Battling through the January blues

I have been struck down with a mild case of the January Blues. Anyone else finding motivation levels running low? I guess I am asking this question of those of you, who like myself, live in the Northern Hemisphere – to all of you in the South I hope you are making the most of the long hours of daylight and warm temperatures πŸ™‚

I know many could be a little envious of my stay-at-home lifestyle (and with good reason): spending my time at home, choosing to do things when and how I want! This stay-at-home lifestyle does have it’s own small challenges though. I do not have what would be called a ‘dynamic personality’ or, in Jane Austen speak, ‘a lively disposition’. A lot of my mental energy is therefore employed in keeping myself motivated – I’m very good at envisaging results, not so good at seeing the ideas into action and through to said results.

Last week I was filling planners, nailing down goals and taking action…. This week the desire to curl up on the sofa and watch a box set from beginning to end is very real. I confess I nipped into HMV and bought the first seven series of Cold Feet (over the past 36 hours I’ve watched the first three episodes! – that’s not much of binge really is it?).

Thank goodness for the responsibilities I have and the opportunities given me to contribute to events that have got me out the house (that is another of the challenges of being a stay-at-home person – so many possibilities, which to say ‘yes’ to, to which to say ‘no’?).

Anyway, I have done some creative stuff this week, here is the photographic evidence:

Craft Group flowers by Allison Reid

On Monday I helped run the monthly Craft Group at Church. A creative member of the Group kindly demonstrated making these pretty tissue paper flowers and shared a Debbie Shore method of making fabric flowers. These are my creations πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

On Tuesday I made a 12″ block, pattern testing for the monthly Quilt Club, skill-building course, running at Purple Stitches:

Quilt Club block 6a by Allison Reid

And today I have been pattern testing again – making the second skill building block for the Quilt Club workshop. I’m particularly pleased with this block and it was satisfying to make use of fabrics pulled out of my scrap boxes.

Quilt Club block 6b by Allison Reid

Having written this post, I realise I am tired (poor me!) there has been a fair bit of running around between creating these things and maybe I need to get better at acknowledging those ‘extras’ and feel less guilty about succumbing to sofa time πŸ˜€ Maybe…? Funny how I imagine every one else is managing their time so well, staying motivated, being so much more productive and ‘alive’ than myself!

Snowdrops by Allison Reid
Snowdrops flowering in my garden – a promise of longer days and Spring to come πŸ™‚

Time to shake off the January Blues… Be thankful, and look for a quick project that makes my creative heart sing πŸ™‚

 

Take care.

Allison

 

 

A sunny day out in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

It’s 7.30am, dark grey clouds are scudding across a light grey sky, trees are whipping about in the wind – it’s October, what else would we expect? In complete contrast, yesterday was one of those special, don’t-waste-a-moment-of-the-warm sunshine days that are such a treat this time of year. My lovely parents chose to make the most of the day by taking a trip to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. They kindly invited me to join them, I said ‘Yes! Please!’

Palm House, Kew by Allison Reid
Preparing to plant Spring bulbs in the flower beds in front of the Palm House, Kew

Read moreA sunny day out in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Saturday Quilting Bring & Share (30)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. Please do bring along your current project to this virtual sewing day and share in conversations from around the quilty world. You can put your link to a blog post about your project or links to what’s caught your interest over the past week in the comments section at the bottom of this page. Just below the comments box is a subscribe button, do sign up to this, my new website, to ensure you receive email notifications whenever a post is published. Thank you!

Super sized scrap block by Allison Reid
A super sized scrap block!

Read moreSaturday Quilting Bring & Share (30)

Saturday Quilting Bring & Share (23)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share πŸ™‚ Bring along the project you are working on and share the quilty conversations that have caught your interest through the week. You can add links to your own blog post or the posts you want to share in the comments section or use the link button at the bottom of the page.
Parched garden July 2018 by Allison ReidThere seems no end in sight for the hot dry weather we are enjoying/enduring in the UK. The grass in our garden has turned brown and crunches when walked on. At present we do not have a hosepipe ban. I have been using a mix of hosepipe and watering cans to keep plants watered and amazingly many are growing, showing no signs of being frazzled by the heat!
Not the best conditions for hand sewing binding to a large, heavy quilt… but I am soldiering on.

Binding Carrie Nation Variation by New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting
Most of the red binding is stitched down but there’s still another 80 inches or so to do…

My husband picked and then boiled and strained our crop of redcurrants to extract the juice. There was a modest 1Β½ pints of ruby red juice to be turned into redcurrant jelly – that was my job. Very hot work stirring the boiling mix of juice and sugar on the gas stove but worth the effort πŸ™‚
Redcurrant Jelly by Allison Reid
While I’ve been hand stitching or stirring jam I’ve been thinking and planning. I have joined with more than 250 other crafters and artists to participate in Hampshire Open Studios. This is an annual, county-wide event. Those taking part open up their studios, workshops or galleries for free and invite the public to come meet the artist and view their work. A kind of art & craft trail.
HOS 2018 publicity materials by Allison Reid
Last weekend I collected two boxes of brochures, posters, a banner, bunting and road signs ready for the event from 18th – 27th August. Now I need to move out of my comfort zone and start promoting Hampshire Open Studios and my part in it all. ‘Marketing’ is not my thing…. But here goes…
map1Hampshire is a large county. It includes chalk downlands to the north (where I am, in Basingstoke), in the South-West the ancient New Forest – once the hunting ground of royalty and the source of much of the oak that went into the British warships that sailed out of the Naval port of Portsmouth. In the Hampshire Open Studios brochure the county has been divided into eight regions and these are broken down into smaller areas.
HOS Basingstoke by Allison ReidThe Basingstoke area includes 16 artists/crafters within easy travelling distance of one another: Artists using many different materials, skills and styles including paints and paper, pottery, fused glass, upcycled wood, silver and textiles. Have I sold Hampshire Open Studios to you? πŸ˜€ If you are local and would like a brochure or could pin a poster to a board just let me know, thank you. Take a look at the HOS website for more maps, details and other places of interest to visit as you plan your trip around the studios.
And now onto some of the quilty conversations that have caught my attention through the week:
Medallion Quilt design – Melanie has a great eye and much experience when it comes to designing and making medallion quilts. The latest called ‘The Old School House‘ is well worth a look, especially as Melanie takes the time to explain her design, fabric and colour choices. I’ve learned so much from reading the stories of her quilts.
Keeping to the Medallion quilt theme, Jen has given notice of the ‘Border Quilt Quilt Along’ beginning 15th August. It looks fascinating and can be made in several different sizes. Jen has tried out a new range of flannel fabrics on her first mock up (photos and details in the post) but will be using cotton fabrics for the QAL.
Being ‘A Small Town Girl’ suits Kristie Cook. She’s chosen to stay in a small town in South Georgia all her life (apart from the first 11 months!) but knows her students are all keen to move away from small town life. Kristie argues that people need to stay in small towns and work at creating community.
Cindy of Stitchin at Home has just released a brilliant pattern. ‘Outside Stars‘ has foundation pieced stars combined with a rectangular block to create secondary stars – so clever. ToΒ  my mind it is a stunning design – I am sucker for patchwork stars!
Another great post from Jessica detailing her quilt design process, colour choices and quilting motifs. I’m really enjoying following this series of posts πŸ™‚
Sandy is offering a free download of her beautiful sunflower block design. She has a tutorial for the block here.
Happy stitching everyone! I’m so looking forward to visiting Viv and Eve at the newly re-located shop, Purple Stitches. This Saturday afternoon is the Grand Opening with refreshments and a 10% discount across the shop πŸ™‚ What’s not to like?
Allison