May 28, 2012

Star of Africa - on beewings around the world

In Finland there is an enourmously popular board game called Star of Africa (Afrikan tähti). Over 3 million games are sold (with a population of 5 million) since 1951. In this game you travel around Africa from place to place hoping to find the Star of Africa, a hugh diamond. There is a lot of adventure on the road, diamonds, money, bandits...

So what? What has a stupid board game to do with quilting you are probably asking yourself.

My idea is to make a similar journey around the world, staying for a while at each place and getting some souvenirs to enjoy back home again (not blood diamonds!). At the board game you are chasing diamonds, but what I have in mind is to get to know new places and make new friends around the world. Does it sound good? For me the best thing ever!

Lets begin a bee! 12 - 16 people can sign up and once a month everyone makes one block from her/his own country. No limits as to imagination or size of the block.

Sidetracking: I tried to make a block like the boardgame. This was my first one.

Does anything strike you? Well, I got this far. Then I wanted to place the cities and found the geography a tiny bit confusing...Madagaskar does jump around a lot, or is it Africa turning around?

Next one; still unfinished because I couldn't find a black and white spreckled ribbon. The general idea should be clear, though.

Oh no; the idea for the bee is not to make small maps of Africa. You should think about your own country for a bit. What comes first into mind? What do people think of when they talk about your country?
Next step is to consider how to make a block out of your ideas. You can do a normal pieced block, stitchery, application... Whatever is good for you.

Let me tell you that I had to think a bit before I came up with the ideas for my own country (Finland), but soon they were just rolling in. I had to consult google with some of my ideas but after that everything was rather simple. Some of the ideas are still ripening like good cheese :-)

I've made a couple of samples to show you which way my imagination goes. This is the first harvest:

Moomin is great, as well as the rest of his family. Yes, he is a fellow countryman as well as Santa Clause. Santa is waiting for his turn.

 And then there are these small suckers. No fellow countrymen, but they kind of invite themselves everywhere you go.

These fellows live a bit up north from were I used to live. (This block isn't wonky, I blame it on the pic.)

This one is for a town near where I live. Do you recognize the skyline? Yes, it's Cologne in Germany. A cool place to be. Where else do they have icecream on the roof?

By the way; Mr. Gnome is travelling with this one to a new destination. Maybe to your place?

I was also thinking of making "usual" pieced quilt blocks of sailboats, houses, teacups, crowns, Christmas trees, but I haven't got that far yet. As soon as I have anything to show I will do so.

This bee is a bit different from the other ones. You get to use your imagination and have a lot of freedom with what you are doing. I'm calculating between a 12 or 16 months duration. It depends on how many sign up.

The idea is:
  • To use your imagination to make a block which tells: "Yes, this is where I come from, this is part of me."
  • No one will tell you what kind of block to do; it is all up to you
  • To make a unique sampler quilt with all the different blocks you have received from all over the world integrated into the general scheme of your quilt. There are so many possiblities to make something really good out of this!
Every month we are going to have a new Queen bee (Queen mom?). She/he gets to choose the general colours of the blocks and the background. Size is a thing we should discuss separately.

There is no need to come up with 12-16 different blocks. Actually one is enough; you could make the same one 12-16 times depending on how many bees we have in the hive. I'm going for a lot of different ones, but that's me. 

A month ago the Scrappy? Sew bee it! bee started. It's my first one and as you see, I'm not looking back again. Where would I be without these glorious ladies from the group? Don't deny yourself this experience, it's so much fun! I promise you will get a lot richer and afterwards you will know where exciting places like Waratah or Kamloops are. And perhaps you will get one of the blocks from above...

I sure want to snuggle up in a quilt made with the help of a lot of friends. How about you?

I've started a Flickr group and placed a button in the sidebar. If you want to join us on this trip please leave a comment or sign up with Flickr. Nicky, Sana, Tanya, Janine, Patty, Cindy, Amie, Benta, Tina, Fiona, Sally, Leanne, Kim, Veena, Irene, Kate, Jen and I are looking forward to meeting you!
That means we have ten different countries already; UK, Germany, Thailand, Canada, USA, India, Latvia, Australia, Guatemala, South Africa and Finland. (12 if you count Scotland) You don't want to leave your place out, do you?

We are kicking off on June 15th.

This bee is now full. Thank you for your interest; there will be another time. Until then, all the best!

New note on August 12th. It looks like one place is free. Anyone interested?

Hugs, May 

Mystery trip. Part 1

A month ago I threw my first anniversery give away. (Is it really so long ago?). Apart from the stuff promised, there was an extra question thrown if for fun. I asked the wheretos of the next trip with almost no clues given.
Still some talented Sherlocks got it right; Wivi with all the details (should she ever try her hand at a crystal ball she would be a rich woman).
I did promise to show you the pics, but as there are a lot of them I'm going to split our mystery trip into two parts. If you are new on this blog; don't worry, there will soon be some quilting stuff. Promise!

This is part one.

We started out one day after Easter, my youngest daughter and I. We both had a bad cold and for me it was the first day out of bed with shaky legs. Princess was coughing her lungs out.

I had booked the flight with an arab airline from Germany to China in November. Afterwards I noticed we had a 4 hour stop over in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates. I tried to change our flight to a later departure from Abu Dhabi, because Princess wanted to see the desert, but to no avail.

Imagine my surprise as the airline changed the flight shortly before departure so we had a 17 hour stay in Abu Dhabi. I was rather skocked, because this meant I had to change our hotelbookings as well, or we would have stood in China without any hotel at all (coming one day too late).
For once I had done a good thing and booked the hotel through a German agency, so it was easily fixed. I wouldn't have liked to call to China, making all the changes, as email is not an option. Still there was currency to check out, sightseeing and visa regulations. Boy, was I happy I had a new passport. I had some custom stamps from Israel in my old one and would have been turned back in UAE because of them! As it was we just had to go to a counter and sign up.

I wanted to keep the day in Abu Dhabi as a birthday surprise for Princess (yes, we were travelling on her birthday), but finally I had to tell her because some of her things need a cool storage. Not so easy in a desert. And then there was the sunlotion...No way you can take it abord an airplane in the original bottle and no way for me to explain why I needed it in my purse.

We started out rather late at night and arrived 5 o'clock in the morning in Abu Dhabi after a 6 hour flight. It was everything we had imagined and then some more. This picture is from the airport. I've never seen anything like this before. 
Because it was so early in the morning we dropped down on some chairs in the airport and slept an hour before setting out to discover the city. No point in wandering around a sleeping city.

This is one happy birthday child eating breakfast.

Abu Dhabi is quite a modern city, with some stunning buildings. Arab custom is to have a lot of shops at street level. It is a bit different from what we know from home. The people were friendly and ready to help where ever they could. Most spoke English very well, so we had no problems asking for directions. Best of all - no hassle with people wanting to sell you some stuff or other.

The biggest surprise was this sight from  the sea front in central Abu Dhabi. It looked so inviting and we would gladly have stayed a little longer here. The beach promenade was one of the best I've ever seen.

This was a rather common sight, a small mosque in between the skyscrapers. The best way of getting around   is taking a taxi. There are modern malls and delicious food in this town. I wouldn't mind going back there again some time soon.

This picture is taken out of a moving bus, going back again to the airport. This palace was like a sight out of a fairy tale. This is only a small part of it.

We had a great time in Abu Dhabi and were rather sorry to leave. Not so sorry that the cold  did leave us as well. One day snow, the next over 30° C and spotless sunshine! Easter sunday it snowed where we live. We didn't have snow for Christmas, but for Eastern...Quite a difference.

More is to follow. I'll tell the next part of our trip next week. Until then, stay safe!

May 19, 2012

Another bee high (hive?)

This high must be coming from some very intensive days with the Scrappy? Sew bee it! It is so much fun and I spend my time, nose glued to:

1. my blog
2. my emails
3. Flickr

just waiting for whats coming up next. This waggon  is rolling nicely, but there are still heaps of fun ahead of us. I'll keep you posted.

I kind of regret that this adventure will come to an end all too soon (in one year) and wanting mooore! Now!!!
I did try a cold shower (27° C), but it didn't really help. When did it ever do? Sorry, sidetracking.

Another thing just whooping around my brain was what to do with these great fabrics.

So it hit me. Why not start another bee with theme of the blocks the country/city we are coming from? This one would be a sampler quilt, if possible a scrappy one, free use of size (12 1/2" limit).

You could use fabrics like the above, or use anything you have to make something that is just that thing from your place, or life.  I'm thinking perhaps something royal from England, Aboriginal style for Australia, skyscrapers for NY, midsommer wreaths for Sweden...Your ideas will be far better than mine.

This cute bugger is just begging to be transformed into a teacup! Isn't it?

Obviously I would myself be in very hot water, not really knowing what to make :-) Mosquitos, perhaps I should make some mosquitos. An icehockey puck, or snow in a winter landscape...

You could quilt or stitch, or a combination of both, as long as your block tells, yes this is a part of me. This is where I come from or this is what I am/love.

The idea is that you make 12 blocks from your own part of the world and send them to the others in the group. One block a month. These 12 blocks don't necessesarily have all to be the same motiv. They could all be different, all according to your own wishes. Queen bee of the month would choose the colour line and background fabric to make sure the quilt will somehow shape up.

At the end of the year you would end up with a wonderful sampler quilt, full of fond memories of friends. I would love to snuggle up in one!

Anyone interested? Please, please say yes!!

May 16, 2012

Lots and lots of sunshine on a rainy day

It's been a while since beecee honoured me with this wonderful Sunshine Award.  It is for  “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”.
I've been thinking about it ever since. You know, trying to understand and feeling so small, but with a big smile in my heart. Thank you beecee; one of these days I'll come over to your place and we'll have a cup of coffee! Promise.

Now it is time to fulfill the obligations coming with the award. They feel like a pleasure and not at all like a must.

Post the award and write about it.
Thank and link to the nominating blogger
Answer ten questions - I've changed a couple to suit me
and to pass on the Award to a "variable" number of bloggers you admire, link and let them know.

Here are the questions:

  1. Favorite Colour:  Is a real problem because since 3-4 years  I haven't got one.
  2. Favorite Animal: Giraffe, I have a lot of them living in my bedroom.
  3. Favorite Number: Whatever telephone number my daughters have.
  4. Favorite Movie: Too difficult to answer; I definitely don't like horror or action films. Sometimes I like to laugh, sometimes to cry.
  5. Favorite Author: Also too difficult. I usually read a lot of thrillers or crime novels, but as I'm a really fast reader I tend to read all the novels of one author and then to move on to the next one. At the moment I'm reading Karen Rose.
  6. Comfort Food: Steak and French fries with ketchup. Not the healthiest choice, but we are talking comfort food here.
  7. Favorite Drink: Tea, just plain tea without milk or suger, except in England, then milk and sugar are musts.
  8. Dream Vacation: definitely a good romp around the world for one year. There are thousands of places I want to go.
  9. Favorite Flower: English tearoses. I love the scent of flowers and try to plant only well scented ones in my garden. Love to see the butterflies fluttering around and even more the scents welcoming me on the porch.
  10. My hero: Moomin mama. I'd love to be like her and not only to have her figure!

Blogs I'm nominating.:

Cindy from Fluffy Sheep Quilting for all the inspiration she's given me and others all over the world. She opened a shop a couple of days ago. You should pop over to her place and have a peep.

Ann Sofi from Käranån for a beautiful blog made with lots of love, skill and georgeous pictures. The blog is written in Swedish, but the pictures alone are well worth a visit or two...

May 13, 2012

Waiving with a white flag

Yesterday was a wonderful day; everything full of sunshine, bright and shiny in the Fabraholic world.

Not only did the sun actually shine, but Beauty and I set out for a three hour lesson on hand quilting. We had  fun driving to a quilting shop in the neighbourhood I didn't know about  - nice surprise - and met some other quilters.

Yes, they actually do excist, even in Germany! Never seen one before.
The lesson was instructive and a lot of fun. Both Beauty and I went home again with tons of good advice and new skills in handquilting. Well perhaps a fabric or two just jumped into my bag as well. Don't know how that happended.

This one was feebly calling out to me. "Help, help! Rescue me from these aliens" With me it is safe. I problably never will take the scissors to this one...Can't be hardhearted, can I? The drive home took some four hours instead of 20 minutes. We went to the hairdressers, had dinner, went shopping... No matter; it was just great. And we saw this sight:

There were thousands of these rubber duckies racing down the river. Couldn't get all of them into one picture; there were always more coming.

I think I've told you about my quilting problems; one disaster after another with the sewing machine and throwing hissy fits with all my instruction books on hand quilting. I was stuck! The flimsies were just piling up and I honestly don't know what to do with them. So at home I couldn't wait to get my hands on my Mystery Star quilt. It's been laying around on my bed for some 7-8 months now, just waiting for me to get the small matter of quilting done. (No wonder my bedroom is a mess; it is not the only thing just waiting around) Proudly I set out with a sharp size 12 quilting needle, handquilting thread, the quilt in my lap and my new skills fresh in my mind. And then - poooof went my resolution and my good spirits out the window. I simply cannot sew this one without toehookers!!! I used Marthas warm and natural wool as filling (just love it), but it doesn't yield like it should. It is absolutely impossible to make small, neat stitches on this one! What shall I do? Give up quilting?

No, I won't give up, I'd be expatrionated if I did. No, not because of the quilting, but for giving up:-). Do you have any advice for me? Some good one  is badly needed here!

May 8, 2012

True words

Sometimes true words hurt, even if they are kindly meant. All for your own good - you know the type of truths you get to hear on these occations. :-)
My dear friend and neighbour Michaela popped over last week for a cup of joe and we talked about most everything that came into our minds. I whined as usual about the difficulties in keeping a clean house and especially about the state of my own bedroom (this is where I sew and hoard keep my fabrics). What did Michaela say? Yes, she said: you should not keep buying fabrics, you should sew instead! She also said something about obsessions, but we will not dwell on that now...

No, these words did not hurt, but they did kind of wake me up. They were so true. I'm considering changing my name from Fabraholic to Fabramessy.

As the family didn't come home this weekend I had the house to myself and decided to sew.  This is what I accomplished:

12 sailboat blocks. I used Gunillas boatquilt as pattern. I'm using the ugliest fabrics in the world and therefore call this quilt The Beauty and the Beast. Somehow these uglies just blend in and I'm sure this one will turn out a Beauty if it something like Gunillas.

Of course I managed to sew a couple of sails upside down, but that was easy to take care of. Just swish swish with Jackie the ripper and another round at the sewing machine. I have still 13 sailboats to sew and 25 blocks made of  16 2 1/2" squares. This quilt is so easy to make; it is a real pleasure to watch it grow.

Then I finished my first Stargazing block. I've never made anything like this before and it was not as easy as the sailboats because you have to keep your mind on what you are doing.

I keep a stash of Half square triangles near the sewing machine. You know, just not to interrupt the chainpeacing when making a block. These HST are needed for a table topper I've been working on every now and then. I need 800 HST and already have finished 400. This weekend I made about 100-150, so this UFO is slowly growing.

Never mind if it takes a bit longer; I'm in no hurry.

And what did you do this weekend? I hope you did enjoy yourself as much as I did:-)

May 4, 2012

Scrappy? Sew bee it! May theme

Hope life has been kind to you and you are all well! Well, thank you; yes everything is just fine in my small corner of the world. Yesterday I took a day off from work - just for lollying about on the coach and enjoying doing nothing at all. I didn't get out of bed until 3 pm...Shame on me, dawdling like this, but I did get those parcels on their way to the winners of the 1st anniversary give away. Puh!

Scrappy? Sew bee it! Here we come! Time for the May theme (he, he...)

It was so fun to dream! I came up with about some 857 different patterns and lots of exciting colourlines.

After all the decision was rather easy as I've been dreaming about this one since I first set my greedy eyes on it:

Stargazing from Modern Blocks it is. And the colourline - rainbow colours on white background. Yes, just like in the picture. Not very original I'm afraid, but this is what I really want to do. Picture by courtesy of Fluffy Sheep quilting. I did start on my first block a couple of days ago, but there are no pictures yet (loitering, you know). The blocks are 12.5" and made out of scraps. The participants of the bee will get a separate email as soon as I've finished this post.

If you feel like joining us, and I really, really hope you do, just leave a comment and I'll contact you with the details. Or you can read everything here.

It is so much fun! The best part of blogging, in my mind, is the contact with similar minded people all over the world, creating something never seen before together. This is a great chance to meet some fun people and try something new. Once a month a new pattern is chosen by the reigning Queen Bee and we have one month time to make a 12,5" block out of scraps. It is such a thrill to see the ideas the Queen Bees come up with and even more when the blocks start coming your way...

Take care; I hope to see you soon again!

Note: The bee is now closed, all 12 places taken. Thank you for your interest; hope to see you next time.