Friday, December 29, 2023

Christmas lead-up ...

Hi friends, I missed posting last week as I was just so busy in the lead up to Christmas. I thought I'd gotten all the have to do things finished, but when I took stock, there were still a few things on my plate, so I'll share them with you here.

If you're a long term reader you'll know that I always put together a gingerbread creation of some kind. This is my project for this year:

*I don't seem to be able to set the pictures to the largest size as they're too blurry. Must be something I did when transferring the pictures from the phone to the laptop. Anyway ...

This year I melted down butterscotch sweets to make the windows, it's a fun look. I've gone for a very traditional style gingerbread house. I drew the templates for the house up in Corel, and I can save them as PDF's if anyone would like a copy. Just pop me a note and I'll be happy to send them to you.

Next on the agenda was to decorate a cake quickly for a lovely friend's cousin’s wedding anniversary.

This was actually a very quick job - the little bouquet on top had been saved from the 25th anniversary cake, so for this 50th cake I just needed to switch the ribbon in the garland from silver to gold. It has been more than 20 years since I've made one of these cakes with the fondant icing, but luckily it all came back to me and I did a passable job. 

Also before the big day, I wanted to finish up some of the mmmCrafts ornaments for little Mary, and I managed to get this one done:

This is the French Hen from the Twelve Days of Christmas series. I wanted to revist the ones I'd already made, so I also made this one, but didn't quite get it done until a couple of days later:

This one is the Turtle Dove. All the ornaments in this series are just adorable, and I love working on them. Next will be the Colly Bird, and I'll try to make that much earlier in the year rather than waiting until it's actually December!

I made quite a number of placemats for gifts too. Some had to be passed on to other people to hand to the recipients. I hope they've been received now.

These placemats are so easy to put together, and wonderful for fabrics that you just don't want to cut up too much. I'll make some for us sometime ... I have a few things to finish first though.

And last of all for this post, I made up a couple more of the Opasampler blocks this week, one super easy, and a little more tricky.

Block 49 - Pork and Beans

Block 25 - Welcome Home

Both super fun to make, and I just love that little parrot in the window of the house. It came from one of the lovely conversational prints Wendy Caton Reed sent to me a while ago. I reserve those fabrics for the most special of projects!

In other news, I've continued to go through my fat quarters and put them in drawers. I'm about 95% done with that now, and I'm so very surprised at how many I have, and the drawers are entirely full. I really must resolve not to buy any more fabric until I've made some kind of dent in what I already have. It's entirely possible that even if I work at some stitching each day, I will never, ever run out of fabric.

I'm on holidays now until the beginning of February, so I've resolved to get a few things done before I'm back to my routine. The Opasampler blocks - I'd like to catch up on those. I'm determined to finish Camo's aviation themed top, it was started 10-15 years ago. It's time to get it done. I'd like to make another two of the charity quilts. And last of all, I'd like to paint the second bathroom area in the house. It's time for a refurbish in there. Can I get all this done? Maybe ... but at least by writing it down, I'll be inspired to give it a good try.

I hope you're all having a wonderful holiday season, and before I write again we'll have rung in the new year. So I hope you have a Happy New Year, and let's chatter again in 2024! xox

Friday, December 15, 2023

Slight amnesia ...

So I finished up sewing a block this evening, and got ready to put my blog post together ... and had a complete mental block trying to recall any sewing I'd managed to do this week. Oops! I thought back day by day and realised that I haven't completed much, but it has been quite a week! 

On Monday morning I took our sweet Rowley to the vet for a little procedure ... he's ten months old, so I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. In addition, it was a Mary babysitting day, and my Dad and I went to a cousin's book launch at a library on the other side of town. it was pretty late in the day when we picked Rowley up, and at home we realised that the cone they'd given him to stop licking was just way too big, and we couldn't do anything about it. So, I volunteered to stay up with him through the night to ensure when he woke up he wouldn't give himself an injury - and this meant I had a pretty tired day on Tuesday. 

Tuesday we were able to source a better cone/collar, and here's the sweet guy modelling his fancy safety wear:

He doesn't look thrilled, but he didn't actually mind wearing it. He's back to tearing around now, I think he's well on the way to being healed up.

Wednesday was Amy's birthday so we had ppl over in the evening, Mum and I went Christmas shopping in the morning - so another non sewing day.

Yesterday I managed to get a block pieced toward the OPA sampler sewalong:

Block 17 - Lollipop Swirl

This was a fun block, even though I was nervous about it in the beginning, I needn't have worried. I machine pieced the centre area, and reverse appliqued the background fabric in place. I really love that Sturbridge Village background fabric. I've used both colourways many times, in many projects. I've never had a lot of the colourful version, which is a shame. It's so nice!

This evening I put another block together, I'm less pleased with this one:

Block 47 - Checkered Start

The centre area is fine, but the border was meant to be pieced, and I just couldn't find two fabrics I was happy with to do justice to the original block. I found this stripe in with scraps and decided to use it, but I'm just not happy enough to keep it. The border print is too overpowering and doesn't really fit with the style of the other fabrics. I imagine I will revisit this border when the perfect fabric jumps out at me.

I am absolutely sure that I will find an appropriate fabric to revisit that block - I'm right in the middle of reorganising all my fat quarters and it's a huge job. The containers I had before meant that I wasn't using my fq's. I'd always make a huge mess dragging the tubs from the bottom of the fabric closet and I just didn't like to do it. I've purchased a bunch of plastic drawers and I'm refolding and putting the fq's in those. It's a big effort now, but it will be easy to maintain, and easier to use the fabrics. I remember when I first organised my yardage, it was a horendous job, but has been one of the best things I ever did in my sewing room.

Two other things I've started this week, but don't have a lot to show for it ... I've begun working on sweet Mary's felt ornaments for the year, and I'm making some more placemats for gifts. I'll be able to share both of those things with you next week.

Whew! I feel like I've typed up a very wordy post, so I'll sign off here, and then start responding to some emails. Chatter soon lovely friends! xox

Friday, December 08, 2023

I'll try something here ...

Hi friends, I hope you're all well ... I have a few things to share with you today, one of which I'm not exactly sure how to do - but I'll give it a go!

First up, I am finally able to share the secret squirrel projects I've been working on for a little while. Do you remember I shared that I'd found a number of milk glass bowls, ones that are frequently used to make pincushions for sewists ... well - I needed extra to do what I wanted with them. So I assembled a small but dedicated team of friends to find more - and fortunately we managed to locate enough for my quilting buddies, and I set to making them up as gifts:

I'm so pleased with how they came together. I wasn't able to find an actual pattern that was meant for the bowl, and made it up as I went along. There are several lovely inpirational pictures on pinterest, so it was fun to spend time researching as well.

And I also made up an embroidered ornament for everyone, a super fun stitchery project:

All the mmmCrafts projects are absolutely foolproof - the directions are fabulous, and I've already planned which one I'll tackle for my friends next year.

For the sampler project I've been striving to catch up on, I was able to put one block together, and it was a bit of a tricky one:

Block 24 - Dolly's Star

For whatever reason I decided to machine piece the center area of this block instead of hand piecing like I normally would, and it was a bit of a battle to make sure all the points lined up. I used freezer paper piecing which I love, but I'm finding that the freezer paper I have at the moment just doesn't seem to stick as well as it used to. But no excuses, I should be able to get good results anyway. 

I'm aming to get a couple more blocks made this weekend, so I'll be looking forward to digging around in my stash. I think there are only two more blocks to be revealed, and I'll be hoping to get them all complete during the holidays.

Last of all, I wanted to see if I can share a video of my Christmas tree - I'm not sure if I've shared a video before, so I'll see if I can do it ...

I hope this has worked, let me know if you're able to see it. My Xmas tree is one of my favourite things, and it's such fun to decorate it. This is a slim tree, I think 7 1/2ft tall. It's so much fun to cram so many decorations on there that it's hard to see the actual tree itself.

Last of all, I took a quick snap of the camper-van placemats I put together before I handed them on to their new home:

I really like this placemat pattern, it's great for prints that you just don't want to cut up too much. There will be more in my future!

Okay, I'll sign off here so I can spend some time in the sewing room. I hope you're all doing well, and I'll chatter soon! xox

Friday, December 01, 2023

Hello December!

Can you believe it's December already? I certainly can't, this year has definitely flown, and this week has simply passed me by!

I had promised to check back in after the weekend was finished - based on results, I'm sure you know that didn't happen. My birthday, babysitting and appointments all just got in the way. No complaints though, each and every one of those things were wonderful.

So, what have I acheived this past week? Well, I managed to finish up the last little bits and pieces for the secret sewing that I was working on, and those things I can share with you next week. I have also been working on some placemats which are gifts, I'm hand stitching the binding down on the reverse side at the moment:

I ordered in some fun fabric for these camping enthusiasts, and hope they enjoy these mats as much as I enjoyed making them. The plaid, cream and dark green were all from stash, and there was much happy dancing that they worked well. The darkest fabric has not photographed well, it's not quite as dark as it appears.

And other sewing, I'm now making an earnest effort to catch up on my OPA sampler blocks:

Block 44 - Hunters Cross

Block 45 - Rolling Stone

Block 46 - Latticework

I now have no clue how many of the blocks for this project I've put together, I think I'll organise all of the pictures of my completed blocks into a folder so I can keep track of them. The blocks themselves are all in a project box, but I do enjoy looking at the finished items on the computer.

Next week is the last one for spending time with quilting ladies, so I've been thinking I should set myself some goals for the holiday break. I think my holiday break is 7 weeks, I haven't counted, but that sounds about right. So ... these are my thoughts ...

1.  Catch up on the OPA Sampler Blocks
2.  (And this is a wild one!) Finish making the top of the aviation themed quilt I started for Camo ... more than 10 years ago! Believe it or not, he'd still like to have it ... and it has been relentlessly pushed to the back of the queue!
3.  Continue to spend at least 30 mins each day hand quilting on Lily Rosenberry
4.  Complete at least two donation quilts. 

Do I think these are realistic goals? My heart says yes, but my head is saying whoooooaaaa, back it up a bit! Thing is, I can try, and if I don't make it by the end of the holidays, that's okay. I always work well with a deadline, so let's give it a whirl!

So, that's my week, I'm off to catch up on some emails now ... I'll chatter with you soon! xox

Friday, November 24, 2023

Friday Already?

Ohhh my goodness, I was just getting done tidying up in the kitchen after dinner, thinking about what I'll work on in the sewing room, and I realised it is Friday and I don't really have anything noteworthy to share with my lovely online friends!

This week has been a busy one, with some unexpected family things, secret squirrell sewing, so many little bead heads being painted etc ... etc ... In amongst all that though, I did get a little felt crafting done:

This is 'A Partridge in a Pear Tree' from the mmmCrafts Twelve Days ornaments series. I've made it already for little Mary, but this one is for one of Marty's colleagues who lives in the USA. I wanted to get it in the mail with plenty of time to make it for the festive season. These ornaments are such a joy to work on, and I have a few more to go in the next few weeks.

I finished up some secret squirrell projects this week too, so I can't share those with you just yet, but soon, I promise!

The Xmas tree is also up after a big effort today, but I'll have to share a picture with you later as it's too dark to get a nice shot now. In fact, I will check back in at the end of the weekend with a more newsy post. So, chatter soon friends! xox

Friday, November 17, 2023

Such relief ...

This week I'm feeling so much relief that I'm really getting through some 'have to do' things. One of those things was to complete the tree skirt I shared an in progress shot of last week:

I've been trying to get a new tree skirt into my Etsy store each year, and this year the festive season is starting to draw very close. It's a quick make so I feel confident that people will be able to get one made in time with no trouble. This was such a fun project, and I was so happy to be able to use some fun fabrics. I don't have my tree up yet (which is so late for me) but I'm looking forward to putting this tree skirt to use.

Two other projects I'm working on I can't share just yet, but won't be long I promise.

On Monday I put together another block for the OPA Sampler sewalong. I challenged myself to work only from my 1.5" strips - I haven't actively added strips to that container in quite a while, so some of the strips in there are OLD. You'll see some very vintage repros in this block:

Block 22 - Brickwork

There is definitely a Smithsonian print in there, and several from the Ann Robinson collection - both of those are late 90's collections. I also see others that I know have been in my stash a good long time but I don't remember any details about them.

And last of all for today, I can share that last night I put the last stitches in the binding of the first of the Scrappy Stars Stitchalong quilts. In this picture you can see the plaid binding I chose really well, and also a hint of the random backing fabric I dug out of my stash.

I'm mad for plaid bindings right now, I just love how they look on the edge of the quilt, and I have several different colours to suit different quilts. Come to think of it, I really like a stripy binding too.

And as for that backing fabric, I really like it, but mustn't have had a plan for it. I'm trying to get fabrics like that out of my stash closet and used up to make room for future new fabrics.

After I'm done on here, I'm heading back into the sewing room, I'm really feeling like I'm on a roll right now and may be able to get a long term project completed this evening. Such a relief! So I'll chatter soon, thank you so much for stopping by xoxox

Friday, November 10, 2023

Limited sewing time ...

Sewing time has been so scarce this week that I have very little to share with you. My little Etsy store has been super busy and I've been painting wooden bead heads almost every day. It thrills me that people are so happy with my work, and I never grow tired of the darling little faces.

So, I have two things to share for you - the first up is a new tree skirt I'm attempting to have completed really soon. It'll be another option for people looking to stitch up something for themselves, and this time jelly-roll friendly so ppl can keep to a fabric theme/collection.

I'm having fun with these novelty prints, aren't they darling? I'm sure to be close to finished/if not finished by next week, so I'll look forward to being able to share more soon.

And today I made another OPA Sampler Stitchalong block as I've gotten well behind ...

Block 41 - Chessboard

This block absolutely could not be simpler, so it's a good one to get back on the horse with. And it's the only block in the quilt that is repeated, so I definitely knew what I was doing when I put it together. I'm hoping I'll be able to sew up another block tonight, but if I don't that's okay too :-)

Another thing I want to tell you about, and it's bothering me. I'm having loads of trouble commenting on peoples blogs recently, and I'm just not sure how to fix it. When I send lovely friends a comment after stopping by, I'm getting a message in my mail account saying Bigpond isn't allowing the comment. Gah! I'm not tech savvy enough to troubleshoot and fix what has happened, there must be an update that has messed things up. But I did want to send my sweet friends know that I have been visiting with you when I can, you just won't know that I've been by. I'm so sorry!

Anyway, that's enough from me for now, I'll check back in with you soon when I have something fun to share. Have a great weekend! xox

Friday, November 03, 2023

Checking things off the super long list!

Another wonderful week is drawing to a close, with many successes making me happy. I've been busy working on mmmCrafts ornaments:

These are so enjoyable and easy to work on. I have quite a few I'd like to get done before the big day. Some more for little Mary, and also Amy, plus some that I'd like to send to far away friends. They'll  have to be next on the list to ensure they get there in time.

And I did manage to quilt and bind the first of the Scrappy Star Stitchalong quilt tops:

I do really love a plaid binding, I have quite a few different colourways to suit different quilts. I think I'm mad for plaid in general, I'm always drawn to it in clothing stores and pretty much everywhere! I have some other things to work on for a bit, so I may have to put the second top on hold for a little while. Let's see how many hours I can eke out in the coming week.

This past Wednesday I went shopping with a lovely friend in search of something I have been seeking for YEARS!

I have wanted to get a Christmas Pickle ornament from David Jones for the longest time, and I'd never manage to get there in time before they sold out. Well this year I was determined to get in early and found one. Can I tell you that in store they only had 5 left already! Apologies for the blurry 'instructions' card, but you can see why the pickle is special. DJ's always have the most glorious selection of ornaments, so I got a few more things ...

Of course I purchased the Kitchenaid Mixer ornament, and the macaron ornaments too. They're so me. I know it's early to be talking about Christmas for some folk, but I needed to shop early to make sure I didn't miss out. Also, tomorrow is the day for the Adelaide Christmas Pageant, so it's traditionally the day I'd put our tree up. I'm going to wait a couple of weeks this year, as I need the space free in the lounge for a bit.

And the last Christmas themed info for this post: I've popped one of my finished tree skirts in my Etsy store if any of my sweet readers are interested. I really like it, and hope you all will too:

Please let me know if you have any questions about the skirt, I'll be happy to help you out.

I'll sign off here, there are still a number of things to get done today, and they day is disappearing, so I'll chatter soon! xox

Friday, October 27, 2023

Scrappy Stars Stitchalong Top

This has been such a great week, from a quilting perspective, and from a home perspective too.

I got one of the tops from the Scrappy Stars Stitchalong put together, I'm so very pleased with how it looks:

The bottom row of blocks is cut off in this picture (also it's upside down), but you can see how the fabrics in the setting squares and triangles look. I'm so pleased I went rummaging in my stash closet, I really like the fabrics I selected. Hopefully this week I'll get the second top put together, and then I'll get ready to quilt and bind them. I don't think these little quilts are candidates for hand quilting, I have plenty enough of that in the queue already!

And speaking of hand quilting, I moved the hoop once again:

I don't always feel like hand quilting, so when I'm in the mood I really have to go with it. I'd love it if I can have this quilt finished some time next year, so let's hope I can remain focused!

In other news, I'm so thrilled with all the decluttering I've been getting done at home. During the week I went through all my quilting books and donated about a third of them. I wanted to free up one of the shelves in my quilting room - little Mary loves the Sylvanian Families and I have a couple of sets for her. I've popped them on the spare shelf in the sewing room and she happily plays with them while I get a little stitching done. 

And my handbags too - I gave a whole bunch to a friend today, she was interested in them and it was a great opportunity to reduce their numbers. I think I kept five total - only absolute favourites, ones that I know I'll use.

It's amazing to me how much I'm preferring having space instead of stuff. I'm going to look forward to continuing organisation in the sewing room. There are so many projects I'd like to work on, and I'm loving getting through them!

Well, that's it for me this week, I'm going to get a little more hand quilting done, and then it's night-night time! Chatter soon xox

Friday, October 20, 2023

Scrappy Stars blocks finished!

This week when I've had stitching time, I've mainly been hand quilting. But I have managed to get the last two blocks from the Scrappy Stars Stitchalong finished:

These are blocks nineteen and twenty. They're probably the least busy of the blocks, especially the last one. The project has been an exercise in letting go a little for me, as I prefer my scrap quilts to be much more 'controlled scrappy' in nature and all these different prints and patterns as well as wonky orientations have been tough for me to work with. I've done my best, and even though there were some things I just couldn't do, I'll say I'm growing!

The next step is to put the top together with setting squares - the original quilt has a largely solid fabric in a taupe/cheddar tone. I don't have anything like that, so these are the fabrics under consideration for me to use for my setting squares etc:

I'm thinking that if I can't do a solid fabric, I'll do a fabulous pattern instead. What are your thoughts? I'll be interested to hear.

This is where I'm going to leave off tonight, as I'm really itching to get back into some more hand quilting. So I'll wish you all well, and chatter soon! xox


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