Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A is for Apple


Apples are a significant symbol for our family, particularly apple cores. I have collected apple related things for many years. 

It actually started in 1989 when some friends gave us a pair of apple core ornament - and I bought another one when I saw it, and then another. I collected a number of apple ornaments as well when I couldn't find core things. Actually when I look at the photo above I realise that this is not completely true. Someone gave our oldest child a romper suit with an apple on it when she was born, a little before this ... only just realised that!!
Our original apple core ornaments are the middle one and the one on the right

An Apple Shaped egg timer

Kitchen towels adorned with apples

This beautiful collection of apples were bought when we had a family holiday around Tasmania. They are made from a variety of different timbers found down there

A Teapot for one! A gift from my sister in law Christine (From Bluebirds and Bumblebees)

A note book... also from Christine

When I got into quilting it was almost inevitable that I would start to collect apple and core related fabric.
my most recent Apple fabric - Assorted Apples by Nutex, a New Zealand company

 Christine also made me this lovely apple wall hanging and I found a gorgeous hanger for it. Unfortunately I ruined it when I washed it and the red embroidery thread ran. Tried lots of stuff to remove it but it tis what it is

 Christine and my sister Joy both made the same pattern for me after it appeared in a quilting magazine. One as a wall hanging and the other as a cushion.

I saw a gorgeous Apple quilt hanging in a LQS (Local Quilt Shop for anyone reading this not into quilting) whilst visiting Christine one time. I thought about it decided I would buy it but by then the shop had shut. It was a Saturday afternoon and it wasn't reopening till Monday morning by which time we  had left town. Christine went back to the quilt shop to try to get the pattern for me but they didn't have any left.

 I found another pattern a while later which I bought and made. 

I have never been convinced that it was the same pattern and I always had a niggle that the other, the one I didn't get to make was nicer. I wonder if it is the curse of human kind to hanker after that which they didn't have, that they didn't get to make or see... the one that got away. Is it a case of the grass is always greener?

I pieced the back using apple fabrics I had been collecting for years and making 12" blocks I hadn't tried before.

I loved the cut through version of the apple.. .really quaint

I hadn't really looked at this quilt for years till I got it out to photograph for this blog post. Now I really like it. It might not have been the pattern that I had originally seen and loved but I really like it anyway so I am happy.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday Musings

Its only a few days till the Blogging from A-Z Challenge starts on April 1st. I am trying to get myself organised but not sure that its working. I've set myself up some folders to gather my photos into. Some I have heaps of photos and others not so many. I've started writing a few posts already. I've got drafts for each post up already but the trouble is if I write in any of them they get out of order. I realised later really I should have written them as word documents and then just copied them over. Never mind.

The big part of the challenge is that we are going to be away from home from Thursday 9th through till Saturday 18th and as far as the challenge goes ... thats from H through to P.  We'll be out of the country for a week. I just checked. Our motel suite does have wi fi for an additional cost... can't find what that cost actually is. Once we do get home I only get one day and then I am going back to work full time for a week so that is going to be hectic as well.

Fangirl is doing the challenge as well and she is coming with us so will be working under the same restraints. She was trying to explain to me about the fact that we can schedule our posts... so if I get them all written then they can be ready to just pop up and run by themselves. I have tried to do that once before... with mixed success. Can't remember what went wrong. I'll have to try again I guess.

Teashop open for Business

Well not really but my applique quilt that I called Teashop Quilt is finished.

The journey for this quilt started in the UK in 2013 when I was visiting my daughter, known as Fangirl who was living there at the time. I had 4 weeks overseas, 3 weeks in the UK with her and one week in Berlin visiting our German exchange student Lena.

FG and I had 3 glorious weeks driving around England and Scotland. A feature of most days was us finding a teashop and enjoying a Devonshire Tea, or cream tea as they are called over there.

Our first outing was a high tea (well they called it Afternoon Tea) at the Chesterfield Hotel. It was Fangirl's Mother's Day present to me. It had a Willy Wonka Theme which was appropriate as afterwards we went to see Charlie and The Chocolate Factory at the theatre. (which was her birthday present to me)

We both also love English bone china and we had great fun visiting the charity shops - selling second hand clothes, bric a brac and china. Despite the fact that I was going to have to fly home with this china I didn't resist and bought a number of pieces. The only reason I had room for any china is that I had taken a large suitcase with me in order to be able to bring back some stuff for FG. She was moving back to Australia at the end of the year and I had offered to help her shift some of her goods in my luggage. Usually when I travel I go with just one cabin sized bag.

We tried to visit fabric and craft shops but had the most amazing run of bad luck First of all they were hard to find... well at least where we visited. And then everyone we did find was shut. We would get there in the afternoon of their half day and they had closed at lunch time... or at 2 or 3 and we would be there after that. Or it was the day they didn't open at all. One we came across had closed completely. NOT good.

On my last weekend in the UK we visited the area of Kent where FG had lived when she first went to the UK. She knew where there was a patchwork shop in the district and as a surprise she took me there. It was called Puddleducks and was located in Sevenoaks in Kent
Puddleducks Shop

 I wasn't interested in buying fabric. The range was basically the same as we have in Australia and the same price or more expensive. However I did want something special as a keepsake ... and after all the effort Fangirl had gone to take me there I had to buy something. When I saw this pattern by Gail Penberthy, featuring a tea shop I knew that it was what I needed to buy. The perfect souveneir from my holiday.

I flew back to Australia, into Sydney where I was met by my husband. We had a wedding to attend in Sydney and then had a 3 week driving holiday planned, around NSW (it had been originally planned as being 8 weeks but husband's job situation changed) During our holiday I visited a number of quilt shop and I collected fabric for the quilt. I was looking for tea shop related fabrics - cups, plates, cakes, mugs etc, as well as some fabric to complete the design I had bought.

Back home again I got busy and when I decided to start work on the quilt I couldn't find the pattern. I had the fabric I had purchased, and even some buttons but could NOT find the pattern. I was VERY frustrated to say the least. Eventually I found the website for the shop where I had purchased it and found the name of the designer and the pattern. When I ordered the pattern they got back to me to say they no longer carried it. I searched the net and found it elsewhere. Whilst on the website I found a couple of other patterns by the same designer and ordered them too. Of course when they arrived I found the original pattern! (isn't that always the way).

I didn't plan to make the individual projects but to combine them into a larger wall quilt.

We were planning another 9 week camping trip Oct-Dec in 2014 and I decided that this project combining these three patterns and other appliques featuring the fabrics I had purchased the year before would be the perfect hand project to take with me. I set about prepping the blocks to take with me. I worked out a design and planned my blocks accordingly

I stitched the appliques as we travelled the coast of Australia from Sunshine Coast around to Great Ocean Road, across to Adelaide, up to the Flinders Ranges and then home the inland route. I got most of the appliques completed in this time. Once I got home I put the squares up on my design wall. Had a few goes at rearranging the squares, stitched a few more squares and finally put it together,


Took me a little while once I got the quilt pinned to get it quilted but last week I managed to get it done and ... well now its done. Yay.

I thought this was my done photo... but then I realised I hadn't added the embellishments. I had collected a variety of buttons as well on my travels. Things which I thought would add to the quilt. Here they are. I love them. I have more I could add... will see how I go

I had hoped to hang it at a garden party I went to on Saturday but I didn't get around to asking the organisers if they would like it so I didn't take it with me. Its not a cuddle quilt. Its a quilt to be hung. Not sure where I will hang it but I will find a space I'm sure.

So its done! 18 months after I bought the pattern I have it all finished. I'm very proud of it

This was my March project for A Lovely Year of Finishes and I am pleased that I have managed it in time

Sunday, March 29, 2015

March Goals wrap up and setting some new ones for April

At the end of February I set myself some goals for March. This is what they were
  1. complete blocks for Elephant Parade (weekly)             
  2. complete all blocks for the POD challenge - 4 weeks, 4 blocks    
  3. complete March step in Scrapitude 2015 - Scrap in a Box
  4. make birthday miniature quilt
  5. make another Lenten banner
  6. start work on Joy's Bluebird quilt
  7. complete Teashop Quilt in time to hang at the afternoon tea for Our Rainbow House (28th March)
  8. do one block from 2012 BOM on Craftsy
  9. complete the blue quilt top for Patchwork
  10. continue to work on yearly goals
  11. make more bags for Hand Made
I looked at it and thought to myself I was being VERY optimsitic

To help keep myself on track I put them on my blog wall and it must have worked. I am thrilled to say that I have completed ALL of these 11 goals. It is a great feeling

So now for April. I am going to have to pull back a bit on my expectations for April. For a start we are going to Malaysia for a holiday and will be away from home 10 days. When we get back I am going to be working full time for a week. That is going to include doing all the planning for the teaching so it will be pretty full on. Boyo will also be home from university for a week and no doubt we will do some family stuff with him whilst he is home. Still there are a few things that I would like to try to accomplish

  1. Complete April step in Scrapitude 2015- Scrap in a Box.
  2. Complete the weekly POD blocks
  3. Work on Judy's  bluebird quilt
  4. complete the Patchwork club's Blue quit
  5. complete the project I have been asked to pattern test.
  6. continue to work on yearly goals
Another major goal for April which is not strictly quilting related is to take part in the Blogging from A to Z challenge. For the same reasons mentioned before as to why I am not being as ambitious in my quilting goals for the month, this is going to be very challenging and I am trying really hard to get myself organised before hand so as not to be too pressured during the month. 

My yearly goals for 2015 are

       continue to track my fabric use and purchases with an aim to having a bigger net usage        this year than last This is going well. I am definitely tracking and whilst I haven't used as much fabric this year as for the same period last year I have also bought much less and so my net usage is greater

          purchase fabric for usage not for stashing ie having a purpose for fabric bought This has basically been what I have been sticking to. I have bought a fat quarter bundle but it will be useful fabric

          make mini quilts for Anzac Day, Australia Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Birthday So far I have made mini quilts for Australia Day and birthday. I am waiting on a pattern coming from Sandi at Quiltcabana to make the Easter one. Thinking about the Anzac Day quilt

           complete quilts for donation as required - aim for 25% I haven't actually been tracking this. Might have to get onto Fixit Guy to add a column to my spreadsheet. Haven't made donation quilts as such this year apart from the quilt at patchwork group but have made lots of bags and hanging towels

         list Craftsy classes and work on watching them. Do BOM one from 2012 Still haven't listed them but have started making the blocks from Amy Gibson's BOM 2012. So far I have made 5 of them. I am not going to make all of the blocks f but will make most of them

Sunday Stash Report

I am very delighted to be able to count the Tea Shop Quilt as finished. Measuring 127cm square it accounted for 3.82m of fabric

I also finished off 3 little zipper pouches to go on the Our Rainbow House stall yesterday. They were only small and so between them accounted for only .73m, not a great amount but still some usage.

There was no fabric in this week. I didn't buy any nor was I given any for my birthday. But that is okay... I bought myself a few other non fabric but sewing related goodies as my birthday gift... a new rotary cutter and some pens from Massdrop.

I completed two clutch bags for the ORH stall as well but as that fabric came from a lovely pile of fabric that we have been donated and I didn't count it as fabric in I can't count it as fabric out.

My darling husband, known as Fixit Guy had bought me a gift and left it on the coffee table in the loungeroom the night before my birthday. We didn't stop to open it before meeting our daughter Fangirl for breakfast on my birthday. It was a large box and I had an inkling what it might be. At breakfast our daughter arrived with an identical sized box, and some smaller gifts. She had organised with 2 of her brothers to buy a combined or at leased co-ordinated gift. The large box was a coffee machine and the smaller parcels were pods to go into it. As we were driving home Fixit Guy said to me "Don't open your present... I'm going to have to take it back" sure enough he had also bought me a coffee machine. I joked with him that whilst that is what I thought it might be I had also wondered if it could have been a very large box of fabric. No, he said that would have been way too expensive... and besides you would have to put it all on your spread sheet. (He helped refine my spreadsheet on Excel so it makes all sorts of automatic calculations for me so knows all about me having to track my fabric) He also admitted he wasn't really game to buy me fabric as he isn't sure what I like or can use.

Anyway my stats for this week

This Week (week 13)

Fabric Used                               4.55m

Fabric Added                              0.00m

Year to Date

Fabric Used                               49.33m

Fabric Added                             12.78m

Net Fabric used                         36.55m

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday - Fair Fat and Fifty Something

Yup its my birthday today and I turned fifty something. My diet this week has been not god as I have been tucking into everything bad... ho hum. Must find my mojo from somewhere.

I have been keeping up my steps - and that is about all I can say

Friday         10 337
Saturday      13 024
Sunday        10 607
Monday       11 979
Tuesday       10 981
Wednesday  13 041
Thursday     12 747

I'm writing this a day early as tomorrow is going to be a huge day.

First of all we want to go for a walk... have to do something to counteract what is going to be an indulgent weekend. Then Fangirl is going to do something with me for breakfast. We will probably go  out somewhere. Then I'll have to go to work. Its my last day. I've already had word that there is a parent who wants to contact me plus there is a pile of assignments come in for me to mark as well as having to make sure things are as neat and tidy as I can leave them for my replacement. I will have to go in next week to collect more assignments and hand in corrected ones etc. There might be something on for me as a farewell/birthday BUT given that I have only worked one day a week for 7 weeks I've not really become part of the staff overly much so not expecting anything.

We have drinks in the afternoon from 5.30, farewell for some friends leaving town and then at 7 we are going out for dinner. So.... not leaving a lot of time to write a blog. 

Somewhere in there I am sure my 3 boys will make contact and perhaps other family members - although nowadays my family don't phone too much. Mum doesn't really ring any more. Her memory isn't a great so she might not remember it. I will probably ring her instead.

Then Saturday we have a big afternoon tea to go to. Its a major fundraiser for Our Rainbow House. We will probably go over in the morning to help with setting up and then I will be back as one of the guests along with Fangirl. Fixit Guy will probably be one of the helpers (washing up, waitering or something like that)  

Ed: Well its Friday night. I forgot to post this last night. Have to say I did NOT go for a walk this morning or this afternoon. Have eaten yummy food all day and as a result am very full right now. I have also not even got 2 lights lit up on Fitbit so that means not even 4000 steps yet. Hmmm some jogging on the spot called for I think. Night all

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

WIP Wednesday - Making progress

At last I started quilting The Tea Shop Quilt. I started Monday afternoon and by tea time I had the quilting done. Its a long way from perfect. I possibly would have done a better job if I had planned out what I was going to do but I just don't seem to quilt that way. I start and make up my mind what I am doing as I go which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. I used Aurifil thread and have to say I am really impressed. REALLY impressed. It went so smoothly and didn't seem to have any of the issues that can sometimes happen with quilting. I did find that I hadn't completed the applique on one block. Oops

I also managed to flip up the back and quilt some it down in the wrong place 

And sew the darning foot to the quilt. So much talent I have

Apart from those mishaps it went well. I even got a bit creative with the tea shop itself and stitched in the bricks on the chimney and the tiles on the room

 I got the binding made that evening.  I chose a brightly coloured stripes. There were lots of bright colours in the quilt and I think it worked well

The next questions was whether to machine it on front and back or machine the front and hand stitch the back. I don't mind hand stitching at all. Especially when there is something good to listen to - a podcast or radio play, or something worth watching on the tv. But its been SOO hot here in Central Queensland. Considering its March and there fore officially Autumn it should be cooling off but this last week we have had record temperatures across the inland part of the state. (one day last week 15 centres had their highest March temperatures ever) Here in my home town we have  had high 30s (Celsius) Its a bit cooler this week - mid 30s. Still way too hot to sit with a quilt in your lap stitching. It does mean that it won't be show quality but I don't stitch for shows. I want this done by Saturday so machining it was. I got the binding on front and back. 

There was still some hand work to be done on it.  I made a label and stitched in on and stitched the hanging sleeve down as well. There was a bit of embellishment to go on the quilt as well. I had a heap of little buttons that could go on the quilt... little cakes, tea pots, a tart. These all went in the tea shop window. Beading on the appliqued cakes in the window as well.

 I think I am done... but have heaps of buttons I could sew on if I wanted to.

But I think I get to declare it done. This was declared project for this month's A lovely Year of Finishes so that is great. It was also one of my March goals. That means I have only one goal from that list to go...

At Handmade With Love sewing day Tuesday I made 2 little pouches for the stall on Saturday. I used a pattern that the Clermont ladies had given me on Thursday last week and it was so quick and easy. They had printed it off the internet and then photocopied the pattern for me but you can find the pattern on the Better Homes and Gardens here
This is the clutch from the website. Mine isn't quite so fancy.

I managed to get two done (almost) in the morning which included a long morning tea and a meeting of our group too. I still have to stitch the press stud on the second clutch and sew on the button.

The American BHG website was a bit of a time sink. I have found several other patterns that I am keen to try out

At Patchwork today I got the blue quilt I have been putting together for our group pinned. I have bought it home to quilt. 

I printed the next pattern for the POD. It was an owl There were 4 owls to choose from but I went with Hegwig, Harry Potter's own owl. There were so many pieces in this one. I just looked at it. I put it away and worked on all sorts of other things but today was D Day. Another pattern will come out tomorrow and I didn't want to get behind so I took it to our sewing day at patchwork. After I had finished pinning the blue quilt I made good progress on the block before coming home and then after we got  back from babysitting I worked on it some more. (Fixit Guy is teaching our friend to drive and whilst she is at the lesson I get to babysit the most gorgeous 14 month old Tish). About 6.30 tonight I got it done. Yay me. Its not perfect but its done.

I've got a few more titles stitched on the spines of the books in the bookshelf of the POD QAL. I finished one block at our sewing day in Clermont last Thursday and today whilst babysitting I got the titles written on 2 more blocks and started hand stitching them. I stuffed up ... big time. One of the blocks I had upside down when I wrote the names on in the pigma pens I write with before embroidering over them. I thought that perhaps I could just pretend those books are upside down in the shelf..... but they are around the wrong way. Sigh. I am going to have to unpick and restitch either those books in the block or applique something over them... or ignore them and see if anyone notices. So cross with myself

Once I finish the next POD pattern due out tomorrow then I will have completed ALL my goals for March. I am very proud of me.

I got my scrap basket emptied and all the fabric that had been cut into useful units put away. Since then a few scraps have been added to the basket. It never stays empty for long

I forgot to take a starting shot. This was actually midway through the process

Empty. That's a mirror in the bottom of the basket NOT a scrap of fabric

Linking up with  WIP Wednesday,WOW- WIPs on Wednesday and Lets Bee Social