January 2013 archive

Japanese fabric awesomeness on sale!!


What do these have in common (other than the fact they were made by me)?

rainbow road detail 2
curves class wall quilt (rainbow road)

practice triangle
Lucky Stars BOM practice block

qca bee 1 block january
QCA bee 1 January 2013 block

paper pieced sewing machine
Wombat Stew Paper Piecing Bee November block

They all feature fabric purchased from the lovely Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts who sells Japanese fabrics and original quilt patterns through her Craftsy and Etsy stores.  Alyce is having a big sale, 15% off which is SUPER as her prices are normally very good.  Craftsy prices are already reduced and use the code HAPPY15 in her Etsy store :)

Alyce is being super generous and including her monthly Japanese fabric bundle in the sale.  You only have two days to purchase this bundle (you purchase the upcoming month before the new month starts) and I am eagerly awaiting mine :) :)

And in the spirit of disclosure, Alyce is my quilting buddy from Wombat Stew but even if she wasn’t I would still purchase her gorgeous fabrics :)

Curves class; the hues of the Pacific


rainbow road front

I love this wall hanging, but it has been really hard to photograph, I hope you can get a sense of it…  I completed this as a project in the Curves Class I’m taking with Stitched in Color.  I’m loving the projects but I’m feeling a little lonesome.  Is anybody else out there sewing along?  If you are and you feel like chatting, I’m keen :)  It’s always more fun to have sewing buddies :)

rainbow road front on grass   rainbow road back on grass

I used some scraps from the piecing for the back.  I LOVE the back and am so pleased I didn’t just go with some yucky old fabric that would forever remain hidden.

rainbow road back

I’m loving the course but I did find that this project took a lot longer than the description stated.  I don’t mind though the end result was worth it :)  This project involved a few firsts for me.  First time improv curves, first time organic straight line quilting, first finish for 2013, first time using that mustardy yellow colour and being happy.  I just can’t decide which side to display…

rainbow road in situ
I am constantly inspired by the bright colours of the Pacific

Usually I photograph my quilts in the shade, so nice bright light, but not directly on the quilt.  This baby needed the glare of Nouméa mid morning sun to shine.  On the weekend I was talking to Mr Husband about how I am inspired by the colours of Nouméa, I really don’t think I would be making such bold fabric choices in a grey, traditional setting.  If you’re interested in seeing more of Nouméa’s colour, check out this post.  But to give you an idea here is a house in our neighbourhood.

Anse Vata, yellow shack

Would you like some close ups?

rainbow road detail 3

rainbow road detail 2

rainbow road detail 1

And of the back:

rainbow road back piecing close up

rainbow road detail 4

Not that this baby will be rolled up often, but it does make a good photo ;)

rainbow road rolled

Size: 15″ x 53″.
Cloth: a mix of organic quilting cottons, essex linen and quilting cottons (back Bella bleached white with scraps).  I found my Pink Castle Stash Stack club a fantastic source for this quilt (and no, I’m not paid to say that, I just love it!).
Thread: Only the best ;) Aurifil 50wt 2000, 2692and 2810
Batting: light weight cotton (it was a scrap piece so not sure what brand)
Binding: Moda Bella black.  I love how it frames the quilt

I dared to Dresden


Today I am participating in the Dare to Dresden blog hop.  Welcome to everyone stopping by from the hopt! *waves*  (I hope I’ve got the time right, you should be seeing this as the clock ticks over to 12.01am US EST, working out what time that is in Nouméa is somewhat confusing!)

I have wanted to try a Dresden plate for awhile so I just could not resist getting involved in this blog hop.  Make sure you stop by and visit the other participants.  There have been some amazing Dresdens shared in the first two days.  You can find the full schedule here.

If you’re a regular reading you know that we recently purchased a new house but we won’t move in for another 12 months.  This year I am trying to make one to two items a month for our new house.  Our current sofa is SUPER uncomfortable so I am starting with cushions for the sofa ;)  I’m dreaming of quilting comfortable goodness :)

So without further faffing (I could spend all day dreaming about our new house!) here is my very first dresden plate.

dare to dresden

I used this free tutorial (including template) which was super easy.  So easy that you can just print the templates, scroll down taking a quick peek at the photos and you’re on your way :)  The only slightly tricky bit (which I had to redo) is making sure that your center circle covers the ends of your points (is that what they’re called?)  I  used some scrap wadding and echoed the dresden shape first in grey and then in teal with Aurifil 50wt (2605 and 2810).

dare to dresden quilting

So what’s a girl to do with her first Dresden?  Turn it into a cushion cover of course! (which I think some of you in the northern hemisphere call it a pillow, here we have pillows on our beds and cushions on the sofa.)

dare to dresden cushion

I LOVE the text fabric that I used for the centre.  You may remember I used it for an iPad cover for a teacher gift last year, I’m slowly eating through that fat quarter…  It has lots of lovely sayings such as “The purpose of life is to grow”, “The spice of life is to befriend” and “The secret of life is to dare”.

dare to dresden cushion cover front

The points of the dresden are made up of some favourite prints and reflect the colour palate that I am using for all of the cushions.  Don’t they look cute together (the one on the right is an ikea cover that lives on my bed, I love the bright colours and it kind of goes)?

dare to dresden cushions
L-R: Curves cushion, Dresden cushion, Ikea cover

Incidentally I’ve tried to make both cushions reversible using fabric covered buttons.  I think the backs are almost as lovely :)

dare to dresden cushion back

I used a favourite print for the back (washi) and decided to bind the cover.  I like how it frames the dresden plate but it does add a little time making the binding.  I opted to machine sew down the binding as I always stall when hand sewing is required.

dare to dresden cushion cover back

The only bad thing about making this dresden was having to wait until now to reveal it LOL  And now I’m off to check out all the other hoppers and so should you :)  Here they are:

January 28th, 2013
A Reformed Heath’n
Rosemary B @ “that Other Blog”
Stitch Duchess’ Crazy & Sane Quilting World
Grammie Q’s
Bumbleberry Stitches
Sunshine Girl
Butjenter Quilter
Blooming Where I am Planted
Quilting Lodge
The Tilted Quilt
Life in the Scrapatch
Pretty Bobbins
In The Boon Docks
Sew Much and More
Threading My Way
Pink Ribbon Quilts

A significant small finish


I cannot believe it is Friday already!  Somehow we got here and somehow I got some sewing in.  This week it was all small finishes but one of those totally gave me that TGIFF feeling :)

Some bibs and my clamshell cushion cover as part of the Curves Class.

curves class bibs
curves class clamshell cushion

Rachel calls for an invisible zipper and I am comfortable putting them in, but I am also lazy ;)  So I opted to use the resources I had on hand rather than make the trek to my local haberdashery store.  I used the fun grey print with some bright fabric covered buttons.  I kind of hope we’ll use both sides of this cushion equally.

curves class clamshell cushion back

I finished two blocks for the Lucky Stars BOM, the practice block that I shared earlier in the week and yesterday I got onto the January block.  I think I will make all of the blocks in the same palette and then use them for cushion covers.  I’m doing the 6.5″ block size so I figure I can fit four on a large cushion cover, but that might be a little busy.  Either way I plan to use them as they’re so pretty :)

lucky stars Jan block

My other finish for the week which really gives me that TGIFF feeling is a wee 10.5″ block for Lara as part of our Wombat Stew Paper Piecing Bee.  Lara asked for 10″ finished teapot blocks that reflect us and include a selvedge.  Lara was super keen on my triangle quilt and even based her bee block last year on that palette, so I used scraps to paper piece a triangle teapot for her.  I love it and I hope she does too :)  In fact, I think I might have to replicate this one for me.  I really love those prints in the tiny triangles!

pp teapot for Lara
My first EQ 7 pattern all pieced and ready to go!

The reason that this block is significant is that it is my first pattern designed with EQ 7.  My previous PP blocks were designed with Quilt Assistant which is free (and therefore wonderful) but was kind of driving me bananas.  I spent a good few weeks playing around and getting frustrated with EQ 7.  Kristy, the paper piecing queen warned me that EQ 7 has a learning curve and she has been very generous sharing her knowledge (thank you!!).  After quite a few drafts it all came together and I’m feeling really happy with the pattern.  The triangles obviously take a lot of piecing, but it is otherwise simple and straightforward.  Yay!  I have to download some software to turn the pattern into a PDF, but once I do it will be available as a free pattern, hopefully I’ll have it ready to share next week (the weekend is family time).

paper pieced teapot
Hmmm, I possibly should have chosen a yellow which has a greater contrast…
You can see the finished block above :)

I’m a little behind on my curves class and I want to get onto my February bee block (a great polaroid design by Fiona) but then it is back to some overdue projects.

Do you have that TGIFF feeling today?  It’s great when it all comes together :)  Hooray for finishes!!

Bonne weekend xx

I’m linking up to TGIFF over at Made in Home.

WiP Wednesday; treading water


Recently my two sons have learnt how to swim.  They haven’t been in the water for a couple of weeks, so when Mr 4 and I went for a swim last Friday he had forgotten about keeping his legs out behind him.  He was expending so much energy but really going nowhere.  That’s how I feel this week…  We are going through the final stages of settling on our new house.  It feels like I am frantic but really, there isn’t much to show for all of that activity (yet, we won’t move in for another twelve months).

I mentioned previously that I may have over committed myself this year…  We’ll see, I’m treading water at present, not panicking yet…

I am super excited about the Curves Class and am currently working on the clamshell cushion cover.  Rachel’s tutorial calls for an invisible zipper, but I’m thinking of doing my usual back with a couple of fabric covered buttons.  I like the look of invisible zippers, but to be honest, getting one in grey in the right length requires a trip around town and I’m not so keen…  Yes, lazy sew-er here…

curves class cushion wip

After printing off the templates for the Lucky Stars Paper Piecing BOM days ago I finally got around to working on them last night.  I completed the practice block:

practice triangle

I have selected the fabric for the January block and am hoping to work on it today.  I’m hoping I may have nearly finished the paperwork for today.  I really need to sew, do you get those cravings too? :)

stars January fabric

Did I mention that Santa gave me EQ7 for Christmas?  I was so excited when it arrived and then the learning curve hit and I have been struggling a little.  Yesterday I finished drawing a teapot block for Lara for her month as Queen Wombat.  Lara asked that our teapot reflect us, this one is inspired by my triangle quilt which Lara (and I!) loved :)  Don’t look too closely at the pattern, I need to make a few adjustments, but you get the idea :)  It’s still in the WiP category ;)  I’m thinking of offering it as a free pattern on my blog when I’m done.  What do you think?  Those triangles are going to be a lot of work, but of course they can be left out.  Either way it would be good to get some feedback if anyone is interested :)

teapot Jan block

Is anyone else treading water this week?

I’m linking up with WiP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday Stash and a Washi dress for me!


Earlier in the week I posted about my efforts in tidying up my sewing space.  If you missed it, here is my fabric stash.  There is a little more, but it has been packed away.  This is the stuff that gets used frequently (or that’s the idea anyway)!

This week I received a very exciting package in the mail.  You might remember late last year I participated in the Sew Seasonal blog hop.  I submitted two entries to the linky party at the end.  My original item, this wall hanging:
wall hanging all done

and this tree skirt that which featured Kristy’s paper pieced stars (you can buy the patterns here).

tree skirt
It turned out that I won a surprise prize and boy, what a surprise!  It arrived at night so you don’t get photos of the wrapping, suffice to say I was rather excited to see Kate Spain’s address label on it! :)  Look at all these lovely goodies that are now part of my stash.

Kate Spain giveaway 2
Some Christmas prints.

Kate Spain giveaway
Don’t you just love the hues, seriously to die for!
And the cutest magnetic notepad.

A big thank you to Kristy and Alyce for organising the hop and such delicious prizes! These pretties will rest in the Christmas pile of my stash and be used for my annual Christmas project later this year.  I’m thinking long table runner.  We don’t have any and living in the Southern Hemisphere we don’t really need a Christmas quilt.  I have a while to come up with a project ;)
Whilst my stash is primarily made up of fabrics and notions I do also have a reasonable number of patterns.  Having seen the Washi Dress all over blogland last year I recently added it to my stash.  After a week of not much sewing I decided to focus on me yesterday and found some time to make myself a Washi :)

washi pattern
In my stash I keep some yardage for dressmaking.  I couldn’t decide which to cut into so asked the children to choose between these prints.

dressmaking stash
Ages ago I won some Swedish Tracing Paper from Crafty Mamas, I have to tell you, this stuff is AMAZING!  Really, if you don’t have some, go buy it!  It is so handy, you can use it for pattern pieces but it is sturdy enough to sew and try on; pattern and muslin all in one :)

Swedish Tracing paper
I traced out the pattern onto Swedish Tracing Paper and sewed together the bodice to see how it fit.  The darts were well placed but I felt the neckline was too high.  I need a decent scoop to a neckline or I’m all boob and that is not the look I’m after :)  So I dropped the neckline by approximately an inch and a half.  I kept the little cut out but reduced the depth.  I’m really pleased with the adjustments I made.  The neckline is just right for me :)

Washi front
Feeling like a dill LOL
I might reduce the length, but I was keen to wear it out last night, so I just hemmed it as is and didn’t pay much attention.
I have to say, this dress is super comfortable.  After one wear I have found that because of the shirring at the back, the bodice does move around a little, but not terribly so.  I’m hoping that after being through the drier the shirring will tighten up a little, but is it lovely to wear and it does hide my tummy which is what I was after :)  Nothing like looking pregnant when you’re not *sigh*

Washi Back
Even broke out the heels!
Possibly my favourite feature of this dress is the pockets.  They are nice and deep, just the right height for me, and now I have somewhere to put all of the various treasures that the kids find when we’re out ;)
Washi side pockets
And makeup!
I left the facing loose and didn’t use interfacing on it as the cotton I used is somewhat heavy.  I did sew it down on the shoulder seams.  I really kept everything as simple as possible and I do think that a beginner could have a good go at this dress.  I will definitely be making this dress again and now I know that I like it I might even cut into the Nottinghill voile that I bought :)

Nottinghill voiles
Have you made any recent additions to your stash?  Are you in love with Washi too?  I’m linking up to Sunday Stash over at Finding Fifth.

Finding Fifth

FINALLY some order!


I was hoping to have a few finishes to share with you this week, but it turns out that tidying my sewing space took a lot longer than expected…  In my opinion it totally warrants that TGIFF feeling :)  For the last few months I had been able to excuse the mess by claiming I would tidy in January.  Then I got sick.  Then I got sick of the mess and started to tidy, but then I got tired.  For about two weeks the floor was literally covered with fabric and notions.  This week I bit the bullet and managed to finish it off :)

sewing area fabric
I love the yellow painting, in my mind she is thinking about block placement and colour play :)

I’m thinking I might rearrange my stash into rainbow order.  I mean, now it’s tidy it seems easy to organise it further ;)  I changed around the fabric a bit this time.  I packed away my Chinese fabrics as I never use them and they were taking up a lot of space.  I sorted everything by colour, whereas previously I had a pile of “cutesy”, “boys” and “projects” (as in bought for a specific project).

Yes, this is as tidy as it gets folks!

I managed to reclaim my cutting space which had moved to the table.  The sideboard is a few inches taller than the table, so cutting there is much easier.

I also rearranged my sewing cabinet.  Aurifil threads are at the ready as are the notions I use most often.  The bag making hardware has been moved to another area as I don’t use it so regularly these days.  Although the cabinet folds up I tend to leave it open, notice the pretty machine cover that Marieka made me? :)

Sewing space

I did manage to get a little sewing in this week.  I completed the January block for the “And Sew On” BOM over at Quiet Play.

sew on bom january
I’m using favourite fabrics as I want to make these blocks into a something for me :)

I changed the pattern slightly as I wanted to use a twill measuring tape.  I’m really happy with how it turned out.

sew on bom january changes
The red arrows mark where I changed the sewing lines.  I did this so that my twill
 measuring tape sits flush with the prints.

I have only managed to finish one of the three Curves Class projects this week, the Scallop bunting.

scallop bunting

I have selected fabrics for the second project and have printed out templates for the third.  Considering the crazy week I’ve had, I think some sewing time is in order this weekend :)  I’m really happy with how the Scallop Bunting has turned out and even though I photographed it in my sewing area Miss 2 has claimed it.

scallop bunting in sewing area
In my mind I sewed so much more this week ;)  I am so happy to have a tidy sewing space again though.  Hopefully I can keep it tidy this time!
Have you got that TGIFF feeling?  I’m so happy it’s the weekend!  And on that note I’m off to collapse into bed.  Bonne weekend xx
I’m linking up with TGIFF over at Celtic Thistle Stitches this week.

Work(s) in progress…


Things have been a little quiet around here as I procrastinate on my hand stitching.  You know I LOVE Mr 6′s rainbow I Spy quilt but I don’t love hand stitching.  Well, sometimes I do, but not right now.  I’m probably a quarter of the way through the hand stitching and I haven’t done any for about 5 days.  Tonight I will try to do some…

hand stitching wip
If I was completely juvenile I would say something like, “Apparently bubbles
 come out of Dinosaur Butts”. In actual fact I am partway through stitching “Butterfly” :)

With the children on school holidays (although two of them are in Summer camp in the mornings) I am spending less time than usual sewing.  I’m not really into New Year Resolutions but I decided that I want to sew one thing a month for our new home, possibly two.  We will move in just over 12 months and I’m starting with cushion covers.  This reflects the INSANELY uncomfortable sofa we currently have.  I’m dreaming of a new house with lots of quilted cushions, can’t you just picture it?  I can only give you a sneak peak of this WiP as it is for an upcoming blog hop, you’ll have to pop back on the 28th of January to see this project finished :)  It might be a cushion cover ;)

sneak peek wip

I think there are a few other WiPs floating around but at this moment the other one I can think of is the first project of the Curves Class that I am taking over at Stitched in Color.  I’m so excited about this class, we’re starting with scalloped bunting which is nice and easy and Miss 2 has already claimed this WiP :)

scallop bunting wip

In addition to a (very) little sewing the kids and I had fun today with the hose.  First we used the water from the blow up pool to clean the car, then I cleaned the pool, patched a hole from the flying trampoline (we had Category 1 winds a couple of weeks ago from ex-cyclone Freda and our trampoline traveled a fair way around the yard including over the pool.) and refilled it.  We’re all ready for a play date tomorrow afternoon, hopefully the patch holds and I get a few minutes sewing in before then!

pool clean

I’m linking up with Work In Progress Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

The little things


*** I’m just going to mention here that the following post is the true story of my experience with bushfires.  It was not a nice experience and you may not enjoy reading it, so feel free to move on.  I do however, share the details for a underwear drive to help the victims of the recent Tasmanian bushfires at the end.  Thanks ***

Some of you may be aware that this past week Australia has been hit by a heatwave, parts of the country have been ravaged by horrific bushfires and many, many people have evacuated their homes as warnings of “Catastrophic” level fire danger have been issued.

I grew up in the bush, in a lovely little town with windy roads, huge trees, kangaroos, echidneas and wombats.  I even remember seeing Kangaroos one morning when we were waiting for the school bus! It rained a lot and the bush was thick.  Back in those days it was still somewhat isolated with many people not being on town water, gas or electricity.

I remember one day, a very hot summer day.  I remember my family driving up to the top of a big hill to see how close the fires were and returning home thinking we were fine.  I remember playing in the yard in my nightie and a helicopter flying low overhead telling us to evacuate.  I remember first one column of smoke, then three, then a wall of smoke.  I remember my parents rushing to collect pets and photos and evacuate.

We drove to our friend’s house in the valley to warn them of the danger, they had no idea.  My Dad and the other man drove into town to volunteer to fight the fire.  My Mum, the other woman, her baby and I bundled into one car and drove toward safety.  Except a few kilometers down the road (a windy bush road in a valley) we turned a corner and were confronted with a burnt out scene.

I remember the panic in the air as we turned the car around and drove back to town.  We found my Dad, my Mum was shaking so much she couldn’t drive.  We abandoned one of our cars by the side of the road.  Many families were sheltering in the town Kindergarten, but they were full and asked us to move on.  We joined a queue of cars making a slow trip out of town.  The fire was so close.  At one point a fireball crossed the road and a wall of flame was in front of our van.  Being a van we were sitting on the engine, my father remembered a friend telling him it takes time for a car engine to explode, so, judging that the car in front of us had moved forward, he drove us through the fire.  I panicked as a spark flew in through the air vent and burnt my knee.

I remember at one point a Policeman stopping us and asking where we were headed and telling us yes, the road their should be safe.  It was with great relief that we arrived at the house of our friends.

Back in 1983 communications were not what they are today and it was a couple of days before we knew what had happened to our house.  I remember visiting the mall on the day after we evacuated to buy underwear.  We didn’t know if we had any other than those we were wearing.  It is such a loss of dignity and so surreal when everyone else is continuing their normal routine and you might only have the clothes on your back.

We were the last house on our road, at the top of a hill, bush on one side, paddocks on the other sides.  The story goes that the firefighters chose to fight the fire at our property, to cut off that arm of it.  Our entire acreage was burnt to a crisp.  Part of our roof was damaged.  Most of the windows exploded in the heat, as did the pipes.

I remember returning home for the first time.  As we drove up our hill everything was green until we got to our property line.  It was burnt.  The ground smoked for days, weeks possibly, every now and then you would hear a loud crack as a spark shot out of a big old burning log or tree stump.  I remember being 4 and devastated by seeing my swing and slide set a burnt, melted mess on the ground.

I remember the broken windows covered by blankets.  Even with such disarray, amongst the ashes and smoke, my Dad was sleeping there to stop thieves.  Due to the looting, our town was eventually cut off with entry monitored by police and only residents allowed in.  A tent city was set up as many had lost their homes.  Sadly, one truck of firefighters were lost as were some residents and many, many homes.

It was a horrible experience and something that I hope I never experience again.

My lovely, generous friend Melissa has set up an underwear drive for those affected by the recent fires in Tasmania.  There are so many good causes out there, but this one really resonates with me.  If you are looking for a way to help this might interest you.  She is hoping to collect all the underwear by the 17th of January so that it can be sent on the 18th you can find out more about it here.

Work In Progress; the binding!


I don’t think it’s possible that anyone who has visited my blog before wouldn’t have seen the Rainbow I Spy Quilt that I’m making for Mr 6 in some form of progress.

I Spy Quilt top complete

I am getting really excited about this quilt.  I’m not going to worry about peaking in January, rather I’m going to see this quilt as a sign of a good year of quilting ahead :)

Over the last few days I finished the free motion quilting.  More recently I have been auditioning binding.  Gosh, that is a headache!  At this point the quilt works equally well with either side showing and Mr 6 loves the rainbow back as much as the I Spy front.  I am having a heck of a time working out what to use for binding that works well on both sides.  Feel free to make suggestions :)  Here are some current options…

binding options

Today I started hand stitching.  The lovely Fiona suggested this idea, can you see where I’m going?

i spy in progress words

After a super-hectic morning I made a bit of progress this afternoon.  I do find the pace of hand-stitching frustrating at times so I documented my progress for encouragement LOL

rainbow i spy quilt in progress words

You may have noticed that I have a bit of a love affair with Aurifil threads (no sponsorship, just genuine love.  Although I wouldn’t say no!).  I especially bought some Aurifil 12 weight verigated thread for this project.  Previously I have used Perlé 8 which I enjoy and find washes well (much better than 6 strand DMC floss in my experience).  I am looking forward to seeing how this heavier weight Aurifil wears.  It is lovely to stitch with.  I read somewhere a while ago that there is a specific direction that you should thread Perlé 8, if you run your fingers along the thread (first in one direction and then the other), you can feel the difference.  I would love to know if this is the same for Aurifil 12 weight.  It does feel smoother in one direction so I am going with what feels right.  Please let me know if you’ve heard of this and if I’m totally off track or not :)

modern hand quilting tools
My hand stitching essentials ;)

At this rate I’m hoping to finish the hand stitching in the next few days and if I can make a decision on the binding (!!!) it should be finished over the weekend.  Fingers crossed for some good weather.  I can’t wait to photograph this baby and share it! :)

Have you got a major work in progress?  Do you find selecting binding to be simple or easy?  Any tips?  I’m thinking I need to think about binding from the beginning of the project and not just at the end!

I am linking up with WiP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

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