Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I've been thinking

quite a bit about what my NY's resolutions should be. Two words sprang to mind - FOCUSSED and EFFICIENT. I tend to spend too much time faffing around and not getting anything done. And I don't have time to waste. So the F word and the E word are going to be my 2010 words.

Before I tell you more let me show you the dessert I was cooking on Christmas Eve.


Rosewater meringue - good to eat, hard to cut. We had a very pleasant Christmas Day. How about you? I hope yours was wonderful too.

Now yesterday when I was thinking - staring at my Frida Kahlo calendar - my NOS sauntered in and reminded me that it was actually from 2008 not 2009 - quite right - I didn't get around to buying a new one so I reused it. Well the paintings are beautiful so why not? But I was thinking that I couldn't use it again for 2010 could I? So today the doorbell rang - guess who - yes the postie with a package (Merri stop laughing)......and it was truly unexpected. My friend Kathie sent me a wonderful calendar with a picture of her quilt on the front! Look - isn't it fabulous!

Thank you so much Kathie, you made my day - I'll be making a version of this for sure.

Now behind the calendar you can see a cabinet - this is part of the F and E mantra - I bought it from IKEA my sometimes favourite store. It now houses my on the go projects as well as my favourite books and magazines of the moment. These things usually live on the floor which means things get messy and out of control. Not very F or E.

A couple of GTASB blocks to show you today. First one from last month set into a background square (mainly for Kim since she loves these fabrics)


I think this one is called Daylily, and the first one from this month


called Baby carriage. Still one to go. And I've lost track of which month I'm up to.

Looking forward to hearing your new year's resolutions too,

Happiness to all,

Deb

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Dessert cooking in the oven for tomorrow, presents starting to be wrapped, checking the list twice to make sure all is done in my little corner of Christmas Eve. Looking forward to tomorrow and seeing some of my family. And to having some time off over summer.


Thank you all for leaving so many wonderful comments and for extending your friendship to me through blogland. It has been great fun and so inspiring to peek into your worlds too.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with lots of laughter surrounded by your loved ones.

I have a couple of new quilt books that have been waiting for me to read them so I plan to do that over the next couple of weeks. I'll try and do a review at some point.

Merry Christmas to all,

Deb xoxo

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's beinning to look a lot like Christmas

well on your blogs anyway........put the tree up yesterday but that's it. Went shopping on Sunday and bought almost all the required presents, just a few more to go. What a relief - I work right up until Christmas eve so not much time for organising/shopping or having pre-Christmas fun - but never fear - I'll be making up for it post Christmas. Are you having some fun? I hope so.

Just a few things to show you today. Number one: Mary Mannakee. Can't tell you how much I'm enjoying this. But I have a question. On this block I decided to sew a big stitch to quarter the block and mark the diagonals, since I wanted to get the placement right. After removing the machine basting - I have rather noticeable needle holes - any advice as to how to remove said holes? Won't be doing that again! Here is my finished block.


Number two: GTASB. This is the final block from last month - thought I'd finished it, but when I photoed it and went to put it away I realised that it needed to be set into a background square - der - what a thicko! So I'm still to do that, probably not worth another photo unless I'm running short of photos to show you. So just imagine this is set into a background square please.



Number three: Antique Wedding Sampler. I haven't finished the previous block but it's coming along. Just thought I'd give you a sneak peek at what's coming.


Number four: My backyard. Remember some time ago I showed you this photo


well now it looks like this


not bad huh? Not quite finished either. Scary part is the MOTH said the P word - yes - painting - OMG NOT THE P WORD! It quite possibly will not be finished in my lifetime - but I don't care - I can still sit on it right? Don't you love it - I do. And so do the kids and their friends who gave it a road test on the weekend.

Finally, on my shopping trip I sneaked in to Zetta Florence and got my stationary fix


These can make me enjoy filing bills - actually that's not quite true - but you get the idea.

I have not had much of a chance to read your posts the last couple of weeks, but I take a quick look at the photos which always make me happy. Hope to catch up shortly.

Until then dear friends,

buy yourself something that makes you happy,

Deb

Monday, December 14, 2009

The secret's finally out

Well hello everyone. Managing to negotiate the Christmas rush without flipping a fuse? Well done! Last week I felt like I could spontaneously combust at any time - but things are a little less catastrophic this week. No progress photos to show you today although I do have some coming.

Over the past six months 10 women have been keeping a big secret! Hard to believe I know - but it's true the cat did not even make a meow let alone get out of the bag. On Saturday we had the Christmas party for our quilt group and let the secret out. Here's a photo



Di with the quilt that we have been making for her. She was overwhelmed and we were so pleased to have made it for her. Here's us with it


From the left: Chris, Meghan, Kerry, Ann, Barb, Sue, Merri, me, Julie.

Unfortunately Clare could not be there due to family committments which was a shame for us since she had put in so much work.

The quilt is a reproduction of one in Annette Gero's book. I think it's called Frederika Josephson - sorry I don't have it here so I can't check. It is all hand pieced. We used fabrics from our stashes mainly - picking ones that we had bought over the years from Di's shop, so that will bring back fabulous memories for her. It was beautifully quilted by Helen who is a long time friend of Di's and does such a wonderful job.

So glad to have it safely delivered. It's hard work trying to remember whether one of our conversations was with our normal group or at a secret meeting.

This week sewing priority is dancing costumes. How many sequins do you need honestly!......and feathers................

Back soon,

Cheers

Deb

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I wish I had elastic days

you know - the kind you can pull from both ends so that they stretch to fit what you would like to do in a day. Nothing has moved here this week, including the ever thickening layers of dust and grime everywhere. Seems to increase in direct proportion to the number of hours DS (aka pigpen) spends at home.

Not that it hasn't been fun - just many family related activities which have kept me out of the house, NOD in dancing presentations, rehearsals and a Shakespeare play (she was sooooo funny as Stefano the drunk butler in The Tempest), NOS finishing his auditions (he was very happy with them) and NOD's birthday/party (gorgeous girlfriends). So no time to really think about sewing.

Oh yes, there is a major project underway in the backyard as well (remember I showed you a before and promised an after shot, coming soon).

In fact I have been writing this post for two days and haven't managed to finish it yet. Roll on the holidays!

So enough of my whining - I'm sure most of you are just as busy - are you?

I did manage to keep Sunday free so we could head up to Threadbears for Di's pattern launch. We had a fabulous day. We met at The Bold Garden for lunch (worth a trip for the lunch and the beautiful plants/garden art) - I think they had been "told" about us - so we had a back room all to ourselves (really noisy we were). It was great to meet Linda (Quilts in the Barn) and Bev there, albeit briefly. Hope she hasn't changed her mind about the exhibition now that she's heard us in action.

We arrived at Threadbears after lunch and the shop looked great as usual with a room set aside for Di to display her new quilt as well as some of her other recent ones. Gorgeous. And of course Corliss, Megan and Ruth were great to chat with - and who could forget Kurt (or is that Curt) either way he's a legend.

And just as we were heading out I spied Lizzie maestro of the CWB blog. Lizzie it was so great to meet you - you look just like your photo.



And I came back with a bag of goodies to start the new Ann quilt (above). Tossing up whether to start it or Phebe (detail below) first. Still haven't decided.

As testament to my busyness, this month I didn't finish the GTASB blocks before the next moth arrived. December's issue here.


Did manage to cut a few baskets for my basket quilt


and a few more.


Almost finished the MM block

I just knew those fingers would take me forever. The white part is freezer paper of course and will be removed to reveal the red underneath. I didn't need to tell you that did I.

OK that was my meager contribution for the week. And by the way - if you have emailed me and I haven't replied - a million apologies. I am far behind with my blog reading/responding and since the two email servers I use don't talk to each other, I have lost track of who I have and haven't answered. I will attempt to fix this shortly.

I do hope you are surviving the silly season and are finding some time to enjoy yourselves.

Merry December,

Deb

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hiya

hope you are having a great week where ever you may be. Quiet in my house with NOS away at the beach and NOD very busy with dancing, singing and drama activities. Oh to be that young with that much energy!

Not much of note to show you today. I still feel a little sad that I didn't have a new Kaffe to show you so I pulled out a very simple top I made last year just to give you a colour hit. I love these old grey greens he does.


Should turn it into a quilt one day!

Beginnings of my third MM block - it uses only two fabrics - I love these colours.


And the first part of the GTASB month 6 is done - 7 of these. Only one more block to do - called Day Lilly.

I will be up at Threadbears in Castlemaine on Sunday arvo with some of the gang. Di will be launching her new pattern Ann's Legacy. It's a beautiful quilt - I'm sure she will have the quilt there too. If you're in the area it would be great to say hi. How will I know you? Don't know - I look like my photo only older. We'll be the noisy group - trust me we're noisy.

If you haven't been over to Barbara Brackman's blog yet - it is certainly worth a visit. So much interesting info there about antique textiles and repro quilts. And you might see a picture that you recognise.

Have a great week,

Deb xoxo

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday after the Saturday before

Yesterday was a fabulous day - secret sewing group. It was the delightful Sue's turn to be the hostess - and what a hostess she is. About a year ago Sue and family moved from the city to the country so all of us except one made the trip up to her house - what a transformation she has performed in such a short space of time! It was a glorious day - she's a fantastic cook - I think I spent more time eating than sewing. Thanks Sue.

Actually the whole day was a bit more like a think tank than a sewing group. So many ideas and so much enthusiasm. I needed a cup of tea and a lie down by the time I got home.

Weird hot weather in Melbourne has not been conducive to sewing this week, but today is cool and we have had much rain overnight, so it feels a bit more like spring.

So what's been happening in my sewing room? Well I finished my MM block which was my goal for the week.


I really love this block - the colours are gorgeous and it is making me happy which is the whole reason I sew. Perfect.

Made one block of NOS's quilt to see how it goes. A bit fiddly turning squares into circles, but only 25 of them to do.


I think this will be a good quilt for a young man.

Next priority is to complete the GTASB blocks for the month. I usually have these finished quite early, but I just haven't had enough sewing time the last couple of weeks. Here they are so far.


More of the same coming up for this week. I have to say I am enjoying watching the Joseph's Coat quilts coming along. It looks like so much fun.....trying to resist the temptation, but it's not easy.

And just as an extra - for those of you who live in the Melbourne area. Di Ford is releasing her new pattern and will be in house at Threadbear next Sunday. The quilt is truly beautiful and is worth seeing up close trust me. Check out the Threadbear website for details.

I hope the weather isn't too extreme where ever you are. Especially if you're in a gondola on the Yarra.

Stay cool,
Deb

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sorry to disappoint

all you Kaffeicianados out there. But I have resisted the call of those seductive temptresses Cathy and Janet, and not started a new Kaffe project. I did flick through a few Kaffe books and picked out some treasures, but then my desire was sated just by looking (cooking magazines often have this effect on my appetite too). I feel the need to finish things right now rather than start new things. So I remembered that a long time ago I started a quilt for Number One Son. We had just revamped his room from little boys room with puppy dog curtains in pastel shades, to big boys urban cool room. He was 14 after all! So I thought he needed a new quilt too. Well he still does (even though he's quite fond of his cowboy quilt). So I should finish it before he leaves home. Maybe.


The pattern is quite old and I don't have a photo - so it has taken me a bit of time to figure out what happens next and how it is supposed to look. Next step is to turn these blocks into circles. Progress report later.

The GTASB package arrived this week. First up I need to make seven of these little orange peel blocks.


They are all ready to cut and sew.

My next MM block has quite a bit of work in it. Here it is today


I think I'm enjoying this project more than any other right now. I love the green/red/cheddar combination.

And last but not least - the next AWS block I'm going to finish is this one


Wow, so much to do and so little time. Weather hasn't been great for sewing or anything else this week.

A big thank you to all of you who have been leaving comments. It is very reassuring to know that other people like what you do when you invest so much time and energy in it. It also gives me a great opportunity to find other sites and see what's happening outside my little world. As you can see by my ever growing and fabulous sidebar, there are some amazingly talented people in ordinary houses all around the world. Truly inspirational.

Stay cool,

Deb

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A lazy Sunday

ahead following on from a lazy Saturday. Just the ticket! Yesterday the children were happily engaged in their various activities and I had nothing on the agenda apart from the usual driving them to and fro. So that left me with plenty of time to potter around and do a little bit (emphasis on the little) of housework. Too hot to spend much time in the garden although it needs some TLC. The grass is about a metre high since the lawn mower still hasn't been replaced after the shed burglary. So I had no choice but to spend time in my sewing hideaway. It's a tough life I know. Today the kids are both out of the house, so apart from shopping I am once again a free woman.

So here's what I've been up to. Finished a couple of AWS blocks

these are set on point so that rose in the middle will have its stem vertically aligned.

Started prepping the next MM block

I really love working with all this greenery. Each leaf here is different fabric.

The I cut some basket blocks.


Each of the backgrounds is from the stash my friend sent and the baskets are from my stash . I really like it so far and it gives me a pile of stitching ready to go when I need something quick and easy to grab.

Not sure what' s on the agenda for today. I usually only hand sew at night and machine sew in the day - but I don't have any machine projects on the go right now - how odd!

I hope you have something interesting or fun or relaxing to do for the weekend. Maybe I need to look for a machine project...I feel a Kaffe moment looming..........

Ciao

Deb

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A small Ta-dah moment

Good afternoon to all and I hope you are having a fabulous day. I'm very excited and ready to say "Ta-dah" because the first Mary Mannakee block is finished!


I'm very happy with the way it looks. The red, green and yellow colour combo is lovely. Deciding still on which block to tackle next. If you would like to see more blocks from this quilt, visit Kathie and Janet. Both of these very talented quilters have been given a mention on Barbara Brackman's blog! How cool is that - and very well deserved. The Civil War Bride Quilt was also mentioned on BB's blog - well done to Lizzie and all who are contributing such beautiful work and of course to Corliss for reproducing the pattern and her stunning version of this quilt.

Still working on my antique wedding sampler block, and have picked this one


to finish next. I love it because it's a seventeen pointed star - and you don't see too many of those now do you?

I thought I would show you this picture


which is a lovely folder that I bought at Zetta Florence the other day when I was buying paper for the box. Isn't it just too PRETTY.

And last but not least, an extremely generous friend asked me if I was going to make a basket quilt (from Blackbird designs). When I said yes, she said she would send me some squares of fabric that she had been using. Have a look at all these gorgeous fabrics


it seems like she's sent me enough to make the whole quilt! I was gob-smacked! Thank you so much - I'm now itching to start this quilt. Don't worry - starting is good for the soul and I'm being very good to mine!

What's on in your week ahead? Any plans to start new quilts - do tell!

I'm thinking - next MM block, and next CWB block to cut - the two antique wedding blocks, yes and I need to catch up with Di who is now back from the US and the next GTASB pack is about to arrive, and some baskets to start. I'm sure there's something I've forgotten.

Have a fabulously productive week.

Deb

Monday, November 2, 2009

A quick update

on the Antique wedding quilt. Pulled out this block


to work on next. As you can see it's almost there but the leaves in the corners and the star in the middle still need to be stitched. I think there is also a bit of broderie perse on this one too. That may have to wait until the end unless I can find some suitable fabric to use in my stash.

If you haven't seen Alma Allen (Blackbird designs) blog yet - take a trip over (link on the sidebar). She has some beautiful things there and does great tutorials on making all sorts of handcrafted pieces. Last week she made a fabric covered box - hers was very old fashioned, I had to try one but mine is colour infused!


Kaffe on the outside and some beautiful paper I bought from Zeta Florence (Brunswick Street, Fitzroy) on the inside.


I'd had my eye on their beautiful stationary for some time and was just waiting for an excuse to buy some. If you like stationary it is heaven there.

This one was a trial and I learned a couple of things on the way. A tip - if you are going to try - pick a smaller box than mine. It is about 9 inches tall (I didn't realise until later that Alma's was only 3). The technique is the same, but the larger pieces are harder to manipulate. So I have a few bubbles and crinkles. All up it probably took an hour and a half - but it would be much quicker with a smaller box.

Jean has also made a beautiful box - have a look at Linen and Raspberry (over on the sidebar).

Off to the coal mine now,

Have a great day,

Deb

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New project revealed

So - are you waiting to find out what the new project is? You are? Sorry for keeping you waiting so long. The man of the house has been OS so the motherhood duties have increased and the work / life balance has been - well- unbalanced. So without further teasing go and have a look here.

Yes another of those projects from an old Primarily Patchwork pattern has been removed from its protective wrapping (aka plastic bag) ready to be completed. The quilt is based on the Charlotte Gillingham quilt but the PP version is not T- shaped. It is square with about 25 beautiful blocks set on point with a sashing between and some Broderie Perse. It is a combination of appliqued and pieced blocks. Here is one of the pieced blocks that I have already done.


I'm hoping to get it ready for the exhibition next year - but I have to say I thought I had completed quite a bit more of it than I have, so there is much work to do. It's great fun rummaging through these old fabrics that I have used for it. They are mostly Civil War but have a few old fashioned florals (Robyn Pandolph early style) thrown in - they were all the rage at that time.

I have spent most of my available sewing time this week on my first MM block. Here she is so far

it is fun to stitch. The background fabric (moda bella) is fraying quite a bit so I may have to overlock the edges. I usually cut my blocks 1/2 inch bigger than necessary so when I cut them to size, the overlocking will disappear.

I have also done a tiny bit on my Beatrix sampler. I made an error placing the corner motif so that by the time I got to the edge I was a stitch out. Now I don't get really uptight about these things, but this was BUGGING me - so I pulled it all out and started again. What's wrong with that? Wouldn't you do it too? So I only got to here this month


when really I wanted to get right across the top. Oh well..such is life.

The other cool thing is that MOTH came home from Belgium with gifts. Yes a new fancy camera for me - it's very nice but I need to spend some time figuring out how it works. So my DD is very happy because I have been using hers and she was SICK OF IT. She would be happier if we swapped cameras - but that ain't gonna happen - sorry sweet P.

Number one son is starting his written VCE exams tomorrow. Not showing too many signs of stress yet - but not showing too many signs of hard work either. He's a pretty chill dude. First actual exam was last Sunday - music performance, he was very pleased with the way it went so all is well. Roll on December 4 - his last audition and also sweet P's birthday - how big will that party be!

Until next time, may all your stitches be perfect,

Deb

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A rare moment of peace

I won't go into the tedious details of why the last couple of weeks have been NUTS, but trust me, they have. So in my rare moment of peace today, right now, I thought I would give you a quick snapshot of my progress. I am on track for what I wanted to do this week - so feeling good.

First my last GTASB block for this month is done.


I think this one is pretty. Takes a bit of time though - mine are all hand pieced, and I'm slow.

And second I have my MM Block 1 partially pinned up - enough so you can see what's going on. I'm very happy with it - and a little bit excited - hence the need for the post. Do you like it? Please say yes or my bubble will burst.


I also found this


amazing what you put at the back of the cupboard and forget about isn't it? I woke up early one morning a couple of weeks ago thinking - didn't I buy some red/yellow/green fabrics last year?
What a dope! But lucky - they are perfect for this quilt.

The other thing I have bouncing around in my head is the Rouenneries fabrics . I just LOVE them - but couldn't figure out what I would do with them. If you haven't seen them, check them out here. Aren't they just tres chic? But then I remembered this pattern from Quiltmania

Might be good.....what do you think? I know it's upside down - just ignore it.

Moments over, have a great week.

Deb

Sunday, October 18, 2009

This was the week that was.

Good morning on this bright and sunny Sunday. If you live in Melbourne, I hope the rain has given you an extra excuse to stay indoors and get some sewing done! It's been so heavy here that at one point I thought about building an Ark. I'm quite happy for it now to rain only between the hours of 6pm and 7am.

Yesterday was our sewing meeting - always eagerly anticipated and this was no exception. My turn to host it this time - always makes me a little stressed. We had lots to show and tell (sorry no photos - we don't usually do photos) and didn't get to start sewing until getting on for 12 (we start at 10). After eating chocolate and raspberry brownies (not my best cooking effort - sorry girls) getting a caffeine hit and reviewing our latest works, we managed to get some sewing done. Lots of laughs and good stories. Brilliant!

I completed the last of the PA applique blocks this week. Here it is


and the last of those that I completed earlier.


I'm very happy with the way it's turning out. I have had many inquiries about this pattern and have been passing them all along to Di who is currently in the USA - but I hope she will make the pattern available again soon. In the meantime here is how the whole thing should look.


Not a great photo - it's the only one I have, clipped from an old magazine ad. I am waiting on the fabric to come in for the background triangles, they have some simple applique on them which shouldn't take too long. The other thing I need to do is the outside border of little triangles. This will be a weekend job. I usually only machine sew in the day and hand sew at night. So that means I need another project for the evenings. I have one - but you're going to have to wait until next time to see it.

Oh OK ....here's a sneak peek


On the agenda for this week I have the last of the GTASB blocks for this month. It is half cut out so I can start work on that. I would also like to start my first MM block this week. I have the fabrics chosen so I just need to draw the template. And I also need to put some time in on my BP cross stitch. That should keep me busy for this week since I have a few other commitments as well.

For those of you thinking about the CWB here is the background fabric which arrived this week. I'm very happy with it. It is a lovely colour and subtle tone on tone print.

You can get it from Threadbear if you love it! See the sidebar for links to the CWB blog and Threadbear.

Didn't have time for the garden today, since I went for a 21st birthday lunch for my niece Caitlin. Happy Birthday Catie! And thanks for a lovely afternoon Senka.

But in my garden looking to one side of my backyard you can see

we have done some work on this barren wasteland and it's starting to look quite pretty. If I swivel around to my left

yep - still a barren wasteland. But stay tuned for the after shot (coming in another month).

OK I'm off to sew. Hope you have a great week and spend some time with people or things that make you happy.

Cheers,

Deb