Sunday, February 11, 2018

I dropped the ball for a bit ...

At the start of the year I had such plans to stitch for at least 15 mins a day, keep on top of being organised around the house, and a few other health related things. Can I tell you that the very day that Camo returned to school and all the other tennis commitments kicked in, I totally dropped the ball!

Ugh, this was not how I hoped things would be. I'm not saying that my home has turned into a cesspool, it's still tidy - and I'm keeping it that way, but I had grand plans to do more decluttering - and I'll still get there - I guess just at a slower pace.

My 15 minutes of stitching each day has amounted to a little unstitching at quilt group last week, and today I stitched a couple of blocks together to see how they look. But, I'm not going to beat myself up about this - and I resolve to do better going forward!

I will share something amazing (IMHO) that happened this week:

My mind just couldn't shift from the Civil War Dressing Gown fabric that I really wanted to use in my Phebe project. And I think the reason I just didn't like any other fabric in it's place is that I really was hooked on that darned elusive print. Here's the one I wanted in case you didn't see it earlier on my blog:

Because it's a real oldie, I knew I had little hope of finding it, but in a last ditch effort to hunt some down, I sent out an appeal to my buddies on Facebook. Well, let me tell you that my quilting friends came thru in the best way. A lovely local friend Julie has some that we think is a 100% match, and if that doesn't work out, sweet Rosemary Youngs has offered me some from her stash. My goodness I am blessed with the most lovely friends.

So, this evening I decided to put a couple of blocks together to see how it'll look. Oh my goodness wouldn't it be ironic if after all that hunting I didn't like the fabric?!? Never fear, I'm really pleased with it, and the next step was to decide on a fabric for the cornerstones.

Now the cornerstones are really quite tiny - 1 inch cut, so therefore half inch finished squares. At first I thought I'd use red, but realised they'd be abutting the red sawtooth border. In the end, I went deep stash, and found this little pretty:

I have no clue how long it's been in my stash or from where it came, but isn't it lovely? There is only a fat quarter, but I will only need about half of it with such tiny pieces.

So here is a quick picture of how just a few of the blocks, sashing strips and a cornerstone look when stitched together:

I am super happy with how this came together- and though the cornerstone fabric looks really bright when you look at the fat quarter by itself, its actually quite subtle when you see that little piece just there. I'm really happy with how the piecing looks, yay!

I don't know that I've done any more with the applique on the Phebe project since I checked in last, but it's my plan to get some more done tomorrow, so I'll check in with you soon! xox

Friday, January 26, 2018

Stitching, staying cool, and other matters ...

It is still so very hot here, and when presented with such weather, it's easy to make excuses to stay inside and stitch. Life will begin returning to normal next week after the long summer break, so at times I've had to venture out into the world and be less hermity :-)

Camo has had a couple of tennis hitting sessions this week in readiness for coaching and playing to resume next week. I too will return to playing, but I'm bound to be quite rusty having not even touched my racquet for six weeks!! It will be good for me to get the heart pumping again, though the trade off is that I'll have a little less stitching time!

Classes also resume next week, and because Hetties has moved over the Christmas break, I did a little reconnaissance run to figure how all the logistics will work - and subsequently fill all the girls in on how it'll all work. And of course when you're at the quilt store, it's important to check out the sale fabrics ... where I found this sweet border print by the lovely Karen Styles:

There was around 2.5 metres left on the bolt, so I decided to give it a good home. I don't have a plan for it, but I know there will be a quilt in my future that this is perfect for.

I've also been on an endless hunt for a fabric to use as sashing strips between the star blocks that are coming up soon in the Phebe quilt. The dressing gowns print I really fell for has proved to be elusive, and at the end of last year I found what I thought was a replacement. It's a little stripe by French General. I sewed a strip in place to see how it looks:

Immediately after stitching, I felt really 'meh' about it and put it aside to think about another day. I probably need to see more blocks sewn together before I can make a decision. Anyway ... on my trip to Hetties, I found another French General stripe that could be a contender:

I think I like this one better, but I'm just not certain. I don't think I've ever been this indecisive about a fabric before, and it's probably because my heart is actually still stuck on that Dressing Gowns print. I did manage to find another little piece in the box of fabric that the lovely Donna sent me, so I wonder if I can re-engineer the pattern in some way. There's plenty of time before I'm going to be ready to sew those stars together, so I'm going to try not to agonise over it.

My plan to get at least 15 mins of stitching done each day has been easy, with much more than that achieved most of the time, and here's where I'm up to with my applique right now:

There are still so many areas on the vine to fill in, and some embroidery details on the berries, flowers and birds. I love the little flowers, it was fun to find such pretty fabrics for the petals.

Another fun thing I can share is the result of the secret squirrel applique project that I made just after Christmas:

I'm an honourary member of the Quilt Batts - the group my lovely friends I visit with in the USA belong to. Each year they have a Christmas block swap and the exchange takes place at Linda's beach house retreat at the end of January. I know the exchange took place today as we had a delightful flurry of text message exchanges, so I can share the block with you that I made for Liz. It was really fun to work on, and I hope she likes it. I'm always excited to receive the block in the mail that was made for me. I promise to share a block when I receive it!

And for my last photo of the day, I wanted to share some happy mail I received from one of my delightful readers Wendy:

Wendy ever so kindly offered to share with me some of her beautiful conversational fabric collection, isn't she just darling! There are so many more prints than you can see here, and I love them all. The one you see on top with the racquets and bats is an actual vintage fabric, how amazing is that? I simply can't say thank you enough Wendy, you are so very generous for sharing, I feel very blessed!

Last of all, a big thank you to Deb from the Frugal Little Bungalow and Suzanne for stopping by recently and commenting on my blog. And from a little longer ago, thank you also to The Civil War Quilter and Bridget. I'm sorry I wasn't able to comment on your messages individually as your email address isn't enabled.

Well, that's it for me today - I've written quite a lot! When you stop by, do take a moment to say Hi, it's always fun to read your messages. The weekend is here soon, let's make it a good one! xox

Friday, January 19, 2018

When it's hot - sit around and applique ...

My goodness, we have been experiencing some hot weather lately - and all this heat makes me so lazy. Today reached 44c (110f) at its peak, and believe me, I've almost worn a groove in the lounge staying cool in the air conditioning.

With all this sitting, I can still keep my hands busy, so I've added some more bits and pieces to the Phebe border:

Some of the pieces aren't stitched down yet, and there are many elements to add, but I'm happy with how it's coming along. It'll be fun to round a corner and fill in the sides - hopefully that won't be too far away. I understand it's going to be hot over the weekend, but not quite so extreme, so I see more applique in my future.

In my last post I mentioned I had a couple of comments that I haven't been able to reply directly to:

Rosemary Jack commented on the Caswell project and asked if the pattern is for sale. You can purchase the pattern at Threadbear - Corliss has the most beautiful fabric and patterns in her store.

Thank you to Susan, Suzanne and Bridget who left kind comments recently - thank you for stopping by.

I need to have an early night tonight, so I'll check back in soon xox

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Phebe - I love applique!

My goodness I love to work on applique projects when everything is going well, and right now things are progressing really nicely with this next Phebe border ...

At the moment I'm only working on the bottom border - I've stitched all the vines down, and I'm just starting to put some of the pretties in place. It's really fun to fussy cut fabric when I have the chance, and I love to hunt through my scraps to find cute pieces to use.

I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the border fill out - there are pretty flowers, birds, acorns and more to come!

I have had a number of comments over the last couple of months from lovely readers that I haven't been able to reply to - I hope to address their questions in my next post - in the meantime, I'm on an applique roll so I'm going to stick with it. Chatter soon :-)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Phebe ... another step forwards ...

Just a quickie post ... I'm thrilled that I've finished the little applique frame ...

I'm managing to keep my commitment to stitch for at least 15 minutes each day so far this year. And because most days haven't been super busy I'm getting a lot more than 15 minutes worth. I've got the next section in place, and tomorrow I'll get a bunch of the applique shapes ready - super fun!

Two of the other commitments I made at the start of the year were to work through the cupboards in the kitchen for 15 mins each day (starting in the pantry) and also to work through my clothing (also for 15 mins). I definitely have too many clothes. So far I've been keeping those commitments, and I'm happy with how things are looking already. I hope I can keep it up until I consider both things are manageable.

Well, that's it from me for now - I'll check back in soon I'm sure!

Monday, January 08, 2018

Summer Holiday Happenings ...

Heavens I always love the Summer holidays. It seems like expanses of time to do whatever we want, and for me that often means I get my fill of stitching time. Of course my project of choice right now is the Phebe quilt, and I've been moving forward - here's where I'm up to:

I got the sawtooth triangles put together for the sides, and also made up the little corner pieces. I did re-engineer the corners a little as I wanted the diamonds to be symmetrical - you know how I'm prone to do things like that.

Next I made up a long 1/4" bias strip and set it in place and I'm currently stitching it down. I've also prepared the little berries to applique and once they're in place I'll work on the leaves. I am just LOVING this project right now!

I haven't been able to spend all my time stitching though, on Friday night we had a BIG dinner party with some friends - it was super fun and a very late night. I genuinely thought I'd be super tired and lethargic on Saturday, but I actually had a whole bunch of energy and got so much done! Aside from the cleanup from the party, it was the day I had to take all the Christmas decorations down.

I'm always surprised by how much can fit on our tree:

Heavens - there are so many there! I always feel like the house looks naked for a little while, but it begins to feel like a clean slate for the new year.

We had another dinner last night with my sweet Amy, her fiance and her future in-laws - I don't know if I shared that she's become engaged recently. It's all so exciting, and there are wonderful celebrations to plan once dates are set. It was a great night, and the newest members of our extended family are just lovely - we are truly blessed.

In other news - this year I've set myself a few goals - they relate to general health and fitness, being organised and keeping on top of things at home, and ensuring that I get at least 15 mins of stitching time each day. One of my favourite blogs (Crazy Tourist) talked about this very thing a few days ago, and introduced her readers to an organisational tool that she's using - Asana. Now, I'm a monkey that loves to check things off a list, so this is going to be great for me, and I've begun adding things slowly that I'd like to achieve and do daily and getting a little buzz each time I achieve my goals. Sometimes the goals are really simple things like spending 15 minutes sorting out clothes, or even just deleting old email messages - and others are bigger and will take time to achieve - like moving storage around in the kitchen. Anyway things are getting done!

Well, that's it from me for the moment, I'm going to get some more stitching done for the day, and then check some thing off my new list :-)

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to my lovely readers - I hope these first few days of 2018 have been good to you, and here's to a great year going forward. We went out for dinner on New Years Eve, afterward visited with friends for drinks, from where a bunch of us went for a short hike up Anstey's Hill so we could watch the fireworks going off around the city - it was a great way to see the new year in.

Though I had things to do on the 1st, yesterday (the 2nd) I was able to get back to stitching on Phebe - there were probably times late last year I could have worked on it, but I was a little stalled after I (mostly) finished the applique centre. A decision needed to be made about a little border stripe to frame the applique, I had a really hard time making my mind up ... these were the contenders:

The border shows only half an inch of fabric, so only the tiniest detail of fabric will show. Top left was my favourite at first, but the area with the cream background was a bit blendy, and the darker section a bit bright. I liked the serpentine area of the fabric top right, but changed my mind when I found the fabric at bottom left. The blue serpentine was the one I coveted, but I only have a fat quarter of this print, and it's been in my stash for quite a while. Why do I always love the fabrics I don't have enough of?? In the end I decided on the bottom right fabric, it's not as exciting as the others, but I'm quite happy with how it looks. It's a slightly different colourway to the stripe I used in a little bit of the vase in the centre block. Once I actually made the decision - then I was able to move forward!

So here's where I'm at now:

I've got the papers drawn up ready to foundation piece the sawtooth sections for the sides, and once that is stabilised I'll get busy on the little strip of applique. Things should progress pretty quickly until I get to the large applique frame.

Hopefully I'll check back in with you soon with some progress! xoxox

Saturday, December 30, 2017

This year is almost done!

It has become very clear to me that when my life gets super busy, I get very laxe about taking photos and recording what's happening in my world. I've been better at it in the past, and maybe that's something I can work on in the new year.

So, what I'll do is take the last few photos from my iPhone and see if I can catch you up with my last month ... no rhyme or reason here ... just the order they come from the phone:

Mid November meant it was time to put up the Christmas tree. It's our tradition to get busy with this activity on pageant day which was 18th November - a week later than usual due to Remembrance day, and I ended up being even later! Usually it's an all day thing for me, and this year didn't disappoint - doesn't everyone suffer from POPD (Perfect Ornament Placement Disorder)??

I just love how our tree looks, so I like to keep it around absolutely as long as possible. For baffling reasons I forgot to put the wreaths on the front door until two days before Christmas ... but eventually I found my festive spirit!

And of course this shoe loving gal found a new pair of Scarlettos that absolutely had to be mine. I had big plans to wear them on Christmas day, but opted for comfort over style ... not that they're uncomfortable ... just nothing beats flip flops when you're busy on your feet!

This year's gingerbread creation was tackled with gusto. I had great plans to do more elaborate icing designs on the side, but when I ran out of royal icing, I decreed that it was finished. If you're looking for a wonderful recipe for gingerbread house construction, this is the one that I use. It's fabulous because when you cut the shape of the template - that's the size that comes out of the oven after baking. Super important when you're trying to put it all together.

Who knows what kind of gingerbread construction I'm going to work on next year ... I have had imaginings of a gazebo kind of lamp thingy. Make sense? No ... probably not :-) 

I like to decorate the table a few days before Christmas ... no-one likes a big rush at the last minute, and it's nice to take time over the details ... we had 12 for Christmas lunch, and all that needed to be done next was to put all the chairs in place. I have 10 chairs in the dining room and always have to steal a few from the family room table.

Blissfully, our apricot tree has been ripening more slowly and after the Christmas rush. This year we've purchased a dehydrator and we're getting ready to make dried apricots. Our first batch is drying as I'm typing this, and I hope they're going to be great. We still have so much jam from years past, and it'll be nice to have something different for a change. I'll keep you posted how they go.

On the stitching front ... before Christmas I made up a whole bunch of the spider-web placemats that I love. Ones for my students, the ladies who work in the shop, and for my Saturday tennis team. Bafflingly I didn't take pictures, so you'll just have to trust me on that. The mats are wonderful for using up small pieces of batting, and when I use leftover backing pieces too, they almost feel like free projects.

And in the picture above you can see a close up of a secret squirrel applique project I'm working on. I'll be able to share more of the project with you soon enough.

Today Marty, Camo and I went to a local tennis tournament - a couple of young lads from our own club were playing. Good results could maybe mean a wild card entry into the Aussie Open, so we went along to show our support. There was great news, and not so great news - Nathan who has coached Camo a few times lost in straight sets - but Brad who is the son of our head coach, he won today and will go further in the tournament. So exciting! I got a little sunburned ... to say the very least - usually I'm so careful about being sun-smart. Now, I'm not saying I've got new superpowers or anything ... but I'm pretty sure my forehead is radioactive right now!!

I know I won't have a chance to post again in the next couple of days, so all that is left for me in these last couple of days of 2017 is for me to wish you all a very Happy New Year! I hope you're able to ring in the new year with those you love, and do remember that what you do on the first day of the new year, will be what you spend the rest of the year doing ... so make sure you do good things, and do them well! xoxox


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