Saturday, March 29, 2014

Stitch and Doodle

I have been so lethargic the last 4 days with a cold and cough. I wander in and out of my sewing room and cut a bit, stitch a bit or sketch a bit.
I have been playing with some tulips for a spring look. After making a scene with lots of little bits I decided I should have done large pieces so I sketched an idea with large tulips in a frame. I have not quite done half of the stitching on the little bits.

I have been to the beautiful Keukenhof gardens in Amsterdam in 2012 when mum and I went travelling together. The plantings are just amazing.
These are a couple of my photos. The gardens are a tourist site but huge and well worth visiting. We booked a 1/2 day bus trip.

I have been looking at bird images and even though I seem to be drawn to the cute little cartoon birds I think my style is more realistic. I sketched a pigeon collecting threads for its nest. Another spring theme.

Since it is actually autumn here I have decided to make a mini quilt with some colourful leaves and a brown background.

While walking around the shore I noticed lots of Blue Tiger butterflies.

I thought maybe a Summer's Final Fling mini might be in order with this beautiful butterfly on it. They migrate south in summer to Brisbane and sometimes Sydney then fly back north again in autumn. I think the couple of dozen I saw must have been on their way up the coast. They are a tropical butterfly and like really hot temperatures. Apparently they live for about 5 months.
Now I think I need to get out my book for Let's Book It and make something.

If you haven't entered my giveaway for a free Craftsy Class visit here and click to enter. Closes 2nd April.

Happy Quilting and Crafting,

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Welcome to the North Pole SAL for March

After flying to Sydney and spending time in the city I have caught a cold. I will never fly again without dosing up with immune boosting supplements. I took them when I went overseas for six weeks and I didn't get sick once.
That said, I did enjoy my time in Sydney. It is just such a pretty town in places. The Queen Mary 2 was in the harbour.

I returned home to some exciting mail. I won the charm and charm holder on Let's Book It at Vrooman's Quilts last month. Join in at the end of each month with a project you have made from one of the many books you own and be in the running for a quilt charm.

There are so many lovely pins and charms at Pin Peddlers.

I have done a little bit on my North Pole table runner. I sewed down two stars and the moon and put some rick rack on Santa's roof. I hope to do the other stars and maybe start some windows. The windows look very tiny and fiddly.

If you are sewing along this year please link up your march blog post below. It was great to see some lovely work from last year linked up last time. There are some new people this year and some picking up from last year. Soon there will be lots of finished quilts.

I posted a giveaway yesterday. The prize is a free Craftsy Class closing 2nd April. If you are not into Craftsy it is definitely worth a look.

Happy Quilting and Crafting,

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Give Away Craftsy class and Some Sewing

I had a lovely time visiting my mum. We get on so well together even in close quarters. I have a bit of catching up to do with my blog and my sewing.
Before I went away I had time to make two extreme;y useful draw string bags. One for my brush and comb and one for my teeth cleaning items. I now use floss, picksters and toothpaste and brush. I just love those picksters. They really stop the plaque.

I had several fat quarters of really bright fabric that I didn't really know what to do with but they were perfect for the bags. I made the first one and realised that I needed a label on the next one so one has 'Teeth' appliqued on it.

Also while I was away I got the email saying I could give away a Craftsy Class on my blog. There are some really great classes. All you have to do is click on the link and log in or sign up to be entered in the giveaway. It is free to sign up.
The giveaway will close on Wed 2nd April at 8am Australian EST. Craftsy will choose a winner at random.
Disclosure: I get a commission on each new member registration.

Enter to win a Craftsy class!

You can comment using:
or just a google+ comment below.

Happy Quilting and Crafting,

Friday, March 7, 2014

My Sewing Day

Not that I don't sew everyday but I just need a title that tells me it is not a BoM or linky day. I had a search widget on my blog for a while but it just seemed to stop working one day so I took it off. Sometimes I want to refer to past posts because they have links or ideas or projects that I want to look at again so instead of a search widget I have tried to sort out my labels into nice general specific groups like knitting or cross stitch or the name of a linky party. At least I will have a chance of finding what I need that way and hopefully it will make sense to visitors too.
So no linkies or sew alongs today. I can't guarantee there won't be an affiliate link somewhere. Only joking.

I went a bit overboard with the links on my Craftsy post but I was quite excited about it.

Today I have finished the pink granny bag I started some time in the distant past. It was so easy to finish with the round handles. I made two pieces that gave me a 3 inch fold over and it went together easily.

I have been wanting to make a start on a quilt project so I pulled out the Mrs Greenthumbs fabrics and panel. I was struggling to work out exactly how to show off the panels without just putting a sashing round them.
I decided on a square in square economy block. With the panel picture in the middle the block is 24" square.

I think I will put some green or black sashing between 4 blocks then add some hat fabric as a border and turn it into a lap quilt.

I rediscovered my quiltcalc app while playing with this block. I got the measurement for the hat fabric triangles with it but had to work out the big triangles myself. I am thinking I will make use of the quiltcalc and make some different sized square in square blocks and economy blocks. They always look so good. The app is by Robert Kaufman and is free from the app store for iPads and iPhones.

The other morning I was woken by the local bird gang. They really put on a show. That's the street light outside my place.

I wrote about my Hundred Days Calendar today in my organising blog. It is a great help with those resolutions we like to make. I finally feel like my yoga is a morning habit now.

I am off to Brisbane tomorrow and a bit of a holiday in Sydney. DH will be trying to console Stumpy while I am gone. He hates it when I go away. We bought him some special treat foods to distract him a bit.
I will be trying to look in on the blogging world while I am away but only if I get time.

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Happy Quilting and Crafting,

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

February Round Up

After moving house and trying to find all my stuff I managed to get quite a lot of sewing done, quite a lot of blogging and even found time for some pretty decent cooking.

I collected together some of my photos for February in a PicMonkey collage.

I am also hoping to finish my pompadour bag soon. I have been having some trouble with construction basics. I will never learn to just follow a pattern. I always have to make changes.
Here is the barrel part of the bag. These are all my HST sewn together.

Today I am linking up with Lily's Quilts Fresh Sewing Day

If you are not into Google+ please leave a comment on:

Flickr or

Happy Quilting and Crafting,

I Love Craftsy and my new Tea Mat

All the links to Craftsy in this post are my affiliate links.

There are only a few sites I have joined in order to download patterns. Craftsy and Ravelry and Sew4Home. Now I have stumbled upon the Craftsy Affiliate program.

I am a real fan of Craftsy and have bought several patterns and an online class in the past and I download lots of free patterns and classes. Then I discovered that I can use my own affiliate link to earn commission on the patterns and classes I buy so in the end I spend less. I also earn commission when people visit Craftsy through my affiliate links on my blog or social media and register, make a purchase or sign up to become affiliate members themselves.

I was happy to recommend Craftsy before I joined their program so why not get a commission if people join up or buy because of me. ( I looked up a blogger friend and joined through her).

I bought a class last month before I joined the program.
It is called Finishing Schools: Edges & Bindings, Mimi Dietrich. It is all about binding and finishing off your quilts or quilting projects.
So far I have worked through Lesson 1 on using the backing as a binding. She has some great tips to offer and everything is very detailed and easy to understand.
I finished off my latest tea mat using the backing to binding method. I made it with an economy block. I think I will use my walking foot to sew the second one. I got a few kinks in this one.

I quilted little flowers in the triangles

Lesson 2 is all about making the usual quilt binding. Lesson 3 shows how to add trims to your bindings then it is on to scalloped edges then prairie points and finally putting on hanging sleeves and labels. These are all things that I want to learn about and try to improve my skills. I can highly recommend this class to intermediate and beginner quilters. I am not a beginner sewer but I am fairly new to quilting and patchwork so this class is perfect for me.

I signed up to Craftsy a few years ago so I could access the free patterns and free classes on offer. Quite a few of my favourite designers have their free BOMs set up on Craftsy.

Search for Sew Kitschy, Up the Garden Path and Birdhouse BoM March pattern in 'patterns'

If all this sounds interesting you can:

Join Craftsy’s Affiliate Program Today

or just visit Craftsy and register to download patterns.

I have two things to promote in future posts as part of the affiliate program - an online class review and an online class give away.

You can leave a comment on:

Happy Quilting and Crafting,

Monday, March 3, 2014

Scrappy Stars for March

I am always looking for ways to use my scraps. This year I have had a special liking for HST and star blocks so scrappy stars seemed like a good way to combine everything. This scrappy star is made from a free tutorial I got from Craftsy. They almost look the same.

I made sets of 2 HST with a quick make method. I put two small squares on top of each other and sewed along each side of the diagonal then cut them apart. In the tutorial it says to cut triangles and sew them together so you get only one of each colour. I was planning on 4 of each colour.

Now I know a method for getting 4 of each colour all at once by laying two larger squares on top of each other and sewing all around the outside edge.

You can see tutorials for both methods and great sizing charts at Blossom Heart Quilts

Of course, I couldn't resist the method that gives you 8 HST the same by sewing along both diagonals and making 4 cuts. So today I am preparing to make a draw string bag with a circular base. I will use the HST on the lower half of the bag. In a book I got from the library the bag is called a pompador.

The 8 at a time method is described beautifully at Sew Mama Sew.

Here is a quick look at what I did.
I did some calculations to work out what size square I needed to end up with 3 inch unfinished HST. I thought about making 2 1/2 inch unfinished HST but I decide they would end up too small.
My square had to be (2 x 3) + (2 x 3/8) on one side or 6 3/4"
I use fat quarters and cut 1" of selvedge off then refolded and cut a 6 3/4" strip. I put the ruler so I could just see the edge of the fabric past the 6 3/4 inch line. I could then cut 3 squares from this strip. Each time putting the fabric a fraction past the 6 3/4 inch line.

I made 3 of each dark colour and 6 of the light colour.

Put them right side together and draw the diagonals in pencil.

When I sewed the seams I did a very scant 1/4". More like 3/8". My foot has the 1/8" markings and I line up with the first marking. I do a lot of my piecing like this. It is amazing how much you lose when you fold open the seam.

Sew both sides of each diagonal then cut. The first two cuts along the pencil line are easy. The second two cuts you have to make sure your block is square with the ruler.

Because my fabric is quite thin and soft I decide to iron the seams to one side. My HST are a perfect 3" square.

HST are one of my favourite play things :)

Today I am linking up with Scrappy stars at Majas Paradis

The first in the linky, Gudren, has made some great hexed stars from Quilter's Cache. I put pins for 2 types of hexy star in my Favourite Quilts and Blocks Pinterest Board

I am also linking up with Anything Goes Monday at Stitch by Stitch.

As usual, you can comment on:
my Flickr photo 
my Pinterest pin
or join Google+ and leave a comment below.

Don't forget to get onto Bloglovin and like all your favourite posts. Also +1 all your favourite posts when you visit them. It makes them accessible to lots more people.

Nearly forgot to tell you about a great new linky party where you can link up old posts that fit the theme of the week over at Val's Quilting Studio. Val is such a great name!
This week's theme is alphabet quilts and sewing projects. It will usually be on Tuesdays but this week it is incorporated into Anythng goes Monday. Just scroll down to find it.

Happy Quilting and Crafting,

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Something Old, Something New

What a sad lot this is. They will be much cheerier next month.
Sometimes I think I have too many linkies, challenges and BoMs on the go but today I have realized that they are perfect for focusing my thoughts. I knew I had a post about Something Old, Something New to do today so I got thinking about what I could do for old. My bigger UFO's are in storage. I remembered seeing a few smaller things just sitting looking at me when I was looking through some boxes the other day. Trouble is they don't just look at me, they taunt me :D
I can remember the enthusiasm with which I started these projects. So what happened?

  1. The fancy pink granny bag needed handles with a straight piece where they join the bag. Handles are too expensive and if I did see them in the shop I couldn't remember what size they had to be.
  2. The applique lady was meant to be a slip on cover for a book end. The hair is made of hundreds of French knots and I just got tired.
  3. The stripy thing is a folder/journal cover that I thought I would make and try some hand quilting. Yeah right! After a few rows my fingers hurt (I don't have a thimble) so now I know I will never do hand quilting. I guess this project served its purpose then.
  4. The cute wool bag I still love but the instructions didn't say 'make sure you put the flowers on the handle patches much lower down so the handles can be sewn on without covering the flowers'. Anyway the spotty plastic handles I wanted are way too expensive for the bag.

What I am going to do this month is:

  1. Put round handles on the granny bag. I already have a set.
  2. Finish the hair with some brown felt appliqued on.
  3. Quilt the folder cover on the machine, and
  4. Make felt handles for the bag.
For something new I want to play with free motion stitching on applique. I have done it a bit before but I just have a need to do something fun and free form at present. I have a few pins on Pinterest that I will use as inspiration. I think I will use lots of felt too.

Last month I managed to get an owl block done as something old and I also finished off two blocks from the new BoM Sew Kitschy. 

Why not join up with Google+ if you haven't already. I love it.
Or, leave a comment on my Flickr photo or on my Pinterest pin for this post.

Just noticed that I will be in Brisbane for the Stitches and Craft show. I plan to go on the Friday. I am sure I can find a spare $50 to spend.

Happy Quilting and Crafting,

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Scrappy Block Challenge - Feb

I am really enjoying getting ideas for things to make from other people then making them fit with the fabrics I have. In the Scrappy Block Challenge you have to make something from the suggested block. It is supposed to be finished off so I am sticking to one block wonders I suppose you could call them.

Judy does a great post about each block with a tutorial and lots of ideas and colourways.

This time I made a new kitchen mat for the sink drainer using some of the shell fabric scraps from my shirt material. I repurpose a retired bath towel for backing with no wadding or backing fabric. It makes them economical and good for the sink. They look good anywhere because you can't actually see the back.

It is almost impossible to notice but I did free motion shells across the block. I know they are there at least. I can see me using this free motion design again.

Below is what it looks like. I got it from a site selling programs for long arm quilting called Urban Elements and I just traced it onto the block. This is the tote bag I made.

Today I am linking up with Scrappy Challenge at Patchwork Times.

Please comment on Flickr or Pinterest if you don't use google+
I am thinking I will do a bit of a post on how great I think Google+ is :)
Maybe I will have to call myself the No-Reply Blogger Bandit - I swoop in, leave a comment and then you have to search for me :D
I think life would be much easier if everyone played on Google+

Happy Quilting and Crafting,
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