Friday, 21 April 2017

Quilting.......MIA?

Looking through my Instagram account and the lack of a blog post, you'd think I hadn't been doing any quilt making in recent months! Very few images of quilts or WIP have been posted. Really not sure why as I have been piecing and quilting most days. It's possibly because the quilts I've finished so far this year have been for the magazine.
First up was a quick little quilt featuring some fabrics from Makower and the Very Hungry Caterpillar.


It's not my usual thing by any means but it was fun to make and use ideas I'd picked up elsewhere.

The next finish was another quilt for the mag, Galaxy Stars. This used another collection from Makower. They've been kind enough to supply the fabrics so I can make the quilts but I've also ordered them so I can sell kits.


Another fairly easy and quick quilt to make. I ran out of time and would have liked to have done a bit more quilting on it, but magazine deadlines wait for no man!

I've been working on a couple of other design ideas too, one using the V&Co ombres that I love. I've had to put this to one side for the time being as I'm working on another project for the magazine using the Blue Sky collection of fabrics from Makower.

So not exactly missing in action but doing stuff that I can't show for a time!




 

Saturday, 14 January 2017

The Promotion of Me?

Just a little musing....

Self promotion and being a success. Why are some people better at it and get a lot of recognition? Is it just about who can shout about themselves the longest and loudest?

Where does being a shy introvert fit into promoting yourself?

I often see people getting recognition and feel, but I can design better quilts than that. Is it just because they have the confidence to go out there and shout about themselves? When you are shy and introverted, you try and shout about yourself, but no one seems to hear or listen. Is an introvert's shout just a loud whisper?

I know I design great quilts. I know I have the talent. But what I lack is the confidence to shout about myself loud enough for others to hear. Maybe my New Year's resolution should be to learn to shout about myself a little bit louder?

Joanna

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

2016 - The View from the Plot

So I think it can safely be said 2016 was an interesting year on the plot. Weather-wise it took a long time to get going with several of my 'early' sowings of carrots and beetroot either not germinating, or getting eaten by the dreaded slug patrol. Yep, thanks to last winter being a mild one, there were plenty of the pesky things around all looking for a tasty morsel to munch on, however small!

Saying that though, things did improve. There wasn't a late frost like 2015 and the summer was quite long and warm in the end.

As my son had finished working on our new half plot as part of his DofE, I've been slowly digging it over. It has been a slow job as I try and keep on top of my half of the plot at the same time but I think I'm gradually getting there. This half of the plot will be mainly for fruit, with a few veg which need a bit of space like squash.

The new half plot - early 2016

I'll remember 2016 as the year of the trials. I was lucky enough to take part in a seed trial of heritage veg from Rob Smith of the Big Allotment Challenge and also got to try some new varieties of sweet potatoes as well as growing oca and yacon courtesy of Pat Fitzgerald of Fitzgerald Nurseries in Ireland.

Oca

Yacon

I think my favourite seed from Rob's trial was what was called Chill B, which turned out to be a fish pepper chilli. I loved the variegated leaves on this one so I'll definitely be growing that again.

Fish Pepper Chilli aka Chilli B
I've set up a new blog for my sweet potato growing adventures. You can read more about it here. I'm up to 7 different varieties now! As for the oca and yacon. My yacon were a disaster but I'm hoping I've saved the tubers to try again this year. Likewise, it wasn't a good year for oca, so I might have another go at growing those this year too as they are quite low maintenance.

Successes and failures this year? The sweet potatoes were much better this year and there were gluts of raspberries and runner beans as usual, despite losing some of the plants early on. We also got to harvest out first asparagus spears this year! Failure again was my sweetcorn; that's two years in a row now so not sure what is going wrong. I think I need to help them a bit more soil quality-wise adding blood, fish and bone etc. Fingers crossed for a better harvest this year!

The plot in early summer

Preserving successes included an excellent strawberry jam this year and a raspberry and vanilla syrup that is to die for when added to a glass of cava! It's my new favourite tipple.

The other main success on the plot this year was the scoring of some paving slabs for free and a nearly new shed, which was moved across five plots with the help of some willing volunteers on the site. Allotment folk are lovely!

The new shed in position



Both half plots - December 2016

I think this year I need to try and do a monthly update on the plot as it's not easy to sum it all up in one post. Well that's my allotment New Year's resolution sorted!

Joanna



Monday, 2 January 2017

2016 - The View from My Sewing Room

As each year draws to a close, it's traditional to look back to see what you have achieved in the year. So my first review of the year is from my sewing room and what I've managed to create in 2016.

Looking back through the photos on my phone, I'm quite amazed to see that I finished FIVE quilts last year! That's actually quite productive for me! And to some extent I might have made a few more but I've been distracted this year by a couple of quilt-alongs. More about those in another post. Let's focus on the finished quilts!

First finishes were the Ombre Geese and Ombre Chevron quilts.


Ombre Geese


Ombre Chevron

Both these quilts were made using ombre prints from the Enchanted Pines collection designed by McKenna Ryan for Robert Kaufman. In fact, the Chevron quilt is made from the leftovers of the Geese quilt, so it's a twofer!

My next finish was a quilt using the Eden collection of fabrics from Tula Pink. I really love some of the prints in this collection.




Shortly followed by my Ombre Squares quilt using Ombre fabrics from V&Co from Moda. I think this is one of my fave quilts ever.



And the last finish was a quick little quilt I made using the latest Very Hungry Caterpillar fabrics from Makower. This one is going in the Feb issue of P&Q, so no pic for now...

As usual, I had lots of WIP quilts where I try out a design idea, usually until I get bored. The first one is called the Economy Plus Quilt. I made a load of Economy blocks using the Nature Trail collection from Dashwood Studio together with one of their basic prints, Flurry and have added some Plus blocks in the sashing. I think I'll remake this as a scrap quilt.



I'm also working on a medallion style quilt using the China Red and China Blue fabrics from Dutch Heritage as well as another quilt using the V&Co Ombres. I'll share those at a later date once they are more complete.

So 2017. I definitely need to keep this productivity going. Less time on social media equals more time being creative and productive. That's my New Year's resolution!

Joanna









Friday, 1 July 2016

The Frustrations of Being Creative

It's hard being a creative person. You get inspired by things around you all the time. Sometimes the urge to make something is so strong, you can't think about anything else. 

But being creative takes time. You need to factor in the creative design process for all these ideas popping into your head. It can be really frustrating as sometimes all you want to do is SEW!

And that's my current predicament. I've got a couple of small projects I want to make; both mini challenges for fun. The first involves using this fabric from The City Quilter in NYC to make a quilt on the theme 'Window on New York'.


It's not an easy fabric to use and I have an idea of what I want to make, but not sure how I can incorporate the fabric into the design. 

The second mini challenge is between my mum, sister and myself to use this fabric which we bought in a shop in Switzerland to make something as a momento for my mum's 80th birthday. 


Again I have an idea of what I want to do but need to sit down and design it.

But right now all I want to do is some relatively mindless sewing which doesn't involve too much thinking.

It's a hard life being creative 

Joanna 

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

I have a problem....

I'm addicted to my allotment!

There! I said it! Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery isn't it?

Except I don't want to recover. 

I love spending time on my plot. Yes it's hard work and a constant battle with Mother Nature and her plans. Yes I get all grubby and hot and sweaty, but it's just so calm and peaceful when you are there; somewhere to escape to when the endless demands and deadlines of working on a magazine get you down. Well that's how it is for me anyway. 

But it's more than that too. When I'm not on my plot, I have this need; an urge that I need to go and visit it. I feel guilty if I haven't been able to pop over for a day or two. I feel guilty if I sneak over to it during the working day which is silly as I'm freelance, I can work when I want to. It calls to me. 

Perhaps it's the fact that something always needs doing? A bed to clear; something to plant out; the endless weeding. There can't be any plot holder out there that doesn't get a bit of satisfaction when pulling a bindweed root gently out....and not hearing it snap! Maybe it's the creating something out of virtually nothing; from seed to plot to plate. 

Whatever it is, I can't get enough of it. 



Joanna 

Thursday, 2 June 2016

My Blogging Mojo

The trouble with blogging, well for me anyway, is that I struggle to find the time to write a post. Weeks go by and all of a sudden I have loads to write about which puts me off writing something...

And then I wonder should I even bother as I doubt many people read my posts anyway and maybe I should just stick to micro-blogging on Twitter and Instagram?

But then I think, maybe I'll give it another go...a monthly update on my creative life and another on my allotment life?

Maybe 

Joanna