Wednesday, November 25, 2015

WIP Wednesday

I've had a number of projects on the go this week and in the process had 8 finishes.

I worked on the 6 wall hangings and got them finished by Sunday so got to count them in my Stash report for last week.

Last Wednesday I got Ella's quilt pinned and then yesterday I was able to work on it and get it finished! I quilted it - echo quilting the sashing - very basic but it worked and looks good. I got the black binding made and machined on. Had a discussion today at patchwork with 2 older quilters who don't machine binding on - well not both sides anyway. They weren't condemning me just saying how they "couldn't do it". Although one of them said she could see the value in doing it but she couldn't do it now as she had been so ardently against it for years. Personally I think if you come around to see the value of doing something in a different way why not give it a try.


Today I worked on a casserole cover I had agreed to make for a friend of my daughter's. She had visited our Handmade Love Stall at the Craft Fair on the weekend and asked if we had any rectangular casserole carriers. We had circular ones but not rectangular. I had see patterns for them so said I would make her one. I checked out a variety of patterns. I didn't really want to buy a pattern if I could find a free tutorial. I asked on the Twilters group and several people recommended this pattern from 2 Little Hooligans

It took me all day but I got it made. I made a few changes - I made my handles go all the way around the carrier. I only put velcro on the top fold overs and I didn't worry about the spoon holder or the strap to hold the handles together. I made a couple of errors - I think I put the handles too far to the sides and think I made them a little long but on the whole I was happy with it.

We  actually had 3 requests for this style of casserole carrier. Only one definite order so far but the other interested women may yet be in touch so I will make a few more. I want one for myself too

I've continued to work away on my hexies. I've only got 173 full size hexies left to make and 41 half ones. I've cut up the squares for the remaining ones and have to pin the papers to them. I got a little packet during the week from my sister-in-law Christine from Bluebirds and Bumblebees It was 8 finished hexies, leftovers from one of her projects. They are perfect - much neater than mine. She put hers on cardboard whereas I used paper... maybe that is the difference. They are great and I shall include them with alacrity.

Speaking of my sister-in-law Christine, she has a great tutorial on her website for some bunting. Check it out here

WIP Wednesday   WIPs on Wednesday

Monday, November 23, 2015

Monday Musings Monthly goals update

I've got one week remaining to make an impression on my monthly goals. Some of them are not looking good. But lets start with the positives

  • make Nimbus POD block 
  • Make Dobby POD Block 
  • remove Paper from POD rows
  • Make Percy's Fez block
  • make Flying Keys POD block 
  • make Cornish Pixie POD block 
  • Make POD photo frame block 
  • Make 100 hexagons - 

I have completed all the blocks I had listed as goals for my POD quilt and even made a couple extra. And I've made 200 hexies so have over achieved there already.

Make some Christmas gifts 
I've made 6 wall hangings for Christmas gifts so that is another goal completed. For photos go here

Complete Ella's Quilt 
I'm making progress on Ella's quilt. Its pin basted so next up is the quilting. I am supposed to get it done by the end of November so that means I have to work on it this week. I think I will need to buy some thread as not sure what I have will work. I think I will shadow stitch it ie not in the ditch but 1/4 inch in from the seams of the sashing. I will leave the heart squares alone. I love stippling but think I will keep this a bit more simple. 

prepare for Bonnie Hunter Mystery
I've done no preparation at all for the Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt. I am not sure I am going to do it. I really don't want to go and invest in a heap more fabric. I would rather work from my stash but don't think I will have enough of the required colours.

start Droid quilt
Put Amy Gibson blocks together
I haven't made any headway in the Droid quilt nor have I looked at the Amy Gibson quilt blocks.

My main aim for the rest of this month is to get Ella's quilt done. If I get that done I will reassess what my next priority will be. I do want to make a couple of hanging towels as gifts as well. I don't have a purpose in mind for the Amy Gibson quilt and that is a bit of a deterrent to finishing it. I am waiting on some fabric for my POD quilt and if that comes in then I am pretty sure that is going to be a priority for finishing. I was going to make Moody's Eye to go under the bookshelf but Fangirl isn't too keen so might give it a miss

And I have an idea for another quilt I do want to make and it does have a recipient in line for it so I think it is going to take over as my next major project. Bonnie Hunter is probably going to bite the dust. I am still keen on Droid quilt so.... we will see

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday Stash Report - some finishes

I haven't had a substantial finish all month! Even in October my finishes were baby bibs so not huge. This month I have managed to notch up barely anything - a 6.5" square for a quilt, a cover for a small book last week were the first things I could record for the month. Up till Friday the only thing I had put on my spreadsheet for fabric usage was 7 fabric circles to cover jars of sugar coated peanuts going to a stall. Nothing much at all.

Friday, in between setting up a stall for Handmade With Love at a craft fair I finished off 2 small wall hangings. I have been plugging away at them since we were visiting my in laws in October. I have been making 6 of them and basically have worked on all of them at the same time... first finishing off all the blocks for the 6 quilts, then putting them together, then putting on their borders. I got a bit sick of it this week and wanted to get a couple finished - just so they could be DONE. So I spray basted them on Wednesday and got them quilted. They are only tiny. On Friday I made the binding for the two quilts and stitched them on. They are machined both sides - I like the look of them that way. As is my usual these days I used a fancy stitch on the front to secure the border. 

This is my favourite stitch these days. As you can see - not always the most careful stitcher but you can't see it except in close up photos

I put the triangles in the corners to put the pieces of wood in to hang them. I am happy with how these two turned out. I just have to put a label on them but I could count them as done. Yay. (and since they are destined to be Christmas gifts I get to write DONE next to one of this months goals Bonus) 

I thought that was going to be it. Saturday I was up at the Craft Fair from 8 AM till almost 3, standing most of the time. I was pretty wiped. But I was also wired. We had a pretty successful day. And I was itching to get those quilts DONE. So, after a half hour snooze ....I set up an outside for spray basting and got the remaining 4 quilts sprayed and put together. Then I started quilting. Had an interruption to go for a walk with the dogs... they didn't know I'd been on my feet all day and it was going to be good for me to go for that walk. We also went out to get dinner since there was no way I was cooking. I quilted and stitched binding as we watched some tv and I got 2 more done.

When I went to bed at 10.30 thought that was definitely it for the week but after laying awake till after midnight I got up and came back downstairs and worked on the remaining two quilts for an hour and a half. I made the binding, made the corner triangles so they could be hung and stitched on the binding to the back of the quilts. I must have been tired cause I forgot how to do  mitred corners and did them wrong and had to unpick and fiddle around... that is when I gave up. This afternoon I have finished off both remaining quilts. So that is 6 mini quilt finishes for the week.

No fabric purchases this week. That is another bonus.

So my stats for this week

Week 47
             Fabric Used       3.95
             Fabric Added     0.00

Year To Date
             Fabric used       142.33
             Fabric Added      76.70
Net Used/Added              65.64

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Fitness - a stationary week

It hasn't been a very active week for me this week. Had a couple of high step days but lots of days were under the 10 000 mark. There were days we only got one walk in and days when we got no walks in. It happens

Have also had a few challenging days. I baked. That is fatal. Not only did I bake I cooked! This weekend "Handmade with Love" is having a stall at a Christmas Craft Fair run by one of the local schools. Its always a huge event. They start off with a wine and cheese night tonight with limited ticket sales (to allow people who pay for the more expensive ticket get first pick of the stalls and the crowds are less) and then it is on all day tomorrow (well 8.30 - 2). I decided to augment our sewing things with some biscuits (cookies) and sugar coated peanuts so... I baked (biscuits) and cooked (sugar coated peanuts). And unfortunately I love both home made biscuits and sugar coated peanuts.

My sister in law Tanya gave me some empty Moccona Coffee jars when I was at her place - some really big ones. I put the biscuits in those and put the sugar coated peanuts in smaller jars. I printed out labels to tie onto the bottles with ribbon and they look very festive. I just hope that someone buys them!!! I put some "hats" ie fabric circles onto some of the jam jars that didn't look as nice but most of the jars I didn't cover.

This is the recipe I used for the biscuits. I got it from Hayley of My Smoko Break on Facebook. It makes heaps of biscuits (she says 100 but I am not sure I have ever got quite that many but you do get heaps) You can freeze the biscuits cooked or freeze the dough. I didn't quite follow Hayley's recipe so these are my instructions but you can find the original on her FB page

Smoko Biscuits
500 gms Butter or margarine (I used butter)
1/2 cup sugar
Can condensed milk (they are around 400 gms)
5 cups SR flour

Preheat oven at 180C
Cream sugar, butter/margarine and condensed milk with mixer on low speed (She says use a wooden spoon)
Add flour,slowly mix to combine (I sifted my flour... cause I always do but Hayley's instructions omit this)

Add desired ingredients to each portion. Some of Hayley's suggestions are -  100&1000′s ,choc chips, smarties, white choc and macadamia, nuts, sultanas, white chocolate; coconut, cornflakes, choc freckles on top, custard and then fill with icing, or keep them plain and cut them into shapes. (I think you would need to refrigerate the dough first as it was very soft) Also suitable to ice.

Hayley says to roll into balls and put on greased trays and flatten slightly. I didn't. I put my mixture into the fridge for a bit then grabbed a handful of it and worked it into a roll that I then cut half inch slices off the end and put them on the trays. I topped some with chocolate buttons, I made jam drops (put a dint in the top of them and fill with jam) I added cocoa to some and worked it in just a bit to make them more like chocolate swirls. I rolled some in coconut

Bake 10-12 mins till golden brown.

Sugar Coated Peanuts.
Equal quantities of sugar, peanuts and water.
Red Food colouring - several drops - enough to give the peanuts a good colour.

Place all ingredients in a saucepan over the heat and stir till the sugar dissolves. Allow to come to the boil and boil gently for AGES stirring occasionally. The mixture gradually thickens. Once it becomes quite thick stir constantly. When the mixture starts to go dry (ie the sugar crystallizes) quickly spread the peanuts out on trays, making sure there are no big clumps of peanuts. Allow to cool and then bottle. Keep in air tight containers (the lid stops them disappearing quite as quickly as well as keeping them fresh)
Sugar coated peanuts are Fixit Guy's favourites and I will make them for his birthday, father's day and Christmas. We all love them actually and they are patently not very nutritious at all!

I was dreading hopping on the scales this morning - limited exercise and lots of nibbling but was pleased to find that my weight has been stationary over the week 95.5kgs

Friday           8 497
Saturday       8 264
Sunday         5 621
Monday        2 634
Tuesday      14 161
Wednesday   8 913
Thursday      4 734 

You can tell the only day this week that I got 2 full walks in can't you. Ah well. Every day is a new day. Even when I have been snacking on sugar coated peanuts, biscuit dough and fresh biscuits I haven't reall over done it. I haven't been a total guts. yesterday I did have a slice and a scone (with butter, jam and cream) but that was all. So I am not beating myself up about it. So long as I continue to make lots of good choices I know I will continue to become healthier.

How about you? How have you gone this week?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

WIP Wednesday

I made lots of progress with hexies this week. I stitched 45 on Saturday during our Going Forth Day for Emmaus and another 24 on Sunday so that's 69 for this week. Under 300 full one's still to go.

During the week I got a parcel in the mail. An internet group I am involved with lost one of our members earlier on in the year to cancer. Our group decided to make a quilt each for her 3 children. Most of the group aren't quilters and many of them aren't very crafty so making the quilt took a good bit of time and effort. Some of us made extra blocks for the super non crafters or those who were really busy or snowed under and unable to contribute. We all sent our three blocks to the one lady who was coordinating the quilts. Once in she trimmed all the blocks, bought fabric for sashing, backing and binding, plus batting and then parcelled things up and sent them out to the 3 of us who had said we would put them together and quilt. I was only asked to do this at the last minute as our coordinator was going to quilt the last one but she had an urgent call on her time and asked me to do it.

So - the parcel of my trimmed up blocks arrived and I have gotten straight down to putting the quilt together. I got the sashing and corner stones cut, and the rows assembled quickly. Had a little unpicking to do when I sewed one of the hearts in upside down.

 I didn't realise. It was only when I posted a photo of my progress to our group that 2 of the members of the group spotted it and let me know. It was easily remedied. When I sewed it together I swapped the two rows around. Didn't mean to but happy with how they ended up. The quilt came together really quickly and today at Patchwork I used the big tables up there to pin baste the quilt. Now to quilt it.

I haven't made much progress with the POD quilt this week. I got the Nimbus 2000 broomstick finished. 

I ended up unpicking the Ear of the Dobby 


Then when I had a look at the photo of the Dobby pattern I realised that the way I had stitched it was basically how it was supposed to go... but would you believe I had lost the bits I unpicked. So I printed out the missing pattern pieces again and then realised that the pattern was wrong... it had left out the lighter piece on the  top part of the ear. So getting it to go right took a fair bit of fiddling around and easing and muttering (but no swearing) Anyway its not perfect but good enough for me

 I've printed out a few more patterns for a few more objects to go on top of or underneath the bookshelf. Still waiting for a parcel to come from Spoonflower with some special fabrics I have ordered including the Marauders Map. Its in pieces so when you sew it back together it looks like its half folded up.

Today at Patchwork after I finished pin basting the quilt for Ella I spray basted and quilted the first two of the wall hangings I have been working on over the last few weeks. 4 more of them to go!

So what about you? How have your projects gone this week?

WIP Wednesday   WIPs on Wednesday