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


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