Monday, April 30, 2012

Odds and Sods ...

So, something had been bothering me about my Mrs Billings top for a little while ... and until recently I was just too darn lazy to do anything about it ...

I felt like it was just too red and brown in the middle (block one) - and since I've been using blue and grey fabrics in it recently, they should be in the centre too. In my defence, when I put block one together, I hadn't finished purchasing all my fabrics yet.

I considered taking the paper pieced middle apart and replacing the brown diamonds with blue ones, but quickly dismissed that as too much hard work. Instead, I replaced four red squares with fussy cut blue ones, and I'm really happy with the result.

I'd like to say that I won't do any more unpicking and replacing, but I'm not sure it's wise to make such a sweeping statement!

In other news, today after school, I took the kids to the plaza, we were on a mission to make appointments and purchase bits and pieces for Amy's formal (prom) which is coming up in the middle of the year. I'm happy to say that we got pretty much everything done ... and while shoe shopping for her, found these cuties which HAD to come home with ME!

Aren't they darling? I love them!!

Chatter soon friends :-)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Latest FWS blocks

True to my word (and my Quilters ADD) I've completed a few more Farmers Wife blocks. All fun ones to make - the first three foundation pieced.

Block 28 - Duck and Ducklings

Block 30 - End of Day

Block 54 - Kitchen Woodbox

Block 76 - Sawtooth

Block Total: 56
This means I'm officially just over the half way mark! :-)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Rail Fence Blocks

Here are my first five Rail Fence blocks - I've made three of each, so that's 15 out of the 99 we're each making. I'm having a great time choosing fabrics for each block - and let's face it, I have so many scraps to choose from :-)

They're so nice to make, but I have to pay careful attention to my seam allowance. It's very easy to make them too narrow. So far so good!

I think I'll do some Farmer's Wifeing this afternoon - I believe I have quilter's ADD!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Block Exchange

I'm so excited to be working on a new block exchange with some of my bestest friends, Linda and Donna :-) We're making Rail Fence blocks with a little interest in the middle there.

Here are 5 blocks I've received from Linda already - aren't they delightful? I'm going to make some blocks up today - I have 99 to make, to it'll take me some time. Better get busy! xox

Monday, April 23, 2012

Five Farmers Wife Blocks

My Farmers Wife Sampler book has been calling to me, so over the weekend and this morning, I answered the call. Thank goodness, because I've really missed these darling little blocks!

I've made some fairly simple blocks, and I'm also trying to get ready to put another row together. Here's what I achieved:

Block 68 - Postage Stamp

Block 73 - Rainbow Flowers

Block 84 - Spool

Block 102 - Whirlpool

Block 109 - Windows

I put block 73 together a little differently than the one in the book - just eliminated a couple of seams to make things easier. I'm all for simplifying when I can :-)

If I get the chance, I'd like to put a couple more together today - but first I'll get my menu planned for this week, and grocery shop too. Gosh I dislike grocery shopping - I'm really hoping that doing this planning will encourage me to enjoy the process more. Keep your fingers crossed for me friends :-)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Off the list!

Today I finally did something I've been wanting to do for AGES!

I have had a Thimbleberries quilt on the wall in my family room for such a long time, and it had gotten to the point where I was beyond sick of seeing it, I was beginning to strongly dislike the quilt. The hanging sleeve wasn't really put on properly so it had become saggy, and I don't really think it was big enough for the wall.

Though you can't really see in the picture below, on the left side of the TV, there are some ugly cables hanging out of the antenna socket. How nice it would be to have them covered up. So, today was the day.

My 'Turning Four-T' quilt was the one I really wanted to put up, and it needed a hanging sleeve. Done. Next I took the offending quilt down - and had to move the hooks and find a larger dowel. Done and done :-) And ewww, the old quilt needed a wash, badly! Also done!

So, now you see one of my favourite quilts hanging in the family room. Offending cables and antenna socket covered, and I'm so pleased to have something different to look at. And now that I think about it, even the colours are more appealing.

Ohhh, and the kids haven't even noticed yet ... I wonder how long it'll take :-)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

And it's done!

Today I finished the binding on my nephew's quilt. These Jelly Roll Race quilts are certainly speedy projects.

I chose a simple free motion pattern for the quilting, used a bright variegated thread, and it looks quite cute don't you think?

The coordinating fabric isn't from the same range as the jelly roll, but it goes quite well. I purchased a metre (which is about a yard and three inches). It's used for the squares, the binding, and I had a small chunk left to piece into the back.

The backing fabric with the spots was already in my stash - I think I got it on a super bargain at Spotlight. I think around $4.00 a metre or so - almost used that up entirely as well. Happy days!

And in matters completely unrelated:

On Wednesday I was going through my pantry, and found a baggie of bread flour that I'd forgotten. So many bloggers have chattered about making bread - and it has been a little while for me, so I got busy. I used Judy Laquidara's recipe, but I know I made a bit of a boo boo with the flour - I put a little too much in and the dough was a little dry.

Here's the bread getting ready to rise in the dining room - it's often warmest there in the middle of the day.

And here are the finished loaves - the kids just love fresh bread. There really is nothing like it. and it didn't last long!

And given that I'm chattering about food and pantry stuff ... a blog that I read semi-regularly is the Frugal Girl. She has inspired me to think more about how much food we waste in this house - and how many things I purchase on impulse when I'm at the grocery store.

To try and combat this, I've decided I'll start menu-planning for the week, and as a result maybe I'll keep better tabs on my spending. My grocery shop was on Tuesday evening so I started with Wednesday's evening meal:

Wednesday - Steak and Salad
Thursday - Chicken and Salad
Friday - Chicken and Bacon Soup
Saturday - Roast Beef
Sunday - Chicken Stir Fry
Monday - Meatloaf
Tuesday - Leftovers

So far it's all working and I hope I can keep it up. I think what I'll find hardest is getting a good bunch of basic recipes to work from - I'm definitely no gourmet! Does anyone have any experience with menu planning, using leftovers, or an amazing recipe to share? I'd love to hear from you! xox

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My own personal Jelly Roll Race

I know, I know ... how could anyone possibly guess what I was going to do with a jelly roll and a little fabric? There are so many possibilities :-) This is the first time I've used a jelly roll, and I decided to do what EVERYONE seems to be doing right now - a '1600 Quilt' - or a 'Jelly Roll Race Quilt'.

It took me some time to separate the fabrics into the order I wanted to sew them, and then to add the little squares between the strips. But after a while and some pressing, I was ready to go!

This is part of the mound of fabric I was faced with after stitching the first two strip lengths together. Not very interesting right now huh?

Apparently, the fastest time for someone to sew the Jelly Roll Race is 35mins. I can't even imagine that! It took me an hour to sew the first long seam, and three hours total. But I did take some time out to help Amy bake some cupcakes. Whoever that person was, they must really have had the pedal to the metal!

And this is what my quilt looks like prior to pressing. It's hard not to get fabrics and patterns sitting next to each other, but with this technique, it's all part of the charm of the quilt.

Usually for these quilts, the strips are simply sewn together with a diagonal seam. But when I purchased my jelly roll from Widebacks at the AQC, the kind lady showed me two quilts she'd made using 2.5" squares between the strips. They looked wonderful, so I decided that's the path I'd take. The binding will be from the same fabric as the squares, and I've used the remaining piece as part of the backing fabric. I really have very little fabric left over!

I've pressed the top now, and I'm hoping to get it pinned today ready for quilting. Chores have gotten in the way so far, but later this afternoon is looking good :-) This quilt is destined to be a gift for my new nephew - he was born on the Easter long weekend. So exciting!

If you're interested in the Jelly Roll Race quilts, I hear there are some wonderful tutorials on You-Tube, so be sure to check them out.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Play Time

Yesterday I indulged in a little 'fabric therapy' at Hettie's Patch. Didn't I get enough of that while I was lately in Melbourne? Obviously not :-)

So here's what came home with me:

The stripe fabric will be put into use this afternoon, the argyle fabric goes with an upcoming project for Camo. The conversationals are just because ... I always collect them when I see them. And the Michele Hill pattern is for some gifts I'd like to work on later in the year ... always thinking ahead *lol*.

And this afternoon I have no plans whatsoever - so I see hours and hours of uninterrupted sewing time stretching out before me ... What do you think I plan to do with these lovelies? Any guesses? :-)

Monday, April 16, 2012

AQC - News Link

Just for a little fun - especially for those overseas - click this link for a news report on the Australasian Quilters Convention :-)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

AQC - Melbourne

On Thursday, my Mum and I dashed over to Melbourne for a quick visit to the Australasian Quilters Convention. We really only had two full days in Melbourne - Friday was set aside for the quilt show, and Saturday was to be our shopping day :-)

The AQC is held at the Royal Exhibition Centre in the Carlton Gardens. It's the most delightful building in beautiful surroundings, just on the edge of the city centre. We were able to walk there from our hotel which was on Little Bourke Street.

I was fascinated by the beautifully painted Victorian interior, and took as many pictures of the painted surfaces in the building as I did of the quilts themselves.

And this is one of the things we were here to see - my quilt hanging in the 'Best of the Best' special exhibit. It was such an honour to be selected as one of those to represent South Australia with the other quilts from around Australia.

I would love to share lots of pictures of other quilts hanging in the show - but on the program there are explicit photography rules, and copyright is such a touchy subject lately. However, dash on over to the AQC website, and there are some lovely pictures of the 'Best of Australia' quilts there.

There were so many opportunities to shop and shop some more. I purchased a jelly roll to make a quilt for my new baby nephew - some templates from the Scissorman, and a new pattern from Somerset Patchwork and Quilting. We had a great day out - bumped into many friends, and I really hope I'll be able to visit again next year!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Mrs Billings Progress

Happy Days, the special hexagon pieces have been appliqued onto the corner blocks. Because it's late - and dark, I've just shared a little corner, rather than battling with the quilt top in the lounge room ... and of course my picture is still too dark *lol*

I'm super happy with the fussy cutting of the red/border fabric - both the print in the little sashing strips, and the one in the hexies. Yay!

And now I begin cutting the *hundreds* of pieces for the next border. Yes, you read that correctly ... there are HUNDREDS!

I have a feeling I'll be jumping back over to the Farmers Wife quilt for a little light relief ... and to feel like I'm actually getting somewhere!

Chatter soon :-)

Saturday, April 07, 2012

And yet more hexies :-)

I'm now half way done with the corner hexagon shapes for 'block 3'. Mrs Billings Coverlet is soooo addictive!

Monday, April 02, 2012

'Block 3' is almost done ...

Here's the result of my weekend's hexagon piecing - I've added the 'block 3' border to my Mrs Billings project, and I'm just thrilled with the result!

All that remains now is to put together the hexagons for the corners, and they're a little different. If you look at the centre block - the six diamonds in the very centre, and then the six hexagons surrounding them are what will go in each corner. I haven't actually decided on what fabrics I'll use, which is why I'm procrastinating with the piecing. I think I'll fussy cut a cute border print that I have, but not sure just yet. I hope to make that choice today :-)

I'd also like to get back to making some more Farmers Wife Sampler blocks today - do you ever wish for more hours in a day? I often do :-) With parent/teacher interviews tonight, a basketball training meeting after school, and other everyday stuff, I can't see too much being done in spare minutes.

But I did get a couple more FWS blocks made last week, and here they are:

Block 48 - Homeward Bound

Block 71 - Puss in the Corner

Definitely not challenging blocks, but so much fun to see the block count slowly growing.

Chatter soon - I have my work cut out for me today! xox


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