Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Checking in ...

Hello friends! This past week has been one of reminders - I was at guild on Thursday night and I had two sweet ladies remind me that I hadn't posted anything on here for a while. And then I visited the Magill Quilters Biggest Morning Tea on Saturday morning with my sweet friend Wendy, and I received a couple more reminders.

It's so lovely that people are interested in what's going on here, and I genuinely do have good intentions of posting more often. The truth is (and it's not terribly exciting) I have been spending every spare moment I have working on my quilt - and I am getting so very close to finishing the hand quilting. In fact, I reached a recent milestone:

I emptied a complete cone of quilting thread. That's 1000 yards of hand quilting under my belt, and I'm not done yet. Can't be sure how I'll measure exactly how much quilting will be in the final quilt, but I'm sure I can work something out! I'll share some more pictures once I'm finished quilting - I'm really hoping it won't be long now.

Note: I had a comment from a sweet reader named Patti asking if I ever have trouble getting the blue markings out of my quilts. Thank you for asking Patti - I would have emailed you back directly but your message came up as no-reply. In answer to your question - after I'm finished my quilts I always fully immerse and wash them in the washing machine. I use a gentle cycle including spin, and then dry the quilt flat on towels on the floor. This washing method should ensure there is no residue from the blue pen in the fabric. I've never had a problem to date, and hopefully this will continue.

In other news, because I can't work on my big quilt on the days I go to quilt group (it's just too big to be portable) I started work on another little project. It's a fun little diversion:

While I was poking around in the sewing room a little while back, I found some fabric that was in one of Amy's cot quilts - named the people quilt, and also the tiny travel version of the people quilt. Amy loved the little dolls and teddies that were on the fabric, and she called them people, hence the name. This fabric has been kicking around in my stash for 23 years now, so I definitely can't say I'm rushing into anything.

In the picture above I've framed the block a little, I've also started another block with a different picture, and I'll keep going and just see where the wind takes me. I love it when projects just evolve. If I really like it I may make another with some more recent fabric and put a pattern out.

Next up, I can't remember if I told you that I ordered a set of Russian piping tips for icing cupcakes. They are the most fun things ever. I love to take cupcakes for morning tea when we play home games at tennis, and I've been practicing since I've had them:

I made some pretty ones yesterday too and silly me I forgot to take pictures of them ... oops!

There are a few things that are helpful with these tips: firstly, the consistency of the icing is so very important - if the icing is too soft, all the definition of the flower is lost. The butter really needs to be whipped well, if there are little lumps of butter in the icing it gets stuck in the little holes and is a nightmare to work around. Lastly, it's important to wipe the base of the tip occasionally or little bits of the design can get left behind. You can see that a couple of the flowers are missing stamens in the pale pink flowers for this reason.

If you get some, there are so many tutorials online to help you out. I'm just starting to find my feet with the icing tips and look forward to becoming more adventurous when I have more time.

Last of all, here's the portion of the post where you get to feel a little sorry for me ... just kidding. Four weeks ago on this day I tore my left calf on the tennis court. It was such a bummer, as my team were having a great day. Even so, there were still a couple of blessings. At least it was my left calf, so because my car is an auto I can still get around and get Camo to and from school. And because I'm not getting to coaching and cardio etc, I have been able to spend more time quilting. At this stage the physio says I won't be back on the court for another four weeks or so ... so there will be a lot more quilting in my future.

I still have more things to share with you from the past couple of months, like the most recent cruise etc, but I'll save them for a future post. Thank you for all being patient, and also for the gentle reminders, you're all so very sweet! xoxox

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Oooops!

Ohhh dear, I don't think I've ever gone a whole month without posting an update before. But it would appear that April managed to simply pass me by.

I have been super busy quilting and living large - but tonight won't be the night for me to fill you in. Just wanted to quickly share that I've been quilting a whole lot, and I'm super happy with how my Caswell quilt is coming along. Here's a quick pic from the border:


This is the centre of the bottom border. I have four blocks left to quilt, and two of the borders, so it's really starting to look finished. I'm so looking forward to getting the binding on and calling this quilt done.

I promise once I'm done with the quilting I'll get back to more regular posting, but for the moment, I'm spending every spare minute with needle in hand. Chatter soon! xox

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Block Exchange

For many years now I have been an honourary member of the Quilt Batts quilt group - the members are all lovely friends of mine in the USA, and I love visiting with them when I am stateside. At one of their retreats early in each year they exchange Christmas blocks, and I'm part of the exchange, but usually from afar.

My block arrived in the mail this week, and I was the lucky recipient of a block from Liz:

Isn't the block just fabulous? All those tiny pieces and the precise points. Thank you so much Liz, I just love it!

And this is the block I made for Deb:

Oops, the block is sideways in the picture, but you get the idea :-) I put the block together just after Christmas so I was still feeling festive, and you may recognise the feature fabric as a fairly recent purchase at Hetties.

I have the name of the person I'll be exchanging with next year, and I have plenty of time to think of what I'd like to make them. Happy days! :-)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Quilting progress ...

Quilting is progressing apace on my Caswell quilt. Some days all I can think of is quilting, and other days it's really hard to face it ... but I keep plugging away, knowing that each stitch is another one closer to the finished quilt.

This is block 16 of the 25 that I've used in this quilt. I finished it this morning after a big effort last night. My goal was to get it done before I went to bed, but it was just getting too late and my eyes were feeling tired ... so I succumbed to sleep.

This evening I'm quilting the adjacent triangles and sashing strips, and I hope to get busy on the next block tomorrow after tennis.

I'm still debating over what project I'm going to work on next. Each time I go to quilt group or to work I'm tempted by every single thing that my friends are working on, and I'm dying to do some piecing again. I have a few months to think about it, and I can't wait! Chatter soon :-)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Checking in :-)

I had a conversation with a lovely friend the other day, and the subject of my blog came up. It caused me to remember that I haven't checked in since I got back from our most recent adventure - and I've been home for two and a half weeks now - how remiss of me!

My family and I were lucky enough to go on another Pacific Island Cruise - it's fair to say we're completely addicted to cruising now, and another one is planned and happening imminently - lucky me!

I won't share tons of photos today - I really didn't take all that many, but I'll check in with my Dad, he took so many, and hopefully there will be some with me in it too! We travelled on the Explorer of the Seas - the sister ship to the Voyager which we travelled on last time.

It's so fun to see the magnitude of the ship when we arrive at the passenger terminal:


And when we boarded, we went directly to our room to drop off our carry ons and check out the view:

Here's Camo looking back toward Circular Quay from our balcony ... and if you turn just a little to the left you get to see this famous icon:

The Sydney Opera House is so very distinctive. It looks like the outside area was being set up for Chinese New Year celebrations which I believe was the day after we sailed.

I won't' share heaps of pictures - just a couple for now:

I love this picture - this was the view back to the ship from the beach at Mystery Island. It was just beautiful, and we all spend pretty much all day in the water ... I think this was my favourite stop on this trip.

And for the last cruise picture - I just wanted to share my favourite drink from our favourite bar on the ship:


Mum and I have a new favourite bar tender - his name is Louis and he was in the Schooner Bar on deck 4. He made the best Chocolate Martinis, and I had soooo very many! On the last evening we stayed there as long as we possibly could - we didn't want the cruise to end - and I had a bit of a wobbly walk back to the stateroom.

My goodness what a great time we all had - and it has been so hard to come back to earth at home. Who is going to make my dinner ... pick up the towels in the bathroom ... make fabulous towel animals? Well, it's going to have to be me ...

But one thing I have been happy to get back to is my quilting. I'm still plugging away, I'm over half way through the blocks now - and once they're done, then it's the border.

One last picture I forgot to share with you from Christmas - it's another thing that goes in the "I am incredibly blessed" file ...


My sweet husband bought me a Kitchenaid mixer for Christmas - I have ALWAYS wanted one, but thought they were really a bit too expensive to purchase on a whim. I was amazed that he remembered - and so entirely thrilled. It wasn't a surprise on the day as he wanted my input regarding colour - and I'm so very glad he checked with me. I've only used it a couple of times so far, but once I'm done with all this quilting, I know I'll be spending a lot of time whipping up treats with this bad boy.

Well, that's all the news I can think of right now - thank you for being patient with me, and also for emails and conversations checking in on me! Chatter soon! xox

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Melbourne 2017

I have been absent for a little while - there has been no quilting going on here whatsoever! One of the sweet ladies on my Saturday tennis team and I went for a week to Melbourne, we wanted to catch all the action at the Australian Open Tennis.

Here are some happy snaps:


We flew in last Sunday, and because we the tennis didn't start until Monday we had some time to ourselves. The main thing on both our lists was to visit Adriano Zumbo's Patisserie in South Yarra - he's famed from Australian Masterchef, and I've been simply dying to visit, and lucky for me, so had Judy!

I don't mind confessing that we made complete pigs of ourselves. A couple of macarons each, a lemon meringue tart, and also a couple of macarons for the road. We genuinely wanted to visit again, but ran out of time :-( ... there is always next year!

 A long walk along the river before we settled on a restaurant for dinner ... so many pictures, so difficult to decide what to share! This snap looking back toward the MCG - and the tennis centre is nearby.

 Loved these horses and carriages not far from Federation Square.


And then it was time for the big show - the real reason for our visit - the tennis! We saw great games over the week that we spent there. Each day we had tickets for Margaret Court Arena, and each evening for Rod Laver Arena. I can't even tell you how thrilled I was that on the first night we were able to watch my hero in action - Roger Federer. It has been on my bucket list to see him play before he retires. We were not disappointed - he had a big win. And in subsequent days and evenings we saw so many stars - Murray, Nadal, Wavrinka, Raonic, Williams, Radwanska ... as well as so many Aussies, and so many other names ...

 Loved the garden square and all the things to do and see. I may have laid down a few dollars on some merchandise - can't prove anything :-)

And one of the most exciting things for the week is that my coaches son Bradley made it into the main round of doubles with another local boy Alex, and they won through three rounds to the quarter finals. It was so exciting being courtside cheering them on with a huge contingent from our club. Just amazing, and we're all so very proud!


All too quickly Saturday arrived and it was time to head home, after we checked out of our hotel we walked a little again. I love to see the old buildings around Melbourne - and they sit so nicely with the modern ones. It was almost sad to gather our baggage and head to the airport.

Silly me I had to buy some new shoes at the airport - I had checked in my bag and forgot that I couldn't wear rubber thongs in the Qantas lounge ... but I'm sure you all know that wasn't a hardship for me, there's always a good reason for new shoes!

Well, that's all for my tiny snapshot of what I've done this past week. I'm having another adventure again soon, so I'll share that with you as I get the chance.

Before I go, I received a message on an old post about my Singer treadle machine. The person asking the question doesn't have email enabled on their comment so I wasn't able to reply personally. The question was whether a White treadle machine will fit into a singer cabinet. I personally don't know the answer to this as I only collect old Singer machines, but if anyone knows the answer, maybe they could post some details in the comments - thank you so much!

I'm way behind on emails again, hopefully I will catch up soon. I discovered that I hadn't lost the messages I thought I had, I just haven't set up filters on the new laptop yet so they weren't where I thought they'd be.

Well, that's enough rambling from me ... chatter soon! xox

Monday, January 09, 2017

Still quiltin'

Hi there, and Happy New Year! What did you spend your New Years Day doing? Because of course, it is said that whatever you do on the first of the year, you'll spend all year doing it! Personally, I slept in, ate leftovers and also worked on my hand quilting. I did a little housework too, but I'll keep that on the down-low. I sure want don't want to spend all my time this year doing chores!!

I'm still quilting here, and I can honestly say that I'm growing a little tired of it. I MUST keep going though, so I'm trying to find joy in the little things ... like each time I fill a section ... or when I move the hoop ... each of those small achievements will eventually give me a finished quilt!


Goodness me ... what a blurry picture ... let's pretend it's all artsy and that I meant for it to be that way!

** Before I sign off - I just want to mention that I upgraded laptops recently, and I lost any emails I received from my last blog post. If you asked me a question, I'd love to respond ... do you mind getting in touch with me again? Thank you so much! **

Well, I'm going to head back to my quilting throne and put some more stitches in for the evening ... chatter soon! xoxox

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Catching up ...

Hello there Christmas, I am ready for you! The only gifts I have left to bring into the house are anything being given to Camo - and that's only because I'm not entirely certain he might not look for them ... (or stumble across them, as I'm not very good at hiding things ...)

Before I get into the bits and pieces that I'd like to share with you, please allow me to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas. And if Christmas isn't your particular thing, know that I'm sending good wishes from my home to yours, and hoping we'll all have a wonderful New Year!

I have a few things to share, first up, Shay and I decorated cookies for the season on Sunday - I knew I wouldn't have time to put together a gingerbread house this year, so I made a 3D gingerbread cookie tree:


This was fun to put together - and it was nice to have Shay's company while I started working on it. Hopefully Shay was able to take home enough information for her to ice cookies for upcoming celebrations. 

And I can't even tell you how fun it was to see that Mark Lipinski snagged the picture from my Facebook page to share on his own. It was like a little brush with fame!

One of the reasons that I don't have a lot of time to put a gingerbread house together is because I'm really trying to spend as much time as I possibly can working on my hand quilting ... I took the Caswell quilt out of the hoop recently so I snapped a quick pic ...


This is only a little of the work that I've done, but you can see where I'm heading. There are some areas to fill that may not have fitted in the hoop when I was working on that area, and I'll get back to them as I can.

I also had a number of people asking about my hoop setup, so I took a picture of the floor stand to share with you:


My goodness I was blessed that this hoop came into my life. Literally the same day that I heard from Lizzy that she'd finished basting my quilt, I received an email from Lyn, a lovely lady that I used to work with. She had this stand, and wondered if I'd like it as she was de-cluttering her sewing room. Of course it was the perfect thing I needed, at the perfect time - and bless her, Lyn delivered it to me at work the next day. I don't know much about it, but I believe it was hand made by the husband of a quilter that Lyn knows.

Now that I've been quilting on the floor stand, I don't know how I persevered with hoops for so long! It's just so nice not to have to worry about balancing the weight of the quilt. However the only down-side is that my quilt is not portable at all - I can't quilt anywhere but home. But if I'm honest, the quilt is really too big to drag around easily, so it's not a problem at all!

I also had some questions regarding what kind of marking tool I was using to get the blue lines on my quilt. I'm always happy to help with info, and a sweet reader Janet shared that she hadn't seen the blue marker I'm using, so I took a pic:


I use a number of the Sewline products (no affiliation, just a happy customer) - for marking I use this blue marker on lighter fabrics, and on darker fabrics either their white or pink ceramic mechanical pencil. When I finish a quilt, I'm not happy to just spritz the marking lines away, I actually put the quilt through a gentle cycle in my washing machine and then dry the quilt flat on towels. It makes me happy to know that the quilt has been completely immersed in water and then there is no chance that any of the markings will remain or return.

Last of all, readers will know that I recently learned a new applique technique from Teresa's blog - and I in turn passed this technique on to a sweet lady named Pam who comes to my classes. She has fallen in love with applique and is running with it - this is her first project:


Her next job was to place the applique in the borders - and by the last class this year, she had completed all the applique and had moved on to the quilting. She selected big stitch quilting with perle cotton. It's just lovely!

Well, that's it from me for now - I have a feeling I had other things to share, but I can't remember what they were right now. If I remember and I get a chance, I'll pop back in and share, but if not, I'll see you on the other side of Christmas ... chatter soon! xoxox

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