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April 2010

simple improv baby quilt

Simple improv baby quilt

by Clare Mansell

If you’re a friend of ours who has recently had a baby, you probably ought to stop reading now..

2010’s quilt number six has been completed, it was inspired by this.

simple improv baby quilt
I’m delighted to say that it’s made entirely from fabric I already had in my stash, even the batting I used was made up from the leftovers from this quilt.  The size (34″ square) was dictated by the size of the piece of blue flannel fabric I had for the backing, but it was worth working to accommodate it, because it’s made the quilt wonderfully soft.

The letters at the bottom are the baby’s initials (if our friends didn’t give up at that first line, they’ve really blown it now!)

IMG_8466IMG_8493

Jim had to stop me trying to deliver it to them this evening, it can wait till tomorrow…

Next I have a few cushion covers to make, a beach bag for my sister and some clothing. I ordered tracing paper for my pajama bottoms pattern from the UK a fortnight ago, but due to the volcanic ash flight disruptions, we haven’t had post for over a week now.

As always there MUST be somewhere in Cyprus that sells tracing paper that’s wide enough, but I’m damned if I know where it is!

Want to see more of my quilts?

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A productive weekend

A productive weekend

by Clare Mansell

Wow! What a weekend! Here in Cyprus, we have been waiting for the “switch” – the sudden permanent change in the weather to summer, and right on schedule, it seems to have arrived. 27c this weekend and brilliant blue skies.

The newly arrived warmer weather has also awakened our productivity. On Saturday we did one of those jobs we can’t work out why we didn’t do six months ago, we painted the fridge! Yes, we *painted* the fridge. Until we arrived here, I didn’t even know you could paint fridges! It’s amazing the skills that military life equips you with…

When we arrived on the island, our house contained a military issue fridge, the exterior of which bore the scars of several years use in a humid country, it had started to rust and the front looked filthy. This photo doesn’t really show how bad it looked…

We were stuck with it, and no amount of cleaning improved its appearance. I bought a tin of fridge paint several months ago, but worried what I’d do if the results weren’t good – I didn’t want to end up being charged for a replacement when we move out! So the paint sat in the cupboard… and then this weekend we finally cracked..

Just look at the improvement!! I am a fridge paint convert, the entire thing only cost €3 to do!

As if the fridge transformation wasn’t enough, we also kitted ourselves out with gardening equipment and planted our first few pots on the patio. It’s amazing how a few bits of colour and life can transform a space…

A weekend of painting and gardening… I had forgotten how good it can feel to do normal things, the kind of things you don’t do when you live in military quarters and move every two years…

And then to top it off I even managed to fit in a little bit of quilting, this project is one of the things on my sewing list – a present for a baby who was born last week. It should be finished by midweek…

Hope you had a productive and creative weekend…

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Simple pleasures

Simple pleasures

by Clare Mansell

M’mmm… houmous! I loved the stuff before we moved here and now I live in a place where its practically the national dish, so surely its rude not to eat it at least three times a week. Put it on a plate with homemade bread and well, is there anything better?

This week we have mostly been…

● Watching the Red Arrows on exercise. They have been flying over my office every day… Hopefully I’ll have some photos for the blog by the end of the week.

● Watching the grass turn brown.. everything is starting to die off, summer must be on the way.

● Talking about pots… we’re doing the big garden container purchase this weekend, our little garden transformation is underway…

● Enjoying evening walks on deserted beaches. It’s not dark till 8pm… wonderful.

● Thinking about sewing projects. I need to make cushion covers for my sister, a quilt for a friend’s baby, pajama bottoms for me and I also want to have a go at this, but I only have two weeks till the deadline… why is there never enough time?

Hope your week is going well so far…

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Quality time…

Quality time…

by Clare Mansell

It really has been the most wonderful day. My sister and my niblings joined us for the day, we had a long walk, lunch by the sea and the most rarest of things happened… the sun shone. The phrase “quality time” is a little overused when it comes to families, but nothing sums up today better.

Then with the clock ticking on my sister’s departure, and the sun lowering in the sky, we finished by doing something we do all too rarely. We threw down a quilt on the lawn and started taking photos.

As always some family members were reluctant to comply, but eventually everyone had their moment in front of the lens. Even the dogs played along (briefly)…

 And the doggy outtakes…

Afterwards, we worked out that its been 12 years since my sister, my mother and I had a proper photo taken together, and 7 years since my mother and my niece and nephew had a decent posed photo together.

It’s so important to capture the moment, and isn’t digital photography wonderful for letting you do just that…

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What we made today…

What we made today…

by Clare Mansell

More bread sticks – this house is starting to look like a bakery! Today’s two batches fresh out of my mother’s oven, were cheese and garlic, the garlic butter made by Jim. I know we’ve seen them before, but they do look great…

And an almost complete quilt top. I bought the charm packs for my mother for Christmas to get her back into quilting. She took classes 20 years ago, did some very fancy sampler squares, but never actually completed a quilt.

The pattern is made in exactly the same way as my value quilt, but this time half the fabric is cream  and the squares have been arranged to give a zig-zag pattern. I think it might actually be my favourite quilt yet, which is unfortunate because its not mine!

The fabric is Moda’s Arcadia. I either had a lucky guess, or a moment of genius when I ordered it from Cyprus, as it matches all the colours in my parents kitchen, where it will eventually live…

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