Friday, December 31, 2021

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year lovely readers! At midnight tonight as we head into 2022, I'll be sending up wishes for this new year to be one where our lives become somewhat normal again. I hope the coming months will be good to you all, and personally I'm going to make a big effort to be thankful for my blessings. Thank you for reading along with me over the past year (and previous ones also). I'm going to continue my commitment to post each friday, so I'd love it if you stick with me some more :-)

The strange week between Christmas and New Year usually affords me some free time, and this week has been no different, I've checked a few things off my ever increasing to do list:

I'm up to date with the Free Block Friday blocks (until the final block comes out tonight):

This is block 11 and I really like it, wouldn't it be a cutie for a whole quilt?

This is my substitute for block 6. I probably could have chosen a more complicated block, but some of the earlier blocks were simpler, so hopefully it will fit in well. The reason I changed two of the blocks is because they were essentially 10" blocks with a 1" frame all around them. This wouldn't work with the plan I have for setting the quilt together. I plan to frame my blocks before adding sashing and cornerstones, so those blocks would have had a double frame.

I also finished a project I had started in January! I don't really know why I didn't complete it, as I was so close with only the button loop to make and about 12" of binding left to stitch down.

This is a much smaller tree skirt than my pattern which sells wildly on Etsy. This one is only 34" from tip to tip which would make it better for someone with a small tree or a tabletop tree. I get asked frequently for different sizes, so I will write up a pattern soon - hopefully before next Christmas!

I've spent a few stolen moments on my Paint by Numbers gift to myself:

It really doesn't look like anything interesting at the moment, but it's fun to see it come together. I'm amazed by how much time seems to disappear while I'm working on it, so I've had to set myself absolute time limits and stick to them!

And last of all for today, I started working on a cute little table topper to adorn my table when Valentines Day gets here. 

I'd like to have it finished in the next few days, if I'm really good, maybe I can make last minute rushes a thing of the past?!?

Well, that's a wrap for this year. Tonight we will be celebrating and seeing the new year in with a very few close friends - no big celebrations at the moment. Thank you once again for reading along with me, and I'll look forward to spending time with you next year! xo

Friday, December 24, 2021

Christmas Eve

We're ready for our family celebration tomorrow, the table is set, all the presents are wrapped, and I'm pumped for an early start in the morning to begin cooking. I've always loved the Christmas season, and this year as with all others, from my home to yours Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I finally got this years gingerbread creation put together:

I've declared it to be an Orangerie - they seem to be all the rage right now, and with the sapin de Noel inside, it definitely fits the bill. I just didn't have the energy for a larger creation, so next year I'll make something grander.

In other baking news, I've made cupcakes for tomorrow:

We'll probably be in a food coma pretty early, so there may be leftovers for boxing day. Fingers crossed!

Activity in the sewing room has been sort of on pause, but I did manage to get another two of the free Block Friday blocks put together, I only have one more to catch up on ... until tonight's block comes out!

This is block 10, it was so much fun to put together. I love the blue fabric with daisies, it's such an oldie, but so sweet!

And this one is block seven - another cutie. The pink fabric is another favourite. It must be block six that I'm missing, and it's one that I'd like to re-engineer. That will be a job I'll tackle in a few days time.

Well, that's it for today - I'm going to get a last few things done before I head to bed - tomorrow is going to be a wonderful day, and I hope it is for you all too! xox

Friday, December 17, 2021

Holidays ...

It's official, I'm now on holidays - for the next five weeks all my regular weekly activities are on hold. It will be nice to have some sleep-ins and time to work on projects in a casual way. I even managed to get all our Christmas shopping finished today - all that remains now is to get groceries closer to the big day - and that is a huge relief. Shopping malls get crazy at this time of year and to be honest, I would like to minimise my time spent in crowded places.

Because all the 'must do' quilting is also done, I was able to put a couple of the Free Block Friday blocks together. I had fallen a few blocks behind ...

This is block 9 - I'm super happy with it.

This is block 8 - I'm not as thrilled with it, as my fabric selections are too blendy. If I make another with similar fabrics I'll be able to put them on opposite sides of the quilt and then they won't look out of place. I didn't have my mind on the job when I was stitching this block last night, and I had to unpick several seams before I finally finished it up.

I have two more blocks to make, and then I'll be all caught up ... until tonight's block comes out :-)

There were also adventures in baking this week, it was Amy's birthday:

Doesn't everyone love a three layer vanilla and strawberry with white chocolate cake? Yum!

And then for the last Thursday quilting gathering for the year:

Vanilla cupcakes with cream cheese frosting - topped with Maltesers. Also yum!

My next baking adventure will be the gingerbread house I hope. I just don't seem to have been able to get into the spirit so far this year - but I know if I just break out the tools I'll be inspired. I'm sure you'll see the end results in my next post.

In other news, a little fabric came into my life this week:

The two fabrics on the left are ones that I'll use with 30's prints - whether it be with the Free Block Friday project or with the Farm Girl Vintage blocks I'd like to make sometime. And the fabric on the right is just something I decided to grab as I always love to use plaids for bindings. I have so many now that I'm never likely to run out - but who wants to take the chance? Haha!

And the last photo of the day is a book I saw and knew I'd love:

The projects are really charming, and it fits right in with my love of making scrappy vintage style quilts. I really do have a quilting 'type' don't I?

So, that has been my week - how has your week been? I'll love to hear from you, and chatter soon! xox

Friday, December 10, 2021

Winding down for the year ...

This year has flashed by, and slowly all my weekly activities are drawing to a close. The tennis luncheon/presentation was on Wednesday, and twelve ladies were lucky winners of the table mats I'd been working on. It was very funny to the girls at my club that I ended up winning the table mat on our table, but I engineered a redraw and my lovely friend Marie was a winner after all. 

And though I didn't reveal it over the last few posts, I ended up making 25 mats as I was also giving them to the ladies that come along to quilting on Thursdays. I know some of them are blog readers (HI) and didn't want to give the game away. I hope you all liked them!

We had our Thursday quilting end of year party yesterday, which is always a nice time, and I baked festive cupcakes:

Pinterest and Instagram are wonderful ways to get inspiration for decorating cakes, and lucky me I already have all the piping tips I need.

We still have one more week of quilting before the end of the year, and then I know I'll miss everyone until we begin gathering again - it's usually about a six week break.

So, last night because all the deadline sewing was finished, I was able to pick up the Lily Rosenberry applique project and prepare another block:

This one is all glue prepped and ready for stitching, I think I'll prepare a few more for hand sewing as the weather will start heating up soon and I'll love to have a little applique stitching ready to go. I think this might be the sixth block, but it could be the seventh I've made so far. I'm so enjoying these blocks!

And a little retail therapy from recently:

This panel is by Karen Styles from Somerset Patchwork. When I saw it I knew I would need it for the future. At some stage I would like to make Di Ford-Hall's Antique Wedding Sampler quilt, and these motifs would be perfect for the broderie perse portion of the quilt. I've no idea when I'll be starting that quilt, but it's wise to collect pretty fabrics when possible as they don't seem to last long!

This weekend I'll have a bit of a kitchen weekend. We're celebrating Amy's birthday on Sunday evening so I'll bake her a birthday cake (which hopefully I'll remember to photograph) and I'm going to start planning my gingerbread creation for this year. I don't think it will be as elaborate as last year, but hopefully I'll come up with something I'm happy with.

That's it from me, I'll chatter soon! xox

Friday, December 03, 2021

What a week!

Oh my goodness, this week has been such a blur, and in the best possible way! It started with my birthday on the weekend. I was thoroughly spoiled by my friends and family - I love you all!

And then on Wednesday my tennis team and I played in the Grand Final, and can you believe it? We WON!

It was just the most exciting thing ever, I adore the ladies in my team, and we had the most remarkable season. Wednesday next week we have an association luncheon and the presentation, and that will be the end of tennis until late January next year.

Also, we only have two more quilting sessions on Thursday before breaking up for the year ... so what will I do with all this extra time on my hands? This is not something a quilter really ever needs to worry about ... but I had a delivery this morning, and I'm starting to wonder about my state of mind when I placed this order:

I have taken leave of my senses, surely? I've fallen down a rabbit hole ... but to be honest, I'm pretty excited about it. Who doesn't love to colour in? And this will be like colouring in for grown ups! It's taking all my inner strength not to just tear right into it, but I still have things that NEED doing first. I'm exercising some restraint.

I'm not completely good though, I've really had my head turned by all the quilts I'm seeing on Instagram and Pinterest with circles appliqued to squares of background fabric and then sewn together. Some of them have a lovely colourwash effect. I have no idea of the dimensions, or who started making these first, but I grabbed some scraps and my box of 3.5" strips and started cutting squares for the backgrounds:

Whoops, that picture has come out sideways - attention to detail is lacking tonight! Anyway, I don't expect to see much progress on this particular project, but sometimes an idea gets stuck in my head and I have to run with it for a bit. I'll see how long it lasts for.

Last week I had a question from a lovely reader Natalie Spilsbury. She was so sweet and mentioned that she has followed my blog for years. Thank you so much Natalie! I wanted to reply personally, but your email address didn't come to me - apologies for that. Anyway, Natalie asked what thread I use for hand quilting. I'm always happy to share that YLI hand quilting thread is my absolute favourite. It has been harder to get lately and their range of colours has been rationalised, but it remains my clear preference. I also like to use Thread Magic when I'm hand quilting, a light run through thread conditioner just seems to help draw the thread through the fabric and ease tangles a little. So there you go, maybe more information than you wanted, but thank you for asking!

Okay, that's it for me for tonight - not much quilty content right now, but hopefully next week I'll have a bunch more to share, chatter soon! xox

Friday, November 26, 2021


This has been a week for binding ... lots of binding! And it's going to continue into next week too.

I finished up the binding for the table mats, and if I do say so myself, I'm really pleased with them:

These are all traditional style ones, I've already handed the bright ones over to the tennis club. Hopefully we won't need any more, I think I need a break from them now lol.

And next on the to-do list was a delightful task. One of my sweet quilting friends has a daughter in law who's grandmother was a quilter. She had a couple of English paper pieced tops left to her, and she wanted them to be finished in her grandmother's memory. My darling friend Lizzy quilted the tops just beautifully, and now I'm working on the binding:

It's hard to show in the picture, but this lady was a masterful stitcher - her whipstitching between the hexies is tiny and so beautifully even. The top above was made with absolutely magnificent fabrics - there are silks, brocades, corduroys and velvets. She must have been a very stylish woman if these were offcuts from her dressmaking. I could run my hands over and gaze at this quilt for hours.

And once I'm done with the luxe top, this one is next:

This top is gorgeous too, but with more traditional fabrics. The hexies are larger and organised into a flower garden style pattern. We selected a cute fabric for binding, and it's going to be just as lovely as the first one.

Playing with these hexie tops makes me want to break out my own hexie projects and get busy piecing. Maybe I'll do some work on them during the holiday break.

The coming week promises to be a busy one again - birthday celebrations are always fun, and my tennis team and I have won our way through to the Grand Final on Wednesday. We're facing a super tough team, so it will be a hard day out, but I'll have my fingers crossed.

That's all I have to report for the moment. But I just wanted to take a second to wish all my Stateside friends a Happy Thanksgiving, I hope you've all had a wonderful celebration and were able to spend time with the ones you love.

I'll check back in with more quilty goodness next week, so chatter soon! xox

Friday, November 19, 2021

I'm really getting somewhere!

Today I made block 5 from the Free Block Friday project, I'm really enjoying playing with my 30's prints, and I feel like it might be a little while before I put the storage container away, they're such happy fabrics.

I don't have really large pieces of any of the 30's fabrics, so it will be a challenge when it comes time for sashing and borders, but I'm confident I'll come up with something I'm happy with. This block was finished just in time, as the email has come through announcing block 6 literally while I've been typing this post! If I can, I'd like to get it done this weekend rather than later in the week :-)

I've also finished piecing the mats I've been working on for a number of weeks, I still have to quilt several of them, but I'm thrilled to be nearing the finish line with them:

The quilting doesn't take as long as the piecing, and I think for these mats, the quilting is my favourite part of the process.

As I mentioned last week, because of the Adelaide Christmas Pageant it was time to put the tree up and begin decorating for the festive season:

I haven't purchased any new decorations for the tree so far this year, and that's unusual, but to be honest I don't think there is any more room. Each year I try to get myself organised and purchase a glass pickle ornament, but so far I'm never at David Jones before they run out of stock, and this year I can't see that they have them at all. Some day I'll check that item off my list.

And I'm super happy with how the new tree skirt looks:

The pretty fabric from the panel really makes it don't you think? If anyone would like some, I purchased extra, so just let me know :-) This tree skirt is wider than the other ones I've made - it's 60", so I'll have extra space for presents!

Alrighty, I've managed to get this post done while it's still Friday, so I'm happy. I hope you've all had a great week, and I'll chatter again next week! xox

Friday, November 12, 2021

It's okay to make changes ...

When block four in the Free Block Friday project came out last week, I decided I wasn't particularly enamoured with it. So I changed it! Here's mine:

The corner units in my block are the same, but the centre portion is different. The original block was a 10inch block, then it was framed with a 1inch frame all around. Because I always fuss over symmetry and there are only two blocks out of the twelve with the 1inch frame, I decided those particular blocks won't end up in my quilt. And that's perfectly okay. I'll be looking forward to what block comes out tonight for us to work on :-)

I've also been putting a few more stitches here and there in the white wholecloth quilt. I'm still just addicted to it, and have to try not to spend too much time on hand quilting. But it's just so soothing to sit and quietly quilt:

Won't be long though and I'll be able to work on it any time I like. I'm still plugging away at the mats, it will be so freeing to have them finished. I'm estimating one more week and I'll be all done. Yay!

I also did some baking this week - I have become addicted to the Baking with Anna Olson show, and often have it on while I'm stitching bindings down. This time I tried the Earl Grey Sweetie Cakes recipe, and they turned out really well:

I wasn't able to taste test them myself, but I was assured that they were really good. In the same show Anna baked some really lovely shortbread cookies with windowpanes made with crushed candies, and I'd like to give them a try in the not too distant future. They will be lovely for Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, the Pageant is happening here in Adelaide tomorrow, which is the signal for my Christmas decorating to begin. I know that for many people (particularly my far-away friends) that this is too early, but it's traditional here, and I just won't fight it! I do love the festive season!

That's it from me for now - hope you're all doing well, and I'll chatter soon!

Friday, November 05, 2021

Hello November!

Isn't this year flashing by? Christmas will be here before I know what's happening, and then I'll be amazed that the New Year has arrived - happens every time! I'm so glad I've been recording my activities here, or it would be easy to think I haven't got much done at all!

This week I indulged in a little retail therapy. Not a lot, just a little. I'm sure you're all well aware that our gorgeous Di Ford Hall sadly passed away early last year. Her lovely daughters have undertaken the daunting task of selling her stash on Instagram - and I decided to purchase a little momento.

They're such pretty fabrics, and all of them ones I'd likely use. But I think I'll keep them in my cabinet for now. Di was such a darling person, and I'm going to keep these for a really special project - perhaps one that she designed.

Also on Instagram, Karen from Somerset Patchwork was selling little scrap packets, and since I'm such a sucker for lovely reproduction fabrics I simply had to help her manage her stash!

More absolutely beautiful fabric. I'm just thrilled! Now we all know that I need more fabric like a hole in the head, but I'm letting myself believe that I haven't purchased that much this year so I deserved some treats! Hahaha! Genuinely, even if I never purchase another thing - at the rate I'm using my fabric right now - I will NEVER run out. Not ever! And you know what? That's perfectly okay!

For this weeks stitching, I made the 3rd of Marti Michell's Free Block Friday blocks:

My 30's fabrics are so much fun to work with, and I'm already planning to make some of the projects from the Farm Girl Vintage book in the future. Maybe next year?

I'm also still working on the mats for the tennis luncheon. I'm trying to be super dedicated and keep pressing on with them even though other projects continue calling to me.

I'm all done with the more modern fabrics, and I'm sticking with more traditional ones now. These are really much more my style. It's going to be hard to give some of them away.

There's a naughty little secret with these mats that I'm going to share with you - it's all to do with the batting:

Because I make SO MANY small projects during the course of a year, I rarely throw away my batting scraps - I use them all! And in this particular mat I've used some TINY pieces. To be honest, normally I would have tossed the really small pieces of batt, but because these pieces had made their way into my batt storage I decided to use them.

To make use of the scrap batts, I cut the backing fabric to the size I want, spray it lightly with 505 (glue baste) spray, arrange the batting pieces so the whole backing fabric is covered. Abut the batting, don't overlap it or you'll create lumps. Once you're satisfied that the backing is covered, spray the batt with 505 spray and place the mat/quilt on top. Because my mats are rather heavily quilted I have no concern that the batting pieces will move around. I don't recommend this technique for larger quilted projects or if you're only lightly quilting your project.

Well, that's it from me for this week, I'll be heading back into the sewing room shortly, there are more quilted mats in my future! Thank you for stopping by, I appreciate you all visiting xox

Edit: Whoops, I almost forgot to share a picture of the cake I talked about last week. My little brother's birthday cake:

Apologies for cutting Tim out of the picture - I'm not sure that he'd appreciate being a star on a quilting blog lol! I made the cake exactly to the recipe I shared last week, but I made a chocolate buttercream frosting rather than the caramel one. I wish I'd managed to get a picture of the cake when it was sliced - it looked magnificent! YUM!

Friday, October 29, 2021

Not much more than last week ...

This week there has not been much to report on the quilting front. I'm plugging away at the mats, and I've made the second Marti Michell 'Free Block Friday' block - so I guess I haven't been idle!

These Marti Michell blocks are really quite fun, and the templates make construction so easy. It's a wonder I don't use them more often. It's easy to get into habits and stick with favourite techniques. The white background fabric is very unforgiving, so next time I'll try and remember to have a light background that won't show through when I take photos.

And here's where I'm currently at with the mats:

I'm all done with the fabric I'm not crazy about - just some of the red and white fabrics with the stars left, and I think I'll give those away. Going forward I'll use the more traditional fabrics like the ones I used in the top two mats in the picture.

I also finally got the binding stitched on the reverse side of the little placemat top right in the picture. It had been sitting around waiting for a few minutes of attention.

After I'm done with my computer work tonight I'm going to begin baking a cake for my little brother's birthday tomorrow. I'm going to attempt this one: Anna Olson Chocolate Layer Cake. I'm sure it'll be great, I trust her recipes ... but I don't trust myself to remember to take a picture. Let's see how I go!

That's it from me for today, hopefully I'll be able to come up with a more newsy post really soon! xox


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