Thursday, 27 December 2012

Clue No. 5

Here are my blocks for Easy Street clue No. 5.  I had trouble finding time to do any sewing this week.  I'm sure I'm not the only one in danger of falling behind.  Lucky for us Bonnie made allowances for this happening and when I finally did manage to get my cutting mat back out it didn't take too long to get the pieces cut and then sewn today.  At least I don't have long to wait for the next clue.  Click here to see the progress being made on the East Street Mystery.

I hope everyone had a very happy peaceful Christmas.  I went to my parents house with Jack and Aleisha for Christmas lunch, we had a really nice time together.  I haven't felt very Christmassy this year and didn't really do much decorating at home.  I will have to try and do better next year.

Now that Christmas is over I'm planning to get stuck into some sewing.  The list is long as always I hope I have something to show for my holidays!

Happy Stitching



Thursday, 20 December 2012

Hitting a bump in the road on Easy Street...

This week hasn't gone as I'd planned and I haven't been able to do as much sewing as I'd hoped.  I guess that's bound to happen at some stage. 

I was surprised and disappointed when I came to join my geese together, I thought my geese where looking really good.  When I put them together I realised they weren't as good as I thought and some were quite wobbly.  I sewed the pairs of geese together and then I squared them up so that they measured 31/2" like they were supposed to.  They didn't have to be trimmed very much and they do look better now.  I have a few with missing beaks etc. but I'll let them stay.  I think that's part of the joy of scrap quilts, they don't have to be perfect.  (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!).
I got these flowers at my work Christmas lunch from the Committee who run the Op Shop.  Aren't they lovely?  The day of the lunch was very hot and I thought the flowers mightn't survive the ride home in the car.  Tomorrow is my last day at work till we close for our Christmas holidays.  I'm very excited about having 3 weeks at home.  I'm looking forward to doing lots of sewing and maybe a bit of scrapbooking and journaling as well.  Of course I always plan to do heaps more than is humanly possible.  Maybe I might manage to finish something!
I put my string blocks back up on my design wall to see how they look.  I finished sewing the corners on another dozen of them on the weekend.  I might start sewing them together so I can get a better idea how many more I want to make.  See how that big black spot in some of the corners really stands out?  I'll make sure they are distributed all over the quilt before I start stitching blocks together.

I'm looking forward to seeing what the next clue for East Street is tomorrow night, must be time to do something with the green fabrics.  If you want to see how the other Easy Street quilters are going just visit Bonnie Hunters blog here.

Happy Stitching


Monday, 10 December 2012

Having Fun on Easy Street.

 Hi there, as you can see I'm up to date with clue no. 3 for Easy Street.  As I don't want to make the quilt as big as Bonnie's I'm guestimating the amount of blocks for each step.  I've made 50 of these blocks.  I'm really pleased with the results I'm getting from the 2 rulers Bonnie uses and the colours are combining really well.

I had a fairly quiet weekend and managed to fit in a few hours of sewing.  I made a few more of the scrappy trip around the world blocks.  I managed to catch a bit of Bonnie on Quiltcam.  Her night time quiltcam is afternoon here.  Jack caught me watching on my ipad as I made his lunch, much headshaking and sighing followed.  It's hard being the son of a quilt tragic!
 Today I received half of my black and white order of fabric, gotta love seeing the Aust Post delivery van pull up out the front.  Again more sighing and head shaking from No. 1 Son.  Taking a bit of adjusting to having him home now school's finished. 

I'm really loving these fabrics I ordered from Canton Village Quiltworks.  I don't need to worry about running out of black and whites any time soon!

It was a really lovely sunny day today and not too hot so I decided I might spend a little time stitching outside.  Guess who broke the chair!!!  I had just sat down when the leg broke tipping me and my sewing backwards onto the paving.  I'm very lucky I didn't hit my head, my back was a bit sore, it really gave me a fright.  

A few weeks ago when I set my table up outside to cut some fabric, the leg on the table collapsed.  Now I really need Santa to bring me a new chair.... or maybe I'll stay inside till I lose weight or it's safe to go outside again.

Happy Stitching


Monday, 3 December 2012

Crumb sewing and Easy Street

 Hi there,  I've been working on the 2nd clue of Bonnie Hunter's
Easy Street mystery quilt.  I've got about 1/2 the geese sewn.  I'm using the Companion Angle and Easy Angle rulers to cut the triangles for the geese.  Thanks to Bonnie's really good instructions and video I've found they are working really well.  I had tried using the rulers previously and wasn't really happy with my results, it makes a big difference with some clear instructions.  Thanks Bonnie!

I've also been working on a couple of other projects at the same time.  Not such a good thing when I accidently cut my 2 1/2" strips into 2" pieces cause I got mixed up with measurements.  Easy mistake if you're not concentrating on which project you're working on.
 It was really sunny earlier this morning, here's Dougal enjoying some rays.   There are big grey clouds out now, its only going to be 18 degrees today.  A good day to stay inside, I'm hoping to get my christmas decorations put up today.

I received my copy of 15 Minutes of Play by Victoria Findlay Wolfe I've been reading her blog for ages and really love her work.  I decided I'd have a go at using my crumbs to make some blocks, Victoria has a couple of suggestions for sewing "made fabric".  I made these 2 blocks using telephone book pages as foundations.  When I do string piecing I like using foundations.  It was a bit tedious getting all the paper out so I might have a go next just at stitching the fabrics together. 

I thought I'd show you my earliest patchwork fabrics before I cut them up to go into my scrap strip bins.  I bought these fabrics when I had my first patchwork lessons at eighteen which makes them over 30 years old!  Back then I went to a local ladies house to be taught the basics of hand piecing and I made a variety of cushions for my Grandma and my Mum.  I was very keen on brown obviously cause all the cushions were brown!  For some reason I didn't make a quilt, back then I don't remember anyone making lap quilts or wall quilts.  I think the idea of making a full size quilt must have been too daunting so I didn't do any more patchwork until I had my daughter 11 years later.  (Maybe I didn't want a quilt all done in browns).  I do remember driving my Mum and I to look at the local quilt show that was held every year in peoples homes.  Times sure have changed.

Do you still have pieces of your earlies fabrics in your stash?  I wonder what the colours where?

Happy sewing


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Fabrics for Easy Street

 Hi there, as you can see I've made a bit of progress on my scrappy trip around the world top.  I'm liking the colours of the blocks better, there's a bit more prettiness in the fabrics.  There's more pinks and less yellows which helps I think.  I would really like to add some much brighter fabrics but my challange was to use my old fabrics so I'll keep going with them.  The colours are a lot deeper in real life and I don't think the pattern really shows up much except from a distance.  I've decided I want to make it with 3 pattern repeats square so that means I've got 21 more blocks to go.  That should help eat up all those 2 1/2" strips. 

I had the house to myself over the weekend Jack has gone to Byron Bay for "schoolies" (end of school holiday with his mates).  It has been really great to get my kitchen table back and get all of Jacks study things packed away.  I was able to do some fabric cutting on the table.  I've cut about 3/4s of my older fabrics into strips.  It will be fun to make some more quilts with them.

I decided I wanted to do Bonnie Hunter's new mystery quilt called
Easy Street.  The colours she has used are lime green, aqua, purple, grey with black and white prints for backgrounds.  I loved her colours, I knew I had plenty of the lime greens and purples but I really didn't think I had much aqua/turquoise or grey.  I surprised myself when I went through my stash that I did have enough aquas, and although I did have greys they were very dirty greys and I decided against using them.  I've gone with orange instead and I'll just have to hope it works out okay.  I like all those colours together so it should be right.  Thats the fun of a mystery right? 

Here is the first clue.  2" strips made into 4 patches.  Instead of greys I've got my orange fabric, it is a good contrast against the black on white background fabrics.  I don't want to make my quilt as big as Bonnie's so I won't be making as many blocks as she did.  There is 71 4 patches so far.  I'm aiming to do as she suggested and make some of each step so I don't get left behind and I will have part of the quilt done at the end.  Last years mystery is still in a box waiting to be finished.  What's another UFO here or there?  Most of the fabrics I've pulled out for this quilt are older ones too so thats a bonus.  I won't count the 8 or 9 metres of black on white prints that I ordered this week to replace the ones I'm using.  Some fabrics are just staples right?

Happy Stitching



Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Scrappy Trip Around the World progress.

Hi there, I'm still busy cutting up my basket of old fabrics.  It's going to take a while to get through them but there's no rush so I do a few every day or so.  I've got so many strips I'll have a headstart on quite a few scrappy quilts.

The photo above shows the blocks I've finished so far for Bonnie Hunters'  Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt.  I'm liking how it is turning out.  I am finding it a bit challenging working with the colours in these older fabrics.  It is an interesting exercise to see if I can "pretty" the blocks up.

Here is the link to the Bonnie Hunter pattern.  Her patterns are very easy to follow with plenty of photos.

I've sorted out a bit more of my stash but I'm not quite finished yet.  I've got a stack of storage boxes in the hallway and I'm still not sure where they are going to go.  Might be a hop skip and a jump to an episode of Hoarders!!  I haven't bought any fabric for about 3 or 4 weeks which is a record for me I'm sure.  I am trying to be good but its not easy.

I went out on Sunday with Tracey and we had a really enjoyable day.  We went to our favourite scrapbooking shop in Mornington and kidded ourselves that we weren't going to buy very much.  We now realise thats an impossibility.  They have so much gorgeous paper and all kinds of creative arty stuff.

It really is hard to find time to do everything I want to do.  I bought a nice selection of supplies (I do realise the money I didn't spend on fabric I spent on art supplies) hahaha. Then because it was 2.30 and we hadn't had lunch we decided to stop at Lintons Nursery on the way home for lunch and a look around.  There were lots of people out enjoying the lovely day.  The cafe was very popular and our lunch was really good.  We had a wander around outside and admired the plants then spent quite a while inside where there is a really great selection of homewares and lovely gifty things.  I did manage to resist buying anything, there were lots of things I would have liked though.  Remembering I should be downsizing helps.

That's all for now its getting late and I have work tomorrow.

Happy Stitching


Thursday, 8 November 2012

Scrappy Quilts

Hi there,

I've had a busy couple of weeks but I have managed to fit in some stitching.  This scrappy quilt is one of my favourites.  It is one of my early ones and uses a lot of the fabrics that I have just cleaned out of my stash.  I still haven't quite finished my cleanout that I started 2 weeks ago...

 Here is Jack at his
Valedictory dinner, he received 3 awards I was very proud of him.  It was a lovely night, Jack has really enjoyed his time at school.  We went out for tea tonight to celebrate most of his exams being over.  His art exam is next 
Thursday then thats it.  I'm hoping I might find some more time to sew while he's away on holidays. 
Here's what I cleared out of my stash, the fabric on the chair went to the op shop.  I'm going to cut up the piles on my ironing board and use them for more scrap quilts.  I'm ironing them first so it is going to take me a while to get these all cut up.

There are a couple of quilts I want to start making using these scraps.  I've started Bonnie Hunters Scrappy Trips Around the World.  It should use up quite a few of my 2.5 inch strips.  It is a bit strange cause I've gotten used to using my bright fabrics and these will be very different.  I might get some photos taken for next time.

Till then Happy Sewing,


Wednesday, 24 October 2012


 Rearranging my fabric storage.
5 hours later, still sorting.....

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Out and About

Hi there, last Sunday I went to see the Quilts in the Barn exhibition in Wonga Park with a couple of my patchwork friends.  Here is Susan, taking a photo of me taking a photo of her.  I won't show any more photos of the quilt show cause the Quilts in the Barn blog has photos of the whole exhibit.  I have been going to this exhibition for quite a few years, its always an enjoyable day out and Linda and her helpers put a lot of work into making it a great show.  

We went to The Patchwork Teahouse
 in Warburton next and had a really lovely lunch.  We had a really nice day even though we discovered our favourite antique/homewares shop had closed down.  
I haven't done a lot of work on my crochet hexagons lately but I think these blocks should be enough to finish it.  Then there is the border to think about.  Haven't decided what I'm going to do about that yet.  There's an awful lot of ends to sew in too.
Isn't this owl the cutest?  She had to come home with me last weekend, I had a memory lapse and forgot about downsizing and the fact my shelves are overcrowded already.  I have a nice collection of owls now, maybe they remind me of my night owl tendencies! 
We had a lovely spring day today, a perfect day to wash some quilts.  This one was an old Country Threads pattern I think.  I do remember that it was one of my first attempts at needle turn applique and I thought I'd never get the hearts finished.  The main fabrics are all early Robin Pandolph fabrics.  I was in love with all her early ranges and I still have most of them in my stash as I thought they were too special to cut.  Now they're practically vintage.

I have been busting to use my kitchen table but my son has been using it to study for his exams.  He does have a desk in his bedroom which he can't use at the moment cause its covered in clothes etc.  What is it with teenage boys and messy bedrooms?  We have endless discussions about tidying his room, its like beating my head against a brick wall...

I've tried being patient but I keep thinking about all the things I can't do till I get my table back.  Today I decided to get out my fold up trestle table and take it outside to work on.

It was great, now that the weather is improving I might do this more often.  I wanted to work out the applique borders for my Jubilee quilt and the trestle table was perfect for this.  I couldn't pin my vines down until I drew out my applique shapes but at least I got a start on it.

Why couldn't I do this on my own sewing room table you might ask?  Cause it's covered in too much stuff!!!

Its time all us night owls were in bed.

Bye for now.


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Hand Quilting and growing veggies.

I can't believe September's over already, so here is my final post for the 1 hour a day stitching challenge that Bonnie Hunter here was hosting. 

I didn't make it last week cause I worked a full week, I usually only work 2 days so my routine was out the window.  Needless to say I missed a couple of days of stitching.  I did try to make up the time when I could so I think I did fairly well. 

Because this quilt is so large I hadn't spread it out to check on my progress since I started in the first week of September.  I was surprised today to see that I've got half the blocks quilted.  To tell you the truth I was a tiny bit disappointed as I'd hoped I might have been close the finishing them all. 
I tried to get a close up of the quilting pattern in the hourglass blocks, it doesn't really show up very well though.  I have to mark the rest of the blocks using the quilting template, not my favorite part of the process.

I'm not very happy with some of the quilting, some of the straight lines look like the thread has pulled too tight and there are a few wrinkles in the wrong places but I hope when it is finished and gets washed it should look better.

I'm going to try to keep up the quilting, it will still be a couple of months till the weather heats up so I should by able to get a lot more done.
I decided I wanted to try growing some herbs and vegetables.  I'm no gardener but I really would like to be able to pick some fresh herbs to use when I'm cooking and some salad veggies would be great over summer.  I didn't want to get too carried away to start with so I bought some Coriander and Continental Parsley and a Tomato plant and one Strawberry plant, and some Cat Grass.  I thought the cats can have a special plant of their own, they're supposed to like eating it.

My parents came over yesterday and my Dad helped me plant the seedlings and gave me lots of advice on gardening it was very helpful.  I'm going back to get another couple of plants tomorrow.  We had big discussions about snails and Dad insisted that the sugar straw would keep them away cause they don't like crawling on it.  It worked last night I went out about 4 times during the night and there was no sign of snails but earlier on tonight I went out to find a snail in the middle of the Coriander and a slug in there as well.  There was another slug and a couple of snails on their way over.  I don't want to lose my plants before they've had a chance to grow.  Anyone have any suggestions?
I was very excited, this flower on my Strawberry plant appeared after I brought it home it is very pretty.

I'm hoping I might find time tomorrow to mark the rest of the blocks on my pink lemonade quilt, if I'm not on snail duty.!!

Happy Stitching,


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Big night out

 No progress photos of my quilting today.  I missed a couple of days in my one hour a day challenge, however I've been doing more than 1 hour most days so I'm sure the time has evened out.

I'm really loving quilting without a frame, so much easier to handle a large quilt this way.

Last week I took Harry to visit Jill his Groomer this was his before photo.  I gave him a valium beforehand but it didn't seem to make any difference.  He was very distressed, he cried and carried on and we decided to leave the clipping and try another day. 
So here is his after photo, he had a bath and he smells lovely and he had the hair around his face clipped back a bit but he's still a shaggy boy.  He even looks fluffier than before cause Jill did manage to get a comb through him.

Just hope we can get him clipped before the weather gets too warm cause he really doesn't like the heat.
On Monday Jack turned 18 years old.  I'm still having trouble working out where all those years went.  It has flown by so quickly and his last year of seconday school is quickly coming to a close.  We had a family night out to celebrate Jack's birthday.  We went to a restaurant on Southbank in the city called The Meat and Wine Company.  

As you can see we had a few cocktails to celebrate, they were really good. 
This was my steak with mushroom sauce and extremely delicious chips.  It was a really lovely meal and everyone enjoyed theirs.
I don't often go into the city especially at night but when I do I love to admire how beautiful it is.  Unfortunately my photos that I took of the buildings and the yarra didn't turn out very well.  I did manage to get this fabulous photo of one of the Mali's that are on display around the city.

 I think they were all decorated to celebrate a special anniversary at the zoo.  I'm just not sure of all the details.  Mali is a baby elephant born at the Melbourne zoo a couple of years ago, she stole everyone's hearts she was so cute.  There were huge queues of people for weeks when she first went on display.  There is 50 Mali and they were decorated by 50 different Artists and put on display all around the city.  They were to be auctioned off, wouldn't they be fun in the garden?

We saw a few around southbank but I liked this one best it is so bright and happy

I must tell you I grumped and groaned about going into the city but it really was a great night out.  I was pushed well out of my comfort zone which probably needs to happen more often.

With Jack on holidays I might manage to get some more stitching done this week.

Bye for now.


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Hand quilting challenge update

I'm enjoying the hand quilting challenge that Bonnie Hunter  started.  It has been a week and we are supposed to show our progress.  My blogging skills are still a bit dodgy so I will do my best to link to Bonnies post, just can't guarantee I'll get it right.
 As I explained in my last post the back of my quilt got stained in an unfortunate incident during a teenagers sleepover.  You can see above the size of the stain, it is quite large.
 I decided that before I did any more quilting I needed to fix the stained backing.  Luckily I hadn't quilted that area so I'm hoping it will look ok when it's all done. 

I used four different fabrics for the backing, this piece is used on one edge of the quilt.  Luckily I still had the fabric and I'm pretty sure it's not going to look out of place.  I decided to cut away the stained fabric then applique the patch over the hole.  It took about 2 hours but it still counts as handwork and if I hadn't joined this challenge it might never have got done.

Its not easy to get a good photo of the quilting, I've done more straight lines and some more of the motifs.

I have decided to have a go at quilting without a hoop.  I watched an episode of The Quilt show online that demonstrated the technique.  My quilt was already basted fairly closely so it should work out okay.  I've found it much easier than using a hoop and I don't think you can see any difference with my stitches.  It sure helps when quilting such a big quilt. 

I think my total hours so far has been 12 which includes tonight.  I'm very happy that I'm making progress, thanks Bonnie!


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Hand quilting challenge

 I've just been reading Bonnie Hunter's post on doing an hour of handwork during September to coincide with it being Sewing month.  Bonnie has challenged her readers to join her in working on an old project you might have hanging around.

This quilt has been waiting many years to be finished, I've had it sitting in my bedroom all winter waiting for me to do some more hand quilting on it.  As I've missed winter and we've moved onto spring maybe I better get a move on.

I fell in love with this pattern as soon as I saw it, bought the book and knew straight away that I had to make it.  The book is called Pink Lemonade and Other Delights by Linda Johnson and this quilt on the cover was called Pink Lemonade.  At the time I'd made special quilts that I hand quilted for my Mums 60th Birthday and my Brother In Laws wedding present.  I decided that as I was 38 I could start a special quilt for my own 40th birthday.  I felt 2 years was a  reasonable amount of time to finish it.  Hahaha.  I think I'd started the quilting by the time I turned 40 and now as I edge towards 50 it is definitely time to try finish it.

There have been quite a few obstacles along the way and I think I've learnt some very valuable lessons as well.  One important lesson is don't leave anything you're working on folded up in the corner of the lounge room when your teenage daughter has a sleepover with 10 of her closest friends.  I discovered after the sleepover that someone had spilt coca cola on the back of my quilt!!  It was such a dilema I wasn't sure what to do, it was partly quilted but the stained part was only basted.  The fabric wasn't prewashed or the cotton batting either.  I decided  to leave it in the too hard basket and now that its well and truly set I'm going to cut stained piece of backing off and applique a new piece on.  Luckily stain didn't get to the front of the quilt.
 My other important lesson was don't mark quilting lines on quilts late at night.  I was trying to mark lines for cross hatching in middle applique block, never realised before I started how tricky that could be.  I came close to ruining the centre block because I was using pencil and realised my lines were going to be crooked.  I was determined it wouldn't beat me but after 2am is not a good time to be doing it!!
 This is such a large quilt 87 3/4" x 87 3/4" that I found it very challenging to quilt by hand.  Don't think I want to make quilts this big again.  It seems to be a pet magnet too, they all want to sit on it when I work on it.
I still love it though so I would really love to get it finished.  I found the hour glass blocks were a bit tedious to quilt, I'm looking forward to getting to the borders and doing them.  More cross hatching though, does anyone have a fool proof way of marking cross hatching??

Maybe by the end of September I'll be well on the way to finishing!!

Happy Stitching


Monday, 3 September 2012

Fathers Day visit with Mum and Dad

It was Fathers Day here yesterday, I decided to make a card for my Dad myself.  I'm sick of the same old silly joke cards I'm sure he's sick of them too.

I had a photo of myself as a baby which I photocopied onto some card.  I then cropped it and used a decorative punch for the corners before sticking it onto a card I made up from some card stock that I already had.  I used my alphabet stamps to write the message.
It was fun to make and turned out well.  I think I might go back to making more of my cards it's so much more satisfying than buying one.  Dad liked it too.
Mum cooked a really lovely lunch as usual.  Roast pork with honeyed pears, roast pumpkin and potatoes, green beans and sauteed zucchini.  It was really good.  I took Harry over for the visit, he was very well behaved.

The sampler below is Mum's latest finish.  Isn't it fabulous?

We weren't sure which way was up but it looks good any way you look at it.

The sampler above which is called The Token was made by Mum a year or so ago.  Mum and Dad's wedding date and initials are embroidered on it, I really love it and I kidnapped it when they were on holidays a couple of years ago and it has been on my wall since then.  I will be very sad to see it go when Mum decides to reclaim it.  It's so beautifully stitched and such a lot of work.

After lunch Mum and I worked on our crochet projects for a while then it was time to go home.   It's always nice when we get to do some stitching together.

Happy stitching


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Scrappy Star Quilt

Not much sewing this week so I thought I'd show a couple of my collections.I love my pink depression glass collection.  The pink glass  isn't easy to find so its always exciting to get a new piece.

I wanted to change the quilt on my quilt hanger.   But first I had to remove everything off my sideboard and then dust.  Then rearrange and put away some of my things.  I keep telling myself I need to downsize but then I'll see something that I can't live without and my  collections end up a bit crowded.  It sure looks nice when its dusted. 

I love the scrappy reds and creams in this quilt.  Scrappy quilts are definitely my favourites.  Need to stop buying full fabric ranges cause quilts in one range aren't the quilts I like to make.....Need to stop buying fabric altogether.  One day.

I also can't resist a cruet set.  I'm partial to any cut glass or crystal and I've got a few of these now.  They remind me of having dinner at my Grandparents house when I was a young girl.  My Grandmother had a little dish with salt and a tiny little spoon to use with the salt, a very novel idea.  Then there was the dish of butter curls, haven't seen them for a long time.  Does anyone curl butter any more?
I have some of my seed beads stored in the little shakers.   Aren't they cute?
Some more progress on my crocheted hexagons.  I think I've got about 5 more rows to do.  It seems to have taken more time to make than my granny square rug.  Its still fun though.

I did get a start on my first applique border for my jubilee quilt.  Might manage a photo next time. 

Bye for now