Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pictureless thursday

No pictures today - no cable
Just words.

daylight savings
Sleep ins
Lazy days
King size bed in accomodation.... Sharing with teenage daughter....

Back to normality next week

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas muffins

Thanks to an extremely generous friend I have ben awoken today at 5am! with a mery christmas text....
up early when the kids are asleep - what is the matter with them? they are both exhausted from working all week while I have been on holidays. No early excitement for Santa at this house today.
I have been Nigella like and made her xmas morning muffins ready for breakfast - in  my pyjamas.
nigellas xmas morning muffins before cooking
Also pleased to announce that I have started to quilt my SoTA piece yesterday.

back of art quilt
Suppose this is not the time to notice that the oven needs a clean? 19 people for lunch - oh well it will almost be all BBQ anyway.

Merry Christmas, hope the day is cheerful and full of friends, family and fun.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Halfway through my holiday I have relaxed enough to be inspired to sew!
I am madly trying to finish a quilt for my friend that was a demo quit at the last QQ quilt show, and also trying to be inspired to get an art quilt done for the 2QAQ SoTA exhibition. There are other things on the list but some things have deadlines. QQ Challenge is one of them.... almost started- have done lots of drawings.

The inspiraton has come for the SoTA quilt- one I had started  already! I have marked some quilting lines, found the back fabric, bought the batt- and have pinned it ready to quilt. It's amazing what can be achieved with both kids at work and a husband at his cellar...
Gone with the Wind is on TV- can't get that channel in my sewing room alas - so its head down and hard at work.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Liberating Time

Add caption
Usually when I am on holidays from work I do not wear a watch, much of what I do at work needs to be timed, or have the time written. When a baby is born every body wants to know the 'time of birth'. Documentation must be timed.
It is very liberating not to know the time, to do what I want, eat when I am hungry. The teenagers are hungry all the time so unless they are all hungry at once it really isn't a problem, but I do come unstuck sometimes and get carried away with something like quilting, reading or just watching a good movie. A whole day can just slip by and I can achieve more than I ever thought possible -or  without much being done at all.
Its all or nothing sometimes!

almost finished
I indulged in a christmas treat for myself this year at the craft show- a panel of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" I have made it into a banner, almost finished- just another last minute  thing to do.

Now what about cocktails for xmas lunch?
Table decorations?
Do I have enough food for the 19 people coming for lunch? pudding boiled and ready to heat - will make some brandy butter- the hard variety - which I have discovered lately is not as common as I once thought.
Off to the supermarket for me,  few last minute things to get and I can relax and sew. Oh and of course the gym to wear it all off before I eat it!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Making a gift

xmas decoration

One if the most satisfying things about Christmas is not going to the busy shops and trying to find a car park then jostling with the crowds - its staying home in your quiet sewing room and calmly sewing a hand made gift. I have made some lovely rustic hanging decorations - layered felt and bright fabrics, stitched, a second hand button in the middle and then joined at the back with some ribbon. For the picture I curled it around, but it has a loop at the top to hang and is 5-6 stars long.
I have made something else but will not post a pic till after xmas as it's a secret.

labels for xmas biscuits
These are the labels for the other gifts we are making- jars with cookie mix- just add eggs and butter and cook. A nice gift for the families coming to xmas dinner. Isabel has been madly doing the labels and instructions on the computer - at last something constructive to do. Shame the kids of today are so bored!

I found a link to this site
on another blog - well worth a look, some fantastically fun installations - not sure if I could get away with it at my own home! Interestingly after lunch yesterday we found some cushions with quilted designs not unlike some of the drawn ones on this web page, but they were only cushions not whole walls and floors- scroll down her site to see some fun whole floors and rooms.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A quarter of a metre is 25 cm not 30 cm!

How to be irritated by a shop worker.
My daughter  (16) has been making dear little pencil cases lined with felt, so we went ot the local habedashery to get some from a roll rather than small squares. The sales person argued with me when I asked for  1/4 of a metre of each. Do you really mean  30 cm or 25 cm, "no I asked for a 1/4 metre- that means 25 cm", are you sure ? she asked as some people say 1/4 and mean 30 cm!!! She continued to argue and check if I knew what I was talking about!
I had just got out of bed from a night shift sleep on my 9th day straight and need to go back to work again tonight so I was not in the mood for any discussion, just wanted to make my purchase so she can pay her wages and rent.
At least at Spotty they don't argue about what you are trying to buy.
Serves me right for shopping locally.
pencil case
new felt and zips
 The new felt is bright and some funky coloured zips. But when mum says don't cut the end off the zip she says it for a reason! its really hard to rethread a zip.
So wonderful to hear the sewing machine humming away, my sons girlfriend has been madly sewing dresses and skirts too which is lovely. He is even knitting!

I am determined to get the quilt top  previously pictured put together this week ready for quitling in the new year.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Block refiguration

The blocks had a little shift this week, they look so much better now, just need to sew the last three, and it might be done soon.
I bought the best fabric today for a xmas gift, can't show, but am very happy with my find.
Off to bed for this tired person, night shift and me don't mix very well sometimes...
Holidays soon!

Friday, December 2, 2011

If I sew faster will the thread last longer?

This is a block from a friends quilt, there are 9 blocks each side, the front is girly and pink, and the back is blue and nautical. The quilting on the front in each larger square is a flower, which corresponds with the sashing on the back, so the blue thread on the back makes a nice pattern too instead of being random. I only had a little of the darker pink thread, and I kept quilting faster and faster to hopefully make the thread last longer-  it doesn't really work-  but it did today!

The  octopus looks a bit sneaky peeking out of the corner.

The raffle quilt is coming along slowly, I  have added some red blocks and have several more ready to sew the last seam on and a few blocks with yellow, as these are the College colours. Notice how College had a capital C, must have learnt something along the way in all my correspondence!
Theres a new fabric shop in the city, off today to check it out. Might be only dress fabric, but you never know.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


This week I have been inspired to sew a skirt! yes clothes..
My sons girlfriend is learning to sew garments, and a trip to a fabric shop was necessary, might  have to travel further afield next time for a bigger range, but I am happy wth my skirt fabric, and Kaylee got some lovely red with white hearts for a dress.
Garments need a little less precision than patchwork, but not much!
Its fun to wrestle with the paper patterns under the fan in summer here.
skirt fabric

bow on gift from friend, the bow was bigger than the gift!

quilt underway

The blua and cream quilt is coming along nicely, it needs some red and yellow, as blue, red and yellow ar the College colours.
Just got to find that elusive bit of time to get more blocks done.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


postcard 4" x 3 "
I needed some postcards to give as gifts next week, also a small quilt for a lovely friend. Postcards are easy and can help to get some designs sorted out, colour choices sorted and are useful at the end.
A machine quilted postcard is a lovely personal gift as  a thankyou card, and I often make them instead of buying cards.

card 4" x 6 "

quilt on canvas 8" x 10"

The quilt mounted on the canvas is a lovely gift, I really like making these, there is no edge to bind and they can be hung as is, not like a cushion that everybody will sit on.
At this time of year when people are searching for that innovative gift, I feel I have found the right ones, even the small 3" x 4" cards can be used as xmas tree decorations.
Simple but effective

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Design Inspiration

I have found inspiration in several odd places recently, today at Pilates while lying face down on a very old towel,( it was a wedding present 25 years ago!)I found that it had a great design, just perfect for machine quilting, the class couldn't finish fast enough for me to get home and draw it!
Then last week at a friends house I salvaged a paper napkin with a really nice pattern, my friends often covet paper napkins and would rather wipe their dirty faces/ hands on their clothes just to save the napkin to take home. In fact I think they search for the perfect napkins to buy, and just ignore the plain ones.
design from towel

paper napkin
I must admit I like walking round either looking up at old buildings or down to the footpath, a good way to trip up and fall over..... all in the search for inspiraton.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Winners and losers

I did have a little win at the Melbourne Cup luncheon, 2nd in a sweep, otherwise Tattersalls did well out of me. Here is me getting ready, with Suzannes hat, a little askew, but it was then adjusted, its hard to take photos of yourself! The colour was not quite right but the green scarf looked good with my dress. Alas, the Principal and her colleagues did not vote for me for 'best hat'!

The next picture is a postcard I am making to send to one of the sponsors of my prize last week. Its nice to send a hand made (machine quilted) card, no more trouble and a bit personal.
Just got to get rid of the champagne in my system to write straight on the back of it!
The postcard is resting on a rather fat book I am doing some research from for next years quilt show-  the theme is 'nine patch' - so many ideas,but willl need to settle to one soon.
I am determined to be ready and early with next years pieces......

Famous last words, I am the queen of the last minute.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Days to not sew!

Today is one of those awful days -worked night shift last night and not sure if its morning or night!
should have cropped to picture , but they look crisp and fresh!

I have pieced one block 3 times, the first 2 blocks were OK then the 3rd which was the reverse was a total disaster. Its for a raffle quilt for the school fair next year, thought I would get in early and be prepared. There will be some coloured blocks too, but mainly blue and cream, crisp and bright.

The pink and blue is the quilt belong to my friend Michelle, not exactly my colours, this is the quilt I have been doing the machine quilting demo on at the Quilt Exhibition last week. The corner blocks I am very happy with, the border too. The thread is Wonderfil, 50 weight and has been quilting like a dream. You can buy it via mail order from Melbourne now, although I have enough to do a few more quilts now! So lovely to find great thread in great colours.
corner block

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Volunteer of the week

Thats what I feel like!
Helping set up the quilt show, some demonstrations - the last day that made my back ache , I must be getting old!
Then today at school for a music function-  oh how I wish I could play the saxaphone like those 17 year olds! oh so jealous...
It was the last hurrah for me as President of the P&F at a major function! A few small ones to go then I have finished!
Pictures tomorrow when I get my head in order.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A little win

 A little blue ribbon, so very happy as this is a category of excellent quilters who I am priviledged to be amongst.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Almost ready

Almost ready for thequilt show demo, some vein lines drawn on, other drawings at the ready,  the centre quilted in preparation. A plan has been hatched.
Shame I have very little pink thread, oh dear might have to go and buy some more!
The blue thread I have looks sort of OK but I know that a deep pink will look better.
partially quilted
quilted, ready to remove paper

 I traced the pattern on cheap kitchen paper, pinned it on and then stitched through. It is an easy no mark system - till you have to remove the paper, the cheaper the paper the better! When it is crinkled it usually tears on the seam lines, not distorting the stitches.
Interestingly, M and I pinned the quilt together and you can tell which part I pinned, pins closer together, and as I was vaguely thinking of a quilting design, it is pinned quite differently on each side.
paper removed

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I am in the planning mode, the annual Queensland Quilters Exhibition is on next week. I have been clever enough to win a prize! not sure exactly which one, but am very happy as I am in the profesional category, and the competition is tough.
I have volunteered to demonstrate at the Art Quilt able Wednesday, and the Machine quilting table Friday.
This means a bit of prep work.
The art quilt day will be making soft bookcovers, these are drawing books, and will be fun, bright and funky, they will be given to the craft stall at next years school fair.
I usually use Pellon or similar because it gives a bit of definition to the machine quilting, so out to the shop soon.

books for covering

I have some wonderful bright threads, including 'Brytes', a Superior thread product, its lovely and thick, and bright and looks great, they are the neon ones inthe box.
threads at the ready!

Hari Walner quilting design
This is the next planning bit, I am going to do some work on a friends quilt for the machine quilting demo, lucky me that she has plenty of tops to be quilted, it is soft pinks and blues so the quilting should show well and be a good quilt to demo on. 
It requires some feathers- which I can do with not much thought and talk at the same time! The Hari Walner design will be in the centre and then have radiating feathers freehand in the next border, with some pebbles maybe and vines?
Just got to start the middle and draw some guide lines.

a game gone wrong
My love for Scrabble took a wonky turn a few weeks ago, we went to Brunswick Heads to camp, I bought another board as I have a very posh  one that really should stay home and not go camping. This new game has the correct number of letters but the wrong sort - x = 4, s=6, n =2 and v =1 . An interesting concept, a bit funny when the xxxx came out! trying to contact Mattel is proving harder than I thought, might have to just buy an old set from Vinnies to get the right letters.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Job list

I can do a lot of time wasting or relaxing if you call it that, doing not much at all, lately I have been putting my skills to finishing this very small1000 piece jigsaw puzzle! such fun - just one more piece! Now it is done - hooray, the pieces are very small.

sample size of pieces, I could hardly pick them up!


I am making a list  (and checking it twice) of pieces that I feel I need to get finished within the next year. In the past I have made similar lists and they have been a reminder, this one must be adhered to because I do not want to waste time ......

Not in any particular order-
1. hand appliqued hawaiian blocks - 3  or 4 to go
2. hand quilted quilt - border to go  - is there a theme emerging here?
3. Quilt for school as promised for the raffle next year.
4 Jane Sassaman inspired quilts to be finished x 2
5. quilt for husband for a weding gift - we have been married 25 years.
6. Art quilt - another place - small
7. Art quilt for 2QAQ-  largeish
8. hand applequied blocks to be opt together and quilted
9. I am sure there is someting to be finished lurking in the cupboard unfinished and forgotten
10. Start a new quilt!

 These are fun wooden stamps my daughter and I bought at Brunswick Heads last weekend, such a lovely relaxing time, might get to play with the stamps in the next few days off work.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Barcelona in 1 hour

This is my Barcelona piece for the group Art Quilts Around the World, its  a bit late, but done at last. I have been so busy tring to get my Queensland Quilters pieces done and then a weekend away - which was wonderful, then back to work - not much time to actually think and then create!
This piece is meant to be a soft curved Gaudi building! some shiva sticks lend a bit of patina to the piece. the binding is bright blue, as all the pictures I saw of Barcelona had brilliant blue skies - very inviting...
Otherwise I have been machine quilting and trying to stay sane.
Completeing a very small Worlds smallest 1000 piece jigsaw has helped with the sanity but it is a big time waster, a picture next time.

Monday, September 12, 2011


funky bright improvisatinal machine quilting
 I exhibited a quilt I made in 2005 at the recent Redland Quilt Extravaganza. A friend commented that my quilting had "improved" , this quilt had a boring symmetrical and predictable quilting design. My latest machine quilting adventures have been strongly influenced by many contemporary quilters world wide.

Not so much improved, but expanded, more free and unrestrained. Machine quilting is fun and should be a fun process.

Now I use funky bright thread colours with asymetrical designs, mostly freehand with only some very vague drawn guide lines  - most of which rub off before I can see them !  I am doing some improvisatonal work which pleases me, it may not please the judges or people who expect there to be symmetry. Most of my pieced work is not planned or overly symmetrical or lends itself to organised structured quilting designs.
When I first started to machine quilt I made paper patterns which I stitched over - then removed the paper, now I have the confidence to "just do it!'
I have an almost finished quilt top that does need symmetrical and ordered quilting qulting designs, this will mean paper patterns and some serious planning- which is one of my weak points - preplanning! However as it is a traditional quilt it will organisation.
Madly trying to get this current quilt finished for the upcoming Queensland Quilters Exhibition.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Red Thread

Several topics today, a little tired from work, but now I have 5 days off, and my cleaning lady starts next week! even better...

How did I manage to buy 2 red reels? oh well just lucky I guess!
They arrived today with the added bonus of some needles for stitching, what quick service, and lovely colours. Some Brytes, and  and fun colours with funky names too Bling Bling, Blimey and Ole! with Mood thrown in for fun!

A little sustenance to get me through after a busy day at work, sometimes I wonder how others manage after a busy day - chips and wine here to help soothe the tension.

 Its amazing what some bobbin work can do to a lifeless area on a quilt,  DMC
Cotton Perle 8 has done the trick - in red of course!- up to the facing now, so on the downhill run. So happy to be finishing this piece after nearly a year. A small snapshot to whet the appetite.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Life balance

Cleaning lady booked, life will start to look rosy again. Even though my lovely 18 yr old son stated on the recent census that the does up to 5 hrs unpaid work each week, his 5 hrs is not as good as a profesional cleaners 2!
Quilting almost finished in centre of quilt, have mail ordered thread for the border, hope it gets here soon. Almost ordered from USA, but the postage was huge and the time frame was 1-3 weeks, I need it before then.
I do have some thread, but always on the lookout for more. This is one of 3 boxes, plus theres more in a few more storage places.

This is the front of the quilt, just a small corner, I am so pleased its almost done, the batting is polyester, soft and lovely but a bit slippery under the machine, more suited to hand quilting OR a long arm - still dreaming about that.

A lovely quote I found on another blog :

Sooner or later we will come to the edge of all that we can control and find life, waiting there for us. ' Rachel Naomi Remen.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Work life balance or life unbalance?

The last few weeks have been hectic at the very least, an attempt at being social, trying to be creative (always in my head but almost never in reality on actual fabric), and going to work - which is extremely tiring especially with an extra shift and some overtime thrown in.
Oh and I am about to get a house cleaner again.
I did finish the birthday quilt, the recipient loves it, and I am very happy with the finished look. The border is the same fabric, fussy cut to get the flowers to flow round the quilt, and to get rid of the mustard part of fabric that just killled the quilt.
I am pleased with the quilting, it was a bit easy to do, didn't compete with the lovely fabrics on the front, but made the back look a bit fun.
Now to get on and finish the pieces for the Queensland Quilters October quilt show. some are already nearly finished, might have tome to start a (very)small piece if I am managing my time cleverly.
The problem of work life balance being out of kilter might be just because its the change in season and some unsettledness about the hot weather about to come or is because of my fast looming birthday - the last of my 40s?
Whatever it is I need to get a grip, call the cleaning agency, buy myself a birthday gift, and get quilting.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The average machine quilter

What does the average machine quilter look like? not me obviously.
I am not trying to justify myself, just to say we come in all shapes and sizes.
I got some strange looks yesterday when I chose the lime green back and the bobbin thread for my current quilt. I have just started to machine quilt it, these are the bobbin colours - I will use similar colours but variegated on the front, some of the bobbin will be green and some a fun purple thread.
Scruffy is helping quilt too - he is not very happy when I move him, then he just gets comfy again and sleeps. Maybe he likes the hum of the machine.
It is a cotton batt and is moving like warm butter across the machine, almost a bit too smooth and I am not using my Supreme Slider either!
It is a dream to quilt, I am doing a simple modified feather and swirl design, and yes the back will have these 2 colours and be fantastic.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Reverse sewing

back of quilt -happy with this quilting
I have spent the last week sick with a cold and nasty cough, just the right thing for unquilting, It is a large quilt, black and white with some colour. The quilting design I was never happy with, and when the deadline passed for last years quilt show and it was unfinished I put it folded neatly in a cupboard.
Now I have renewed sense of design, I am in the mood to finish it. I have spent some time unpicking, now to get the 'right' design and get it finished. Always working to a deadline is good - it makes me try to get things done.

front  -one corner
Not entirely sure of the quilting design yet, I did have a dream about it last week, but of course it is a bit hazy now, should have drawn it straight away.
I do have the thread though, bought it in Sydney at the quilt show, a long way to go to buy thread I know, but I knew what I wanted and where to get it from. When there is a limited stock of good thread in Brisbane, and mail order is the next best way to get what you want, to go to a quilt show to get it is a good idea.
Watch this space to see if I can get two large quilts finished soon!