Wednesday, December 9, 2015

WIP Wednesday

I have had a really slow week. I haven't put up any posts all week. I have been sick for over a week with a fatigue that I feel is related to my bout of Barmah Forest virus a few years ago.

Anyway I have done a little sewing but not as much as I had hoped.

This week I have made great progress on the Elephant Parade Quilt. I had to make a few extra blocks to go with the blocks from the Elephant Parade stitch along that I was involved with at the beginning of the year. I chose to use pinwheels... I love pinwheels to fill in some of the spaces and some strips of bright fabric. I also used up some blue and white half square triangles to make flying geese. It was like a patchwork jigsaw puzzle - I kept making blocks to fit the spaces

For the borders I used first simple 3" squares in white, dark and light grey greens for the inner border and then wide orange with pinwheels in the corners. 

I pieced the backing using large squares of the inner border fabric and stips of 3" squares. The green squares had come in a bundle I purchased from Ebay years ago when I started quilting. I really liked the way it turned out. I used the remaining orange fabric from the range borders along the bottom of the quilt to make it large enough. Originally I had planned to slash the quilt and insert it else where but I really liked the look of the large squares and the strips of smaller squares and felt that an orange slash would look wrong so I used it to be the base of the blocks. Not sure I really liked it but it won't be as big once I trim the quilt after its quilted so trying not to worry about it too much

Today at Patchwork I got it pinned and hopefully I will get it quilted tomorrow and then binding on so I can give it to the little boy it is for on Friday night.

I have done a couple of projects for friends this week. A friend had asked for some advice on the quilting on a project she had underway for her twin grand daughters. She had done some in the ditch quilting but was concerned that it wasn't enough to hold the project together and I agreed that it wasn't enough and said that I would do a little extra quilting for her since she didn't know how to use her "pogo stick" foot and I wasn't feeling well enough to explain. I got it done easily for her yesterday.

Then another friend asked if I could help her complete a project she had underway which involved sewing men's ties around the neckline of t shirts. She had them all pinned but her machine wasn't working properly so I sewed them on for her - which took only half an hour.

Today I got busy sewing another casserole cover - a gift for someone for Christmas. Unlike the first one I made, this one took me about 2 hours from start to finish. I still have to put the handles in. I have a few more to make before Christmas including one for myself. I really do want one but everyone I make is for someone else.

I found a stitchery amongst my projects to work on whilst I have spent so much time in bed. It was good to have something else to work on now I have finished sewing my whole hexies. Still have those half ones to make though. Must work on them.

WIP Wednesday   WIPs on Wednesday

Thursday, December 3, 2015

WIP Wednesday on Thursday

I haven't got much sewing done this week at all. I blogged about the casserole carrier I made in my stash report. I did some alterations for a friend to 3 kaftans that were too big around the top (I took them up at the shoulders and they are sitting much better she assures me) 

I have done a lot of hand stitching. We drove into Yeppoon on Sunday and home on Monday afternoon so that was 7 hours of sewing time as well as an hour during church. I was also feeling rather unwell yesterday so spent the afternoon and evening in bed and have finished all the hexies I had prepped. I think that means I have enough for the quilt I was planning. I still have to make the half hexagons to fill in the edges. For some time I have been convinced that I needed 1536 hexagons plus 41 half hexagons for this quilt. I went back through my blogs to find the link to the page where I did my calculations and found that in fact I needed 1523 hexagons (at least that is what I had on my blog post) Now I don't know which number is correct... guess when I start to put it together I will find out.

The other project I have been fiddling with the week is the Elephant Parade quilt. I made these blocks at the beginning of the year. One block a week was released over a couple of months. You could make multiples of any one of them but I chose to only make one of each. Now I have to work out how I will put them together to make a reasonable size quilt for a new baby born to friends recently.

Unfortunately since we got home from our trip to Rockhampton to see a dear friend in hospital and to go bridal shopping with a good friend, I have been sick with a low grade virus. I have been left feeling exhausted - achy, headache, bit nauseous but mostly just exhausted. Ever since I have had Barmah Forest virus 2 years ago (and glandular fever 15 years before that) this feeling really scares me. I keep thinking maybe I am just "bunging it on" that there is nothing wrong with me and I should just buck up and get out of bed and get moving. But it isn't like me to want to do nothing. I have sewing projects I am keen to get going with, some cooking projects likewise that I want to do, commitments I have made that I want to keep. So I know that there is something not right and rest is what I currently need. But I don't listen too well to myself. I wrote about having Barmah Forrest here

Twice I went downstairs to take a photo of my Elephant Parade Quilt but each time I got distracted and didn't get the photo so this too is going up without any photos. Sorry. I'm already a day late posting so I had better not waste any more time

WIP Wednesday   WIPs on Wednesday

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Setting New Goals for December plus evaluating November goals

  • Complete Ella's Quilt DONE Have to post it off after I make the label
  • Make some Christmas gifts DONE Made the 6 wall hangings which are all going to be gifts
  • prepare for Bonnie Hunter Mystery Think this is officially a bust. Maybe I will get to it but its so much fabric. Just not happy to invest in that much when I don't know if I'll like it. I want to work from my stash and that is officially how hers in done but I am not confident the colours I have will work. 
  • start Droid quilt Still not started. Maybe next week
  • Put Amy Gibson blocks together Nope not done. Hope to do it this coming week
  • make Nimbus POD block DONE
  • Make Dobby POD Block DONE
  • remove Paper from POD rows DONE
  • Make Percy's Fiez block DONE
  • make Flying Keys POD block DONE
  • make Cornish Pixie POD block DONE
  • Make POD photo frame block DONE
  • Make 100 hexagons - 162 DONE

So for the month that's10 goals completed and 3 not done at all'

Now for December

Make 2 more casserole carriers. I made 2 this past week. I have orders for another one (although not the dimensions required for it) and I want one for myself. People were asking for them at our previous stalls so I can make more to sell for the Handmade Love.
Work on POD quilt - make map block and rolled parchment block (waiting for the fabric to arrive for the map). This is for Fangirl's birthday so need to have it done by Feb.

Hexie Quilt Make 175 hexies (enough full ones to finish the quilt) - actually have already done about 25 of these so am underway.Make 41 half hexies. I will have to find the pattern for them. Guess I can just print out the full hexies and cut in half. That will work! Work out pattern for stitching Hexies together.

Work on Diamonds and Dashes quilt from Missouri Star. I've cut the 5"x10" rectangles. Need a few more cut and also have to get the fabric for the dashes and diamonds. I had hoped to look for the sashing fabric whilst in Rocky yesterday but didn't get time.

Put elephant parade quilt together. The baby that this is to be for has arrived.  I made the blocks earlier in the year. Now I have to work out exactly how to put it together. 

Work on Hashtag quilt. The blocks from the Twilter block swap have arrived and now need to go into a quilt

Work on Amy Gibson quilt 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday Stash Report

Very pleased to report that I have had 2 finishes this week. Again they are only small but it is good to be getting stuff done.

At our Handmade With Love stall at the craft fair last weekend I was asked about rectangular casserole carriers by a number of customers and 3 of them were keen to place an order for us to make  them to order for them. Of those 3 2 have followed up with specific orders and I got them made during the week. The first one took me hours to make and I reckoned that with the wages I can earn as a supply teacher it was worth $360 in time alone!! 

I asked on the Twilter page on Facebook for pattern recommendations as when I had googled it there were lots of patterns (many for sale) but was keen to chase up recommended ones. This is the pattern I ended up going with for the first one and it worked out pretty well. I made the handles differently as I wanted them to go right under the carrier. It was recommended by a couple of people.

For the second one I used the same dimensions as for the first one but instead of making the fabric handles (which were an absolute pain to turn out the right way) I made the doweling handles. Its all finished and I showed the lady who wanted it (in black and white) and she loves it but does want the velcro added to the first flap over pieces so still have to stitch that on.

I did have a bit of a giggle. She wanted it in black and white to match her kitchen.... but you use the casserole cover to carry your dish to someone else's place, not serve it in your own kitchen. I guess if you are having a party at your place you might use it to keep a dish warm.....

The pattern called for the special insulated batting but I didn't have enough and local shops didn't sell it. The shop assistant says that most people just use the natural fibre batting ie cotton or wool. I have plenty of that so used it and it looks fine.

No fabric in this week

Stats for week 48
                 Fabric used         3.19m
                 Fabric added       0.00

Year to Date
                 Fabric used      145.52m
                 Fabric added      76.70
Net Used                             68.82

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times

Fitness Friday

I wrote this on Friday but didn't get it posted. Now its Sunday but I will put it up anyway

I've had an up and down week this week as far as exercise goes. My friend still wasn't able to come walking due to assignment pressures and without her to make us get up and go early we haven't been as regular- once we sleep in then if we have a busy day coming up we don't have time not to mention it gets very hot here at the moment. So haven't got two walks in very often and some days haven't even gotten one in! But on other days I've gotten 2 walks in and so have gone over my goal of 10 000 steps

And as to my diet - well ... bit up and down too but on the whole I have made good choices.... well apart from Weds and Thursday this week. A friend bought some biscuits to Patchwork on Wednesday. They were chocolate shortbread with chocolate fillling. She bought them from Woolworths and man were they GOOD. She left them behind so I took them home... so I had 2 there and then 2 more at home. 

Last week I shared with you my sugar coated peanuts recipe. Fixit Guy loves them. I wanted to make the variety where the coating isn't chrystalised - more like toffee. I looked on the internet and whilst I found pictures of what I wanted when I looked at the recipe I had a feeling that they weren't going to work. If you stir the toffee/syrup mixture that is when you get crystals forming and all these recipes talked about lots of stirring. So I'm still looking. I did find that the American version of the sugar coated peanuts involved first boiling the mixture and then tipping the peanuts onto a tray and baking them. I gave it a go and I really really liked them... so much so we ate the lot ourselves in one afternoon.  I checked out a few more recipes and some suggested adding cinnamon or mixed spice and others chilli, salt, garlic and such for a savoury kick. They all sounded good.

The American version I tried had 1/2 the sugar of my version. I use equal quantities of sugar water and peanuts where as this recipe had 2 cups peanuts, 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. It had no food colouring either which Fixit Guy thought made them look weird and Fangirl agreed, although she said if we put the other flavourings with them then no colouring was fine. (Ed I made another batch on Saturday and added nutmeg and cinnamon. They were sooo yummy too. Despite making a double batch I had very few left to bottle... )

So peanuts and shortbread - not good for the diet but still. I am not trying to lose weight fast and don't want to deny myself little treats entirely... just keep them under control- and if I can keep my exercise up over the silly season where temptation abounds then hopefully I 

I have managed to chip away a bit more. Friday morning I was 94.9kgs. That's a drop of .6kg over the week and I'm really thrilled with that

This weeks Steps
Friday              9 115
Saturday          6 070
Sunday            3 987
Monday          7 790
Tuesday        12 336
Wednesday     8 578

Thursday      12 061

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