Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I made this little lap quilt for mum last Christmas (2008). It was the first quilt I completely made by machine and was quilted in the ditch using my old 1980's Husqvarna without a walking foot. It was a nightmare to say the least and I was never truly satisfied with the outcome. I was embarrassed to give it but the material was so gorgeous it outshone the imperfection of my lumpy bumpy quilting. And of course, a mother being a mother said she loved it. The fabric is 'Paper Dolls' by Windham and it was the perfect choice for my mum who is a keen doll collector.
I've come a long way in a year having made several quilts since then and investing in some equipment and lessons that has made quilting far less stressful than this early attempt. So I asked for it back with a promise to 'fix it'.
Over the break I've un-picked it...which I must say was easier than I thought it was going to be, particularly with some of the stitching being quite tight in some sections. It's now in pieces.
I toyed with the notion of completely pulling it apart as the big 6" squares of which there are 36, lend themselves quite nicely to a disappearing 9 patch. But in the end I thought it best to stick with the original basic plan so I've left the top as is. I'm now going to re-assemble and use the walking and darning feet to re-do the quilting. Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Racing to the finish...

The Christmas hurly burly is almost over and we're packing to go to the shack down south for New Year's. As much as I'd love to take my sewing machine to fill in the slow summer days with some of my projects, it just won't be possible with the amount of 'stuff' we have to cram into the car. So I'm being very good and frantically trying to finish a UFO so that I have some hand stitching to do whilst I'm away. The chosen one? My one-a-day 9 patch from so long ago. I recall making my patches in record time and sitting right back on my laurels patting myself on the back with plenty of time to spare. Then I constructed the back and promptly popped it back in the cupboard. The upside of my 'slackness' is that dragging it out again today reminds me of the all the wonderful fabrics that have gone into this quilt. A legacy of just one year of quilting. It's very exciting....enough to enthuse me to create another scrap buster project with all the new left-overs in the scrap bin. Have a great New Year's everyone and hopefully finish off a few projects to start afresh in 2010!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas finish

I've finally finished the Pandemonium....or it's just or the other!
Vertical straightline quilting 2" apart with Ikea bird fabric on the back and scrappy black binding.
This one is going to my little sister for Christmas. Tick. I hope she enjoys lounging under it on her couch.
Here it is with the other black and white completed earlier and is also a Christmas gift.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


We've been quite productive this weekend managing to ice the Christmas cake, decorate the ginger bread house and bash out a cushion cover for Joe's great nephew to match the quilt made last week. There's still plenty on the Christmas work in progress sheet but we're getting there....except I keep sneaking other projects in....I'm driving myself crazy!

Construction begins!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sew & Sews do Christmas 09

Last night was our annual Sew & Sews Christmas catch-up. This year we met at Clare's and there were lot's of laughs and plenty of show and tell. I made mini Christmas Puddings and Donna Hay's hummous with caramalized onion dip from her new Christmas magazine. YUM!
Clare's been sewing up a storm starting new quilt tops, Christmas stockings for her kids and adorable soap bags for the girls. She even used plastic coated lining! Champion effort Clare.
I made pot holders inspired by these for each of the girls. They're roughly 9" square and randomly quilted. I loved how they turned out. And the best bit....all from the scrap box!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Feeling a little blue.....and red

I got home from interstate only to come down with a really bad cold. So needless to say I've been feeling a little blue lately.
Then during the week, Joe's sister called to ask us to her grandson's 2nd birthday on Sunday at 9.30am. (Crikey. Do these people sleep? Sunday at 9.30am, the morning after my work Christmas Dinner....I don't think so!)
I wanted to make the birthday boy a quilt but I didn't have a lot of 'boy' fabrics in my stash. However, with the addition of a few blues to my reds, whites and limited blues, I managed to eek out enough for a little red, white and blue maverick star quilt. It measures approx 122mm x 152mm (48" x60") Here is the inspiration.
Red, white and blue is charming. It's so crisp. No wonder Ralph Lauren uses it all the time. I loved making this quilt and will definitely make another for L. I can honestly say I like every single star block - no favourites. However, looking back I would have laid the blocks out differently. That's what you get for being in a rush. I turned this one around so quickly it didn't even make it to the 'WIP List' on my blog roll!
It's quilted on the diagonal (did I mention I was rushing to finish!). The binding is scrappy and used up the last of the blues I purchased. The backing is from Ikea and is the same colour as the denim blue on the front. Ikea fabrics are great - they're wide!It's now wrapped and with Joe's mum to deliver to the guest of honour tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I had to go to Sydney this weekend to organise a client's Christmas Party. I always find it rather amazing that he doesn't have anyone on staff that can do that but it seems he doesn't and he gets me to do it. Up until now he was in the Gold Coast but he recently transferred to Sydney. So when R found out I was heading to Sydney for a weekend she hatched a plan to come too and catch up with her 'old' friend C who moved there with her family 7 years ago. C and R met in day care when they were just months old. They were always together from 'babies' to 'kindy' and were so alike in so many ways....right down to turning up in the same dresses but in different colours! R hadn't seen C for 3 years and was so excited when I told her I'd bought her an airfare and that C wanted her to have a sleep over whilst I was working. I was a bit nervous about them meeting again. After all, they're 12 now and a lot changes in 3 years. But I needn't have worried. After the initial "oh my goodness, look how you've grown!" from the mums, the girls embraced and disappeared into C's room. They talked and talked and talked all weekend. They're exactly the same! Same clothes, same books, same interests, same everything. It's remarkable. It's wonderful. To be able to pick up after 3 years and still have so much in common is a blessing.
I eventually came up for air and was lucky enough to spend Sunday with the family. The girls, Margaret and I went for a walk for a bit of window shopping and along their local beach front. At the end of the beach is Bathers Pavilion, the renowned Sydney restaurant. Margaret explained that you can't book. We checked it out and it was only a ten minute wait for lunch. So we grabbed it. What a treat! And as Margaret rightly said, "if we'd planned it, it wouldn't have happened and we'd have been disappointed". So with a chink of the glasses..."here's to friendships and good fortune".

Monday, December 7, 2009

You know it's nearly Christmas....

...when the Lego Advent Calendars come out.
They've become a much anticipated ritual in our house these past few years with L even counting down the days to December 1 so he could open the box and get started. We're now in full swing at day 7 as evidenced by the Lego shrine. The routine goes: get up, find the number (although this is generally memorised the day before), open the surprise, pop it together, eat breakfast and back for the chocolate from the supermarket calendar. I know it's sort of bad eating chocolate early in the morning but it's only a little bit of chocolate! 'Tis the season!
L's Lego Pirates.

And R's Lego City.

Now if you want a giggle or two, head over to Laura's blog in the next few days. She creates a very amusing saga with her Lego Advent Calendars. I guess she just has to wait a few days to open a few more characters!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Really OUCH!
I've done something dumb. Really dumb....and right now it hurts.
I picked up a hot baking dish and ....well....held it...till it registered that it was H O T !!!
I've burnt my finger tips. It's really bad on my left pointer finger. It's blistered and it's sore.
You seriously don't realise how much you use your fingers (and their tips) until you start doing taking clothes off the line....and typing....and worse....pinning. When you're a quilter, burnt finger tips and pinning is NOT a happy combination. I'm just thankful it's not my right finger (whilst it is burnt, it's not as bad as the left) as I have an exam on Wednesday and I'll be hand-writing (and writing and writing).
On a lighter note (or should I say less burning issue....!). Here is L at his swimming carnival today.L is very lucky to be part of a fabulous program here in Adelaide known as SASRAPID. It's a Government initiative sporting program for kids with integration difficulties. It's terribly underfunded and as a result L has been on the wait list for a permanent swimming spot for years now. But our acceptance of fill-in lessons has paid off and he's had 2 terms of one-on-one swimming lessons. He's almost there. Today was fun. In the little pool for some fun activities - everyone wins a prize. He's walked home with 3 x blue and 1 x green. I think he's a bit smaller though... he jumped in at 1.30 and didn't come out till 3.30! And he won the raffle! You can't be unlucky (like my fingertips) all the time!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I finally finished the top of my black and white log cabin. I say 'finally' because it's been on the production line since late August and has been picked up, put down with the last run of construction in between some heavy duty major assignment (which was also a group assignment and groups are harder than solo efforts sometimes!) and studying/revising for my exam on Wednesday. Needless to say, I was beginning to get a little over it but am now extremely pleased to get the top finished and basted last night ready for quilting after my exam.
So in honour of the drawn-out construction phase, squeezing university study in between family life and the pandas, Wang Wang and Funi, flying over our house at 10.20am to commence their ten year tenure in Adelaide, this black and white quilt will now be officially referred to as the Pandamonium Quilt. Now back to the books....just wish this subject was as black and white!

Monday, November 23, 2009

One I prepared earlier.... way back in January 09!
This is a little quilt I made for a client who was having a baby. She knew she was having a boy and she's a lady who loves bright colours and I was looking for a small project, so it was easy to settle on a turquoise and orange stroller quilt.
Looking back I can't believe I survived making this quilt - I think that's why it's only little! It was in my 'early days' when I really didn't have much of a clue, much less a machine that was capable of being able to attach a walking or darning foot! This little number was fully constructed using my 1986 bottom-of-the-range Husqvarna...the very same one that I saved up for all those years ago and that I still love to use for piecing. Whilst I have been able to find a darning foot for it, there are no walking feet available for this machine now. But I haven't been game enough to try the darning foot....that's for a day with a quiet moment, a bit of scrappy material and some experimentation.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Up to pussy's bow....

Do you ever have those weekends that are chocker-block crammed full and involve co-ordination that's close to military precision to ensure everyone gets a fair share and everything that needs to be done, gets done? Well we've just had one.
Friday night was a synchronised effort so I could have drinks at Government House (sounds selfish but I've said 'no' for the past 3 years because R had ballet and she's given that up so how could I say 'no'?) and for L to get to a party at the same time, rendevouing with R who was also invited and was going straight from basketball practice. Then it was pick me up, get changed and back to the party to pick the children up. Home again, for a bit of tv and hand sewing the binding on my scrappy mini quilt. This is the one that was going to be the back of the other 'completely made from scraps' maverick star quilt...but it was too nice for a back, so it became it's own little festive mini quilt. It'll make a great placemat on Christmas Day.
Saturday was shopping (is it still only Saturday?!), R's basketball (they won their first game...yeh!), swimming for L and two consecutive parties for R. I managed two chapters in a vain effort to try and catch up on my study and a bit of sewing. I'm making covered books for the teachers' end of year gifts. Thing is, both R & L both have a shared teacher arrangement (so that's 4 before I blink!), plus L's speech therapist and special ed co-ordinator....and what about the music teacher....! I chose Anna Maria Horner and Amy Butler fat quarters and have a mix of ribbon ties and elastic button closures for A5 sized notebooks.
Then today, finish off a chapter, Joe only played 9 and then it was off to R's end-of-year junior string ensemble presentation. R performed very well with two solos and an ensemble presentation. Then back for a little more sewing, 3 more loads of washing and cleaning out the shed because it's our council's hard rubbish week! (of which half the rubbish we've put out is already gone thanks to the neighbourhood helping themselves before the truck comes!) I'll have to go to work for a rest I think!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Crazy is as Crazy does....

Last week, Amanda Jean wrote about using the little triangles that are cut off when joining 2 1/2" wide binding strips on the diagonal. They make great little maverick stars when joined to a 2 1/2" square. Well it turns out that I too have quite a little stash of these triangles along with a 'glad bag' full of white off-cuts. So out of all of these bits I made this.....It's all scraps.....except for the binding....but that's allowed because the triangles I cut off the binding were put back in the bag for the next quilt!
I did attempt to make a scrappy pieced back. However, it was so nice, I couldn't bear the thought of randomly quilting through it so I've kept it as a second mini quilt. Wait till you see's red and white and perfect for Christmas....(to be continued....)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Quilter by day.....

Rocker by night..... (sort of!)
Last night Pearl Jam performed to 20,000 Adelaideans. Not a massive crowd by any means but those who know Adelaide, it was enough to pack out Adelaide Oval, the home of the South Australian Cricket Association and one of the most picturesque playing fields in the world as it sits in the shadow of its spectacular scoreboard. Eddy and the boys may as well have been talking to me (whilst I was propped up in my gold seat eating an icecream*) as he told us that he loved coming to Adelaide. He recounted tales of previous visits (all of which I was in attendance...what a PJ groupie!), that Pearl Jam certainly loved 'this beautiful oval', made a joke about lip synching and that it was the audience's karma that presented the band with a balmy 25 degree (celcius) night as either side has seen 8 days of 39 and 41 today and tomorrow. Just perfect.
* the lines were too too long for a plastic cup of wine and seriously who wants to drink hot wine out of plastic?
Here's a few snippets of the action.
The famous Adelaide Oval Scoreboard welcomes Pearl Jam, Ben Harper and Liam Finn.
Close up of the scoreboard. can see Eddy on the screen!

Final stage dressing nearing the end of the concert. At one stage Ben Harper returned to jam with the boys and all Pearl Jam backdrops were removed....what good guys!
The screens either side of the stage go full colour.
And by day...yes the other me....the quilter! I've been very diligent of late and managed to put in some hard yards completing my black and white log cabin blocks. They just need a bit of trimming, joining and that's the top done. I'm under a bit of pressure to get this one finished as it's slated as a Christmas present but my attention span keeps waining with other things I'd like to be wonder I have so many WIPS!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Like Mother....

Maybe like daughter?
There's this harsh reality that Mothers face when they realise their kids are not the same as they are. Their baby thinks differently and arrives at conclusions in a completely different way to the way that they would have thought obvious. It's not's just a different thought pattern. So you can imagine my delight when R outlined her plan to make a bag out of calico and to decorate it in buttons....knowing exactly what she wanted.
I had the calico in the stash but my collection of buttons weren't quite off to Spotlight we went for the bulk bag of buttons for $9. (Gosh...have the button people discovered the art of sweeping up the left-overs just like the cheese people who package up pre-packed bags of cheese...?)
Anyway... is it like Mother? Maybe.....but I know R. She has a short attention span....she's an Aries (and I'm a Picesean) and it's full-on at the moment. It might be gone let's not get too excited about it just yet. In the meantime it's a nice project.
PS: Done sewing for tonight..."It's hard...". (Yehh...I know!)

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Interstate travel to two States in two days for work and an assignment to finish. But I have managed to squeeze in a bit of housework!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Over the moon....

My circle quilt is finished!
(Sorry about the wishy washy, poorly framed photo but I wanted to shoot it straight away but straight away was 11pm and I asked Joe to hold it for me, but not show his feet or head and he was complaining that his arms hurt....perhaps he shouldn't have played golf that afternoon - wish I'd thought of that response last night!! :-))
I can't stop staring at it. I just love these fabrics....always have.
Here's the back. If you read this blog you'll recall I wrote that I chose the front fabrics because of the back. I picked oranges, blues, greens, yellows and reds from the Katie Jump Rope range the same colours that appear in the hearts (except the pink). It's an Ikea fabric now sold in lengths of 120cm x 3m.
The binding is orange basket weave from Katie Jump Rope.
The quilting was a bit traumatic. I thought that the circles lent themselves to loopy stippling. I started and then panic set in. It was much harder than the practice piece. But I couldn't find my 'quick-un-pick' so I soldiered on. My loops aren't very consistent and that bugs me. But overall, and it took me to 3/4's of the way through to accept it, it's not too bad. I think it will crinkle up well over time.
The quilt measure 128cm square which is about 50". I have another one in mind for someone special....funny how that happens with quilting!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Scrap buster

You know this stuff?

That is trimmed off the sides of quilts?

Well, it's fabulous to re-use it for this.

Now there's no excuse not to make some of these!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cockle doodle doo....

'The Chook' is finished. It's straight line quilted in a grid pattern that emerged as I was quilting it. I'd initially planned to just quilt in one direction but changed my mind as I went. I think having the two directions supports the log cabin and its multi-directional effect.

The binding is scrappy. It mostly uses the fabrics I've used in the log cabins but I've also used another which I'd initially rejected for the quilt. I purchased this fabric from the quilt shop in St Helens in Tasmania. It was in their discount pile and I didn't ever take notice of what it was. I loved the little plum blossoms....sort of Japanese. I'd only purchased 30cm so it wasn't quite enough to do all the binding and as I worked with it I grew more fond of it and didn't have the heart to use it all up.

'The Chook' measures approx 120cm square (47") and it goes into the cupboard for a planned gift at the end of the year.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The chook...

This was my Friday night project. It became my Friday night toss and turn, "I can't sleep, what if I did this, I could get up now it's only 3am" project and now it's Saturday night, so it's my "look at my latest quilt top".
The funny thing is that I started sewing these log cabins with a bunch of fabrics that I bought last April when we were in QLD (Mt Tamborine - Gold Coast). I bought 2 x fat quarters and 1 x set of 4 fat 1/8ths. They were supposed to be Civil War repros and they looked lovely all together. When I got home, I had post buyer dissonance (this is marketing speak for consumer behaviour buyer's remorse which is what I should be studying right now but am not because I'm worshipping fabric....where am I....?). I have looked at these fabrics in the cupboard so many times since then, pulled them out and then shoved them back in because they didn't go with anything. Then I got serious. I knew what I wanted to make and I had a recipient in mind. I just had to make it work.
Low and behold. I'd been stashing and hadn't realised it! There was an Anna Maria Horner fat quarter that I bought in Tasmania that co-ordinated perfectly and 2 x brown flat fats from Spotlight. (Quilters: if you're in Australia and have a Spotlight close by, check out the honeycomb and small print fat quarters. Seriously, they're not bad!)
I've used 8 different prints in the log cabins and surrounded them with white. Normally I wouldn't have used white against all these creams and browns but I was also on a mission to use what I had in the cupboard. I must admit that the white does make the other colours pop but I'm not sure of the practicality.
All the fat 1/8th's are gone :-( and I have about a fat 1/8th of the fat quarters left. So all in all, a very low use of fabrics used in the log cabins.
I've christened this quilt top 'The Chook'. The colours remind me of hens....oranges, golds, browns and muddy reds. I probably should have taken it over to Clare's for a photo shoot with her chooks but I think they're demanding huge appearance fees these days as Clare likes to incorporate them in her quilt photos! ....Take a number!
So in the absence of talented chooks, thank you to my patient holding up model...who funnily enough will probably demand a lot more than the chooks! :-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You gotta jump over it, you gotta jump under it....

I've reached a point in my latest project where I can't wait to show you what I've been doing these past few days (weeks actually) much so, I'm revealing it in its basted state.
This is my circle quilt inspired (again) by Amanda Jean who directed readers of her blog to this wonderful, simple to follow tutorial.
I haven't shown the back but believe it or not, I started this quilt with the backing fabric. It's an Ikea sheeting fabric available now in 3m x 120cm lengths for around $14.95*, featuring hearts on white in blue, green, yellow, red, pink and orange. (*I'm finding that depending on which State you live in, depends on how much Ikea charge...but that's another blog story.) Except for the pink I was able to select 12 different Denyse Schmidt's Katie Jump Rope fabrics in co-ordinating colours. I've been saving my collection of these fabrics and it took a lot to seriously cut into them but now I'm just jumping over the moon with how gorgeous these fabrics look together in one quilt. I can't wait to quilt it and show it in its finished form.
Edited to say: Now I know why circle quilts are so addictive!