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November 2011

WIP Wednesday (November 30th)

WIP Wednesday (November 30th)

by Clare Mansell

Last time I contributed to WIP Wednesday 3 weeks ago I was midway through three quilts and owing to being a little distracted by making things for the local craft fair I am now still midway through three quilts!

In fact I’m actually further behind on one than I was last time I posted. So quick update…

Bow Tie Quilt (my keep me occupied during Jim’s deployment project) : No progress, which if you think about it is actually a good sign!

Triple Dresden Plate : Two Dresden plates completed and pieces for the outer plate cut and ready to be sewn (above.) I have also found appropriate fabric for the fussy cut centre. All I need to do now is sew that last plate, back it on Kona Snow and whack a border on… easy… in theory.

Secret Christmas Project : This has been a bit of a disaster. I bought a pattern (for £9, not cheap!) and started work, then discovered that the pattern had some pretty big miscalculations in it. Although I’m capable of working round miscalculations, you tend to buy a pattern so that someone else can do the thinking on your behalf! After lots of frustrated non-sewing, I have now sent it back to the shop I bought it from, and I’ll be very interested to see their response! So finding myself back on square one I bought this book…

Dare To Be Square

And I have to say I’m already delighted with it. Simple, quick easy to read patterns and some more simple, but pleasantly time consuming patterns. So my Secret Christmas Project will now be coming from this. Please no one mention the fact that it’s December tomorrow, I’m trying not to panic about the fact I haven’t even cut a single piece of fabric…

And finally, because it’s the last WIP Wednesday of the month, here’s a look at some of the (mostly quilting) images that have been inspiring me on Flickr this month…

1. Summer Scrapbook, 2. Wiener Dog, 3. Owl Purse, 4. owls in quilt patterns 2, 5. owl quilt, 6. Finished another bookshelf mini – for a tutorial!, 7. Deer quilt top – Blue, 8. Farmer’s Wife Quilt, 9. Rainbow New Wave Quilt, 10. coin quilt, 11. Rugby Stripe for Ben, 12. London Tube Quilt, 13. All or Nothing – Alternate Colorway, 14. Pillow Talk Swap Round 6, 15. Pillow Talk Swap Round 6, 16. DSC01712, 17. Train quilt back, 18. Logan s Train Quilt, 19. 1600 Jolly Rancher!, 20. Color Study: Log Cabin 2 ~ 2007

Blogged as part of Freshly Pieced’s WIP Wednesday…

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
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Up to my neck in it…

Up to my neck in it…

by Clare Mansell


I’ve been a little absent from this blog recently, and I just wanted to pop in and explain why. A few weeks ago I discovered that our local craft group was having a stall at a Christmas coffee morning this month. They asked if I’d like to sell anything and for a hundred and one reasons I discounted it. I have a quilt to make for Christmas for a small person who says “it is the number one thing on their Christmas list” (the pressure!) a Christmas box to prepare for Jim, the small matter of a baby and two dogs to look after every day and a lot of the time at these kind of sales people aren’t prepared to pay the money that handmade goods are worth (which is another debate entirely)

But sometime after deciding I definitely wasn’t going to take part, I had a change of heart and thought I could just dabble and do a couple of bits just for fun, completely forgetting that I don’t really do dabbling…

So here I am 6 days away from the sale, up to my neck in fabric and sewing. You probably think I’m crazy, BUT there was one very good reason to be doing this that I overlooked and it is this… There is nothing quite so good at making the time pass as a looming deadline!

So excuse me if I’m quiet for a little while, I am (fortunately) not weeping over my absent husband or crossing off the days till he returns on my chuff chart, but rather sweating over fabric combinations and unpicking stitches… The sale is next Wednesday, I shall emerge from my bubble then if not before, and if anything is leftover it shall be going in my Etsy shop, so you lovely people can sample the products of my labour…

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Houses with secrets…

Houses with secrets…

by Clare Mansell

I’ve been on the south coast for the last two weeks visiting my parents. This part of the country tends to get the best weather in the UK anyway, but for the last few weeks they’ve had particularly unseasonably warm weather, with highs of 15c and lots of sunshine, perfect weather for winter walks and a good opportunity for me to show you some of the sights at the other end of the country from where I’m normally based.


This morning we headed east along the coast, and took a walk along Selsey seafront. Many of the houses on this stretch hide a fascinating secret. After the First World War when housing stock was in short supply, surplus railway carriages were used as housing. The idea spread in popularity and hundreds ended up along the south coast as holiday homes. The carriages were originally purchased from the Brighton Railway Company for as little as £10 each and sometimes as many as five were used to form accommodation in an H shape layout.

Selsey train carriage house

Over time modern facades have grown up around the old trains, but with a keen eye you can still spot signs of their existence. Houses with a single story and wide frontage are nearly always built from carriages and you can still see the original windows and doors amongst the fabric of the new homes.




Some of the houses are pretty rundown…


And others have been beautifully restored to make the most of the original features…

Many of them, like the one above, are available as holiday rentals or B&B accommodation and if you want to buy one, these days they’ll cost you anything from £250,000 to £500,000 or more. Not quite the cheap housing solution they were intended as, but undoubtedly wonderfully unique homes!

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WIP Wednesday (9th November 2011)

Double Dresden

This week I have some progress to show on my wall hanging. The first two Dresden plates are now complete, and I’m cutting fabric for a third. Having always been put off making Dresden plates because I thought they were difficult, I was pleasantly surprised by how easily they came together and how much I enjoyed sewing them.

Unfortunately I hadn’t really taken into account how much the plate would shrink during sewing though. It’s now 17″ across and the intention is for the inner part of the quilt to be 24″, hence the need for a third larger plate. I’m also planning to fussy cut a design for the centre of the plates, but I’m quite enjoying muddling along and letting this quilt evolve of its own accord…

For the next two weeks I’m down at my parents home on the south coast (600 miles from the Scottish highlands) and amongst other things, I’m  getting the chance to indulge with a little shopping at my favourite fabric store, The Eternal Maker.

I’ve been here for less than 24 hours and already picked up this pile. Far too many projects on the go at the moment really, but isn’t that always the way just before Christmas?

Eternal Maker fabric pile

Talking of WIP. My parents lovely minimalistic house is starting to look a little less minimalistic since my arrival, although actually my sister (also visiting for the day) is about 50% responsible for this mess… My mum, my sister and I have 7 sewing machines between us.

Sewing bits and bobs

By the way if you are a crafter, tomorrow I’m hosting a GIVEAWAY on this blog for My Memories digital scrapboooking software – please pop back for a chance to win…

This post is part of WIP Wednesday, click on the button to see other quilting works in progress…

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
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Theo – 2 months (and a bit)

Theo – 2 months (and a bit)

by Clare Mansell

Over the shoulder

First of all thank you so much for your comments on the last post. I think I ticked the box of “needing a space to vent” a little earlier than I was planning on this deployment, so I thought to even things out I should also tick the “babies” box too.

Having read this post over at A Jennuine Life, I realised that I really should be using this blog to document Theo’s development and although no one likes to be deluged with baby photos, I think there is room for a little monthly update, so this is his slightly late two month progress report…

We are still following Gina Ford’s Contented Little Baby routine (loosely) and Theo seems to be quite happy with the amount of sleep he is getting and when in the day he is getting it. In fact from 5 weeks old (he’s nearly 10 now) he has slept from 7pm to his late feed at 11pm and then solidly from 11:30pm – 8am. He has a morning nap on the dog walk and has (within the last week) finally got the hang of his two-three hour lunchtime sleep.

Theo 9 wks 6 days

He’s steadily putting on weight at a rate of about half a pound a week and is now nearly 13lbs and 62cm in length which puts him on the 98th percentile for height (that’s his tall daddy’s genes) and the 75th for weight. Unsurprisingly all that growing means he’s almost out of his 3-6 month trousers already!

He does love his food too and takes 210ml five times a day, but rejects the bottle with an appalled look if I dare offer milk that isn’t warm enough! I think we will probably have to consider weaning him early (after 4 months) at this rate.

Entertainment comes mostly from his baby gym (the expensive plastic one I didn’t want to buy) but what he enjoys most is a room full of new people, faces and sounds, and as the Tesco disaster proved, as long as there’s something to watch, he’s a happy chap.

The dogs have had very different reactions to him since he came home. Macy acts as though he doesn’t exist, shows no interest in him or his possessions. Bella on the other hand is fascinated and will cautiously approach and sniff around him when he’s on the playmat. She has taken a fancy to a small orange monkey which hangs from the play gym and consequently I am constantly finding in obscure places after she has stolen it!

His next milestone will be sitting up, something I am very much looking forward to as it will allow him to use a door bouncer and I’ll be able to put him in a backpack on the dog walk and have both hands free…. oh and he’ll be taking his first flight tomorrow, wish me luck!

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