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Friday, 26 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

Look what Santa sent to me - some gorgeous reproduction purples, a couple of cute buttons and a "gucci" fold up small shopping bag. Those gorgeous Aussie girls - Lorraine, Sandra and Rosie got together and a little salvation package arrived in time for Christmas Day.
Then I got to thinking about the lovely "Golden Memories" by Lori Smith quilt sampler pattern which I have... And wandered if my reproduction blues and browns would match the purples....
And I think that the mix is not too bad. A couple of colour changes are required, but I now have a basic palette to start the quilt with. Very satisfied!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Aracnophobic Einkauftasche

Today I decided to put the final bindings on einkauftasche, which has been sitting around for about a month, on the floor next to my machine. I had been procrastinating somewhat as this is not a simple task.

First, my sewing lamp fell and hit me on the head after I turned it on, so I had to tighten the loose screw.

Started sewing. The needle on the machine broke. Changed it.

While changing the broken needle, I felt something crawl on my ear. I brushed away what I thought was hair. I felt crawling on my face. Brushed again, still thinking it was stray hair, only to realise it was a 2cm long spider. AAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH. I'm still getting shivers up my spine while typing this blog entry a couple of hours later. There were about 5 mini spiders crawling out of the bag too. I am thinking that they wanted it for their new home because I removed all cobwebs from the ceilings and heating vents this past weekend.

Here is the offending bag, which still needs the binding finished on one side, almost ready to hold my scrapbook items.



A positive note about this bag, apart from the fact I have an immediate use for it, is that it been a great 'stashbuster' because I only needed to buy the zip and wadding. All of the fabrics and thread came from my stash - and I think it's really pretty.

The rest of the binding will be finished tomorrow because it is very hard to sew on and I need a break from sitting at the machine.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Santa Claus and Baubles

OK - well you can't see Santa and the Baubles yet. All the wonders of modern technology don't work if you forget to charge the batteries! The camera is as flat as a tack. I will upload photos later when the camera is happier.

This week, I made 2 more baubles and a Santa Claus costume. DS1 was Santa in the school Christmas play and there were no boy costumes available anywhere, only the hats. One hat does not make a costume, so we went to the "cheap" clothes shop to buy a red long sleeve t-shirt and pants. I then sewed quilt wadding onto the clothes for the trim, cut a beard from wadding, a piece of black fabric for the belt and the middle of a cushion for the belly. He was seriously cute!

I have two goals for this coming week: 1 - complete the binding on einkauftasche (bag) and 2 - complete quilting, then bind and label a baby quilt. When these 2 projects are done, I can start 2 other baby quilts (from 1 jelly roll and a co-ordinating fabric), which will both be Irish Chain, ready for babies who are due to arrive in the first few months of next year.

Now it's off to pack my bag with some show and tell for the quilt meeting this afternoon which will be my last one here in Germany.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Cookies or Goodies?

That is the question I asked when told the Kris Kringle Goodie Bag was called a Cookie Bag. This very cute bag, which has a bizarre method of being put together - quite like making big cookies in fact - makes a really nice evening bag. Just the right size for phone, wallet, lipstick and tissues. I hope that _________ who is my recipient enjoys her bag and the gift inside it.


The sewing group I belong to when home in Australia has a Christmas Dinner every year. Each person who chooses to be part of the Kris Kringle gift giving gets a name to buy/make something for and then you have the fun of making the bag/stocking/hat which has been chosen by the Organisers to hold the gift in.
The Organisers then have the dinner room decorated and lots of Christmas cheer is celebrated with the bags being given out during the night. Lots of ooohhhs and aaaahhhs over the different fabric choices for the bags and eyeing off each other gifts.

Now it's off to the Post Office to post my bag so that ________ is not left without her bag and gift.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Frustration

A lot of frustration! With an international move coming up just after Christmas, I seem to be continually chasing my tail. I have had 1 whole week of no sewing and there are 4 or 5 things on my sewing table, which I know just need 1 or 2 days each to be "done done".

However, not all is lost. I did manage to make a cake for my sons' birthday and have far too many 6 and 7 year olds in my house for a party. Just 30 mins after the party ended, the sky dumped an inch or so of snow all over the place.

Here is the cake. The gold and silver balls on the cake, the kids thought were real, so they were stealing them to take home - vbg........


And, here is our back garden at 6:00pm. Completely dark and full of snow.......


Time for some strong coffee and to face the rest of the day. :)

Monday, 17 November 2008

Stained Glass...

...well not the real stuff, but a quilted Stained Glass, using the "Stack'n'Slash" technique. Furll of Aircraft Fabric. I made this quilt for DHs 45th Birthday. The centre panel is from a pattern in Australian Quilters Companion - issue 26. It was perfect for the fabrics and as it was Quilt As You Go, I was able to showcase the individual fabrics in large pieces on the back.




Flying Free
Looking out the window
You can see the planes flying
In the freedom of the skies.
Where the eagles dare,
The planes have soaring adventures
Diving, turning, aerobatic stunts
Living only for the moment
In that undefined space
Between the outer world and earth

I also managed to finish off a small circular sewing bag, that has been waiting for 3 years to have 2 button holes added to thread the cord through. Pretty happy to have 2 finishes of projects in one day!
Tomorrow is Monday, wonder if I can start another UFO project that has been hanging around for a couple of years? Or should I finish the large carry all bag which needs a lot of binding attached? Not sure, let's see how I feel tomorrow morning. What I need to do is prepare a submission for my Creative Writing Group on Monday week as my turn has come around again, so maybe not much sewing or new writing, but a re-work of a previous piece. Watch this space to see what happens next!

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Baubles...

... are such pretty things! And on Wednesday this week, my friend Jane and I ran a class to teach other people how to make them. We had a ball. I would have to say the day was a resounding success.
I had pre-made kits for the ladies to purchase (because cutting the squares of fabric takes quite a while), made lots of coffee and tea and served cake as they folded and pinned the fabric squares to polystyrene balls to make the baubles while talking up a storm. The next 2 photos shows a few of the baubles completed in the class, with each persons choice of colours.



They are simply 2 colours of 2in cut squares pinned into polystyrene balls. A bit of braid covers the edges around the middle, add a ribbon with a bit of glue and a pin, then you can hang it on the tree. The next 2 photos show the ones I had made earlier.

Now I need to go and make a few more of my own, as the ones I had made earlier became gifts.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Great minds....

...think alike and I I found a great mind that thinks just like mine in Berlin. I got to meet my 'quilting penpal' of 2 years - Nicole. She is another "Aussie in Germany" and we were able to spend some quality time together with our families in Berlin. It was fantastic. I am hoping that she and her gorgeous family can come to Cologne to visit us. How great would it be to go shopping at the Christmas Markets with such a like-minded person? The other bonus of the trip to Berlin was to be able to spend some time with my 'best friend' from Cologne who moved to Berlin a few months ago. The wonderful thing is that she and Nicole met, live near each other and will get to do coffee and lunch together. This is just nice.




Now, it's focus time after just having a wonderful 2 weeks travelling through Eastern Germany, Czech Republic and Austria.
More about our holiday and the fabrics I purchased in Austria in the next post, along with the completed Aircraft Stained Glass Quilt.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

And 2nd prize goes to........

Me! I found out this morning that I have won second prize at the Blue & White Challenge with the quilt Cosmic (see below). I am really excited and doing a little happy dance! I am yet to see photos of the quilt which won, Congratulations to Karin for being the winner.

Cosmic - A Blue & White Challenge




I just love this quilt. It is simply one of the most enjoyable quilts I have ever made. I adore Blue and White, so when Kilmore Kwilters (in Victoria, Australia) set their challenge, I couldn't resist. The Blues are all from my stash and I only bought the whites in Fat 1/8 pieces. The requirements for the Challenge were very simple - Fabrics to be Blue and White, with the quilt finishing at 100cm square. The largest star is a Judy Mathieson design - Twilight Star and the rest I made up as I went along. I knew the look I wanted, I just had to make it work.
Today (18th Oct) was the day of judging of the Blue & White Quilts. I couldn't be there, so I need to e-mail one of the 'girls' what happened and how the day went. I think that they would have had a fantastic day.
However, while that was happening in Australia, my local group here in Germany held their quilt show. It was held in a cafe and attracted quite a lot of interest, which considering the venue was in a bizzare location (hidden from a major road, in a crop field and bordered by a freeway with no easy exit nearby) was really surprising. In any language, Quilters can talk to each other. Textile Art reaches out to people and you don't need to speak the same vocabulary because you understand each other very well. One of the ladies from the group that came today who belongs to the group is very special. She is a fantastic lady who has had the misfortune of being cursed by the cancer wand. Not only is she an extremely nice person, but she has a wonderful sense of humour. While she was there with her head wrapped in a scarf, she was entertaining my 4 yr old son with her clown quilts (esp the one titled Colonia Clownia) and then the adults with the Cologne Dom (Cathedral) in pictorial quilts from around the world. She has the Dom on Ayers Rock and the Sydney Opera House. The Dom has also visited the ocean, Canada, the USA and lots of other locations around the world.
All of the above has made for an interesting day. The missing my good friends in Australia at the Blue & White Challenge event, plus the Quilt Show (austellung) here in Cologne, a couple of special friends dropping by and some family time has made me feel quite nostaligic, maybe it's time to go and hug my kids....

Monday, 13 October 2008

Time for a Mystery........

"The game is afoot..." It is time to begin a Mystery Quilt (MQ). I have never, ever taken part in a Mystery Quilt project before, so I am nervous with anticipation. The fabric requirements have been sent out and I have chosen my fabrics - see pic. Yes, it will be a predominantly blue quilt, with the pink and red as the "pizazz" pieces.


I have chosen to do the lap size (117cm square) because I had fabric pieces the correct size and nothing large enough for the other sizes. When a piece of fabric in my chosen colour way is 107cm wide and the requirements call for a piece 105cm wide, then it has to be the right choice doesn't it? As someone wrote in an e-mail to the MQ group, one can always add borders to the quilt later on or make it the centre of a medallion if a bigger size is desired! I aim to get the quilt top pieced before I make that sort of choice.
This is a great Stashbuster as I have only "shopped" in my stash and don't even need to buy cotton, wadding, backing fabric or quilting thread! This is making me happy dance, hence the little brag. I will choose the binding once the quilt is finished and that may require a shop visit, but let's hope not!
I am really excited about this project as I have been wanting to start something totally brand new and not pick up another UFO or PIG!
Off to iron my fabrics now!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Ramblings.......

No, I haven't forgotten that I have a blog, but I have been very busy! I have written another short story, all about a faux pas at a dinner party, which my writing group now have in their e-mail boxes to critique.

I have printed out some very cute little Noahs Ark Stitcheries. Lynette has been very busy designing them and she is posting them on her blog in monthly installments. The pictures are so cute! But, you have to wait, I have only printed them out so far and not stitched them.

I have been working profusely on my Stained Glass Quilt. Yes, DH received an unfinished quilt for his b'day, but he didn't mind. I have taken back off him, to add on one border, so hopefully photos later today.

I delivered 6 quilts for an exhibition here in Germany. That took some time to ensure labels were all OK, no loose threads were left hanging, that sort of thing. The exhibition is being held by the local group LightCabinPatchwork. Click on the link and then austellung for the details. My 'seasonal change' quilt is one of them and here are pics of 2 of the smaller ones:
















And last, but not least - check out this brand new blog for my friend Wilma, who is a wonderful machine quilter - DeepCreekQuilting. I have a feeling that she is going to be showing us some really fun stuff in her blog!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Cushions & Exhibitions

Well, I have completed and posted to FIL, the cushions for his study. I posted them the day of his birthday, so unfortunately his present will be a week late - uh oh! I simply quilted around the pictures on the panels and made them 2 sided - check out the pics......



Can you guess that he likes aircraft?
My list for things to finish is getting a lot shorter with only 2 items left on it. The Stained Glass Stack'n'Slash is taking a bit of time to do, but wow, after making a Salinda Rupp Quilt and some minatures, the pieces seem to be enormous with the blocks finishing at around 20" square!
On another note, I have spent quite a lot of time this week going through my completed quilts for an upcoming exhibition in the town where I live. There is to be a CD made by a professional photographer, therefore the quilts need to be at the shop in the next week, almost a whole month before the exhibition. A very exciting step as I have not been part of the scene here for very long, only a few months. One of the things I love about quilters is that they welcome everybody and language is not a barrier - most of the time!
This upcoming week will be a busy one, as I prepare quilts, entry forms and work on making a quilt as well as my story of Peter and Kate. Most importantly, my writing group meets this week, so my creativity should hopefully have no limits!! Isn't it great to be excited about what's coming up in the next few days? :)

Monday, 15 September 2008

Jane Austen - Elinor Dashwood

I am Elinor Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! (written by Jane Austen) The questionnaire results say that I am practical, circumspect, and discreet. Tremendously sensible and allow my head to rule. I have a deep, emotional side that few people often see.

Myself, Rosie, Lorraine and Sandra all purchased fabric from the Jane Austen range approx 2 or 3 years ago. We all agreed to make a quilt with diamonds and applique, as Jane Austen made a quilt with a broderie perse centre and diamonds. Mine is a Lone Star, which will have LeMoyne Stars in the setting squares and triangles as well as more stars set in a large dogtooth border to finish it off.

So far I can only show you a photo of the centre star. There's a lot more to do on this quilt, but I am inspired by Lorraine finishing hers. Mine will appear on my next list of 10 UFO projects after the end of Sept.












Now... Creative Writing. I have started to write a new short story, as it's my turn to make a submission for the next meeting of Writing Women. Here's the first paragraph...


The first time he heard it, he knew it was destiny. He felt an electric jolt through his body. Looking around the smoky crowded bar, he tried to get a glimpse of where it was coming from.

There! Again he missed it!


He was really wanted to find out who she was. The owner of the laugh.

His footy mates teased him. “It’s just a chick, don’t worry about her.”

But he did think about her. The laugh was one of pure joy. She laughed without restraint. No politeness, just the full belly-aching laugh of someone who can’t contain themselves. She was with a friend. The friend had told the story and was laughing too.


Now remember, that this is first draft, so it is not perfect and will be edited somewhat after being critiqued by the group. In my mind this short story has enough in it to become a novel, but we shall see how the story unfolds. There is a lot of work to do and I'm only on the second page!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Seasonal Changes


Another UFO bites the dust!

The quilt top was made from a large dark piece of fabric, a large light piece of fabric, a pack of 5" squares and then some 'extras'. I just love how a basic 4 patch block can have some interesting pattern effects with careful colour placement.

I have taken a photo of the backing of this quilt as well as the front because it uses up all the left over pieces and makes it more interesting.

The colours in this particular quilt remind me of late Winter and early Spring. The promise of nice weather and pretty days are close by but then a gust of wind or some grey clouds remind us that Winter is not far away, hence the name Seasonal Changes.







Monday, 8 September 2008

FAWCO Quilt Block

Each year FAWCO (Federation of American Womens' Clubs Overseas) has a global conference. Representatives from each AWC around the world are invited to attend. They also ask for a quilt block from each club. The blocks are put together, the quilt is made and then it is raffled off as a fund raiser. The money is then donated to a charitable organisation, benefitting women and/or children in underpriveldeged areas.

Here is the block which I have made for the Cologne, Germany club. The theme for this year is environmental, thus I have made the Ocean Waves block with a batik fabric. Ahhh.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Scraps & Threads in Life

I can't believe that it's been almost 2 weeks since my last post. Where did the time go? Well it has mostly been spent creatively, which is a good reason to have a huge grin on my face! I have my machine back from the shop, without the broken needle in the workings, so I have completed some swap blocks and now I am quilting a large quilt on it. Every now and again I have to remember to come up for air!! I promise that there will be photos when it's all done :)

A few events have taken place recently, which have reinforced the fact that quilting, scrap-booking, knitting, or whichever hobby you choose, can be quite a good anchor and calming balance when things get too hectic. I have spent some time in the last 2 days with girlfriends, scrap-booking. Just like a quilting group, we drink coffee, talk and make something beautiful at the same time, which we hope will be loved and treasured for future generations. It is the cotton threads, scraps of paper and fabric, a connection to another person in a similar situation and the wonderful friendships that make our lives what they are.

Check out the little blocks in the photo below - how cute are they? They will be 3in (7.5cm) finished. The "positive" blocks are from an online swap and the "negative" blocks I made when making my swap blocks. I am not sure what layout or type of quilt to make with them yet, so if you have a suggestion, please leave a comment - I'd like to know what you think!


Thanks for stopping by! Andrea

Monday, 25 August 2008

Writers Block, Earrings & Prada Boots!

I went to the movies this week with a fellow writer and one of the things we talked about afterwards, was not the movie, but the fact that during this Northern Hemisphere Summer Holiday Season, we both have a severe case of Writers' Block! We both acknowledged that our stumbling blocks are with pieces which need revision. I have been wanting to finish off my Prada Boots Landed on the Moon story, but realised that I needed to feel the loneliness and isolation of the North German winter while being completely out of my depth for the social situation in order to finish it - well winter is coming in a month or two, so hopefully I'll get it done. Here is the introductory paragraph.....

It was the first day at school for my son. We were very new to the country. We did not know any of this strange language. I had to learn to drive to the school on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. Beautiful mums were everywhere in the school yard, with their fur coats and Prada boots. No last seasons clothing dared to make an appearance here. Yves St Laurent Bags hung off their shoulders. They all knew each other. They had a clique. Then there was me. The Australian.

The comments back from my Writing group were very positive, but there are some parts to be expanded, refined and tightened up - rather like having plastic surgery! So instead of writing, I went and did the next best thing - had a day out with another girlfriend who showed me how to make earrings - check out the photo, not bad for a beginner? Some simple glass beads and fixings, playing around with the layout and voila!




On a quilty note, I have completed a stitchery, designed by Christine Book, it is one out of many in the "Words of Wisdom" series. Unfortunately my photo has a shadow over it, but you get the general idea. Now I have another UFO to add to my next list of 10 projects as I want to have it hanging on the wall come this next Christmas. I have a dream to have lots of handmade decorations around at Christmas time because I just love making them, they make me feel so nice and peaceful and that there is hope for peace in the world.
On that philosophical note, it's adieu for now.....



Monday, 18 August 2008

Time Warp

Today we went to the Chocolate Museum to have lunch on the terrace overlooking the Rhein River and sample some yummy food. What a surprise when we came upstairs from the carpark, slap bang into the middle of a 1950s time warp on the Rhein promenade. This was serious! The restored cars were fantastic, but then there was the people - did I mention it was serious? They were all dressed in 1950s clothing! Market stalls were selling the clothes and furniture of the era. The bands were playing 1950s music and it was jam packed. Get me out of here before I get sprinkled with stardust too - I don't want to look like one of them! Thank goodness they hadn't gone into the cafe, so were safe to have our lunch in the sun, overlooking the water.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Broken Needle!

Well, it was all looking good, I was racing through my quilting UFOs and then a needle broke on my sewing machine. "Not so bad" I thought, "I'll just change it" - Nope, I had to drop it into the workings of the machine, which made it squeak and sent the tension off to the moon, so off to the shop for repairs. They told me that I had just missed the weekly pick-up by the service man and that I would be without it for 2 weeks! arrrggghhh......

Ho Hum - guess I'll just have to do cross-stitch, some knitting or scrapbooking when I am not writing. I don't actually have a shortage of things to do, there are several choices - I just wanted to take shameless advantage of my momentum!


In the meantime - here are two photos of my Salinda Rupp "Nearly Insane" Quilt. Each block is 6.5" square and there are 98 of them in the quilt. It took 2 years, but so very worth it!




Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Through the Garden Window

An UFO has bitten the dust! Today I finished Through the Garden Window. It has been pouring rain most of the day, so it was a great day for sewing down the binding and label. All ready now to be given to SIL for her 40th Birthday.

Here's my quilt blurb:
2 years of collecting 5” Charm Squares in soft pretty YUWA floral fabrics is the basis of this quilt. When I put the sashing strips in between, I immediately thought of looking through a window into a sunlit garden. Soft and pretty against the hardness of the window frame.


Sunday, 10 August 2008

And so it begins......

... my first post to my blog! This is my new journal about life, the universe and everything, as an Australian expat living in Germany. I am a Quilter and budding Writer.

The lists off to the side are my "helpers". Recently I joined the Stashbusters yahoo quilters group. One focus of the group is to get your UFOs (un-finished objects) finished. If you do not have one finish per quarter, then you risk being crowned the UFO Queen. To help myself, I made the list on the left. It's been a great feeling to complete a few projects and use them. Because this is not the total list of projects, I have found that I can stay focussed and not get lost in the myriad of choices in my sewing room.

I have also added my list of Creative Writing items that I want to stop being UFOs. The pieces have come about from my fabulous writing group - Writing Women. We meet regularly to discuss and critique each others work, as well as looking at publication options, helpful hints, query letters and all of things required to "make it" in the tough world out there.

I have a lot of great quilt projects started and some first drafts of short stories, so I want to get total completion and have the pleasure of the finished item whether it's for reading or show!