Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Stash Report. A Finish

Yes I have another finish to report. Yay. Love it when I get something done. I have finished a quilt I only began about 10 days ago. It only got one entry in WIP Wednesday as I started it on a Wednesday evening after I had done my WIP report for that week. 

Here it is... Peaceful Hearts. I love it. This one is mine. 

I wrote about it fairly extensively in this week's WIP Wednesday report here. I didn't have a name for it when I wrote the report but have decided to call it "Peaceful Hearts" as most of the hearts were contributed by friends from Patch n Peace retreat 2008. 

When I wrote the report I hadn't decided how to quilt it. In the end I shadow quilted around all the hearts (some of the shadows were more reflections with the wind blowing on the water... bit wobbley) 

I did fairly widely spaced meandering on the rest of the body of the quilt. 

On the borders I stitched a heart in the centre of each square and then just a row of stitching to link them. 

I machined down the binding, stitching it to the wrong side first and then turning it over and using a decorative stitch to secure it to the front. Several podcasters have been talking about machine binding and how they do it wrong but have found that they do it the same way as each other which is also the way I do mine. I try to lay the edge of the binding on the row of stitching you can see but inevitably things migrate about the place and I don't sweat the small stuff. I love trying out different decorative stitches each time. Decorative stitches do take so much longer than straight sewing though... but still quicker than hand stitching it down

The back was patched together pieces of minky dot fabric I had on hand. I love the feel of minky dot. After I took these photos I was sitting in the kitchen rubbing the backing against my face and Fixit Guy told me not to use it to wipe my face on.

I LOVE it. Its all mine

The quilt measured 160cm square so it was 5.95 used.

Had a few purchases as well.  I got some white tone on tone to finish off my Disappearing into the Blue quilt. The fabric was quilt backing wide and they would only cut it .5 metre at a time so I will have oodles left over but it will come in handy. I counted it as double metreage.

Whilst I was at the shop getting the the tone on tone I saw some fabric that I think will be great as the backing for the round the world quilt. Its a bit of an impost on this week's numbers but since I have a plan for both lots of fabric I will use it up in the not too distant future. 

So to sum up

Used this week:                        5.95m
Added this week                       6.6 m

Year to Date Used                     89.32
Year to Date added                   72.27
Net Used                                  17.05

Linking up with Sunday Stash Report at Patchwork Times

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Quilty Resolutions Update

At the beginning of the year Sandy from Quilting for the Rest of Us challenged us(encouraged us... there was bribery involved :)... well rewards anyway) to come up with three quilt related resolutions for the year. (actually they were quilting monkeys on our backs)

My Three were

1 Make a quilt for my great nephew Lukas. He was born in August and I was overseas and since I got back just haven't managed to get to it.

2. Sort my stash to get out all my little bits out of the stash and into my scrap bins cut into the sizes that I use

3.Sort through my 2nd hand fabrics or repurposed fabrics and get them into usable piles.

I am very pleased to be able to announce that I have fulfilled all three of my resolutions.

Actually when I did my first quarter update in late March here I had already completed the first two resolutions and I had started on the 3rd ie getting my repurposed fabrics sorted. I completed that not all that long after I wrote the post.

Having completed the three of them I am thinking I should come up with a few more. I did try writing goals for the next month a couple of times. I should do that again. Since its the end of June on Monday its a good time to do it. I

My May goals were

May Goals
1. Finish Not So Sombre Stars for Derek
2. Tidy my sewing room (photo of the current mess will be posted here soon)
3 Make the Curtains for the Spare Room
4 Empty Scrap basket again
5 Order Tea Room Pattern (my Mothers' Day gift to myself perhaps)
6 Do at least one of my Craftsy Classes

So now its the end of June how did I go?
1.  I finished Not So Sombre Stars for Derek. Waiting for the signature squares from other people held me up a bit but eventually I got them in and got the quilt put together and quilted. I gave it to him last Sunday in church. I wish I had taken a photo of him with it. ... might have to go visit him to get that.


2. I tidied my sewing room at least once but it  has deteriorated somewhat and needs it all again.

3. I made the curtains for the spare room. Got these finished early May and I am very grateful for them now as Fixit Guy  and I are currently sleeping in there whilst our en suite is being remodelled. Means the builders can get in there a bit earlier and can leave their stuff in there etc

4 I emptied my scrap basket again but it is full again. I will have to have a day cutting them up and putting them away 

5. I have just ordered this pattern. It will be good to have a hand project now that my Fixit Guy is about to retire and we might be doing a fair bit of travelling in the near future. I will be taking my little Platinum Gem with me but can't actually use that whilst we are driving along. Not sure how long it will take to get to me as it is coming from the UK (From Puddleducks, the shop I bought the original pattern from and then lost. More information on this blog post


6 Craftsy classes. I haven't completed any although I have watched most of 2 of them. I haven't done the projects. The two I have watched most of are Wendy Butler Bern' Machine Quilting and Caro Sheridan's "Shoot It" I have found myself applying some of the stuff I heard to my quilting and my photography but I do want to do them properly. Sandy sets a high standard as to what she has to achieve before she declares a class done and I want to emulate her... I just don't seem to reach there.

So... for the next month (or 2) what do I want to achieve? What will my goals be. 

July Goals 

1. Finish the top for my Disappearing into the Blue quilt and make the backing. I am going to piece it from leftover fabric I got for the top. Then send it out to get quilted. Its going to be 90"x100" and too big for me to enjoy working on. I'll probably send it to my friend Kym at Professional Quilting Service

2. Trim up the half square triangles and start assembling my Black and White (with a touch of red) trip around the world quilt. (waiting for my special ruler to arrive)

3. Make Gamer Girl's Christmas Stocking (She's my son's partner and she doesn't have her own Christmas stocking at our place. We currently use one of the "spares" for her but she definitely needs her own special one) I want to have it done well and truly before Christmas!!

4. Finish Teddies and Pinwheels quilt (top and back made. Needs pinning and quilting)

5. Finish Twist and Disappear (Disappearing 9 patch with a twist quilt) Needs pinning and quilting.

6. Finish the two Craftsy Classes I have almost finished. Do some of the projects/exercises mentioned in them!!

7. Start Teashop wall hanging when it arrives.

8. Make seasonal wall hanging from the stitcheries my mum made for me

I had better stop there before I get way too adventurous and over commit myself 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fitness Friday

The good news! I have run 3 times this week working through my C210K program. I'm up to week 3 I was going to run again this morning but it was too cold to get out of bed. Or I was too chicken. I stayed up too late... lots of excuses, none of them very good, but 3 times is good right? I have walked every morning this week except this morning and walked every evening. I have continued to get over 10 000 steps every day this week except once.. maybe Saturday, when I got only 9 000.

I  slipped down to 3rd on my Fitbit friends list but that was not because I was not achieving my steps but because two of my friends must have been putting in major efforts and doing huge numbers. Hats off to you Tazitaff and Sam. I have passed Tazitaff today but Sam is still out there although she had a low step day yesterday (she flew to New Zealand so not able to manage 2 trips to the gym). I am wondering how she will go whilst on holidays. If its a walking holiday I am well and truly stuffed but if its a bus tour... well things are looking good for a surge to the top!

Speaking of Fitbit. This hilarious article, Stepping out, Living the Fitbit life by David Sedaris on Fitbit was posted by Fitbit on their facebook page. My friend Sophie says it sounds like me but I think it sounds like Sam. (and so does she)

Weightwise... I have been too scared to step on the scales. I have been hogging into carbs this last week - bread, scones, etc. I made this zucchini cake to take to church on Sunday for a shared lunch. It didn't all get eaten so has been tempting me all week but worse was the fact that my friend Betty took some coconut buns along but didn't take her left overs home and I scored them. I love them, warmed slightly in the microwave to freshen them up. I have been eating way too many of them too. So... even though I have been exercising a lot I know I have been eating wrong so am sure my weight has gone up... things are a little more snug. I know I have to start to get my act together once more.

Back to the Zucchini cake - I more than halved the oil and it was fine. I omitted the dates as we didn't have any and they are another thing my husband should avoid with his sensitivities. We also squeezed the grated zucchini to get rid of some of the moisture in it. This cake had cream cheese icing and I had low fat cream cheese and it didn't whip well. Guess its like low fat cream and sour cream... the low fat stuff doesn't whip. I could have added a heap more icing sugar to thicken it (I added some) but for the most part I just let it drip off a bit. This is the websites photo of the cake... I didn't take one of my effort. I have more zucchini to use up so might make another one for tonight when the family will be gathering for dinner

Zucchini cake

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Throwback Thursday -Calendar Quilts

I started quilting in 2001 and joined some online groups shortly after including Southern Cross Quilters. Through that group I joined a sub group called Year Quilters. The idea of a year quilt is that the quilter keeps a diary and based on the diary they choose fabric for each day to put into a quilt. A sample of the fabric chosen is also glued into the diary. The quilter was free to choose whatever pattern they liked for the quilt. The group shared progress and participants could also be part of picture fabric swaps every month or so. It was a way of getting a range of eyespy type fabrics to be used in our quilts.

I completed 4 year quilts  2003-2007

I tried to keep my diary up to date, writing it every day or every couple of days but found that would leave fabric selections to do a week or three at a time as I would have to dig through my stash in order to find suitable fabric. Sometimes I chose a picture fabric to represent something that happened that day... a coffee cup if I went out for cuppa with some friends, a cat if my cat did something special. Other times I used the fabric I had been sewing with that day.

The bi monthly swaps were great for building up my stash of picture fabrics. We swapped 6.5" squares. We would send in up to 5 swatches of 6 different fabrics to our swap co-ordinator and would get back 30 different fabrics.

 Over time I developed a system where I would sort my fabric into categories and store them in zip lock bags that I had labelled. Eventually I got some plastic drawers to store them in and I sorted the categories alphabetically into the drawers. I still store my picture fabrics in these drawers.

My first year quilt, 2003 was done as a Calendar Quilt. Each  month was its own block and it was set out like a calendar The one pictured below was for January. The first of January that year was a Wednesday.

As part of the Year Quilt we had a signature squares swap during the year. Each participant swapped blocks with their name and the type of quilt they were making along with a 6.5" square which somehow represented them or their quilt. I incorporated them into the back of the quilt along with some fabric that my daughter Fangirl had bought me back from Malaysia. She had spent the year in Malaysia as an AFS exchange student so this fabric was very significant for our year.

I have another 3 year quilts I can share with you... but perhaps not today. I realise I don't have many photos of them. I will have to drag them out and get some better photos of them

And that's my Throwback Thursday for this week. Linking up with Throwback Thursday on Quilting Jenny


WIP Wednesday

I started working on a new quilt, playing with my design board last Wednesday night. I forgot to take any progress photos... ooops my bad. In 2008 when my Dad died the women who attend Patch n Peace made healing heart blocks... blocks featuring a heart on 6.5" squares of white or cream. Some blocks were crotched, appliqued, some made from lace... all sorts of blocks from a group of women who cared for me in my sad time. I had put the hearts away and not done anything with them, had actually forgotten about them till I sorted through my sewing room a few weeks ago. 

At Patch n Peace this year I saw a quilt made by another retreat member that had a pattern I thought would work with the hearts. It featured 3 different sized blocks - 12, 8 and 6 ". They all basically 9 patches with 8 patches one colour and the centre block a different colour. Last Wednesday I started to play with it the blocks. Because I wanted the centre of each block to be the heart which was 6" finished but I wanted different sized blocks I changed from the 9 patch pattern idea. I went with 18" 12" and 6" blocks instead. The 18" blocks were basically 9 patches. The 12" blocks had the 6" heart in the centre and 3" strips around.The 6" blocks were just the hearts. I made 4 x18" blocks, 7x12" blocks and 17 single hearts. 

For the border I made 5" blocks. Half had 3" square centres and the other half had 2" centres. 

Yesterday I worked on the backing. This quilt is my lap quilt and I love minky. I had some brown minky dot fabric but not enough so I patched together all the rest of the minky dot I had... some blue scraps and some lilac. I was really pleased with the final look. 

Today at Patchwork I got it Pin basted. Now to quilt it I think I will do an all over meander with echo quilting around the hearts. In the borders I might do something more geometric... unless I do something more geometric over the centre and put a chain of hearts into the border... hmmm still thinking. What do you reckon?

I used another UFO up in the backing for my Teddies and Pinwheel quilt. Many years ago I had put together small quilt using a variety of pink and blue nine patches. Many of the fabrics were my hand dyes and it was just a bit small to be the back of the Teddies and Pinwheels quilt which also features a good few of my hand dyed fabrics. I put some white borders on it and now it will be a great backing for the quilt. Now I have to get it basted and quilted. 

The Disappearing 9 Patch with a Twist also needed a backing. I had a piece of polar fleece which is just big enough. I will have to be careful when I baste it to make sure it doesn't shift.

My other big WIP has been the bathroom renovations which are on going. Last Wednesday the builder started work on our ensuite bathroom, ripping out the vanity and pedestal. Thursday the asbestos removalists came in and removed all the walls and the ceiling. Friday the builder started to put in the new wall panels. Over the weekend Fixit Guy started painting the family bathroom. He still has to do the trim but he will probably be able to get to it this weekend. Today they finally fitted the shower screen. Still have to put up the towel rails. 

In the en suite they have done the plumbing and electrical work, have water proofed it and laid the bed for the tiles to go on. They will put the tiles down this coming week. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sunday Stash Report

This week I have had one finish. I quilted and bound a baby quilt that incorporated some of my mum's embroidered teddy bear panels. This will be a baby quilt for a future great niece or nephew - my mum's great grandchild. There are none on the way at the moment (that I know of) so it will go into the cupboard for the moment. It was 130cm square and used 4 metres of fabric.

I did a simple stipple all over the quilt centre, apart from the embroideries. 

On the borders I did a more open loopy design which sort of reminded me of strings of Christmas lights.

That was my only finish. I do have two tops ready to be pinned and quilted (although I have to organise their backs so maybe not that close after all) and another top that I have to put the border on. So in the near future I should be able to record a few more finishes which will be great. 

Today at church I gave our friend his quilt - Not So Sombre Stars. He was rather stunned. I didn't present it to him or make a fuss, just gave it to him quietly after church. He was rather stunned but pleased. It seems rather strange to not have the quilt with me any more. I had worked on it so intensely for a few months.

No fabric acquisitions this week. After my last blow out I am going to be in recovery for a long time. 

So my stats for this last week

Added this week                             0 metres
Used this week                               4 metres

Year to Date Used                     83.37
Year to Date added                   65.67
Net Used                                     17.70

Linking up with Stash Report @Patchwork Times

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Friday Fitness A day late

Have been going great guns with my fitbit steps. I have remained at the top of my friends list all week. I have made my 10 000 steps each day. I only ran on Tuesday... ran week 2 day 2 of C210K. Yesterday I was still trying to decide if I was going to walk or run and when (lying in bed on a cool morning procrastinating about getting up) when I heard a vehicle pull up out the front. We are having our bathrooms renovated and so have the builder and other tradies in and out of the house fairly frequently. The builder often starts just after 7. It was 6.55 but it didn't sound like his vehicle... and it was out the front not in the drive. So I peaked... no it wasn't him. I had this sinking feeling. I wondered if it was the asbestos removal guys. They were supposed to be coming Friday (today) but last time they came, to gut the family bathroom, they turned up a day early and Fixit Guy had half an hour's notice to evacuate the house (I was away). He had to pack up the bathroom first. At least we were already out of the bathroom this time... they had taken the pedestal and the vanity out the previous day. But FG was at least out of bed... they came at 9.30 last time. I was right... the builder pulled up by the time I was dressed and at the front door. Asbestos guys it seems are a law unto themselves. They turn up when they want, and too bad that you have to scramble madly to accommodate their changes of plan. I had pulled on my walking gear. I grabbed my day clothes, lap top, hand bag, phone and charges and took them downstairs. I made some breakfast and took the electric jug and coffee making necessities downstairs with me too. Since I ate breakfast first I decided not to run. I don't like running on a full tummy. That is my excuse as to why I didn't run anyway. Its a pretty good one.

Weight wise... sad story. I have been eating too much this week. Its only that I am keeping up as much excersise as I have been that I haven't blown out more. I was 87.8 this morning. My main downfall has been a yummy pumpkin cake recipe I found at the end of last week and which I have made twice already. I try to give slices away but end up scoffing the leftovers. Its soooo good. You'll find the recipe here I found it in the free Taste magazine available from Coles Supermarket. I adapted the recipe slightly. I toasted my pecans. You could use other nuts if you want (but I LOVE pecans) I also used some sour milk I had on hand rather than buttermilk. If any of my American readers don't understand any of the ingredients just ask. I think you call icing sugar powdered sugar. Its the product you make cake icing out of.

 It so happened I had a huge butternut pumpkin that I won at the silent auction at the quilting retreat the weekend before. When there is only 2 of us at home to eat it and Fixit Guy doesn't eat much of it due to his sensitivities I needed something to help use it up. Going to look for a good recipe for zucchini as well. He was given a massive one of those the same weekend and it will take some getting through. Fangirl took a photo of me holding both... must ask her for it

Pippin Cat seems to be more interested in the recipe for Risotto than pumpkin cake

I had light sour cream in the icing and it didn't thicken... it was yummy and less calories but not really elegant on the cake. Pippin thinks their is a good recipe on the next page obviously

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Throwback Thursday. Mum's 80th birthday Quilt

I have an amazing wonderful mum. I have blogged about her before here

In 2002 she turned 80. I had only been quilting for a year then but I decided I wanted to make her a quilt to commemorate this special birthday, to celebrate her life and to reflect her interests, values and her family. Each of my 7 siblings either made a block or had one made for them that reflected their family. I ended up making 5 of the blocks, my 2 sisters in law made one each for their family and one sister made one for her family and one for another sister. 9 blocks  in all. I arranged the blocks from each of my siblings and myself around a central block that celebrated Mum and Dads' life and marriage.

At the time of making this quilt I was a new quilter and had a very limited stash, particularly picture fabrics. I was a member of an online quilting group called Southern Cross Quilters, which was for Australian and New Zealand Quilters. Through them I was also a member of a group called Year Quilters who had regular swaps of conversation (ie picture) fabric. I was able to ask on this group for some special requests. One lady with an embroidery machine made me a number of special things for mum reflecting her Christian faith, as I was having trouble sourcing fabric reflecting this. 

I wasn't really sure how to approach the blocks but my sister Joy made her 2 blocks first based on a 9 patch with each patch reflecting family interest. I used her idea as the basis of the 5 blocks I made. Here are the blocks organised from my oldest sibling down to me, the baby of the family.

Oldest sister Beth. Her husband was a builder, her son a volunteer fireman. She was a book author and loved gardening. Her daughter was currently travelling overseas. As a family they loved to ski (sewn by me)

Joy's block reflecting her family interests - teaching, soccer, chooks and cats, music, their Christian faith and their beloved Bulldogs football team (sewn by Joy herself)

Midge's blck. Their family love of horses, travelling, my occupation as a drama teacher, my sister's as a librarian. their many pets and the fact they lived by the sea. (Sewn by me)

My Brother Frank's block made by his wife Christine (from the blog Bluebirds and Bumblebees)

My block for my sister Patricia. Her middle name is Daisy hence the daisy fabric. Her boys' dad is from the USA. They are into computers, travel, skiing, reading and sports.

Joy made this block for Doff.

My brother George's block made by his wife Barb, reflecting their family interests

My block reflecting my family's interests

The central block pf the quilt. Mum's faith and her love of music. I wrote the details of her parents, her marriage, her children and her grandchildren

My sister-in-law Christine had a poem about family that we were going to embroider on the sashing but we ran out of time so instead we wrote it on. 

Our family's like a patchwork quilt,
With kindness gently sewn;
Each piece is an original,
With beauty of its own.
With threads of warmth and happiness,
It's tightly stitched together
To last in love throughout the years,
Our family is forever.

The back of mum's quilt. I used the fabric I had just learned to dye on the back. The family wrote messages to mum on the back of their squares. Other friends and family who were part of her 80th birthday celebrations signed the quilt around the border.

My mum with quilt. She loved it.