Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

Well, things are finally settling down a bit at our place now after a very busy Christmas. Miss M had a very exciting time and was very practiced in opening presents by the end of the few days. My favourite present was a series of photos taken of our 3 gorgeous kids (Miss A, Miss M & Mstr R) by a friend of Miss A's. They had them printed on acrylic for us to hang on the walls but they weren't ready in time (they arrived yesterday) so they gave us the set in 5" x 7" prints on Christmas Day. I love, love, love them and my heartfelt thanks go to Sarah (Sarah Ellen Photography) for her wonderful photography.  
Photo by Sarah Ellen Photography

Photo by Sarah Ellen Photography

Our Christmas celebrations were all about family and it was wonderful to catch up with many family members we haven't seen in ages. I hope you all had a lovely, memorable Christmas as well.

Miss M all ready for our Boxing Day family get together
It's hard to believe this year is already almost over, and yet I'm also not really surprised as it has been such a jam-packed, hectic year. I've noticed a few bloggers have chosen a mantra/saying to guide what they do in 2015. I thought it was a great idea and, with 2015 already shaping up to be another BIG and hectic year, I have chosen the following for myself...

Take time to enjoy the moment

What will your mantra be?

So, here are a few final quilting photos I wanted to share with you for 2014. I finally finished my Sunbonnet Sue wall hanging after 13 years. It was started in 2001 for Miss A and finished in 2014 for Miss M. I actually finished a couple of days before Christmas but I didn't get a chance to post pics until now.

When I made the binding I made waaaaay too much so I decided to make a cot quilt for Miss M's dolls with the leftovers. It's not quite finished yet but it's getting there.

Doll cot quilt front

Doll cot quilt front and back

Speaking of extras, leftovers and things that are not quite perfect, do you ever take photos that you love but you are not quite happy with? Val Laird has a fantastic idea on what to do with 'flawed' photos. You can read all about it on her blog.

And finally, Miss M and I experienced the wonders of nature on our walk to the park this morning. What a fantastic way to finish off 2014!

Miss M investigating a fallen birds nest at the park this morning
Wishing you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Cheers, Tracy xx

Friday, 19 December 2014

FNSI Christmas Party

Just an hour or so of stitching tonight while I enjoyed a glass (or 2) of champers. I've been hand sewing down the binding on my Sunbonnet Sue wall hanging that you may have seen in previous posts. It's nearly finished so I decided to hold off on posting photos until it's complete (it's a Christmas gift so pics will go up before Christmas!).

It was so nice just to have some time to do some slow hand stitching the weekend before Christmas. Who ever would have thought it would be possible? Hopefully everyone else at the party had a great night too. You can check out what they all got up to on Wendy's blog, Sugarlane Designs. Thanks Wendy for another great night in :).

In case you don't get time to pop back and check out my pics before Christmas, I hope you all have a safe, fun and relaxing Christmas and New Year.


Thursday, 18 December 2014

7 Sleeps to Go, a Finish and FNSI

Hooray! Christmas is almost here. The lights and decorations are up and Miss M and I have been counting down the days.

There has been so much going on that it has been ages since I last posted. I had a lovely weekend with Mum in Melbourne followed by a week of tending to Miss M who had a 2nd bout of Tonsillitis (poor thing was so miserable).

Thank goodness she was better for her 2nd birthday. Peppa Pig is the 'in' thing at the moment so we had a Peppa themed birthday party. My other creative inclinations came to the fore resulting in mini chocolate crackles, fairy bread and a Peppa Pig cake, complete with chocolate muddy puddle. They were all received with much enthusiasm!

There have also been multiple Christmas parties, gatherings and celebrations as various children's activities finished up for the year (eg Playgroup) and friends and family headed off on holidays.

Amongst all of this I have still managed to do a little stitching, goodness knows how. Happily, I was able to complete my 'Rainbows follow the Storms' stitchery in time to give to my friend before Christmas. Unfortunately I couldn't find quite the right size picture frame so you can't see as much of the border fabrics as you should. But I was very happy with it and am pleased to say she loved it. Now I just need to find time to make another version for me.

I still have a couple of projects to finish off for Christmas so am definitely joining in with Wendy for the Friday Night Sew In (FNSI) Christmas Party this week.
You can join us too if you like. Just click on the image above, or click here, to go to Wendy's page to sign up. 36 of us have already RSVP'd so it's bound to be an excellent party!
I hope your Christmas preparations are on track & look forward to seeing what you all get up to over the weekend.
PS - If you've been keeping up to date with my jelly roll quilt saga, here is the final instalment. I took the quilt back to add a label to it for our young friend. While I had it I washed it another couple of times and a bit more of the marking pencil has come out. I'm hopeful now that over time, with use and washing, it will all eventually come out. Thanks for all your suggestions, comments and support along the way. I really appreciated it. xxx

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

More Info From Birch

Hi Everyone,

After I posted yesterday, I received an e-mail from Birch with further information on removing yellow quilters chalk.

Here is the e-mail they sent me ...

Dear Tracy,

It is always suggested to test a fabric mark on the same fabric you are using.  Fabrics change from supplier to supplier.

Also if the fabric is not pre washed the sizing used in the manufacturing process can sometimes retain some of the colour.

To try and remove markings on your current project first test on a scrap of the same fabric or on an inconspicuous place as it is important that it does not ruin

Some ways to remove chalk from fabric:

1.       Brush it with a soft brush – like a soft toothbrush. 

2.       Gently blot the marks with a soft white cloth and a solution made from ½ white vinegar and ½ water. ( Some quilters use 2/3 white vinegar to 1/3 water). Some people report that that marks don’t seem to disappear until the quilt is dried.

3.    Cool water with a drop of dishwashing liquid. Use a soft toothbrush to gently rub the solution by dabbing with a clean sponge and cold water.

4.    Use a fabric eraser.

      Birch Haberdashery & Craft

I hope this can help someone else out.


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Story of the Yellow Chalk Continues

Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions about removing the yellow chalk from my jelly roll quilt, and those who made such kind comments about the quilting.

After searching the website of the company that makes the product, Birch, for information on removing the chalk with no luck, I sent them an e-mail requesting help. I have to say, their customer service is excellent. They are the only company that I have contacted using their online e-mail form who has ever actually called me back. And not just 1 staff member but 2! Thank you Birch.

This is what they told me:
  • Sometimes the sizing in the fabric can retain colour from the chalk. It may wash out with the first wash when the sizing washes out.
  • If the quilt has been in the heat (eg been ironed, been in a hot car or near a window in a hot room) the colour from the chalk may set.
  • Try the following ways to remove the chalk - make sure to test on a scrap piece of the fabric first...
    • Use a soft toothbrush to gently brush the chalk marks off the fabric. You could also try a paintbrush but it may be too soft.
    • Wash the quilt in lukewarm or cold water with a mild detergent (eg wool wash)

They also recommended that any marker should be tried on a scrap piece of the fabric to make sure it can be removed, before being applied to the quilt top.

Unfortunately neither of these suggestions worked for me. Using a toothbrush softened and blurred, but did not remove, the chalk lines.

I then tried washing it in cold water with a small amount of fabric softener (suggested by a friend's mum who is an avid quilter). After washing it twice, the chalk had completely gone from the darkest blue fabrics, been reduced by about 50% on the mid-blue fabrics and barely shifted from the lightest fabrics. I was devastated to the point of tears. My wonderful family comforted me the best they could.

Our friend's birthday party was on Saturday night but I was in Melbourne for the weekend so couldn't go. The rest of my family all went and gave Miss J her present then texted me photos.

Miss A and Miss J holding up the completed quilt.

She loved it. From all accounts she didn't even notice the yellow chalk marks. I'm so pleased she liked it & that I managed to get it finished in time for her party.

I need to get the quilt back soon so I can attach a label as I ran out of time to do that before leaving town. I'm thinking I'll run it through the wash another couple of times while I have it. Hopefully each wash will reduce the amount of chalk left. Although they haven't really noticed, I know it's not supposed to be there and I think it looks terrible!

Anyway, I hope this info helps some of you. I certainly will be testing any marking tools on a sample of the fabric I'm actually using before marking my quilt tops in future. Having a deadline is not enough of a reason to miss out this step!

Have a great week everyone.


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Jelly Roll Quilt Update & Seeking Advice

Well, I'm on track to (hopefully) finish the quilt in time for the birthday party on Saturday. I finished the hibiscus quilting today and am pretty happy with it.

Now that I'm getting close to finishing the quilting I have started researching how to remove the residual yellow chalk from my hibiscus pattern. From what I have seen on the internet I am quite concerned that I may have significant trouble doing this.

Does anyone have any advice on the best and most effective way to remove yellow quilters chalk from fabric? Also, is there anything I should definitely not try for fear of ruining the quilt?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.


Friday, 7 November 2014

Happy With My Quilting Progress

I had a very productive FNWF today. After another 3.5 hours of quilting ...

Head down, bum up

Hibiscus pattern traced in yellow quilters chalk
... this is how far I got.

I'm pleased to say that the free motion quilting is not as difficult as I thought it would be. However, my shoulders are quite sore (even though I kept telling myself to relax them) so I think I will take a break tomorrow.

I also finished stitching my rainbow stitchery tonight over a couple of glasses of champers.

Maybe tomorrow will be a fabric cutting day as I need to cut the border fabrics for the stitchery, and the binding strips for the jelly roll quilt.

A very big thanks to Cheryll at Gone Stitchin' for being such a wonderful hostess for us again this month. You can check out what everyone else got up to for FNWF by visiting her blog here.

Enjoy your weekend.


Thursday, 6 November 2014

A Proud Day

For the record, I am about to brag big time!

I am so proud of our eldest daughter, Miss A. She is studying photography and creative advertising at Uni and has just designed and printed a fashion book for one of her assignments. It is a coffee table book and it looks amazing! She did all the photography, styling and text and I am so, so proud of her.

She used Discus on Demand in West Leederville to print the book. They did a very professional job on very short notice, for which she is extremely grateful.

I also wanted to show you the beautiful stitched postcard that I received from Lin last week. She was the winner of my Gail Pan Christmas book giveaway and she sent me this to say thank you.

This is the first time I have received a stitched postcard, or seen one up close. I'm amazed at how well it survived the journey from France. Thank you Lin for such a lovely gift. Lin has already completed one of the stitcheries from Gail's book, which you can see on her blog post from 30 October. It looks lovely.

I started quilting my jelly roll quilt today. It took me an hour and a half to stitch one full motif and I had quite sore shoulders afterwards. Luckily monofilament thread is quite forgiving and I think the motif actually looks quite reasonable from the back of the quilt. My DH is going to spend some time with Miss M tomorrow and give me a chance to do more on it. So, I will be starting Friday Night With Friends early :)

Can you believe there are only 2 more FNWF nights to join in with this year? If you would like to take some time out and stitch with us before the Christmas rush sets in you can sign up at the lovely Cheryll's blog, Gone Stitchin'.

See you there!


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Catching Up

Wow. After a couple of weeks of illness (Miss M - tonsillitis, Me - pharyngitis), an 18th, an exhibition and the occasional quilt session it's all of a sudden November! Where on earth has this year gone to? And the hectic period is only just about to start with Christmas just around the corner.

The Embroiderers' Guild of WA opened its exhibition on Friday last week at the Wanneroo Library and Cultural Centre. It is the first time I've had a piece in an exhibition, albeit part of a group project, and it was very exciting. This was how the final piece looked...

...and this was my contribution to it.

The members of the group who prepared and mounted the embroideries did an amazing job. It looked fantastic. And, it was an actual working clock.

There were so many fantastic, inspirational pieces of embroidery on display that we were disappointed to only have an hour to look around. If I get to be even half as good as those other embroiderers one day I will be a very, very happy lady! The exhibition is on until the end of this week & only costs $5 to get in. If you get a chance I highly recommend a visit.

Although I haven't had time to do a lot of stitching recently, I have managed to progress my jelly roll race quilt.

Preparing the quilting pattern
All pinned and ready to start quilting

I'm a bit nervous as I haven't done any real free motion quilting before and, as you can see, I tend not to start small or simple. I have just over 2 weeks to finish it as it is a gift for a family friend who is turning 18 in late November. Wish me luck.

My other creative outlet during this past 3 weeks was making a cake for my son, Master R's, 18th birthday. Thank you Super Foods magazine for a wonderful cake, although I'm not really sold on the chocolate peanut butter icing.

The centre of the cake was filled with a mixture of chocolates - M&Ms, Maltesers, Jaffas, Freckles, Clinkers, Chocolate sultanas and Skittles.

Yum, yum, yum - not so good for the waistline *grin*.
I hope you've all had a productive few weeks. I'll try not to leave it so long between posts next time.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

A Rookie Mistake & FNSI Results

I spent some time working on my jelly roll race quilt yesterday for FNSI as I need to have it finished for mid-November.

I pieced the fabric for the back...

... and the fabric for the border. Unfortunately this is where I made my rookie mistake. While cutting the ends of the strips at an angle so the seams would be diagonal (as you do when joining fabric strips for binding), I didn't unfold the strips before cutting. So, I cut both ends of each strip and ended up with seams that alternate direction rather than all going the one way!

I just hope that it doesn't look too bad once the quilt is finished. I managed to get one side border sewn on for FNSI. The other one went on today while Miss M was asleep.

Hopefully I will get the top and bottom borders done during her sleep tomorrow.

Thanks very much Wendy for another fantastic get-together. I'm looking forward to checking out what everyone else got up to at Wendy's. If you'd like to check it out you can visit her blog, Sugarlane Designs.

Miss M and I had a wonderful time catching up with family on the Gold Coast last week. One of our favourite activities was a visit to The Rockpools in Southport. If you ever get a chance to go, it is a fantastic place to take your kids & it's all free. It would be awesome to have something like it in Perth!

Hope you all have a great week with plenty of stitching.


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Back Home and FNSI

After a wonderful week visiting family on the Gold Coast we are home and our body clocks have finally sync'd back in with WA time.

I'm looking forward to catching up with Wendy and friends for a bit of stitching tomorrow night. If you would like to join us, head on over to Wendy's to sign up.

Hope to see you there.


Friday, 3 October 2014

Some Stitching for FNWF

Today has been a mixture of frantic activity and relaxation. Miss M and I are off on a trip over East tomorrow morning so I have been madly trying to get packed & organised for that.

However, my DH had today off work and we had the boat booked. As it was a beautiful day we spent a lovely 3 hours chilling out on the boat until just after lunch time.

Then it was back into the frantic activity, trying to get everything done quickly so that I could join in with FNWF.

I only managed an hour and a half stitching but I am very happy with the progress of my stitchery over the course of the week.

I hope you all had a chance to stitch/sew/quilt tonight too. You can head over to Cheryl's anytime to see what everyone else got up to. With 34 people participating you're bound to find something to inspire you!
Have a fantastic weekend everyone.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

FNWF Sign Up is Open

Yep, tomorrow night is Friday Night With Friends. If you would like to join us just visit the lovely Cheryll's blog, Gone Stitchin'.

See you there!


And the Winner Is ...

Number 8 - Lin from St Victor Quilts. Congratulations! Please e-mail  me your snail mail address and I will post off your prize.

Image from

Thank you to everyone who participated. I loved reading all your comments and have to admit I would also find it difficult to choose just one thing to share.

Only 85 days till Christmas - yay!

Have a wonderful week!


Friday, 26 September 2014

Christmas Giveaway Reminder

Just reminding everyone that this giveaway closes this Wed, 1st Oct.

If you would like a chance to win Gail Pan's 'Simply Christmas 2014' book you can put your name down here.

Have a lovely (long) weekend.


Saturday, 20 September 2014

Jelly Roll Flimsy

From this ...

... to this ...

in 3 days, and I'm a very happy camper. Now I just need to find some border, binding and backing fabrics to finish it off.

This will be an 18th birthday present for a young friend. I wanted something simple and quick but striking. After watching this free video on QNNTV I decided a jelly roll race style quilt would be just the thing. The hints and tips in the video were extremely helpful.

Happy stitching everyone.


FNSI Results & a Christmas Giveaway

I got quite a bit done for FNSI. I started early, while Miss M had her afternoon nap, working on a new jelly roll quilt project which is a gift for a young friend.

Ready ... Set ...

Even with a few interruptions I managed to get 2 bouts of sewing done. It is very satisfying seeing the stitched fabric folding up at the back of the sewing machine.


After a trip to the park, dinner, bath & bed for Miss M I set myself up for the evening.

The movie was very enjoyable (as were the chocolates & champers *grin*) and I managed to finish my butterfly and start a mushroom on my current hand stitching project.

Thanks to Wendy for hosting us again this month. With 44 people joining in it's lucky she has a big house (*wink*).

Now, for the Christmas giveaway. I confess to being a die-hard Christmas-holic. I love everything Christmas, particularly our family traditions, although I do think the commercialism of Christmas nowadays can detract from the overall experience a bit. That doesn't stop me getting excited though!

So to celebrate the imminent arrival of the 2014 festive season, and the joy a hand stitched gift can bring, I am very excited to be giving away 1 copy of Gail Pan's 'Simply Christmas 2014' book. There are some gorgeous projects and patterns in here and hopefully you will have enough time before Christmas to make 1 or 2 (or more).

To enter the competition just add your name to the list below and leave me a comment telling me your favourite thing about Christmas. The competition closes on Wed 1st October and the winner will be drawn at random on 2nd October.

Good luck! I'm off to check out what everyone else got up to for FNSI. You can see all the activity on Wendy's blog here.

Happy stitching,

Friday, 19 September 2014


Hooray, Friday night sew in (FNSI) is on again. I'm looking forward to lots of stitching today and tonight with DH away.

If you would like to join us, grab your sewing, drinks and nibblies and sign up at Wendy's place, Sugarlane Quilts.


Monday, 15 September 2014

Thank You, Some Recycling and a New Quilt Project

First, a very BIG thank you to Cheryll at Gone Stitchin'. My gorgeous prize for participating in FNWF in August arrived today. It is a beautiful Christmas mini quilt pattern & I can't wait to start making it.

I had some fun recycling fabrics the weekend before last. Miss A was holding a photo shoot with denim clothing as the feature for her uni assignment. She needed some props so I whipped her up a couple of denim 'clutches'. This one was made from an old pair of jeans I've had lying around for a couple of years waiting to become a project. I can't remember how long I've had the doily.

Then, while Miss M was asleep that Sunday, I decided it was high time to start my first Christmas quilt project. Christmas is my favourite time of year (as you may have guessed) so I am very, very excited about this project, especially since I've had the Bali Pop and pattern since 2009!

The cutting work was completed yesterday and I finished laying out the braids today. Next step, sewing the braids together.

3 of the 6 braids
Before I could start my Christmas sewing however, I needed to complete my block of the month for WAQA's Community Quilts. This block is called Crossed Wires. The instructions can be found on the Aussie Hero Quilts blog.

8 1/2" block centre surrounded by strips and cut into 4 pieces

Possible block configuration 1
Possible block configuration 2
The 4 unjoined pieces will be handed in tomorrow and mixed up with other people's contributions. It should make for an interesting quilt although I have to say it's not my favourite block. A bit too busy for my liking.

Well, that's it for my week. I hope everyone else has been having a great stitching week too.