Tuesday, 31 July 2012

squishy mail and giveaway.....

I tested a pattern for a bloggy friend - I had a great deal of fun doing it and it served me well, given I had already planned to make a quilt for a friend who has just had a baby..........so, win/win all round...........but Joan upped the ante!!!

I found this beautiful package in my postbox......

A beautifully printed pattern, enough fabric to make it (with thread too!) and a beautiful journal - how incredibly generous - thank you Joan - I keep petting the fabric and I have already popped the journal in my bag - it's an ideal size to take with me whenever I'm on the go - one never knows when one will get a scathingly brilliant idea!!

Now, I already have the pattern - obviously I needed to know what to test - so I'm thinking it'd be an ideal giveaway to share the love :)

Don't forget to jump onto Joan's blog to have a look around and to see the pattern made up 3 ways.

If you'd like to be in the draw to win the pattern only (sorry, I'm keeping the fabric and journal!!), please leave a comment on this post - mmmm, a theme for the comments - tell me what your latest surprise was.......entries close on Friday 3rd August at 12 noon EST and I'll do the Random thing when I get home from school - good luck :)

Monday, 30 July 2012

rushing in.....

Catching up on stuff - and trying to be more disciplined with my time - there is so much I want to do and seemingly so little time to do it in - surely, I could apply all I learned in the corporate world to organising myself at home? - but then, if what I love doing becomes a 'job', it'd be devastating and surely counter-productive in terms of creativity? Oh, what a dilemma!

Anyway - stuff I have done.....

I made a thank you gift for a lady who gave me metres (yes, metres!!) of beautiful silk that she'd had forever and had decided to de-stash...

pink penguin's bento box bag
I finished 3 quilts for clients (no photos, forgot to get permission, again!)

Caught up with friends we hadn't see for ages - dinner and a show (Hairspray, put on by PLOS - excellent!)

I went to the Quilt Show at Jeff's shed with my bestie - no photos of quilts as there were signs everywhere saying that while we could take photos, they were not to be reproduced in any way without the express permission of the maker.....so in love with the beautiful wools, yarns and fibres available now - I bought a couple of fabulous books....

The pieces in this book are made up in all sorts of beautiful Japanese fibres - including linen - that looks and feels like raffia, and a stainless steel type that allows you to create a shape in your garment that will be 'memorised' - brilliant!!  Check out Dairing's website here - definately making the trek to Richmond....
This next one has lots of fabulous gifts to make with time frames - so given my propensity to leave things to the last minute, it's good for me to have a source book with ideas in one spot (because a 'quick' look on line for a gift idea usually ends up with blog reading for 3 or more hours..)

Bought just a little fabric - literally, a little - most unusual for me but I'm trying to use what I have in my stash before buying anything else - got this gorgeous piece from Kelani Fabrics

I could have bought the shop!!!
In between time, I went with my dil-to-be to pick up her wedding dress (gorgeous - so happy to be able to share in the motb duties because her mum lives 4 hours away) and she finagled me into making her a pair of socks - I almost had one made but so completely buggered it up I pulled it back and started again...

and now I'm going off to do the ironing before we have to start wearing our pj's out.....oh, wait a minute, I do that anyway....well not out....I just have a few pj days at home while I'm 'working'......

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Testing, testing, 1-2-3....

A little while ago, one of my bloggy friends asked for volunteers to test a quilt pattern - and because it was the very talented Joan of CaliQuilter, I couldn't resist.

Joan makes some beautiful things - her sense of colour and her expertise in making ensure a wonderful finish to everything she does - so hoping that some of her magic would rub off on me I said 'yes' - and Joan duly sent me her quilt pattern.

It's called 'Going to the zoo' and this is Joan's.............

I was pretty excited about the pattern - I have a good friend who has just had a new baby (another one - must be something in the water in Melbourne!) so it was very serendipitous that the pattern suits a child.  So I cut, and sewed and unpicked just a little (my fault, not Joan's pattern!!) and finished up with this.....

fabrics used: denyse schmidt, michael miller, spotlight spesh

I bought a piece of Denys Schmidt for the back, but in between that purchase and actually making the quilt, I nipped into Ikea and bought some really pretty fabric - one piece of which I thought I'd use instead....

The pattern itself was very easy to understand and each instruction was clear and concise - no overly verbose bits or vague bits - perfect really!

If you'd like to buy the pattern, pop on over to Joan's blog - and even if you don't want to buy the pattern, be sure and have a look at the gorgeous things she makes as a matter of course.

Thanks Joan - a gorgeous quilt that I'm sure will be well loved by the new little man who has just joined us.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

WIP Wednesday

It's been ages since I did a WIP wednesday - there's so much going on that I usually forget to post on the right day - but I got away from classes a little earlier today so thought I'd jump in quickly before going off to make dinner (laksa with chicken and prawns) - and before the evening classes start.

So, I had a finish, which I blogged about here and here's some close ups of the quilting...

intent was to do lovely tight spirals, but like my body, they got a little loose!
a little 3D action
looks like a ribbon

I put the 1st border on this one - and I think I'm christening it 'Ice Age' after a lovely comment...

According to my 'To Do' list there's at least 432 more things to be done and I will eventually (maybe) get to them.....

This next week I have 5 client quilts to quilt on the longarm, so best get into that, as well as starting a quilt I want to make up into a kit.....oh, and the do.good stitches blocks need to be made.....and I must finish the remaining blocks of the Farmers Wife........and.........bugger!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


I think I started this quilt about May last year - I didn't start to blog about it until August last year when I had nine of the centre hexagons completed - they're all done by hand so they did take a little while. 

My attempt at an arty shot (pegs and all!) given we have sunshine in Melbourne today - but it's also quite windy so this was the best of the outside ones.

Once I had what I deemed 'enough' hexagons (and had, in the process, gathered enough French General fabrics to start my own Empire) I machine stitched them together with little isoceles triangles.

A border was next - a plain one in the same triangle fabric, then a dotty one before the hexagon border (have to say this border was a right pain - it moved and wobbled and in the end I had to take off about 1/2" from each long edge to have it resemble a straight - enough line!)

Next came a wide border - this one the glorious rich turkey red and a fleur-de-lis pattern from the latest French General range.

Quilting was next - the back is a very large piece of French General backing from Hancocks - no pieceing in sight!.

I loaded it onto my longarm and quilting feathers in the large border along with a meander filler, stitched in the ditch around the remaining borders and inbetween the hexagons with a loopy filler I made up as I went along (truth be told I stuffed up the spiral I wanted to use and instead of unpicking, just went with the stuffed up version - I quite like it and will use it again).  Thread used was red or cream, depending on which bit I was quilting.

Off the long arm and onto hand quilting - some shadow quilting of the feathers with red perle and some hand quilting in the hexagons with a creamy beige perle - big stitches because I like them and minimum stitching because I didn't want to overwhelm the patterns.

Finally, a little more machine quilting - this time using my domestic machine - and creating crosses through the border hexagons and it was time to do the binding.  Apart from a small piece of contrast (which you can vaguely see on the top left in the photo above), the binding was the same as the last border and I stitched this down by hand.

I've yet to put on a label and then it'll be posted off to a very special person in the UK - I think  know I'm a bit sad this is going.  I've enjoyed making it and I'm a bit sad I won't see the special persons' face when she opens it - hmm, maybe I should make her wait until we're skyping??

It finished at 73" x 84"(185cms x 213cms)

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Hostess Swap

Some time ago, the Circle mamas of do.Good Stitches decided to have a swap amongst ourselves - we thought it'd be a great way to get to know each other better and too help introduce new mamas to the Bee.

In time-honoured tradition, the swap was organised as a secret - we had to create a mosaic of what we liked as well as a questionnaire (have to confess though that between me filling out the form and creating the mosaic, I'd forgotten what I'd written so the mosaic may, or may not, bear any resemblence to what I wrote I liked - sorry partner!)

Well, I received the details of a wonderfully creative hostess - obviously I can't divulge the name - but I did a little stalking, read the likes and dislikes form and viewed her (I can say 'her' - there's no blokes as yet...) mosaic.

Hmm, what to make, what to make??

I'd been eyeing off a tute put up by the very talented Ayumi at Pink Penguin and thought I'd play around with the dimensions a bit to accomodate what my secret partner said she'd like...


French General linen, with Ruby Star Rising strip - the fabric flower on the front is Denyse Schmidt - and I hot glued it to a badge so it's removable

....and looking at the top

The Ruby Star Rising inner is sewed into the top of the bag to create a cover - ideal to shove all those things in there and fasten them up for safety

inside is a couple of little gifts..

a little pouch in the French General linen - it's lined with Good Folks and I stamped a little flower on the front
This is a piece of Kate Spain fabric that I've embroidered over - not all over - and it's made to hang on the wall - I think it's a 5" hoop, could be 6"

Once I replace buy some goodies to pop inside the bag too, it'll be winging it's way to wherever it needs to go.

Hope my secret partner likes it......

Tuesday, 3 July 2012


Last week I spent chasing spiders and dust elephants (too big for dust bunnies!) around the house after housework had been temporarily suspended for a month or so due to school and a distinct lack of interest.

The house has never looked as good! Of course, the catalyst was a pending visit from my cousin (from Queensland) and her gorgeous daughter - Miss Poppie is staying at mine for the week while her mum attends to work here in Victoria.  Today we went to see Ice Age 4 - in 3D - it's fabulous having a 9 year old around the place - certainly keeping me on my toes.

In between girly stuff with Miss Poppie, I've been putting together a quilt top that has been on my list for, oh, about 100 years....it's not finished - I think it needs a border or 2 as it's currently about 44" x 55" and I'd like it to be a bit bigger - and it's mostly from a range called Tokyo Roccoco by Carol Van Zandt for Andover fabrics - the solids were a happy match from good old Spotlight.....so there's more to do, but I thought I'd show you any way.....

....and now I'm off to finish testing a pattern for a bloggy friend - it's all cut out and I'm starting to sew it together - and I best get my skates on as the recipient had her baby yesterday.....