Monday 29 December 2014

it's a wrap!




Hope everyone had a lovely Xmas day and you are now enjoying all this sunshine & relaxing!
Not too much happening around here on the sewing front.We've had lots of family comings & goings, my son & daughter-in-law have now left for Melbourne :( and we are excitedly awaiting the arrival of the new baby :)
  • There is just a wee bit of VERY last minute pre-baby sewing happening! My daughter wanted to use a 4 metre turquoise wrap she had bought earlier to make another different wrap... recycling I guess! We are following this pattern here, the Mei Tai baby wrap, with pages & pages of very detailed instructions! It's a bit confusing, but we've got it all cut out now, using the good old 'measure twice, cut once' best practice of course! 
  • Oh, and I won a three-pack of patterns from Sew Sweetness patterns - seriously, some of the most versatile bag patterns out there! I had been busy making my handmade gifts for Xmas this year and just thought I'd join in the fun over here @ santa's sweatshop party .. it was a lovely post Xmas surprise to see that I had won one of the prizes! So much to chose from, not too sure yet which patterns to pick! 
  • And that's it... almost a wrap for 2014! When I came to collate a few recent finishes for this end-of-the-year photo shoot, I realized I had actually managed to cross quite a few things of my never ending to-do-list. Many of this year's quilts have been given away to family & friends, I think everyone close is pretty well surrounded in quilts finally... yayee! Time now to start planning for 2015! I'm considering joining up with the '2015 Finish-Along' over here with Adrianne from On the Windy Side. It seems like a good incentive to make a list {yep, another one!}& hopefully get a few more WiPs finished that really do need to get done in 2015! Anyone else going to play along? 
Have a happy & safe New Year! 

Saturday 20 December 2014

extra-special xmas cakes

no, no, no you haven't just stumbled across a foodie blog! This week it's all about Xmas prep, and I thought I'd show you all another of our little traditions. While I'm a bit late with this, today before it gets too hot, I'm making these little extra-special Xmas cakes - they are full of glace fruit, nuts, dried fruit and very little flour. When cut into very thin slices they look like the stained glass windows in a church!
I have just poured the final essential 'ingredient' over them and oiled them. When they are cool I'll wrap them & pop them in the fridge. These little cakes keep really well and and you will find just a little goes a long way. Oh, and they make lovely extra-special gifts too!
I use an old recipe I found  years ago in some magazine, if you want a copy just email me and I'll forward it to you. While it's not exactly the same recipe as mine, I've also attached a link to Annabelle's version here.


Thursday 18 December 2014

'tis the season to be jolly...

Santa Strawberries

Little Olive had one special request for me today.. to make my strawberry Santas for Xmas day! 
How could I refuse! The recipe I used last year worked a treat! I thought I'd share... 

Santa Strawberries Recipe 
1 dozen or so large strawberries
200g cream cheese
2 tsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
a handful of chocolate bits

In a bowl mix together the cream cheese, icing sugar, vanilla. 
Using a small knife, slice the leafy end off each strawberry so they stand up evenly. Then slice the tip off to make a little hat. Scoop out a little from the fleshy middles.
Using a spoon, place a large dollop (about 1-2 tsp) of cream cheese into top of the strawberry base. Plop the little hat on top. Add another small dollop of cream cheese to the tip of the hat to make a mock pom-pom.
Place two chocolate sprinkles in the Santas "face" for the eyes. Using a toothpick, place two very small splotches of whipped cream down the front of the strawberry for buttons.  If you don't eat them right away, store them in the fridge to keep them cold. Santa doesn't do well with the heat. To serve- dust lightly with icing sugar to look like snow! You're done! It's that easy! 


Monday 15 December 2014

lovely lattices in liberty {present WiP}

Thank you all so much for the great turkey tips last week!
And sewing this week? Well, I'm enjoying piecing these HST's in my quieter moments during all the Xmas buildup & fuss! There's something rather soothing about simple repetitive chain piecing, with all those pretty small scale Liberties and mixing up all the soft colours. I spent a bit of time a while back wondering which would be the best background fabrics to use that would create good contrast {more about that later}and settled on using a Kona cream solid. I'm sort of using this idea from here, but have sewn my HST's differently. Here's a quick photo update ...

Linking up later with WiP Wednesday 
where there's bound to be lots more quilty inspiration!

Edit: I struggle with  fmq, but I've been thinking lately that there must be ways to make straight line quilting much more creative! and this liberty quilt top is what I've decided to give it a go on, slowly stitching, just making it up as I go along! 

Thursday 11 December 2014

monday modern group : an unexpected artistic point of view

<a href="/channel/UC94tHc4_OQsDx8rCikrEaiA" class=" yt-uix-sessionlink     spf-link  g-hovercard" data-sessionlink="ei=lJyIVLCuEei94ALuuIHQDw" data-name="" data-ytid="UC94tHc4_OQsDx8rCikrEaiA">The Jetsons Cartoon</a>

It's been busy, busy, busy around here. I had set myself a target of gifting a few quilts this Xmas and have worked steadily away at finishing them over this past couple of weeks.{for other Xmas finishes see here & here} Must admit, I do still have trouble enjoying sewing down the bindings. I think I'm too impatient, I miss catching bits in, and, if the quilt is quite large like this one, my hands ache when I've finished (the old a.g.e. problem I guess!).

Anyways, don't you just love actually finishing things? 
I completed my last quilt, the 'hadley & cream' one, yesterday. I knew it needed to be simple, graphic, and not too floral. I had 'motherly' thoughts (as you do!) while I made it for my son, I made up a name for it, and I decided on a quilting pattern. And then I had a real panic moment - in recent conversations, it turns out my son & daughter-in-law both prefer my darker coloured quilts! I could just see their new quilt being left here when they move over to Melbourne end of December!

Earlier in the week I took my almost finished quilt to our Monday Modern group and was pleasantly surprised! Liz had this to say... 
... I thought it had a real 50's space/atomic age designer aesthetic. That was why I mentioned the Jetsons - it reminded me of that style of design. It's a personal favourite of mine, and I think is pretty trendy at the moment. The quilting really brought it out...  
Amazing  how differently we all see things, isn't it? And I just love Liz's visual description!
So fingers crossed Peter & Char will like it too! But in future, I will stick to a more darker palette for  them!

Edit: I just spotted Amanda Jean's latest post
 lots of interesting comments about gifting quilts, have a wee look here !
Linking up with TGIFF here
 Finish it up Friday over here
and also here @ santa's sweatshop party over at Porch Swing Quilts!

Time now to start thinking about that turkey for Xmas lunch and just how do I achieve a moist, tender turkey? do I brine it or not? do I stuff it or not?  ...any favourite turkey tips {TT}?

Tuesday 9 December 2014

summertime chains {a finish}

See here for details about making this quilt
and all the fun I had playing with colour & value! 
Linking up with Lee for WiP Wednesday here
pop on over to check out lots more quilty inspiration!

Saturday 6 December 2014

one down.. two to go

 summertime chains quilting detail


hadley & cream quilting detail


grey HST quilting detail & backing fabric

I enjoy making those final decisions on my quilts, choosing a quilting pattern, auditioning fabrics for the binding. The part where I tend to stall is actually putting the binding on & hand sewing it down...but not this time! Xmas day is not too far away and we have a large group coming to celebrate with us this year. I plan on gifting a few quilts and so this week I was happy to get the phone call from Annette to say she had finished my quilting! I picked up my quilts, all of which had some great machine quilting, and I got straight onto those bindings.
I finished the grey HST quilt in record time, just wish I could come up with a better name for it! The other two quilts - Summertime Chains and Hadley & Cream- both have their bindings machine sewn on, I just need to spend a bit of time hand sewing them down. I seem to work really well lately with a deadline ... do you?
Many thanx to Annette @ Wild Cotton Ltd

Linking up with TGIFF here
and Finish it up Friday over at Crazy Mum Quilts here
 check out all the other great finishes! 

Wednesday 3 December 2014

stylish baby bag

front view

Back view

Making a tote bag isn't something I've ever done before, but my daughter needed wanted a new nappy bag for the new baby! She researched all the patterns & we ended up making this one from  here. She chose some denim from Spotlight and teamed it up with a couple of oldish pieces of fabric I had here in my stash. After reading about 'soft & stable' over at Megan's blog I thought we'd give it a go.Of course the denim was quite sturdy already so we just added the s&s to the base of the bag and the handles. On completing it, there was a wee panic moment because the blue from the denim was all over our hands (!!) but a quick spin in the washing machine with the colour catcher soon fixed that!
It worked out really's very roomy without being huge, and there's lots of pockets in & out and front & back for nappies, wipes, spare babyclothes, keys, etc! And it was really lovely to spend a wet windy afternoon sewing together!

Linking up with WiP Wednesday 

Friday 28 November 2014

in the pink

in the garden

lovely liberties

present WiP 

last minute sewing

  • My sweet peas have just started flowering this week. So tempted to cut some & bring them indoors, but I'm waiting until there's just a few more!
  • This year I have been collecting little bits of Liberties from Westwood Arces. There are quite a few of them now and they all look so pretty, this latest bundle was particularly pink! A couple of weeks ago I thought it was time I made something from them and I started out using this pattern here but I'm cutting my HST's a bit differently. It's all looking good and I really really just wanted to keep sewing... 
  • ... but right now I'm on a bit of a mission!  My daughter belongs to the local La Leche group and they are fundraising this Sunday with a table at the children's market on Herald Island. I promised a while ago that I'd donate a couple of quilts. Luckily, I do like to have a few unfinished quilts here, just waiting for a home to go to, including a simple squares quilt which I have made several versions of now. But of course, I've left everything to the very last minute - it's a family trait!- and so I need to get a wriggle on and quickly put the binding on two or maybe three little quilts.
  • Edit ... Whew... two little quilts all finished just in time! Hehe maybe I should work to a deadline more often!
Have a lovely weekend! 

a bit more #24
I came across this site
fresh blocks inspired by vintage quilts
... actually I love those old worn out quilts just as much as the fresh versions, don't you?

Friday 21 November 2014

classic meets modern {update}

November block

I quite like the  busy feel of the blocks next to each other

and I also like the same blocks with sashing & cornerstones

Sampler quilts... I enjoy making the occasional sampler mainly because I have a short attention span and I've found that as each block is different I don't get bored! If several techniques are used, it's also a real good learning process too. And I've liked this particular BOM actually because there is no applique!

My initial thought way back at the beginning of the year was to try a more modern makeover version each month, not just do the same-old-same-old... and so I've been brave and used more & more solids as the year has progressed, and while I haven't totally used only one designer range, I have stuck to a limited colour scheme! Since I doubled up on one block earlier, I now have 12 blocks finished and so this weekend I'm at the point of deciding about alternatives to traditional quilt top layouts.
Keeping simplicity in mind, I'm using Grunge Basics Essence which, while it does have a slight blue tinge to it, is also an overall neutral light coloured solid. I'm happy for some blocks to merge into the borders, giving a calming effect and creating more -ve space for some quilting! In my mind, the more whiter bits here & there add the sparkle! And definitely a scrappy binding later to add the finishing touch!
A couple of blocks have turned out not quite exactly 12 1/2" square, but in the spirit of 'embracing-the-process' of making a hand made quilt, I'm not too worried. There's a bit of wiggle room if I add sashing, so at this point I'm going with the 2nd photo. What do you think... sashing or no sashing?
Or then again, maybe I could put them all 'on point' ? oh dear, endless possibilities!
Linking up with Erin
WiP Wednesday