Friday, 31 August 2012

Boxes Purge

I did it!

I am so proud of myself for knuckling down and just throwing it all out. Today I double dipped with the recycling truck and got rid of all the toy boxes that I had been hoarding for up to 8 years.

I did photograph the piles, which filled 2 bins, but then discovered that I had not put my SD card in the camera for the 2nd time this week. Oh well! Trust me, there were piles of big medium and little sized boxes.

Wanna see BEFORE and AFTER shots?

A box of children's books, an ice cream maker and a plastic trailer went to the op-shop collection in the afternoon. 

It turned out to be quite liberating and easier than I thought to get rid of it all. Mostly it was hard work trying to break them all down and squash them into the recycling bins.

There is certainly more to tackle in the garage - especially the packing boxes that have not be touched since we moved in nearly 3 years ago! 

My Reward

Apart from seeing less clutter and feeling empowered, I promised myself that I would buy Aneela Hooey's new Cherry Christmas line if I got rid of them all. I had priced them at a few US stores but I have found the Fat 8th bundle for LESS here in Australia at Want it, Need it, Quilt! So ordered myself some and some extra charm packs as well. Insured and tracked postage is only $14 compared with the US standard of $17...and it will get here MUCH quicker.

Now I will be able to join in on the Very Merry HST block of the Fortnight with Blossom Heart Quilts. 

A Very Merry HST BOF

August Round Up

It's funny but until I put together my pic monkey collage I would have honestly said that August was another non-productive month like July. However, it hasn't been. It seems that I have been inspired by lots of other quilters out there this month.

Even though I have kind of fallen off the Zakka Style Sew Along bullet train, I have made 4 of the projects this month. 

Two of the Zakka projects, the elephant bookmark and delightful linen bag, were perfect for my mum's 78th birthday. She loves elephants and I am trying to encourage her to buy either an ipad or a kindle for herself to put in the DL bag.

Fran got the sugar cookie sack to put with her tea set.

The other ZSSA project, the bakery basket, was perfect for my baking friend Marieka of Bespoke Bites. It's not her birthday but I love her to send things for just being her.

It was also the Practically Paper Piecing Blog Hop at  this month and my project was very time consuming. I lost 5 days to a dreadful flu that had me bedridden and so I had to quickly make the trees and leftover houses in 2 days before I delivered a patchwork talk, illustrating my life, to 40 ladies at a Friday night dinner.

The back of the Neighbourhood Playmat was inspired by Kristy's Quiet Play LEGO Playmat for her son's birthday. 

Juliet's Tartan Kiwi paper pieced Art Folder and Rachel's Stitched in Color Nursery Versery mini-quilt were the  inspiration for my own Nursery Versery Art Folder

Left - Nursery Versery Art Folder
Top - Bakery Basket, Sugar Cookie Sack and Darth Maul cape (easiest thing I made all month)
Centre - Neighbourhood Playmat
Right - back of NPM featuring LEGO blocks, Mondrian blocks
Bottom - Delightful Linen Bag, Elephant Never Forgets Bookmark

How did you fare in August?

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Gabby the Travelling FQ Stash

Just a reminder about my 'Summersville' charm pack give-away here.

At the 11th hour someone from QCA offered me their place is Gabrielle (Gabby), the little sister to Farrah and Sasha the Travelling Stash. She is less than 500g which is great to keep postage costs down.

She only has 1 more stop before she returns to her birth mother Lauren.

Anyway I picked her up from the Post Office this afternoon.
Top L - How Gabby arrived. 
Top R - out 
Bottom L - in
Bottom R - How Gabby will leave

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Motivation to Purge

On the weekend I saw the Channel 4 documentary on Obsessive Compulsive Hoarder Richard Wallace and was touched by many elements of his story.

  • How he had some valid points to make about our throw away society
  • His obvious intelligence and wit
  • The journey that he had to go on to recognise his problem with hoarding
  • His grief at losing his parents
  • The friendship that developed between him and Andy Honey the local landscaper
  • The little steps they both took to start clearing away the clutter and garbage
  • When those in the community who weren't snobs got in and started helping and cooking him meals.
In some small way I can relate to Richard. I have a problem with hoarding. I thought if he could clear out 30 + years of clutter I could see my way to tackle my own 8 year old problem. 

Here it is:

I have kept boxes. Many many boxes. We have moved house 6 times in the ten years of our marriage. Every time I buy a new appliance I keep the box so that I can pack that appliance back into it when we move again. Sounds fair enough right?

Not really. It goes beyond that. I have kept lots of boxes from the toys my kids have received over the past 8 years as well. Why? Well mostly because I thought that when it came time to sell them on ebay, folks would appreciate that they are in their original box. Right?

Not really. I have NEVER sold anything on ebay. I probably never will. It is too time consuming. And to be honest I mostly give away our toys to other families when our kids outgrow them. So there's no real reason to hang onto the original boxes any more. So why are they still stacked in our garage looking so very ugly and cluttered? Indecision and guilt I suppose. I find it hard to throw things away if I made a decision to keep them. And the longer I have kept them, the harder it is to turf them. 

So you can see why I can relate to Richard. I saw the pain on his face when things he had collected were uncovered and he was faced with the decision to throw them out.

But I have decided that one good turn deserves another and have set myself a challenge to deal with my hoarding of boxes this week. It is still a work in progress - mostly because our recycling bin is full and won't be emptied until Friday. But I have made a start.

Ok I admit it's a small start. As you can see the bottom right pictures are hardly different at all. But I have plans for that new trailer once my husband registers it. I have also started tackling other hoarding areas - like unopened mail.

And decluttering the problem areas such as:

The Household Command Centre in the kitchen. Sorry I had no SD card in my camera when I took the BEFORE photos but trust me, it was a mess!

My Sewing Room - especially after my frantic Sunday deadline project.

I got a brilliant idea from Jane of Where Jane Creates and bought some small $3 containers to put my scraps into. I feel so liberated by their colour coding. Thanks Jane.
There was a small snippet of sewing today though. The August QCA Bee block for Laura of Quokka Quilts is a unique Piet Mondrian inspired one. It involves only 5 solids and very minimal lines. I think it is going to be a very striking quilt when Laura puts all the blocks together.

Kristy, from Quiet Play, designed a paper pieced block for me on her EQ. But after I drew it all up, I found that I could make the sections without the paper. I liked it so much that I made 2.

Linking up with...

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Give - Aways Aplenty!

It's a huge give-away week on the blogmosphere. I am late to it I know - so I missed out on the blog roll at The Quilting Gallery. But I managed to find another charm pack of 'Summersville' by Lu Summers whilst cleaning up my sewing room today. So all you have to do to have 4 chances to win is:

1. tell me your favourite ville/town in the world and why. Mine would be Whitby on the Yorkshire Coast - not only is it quaint with huge tides, abbey ruins and great local accents, but it is where James Cook first began his education to become the navigator, scientist and sailor that changed the world.
2. follow my blog or let me know if you are one of my regulars. 
3. Promote this giveaway on your blog or facebook business page and post me your link.
4. 'like' Grandma Macs Quilts on Facebook just so I can reach 500 and have another give-away of a Kaffe Fasset charm pack.

This give-away is open to international readers too, so long as you supply a valid email for me to contact you.

This give-away will CLOSE next Tuesday 4th September at 8pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time). I will announce the winner in my Wednesday post.

Ok other give-aways you might want to visit this week are:

Quokka Quilts - with a FQ bundle of Storyboek II 
Quiet Play - with a charm pack of 'Pure' by Sweetwater Designs plus 4 Transport Paper Pieced patterns from Kristy herself.
The Peony Teacup - to win an Aurofil Thread colour chart
Pretty Bobbins - a 6 stack of Gemma's favourite fat quarters

Blossom Heart Quilts - for some Japanese Kokka fabric and a chance to win a voucher to Alyce's Etsy store.
Local Honey Crafts - with a layer cake of Sew Stitchy 
The Patch Smith - for 3 people to win her sweet pdf patterns

Monday, 27 August 2012

Nursery Versery Art Folder

Phew! I made the deadline! 

I saw the Nursery Versery Competition early last  week on Stitched in Color but did not think that I could even contemplate entering. 

  • First there was my deadline for the Practically Paper Piecing blog hop on Monday
  • Then there was volunteering Wednesday and Thursday morning at the school the Library to help set up the Art Show and Bookweek.
  • Then my parents came to stay from Thursday afternoon to enjoy Grandparent's Day and the Bookweek Parade at school the next day.
  • My mum and I also went to the movies for a Pre-School Fundraiser on Thursday night.
  • Making a Darth Maul cape Friday morning right before the Bookweek Parade.
  • Saturday saw me at 2 soccer games with the boys and then onto a birthday party in Byron Bay with Fran.
  • Then we took my mum out for a birthday brunch this morning (Sunday).

If that wasn't enough to dissuade me, I had no Nursery Versery Fabric until the folks from Fabric Worm delivered my order on Wednesday.

Then there was the small matter of coming up with a project for the competition. I had contemplated using the fabric in this week's Zakka Style Sew Along project, a patchwork photo frame, but it did not seem a good match. Rachel from Stitched in Color had made the most adorable mini quilt that looks like a storybook cover and I found it inspirational.
Then Juliet of Tartan Kiwi posted a very practical paper pieced Art Folder tutorial on Thursday and the idea began to form. 

But I only got a chance to start the project today. Sunday. Deadline Day. Luckily we are a few time zones ahead in Australia. So it is after midnight as I write this after spending from 11am this morning on this project virtually non-stop.

So here's my version of the paper pieced Art Folder by Tartan Kiwi. I followed the tutorial closely but decided to make my large enough to fit in an A4 colouring book. My paper pieced blocks were 10"square and adding the purple border bumped the project out to a finished 14" square.

I paper pieced the familiar paper pieced little house, from my Neighbourhood Playmat with fussy cut mouse windows but just made the roofline less steep.
I went with the purple colourway and then was able to use some of my precious other Heather Ross prints from previous lines like Far Far Away 2 and Gnomes and Mushrooms from  SpoonflowerI did minimal quilting, mostly outlining and then continuing the raindrops. It should be a one-stop art shop, for Fran when we head out to restaurants for more birthday brunches.

You should pop over and check out the other contestants on the competition post. Some are pure brilliance!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Sunday Stash #28

Little Monsterz and Bugs

A few weeks ago the Little Monsterz range from Cloud 9 Kids was up for grabs in the Zakka Style Sew-Along. I reeeeeaaaallllly wanted to win that giveaway on LRStitched. However it went to a lovely blogger named Amanda from The Patch Smith.

I did pin the fabric to my Pinterest board called Fabrics I Love

It paid off to pin because I got an offer to buy nearly the full range of Fat Quarters from my lovely friend Emma. Emma makes the most delicious natural dolls called Jem of Mine Dolls
Also Jem of Mine Dolls was having a de-stash sale on their Facebook business page and I snapped up 2 fat quarters of bug fabric as well. I love that little bug holding up his x-ray!

Summersville Charm Pack Winners

It was nice to have so many regulars pop by on my Practically Paper Piecing Blog Hop post on Monday. There were some old and new names as well. Thank you all for your lovely comments...I really doubted my finish until I got your feedback, so thank you very much.

The winners of a 'Summersville' charm pack EACH are:

Robin of Not Ever Still Overseas
Tracey of The Peony Tea Cup Australia

Sunday Stash
If you have something new to your stash, then please link up below.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Swapping Saturday #2

Rainbow Charm Swap

I joined in Lauren's second round of rainbow charm swap in July and the returned pack yielded some lovely tone on tone prints. 

Far Far Away 2

There has been a new destash page on Facebook where you can pick up some lovely prints. I am not quick enough I'm afraid but lovely Kristy from Quiet Play snapped up the blue version of 'the Owl and the Pussycat' for me. I never got this colourway but I did have the purple and orange version. 

So Kristy and I arranged a swap. She sent me 1/2 yard in blue and I cut into my stash of Heather Ross Far Far Away 2 prints to give her a selection of four fat 8ths in return.
She will get the Owl and the Pussycat in purple and orange, Sleeping Beauty in yellow and Rapunzel in blue.

I love swaps and have found a lovely group of bloggers through Facebook to swap with. Do you have similar experience with swaps. There is a whole page on Facebook called Fabric Swaps - Australia and International if you are interested.

Giveaway Reminder

Less than one day remaining in my Practically Paper Piecing Giveaway with a chance of winning one of two 'Summersville' charm packs. You can find it here.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Send in the Clowns

My mum and dad drove down yesterday afternoon from Brisbane. They are coming to Grandparent's Day and the Bookweek Parade at the school today. 

I think that I have mentioned before that my mum is a prolific quilter. These are her latest 2 quilts. The first is a very bright children's quilt that has been professionally quilted.

The backing fabric has little paw prints all over it.

The second is a baby girl quilt made from a scrap bag. The fabric features tiny sweet birds in pale pink and green. It is quilted in the ditch.

The backing fabric was from my destash for Linus projects.
My mum does NOT blog so I am posting these on her behalf. 

I am linking up with...

Giveaway Reminder

Less than two days remaining in my Practically Paper Piecing Giveaway with a chance of winning one of two 'Summersville' charm packs. You can find it here.

Monday, 20 August 2012

PPP - Neighbourhood Play Mat (+ A Giveaway)

Neighbourhood Play Mat
Hello and welcome to my little blog for today's stop on the Practically Paper Piecing Blog Hop through Quiet Play.

I am totally new to the foundation paper piecing method - my first lesson was with Kristy just last month. And my first block, a little house, is incorporated into my finished project today. See if you can spot it. 

With each of the house blocks I used two charms from the Lu Summers 'Summersville' collection. Then I stuck to solids or tone on tone prints in the primary colours, plus orange, green, black and white.

If you are interested in making this project, the 8"x8" 'Little House' pattern was designed Kristy and is available on her blog as a FREEBIE along with her 8"x4" 'Little Tree' pattern. The 8"x4" 'Charming Tree' pattern is available here on my blog.

So here it is. It's a whole paper pieced neighbourhood playmat for the kiddies - complete with faces at the windows, zebra crossings, roads to drive on and a Lorax in the park to keep an eye on the environment.

On the back, also inspired by Kristy's version, are 2 stacks of Lego blocks so that the playmat   can double for a Lego mat. 
And my middle child loves it!

I used the Quilting in the Rain' s 'Quick Quilt Binding' method of folding the backing fabric over to the front. It was my first time and it was sooooooo much quicker than any other method I have yet used.

I also included a sleeve with the option to hang it on a wall.

Summersville Charm Pack Giveaway

I have two charm packs of Lu Summers' 'Summersville' to give-away to two lucky readers. All you have to do is comment below for a chance to be in the running to win one.  This is open to international readers too. 

The winners will be randomly selected and posted on Sunday Stash #28 coming up on Sunday 2nd September. So you have until 8pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time) on Saturday to enter. Please make sure you leave a contact email that is valid to be in the running.

 Practically Paper Piecing

Thanks for joining me today on the Practically Paper Piecing Blog Hop. See you at the Linky Party starting Wednesday August 29th.

Linking up also with...
Fresh Poppy Design

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Sunday Stash #27

Spot the Solid

This month I have a couple of projects that involve using solids.

Laura from Quokka Quilts has requested a Piet Mondrian style block for our QCA Bee. I am up for the challenge as I have always admired the simplicity of his designs.

So I needed red, yellow, royal blue, black and white. Step in Kristy, from Quiet Play - who not only designed a paper pieced block for herself, two others and me - but also popped an envelope of scraps of these solids into the post for me nearly 2 weeks ago.

Alas they have not arrived. Cranky at Australia Post we are.
photo courtesy of Quiet Play: see link to post below
But then Kristy also had to go and make the most enviable Lego border, for her son's Lego quilt, in the same solids with an added green. And my kids love Lego too. That did it!

With 30% off storewide at Spotlight on Tuesday I went in and bought a few flat fat solids. (I had to slip that Argyle sock print in as well).

And some fabric to make a Darth Vader cape for Australian Bookweek Parade this Friday.

So what is new in your stash this week? Feel free to link up below.