Friday, 31 January 2014

Some Beginner's Lessons

Hi Everyone. How are you all today? Things have settled down a little around here and, unbelievably, Miss M has had a decent sleep this afternoon (already 2 hrs) which has let me complete a beginner patchwork exercise I started earlier in the week.

As one of my New Years resolutions I decided that I would start using a series of quilt lesson books that I bought a couple of years ago. The intention had been to teach myself quilting but life was way too hectic. This year I am determined to work through them.

The series, by Harriet & Carrie Hargrave, is called Quilt Academy. I have just completed Class 130 from the Vol. 1 - Freshman Year book.

I was a bit hesitant about using my good fabric stash for the exercises. Luckily I have 3 packs of fabric that came with some of my magazines last year as part of mystery projects. I don't have the full instructions for either of the projects and I'm not confident about the quality of the fabric, so I decided to use these up. A couple of days ago I managed to complete one of the mini exercises and get 2 blocks completed.

Fence Post blocks
Last night I finished constructing all 9 blocks. I also fixed up the block on the right where I had cut one of the fabric pieces slightly too small. Luckily I had a couple of spare strips of the fabric left over. This afternoon I sewed all the blocks together to create the following 'centrepiece'.

Finished centrepiece - 18.5 inches square
Unfortunately I had a slight mishap with my Westalee ruler - one of the screws came loose so my final block was cut a little too small. However, I think this will be ok as there is still enough fabric to fit within a quarter inch seam. On the other hand, I was very happy that my 'butting' of seams worked well and all my points joined just nicely.

I don't have any of these fabrics left so I am thinking of turning this piece into a cushion cover for my Gran for her 90th birthday. If I add a border around the edge I should be able to turn it into a 50cm cushion. I'll post a pic once it's done.

Hope you have all had a chance to do some sewing this week. I have certainly enjoyed my down time this arvo & Miss M is still asleep. That's 2.5hrs! It doesn't happen often but I love it when it does, and I know she will be really happy when she wakes up.

Have a great weekend.

Cheers, Tracy xx

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

FNSI, Australia Day & a Question

Sorry to be late posting about my efforts for Wendy's Friday Night Sew In (FNSI). The saying 'no rest for the wicked' makes me think that I have been very wicked at some point, although I wish I could remember when :).
After having my 2 nephews, Mstr 5 & Mstr 8, visiting for 3 nights, and running ourselves ragged visiting a variety of Perth attractions including SciTech and the Zoo, I was too exhausted on Friday night to be creative. So I pulled out my trusty, old faithful, fall back UFO - my Kookaburra cross stitch. I find cross stitching very relaxing and can do it without having to think too much. I have been working on this project for about 2 years and haven't done anything on it since late in my pregnancy with Miss M. It was lovely to work on it a bit more.

Thanks to Wendy at Sugarlane Quilts for hosting FNSI again. If you would like to check out what the other 60 participants did you can find their links here.

Saturday was spent preparing pie fillings for Australia Day. For more than 10 years we have been gathering with family and friends on Australia Day to share pies for lunch/dinner. Everyone brings some pies to contribute so we end up with a large variety of savoury and sweet pies to consume (and often we have so many that we continue consuming them for the rest of the week!).

This year I made satay chicken, beef & Guinness, chicken hot pot and apple pie fillings. On Sunday morning I was up early (thanks to Miss M) and, after getting a Pavlova in the oven, started making the pies. Unfortunately I ran out of Shortcrust pastry before I could make the apple pies but the savoury pies looked scrumptious (and tasted just as good, if I do say so myself).

This year was my first attempt at a Pavlova. It wasn't perfect but I was pretty happy with it and it tasted just like a Pav should...yummy!!!

We had a lovely relaxing day by the pool, soaking up the sunshine and making wonderful memories. Monday was spent making up the apple pies and 2 lots of savoury pies that I hadn't had time to do on Saturday - lamb rogan josh and potato pies. All in all, another great Australia Day weekend.

Now for my question...I have been organising my little sewing area so that I have my fabrics stored inside rather than in the shed. They are organised by size and/or theme in plastic containers. However, I've just read an article in Quilters Companion about Kay Haerland (amazing quilt artist!) and she mentions that plastic is very bad for storing fabrics and can lead to musty or mouldy fabric issues. Now I'm a bit worried and am hoping you can all help me out.

I would love to hear how you store your fabric & any hints or tips you might have for me on fabric storage. Thanks so much.

Enjoy your week & I hope you manage to squeeze in some stitching.


Thursday, 16 January 2014

A Good Day All Round

Yesterday was sooo much fun! Miss M and I started out with a trip to Pioneer World in Armadale, Perth to visit Colours Down Under. We bought some beautiful silk ribbon for a new embroidery project and then had a lovely morning tea under the trees among the old pioneer style buildings.

After a fun afternoon splashing in the wading pool, Miss M went off to bed and I went quilting! Last night was the first sewing night for the WA Quilter's Association for 2014. It was great to catch up with everyone and hear about their festive season activities, especially my good friend Tracee.  (Check out her blog to see some of what she got up to - Quilt Kitty Loves Life.)

I built my stash a little more with the 'shop of the month', Bizzy Bee Patchwork. Here's the fabulous fabrics I bought. It was very hard to stop at these few! I can't wait to use them in a project - not sure what yet but you get that :).

I then did a little bit of stitching on an old, old Sunbonnet Sue UFO that I want to complete for Miss M's bedroom. It started out as a project for Miss A's bedroom but didn't quite get completed. After nearly 12 years I found it when organising my craft stuff last year but I seem to have misplaced the pattern. Luckily it doesn't need much to finish it and I'm pretty sure I can guesstimate the sashings and border now. They'll be a lovely hot pink colour.

I hope you all had a great day too!

Happy stitching,
Cheers, Tracy xx

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Presents for Christmas

Welcome back. In my last post I promised to share some of the work I had been doing over the last few months. Some of you will have seen the first cushion I made, with owls on it, for my niece Miss P. Once it was completed I started a second cushion for my other niece, her sister Miss T. This was the end result...

Here are both cushions together. They were sent across as Christmas presents and by all accounts were very well received :)

Both patterns were by Clare Turpin designs and were very easy to make. The birds were appliqued on, and buttons are used as the closers on the back.

Now for something a little more was my last day of work.  I am now officially a stay-at-home Mum, at least for the next year or so. I was very lucky to receive a wonderful card and farewell gift from my colleagues - some VIP passes to Perth's annual Craft & Quilt Fair! I'm so excited, not just because of the tickets but also because I get to spend lots of quality time with my little girl and both my 'big' kids. I'll definitely sneak in some quilting and stitching time as well so watch this space!

Here's hoping you have a wonderful week of stitching.
Tracy xx

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Happy New Year!

After a very eventful Christmas - Miss M started walking (yay!) and discovered the joy of tearing wrapping paper - we had a quiet and relaxing New Year. I hope everyone else had a safe, fun & relaxing festive season too.

Do you have any New Year's resolutions? I have had a few floating around in my head but one of those near the top is to blog more regularly. Another one is to join in at least one online activity this year. I will have more time to do so now that I will be a stay-at-home mum again, as well as more time for quilting, embroidery & toy making when Miss M is sleeping. Gotta be happy with that!

I have a few photos of Christmas presents, birthday cakes etc. to share with you over the next couple of weeks. To start with though, here are a couple of photos from the lead-up to Christmas.

Having fun baking Christmas goodies with Nanna

The awesome Christmas lights my dear Hubbie put up
Not the best photo of our Christmas lights I'm afraid. They look much better in real life and were the best in our street.

I'm looking forward to a year full of stitching and creativity. Can't wait to share it with you all.

Have a great week!