Monday, July 31, 2006

Another Book!

It's looking like Book Week here! Recently I mentioned that I was disappointed not to have purchased the Civil War Diary Quilt while I was in the US. I thought I should do something about it, and purchased a copy on ebay ... and today it arrived!

I love looking at the darling little blocks, and I've so enjoyed seeing the blocks others have showed us on their blogs, but I'm going to force myself to wait before starting any.

My resolve is to quilt two projects, and finish piecing at least two projects before I start any blocks. Let's see if I can do it!!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Lake House

Last night I went to the movies with four of my girlfriends. We saw the Lake House with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. I really enjoyed it, and so did the others. Jane didn't really want to see it, but she was outvoted by the rest of us :-) She actually enjoyed it too. There were a few tears shed by a couple of us, some of the movie is quite sad. I won't give away any of the story in case anyone is planning on seeing it.

During the movie, they talked about the Jane Austen book, Persuasion. I hadn't ever read that book before, so I thought I'd pick it up today and have a read. I've read most of Jane Austen's books, and seen many of them that have made it to the large or small screen. I just love Pride and Prejudice (the BBC version) and Sense and Sensibility. While I was in the bookstore, right nearby I found a novella by Truman Capote - Breakfast at Tiffany's. Well, I just loved that movie too, so I had to get the book. I'll enjoy seeing how much it mirrors the movie.

Not much quilt related stuff happening here right now ... chores and life are getting in the way. I'm soooo looking forward to spending a little time with my dear little electrical friend Bernie ...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Dancing Dolphin

Monday is the day I put the magazine quilt in the mail. I have called it ‘Too Many Log Cabins Are Not Enough’. It has 116 log cabin blocks in it, and I even made more, the 8 extra that I put to use in the little table topper for my Mum’s friend.

I won’t have to think about that quilt again for a while which is nice, and I suspect I’ve not been too interested in working on much quilty stuff over the past week or so because the magazine quilt has been occupying too much of my mind.

I have pulled a quilt out of my UFO pile which I really love, and I’ve decided that since I don’t have the deadline any longer I think I’ll quilt it! This is a quilt I made a few years ago, the pattern is by Java House Quilts, and I was just drawn to it. Amy of course adores it, and would love for it to be finished. I think the reason I’ve been hesitant to quilt it is because I’m not sure what quilting to do on the dolphin. The rest of the quilt will be a breeze, but the dolphin?? Anyone want to give me an idea or two? I was thinking about maybe some hand quilting, but I’m just not sure.

The dolphin quilt was kind of a stash quilt even back when I made it. I got much of the log cabin fabric from my stash, all of the fabric for the dolphin was stash fabric. I think I only got a few colours for the logs, and the blue paisley print from the store.

I have the backing fabric already, I think I have enough batt, I have already purchased the quilting thread … so bring it on! I think I'll give it a good press first tho ... :-)

Friday, July 28, 2006

E4 - Buffalo Tree Hopper

I came soooo close to finishing the family room yesterday. I’m just not strong enough to move the TV cabinet by myself, so there’s just a small section which I will do on Monday when hubby has a day off. The room feels so different, it’s amazing how a change of colour can do that.

Last night after painting and finishing up with the kids and chores, I was just too weary to head into the sewing room, so I veged in front of the TV. Since I’ve put up a picture of my DJ recently, it’s kind of rekindled my interest in my project, so I thought I’d hand piece a block. This one is E4 – Buffalo Tree Hopper. I wonder how it got that name? I'm not even sure what that means, any clues anyone?

It’s a nice one to hand piece, it has some intersections that are fiddly to piece on the machine. So you can compare, I’ve put the 30’s block I pieced last night, and also the block I pieced for the first quilt. I hand pieced the first one too.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Painting day

Happy Thursday! I have six solid hours to myself today, and I’m going to make the most of them! I knew I’d want to, I just woke up this morning knowing I’m going to do some painting. I’m going to work hard, and get the family room finished. I can do it!

The hardest wall to do will be the wall by our kitchen table. I’ve put a picture here for you to see the ‘before’. It’s going to be a little tricky because I can’t take the cabinet off the wall, and I’m pretty scared of getting any paint on it, so I’ll make sure I tape around it and paper lots of it. I also have to take all the plates down and I’ll have to take out all the hooks holding them up. I don’t want to end up with all the little fittings painted into the wall ewww.

You can just see the hallway to the front door and our bedroom door behind. That was one of the first areas I painted last year. I have noticed when I’ve viewed the pictures on the computer, the green colour actually looks somewhat lighter. It seems to look a little like a spring green, but it’s actually more of a heritage green colour.

Also, I’ve included a picture of a lovely surprise I received in the mail yesterday. Karen (who is another of the girls I travelled to Paducah with) sent me a lovely toile fabric with a really pretty card. Karen is the other girl I gave an Irish Chain table topper to. It was such a sweet gift from her, thank you so much Karen!

Eileen commented on the quilt in yesterday’s picture. It’s not one of my patterns, it’s from Thimbleberries club in 2004. I normally have a different quilt there on my coffee table, but seeing the picture there makes me think I may actually make that quilt again, because it fits just perfectly there.

Lastly, apologies for not travelling thru more blogs in the past few days. I only have a few blogs in my bookmarks, and our webring host seems to have a problem right now. I promise I’ll catch up when things are back to normal. Hope everyone is having a great week!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Wednesdays are Fun!

Today is my day for teaching at the quilt store. This morning was Thimbleberries Club, and this afternoon was Dear Tazzie. The afternoon class was super busy and passed by so fast.

Cameron’s day care lady is just now recovering, so today he spent the day with some ‘pseudo relatives’. They’re related to us very distantly, and have retired and live right near his kindy. They love kids and Cameron just loves them, so they’re happy to have him when I get stuck. To say thank you, last night I baked them a dozen cupcakes (I wish I had taken a picture), and I also gave them a quilted table topper I made in Thimbleberries club. It was the project from January 2004. Cameron had also spent the day with them a few weeks ago, and they took him to the Zoo, so I really wanted to do something nice for them in return.

Tomorrow I have the day all to myself, so I’m in two minds if I should do some more painting, or if I should do something just for me … I have a feeling I’ll want to paint … believe it or not, I actually love to paint!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

B4 - Chris's Soccer Field

This morning I’m feeling particularly lazy for some reason. I have a feeling I could use a little more sleep … if only! So here I am, wondering what I might share with you and I just don’t seem to be able to get my brain to focus on something interesting. It also doesn’t help that I have a tiny person half sitting on my lap eating toast … he’s determined to share something with you too!

In light of that, I thought maybe I’d share with you the first block I did on my DJ journey, the one that started the whole addiction. It’s B4 – Chris’s Soccer Field. I actually just made it to practice foundation piecing. I’d only just learned how, and thought the block would be a great candidate to give it a try.

I should also mention that after I finished making my DJ blocks, I took a ‘picture’ of each and every block with my scanner. That’s why you can’t see any of the quilting from my quilt, and also why some of the seams look kind of prominent. For some reason though I didn’t do all the triangles, only some of them. I wish I’d done them all, but I think towards the end, I was just looking forward to getting it finished.

Forest Jane asked whether or not any of the little blocks had inspired a whole quilt, I hadn’t thought of that at all. There are lots of great blocks, but that wasn’t something I thought about. I’m not sure why … perhaps I was just entirely over them at the time? And Shelina wondered how I quilted it … I did it by hand, at the time I didn’t machine quilt very well, and I just let each block ‘tell’ me how it wanted to be quilted, so they’re all different.

Hope you’re all having a great day … I’m off to get some more coffee!!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Kitchen ... check!

Last night I finished the last bit of the kitchen I’m going to be able to do right now, so I’m sharing some pictures with you. I would like to have taken a ‘before’ picture before I started doing anything at all, but I just didn’t remember to. But at least you get to see the grimy colour on the walls, and a tiny bit of the icky pink blinds. I’m just not sure who chooses to have blinds like that, and they entirely filled the rear of our home! Only three left now!

And so you see the after picture. I’ve painted in the sage green colour, replaced the verticals with a timber venetian, and put our stuff back :-)

The next thing to do on my agenda, and I will start getting estimates, is to get some glass fronted cabinets on the blank wall above the stove. The kitchen will then be 90% finished. The last thing I will do (and it’s some time off yet) is to think about a new fridge, and I’m not sure what I want to do about that yet.

It feels good to get that project out of the way. Next I need to finish painting the family room, and then work on to the hallway. It’ll be so much easier to do when the kids get back to a normal routine :-)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Favourite and Least Favourite

Thank you to everyone for your lovely comments about my DJ.

It’s amazing how many people there are around the world that are working on the quilt, or have made it. I wonder if Jane Stickle had any idea how much activity her quilt would generate in the future. I bet she would have been amazed.

Since I mentioned them yesterday, and many people were interested, I have attached pictures of my favourite and least favourite blocks. The darker of the two is M3 – Fireweed Flower. It’s my favourite of all. I’m not sure why I love it above all others, but it edges it’s way into first place. I hand pieced it, and made one for Linda too. The lighter of the two is L10 – Nan’s Naiad. I don’t really care for it too much. It’s one of those blocks that no matter which way you look at it, it just doesn’t want to go together nicely.

Ohh, and if you noticed, yes, the two blocks have different backgrounds. I have used all different backgrounds for my quilt. I just love that scrappy look. For my new DJ though, I am using one background throughout.

I meant to answer a question from Forest Jane the other day. She asked whether I had to sign a contract with the magazine. Yes, when I had my first quilt published, I had to sign a document which encompasses any quilts they would publish for me in the future. I have to say though, this has been my experience, and I don’t necessarily know that all magazines and those in other countries work in the same way.

Also, someone named ‘anonymous’ asked what the abbreviations often used in blogs are. Well, I use *lol* a lot, and that means ‘laughing out loud’. I’m sure there are lots of others, but I can’t think of any right now, there must be a website that lists lots of them, can any of my fellow bloggers help me out?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Here it is!

So many people have asked to see my Dear Jane quilt, so of course I'm happy to oblige! This picture was taken a few years ago in my dining room, it's always hanging on the wall in there. I actually have to move the furniture out to get a good shot.

I'm making another one (I know, I've lost my mind), this time in 30's prints, I won't tackle the triangles this time, I'm going to set the blocks on point with setting squares inbetween. I am also changing the way I'm making some of the blocks. When I first took this project on, I think it must have been 1998, although I had a few years of quilting under my belt, I really was not very experienced at all, and I had no idea that this was really an advanced project. Maybe if I had more experience I would never have taken it on?

I actually purchased the book while on quilt camp, and I didn't realise that it was an actual quilt, I really just thought it was a book with a series of little blocks. I made a few of them up, and became hooked on them, and ended up over a period of about 2.5 years making the quilt. If a block was the least bit tricky, I hand pieced it. I just didn't know any other way of working with y seams etc. Now, obviously I wouldn't have that fear of the more difficult blocks. My friend Linda from the US, she and I exchanged a number of blocks. That was super fun. She also sent me many of the fabrics that are featured in the quilt. I was lucky enough to see her DJ for the first time when I visited with her in April/May. Last time I was there, I'm not sure that either of us had finished our quilts.

My favourite block is M3 - Fireweed Flower. I made that one for myself and for Linda. I really loved making it, and it's so pretty. My least favourite is L10 - Nan's Naiad. It's just a really hard one to put together. I remember I was so bent over my sewing machine that I got my hair a little tangled in the thread take up lever.

I have pictures of all the individual blocks, so if anyone is interested, at a later date I can post pictures of some of the blocks by themselves. It's fun looking at all the different fabrics and stuff. I often go into the dining room just to pet the quilt. There are a lot of great memories there :-)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Stash Enhancement & Sarah Johnson

Today I went for an on-line visit with my good friends at Hancocks of Paducah ... I have finally decided what I will do for my entry in this year's guild show. I will enter a miniature ... again ... I never feel like I'm going to have the time to enter a full size quilt. This year, I decided I'd like to try a miniature Baltimore style applique quilt. I purchased a couple of bali solids, because I really like the way they behave when needle-turning.

I also decided to grab a couple of the Old Sturbridge Village II fabrics they have out at approx $4.00 per yard. Lastly, I got the Miss Rosie quilt book ... another one I should have purchased while I was over there ... but I'll forgive myself :-) I will be able to use that book for lots of stash reduction exercises!

Back to the guild stuff ... 2001 was the first time I ever entered the guild show. I entered my Dear Jane quilt, and also my Sarah Johnson quilt. Imagine how staggered I was when my DJ won the prize for 'best first time entrant', and my SJ won the prize for 'best hand quilting'. OMG, I was super amazed. I have included the picture of my SJ here for you. 90% of the quilt was made with leftovers from my DJ. It's one of my favourite quilts I have ever made. In summer it lives on my bed, and in winter (because it's really not warm enough) it lives over the bannister in my lounge room.

Today Amy is off with friends learning how to Scrapbook, so I'm hoping to do some more painting. The wooden vertical is up in the kitchen, and I love it! Who else keeps stopping by to look at new things when you've done them ... I do!!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

For Shelina

Oops ... I meant to answer another question Shelina had from a couple of days ago. She asked how to go about getting something published. Well, I was lucky, I talked about it a couple of days ago. The magazine approached the shop I teach at, and then I submitted a quilt I was working on. But really, it's as simple as that. To begin with, you need to submit a picture of an original quilt you've made and they will tell you if they would like to commission it. You're paid for the instructions that you write, not for the actual quilt, so maybe you could give them an example of your instructions to give you an edge.

I've had 10 projects published in the last two years, so I've been very fortunate to build up an excellent relationship with the editor of the magazine, which is why she is happy to commission work from me based on a drawing (which I do in Corel Draw) or a partly completed quilt.

I would suggest for you to call the magazine you're interested in working with, find out the name of the project editor, and take it from there. It's not a huge money spinner, but it's fun, and it can lead to other things!

My next quilt will be in Australian Patchwork and Quilting in December.

Window Box

Last night I was able to spend a little time working on my Atlantic Jewel blocks again, I won’t show you a picture just now, because what I made was nothing you haven’t already seen. I’ll post a picture when I’ve made all nine blocks, and then I can make the final decision ‘to sash or not to sash’. I love this forum for being able to bounce ideas around, it’s super fun!

I thought I’d share with you a quilt I made some years ago now, it was the quilt that hooked me into joining Thimbleberries club, and I’ve been a member ever since, although this year I’m the teacher, not a participant.

The quilt is called Window Box. I thought it was the cutest quilt ever, I think it may have been the border fabric that grabbed me at the time, I do love the colour green. I placed it in my family room over the TV cabinet. Do you see that icky boring beige-ish colour on the wall? Well, I’m onto that wall right now, the paint is moving its way around the rooms. I’m almost done in the kitchen too. Marty is going to hang the wooden venetian tonight. It took a little longer than I wanted because … On Sunday I hade a brain fade, and bought a blind that was the next size too small for my window … so I had to go back and exchange it *duh*. All is well now tho, and we’re proceeding as planned!

Melanie made a poignant comment yesterday, it’s so true … the kids do remember the time you spend with them having fun and not how tidy your house is or whatever. I really have to tell myself that more, because it’s easy to get trapped in the routine and grind of life, and forget that the tiny people need to be having fun with us too.

Joyce wondered what kind of paint we were using … it seemed just to be acrylic paint. It washed right off with water when it was time to clean up. After we were done with painting, we were able to take our pieces over to a counter where we could select if we wanted any glitter on them, and then they sprayed them with a quick dry kind of varnish. It was all very easy and fun. I have seen kits for plaster mould painting at Spotlight (which is a little like Joanne’s) maybe they’re easy to find?

Shelina commented that we’d made CAT with our initials … I thought it’d be fun … because there had been a few posts lately about cats … and heavens … how lucky that they’re our initials!

Today we’re popping into quilt group for a little bit. Amy is a junior member, so it’s really the only opportunity she has, when she’s on school holidays. We can’t stay for long tho, Cameron is unlikely to find it interesting. His day care lady is still unwell, I’m sending her good wishes to get better, it’s not nice for her to feel so unwell, she’s like a member of our family. *hugs Christine*

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Plaster Fun House

We’re in the last week of the mid year school holidays right now, so my friend Jane and I took the kids to the Plaster Fun House. With my kids, Jane’s kids, and her SIL’s kids, we had a total of six kids. It has the potential to be chaotic, but it was actually super fun. The kids were having such a nice time painting their plaster moulds, that Jane and I decided we’d join in!

Lucky I have a camera in my phone, so I took a couple of happy snaps of the kids with their works in progress.

Amy is working on a letter ‘A’, and Cameron has a racing car, and a letter ‘C’. Cameron got 2 items from the ‘slightly irregular’ shelf, as we weren’t too sure how he’d go with his painting, but we knew he’d have lots of fun with them! Amy painted her letter very carefully in two shades of purple.

I worked on a letter ‘T’, and Jane made up a little bear sitting on a pile of cookies! I’ve taken a picture of our items when we got home on the kitchen bench for you to see. We had a fun day, I’d recommend it to anyone!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Ohhh ... it's just cruel ...

You Are Marge Simpson

You're a devoted family member who loves unconditionally.

Sometimes, though, you dream about living a wild secret life!

You will be remembered for: your good cooking and evading the police

Your life philosophy: "You should listen to your heart, and not the voices in your head."

Ducking and Weaving!

If you’re reading this message, it means I’ve ducked and weaved sufficiently to fool Blogger! I was laying in bed last night unable to nod off for some reason, and suddenly it hit me … why don’t I type up my post in Word, then cut and paste it into Blogger?!? At least that way if I do lose all of my post, I can just cut and paste again until I get tired of it! I wonder if the hyperlink function will work in here too? I’ll just have to put any pictures in afterwards I’m thinking … *tapping forehead* Up here for thinking eh?? 

Now I can get onto some of the comments that I’ve been itching to get to for days.

Many of you mentioned that I’m not the only one in Jammies beyond breakfast time … thank heavens! Finn also said maybe I need to make a ‘Jammies Zone Ahead’ sign up … perhaps that’s a project to make with Tonya’s letters? It would be the perfect thing … breaking free in more way than one

Amy thanks you all for your kind words about her quilting, she’s so modest about it all, it’s really quite sweet. Actually, she doesn’t really understand why I want to share her quilts this way, but I can’t help but be the proud Mummy! I've attached a picture of the tiny people. It was taken on Saturday when Hubby and my Dad took them to the Railway Museum here. They had such a good time. Cameron was so excited, because he was able to ride on Thomas the Tank Engine!

Cathi suggested I should bring ‘Dear Tazzie’ over to the Emerald Isle … well, sure! I’ll be over there in a heartbeat! Apparently some of my heritage is Irish, so it’d be like coming home right? I’ll share some pictures of my DJ sometime too Cathi … Some of the Dear Tazzie girls have been working on DJ quilts, so I started working on a second one … OMG what was I thinking?? This time I’m making it in 30’s prints, and I’m not making the triangles, but setting the blocks on point, with setting squares inbetween to do some fancy quilting in. Hmmm … so many quilts, so little time!

Ohh, and Melanie asked what the binding was for … it’s for the quilt that's going into the magazine. It just kills me that I can't share it right now. I really want to, because it's coming out so cute. Last night I completed stitching down the binding on the back, and I selected a whole pile of buttons to put on the quilt. It has these swag kind of things on it, and where the swags intersect, I’m putting a little cluster of buttons. It should look really cute I hope.

Whew! This post seems to have worked so far, so I'm going to quit while I'm ahead. Hope you're all having a great day!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Growler's long lost Sister!

I was visiting with Tonya at her blog yesterday, and was so surprised to see a picture of Growler. He looks just like our ill tempered beastie called Madaline. Amy was only about 5 when we got her, and had the task of naming her. Madeline from the books was her favourite thing at the time, so kitty was named in her honour. Our Madaline is spelled differently, because on an outing to the vet, hubby had no idea how to spell it, and guessed, and it kind of stuck! Her name does not suit her, because she certainly cannot speak french *grin* she is very ill tempered (probably as a result of being poked and prodded by two curious children) and she spends most of her time finding places to sleep. Because she's so ill tempered ... I call her 'Wilderpuss'. She clearly shares some DNA with Growler!

Blogger is not playing nice again today, I wonder if the powers that be have played with it somehow? Whenever I save, I lose everything I've done, but I manage to recover the kitty bit?? Let's hope I can get thru some more!

Melanie and Hanne asked whether or not I have a long arm quilting machine. I don't have one, but if hubby is reading, I sure could use one! I use my Bernina, which is the same model that Bonnie from Quiltville has, a 1080. I recently thought about upgrading to one with a stitch regulator, but I felt like I'd be betraying my Bernie. It's a sign something is wrong when you think your appliances have feelings!

Melanie also wondered if I'd been wearing something slinky yesterday while I was doing the binding?? Well, umm, it was pale blue ... lovely big yellow and white flowers, and ohh yes ... flannel! Ohhh, I think we all knew that was coming ... after all, it's winter here right?? *lol*

Ohhhh ... I just lost the rest of my post again, I'm getting a little frustrated, so I think I'll come back again and finish up later :-)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I shouldn't sew in my Jammies!

Yes, you read that correctly ... I shouldn't sew in my jammies! This morning I had a late start, after painting some more yesterday I was feeling weary, and I decided to read a little in bed this morning. After surfacing and having coffee, I decided to mosey on into the study and make up the binding for the quilt. Well, I was pressing the binding, and who should walk in, but my hubby ... closely followed by one of his friends! Ooops!! Shamelessly I continued to make up my binding, I mean really ... what's more important!! *gulp* I should really be taking Flylady's lead, and getting dressed to my shoes, but hey ... we need a little mortification now and then right??

So the binding is made up, and I just need to attach it.
I hope to get that done today. See it there, it's all scrappy ... I'm loving scrappy bindings right now, and given the quilt is a scrappy one, it should look quite good! I have a number of things to get thru, so I'll see if I have time to get to it. I want to go out at some point and see if I can get a wooden venetian for my kitchen. The hideous pink verticals that the previous owners of this house installed really do not go at all in the newly sage green kitchen. (Or in any room of any home for that matter!!)

Amy received so many lovely comments on her quilt yesterday, so we thought it would be nice to share her first quilt with you. It's super cute, it took a couple of years to make. We had purchased a large pack of eye spy fabrics when Amy and I visited PIQF with Linda in 2000. The following year, Amy started piecing nine patches with them. She must have been about 6. Fast forward a couple of years, and we decided to put them together. Many of them were very lumpy, so we unpicked them so they'd go together. Amy chose the sashing and cornerstone fabric, and we put the quilt together. The back is pieced with 9 bright fat quarters, and the excess from the edges was saved for the binding. This quilt was one of the first things I machine quilted!

I really want to respond to some of the comments from yesterday, but Blogger is misbehaving right now, so I'll leave that until my next post. *fingers crossed* It'll behave for me later on!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Take the Leap with Tonya!

Thank you so much to Tonya for taking one of my comments to heart, and taking me (and anyone who wishes to join in) under her wing. I just adore Tonya's free form quilts, and I have wanted for the longest time to attempt one but as I commented, 'I'm scared to take the leap'. I'm like so many other quilters out there, who've been taught that it's a bad thing when lines aren't perfectly parallell and your points don't meet or get chopped off. It just looks so free and fun to me, but because of my points police training, I didn't know where to begin!

Tonya has offered to guide us through the process of making a baby quilt which is to be donated to the charity of our choice. I'm so in, and so excited! Isn't this cyberspace thing wonderful, it's not that long ago that I wouldn't have dreamed this kind of fun was possible!

Now for a little 'eye candy'. This quilt is called Amy's daisies, because most of the top was made last year by my daughter. She's 11 now, so she must have been 10 when she made it up. One school holidays we were looking for a project to keep her busy, so we went to a couple of quilt stores and selected some fabrics. The pinks and purples are her favourite colours. She's made a nine patch quilt before, so they're not hard at all, but this was the first time she'd played with fusible applique. She even did a great effort with the machined blanket stitch! Because of her efforts, Amy has been made a junior member of my local quilt group!

After the school holidays were finished, I offered to quilt the top for her, as she's a little nervous about doing that herself. I free-motioned the peacock feather design, and then gave the flowers some dimension with some lines to look like stamens and creases in the petals. After it was finished, I thought it would be fun to do a little beading around the centres of the flowers. Amy used to do ballet quite seriously, and as a result of that I've accumulated a million sequins and beads, so hey, why not use them up!

These school holidays Amy has a project she'd like to work on, it's an underwater scene made up with fusible applique. It's not huge, but it has coral and clown fish that look like Nemo. She's going to bring it to quilt group next week. I'm really looking forward to it!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Faith of Friends

I'm so pleased with the progress I made on my 'so far unnamed quilt' yesterday, I managed to get it basted, and I also got about 2/3 of it quilted! I was worrying that I wouldn't have time to get everything done, but now I'm feeling great about my deadline. The project due date is 2 August.

Linda J asked when we would be able to see a picture of the quilt, and I feel so bad, but I can't post a picture of it until 2 months after the magazine is out. Contractually I'm not allowed to. The magazine won't accept quilts that have been published elsewhere, and on the internet is considered 'published'. Maybe I shouldn't tease you with information about it, but it's hard not to share what I've been doing.

Instead, I will share with you a picture of the first quilt I ever had published. It's called Faith of Friends. It was made for a beginners applique class, and when the magazine contacted Cheryl (from the quilt store) to find out if they had any quilts they'd like to submit for an applique special, she passed the details to me. The rest is history! That was in early 2004. Later, the quilt was on the cover of the AP&Q 2005 diary. A short time later, it's 'sister quilt' Purple Hearts was featured in another publication. I term it a 'sister quilt' because it has so many of the same colours and fabrics, they look like they could be twins. The two quilts were photograped together earlier this year when the magazine did a profile on me, and they came to my house to take pictures. It was super fun, I've been really lucky.

Cathi asked me what kind of classes I teach. Well, that's a funny one ... I do occasional workshops, but mainly I do a class called 'Dear Tazzie', and it's a class where people with a problem come along to get it fixed. Like if someone needs to learn how to bind a quilt, or they would like to learn needle turn applique, I help them out. It can be chaotic, as I don't necessarily know what I'll be dealing with, or how many people will be coming, but it's super fun! Some ladies just come a long for the social aspect, and that's wonderful too!

Hanne asked about where I got the pattern for the Atlantic Jewel block. I got it from Jinny Beyer's website. She has a block of the day, or month, or something there. I hope it's still there in her archives, as I printed it a while ago. I changed the centre of the block though, as hers has pie shaped pieces designed to look wonderful with her border prints, but I wanted it to be one piece. I just made up a new template.

Thank you so much to everyone for your ideas regarding 'to sash or not to sash'. I have decided I will wait until the blocks are finished before I make the decision. Then I can play with them. This is a wonderful forum for bouncing ideas around, and I appreciate everyones comments. Thank you!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Such a productive day!

Aren't Mum's wonderful? It's school holidays here, and yesterday my Mum took the two kids out for the day. I knew in advance this was happening, so I had been thinking about what I'd like to do. I decided I would start to paint the kitchen. I recently showed a picture of my cabinet in the dining room which gives a glimpse of the sage green colour I've been painting with ... well, I'm on a mission, I have decided to paint the kitchen, family areas and hallways with the same colour! It's a big undertaking, but I'm on the way. I have taken a 'before' picture of the kitchen, but I don't think I'll post that until I have an 'after' picture so you can compare.

So, I painted until I knew the kids arrival home was imminent, and then I headed into the sewing room, and started cutting out more Atlantic Jewel blocks. I've almost cut out all the blocks I need, and last night after the kids were in bed, I sewed another block using the alternate colourway. I think it's kind of cute, what do you think? And here's a question for you, I'm only going to make 9 blocks with a border ... do you think I need a sashing inbetween them? I'm just not sure. This is going to be a smallish quilt that I will put on the dining table in the family room. So far, the blocks are made entirely from stash fabrics, which makes me happy. The border fabric was an impulse buy :-) but at least it's not going to sit around in my fabric collection for ages ... right??

When the Atlantic Jewel quilt is finished, I will start working on a table runner for the quilt store I teach at. Cheryl from Quiltaholics is the loveliest lady, and she asked if I would make a table runner for her to cover a little area on top of some smaller fabric shelves. Of course I said I would, and she gave me these two bags of scraps to make it with, and she wants me to keep the rest! Ohhh heavens, there's a lot of fabric in there, it's going to be fun!

Today I plan to baste the quilt for the magazine. I hope the kids cooperate. Cameron would have been going to day care today, but his carer is unwell. I'm so pleased she's the kind of lady who doesn't just soldier on regardless, because the kids just pick up all the bugs that are floating in this cold and flu season. My quilt is 70" square, so it shouldn't take forever. Basting is not my favourite part of the process, but the next step is super fun ... quilting!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Double Irish Chain

Yesterday was an unusual day. I didn't actually do any patchwork or quilting in any way at all! I dedicated myself to doing chores in the house, and last night when I would have normally had the chance to sew, we had some visitors, which was wonderful! Some friends of ours have been living in Beijing for a few years, and they have finally come home. They worked in the international school, and had wonderful tales of their adventures in the city, and on their vacations in the region during their holidays. What a fun evening!

Given that I showed you the little parcel that Donna sent me yesterday, I thought I'd share the Double Irish Chain table topper that I made for her. I made one for Karen too, but I only took pictures of one, they're both essentially the same. The idea is from Bonnie's website in the leaders and enders area, I'm amazed at how many of my scrap reduction projects come from there. I have now got enough squares cut to make a whole size quilt using this pattern, but I'll finish up some of these other projects I have on the go first. The squares I've used are 2.5", so the blocks finish at 10". The quilting was a super easy meander with this really pretty rayon variegated thread, and once again, I've used my 2" scrap strips for the binding.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

More Atlantic Jewels

Well, I did a little sewing yesterday. I only managed to get two blocks made, it's not the easiest block in the world to construct, but it's a lot of fun. I so wanted to make the blocks up with brights, but I just couldn't come up with a colour combination I was happy with, and I really have a huge gap in my stash where the brights are concerned. I know I always lean towards repros and more conservative fabrics when I shop, but I promise I'm making an effort to be brighter! The fabric that is in the middle and the corners of the block is one that Linda sent me at some time. It just spoke to me, it's really lovely. I think I have enough of it to make five blocks. I think I will make another four with different centres and corners, border it and call it finished. The alternating blocks will mean that the corner triangles will do pretty things where they meet.

And remember how yesterday I said I was just going to the quilt store for backing fabric and charge on out of there?? Well, of course I went to Quiltaholics which is my favourite quilt store, and I did head straight to the backing fabric ... well, don't tell me you don't know what's coming next ... yes, I was diverted by something shiny ... Less than 2 feet from the backing fabrics are the reproductions, and I have been tempted by this navy fabric for the longest time. I decided to get a metre. I can use it for the border on these blocks right?? With all the fabric I purchased in Paducah, I don't need it, but it's so nice, it had to come home with me. My stash reduction is kind of two steps forward and one step back. I'll get there eventually!

Also, yesterday in the mail I received the loveliest surprise. Donna, who is one of the girls I travelled to Paducah with mailed me a little parcel of fat quarters with the cutest card. You can see them on the right in the picture. She so loved the gift I made for her that she wanted to send me a little something. I gave Donna (and Karen) a 'Double Irish Chain' table topper. I'll share the pictures with you in a different post. How sweet of Donna to send me something lovely, thank you Donna!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Atlantic Jewel

This morning I woke up thinking 'I need a new project'. What that really translates into is: 'I need a newer and more interesting UFO'. I should have gone to sleep for a little longer and woken up with a different thought, but here I am thinking about what I'd like to work on.

I was looking though my photos on the computer, and saw this picture of a block I sent to Linda a few years ago. We had swapped some blocks, no specific number, and no specific plan, and I haven't done anything with those blocks either ... but I really like the look of this block. I'm thinking I'll start making some!

The block is called Atlantic Jewel, and it's from Jinny Beyer's website. I'm thinking about using my reproduction stash, but I think it would look even better in brights.

Today I also have to visit the quilt store. I need to purchase a backing fabric to go on the quilt which is for the magazine. I don't really feel like piecing a back this time, as the quilt needs to be in Sydney with the instructions written in about 3 weeks time. It sounds like plenty of time, but 2 of those weeks are school holidays, so I have no idea how much actual time I'm going to have. I'm going to be focused, and just get what I need ... nothing else ... charge in, buy backing, head down and out again. Good thing I have to take the kids with me ... they don't like to loiter, unless it's in a toy store ...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A home for my quilts

Yesterday I worked on more of the nine patch scrap blocks, I have just over 40 of them now. I think I will stop at 60 and send Linda's 30 off to her along with another treat I have for her. The pile doesn't look like that many blocks, and hardly seems to make a dent at all in the box of 2" bits. It's amazing to me how much you can actually make from your scraps, and given how many quilts I've been able to make so far, I wouldn't be surprised if I really don't need to ever buy fabric again!

Last night just for fun I went to the movies with 3 of my girlfriends. We saw the movie 'The Break Up" with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughan. I won't tell you anything about it in case you're planning to see it, but I will say that we're all glad that we left our husbands at home. It's really a girl movie, girls would just get what the movie is about. It would take a special guy to really enjoy it I think. We all came out of the movies analysing our relationships too ... not sure if that's a good thing or not. It was a fun night out, and we saw a preview of 'The Lake House' and we've decided we'll have a play date and go see that too! Mmmm Keanu!

Anyways, because of my scrap blocks, and the movie, I don't have anything interesting that I worked on yesterday to show you, but I have taken two pictures just now to share with you. I have a cabinet in my dining room where some of my quilts live when they're not in use. The top two shelves have quilts on them, and the bottom shelf has my two featherweight boxes. Only one box has a featherweight in it, as you can see the other one is on top of the cabinet. To the right of the cabinet, you can just see a teeny bit of my Sarah Johnson quilt draped over the little bannister there.

I love the pictures that are on the wall. On the left is a picture of my grandparents when they got married. It would have been in 1948, Nanna was 19 years old, and Puppa not much older. It's a lovely picture. On the right is my Amy. She would have been less than a year old, I remember at the time of the picture she was not walking or crawling, and barely sitting up properly. We had to keep balancing her so that she wouldn't fall over. That means the picture was taken in 1995. It seems like such a very long time ago. My how time flies!

I should also tell you that the sage green colour on the walls is a recent addition. I have been painting the house as I get the time, and the dining room was the only room I had not finished at the front of the house. I wanted to get it done before we had Cameron's birthday party. There is nothing like an influx of friends and relatives to give you the impetus to get home maintenance done. I finished it with a couple of days to spare, and I love the result. I'm thinking about painting more of the house in the same colour.

On top of the cabinet you can see my featherweight, it's the older of the two that I have, made in around 1949. I'm not sure why it looks so dull in the picture, but the goldwork on the machine is just lovely. I was so pleased when I found it. On the fold out bed of the featherweight is a fat quarter bundle I purchased at the Piecemakers store in 2000. It looks so cute I didn't want to use it, they made it up so pretty. The little quilt under the machine is a kit that Linda made up for me to stitch while I was on holiday with her recently. The fabric is all from the Jane Austen range. I managed to get it cut out while I was with her, but I finished and quilted it when I got home. It's the sweetest little quilt ever, and it was just made for that spot there. Thank you Linda!

Melanie asked me what the weather is like here right now. We're in the middle of winter, and it has been a very cold winter compared to what we're used to, it doesn't ever get cold enough to snow in Adelaide, but we've had some nights at 0 celsius. We haven't had very much rain, which apparently makes it colder?? I don't really understand the ins and outs of weather, that's just what hubby tells me. Generally, Adelaide's climate is very much like that of California.

Well, that's it for me ... I have to get to the supermarket. I've been very lazy shopping lately, and there is almost nothing to eat in the house. I don't much care for grocery shopping, I'd really rather be quilting ... who's with me??

Saturday, July 08, 2006

What Flower are you?

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

Thank you to Melanie for providing this fun link in her blog!


Thank you so much to everyone who left comments and kind messages for me yesterday! It's so nice to know that people are stopping by! Some of you had questions, so it's answer time ...

For Linda J - This was the second time I've been to the States. The first time I was at the wrong time of year to visit Paducah, but was in time to go to PIQF, which I thought was great too, but in a different way. It's amazing how quilt fever seems to grip the whole town in Paducah.

For Bonnie - We do have shows, but they're more like the PIQF type of thing. It's all in one place, an area for the vendors, and an area for the quilts. I'm in Adelaide, which is one of the smallest cities here, and we have a small show (we still love it) but there are nothing like the amount of quilts entered, and we have much fewer vendors. We hold ours at the Royal Adelaide Showgrounds in September or November generally.

So you can see, the quilt show (or I guess you could call it a festival) was a huge thrill for me. And to visit the back room at Hancocks, well, that was amazing! I think they had more fabric in that store than I have ever seen before!

Anyways, I thought I'd share with you what I was doing yesterday afternoon. Linda and I made the Sisters Choice quilt, and when we'd finished that, we started on another scrap quilt together. This time we're making the Zig Zag Nine Patch, once again from Bonnie's website. We've been at it for a number of months now, and I think we should each have maybe 130 or more blocks.

I wasn't sure what I felt like working on, so out came the box with the 2" scraps, and I started putting some nine patches together. I think I got 24 done. I'll do some more later today after I've done some chores. Can you see some of the oldies and uglies in that scrap box?? I can't imagine how some of those fabrics got into my stash. I know I didn't buy that one with the hearts, I think it must have been given to me! The one with the light and dark blue stripes was a bargain for a backing a million years ago ... I think I know why it may have been a bargain! Some of the blocks I've made for this project even have pieces of fabric from the first quilt I ever made, which was featured in a post last week. I can't imagine why I still have any of that fabric laying around. Anyways, the blocks are coming along nicely, and everyone knows I love to get thru the scraps!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Shoo Fly Table Runners

In April and May this year, I went on my trip to the states. Firstly I visited with my wonderful friend Linda in San Jose, and then I accompanied her and four of her quilt group friends to Paducah. It was the most wonderful trip, and I had the best time. Before I left, I decided I wanted to make a small gift for Linda and her four friends that I would be travelling with.

After making the scrappy baby quilt, I had a lot of the cutaway pieces from the star points, so I chain pieced them together to form half square triangles. I had been making similar table runners to the ones pictured for some time, but with log cabins. Knowing that the shoo fly block would use up many of the half square triangles, it seemed like the perfect block to use in a scrappy table runner. I had to make just a few more half square triangles, and cut the setting triangles. I have had the applique cheater cloth in my stash for some time, and it seemed like the perfect offset for the blocks.

The back of the table runners was also from my stash. One is a toile I've had sitting around for ages, and the other is a scrap half yard I had no idea what to do with. I don't precisely remember, but I may have pieced the batt too! I had fun quilting them with a free-motion peacock design, and Cheryl from my favourite quilt store outlined the applique for me as I was just too chicken! Thank you Cheryl! If you look carefully, you can see that even the binding was pieced from my scrap 2" stash!

Two of Linda's friends received these as gifts, and they were so surprised and thrilled!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Arkansas Promenade

Today is the day I go to quilt group. I have a hand-work project I've been working on for a little while (okay, a few years), and when I don't have something else that needs to be finished up by hand, this is the project that gets wheeled out. More often than not, I have a binding or some applique that needs to be done, but not today!

This block is called Arkansas Promenade, it's from a pretty old issue of Vintage Quilts that Linda sent me. Because it has so many Y seams, I decided it'd be a nice one to do by hand. I am using some of my feedsacks in the pink and blue colourway, and I have used a white osnaburg fabric as the background as it has a similar coarse weave like the feedsacks. When I found the white osnaburg at the quilt store many years ago, I bought everything they had, as I hadn't seen it in white before, and I have to say, I haven't been able to find it in white since!

This is the project I took to do while I was recently in the states. I was so busy the whole time that I only took the project out of it's bag on the last night I was there at Linda's quilt group. I have pieced two blocks, and I have third cut out and ready to go. At this rate, I estimate my quilt will be completed in about 2030!

It's nice working with the feedsacks, they're really soft and lovely. It's fun to think about who owned them before me, and also wonder about what items they contained!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sister's Choice

Thank you to everyone for your lovely welcome into the Stash Quilts ring. I have already met the loveliest people, and look forward to getting to know you better. Also, thank you to Judy for making it happen so quickly!

Today I thought I'd share a quilt which is definitely from the 'Stash' category, and it's from two people's stash!

My wonderful friend Linda from San Jose and I often work on projects together, and this is my version of our Sister's Choice quilt that we made together. We each made a series of blocks, and sent each other half of the ones we made over time. At the end we each had made 100 blocks, and I had 50 that she made, and 50 that I made, and she had the same. My quilt has finished at 100" square, so I decided for something different I would not add borders, so this picture is on my dining room floor just prior to basting. I had to move all the furniture out. If you look really carefully, you can see the corner of my Dear Jane quilt hanging on the wall in the background!

This quilt of course is from Bonnie's website, and the only difference from the one Bonnie made is that we made the star points blue rather than green. All the fabrics were from our scraps/small stash. I think we started in 2004 (it could have even been 2003), and I finished quilting mine last year. I set my blocks so that each alternate block is mine, and then Linda's. All our individual blocks end up in diagonal rows. It's the only way that I can definitely tell who's block is who's. We have such similar tastes in fabric that it's often impossible to tell any other way!

Linda's quilt was on her bed when I visited in April/May (so she tells me) and I kept forgetting to go into her room and have a look at it! I could just kick myself! So, I will have to wait now until next time I visit to see Linda's quilt in person.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th July

Happy 4th July to all my American friends. I hope you have a wonderful holiday either with your families, friends, or just doing what you want to do. What a great time to reflect upon how lucky we all are to live in countries where we're free to be just what we want to be.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Makin' do

Last night I didn't feel like working on the applique I 'should' have been doing. I just wanted to do some mindless piecing, so I grabbed those 8 log cabin blocks I had made by mistake and set about putting a border on them.

Rather than just have the orphan blocks sit in a drawer like they probably would have done in recent years, I knew I had the perfect use for them. It was Cameron's 4th birthday on 20 June, and his party was on the 25th. One of my Mum's friends had kindly surprised us with a lovely birthday cake and a whole platter of little cakes she had made to have at his party. I wanted to do something in return, so I decided I will give her this little table topper.

It only took a matter of minutes to add the border, and I had a perfect half yard of something in my stash box to use on the back, so I just needed some batt. This project is only 30" x 20", and I didn't really want to cut a piece off my roll that size, so I rifled around in my scrap boxes and found enough offcuts to make up a batt.

I don't know if it's possible to see in the picture, but I pieced the batt out of 13 pieces. I get teased a little by people in the know about using up pieces of batt that they would throw away, but I figure the less I spend on the batt that can't be seen, the more I can spend on pretty fabrics and thread!

I quilted the blocks quickly in the ditch and did a big meander in the border, then added a binding also from my stash. Later today I will stitch the binding down on the back. It feels good to have something to give away, and made entirely from stash and orphan blocks!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Weekends/First Quilt

My tiny people have had so many social engagements this weekend that it's been hard to get much done in the way of quilting. Amy has watched the Thunderbirds play netball, she has played two games herself, and today has a play date. Cameron has done not nearly as much, but has a little birthday party to go to which I'm yet to shop for. Couple that with keeping house, and I find that in the evenings when I have some 'me' time, I don't have much brain power left!

I do love this time with the kids though, I know I need to cherish every moment, because all too soon I'll be looking back wondering where time went.

Soooo ... today I thought I'd share something kind of scary ... MY FIRST QUILT!! It's called 'Square in the Middle' and it was in a patchworking and quilting tear out in a mega-old Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

I made this quilt in 1992 (I made the pillows a short time later). I must have been around 22, so I was just married. As I recall, the patchwork and quilting section in the fabric store I visited was a tiny area in a corner, and we just didn't have the fabric selection we do today. Clearly regardless of limited choice, I was not at all adventurous with my selection.

The piecing is not too bad for a first attempt with not too many points chopped off. But the quilting ... ohh, it's appalling! I did it on the machine, and the old clunker I had at the time had nothing like a walking foot - puckers galore! With little experience however, I was entirely thrilled with the end result, and isn't that the best thing?

For a long time it was on Amy's bed until the colour scheme in her room was changed. Now it serves time as a mattress protector on beds. I have often thought I may resurrect it and re-quilt it, but maybe it is better left as it is, a measure of how far I've come?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Scrap Users System

Firstly, thank you to everyone who has passed on words of encouragement on the beginnings of my blog. I loved Tonya's comment about coming to play. It's fun to share here, it's like a huge round of show and tell.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I love Bonnie's website, and I've been slowly implementing Bonnie's Scrap Users System. It's going to take me some time, but as I finish things and when I have some spare time, I channel bits and pieces into the scrap bins I've got in place.

As you can see, I don't nearly have enough yet, but I've got the 1.5", 2" and 2.5" strips and squares sorted. At the bottom on the right are the 10.5" background squares. On the left the boxes are pretty much taken up with UFO's. At the top is my 30's Dear Jane (What was I thinking making another one??). Under that are 3 boxes of T/Berries club UFO's. Second to bottom is a collection of Sturbridge fabrics put aside for a quilt called 'Scrap Tease'. And at the bottom is a Winnie the Pooh quilt waiting to be quilted. Will it be done before my son is too old to appreciate it? It's anyone's guess! I'm not ready to share a picture of the rest of my stash yet ... it's super disorganised, wouldn't it be nice to use it up before anyone could see it??


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