Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The scrap quilt reveal

Brace yourselves ... I've only gone and finished something!

scrap quilt

Project name: Scrap Vomit (or Technicolour Yawn if you're going for the sanitised version)
Size: 70" square (big enough for me to be completely hidden behind it when holding it up to be photographed!)
Started: May 2011
Finished: May 2014
Batting: Warm and Natural
Backing: Moda extra wide Dottie quilt backing in grey
Quilted: By hand with Gutermann hand-quilting thread in dark grey and Clover gold-eye quilting needles

I signed up to a quilt-along for this scrappy quilt, led on by the enthusiasm of Katy over at imagingermonkey. That was almost 3 years ago - I think Katy has actually completed around 90 scrap vomit quilts during the time I've taken to make my single one, which shows me up somewhat, but then, she is a superhuman quilting machine. This quilt was begun in England and completed in Wales, so has dual heritage just like my 3 children. I was sneakily stitching blocks in between house viewings, which may not have been the best way to ensure the house was tidy, but it was a welcome distraction.

The blocks themselves came together really quickly. I kept the A-blocks as 7 x 7 blocks of random scrappy 2.5" squares but adapted the B-block for a single colour of contrast (dark grey) in a diamond pattern which would criss-cross over the whole quilt.

B blocks handquilting

(oops, missed trimming some threads!)

A blocks handquilting
I started quilting it by hand in May 2012 (aren't blogs terrible for providing incontrovertible proof of how long you've been working on something!), with diagonal lines following the diamonds on the B blocks and segmented circles on the A blocks. I think it was the quilting really which did for the prompt completion of this quilt - all those overlapping seam allowances to stitch through! And so I let it sit, for around a year, only to pick it up again this Spring and realise there wasn't much left to do. So with only 6 circles left to quilt, I picked it up in the evenings and after work and found it came together really quickly. I was saved from procrastinating and deferring decisions over the binding by the fact that I had bought an extra metre of the dark grey solid fabric - I didn't really want anything that would compete with the scrappiness of the quilt, and it also helps to draw the eye to the diamond pattern and save it from getting lost in the multicolour madness.

backing and binding
I've gone as far as removing the erasable pen markings for the quilting, and trimming away (most of) the loose threads, but the quilt hasn't even managed to make it into the washing machine yet and is currently residing on the arm of the settee in the living room, ready to be appropriated by whoever comes along and wants to make a den or a bed for their teddies.

I feel a bit bereft at the completion of such a long-term project - I definitely need to get stuck in to another quilt!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Five go to the Legoland Hotel

Legoland hotel

If you asked me to name my favourite childhood toy, it would be Lego every time. Even though I had the usual 80s suspects like Tiny Tears and Sindy dolls, I definitely spent the most hours playing with my lego sets. So when I managed to book a super cheap deal to stay a night in the LEGOLAND resort hotel in Windsor, I was just as excited as the children. The trick is to book when the park is closed, when the rooms plummet in price - for us, the park being closed wasn't a problem at all, as we used to live just a few miles down the road, so the children have been several times over the years. In any case, had we been visiting the park too, I'm not sure we would have got nearly as much enjoyment out of the hotel itself.

legoland hotel frog prince safe

We stayed in a standard Kingdom-themed room, having thought about a pirate room until the 3-year old developed a sudden fear of the swashbucklers a few weeks ago. The theming in the room was so effective - from the shields 'carved' into the children's bunks to the lego crown by the bathroom mirror. Most exciting of all was the locked safe with a huge frog perched on top and a note directing the children to solve the clues within the room to find the combination to unlock it. This was definitely one of the highlights for my brood, especially when they found a little lego set each inside on opening the safe.

legoland hotel children's bedroom

The layout of the room itself was ideal - a separate bunk bed area for the children, with a pull-out trundle bed for the third child, along with a tv playing various lego-themed programs. Next came the bathroom with its lego toiletries, including a lego brick soap. Then there was the main bedroom with the usual tea and coffee making bits and pieces, as well as a second tv. There was so much attention to detail, with the theme even carried through into the carpeting. This continued outside the room too, with each floor having a separate theme.

legoland hotel kingdom room
legoland hotel bathroom
legoland hotel bathroom

Elsewhere in the hotel, there were chatting lifts, bathroom mirrors which told you how nice you were looking today, and a whoopee cushion carpet. The children were likewise thrilled with the indoor and outdoor play areas, as well as the brilliant swimming pool and splash playing area with slides, see-saw and water jets to soak your family. There is so much to see in every area of the hotel, from a huge display of minifigures behind the reception desk to giant lego people and a model skyline in the bar. It's all been so well thought-out, we were completely won over! And apart from anything else, the room was pretty good value. With a buffet-style breakfast included, the children made the most of the opportunity to fill their tummies - Littlest came away with a babybel cheese, mango, pineapple, mini croissant and mini muffin, Middlest went for crunchy-nut cornflakes, followed by a full English breakfast including around 6 eggs-worth of scramble and a dessert of raisins and peaches, whilst Eldest went for a more continental style with a plate filled with pastries, and a token offering of fruit.  I can't think of anywhere else in the area where we could get a family room to genuinely sleep five for under £100 (the usual 'chain' hotels tend to offer family rooms for 4 only); I would thoroughly recommend it.

legoland hotel indoor play area

This is not a sponsored post, just a genuinely enthusiastic one. We came away singing 'Everything is Awesome' in the car, and resolved to keep our eyes peeled for the next bargain deal!

With apologies for the interruption to normal service - posts about unfinished sewing projects, things I might be thinking about sewing but haven't quite started yet, and aspirations to be a generally more productive maker will soon resume.

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