Thursday, December 29, 2011

Get your yoga on....

It was "Amy Butler Bag Day" at Clare's today with M and Clare hitting Spotlight early for spectacular post Christmas fabric bargains for their beautiful bag creations. They were working with the Amy Butler Style Stitches bag book and I was working on a free Nigella Yoga Bag pattern which is down-loadable from the Amy Butler site. In keeping with the Amy theme, I used decorator weight Love fabric that I had in the stash. Actually, I've used this fabric three times already, once for teacher totes and then my iPad cover and the little cover for work's alternating back up drive. Funnily enough, I had originally purchased it for the teacher totes and realised I hadn't ordered enough....and then had to buy some more! Seriously, this is absolutely the last of it but I haven't wasted a scrap. I've used the last of the big bits of this colour way today....and even then I did some surreptitious joining! The fabric is the Heart range from Love, Trumpet Flowers in pink and Sunspots in grass and is perfect for the pink-sh yoga mat that will live in the bag. It's a birthday gift for my dear friend whom I do yoga with. I'll have to get one sorted for myself...won't we be the stylish two! It will certainly make up for our lack of technique as we hide down the back of the room....did I really say that!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

On the plus side.....

I love this time of year and having some time off work in between Christmas and New Year and catching up on some long overdue sewing. I've had this gorgeous Ruby fabric cut out for a couple of months and have been waiting patiently, finishing off a few other projects before starting this Plus Quilt that has been running around in my head for an age. So not like me to not go diving straight in! But I was very good and even though the beautiful cut pile sat and sat it meant that the other morning I could get started with the layout and top assembly. It feels like the top has only taken two days to make because the cutting took place so long ago! The other reason I'm glad I waited is that this sewing time has given me a chance to really look at each of the prints and decide what to buy for the back. I have to say, it's a hard decision as they're all so gorgeous. I'm thrilled with the pattern which I followed from this easy tutorial. It's a great way to show off a range and the Plus construction is very forgiving. The pattern calls for 20 fat quarters and I've chosen the red, green, pink and grey colours from my fat quarter bundle. Here's a shot of the back on this wonderful warm summer evening!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day Bow-ties....

I have finally finished a little baby quilt I've been working on for some time. I actually took a moment to sit quietly and hand stitch the binding after the hurley burley known as Christmas. This quilt is inspired by this one...and is the third I've made in various sizes and colours. The bow-ties are the Denyse Schmidt 'DS Quilts Collection, Picnics and Fairgrounds' offcuts from my Swoon quilt set in an assortment of solids. Because of their size I made each of the squares in the blocks 3 1/2" which is slightly bigger than earlier 2 1/2" versions. So each of these blocks finish up at around 6" finished.The binding is a newer edition of DS Quilts, Sugar Creek. Normally I wouldn't have chosen a busy patterned floral like this for a binding but I love how it features all the colours in the quilt and is a juxtaposition of solids featured in the blocks. This quilt is for my cousin's new baby daughter. I haven't seen him for years but thrilled he had a baby none the less! (Any opportunity to make a baby quilt!)

Friday, December 23, 2011


As Adelaide approaches its hottest Christmas since 1987, we spent the night baking reindeer cookies. Baking on a hot night is always tricky when you've got the oven blasting out heat and the air conditioner battling against it. Oh the joy of summer!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A bit more of the festive season....

Tick off another Christmas ritual....the Santa visit.
Whilst R gave up wanting to tell all to the bearded man in red, L is absolutely committed. He left his list with the man himself who has promised pretty much everything......lucky he's a very good little boy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's starting to feel a little like Christmas.....

Life in our household has been rather hectic.
My 80 year old mum has just had a hip replacement. I quipped back in September that she was going bionic status after her second shoulder replacement....but maybe I shouldn't have said it out loud!
It's been tough. It's her third major operation in 13 months and it's taking a toll. I won't go into detail but needless to say we have been through hoops co-ordinating aged care respite following her stay in a rehabilitation hospital following the surgery. (My sister and I constantly sing, "I don't want to go to!") However, steep learning curve for anyone my age with parents. You feel a lot like Alice in Wonderland, sent from pillar to post and learning a brand new language called 'aged care'! Mind you, after all the grief we've found a wonderful aged care home for 2 weeks of respite for mum which means that we, in the short term, know that she'll have 24 hour care, medication and equipment to help get through her day AND it's not that far away. At first, mum was frightened we were going to 'lock her up' but now she's made friends, found old ones and is going out. The hairdresser has visited and the physio came yesterday. I can't begin to tell how much of a blessing that is that we've eliminated two appointments that we would have had to have take her to during our working day. The downside is that she's forgetting to do her exercises because she's so busy! It's been a real turning point for us and maybe makes some future decision making a little easier.
But all that aside, it's been very time consuming. I've hardly blogged. I certainly haven't finished very much, much less taken photos of stuff and I'm really not that prepared for Christmas. However, life hasn't been completely devoid of goes.....
I taught myself via YouTube how to make piping! Yes! Amazing a new skill. Who would have thought to have turned to YouTube a few years ago? But there it was, 'learn how to make piping' in all it's glory! Joe was less than impressed when I'd tune in each night on the iPad!
I had been working at mum's clearing out stuff and found some fabric that I had bought maybe 20 years ago. I almost chucked it but then realised it was a little bit 'Liberty-sh'. (And isn't it a sin to throw away any sort of fabric?) So piping was born....and pincushions for the girls followed. I've used my corners cut from binding joins and those donated from Kay to make mini maverick square pincushions measuring around 6" square finished. They're backed with an Ikea fabric from years ago.We had our Sew & Sews annual Christmas get together earlier this week. This year at a local hotel and the gift giving was rigorous and 100% creative. (Please don't laugh at the little man symbol above our heads! His presence destroyed quite a few photos as the photographer burst into giggles!)And this year the little girls joined us! Aren't they gorgeous!And whilst I've been finishing up at work.....someone at home has been cooking up a storm AND doing a splendid job. Ahhhh, is starting to feel a little like Christmas....let's hope there's more to follow!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Open to interpretation.....

Me: so I'm still here with mum can you start dinner without me.
Him: what's the dressing for the rice salad?
Me: Oil, soy, garlic and I think a dash of lemon.
Him: got it.
1 hour later.
Me: What's in this salad dressing?
Him: Oil, soy, garlic and lemon.
Me: Do you mean balsamic?
Him: You said 'soy'.
Me: Yes I did.
Him: did too!
(They do it on purpose you know!)

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Haighs has been fabulous with her egg donations. We've had quiche, hard and soft boiled eggs for breakfast and eggs in sandwiches and salads.....and, count our lucky stars, one more each day. Joe took 1/2 doz into work the other day and in exchange he brought home something equally yellow. Sensational citrus! Gorgeous lemons that will be juiced and consumed as part of Joe's daily regime! Oh how I love a good produce swap!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Breaking records......

I live in a city famous for its Christmas Pageant, it's old fashioned fantasy and has an extensive history. More to the point, it marks the arrival of Santa. I never went as a child but I participated as a teenager through school. We used to watch it in black and white on TV. So for me, the first time I ever went, I was in it! However, having children ignited the passion for attendance. This year I was lucky enough to attend as part of a corporate facility.
It certainly made up for every year this past decade and a half that I've marked out the family territory at 6am, sitting in the freezing mornings with nothing more than a folding chair, picnic rug, thermos of tea and a newspaper under the shadow of the CBD only to end up sunburnt by the end of the parade. All worth it though to see the happiness as the children draw on the road in chalk and wave back at silly clowns and of course, the big man in red! (Equally special for us as this is the route to L's school, where we seek out the longevity of his artwork as he's convinced he can still see his name and drawings on the road.)
For a few years now the organisers have attempted to come up with promotional ideas to break a Guinness Book of Records record. (What? Being one of the best and most historic street parades in the world is not good enough for them? LOL!) For a couple of years they tried the longest mexican no avail. I think it was too hard to keep it moving and count the participants. However, this year the attempt was the biggest crowd wearing red noses for 10 minutes and with a theme of 'discover the clown within' there were red noses a-plenty. We had to beat a soccer match in Portugal of 15,000. Guess what? We did it....16920! Yey! I'm one, so is R, so is L, so is J, so is S, so is L, so is A, so is little L.....and about 16,912 other Adelaideans!

Friday, November 4, 2011


It's finished! And at 80" square, by far the biggest quilt I've ever quilted. It's so big I struggled to come up with a spot to take a full length photo but seeing as necessity is the mother of invention I'm thrilled I worked out the hanging spot from the batting under the verandah porch! I'll be using that little trick again for sure. So the quilt? I love the pattern. The blocks are large and simple to piece and their beauty appears before your eyes as the piecing comes together. I don't have any favourite blocks....they're all lovely but I do wish I'd been a little more adventurous in my fabric selections. Next time! The pattern is Swoon designed by the very clever Camille Roskelly. You can buy the pattern from the link on her blog. The fabric is Denyse Schmidt's Picnics and Fairgrounds from Spotlight in Australia and Kona Snow. And the quilting is free motion stippling by me!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


If you've been reading my blog for a bit, you may have read about the chook that pops over the fence into our backyard and spends her day poking around and feasting on snails, dropped figs, our compost scraps and pretty much anything else that takes her fancy. When we first discovered her in our yard 18 months ago it was around Easter time, so we named her Haighs after the famous Adelaide chocolate brand that come into their own around Easter and produce lovely chocolate hen shapes (and fish, frogs, bilbys, eggs, truffles etc...). I don't think she has a name where she lives...but who would know, she doesn't say much beyond the occasional cluck. Lately she's been arriving first thing in the morning. It's rather satisfying to see her at 7.30am....kind of settles us in for the day. She also recognises our blue compost bucket and starts to chase us around the yard before it's deposited. Joe will attest to the pecking of one's foot just because he had the bucket! There was even a day when she gorged so much at our place I had to lift her up to the fence because she was too heavy to fly up to it! However, about two weeks ago we found her nestling in some plants one afternoon and making quite a ruckus. Joe was right onto it. He spotted all the signs. Yep, pretty soon we had an egg. Warm and fresh. Since then we've received a perfect dozen. (Sorry, picture shows eleven but we ate one!) They're picked fresh each day and popped into the carton. It's quite a ritual. I often wonder what her owners must be thinking about her lack of presence and/or lack of laying. My only hope is that her owners don't get onto it.....!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Out of whack....

A year ago we had a fabulous Halloween party. Seriously, it was THE BEST! The house was decorated to the enth degree (well let's face it...any spider web hanging from the cornice is perfectly placed...isn't it?). The kids dressed up, the friends arrived and everyone was amazingly ghoulish... Needless to say the ghoulish revelry was enhanced by a couple of very over-priced imported pumpkins that we carved for the party. After carving, we chucked the insides into the compost...lamenting that you didn't actually get much on the inside....but I learnt, that that's the sort of pumpkin that it is. I kept some seeds but didn't hold much hope that anything would come of them....after all they're bred for one-off Halloween events and have probably been kept in a fridge for 6 months before arriving for our October. However, pretty soon the mulch we threw into the compost started to produce sprouts. I kept them going as it was summer here, and the sprouting plants were green and fresh looking. After a while we had an abundance of divine orange pumpkins. We stacked them could dance around them if you were that way inclined. But alas....that was six months ago. Way too soon for October Halloween celebrations and with these imported varieties, there was no way they would last too much longer beyond the time they were actually harvested. So we picked them. We looked at them. We took photos but they soured. So we've buried them. And guess what...they're coming up again. How about Halloween in June?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Shabby makeover.....

Some weeks ago I was driving down my mum's street with my mum in the car when I noticed an upturned coffee table on the side of the road. I slammed on the brakes and jumped out, exclaiming, "I'm having that!". It's amazing how much strength a woman can muster when picking up a piece of furniture at lightening speed and singlehandedly ramming it into the back seat of the car. (I would have asked mum to help but she's just had her second shoulder reconstruction!!) I was thrilled with my find and mum agreed that it was a pretty good score on the basis that she is an avid fan of anything with cabriole legs. Little did she know what I had in mind for it. (insert evil laugh here.) Joe helped me get it out of the car when I got home (see... brute strength gone now). I thought he'd have a fit particularly when we noticed candle wax on top (nahhh superficial!) and that each of the corners had been gnawed (....ohh!). Must have been something with a serious teething problem! But Joe, always the practical one thought that seeing as the legs were a bit curvy then rounded corners would work so he set about cutting them off with the jigsaw. Now I haven't yet revealed what I wanted this treasure for.....the shack! So I had no intention of restoring this little table but rather dressing it up to dress it down! After rounding the corners, Joe brought out the belt sander....a tool that scares the pants off of me because of its weight and propensity to gouge. The top looked pretty good when he'd finished particularly as I had poured boiling water to remove the last of the candle wax and that had played complete havoc with the previous'd think I hadn't studied french polishing for three years wouldn't you? I was tempted to leave the top with the wood exposed....but I didn't. I undercoated the whole lot and then popped on a coat of pale blue. But over the days I had left it to dry I began to think it was too light...almost the colour you would use for a baby's I bought a can of turquoise. I should also mention that I also bought a new hand sander because my other one died, the undercoat, the pale blue paint, brushes and a couple of other I'm now looking at around $120 and was starting to grumble that I could have bought a *&^%&*$# new coffee table! I spent hours painting this table....I reckon 3-4 weekends worth, coat upon coat to achieve a beautiful smooth finish. And then this morning I 'attacked' it with the 60 grit sandpaper and knocked it all back to shabby. Taaaa daaah!I also got stuck into a couple of other pieces of shack furniture that I had bought home. Each time there was paint on the brush, I painted these two as well. They were both from Ikea and were thrown out a few years back for $5 each. (They were probably only worth $5!) I didn't take a before photo (or a during for that matter) but they were, well.....Ikea-ish plain pine. Now they're beachy. I just hope they don't get scratched in the car on the way back to the shack! Ha!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mission accomplished....

After what ended up being one of those frightful days at work when an urgent job crops up and you're the only one in the office and you end up working from whoa-to-go sorting out...I doubly couldn't wait to get home. One, for the glass of wine to calm me down and two, to finish off my last block for my Swoon quilt. There's nothing better than putting it all behind you for some creative time behind the pedal of the Bernina! So mission accomplished! The last block is finished (top left) onto the sashing and borders. Here is the complete set on the floor. It's already looking rather large....I can't wait for it to be all neatly sashed and better yet....quilted!

Friday, October 14, 2011

And then there was eight....

I have finished my eighth Swoon block! The last two have been sitting around for weeks now whilst I've picked up other projects instead. So last night I got stuck into number eight and managed to add it to the other seven in the complete pile. Now with just one more to go and bashing out a blog post in between getting ready to go to work.....I'm wishing the day to go fast so I can finish off the last one tonight! Funny how that happens! Like the others this block features Denyse Schmidt's Picnic and Fairgrounds (Spotlight). Pattern is Swoon by Camille Roskelly.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


There are a few babies on the horizon....and I love that because it gives me a break from working on some of my other bigger works in progress in favour of smaller, quicker and experimental projects. One of the babes is definitely a boy the others are surprises so I can't get too gender specific with quilts made prior to their arrivals. This little quilt is totally inspired by this one and is an experiment in using small scraps of solid fabrics set against a solid background. It's also an experiment in arcs of straight line quilting which I've been itching to try....and now that I have, I can tick it off my list or reserve it for small projects in the future! Let's just say this kind of quilting is impressive but it is also an exercise in quilt wrangling!
T R I C K Y ! The little patches of colour were initially joined as strips and then cross cut to create strips made of smaller squares and rectangles and re-joined to create the blocks. It became quite a challenge to see how many I could create out of my solids collection (otherwise known as the scrappy little bits of fabric in the plastic bag that I couldn't bear to throw away!). I ended up with 6 blocks, 4 square-ish and 2 rectangle and I think they look like pixels! I love how each of these solid colours look so bland on their own but when they've joined a community, they just sing, even the violet! The layout evolved as I joined in the background to make the top....I say evolved because I did make some mistakes in my calculations and cutting and ended up with a sightly different placement to my original plan! But....seeing as I can't remember what that was now, we move on! The backing fabric is more of the Ikea birds from the Cecelia range, this time in the coffee colour. I think I've managed to use all the colours now. The binding is an aqua spotty negative from Spotlight. Here it is sitting on the little stool rescued from the side of the road. It's had a little aqua makeover along with some other bits of furniture but that my friends it the topic of another post.....
Quilt stats:
Measures: approx 40" x 42"
Fabric: selection of solids from Kona and Spotlight Homespun, Ikea Cecelia birds, Spotlight spotty negative in aqua
Quilted: opposing arches of straight lines, filled with arrow head points
Quilted by: me!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Aw shucks.....

The very lovely Michelle sent me a photo of her beautiful little man lying on his Sherbet Pips quilt. Talk about the gift that keeps giving......!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Never work with children and animals.....

It's so true especially the feathered variety! Oh what fun and frustration I've had today as I spent most of it wrangling chickens. Serious....! Let me explain. I've been absent from my blog lately as I've been on a steep learning curve with my latest modules towards my business degree. I've been learning a new language. Not a spoken language but the language of XHTML and CSS (AKA hypertext markup language and cascading style sheets). I tell you, for an old chook like me, that's a serious learning curve. My head spins to say the least. My latest assignment requires the creation of a website design around existing XHTML content. My idea incorporates a 'chicken' theme (the chook look!) and will feature a rusted corrugated iron background, old fence palings and russet coloured hens. If you're a reader of my blog you'll know about our feathered visitor from over the fence. We call her Haighs as in the chocolates, as she first started to vist a few Easters ago (she really is that old!). She's like having a pet without the responsibility....and sometimes the odd benefit or two. Right on cue she obligingly arrived this morning and I quickly grabbed the compost bucket and the camera. ....Hummm...not a performing chicken that's for sure. So I called my friend Kathryn who has three gorgeous birds. I've just returned from an afternoon crouching around her backyard pointing the Nikon this way and that. It's not easy shooting a chook....they're fickle and completely self indulgent preferring to peck and shake their bottom at you rather than if I hadn't experienced that this morning! Just as we gave up and Kathryn began to put them back in their pen, they jumped up on the old bathtub and posed in a row. I think they were smiling at me, secretly thanking me for allowing them to have a bit of a run in the backyard and urging us to look closer. Inside the bathtub was their gift....eggs galore... a dozen in fact! And now I'm home looking at the fruits of my labour, some of those shots aren't too bad....back to assignment. Thanks chooks!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Semi moment of fame....

Camille Roskelly the designer of my current favourite ranges of fabric, Bliss and Ruby, and the designer of my current favourite quilt pattern, Swoon, is featuring all the Swoon blocks from her Flickr site on her most recent blog post. And guess what? I'm part of the post! How cool is that? I'm mildly chuffed. Thanks Camille.
Here's the blocks are 16th from the bottom....that will force you to look at them all now, won't it!
And seeing how gorgeous everyone else's quilts are, I better get a wriggle on to finish mine....two more blocks to go!

Monday, September 5, 2011


My mum turned 80 yesterday. If my dad had still been with us, he would have been 80 today. Mum and Dad were just one day apart in age but they were totally in sync. I'm really sad that he's not here but I'm so happy for mum that she can now be classed as an octogenarian. Don't get me wrong, she's had a rough time of it lately having just come out of hospital ten days ago following her second shoulder reconstruction. Mind you, given a couple more complaints that she'd like righted, she could almost aim for bionic status. Needless to say, with her recent surgery and recovery, celebrations for her 80th were pretty much put on hold. So much so, it caught me completely unawares. So just last Monday, a week ago from today, I suddenly realised I didn't even have a present for her (gosh I hope she doesn't read my blog!). What do you buy for an 80 year old? I couldn't think of anything that she didn't already have or couldn't possibly use. How about a quilt? Yeh....a quilt, I can do that. So last Monday I raided the cupboard. Some time back, I had won a Moda Botany charm pack from the lovely Lorraine of Small Quilts. It's the only thing I have ever won online and Lorraine was very gracious awarding me a random prize draw even though I didn't get the answer right! My prize was divine and at the time I set about building on it, gathering 3 more charm packs and enough fabric for the backing and binding. After the recent success of my sister-in-law's charm square quilt, I thought another was in order. So each night this past week I sewed a bit at a time to ensure that it was finished in time. Monday morning, idea, Monday night, selection and join the squares into pairs and fours. Tuesday laid it out on the floor and joined strips and front. Wednesday made backing and basted. Thursday night quilted. Friday night bought chocolate solid binding (because previous selection was soooo not going to work) and attached binding. Saturday night, hand stitched binding. Sunday morning stitched on 'Little Sew & Sews' tag. Voila! Happy birthday mummy! xxx

Quilt specifications:
Fabric: front 4 charm packs of Moda Botany by Lauren & Jessi Jung, backing Botany in Coral Pink, binding chocolate solid homespun from Spotlight
Measures: 62" x 54"
Quilted: free motion by me!
For: mum

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blissful finish....

I haven't posted anything quilty for ages so it's absolute bliss to have something actually finished and photographed on a beautiful 'almost end of winter' (or is that pre-Spring?) day. Mind you, the quilt photograph had to fight for space on the clothes line given this glorious weather! This quilt is for my sister in law who has recently experienced a rather nasty work place accident. I won't go into details but we had coffee yesterday and she is saying that she's 50/50...but she's also trying to be extremely positive and wishing for good health for the future. Her accident and recovery is at the opposite end of the bliss spectrum so I'm directing some positive vibes her way so her quilt will feature some of Bonnie and Camille's Bliss range. I've used 4 charm packs of 5" squares which I've had in the cupboard for ages and yielded 168 squares, in a 14 x 12 block formation. This fabric is so delightful it didn't call for any fancy piecing...just join the squares. I love it. It's simple. It works. The colours and prints are divine and the soft fabric has been a pleasure to work with. The top lay on the floor for a couple of days because I loved the look of it. I couldn't stop staring at it, marvelling at its beauty and asking everyone who walked past to agree with me that it was 'just perfectly gorgeous'...(for the record...they did...or is that household coercion?). For the back I chose solid stone colour and joined it with some left-over Bliss strips that I had from a 'yet to be revealed' jelly roll project. The quilt is stippled which is something I had got out of the habit of doing but for this size quilt, it was perfect. There were a few little hiccup sections but for the most part, the stippling process was smooth and I kept wondering why I hadn't stippled for an age. The quilt is finished with plain red binding and I think this frames the quilt perfectly, contrasting with the back and not fighting with the front.Normally I would lament giving a quilt that I love like this one away...but I know it's going to a good home and to someone who will love it like I do!
Now for the stats:
Quilt measures: 62" x 54"
Fabric: Bonnie and Camille Bliss for Moda, Spotlight solids (homespun) in stone and red
Quilting: stippled by Theresa (me!)
Gifted: to MG

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Procrastination pays off....

Back in early July I did everything to avoid starting a rather tough uni assignment and ended up making Red Pepper's pieced border quilt top out of my scrap strips. The assignment ended getting done but the top lay in the cupboard until the other night when I after I'd finished basting another quilt I'm working on, I had the right sized piece of batting left over for this quilt. So I basted this one too and because this one is smaller than the other one, I ended up quilting this one first. I love this little quilt. I love how the bright pinks and lime greens pop against the chilled seafoam background. I've also chosen plain and simple Kona coal for the binding as everything else I tried didn't work against the scrappy border. The Kona coal frames the whole quilt beautifully. The back is a lot of fun and features the red hippos from Ikea. The size was just right at 45" wide, so it's all one piece.Quilt stats:
Pattern - Red Pepper Pieced Scrap Border Quilt Tutorial
Size - 45" square
Fabric - scraps, Kona Seafoam, Kona Coal, Ikea Hippos in red
Quilted - straight line by me!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Red, green, blue and pink.....

I took up my own challenge to make a few blocks for the Threaded Mess I-spy rainbow block drive which was a welcome distraction in between study breaks this weekend. So far, I've managed four in total. We've got the red matryoshka dolls, green hippos, blue puppies and pink pussycats. Putting the four together really gave me a feel for how lovely these little premmie quilts are going to be. I love the diamond meeting in the centre as much as the I-spy centres. I also made a few metres of rainbow coloured binding. The original fabric was an Ikea stripe and I'd had it cut for something and never used it but it will add a lovely bright touch to Natalie's little rainbow quilts.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Rainbow I spy block drive....

Natalie of Threaded Mess is hosting a block drive to create quilts for her local neo-natal unit, the Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children. Now I know I'm in Adelaide, Australia and she's North Virginia in the United States but her story touched my heart. As the mother of an ex-prem, who is now a thriving 14 year old, stories like hers and the amount charity work her guild does for their NICU really hit home. I recall the hours we spent wondering what would come of our little premmie, overwhelmed with the thought of how such a little bundle of baby could ever grow up to be....well, regular sized! Whilst so many of those rollercoaster thoughts are now dim memories, Natalie's drive made me recall our journey and reminded me that our family is part of the 'premmie club' and regardless of hospital, NICU and country, every family with a premature baby goes through a very similar experience. So I'm in! Natalie's idea is to make premmie baby quilts created from rainbow blocks using the Joseph's Square in a Square 12" block by Anna Maria Horner. You can read all about the concept, guidelines and instructions on Natalie's Threaded Mess blog. I've made one block so far and they're really super quick to sew together once cut. I'm thinking they might be nice distractions in between assignment completion this weekend. The idea is to create little eye-spy centres in each of the blocks. I used this lovely little pussy cat print that I purchased from Spotlight years ago. It's perfect for a little baby. I also have some blue doggie print, so blue will be the next cab off the rank. Looking at it now I realise I should have put the centre print on the diagonal so it ultimately sits straight...oh well, learning curve! I also used Kona Woodrose and some Little House by Annette Tatum polka dots and stripes that have also been in the stash for some time....and that makes me feel good too!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pip Pip Hooray....!

I've finished a quilt! Yeh for me! Now this little quilt wasn't on my original completion wish list but even so, it's a finish and I'm thrilled. And I'm super thrilled with how it turned out too. I've used 12 divine strips from my Sherbet Pips jelly roll, concentrating on boy colours of red, aqua and grey and sashed in white. The centre of each square is a 4 patch of 2 1/2" squares, surrounded by a 1 1/2" strip of co-ordinating solid and finished with a jelly roll strip. The blocks ended up at 10 1/2 - 11". The binding is grey and white wide stripe from Spotlight which I really like. And the back is the red Denyse Schmidt Picnics and Fairgrounds argyle also from Spotlight. I also brushed off my stippling hoo-doo and that worked out beautifully without one pucker! Now to bundle it up for a special little boy.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Good intentions.....

I have been enjoying having some time off work to be with the kids during school holidays. Needless to say, the weeks leading up to the break held many selfish thoughts about how much sewing I was going to get done and how many unfinished projects in the pile would move to the completed side of the ledger. Guess what? It didn't happen! Nope, not one finish! (Well not yet anyway.) You know how it goes. Drop child one off to scheduled school holiday program, come home, put on a load of washing, have a coffee, hang out washing, entertain child two, sit down at sewing machine, get up from sewing machine, make lunch, put another load of washing in, do some study, pick up child one...etc. The outcome of all this at-home busyness was a pile of starts. I now have more UFO's than you can shake a stick at! But of course, it depends on how you look at that scenario. For example. I delved back into my scrap bin and started to make confetti blocks like those featured in the new Block Party book by Alissa Haight Carlton and Kirsten Lejnieks. I've managed 12 blocks and have used a mountain of small scraps and almost all of the those tiny bits of white that I can't bear to part with. So whilst the scrap bin is looking delightfully empty, 12 blocks is not enough for a quilt, so I've shelved that idea for the moment. Then I spent two nights cutting out the fabric for 9 Swoon blocks. Swoon is a new pattern by Camille Roskelly and it's beautiful. I had to really get my head around the cutting and fabric matching but now that it's done I have a little production line happening with the blocks. I'm using the new Denyse Schmidt fabric, Picnic and Fairgrounds from Spotlight along with some solids and Kona Snow. I've made 4 so far. Again, they've been pushed to the side because yesterday afternoon I started a little baby quilt following some surprise news. I'm keeping that one under wraps for the moment but let's just hope that it becomes one of those quick turn-around, highly satisfying finishes! I hope so, I'm back to work on Tuesday and would really like to show something off after all those good intentions!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Stars and stripes....

I finished the binding on my red, white and blue maverick star quilt last night just in time for July 4th. Whilst not an Australian celebration it's fitting none the less. This quilt is for L who seems to miss out on most of the quilts I make. Funny thing is he was actually due on July the 4th which made my obstetrician laugh every time he checked his notes! It took me a while to work out it was Independence Day! The quilt is made from 12" maverick star blocks in a mix of red, white and blue, measures 72" x 60" (6 blocks x 5 blocks) and is straight line quilted (the stripes!). The binding is red and white honeycomb (spotty dot from Spotlight) which I'm a bit addicted to for binding! The back uses a piece of light blue fabric that I've had stashed for ages, some left overs and a strip of pinwheels that Kay suggested I make out of the triangles cut from the stars. They worked out beautifully! Construction didn't come without it's problems....including poor measurement of the backing and not realising until after I'd taped it to the floor for basting! All is forgiven though because I just love red, white and blue. It's so crisp and clean looking.Now....back to that essay....or maybe another unfinished that needs completion!