Friday, May 07, 2021

Thank you!

Thank you so much to everyone for all the kind words after my Phebe quilt did so well at our guild show. I genuinely felt really lucky to have won ribbons, as the standard of the show was incredibly high. And to be Quilter in Residence was a great time - each day there were reunions with people I hadn't seen in a while, and being able to show so many people how I work was so much fun.

There were a number of emails I wasn't able to respond to as blogger didn't send me email addresses - Jude, it was a pleasure to help you out with your hexagons - and thank you to Regina, Jean and Lizzy for your sweet comments, and also to Unknown for all the hearts! You all make my heart full!

While at the show I was demonstrating applique techniques, and over the course of the three days, I got most of the following block done:

When I got home and had unpacked, all I needed to put in place were a few of the leaves and the vase, and now it's ready for stitching. This is the fifth block, only eleven to go! I also got soooo many of the little berries prepared for upcoming blocks and the border - they were fast and easy to demonstrate so I made sure to do lots of them.

After the show was over, it was like a little pressure had lifted - there is no longer anything urgent that MUST be worked on, so I did a little stitching on a pattern I've been dying to get to:

Meet Elliot - I purchased the pattern from Etsy a little while back - and he was destined to be a small practice piece to see if I have what it takes to make a rag-doll for little Mary. Turns out I have the patience to make small things that aren't flat like a quilt, so I can go ahead and start toy production:

Do visit with Jodie on Etsy - her shop is RicRacSews - she has the most delightful patterns and lovely pins and doodads too. I have a few of her patterns now and they're very easy to follow and look fabulous. Hopefully I'll be able to check in next week with something fabulous to share with you all. Chatter soon! xox

Friday, April 30, 2021

Phebe did me proud!

Just a quickie post, I’m exhausted after a busy day at the guild show today. Phebe has done me proud and picked up a few awards:

I’m beyond thrilled, and I’ll check  back in with you all next week when I’ve floated back down to earth! xox 

Friday, April 23, 2021

Wholecloth - some hand quilting :-)

This will be a quickie post this evening, as I'm babysitting little Miss Mary. She will be six weeks old tomorrow, and is a delightful diversion :-)

There hasn't been much time for quilty pursuits this week, but when I had the opportunity I put some more stitches in the wholecloth quilt. I enjoyed revisiting it so much last week - it hasn't been that long since I finished hand quilting on Phebe, but I obviously missed it.

I did enough quilting to move the hoop twice, and I'm thrilled with how it's looking. 

I'd love to simply keep going and get a whole chunk of quilting under my belt, but from now I really need to get ready for the quilt show next week. My entry is all ready, but I need to label the bag. And because I'm quilter in residence I have a display of quilts ready - three of the quilts need hanging sleeves, so I must get that done in good time. I can't wait for the show, after all the delays, it's exciting that it's almost here.

Anyway, must get back to babysitting duties - chatter soon! xox

Friday, April 16, 2021

Bits and Pieces

It seems like I had such a busy week in the sewing room, so let's see what I have to share with you: After completing the wine themed quilt top for Amy and Mark, I was keen to get busy quilting it this week. I got it done, and the binding is about 3/4 done now.  I should be able to finish it this evening.

The quilting pattern is my simple fallback peacock flowers, I can almost do it with my eyes closed so when all goes well, it doesn't take long at all. But all did not go well:

Bernie was not playing nice. Not even a little. Of course I did exactly what the machine was asking of me, but to no avail. Quilting time ground to a halt, and I made an emergency call to the Bernina Health Spa. However, when hubby came home, he wanted to check my machine over - I don't know if I've ever mentioned it, he's a technician and electrician by trade, and he has a magical affinity for fixing things, and with most things I wouldn't trust anyone else. And happy days, he found and fixed the problem and I was quilting again the very same evening. 

This was the faulty part:

And this was the diagnosis:
I asked hubby to text me the details so I could pass it on to the Bernina tech in case it happened again (for me or anyone else). And now my machine is running as well as it did when it was brand new! Happy days!

In other news this week, I had some new fabric and a couple of supplies come into my life, this fabric:

It was clear to me when our granddaughter arrived that I don't have much pink or purple fabric, so I had to remedy that, and I don't have much orange/yellow either. The greens and one of the reds will be useful in the Lily Rosenberry project, and more other applique quilts for sure. The other fabrics were 'just because' :-)

And these supplies:

Now where has that 'hot hemmer' been all my (very short) garment sewing life? What a great idea - I know it will come in very handy in the future. And the quilting ruler will be a useful one too - and even more so now that my machine is behaving!

In further macaron adventures, my friend Kath came over on the weekend, and while we were waiting for baby Mary to come and visit, she asked if I could share what I have learned on my baking journey so far. Of course I was happy to oblige - and though I declared my next batch would be colour free, I wanted to share that step with her too, and here are our results:

Wildly pink and strawberry flavoured, these were fun - and for the first time we added sprinkles. The Thursday quilting ladies were able to snack on them yesterday, and Marty and Camo were able to take the leftovers to work today.

Last of all for the day, after seeing Jean's lovely hand quilting yesterday, I was feeling nostalgic for a little hand quilting, so I put a few stitches in the whole cloth project:

My goodness I love this project, but because it's perpetually on the back burner it won't be finished any time soon. Thankfully I was able to move the hoop last night, so baby steps ... it's closer to the finish line than it was yesterday morning lol!

So that has been my quilting week - I wonder what next week will bring :-)

Friday, April 09, 2021

A new top, and an oops!

This week I started working on a new project - a quilt I had promised Mark and Amy for their family room - a room they've decorated like an old English bar. I purchased some wine themed fabric, but had stalled on what pattern to use, I didn't want to cut the feature fabric up too much.

This is what I ended up making for them. It was easy to put together using half square triangles for the pieced blocks, and the feature print is fun for the alternate blocks. It's based on a design from the Missouri Star Quilt co. I couldn't follow their pattern exactly as I only had a small amount of the burgundy fabric and couldn't waste a single scrap of it.

A big thank you to my lovely friend Betty for gifting the burgundy print to me. It was the perfect thing! The green fabric in the small border was a small piece from my stash too, and that's all gone now. It's fun to use things up!

I'll get busy quilting the top on Sunday so hopefully it'll all be finished next week.

And now for my oops! I shared block four of the Lily Rosenberry quilt with you in my last post. During the week I did all the applique stitching and then soaked the glue from the block. At least, I thought I'd done all the stitching ...

Oops! In that lower stem between the berries I missed stitching it down on either side, and the upper stem between the berries I missed stitching down one side! Big oops! I'll fix up the applique before I head to bed tonight, hopefully I can get it to look as neat as the other stems.

Well, that's it from me tonight, this has been a busy week and I'm very tired - I haven't responded to any emails just yet, so I'll do that on Sunday. Thank you all so much for stopping by, I always love receiving your messages! xox

Friday, April 02, 2021

OMG, four blocks!

I just can't put this project down, I'm loving it - I've prepped the fourth block, and here they are all together:

The blocks aren't trimmed to the correct size yet - on two of them a little of the excess has been cut away, but I'm waiting for now. I figure these blocks are going to be dragged around a little - in and out of project totes for show and tell, so I don't want to risk any fraying - it would be devastating if they ended up smaller than they need to be!

My newest block is on the bottom left, and all the pieces are glued in place, but I haven't stitched them down yet - that will be something fun for me to do over the next few days.

On Tuesday evening I made a new tennis skirt - the urge to have a new one for our match on Wednesday morning overtook me ... 

This one is a little different to the last ones - only in that it doesn't have any pleats. I'm trying all the options in the pattern I purchased, and this one was super easy to put together. And maybe it helped us win that day, who knows :-)

And then on Wednesday afternoon/evening the macaron chronicles continued:

Because I had decided to make the filling with a lemon flavour, of course I had to use yellow colouring for the macaron shells. Now, I can't decide if the baked shells are browned more than they should be, or if that is just what colour they were going to come out. I feel like they could be a little browned, so with my next batch I'll leave the colouring out and see what happens. I also need to get my mixture just a touch runnier so the tops are a little smoother. Apologies if you stopped by looking for more quilting content - baking has me equally obsessed at the moment!

Last up - Happy Easter to all my lovely readers. I know we're all still living in strange times, but if you celebrate, and you're able to, I hope you can spend time with your family and friends. Big love and hugs xox

Friday, March 26, 2021

Three Blocks!

This week I got most of block three finished. All the pieces are in place, and I would say I'm about one third the way through stitching the shapes down. I cannot wait until the fourth block is made - even though I declared I wouldn't, I know I'm going to want to trim and sew them together!

I can't even tell you how thrilled I am with how it's coming along. And I just love the background fabric that I chose - it's a backing fabric from the Jane Austen at Home range. It was like to treasure hunt to find it a few months back - and I had some slip through my fingers when I waited a few days to order it. But now some places have had it come back in stock so I've ordered more so that I can use it for the back of the quilt as well if I choose to do so.

In this post I wanted to share a couple of my absolute favourite 'tools' I've used so far while making the blocks:

The wonderful tutorial for glue baste applique on Teresa's Fabric Therapy blog is something I have read repeatedly, and on one of the pages she talks about using Elmer's school glue for positioning the applique pieces. I wasn't sure if we could get it here in Australia, but when I looked - OMG, it's everywhere, so I bought some, and found the little bottles on ebay. It was a revelation! I had been using a different specialist glue that will remain nameless, and despaired over how much trouble I had with blockages in the fine tip nozzle. Well - I have had no trouble since!

I had also been using the tiny fabric glue sticks for turning the edges of the applique pieces under - and I've trained myself to use the somewhat larger (but still small size) purple disappearing glue sticks. The glue goes so much further and it's great with the purple colour seeing where you've got the glue in place. I'm also saving so much money because the refills of those little sticks were kind of expensive.

Lastly, I invested in a 3/4" circle punch - I have soooooo many circles to make for this project, and it was tedious tracing and cutting out freezer paper circles. They really only last for about three uses before the plastic side of the paper doesn't adhere anymore. At some point I think I'll buy some more sizes - they will be handy!

These are some of the extra circles (berries) I've been making as I go - I have lots of red scraps (some pieces are just shards) and I'm making as many circles up as I can so I get a big variety across all the blocks. It's always fun seeing the bits and pieces of fabric and remembering the other projects they've been in.

I don't have any pictures of baking to share with you this week - I didn't have time to make any macarons, and the cupcakes I made for one of the quilting ladies birthday, I managed to forget to take any pictures. Even after all these years, I'm still not in the habit of taking photos often!

Last of all, I made a couple of pattern purchases this week, Bonnie Hunter's Tulip Time - it's delightfully scrappy and I thought it would be something lovely for a little granddaughter some time. And also the Lovely Quilt Pattern by SherriQuilts on Etsy - I bought it for the very same reason.

Which leads me to the lovely news that on the 13th of this month I became a grandmother for the very first time - Mary Louise has arrived and we are all absolutely beyond thrilled. I now have a new reason to make little quilts and toys and outfits, and I promise to share with you all as I can.

That's it from me for this week, chatter soon! xox

Friday, March 19, 2021

I just snuck in!

Friday finishes here in one hour and twenty minutes, so I'm just getting this post done in time. It's only March, so I don't want to drop the ball with this years resolution already!

This has been one hectic week however, so I have not gotten very much done in the sewing room. But here goes:

I made up some log cabin blocks for a long term scrap project. There are only four blocks so far, but I never cease to be amazed how much you can sew and not make a visible dent in your scrap stash! I have some of the Thursday ladies working on these blocks too. It will be fun to see what we all come up with.

And because I'm so determined when faced with a challenge, here are the results of this week's macaron experimentation:

I can definitely say I'm getting on top of the browning problem. So that's entirely great. I was wondering how the macarons you see in shops have such vivid colours - and according to my new favourite macaron resource, to get big colour, you need to use lots of colouring. So there's that ... 

My friends/family are probably growing tired of eating these almondy treats, so I probably should  slow down the production - but I do want to keep plugging away and getting better at baking them.

Anyway ... it's getting late here, and even though I'm a total night owl, I'm really flagging, so I'm going to head to bed. If I get all rested up, hopefully I'll have lots of quilty inspiration to share with you next week. Chatter soon! xox

Friday, March 12, 2021

Small UFO and a fabric burp!

 After I finished stitching down all the pieces on block two, I was feeling the need to work on something different - though it's not really all that different:

This block was designed by Teresa of Fabric Therapy and was in a magazine I bought a while back. I'd prepped the block but not stitched any of the applique down, and this week I was determined to finish it. The applique stitching didn't take long, and I was looking forward to doing some machine quilting.

I really do need to broaden my horizons quilting on my machine, and I am slowly getting better. Is one of the hardest parts of the process choosing how to fill in spaces? I feel like it's right up there. With so many resources like YouTube available to us, it's bound to get easier ... what a shame there aren't more hours in each day!

But back to the second Lily Rosenberry block. As you know I'm being scrappy with my fabric selections. This is wonderful for making a quilt visually interesting, but sometimes it can unleash a rogue fabric or two on your project! Once I had finished stitching down all the applique, I spritzed the block to remove the blue washout marker - and when I came back to it later on, a couple of the red fabrics had bled!

These were the two culprits! I've grabbed the little pieces I haven't used yet, and I'm currently washing them until all traces of the red dye runs clear. Fortunately after I soaked and spritzed the block a couple of times the red dye has released from the background fabric, which is such a relief, but I will be more vigilant about my red scraps going forward. Whew!

And just for reference, here the little leftover scraps having a soak - look how much of the red dye has released already:

Last of all for today, I'll share my latest macaron testing results:

Doctor Google helped me with the browning issue I'd been grappling with. It is remedied by placing the tray of macarons on a lower shelf in the oven, and putting another empty tray above it to shield the macarons from direct heat. When I read that information it made perfect sense! For fun this time I decided to try a different colour, and subsequently regretted it. Can you believe that the macarons above started out a purple colour? And they baked to a weird looking greige. Rather unappetising looking, but still delicious. I'll try the pink again next time, and though I'm using paste colours recommended for cake decorating, maybe there is a better option.

Today I'll start prepping the next Lily Rosenberry block, I'm having fun watching this project grow. Chatter soon! xox

Friday, March 05, 2021

Second Block/Macarons/Wildlife

This week I've managed to get the second block of Lily Rosenberry put together, and last night I started stitching the pieces down. I am loving this project!

Only a few of the pieces are stitched down, you can see that a few are sitting a little proud and wonky, but it'll look wonderful in just a few days.

And here are my two blocks sitting together as they will be placed in the finished quilt:

Both blocks are well oversized - I'll trim them to their finished size after I've completed all of them, and then soaked the glue out ready for pressing. I'm using scrap red and green fabrics for all of the blocks, and I'll run out of some of them as I go. So that I can scatter all the different fabrics across the quilt top, I'll leave construction until all the blocks are made so that I don't have clumps of all the same fabrics together. Did that make any sense? Haha

Last week I promised I'd share the results of my macaron baking session:

You can be sure I share pictures with you warts and all - the results above are certainly not perfection, I still have a lot to learn. I'm still very puzzled about why my macarons prior to baking have a lovely pink hue, after baking they've definitely browned. With this batch I experimented with a lower oven temperature for a slightly longer baking time, and it's still happening. Research will continue until I get better piping results and more vivid colours. In the meantime, the results of my experimentation are delicious! :-)

And last of all for today, two pictures that Marty took in the garden (he is a much better photographer than I am - also with much fancier equipment!)

We have a couple of conifers in the rock retaining wall, and the Rosellas just love them. There are 12 birds in the photo above, they are so pretty! They make such a lot of noise, you definitely know when they are around.

How fun is that cutie there posing for his close up?

So that's all from me for this week - I'm hoping I'll have some more exciting quilty content for you next week. Let's see how that goes! Chatter soon :-)

Friday, February 26, 2021

All Stitched Down

Block one of sixteen is complete, and I love how it looks. It's my plan to get started on the next one this evening after I'm done in the kitchen.

I've spritzed the blue marking lines and given it a gentle press:

And here is the back, you can see my imperfect stitches!

I'm surprised the hand stitching took as long as it did, I was sure I'd have it done in only a couple of days, but this has been quite a busy week for various reasons. I've made macarons a couple of times in the last few days - one of the times for the quilting ladies on Thursday - and I'm actually baking some right now too. I'll share some pictures of them on Friday next week.

Another thing I put together this week was a new tennis skirt:

With each garment sewing project I'm learning a lot. And one of the things I'm learning is that it's hard to work with stripes on an overlocker! This skirt has some imperfections also, but I'm improving each time I make something new. This skirt was an instant download pattern from Thread Faction, and it has a few options for different styles.

I'll have to close off here quickly, as the guys have come home with Pho for dinner so it's time to dash! Chatter soon! xox

Friday, February 19, 2021

First block - Lily Rosenberry

This week has been a quiet one for me, I've had to take it easy, so it's very lucky that applique is quite a restful thing to do. 

I began auditioning fabrics for the Lily Rosenberry quilt (by Sue Garman) - one that had me stymied was the fabric for the vase, the first one I chose was very blah and much too blendy on my background fabric:

You can definitely see why I wasn't happy with it. So then I considered that it didn't need to be made from only one fabric:

And I'm much happier with how the vase looks now. My lovely friend Lizzy helped me settle on the taupe fabric - I was thinking of something gold and glitzy but in hindsight it probably would have been too gaudy.

So then I could start assembling the block:

I've been using the glue baste technique made famous by the lovely Teresa from Fabric Therapy, and honestly, it's just the best thing ever. Today I finished putting the block together, and now I can start stitching the pieces down.

I am super happy with how the first block looks, and can't wait to get started making more. There are sixteen blocks to make, and then the border - this is going to be a FUN quilt to put together!

Chatter soon! xox

Friday, February 12, 2021

Late in the day, but still Friday!

This week has been consumed with very much non-quilt related activities, but that will change from this evening.

Last weekend I was busy baking for Amy's baby shower, the due date is drawing near. She requested cupcakes and a cutting cake:

We enjoyed a lovely afternoon at Newman's Nursery & Topiary Tea House with family and friends. It's amazing how fast the last eight months have gone, and soon we'll have a new tiny family member. I cannot wait!

In other news, I finally finished the tennis skirt I've had on hold for a few months. I'm trying really hard to tame my fear of the overlocker, and honestly, it's getting easier. I tried a rolled hem for the first time, and OMG, life changing! Here's the skirt:

It has built in undershorts, and I'm so pleased with how it fits me. There are lots of things I'd like to do better, but it's all learning. And to be honest, it's probably a rather ambitious undertaking for a first project? Anyway, it's done, and I know what I need to improve on going forward.

Some new shoes came into my life this week, and I adore them!

Have you ever tried to take a picture of shoes you're wearing? Oh my, it's tricky, but there they are ... on my kitchen floor that clearly needs a wash ... but let's pretend we didn't see that. This girl loves some pretty shoes, and I'll be wearing them out tomorrow night to our 'vino and vinyl' group. Super fun!

Last of all, some much needed quilty content! I'm going to start working on some applique blocks for the Lily Rosenberry quilt:

As soon as dinner is done, I'm starting prep work for this sweet project. I am actually really excited about it. And you know I'll share my progress with you in the next post.

Chatter soon! xox

Friday, February 05, 2021

Wow, it's February already!

Well this year is off to a flying start, can you believe it's February already? This week seems to have gotten away from me, it doesn't seem like I've achieved much, but I also don't feel like I've had much spare time.

I did get this project made, a Valentines Table Topper:

It's a quick little project for the girls that come to class, and if I get the details written up in time, I'll pop it in my Etsy store as an inexpensive download. For this project I've used some bits and bobs from my scrap drawers, and I decided to piece the back too. It would have been very easy just to grab a stray fat quarter for finishing, but it only took a few minutes to use some of the random bits from my container with leftover binding pieces.

While I was working on the quilting, I used one of the new rulers I purchased on some of the straight lines. I clearly have some practice ahead of me, but I'm sure I'll get better eventually :-)

These are the rulers:

I've watched a couple of Angela Walters videos on YouTube, she explains so much in an easy to understand way, so I'm excited to expand my machine quilting capabilities. I'll always be a hand quilter at heart, but it takes so much longer, and sometimes it's nice to have some quick finish projects.

And just to finish up for that particular project, a somewhat brave close up of the quilting from the front side - it's hard for me not to focus on what I could have done better - but it's all learning right?

And the final image for the day - this is a jersey fabric I found while out and about today. I was looking for something I could make into sweet little hats for the grandbaby. I'm also thinking it would make a cute and very different to norm tennis skirt. So that is something I'll investigate when I finally finish the one I've had 'almost finished' for a few months now. If I'm honest I'm a little nervous with the overlocker - it's flat out or stop with that thing -  and I'm a bit of a perfectionist haha - so I'm on a learning curve with that too.

So that's all I can share from my quilting room this week - this weekend I have the excitement of Amy's baby shower, and then it's the count down to the due date. So exciting! Chatter soon! :-)

Edit: I'm just answering emails, and one of my lovely readers - Carol from Texas - asked what kind of washout marker I use! Always happy to share - I use the blue Sewline markers. I have never had a problem with them, but also note that I always send my projects on a journey in the washing machine after they're finished to make sure that all the blue markings are removed. Thank you for asking Carol!


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