Wednesday, July 31, 2013

W.I.P. Wednesday - Circa Continued....

A very quick W.I.P. Wednesday (yes I know my posts of late are all very quick, but there's a reason.  Will explain another day!).  I shared my Circa quilt top with you LAST WEEK.  I finished quilting it yesterday, and tomorrow will be binding!

Here's a little peek at what I've done.....

See you Friday for the big finish and reveal!

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

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Stash #20.

 A nice quick and easy post for a Sunday!  There have been a few additions to my stash this week......

I went to drop the kids at school the other day and there was a little parcel sitting at my front door.  I was THRILLED when I flipped it over and saw it was sent directly from Kate Spain herself!  I won a surprise gift from her, through the Kate Spain Blog Hop, and ripped the parcel open with my teeth (whilst my children laughed) to discover a gorgeous Honey Honey Jelly Roll and Sunnyside Charm Pack.  Thanks so much Kate! (You never know - she may read this!)

I bought these three little fat quarters from the girls at Snap Fabrics.  One of them is a local, so she hand delivers my purchases - nice!  A little more Cuzco and some wood grain - something I never thought I would buy until I started paper piecing!

And on Thursday I headed in to the city to the Craft & Quilt Fair.  I showed amazing self control and restraint amongst the fabulous vendors, but came away with this little stash of goodies.  Half a metre of Reunion bunting fabric to go with the charm packs I've had sitting on my shelves for a year or so.  An air dissolvable pen for marking my FMQ - I'm still too scared to use it because it's hot pink!  And some fabulous stencils for quilting.  They are used with a chalk block which you rub over the stencils and then quilt over the top of them.  I practiced on some scraps and was getting frustrated because the chalk was disappearing, but then I remembered the lady who sold them to me said I could give them a light spray of hairspray to hold it.  I'm happy to say it worked.

I'm not so happy to say that this will be the first quilt I will have to wash before selling!  You can see in the above photo the lovely blue stencils, which smell delightfully of Taft Super Hold Hairspray!  


Here's an example of what the stencil can look like when practicing!

And that's all folks!
I'm linking up with Sunday Stash at Finding Fifth - You can too!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner.

Thank you to everyone who popped in and commented on my 50,000 giveaway post!  It was really lovely and insightful to hear why you keep coming to see me here, and what brought you here in the first place.  It certainly helped to reassure me that blogging is not a complete waste of my time!  You all made it very difficult for me to choose a winner too!  But here she is:

I love the thought of sitting around with a cuppa talking about quilting!  Note to self: join a quilting group.  A real life quilting group - not online!

I shall send you through an email tonight Deb and get that little stash of fabric and goodies off in the post!

Today I went in to the city to the Craft & Quilt Fair.  Had a lovely wander around and saw some fabulous quilts.  I will share some photos and conversations with you another day - I'm stuffed!

Thanks again everyone!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Collaborate For A Cause 2013 - A Handmade Love Fest!

A few weeks ago, I shared a work in progress with you all, and mentioned Collaborate For A Cause.  Well, the time is almost here for the biggest Facebook auction of the year to start!  If you haven't heard of C4AC before, then here's a very quick intro - The wonderful Jen Kennedy from Ainslee Fox Handmade started it three years ago, pulling together the handmade community, to collaborate with one another and raise money for charity!  Last year over $40,000 was raised!  You can learn more about C4AC HERE.

Tonight, I'm sharing with you my finished collaboration with Danielle over at Cottonberry Kids!


I had never actually heard of Cottonberry before, but put my hand up looking for someone to collaborate with, and Danielle was brave enough to approach me (I don't know about you, but approaching people I don't know is hard, for fear of rejection!) and of course I said a big YES!  We got to brainstorming about what we wanted to create, and a few days later I received The Intrepid Thread newsletter via email and the Riley Blake "Hipster" range jumped out at me!  I messaged Danielle and suggested the range - and it all went from there!  Julie from The Intrepid Thread kindly gave us a discount on the fabric when she found out it was for charity - so thanks Julie!!!

For my half of the collaboration I used THIS pattern/tutorial for a little pinwheel doll's quilt.  I made a few little changes, just by adding extra borders, and the finished size is 19.5".  And the backing fabric is a gorgeous Riley Blake polka dot in the same bold colours!


I sent the little quilt over to Danielle, and she did a fabulous job photographing it - especially considering the horrible weather she had to deal with!  Her beautiful doll - named Rylee-Kate - is so utterly divine and just screams Happiness!

Our collaboration is raising money for Red Kite - a national cancer charity that offers support to children, young people and their families while they undergo their cancer journey.

If you love Rylee-Kate, her quilt and little pillow, you can bid on them from the 26th of July, at 8pm HERE.  The auction finishes on the 28th of July at 8pm.  There are HUNDREDS of collaborations in the album - and they are all absolutely, positively AMAZING!  You NEED to check it out, and you NEED to tell everyone you know about it!  There is something there for everyone - and it's a great time to grab some awesome handmade goods to put aside for Christmas!

So go on - what are you waiting for?

PS - Last chance to enter my GIVEAWAY tonight! Free fabric anyone? xx

W.I.P. Wednesday - A Little Circa Fun

It's not often that I buy fabric because I think it will be popular - rather than me really loving it.  But that's exactly what I did when I chose to add some Circa to my last fabric order.  I must say - I was very pleasantly surprised when I saw it!  It is probably the girliest fabric I've ever had!  And yes - NOW I love it!

Anyway, after it started speaking to me, I thought I best listen and got to thinking about what to do with it.  And this is what I came up with!

WIP - Circa Quilt

It's a very simple design, but oh so effective.  I made the nine blocks first, and then they sat there over the weekend.  When I pulled them out yesterday, I was muddled where to go to from there.  It was originally going to be a cot sized quilt, but when I did the math (you know how much I suck at math) I realised it would be the wrong dimensions for a cot size!  So, I just re-jigged my technical drawing (this time on the back of an envelope) to up it to a single size.  And added some reverse blocks on the ends.  LOTS of white space for quilting!

WIP - Circa Quilt

And my favourite view of quilts.

I've also made the backing, but it photographed terribly due to being mostly white!  So you will have to wait to see that until next week - when I hope I've been able to go and buy some more batting and will have it quilted - Fingers crossed!

A little reminder that today is the last day to enter my GIVEAWAY.  It ends tonight and the winner will be announced here tomorrow night!

I'm linking up with W.I.P. Wednesday - You can too!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Tale of Two Dresses

Every day, I receive a gazillion emails in my inbox.  They vary from the all important special sales online to recent blog posts from my faves.  Every now and then, there will also be an actual typed email from someone I know!  But, a few weeks ago I got an email telling me about a new pattern........and I kept that email because I loved the look of the dress, but had SO lost my passion for dressmaking that I didn't know if I would buy it, let alone make it.  

Fast forward to earlier last week.  I had some free time.  That does not happen very often.  I wandered in to Lincraft in the morning to get some denim for a new bag - only to find out that ALL of their fabric was half price!  BINGO!  So not only did I get denim, but I also found a couple of gorgeous lightweight cotton prints that would be nice for dresses.  It was right about then that my plans for bag making flew out the window.....

At around 2.30 in the afternoon, I started two dresses for my girls.  Not only are my daughters five and a half (the half matters you know) years apart in age - they are also poles apart in dress sense.  Miss almost five year old Chloe is a princess/barbie loving girly girl.  And Miss I'M TEN! Chelsea is trying to decide whether she is a high fashion supermodel or a beanie wearing goth....... Soooooo, here is the tale of the two photos.......

Not so special just hanging around!

I finished both dresses around 8pm that night!  Hence the dodgy iPhone pics of the girls!

I guess I wanted to show you how different a dress can not only look on the hanger, compared to wearing, but also in the use of different prints and fabrics!  The little version (actually, it is TOO little - the sizing on this pattern was a tad small, so I've bought more of the bloom fabric to make her a bigger size - dress anyone??) is a poplin bordered print.  Perfect for this style of dress!  The bigger version (which falls beautifully below the hips - perfect sizing) is a lovely soft voile.  It's the first time I have sewn with voile, and it was great to work with!

Needless to say, both girls loved their dresses!  Now we just need the weather to switch over to Spring and they will be able to contemplate wearing them!

If you like this pattern, you can purchase it HERE.  It was pretty damn easy to follow, and the finish is neat and tidy.  There are also some beautiful options to change the look of the dresses.  I will certainly be making many more of them.

Have you tried any new patterns lately?  Sharing is caring!

PS - Have you entered my GIVEAWAY yet?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

50,000 - Not That I'm Counting!

It's been a super cold, wet and Winter's day here in Melbourne.  But that little number up there just put a smile on my dial.  I'm not much of a statistics girl, in fact, I don't really like numbers - BUT - I just noticed that this little blog of mine has now officially gone over 50,000 page views!

I started tapping away on my keyboard back in 2009, not really having any real vision or purpose to my blog.  Or page views......hahahaha.  In fact, the majority of those before-mentioned pageviews have been in the past 12 months - when I started blogging my way through sewing and quilting.  Who woulda thought?

Long time readers will know that I started out with lots of personal ramblings.  I still come in here and ramble about my personal life every now and then, but mostly I'm sharing my love of quilting - through trial and error.  Although I was taught to sew by my Mummy, some 30 years ago - quilting has been something I have mostly researched and learnt on line!  My husband told me years ago that I needed to find a hobby.  Seems I've found it......

To say thank YOU for stopping by, viewing my blog, leaving me comments, giving me handy tips and links when I ask for them, and when I don't - I'd love to do a little old give-away.

If you've been reading here for a little while, you will know what I'm talking about when I say that my little shoe-box is bursting at the seams.  Just when I think I couldn't possibly fit any more fabric on to my shelves, more sneaks in.  So for this give-away, I'm going to send some of my fabric a packing.  To your place!

The lucky recipient will receive a surprise pack of fabric - a few scraps, fat quarters and maybe a notion or two. 

To enter, just leave me a comment telling me what brought you here to my blog, and if you are a "follower", why you keep coming back?

I really am chuffed each and every time I notice that I have a new reader!  And I read every single comment that is left - so on the odd occasion I don't reply - please know I have indeed read it!

Thank again!

Love Midge

*  Entries are open until 9am Thursday 25th July (Australian Eastern Standard Time). Winner will be chosen by me and posted via my blog on Thursday 25th of July.  Please ensure you have left your email address in your comment if you are a NO REPLY BLOGGER.

Friday, July 19, 2013

T.G.I.F.F. - The One Where My Swoon Gets Sent Packing.....

Remember this photo from Wednesday?

Finished Swoon Quilt Top

Well, it now has a beautiful pieced backing to go with it.....

Swoon Pieced Backing

When I bought the yardage for this backing - from The Intrepid Thread - I was not really sold on the print.  I mean, there are sooooo many divine prints in the Notting Hill range, but all of my first choices (yes, you can have more than one first choice!) were too low in stock and would not be able to accommodate this 90" beauty!  So the lovely Julie said "this is it".  And that's what I got.

BUT - now that it's made up - I LOVE IT!!!!

Swoon Pieced Backing

I had to use my brain and lack of mathematical skills to come up with the pieced section.  Lucky for me I'd only just read THIS blog post by Christa Quilts, in which she talks about how she works out her pieced backs.  Although I knew that's how it would be done, it was very helpful in this process.  I used my own technological know how to work mine out.....

My über technical mathematics for quilt back. #ihatemaths

Old school.....

So that's it my friends!  My beautiful Swoon quilt is finished!  Well, sort of.  This will be the first quilt that I will not be quilting myself.  And although I am VERY excited about sending it off to Jeanette to be quilted on her long arm, I am just a tad bit disappointed that I won't be doing it myself.  And on that note - I best go and spend another hour or two looking through designs and trying to come to some sort of decision about HOW I want it to be quilted!!!  Aghhhhhhh!!!!!!

I'm linking up with T.G.I.F.F. being hosted by the lurvely Molli Sparkles today!  You can too!

Now.......what to do with ALL those Notting Hill leftovers and scraps?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

W.I.P. Wednesday - Swoon Half Done

I'm practically jumping out of my skin with excitement!  Today I finished my Swoon quilt top!  And I'm almost finished the back.  Yeeee-hahhhhh!

Finished Swoon Quilt Top

I had planned on using the huge amount of scraps to make little stars or something tricky to go in the junctions between the blocks, but when I made a mock up, I just thought it took away from the main blocks, so I literally scrapped the scraps.  I was also planning on making 12 blocks, but after laying 10 finished blocks out on my lounge room floor, I adjusted my plan because it was so damn huge!  I did however want it to be bigger than the 80" that the pattern made - so I just made the sashing and borders 5" wide instead of the 2.5" as the pattern instructed.  This quilt top now measures a scrummy 90" square.  It's massive!

Finished Swoon Quilt Top

Another discovery made during this process was that my 1/4" foot for my Bernina is not entirely accurate.  I always knew it wasn't spot on, but these blocks were meant to be 24.5", and they came in just over 24".  Which meant I had to trim them down/square them to 24".  And this also then meant that I lost some points on my stars on the edges on the blocks.  But I really am not stressed about it - because it's MY QUILT!

Finished Swoon Quilt Top

Isn't she lovely?

My über technical mathematics for quilt back. #ihatemaths

As soon as I finished the quilt top this morning, I started working out what on earth I would do for the back.  I had bought some six yards of one Notting Hill print for the backing, but even with the two widths joined together, it was going to be around 13" too narrow, so I got to figuring out how to make up the width.  This is where the larger scraps from the cutting out of blocks came in handy.  And this is where my super technical mathematical diagram came in to play.  I'm so smart.  Not.

Anyway, the backing is almost done.  But you will have to wait until Friday for that reveal - because I will have a finished project!  Well, finished as far as I can - because this little big baby is being sent off to a long arm quilter.  The first time I've ever done that!  One of my lovely readers directed me to a Flickr group, where a long arm quilter was offering to quilt Swoon quilts for a cheaper rate.  Only problem - she was in New York!  So I scrolled through the comments and stumbled upon an Aussie quilter offering the same special offer!  And that's where this quilt is heading.

I'm still stuck on a design for the quilting.  I will be spending time over the next couple of days looking through the design catalogues and trying to come to some sort of decision - if you have any suggestions or ideas in terms of quilting - TELL ME!!!

I'm linking up with W.I.P. Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced - You can too!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Raising a Child Takes A Village - Raising a Child with Social Media Involved Takes An Army.

If you've been around these parts for a while, you will know that I am partial to putting on my ranty pants.  I get my knickers in a knot about all kinds of interesting bullshit - but mostly about teenagers and the way things are today.

Enter today's post.

I think I'm doing an OK job as a parent.  I think that my eldest son's Dad and I, together with my husband and his Dad's partner, are banding together in some kind of strange unity to get him through these revolting teenage years.  If someone had of told me ten years ago that we would be working together, I would have laughed hysterically.  But a couple of months ago, when our son decided it was time to "up the ante" and test the proverbial waters, we all joined forces to SHUT THAT SHIT DOWN.

And it's worked.  So far.

What I AM struggling with, is being aware of everyone else's children.  Being aware of what they're up to, the shit they're getting in to.  And their parents being oblivious to it.  Hey, I'm not saying I'm perfect - clearly not.  It took almost six months for us to find out that our son had been feeding us bullshit sandwiches!  But in relation to social media - I'm on it.  I'm on his back - always have been, always will be.  We have explained to him what is and what is not acceptable when on social media applications.  That "liking" photos of scantly clad women with derogatory memes or FB pages called "Straya C*nt" not only offends me at times, it also shows up on all his other friends news feeds - including his grandmothers........ and that is NOT acceptable.  We have explained to him that just because a 15 year old girl has the username "Infinity_whore" (yes, you read that correctly), does not mean that it is OK.  It in fact means that she is not only degrading herself, she is allowing others to think it's OK to use such derogatory terms.  NOT OK.

I could go on.  And on.  And on.  I have so many tales to tell about instances we have had to pull him up and educate him on how we expect him to be using social media.  And how it doesn't matter whether other parents let their children use it - or in a lot of cases - don't give a shit about how their children use it.  What matters is how HE uses it.

I digress.  The reason I chose to write AGAIN about this, today, is because I have found myself in yet another quandary in regards to knowing about a child's behaviour and trying to decide whether or not to let said child's parents know?  I know the parents, from many years ago, but we are not friends as such.  I have stewed on the information for a couple of weeks now, debating how I would divulge the information?  Would I want to know if it were my young teenage daughter?  Would I want to hear it from someone else?  I put it out there late last night to my FB friends, and the resounding answer was YES.

So this morning I have been stewing further, going over several different drafts in my head, and have put it down in a FB message to before-mentioned Mother.  I am still yet to send it.

Earlier this year, I wrote this status on my personal FB page, after reading THIS post on MamaMia:

"Some of you already know this, but to everyone else - I will contact you if I see your kids posting inappropriately on social media, or if they're younger, just letting you know that their settings are public when perhaps you would like them to be private. I'm hoping you'd all do the same! Social media can be used so wonderfully - to engage with people in a wonderful way - it's such a shame that it gets used so shitfully at times. xx"

And a whole lot of friends agreed to do the same.  In the past couple of years, I've messaged, phoned and emailed parents when I've come across something I feel is either inappropriate or potentially dangerous with regard to their children.  It is always received gratefully, and in some instances, the parents have had absolutely no idea what Facebook or Instagram even are.

My best piece of advice?  Become an expert.  An expert on social media.  Learn how to use all forms of it.  And check in on your children.  See what they are "following", "liking" and laughing at.  Because without your direction and knowledge, they are trying to learn for themselves what is right and wrong.  They are learning from other kids, who possibly don't know what they're doing either.  Social media is a whole new world in terms of parenting.  I was trying to work out what to compare it to - but I've come up with nothing.  Nothing compares to the murky waters that social media has presented to us as parents.  And I hate to think that anything ever will.

Are you navigating the murky waters of teenagers and social media?  How's it working for you?

A 9 Patch Mash Up!

Yesterday after work, I got cracking on a cushion cover that is being gifted to a good friend of mine.  She's a shabby chic kind of gal, and has ordered quite a few dresses for her nieces from me, so I knew that she loved the Flora range of fabrics.  I whipped out the range and chose nine prints.  I had planned to make a disappearing nine patch, (You can see my first attempts at these HERE) but not long in to sewing, felt the need to change it up.  So this is how I put together a "9 Patch Mash Up"!

9 Patch Mash up 

I went about the usual directions for a 9 patch - in this case, I used 6.5" squares, joined them together to make the 9 patch, and cut them through the middle to make the disappearing 9 patch....

9 Patch Mash up 

After playing around with the layout for too long, I started wondering if I could change it up.

9 Patch Mash up 

Having no idea what I was doing, I lined up my ruler on the diagonal and sliced straight through.

9 Patch Mash up 

And then had a slight panic attack, wondering if I'd stuffed it up?!  Either way, I continued to slice and dice.

9 Patch Mash up 

Until I was left with all of these lovely big triangles of patchwork.

9 Patch Mash up 

And so began working out the layout I liked.  I really love that there are so many different shapes in the blocks now.  The layout above is like a big old arrow.

9 Patch Mash up 

Another layout.

9 Patch Mash up 

And the layout I eventually went with.  From here, I literally just joined the triangles together diagonally, which gave me four square blocks.  I did bring my seam allowance in a couple of notches, so just under 1/4".  Join the four blocks together and Voila!  I had me a cushion cover!

9 Patch Mash up 

I was tempted to continue slicing and dicing, but I was on a deadline. You can see in the photo above, that if you just kept splitting the blocks, you would end up with an even more patchy look.

9 Patch Mash up Cushion 

The end result.  A gorgeous 18" quilted cushion cover.  I had fun free motion quilting the front of it, using a range of little designs.  I followed the pattern on the pale green print with the circles, did some rainbow arches on the yellow and lots of squiggles everywhere else.

9 Patch Mash up Cushion 

I love that it's a little "organic" in its layout and quilting!

9 Patch Mash up Cushion

And a nice simple enclosed zipper back, with a rusty lattice binding.  I am hoping the recipient loves it!

I'm linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday - You can too!

Better Off Thread

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday Stash #19 - More. Seriously.

It would be fair to say that I've had a reasonable week in terms of fabric love.  About ten days ago, I saw somewhere, not sure if it was IG, Facebook or where, but I saw that Sprightly Fabrics were having a 4th of July sale - with 30% off everything (and they have 20% off until the end of 14/7 their time!).  I had some money in my paypal account, so it was a done deal.  I was more than impressed with the quick delivery and the very well cut and packaged purchases!  And no, I'm not being paid to say this - I just like good service, and like to share my purchasing experiences!

I finally bowed to temptation about got me some JP Circa.  These are the prints that stood out to me - I'm not really a flowy/florally kind of chick, but I like these ones.

I also got the other half of the Bijoux range.  I won a bundle from the lovely Bari J, and I have a wall hanging in my head - so this was required needed wanted.

Another range I have always lusted over - Art Gallery Floressence.  Absolutely divine.

And something I literally have never purchased - Christmas fabric!  I pinned a gorgeous Christmas tree wall hanging a few weeks ago, and these prints are the kind of Christmas colours that appeal to me - they are Hip Holiday.  Cute huh?

Then just when I thought I couldn't want for any more fabric, everyone, everywhere has been showing off their $1 flat fat purchases from Spotlight this week!  I was doing SOOOOO well and repeating my mantra of "I don't NEED any", until I found myself with one whole hour of spare time this afternoon, grabbed the keys and went on auto pilot.......

And came home with this pretty little bunch.  I don't have a huge amount of novelty prints in my stash, but loved the Bella & Boo ranges.  So got me some.  And some other random prints.  My eldest daughter LOVES Peace symbols, so she was chuffed with that choice.

Sooooo, more fabric to fit in to my shoe box.  I'm seriously pushing my luck.

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

Friday, July 12, 2013

I don't like Porridge - Fact!

Just another useless piece of information about me.  It's true, I'd make a terrible Goldilocks......

I feel so lucky to be a part of a wonderful paper piecing bee, and this month's Queen is Gina over at Party of Eight.  Gina requested Fairytale themed blocks, and the lovely Kristy made up this divine pattern for The Three Bears.


I hadn't had much time since receiving the pattern days ago, due to a number of reasons including school holidays and having my two nieces as well as my four!  Busy busy!  But this afternoon I had a spare couple of hours and got cracking.  I am SUPER happy with the outcome, although I should have probably chosen something without stripes for the wallpaper!  I also had trouble finding a suitable "porridge" fabric.  I utilised some felt instead.  But my favourite part of all?  The lovely view out the windows.  Another good reason why you should NEVER throw away scraps!  It took me lots of brain power to work out how to get the clouds, trees and kite the right way up, but it worked.  Phew.

I'm linking up with Kristy's Paper Piecing Party, over at Quiet Play - You can too!

Paper Piecing Party
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