Welcome to my blog about my quilting journey! I started quilting in 2006 with a quilt of my own design which started as a cushion cover and ended up as a single bed sized quilt! Now I'm totally hooked....maybe obsessed is a better word for it.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year (and a bit of sewing!)

Well as I write this it is New Year's Eve here in Adelaide, South Australia.  My husband and I aren't much interested in the whole drunken revellery thing so we are at home in the cool of the airconditioner, important as it was 37 degrees Celcius here today (a fairly typical Adelaide New Year's Eve).

I realised I haven't shared any of the sewing I have been up to in the last week, I think I've been busy enjoying being home on holidays!

Firstly I added an extra row around my smaller Star Surround quilt to square off the diamonds around the edge as I felt the half triangles didn't look quite finished. I was going to add another round of plain white but I don't think I will now after all. I'm planning on binding it in a scrappy binding using the fabrics in the quilt. 
This will be a quilt for my hubby's niece who is due to have her first bubs on 1st February.  We do know it will be a girl so I think this will work. She's a design teacher so I hope she likes it!  I'm going to quilt it with Aurifil thread once I get my hands on some (hopefully this week) and see what all the fuss is about. I'm hearing lots of positive comments so thought I should give it a try.

I also whipped up a few more blocks for my rainbow broken herringbone quilt.  First some greens:


Then a blue block:

and another purple:

Here they are all together and I've worked out that I think I need a real dark blue/indigo block and also either a very deep, dark green block and a pale green or two dark green blocks. I'm a bit short on those colours so its time for a visit to the fabric shop to see what's around. A fat quarter or six should help things along!

Over the last couple of months I had been sitting out of the QBSA monthly block swaps but I'm back into it in January and have two partners this month. Both want blue and white blocks so that's handy and both are making quilts for charity so I thought I would make two for each to get them there a little faster.  So this afternoon I had a fossick in the fabric and found some nice blues and have cut up my pieces ready to stitch together next chance I get (Sorry, forgot to take a photo!).

I've also been busy cutting up the last pieces I need for my version of Castle Ceiling by Leesa Chandler (from Australian Patchwork & Quilting Vol 14 No 4 May 2006) which I'm handstitching in blues and yellow.

I need 10 more blue Dresden blocks and 20 more yellow blocks and I can start joining the blocks together, yay! (The colours are closer to the photo above, the one below looks a bit washed out.)

This is the Leesa's quilt:

Today Brian's Dad was taken to hospital from the nursing home and we've just had a call to say that he has a clot on his lung so not terrific news. Hard to say where things will go from here so we'll just have to wait and see.  Given that he's not overly co-operative (and that's an understatement believe me) about helping himself by coughing to keep his lungs clear I can't see the outcome being particularly good, certainly not in the longer term.  Time will tell.

Lastly I'd like to finish this post by saying thank you to everyone who follows my little blog, I relish reading your comments.  I love being part of the online quilting and blogging community and making friends all over the world!

Wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2014!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas from Australia!

Wishing all the lovely bloggers out there in blogland a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year.

Enjoy your Christmas however you spend it, with whoever you spend it!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Test Drive of a Christmas Cocktail!

One of the blogs I follow is Quilting in My Pyjamas. Shay's blogposts usually crack me up, I love the way she tells it like it is, added to the fact she lives in the same place I do!  Have a read of her 'disclaimer' on the right first to see if you think she's your style! 

Anyway, something she started a few weeks back (after a hard day in the trenches) was Cocktail Wednesday. Great idea I reckon!  Some of her cocktails have been successful and she's had a couple of duds too but however they turn out Shay tells a good tale of the process!

I don't have much of a collection of cocktail ingredients but luckily my besty Kerry does and so we decided to try one of Shay's recipes, Japanese Slippers, at our Christmas get together.  The fact that it was a lovely Christmassy green may have influenced our choice!

Here is a link to Shay's version (scroll down a bit, its below the one for Purple Rain!) and here's a photo of ours!

Hint: Add a wedge of honeydew melon to the bottom of the glass and eat it when you've drunk the cocktail - Yum!

I loved this cocktail, but then I'm a sucker for citrus!  Kerry wasn't quite as keen on the lemony-ness so we added a smidge of lemonade to give it some bubbles and dilute it for her and she was happier with it!

Merry Christmas from Sue (at the back), Kerry and myself! Give them a try, very refreshing for an Aussie Christmas which is invariably hot!

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, 13 December 2013

2013 To Do List Update

We're almost all the way through the year so I thought I'd take the time to revisit my goals for the year to see how things turned out.  Thanks to the 13 UFO's in 2013 quiltalong at Aunt Marti's 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks I made a good start on my list early in the year but with all the family dramas in that last few months everything got shoved to the side.  This meant I haven't finished as well as I would have liked but that's life!

2013 - The Year That Was!
  1. Make curtains for Auntie Betty before end of January when she comes back from WA!  Done
  2. Native wildflower quilt/wallhanging (partly quilted)- finish quilting and bind Done
  3. Rainbow quilt with rainbow charms from Quilt Club Australia charm swap - used some of the fabric I had put away for this so need to buy more solid black!
  4. Star Quilt - sandwich, quilt, bind and use! (This quilt is for me - the first one I've made especially for me so I want it done before next winter!) Done and snuggled under!
  5. Continue piecing hand stitched blue Cathedral Ceiling quilt - long term project for our room - no rush on this one! Going well, 10 more blue blocks and 31 yellow blocks to go. Haven't done much on this for a while but no deadline so that's okay!
  6. Pillow for Kieran using leftover Chinese symbol to go with his dragon quilt. Done
  7. Pillow for Simon using penguin fabric I bought online too long ago. Done + extra pillow for hubby as well!
  8. Doggy quilts for Molly before old blanket falls apart.  Done and sadly Molly is no longer with us.
  9. Bag each for Kerry and Sue  Done
  10. Make some more card wallets for Christmas presents to match bags for Kerry and Sue. Done
  11. Bag or other project for Vanessa using Union Jack made to test Molli Sparkles' tutorial. - Perhaps in time for her birthday in September? Done - I made a passport holder
  12. Crumb blocks from tiny scraps -maybe on sewing retreat in March August? Did make four of these blocks. Another sewing retreat in March so might get more done then!
  13. Rainbow string blocks or other scrap project -maybe on sewing retreat in March? August None done yet but now have a lot more scraps for this project - another job for the March sewing retreat.
  14. Quilt for Auntie Betty - tube quilt? - for birthday in October - Done, although not in time for her birthday so I'm giving it to her for Christmas!
  15. Mariner's Compass quilt using ruler set bought in 2011! Job for 2014 - want to use this to make a quilt for my brother
  16. Shadow Trapunto Quilt from Geta Grama's book - This is December's UFO project and unlikely to happen I think! Another for 2014
  17. Scrap quilt using mixed charms from swaps and my scrap squares Have made a few blocks and have used some of the charms/squares in other projects
  18. Native floral table runner - maybe to send overseas(?)  Done, mailed and received by Kymberley & Scott in Canada!
  19. I Spy quilt - long term project as not needed at the moment Not started as this is more of a 'one day down the track' project
  20. Christmas Charms - project to use them on - placemats? This was one of my UFO projects in the missing months of family dramas so no progress
  21. Baby quilt using Peter Rabbit squares - just because they're there and need using. Donate somewhere? Again another UFO project from the last couple of months so again no progress!
I added a few more items to the initial list though!
  • quilt Something New Sampler from quiltalong earlier in the year for Vanessa for Christmas Done and on its way to the UK for Christmas
  • And Sew On BOM on Quiet Play blog - only 2 blocks to go!
  • Quilting Block Swap Australia blocks received - make into a quilt - Top finished, might get it quilted in 2014
  • I have also decided to join in on the Star Surround Quiltalong - Finished all the blocks and have made quilt top for cot quilt. Need to finish sewing other blocks together for lap quilt. Cot quilt is No. 1 job for 2014 as niece's baby due 1st February!
There were also a couple of other projects started later in the year that I'm still working on, broken herringbone blocks over at Molli Sparkles and my Star Surround blocks from a quiltalong at Happy Quilting. Who knows, might get them done before the end of the year! ........hahahaha! who am I kidding!

So on to 2014.  I need to pull out all my UFOs and planned projects and make a list but I'm thinking my overall plan this year should be to work on some scrappy projects, finish (or should that be start) the leftover projects from this year and also work on my free motion quilting. My particular goal with that is to conquer feathers.  I have yet to move past the stage of practicing with paper and pencil and need to have a crack at it for real.

Over the Christmas break I will work on my 2014 plans. I understand that Marti at 52 Quilts is planning on hosting her UFO along again in 2014 so I'm definitely taking part again. It really got me moving this year!

What's your UFO list like? Maybe you might like to join in too!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

A Bit of Rainbow Sewing

Well joy of joys I found myself with some free time this week now that my niece's quilt is done so jumped onto the sewing machine and whipped up some more broken herringbone blocks.

I came across these blocks a few months back when Molli Sparkles shared some photos on Quilt Club Australia and put the tutorial aside to do 'one day'.  Wouldn't you know that one day came sooner than planned when Molli (aka Josh) hosted a quiltalong.  I did make some then but with all the family dramas going on around here over the last few months I did fall by the wayside and didn't finish.

A while ago I mentioned I was making these blocks and that I had found myself short of a couple of colours and the lovely Susan was kind enough to send me some leftovers she had from her stash. What a lovely lot of leftovers they were too! Thank you so much Susan, they were so helpful, even if it took me a while to get around to using them.

So this is what I came up with. Firstly some deep purples:

Quite a lot of Susan's pieces made it into those two!

Then some blues of varying shades:

All the fabrics in this gorgeous teal blue block above came from Susan's leftovers. Love to see the quilt you made with these, they're gorgeous together!

Not entirely thrilled with the last block, although it looks better in real life than in the photo it is a mix of too many blues I think.  I will have to have a search for more deep indigo blues I think!

Here is what I have so far:

More greens to come I think, along with some very dark blues. Perhaps another lighter purple too?  I'll just keep making the blocks and working it out as I go I think.

Thanks for visiting my blog today,

Thursday, 5 December 2013

First Finish for Ages!

Okay, I feel like I'm slowly getting my life back after a really draining couple of months there!

Yesterday I finished my Pole Dancing quilt which I made as part of the Something New Sampler hosted by Amy at 13 Spools. 

As it was quite a modern quilt I decided I would give it to my niece Vanessa who is currently living in the UK.  As my brother was flying over from Australia to spend Christmas with her (both of them are doing a wilderness trip to Finland for Christmas - how cool is that!?) I had to get it finished so he could take it with him! Nothing like a firm deadline to get you moving again!
I had such a struggle to get a decent photo, we had the windiest day here in Adelaide and that quilt just wanted to take off!

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, although I realised part way through I had been going to leave a plain box around each sampler block so they would stand out but forgot to - oh well!  I used it as an opportunity to try out my free motion quilting and used a few favourites in the background. This is the first time I have totally free motion quilted a quilt, even all the straight (or not so straight sometimes) lines. Usually I would use my walking foot but not this time!

I dithered about what to do on the reverse applique circles and in the end I just did some freehand looping circles.  Hope they stop the edges from fraying too much!

Stitching around all the cathedral windows was frustrating, I had issues with thread breaking (as its much thicker than the rest of the quilt) then me being a dodo and stopping, lifting the presser foot to adjust things and then forgetting to put it back down again (time after time, I don't know where my brain was and there was a fair amount of heated muttering going on!).

The interlocking squares around this block were a new design for me and I quite like the look.  The trapunto block I had to go back and do a bit more on as I wasn't happy with it as while I was quilting I could decide for sure what to do with it.  When I was sitting burying all the threads at the end I had a lightbulb moment and then had to set up the machine for quilting again!

I wasn't really happy with these wavy lines on this block but time was short and I couldn't unpick and re-do them. Would have liked to though!

Of course the most important thing - a label for posterity.  I called it Vanessa's challenge too as lets just say Vanessa has issues with spilling things! That and I wondered if she had ever tried pole dancing - I'll let you know!

Oh and I nearly forgot, I included her name on the front too! Its in the stippling on the right there! My cursive writing was a bit rusty I have to say! 

Well that's that one done and dusted. Onto the next one!

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Getting Back Into Things... Slowly

Hi all, I haven't posted for way too long but life kind of got in the way there for a while!  With all the stress about my father-in-law's health, my son's 21st, other son graduating high school and then school formal, all of which was followed by our old dog Molly passing away, its just been too much to fit in quilting or blogging much!  However, I will endeavour to get things back on track now.

For those of you who kindly sent best wishes to my father-in-law he has now returned to a nursing home in his home town in the country (about 80kms from us), not without some concerns but he is now settling in. His dementia is worsening and his health isn't spectacular but he has a couple of goals, one of which he realised last weekend. That was to go home to his house for a visit and he did so on Sunday for a short while, although he wasn't feeling well but no way was he going to miss it! We had worried he might not want to go back to the home but he was happy to return, I think finally understanding the amount of care required to look after him now.  We hope he can come out for a short visit on Christmas Day too. There are limitations with taxi transport with there only being one taxi capable of carrying his chair in the town so it is booked for the day.

Our eldest son Kieran turned 21 on the 18th November and we had a party at home on the Saturday night before.  It was uncharacteristically chilly for November in Adelaide!

He had a great time and chose to match the purple colour scheme by dying his hair purple for the evening!

The party was a chance to get a photo of my family all in one place (my brother lives about 5 hours drive away!).  That's me on the left, my brother Kym (who shares a birthday with me - no we're not twins!), my half sister Maureen (the oldest, she turned 80 this year) and half brother John. I am the baby (also known as The Oops)!

Our younger son Simon graduated high school on Kieran's 21st birthday and won a Student of the Year award for his vocational studies in hospitality.  He was pretty happy with the $100 cheque that came with the award!
Simon then had his school formal two days later and with a couple of mates had a rather unique mode of transport to the event: an ex US military Humvee which saw action in Afghanistan. (His friend Jarrod's parents are in the Army and arranged this for the boys, along with some props!)

What a spunk he is in his fancy duds!

Sadly two days later our lovely old dog Molly had a serious turn and had to be put to sleep. She was 13 and was a wonderful dog and is sadly missed by us all. It was quite an emotional day for everyone and the house seems lacking in some essential spark now. It is the first time since 1986 we haven't had a furry pet in the house.  We will get another dog but we're not ready for one just yet.  This was the last photo taken of Molly helping Simon get ready for the formal.

I have been doing a bit of quilting in amongst this hectic week as I have to get my niece's quilt Pole Dancing finished so my brother can take it with him when he flies to the UK mid December for Christmas with Vanessa.  I am nearly there, just a bit more quilting to go, finish the label, put together a scrappy (I think) binding, hide the threads, wash and done.  Wait on, that doesn't sound like its nearly finished at all! Yikes!

Better get back to it, hope to be both blogging and quilting a bit more now, although Christmas has to fit in there somewhere too!  Sleep is over-rated!

Thanks for reading my blog today,

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Update on George (My father-in-law)

I know I have been very absent from blogland over the last couple of months and as well as thanking all of you who sent lovely best wishes for my father-in-law's recovery I wanted to pop up a quick update.  He has left the Repat Hospital in Adelaide now and has returned to Murray Bridge to a high level care nursing home which is where he will see out his days now.  He will not make a good enough recovery to return home unfortunately but he is not far from home now and Mum is able to visit him every day. 

The stroke has caused some emotional and mental changes and has greatly affected his short term memory, along with his ability to swallow.  Fortunately however his speech is not too bad now and he has some movement in his left leg and arm but not enough to allow him stand or walk or use his arm much. Due to his existing dementia before the stroke his learning capacity is not so good to aid his recovery. 

He is glad to be back in Murray Bridge and has found that the nursing home is not the terrible place he had in his head. He has a lovely view out of his window over a garden with large gum trees and is enjoying being able to see out his window now.

Thankyou to all of you who sent their best wishes and also to all the nursing staff he has encountered on his long road back home, particularly at the Repat Hospital Stroke Ward.  It was an amazing facility and certainly the place to be if you've had a stroke. If anyone could get you back to where you were before they could there!

Thank you all,