Thursday, 31 January 2013

Monstrous Beauty

Carpenter Star
Isn't this a beauty? This is the Rainbow Bee block requested by Emily for January. It's called a 'Carpenter Star' and is 18.5" unfinished. I am pleased with how it turned out (there is one place where the points don't quite meet up as they should, but it is passable!). This block ensured I spent a bit of time with the unpicker, as I did a few silly things along the way. Like sewing to the wrong side of the fabric. Or picking up two pieces and then sewing up the wrong side. This block sat disassembled on my cutting mat for a few nights as I slowly put it together, so it could tell you a few stories about the Barbies, trains and plastic play food in the play room/sewing room. It was all happening around this block during the day! Thankfully my children know that it is just not worth messing with my sewing, so my Carpenter Star happily coexisted with them for a while.

Having said that, I am glad to package it and send it off to Emily! I look forward to seeing her rainbow coloured Carpenter Star quilt.

I'm really enjoying being in a Bee. I am making blocks that I otherwise wouldn't and somehow always manage to find time to sew for others, just never for myself!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Block Swaps

It's been a while since I have updated my swap blocks. These are the blocks I have received over the last few months:

October - Jessisca

November - Isa

December - Janet (look at those cut little hippo buttons that Janet popped in!)

Jan 2013 - Ilse

Jan 2013 - Ilse

Ilse kindly made me two beautiful blocks! I have a lovely collection of blue and white star blocks - perhaps by the end of the year I can blog about a completed quilt!

These are the blocks I have sent:

Isa - Shoo Fly
Isa - Nine Patch

I made Isa two blocks for November, as they were simple blocks to put together. The funny thing is, I had a little trouble with the top left corner patch of the Nine Patch! I ripped it out and restitched it. Just goes to show that simple isn't always smooth sailing!!

Ohio Star for Janet (we swapped Ohio Stars that month!)

Anvil for Ilse

I also made an Arrowhead Puzzle block for Ilse, but have neglected to take a photo somehow!

Angel Block!
This is a terrible photo (the main fabric is actually a tone on tone white!), but I included it because I like it so much that I think I'll make a quilt using blocks like this. It is an angel block that was sent anonymously to someone whose block swap partner had not sent them a block. It reminds me of a quilt made by Amanda Jean from the book Sunday Morning Quilts.

And on the Christmas side of things I have received the following blocks (I took a break in December!):

Jessisca's Tree - November
Maxine's tree
As you can see, I do like trees so when my partner gives me free reign on the block choice I tend to sew up a Christmas tree for them!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Cushion Cover Swap

I am participating in a cushion cover swap hosted by Sue, who is also the coordinator of Quilting Block Swaps Australia. This is a one off swap, though Sue will also be hosting a table runner swap in April (pop over to her blog and send her a message if you'd like to participate - international participants are welcome!).

My swap partner (it is done anonymously, so you don't know who is making the cushion cover that will be sent to you!) requested a cushion cover for the car in red and black. It took me quite a while to decide on the design for this cover, but I finally took inspiration from Sew, Mama, Sew! I hand stitched the binding on last night and it is ready to be mailed!

The photo isn't terribly flattering - I didn't have a cushion insert on hand so the cover is stuffed with two towels. Hopefully my cushion swap partner likes it!

What do you think?

Paper Pieced BOM

'Measure Twice' - January Block
Kristy over at Quiet Play is hosting a paper pieced (foundation pieced to some!) Block of the Month. It is a sewing themed BOM that began in January. Kristy generously provides each month's pattern free for use. At the end of each month the pattern is then listed for sale in her shop.

This month's block is called 'Measure Twice' and is 10" unfinished. This is a great way to try paper piecing if you have been considering it, as the BOM starts with the easier blocks and progresses to the more difficult ones.

I must thank Sally for generously providing me with the cotton tape that looks like a tape measure. Sally is very generous and has some great ideas and tutorials on her blog.

I didn't really give any overall thought to the fabrics used for the entire BOM; rather, I chose fabrics that I thought would work well together in this particular block (actually, I wanted to use my 'Pearl Bracelets fabric - second from bottom - and then chose fabrics to go with it!).

I guess I'm going with a pink and orange colour palette for the entire BOM!

And Sew On button

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Rotary Cutter Arrival - Yay!

I was extremely happy when my rotary cutters arrived a couple of days ago. While I was only without one for two weeks (and one of those weeks we were away on holiday) it seemed like a very, very long time. The one on the left is the exact replacement of my replacement cutter, while the lighter grey handled cutter on the right is a newer version. It has a titanium coated blade. I'm not sure whether that should impress me, but I have to admit that it sounds pretty swish! I have opened this one and put it to work last night. I am pleased to say that it cuts like a hot knife through butter. So smooth! Unfortunately the fixing that holds the blade in place fell off while I was cutting (not so good!), but I think that's because I didn't check to see if it was tight before I started using it. 

We'll see how it goes, but for now it is a pleasure to use!

Fabric Buckets

Just in case you were wondering, the bucket on the left has chickens on it!
I have made a few fabric baskets in the past that I have used for putting gifts in. The baskets I have made previously were rectangular with handles at each end. I can't remember how I came across this variation, but Film in the Fridge have a great tutorial on how to make round bottomed fabric buckets. I had some fabric that I wasn't quite sure what to do with, so I used some of it to make some buckets. These were started before Christmas last year, as I made one to hold the story stones (will post about that later!) Lily made for her pre-primary teacher as an end-of-year-thanks-for-being-my-teacher-gift. Whenever I embark upon a sewing project I tend to cut out a number of them at once. In the case of these fabric buckets I finished Lily's, but the others were shelved until the Christmas frenzy had disappeared. The interfacing I used was a tad too stiff and would benefit from being ironed to re-adhere it to the fabric after being turned inside out a few times during construction (similar to when I used it for this messenger bag). Overall, I'm pleased with them! I think I'll toss these in the gift box to be used later in the year. If they are still hanging around at the end of the school year I could put the teacher gifts in them as per last year!

Rockmelon and Butternut

One of our rockmelons growing happily.
We recently enjoyed a lovely week away where we spent almost every day relaxing at the beach or at the pool. We have never watched so many dvd's before! After a busy year and Christmas season it was much needed and thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated.

Our first butternut pumpkin - the vine is taking over the garden bed!
Upon our return I went out to the backyard (after loading up the 9.5kg washing machine with sheets!) to see if the garden had missed me (it hadn't!) and discovered these beauties. Five rockmelons (canteloupe to some, including my mum!) had trebled in size and a butternut pumpkin had begun growing.  So far we seem to have done well growing rockmelons, tomatoes and cucumbers (so try these if you are thinking about starting a vegie garden but want success and live in a temperate climate!). Unfortunately we picked one of the rockmelons too early, but have enjoyed some ripe ones after learning from our error. I'm looking forward to turning the butternut into a pumpkin pie (must post the recipe - even if you live in the US and pride yourself on your pumpkin pie I think you really ought to try my recipe (well, Tim's mum's recipe!)!).

Do you have a pumpkin pie that you think could rival mine?

Monday, 21 January 2013

Messenger Bags

Eli loves his bag!

When I saw the tutorial for kids messenger bags (or satchel bags in Australia!) at Zaaberry I knew I wanted to make these my next project!

This is my prototype for Eli. The bear fabric on the flap is drill and is a fantastic weight for bags. I spied the bears waving at me from the remnant basket at Spotlight and picked it up for $2. I think the piece is big enough for at least another three bag flaps. I used a camel coloured quilting cotton for the rest of the bag, though I won't be using quilting cotton again. I reinforced the cotton fabric with interfacing, but found it to be a bit of a pain! With all the turning inside out and back again throughout the bag making process, the interfacing ended up a bit 'bubbly', as it came away from the cotton a little. This could probably be remedied by ironing it again to re-adhere it to the cotton fabric.

This is a fabulous sized bag for 2 - 5 year olds and the tutorial is easy to follow. I did make one alteration to the strap; I used half the width and simply sewed it up with right sides together, turned it right side out, ironed the seams and stitched down each length to reinforce. I also omitted the batting for the strap. I plan on making quite a few (with a variety of different flap fabrics) so that I have plenty on hand for birthday gifts as they arise during the year!

Adult sized messenger bag.
One of my nieces turned 18 in January and I thought she would love a messenger bag as a birthday gift. I used the tutorial at mmmcrafts for this one. As 2013 is the year of use-what-I-have, I had to stray from my original idea of a plain body and strap with a patterned flap. I had either brown or camel fabric for the body, but wanted to used a navy and white fabric for the flap. There was no way that I was going to put the two fabrics together, so I opted to use the navy print for the entire bag. I added a white applique flower to break up the print a little on the front flap.

This bag is put together differently to the child sized messenger bag. Both tutorials are clear and easy to follow, but I think I prefer the construction of the child sized bag (though this may change as I attempt to mass produce them for my 'gift' box!).

My photos are rubbish, but this bag is really lovely!

I used a brighter print (drill - as is the navy print - I wasn't going down the interfacing route again!) for the inside.

The little trees are quite adorable and add some colour that is a pleasant surprise when the bag flap is lifted. As this bag was for a girl (and and adult at that!) I added a pocket on the inside as well as the outside of the bag.

My niece loves it so I was extra pleased! I am looking forward to making some more of these. I think I'll try adding a magnetic snap to the flap and perhaps a zippered pocket inside.
Inner pocket

Look what I found at the op shop!

While having a quick peruse for vintage sheets at an op shop today (no, I didn't find any!), the kids and I discovered this lovely little country runner. Someone has lovingly blanket stitched around each of the letters (and the cute little heart!) and then surrounded the lettering with an autumnal pieced border.
Look at that little 'brick' print on the back!

Even though it is not my style I couldn't leave it at the op shop, so it came home with us!

So. Is anyone interested in adopting this little treasure? Should I offer it to the world and if more than one person puts up their hand Rafflecopter can randomly select someone?

What do you think? Would you like it at your house? Do you know someone who loves the country look and would squeal with delight if you gifted it to them?

Saturday, 19 January 2013


Kristy at Quiet Play gave me the opportunity to test some paper pieced patterns before releasing them to the general public (saying that makes me feel very special!). Based around teapots (that's probably quite obvious!), these blocks were really enjoyable to put together.

I like paper piecing. For those that haven't come across it before, paper piecing is a technique that involves sewing pieces of fabric to a pattern that is printed on paper. The order of the fabric sewn is decided by following a numerical sequence. So basically you sew bits of fabric to the paper starting at number 1 and then continuing in numerical order until
there are no more numbers!

Teapot, sugar bowl and milk jug.
Paper piecing allows you to be really precise without having to cut out precise pieces of fabric! Seams are sewn first and then trimmed. Once the fabric pieces are all sewn on to the paper and the block is complete, the paper is then torn away and you are left admiring your beautiful block!

There are quite a few sites offering free paper pieced patterns if you'd like to have a go. The only down side to paper piecing is that it uses more fabric than regular piecing (when I do it that is!). It is great for using up scraps.

Teapot and teacups (I am yet to embroider the hooks for the teacups to hang on!)
What do you think I should turn these three 10" (25cm) blocks into?

Giveaway Winner!

We have a winner!

With a total of 5 entries the chance of winning was pretty good! Zoe and I have had many a chuckle over the low number of entries. We have come to the conclusion that either bunting is just not in great demand or the colours were not girly enough! The good thing is that any future giveaways are likely to improve on that number! It was a fun experience and a great way to learn a bit about the Rafflecopter widget so that I can do things a bit better next time.

Rafflecopter randomly chose the winner who is:

LaShanda Taylor

I have emailed LaShanda informing her of her good fortune!

So, what would you like to have as a giveaway prize?

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Zoe's Quilt - Photos at Last!

I posted this a few weeks ago, but it disappeared from the blog! I must have inadvertently done something when I was fiddling with some technical things. For those who have already seen it - my apologies! For those who haven't - this is Zoe's quilt.

Well, I finished Zoe's Merrily Mermaid quilt! Unfortunately I hadn't taken photos of it in its finished state until today (Christmas came along and then it has been super hot here in Perth. Actually, Christmas is still here - we have our extended family Christmas tomorrow!).
The top half blowing in the (very warm!) breeze.
 It is HUGE! It measures 183cm (72") x 287cm (113"). As you can see the clothes line wasn't tall enough to hang it on without major 'drapage' on the grass! Due to its size I opted to stitch in the ditch (I cannot tell you how sore my arm muscles were the next day!!) around all the different sized blocks that comprise the centre, as well as along each of the borders. I'm not adverse to adding some more quilting later on - perhaps some FMQ in the borders. For now I am glad to have it finished and enjoy seeing it on Zoe's bed!
I know, I know - I should have unpegged the quilt and turned it around before taking a photo of the back!
I am really happy with the back of the quilt. I didn't have enough of the pink for the entire back and I'm glad, as I like a pieced back. Whilst it doesn't look like it in the photo, the purple panel is centred and is from the same fabric range as the pink (don't ask me what it is!).

What do you think?

Friday, 4 January 2013

Giveaway: Bunting in Primary Colours!

A while back I made some bunting for the wall in Eli's room. I actually had enough material to make two (we don't need two!), so the bunting in the photo is up for grabs!

It is approximately 2.6m long (just over 102") and the flags are made from coordinating red, yellow and blue fabric attached to red bias binding. Each 'flag' is approximately 19cm (7.5") in length and width.

It would make a lovely gift or decoration for a circus or carnival themed birthday party (I am yet to do a post on that!).

I am happy to post internationally!

Giveaway is open until the 19th January.

This is my first time using Rafflecopter, so if there are a few hiccups please let me know while accepting my apologies in advance!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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