Wednesday, May 29, 2013

W.I.P. Wednesday #21 - Pinwheeling

In the post cushion cover apocalypse, I have begun to see the light again!  I finished my 7th quilt for the year on the weekend, and was able to start a new project yesterday.  It's very, very satisfying to get the creative juices going again!

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was joining in with Collaborate For A Cause this year.  Well, this is the beginning of my half of the collaboration.....

My first ever pinwheels!  I think it could be the start of another addiction.....
Aren't they cute!?
And the very cute polka dot backing.

I won't tell you what it actually is, or what the other half of the collaboration is until it's all finished!  Gotta build the suspense yes?

Ummmmmmm...... This is going to be an interesting learning curve!
Oh, and please PLEASE tell me you can tell the difference in the photo quality of the top 3 pictures?!?!  I bought myself this new little big mother trucking camera, and am eagerly trying to learn how to use it properly!  I'm pretty sure my friend Molli Sparkles will be very pleased to know I am yet to use it on Auto!

I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced - you can too!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Flying By The Seat of my Pants Quilt Finish!

Back in February, I made my first ever Dresden.  I was so completely impressed with myself, that I could pull something off, that looked so technically difficult!  It was meant to be made in to a cushion for my brother in law and his fiance for their engagement, however the colours just didn't feel right for the project - so I moved on to a second dresden!  I was left with this beautiful little piece of art and really had no idea what to do with it.  So over the past few months I have slowly but surely been putting together my "Flying by the seat of my pants quilt".  And this is is the end result......

Using the beautiful "On the Pond" range of Sarah Fielke fabrics, I had lots of fun with the colour palette and basically worked from the centre outwards.  Just adding rows of different piecing until I was happy with the end size and result.
The Dresden was made using THIS tutorial by Sew Mama Sew!

All of the quilting was done by me!  I used Aurifil thread (50wt) #2024.  A perfect, shimmery white.  There was a discussion in our QCA group on Facebook the last couple of days, with some wondering why Aurifil has such a great reputation?  I added to the discussion saying that I quilted this entire project without one single breakage!  Which is unheard of for me!  It also leaves far less fluff in my machine, which means less cleaning - equalling a happier quilter!

I basically echoed the star shape of the dresden, using my walking foot, and being ever so patient.  It was extremely time consuming, but once I committed, I knew I just had to stick it out.  I'm so glad I did!  The swirls in the white borders were another first for me.  A couple of months ago I bought a Craftsy class -  Free Motion Fillers Vol 1 by Leah Day.  So before starting this quilting, I finally sat down and watched about half a dozen of the "episodes" in the class, and thought I'd give the spirals a crack.  I have to say - the class gave me a hell of a lot of confidence, and made me feel like I could just do it.  Which I did.

I then also echoed around the triangles of the chevrons, balancing out all the quilting.
The flying geese were made using THIS tutorial by The Purl Bee.  They were a great size and once again, another quilting element that looks harder than they are.  The chevrons are made using HST's.  Super easy and super effective.
The backing fabric is a gorgeous cursive script print from Ikea!  I bought it ages ago and had it sitting and waiting for the perfect project.  I think it suits this quilt beautifully.
This lovely piece of heaven is a finished size of 52" x 71" - bigger than a throw quilt and smaller than a single size.  Perfection for snuggling.  I'm still yet to figure out who this quilt will be living with.  My lovely friend Gemma suggested I use it as a sofa quilt, however, so much white fabric + four children = disaster.  Sooooo, I am contemplating selling this beautiful baby.  I'll decide over the next week of looking at it!  I want it to be loved and cherished, not just put away in a cupboard or drawer.

I think that's SEVEN finished quilts this year!?!!?!?!?  You can see the others HERE.  I nearly fell over when I just counted them up!  I seriously have a problem addiction.  No rehab for me though - I'm just about to head downstairs to start on a new one!

What have you finished lately?  Are you addicted too?

I'm linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday over at Better Off Thread!  You can too!
Better Off Thread

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Kate Spain Blog Hop - Starts June 3!

It's no secret that I am a fan of Kate Spain and her amazing fabric ranges.  Especially Terrain, which continues to feature amongst my quilting blocks after I discovered that scraps from dressmaking are VERY usable (See my blog header photos for evidence!).  I think Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts cottoned on to my near obsession with Terrain, and thankfully asked me to take part in her fabulous Kate Spain Blog Hop!!  I may or may not have bought some Cuzco to celebrate the occasion.....

That's right - Alyce is hosting a WHOLE MONTH full of Kate Spain good-ness!  You will be able to get your fix from a multitude of fabulous blogs - including mine.  And she wants everyone - yes YOU - to be involved!  There are fabulous prizes up for grabs, and the inspiration will be at boiling point.  So make sure you take note and put it on your calendar!  You can get ALL THE DETAILS HERE.

There are two ways you can take part:

*  On June 14th, link up your favourite Kate Spain project that you have made - show off your creations that use (mostly) Kate Spain fabrics.
*  On June 28th, link up any finished project you have made throughout the blog hop in June using Kate Spain's fabrics - zippered pouches, cushions/pillows, bags, quilt tops (finished quilts not required!), clothing, whatever!

Here's the schedule, so make sure you're following via Facebook or subscribed via the sidebar options to keep in the loop of where to go each day!

Monday June 3rd - Interview with Kate Spain at Blossom Heart Quilts

Tuesday June 4th - Jane at QuiltJane
Wednesday June 5th - Christa at Christa Quilts
Thursday June 6th - Kimberly at Fat Quarter Shop
Friday June 7th - Laura at Quokka Quilts

Monday June 10th - Chrissy at Sew Lux
Tuesday June 11th - Lynne at Lily's Quilts
Wednesday June 12th - Julie at The Intrepid Thread
Thursday June 13th - Kristy at Quiet Play
Friday June 14th - Link up your favourite Kate Spain project! 

Monday June 17th - Gemma at Pretty Bobbins
Tuesday June 18th - Heidi at Fabric Mutt
Wednesday June 19th - Melissa at Ms Midge
Thursday June 20th - Jess at The Elven Garden
Friday June 21st - Janice at Better Off Thread

Monday June 24th - Diane at From Blank Pages...
Tuesday June 25th - Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts
Wednesday June 26th - Kara at Me And Elna
Thursday June 27th - Readers' Q&A with Kate Spain at Blossom Heart Quilts
Friday June 28th - Link up your blog hop projects!

So - grab yourself a button and let everyone know you'll be taking part!  And I'll see you back here for my part of the hop on June 19!

Kate Spain blog hop

Thursday, May 23, 2013

W.I.P. Wednesday (Ok, it's Thursday!) #20 - Still Flying.

Yesterday, I had the sudden urge to get more done on my "Flying by the seat of my pants" quilt.  So out of hibernation she came and this is how she ended up!  Chevrons finished, and then grabbed some of the scrappy bits to add another layer and then more white to frame it all.  I "think" I'm finished?

Ok I think I'm done?!? #flyingbytheseatofmypants
Please excuse badddddd iphone photo!  Good news - I just got my new camera today!

I say "think" because I have no idea who this quilt will be given to, or even if it will be given.  So how then do I choose what size to make it?  How to quilters decide on that stuff?  Anyway, at this stage it's between throw size and single bed size.  I guess you would call it child friendly size?

This my friends is what happens when you decide to make a dresden for a cushion and then turn it in to a quilt!  Watch this space, for I intend* to quilt this baby like never before!

There's no linky linking up this week.....but there will be plenty of W.I.P.'S out there for your to see in bloggy land!

* Disclaimer - my intentions can sometime be bigger than what eventuates.......

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Social Media Love Affair

I've been sitting on this post for a few days.  Well, figuratively speaking that is!  You see, a few days ago, I posted on Facebook - 

"How does one deactivate a Facebook account please?"

I could almost hear the sniggers from my office!  "Are you leaving FB?"  "Melissa leaving Facebook - hahahahahhahaha".  It did make me laugh!  I replied they should know me well enough to know that would never happen!

I was, in fact, asking the question so I could deactivate my teenager's account.  Now that is a whole other story, that could possibly take up a dozen posts.  So let's just say it was time for a complete social media ban for my big baby boy.

Back to the main story here.  My love of social media.  I now frequent Facebook, Instagram, Skype, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr and of course my blog.  I'm not ashamed to say I LOVE being active in all of these platforms.  In fact, if I hadn't been on them, I can guarantee you I wouldn't be running a small sewing business, I wouldn't be in touch with all of my friends and god forbid - I wouldn't be quilting!

Facebook has allowed me to keep up with every single person I know.  Well apart from a very small minority of friends who have not actually got a Facebook account (gasp!).  I get to see the day to day happenings of my god children, who all live interstate or overseas.  I have been able to have conversations with friends on a regular basis - meaning that I never have to wonder what they've been up to.  I've joined countless FB groups - including sewing and quilting groups, which have been an amazing source of information and guidance.  I've met some fabulous online friends, whom have supported me through umpteen dramas and upheavals in my private life.  And on a different level - I've been able to keep an eye on what my teenager is up to!

I remember when Facebook started.  My BFF in London mentioned it to me and I was like "huh?"  But before long I'd embraced the concept and there was no looking back.  I am unapologetic for the fact I look like I am online 24 hours a day.  Yes, that is what I am assuming all of my friends think I do all day long.  Let's clear that up - I'm not.  My computer happens to be turned on 24 hours a day, however, I do manage to run a family of six, work part time outside of home and work part time at home.  I write this blog, I sew for pleasure and I also do a million other things OTHER than sit on Facebook!

My love for Instagram is growing by the day.  SOOOO much inspiration out there amongst the crafting community, and SOOOO many beautiful photos from all over the world!  Oh, and have I mentioned the giveaways I have miraculously won?  Ahuh!

And don't even get me started on Pinterest.....Seriously, the people who invented it are geniuses!  Want a recipe?  Pinterest.  Want a tutorial?  Pinterest.  Renovating?  Pinterest.  The lists go on, and on, and on.

And last but not least - Flickr.  Another fabulous community of people!  And it makes the sharing of photos here on my blog so. much. easier.

So why am I writing this post?  Well, because after asking that little question the other day, it occurred to me that some people seem a little embarrassed to say how much they love social media.  I know many of my friends don't post on Facebook, but I know they've been there - lurking.  How else would they know that so-and-so has stubbed their toe on the couch and had to spend countless hours in emergency to find it's not broken?  *lol*

I say embrace your social media love!  Don't apologise for updating your status 500 times a day!  If that's what you want to do - do it!  If people are offended by your regular postings - tell them to delete you!

Ok.  That's my little rant for this morning.  I do actually need to get off my ass and go finish some more cushion covers!  Oh, and check Facebook......

Are you a social media nut?  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Stash #15 - I have Issues

My sewing room - aka The Shoe Box - has issues.  I have issues.  It's just one big issue.

Lack of space.  Lack of will to sort it out.

Here is a little virtual tour of my 2m x 3m (approximate size) room....

Stash issues
Looks relatively organised, until you head down to the bottom shelves.... This photo is taken from the doorway of the shoebox, to the right of my sewing desk.
Stash issues
Shelves disappearing under the disorganisation of fat quarters, layer cakes and charm squares.....
Stash issues
That clear box used to hold all my fat quarters.  Until I became addicted.  Now they're everywhere.  Taking over.
Stash issues
These shelves are to the right of the door of the shoe box.  Such a state of disarray.
Stash issues
My scrap box.  Well, the box they go in to before I get off my ass and move them to a bag.....
Stash issues finale
Like these.  Even my poor overlocker has been put in the shadows of my desk.

I'm sharing this because I'm hoping it will make me do something about it.  But I really don't know where to start?  How does everyone else store their fat quarters and pre-cuts?  How do you sort your scraps?  How, how, how?


I'm linking up with Sunday Stash being hosted by Sew Happily Ever After!  You can too!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow - Blogger's Quilt Festival

I only learnt about the Blogger's Quilt Festival a few weeks!  If you, like me, want to know more, head over to Amy's Creative Side and be amazed!  Literally a festival of quilts.  A feast for the senses.  And much to see and learn!  You can nominate quilts from the 17th - 24th May and then vote for your favourites in each category from the 24th - 30th May!

I am entering my beloved Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow.  It is my most recent finish, and dare I say - my favourite!  You can read my original post HERE.  But tonight, I'm going to gush a little more over this baby!

I decided to join Lee from Freshly Pieced in her quilt along - my first ever!  And on the 11th of April, began this beauty in ernest, hoping it would turn out "ok".  Just under one month later - it was finished! I followed the quilt along week by week, and in that last week decided that I just HAD to have it done in time to give to my daughter who was turning ten.  I finished with a couple of days to spare.

Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
I chose to surround the blooms with a big white border....
Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
Which then lead to loads of free motion quilting!
Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
Once deciding on its recipient, I got creative....
Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
And ended up with around eight butterflies throughout.

Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!

Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
The pieced back is nothing like I had planned.  The zig zags are scraps from cutting out the blooms.
Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
I appliqued them on to the homespun with a funny stitch that made it a nightmare to do!
Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
But was very effective.
Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
In the afternoon sunlight.
She loves her quilt! #bloombloompow
To say my Chelsea girl was thrilled with her quilt would be quite the understatement.  She has slept under it every night since and says it's the prettiest thing she's ever had!

The Details:

Quilt name: Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow
Finished size: 73" x 61"
Fabric: Valori Wells Cocoon & assorted fat quarters & Homespun
Thread: Aurifil 50wt #2000
Machine quilted by Me on my Bernina 430
Group/Category: Bed Quilt

Thanks so much for popping in!  If somebody had of told me twelve months ago that I would be entering a quilting festival - I would have had them scheduled!  But here I am.  
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

T.G.I.F.F. - Hostess with the Mostest - or Leastest?

Oh my's Friday again!  I'm very excited to be hosting T.G.I.F.F. today!  I can literally say "Thank God it's Finished Friday!"  Not just in a quilty project kind of way, but in a "what a hideous week" kind of way too!

Apart from cushion covers (yes, I'm stillllll goingggggg) I have only managed to get some bee blocks finished.  All in one day.  Yesterday.

These first four are for our May Queen in QCA Bee #5.  She gave us a tutorial for these gorgeous butterflies.  She struggles with some health problems and wants to make a quilt for her young daughter with inspirational and lovely sayings on them.  I think it's such a sweet idea!  You all know I have an aversion to hand sewing, so when I'd finished the blocks, I popped some veriegated thread in the machine and did some free motion script.  I chose the four words I think are most inspirational.  I hope the Queen Bee loves them!

The next four blocks are for the X and + bee I am in over at Patti's Blog.  I made my first X and + a few weeks ago, which was great fun, so decided this time round I would get four done at once.  What I love best about these blocks is that it is teaching me to just let go a little.  There's nothing "matchy matchy" about these!  I literally got out a whole bunch of scraps and randomly cut the required squares and went to town!  And I really like them.

Nothing else to see here.....BUT....please share with me and everyone else YOUR finishes for the week by adding your link at the bottom of this post.  Try and pop in to all the other fabulous finishes and spread the love!  You never know - you may just find (well, i bet you will) some new wonderful blogs to read!  Please include a link and/or button for TGIFF!

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Stash #14 - The one where I bought more fabric. Just like the other one.....

Happy Mother's Day!  

I think we've established over the past 13 Sunday Stash posts that I do indeed have a slight problem addiction to purchasing fabric?  The shelves in my shoe box sewing room are literally heaving at the joins, I cannot see the small amount of floor that actually is in said room, and I've actually been sewing in the dining room, for I cannot create in said room due to claustrophobia!

So what did I do this week?  Well, I bought more fabric of course! 

Pretty fabric delivery on my doorstep
Who am I to ignore Craft Depot's ridonculous May Sale???  $7.95 p/m - ok then!  Yes, I'm happy to be called an enabler.  I bought a few metres of the pretty red on the right to hopefully use as part of the backing on a future quilt using Notting Hill fabric.  Yes, thinking ahead!  The other prints are all just to add to that stash....
Ooh look what's arrived @quietplay @prettybobbins !
When I received the wholesale cushion order, I went ahead and applied for an account with a distributor overseas.  This is my first order.  I finally got the Architextures bundle I'd been coveting for too long.  And those cute dots.  The blue stack is for a friend - as are a bunch of the other goodies in this box, which include but are not limited to - Aurifil thread, quilting needles, gloves, cutting mats, thimbles etc etc.  The exciting part about this is that it has egged me on to possibly do what I have been contemplating for a few years now - open up a little on line store selling notions.  Good idea?
A close up for your viewing pleasure.
Special purchase #collaborateforacause2013
These beauties arrived on Friday!  A week beforehand, I received my regular email from The Intrepid Thread, and before I knew it, I'd messaged my Collaborate For A Cause partner, emailed Julie at The Thread, and had this half yard bundle sorted!  The plan is to now divide it in to FQ bundles, send one half off to my partner and use the other half for my part in our collaboration!  If you haven't heard of Collaborate for A Cause - go and check it out HERE.
Just found these in the mailbox! Thanks @lueluebella
And I also bought these beauties off Lara from Luellabella.  When I saw these in her destash I nearly fainted.  I've been collecting Wrenly prints ever since I realised I should have kept the scraps from my first ever clothing collection.  I'm determined to one day make a quilt from them!

And that's it friends.  I'm so glad I have you all to confess to on a weekly basis.  I know you will all be here to support me when I go bankrupt - and will very helpfully buy all my fabric off me when I need to buy food for my family!

I'm linking up with Sunday Stash over at Finding Fifth.  You can too!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Winners!

A quick post - I'm about to head off to Bright for the weekend!

Thank you to each and every one of you for entering and commenting on my Giveaway!  With over 300 entries, I couldn't reply to all of you, however, I did read every comment!

So here are the winners:

I have emailed you both and will get your scrap packs out in the post next week!

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

W.I.P. Wednesday #19 - A New Block in My Repertoire!

I don't have much to show in the way of W.I.P.'s this week.  So this will be very short and sweet!  The last few weeks of W.I.P. Wednesday have been taken up with my Bloom Bloom Pow quilt.....but I have finished that baby, which you can see HERE!

Remember the huge wholesale order I got for cushion covers?  Well, the owner of the shop in Bali was in Melbourne over the weekend, so I sent her home with the first dozen finished!  And here they are sitting pretty in her store.  They look even better with the inserts in them!  Now......only 104 left to finish!

My first Japanese x + o block.
And this is my other W.I.P. for the week!  My first even X and + block.  I have joined in a Japanese X and + block bee over at A Yankee In Queen Liz's Court.  Patti is an absolute crack up, and the bunch of ladies involved are all over the world!  I need to churn four of these babies out each and every month, so I need to get my skates on!

That's all folks!

I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced!  You can too!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sew Cute Tuesday Debut! Bloom Bloom Finished!

Clearly I am an impatient quilter.  I have shown that trait on many a project!  So of course I can't wait until my normal Finished Friday post to show you my latest finish - last night's binding effort nearly tipped me over the edge with excitement!

Those who have been following along with me would know that I have been partaking in my first ever quilt along these last few weeks - the Bloom Bloom Pow, by Freshly Pieced.  It has been one of the most interesting processes for me in terms of quilting.  Seeing how a quilting design can come together, and wondering how on earth Lee comes up with said designs!  She's such a smart cookie.  It is the second of Lee's patterns I have used, the first was her Kissing Fish pattern - which almost sent me crazy!  But the finished result was amazing!  It didn't take much to convince me to join in the QAL - and I will be forever grateful I did, with the finished quilt - in my humble opinion - absolutely stunning.  My favourite finish yet!

So without further ado, here she is, my Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!

Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
The beautiful front view.
Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
I straight line quilted as per Lee's suggestion, and LOVED how it made the blooms shine. 
Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
I then got my FMQ on, just doing lots of loops.  About one quarter of the way down one side, I decided to throw caution to the wind and tried a butterfly, then once deciding this quilt would be given to my daughter on her 10th birthday this coming Friday, I quilted her name on it too.  Then had to hide her name for the rest of the quilting process as she hovered over my shoulder asking who the quilt was for?  And had I sold it to anyone?  Because she wants it......
Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
I loved the butterflies so much there are about eight all together!
Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
I love how every angle shows a different view!
Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!

Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
And the back!  This is not how I originally envisioned the back on this quilt!  I used the triangular scraps from the cutting out of the blooms to appliqué on to homespun, and was going to use it on the front, but I had nothing but trouble with the appliqué stitch I chose to use, and just wasn't thrilled with the finish of it, so decided to use it on the back.  I pulled a bunch of the remaining Cocoon prints as well as some more "scraps" from the blooms to make a busy yet interesting back!  This way, the quilt can be used two separate ways, which I think my Chelsea girl will love.
Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
The triangular scraps were rather tricky to use!  Lots of pins and gritted teeth used in the process......
Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
And then when the quilting process began, I started freaking out about how it would affect this section of the back.  But I was pleasantly surprised how it all turned out!
Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
Just swaying in the wind with the sun behind it!
Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
And more photos in the afternoon sun.  I want to eat it!
Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
The end.

Quilt Statistics:  Pattern is Bloom Bloom Pow by Freshly Pieced.  It's a quilt along, and will be there for prosperity!  I used Cocoon by Valori Wells for the main sections of the blooms and majority of the back.  I then chose a whole range of fat quarters for the backgrounds of the blooms, and one token half yard of Pearl Bracelets that I had in my stash, as a little homage to Lee's fabric choices.  Lots of white homespun thrown in too!  THREAD:  I chose Aurifil 50wt #2000, which is a divine gold thread, and goes beautifully with the gold hues throughout the Cocoon range.  Final measurements are 73" x 61".

I'm linking up with a new gang - Sew Cute Tuesday over at Better Off Thread!  You can too!

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