Thursday, April 28, 2011

The fat lady has sung! *

The music quilt is finished, and packed up ready to go.  I'll be taking it to the post office tomorrow.
This is one of those projects that I'm glad to see the back of.  Not that I had any real problems with it, just it has taken me so long.  I still like it and I will enjoy seeing it on the wall when I visit my friends, but I'm just so glad it wont be in my sewing room any more.

I had real trouble getting a good photo of this.  Outside on the lawn there was too much glare from the sun.  In the garage on the clothes line the wind picked up ever time I pushed the button.  I think the above comes up better if you click on it and see the original size.

I decided to do stippling quilting in all the applique blocks and I'm glad I did.  It really made the yellow music notes pop out.  Prior to that I'd been a bit disappointed with how those blocks turned out, they looked too busy against the coloured background.

In the border I decided to quilt five lines to represent the music staff, and then quilted in some music notes, which you can see here (again click on the picture for a larger version).
It's supposed to be 'Rock a bye baby' if you start in the top left corner and read around, but the spacing was guessed and a few musical notations (which I'm sure are important) were left out.  Any true musician would probably have trouble reading it as this but *I* know what it is!

For the label on the back, at my husband's suggestion, I attached it upside down to how I normally would.  This way, when the quilt is hanging on the wall and you turn up the bottom corner to see the label, it is right way up.  As you can see I also used music staff to write the label (on printable fabric)

Now that this is complete, today I started cutting out the puppy and dino quilts.  No rest for the wicked?

* This may be referencing the quote 'It ain't over till the fat lady sings' or it might be referring to my singing out with joy when this quilt was finally finished!

My Creative Space

The newest installation in my sewing room
Pop over to Kootoyoo and play along.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Weeks and months keep slipping by

And more Birdie and Civil War blocks are complete.

Civil War block 15 is Fort Sumter.
The centre nine patch represents the Fort surrounded by blue water and the red is the lines of fire from the shore.  I think this is the first time I've done a square in a square block and I quite like the look.  The fabric choices for this week are made up of fabrics I bought from AQC, and some others which I found in my sewing room whilst I was doing some tidying up.  I'm really liking that leafy pattern in the centre, and luckily the fat quarter I bought contains the selvedge with the name on it so I *might* be able to obtain some more.

Block 16 is White House
I did the pinwheel the wrong way around on this.  Of course I didn't realise until I went to press the pieces and had already cut the fabric.  Oh, well, in the grand scheme of things, no one will know, and I'll probably even forget by the time I come to make up a quilt with these.  The fabric choices are my friend's birthday present which I'm working on at the moment (and can't show you because she reads this.... you'll just have to wait!), and the red is the same as the previous block because in needed an extra colour.

The next block needs blue, so I guess I'll have to make sure I work on something blue this week.  What a good excuse to start cutting out my nephew's dinosaur quilt.

Birdie Stitches Block 4
I've started to mix up the colours on these a little from what Little Miss Shabby does, which quite a few other people are doing as well. I like the effect. I might have to go back and change some of the earlier blocks so that they look right compared to the newer blocks.  I'm still trying to stick to the basic idea though, because I feel I have to have some respect for the person who has designed the picture.  I'm loving these blocks, they're so cute and colourful.  I hope my daughter likes birds, since at the moment this is destined to be her quilt.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Australasian Quilt Convention 2011

Last Friday I went off to the Australasian Quilt Convention.  A day out on my own, without the bub, free to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.  Oh the luxury!!

It was a mixed day.  Morning feed and sleep times meant that I rushed to get ready and catch an earlier train so the little one wasn't kept awake too long.  Not such a bad thing.  Then the train was held up in between two stations because of signal faults for AN HOUR!!  I spent the time clearing out old SMSs on my phone.  There were some that were more than two years old that weren't meaningful at all (My oldest SMS is 9 1/2 years old, but that was my brother announcing the birth of his first child so it's meaningful).  I was glad I'd caught the earlier train because the later train would have been held up behind us!

Eventually I arrived in the city and, in a rush to get to the Royal Exhibition Building, I walked up the escalators rather than just standing.  I used to do this all the time on work days.  I'm not as fit as I used to be.  The escalator out of the train station is two lots of these:

By the time I got to the top my legs resembled set jelly, and then to leave the actual station I had to walk up more stairs, and there was no escalator option!  At least I'd got in my exercise for the day.

I then had to walk through Carlton Gardens, and oh what a sight!  I'd forgotten what it was like to be in the city in Autumn.
Sadly my little camera phone doesn't take the best pictures, but you get the idea.  I've always loved crunchy Autumn leaves, maybe because there weren't any around where I grew up.  I think I ended up taking just as many photos outside as I did inside!

An hour later than intended, I arrived at the expo, and still in time to go to the seminars I wanted (just).  After my first session gave me a chance for a rest, I wandered around the quilt displays.  So many wonderful quilts.  I try not to look too hard or I just get overwhelmed with a longing to make such beautiful pieces.  I did snap a few inspirations though

This quilt had leaves appliqued (I believe blanket stitched) and then the quilting was done in the small gaps between.  It gave the effect of pebbles or stones because it really made the applique shapes stand out.  I might have to try this some day.

I did try to photograph the cards next to the quilts detailing the name, who made it etc, but my camera just didn't do the job well enough.

This one was an entry into the Seven Deadly Sins quilt contest, which was run specifically for the Convention, and I thought this entry was rather fun!

There were some brilliant ideas for the theme, and some rather unusual ones too.  Some people focused on all seven sins (like this one), others just concentrated on one sin.
This quilt really caught my eye.  I've always wanted to make an Escher quilt, it's one of those things that turns over in my mind every now and then.  The Tumbling Blocks pattern has always struck me as a good starting point, but this quilt makes me think of so many other options.

This quilt was part of the 'Going Green' display.  I really wish I could read the photo of the description because it was rather nice.  She has animals circling around the words 'Recycle your rubbish, take care that your waste wont hurt any creatures or spoil this great place', and of course the twisting blocks.  The colours are also so lovely, like the sun turning into a rainbow.

For some reason this quilt grabbed me a bit.  I'm not one for mixing pinks, reds and oranges together, but this quilt just seemed so fun and quirky.

Maybe it was just my British blood (my dad was born in England) being drawn in by the Union Jack.

I loved the simplicity of this red and white.  Well, the simplicity of the colours, certainly not of the work.  After seeing so many photos of the red and white quilts recently on display in America, I want to make a red and white quilt.  Seeing this one at the expo changed my direction a little ;)  I'd been thinking of something pieced, but then was reminded how beautiful but simple applique can be!

The next two are colour quilts which I always love.  I'm sure one day I'll get around to doing a black and rainbow quilt!
After all that quilt gazing, I did get around to doing some shopping.  Here is my loot
I picked up a new cutting mat since I've managed to warp two of them (I've now found a flat place to store my mats so it wont happen again).  I got a book on Japanese meshwork... considering I bought all the gear for doing it at a craft show years ago and have never done any.  There is also a Don't Look Now pattern for a cushion cover.  I'd been contemplating getting the new 'In Spring' design, but realised I don't need another quilt pattern just yet, and my budget was stretched a little thin.  There is some embroidery stabiliser and embroidery thread, quilt hangers for some projects I have in mind and of course fabric.  Most of the fabric is just stash building but one or two of them are destined for a specific project in the near future.

After I left the expo, I saw more beautiful Autumn leaves so I'll leave you with these images.

I'm inspired to make an Autumn quilt now......

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mug Rug Swap Adventure!

I'm rather behind in my blogging.  I've been doing quite a bit of embroidery work, so lots of time on the couch and less in the sewing room, and less finished results to show you.  Also I've been doing some reorganising.  Lots of fun, but not very productive in the sense of having things to show

The other week though, I did finish my mug rug for the Mug Rug Swap Adventure.
Photo courtesy of Peg from Happy in Quilting
I forgot to take a photo of it before I posted it!  Silly me!  I didn't know where to start with ideas, but then I discovered that Peg listed in her interests 'collecting green depression glass', so I decided that would be a fun theme.  Only to discover I didn't have any of the right shades of green fabric.  Oh, dear, what a shame, I had to buy more fabric!  I decided for the background fabric I wanted to pick something a bit 1930's.  I really have no idea how 1930's fabric is defined, but I liked the look of what I chose.  The background/binding colour combination is not something I would normally do at all, but somehow it just worked for me so I went with it.

This was my first ever mug rug, and my first ever bloggy swap.  I think I'm hooked!

In return I got this lovely mug rug from Peg

I had seen a photo of it on her blog earlier this month and secrety hoped it might be my mug rug.  The colours are lovely and the applique so cute.  Guess I'll have to make some cupcakes now!

And not only did I receive this lovely mug rug, but look at all the other goodies that came in the parcel.  I was a little overwhelmed!
Obviously I'm going to have to lift my form a little in this swap game ;)

More blogging to come soon, I went to the AQC last week so have to fill you in on that, and I'm sure I'll get around to photographing my music quilt soon.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Have you see this bag?


Some people really make me wonder what is wrong with the world.

I always feel a certain amount of safety at events like craft shows because I think I am surrounded by like-minded people, but obviously a few people will go to the trouble of coming to these things just for the sake of stealing (did they perhaps sneak in and not pay the entry fee either?).

If you spot Nikki's bag anywhere, let her know.

Thanks to Curlypops for the html for the above image.  Jump to her blog and pick it up to help spread the word.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Challenge Yourself - April

This month I've decided my challenge will have nothing to do with craft!  Can you believe I have other aspects to my life??

My challenge is:
  • To exercise every day of the week except Sunday.  I can still do some on Sunday if I choose, but I'm allowed to have the day off if I want.
  • Avoid sugary treats.  This is mainly aimed at biscuits, chocolate, ice cream and other desserts
Image from

I really need to do something about getting rid of my 'mummy tummy' and getting my joints working properly again, so this is my first step.  I've sort of been doing it already, so hopefully  now I can commit to doing it all the time.

The exercise one is easy to define, I know when I'm doing exercise and when I'm not.  For my purposes at this stage exercise can be anything that is at least 10 minutes of walking.  This means that walking to the bus stop counts!  At this stage it's more about the movement and the habit than serious calorie burning.  I am also trying to go swimming once a week, and I have been making use of my WiiFit again.

The sugar one is a little more vague.  I don't want to say that I wont eat any, because that will never happen.  I just want to make sure that they are reserved for 'treats' rather than every day, which they had become.  I guess I'll just go with my idea of having less and see where I end up.

As for my March challenge, I almost got there.  My challenge was to have three sellable items complete, not needing any 'tweeking'.  I have one completely finished and it is the beginning of my 'stock' pile.  I have another which is almost right, since completing it I've had a bit more practice and am sure it will be prefect next time.  The one I did make can probably still go in the bottom of the 'stock'.  The third item I made was something I made for our house which I realised I can sell!  So the one I made isn't stock, but the item is definitely marketable.  Is that vague enough for you ;)  I like to keep some things surprises.

Are you prepared to take the challenge this month?  Add your link here if you're joining in.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Civil War block 14: Fox and Geese

I did actually complete this block on time, within the week, I just didn't get around to blogging about it.  Barbara's story here as usual.

This was a relatively easy block, specially from all the half square triangle practice I've had lately.  I even remembered to cut and sew the lighter green fabric so that all the writing was the right way around!  Fabric choice this week was from the mug rug I am making for the Mug Rug Swap Adventure

As for the actual mug rug, well you'll have to wait till next week to see that.  Don't want to give it away to my swap partner ;)

In other news, I have FINALLY finished my music quilt!!!!!  (Except for the label, but I'll do that this week).  I just have to find somewhere to hang it up and photograph it now.  One of those jobs that I'm so glad it's over I never want to see it again, even though I really like it and I'm rather proud of my efforts.  Do you get that with your projects?

Tonight I couldn't decide what to work on next, so I rearranged my quilting fabric stash and organised it by colour.

Friday, April 8, 2011

This week I'm grateful for.... Sunny Autumn Afternoons

Whilst my husband has been working from home, he's also been doing things around the house, including some work on the front yard.  We bought some new plants and did some redesigning, which meant I had to dug up some bulbs and move them.

Yesterday and today were beautiful days for being outside so today I took my gardening tools and planted the bulbs I'd dug up yesterday while hubby and daughter sat on the lawn and watched.

So this week I'm grateful for:

... Sunny Autumn days where you can get outside and do things but it's not too hot

... The pretty little lawn that we have which my husband has grown from seed and proudly mows

... And a baby who is content to sit on the grass with Daddy and stare at the big wide world, taking it all in.

Share your grateful with Maxabella Loves this week.

Humour me, please

This week I decided to bare my soul and enter the Quilting Gallery weekly themed contest.  The theme for this week is applique.

I entered my Kimono Girls Quilt

Go here to cast your vote before Sunday Midnight.  Looking at the other entries I don't think I have a snowballs chance in hell, but I guess I can pretend ;)  If you are so inclined, ask your friends to vote for me as well.  I think I can use all the votes I can get.

Weekly Themed Quilt Contests

Giveaways Galore!

I don't have a give away.... yet.... but some of my lovely friends do!

Kellie over at Don't Look Now is giving you the chance to win one of her patterns.  I adore Kellie's work but as yet haven't made any.  I think her new In Spring pattern will be on my shopping list for the Australian Quilt Convention!

Also, if you purchase one of her patterns between now and the AQC, you can be in the running to win a quilt kit.

Over at Raggedy Station, Tess is celebrating the opening of her new store with a fabric give away

Who could resist classic black and white? 

And don't forget Margaret at A Little Bit of Kaos is giving you the chance to win a copy of "I heart patchwork"

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Retro-ing along

I just realised it's been several days since I've posted, and I don't seem to have shared by latest Retro Nine Patch block.

I started doing the purple inner flower in backstitch, same as everything else, but with my smaller scale it was just too crowded and didn't look any good at all so I decided to do it in lazy dazy stitch.  When it came time to do the leaves, I didn't even consider backstitch.  It does mean that I've lost the nice sharp points that Lyn drew into the design, but then looking back over the first two blocks, the leaves on them are curved anyway.

I'm rather happy with the way it looks, but I'm not sure how the looser stitches will hold up... I'd been considering making a dolls quilt out of this for my little girl when she's old enough.  Little girls have a habit of dragging things like this around the house ;)  I guess I'll just have to teach her some respect for beautiful things!

Speaking of beautiful things, Margaret at A Little Bit of Kaos is having a give-away for a patchwork book....She's even posting internationally!  Go over, read her wonderful blog and leave a comment on her giveaway post to be in the running!  Margaret is the one who got me into the world of craft blogging and I've never looked back since!

Friday, April 1, 2011

This week I'm grateful for....hard floors and husbands

I grew up with carpet in ever room of the house except kitchen/laundry/bathrooms.  The idea of a 'hard' floor in a family room or similar just seemed uncomfortable to me.

In our house now, we have an open plan kitchen/dining/family and we have laminate flooring right the way through.

The other night it came time to sandwich up my music quilt, and I'm so glad we have a hard floor because I am able to sticky tape the backing to the floor, then tape the batting to the floor, before finally smoothing over the quilt top.  Plus, I can push the basting pins (gently) till they hit a hard surface then push them up.

I remember a story my year 7 textiles teacher told about her quilting group who had made this beautiful quilt and laid it all out on the floor and hand basted it, only to discover they had basted it to the carpet in some areas!!  The rest of the class (who weren't really into sewing, only did the subject because it was compulsory) were horrified when she said they ended up trimming the carpet to free the quilt.

So this week I'm grateful for:

1. Hard floors

2. Basting pins

3. My husband ..... for crawling around on the floor with me and helping me layer out my big quilts - especially when I was making his coffee quilt and he did the whole thing himself under my instruction because I was 8 months pregnant and couldn't get down on the floor.

What are you grateful for this week?  Go on over to Maxabella Loves and share your love.


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