Saturday, February 28, 2015

End of the month Check in

Its the last day of February. Do you ever get tricked by February being a short month... thinking something ages off cause it isn't even March yet... only half way through the 20s of the month and BAM its the 28th and there is no more February. March is only a day away (which in my case is Yay cause that is birthday month for me)

Time to check in on how I have gone with my goals for February. My goals were

1) Complete the POD paper pieced blocks as they come up each week. There should be 4 for February
These are all done. I completed week 8 block a day or two ago. These aren't quite in order but they are the 4 blocks from this month


2) Complete Annie's Quilt ie quilt, bind and label it

I finished this this morning. I blogged about it here

3) Complete Vanishing Hours ie trim, bind and label it

Completed this last week. Its now on our bed :) I blogged about it here

4) Make 4 zipper pouches for Handmade Love (craft group raising money for Our Rainbow House, a school in Zambia)

I haven't made any more zipper pouches. I have made 4 denim bags and a messenger bag. I hope to make some zipper pouches very soon... but not this month

5) Finish watching Carol Doak's Craftsy class and complete some projects
I have watched all of the class and have instituted a few of the techniques. I bought 2 add a quarter inch rulers as per her recommendations. I do intend to complete the projects she shows but haven't yet

6) make some placemats.

I made Fangirl a set of 6 placemats for her birthday early in the month

7) Locate all UFOs, write list, put on blog

I have been through my cupboards and written up a list of them and they are on the blog (well the ones that have been started. I also have a list of ones that I have purchased fabric for or patterns but haven't put them on the blog as they are still nebulous and subject to change

8) Make some progress on Tea Shop Quilt

The Tea Shop Quilt top is finished. I have made a backing for it and have cut the wadding. Hopefully I will get it pinned this coming week at patchwork

So - of these 8 goals I have fully completed 6 of them and the other 2 I made progress on or at least alternate progress. I think that was pretty good.

 I also wanted to make progress on my yearly goals

  1. continue to track my fabric use and purchases with an aim to having a bigger net usage this year than last. I have been doing this and it is lots of fun. Not sure I will make my aim of using more this year than last as many of my projects this year have been fairly small 
  2. purchase fabric for usage not stashing ie having a purpose for fabric bought have been sticking to this. I was given some fabric today and offered some more but that doesn't count :) well it counts on my tracking spreadsheet but its not me buying it
  3. make mini quilts for Anzac Day, Australia Day, Easter, Mothers' Day and Birthday haven't done anything concrete towards this apart from find a paper pieced pattern for a birthday cake banner 
  4. complete quilts for donation as required - aim for 25% I have made one quilt to give away this month (just completed) but have also made bags and hand towels for Our Rainbow House stalls
  5. List Crafts classes and work on watching them. Do BOM one from 2012 I haven't written out the list but I have watched one class this month. I didn't do any blocks from the BOM one though :(
  6. continue to blog regularly I have blogged several times a week Yay me. 
My word for this year has been Do and I have been doing!!! My quilting goal has been to master paper piecing and I have been making progress on this one too.

The Tale (not tail) of Annie's Quilt

Annie's Quilt - a special quilt, made up from orphan blocks from various projects collected over the years. Its name came from orphan block quilt - Little Orphan Annie blocks quilt - Annie's quilt. The name was special too because of our gorgeous dog Annie who died last year. We loved her very much. ( go here to read about her last days) 

My grandma was also Annie but the dog was NOT named after her. 
    Annie Hayward

These are some photos of my Grandam Annie aged 16, 24 and about 55

Grandma was Annie Mabel (set the table) and Annie was properly Annabelle, named by my youngest son (known on this blog as Boyo). He doesn't know where the name came from (mind you our other dog Daisy WAS named after my other grandmother... cause our neighbour had a dog Bessie and that is my mother's name. I asked what their mothers names were - Vera and Annette... nope they weren't dogs names. So I named her after my grandma... yeah long story and not that funny in the retelling... maybe you had to be there) 

I digress!

I started working on Annie's quilt last year. It was to be a quick project - using up some of these orphan blocks I'd collected. To be a donation quilt - no biggie. But in putting together the blocks I needed to make some fillers - I had some mini pinwheels - I made some more. 

I made some checker boards.


 I had some flying geese but needed more (ended up making enough for borders - yeah so I made 130 or so... just a few more) 

I had so much fun but it was a lot of work and I really loved it. There were so many bits to it - so many stories in the quilts that the blocks came from. So many bits of fabrics from so many other projects as well. I really didn't want to give it away - at least not to someone I didn't know. It was special and I wanted it to go to someone special

And that made me feel guilty. Do people who have fallen on hard times for what ever reason need less than our best? Why did I think that only people I knew and loved deserved a quilt from me?

I think this dilemma apart from having other projects on the go made me push the finished quilt top out of my priority list. I finished the top sometime before we left on our big trip last year (9 weeks driving through Southern parts of Australia) but didn't get a backing done for it. After we got home we were busy with Christmas and visitors and other things and so the top waited. I had a piece of backing big enough for it and so in late January I got the quilt pin basted at patchwork. Then the quilt sat, folded up near my machine waiting for me to get around to quilting it.

Thursday I finally  decided that it was time I got Annie's quilt finished. It had waited long enough. I still wasn't sure who it was for but I knew that the time had come to get it done. I thought I could give it to our former minister Suzy who is now living in a town that was badly affected by Cyclone Marcia last Friday. She would know someone who would appreciate it.

 It wasn't long before I was muttering crankily under my breath. Two lovely ladies from my patchwork group had helped me pin baste it a few weeks ago and my friend Lindi got a bit enthusiastic with how many pins she put in!! We had both laughed about it at the time... but as I had to stop start my quilting so frequently I didn't find it quite as amusing. I muttered "Thanks Lindi" a number of times as I stopped and sewed and stopped again.

I chose to use a gorgeous multicoloured King Tut thread which I've had it for a number of years. Its  colours vary from yellow through orange to pink - just beautiful. I had never come up with a project to use it on but it suited this project perfectly. 

I chose to do a simple stipple design - I love stippling but I'm not perfect at it and unfortunately there is a bit of eye lashing on the back. I love the rhythm of it - sort of dancing with my hands. That's why the pins were aggravating me till I decide to go a bit bigger and dance around them.

I was able to finish the quilting off Friday afternoon after work and on a roll I made the binding - I chose orange - and got it on machining it on front and back. I chose a wavy line decorative stitch for the front. I didn't think that the thread I used for the stippling would be enough to do the decorative stitch on the binding so I chose a variegated orange Aurifil instead (from Tula Pink collection). It worked well but I wish I'd had enough of the other as I loved it. I have a bit left over of the King Tut, not enough to quilt anything but a moderate wall hanging but I will eventually find a project for it.

As I quilted I wondered about who my quilt would go to and then I had a wonderful thought. My friend Liz's house was badly damaged in the cyclone. Liz and I had met through the Emmaus movement. I was the assistant table leader on her table the year she did her walk. This weekend it is the Emmaus training weekend for this year's Central Queensland walk and it (the training weekend) was being held here in our town. We were billeting 5 of the team members in our home including Deb, this year's lay director of the women's walk Deb had been the table leader to my assistant table leading and therefore Liz's table leader. I had a feeling that Liz was on team this year. Would she come to the training weekend with her home having been wrecked only the week before. 

It was fairly late last night when our billets arrived at our place. Over breakfast this morning I checked with Deb. Was Liz on team? Yes! Had she been able to make the training weekend? Yes! Another of our billets Mary (another lady I have known for many years who is the mother of a dear friend from our days in Moranbah) had been her prayer partner that evening and Liz had shared some of her story.

It was confirmed who my quilt was for. The colours in the quilt and bright and cheerful - the colours of the rainbow. The rainbow is the symbol for Emmaus. 

Liz put this status on fb recently

Thank you butterfly for flying up to me as I sit outside my wrecked house and landing on my arm. you showed me that we're fine and life goes on and we're never alone. There is still beauty and wonders to be seen if we stop and look.
As it happens there are a number of butterfly prints throughout the quilt! 

I gave the quilt to Deb to give to Liz at a time that she thinks is suitable. I can trust Deb to find the right time - that God will show her the right time just as he has shown me the right person to give this quilt to. 
Our current only dog Jack decided he should be in this picture too... how could I say no

Des Colores (The Colours)

Update. Deb gave Liz her quilt on Saturday evening and she was thrilled with it. I am so grateful to God that he guided me in the making and the gifting of this quilt.

Linking up with Tgiff and Can I get a Whoop Whoop

Friday, February 27, 2015

Fitness Friday

Friday has rolled around again and I can't say that I have done much towards promoting my own fitness. 

I have kept up my exercise and have made my 10 000 steps each day - most days I've gone for my walk in the morning

Friday                   13 075
Saturday               11 067 
Sunday                 10 088
Monday                10 115
Tuesday                13 237
Wednesday           10 774
Thursday              10 326

My weight has remained constant - at least I havne't put any on which is pleasing. 

So a rather short report tonight. I am very tired (I made 17 000 steps plus today) so will leave it now.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Love at Lent

Lent has started and our church has been decorated in purple. 2 years ago I made a banner to go out the front of our church. It goes almost ceiling to floor- and its a high pitched ceiling. It has no words on it but I made a series of words that can be pinned onto it to suit the theme of the service for that week. Our minister at the time, who is also my very dear friend Suzy, came up with a series of suitable words. Purple is also the colour for Advent so some of the words are more suited to that season.

Suzy was always very thoughtful and deliberate with her preparation of the worship space. After she saw some of my quilts at a quilt exhibition run by our quilt group she asked if some of them could be used in the church. I had always thought that banners in church needed words on them I had never thought that my quilts would be suitable for use in church so I was really delighted by her request. Then I made a green banner, for use in ordinary Sundays, and then I made the purple one.

Now Suzy has moved on to another church and at the moment we have a temporary placement. He is a beaut bloke - friendly, articulate, straight forward - but not into decorating the worship area. He is happy to have it done but hasn't got an artistic bone in his body, he says. So I have taken over the role of decorating the sanctuary. Last Thursday I took down the green banners and hangings, removed the green table cloths and put out the purple ones. As well as the long central banner, I spoke of above, I looked at the other purple banners. We had two small ones. They had both been ones that had been interactive banners many years ago, which had been added to each week - a grape vine that had started as the trellis, then had the bare vines added, then leaves and finally bunches of grapes. The other was an apple tree along a similar line. 

I decided that we needed a new banner for lent. My practical side stepped in and I knew that whatever I made for Lent I wanted to be able to use for Advent as well. The text "For God so loved the world" was running through my mind as I sat in church pondering a new banner. Love made me think of the heart shape and I remembered a pattern I had found on the internet and printed off, featuring a large heart made from a charm pack. It was a rainbow coloured heart but I knew I could use purples. I had separated out my purple squares, strips and bricks a while back when I decided I was going to make some more banners for church. I had pulled the cream, white, gold, red and green ones too - all with the aim of making colour banners. I had used the green to make  Riverwalk, a banner for ordinary Sundays for which the colour is green. I finished it last July. (Go here to read about it)

I laid it out on my design wall, using 4.5" squares since that is what I had a lot of already cut. I chose to do a colour fade, with the darker purples at the top and coming down to the pale lavender at the tip of the heart. For the border I chose to use a mixture of purple 2.5" squares and it has turned out really well.

I decided to be a little bit adventurous with my quilting. Usually I do stitch in the ditch or shadowing the ditch if I use my walking foot. I often do free motion quilting but not following any rules. This time I decided to use my walking foot and do straight line quilting echoing the shape of the heart. Inside the heart I did this shadow quilting along the blocks. Outside the heart I used the width of my walking foot to follow the outside line of the heart so about an inch apart. I had intended to change my thread to white for this bit but decided that I would continue on with my varigated purple thread. This means that every wiggle and waver shows up but I was pretty happy with it, even in the photos!

 The quilting wasn't without mishap in that the backing for the quilt on one side got caught up and so was stitched folded and I had to unpick the last inch and a half of each line and redo them. That then meant I had to hide a lot of threads from the top.

 It was very quick to put together. I am thinking of making another one using some more of the 2.5" squares

The banner has no words on it. I don't think words are always necessary however some people may prefer one with words so I am thinking of making another banner to hang near by it with the words "God so loved....." and a picture of a cross and a manger on it. Again it will be useful at both Lent and Advent. I am not much of a pictorial artist though. The cross I could manage but think I will have to find someone else to draw the manger ... or else find some art on line to copy.

WIP Wednesday Day

I seem to have been buzzing from one project to another this week. I made a banner for church. It was a pretty quick project. I got my inspiration during the service (although I had been mulling over the need for another banner since I had decorated the church on Thursday) I had it largely put together on Sunday, didn't get to work on it at all on Monday due to an unexpected trip to Yeppoon to take our camper trailer down to a friend who had lost power and water due to the cyclone that went through the area on Friday. Our trailer meant she had a fridge and cooking facilities and plenty of water.
I got back to it Tuesday afternoon and got it finished up that night including a label :)

I worked on the frog from Elephant Parade. He still needs eyes.

I finished the next block in the POD. I love how the time turner came out. I stuffed up a bit on this one and had some very careful unpicking and resewing. 

At patchwork today I worked on the blue quilt our group is putting together. These blocks were made back in October. As well as the 8.5" block we were supposed to make there were a heap of little pinwheels made from the scraps. It was pretty tricky trying to assemble it as the blocks came out in a few different sizes and some were too small to be included in the front. (someone had trimmed her blocks back to 8") I had worked out a design a couple of weeks ago and thought that today I would be able to sew it up... huh. Found that with the blocks that ended up too small we needed to make another 4 blocks (we were one short anyway) Lindy had fabric with her and she cut and I sewed and she pressed. We got the 4 new blocks made and I started to put it together. But it was fairly slow progress. I had to sew a heap of the little half square triangles that were left over from the blocks into pinwheels but that involved pressing and trimming and sewing and trimming... all rather painstaking. I didn't take any photos of what I was doing... oops.

I got the Tea Shop quilt put together having finished off the applique on a few of the blocks. I thought I was done. I started to cut the border fabric... and then I realised that I haven't completed the embroidery on the main centre block... and now its in the centre of the quilt and I am going to have to stitch the last bits of it in situ. Much more awkward that stitching the block on its own. Sigh. I think this quilt is never going to be ready to be finished off.  I also found the buttons I bought to decorate blocks with. They won't go on till the end though, after its quilted so that is okay.

I have to stitch over all the lines in the windows. After its been quilted I will add some button cakes and pies.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday,  at Freshly Pieced, WIPS on Wednesday and Lets Bee Social

Monday, February 23, 2015

Stash Report - a major finish

I have had some serious movement in my statistics for this week because I finally finished Vanishing Hours! I got it back from the long armer a week or two ago and all I had to do was bind it but I couldn't decide what to bind it with. Mind you I didn't audition anything with it... just kept pushing it aside mentally as for some reason I just didn't want to tackle it. Eventually I decided that the green check binding I had made for another project (and then forgotten and used something else) would indeed be perfect. I even had a scrap just the right size to make the extra I needed. I blogged about the process last Wednesday - including the fact that when I picked it up to work on I found that one of the 3 cats I had staying here had peed on it. NOT nice. I went ahead and bound it before I washed it. Its come up beautifully. It was put on our bed for the photo but I'm waiting to wash the sheets and change the pillow slips before it goes on there to stay for a while.
It was 211cm x 242cm and used 11.61m of fabric. Whoot. What a finish.

I've also made a bag - a messenger bag from this pattern on Diary of a Quilter. Must say mine didn't take me 32 minutes.. took a fair bit longer but it was pretty straight forward. Its a very soft bag as it has no stiffening at all in it but I am happy with how it turned out. The fabric I used came for Malaysia, from a visit I made there in 2007. Since Fangirl, Fixit Guy and I are going back there for a visit in April I decided I had better  use some of the fabric I bought then as no doubt I will buy some more. The fabrics I bought are mostly sarong lengths so they have designs that vary along the length - border prints worked into parts of it etc. I thought that I would donate this one to Our Rainbow House. Hope to get in an make a few more this weekend. It used 2 half yard pieces for the liner and outside including strap and pockets (I put two on the inside and one on the outside). I cut both from the same length of fabric, just cutting from the different patterns
Total for the bag .95m

Yesterday I made 4 hanging kitchen towels using this free tutorial from Fat Quarter Shop 

That used .56m of fabric for the 4 of them. They still have to have buttons and button holes done but I am not doing those. Someone else from our craft group will complete them

That was my fabric usage for the week. I had no purchases

This Week

Fabric Used                               13.12m

Fabric Added                              0.00m

Year to Date

Fabric Used                               29.26m

Fabric Added                             10.35m

Net Fabric used                         18.92m

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Fitness

Hey everyone. How has your week gone? Have you made progress on your goals be they crafting or fitness or something else.

We've had a bit of excitement here at our place both personally and as a state.-

Fixit Guy, Fangirl and I went to Brisbane last weekend to continue the birthday celebrations for Fangirl who turned 30. We had a blast. She has written about it on her blog so check it out here

Just  before we left I had a phone call from the deputy principal of the Capricorn School of Distance Education  (CSDE) school here in town asking if I would take a one day a week contract for as long as I liked. I wasn't looking for any work, considering myself basically retired but they were keen for me to come in and that is always very flattering. I've agreed to work till the Easter holidays and have another look at it then. Fixit Guy has retired and we want to travel. We have no firm plans for the moment for going away (apart from a week in Malaysia in the Easter school holidays) however I want to be free to do so if we want. I worked 2 days this week... one day to get me up to speed with the technology (and I am still floundering with that but it gave me a bit of an idea) and then today was my official work day. The school is not a conventional school - it has teachers and students but the students are at home and the teachers are in the base school. These kids are from cattle stations and properties, too far away from schools for them to travel to, or else they have other circumstances that make attending a regular school impossible (illness, physical impairment, or travelling)

And the excitement on a state level... Queensland has had a category 5 cyclone impacting our coast. In fact it crossed the coast not far north of where we live (but on the coast. We are 4 hours inland) Category 5 is a very fierce storm. We here haven't been affected - its been a cloudy grey day but no wind or rain to speak of. However Rockhampton is our nearest city and the storm passed right over it. Many local people have family and friends living there and our local regional radio station has stayed with the storm all day giving information and updates. It affected my first on air lessons with the children as many of them live in areas affected by the storm. Only half of them came on line for our lesson this morning. And of those who did they were very concerned for their friends who weren't there.

As predicted last week my step counts took a little bit of a battering over the weekend and so did my calorie intake. Whooee... a weekend away will do that too you! Actually my steps over the weekend weren't too bad, and should have been better but for the fact that my Fitbit stopped working for the first 5000 steps of this massive walk Fixit Guy and I went on Sunday afternoon. He logged 9000 for the walk alone where as my step count was 5000 and that included the steps I got before it played up. Never mind. Monday was also a low step day cause we flew  home that day, got in too late for a walk after we got in and before hand well... sitting in airport lounges, cars, planes and people's homes will do that. We did a bit of walking within the airport but didn't really have much time.

And as to the food... we went to Eat Street on Friday night for dinner and sampled a huge range of dishes (sharing them amongst the 5 of us). We went out for breakfast Saturday morning and later in the morning stopped to have coffee (and an amazing ginger scone which Fixit Guy and I shared), then a chocolate High Tea in the afternoon - it was a buffet themed with chocolate... After the show we had a late night snack at a bar in the Queen St Mall. Brekky out again on Sunday, a late lunch and even later afternoon tea and then a very late dinner that night. A late breakfast Monday - followed by a light lunch and then a snack on the plane and light dinner when we got home. So food food and more food.

I was pleased to have not put on too much weight when we got home.

My steps for the week have been
Friday                    10 408 -  a morning walk followed by walking around the airport and about the                                                     markets              
Saturday                12 215 - walking around the city, for shopping, to high tea and over to the theatre                                                at night
Sunday                   7 293   - walking about the city and a huge walk in the afternoon only half of                                                      which was counted due to fitbit failure :(
Monday                  4 521   - a low day due to it being a travel day. We walked to the bus and from the                                              bus to Kombi Boys home, plus a walk from the drop off point to the                                                      airport lounge
Tuesday                 10 993   - home again so  back to walking the dog
Wednesday            10 033   - morning walk and then a day at work. I thought that my steps would be                                               lower but surprisingly found I got my steps pretty easily
Thursday                10 836  - morning walk followed by some shopping helped me get my steps up

I've basically remained around 10th on my friends list... sliding down a little some days and climbing up on others.

Thursday Thoughts - Creative blockages

Do you have things that you just don't or won't attempt when it comes to crafting? Things that you would sort of kinda maybe want to try... that you admire when others do them ... get craft envy over... but are too scared to try yourself?

I do ... please reassure me that I'm not alone.

There are a few things that I have struggled with... or just plain avoided doing.

One of these has been paper piecing. It was something that I had admired, thought about, mulled on, wished I could do it, thought I should try it but not done a darn thing about learning it... for years. This year, thanks to a challenge put out by Sandy from Quilting For the Rest of Us,  I have taken on paper piecing. I have also joined Fandom in Stitches 30 week Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt along called Project of Doom (POD) which is all paper pieced. I have found several other paper pieced patterns which delight the geeks in my life and made them - Doctor Who and Minion related. I have watched a Craftsy Class by Carol Doak on paper piecing. I am inspired to complete the projects she demonstrated and have even ordered the Add a Quarter Inch ruler that she recommends. (I have not succumbed to the special paper she recommends. I stick to copy paper)

So that is one of my craft monkeys off my back

Another one has been zippers. Through out my sewing life zippers have been something I have avoided as much as possible. I did learn to put them in back in high school Home Ec but I seem to average putting one in every 10 years so each time I have to relearn - get someone to show me and usually that means I get them to do it. My first serious foray into sewing was stretch sewing through the local Knitwit shop. I did several of their classes and became a certified Knitwit!! Then I got into patchwork. Both of these branches of sewing are pretty well zipper (and button) free. (this was NOT a coincidence)

This year though I have sat down and watched a YouTube video on making zipper pouches and was confident enough to go ahead and make 3 zipper pouches one after another. I then put a zipper in a cushion I made for my daughter Fangirl. Bam. I was so happy and excited that I ordered some zippers on line and accepted the gift of 5 zippers from a friend who had a stash. I haven't put another one in since BUT am determined to sew another few of those little pouches this weekend to contribute to Our Rainbow House - Hand Made Love . We are going to have a stall at the end of March so are making a stock pile for that.

The last of my crafty nemesis is printing on fabric... using the computer. This is something I have admired so often in others. I love the projects that they have made. What a great way to personalize a project. Yes I wanted to do that. I have taken classes at quilt shows - at least 2. I have bought product. I have talked to people who have done it... but haven't done it myself.  was scared I would mess it up. It seemed complicated and the potential for it to go wrong seemed huge.

I bit the bullet at the meeting for Hand Made Love. I suggested that we should have a little label to go on our items. I offered to design and print some out. Gulp. I designed them - sent them to the group for approval (never heard back so assumed they approved) I decided to day to print some out. I found my packet of printer fabric... I read the instructions. I did a test print on paper. I printed them out... oops wrong side. I tried again... it got stuck. I tried again... upside down again. Cleaned up the printer roller by running several sheets of paper through it (cause it had printed on the shiny side there was ink on the rollers) Finally got one sheet through... pretty good. Then I got adventurous. I decided that I would do some a little bigger. I got the sheet in the right way (I do learn eventually) but twice it has become stuck when printing through so I was about to give up but one last go and through it went.

That is 3 Crafty Nemesis - monkeys on my back dealt with and its not even a 6th of the way through the year. That is a pretty good start. I sometimes think that overcoming one hurdle/challenge/monkey on your back makes you game enough to try another - gives you confidence to have a red hot go at something. To have another go even if you fail the first time.

It can work the other way too ... sometimes when things go badly for us we stop trying, we are reluctant to stick our neck out, to attempt something new. Sometimes we do have to nurture ourselves, do some comfort crafting on things familiar and dear, rebuild our creative fire. But it is always good to keep venturing out - testing ourselves, challenging ourselves.

I am so glad that this year I am feeling brave and adventurous and ready to try a few new things.