Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Stash - Breaking News!


Seriously...... Well, unless you count seven yards of unseeded white homespun.....but that's pretty boring, so I did not take a photo.

I'm actually super impressed by this news.  I'm even more impressed that earlier in the week, I was looking around my sewing room shoe box and randomly pulled some fabrics off the shelves, and made some little frocks.......

I've only had this Sarah Jane fabric for a month, and now have none due to customers LOVING them and ordering up!

This pink Peacock Lane fabric has been sitting patiently for around two years!  It's now a size 5 Disco Dress, and still waiting HERE for a new owner!
And this?  Well, I've had a couple of yards in each colourway of these Little Red Riding Hood prints since they came out.  This little size one frock was sold straight away and is on its way to a new home!
So I guess this Sunday Stash post is about the fabrics I don't have plans for.  The ones which sit and just wait for me to be either A. Inspired OR B. Bored........which leads to inspiration!  

Alyce over at Blossom Heart Quilts posed the question of how much your stash is worth over on her FB page today.  I nearly fainted at the thought of having to do so.  Because it would quite possibly induce a guilt coma.  HOWEVER....... The fact that I have a wonderful little customer base who sometimes love my little creations, and will purchase them, make my guilt fade a little - and allow me to sustain my fabric purchasing!!!!  Thank YOU!

Does fabric sometimes just jump out at you off the shelf??  And when it does, do you sometimes wonder where the hell it came from?  Surprised that you even bought it?  Spill!

I'm linking up with Sunday Stash, being hosted by the lovely Alyce today!  You can too!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Scrappy Refractatorium Finish!

The sneak peek I shared with you all on Wednesday had lots of you waiting for the big reveal!  I was waiting too, and as soon as I returned from work Thursday morning, I cut the binding and got to work! So, without further ado, here she is.........  The Scrappy Refractatorium.......

Scrappy Refractatorium 

I am so utterly in love with this, I can't even describe it!  So much colour.  So much to look at.  My ten year old daughter says it looks like an optical illusion!

Scrappy Refractatorium 

Looking at it from different angles, gives you an entirely different view and you can see the shapes completely differently.

Scrappy Refractatorium - Aurifil #2692 

I deliberated a little over the quilting of this.  I didn't want to take anything away from the bold colours and black lines.  In the end, I decided to use 50wt Aurifil #2692 - aka black.  I traced my way through the black "web" and then pebbled myself silly all over the black border, or frame as I like to look at it.

Scrappy Refractatorium 

I also straight line quilted just inside the two centre squares of each block.

Scrappy Refractatorium - Aurifil #2692 

You can see the quilting from the back MUCH better!  One valuable lesson I learnt whilst doing this is that it is incredibly hard to quilt black on black.  It is also incredibly hard to get the fluff from the batting off black fabric!

I'd never hung a quilt in my life, so had to flick through Google for some ideas.  I ended up putting triangles on either side of the top, and I also put a little mini "sleeve" in the middle, in the hope it would stop it from sagging.  I managed to measure correctly, and headed to the hardware store, where they cut me some 19mm dowel to size.  Perfecto!  I also grabbed some clear "removable" hooks - which ended up being far from easily removed.  When I stuck the second one down, I realised it was not level, so following the instructions, I gently tried to remove it - only to take a patch of paint and plaster with it!  Aghhhhhhh!!!!  Thankfully when editing these photos I had the "retouch" option!  Sneaky!  

Scrappy Refractatorium

And lastly - a photo to show you how absolutely divine a quilt can look once hung on a wall!  I managed to get photos in between horrific rain and wind storms today, and look at that sunshine streaming in.  Bella the cat was chief stylist for the photo shoot - again.

If someone had of told me even a year ago that I would be hanging quilts in my house - I would have laughed myself silly!  And if that same someone had of told me my husband would be happy to have me hanging quilts in our house - I would have fallen over!  Not only does he love it, but all four of my children have Ooohed and Ahhed over its existence.  A wonderful thing tis quilting.....

In the details:  Nine blocks of the Refractatorium paper pieced pattern by Quilt Jane.  Eight of these blocks were made by none other than Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins, Kristy @ Quiet Play, Fiona @ Finding Fifth, Gina @ Party of Eight, Lara @ Luellabella, Jane, Marieka and Alyce @Blossom Heart Quilts.  The nine of us make up the Wombat Stew Paper Piecing Bee!

Finished size is 105cm x 105cm.  A multitude of beautiful fabrics were used in the construction, and I chose black homespun to make the border and backing.  Quilted using Aurifil #2692 50wt.

I'm linking up with Needle & Thread Thursday, T.G.I.F.F., Paper Piecing Party and Fabric Tuesday!  Covering all bases again this week - school holidays!  You can too!

I've also just linked up with Gemma's new "I Quilt" linky party!

Fresh Poppy Design

Paper Piecing Party

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

W.I.P. Wednesday - Sneak Peek!

Earlier this year, I was approached by a lovely bunch of quilty chicks to join their paper piecing bee.  Apart from being completely stoked, I was also pretty chuffed that they thought I was up to the challenge.  I was also first Queen bee of the rank, and after much deliberation, and being totally besotted by Quilt Jane's Refractorium quilt - I decided!

Since then, I have been lucky enough to receive eight gorgeous blocks in the mail, and after sitting dormant for a couple of months, and wanting to join in the Selfish Sewing this week - I pulled it out yesterday and put it together!  I finished quilting it this afternoon, but still need to bind it, so today is just a sneak peek!  The big unveiling will happen this Friday!

LOTS of colour!

LOTS of pebbling on the borders!

And just a great view!

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

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, September 23, 2013

Quilter's Block.......

Ever bought fabric with a grand plan and months later - that grand plan has withered away and you're left with a bunch of goodies and have no idea what to do with it?

I have.

Earlier this year, I bought a hard  yard bundle AND a FQ bundle of this delicious Dear Stella range "Cleo".  I bought so much of it because I wanted to make a queen size quilt as a gift for someone very special.  The colours and design of the fabric is perfect for the person in mind - BUT - 


I have trawled through Pinterest.  I have googled myself silly.  And today, I finally got them back out and stood in front of them, touched them and basically waited for an idea to jump out and smack me in the face.

BUT - it didn't.  I have one idea.  That's it.  And I'm not sold on it.....

Soooooo, in my desperation,  I'm literally throwing open the suggestion box - TO YOU.

What would YOU do with this bunch of gorgeousness?  And remember - it needs to be a BIG quilt!  Please, please - share any ideas you have with me!  And if you happen to think of something, and share it with me - you will go in the draw for a decent sized bag of my much loved SCRAPS!  All you have to do is comment on this post with how you would use CLEO in a quilt.

I'll leave the little giveaway aspect of this open for a week - so be sure to check back here next Monday evening (Melbourne time) to see if you have scraps heading your way!  And of course, whether I have been inspired by your ideas!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

World Tour Patio Quilt

I had such a lovely morning...... Managed to bind this gorgeous quilt - and in turn - finish it!  As soon as it was done I wondered how I was going to get good photos?  I mean, Melbourne is dreary and overcast and just a tad bit wet today, so my backyard and clothesline just weren't going to cut it.  Then I  wondered whether I could be brave enough to wander over to the local park, which is literally a minute away, camera in hand, and look a little bit kooky - taking photos of a quilt?

You betcha!

You see, this is no regular little park with a small playground for the kids.  This is what we call the Tim Neville Arboretum.  The Arboretum for short.  It's a huge piece of land on a busy main road, which just happens to have amazing gardens, a big pond and a fantabulous playground!  Now because I'm lazy, I actually jumped in my car and drove the ONE MINUTE there.  And this is what happened......

World Tour Patio
I re-discovered this great amphitheatre which has great big stairs in a perfectly co-ordinated terracotta colour!
World Tour Patio
Brilliant photography prop!
World Tour Patio
I wrote last week how this quilt came about.  But here's a quick re-cap.  It's an order from a lovely customer, who was after a quilt for her son, one that was not babyish and that he could use forever.
World Tour Patio
I chose Parson Gray's World Tour fabric, and went with the Patio pattern by Happy Zombie.  The backing is a relatively plain blender print from Spotlight.
World Tour Patio
When tackling the quilting, I chose Aurifil 50wt #2605, my favourite silver/grey thread of all time!  I began free motion quilting a meandering pattern, but half an hour in decided I didn't like it!  So then spent an hour unpicking it. I sat for a bit just staring at it, willing the quilt to tell me what to do (ok, i'm not that strange am I?).  A few minutes later, I got out my walking foot and the strange attachment I'd never used, and commenced straight lining myself til I was seeing double.

You know - the thingamajig!
World Tour Patio
I am so utterly thrilled with how it looks, I think the straight lines work beautifully with the straight lines of the squares and rectangles.
World Tour Patio
And the starkness of the white is just scrummy!
World Tour Patio

World Tour Patio
Quilt on a log.  Something I never thought I'd be saying or doing!

Overall, I am VERY happy with this quilt!  And so is the customer, which is even better!  It's all wrapped up and ready to post tonight.

The stats - Measures 62" x 83"
Fabrics - Parson Gray "World Tour", White Homespun, Spotlight blender backing
Quilting - Straight line extreme sport with Aurifil 50wt #2605
Binding - Machine bound with "World Tour"
And just because I love you all - here's one last photo to make you smile!  This gorgeous family of ducks and ducklings wandered across the path and in to the pond on my way back to the car!


I'm linking up with And Sew We Craft Together's new Linky Party, Needle & Thread Thursday and T.G.I.F.F. obviously later this week!
Covering all bases - You can too!

And Sew We Craft

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Little Phone That Swam. And The Crazy Woman Who Sunk.....

Last Wednesday afternoon, I went and picked up Lochie from school - something that is out of my routine, because he usually catches the bus - got him home and ran inside to quickly use the loo before I had to head out again to get Chelsea and Cadyn.  So in I run, pull down my dacks in a hurry, and then I hear it - Splash.  I recognise the sound immediately and turn around to find my beloved iPhone5 at the bottom of the toilet bowl.  Thankfully it was pre-wee, so I plunged my hand in and rescued thy phone and went about rapidly drying it in a towel and pulling the case off it!  All this whilst my pants were still around my knees - too much information I know!

Less than five minutes later, this is what my phone looked like....

Ms Midge on Instagram

And this is what I looked like.....

What followed this little "incident" can only be described as panic, fretting, fear, loss, grief.....well, you get it?  Within the hour, I had jumped up and down, emailed and rung my husband (he was in a meeting godammit) and then absconded to the shopping centre with Lochie's old Nokia phone to get myself a new sim card.

Within a couple of hours, I realised I had no idea how to use a Nokia anymore, and retrieved my ollllldddddd iPhone3 from a friend who had been borrowing it.  I then exhaled.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Well, after 24 hours of using my uber slow old iPhone, I realised just how much I depend on my mobile phone.  I realised that I do not know my husband's phone number, nor the majority of my friends and family.  I realised my life is entered in to my iCalendar.  I realised I needed to get a life outside of my phone.....

So, where to from here?  Well, I'm very happy to report that after three days buried in rice, thinking my phone was long gone and never to be used again, my darling husband suggested the battery may be flat?  So I plugged it in.....

Flash! Ahhh-ahhhhhhh.......

The old gal (ok, so it's less than a year old) has life in her yet!  She still has a little condensation under the screen, but my friends around the world Google tells me this should dissipate eventually.

What have I learnt from this exercise?

I have learnt that I don't need to check my phone every ten minutes - because when you're using an old phone that is as slow as a freakin elephant, you can't be bothered checking it.  And I have learnt that I should not wander from my normal routines, because when I do, I forget shit and phones fall in toilets!  Yes - I'm blaming my 14 year old son for this whole thing!*

In all seriousness, I am almost embarrassed at how much I depend on this little device.  The fact that it basically lives on one side of my arse most days is a little worrying.  And on that note - where do I store my phone in Summer when I'm donning frocks?  Yes, it's been a long Winter.....

The moral of my story?

Don't keep your phone in your back pocket.  And memorise important phone numbers.  Note to self: take note of these.....

Tell me - where do you keep your mobile phone?  Ever had a "toilet incident"?  Did your phone live to tell the tale?  Spill.....

* Ok, maybe not the whole thing.  Just a little bit.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday Stash - New Additions.....

A week or so ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, and saw Pink Castle Fabric's "Deal of the day"........ A Low Volume FQ pack for $6.50! Damned if I could let that get past me, so off to the website I trotted. And of course, I couldn't justify paying shipping for six fat quarters by their lonesome, so promptly added a Koi FQ bundle and two charm packs......

Koi - The most divine colour palette and prints!
Low Volume Bundle - Don't mind if I do!
Sunnyside charm pack - to match the one Kate Spain sent me.  And Simply Style charm pack to go with the leftovers of my Wonky Star cot quilt.

I also remembered that I came home from the Melbourne QCA get together with a slightly heavier handbag....
I purchased the Cuzco charm pack and Simply Colour jelly roll from one of the ladies for next to nothing!  And the Blush charm pack was my present for attending.  Winning!
A few days ago I was chatting online to my Tokyo BFF.  She told me there was a little parcel in the post for me - with some goodies for my nieces and "oh, I just popped a little fabric in for you"......

Needless to say, I LOVE my Tokyo BFF!  These are all divine Cotton Gauze - pretty dresses and/or tops incoming!

On a side note - I made a proposal to my husband last week.......  He wants a new tv.  We don't "need" a new tv.  Sooooo - I proposed he could get a new tv after next year's tax return - and I will be going to Tokyo.....  Fair?

I'm linking up with Sunday Stash being hosted by Hot Pink Quilts - You can too!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

W.I.P. Wednesday - I have no witty title, but good photos!

Yesterday saw me embark on a custom order quilt!  For a boy!  I LOVE making quilts for boys, basically because the quilting world is mostly bursting at the seams with feminine fabric lines.  When I was approached to make this quilt, the customer requested a style that her son could grow with - opposed to grow out of.  It didn't take me long to find a suitable choice of fabric.  "World Tour" by Parson Gray is a fabulous and eclectic mix of masculine colours and tones.  The designs are just gorgeous and scream MALE!  I shared my suggestion with the customer and she loved it!  The best part about this order?  The design of the quilt was left entirely up to me!  Yeh!

Patio Quilt Top

Sooooo....... I flicked through Pinterest, because I knew I'd seen a pattern somewhere in there at some stage that would suit.  And this is it!  The Patio pattern by Happy Zombie.  I cut it all out on the weekend, and it has literally taken less than a day to put the entire quilt top together.  My kind of pattern.

Patio Quilt Top

I had to lay out all the cut pieces of print before I could start assembling, in order to get all the colours balanced.  Putting the quilt top together required lots of photo taking and double checking to remember where they all belonged.  Thankfully, I didn't stuff it up!  I made a trip to Spotlight this morning for quilt backing, so with any luck, this baby will be finished by week's end.

ATC's for Wombat Stew

Another project I finally got around to attacking today was my ATC's (artist trading cards).  My lovely Wombat Stew group of gals have been very good and mostly finished their a while back.  But I just couldn't come up with anything remotely interesting or inspiring - so shelved it.  Until this afternoon, when inspiration struck and I dropped everything to strike whilst the iron was hot!  I've finished five out of the eight - but they have to stay a secret until they're all sent off around the world and we've all received them!  So you will see the end result in a few weeks hopefully.

I'm linking up with W.I.P. Wednesday & Needle and Thread Thursday - You can too!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, September 9, 2013

Checking In

I feel like I've haven't posted for AGES.  But, in reality, it's only been a few days.  Go figure.  I think the reason I feel like this, is that I haven't posted "personally" as such for a long time?  Well, here's a catch up on what's been happening in this corner of the world for the past few months.....

My kids are growing up.  Like, seriously growing up, and out, and around.  We've celebrated a couple of birthdays..... Cadyn's cricket cake was a hit, and Chloe had a Rainbow themed party for her 5th birthday - and it was an absolute blast!

My biggest boy had his Confirmation.  Seeing him look so smart in his "proper" trousers, a dress shirt and tie almost killed me!  He's so grown up!

And Ms Chelsea?  Well, she is finding a style all on her own!  At ten years of age, she is able to walk out of the house in some "interesting" fashion choices, and works them like nobody's business!  Although her mood swings and delightful eye-rolling are driving us all insane, she is certainly growing up to be a fabulous individual.

Apart from the kids, I have been kept busy with work and a little bit of play.  I'm over my strange little bout of mystery illness that saw me spend a couple of days sitting in hospital, but still curious to find out what on earth caused it.  My husband has put money on stress......

And yes, I have been stressed.  I've been going through a - up til now- rather private battle.  A battle with the much maligned mental illness.  Not my own, but my sister's.  I've said before that it's not my story to tell, however, this past few months have given me my own story - one of a sibling struggling to keep their head above water, whilst paddling relentlessly, and not getting anywhere fast.

I am almost consumed by the need to help my darling sister and her beautiful little family.  I just want things to be better.  To be calm.  But I'm finding it's a battle that just isn't there for me to win.  It's something that yes, I can help to facilitate, but no - I can't fix it.  And that's hard to swallow.....

But on a brighter note......I thank my husband every. single. day.  Many years ago, he told me I needed a hobby.  My interests at that time were relegated to sitting on the lounge watching Oprah and Dr Phil, whilst wrangling multiple young children and a part time job.  The need for library bags and art smocks, when my Chelsea girl was starting primary school, has literally saved my sanity.  It was the beginning of a hobby that had been in hiding for almost 20 years.  I grew up watching my Mum sew.  Day and night.  It was her day job (she worked for many years in the wardrobe department at Dreamworld!), but it was also (and still is) her beloved hobby.

Library bags and smocks lead to frills and frocks.  The frills and frocks lead to quilts.  And the quilts have now lead me to a place of sheer bliss.  Sewing, and quilting, is my saving grace.  It's the place I go to when I need clarity.  When I need to just sit and chill - and the only worry I have is fabric placement and thread choices.

So thank you dear husband.  For the hobby that you told me I needed.  And the hobby I asked you the other night whether you regretted I had?  Your answer was perfect.....

"If it makes you happy"

***  P.S.  To all of the wonderful people who have left comments on my last few posts - I truly appreciate you taking the time to give me your encouragement and cheer me on in my sewing and quilting efforts! I literally have not had time to sit down and reply to all of you - so please forgive me!  I shall be back to replying asap. xxxx

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