Monday, 23 December 2013

Seasons Greetings

No photos today unfortunately.  I made 4 Australian flower table runners for the ladies I work with and forgot to take the photos before gifting them.  Ho hum, never-mind.  I'll just have to be less absent-minded next time! :)  More to show'n'tell after Christmas.

Merry Christmas and all the best of wonderful wishes to my readers and your families this festive season.  Take the time to enjoy your family and friends - they are truly the shining stars in our lives.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Cake, Bags and Twins Turning 50

Ok, it's official - I really am the grey haired fat cake lady!  Two more bags and another cake in the past week or so.  What's a girl to do when her very good friend with a twin sister has a significant birthday?  Why make more bags and cakes of course! :) 

Twin one received Bag One, which is called "Cat's Cradle", designed by Pauline and Gael at Patchworks Unlimited.  A stunning combination of red and black, made with the technique of wrapping 2.5in fabric strips around some cord.  A really sturdy bag with a small pocket and lots of room on the inside.  A definite must make again.

Twin two received Bag Two, which is called "Studio Bag", designed by Leesa Chandler at Chandler's Cottage.  I loved learning how to do the sashiko stitching which appears on the front and back.
Also, there were a few techniques involved in making this bag which are not normal to bag making, therefore it was a lot more interesting to do.  And... I got the chance to show off gorgeous buttons made from Japanese fabric and acrylic.
 The little side ties just finish it off perfectly.
 Then, the cake.  One large chocolate cake, cut in half, covered in white chocolate ganache.  Topped off with white roses, daisies and edible silver glitter.
Happy Birthday you two!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Mmmmm - more cake......

Two more cakes.  Better be careful, or I'll be known as the 'grey haired fat cake lady'!

Two recent birthdays within the family, just a day apart.

This is how our dessert looked at the family birthday dinner.....




The dragon cake had candles which re-light after they're blown out.  We missed one re-lighting and then the dragon caught fire, so the poor thing has a slightly singed wing.  Oh dear - fire flying instead of fire breathing.

Sunday, 1 December 2013


Cake is the order of the day.  In fact I have made a lot of cake in the past few months, here is a small sample.

Carrot cake for a MG car enthusiast on the occasion of  his 50th birthday, complete with a horse for his wife...........

Bart Simpson cake for my son, complete with 'wavy' candles which wouldn't stay upright.........

Oh and it did have to be a rainbow cake on the inside to meet his exacting requirements.  Wonder where he gets his determination from?

And a 21st birthday cake.  It was a 'Tira Mi Su' cake with a delicious chocolate and silver glitter coating.

If I can brag a little, this Tira Mi Su was one of the best cakes I feel that I have ever made.  Simply gorgeous to look at, if a little rough around the edges and absolutely divine to eat.

I have never had any formal cake/baking/decorating training, so what I show you is totally self taught.

PS:  There is some show and tell here of my design  "Floral Trellis" from a class which I taught a couple of weeks ago.  The completed quilt tops look amazing.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Sunshine Coast Bag....

Love, love, love this bag.

Take one Bali Pop, lots of thread, a strong sewing machine needle and 50m of cotton cord, throw in a couple of days, mix it all up and then you get an amazing bag.

Not a quick bag to make, but really quite simple in construction.  I found the pattern, designed by Aunties Two, in Australian Homespun, No 93 (Vol 12.2).  Using a method called 'clothesline technique', the strips from a Bali Pop (batik jelly roll) are wrapped around a cord and then butted together to make a whole new piece of very sturdy fabric.

I've had the pattern and the Bali Pop for about a year now, but took approx 6 months to find someone who stocked the cord.  And then lo and behold - a deadline came along!  All of a sudden the date of my friends 40th birthday was here and the bag had to be finished for gifting.

It's a big bag.  In fact large enough to be a very useful bag for work because it will hold all essentials including lunch - most important - and laptop with some pockets inside for the little things.

I am really pleased how this bag has turned out.  I will certainly be making it again, especially as I now know where to purchase the cord!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Floral Trellis... part 2

Take one “Layer Cake”, the ideas from ‘string quilts’ and put them together.  A gorgeous floral range of fabrics, a nice bright white fabric and the question, “What if I did this?”  Here’s the result of my playing; a bright happy quilt with the allure of warm Summer days.  Shame it was so cold today when I took the photo in between rain showers.

Back about a year ago I said that this quilt would be quilted over the holiday season.... hmmm... just this week I completed the binding, hanging sleeve and label.  The end result has been well worth the wait.

Border Detail

I feel that my crafting mojo has returned after a very long hiatus.  Too many things became quite over-whelming until I made a list of a few things that I think I can work through to completion without them being too daunting (at what I have started) and clear some space in my sewing room and my mind.   Focus is my new key word! :)

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Busy, busy, busy.....

is what I've been.  I'm sorry that I haven't posted for 3 months.  The time has simply flown by.

Please be patient, some magic with photos and time to write up what I've been doing will happen very soon.  I hope in the next few days to be back posting again with regularity.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Chenille Scarf

Yummy, yummy blue fabrics.  Two batiks and two blue floral prints. Normally I'm not a 'loud' fabric person, but there was something in these prints with the flower centres that I just really needed to buy them at the time.

I spent some time flicking through magazines to try and figure out something that would allow me to use the nice big print of the water lily to it's advantage, with no real thought in mind of what I even wanted to achieve.  Then, as I was about to give up hope and put the fabrics away again, I found an article in the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of McCalls Quilting Magazine about how to make a chenille scarf.  Perfect.  I had enough fabric, in fact, more than enough, which is just as well because the first scarf I didn't read my tape measure properly and so it's about 30in too short.  I realised my error when I wrapped it around my neck after completing it.  Sheesh.  That one's now  a neck warmer which requires a pin to hold it in place. 

Then, I had to make a second one the correct length.  It's perfect.  Very soft and very warm.  There might be a few more of these in the future. 

I gifted this one to a friend (who looks gorgeous in blue) for her birthday.

Monday, 22 April 2013

More Bow Ties

The Bow Ties quilt top is completed.  Very happy.  The backing and binding fabrics are currently in the wash and shortly I'll be cutting the wadding.

My apologies for the angle of the quilt in the photo, I was having a very hard time with the wind, which had been absent until I wanted to take my photos - sheesh...

These 4in blocks are so incredibly addictive to make.  Try to stop at just one or two, it is impossible.  I found myself going through my 5in squares to try as many colour and print possibilities as I could.  Each tie was "wow" when I completed the block.
I have a good idea of how I want to quilt this quilt, so once again I am keen to strike while the iron is hot and keep the momentum going. Note to self - write down the quilting ideas before they get forgotten!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Pretty In Pink

Pretty In Pink - was the name of a favourite teenage movie way back in the 1980's (hmm.... age showing... not good....).  The movie was all about growing up and learning some life lessons during those awkward teenage years.  It's hard to believe that a lovely teenage girl we know is almost an adult.  Her mum asked me to bake a cake and to assist with the surprise of her significant birthday, there is no way I was going to say no....  Not completely sure my hubby agreed as he very obligingly cleaned up the dishes in the kitchen, including the glitter which went everywhere... oops....

Pink 'pearl' candles, purple glitter over white icing and some stunning flowers over the top of a luscious chocolate cake.... heaven....

To say that our friend was overcome when seeing the cake would be an understatement.  It's not often that she is speechless - but I succeeded!  It was a wonderful moment for her to realise that her Mum had planned some really nice things for her.  I always feel it's a great privilege to be part of an important event in another's life.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Bow Ties - an intro

A few years ago, when I was working in the 'rat race', catching public transport and wearing suits - I would always look at mens ties.  Especially their Bow Ties.  I love Bow Ties.  Somehow the wearing of a Bow Tie allowed a man's personality to show through, even though it was being constrained by holiding down a serious responsible role as a Stockbroker, Banker or Engineer.  The bow ties worn by these men were often very flamboyant, against the dark grey/black/pinstriping of their suits.  It is these city men who inspired me to make a Bow Tie quilt.

Of the 327 blocks I have made so far, I pulled a random sample of 16 out of the box so that I could play around with the layout.
Layout 1 - Straight Set

Layout 2 - Octagonal Centres
Layout 3 - Interesting...
Of course there are many more layout options with the blocks on point and/or sashing in between them.  I have an idea of where I want to head with this quilt - so I'm off to lay out all of the blocks to see if my idea will work.  I'm quitely confident that it will.

And.... if there are blocks that I don't like in the quilt, I can make more.  There are another 200+ fabric squares in the box from when I was collecting interesting "tie" fabrics.  The ones I don't use will end up on the back of the quilt so they won't be wasted.  The extra fabric squares will probably end up as part of the backing too.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Progress - slowly, slowly....

.. is what has been happening over the past 6 weeks while I have been absent from Blog posting. 

I have totally revamped an 8yr old UFO and it is now partially quilted instead of being a pile of cut up fabric squares in a shoebox.  All I did was change the background, then I fell back in love with fabric squares and used a new (to me) pattern from the Moda Bakeshop and my mojo came back.  The large central pinwheel panel of the quilt is from the Moda pattern and the border is my own design as I wanted to make the quilt larger. 

Pin basted and more quilting to do.  Binding is made!

Then, I took out a jelly roll and a large piece of calico with 'bubbles' on it and got very busy making a quilt top for a Christmas Challenge and that is ready for sandwiching.  I already have a quilting plan in mind and am keen to "strike while the iron is hot" and begin the quilting tomorrow.  While the outer border is my own design so that I could use up the bulk of the jelly roll, I need to contact the magazine where the large central star pattern was published to ensure that I can hang the quilt at a couple of exhibitions.  Then there will be a full quilt photo for you to see.  Meanwhile, I will show you a snippet...

There is more to come next week.......  stay tuned.... my mojo has returned! :)

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Applique Musings

Finally some appliquè   progress.  I am hand needle-turning the appliquè blocks for the "Just Takes 2" quilt.  Not being an appliquè person, I am quite slow at doing it.  This is where the challenge issued on the Stashbuster group  is good - it is my prod to keep on working on the appliquè blocks.  

Block 91 - The basket block from the logo in my side-bar (see right)

Block 72 - A Pretzel!
Last year I learnt how to do Reverse Appliquè and I found it really easy, which surprised me as I knew nothing at all about the technique - so with the two blocks above, I treated them as reverse appliquè and what do you know?  I got them made without the normal 'brain blockers' that would appear in my head when the word appliquè was ever mentioned.
I have 2 machine appliquè projects on the go as well, so, when I have finished the Just Takes 2 blocks, I'll be moving onto those and using the next 12 months to make lots of progress on them - I hope!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Ahhh... I am Luminous!

... says Master Yoda.  Captured here in bright green, he positively glowed when I took the photos.

Lorraine found a lonely bolt of Star Wars fabric some time ago at a Quilt In.  She called me and asked if I would like some.  I said yes - thinking that the colours would be like those in the movies - oh boy, what a shock when she gave it to me - arghhh - such a very loud and noticeable green!

However, my son LOVES it.  And now he has a cushion for his room, (a perfect use for the 50cm of fabric) and he is very happy.  :)

Monday, 4 February 2013

Warm and Woolly

Love, love, love knitting with really fat wool.  14ply on 7mm needles - I knitted each of these jumpers for my sons in 2 weeks apiece!

Patons Inca Wool (Sheep and Alpaca) and a Patons Inca Pattern Leaflet.  I knitted one straight after the other, but because of the differences in colour and size, I didn't get bored.

The kids chose their own colours...

The first jumper is nice and classy in classic black with flecked grey.

The second jumper has been nick-named:  "Chocolate and Choc Bits" (I think he may have been hungry when he chose the colours!)

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Dragonfly Roses

Another Bag!  Nice and large with lots of room, this is such a great hand-bag.  Designed by Nicole Mallalieu for Australian Homespun Magazine (issue 57).

I made this particular bag with a very special Aunty in mind for her 60th Birthday.  The fabric is reminiscent of Tiffany Stained Glass with dragonflies, roses and leaves, giving it a lovely 'comfortable' feeling, so well suited to a bag which will have lots of use.

The entire bag

Front flap and clasp detail.  There is a magnetic snap underneath. 
Hidden under the flap, inside the bag are two pockets and a very roomy interior space for lots and lots of 'stuff'.  Next time I make this pattern I will modify it slightly to include 2 zipped pockets; one on the inside for little bits and one on the outside for keys and public transport fare cards.
Handle detail.
The handle is nice and wide and very comfortable when I tried it out for length.  I am definitely going to have to make another one of these bags for myself - although how many bags can a girl really have?  Never too many! LOL!

And... my Aunty loves it - her surprise and delight when she opened this gift was wonderful, which is what makes making gifts all worthwhile. :)

Monday, 14 January 2013

Great Sewing Room Clean Up & Machine Trapunto

In light of lots of recent posts on a Yahoo group about having a clean and tidy workspace, I got motivated.  Too much clutter was really preventing me from wanting to even enter my sewing space, let alone sew.

Left:  The Magazine and Pattern Shelving

Right:  The Book/Project Shelf

For 3 days I folded, sorted and re-packed my fabrics, threads, patterns and whatever else was in that space.  Guess what? - the cupboard doors now work because they are not jammed up and there really is a floor in there! :)

I have taken out all clothing fabrics and patterns, not quite sure where they'll go yet, but it is such a relief to have finally admitted to myself that I am never going to do anything with them.  I will find someone who wants them sooner or later.

Right and Left:  Both Fabric Cupboards

The Four IKEA "Billy Bookcase" Shelving Units Together
My reward to myself?  I have just sewn the Three Free Motion Machine Whole-cloth 16.5in panels which I am doing with Trapunto.  They will be joined together to make a nice large runner for my dining table.

I have 4 projects out at the moment, in their boxes as my focus of what to work on that I can finish - using the theory of only working on 4 things at once:

a)    3 x Machine Trapunto Whole-cloth Panels (for my table) (see photos right)
b)    Quilted Shoulder Bag/Purse (present)
c)    Alphabet Animals Panel to quilt for a baby (due March); and
d)    Japanese 4 patch QAYG 80in sq quilt.

Only d) is on my Project Database list as part of an UFO challenge, but that's OK, because I have decided to work on what comes to the top of the pile, as eventually I would like to finish every project in my sewing room.  If I have all of the fabric and threads in bag/box in the sewing room and don't need to buy a thing, it's a project, started or not and it's all stash until it becomes a project.

I am now contented and can see a way forward.  My UFOs are not weighing me down any-more, I have gorgeous projects and purpose.

Thank you all for 'listening'.

* - UFO = Un-Finished Object
 - QAYG = Quilt As You Go

Monday, 7 January 2013

Black and Gold Ripples

The week before Christmas I was sewing my little heart out.  And, here is the result.  The Raspberry Ripple Bag as designed by Melly and Me.

A very roomy bag, with a zip pocket on the inside, this is classy and elegant.
Full view

Showing Texture
And....... drum roll please........ my Mother likes it!  What a relief.  Just as well because it was her Christmas present.