Thursday, December 31, 2009

And so this is Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! Okay, so I'm a week late but the thought counts, not the time frame.

Our Christmas tree. It was only a small gathering this year, but look at all the presents. And there were even more under there on Christmas morning. The tree may just last another year if we don't water it too much!

There is a little table to the side holding our nativity scene. It gave hours of playtime fun, and it is unusual to see all the people in a straight line. Most of the time they have been 'dancing' in pairs. Jack managed to break both the camel and Joseph in a very short time (ceramic figures and tiled floors do not get on very well). He now thinks Dad can fix anything but is a little young to fully appreciate the magical powers of superglue.
'Santa Claus is coming to town' has been sung from dawn to dusk in our house for several weeks. Finally he came to town and look at the sack full of goodies he left behind.
I made the sack for his first Christmas and the ducky pj pants last year. After I let down the cuffs this summer we've managed another year out of the pjs.
The prize gift this year was a Thomas the Tank Engine umbrella. Rain every day for the last week has made one little boy very happy. Again, last years monster pjs are peaking out at the bottom of the coat - cuffs let down and still fit perfectly.

Another hit present was a kit containing poster paints. We finally gave in and let him loose. Here he is creating some thankyou letters that will be going out in the mail over the next month.

I hope your Christmas was as wondeful as ours, and wish you all the best for a happy 2010!

How to celebrate a birthday

November brought a birthday so Jack made his dad a very special birthday cake.

Step one: Mix

Step two: Lick

Step three: Decorate

Step four: Celebrate!

Pre-Christmas crafting

We didn't have much time for crafty pursuits during November and December mainly due to flu, tonsilitis and other unhealthy afflictions.
However Jack and I did manage to create some very personal cards for all his carers at daycare. There are 14 including one who recently left on maternity leave. As Jack goes five days a week he is looked after by all these lovely ladies and we wanted to say thankyou.
Here is Jack displaying the results.
We painted some sheets of paper then cut out christmas tree shapes and glued them to pre-folded cards. Shiny gold star stickers added a bit of bling, and Jack pilfered a few to decorate his hands. Jack wrote a message inside each card, and I added a translation :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

100 blocks 100 designers - book and fantastic giveaway

Check out this link for a chance to win lots of great stuff

Dani has her quilt - so now I can show it off!

This is the quilt I made for Dani. She recieved it this week and now I can show you some pictures.
She has a great pic that shows the texture of the quilt on her blog at
To see the other lovely quilts made for swap go to

A playground for little green frogs
It measures about 50cm wide by 45cm high or 19.5in by 18.5in.

My original inspirition was the lovely 'Inchie' quilts that I discovered through Emma's blog.

My first thought was to make an abstract quilt with removable 'Inchies' that could be worn or used as brooches, but then after doing some Flikr searches of doll quilts I came across some lovely bird designs. I decided to do a tree quilt with removable birds.
However, when it came to sketching out some designs I hit a bit of a brick wall.

As all good crafters do, I gave up and decided to do some 'tidying' of my sewing room (moving stuff from one pile to another). I discovered a frog applique design from an American quilt magazine (Quiltmaker's Favorites - Winter 08) that I had put away to use 'one day'. This sent the plan off on another tanget.
Half an hour with the work photocopier, several hours of fabric window-shopping on-line, some enjoyable time trawling through the stash, a week or two of thinking and a bit of time with a paper and pencil and 'Frogitopia was designed.

I wish it was that easy to go from design to finished product, but it morphed and changed as I went.
I have some basic piecing for the sky and water, with wonky seams to create the effect of waves/ripples/reflections in the water. The grasses, rock and lilly pads are all raw-edge applique but only the lilly pads are appliqued through all layers of the quilt sandwich. Next time I'll do all the applique this way.

The reeds are hand embroidered using backstitch in embroidery floss and some short lengths of wool stitched on and fluffed up to make the flowers.

The lilly pads are felt. They were going to be needle-felted artistic creations but I ruined the first one I tried so I used plain felt instead - and think it worked perfectly.

The grasses at the bottom extend out past the edge of the binding to create some depth. I like the way they turned out.

The two butterflies are purchased iron-on patches that have been backed with felt and brooch pins. These were again going to be needle-felted but I ran out of time but am really happy with how these work.

The frogs are layered with pellon to give them a bit of firmness and fullness, and each have a brooch pin sewn to the back so that they are free to jump around the pond (with a bit of assistance).

The other embellishments include gold dragonfly buttons, glass lady-bird beads and some little caterpiller buttons. I spent hours looking in shops and searching on-line for these. I really had no idea how hard it was going to be to find the right sort of button!

The actual quilting is pretty simple. I quilted in the ditch of the different strips of the water, and created some wavy lines about 1.5in apart in the sky and about 0.5in apart on the rock. This was all done with a walking foot. I attempted some free-motion but it was a bit of a disaster. As it was, most of the quilting was unpicked and re-done (Note to self: quilt in the same direction next time and save yourself some grief!!!)
The backing fabric has been in my stash for years and although I didn't pull it out until after I was half-way through the top it was obviously a sub-concious influence on the design. I added a hanging sleeve to the top of the backing when attaching the binding.

The label was made using ink-jet printable fabric (Matilda's own), Microsoft Publisher and a clip-art frame I found online. This is the first time I've done a label this way and I'm hooked!
Most of this quilt is created from my stash. I bought the blue sky/water pack from Creative Sewing Online. I also bought the beads, buttons, iron-on patches and brooch pins.
The backing, batting, binding and scraps for all the applique were all in the stash, as was the vliesoflix, felt and ink-jet fabric for the label. If you are into applique or just looking for some handy packs to pad out the stash then I recommend the scrap packs from Patchwork Products in Sydney
There is another version of this quilt underway - 'Frogitopia 2' - that is destined for my wall. They were intended to be completed and photographed together but sadly the flu curtailed my plans. I used the same design but in an aqua colourway rather than the royal blue. Funny enought, I had the same backing fabric print in an aqua-ish colour! The quilt is lying on the table beside me with binding almost finished (forgot the hanging sleeve on this one). One of the frogs needs to be sewn together, they all need eyes and brooch pins and lilly pads to sit on and bugs and dragonflies to drool over. I've already printed the label. I just need some spare time and I'll have some more pics to show.

Friday, November 6, 2009

EBDQS - my new quilt

This is the lovely doll quilt that was made for me by the very talented Alissa.

The background is all pieced and the tree, leaves and hearts are all free-motion, raw-edge appliquied on.

The bright blue backing contrasts wonderfully with the threads used so it looks just as great from the back.

It will go straight on the wall in my sewing room to inspire me. One day I hope to be able to produce something similar!

The photos are a bit dodgy but I'm running late this morning and will be back to put better ones in tonight.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

DQS Posted - final sneek peek...

After struggling to get this done due to a never-ending dose of awful, horrible, energy-sapping flu, my doll quilt finally got posted this week.

Here it is wrapped and ready to go!

As my partner won't be able to open it until Monday, here is a final sneek peek to tease her until then.

Version number two, my keeper-quilt has gone on the back-burner as I simply haven't had the energy to finish two. Also, I had sewed down most of the binding before remembering that I needed to add the hanging sleeve. At least it made the decision on which to keep and which to give a bit easier.

I learned a lot making these, and had a few minor disasters. I'm happy with the finished one and hope my partner and her family have some fun with it.

Beach day

Hey Auntie Suze - notice the Jinormous Jack beach bag?!

I'm a dingle, dangle scarecrow

...with a flippy, floppy hat...

...I can shake my hands like this...

...and shake my feet like that!

Halloween daycare dress-up 2009 - my little scarecrow!

Monday, October 19, 2009

EBDQ more sneakys....

I've been working hard at this but it keeps wanting a little bit more here and a little bit more there - did I mention it has a life of its own?!!

Two sneak peaks - one from each of the quilts. Still not sure which one is the keeper and which is the giver but either way I'm having fun and so glad I get one for me.

Still need to layer and quilt, embellish (just about collected all the bits) bind and label. So far I've completed fabric selection, some basic but slightly tricky piecing, lots of vliesofixing, lots of raw edge applique, lots of tying off threads and slightly more hand embroidery than I'd originally intended.
Quilting should get done today if my machine agrees with me. I've changed my mind on backing fabric for both at least three times and still undecided on the binding.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Look at these cute little guys......

They are little glass beads that I picked up from a local beading shop that I've driven past often but never dropped into until this week. Looks like a lolly shop inside with all the bottles of coloured beads lining the walls and I was silly enough to enquire about classes - like I need any more hobbies! I can't cope with the ones I've got!

Their website is

I think these will work perfectly on a special project I'm working on!

Pressies for ME!

Look at the things that came in the mail recently!

Corrie over at Retromummy had a giveaway recently and I was lucky enough to win!

This is my great prize - some lovely blue Lecien fabric and the Two Little Banshees quilt pattern that she had in the picture on her blog - both for sale in her shop.

Lovely, lovely, lovely - thanks heaps Corrie!

The big cardboard box is a needlefelting starter kit and needlefelting needlepunch from Petlins .
You can see the contents of the box in the first photo at the top of this entry.

For under $50 for the kit I think this was a bargin, especially as the instruction book retails for $34.50 by itself. I've seen this same kit on other sites for up to $70!!! If you are thinking of having a go at needlefelting (also known as dry felting) then check out the site before the November price rise. They also have everything for weaving and spinning - this is a really interesting shop!

I've also got a kit for the butterfly brooches on backorder but this kit has instructions for one of them so the extra kit may be a christmas pressie for someone else.

I also forgot to put in links for the fabrics I had in this post

The blue fabrics and pillowcase kits came from Creative Sewing Online
and the huge pack of other fabrics came from Fabritopia during their big sale.

I'd recommend either to do business with.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Doll quilt swap - sneaky peaks

I've made a start on my quilt for the EB doll quilt swap - after toying with several different ideas I remembered an applique pattern I'd copied about a year ago. Half an our playing with the size on the photocopier at work and several hours of sketching and scribbling and picking through the fabric stash and I've come up with something I think my partner will enjoy.

I'm making two - similar design in slightly different colourways. As most of this will be experimental for me, I'm hoping that by making two I will be able to work out any problems on the first one, and perfect the techniques somewhat on the second.
And this means I'll have one to keep - which is great because I'm a bit in love with the the design so far. Just crossing my fingers that it looks as good in fabric as it does in my head!
Here are the fabrics I'll be using for the backgrounds - aqua-toned blues for one, royal-toned blues for the other.

It doesn't look like much at the moment - but maybe you can make out the little peeks of the bits I like best, hiding at the side of the photo.....
I'm picking up my sewing machine from a service tomorrow and want to get as much of these done over the weekend as I can. Quilting on my star quilt will have to go into the too-hard basket for a week or two, but as I have to unpick all the dodgy quilting I've already done on it before I can do any more, it's not such an issue.

Parcels, parcels, parcels...

After an interesting thread on EB about online fabric shopping, and with the great exchange rate at the moment, I splurged a little with my first two orders from the US....

...and ended up with this lovely bundle!
Total: 20 yards of fabric, two pillowcase kits (approx 1.5 yards in each) and postage for less than half the price the same items would cost here.
The blues on the right are for my EB doll quilt swap, the pastels in the middle were just because I wanted some pretty basics, the bundle of boy fabrics on the left were on special and will make pjs, shorts and overalls, and possibly find their way into several quilts. The two pillowcase kits were a total impulse buy, but will go well with the Eyespy quilt I've started for when Jack graduates to a big bed.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Flickr faves - for doll quilt swap

For the EB Doll Quilt Swap - a mosaic of some of the quilts of Flickr that I really like.

I've orderd fabric for the one I'm planning for my partner and looking forward to the whole process.

great giveaway - please don't enter

From Corrie at retromummy:

Check it out, but please let me win!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Another wedding in the family

We spent last weekend in Katoomba for my little brother's wedding. The ceremony was at Yester Grange and what a wonderful spot for a wedding!

The weather was perfect. It was freezing in the shade but quite hot in the sunshine. Check out the view behind the bride and groom (yep - they're used to the 'long and the short of it' jokes). My youngest sister was one of the bridesmaids. She is the one at the left of the group shot.

We had planned to take Jack on the ZigZag railway on Sunday, but we stayed up until about 2am after the reception so pretty much slept all afternoon instead.
Katoomba has some great restaurants and we had some fantastic meals while we were there. It was also nice to see the spring blossoms everywhere. Spring and autumn aren't any where near as exciting where we live.

Jack was excited to go on a plane. When we left home he stood in the driveway and burst into tears. How could we expect him to get in the car when we had just told him he was going on a plane?
He giggled most of the flight to Sydney, and nearly refused to get off the plane on our return trip.

Even more stars - look how they twinkle

A week off work has given me time to get sewing - and look what I've managed to acheive!

I'm really happy with this especially as it is the most complicated pattern I've attempted.
It is actually quite simple to piece as it is all strips, but the cutting and measuring require a bit of concentration.
Not one to be working on while enjoying a glass of red!

I got the outer borders sewn on this morning and spent quite a bit of time with the iron and a can of starch before taking these photos. Then I took a trip to the local quilt store to pick backing and binding fabric, batting and thread. The backing is a terracotta-orange colour and I picked up some fqs of the fabrics used in the stars so I can do a scrappy binding. I'll even have some leftovers for cushions if I ever get around to it.
The plan is to get the quilt basted by Sunday afternoon and then work on it for an hour or so every day or two and hopefully I'll have a finished quilt in a few weeks. I've even tidied up the sewing room so I can leave it underway once I start.
I did sign up for the EB doll quilt challenge at the same time - -although I'm hoping to get both finished together.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Stars in my eyes...

Completed - the first block of my scrappy star quilt. Approx 30in square. dodgy photo - when I've done the next block I'll take pics during the daytime ;)
I've wanted to attempt a lone-star style block ever since I started dabbling in patchwork.

I found this pattern in the Jelly Roll quilts book and some scrappy strip rolls in my LQS and decided to dive in.

The diamonds came together pretty quickly and I'm quite pleased with my seam allowances and the straightness of my stiching. The colours in the strip rolls worked fairly well and I only substituted one star center with fabric from my stash. I've tried not to overthink the colour placement but there is one set of greens in another star that I'm not happy with - lack of contrast.
Cutting and sewing the background setting triangles has been a bit more of a challenge. The bias seams in the corner squares don't sit quite flat so I'll need to make some adjustments.
Otherwise, I'm happy.
Three more piles of diamonds and two piles of setting triangles are starched and ready to sew.
And on another theme - an early reminder of Father's day......
Here is my little man and my big man - one is mopping and the other is 'helping'. Check out the action the little guy has already. I might need to invest in a real mini mop for him.
And of course the dog has to be part of the action. I think it took three times as long as normal to do the floor this weekend!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Blog-land prize haul

This post is long, long, long overdue.

I was lucky enough to be the winner in two great blog give-aways.

The first was from Miss Kitty Boo Boo ( in the Sew Mama Sew giveaway (yep, it's taken me that long to blog).
I won a great set of hair clips and have had to hide them from several of the girls at work so they don't dissappear on me. Thanks very much for these!

The second was from Bec ( for the Sewn giveaway.
She sent me a fantastic hand-crafted pendant and two lovely bars of hand-made soap.
The soap is really nice to use and the pendant is a summery, bright colour that is sure to get lots of use.
Thanks Bec, love your work!

Helping Mum in the sewing room...

Who needs toys?


Look what happens when you drop into the local fabric shop while waiting for an appointment!

This strip roll is for a lone-star style quilt. Only got 20 strips to see if I can manage it, and if I like it. If I like the way the first two blocks turn out, I'll be back for more.

And this bright set of FQ is from the Adalucia range, sitting right inside the door just to tempt me. I really didn't need it but just couldn't walk out the door without it! I'm thinking of making a QS quilt with it in a similar design to the one below.
I'll use 10in squares that will give me final blocks of about 9-9.5 in (the ones below are 5.5in) with five fabrics per square. Not sure what to do for sashing and if I should add cornerstones to the sashing. Might use either the first or the third one in the top row for a 10in border, if I can get enough.
I'm a bit hesitant to cut them, in case I don't like the design when I put it together. These colours are way outside my normal style!
The alternatives I have in mind are simple large squares, large squares combined with a four-patch or a stacked-coin style. Any other suggestion would be quite welcome...

This is the design I'm thinking of using as a starting point. This one is only lap-size. The blocks are about 5.5 in, the sashing is 1.5in and the borders are about 6in. it began life as a pack of thirty 6in charm squares. I wanted one fabric in the border but could only get single fat quarters in the same fabrics so I improvised. The creamy looking fabric is actually a goldy-beige and tones quite well. For some reason the camera altered the colours quite a bit.

Well, certainly some sewing in my future - best get cracking.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bag swap - yippee

Opening day is here and look at the fantastic bag I scored from the lovely Emma!
Here is a close up of the embroidered label she put on it to remember the swap - a very nice touch. Sorry Emma, but this is strictly a keeper and you can't have it back!!!
Appologies for the dodgy photos but hubby has the camera at work so I resorted to mobile phone images. I couldn't get bluetooth to work so then had to recharge my account, set up phone email, email them, save them on the computer then upload them here. Two hours and a bit of aggro later, here they are.
She has done a great job and when the camera comes home I'll try to put up some better photos. I'm very impressed with the internal zipper pocket and the big pocket under the label. She also made a matching tissue case which is great because I can never find the things in my bags

And here is a pic of the bag I made for Sahra using the fabric from my last post. I enjoyed making this one and really hope she likes it. The photo is pretty bad, but the cross-over trim hides two big pockets on the outside of the bag and the whole thing is lightly quilted.

Yay - what a great start to the day. I'm off to pack my new bag up so I can take it to work and show it off!