here. Not to give away any credit that Prass deserves,this is a beautiful album with lush strings and horn sections and a small delicate voice to accompany all the big sounds.

When I first heard ‘Is it you’ I could have sworn heard it in a million Disney princess soundtracks, I even looked online to see who the writer been credited to, I was so sure it was from Sleeping Beauty or something. But no, it is all Prass and it’s wonderful. The 4-year-old loves it, and requests it constantly. People don’t really write songs like this anymore unless it’s for a musical which is a shame.

Finally, The Rediscovery….

Janet Jackson – Control

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Not just Control, all of her albums, I’ve had a bit of a renasience , I can’t remember the last time I listened to her intentionally, but I’m guessing 1990.

“This is a story about control, my control”

It must be difficult being a Jackson  especially as when this was released in 1986 her brother had released one of the biggest selling albums of all time with Thriller. Control is a great album from a strong-willed woman with an attitude and a funky sound to match.

There are so many hits off this Nasty, Control,What Have You Done For Me Lately,Let’s wait awhile,  When I think of You and Pleasure Principal. Hell I’ve just reeled off most of the album.

It’s a breakthrough album, and in 41 minutes it roars here I am don’t think of messing with me.

“It’s all about control and I have lots of it”

Phew, there’s a months worth! I haven’t even had a chance to write about going to see Matt Berry! Next entry.