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

Saturday, July 28, 2018

And Phebe is finally done!

Squeeeee! I'm just thrilled to report that I've finished working on the Phebe quilt top. It has taken 11 months to get to this stage, and here it is:

It's another big one, I can't lay it out fully anywhere in the house - so I'm sending it on to my lovely longarming friend Lizzy to baste for me, and then I can get busy with the hand quilting.

Here is a close up of one of the sides:

There are so many different fabrics to look at, my eyes are skipping all over the place seeing new things. Can I share a secret with you? When I first started putting the final borders together I was really unsure about whether the fabric I used in the large triangles was the right one, I felt it might have been too dark. I love it now though, and I'm so glad I purchased it on a whim from Hetties Patch.

This week has been a busy one - I had Christmas in July with my sweet Thursday quilting class - I made them little quilted mats, refreshed a Christmas pattern for them, and make yummy cupcakes. I didn't remember to take a picture of the mats etc, but may be able to snag one from a friend, but here are the cupcakes etc:

Isn't the Nutcracker in the background a cutie? Manuela bought it on her recent trip to Germany - after seeing her pictures I don't know how she showed restraint - I definitely would need extra luggage - the German Christmas stores are amazing!

Lastly, a quick apology, I haven't responded to comments from my last post just yet - and there are some I can't respond to as the email addresses aren't enabled, so a big hello to Lin McQ, Marie, Melody A, Randy Tangen and lvkwlt - I appreciate you all stopping by! Chatter soon everyone! xox

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Almost, almost ... getting reaaaalllly close ...

I really wanted to have my quilt top finished by this evening, and I'm so very close, honestly I am ... There is just one side of the star border, and then the little spacer to go ...

I just dumped the quilt on the floor in the sewing room and haven't straightened it up properly so it looks a little jiggly wobbly, but you can see it's coming along. I think I will do a little unpicking though - the top of the star block in the very corner doesn't meet with its neighbour nicely enough for my liking so I'll sort that out tonight.

As soon as the top is done I can hand it on to my lovely long arming friend Lizzy to baste for me, and hand quilting can begin in earnest.

In other news - yesterday while out shopping with Amy, we wandered into an antique store and I found a lovely piece to add to my Masons Vista collection:

Isn't it pretty? I've never seen a '3 section relish dish' in the wild before so I had to bring it home with me. They did also have a dinner plate, but I left that behind because at $55.00 the price was too steep - and lets be honest, the 20 plates I already have are plenty!

Well, that's it from me, hopefully the next time I check in with you all I should have this top completely finished - fingers crossed!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Almost there ...

Oooooh, look at me go! I'm getting so close to finishing this quilt top, I feel like I can almost touch it! The last little skinny border was stitched in place on Tuesday evening, so here's where it's at now:

I haven't laid it out on the floor very well, and the light coming through the window in the sewing room has washed it out a lot, but I simply couldn't wait to share it with you all!

Basically, all that remains is the final border with pieced stars set on point. 56 stars are required, and I've made 13 of them so far - I need to get my skates on and get busy piecing! Chatter soon!

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