Sunday, December 31, 2006

More DJ blocks

Yesterday morning's pictures were so appalling, so I decided to take a decent photo of those DJ blocks along with the ones I made yesterday afternoon. The two on the right are the new ones, on top is K4 - Thea's Turn. On the bottom is L8 - Box Kite. I'm seriously loving piecing with freezer paper, and I wish I'd been brave enough to try it before now.

I counted up, and I have a total now of 57 DJ blocks. That means I'm one third the way through! How wonderful! The two blocks I made yesterday also mean I have made my 12 DJ blocks for this month, so I can cross that goal off my list. I have only today left to achieve any of the other goals ... can I do it?? I'll let you know tomorrow :-)

Mrs Moody asked yesterday about what was at the top left of the picture of my cutting table. It's not a block ... it's too 'papery' for that ... it's actually the colour layout and progress chart for my DJ quilt.

I wanted to do 30's prints in a trip around the world colourway, so I inventoried all the colours I have and planned this colour chart to suit. I'm also marking off the blocks as I make them. I'm also thinking I may cut a small piece of each fabric and stick it over the corresponding square as I make it, so that way I won't end up with the same fabrics abutting each other. I'll see how organised I get for that one.

The last picture for today is some fabric I found on my cutting table while I was tidying it up. I got these fabrics at my fave quilt store a couple of weeks ago. The panel with the hearts is super cute and Amy chose it. She wants to make something sweet for her Godmother. I got the red print with the little gold hearts to go with it. The other three are reproductions I just love. The large floral is one of my favourites, and I used all I had on the quilt I gave to my Mum, so I just had to have a little more. The two others are half metre pieces of ones I don't already have.

I've been really good with my fabric purchased for the past few months, so I don't feel any guilt at a little stash enhancement. I also need to get some of the white Osnaburg that Cheryl got in specially for me. I love using it with feedsacks, it's more loosely woven fabric and goes perfectly.

That's it from me today. Tonight is New Years, so it's bound to be a big night, we're off to a party at Deb's house. We were out very late last night too, so I predict there will be no early risers in this house tomorrow.

Have a great day! x o x

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Holiday

Last night I went out to dinner with five of my girlfriends and then saw a movie - The Holiday. It was a fun movie, and all the way thru the movie I was wondering how they could possibly end it in a way that would suit everyone ... I'm not going to give anything away so no need for a spoiler alert. If you enjoy movies like Bridget Jones Diary etc, then definitely go see it. Pet decided she'd like to go again and take hubby to see it ... Sharon, Jane, Deb, Paula and myself decided it was definitely one for the girls only!

It was quite a stormy night last night, and I got home at midnight to find everyone asleep, and Cam had climbed in bed with his sister because of the thunder. He's always been nervous of storms. He's such a little cutie. He can't have slept well the honey, he was still asleep when I started this post this morning.

Yesterday during the day, I completed two more DJ blocks. On the left is C2 - Streak of Lightning. On the right is C4 - Tic Tac Toe. I don't mind confessing that I really did not like making the centre part of C4. It was evil. Those little white lines are 1/4" finished. But it's done now, and I never have to do it again *yay*. Those of you who have made or making the DJ will see that on C2 I added some seams in so I didn't have to applique those outer diamonds in place. I like the way this block looks compared to the block in my other DJ.

Sincere apologies for the quality of my pictures. I really have to stop using the camera phone - I'm just so darned lazy.

After the frenzy of finishing up all the Christmas gifts (which I managed with a day to spare) I really need to tidy up my cutting table. It's now getting to that point that when I want to work on something I can't concentrate because of all the clutter.

I can handle a little mess - after all, I have kids - but this kind of clutter messes with my head. I hope to get to it today. We have another dinner to go to tonight, so I'll see how many chores I get thru first.

Have a great day everyone!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Normality sets in ...

Wow! Christmas has just flown by! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. We sure did. It all began on the Saturday evening before Xmas, we had some friends over for Christmas dinner, which was entirely wonderful. We've known them forever and always spend time together during the festive season. And they entirely loved their gifts, one of which was the 'bar runner'. Pet messaged me later and told me it was the nicest present she'd ever received. What a wonderful compliment.

Christmas Eve was spent with Marty's family with lunch at a lovely hotel, with the exchange of gifts in a nearby park with a wonderful playground for the kids.

Christmas day was spent with my family, too much food, lots of merriment and wonderful gifts. Mum absolutely adores her quilt, so I'm sorry to say it won't be put up for adoption. Maybe next year? I received so many lovely gifts, I won't list them all for you, but here are a few ... pictured, a wonderful #57 foot for Bernie. I have heard so many good things about it, I gave hubby specific details about where one could be located ... surprise!! One of my fave perfumes (Red Door), the Devil Wears Prada book (which I've entirely read now!!), gift certificates to my fave homewares store ... a cute purse ... I won't go on ... I was lucky to receive such wonderful things. Of course, the kids were showered entirely, and my lounge still looks like a toy battle-zone!

Some other friends of ours had their annual Boxing Day party, which lived up to the expectations of past years. Much merriment, probably a little too much alcohol, and many good friends meant a wonderful time was had by all. A very late night, and some very tired people the next day, so we had a low key Wednesday. Yesterday Amy and I hit the post Xmas sales, and spend some of our vouchers. The stores were busy, and we had a great time.

I have done very little sewing, just a couple of DJ blocks last night ... and here they are ... G11 - Decisions Decisions, and G12 - Gloriae.

Both machine pieced with an applique component. I've altered G12 a little from the one in the book. I have added seams in the border area of mine to make it a little more like the block in the photograph. The line drawing has no seams in the border and I guess it would have to be appliqued. I think my block count now would be around 53 or so.

I'm all set to make C2 - Streak of Lightning today. I've prepared the freezer paper pieces already. I'm altering that one too. I'm piecing the whole thing rather than add appliqued diamonds at the edge, and I've changed those extra two diamonds to make them the same size as the others. Can't help it I'm afraid ... I'm a symmetry girl!

I'm also hopelessly overwhelmed with the amount of blog reading I need to do. I logged into bloglines this morning and saw hundreds of unread, and logged out again. I don't think I'm ready to focus just yet ... don't give up on me ... I'll be visiting with you soon!

Once again, I hope you've all had a wonderful Christmas ... I look forward to reading all about them! x o x

Friday, December 22, 2006

It's almost time ...

Here are the Christmas Table mats I've been working on, as of about 1am this morning. I'm just getting ready to sew the binding down on seven of them. Why seven? Ohhh, because I ran one 2" strip short of binding at about quarter to one this morning. It's no biggie, I'll just run out and get a little more fabric in a minute. I will start stressing if they don't have any left, but I only got the binding fabric a couple days ago ... so it shouldn't be a problem ... *fingers crossed* Apologies for the blurry picture - late nights and cameras don't mix :-)

Last night Marty and I went out to dinner by ourselves for the first time in a looooong time. I actually can't remember the last time. It was so nice ... a local Italian restaurant ... a little red wine. It was like pre-children days. You know what, I kept feeling like I was forgetting something ... and I realised I was subconsciously looking about for the kids. I'm sure they've had a wonderful time with my Mum and Dad. I hope Cam was okay with the storms last night, he's so scared of them.

This is likely to be the last post I'll have a chance to put up until after Boxing Day, so please everyone have a safe and wonderful holiday with your family and friends.

x o x

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Mats on the move

Here are two of the Christmas mats that are soooo close to being finished. They just need the binding now. Only six more to quilt (they're made already)! I'm finding it a little tough to get moving on these, for two reasons.

The first is because I'm quilting them using a really cute thread with a metallic strand running thru it. The thread is cute ... but it misbehaves terribly. Under the best of circumstances it has a tendency for the metallic strand to break, even with a metafil needle. It's hot here at the moment (about 37c or 100f) and that doesn't help with the snapping either. Sooooo, I'm sewing along slowly, which is mind numbing.

The second reason I'm finding it tough is because I keep seeing gorgeous projects on other peoples blogs I want to try. I think the amount we want to work on something else is directly proportionate to how fast the deadline is approaching.

And on the topic of other blogs, please forgive me for not leaving more comments and catching up at the moment. I'm stopping by when I can, but I'm feeling horribly behind. I promise to catch up properly ASAP!

Mum's quilt is finished, save for sewing down the binding on the back. While I'm doing that I'll snip off any little fuzzies I find. I tidied them away on the front of the quilt while I was quilting it, but the back is going to be another story!

I promise you all, should my Mum not care for it (and I feel sure the chances are slim at best) that I will let one of you give it a good home. You've all been so kind offering to take it in *smiles* should it find itself oprhaned!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Almost done

Last night I worked away at the Atlantic Jewels quilt, and I'm happy to report I'm almost done! I have only to quilt the outer border, and then I can get to the binding. It's looking really nice, and I know Mum is going to love it.

I need to get to the supermarket today, and then I'll finish up the quilting. I really thought I had so much time to work on my Christmas gifts, given that I had started a couple of months ago, but I still have two things to finish up - the sets of placemats. I know I'll finish them in time, but I'm always amazed at my ability to stretch out my projects right to the deadline!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Weekends are for parties!

Last night Amy had her bestie's birthday party to go to, so while I had a few hours up my sleeve, I canned another 5kgs (about 11lbs) of apricots. I would have made more jam, but I was low on sugar, and now that the fruit is in jars, if I want to make jam later I can. Here you see the 12 jars, they're 1 litre jars, which is about 1 quart. I still have about one more kg of apricots, but I think we'll keep them for eating. Our apricot and peach trees have quite a bit of fruit too, but they're still ripening. It's been a bumper year for stone fruit!

Today was Marty's work Xmas picnic. We had a great day in a park which is quite close to the quilt store. It was super fun, with a huge adventure playground for the kids, tennis courts, lots of shady grass and BBQ's. We all had a wonderful shared lunch, and after lunch, one of the bosses disappeared ... and magically, Santa arrived! There were wonderful gifts for all the kids, and then as it was a hot day, water pistol and water balloon fun! Such a great afternoon.

We then had to race home, as Amy has her friends over this evening for her belated birthday party. We'd had the celebration already with family, but this is the night where her friends come over and have fun. I'm manning the kitchen and helping them out, and leaving them to the run of the lounge and dining room. I've included a picture of a few of the 'lolly bags' I made last night after I finished canning. We wanted to make them a little special, so they're actually plastic tumblers, filled with sweets, and I purchased some fabric flowers on wire and wrapped them around the tumbler, like a potted plant, and they're finished with cellophane and curling ribbon. A fun idea and a nice treat to take home.

I have no plans for tomorrow at this stage, and to be honest, I'm looking forward to having a little down time. I can quilt, and the kids can relax a bit.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

And it begins ...

Last night I basted (well, pinned actually) the Atlantic Jewels quilt. It's the one I'm going to give my Mum for Christmas. Thank heavens I haven't given this blog address to anyone in my family! My gift list would be a bust!

After I pinned the quilt, I couldn't help but start quilting just for a little. I am doing a swirly border thing in the sashing strips, and small filler stippling in the outer parts of the stars, and outlining the star points to make them pop up. My picture is not so great, I've been so lazy lately, I'm using the camera phone all the time. I just don't have to play with cables etc with it, it's just so much easier.

It's going to be really hard to give this quilt away as I really love it, and had originally planned to use it on my table. But I know my Mum will love it too, so that will make it worthwhile.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Jammin' again

Ohhh look, some more jam! We do love Apricot Jam in this house, and there will be more made. Hopefully we won't run out this time. This time last year I wasn't able to get any Apricots, so there were scenes of devastation when we ran out of the home-made stuff. Store bought just isn't the same.

Here you see another 6 pint jars, and 8 jars that are ummm ... I guess a bit more than half a pint. I'm just not sure, and too lazy right now to get up and work it out :-) The smaller of the jars I'm happy to give away as I don't mind if the jars don't come home. I've already given two jars to Cam's day care lady, and one to our friend the Cabinet Maker.

Susan asked about the covers I'm using on the jars. They're by Fowlers Vacola (sorry, they don't have a website). They're kind of like thicker cellophane, and especially for jam making. While the jars are still warm, you wet the covers and put them on the jar smoothly with the rubber band. As they dry they crackle and pop and make an airtight seal. They go tight like a drum and my hubby always delights in tapping them to check the seal. If they sound drum-like, all is well.

I have been quilting just a little, sewing down bindings and stuff. Tonight before I go to bed, I plan to baste the Atlantic Jewels quilt so I can start quilting over the weekend. Today's big accomplishment was to have entirely finished gift shopping. I now only have to finish the quilted gifts and I can relax.

Also, I keep meaning to mention that Grandpa Pearce was fine about the interruption to his schedule the other day. He was disappointed not to have seen Amy, but pleased that she'd have her gift in time for her birthday. Thank you all for your concern *hugs*. Hopefully, tomorrow I'll have something quilty to share with you! Have a great day!

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Yesterday was Amy's birthday. It was also her first day of Summer school holidays. A double celebration! My little honey turned 12, she's such a grown up, and it won't be long before she's a teenager. It's just terrifying how time flies.

It was a busy day for us, we shared her gifts in the morning, and then took Cameron off to his day care lady. We then went off to purchase her cake. Her favourite cake is called 'the ugly cake' by our family. Many years ago I purchased a 'Continental Apple Cake' for Amy's birthday, and when she saw it, she was sad, because she thought it was ugly. It's large, has rings of apples and a jam glaze on top, and it's sliced through the centre with a layer of cheesecake. Well, when she tasted it, she declared it the yummiest thing ever, and wanted to have one for her birthday forever, so it's been known ever since ... as the ugly cake!

While we were getting the cake, we stumbled upon a toy shop called 'The Toy Corner' and went in ... Ohhh my goodness, it was a Lego lovers haven. Cam is just getting into Lego, so we did a little Secret Santa business while we were in there.

Next was the final day teaching at the quilt store for the year. It was more like a little party really. Fun for me, but less fun for Amy on her special day, but I think she had an okay time. Cheryl's daughter was there too, so they were able to spend some time together.

Next we had to race home to make Apricot jam before we picked up Cameron. Here is our result for the day. These are pint jars, so we've made 14 pints of jam so far. We cut up 4kgs of fruit yesterday and I have about the same to do today. See me slide effortlessly between imperial and metric measurements there *s*. We have more apricots to pick up after Marty gets home from work today, and our fruit hasn't even begun to ripen yet! Lucky I love to be jammin'

We had our family birthday gathering for Amy last night which was really lovely. We slept in a little this morning, but it's holidays ... so it's okay. Cam's last day of Kindy is today, so we know Santa is not far away ...

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Time machine anyone?

First up, here's a link to another post about freezer paper piecing from a Queen of hand piecing, Linda Franz:

Linda and I go way back, back to when we were first working on our first DJ quilts together, I guess in around 1998. This link is to her old website, not the one. Her techniques describe hand piecing, but they are perfect for machine piecers too. I had forgotten about this website until I saw it mentioned in an old email from her. Have fun with it.

And if you don't want to read about my stressful day yesterday ... look away now ... if you wanna hear whiny Tazzie ... read on ...

I really don't like to be whiny, so I'll try not to be ... but heavens, I sure could have used a couple of extra hours yesterday. You see, I lost some of them!

I had a lot of running around to do yesterday, but first of all, I had to wait for the appliance man to come. You wouldn't believe it, but the rangehood that went into the new part of the kitchen broke! Well, okay, it happens, and we were happy to get someone to come over so fast. The thing with the appliance guys is that they tell you they're coming on a certain day, but won't give you an afternoon or morning ... just a day. I needed to post the quilt off to the magazine yesterday so really had to go to the post office, so called to find out approximately how he was positioned timewise, and found we were 9th on the list, and he'd definitely be after lunch. So Cam and I dashed to the post at around 11am and were there only a few minutes and back to the car again.

Of course, as I was starting the car, I got a call from the appliance guy telling me he'd called by and found we weren't home and left a note on my door to make another appt. Well, I was only 5 mins down the road, so he told me he'd go to the next job and come back again. Very kind of him I thought. He was only at our house for 5mins and let us know it can't be fixed, needs to be replaced. All is well.

Next, I needed to visit a quilting friend to drop off my gift for the group Xmas dinner. I can't make it as I'm working at the quilt store. As I'm getting Cam ready with his lunch etc, the cell phone rings and the doorbell rings all at once. At the door is my friend Jane dropping in for a coffee and bringing presents for Amy's birthday, and on the phone is Amy's school letting me know that there had been an accident on the class excursion and they'd be late getting back ... around 4.30. Amy was fine they assured me, but they couldn't chat, they had 30 parents to call. Oh my, I was starting to get that tight feeling in the chest ... like things were starting to go awry ... I had to rethink plans. I was 'booked' to take Amy to visit Grandpa at 4.30 to collect her birthday present, and if I got there at 5.00 he'd be edgy because it would be too close to his dinnertime, and at 95 they don't like their routine interrupted ... he's the kind of guy that you make an appt. to see and then he will tell you it's 'carriages' at whatever time, meaning you need to leave at ... in the nicest possible way of course :-)

So, after Jane left, we dashed to my quilting friend's house, and then to Grandpa's over the other side of town and got back by 4.30 to school. Where we waited for Amy ... and waited ... and waited ... and waited. Until 6.00pm!! There were a lot of panicked parents around, and they finally all got back. They had gone to an adventure playground for the day for school breakup and one of the boys had fallen and hurt himself and had to be taken to hospital to have his neck x-rayed. I understand everything is fine ... and of course I was concerned for the boy ... but Amy had her dance concert/presentation last night, and I had to have her dressed/fed/at the venue, and my parents picked up by 7.00 OMG!! Well, we all made it thru, but I was frazzled.

Today is a busy day too, but a much more reasonable sort of busy, with so many fewer variables. I feel sure I'll be able to do something quilty today too!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Checking them off ...

Two of the last three Christmas gift projects are well underway. I have only to stitch the binding down on the 'bar' runner for our friends, so I'll finish that tonight while watching TV. I'm also working on the Christmas placemats you can just see in the background there. I'm making eight of them, and I'll give four to my SIL and her husband, and four to my brother and his wife, in addition to some other gifties. Maybe in future years I'll add to their collection. I have a LOT of the Xmas print fabric.

I decided earlier this month that the Atlantic Jewels quilt I was making could be a gift for my Mum for Xmas, so I just need to quilt it up for her.

This is the first item to be placed under the tree, but it won't stay there too long. This is a little giftie for Amy's school teacher. My standard mug mat and cute mug. I had plans to perhaps make her a holly table runner, but I just can't face all that machine blanket stitch again, so maybe next year ... although next year her teacher is a man, so I may have to think differently.

Yesterday afternoon I made myseslf a quick coffee and settled in by the laptop to have a quick read of a few blogs. I logged into bloglines and horrors, it indicated I had over 300 new feeds to have a look at! OMG, my mind was reeling as to how I'd get thru that many, but soon discovered a whole lot of blogs had been refreshed, so they were at 25 posts. Thank heavens. I knew I was a little behind on my reading, but that would have been a new low for me!

Well now ... I'm off to play with Bernie for a little, we've got some placemats to put together. Have a great day!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Freezer Paper Piecing

I keep forgetting to write about this, but a few days ago I made up some DJ blocks and mentioned that I'd made them using freezer paper templates. I had a few comments asking about this technique, and one from KJ quilts specifically asking if I knew about any directions on the web. I'm sorry KJ quilts, I didn't get your email addy, or see it on your profile, so I can't reply personally.

I have done a little looking around and have found this tutorial:

No affiliations etc ... just googled it. The only comment I would make is that in Step 4, I use 1/4" seams and not 1/2" like she mentions. It may be a typo.

Next time I do some freezer paper piecing, I'll try to take some pictures as I go ... hopefully I remember, it would require me to be organised *lol*

Tree's Up

We've finally put up the Christmas tree. We'd normally have it up a little earlier in December, but while Cameron is little we've been putting it up a little later. He has a bit of a tendency to play with the decorations, and some have been known to turn up in the backyard. I figure a little less time to play with them means hopefully they'll survive longer!

Decorating the tree is fun, I can be a little anal about it, but I like it to look nice. I am so looking forward to next year when we'll have nice curtains as a backdrop. The icky grey blinds are among the last things for us to replace that the previous owners decorated with. I think their style was 80's office decor. Amy made the decoration on the coffee table at school this week. It smells just lovely with cloves pressed into fruit. Doesn't Christmas just have the very best aromas!

Here is a picture of our Christmas tree skirt. It's a pattern from American Patchwork and Quilting magazine in 1997 sometime. I loved it from the first moment I saw it. Actually, I should fish out the magazine again, it was a great one, and I've made a number of projects from it. I have also made a tree skirt of my own design from Thimbleberries fabrics, but that one lives at the quilt store selling patterns.

I'll be back into stitching this afternoon. I'm making great progress with my shopping and gift making. I will definitely have everything done in time! Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, December 08, 2006

A day in Paradise

Yesterday I worked from 9.30 until 5.00 in the quilt store. It was super fun and the morning was quite busy. I have only really filled in before, never worked a whole day from start to finish, so by the end of the day I felt worn out. I haven't really worked since I was expecting Cameron, so I've really got out of the zone. My hat is off to those ladies that run a family and head out to work each day too, you must have amazing energy!

As the afternoon was quiet, I was able to do quite a bit of my own work. I managed to finish the first sock!

Here you see it modelled somewhat by me ... who knew how hard it would be to take a picture of yourself wearing a sock, you almost have to turn yourself inside out! Hubby was investigating this wool so carefully the other day, he just couldn't understand how the wool knew to change colour every two rows ... and I must say, it's a mystery to me too, as I used a different brand pattern to the wool!

... and then modelled by Cameron with his darling little legs! The sock is not perfect, but it was a wonderful learning experience, socks that are in my future will be much better now that I know what I'm up against. I know that when I'm ready to knit some socks for Cameron, they will knit up so much quicker than mine, and I'm really looking forward to it. On the other hand, they will have a much shorter life-span, as he is growing soooo fast!

Here is a picture of the little pile of blocks I was able to also put together while at the store. They are for a 'bar runner' for our friends to go in their Christmas gift. I had the pieces all cut out and in a baggie ready to piece. I didn't manage to sew the binding down on the mug mat I showed you the other day, so I completed that yesterday too.

Lastly in the picture is the Yarn Harlot's book ... okay, so maybe that was me at the book shop the other day ... They told me it would take up to a month to come in ... Well now, I thought a month would look a little more like a month than say ... three days! Well done to Angus & Robertson for getting it in so fast!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tuesday's work ...

I had such a great day yesterday. Not so many things to do in the chores department, so plenty of time for playing in the sewing room.

I finished up a bag for my MIL which is part of her Christmas present. Thank you to Kathie for sending me the pattern a while ago, which was the basis for this bag. My MIL loves to spend time at the library, so my hope is that this could be her new library bag.

Also, you see there a little mug mat. For Amy's Godmother, I have purchased a really cute mug which comes with a matching tray for cookies etc. I always love to add a little personal touch, so this mug mat will go along with it. I just have to hand stitch down the binding, and I'll do that this afternoon at the quilt store.

While Cameron was at kindy, I managed to get about two thirds of the directions written for the Winchester Weave quilt. I just have to make up a diagram of how to construct the middle of the quilt and write that up next, and lastly make up a couple of 'demonstration blocks'. Then I'll be all ready to put it in the mail on Monday. The Winchester quilt is scheduled to be in the magazine around April. I'm so thrilled you've been able to see that quilt already, as it was commissioned after I'd posted the pictures. You got a sneak peek!

Last of all, at around 10.30pm last night I sat down and did a little knitting. I managed to get more of the foot done on the sock, and now I'm ready to commence shaping the toe. Thank you so much to Ruth, your link to the sock tutorial will be very helpful.

Tomorrow I'll be working all day at the quilt store, opening and closing it, so it's unlikely you'll see anything of me. I'll probably be kind of frazzled after trying to remember how to work the till and stuff ... so think of me ... I hope you all have a great day!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Nov/Dec Goals

How did I go with my November goals?
  • Mark and pin Winnie the Pooh quilt
  • Make three gifts for Xmas
  • Piece 60 blue and cream blocks
  • Make four DJ blocks
  • Complete one quilt to binding
  • No fabric purchases other than Osnaburg or fabric to complete a quilt
All done, but for the poor Winnie the Pooh quilt. As I mentioned a few days ago, the WTP quilt has had some work done on it, so all is not lost. I wanted to have a think for a few days before I set my new goals, so here goes:
  • Start quilting Winnie the Pooh quilt
  • Finish up gifts for Xmas
  • Write directions and send off Winchester quilt
  • Make twelve DJ blocks
  • Start assembling zig zag nine patch blocks
Not a lot of goals, but could still be tricky to get through. Especially if I'm diverted by socks ... I know I'll get the Christmas gifts done, the rest is anyones guess. I've got my fingers crossed, so wish me luck my friends!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Somebody stop me!

Ohhh my, could you call it a form of substance abuse?? Well, I'm certainly abusing the 'ole bank account, I'm gripped by sock addiction. See these two vintage pattern books I 'acquired' with a little help from Ebay. In my defence, I really like the little turn down ladies socks on the older of the two patterns, and who could resist all those tiny kids socks there??

All this, and I've yet to finish ONE sock! It will happen, I promise you that. I swear it has nothing to do with toe terror, life has just gotten in the way. Honestly! Ohhh yes ... and today that definitely was not me in Angus and Robertson ordering a copy of the Yarn Harlot's latest book. Truly, you can't prove anything ... unless you have access to A&R's computer ...

On to another addiction, my DJ blocks. Here are two I completed last night. On the left, H1 Peek-a-Boo. On the right, F4 Old Windmill. I used freezer paper templates again to make these two, I can't even imagine how much faster I would have made the original quilt if I'd tried this technique earlier!

Even though you haven't asked, I thought I'd share that I've mapped out a trip around the world colourway with 30's prints for this version of the quilt, so even though it seems I'm just making random coloured blocks, I actually have a plan!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

DJ'in along!

I'm on a DJ roll! Yesterday I made four more DJ blocks.

Top left: A4 Courtney's Stethoscope. Top right: G2 Mohawk Trail. Bottom left: K13 Brandon's Star. Bottom right: D1 Alison's Guiding Light.

A couple of them are slightly more complex than the last four I made, but still not too bad. I tried a technique I've never used before with the two red ones. I used freezer paper templates. Ohhh my, if I had only tried it when I made the last DJ, the process would have been so much easier! I love it, and will make so many more using freezer paper.

I'm going to make a few more blocks this afternoon, and I really can't wait!

This morning Amy and I took Cameron to his playgroup Christmas party. It was at a local recreation centre, and they had all sorts of fun things to do, like tunnels, foam shapes for them to climb over, cubby houses, a trampoline ... ohhh, just so much stuff! Cam had a super time, and then Santa came out and had gifts for all the kids. When we got home and were having lunch, I asked Cam if he had fun and did he like Santa's gift. He told me "It was fun, but can we go and see the real Santa? That Santa wasn't the real one, he was Elijah's Dad"

I had to giggle ... you sure can't fool kids!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Shopping Money

My friend Natalie and I share a healthy interest (honestly, it's healthy) in shoes. She came over for lunch yesterday, and the darling friend that she is, had this little birthday gift for me. My lack of photography skills mean you can't read all the writing, it says 'Shopping Money'. How cute is it? And I love the earrings too, and wore them the rest of the day.

Thank you Natalie!

After the kids got to bed last night I got a little stitching done. I achieved one more of my goals for the month. Four Dear Jane blocks.

As you can see, none of them are hard blocks, but it's four more done. I have made 45 now, that's 45 of 169 blocks. What was I thinking making this quilt again??

The block at top left is: H10 Ben's Bowtie. Top right: M12 Hopscotch. Bottom left: J6 Granny Weaver. Bottom right: L7 Town Square.

Sadly for the Winne the Pooh quilt, it didn't make it off the goals list this month, but I did manage to get some work done on it. At the beginning of the month the top was incomplete, needing the final side borders added. That is done now, and I have marked a little of the quilting. Hopefully this month I'll be able to get it done completely!

I managed to achieve my no fabric purchasing goal for another month too! Way to go! I'll write up some new goals soon, just as soon as I've had a bit of a think about what I'd like to achieve.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Okay, here 'tis

You know what, I expected a little of the 'ewwww' factor when I mentioned my little birthday giftie from Marty and the kids. I didn't see any of that, but maybe it's because you're all so polite.

I was chatting to one of my friends the other day and said that I was perhaps going to put a picture of the ring onto the blog. She had an interesting point ... 'be careful how you do that, you could end up with a whole new element of odd people coming across your blog'. That concept hadn't even entered the realms of possibility for me, so I've cropped my picture down heaps, so hopefully it's completely uninteresting to anyone other than my buddies ... Hmmm ... ugly picture ... but there you have it!

On a completely different note, and much more relevant to the general nature of this blog ... I finished the binding last night on the Xmas table runner for Christine, so I can strike the 'gift' goal off my list for this month. I have a few goals still to achieve, hopefully this afternoon I can get a few more done.

My recently re-discovered friend from school is coming over for lunch this afternoon, which will be super fun. That means this morning I'm going to do some cute things around the house and get lunch ready. After school and this evening are the only times I'll have for quilting, and I don't imagine there will be much of that going on. Don't you just hate it when chores and life get in the way!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Happy Birthday to me!

This morning I was woken up by my kids letting me know it was my birthday! Now of course I knew that, but the kids enthusiasm is so cute, so I played along. Last week while we were shopping at the plaza, I had showed the kids a present I'd like, so in good form, I received it this morning. Some of you will say ewwwww ... but I had a cute gold toe ring which snapped during the year, and I missed it so much, especially with sandal season upon us, so I chose a new one. Let me know if you want to see it and I'll share ... or not :-)

I'm having lunch with Renee today, and coffee with my Mum after she finishes work, so it will be a fun and busy day. I also have some work I need to do before I head to the quilt store tomorrow.

For show and tell today, I have a picture of the holly table runner. This is from the Susan Murphy class I did recently. I just have to sew the binding down on the back. I will also sew some clusters of little red beads among the holly leaves. Susan had beads on the demonstration piece and it looked wonderful. This will be a Christmas gift for Cam's day care lady. Well, she's actually Amy's after school care lady too. Christine is very special to us.

I've shown a close up of the quilting too, cuz I'm just so thrilled with it! Now that I've put the picture in place, I can see that the quilting doesn't show really well, but you can see the applique. Mary mentioned the other day that she doesn't care too much for the machine applique, and I have to confess that it's not my favourite thing either. My particular favourite is needleturn, but I don't think I could face needleturning this project.

Well, that's it for me, have a great day everyone, I know I will!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sunday morning's exciting news

The house is all quiet. We've had a busy weekend with visitors etc. Marty is out with his mates flying their planes, Amy is at a sleepover, and Cam is still asleep (at 10.20??). I'm itching to get into the sewing room and take advantage of this quiet time ... but I just had to share something ...

Do you remember a couple of months ago, I was telling you about a project I was working on, but couldn't really show you the pictures ... well, the magazine just arrived on Friday! It's Australian Patchwork and Quilting, their Mail-Order issue, Vol 15 No 2. My project is called 'Never Enough Log Cabins'. Head to your quilt store and check it out if you can!

Also, I have become obsessed with knitted socks ... wonderful ladies from the quilt store have been giving me their vintage sock knitting patterns and wondering if I've lost my mind ... I've been crusing ebay for cute sock wool and more patterns ... I really need to check myself and finish one sock first ... working that toe may cure me of my new obsession for good! Having said that, the pattern pictured at left is my next purchase ... let me at em! For fun tales of sock knitting adventures, do check out the Yarn Harlot's blog ... it's a fun read, and I think may be contributing to my out of mind state ...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Working away ...

The other day my friend Deb called. She had been working on a lap quilt, and wondered if I would have the time to quilt it for her. She's really nervous about machine quilting. 'Sure Deb, bring it to netball on Friday night, and I'll do it on the weekend' I told her.

This is her quilt, how cute it is! It's not very big, I don't think it'd be even 50 inches, so it'll be a breeze to do it for her. She's even pieced the back with matching squares, just lovely. She's asked for just a simple meander, but I may suprise her with something a little more interesting. Deb is such a honey, I used to go to primary school with her younger sister, and now our daughter's play netball together. Funny what a small world it is.

But first, I'm just going to finish blanket stitch outlining the applique on the holly table runner for Cam's day care lady. I'll either finish the holly piece I'm working on, or continue until the bobbin runs out, whichever comes first.

This pattern is from the Christmas gift workshop I participated in recently, which was run by a wonderful teacher Susan Murphy. She does such lovely work and is a very knowledgeable and generous teacher.

I'll share a picture when more is done. I'm super pleased with how it's going at the moment. I may actually make another couple when I'm done, I'll need one of course :-) and I haven't decided yet what I'm going to make for Amy's school teacher ... school finishes for the year in 3 weeks ... I better get moving!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Friday already??

Heavens, where has this week gone? It just seems like yesterday that the week began. I guess when I sit back and think about it, a lot has happened during this week, I just forget things so quickly!

Yesterday at quilt group I managed to get half of the binding sewn down on my Winchester quilt, and finished the last of it last night watching TV. I can strike one more goal off my list for this month. I better get moving on my goals, the end of the month is approaching at breakneck speed!

Cameron and I are off to lunch this afternoon with my friend Jane, and we'll do a little shopping too. This morning I plan to dig some holly themed background fabric out of my stash and start a table runner for Cam's day care lady for Xmas. It's a pattern from the Xmas class I attended recently. It should be super fun.

Today's dose of eye candy is a top I made in the mid 90's. Some of the blocks were made up in a beginners needleturn applique class. This quilt has had a sad history. I started hand quilting it a long time ago, and became discontented with the way it was coming out, so I put it aside. As the years passed on, it was put further and further aside, until we moved house, and it was boxed up. After we moved, the box was unopened and is now in the attic. I have promised my bestie that should this quilt ever be finished, it will be hers. She learned long ago not to hold her breath waiting for this quilt. I would like to get this quilt down some day and have a look at what condition it's in. Maybe next year I'll pull out the quilting and resurrect this project. I'm not sure I have it in me yet.

That's it from me, I hope you're having a great day, and for those of you in the US, I hope your Thanksgiving has been wonderful!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Ready to sew down the binding

Here is Winchester Weave, all ready for me to take along to quilt group today and sew down the back of the binding.

I had a lot of fun quilting this quilt, I did small stippling in the main body of the quilt, and a kind of swirly circle wave kinda thingy in the inner border. Does that make any sense, or resemble anything like English??

I have hand quilted for 14 years, and I've only been maching quilting on my domestic machine for 2, so I'm still learning every time I undertake a new project, and I'm happy to report that with each project I become a little braver and try something new. I figure the only way I'll learn more and more is to push myself to try something different each time. I never thought when I first started free-motion quilting that I'd get to enjoy the process, but hey presto, I really like it now! And the quilts sure get finished faster than when I hand quilted everything!

I had a response from Bloglines today, they have been very helpful. They have re-set the blogs I get no updates from, so I'll see if that solves the problem. Melanie told me yesterday that unsubscribing from a blog, and then subscribing again works. I have subscribed to my own blog, so I'll be able to report back and let you know if I can see updates myself. Could be back to the good-old-days of cruising around the rings. Let me know if you have any solutions that have worked for you ... of course if you see this post *s*

For my friends in the US, Happy Thanksgiving. I hope your day is filled with family, friends, fun and food!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Quilting and Knitting

Quilting is one of my favourite parts of the whole process, so it's definitely not a chore to get quilting on the Winchester Weave quilt. Here's a picture of my progress in the past 40 minutes or so. For now I'm doing a small meander to fill in the background fabric areas.

I'm so lazy, I'm working with the camera phone again, so I apologise for the lack of quality of the pictures. It's just so much easier, the laptop can just suck the photos right out of the phone via infrared something ... so much easier than playing around with cables and stuff.

Here is my sock picture that I promised the other day. Hmmm ... if I were a better photographer I could have illustrated the lovely turned heel, and the cleverly picked up stitches so much better. But since that's not me, you'll just have to trust me that the heel is lovely and shapely. See there how the stripe is wider ... it's evidenciary support in favour of the turn!

I've read about a syndrome ... it's the second sock syndrome. I should have read about it earlier so I could have addressed it at this point. Apparently many people complete one sock, and just can't face making another. One school of thought suggests that at the point I'm up to with this this sock, I should set it aside and start the other. This would have required planning on my part, and splitting my ball of wool into two, so I can't work this way. The theory is this: You haven't experienced the exhilaration of a finished project, so finish the other sock. You feel you can't face another sock, but hey presto, the second sock (which is actually your first) is almost complete, so it's not such a chore to complete it. I'm not sure my mind can be fooled, but I'm going to try it next time. Thank you Small Hands for this interesting insight.

A quick note for my lovely blogging friends. It would seem that Bloglines doesn't like to visit with me now that I'm changed over to beta, or any of the other of us changed over to beta. So, if you'd like to be updated about when I post, it may be a good idea to add me to Bloglines anew and see if that helps. I'm going to give it a try and see what happens. I'll keep you posted. Of course, this message may be in vain ... as darling Bloglines won't let you know that it's happened ... Ohhhhh it's a vicious cycle ...

Monday, November 20, 2006

The thing with Knitting ...

... is that you can knit for quite a while, and not have much to show for it.

I didn't end up doing any quilting yesterday, it was just too darn hot and humid here. I did however manage to do a little knitting. It was hot doing that too, but I have a real problem with sitting around doing nothing, I like to have busy hands.

The exciting thing to report is that I have turned the heel! Only just, I was working on that part from about 10pm to when I went to bed at midnight. I don't have a picture to share right now, as I've just put my phone on to charge and I'm too lazy to go find the camera, but I promise to take a picture to share tomorrow.

It's hot and humid again today, but my plan is to get some quilting done today after I've done my chores. Possibily finish up the bag I made last week, and then get quilting on the Winchester quilt. With my new sock obsession, I've been neglecting my goals ... they're crying for some attention!

Have a great day everyone! x o x

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Bits & Pieces

Yesterday I refolded my Sisters Choice quilt over the bannister. Whenever I do that it reveals fabrics I haven't seen in a while, so I end up spending a little time staring at it and patting it :-) I know I've shared a picture of this quilt before, it's one that Linda from San Jose and I made together. She made 100 blocks, and so did I, and we sent each other 50 of our blocks. I think Linda placed her blocks randomly, but I have alternated our blocks so I can remember who's is who's. The one with the red is Linda's, so that means the one diagonally on the left is hers etc. Such a fun quilt, and thank you to Bonnie for the pattern on her website.

I don't really have anything exciting to share this morning. I'm feeling very flat after a big party at a friends house last night. It was a late night ... and just super fun! I think we've a party a weekend heading up to Xmas now, it gets like that when Summer draws near.

I noticed yesterday that Bloglines wasn't playing nice. Either that or everyone was very quiet ... and that isn't often the case. I hope it's getting sorted out, I have so many blogs I like to visit, it's hard to get thru everyone without Bloglines help. I don't think I'm Robinson Crusoe there!

Hope you're having a good weekend, I'm off to get another coffee ... yes, that's what I need ... some more caffeine!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sock it to me!

Now, I was able to knit before, and I've knitted a few somewhat tricky things, but I've never knitted on four needles before, so I was really nervous about tackling a sock. After seeing so many people knitting up lovely socks, I just knew it was something I had to try.

This is a much simpler sock than something that the Yarn Harlot would take on, but I'm super proud of myself so far. I'm nowhere near working thru the heel yet, but I have a buddy who has promised to help me with it so I don't tear my hear out.

This sock is from a pattern I purchased from a local store called the Knitting Nook, and the actual sock is longer than most that I've seen online. The leg part of the sock is 12" long, so I thought it would be a fun one to do. I hope I don't get bored half way, but I'm going to maximise the use of this ball of yarn. It's a really nice 4 ply sock wool, and I love the way it works the pattern out, hubby is just fascinated by it! I'm not using the wool that I got from the craft fair, that will be for my next project ... so I should be all set until around 2008!

Forgive the quality of the photo today, I was just too darn lazy to work with the camera today, so I played with the phone instead. There is not much left of this morning, so I may knit a little until lunchtime, then after lunch do a few chores before pinning the Winchester quilt this afternoon. Well, that's the plan ... let's see how I go ...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I've been working on ...

... a couple of things this week. Firstly, on Monday I finished making up the mug mat for Amy's netball coach. I packaged it up in the same way that I made up the one for my school friend a while ago. In stealth mode, I discovered that Bev's favourite colours are pink and purple, and had these strips already in my 1 1/2" scrap strips, and the binding was already in my 2" strips. How cute that the fabric in the centre square matches the mug so well, that was a happy accident!

The other fun thing I've been working on this week was at the Christmas gifts class. I made up a bag. We had the option of many projects, but I've never made a bag before, so decided it'd be best for me to try that while the teacher was around. Thank heavens I did, as I can quilt just fine, but I'm no seamstress!

I probably shouldn't have taken this picture on top of a different quilt, as it's made it hard to see the bag, and the bag is a bit rumply from being in my own bag, but you can get the idea. I now just have to sew the binding down on the right side, and attach the binding on the left side, and lastly secure the doilies so they don't flap around. I quite like the concept of this bag, it uses 2 1/2" strips, so I'll make another. I have so many 2 1/2" strips in my container, so it'll be good to put them to use.

Also this week, I started knitting a sock! I know, I've lost my mind, we're in the last month of Spring before heading into Summer. Even in Winter I don't wear socks a lot, but I have been fascinated by everyone's knitting and had to jump on the bandwagon. I think I may be hooked! Or should that be needled!! I'll show you some progress soon. I'm knitting with 4 ply sock wool, so it's slow going. Heading off now ... the sewing room is calling me ...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Winnie the Pooh progress

Whew! The Winnie the Pooh top is done! I managed to find a navy fabric I was much happier with, and the top managed to go together quite painlessly in the end!

I have marked two of the setting squares with the quilting design I've chosen, and now I need to motivate myself to mark the remaining six setting squares. I've even managed to purchase the batt for the quilt, and this morning I'm going out to get the backing fabric for the quilt, and also for the Winchester quilt.

It would be fun to piece the back for the quilts, but right now I feel just too darned lazy to do it. It's not the most stash friendly option for the back of the quilt, but gosh it's a good feeling getting this quilt moving after being on the UFO list for such a long time.

I had the very best time at the quilt store yesterday, and it was super fun being on the other side of the table. We made Christmas gifts, and I made up a bag. I'll share a picture of it tomorrow when I finsh the last of the binding. It's super cute, and I'll be giving it to Grandpa's wife along with the scarf I knitted for her.

I also made up the mug and mug mat for Amy's netball coach the other day, and I'll share a picture of that tomorrow also when I have a little more time on my hands.

Have a great day everyone! x o x

Monday, November 13, 2006

Don't fall down ...

... but I'm working on the Winnie the Pooh quilt!! I took out all the bits, and found that I have enough of the original navy fabric to make up the corners and centres of the borders, and I've decided I'm going today for one last look for a more perfect match for the fabric. If I don't find it today, I've decided I'm really going to live with the one I picked up not so long ago. If I find a better match, the one I purchased earlier can be used to line some of the bags I plan to make. It's win-win.

The next thing I'm going to work on this morning is a little log cabin block. You can see the foundation right there. It's going to be a little mug mat to go with the coffee mug I purchased for Amy's netball coach. She likes soft pinks and purples, so I'll hunt thru the strips for something that will work.

Tomorrow I'm doing a class at the quilt store. I'm super excited, I haven't participated in a class for a really long time! It's a Xmas class, we can make bags, wall hangings or table runners and receive the patterns for all the items. I need to get my bits and pieces organised and make sure I have everything I need.

Ohhh, and this is my second post with the blogger beta, I'm actually finding it to be great.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Changed over ...

I've finally succumbed to the pressure and converted over the Blogger beta. So far I don't see anything significantly different, however this is my first post with the upgrade.

One thing I'm not happy about, and I know I'm not alone on this ... is that 90% of the comments I now receive come up with no reply address. I think it's some sort of issue between beta and non-beta. I do like to reply to people when I can, and it's hard for me to do that now, please don't be discouraged if you ask a question and I take a while to get back to you.

Maybe someone that's been on beta a little longer and has a bit more technical knowledge could let me know if this is a setting I can change or if this is just going to be an issue while there is a change-over period?

Hope you're all having a good weekend! x o x

Saturday, November 11, 2006

40 + 60 = 100 blocks

Well now, that didn't take as long as I thought it might! I already had 40 of the blue and cream blocks made, and yesterday I finished the other 60. I now have my 100 blocks ready to put together the blue and cream quilt top. Strike one off the list of goals for this month! :-)

I'm not going to put the top together just yet though, I have some other things I need to get to first. Yesterday I received an email from the magazine letting me know that they would like to commission the Winchester Weave quilt for the magazine, and my deadline is 13 December (hey, that's Amy's birthday).

The top of that quilt is complete and it's at the quilt store, I just need to get it back and quilt it, and then complete the directions. That means the goal of 'complete one quilt to binding' will undoubtedly be the Winchester Weave quilt. The on sale date for that magazine will be April 13, so keep your eyes peeled for Australian Patchwork and Quilting around that time!

Friday, November 10, 2006

It's easy to fall behind ...

See what happens when you have a few really busy days ... you get soooo behind. I have over 120 new posts waiting for me in bloglines, and I have been sporadic on the blog! Don't give up on me friends *hugs*

I promised the other day that I'd fill you in on 'the long story' about cupboardy. I worry now that it won't be terribly interesting, but here goes ... Cupboardy was from Little Britain. There was this hypnotist, and he was visiting his Mother in a nursing home. They were playing scrabble, and the hypnotist put the word Cupboardy down on the board. His Mum told him that cupboardy isn't a word. Hypnotist looks at mother and says 'Look into my eyes, not around the eyes, look into my eyes ... and you're under ... cupboardy is a word ... and we're back" Mother looks at the board and praises him on his good score for the word cupboardy. Nurse comes into the room and looks at the board and tells them that cupboardy isn't a word. Hypnotist tells nurse 'Look into my eyes, not around the eyes, look into my eyes ... and you're under ... cupboardy is a word ... and we're back" Nurse looks at Mother and says "You're right, he's not a very good hypnotist". Mother looks embarassed.

I guess it stuck in our minds, because when the cupboards were installed, hubby and I went around all day saying we're all cupboardy.

Quilt group yesterday, gosh I love it! I hand quilted some more on my Christmas wholecloth. It's one of those super pre-printed ones from Holice Turnbow. Let's see how the picture comes out.

I also managed to get all the half square triangles pressed, and made up all the little four patches for the 60 blue and cream blocks. Today I should be able to finish putting them together and strike them off the list!

Have a great day everyone, while I get busy catching up on everyones blogs!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Strawberries and Blocks

What a busy couple of days I've had! There has not been much stitching going on in this house, and I'm kind of feeling withdrawal setting in! There may not be much quilting today either, as I'm working at the quilt store this afternoon, and hubby gets home this evening. Anyways, I just thought I'd share one of the things I got up to yesterday.

I planted some more strawberries. We love strawberry jam in this house, and for a little while I've been making my own. We don't have lots of space for tons of plants, so I freeze the strawberries as they ripen, and when I have a lot of them I make up a batch of jam. This year our plants were past their prime, so I purchased some new ones a couple of weeks ago, and they have been going gangbusters! So I purchased six more on Monday and yesterday morning planted them out. We have the most houdini-like blackbirds you ever saw here, so Marty has rigged up this 'cage' with watering system pipe and a fruit net, and so far we've been able to keep the birds out. They are fruit bandits and must watch the fruit, while it's unripe it's safe, and the very second it's ripe 'boom' it's gone!

I did manage to get a little something done yesterday, but not much. I cut the half square triangles I need for the blue and cream blocks. 120 of them! I managed to sew about half of them together. I may do some more this morning if I get the chance. I'm just amazed at how fast people like Bonnie and Judy must be able to sew ... I think I get distracted easily ...

Amy asked yesterday about the blocks and their 'diet block' status ... ummm ... it's like this ... they clearly weren't working as inspiration so I'm just gunna make them! Ohhh, and she asked about the long story ... I promise I'll tell you tomorrow, this post is becoming like a thesis ... I worry now that it just won't be that interesting *lol*

Thank you so much to everyone for your kind, thoughtful and inspirational messages. I'm so sorry I haven't been able to respond to everyone individually, but please know they all mean so much.

Have a great day x o x.


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