Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Spoilt by Father Christmas

My Christmas day was a fun and busy one. We had a family get together at our house, everyone brings a plate or two, bathers and a towel, esky with drinks and a few present goodies. It is so much fun trading, eating and chatting. This year saw the temperature at about 32 degrees celsius with a 2pm sea breeze. I did not have the heart to put the air conditioner on especially with the pool not far away. We all found our cool and comfy spot and there we relaxed.
However before the visitors arrived we had our own present unwrapping and for a week I have been staring at a rather large box from my husband under the tree. My very naughty girlfriend did lift it and told me it was heavy, I was not game to touch it in case I got caught. At last the day came. Now as I have two Part Time working boys - who have had a ball shopping with their own money buying gifts for us all and my youngest using my gift budget, this large box had to wait until last. My kids put a lot of thought into their gifts and they were practical and well suited to each of us. It was so nice to see their faces when they handed over the bundles and how much we loved the contents.
Hubby already had and knew what his gift was, I have no idea about diving gear and as that was what he wanted I left the choosing up to him. It has been sitting however, under the tree the past three weeks - now he can use it....
The large box to my great surprise was this :-
and this :-
and this :-

OMG right. I thought I had a long list of projects lined up, now it has just gone to infinity and beyond. I did think about canceling the family coming over so I could get started but I was and still am so overwhelmed that it was safer to wait a few days before I get started. I had no idea - a complete surprise. My darling husband  ordered it of the internet and intercepted the courier at the depot, so I didn't see the box. I am almost ready to brave my craft room where it is set up and have a little fiddle, I am an instructions reader and as there isn't a very big instruction book I have been scouring the internet every spare moment to learn any tips and tricks. Deep breath. Here goes........

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

How's it Hanging?

Don't you just love Christmas? It is my favourite time of year. On the 1st of November all of my year round pictures and hangings come down and all of my Christmas things go up. On the 1st of December the tree and the rest of the decorations go up. I love the change the house undergoes in this period. I have had a couple of Christmas finishes this year so we had to find new places to hang them. So here is a run down of what is hanging in my house.

 My husband made me this quilt rail and shelf. I love it and have put in a request for number 2....

A Teddlywinks design

 These 2 are Nancy Halvorsen panels. I really enjoy hand quilting these very simply and just adding borders. I do other more complex projects so these are nice and easy. Non sewers seem to like to start on these. Then they get hooked.

The Reindeer Pause and You Better Not Pout are also Nancy Halvorsen designs from her books. I also used her fabric range. These were my first attempts at blanket stitch in about 20 years. So this was a big step at the time. Sad to say it took me along time to finish however my excuse at the time was that I was juggling work, kids, husband and sewing

 I found this one in a magazine years ago, and back then I didn't keep a record of where when how and why, it is a cutey though

 Yet another Nancy Halvorsen. I love her stuff. I have 2 more panels ready to be hand quilted, they could be awhile off. And of course Tis the Season by Anni Downs has been placed on the to be completed for 2012 list.
The table runner you have seen in a previous post.
Of course I am sure that more projects will present themselves for future Xmas's. I believe as Christmas comes every year, I can't go wrong with " The more the merrier " attitude.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Teachers Pressie

My 10 year old daughter has had a good year at school, her teacher has been lovely and although I hate to say it, sometimes this is not the case. Teachers have a hard job....... Need I say more. Anyway I am ashamed to say that I had completely forgotten her gift. My theme this year for our family gifts is mug rugs, as you may have read. I like the idea of mug rugs, we all have our tea / coffee as a breather - some of us have to have it on the go. It is nice to think that when you have this mind saving beverage that a little rug, a nice cup and a couple of biscuits adds to the moment.
So pedal to the metal............ I am so pleased with how it turned out. I did not have time to think and rethink as I usually do. I pulled the fabrics, found a pattern and set too. The pattern had never been tried before. I usually like to test a pattern before I make it as a gift. Sigh of relief. It is a Chandlers Cottage - Chinese Treasure Purse www.chandlerscottage.com . I bought it as a kit about 8 years ago and have never made it up - and now I will. It is on my things to do list. We buy, we have intentions, we buy...........

This is the mug rug.

The bag and bag base, I like the pin wheel effect. I also placed a plastic bag base on the inside of the bag. It is removable.

And finally the whole package.

I had to take the pictures by the pool, the only good light for photo's. Perth has been seeing some really unusual weather and yesterday saw fantastic cloud formations and colour as well as the most spectacular lightning show and 40mm of rain in 30 minutes. This makes it our wettest December in 65 years.
Only 2 mug rugs left that need binding with a few days to spare.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

What's In My Basket.

My sewing room also doubles as a guest room, so when we have visitors stay I shut down my sewing and move my table to allow bed and bits in. The down side is I am unable to access my machine and fabrics, the upside is I set up my basket and put in all the little hand sewing projects that need to be finished. Usually these are not in one place so they get forgotten. So in the lead up to the arrival of guests, I sought through my room putting bits away and give it a clean. When the guests leave I have a lovely clean slate to fill with my "creativity". In my house a messy sewing room is labelled "Creative". So back to my basket. Now just because I put things in my basket doesn't mean I get it all finished, wishful thinking.....

Yes it is pretty full, and the sad thing is I could have added a heap more.

Bindings for Mug Rugs - Xmas pressies....... Before my visitors arrived I was madly sewing on the last of my bindings at the machine.
Ready to hand stitch
Ready to machine stitch

Tis the Season stitcheries. I had hoped to have these finished for Christmas, but I am not too bothered if I don't. I did finish two other hangings so this could be a nice new one for next year.

These are some blocks from Teddy Tea Party by Teddlywinks. This project has been going on for about 3 years, I think this is a good one for me to finish in 2012. 

Heaps of hexagons as always. Progress has been good on this project. I thought this would be a long term, however I seem to be cruising quite nicely at the moment.
I had enough fabrics leftover from the mug rugs to make a table runner for my dining table. Our table is a 12 seater, so table runners seem like small quilts when putting them together. This runner and the 30 mug rugs were made out of two Jelly Rolls. I then purchased plain colored and white homespun for borders and binding. I couldn't decide which color binding to use on the runner so as you can see I used them all.  

I have just realised that I have not made a gift for my daughters teacher so I will have to jump to that, 5 days until school breakup - nothing like a deadline. We have had a good year with this particular teacher and I would like to make something extra special. I also make my Nanna's dresses and they have been bumped up the priority list. So the few bits I have put on the back burner will be nice to finish off in the new year. Boy that sounds weird. Christmas - not far away.......

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Computer Issues and Sewing........

Boy have I had issues with blogger. Can I get on? or not. Can I read others? or not. It has been a great source of frustration. I love reading what others are up to and also post what I am doing and at the time little things I have done I want to share and of course now the moment has passed. So moving on.
I have started making my Xmas Pressies for the family, Mug rugs. I saw the pattern on this blog http://www.ryanwalshquilts.com/2010/11/dresden-wedges-mug-rug-tutorial-bliss.htm and loved the idea. I purchased a couple of jelly rolls in Xmas fabrics and "started" I have just recently found border and binding fabrics and will finish them off. Then it will be a matter of finding cute Xmas mugs.........

 Don't you just love a rotary cutting mat.
The best part has been the left overs, I have enough for a long table runner. I was going to post a progress photo on the runner but thought I would just do a big finish :)

My Vignette hexagon quilt is coming along nicely. I have just finished 26 more flowers and am a little over half ways there. Yay 66 flowers finished. I have "pappered" up another 50 and will start sewing again soon. Just not enough hours in and evening. Plus we are in school, holidays at the moment so there is less waiting for kids at bus stations and school so my tag along project has slowed.
 This colourway hexagons have been removed from the quilt. There were just too many of the same so I have decided to make a table runner with them.

I have also been stitching up a storm with the Tis the Season blocks. I was unable to join the stitch along blog http://chookyblue.blogspot.com/ has been hosting but have been following it very closely. The difference in the quilts has been fun to watch. I started a little later than the blog and did not have Chooky's whip at my heals but am still planning to hang it in November / December this year.

I have also finished the first stage of a Christmas panel advent calender. I will confess I started hand quilting it about 4 years ago and have finally got it too a point where I wanted to finish it with machine quilting. I like to quilt around parts of the print with a silk thread but not over embellish ( for me, I like it simple )

 I backstitch over any writing and then put it together as per normal. I have completed a few panels this way now and enjoy the process.

 I still have the advent hangers to complete, but I will be doing it my own way as I am not sure I like the way the designer has done it. I am just fine tuning my idea before I start them. The little goodies hang from buttons on the tree
Buttons not on tree yet
Heaps more bits to post but photo downloading is now playing up for me...... My patience is wearing thin so I think I will have to return to my sewing to calm down.... I hope I have posted the links correctly, I am still learning about blog posting.
I think it is time to get Hubby to look at my computer. It has been playing up heaps lately and has just dropped my photo downloading program for my camera. I know i'm not completely computer literate however I did not delete it. We installed an upgrade a little while ago and that is when things started going down hill. I just hate parting with my laptop long enough for Hubby to do his bit, :)
We are in the middle of school holidays and today is a particularly stunning sunny day, I think sewing in the sunshine is in order...........

Monday, 15 August 2011

A Sad Day.

September three years ago a tiny little addition entered our house, a guinea pig who we called Smokey Joe. Hubby and I were looking around a pet shop this day, and were looking in the pens - the rabbits and guinea pigs all ran to the other the side of their hutches except for this little grey fuzz, of course hubby picks him up and carries him around and Smokey just fell asleep in his hand.
This little bundle became a very big part of our lives, He liked to sit on polar fleece and watch TV. He sat on our laps and if we dared stop patting him he would nudge our hands to keep going. Every time I bought shopping home in plastic bags he would squeak for something out of them. Every time we would open the fridge door he would squeak. When anybody came home from school or work he would hang out his cage until you said hello and gave him a rub. And of course when he liked his rub he would purr like a cat.
He travelled the Nullabour with my husband and oldest when we moved from Melbourne to Perth and thoroughly enjoyed his car trip to Sydney.
His favorite foods were continental cucumber, baby spinach and beetroot leaves and the tops of dutch carrots.
He would snuggle his head into your dressing gown roll over and go to sleep. He loved to play in the long grass before we mowed it and loved to follow the kids around the house, and when he had had enough he would head back up the ramp into his hutch.

Last week he became ill and was diagnosed as having a stone in his urine tract. Although the surgery was successful and Smokey awoke afterwards, he did not recover as well as expected.
To us he was no ordinary guinea pig.
We will miss him very much.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Turning 40 and a Trip to Melbourne.

The last couple of weeks has been a whirlwind of activities. The kids had their 2 weeks holidays. Hubby turned 40. We had a small party for his birthday and I got to dust off a few favourite recipes and spent the week cooking. It has been a while since I have "catered" and had forgot how much fun it is to choose recipes, shop and cook. I also got to try out my new double oven, I certainly put it through it's paces and it came up trumps.
Finally My youngest and I flew to Melbourne for a few days. She is a blooming crafty, definately a patchworker and since part of my trip was the Quilt and Craft show I knew she had to come. I stayed at my Mum's and got to spend some time with my sister and her family.
The craft show was full on. I find it very disappointing that a lot of the stalls don't make it to the Perth show. So I made it my goal to collect as many business cards as possible to have access to them online.
I also got to catch up with the staff at my old workplace, Patchwork with Gail B. As for shopping hmmmm, I did a bit as did my 10yr old.

Amber's purchases, she has a couple of projects on the go so chose accordingly.

This wool is called Can Can, I bought it from Wonderflex in Malvern. 1 ball makes 2 scarves so Mum and I went halves.

A curved piecing foot, it has been on my wish list for a while. Purchased from Punch with Judy. No pinning when sewing curved pieces ie. Drunkards Path. It is universal foot however I have a Bernina and had to buy the adaptor shank.

I have plans with these fat 1/8s from Gail B

Flannels to go with a previous purchase. Should make a big rag edge.........

How cute winking owls.

Tools and bits to finish projects.
I still forgot to buy fabric for my "Tis the Season" quilt. I will have to do that online now. There was so much more I could have bought but did draw the line. The suitcase is only so big. Can't wait to explore the websites of some of the business cards I picked up.
The flight home was an interesting one 120km head winds slow a plane down......... The pilot warned us our flight would be an extra 90mins but managed to bring us in with only and extra 60mins added to the normal flight time. However turbulence all the way and a very bumpy descend into Perth. Two thumbs up to the pilot, he constantly was updating our progress and gave us every assurance that we were ok. Normally you don't hear more than a few words from him.
 It is nice to have a little trip away but it is always nice to come home.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Blankies for Newbies

It has been a little while since I have made any of these, I came across these photo's the other day and thought I would share them. I love to give quilts as gifts but sometimes find that the receiver doesn't like to use them in case they spoil. A huge compliment. So I started making blankies. Easy to wash, dry and use. They are simply a piece of polar fleece and a piece of flannelette quilted together with no batting and a binding stitched around the edge. You could pillowcase and stitch a false binding but I like adding a little bit of hand sewing ( I love hand sewing the binding )
Becareful as you may end up getting orders as they are so practical.....

I always keep an eye out at the fabric shops for cute flannels and keep them on hand, you never know when a new bundle announcement will crop up. I like to start sewing straight away and not have to hit the shops first.......

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Getting Back on Track......

It has been a very long time since I last posted. As you will have read in an earlier post, I have been laid up with my back. It has taken a lot longer to ease up than I would have hoped and I must say my patience is wearing extremely thin. The first couple of weeks I learnt how to sew hexagons whilst flat on my back. It is amazing what you can do when pushed. The hexagons delayed the insanity.............I am taking a little break from them now. The itch will come again soon to pick up needle and thread. I have also been trying to catch up on house duties, The Hubby and Kids have done a great job but I have my ways and need to get things back on track.

That makes 43 to my total now. I also tried to do some stitchery, however that is much harder while lying down so that was not as successful.
Once I started sitting up, it was nice to have a change and managed to complete a couple of blocks for my Tis The Season wall hanging. I decided to omit the mittens block from the quilt and use the wreath for another little project.
They are side ways as they are hanging on my design wall...........

Auditioning the buttons, need to choose the borders.
 I enlarged the wreath out of the TTS and will border it and add some Nikki Tervo buttons to the centres. I used to belong to Nikki's button club, I am really pleased to be able to use the buttons. Nikki supplies a pattern with each set of buttons she sends you however I wanted something a little different for these.
I started a bag and mobile case for my bestie before my back went , and have just managed to finish them for her birthday. She wanted a simple bag for when they went away, and loved a Janelle Wind design that I had. It was nice to get back to my machine.

Pattern for Janelle Winds "Pieces of Me" book ( just have to add self covered button)

Mobile and camera cases form Janelles book.........
The camera case ended up to big for my camera, I made it to the pattern - the camera size given in the book is the same as mine and I followed the pattern to the letter ( not like me ), It will now end up a glasses case - I will make another camera case a little smaller  - all good.
Some of the sewing for these are very fiddly and I am sure my fingers get fatter when I try to sew fiddlies........
I stumbled across a little cheap trick awhile ago and it is now well used in my sewing room. I was reading about stillettos and their use and thought yay, I will get one however they were over $20 and nothing special. I continued using a crochet hook. One day when tidying my sewing room I came across a pack of cuticle sticks - if you saw my nails you would wonder why I had them. I put them in the little bin next to my sewing machine thinking that I would never use them.

The next day fiddlies came up........ My crochet hook was nowhere insight and out of the bin came the cuticle sticks. As the are wood when your needle hits them it doesn't do a lot of damage, it is still best to change your needle but it doesn't ten to break it.
They are also good when ironing small bits, you can hold the item with the stick rather than burning your fingers and being wood they don't heat up.
I am looking forward to a trip to Melbourne later this month and a visit to a craft show............A short trip but a goodie heheheh