Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Me and Da Vinci

I really am enjoying blogging. It is inspiring for me. I have finished 22 projects this year. More than half of them have been in the last 3 months since I started blogging.

Yesterday my list of UFOs (now at 35 after I found a few lurking around) was getting me down. Then I read this post by Sharyn. I had forgotten about Da Vinci's books full of designs and ideas that were never made or were started and unfinished. It's a nice comparison: me and my quilts, Da Vinci and his projects.

I have been listening to the John Marsden "Tomorrow" series on audio books. I am up to the 6th volume. When does an author run out of ideas to write? Probably never. Do they use a finish to spur them on? And, there are so many genres to try: horror, narrative, mystery, lonestar, double wedding ring.... Just like me again.

Some musicians are prolific - they bring out a new album every year. Others take 3 years to write one album. It's just like finishing the blocks, then the borders, then the quilting... to make a finished quilt.

What am I rattling on about??? Mum started a blog!! YAY MUM!!!

Yesterday I found out my cousin had her 3rd son. How inconsiderate of her! I had a girl quilt ready to go. Oh well, I just had to start another one. The eldest boy is about 4, he has an I Spy quilt. The second boy is not quite 1 year old, he has little cowpokes on his quilt. This little boy is having fun-fun. Well.... here's a start.

I found some leftover Dick and Jane fabrics in a bag while spring-cleaning.

This is all I've done so far.

We are still cleaning and sorting like mad. Last night my DH cleaned out 4 shelves of the pantry! Would you believe we had 2 shelves of tea and coffee? This is a great excuse to sit down for a cup of tea. "Honey, I am helping. I am cleaning out the pantry."

Monday, 29 September 2008

Lost and Found and Found and Found...

Well, I didn't stick a stitch in yesterday. I sorted all day. I now have about 50 magazines to sell and about 30 to give away.

How is my space looking?

some more fittings to come e.g. the trays will become drawers

I kept finding stuff.

5 UFOs: SCQuilters sig swaps from 2003 retreat, smoking jacket, papercut windows, snowflake quilt blocks, 295 quilt. The snowflakes, sig swaps and papercut windows can make nice flip-sides for other quilts.

6 PIGS to add to the list: Easter bunnies, Aussie fabrics, monkey socks, Dargate violet and chocolate pack (no, not actual chocolate, that would have been eaten - it's purple and brown fabric), hexagon box, an armchair pincushion partly prepared (this was a gift at a retreat) and a dress with a pattern.
Where do I fit it all? here.

None of it is left on the floor!

This is the armchair kit:

LOST: one box of novelty fabrics.... (maybe I divided them all up into PIGs???) I can't remember!!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Spring cleaning

Well, I have a lot to report and a little confession to make.

I bought more fabric last weekend than I revealed. I couldn't find it (only 2 days after purchase, I know), but I am in the middle of Spring cleaning, and perhaps you can understand how much it is needed.

2 fat quarters of the train fabric, and 1 fat quarter of Olivia (the little piggies) and 1 fat quarter of the green spot (it just glows).

Yesterday after cleaning and scrubbing and sorting (which becomes pretty mundane) I rewarded myself with some sewing.

I made these Christmas presents:

WARNING: (If you think these are for you, please forget you saw them here, because I am not making you something else just because it's no longer a surprise!!).

And I made this watermelon oven mitt from the Art To Heart book "Easy Does It For Summer".

The first watermelon I made was a bit wonky (I gave it to my MIL who doesn't sew at all - she will happily get gravy and all sorts of cookery on it). This is my second attempt.

My DH lovingly made me some shelves to go above my sewing machine table (oh, and he wants some of the stuff off the floor in there, so do I!!). He had to attach it to the wall. He said "If the shelves ever look like they are going to fall down, climb under the desk". Eep!! I know they will be heavy once I put all my stuff in them, but I usually have stuff under the desk too!

You know what the clean desk in the picture above means though, don't you?

Here is all the stuff that was on it before. It's all on my cutting board. I have a LOT of work to do today!!!

Last night I culled a few magazines. I have 13 to give to the Textiles department at my local secondary school (I cut some bits out of them), and 12 to sell at my local quilt group for $1 each. Let's get to work! It could be a long day!

And I still haven't tried out my felting machine!

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Distractions! Distractions!

Rosie popped out with me for a little while yesterday... (it's all her fault! tee hee!)

I came home with this. Well, it is nearly the bowls season, and I bought something for my DH too...

I also came home with this!!!

It's a Janome felting machine.
I have wanted one for a few years. I couldn't justify spending nearly $900 on the Babylock Embellisher, nor $500 on the Janome xpression at its regular price... but.... I traded in an old machine and got this baby for $299.
The trade-in machines are to be refurbished and sent to 3rd world countries where women will be taught to sew in order to support themselves and their families. How good is that? I dropped off two good old Berninas. The old machines were so heavy I popped them into a shopping trolley to wheel them into the shop. LOL!!! I practically carried the felting machine out under one arm (but I returned the trolley. Thank you Coles.)

We won't be needing this will we? No threading, no bobbins. What's it going to say? "Plug in pedal here"? (OK, I'll keep it. Happy now?)

Whoops! Wrong way around!

Spare needles and tools to unscrew the plate. I bet a lot of dust-bunnies collect down there.

When will I get playtime? Last night my DH decided we are preparing and painting all next week. I can't grumble, I want it done too. Patience Grasshopper...

Did you see my shirt quilt at Quilter's Show and Tell? Make sure you submit your quilts too. A quilt a day is great inspiration.

Friday, 26 September 2008

The last link in a chain

Swooze has finished all of her UFOs. Congratulations Swooze! This seems unbelievable to me! I don't think I ever want to finish them all! (I mean, I don't want to finish everything and have nothing started). What would I do when I get a quilter's block? Now, it's easy, I do something mindless from my UFOs or my list of 4.

I like having a list of 4 items I am working on. If I don't feel like doing that applique, why should I? Quilting and stitching are supposed to be my hobbies, my relaxation, my leisure. I don't want it to feel like work.

At the moment my list of 4 consists of:

1. The French Collection quilt. I have stitched all 15 pictures. I have designed the quilt. I have the fabric. I need to concentrate and make it now.
2. Art To Heart somethings.... I have a couple of books that I need to make a quick something out of (can't give too much away here... recipients may be reading this blog)
3. Mammy stitcheries (nice and mindless, I can do these on auto-pilot).
4. Christmas Mice - I really need this finished in the next couple of weeks.

(Where's Noddy? I need some more DMC threads...)

And now, here is the last link in the chain.

The Eureka Chain quilt
This quilt is made from circa 1850s reproduction fabrics. When the blocks went together Eureka! a chain was formed (thanks for the name Fay). I really like this name because around the 1850s the Eureka Stockade occurred at the goldfields only an hour from my home. A doubly apt name.

This is my first time doing scallops. I am ready to do them on my Dear Jane now. I need to decide how I want it quilted.

I used some leftover blocks and a small UFO on the back. I like how it looks.

It's a bit difficult to see with the sun shining through the quilt. Mum quilted it in an allover pattern. The quilt feels soft and pliable while also being well-quilted (as opposed to over-quilted or under-quilted).

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Have I been bad?

Rosie and I went on an outing yesterday. I only bought a leee-tle bit of fabric.

This is 30cm of a delightfully textured Japanese print. I am not particularly into rabbits, but I loved the colour and texture. This will become some sort of bag or sewing aide. We make plenty of those sort of things in my local Patchwork group. This is a lovely feature fabric. I imagine it in something with a zip, so I can hang a little Japanese thingy off the zipper-pull.

These are 1/2 metre each of 2 new Christmas prints I plan to make into Christmas presents. I won't mention what I plan to make in case any of the potential recipients read this post.

The reindeer look funky. The Santas are Jolly.

This Santa looks like the "Hogfather" to me (ever read Terry Pratchett or seen the movie "Hogfather"?). Maybe it's the view of his nostrils.

This Santa is Jolly Old Saint Nick.

These other fabrics were purchased last weekend:

The Little Cowboys are just sooo cute!

The DuckDuckGoose fabrics will need to be used together in a little sewing thing or bag, or maybe along the bottom of a quilt, or on a baby bag.

These travel fabrics will be perfect for the fabric-scrapbooking I have been planning with my holiday stuff (tickets, pics, etc.)

Oh, and I forgot! I bought these today too! Sale items going at bargain prices. I thought I could use the brown one in the travel fabric-scrapbooking, and the blue one would make a good backing for a Trip Around The World quilt.

This might not sound very stash-busting. But it will be! I promise!! Everything I bought will assist me to slash my stash!

I finished the Eureka Chain quilt, I need to hang it on the line for a photo. If it's not too windy..... Stay tuned! (Keep your slobber off my screen! Drool over my fabrics carefully please.)

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Can you guess?

Do you know what this means? Can you guess?

Would you like a hint?

It kept me quite busy yesterday.... It was my first time trying this.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

And A Parr-tridge In A Pear Treeeee

Finally! My adorable, hard-working DH is off the computer and I can put in today's blog-post!

This almost-finished item didn't hit the UFO list, PIGs list or Future list!! I started it last night and it just needs free-motion quilting around the applique and hand-stitching the opening closed at the bottom, and some beads for berries near the holly.

It's so cute! I don't think I really like the machine blanket-stitch in black though. It looks so heavy. I wonder what a nice brown would look like. I might try that next.

This partridge-in-a-pear-tree is from the latest Art To Heart book "12 days of Christmas".
I really do love Christmas, and I love small projects. Finished so quickly!!
I am really growing to like birds too - in applique and stitcheries. I might have to design something... Hmm.. what to do??
Over the last 2 days I designed a pirate quilt, a train quilt and worked out how to put The French Collection stitcheries into a nice quilt. There are so many projects I want to do...when I get a chance!!!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Turn up the wireless

Friday I brought home a book for my "holiday reading" over the next 2 weeks... I finished it Saturday! LOL!! I've got a pile of about 5 or 6 others to go on with.

So, I haven't done as much stitching as I thought I might on the Mammy stitcheries.

The green pen is where I have traced the images onto a textured-look fabric. I tried to trace onto osnaberg, but the images already needed reversing (so I was looking at the back of the page) so they didn't show up through the weave.

I have another 2 pictures to trace off. Let's see what we get done!! Stitcheries are sooo easy!

However, I do have some of my own spring cleaning to do too... I'd better turn up my wireless while I vacuum.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Oh Mammy!

Uh-oh! Not only has my list of 29 UFOS remained static (I keep finding more UFOs hidden away!)... I scrummaged through the box where I was keeping one of these UFOs -free flower of the month stitchery patterns (see some finished blocks below), and found some Mammy doll stitcheries I had printed off.

I want to make the Mammy doll dresses brightly coloured in variegated stitching with almost all other stitching in plain black (I think they will need red lips).
They are traced off and ready to go. I will post pictures as I progress.
The Mammy stitcheries were originally on the same site as the flowers of the month, but they are no longer on it.
Is the term "Mammy" politically correct? These girls are gorgeous and they will brighten up my kitchen. I think that's where I will put a little wallhanging I plan to make. I have some lovely 40s inspired prints that I think will work well with them.
Sorry no time for photos! Stay tuned!

Friday, 19 September 2008

More and more old-fashioned

Last night I worked late. Everyone I saw reminded me I am ageing. Young people were turning into young men and women. I looked into the faces of people only 5 or 10 years older than me, and I was imagining how they looked as 20 year olds.

Is 20 the age we always imagine ourselves? I have heard that's why a lot of farmers die at around age 50 of accidents on their farms. They forgot they are no longer the strapping man of 25, and try to do the physical feats that were easy in their youth.

Last night one young man looked at my name tag and saw I was married. I first met him 5 1/2 years ago when he was about 12. He looked nervous around me, but in a kind of "I hope you still respect me" way. Sometimes he is so confident. I guess it's a compliment. Was he comparing me with his parents?

Maybe I am just feeling older... and more old-fashioned.

What a lot of melancholic reflection! I am definitely ready for a holiday from work. Soon....soon...

In the meantime, here are some old-fashioneds I am happy with:

They have photographed slightly different colour backgrounds, but I have used the same fabric for all of them.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Old-fashioned flower of the month stitcheries

Last night I got my jobs done and I wanted to sit for an hour or so and watch a crime show I had taped. It's called "Underbelly" - the story of Melbourne gangsters, enlightening, not too grim, not too nice either. I am quite enjoying it.

So, I was looking at my list of four which currently includes Noddy, The French Collection and Christmas Mice.. and has an opening for something else! Well, they were all at the "nutting out" stage, and I really wanted something mindless to stitch while I watch.

My eyes travelled over my blog list of UFOs (I knew they would come in handy for something!) and I saw the Flower Of The Month stitchery blocks. They are all traced off and ready to be finished.
I finished this block last night.

I love that the pictures look old-fashioned. Just like those teacups with the months and flowers on them. So pretty! This morning I decided when I put them together they will go with my opp shop d'oyley collection. I bought about 20 at a garage sale once for $1 each. All embroidered. If any have holes or stains, they will be cut in half or whatever so I can use the good bits.

I have d'oyleys I embroidered myself, but I won't be cutting them up.

This is where I found the free patterns. I printed them off in May 2006, but they are still there.

These are a few of the blocks I have done so far. I will post more tomorrow.

I would suggest you use an unbleached muslin or osnaberg or pastel backgrounds to ensure the white flowers show up on all the pictures.