Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas!

It's been Christmas here now for at least half an hour and finally everything seems to be ready for tomorrow. While the nice weather person tried to reassure me earlier that it will be 10 degrees cooler today than the forecast 37c, it's still 30c outside now so I won't hold my breath that it will happen. For everyone who reads my blog and has started this journey with me, I wish you a happy Christmas. I hope your day, be it hot weather wise or relative wise( you know what I mean ;), is all you could wish for. ~I'm dreaming of a cool Christmas...~

Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Birthday! Surprise - Secret Squirrel is Finished!

Dresden Plate Quilt- Quilting

Ok it's time I confessed and let the cat out of the bag, or rather, the squirrel! Confused? Well, do you remember the Secret Squirrel Quilt?  I actually finished it way back in October, had it quilted in November, popped the binding on a couple of weeks ago and posted it last week! 

It has made its way to a very nice lady. She is very important to our family, she is caring, giving, generous, always there for us and we love her very much. Happy Birthday Faye

Now I did take a few photos before I posted it but the only place I had high enough was under the old verandah and the sun was playing peekaboo with the clouds. So between that, the wind and my photography skills....  and yes it is straight and square, its just the wonky old curtain rod I hung it on that has issues.

Dresden Plate Finished Quilt Front

You'll have to excuse the circles, those centres have names of people in our family embroidered on them. Even though those hourglass blocks drove me crazy I'm really glad I kept them in and the pieced binding worked really well, its just enough colour to bring the centre out.

Dresden Plate Finished Quilt Back

I quite like the back, very minimalist with just a pop of colour. and yes, another of those annoying circles :)

Dresden Plate with Embroidered Centre

The other centres(the annoying circle ones) are embroidered circularish(is that even a word?!) like this one above.

Quilting Close Up -  Quilted By Desley Maisano

In this photo you can see some of the lovely quilting feather work done by Desley Maisano at Addicted to Quilts. You can see more of her work here.

Dresden Quilt Label

When I sewed the label on, I tried to fit it nicely inside the quilted outline from the front so as not to spoil the back.

Quilt Stats:   Finished size 75" x 87"
                     Quilt Number 5
                     Pattern - Based on the Moda Bake Shop - Plates for Your Table
                     Fabric - Colours - Plates and Binding - Simple Abundance by Bonnie and Camille
                                   for Moda
                                   Cream Spot - Mill House Inn by Fig Tree Quilts for Moda
                                   Backing - a wideback that didn't have details on the selvedge - sorry
                     Pieced - By Me!
                     Quilted by Desley Maisano at Addicted to Quilts

I am so happy to finally be able to share this finish, I've been feeling guilty misleading you by posting work I did ages ago.  I'm also happy to be able to give this to Faye. A fabulous quilter herself who whilst she makes many quilts for others and quilts a lot of tops through her business, has never( I don't think?) had one given to her. So even though I couldn't give it to her personally on her Birthday I'm very relieved that Australia Post didn't lose it and it got there on time!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas crafts and Teacher gifts

The end of term and the end of this year has come around so fast. I hope 2012 goes a little slower. This week BB and LB have helped me make some gifts for their teachers/carers.  We've made some little bags with hand drawn pictures to tuck some chocolates and a kid made Christmas decoration in.

I got BB to draw a picture for each bag. I did ask for a flower and got a landscape, but apparently you can't just have a flower, it needs ground to grow on and then sky above :) So the flowers were a fair bit smaller than I was envisaging but they are very much BB's style and that's the important part. Earlier in the term I had asked him to find out each teachers favourite colour and he helped pick fabric he thought they would like for the lining, I just tried to get him to stick to a small scale print as the bags are only about 6.5" finished.

Linen Bag and Lining Pieces

Kids Craft - Linen Teacher Bags

For LB since he is a bit more of an, ah, shall we say, abstract drawer, I made a stencil out of Freezer paper, which I ironed on and then got him to colour in. (Don't tell BB but I think its my favourite...shh.)

Christmas Tree Bag Stencil - In Progress

Christmas Tree Bag Stencil - Finished

Apart from the fact I forgot to top-stitch the handles on every single bag(a moment which included a fair amount of swearing), I think they turned out totally cute, but of course I am completely biased :)

Teacher Gifts - Personalised Linen Bags

We've also been keeping small boys amused by making some Christmas trees out of paper.  Very simple. We traced different size circles, cut them out, then cut each in half and curled and stapled them.  A little mix and match and a bead on top and they are will be finished.  Ready to be beaded and threaded on a garland later this week.

Kids Christmas Craft - Paper Trees

I've also been working on the Secret Squirrel quilt. It seems to be taking forever(no one remembers when I wanted to finish this by do they? Phew!) which hopefully means I'm about halfway through.  Even allowing for quilting I am hoping to have it ready to give to her in January.  For anyone having an awards ceremony in January this may or may not be for you ;)

Dresen Quilt Piecing in Progress

When I drove past the fabric shop last week these fabrics just happened to jump into the car ready to make some bunting for my goddaughter for Christmas.

Fabric for Girls Bunting

So much to do yet and I'm running out of days. I hope your Christmas plans are on schedule!

Make your own Christmas Wreath!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Receiving kindness and Paying it forward!

This week I've felt loved(and totally shocked) by Lucy from Charm about you. She has kindly given me a versatile Blogger award!

Now Lucy has such a lovely blog, she makes lovely things(and must never sleep she does so much!), she is beautiful and genuine and friendly so go check her out.  This award means she likes to read my blog, which totally made me blush and also means I, um, really need to post a bit more, so that she has something to read! Its on the to-do list for 2012, a list I might add, that is getting longer all the time....

So as per the rules(for the award) I need to share seven things about me:

1.  I'm not a good sharer. (I always think of great things to say once its too late)

2.  I get quite grumpy if I don't have enough sleep.

3.  I used to ride/own a motorbike. (but babies apparently can't hold on around the corners, so I sold it)

4.  Quilting makes me happy.

5.  If Bones is on TV don't interrupt, or at least wait for an advert!

6.  I hate doing the dishes.

7.  I seem to buy more fabric than I use, but shhhhh, don't tell TH. 

Now the fun part I get to share seven blogs that I've recently discovered

1.  A quilt is nice

2.  ruby star rising

3.  squares and triangles

4.  sad patterns

5.  blue is bleu

6.  B.Yazoo

7.  The Shine Project

(I will be emailing all later to pass on the award!) 

So that was the kindness now to, da da dah...

I love presents, surprise parcels and handmade things, and I love to make things for others(so I don't feel so guilty!).

A blog I follow called Threading My Way recently posted about the Pay It Forward Handmade movement. It sounded like a fun thing to do, so I decided to participate. The concept is easy. If you find a Pay It Forward post AND you blog too AND you are one of the first three commenter's on the blog post that tells you about Pay It Forward, the blog owner will make something especially for you. I am very excited about this idea and wondering what Pam is going to make for me! 

**(Pam just in case you are reading this I like white(Kona snow), pink, orange, yellow, green and blue!)

Are you interested in joining Pay It Forward Handmade?

Here are the details:

1. Important! You have to have a blog.

2. I will make a little something for the first 3 blog owners who comment on this post. It will be a surprise and I will make it and send it to you some time during the next 365 days after you have commented.  (just don't expect it for Christmas!)

3. Make sure you let me know your email address, or that you arent a no-reply blogger so that I can get your contact details.

4. To get a handmade present from me, you have to play too! This means YOU pledge to send a little handmade something to 3 readers of your blog. It doesn't matter what you give, as long as it is handmade by you!

5. Once you comment here, you need to post about your Pay It Forward on your blog(within 48hrs) to keep the fun going! *you can just copy the rules from me and please include the Pay It Forward badge in your post. Also, feel free to join the Flickr group to see what else is being sent!

6. Follow my blog - I'd like that but you don"t have to :)

My plan is to get to know you through your blogs and comments and flickr to figure out what would suit your fancy. So make sure to mention your likes, dislikes, favorites, crafty wishes and upcoming life events on your blog.  Ideally, this will help all of us to get to know some fellow bloggers and to spread some handmade joy and cheer around. I am looking forward to reading my first 3 commenters' blogs and deciding what to make you!

See what I mean about the list getting longer!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How to Quilt in the Hardware store...

Now I love a hardware store as much as the next girl but when you're there with your husband and your eyes start to glaze over, what do you do?
Well you head off to the paint swatch section of course. Pick out colours that you think match your fabric. Then you take them home, cut them up and play with them!

DSQ Fabric Palette

Oh yeah, oops, even though I haven't shown you yet, these are the colours for my DSQ. I did buy a little bit more fabric but I'm really happy with all the solid colours together. I'm saving this quilt to do after Christmas but in the meantime it's so easy to play with the paint swatches.

DSQ Layout

Time to stop playing though, I've been feeling completely unmotivated this week and I need to get back to work.... 

 Apparently Dresden's do not make themselves.  Bugger.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bloggers Quilt Festival & Sew-Inspiration Sunday

For those of you browsing around in blogland lately you might have seen a little thing hosted by Amy that is the Bloggers' Quilt Festival.  Ok, ok, it's not little, its HUGE! and its wonderful.  It's like going to a great quilt show but without the crowds or the sore feet. Oh and there is no line up at the coffee stand either! Last year I had a great time seeing all the wonderful quilts and this year I'd like to share one of mine. 

NB: Some ninny got the date wrong when the Festival closed, so now I'm just sharing not linking :( 

I finished this quilt earlier this year, before I started this blog. Its a small quilt 23.5" x 27.5" designed to fit my Goddaughters doll crib.(Sorry about the bad photos, I took the photos on a very cloudy day) This was the third quilt I'd ever made and it was a gift for Christmas 2010 however I only finished and posted it to her at the end of February 2011, that still counts as Christmas right?

Doll Quilt - Front

Doll Quilt - Back


This shows the lovely quilting that by the very lovely Faye did for me over the Christmas holidays. 

Doll Quilt Pillow- Front

Doll Quilt Pillow - Back

I also made a little matching pillowcase to got with it. I tried to match the front and the back of the quilt and the pillow so she could reverse them if she chose.

Doll Quilt Label

Lastly I put a sweet little label on the back. The quilt pattern was a free pattern from the Marcus Fabrics website. I like to think its both modern and timeless(just humour me ok :) ).  All the fabric except the pink sparkly fabric was from my stash.  The floral print on the back is more like a voile so when Faye quilted it she put a lining fabric underneath and it worked really well. 

I loved making it and it was hard to let go of but I'm told she loved it and she and her doll slept with it that night. So totally worth it!

I'm going to the Craft and Quilt Fair today(wish my feet luck!) but the Bloggers' Quilt Festival is also a great way to spend a Sew-Inspiration Sunday!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fake it or Make it?

What do you really think about appliqué? Not the design as such but how it's actually done. I don't know about you but I've always had a thing that appliqué, especially on a quilt, needs to be done by hand and be invisible. Any other kind was faking it. I guess it really stems from the fact my Mum used to teach and judge handicrafts and we would always hear her comments about items that were poorly finished, seams not pressed and hand sewing that was visible. All those comments seem to have embedded themselves into my brain and so I've always hand sewn(very carefully!) any appliqué I've done. (TH has mentioned I might be a teeny tiny bit pedantic about it but really, who are you going to believe ;)

But having said that, the first Dresden I appliquéd took me over an hour to finish. Yes, I did have some little interruptions, still that meant even if I could do three a day, it would take me ten days. Two a day, fifteen days.  So I had a rethink and a google and then a play on my machine to test out some machine appliqué. I decided to go with a blind hem stitch and just do one and compare, cause you know, I can always unpick! Or frog it? Is that the right term? You know where you rip it, rip it, rip it!

I'm really happy with the result.  It took me longer to figure out that I was trying to put the blind hem foot on back to front (It actually took me a fair while to realise this and then I didn't use it anyway) and to stop giggling than it did to do one plate.  The thread is one that Faye has given me(Thank you!) and it blends in really well on all the colours and I'm very happy with the results.

Dresden Plate Applique Techniques

Have a look at them side by side. The one on the left is by machine and the right hand one is done by hand. From about 15cm away(less with my eyesight!) you can't tell the difference!

Dresden Plate Centre Applique

I've also used it to put the centres on. They take no time at all compared to all the stopping, starting, turning for the Dresden's.

Dresden Plate Centre

So even though I feel like I'm faking my appliqué, doing it this way means I'll get to actually finish this quilt in time this decade. So I guess my answer is I have to fake it to make it!

I did have a couple of other questions though:

Why do I only do wobbly sewing on the parts where it will show?
Why don't sewing machines come with a foot lever for the presser foot, instead of that stupid knee thing?
Why can you only find the pins you've dropped by stepping on them?

If anyone knows the answers please let me know!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dead Simple Palette - I've definitely, almost certainly, possibly, chosen this one...

For the Dead Simple Quilt Along I've chosen(my fickle heart has seen others but I'm being strong!) the Autumn breeze as my palette.

Autumn leaf palette by designseeds
Those greys were tempting!

Barked Orange palette by Design Seeds

and this is gorgeous but seems more Autumny..

Autumn Breeze palette by design seeds

So this one, definitely this one! Oh yeah. We are approaching summer down here(Yuck!) and this seems the most summery to me, so this one it is. I can make it this Summer and have it ready to use by Autumn! Perfect timing. I do love it but those browny yellows might be hard to find. I might have to go and buy more fabric.  What a shame :)

Can't wait to see everyone else's!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sew-Inspiration Sunday

I found this quilt at Esch House Quilts last year, loved it then and still love it now. It's so simple and elegant and modern and just plain wonderful. Have a look at her inspiration photo she was inspired by to come up with this.

Ephemeral Elegance by Esch House Quilts

Debbie from Esch House Quilts also has a new quilt she's making for Project Modern, find your own voice challenge.  It's called curried plums and I love this one too!

Curried Plums by Esch House Quilts

Have a google of project modern and you will find heaps of wonderful quilters showing their "voice". I'm still working on finding my quilting voice but think of all those quilts I get to make while I'm deciding. Woo Hoo!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sew-Inspiration Sunday and not much else

I was trying to write this while supervising the kid's painting this morning but all I got written was the title. Which is kinda how the rest of this week has been, when the best laid plans, yada, yada yada...

Anyhoo my inspiration this week is from s.o.t.a.k handmade. I found her blog when browsing through the Fresh Sewing Day from Lily's Quilts. ( Thanks Lynne!) She has made some great stuff but what caught my eye is this:

I'm totally in love with it. It is a beautiful modern quilt. Lovely and neutral for a bedroom but with little pops of colour.  Perfect!  Go and check out this and the other lovely things she makes here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dead Simple Quilt Along - Choosing a palette

I'm joining in the Dead Simple Quilt Along over at Lily's Quilts and I need to choose my palette. I'm a bit behind as I think I'm meant to have the fabric already but I haven't even decided yet!  I've narrowed it down to these.

A combination of the two above or a combination of the two below? Its coming up to summer here, maybe the two below?

The first three are from Design Seeds a great site for all sorts of inspiration  The magazine I picked up the other day and love the colours on the front cover.

Solids, prints? Oh what to do, what to do?  I really shouldn't be doing anything else but I figure I'll get it all planned and then do it after Christmas.  It feels like I'm cheating on the SS quilt and the rocketship quilt but I wont tell them if you don't!

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sew-Inspiration Sunday & Small Blog Meet & Fresh Sewing Day!

Sunday already? Where has this week gone, for that matter, what happened to September?? I'm sure it must have sneakily skipped a week somewhere.

I've been inspired today by Lynne of Lily's Quilts, her generous hosting of the Small Blog Meet means that I've got to meet lots of other people who have the same interests and who have recently started blogging too. Before I started blogging(instead of just reading) I didn't realise how much of their time it would have taken, not only to write the blog but to take the photos. Though maybe that's 'cause I'm a really bad photo taker and take at least 2 shots of the same thing - just in case! So to all those people who write the blogs I read and follow, Thank You, I really appreciate your effort!

I'm going to link up again this month to hopefully meet some more inspiring people :) If you're here visiting - Hi, nice to meet you!

Small Blog Meet

I'm also doing my first link up to Fresh Sewing Day. If you haven't been yet, pop over to Lily's Quilts and have a look at what everyone has been up to. There is some fantastic stuff to be inspired by.

Fresh Sewing Day

So this month:
60 degree diamond English Paper Piecing

I've cut out all the diamonds for my English Paper Piecing and punched holes in all the diamonds.

Dresden Plates

I've made 20 dresdens for the SS quilt and are about two hours away from 10 more. Sigh.

SS Quilt, Dresden Plate, Possible Layout

I've worked out the layout for the SS quilt, though I've just realised I haven't actually posted my decision -Sorry! (note to self - DO that this week!)

Toy superhero reversible cape

I've kept two small boys and their toys happy.  Though now I have to make some toy dog pyjamas...

Kid's potholder/oven mitts

And I've made a couple of kid size potholders to go with an apron and hat.

I feel like I haven't really achieved much this month so I'm hoping by the end of October I will actually have a finished quilt to show!

Thanks for visiting!

TH - Happy Anniversary, I Love You. x