Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

This is the first post I've done using my iPad for photo taking and writing post.  If it works out it'll sure make it a lot easier to post more often.
So Christmas is over but I thought I'd share a few pics of my Xmas decorating.  I was very pleased with my decorating this year, the house looks very Christmassy even though my children are the only ones to see it!
We spent Christmas Day at my parents house, we had a lovely lunch, thanks Mum.x

I'm on holidays at the moment which is nice since the lead up to Christmas was fairly stressful at work.  This year is going to be a big year of change for me, I'll be trying hard to be positive.

After sharing the family home with my estranged husband for 3 years he is moving out in a couple of weeks.  Bit scary but at least I'll have Jack around for a while longer, don't think he's going to leave home for a couple of years.

The positive is I'll have more space for my creative endeavours.  The negative is I need to find another job which means less time to be creative!  I guess it will all work out eventually.

I have 2 weeks to sort myself out, find some space in my sewing room and get moving!  Here's to a happy productive new year for everybody.

Happy Stitching


Thursday, 24 October 2013

My Creative Slump

 I've been in a creative slump for the last few weeks.  I've spent many hours looking for inspiration (time wasting).  I did finish sewing the blocks together for my Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt top.  I can add it to the pile of tops waiting to be quilted.

After spending a few weeks struggling with the blocks for the Orca Bay quilt I'd started, I finally decided that it needed to be put away again.  I've seen many photos of finished Orca Bays on Bonnie Hunter's Facebook feed.  They look really fabulous but I found mine just wasn't going well.  I was getting very frustrated and realised I wasn't enjoying the piecing at all.  An eighth of an inch can seem huge when your triangles aren't matching up like they're supposed to.  I eventually decided that if it was making me unhappy it just wasn't worth working on at the moment.   It made me doubt my abilities and question why I was bothering to sew anything at all.

Once my anxiety took over I found it really hard to focus on any quilt related activity.  I guess thats the down side of not belonging to a quilt group any more, I did enjoy the inspiration I got from stitching with friends.

I have decided to start a new quilt and this churn dash is my first trial block.  I have a gorgeous quilt pinned on my pinterest board thats a churn dash in pinks/reds/oranges I love the colour combo so I'll see how it goes.  I didn't want anything with too many triangles, I'm all triangled out at the moment!
 The last couple of weeks we've had a few visits from these lovely ducks.  I don't know how long ducks live but we've had a couple that have visited us over about the last ten years.  Living next to the wetlands its not such a strange occurrence to have ducks around, they are lovely birds and they do enjoy a swim in the pool.
This was too funny, Ruby sat next to the pool for about 20 minutes absolutely fascinated with the ducks.  I was sure I was going to have to fish her out at some stage, she did get a bit too close to the edge but the ducks weren't worried.  We have been having some very extreme weather lately, terrible winds for days at a time, a day over 30 when its not summer yet and then this week it has been very wintery, cold and raining a lot.  At least we haven't had the dreadful weather they've been having in N.S.W.  It's hard to believe they've had such terrible bush fires this early in the season.

Hopefully next post I'll have some progress to share, progress on anything would be nice.

Happy Stitching,


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Spontaneous outing and making room in the quilt cupboard.

 This quilt was one of my first quilts I learnt to make in a class.  It was way back in the mid 90s at a Quilt shop called Quilters Quarters.  This was when country decorating was very popular and this quilt lived on my wall for quite a few years.  It had been hiding out in my quilt cupboard until last week when prompted by our craft themed window at work I decided it was time for it to go.  I found another small quilt that also was an early class piece and took it into the op shop as well.  I donated quite a few ufo's which to start with I wasn't sure if I wanted to part with but after a second look I realised their time had come.  I was very pleased that everything I put in the window found a new home, it's nice to think someone else will find a use for them.
 Recently I've been working on these Ohio star blocks, here's how many I've made so far.  I like the contrast of the black, white and red.  I'm not going to make the quilt as big as the pattern, i'm over little hourglass blocks for the moment.
On Sunday I had a message from a friend in the morning suggesting a spontaneous trip to the country to visit a patchwork shop we'd been wanting to visit for ages.  I like the idea of spontaneity  but I'm not really good at it.  However it didn't take too long for me to ditch my plans for the day and set off.

It was a lovely spring day and we had a very pleasant drive to Ballan to visit Mill Rose Cottage.  We headed straight to the adjoining cafe for a very nice  lunch then  on to what could only be described as quilters heaven.  I'm very glad my fabric addiction is mostly under control, the fabric range was huge but it wasn't just a great range of fabrics there were lots of books and wool and interesting notions as well.  As you can see I came home with a variety of goodies, there's no point driving all the way there and not showing them some support is there?

I first saw the lovely crochet scarf at the shops' stand at the Quilt Convention in Melbourne 2 years ago.   I couldn't resist any longer and as you can see I started crocheting it Sunday night.  I am finding the instructions a tiny bit challenging, I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually.  Some lovely wool fabrics, a couple of threads, needles only one piece of cotton fabric and a patchwork book completed my haul.

On the home front it was Jacks birthday last week and this week it's my Mums turn.  Aleisha has gone to Thailand for 12 days with some friends to celebrate her 21st birthday that was in August.  It's Aleisha's first overseas holiday I'm sure she's having a great time.  Jack is housesitting for his sister so I'm in for another couple of quiet weeks at home.  No excuses for not getting stuck into some projects!

Till next time Happy Stitching


Sunday, 8 September 2013

String piece finish.

 It's so nice to finish something, here's Harry modelling my latest finish!  Day or night he's on call for any photographic work whether he's asked or not.  I free motion quilted this on my machine, not very well but at least its finished.  The backing was given to me by a friend and is a great match for the front I think.  I found the binding in my stash and really like the contrast of the black with all the brights.  Very satisfying to use some of my stash too.

Here's a better photo of the quilt.  I really love making string quilts and want to start another one soon.  I've got heaps more strings waiting to be used too.

Today was very exciting, I bought myself a new laptop cause I was so fed up with my old one not working properly.  Now I'll be able to get back to more regular posts I hope.

I've had another major reorganisation of my sewing room, this time I took some of my fabric storage out and bought myself a new desk to make more working space, its really great now.  My biggest challenge now is which project to work on first.  I'm still hand quilting my Pink Lemonade quilt, I don't think I'll ever get it finished but I'll keep working on it anyway.

Happy stitching,


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

What I've been up to....

Hi there, here's a snapshot of some of the things that I've been doing since my last post.  I think I've mentioned before that I've started an online art journalling course.  21 Secrets has 21 teachers each teaching a class that can be done in your own time and any order you wish.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to share my work cause I'm no artist more of a wannabe but I'm really enjoying what I've done so far.  This is the front page of my journal and it is one of the activities in a watercolour class with Tammy Garcia.  I really enjoyed the class, I love painting with watercolours though they are harder to use than I first thought.  I did improve as I did each exercise, I nearly gave up after the first one cause I found it very challenging.  I had forgotten what it's like to be a beginner learning new skills.

I'm still having problems with my laptop for the life of me I have no idea what I'm doing wrong.  It's the reason I haven't been posting more regulary it's very frustrating.

As you can see Harry's not letting the stress get to him, relaxing is his specialty.  If only he was so relaxed about getting his hair cut!

I survived the four weeks that Jack was away, it was very quiet but I made the most of my time.  It's great to have him home again even if it now means we are sharing my car.  While Jack was away I had to take the photos of my quilts as best as I could.  I'm really loving the cake stand quilt though I haven't made any more progress on that one at the moment.  I've got the centre of the Flowering Vines quilt sewn together just need to put the borders on next.

I've been doing some more decluttering with mixed results.  My priorities have changed and I would rather make space for my art supplies and find a space where I can work.  I've found it quite difficult to part with some of my collections and books and things but in a way it's a relief as well.  I'll never be living in a minimalist house but it was time to let go of my country style decor.  Another reason for getting rid of my excess stuff is that Aleisha will be moving back home for a couple of weeks.  Finding room for her and all her things is going to be quite a challenge, the next couple of weeks should be lively if nothing else.  I'm going to her place tomorrow to help her with her packing wish me luck!

Happy Stitching till next time,


Thursday, 11 July 2013

Medallion Quilt update.

More technical issues with my laptop tonight, I have the photos loaded but the words have a mind of their own.  I have no control over where they're going but I think the photos are fairly self explanatory anyway. 

The next round on my medallion that I've done since the workshop with Gwen Marston is the pink and red half square triangles.  Remembering that this is being made without a lot of the rules and regualtions of what you can and can not do, I was pretty happy with it.  I think this is going to make much more interesting quilts - that's my story anyway.

For the next round I considered a few different colour options.  I think the only downside with making a quilt border by border is that the options are endless and each decision is going to make the outcome completely different.  I really liked all the options but in the end decided I just better choose one fabric and get on with it.  I am concerned about getting wobbly edges so I think the whole fabric borders will help control the wobbles.  I haven't made up my mind what to do for the next border, Different triangles, a row of strings or 2" squares....

I have stitched together the cake stand blocks and will add a border of half square triangles to finish it off.  I'll post a photo when I've pressed the seams.  I've also been doing a bit of hand quilting on my pink lemonade quilt.  There's nothing like having plenty of projects to keep you going.

Till next time, Happy Stitching


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Gwen Marston Workshop.

 I had a really lovely day today at a workshop with Gwen Marston hosted by Amitie Textiles.  I have been looking forward to this day for months and it was just as good as I hoped it would be.  This quilt is on the cover of Gwen's book Liberated Medallion Quilts, it was fabulous to see it in person.  Gwen gave us a detailed description of her designing process which was a lot of fun.  Her ideas on quiltmaking ensure that her quilts are full of interest with plenty of colour and inspiration.  Quilt police watch out!!  Some lessons I need to remember when my inner critic starts nagging.  A great reminder that quilting is supposed to be an enjoyable process not adding to your stress levels.
I was very fortunate to be seated on a table with some other enthusiastic ladies. Marie, Myself, Barb and Heather with the beginnings of our medallion quilts.  It was such a great group of quilters and such a large variety of quilts being made incorporating Gwens liberated style.  At the end of the day we had show and tell with the progress everyone had made, 20 quilts all completely individual it was really inspiring to see them all.  I did take photos but I'm having some challenges downloading the photos so for the moment this will have to do.
Here is Gwen with my centre block, I'm looking forward to adding some more borders and seeing where this adventure takes me.

Jack has been in Los Angelos for 10 days now, only another 22 days to go.  Yes I'm counting down the days till he comes home.  Thanks to the internet we have been messaging each other but I am missing our daily chats.  Home is very quiet without him.  Lucky I have plenty to keep me busy while he's gone.  I have been gathering supplies for an art journalling course I'm doing online.  I've been doing a bit of playing around with paints etc. so far I've done a couple of classes.  Its quite challenging to go back to being a beginner and learning new skills, it is fun too.  I've discovered art supplies are just as appealing as fabric and there seems to be an endless list of supplies to try out.

Thats it for now, Happy Stitching.


Sunday, 2 June 2013

Cake Stand Blocks

 Twenty nine cake stand blocks, 3 more to go.  I was fed up with the design boards being stuck on my wardrobe doors, they didn't work very well to see a whole quilt up on the wall.  I've moved them onto the wall in the hallway, still not an ideal solution but at least I can get all the blocks up together.  It does make it very hard to take photos though cause there's not much space for photo taking. 

The blocks certainly brighten up the hallway, ideally a large freestanding board would be best for a design wall but for now this is going to have to do.  Its been fun using my old florals, there's a couple of new fabrics in there but mostly they are oldies.  Now I need to cut the setting triangles out, mostly pinks I think.

Till next time Happy Stitching,


Monday, 13 May 2013

New blocks

I've been working on a new project during the last couple of weeks.  This is my first batch of basket blocks, its the cake  stand block and it is a quilt that I've always loved and wanted to make.  The quilt that has inspired my version is from a book by Roberta Horton called Scrap Quilts The Art of Making Do.  I've had the book for years and its a great source of inspiration. I love Roberta's quilts.  I was reminded a few weeks ago of this quilt by a discussion on Kathie of Inspired by Antique Quilts blog.here. Kathie had a picture of the cake stand quilt on her notice board the quilt is called Cake Crumbs by George Taylor. Since I was cutting up my old fabrics for scraps I decided to have a go at the block. 

I have been cutting the triangles for the block using my go cutter which has been working out really well.  I don't think my way of cutting the fabrics for the blocks has been any quicker than any other way but the accuracy is a lot better.  The inspiration quilt has an interesting mix of fabrics, a lot of pale pinks and washed out colours with some bold prints mixed in.  Some of the blocks are high contrast and a few are very low contrast.  I decided it would be perfect for using up some of my old florals that I've been hoarding for years.  So even though I think these blocks have been quite time consuming to make I have enjoyed the process of choosing the backgrounds and the baskets, its been like visiting with old friends. 

I've finished the first part of my applique border for my Jubilee Quilt.  I'm glad I didn't change the size of the letters or numbers I'm really pleased with how its turned out.  The challenge now is to decide what to do for the next side!
I had intended to make this border the bottom of the quilt but when I pinned it on I pinned it the wrong side round, so now its the top.  Good thing its not going to make any difference.
I hadn't realised that my border was a bit too long so my flower has ended up right on the edge, this really has been a learning experience.  I like to believe there's no such thing as a mistake in quilting just a design opportunity!
Happy Stitching,


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Joys of Machine Quilting.

Its been a while since I've posted somehow I keep running out of time.  Jack has taken over my laptop for his uni studies since his is playing up.  I mostly use my ipad now but I've never done a blog post using it and I haven't figured out how to put my photos on it yet either.  As I've mentioned before I'm not very good with technology so it all seems a bit overwhelming at times.  Not to mention time consuming.  I lost hours today trying to figure out a couple of my technical hitches and didn't get anything figured out and might have deleted one of my favourite blogs from my reader account!

This is the quilt that has had me questioning my quilting abilities.  I mentioned in my last post that its been basted for 2 years and I couldn't figure out how I wanted to quilt it.  Well I thought I'd figured it out so I machine quilted diagonal lines through the blocks and double straight lines through the block centres.  I hated doing the machine quilting I think stitching straight lines is a lot harder than doing free motion quilting.  I'm not overly happy with how it turned out (I've photographed its good side).  I ended up with a couple of nasty pleats in a couple of the blocks.  I haven't put the binding on yet but when it is finished I think I'm going to try washing it and putting it in the clothes dryer so at least all my quilting might look wrinkled.  I need this quilt finished I don't want to spend any more time on it.  Now I'm thinking maybe I should have tried to fmq it, it probably would have turned out better.
 I added the left over strips across the middle of the backing.  The fabric is called Chelsea Boutique from Blackbird Designs, its a few years old now.  The pattern was from an Ankas Treasures book.  It turned out quite well but its not really the type of quilt I would usually make.  Can you tell I've spent too much time obsessing over this one?
The reorganising of my sewing room is coming along slowly.  I did rearrange my fabric and got rid of a few pieces.  I cleared the floor of boxes but within days they were back in there.  Quite a lot of my storage containers have crept into my very small bedroom.  I got Jack to help me get the storage boxes out from under my bed as I was sure I could move some of them out and put some of my excess fabric boxes under there.  Seventeen containers under my bed!!  And worse than that there were only about 4 I wanted to get rid of.  I'm expecting a visit from the producers of Hoarders any day now :)

My laptop is  misbehaving so I think I better stop before I lose everything.

Bye for now


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Slow Progress.

 Hi there, I have been making progress on a few of my projects.  I finally got my Scrappy Trips laid out.  I've made more blocks than I'll need but any extras will be great for the backing. 
On the weekend I finally got my sewing table sorted out so that I could start machine quilting a quilt.  This quilt has been basted for about 2 years.  I just couldn't decide how it needed to be quilted.  I think I've figured it out, diagonal lines and maybe double horizontal lines.  It's not the type of quilting I enjoy doing, I'd rather be doing free motion but I don't think it will suit this design.  If I ever get it finished I'll take a photo.  
As we all know the minute a quilt comes out so do the cats.  I'd only done one row of stitching when Ruby plonked herself in the middle of the quilt putting an end to any more quilting for the night.
I've been making slow progress on my Jubilee quilt.  I'm up to the applique border but its taken me ages to decide what I was doing with it.  I'm appliquing my initials on one side of the vase and the year will be on the other.  I'm not sure if the initials are too big.  I think I might have to shrink them down a bit.  Applique seemed like a good idea but it's taken me a very long time to get my ideas sorted out.
These photos were taken in the shade, it's been hot here again.  The colour is a bit washed out.  This is the longest summer ever, we've nearly had 1 month of Autumn and the heat just hasn't stopped.  We have some cooler weather forcast for the end of the week, I can't wait.

Happy Stitching


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

A Tale of a Dogs Sad Tail and an Applique finish

 Have you ever seen such a sad tail?  The last couple of times I've taken Harry to the Dog Groomers he has been so distressed that Jill has been unable to do anything with him.  I have spent the last 6 months trying to keep his coat under control, and not doing a great job.  Cutting his coat with a small pair of scissors is very time consuming and his ears and his tail were in a very sad state.  His face was very shaggy and overgrown.  We decided to try Jill coming here and doing some clipping slowly,  hoping he will get over his anxiety.  The first week Jill came and clipped the hair back on his face so he can see again and he looks heaps better.  This week Jill came and tackled Harry's ears and his tail, they had to be cut right back.  His tail looks so funny but it's still working just fine.  Another couple of weeks and the rest of his coat will be done.  He'll be a new dog :)
We are in the middle of a heat wave.  It seems like we have had weeks of days over 30 degrees.  I'm so over the heat but there are still another 5 days or so to go.  Despite the heat I've managed to do a little bit of stitching.  I have finally finished the applique on my Flowering Vines quilt.  I can't remember exactly when I started this but I think it's about 6 years ago.
The colours are a lot more vibrant in real life.  I haven't done the strip piecing that goes in between the flower blocks, I've started cutting the strips and might get a start on them on the weekend.  You know how I love me some string piecing, I just hope it all fits together in the end.
 Some closeups of a couple of the blocks.  I would do things a bit differently now than when I started this top.  The background fabric in the 4 vine strips is not a very good quality, back then I didn't really think too much about the backgrounds.  Now when I know how much time and work
 has gone into the applique I think it's important to use good quality fabrics.  We're always learning right? 
Here you can see the back of one of my blocks.  I used the back basting method which worked okay but it was quite time consuming and I wouldn't do that again either.  I enjoy needleturn applique but when I started my stitches were way too small, can you see how small they are?  I couldn't work out why I was so slow, I'm still not speedy but I've improved.
I was very lucky last week to win a prize from Lori at Humble Quilts, some pieces of woollen fabric.  They arrived today they will add nicely to my stash.  Thanks Lori, I do like working with wool.

I'm itching to reorganise my fabric stash again.  It's always fun to rediscover what's in there.  At the moment I'm storing fabrics from ranges together and my favourite designers together.  I don't really like making quilts that just use one range, so I'm thinking I need to just sort my fabrics into colour families instead.  I think being able to see at a glance how much of each colour I have will be a good way of resisting the urge to buy more.  Any thoughts?

Till next time. Happy Stitching,


Monday, 25 February 2013

Needlecase finish

 Hi there, here's a photo of the needlecase I just finished, it has been sitting in the too hard basket for a long time.  I started the embroidery in 2007, helps when the date is included in the design.  I might have mentioned before that I made one of these for a friend, hers turned out really well.  When I went to make one for myself however it didn't go well at all.  Somehow when I transferred the embroidery design onto the fabric it was off the straight of the grain, didn't think a lot about it till it came time to stitch it onto the needlecase cover.  It was crooked of course, it looked terrible.  I didn't take a photo it was very distressing.  The pattern called for tiny prairie points along the top and bottom edge, they looked terrible.  Some of the raw edges didn't catch in the seam and a couple were wonky.  That was about the time it got ditched.

It stayed in a basket with other ufos and for the last couple of summer holidays I've got it out and  considered finishing it.  Then it would go back cause I just couldn't come up with an acceptable solution.  Till a few weeks ago when I decided to have another go.  I unpicked the top and ditched the prairie points.  Because the embroidery was crooked I stitched the ric rac around the edges to cover them up.  Then sewed the buttons in the corners to cover the ric rac corners.  I'm really pleased to have it finished and will be happy to use it now.

My mother has a bit of a scissor obsession and I've been the lucky recipient of all those lovely little scissors with the little embroidered fobs - all made by her. 
We're both partial to pink as you can see. 

So my finishes so far are 3 pincushions in January, the needlecase in February, maybe a quilt by the end of March?  I haven't been doing a lot the last couple of weeks, its been so hot I struggle to stay motivated.  We've had 2 weeks of 30+ weather, I've had enough.  It has been raining a tiny bit tonight but I'm sure all it's going to do is increase the humidity.

I had some trouble loading the photos on tonight so I hope they are clear enough.  I'm not going to push my luck any further tonight.

Happy Stitching


Thursday, 7 February 2013

3 Finishes for 2013!!

Hi there,
3 Digby Dog pincushions, its a start right?  I decided I needed to make something quick and easy.  I've got a lot of these Hatched and Patched pincushion patterns, they are all very cute and fun to make. I have been wanting to make one for myself for a while and I thought if I'm making one I might as well make a couple more at the same time.  My Digby is top left I've given the other 2 to my stitching friends.

I've pulled out a couple of other small long term projects that need to be finished up this year.  Next post I'll show you the next one I've dug out of the too hard basket.

I've had a couple of days home alone this week which has given me a chance to do a bit more reorganising.  I had plans to sew today but reorganised my scrapbooking supplies instead, so much stuff so little time!  My things are sorted better but the kitchen table isn't any neater.

I am trying to downsize in order to be ready for moving in the future.  It does not come easy thats for sure.  Its hard when one phase of your life ends and the future is uncertain.  I have avoided making life decisions for so many years I'm finding it very hard to start now.  Working at an op shop doesn't make it any easier either, I've been busy taking donations to work but it hasn't stopped me bringing home other things. I guess it will work out in the end.
I'm still working on my Scrappy Trip blocks, I'm wondering if I should cut down the size of the quilt cause I think its going to be a bit bigger than I can handle easily.  I can always put any extra blocks on the back.  I would like to make another one with some of my newer brighter fabrics after seeing some of the lovely ones that have been appearing in blogland.

I had a go at making a pineapple block, another in the long list of quilts I would like to make.  I bought a ruler and book online after seeing an episode of the quilt show with Gyleen Fitzgerald.  Gyleen designed the ruler and it was fun playing around with it.  I just used some of my scrap 11/2" strips but I want to do some blocks with better contrast to get the real effect of the pineapple block.

No time to be bored thats for sure,

Happy Stitching


Sunday, 20 January 2013

A glimpse of Easy Street

 Here is a photo of the lovely canvas work picture that my Mum made for me for my 50th birthday.  The colours are much richer in real life.  I had no idea that she was making this and I really love it.
 I have finished the blocks for my Easy Street quilt.  I laid them out today to pin them for stitching together.  I'm glad I decided to do the 9 blocks instead of 16.  If I add a border I will still want to be able to quilt it myself.  I like how the top is looking so far, I need to start looking in my stash for a suitable border fabric. I was disappointed I missed the deadline for the last link up on Bonnies blog, there are some really gorgeous versions on the link up.click here to see the link ups for Easy Street.

  I'm back at work now, those 3 weeks flew by way too fast. 

I realised that it is over a year since I've done any machine quilting, mainly because I have a quilt basted that I just couldn't figure out how I wanted to quilt it.  I seem to have a lot of projects that come to a halt when I get stuck.  I'm hoping this year I might get a few of these projects finished.  I was disappointed that I didn't finish my Jubilee quilt in time for my birthday.  That is another quilt that came to a halt cause I couldn't decide on the applique borders.  I'm tempted to forget about the applique and do a pieced border.  My main problem is that although I can envision what I want to draw I have no artistic ability.  I've spent many hours trying to draw the shapes I want and searching the web for help.  I think it is time to admit defeat and give up on cats and dogs frolicking through a vine and just have a vine and a flower or two.  Time to get on with it!
I haven't been able to lay out my Scrappy Trip around the World blocks for a while, my design wall has size limitations.  Here it is on a queen size bed, I think I need 13 more blocks to finish it.  I pinned a whole heap of them together last night so I'll be able to keep working on these too.

Till next time,

Happy Stitching