July 2012 archive

Sorting Scraps and a plea for help


I love scraps.  I keep them all.  You might even call me a hoarder.  If it’s too small to sew or applique I keep it for the kids to paste onto things.  A little while ago I bought “Scrap Republic”.  Ever since I have been dreaming about the scrappy quilts that I could make.  However, my scraps were in a huge mess.  Today I decided to follow step one in the book; sort out my scraps.

I began with two shopping bags recently gifted from my friend the lovely Ms Midge and two large bags of my own scraps that I’d shoved into a cupboard.
Sorry for the dodgy iPad pic, the camera was charging
The book suggests that you sort your scraps into colours.  The author sorted her scraps into white, pink red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black/brown, and other before storing them in plastic tubs.
Halfway there.

I sorted my scraps into red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, pink, brown, cream, black/grey, multi-coloured and selvedges.  We have enough plastic tubs to sink a ship with none to spare and I don’t fancy any more, so I used zip lock bags.  How tidy is that???

I ended up with a pile of “other” fabric.  This is the knit, cord, stretch, denim, upholstry weight fabrics.  It’s still in this pile on the edge of the sofa.  In fact I can see it right now.  I don’t want to shove it back into a grocery bag but I really can’t be bothered doing anything else with it…
Gah!  Other fabrics, and a blanket and some DMC floss
 and a felt helicopter…
I also ended up with a big pile of UFOs, random blocks (some of these inherited by the lovely Ms Midge and some of my own making), a heap of ribbons and trims that were hiding in the bags because I am really bad at storing them, self covering buttons accessories, felt balls, alligator clips, gift bags, quilt kit instructions.  Well, a mess really…
Double gah!

This mess is also still where I left it.  Way too much work there for 8.30pm, so it might just have to go back into a grocery bag…

So, part of me is dreaming of making a scrappy quilt from Scrap Republic and part of me is ignoring the mess on the floor (I did my sorting on the floor because my sewing table is a mess I had more space there).  Part of me is living in fear that no matter how much I tidy my sewing area it will always be a chaotic mess and I will never be able to find the white snaps or catepillar ribbon when I need them.  Part of me is pleased at what I achieved.  Part of me is overwhelmed by how much I still have to sort, store and tidy.
I would LOVE your tips on how to organise those last little bits of stuff.  The bits that always get shoved in a drawer or bag no matter how many times you move or organise or rearrange.  Considering we’ve only been in this house 18 months and will move again in another 18 months I fear that I will never be truly organised, but a girl can dream.  How do you keep your craft space and supplies tidy?

A little here a little there


No finishes for TGIFF, but hop over to Stop That Owl to check out all the fabulous finishes :)  As for me, slow progress here.  I’ve only sewn on Monday and Friday this week with a little cutting in between.

The fun paper pieced coffee plunger has not progressed.  I still love it and will turn it into something special in the next day or two :)

I was playing with some scraps earlier this week and plan to turn this cute block into a purse.  I’ve picked out a striking magenta for the lining and natural linen for the back along with a pink zipper.  Fun :)

This is a custom order cushion cover.  I will be hand embroidering the linen block with some flowers and a new baby’s name.  I’m hoping to finish this one this afternoon, but it is almost school pickup time so it might not happen until tomorrow (Mr nearly 4 has a middle ear infection so I might have some grumpy poos after school).

Then I have these vintage sheets picked out to cut into fat quarters for the vintage swap organised by Jane over at Fabric Swaps – Australia and International, these need to be in by 15th August so I will cut them over the weekend and post them Monday :)

Happy Sewing!

A love story and a little sewing


Recently I’ve been reflecting on how much I love Mr Husband and how lucky we are to have found each other.  I was only 21 when we met (I thought I was a grown up!) and I still remember seeing him for the first time.  I remember thinking that he had lovely manners and was such a gentleman.  That is something that I will remind my children of in years to come; it’s not your hairstyle, your clothes (you should have seen the pink cargos he wore all that summer, he claims they were orange!), the stunts you pull, rather, it’s the way you treat others that counts.  

Three of the people I love most in the world
(we get about 1 family portrait a year LOL)
Recently I dropped the ball when I ended up in hospital with pneumonia.  We had guests staying (10 people, including 6 kids in our 3 bedroom house!) and he didn’t miss a beat (although he did look rather tired!).  With the help of our lovely guests not only did he keep everything going on the homefront, but he managed to visit me everyday and twice most days.  Those visits were precious and I would have been a lot sadder without his company.  Even with the pressures of catching up on work after two weeks leave he is committed to helping me while I recover.  For that I am grateful as I am still exhausted and cannot return to our normal routine of him working 12+ hours a day.
I’m much better now but still tire easily.  I’ve spent far too much time laying in bed thinking.  Thinking a lot about how lucky I am, how precious my children are and how perfect Mr Husband is for me.  My sewing has stalled since I’ve been home from hospital, but I did do a little earlier this week and hope to again today.  With all of the talk of paper piecing over at QCA I decided I just had to try some.  I did a foundation pieced block at a quilt course a few years ago, lots of wonky rectangles that ended up 9″ (I think) using a fabric stabliser.  The end result was nothing special and didn’t really inspire me to try it again.  The QCA girls on the other hand are incredibly inspiring!  Helicopters, umbrellas, houses and lots more!  So my first day back at the machine (and I haven’t done any more sewing since then!) I made this for Mr Husband to say thank you :)

Do you like it?  It is inspired by Ayumi Mills teapot (honestly, that woman has some of the cutest creations!), but I drew it up myself based on the plunger that Mr Husband has at work.  I’m thinking of stamping “coffee” or “café de Papa” on the yellow section.  I had planned to turn it into a mug rug for the plunger, but I’m scared he’ll get coffee stains on it LOL  I’m hoping to have it finished for TGIFF tomorrow but I’m not sure how to quilt it or what to turn it into.  Suggestions anyone?  It is currently 10.5″ x 10″.  I was thinking of stamping a nice message on the back (keen to use my new stamps) and send it to the office with him, but it seems a bit daggy to ask Mr Husband to put a mini quilt up on his office wall.  I’m getting old…  This is what daggy old couples do, right?  At least we’re not up to matching tracksuits yet!
I’m super keen to do some more paper piecing but I didn’t enjoy wasting so much fabric so I’ve ordered some freezer paper.  I can’t wait for it to arrive!  
I also managed to put together two little pincushions.  Super cute and they are both on their way as little surprise thank yous :)  Can you tell I love playing with scraps?
Sorry for the poor quality photos, taken in a hurry indoors.
I used a new favourite fabric in the centre of one and on the back of both.  Do you like?  I have a thing for sewing themed fabric at the moment :)
Happy Sewing, I hope you’re getting more done than me!

Not much sewing…


Big apologies for the silence around these parts.  You might remember that I mentioned that I’d been unwell for a month or so.  Well, it turns out I had pneumonia.  I knew I was sick, I just didn’t realise how sick I was.  I kept worse and worse ended up with inflammation around my left lung which was seriously painful and saw me end up in hospital for a few days.  You can read more about my experience here.  I have been home for almost a week now and am feeling much, much better, but my energy levels have been pretty low and not much sewing has been going on.  I’m hoping to do something (anything!) today :)

My sewing space all packed up and unused while I’m sick :(
(and yes, a shelf has fallen down and yes Mr Husband fixed it
 for me today)

In the meantime I am linking up with Fiona over at Finding Fifth for Sunday Stash.

Finding Fifth

No sewing, but my wonderful friends who stayed with us whilst I was unwell (great timing on my behalf!) gave us a book each as a thank you gift.  All of the books were very well chosen!  I was lucky enough to receive Zakka Style!!

I recently ordered from a new (to me) etsy shop, karaku.  This week my parcel arrived all the way from Japan!  I love that my order was wrapped up like a gift :)

I love the stamps although the stamp pads are a bit smaller than I expected.  The stamps are also tiny so it will be fine.  I can’t wait to start stamping on fabric!

They also included a cute little freebie pack.  Little Miss promptly claimed one pack of Hello Kitty tissues but I hid the gift tags :)

I also received some gorgeous fabric from The Oz Material Girls.  I’ve played with some of these before and usually I have a policy of not buying the same fabric again, but I just couldn’t resist when these were on sale on their Facebook auction page. Too cute!

Sorry about the shocking photo, not sure what is going on there…

After seeing Kate Spain Good Fortune everywhere I finally caved in.  I LOVE the fans!!!  The dragonflies are growing on me.  The colours weren’t exactly as I’d anticipated but the more I look at them the more I love them.

What’s new in your stash this week?  I have certainly been very lucky adding to my stash, now I just need the energy to play with it all :)

Handmade with care (and lots of experimenting!)


I don’t have many real life crafting buddies that live nearby but I enjoy interacting on an almost daily basis with some wonderful crafty women online.  A few months ago I joined Quilt Club Australia, a Facebook based modern quilting group.  Some of these women have been quilting for years and are amazingly talented and speedy.  Some are on their first, second or third quilt.  All are friendly and willing to share their skills and knowledge.  There is even another expat Aussie in the group!

Not long after I joined I signed up for my first swap with QCA.  I was assigned a lovely lady in Perth who unfortunately doesn’t have a blog but had filled out a questionnaire so I knew that she likes “modern fun stuff”, doesn’t like yellow or grey too much, likes purple, green, pink, red and aqua but is not a fan of old style floral prints, vintage prints or batiks.  I decided that “modern fun stuff” gave me licence to be as creative as I could be :)  She received her gift late last week so I can share with you now what I made!
I hope I didn’t go too far with the experimenting, but as I started to design, cut and sew I got more and more creative.  I am really into texture at the moment and I tried pebbling on the front cover.  This is around some reverse appliqué which is not raw edged but has some hand quilting just because.  I don’t know what this technique is called but I sewed the letters with right sides together, cut them out, turned through the facing fabric and ended up with my letters but nice clean edges.  To be honest the circle in the S and the E was a right pain and I probably won’t do it this way again LOL  I also did everything by sight so it isn’t perfect, but I think that is what I was going for, a natural design progression.
I had so much fun with the back!!  I machine stitched the pleats in opposite directions and then hand stitched on top for a fun detail.  Texture baby!
The blue bit is a little pocket and the
red is a felt square for needles.
I machine stitched the binding, I wish I’d had time to hand stitch it, but I didn’t in the end, I hope my partner forgives me that *blushes*  How much fun are these fabrics?  I had just received the red and the orange and I HAD to use them.  I love putting in a zippered pocket into sewing pouches, nothing like losing a button while travelling that was destined for some crafty goodness.  The ribbon is meant to be for holding cotton reels, again it was an experiment as previously I have used bias binding and velcro.
The pin cushion is my very first cathedral window.  It was so much fun and I’m going to make HEAPS more.  I found a great tutorial here.  
So what do you think?  Did I do OK for my first swap?  I haven’t received my swap item yet, but mail always takes a little longer to get to me, so no surprises there :)  I’ll be sure to share when I do though!

I’m linking up with Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday at Quokka Quilts this week :)  Technically I didn’t finish this project this week but because it was a swap I’m only sharing it for the first time now :)

Rotary Sharpener, how I love thee!


I lost my sewjo this week.  I’ve been sick for nearly 3 weeks now, the kids have been unwell too and sleep is a distant memory.  All week I was near my fabric stash and sewing machine but nothing was happening.  On Friday I decided that I needed some instant gratification to get me motivated so I made a cute ribbon wand for a friend who just turned 5.  I’ve since had to promise one to each of my kiddos.

One ribbon wand didn’t seem quite enough (not much sewing involved there!) so I decided to get on board with The Oz Material Girl’s current charity drive and sew some 9″ blocks.  There are a number of ways you can get on involved; sewing blocks, donating fabric, sewing the blocks together or quilting or binding the quilts.  The quilts will then be donated to a number of charities.  They hope that this will be an ongoing activity and this time around we’re aiming to provide quilts for women and children.  I made some blocks for the ladies,

the girls,

and the boys.

You’d think with 2 boys of my own I would have made a few more!

Once all the sewing was done I was a bit surprised at how much pink I’d used.  I’m not a big one for pink, but I was trying to appeal to popular taste.  I hope my blocks fit the bill :)  If you want to get involved you can find the information here on their blog or join their Facebook group here.

As I mentioned my sewjo had gone missing so I decided to break the blocks down into do-able stages.  Friday I cut all the fabric (100 squares and then 80 of those in half). Saturday I sewed the inner square to the first 4 triangles and then today I sewed on the last 4 triangles.  I don’t really enjoy sewing in this kind of production line style, but it did the trick and got the creative juices flowing again :)  I felt productive and that felt good!

With all that cutting on Friday night I was extremely grateful for a recent purchase, a rotary blade sharpener :)

How cool is this baby?  I purchased it online here (and I must add the service was great, I’ll be back!), you can get sharpeners that will fit a number of different sized blades but I didn’t want to part with too many $$$ so just bought the 45mm version.  First you find your blunt rotary cutter.

Unscrew the blade and place it in the turning wheel.

Secure the blade in place by screwing the two parts of the turning wheel together.

Place a drop of water on the sharpening surface and then place the blade on the sharpening surface (there are two, a rougher and a smoother surface, this is the finer side, you can see the coarser side above, it’s darker).

Then twist 10-20 times (no photo of this part of the process as I don’t have 3 hands).  I’m not sponsored in anyway by the shop or the producer of this nifty device, but I’m telling you, YOU NEED ONE!  I am glad I have one because I’m participating in a rainbow swap and about to cut these pretties into 50 bazillion 5″ charm squares (yes, I’m blue).

My blogging, quilting, online buddy Fiona at Finding Fifth has a weekly link-up, Sunday Stash and whilst I’ve had good intentions for awhile this is my first time joining in because I know all you quilty types who are linking up will appreciate this gadget :)