Monday, 30 April 2012

April Finishes

This month has seen me:
  • learn how to sew a zipper. So pouches are in abundance at my place. 
  • learn to make fabric covered buttons. Heaps of fun.
  • make my first ever bag. Despite sewing the handles on upside-down the first time.
  • join the Zakka Style Sew- Along. Learning the joys and pitfalls of sewing smaller items.
  • skip this month's hexagon blocks with the Craftsy BOM.
  • cut into 'my precious' Denyse Schmidt stash.
  • realise that half square triangles are cantankerous creatures.
  • meet my lovely blog buddy Kristy at a Mystery Quilt Weekend.
  • make use of my collection of selvedges.
All the while listening to or watching some great series' on SBS on demand, ABC iview, dvd, or the History Channel - Coast, Who do you think you are? Australian Series 2, Is the West History?, Barbarians, Ken Burns' The Civil War, The Civil War Journal, The First World War, Gallipoli, Anzacs, Narrow Escapes of WWII, and Downton Abbey.

1. Katie Jump Rope by Denyse Schmidt - cut into 15/4, 2. Fussy Fairytales - basted 30/4, 3.  Fussy Fairytales - back 28/4 4. Mystery Quilt - top finished 27/4, 5, Diamonds in Squares QCA Bee -  5/4

6. ZSSA Zig-Zag tote - 10/4 7. ZSSA Sewing Kit - 20/4, 8. ZSSA Pin Cushion - 17/4, 9. ZSSA House Pouch - 12/4, 10. Small zipper pouch - 2/4.

11. Large zipper pouch - 6/4, 12. Pocket zipper pouch - 28/4, 13. Selvedge zip pouch swap 1 - 16/4, 14. Selvedge zip pouch 2 - 16/4, 15. Large selvedge zip pouch - 26/4

So now to plan my new 'to do first' for May. Yikes!

How did you go in April? 

I am linking up with....
April Finishes

Sew Happy Geek

Lily's Quilts

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Sunday Stash #11

Most of the projects in the Zakka Style Sew-Along involve using linen. I hadn't realised this early on and have just made do with linen-looking fabrics such as French General and also some offcuts of thick linen I picked up at an op-shop. 

Linen is my new favourite fabric to work with. I love the texture and grain. I also love it's versatility - goes with just about any cotton print and gives projects a clean fresh appeal.  You should see the lovely colours and variations being used in the ZSSA Flickr group.
I did however order some gorgeous Robert Kaufman - Essex linen from an Etsy store called Fresh Stash. Shop owner, Lisa, was kind enough to do me a custom listing of 2 yards of steel and 3 yards of natural for less than $7 per yard and fit it all in a $17US parcel. It arrived safely earlier this week and I cannot wait to use it in the next ZSSA project.

It's not easy to find linen blends here in Australian retail stores (couldn't even find a sniff at Spotlight) and smaller quilt stores are not cheap ($27 per meter), so heading into Esty stores is a great alternative.

Fresh Stash also sell Organic prints - my favourite is Daisy Janie's new 'Tilly' line.
photo courtesy of Fresh Stash Etsy Store
Earlier this week, the Daisy Janie Facebook page published some photos of a gorgeous quilt featuring this new line. 
photo courtesy of Daisy Janie Facebook Gallery
I think I am in love - but it is an expensive love. You will pay more than double the linen blends price for these organic prints. It's about now I wish I was a retailer and could order direct from the Daisy Janie store.
photo courtesy of Daisy Janie Facebook Gallery 
Anyway, I am keen to track down the quilt pattern above. It's a little different. I love how this table runner version is quilted too.
photo courtesy of Daisy Janie Facebook Gallery 

So what's new in your stash this week?

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Pocket Zip Tutorial

This tutorial is a visual representation of the instructions given in the Atkinson Design 'Cash and Carry' pattern. No pattern measurements are given in order that copyright is not infringed. I picked my pattern up at 'Hunters and Collectors' Coffs Harbour for only$15AUD.

1. Cut lining pieces.
 2. Fuse the batting/fleece to the back of the lining.
 3. Spray back of pocket onto the middle bottom of the batting.
4. Lay folded pocket piece on top.
5. Pin side flaps to the pocket pieces.
 6. Sew with a 1/4" seam and iron outwards.
7. Similarly sew down the contrast strip above the pocket and iron into place.
 8. Trim down the zip to fit.
 9. Create the zip buffers.
 10. Sew the buffers onto the ends of the zip and them trim down.
 11. Make sure the zip is 1/2" shorter than each end of the pouch.
 12. Attach the zip to the pouch using a zipper/walking foot. Sew the zip down from the raw edge.
 13. Sew around the three sides and trim the corners off.
 14. Turn the pouch the right side out and admire.

Friday, 27 April 2012

A Back and a Front

I have been working through my complacency - mostly because April days are ticking away and my 'to do' list is not complete. It's good that it spurs me on when I am not intrinsically motivated.

So with an episode each of 'Coast', 'Who do you think you are?, Australia Series 2', 'Is the West History?', 'Downton Abbey', 'Civil War Diaries' and 'Barbarians', I have ploughed on through to complete:

A front - the Mystery Quilt
and a back - for the 'Fussy Fairytales' quilt.

I'm sheepishly linking up with...

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Five Blogs that Inspire Me

Image source - the joy of sceptisim 
Friggin' heck I am such a sceptic. Not about climate change...but I didn't look at the Kony dvd that went viral last month, I throw out unsolicited mail unopened, I delete forwarded group emails that folks send me and hang up when I hear that pause on the phone line and I just 'know' it is going to be a telemarketing company wanting money from me as I try and feed 3 kids at 6pm!!! 

So when I 'won' the 'Leibster Blog' award from The Orange Kitty Workshop last month, my sensors went into overdrive. It has nothing to do with Natalie, author of TOKW, in fact she said some lovely things about my blog. I just needed to know what it was all about. This week I received 2 Leibsters in the same day from Karen's Sewing Room and Amy's Crafty Shenanigans. So that was a kind of confirmation from the 'blogosphere' to acknowledge and do something about it.

I did some surfing and it seems that NO ONE knows when or where this award started. But I read a few other blogs and it seems there is a general consensus that, rather than being a sinister ploy, it is more like a nice 'Pay it Forward' award, that small blogs can give to eachother. I am all for that kind of encouragement.

So if you don't mind receiving compliments, and can put your scepticism aside for a wee moment, this is an explanation that I did find.

The 'Liebster Award' takes its name from the German word meaning ‘Beloved, Dearest or Favorite’. This award is given to small blogs that inspire you.

Accepting the award then requires you to:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
2. Link back to their blog.
3. Copy and paste the Liebster award to your profile.
4. Pick 5 blogs that you feel deserve to be in the spotlight (they should have under 200 followers).

5. Blog about it and let the bloggers know why you chose them.

So here are my 5 choices...(wish I could give more)

Quiet Play - ensuring that I laugh about the parenting and quilting journey.
Goody Goody Gumdrops - keeping me ahead with the latest fabrics.
Suburban Adventures in Noumea - giving us a slice of paradise and culture.
Not Ever Sewing - new to sewing but not to witty blogging. See The Not Ever Still Life.
Fabric Mutt - someone else excited about discovering joy in sewing.

No pressure for these lovely bloggers to accept this award, but at the very least, let them know that I appreciate their writings.

Lovely Swapsies
Kristy and Jane
I haven't had a chance to share the two lovely and practical gifts that I received from fellow Quilt Club Australia buddies, Jane and Kristy, on the weekend. We caught up for dinner after the Saturday Mystery Quilt class.

Pin Cushion and Thread Catcher
This was a practical and clever gift from Jane. It now sits proudly on my sewing desk and is in high usage.

Needle Book
I may just have to learn to do embroidery or some other stitch work, so that I can trot out this gorgeous needle book often. It was foundation-paper pieced by Kristy in an adorable birdie print with a tea cup (she knows my penchant for tea sets) pattern. I love it, love it, love it. Oh and Kristy's gift to Jane was equally as pretty - with gorgeous quilting in 'Good Fortune' fabrics and selvedges. Go and check it out here.
Selvedge Zip Pouches

I made both girls a zip pouch out of selvedges. I have written a tutorial if you are interested in making your own version. It's my first 'sewing tutorial' so, if you use it, please let me know how you find it. You can find it here.

New Browns for Old Brown

When my husband and I were dating over 11 years ago, he was given a 'new' brown couch for his flat. I say 'new'  because it was passed on from family friends and it was in good condition. That brown couch has seen us through dating, engagement, marriage, countless Bible studies, 3 babies (2 of whom had had non-painful reflux), and 3 jumping toddlers.
old brown in cubby mode earlier this month

But lately 'old brown' has had a hard time of it. A few too many cubbies, accidental urine treatments and many many many biscuit crumbs and Lego pieces, have pushed him too far. The arm rips we could live with but now the cushions are ripping apart. Sadly 'old brown' has been outlived by our family.

Earlier this year I started using one of our linked accounts and set up an Emergency Fund. Now a new couch is not an emergency per se, however, the price was too good. I bought 2 new brown faux seude lounges for $400. They were delivered on Tuesday afternoon. I also bought a nice brown floor rug last week to ward off the winter chill on the tiles.
It took me a while to work out how to arrange the room with two couches, but then it finally took shape and looked great. The room was neat and tidy.

And then the kids came home and built cubbies again. Oh well!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Too Much Work in Progress

I have had so much fun this month doing the Zakka Style Sew-Along. The last 3 projects have been small enough to achieve with only a couple of hours of work. But it has been a bit detrimental to my quilting project list for April. I haven't really done much at all. Having 2 weeks of school holidays probably contributed to the big project avoidance.

So here's the tally of WiPs. 

1. Mystery Quilt
Started last weekend on the quilt retreat. I am not feeling much love for this quilt. I think it is the colour scheme and the lack of 'zing' with all the patterns coming together. I am more than halfway through the quilt top and just keep sewing but not excitedly. Pop over and see Kristy's completed quilt top and you'll see why mine is a bit lacklustre.

2. Fussy Fairytales
I have to create a quilt back for this one but I am totally uninspired at the moment. I am not sure if I should just use scraps (left) or the 4 panels (right) that came in under-sized for the front. You can see the light green backing fabric poking through.

3. Katie Jump Kites
I have cut of most of the Denyse Schmidt fabrics - still waiting on a couple of dark green prints to arrive from the US. I think I am going to pair these all with some Kona 'Ash' rather than Kona 'snow'. My lounge room is predominantly grey and I have plans to throw it over the couch or the dining table.

This week's stats:
Completed projects - ZSSA - Pin Cushion
                                            ZSSA - Sewing Kit
                                            3 selvedge pouches - see my first tutorial to make one of your own.
Currently in progress   - 'HR Far Far Away 2&3 Fussy Fairytales' quilt to piece a back for
                                               - Mystery Quilt - 1/2 quilt top pieced
                                               - Katie Jump Kites - still cutting fabric
New projects - Zero - and that makes me happy!

Woops! I nearly forgot to link to...

And acknowledge the many men and women 
who served and continue to serve 
Australia and New Zealand as members of the armed forces. 
The spirit of Anzac lives on. 

Lest we forget.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Mystery Quilt Weekend Away

Driving for 3 hours - no kids, beautiful landscape and my music (Gladiator soundtrack, Margaret Becker and Brooke Frazer) in the cd player - made for an inspiring start to my weekend away in Coffs Harbour. I was also blessed to meet my bloggy buddy Kristy from Quilt Club Australia and Quiet Play. I was able to stay overnight with her and meet her two fabulous and sweet kids.
Kristy chatted to the the other 2 ladies at our worktable about blogging and QCA
We met up outside the well-stocked Hunters and Collectors Store in Coffs. Class started without much  mucking around. I needed a cup of tea after my drive but the other 5 local ladies leapt into the first clue with vigour. 
the pattern called for strips NOT squares!
Whilst nibbling and sipping away I realised that I had (to my horror) mis-read the fabric requirement instructions and cut mine into squares rather than width of fabric strips! I wondered why I had so much fabric leftover from the meters I was asked to get! Gah!  
So instead of being in step with the other ladies - I was now behind! and I had to cut strips for the first 20 minutes. I was short on two of the fabrics as well but managed to substitute from the other matching prints and solids that I, thankfully, packed along.

To be honest, apart from Kristy and I to eachother, there was not a lot of chit chat that first morning. I joked that we were all working like sweat shop ladies with our machines all whirring away. I even started to talk in a cockney accent - "Ooo shall have ta work through me lunch break to get me strips all sewn." I mean some of the women DID NOT even pause for food or drink! Thankfully Lisa, our teacher, had baked an awesome chocolate and nut brittle that I was  happy to much on. I needed lots of tea breaks!
slaving away
Lisa was a great facilitator and teacher for the weekend. (I even learned new ironing techniques from her). She gave us the next clue on a card as we completed each step. Thankfully Kristy and I were able to keep pace with each other for most of the weekend.
teacher of the Mystery Quilt Weekend - Lisa

So we were not really aware of what kind of quilt we would end up with. We had to use only 3 fabrics - dark or feature print/ contrast / and a light. As each lady sewed their clues, the pattern took on different features because of their fabric choices.

Kristy and I were not all out to completing a quilt top on the second day so we stopped at one quarter. 
We also did a little shopping in the store too. Such a lovely shop as quilt stores are pretty rare these days.

I bought some cottons, rick rack and linen. Very tempted to buy more. It's nice to see some of the pre-cuts and ranges up close rather than just an online snapshot.

Speaking of lovely fabric...check out this give-away happening at Kate's Facebook Store with Denyse Schmidt's 'Aunt Edna' FQs.