Monday, December 31, 2007

Royal Cross Update

Wow - our internet has been playing up, and after I typed up that last message, it took six hours before our internet was working well enough to post it!

I thought I'd quickly share how I'm going with my Royal Cross quilt. I've made twelve blocks now - thirteen to go. The blocks need to be pinned a LOT, so they are a little time consuming. Having said that, I still love working on them, and I'm loving how the design is coming together.

This will be my last post for 2007 - we're heading out shortly to ring in the new year with friends. It has gotten to just over 42c (108f) today, so whatever we do, we're going to be trying to stay cool! Have a great time celebrating! x o x

Final Stash Report for 2007

A big thank you to Hanne, for sharing this button on her blog for us to wear with pride.

My personal stash reduction challenge is not so much to reduce my yardage - because in all honesty, I don't have vast amounts of fabric. But more to use up my scraps, and pieces that don't qualify as fat quarters or yardage. Those are hardest for me to store, so I wanna use them up, and get them into quilts.

Purchases for the last couple of weeks: There were those three metres of fabric that I showed you recently. Not guilty purchases - the fat quarters are needed for Bonnie's mystery quilt. I'm starting to run low on the three colours I'm using. And the jet plane fabric - well, Cameron loves it, and I'll have to make it up into something for him.

Fabric use: I've been digging into my 1.5" strips, for the 'mosaic candle holder mats' which were Christmas gifts. Not vast amounts of stash used, but I guess with all four gifts, maybe half a metre used - when you include the 8" piece for backing, the binding, and there was also the use of scraps of batt. Nice :-) I've had to cut many many more 1.5" strips for the mystery quilt, so I have no clue how much I've used there - I even threw some Thimbleberries fabrics in the mix - something I don't normally do. I usually keep those scraps separate.

Overall for the year I'm thrilled with my stash progress. I've got 90% of the fabric organised to within an inch of it's life. I have new closets for it, and my yardage is all folded neatly, and so are most of my fat quarters. I have added to my container collection, and the 'Scrap Users System' is working a treat for me. Bring on 2008 and more scrappy quilts!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Carolina Crossroads Pt. 3

It has been hot here today 37c (98.6f), so indoor activities have been on the agenda. I've now completed part three of the Carolina Crossroads mystery, and I've got a few of the pieces put together toward part four.

I'm taking tentative steps with the new camera, always with Marty hovering close. I can see there is a lot to learn - I've been using a 'point and shoot' cybershot, and now with this beastie there are so many more options. I can see I'm already able to get so much more light in my pictures.

Also today, I've been doing some re-arranging in the hallway. Did you know that I love blue and white china? If you visit my home, you'd be left with absolutely no doubt ... and now you can see it from the front door too!

I treated myself to a new parlour palm. I've managed to keep the one in the lounge room alive for a couple of years now, so I thought I could try for another. If I look closely, maybe there is a tinge of green in my thumb after all!

Think cool thoughts for us - the next few days are going to be hot hot hot. On new years eve we're expecting 41c (105.8f). I'm thinking longingly of my buddies in the northern hemisphere with their snow drifts ...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Marty's New Camera

Just thought I'd share a couple of pictures that Marty took with his new camera. It looks big and scary to me - hopefully I'll be able to figure it out too. First up is Cameron ... and second up is Gracie in the Christmas tree.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas

A slightly belated, but nonetheless heartfelt Merry Christmas to you all, I hope you have a wonderful time with your families and friends.
*big hugs*
x o x

Friday, December 21, 2007


Ooops! I lost a day there! You all know how that kind of thing can happen during the silly season.

I just thought I'd share a little something that amused me highly ... I got Marty a shirt to wear on Xmas day (ssshhh ... he hasn't seen it yet ...) Isn't the cartoon super cute?? He'll love it I'm sure :-)

There hasn't been much stitching going on here. I've made two more of the "mosaic candle with mat" gifts, one for Natalie, one for Cameron's day care lady Christine, and I've one more yet to make for another friend (who I won't name, just in case). I would like to make up another Christmas gift if I can manage it ... I'll see how I go for time - some of our celebrating will be happening on Sunday, so it has been a bit of a time squeeze. I definitely haven't outdone myself this year on the handmade front.

In quilting related news - I fell down a little on the stash busting front. My friend Jenny and I went to Spotlight yesterday, and I came home with 3 metres of fabric. The fat quarters are to supplement my scraps for Bonnie's mystery quilt. The aircraft fabric was Cameron's choice. I have a few prints that he's selected, so perhaps an eye-spy quilt is on my horizon.

And in good news, my new drier was replaced without question. The store had a shipment come in on Wednesday, and they swapped them over. I've been washing away happily... a chore that I don't usually love!

I have to tell you ... when Jenny came over a little while back, she asked me what the huge noise was ... and I told her it was my washing machine - it sounded like I had aircraft landing in the laundry. So, you can't even imagine my joy at having such a wonderfully quiet machine - in fact, it's really easy to forget that I'm doing the washing!

Have a great day everyone! x o x

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Stash Report & Stuff

Here's my stash report for this week. No fabric purchases at all - even though I was tempted to go and purchase some fat quarters. I've done a little piecing - the mystery project, so I've used up some more of my 1.5" strips.

A tiny project for using up some of my brighter 1.5" strips was to make up a mat for the mosaic candle holder you see in the picture. It's a 6" log cabin block, I'm guessing the actual mosaic piece is about 10" high. It was a gift for my friend Sharon who had a birthday on the weekend, and of course I couldn't share it until she actually received it! I have a few more of the same to make this week toward Christmas gifts.

On Sunday night our family, and Sharon's family went for a trip to Lobethal to see the Christmas lights. This is a picture of our favourite of the light displays. My picture isn't great - and we're limited with the camera we have, but you get the idea. We're getting a new camera tomorrow - let's see if the quality of my pictures improve - or perhaps it's actually the operator *vbs*

I had some excitement yesterday, I purchased a new washer and dryer. I have been squirreling little bits of money away for a little while toward the goal. We've had the old ones for 18 years now - so they'd had a good innings. I love the new washing machine, it's a front loader, and I've heard great things about them. Today though, Marty was unpacking the dryer, and we were so sad to see that the side of it is all dented in. I'm going to have to take it back tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for me, they said it was their last one. They're going to have to work something out for me - it's just unacceptable that so often the customer is on the wrong end of quality control issues.

Tonight I'm going to some more work done on my friend Jenny's quilt. I'm hoping to have it finished for her tomorrow. Super fun! :-)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

More piecing

Today I've been piecing some more of the Royal Cross blocks. I made four, I'd like to have made another ... but maybe later. I'm just loving the interplay between the blocks and the circle pattern that forms. I'm also loving the scrappiness of the top. It's fun using up all these smaller bits and pieces that I have.

I now have seventeen more blocks to make - I really need to cut up some more dark scraps for some variety - I got bored while doing all the cutting back then, of course I wanted to get into the actual stitching!

And on the mystery quilt front - I've finished with step two (apart from cutting out the 3.5" squares which won't take long). I really need to cut some more 1.5" strips, I've really made quite a dent in the 1.5" strip container. Before I can tackle step three, I'll need a whole lot more lights in there, and some more blues and browns ...

I didn't have much of an idea about where the mystery was heading before, but now that clue three has been posted, I have absolutely no idea whatsoever. It will be fun to see the quilt progress.

There won't be much more piecing for the rest of today - I really need to get some chores done. I'm feeling a little edgy about the state of the house right now. I'd also like to get a few of the Christmas presents I've purchased wrapped up and under the tree. Best get busy ... TTYL :-)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Can you feel the love ...

Here are our two babies ... Holly looking much less like a baby. It looks like Holly is nibbling on Gracie's leg, but I wasn't really fast enough with the camera, she's actually cleaning her. Too sweet - they're friends already.

Do you see the little bows on the floor there, and the lego? The kitties have been busy taking the decorations off the tree, and chasing Cam's toys around the house. It's fun to see them playing together.

In quilty news, I'm still piecing away with the mystery nine patches, and I see that the next clue is up already. I hope I can catch up at some point! These little blocks are really taking me some time!

And last of all, sadly our netball girls lost the grand final tonight. They played so well, and the margin was only four goals in the end. I'm so proud of them all! They're just wonderful girls, each and every one of them.

Have a great weekend everyone! x o x

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mystery quilt progress ...

Wow! Bonnie wasn't kidding when she said this step should keep us busy for a bit! Working with these little pieces is definitely time consuming. I guess I'm around half way through Part 2 right now - I'll be done with them by Friday I'm thinking. These little blocks are so cute, and I can't even imagine right now where we're heading with this project :-)

Not quilt related ... a number of you have asked how Holly is getting along with Gracie. I'm amazed and happy to say that after a nervous first couple of days they're actually playing together. Holly was very unsure of her to begin with, and we were a little concerned because she's so much larger than Gracie. We knew things were getting better when Holly wasn't hissing at her, and even went so far to lick her a few times. While I still wouldn't leave them together alone for any great length of time, I feel sure they're going to be snuggle buddies in no time. I'm really glad we didn't leave Holly alone for too long, it could have been a tricky situation.

And most importantly ... tomorrow is Miss Amy's birthday. Can you believe that my little princess is turning 13! Where did all that time go? I have to work at the shop during the day, so she's having the day at a friend's house, and then in the evening we're taking her out to dinner with family at her favourite restaurant. It should be a lovely evening.

I'll check back in with you all on Friday to let you know how things went. Have a good one :-)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Grace & Stash Report

Meet Grace - the newest 'fur person' addition to our family. She's Holly's niece - so she was family before she even joined us. I've been calling her Gracie, it sounds so cute. She's so tiny, I think she may even be smaller than Holly was when she came to us. (Ohhh, and I must mention - that is Holly's toy lizard on the floor ... not scary wildlife in the house *s*)

When we visited on Saturday to bring one of the kitties home, it was really hard to decide which one would come home with us - I decided on Grace because she was the smallest and shyest one and not the one with the prettiest markings. I knew all the others would find good homes because they were all cute and perky, Gracie seemed so shy, so my heart went to her. She's a darling little thing, and we're having fun welcoming her to our home.

In Stash Report news:

No purchases at all this week. Good going too, as Hancocks of Paducah have free shipping going right now, including international orders. That took some strength to not take advantage of.

I haven't done as much piecing of my own as I'd like this past week - I've made up part one of Bonnie's mystery project, and I made up three of my total of four Royal Cross blocks. I've started piecing the nine patch units for the mystery too. I guess maybe I've used 1-2 yards of stash? Not sure, it's hard to tell.

Wool stash (does this count?) I finished one 'car sock', and I've started another. Hard to knit right now given that we're in Summer, but found time is found time, and I'm happy to use it. No purchases on the yarn front either.

Well, that's it from me - happy stashing everyone!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Scrapping ...

I can't believe it's almost Christmas, I just don't feel like I'm ready for the whole festive season yet. Heavens, I have barely started the shopping, and almost no quilted gifts - this is so unusual!! Amy only has two days of school left for the year, and Cameron has five. Soooo ... I thought I'd put together the traditional gift for their teachers - Seasonal mugs with mug mats. I hope they liked them!

I should probably put a few more together, you know, as 'justin presents' ... just in case ...

And because I just couldn't resist - I decided to dive into Bonnie's mystery project. I haven't made many projects that use a great number of my 1.5" strips, so I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to start.I decided to go with some brown in with the red and blue, I had to cut up some of the brown and red especially, but there were plenty of blue strings in there to use. I have three customer quilts I need to finish up before I can start working on step two, but hopefully by the end of the week I'll be up to date.

This weekend is sure to be a lot of fun, in one hour we're going to pick up the new kitten. Cheryl is going to have one too. The kids will definitely be entertained, and it'll be interesting to see how Holly deals with the new arrival. I'll share pictures as I have them! Have a great weekend! x o x

Thursday, December 06, 2007

More Royal Crosses

Four blocks down - twenty one to go! I made three blocks up on Tuesday - I wonder if I can keep that up on the days I don't work. The quilt top will fly together! Don't you love the circular pattern that is already starting to appear? I'm really thrilled with how it's looking.

I've cut more of the dark value pieces, so I'd say I'm 80% of the way thru the cutting for this quilt. Quite a few people were interested in how I'm cutting out the pieces, so I'll elaborate ... I made up templates from regular template plastic. I then layered up 4 or 5 fabrics with the wrong side facing me - traced the template shape on the fabric, and then used my rotary cutter to cut out all 4-5 pieces at once. Slow going on the curved pieces, but much easier and faster than tracing out each shape and cutting with scissors like I probably would have done it in the past.

As I've been cruising blogs these past couple of days, I keep seeing all the wonderful results of Bonnie's mystery quilt. I'm teetering on the edge of diving in with you all. The only thing holding me back is the fact that I don't have a lot of 1.5" strips cut ... but I'm seriously contemplating just getting busy and cutting some more. Don't be surprised if you see me having a go at it ... I'm on the verge ...

Today I have a couple of things I really need to do before heading to the quilt store. I MUST put up the Christmas tree and get busy decorating. And I MUST get busy with Christmas gifts. Last year (and in other years) I started in around August. Where did this year go, and why did it go there so fast??!!?? Better run, lots to do, and not much time :-) x o x

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Mug Mats/Coasters

Just a quickie post this morning. Sooooo many people have commented on and totally loved the mug mats/coasters I often make for people, so I thought I'd share the pattern.

It's available as a freebie download over at my website. Just click on the 'free patterns' button. It's super easy - I guess the only tricky bit is the binding, but once you know how to do it, you'll be churning them out in no time. Enjoy!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Royal Cross Beginning

I promised in my last post that I'd start working on something for myself this past weekend, and true to my word, here is some evidence that I did.

My stash-busting effort consisted of almost cutting out all the pieces for my Royal Cross quilt. I cut all 100 of the light value pie shaped pieces and triangles. Also cut are all the medium value squares, and half the medium value cross pieces. I've cut a few of the dark value pieces too.

In the foreground is one block I put together, because I just can never resist the lure of the piecing. I just love it!

Amazing how much more time consuming cutting out curved pieces can be. This lot took a few hours on Saturday, a few hours yesterday, and I'm still not done!

Today after I get busy with some chores, I need to get back to some customer quilting. When I've finished the one quilt that is half done, then I'll allow myself to get back into some cutting. Better run - those chores won't take care of themselves! x o x

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Today I'll work on ...

... some of my own stuff. Really, I mean it! I put together a drawing of a quilt a little while back, and I'm going to start chopping up some scraps to make it up.

This is the quilt I plan to work on, but don't think of it in terms of the colourway I'm sharing here - think of it in a really scrappy way, using reproduction fabrics in the light medium and dark colourway. I'm really excited to work on something that has curved seams. It's been a long time since I've made one of these blocks, so I hope I don't stress out too much over the curves. They're reasonably gentle. I'm sure you'll be seeing my progress.

And here's the last two customer quilts I worked on. The one in front is the end result of a class I taught a while back. The girls made up table runners from charm packs, and this one is from the 'Roman Holiday' range, with a little yardage for the border. It's very nice.

Behind is a courthouse steps quilt from a shop customer - very nice to work on and a very nice lap size. I quilted it for about an hour yesterday afternoon, and then finished it last night. I have four more quilts to work on for others - I'll space them out over the next week or so.

In sporty news - Amy's school netball team had a huge win last night. In the semi-final, they had a wonderful victory against a team that has not lost a game all year. This puts Amy's team directly into the grand final in two weeks time. I imagine we'll end up playing the same team again, so let's see how we go. Go team!

Have a great weekend everyone! x o x


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