Thursday, January 17, 2019

Rajah-ish

Hi there friends :-) Not a huge amount of news, but thought that I'd share ... last week I was working on some secret squirrel stuff, I popped it all in the mail on Monday so it could get to its destination in the USA on time ... and realised that I forgot to take pictures so I could share the results of my labours with you later on. Oops! One of the items was a Christmas block for the Quilt Batts annual exchange, so hopefully one of the sweet ladies over there will share a picture with me, and I can in turn share with you. I really need to better taking picture of happenings here!

I can share that after the 'have to do' work was done, I was able to do some more 'nice to do' work too. Rather than the applique designs used on the Rajah pattern, I was inspired to do something a little 'Pendle Hill' like, from the pattern by Di Ford-Hall:

The little pentagon units are so cute - this picture was taken while I was testing to see if they'd all fit along the border, and also making sure I was happy with the placement of the colours. You can see a couple of the other ones scattered around. One destined for another side of the quilt, and the one just out of shot on the left will be for another project - not this one. Nothing is stitched or glued down at this point, and I still had to remove the papers.

And in this picture the pentagon units have been stitched together, the papers removed and I've glued everything in place. I still have to stitch it all down, but it was getting late last night, and I needed some zzz's. The hot weather we're experiencing is quite draining and I find myself very lethargic. I keep telling myself that this happens every year, and it will pass ... it's perfect weather for staying indoors and stitching!

I'm looking forward to the next borders which are very busily machine pieced - it'll be fun to choose lots of lovely fabrics from my scraps.

Well, that's it from me for now - I'll check back in soon with more progress :-)

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Happy New Year 2019


Happy New Year to all my lovely readers. I hope you've eased into 2019 doing some things that you love. As I mention each year, it is thought that what you do on January 1st you'll continue doing all year. So to that end I always try and do some things that I love, as well as some things that keep my home running along happily.

I did some sewing, so that's good news for my stitching prospects each day - but I started a new project, and I don't need to be working on a new project each day. 

Anyway, here's what I've begun:

This is  where I'm at with my interpretation of the Rajah quilt that I mentioned in my last post. I'm using the lovely pattern by Lessa as a guide, and I'm changing things up here and there to suit myself. I didn't feel like doing the applique block in the centre of the quilt, so I used this lovely printed block and a border print from the Windermere collection by Di Ford Hall.

It's strange for me to be working on a new project when I'm still working on the quilting of the Phebe quilt, but I really felt like having some machine work when I'm not feeling like hand quilting. I don't think I mentioned it, but I injured my right arm playing tennis a little while back, and hand quilting is hard on it while I recuperate.

I'll keep you posted as I progress with the Rajah quilt - though it might be slow - there are so many things going on right now, not least the planning and preparation for my sweet girl's wedding!

Something I'd meant to share with you in the last post were some little gifts I made for the sweet girls that come to my class:

I enjoyed making the trees from Marcie's sweet pattern so much, and I thought they'd make pretty little Christmas mats, so I made a bunch of them, and I'm fairly sure I'll make more. They were great for using up random strips of fabric, and I'm always thrilled to find ways to use up my scraps!

And in my post from before Christmas, I promised to share a picture of my Nutcrackers, and then promptly forgot ... but here's a quick piccy, because I'll have to put them away soon:

These are just the ones that live on my china cabinet, there are some larger ones on the floor too. I have some favourites, the one with the cloak is really neat, and the music box is a special favourite too.

I just noticed I've made a new years ooops, and I'm too lazy to change it right now - I've neglected to change the date on my photo watermark. I'll have to make sure to do it before the next post. I'm sure it won't be causing any international incidents, but clearly my attention to detail is lacking - I'm still in holiday mode :-)

Thank you to my commenters from my last post - some were set to no-reply so if you didn't hear from me, that's the reason. Equal numbers encouraging blogging and Instagram, so I'll waddle along as best I can. Chatter soon! xox

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Merry Christmas 2018

I'm running late, but here's hoping all my lovely readers had a very Merry Christmas, and I wish you all a Happy New Year. And if Christmas isn't your particular thing, know that I'm sending Seasons Greetings your way with a happy heart! xox

I really hoped I'd get a post in before this year is over, I can't believe how fast 2018 has flown by. Each year I make a commitment to try and document the creative elements of my life more often, but time seems to run away from me and I find myself thinking about it rather than doing it. I'm starting to wonder if it might be time to post more to Instagram as it's much faster ... I'll have to think on it, as I really don't want to give up on blogging entirely.

So, to keep you up to speed on what's been going on here - as tradition dictates I put together a little gingerbread something something for the festivities:

This is something I drew up based on some things I've seen on Pinterest - what a fabulous resource that is. The circle base is cut out the size of our everyday dinner plates, and the hexagon shape has 4" sides. The hexagon is the base of the 'gazebo' and though it's an unlikely prospect in real life, the inside of my gazebo has royal icing snow on the floor. The tree is simply an icecream cone decorated with green royal icing piped thru a star tip.

I always use brown royal icing for construction - it hides all kinds of sins, and IMHO it gives a much neater finish. When it's dry I can come back and make things pretty with white royal icing. I've used gelatine sheets for glass in the windows, the criss cross pattern almost looks like leadlight. The walls were 4" wide by (I think) 5.5" tall, and I thought it would be nice to make the windows a little interesting. I don't mind confessing I was concerned that the roof would fall in before it dried - I had a slightly taller pointier roof in my mind, but that's not what I managed to bake. During construction I also put a string of Ikea battery operated LED's inside so it would light up. Fun!


And this is the finished gazebo. I was pretty happy with the finished piece. The only thing that bugs me about it is that I managed to miss a little row of dots on the front window there, and by the time I realised I'd missed it I'd cleaned up and had no icing left. Oh well, we can't have all things perfect :-)

And now that all the Christmas festivities have concluded for the year, I've had time to work on a little of the hand quilting on Phebe. I'm enjoying it again, and have been looking forward to each time I get to move the hoop and work on the next section.

Though now I'm on holidays, it's all I can do not to work on a new project. One of the sweet ladies that comes to class is working on the Rajah quilt by Lessa Siegle - I just love it and really want to make it too. I can't promise that I won't get started on it ... and you know I'll share if I do, but I have to show restraint. I have so many other things that I need to be working on!

Well, that's it from me, I hope you've all had a lovely week of festivities, and I promise to check in soon. xox

Friday, November 30, 2018

November Notes ...

November is one of my favourite months of the year - not just because it's my birthday month, but also because the Adelaide Christmas Pageant rolls through the city which is my signal to begin decorating for the Christmas season. Some people think it's too soon, but that's the tradition for my family, and I do love tradition!

My tree is up in the lounge room:


The angel is a new one this year, and there are a few other new decorations, but I don't think I could easily point them out, as the tree is really full - and that's how I like it!


Whew, that's a lot of decorations! For now I've had to put the tree skirt away, but I'll get it out again once presents start going under the tree. Gracie keeps sleeping on it and she's making it all furry! Oops!!

The nutcracker army is in full force too, and I'll share some pictures of them with you next time - though I'm sure I do the same every year :-)

And Christmas sewing ... do you know my sweet friend Marcie Patch? She's the sweetest lady, and recently she mentioned her Christmas Tree Topper on Facebook. Because it popped up again my lovely friend Linda issued her quilting buddies a challenge to make one - the instructions are on Marcie's blog. Challenge Accepted!!

Here's mine - my own personal challenge was to only use scraps from the drawers under my cutting table, and other than the cream reproduction fabric around the trees, I was able to stick to that.

I quilted it really simply - stitch in the ditch with a neutral thread (that style of quilting is unusual for me), and bound it with some green fabric that has been hiding in my stash for a little while:

All I need to do now is stitch the binding on the reverse side and I can call this done. I think that will be a project for tonight. 

And because I enjoyed strip piecing those trees so much, I'm working on some more trees - I do love spending time with my sewing machine!

Also in my sewing room on the corner of my cutting table is something that makes me smile every time I see it. I often receive gifts of phalaenopsis orchids. Usually they flower and then I don't seem to be able to keep them alive to flower again. Well, my sweet hubby has managed to get one to flower for a second year, and I'm just thrilled!

Isn't it so pretty? You can see the old flower stalk down there on the right. Maybe this one is good and strong and I'll be able to keep it for a long while. I do love to have a little greenery in the sewing room :-)

Continuing on with the theme of flowers - it was my birthday this past week, and amongst other things, I received the most lovely bouquets:

Aren't they just beautiful? I feel so very blessed to have spent time with some of my favourite people on my special day - and all the messages via text and on facebook, phone calls and cards made my heart absolutely sing. Thank you all!

I'm heading back into the sewing room now - I'm feeling inspired and that's a great time to get busy with needle and thread! Chatter soon xoxox

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Love a little EPP ...

Well hello friends :-) I thought I'd pop in and share a couple of happy snaps with you. Some of the sweet ladies that come to Thursday class had asked to learn English Paper Piecing (as well as some other things), so I made up a little something-something that we could play with.

I have to admit that though I love stitching hexagons, it was time to broaden our horizons ... though I didn't stray too far ... the lovely jewel shape I selected is used in conjunction with hexies :-)

This is the first block I made - I used bits and pieces left over from making Mrs Billings while I paper pieced the stars - I don't think the Mrs Billings scraps will ever disappear, they seem to be reproducing!

This is as far as I went with my quilt top, though I made the pattern for the girls to have 5x5 blocks. I also gave an option for some paper pieced sashing strips if they wanted to do them - for me though, I couldn't look past this wonderful FG border print. It's just divine.

The border print actually had five repeats across the width, so I used the last strip to make up this little table topper using the Kaleido-Ruler. I've made so many of these over the years, I honestly think the number may be in the hundreds! I'll pop the binding on over the next week and it'll look cute on the coffee table or something.

Last of all, I managed to move the hoop once while hand quilting on Phebe. Progress is slow, but enjoyable. I've made the decision that I'm not going to rush along on this project - I'm not quilting to a deadline - it will be finished when it's finished - and that has lifted a little stress from my shoulders.

Not long now until the Christmas Pageant here in Adelaide, and that's the signal for me to begin decorating and putting the tree up. It's my favourite time of the year! And once Christmas passes, we'll be full swing into preparations for Amy's wedding - busy times are ahead, and I cannot wait!! xox

Friday, October 05, 2018

Quilting, Cooking and Wandering ...

Tonight I had settled in for a night of hand quilting, when it occurred to me that it wouldn't be a bad thing to quickly grab the laptop and do a little sharing. I've been a busy bee, and have tried to record a few of my activities in pictures.

First up I thought I'd share my view in the quilting hoop:

If I can manage it, I'd like to at least finish up this area tonight so I can move the hoop again. I've been thinking about how I might like to quilt the grassy hill, and that will probably be what I'll tackle next. Try not to envy my mad drawing skills ... that poor sweet applique lady's face is really not all it could be, and let me tell you that the man is no better! Oh well, I think it's clear that I should stick to stitching :-)


And this strangely narrow photo shows how I was working in the border last week. For the moment I've outline quilted the applique shapes and worked some clamshells in the background. And now I'm wondering if I might go back and fill the clamshells with 1/4" shadowing to fill the shape completely. It could look quite nice. I have plenty of time to make these decisions, but I'm seriously leaning toward it ...

And in news other than quilting, on Friday last week I made these cupcakes for my lovely friend Kathy who was celebrating her 50th birthday. I do love making cupcakes, and never say no to a reason to bake them.

Her party was on Saturday night, and then on the following day for fun and to keep our hearts ticking we headed into the city for a walk in the Botanical Gardens. I took a great many pictures, but chose a few to share with you:

Springtime is a beautiful time to spend wandering the gardens, and I'm always inspired to come home and tinker in our own garden. It's a shame I don't have much of a green thumb, I usually leave the yard work to the hubby.

And last of all, I wanted to share something I've been working at for a little while. This year I made myself a promise that I was going to learn to bake French macarons. They can be quite tricky but I resolved that with practice I should be able to figure it out.

Well, let me tell you, I made many many mistakes, and to coin a phrase of the wonderful recipe that I'll share with you ... I baked a lot of 'macawrongs'. However, I stumbled across this recipe at Not So Humble Pie, and it has rocked my macaron world!

These are some of my offerings right out of the oven, before being filled and sandwiched:

The small picture with two trays was an early one and I was still perfecting my piping - the flourish to finish off was hard to master, so those ones are a little lumpy. I used a little brown food colouring in those ones. The other two pictures are au naturel - no food colouring at all. Other times I've made them pink, and purple as well. Sometimes I didn't even bother to fill the macarons while I was still practicing, as Camo was more than happy to eat them just as they were.

I'm so happy with my progress, and can't wait to bake some more. Though I've taken a little break from them over the past few weeks as it's not great for the waistline having these treats in the house! Do check out the link above though if you're interested in baking macarons, the recipe is just perfect and has all the wisdom in the world for helping you troubleshoot.

Well, that's it from me for now - I'm going to get back to hand quilting and see if I can get this hoop moved before bed time. Chatter soon! xox

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Whoops!

Well hello! I certainly did not intend to be absent from my blog for a whole month, but it seems that is exactly what I have done! Definitely a whoops! I don't have a good excuse, only that I seem to quite busy, but who isn't? We all cram a bunch into our lives don't we?

Just so I have a little eye candy for you, I'm sharing a picture of where I'm at hand quilting on Phebe. I haven't done a lot, but I'm happy with how it's coming along, it's still a fun project and I'll spend any spare moments working on it.

I'm sure I have more to share with you, so I'll check back in with you after I've gone thru the phone camera. Chatter soon! xox

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

HOQH & Exchange Blocks

Hi there lovelies, thank you all so much for your kind words on the finish of my Phebe quilt top. It was so nice to read all your sweet messages, it really made my heart sing. The top is visiting with Lizzy to get ready for hand quilting, and I'm looking forward to starting that when the time comes.

In the meantime I've been buzzing around catching up on some chores and socialising, and from a quilty perspective, I picked up a slightly abandoned project and also started working on an exchange. Let me share the quilty things with you:

The slightly abandoned project was Honouring our Quilting Heritage by Lori Smith - though I loved working on the blocks, Phebe bullied it's way into being my priority ... it seems to happen a lot with me!

Block 6 - Boxes and Baskets

This was a really fun block to put together, and I was able to use plenty of the scraps I had worked with while stitching Phebe.

Block 36 - Windmill

Some of these fabrics were dug out of my box of 'Donna fabrics' - my USA friends are all so kind to share their stashes with me!

If my records are correct, I now have 36 blocks made and there are a total of 59. It doesn't seem like there are TOO many left to make, but if I know myself there are probably a lot of hard ones left in the mix!

And in other stitching news, I've started working on an exchange that some of my lovely USA friends have organised.

We're making variable star blocks in 12", 8" and 6". And the fabrics are to be shirtings and reproductions - not sure that my backgrounds are necessarily shirtings or if they're too light, but I'll make them again if needs be :-)

Well, that's where my quilting world is right now, I'll check in with you soon as I'm sure I'll have more to share before I know it! xoxox

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