simply retro challenge, quilt 6 – update 1 and finish …

IMG_1644This month I chose to make a mini quilt rather than a full-sized quilt. I think I am quite liking mini quilts, as I have made a few lately.

Month six (August) in our #simplyretrochallenge was Fresh, from Simply Retro with Camille Roskelley. If you chose to make the full-sized quilt, you would have ended up with a beauty 96 x 96 inches in size!

Because August was a very busy month for me and included an overseas trip towards the end of it, I chose to make one 24 inch block as a mini quilt, and I am really pleased with the end result! I was a little worried that I mightn’t get quilt 6 finished!

I got back from my trip on early on Tuesday morning, and the plan was to stay awake until Tuesday night, in an effort to ward off jet lag! I found myself getting very weary towards the end of the day, so I sat down and cut out the mini quilt, sewed it and quilted it up on Wednesday morning.

My plan worked a treat … I think the intellectual exercise of working out and making up my little quilt really helped me stay awake and kept the dreaded jet lag at bay!

So quilt 6 done and dusted, and we are more than halfway through our challenge!!!

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project 365, week 33-35 …

project 365, week 33, page 1

project 365, week 33, page 2[Credits: Hello There Template (altered), by Paislee Press. Font: Courier New.]

Journaling – flying high, to london | new toy | quick-unpick, a (quilting) girl’s best friend | mornin’ | binding time | breakfast at the shingle inn | breakfast in dubai … [wk 33, aug 10 - 16, 2014]

project 365, week 34, page 1

project 365, week 34, page 2[Credits: Hello There Template (altered), by Paislee Press. Font: Courier New.]

Journaling – bourton on the water | roman baths at bath | avebury stones | yellow corner | more gorgeous yellow flowers | oxford | top of st paul’s cathedral … [wk 34, aug 17 - 23, 2014]

project 365, week 35, page 1

project 365, week 35, page 2[Credits: Hello There Template (altered), by Paislee Press. Font: Courier New.]

Journaling – fav thing about london, the flowers | the weeping angel who followed us to london | best ever fabric shop | canterbury cathedral | prefect setting for yellow roses | english cottage gardens everywhere | the requisite tourist shot … [wk 35, aug 24 - 30, 2014]

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london trip, day 1 …

IMG_0707E_695You may have wondered why things have been a little quiet around my little blog home lately … I’ve just got back from a 10 day trip to London, and I thought I might spend the next few days sharing my visit with you. If you are wondering, it takes roughly 25 hours of travelling from my front door to Heathrow airport!

We left my home town about 10 pm on a Saturday night, flew for 7 hours to Dubai, waited a couple of hours, then caught the next plane to Heathrow which was a 14 hour flight. That brought us in to London on Sunday afternoon at 2 pm. Factor in a couple of hours each end at airports, and you have over a day of travelling.

Without a doubt, the most unpleasant part of our holiday was the long hours of sitting on a plane. Crossing time zones is a strange thing that really does my head in, if I think about it too hard.

The man and I went on our own, children being left behind to continue their respective educations … we were determined just to be tourists for the time we were away, and we did just that! Lots of walking and looking and eating and enjoying time away from work and other responsibilities!

Now, that long plane trip!!! The theory was that we would sleep on the way over … the plan worked out for him, but me? Well, I don’t sleep so well away from my own bed, so I spent the first 16 hours of the flight watching Season 4 of The Walking Dead! There was a girl sitting on the other side of the man also watching a scary movie, and both of us jumped every now and then, which amused the man!

After Season 4 finished, I enjoyed catching up on some other movies I hadn’t seen before. It’s a ploy by airlines to help keep us entertained, I think … that, and stuffing us full of food every couple of hours. Somehow I managed to have three breakfasts on the way over … one at the end of the first leg of the trip, one in Dubai, and one as we started the second leg. It really was a good thing that we did so much walking!

Dubai was interesting … it was very clear and hot at 5 am, somewhere around 35’C (95’F). We weren’t able to leave the terminal, but we did visit the Business Lounge (courtesy of the man doing so many business trips overseas) and enjoy breakfast, which for me was waffles and berries, of course!


When we checked in for the second leg of the trip over, we were delighted to find that we had been upgraded to Business Class on the plane. I’m not sure I will ever fly Business Class again (it is so very expensive), so I enjoyed it immensely, and even managed to sleep for part of this flight.


We stayed in a hotel in Kensington, opposite Hyde Park. The room was very small, but very comfortable, and the service by the hotel staff was fabulous. I would recommend the hotel to other London visitors. Breakfast was included in our tariff, and even though I am not normally a ‘breakfast’ person, I did eat well each morning, and fueled up for the day … coffee, scrambled eggs on toast, a croissant, cranberry juice. It was a lovely little ritual each morning before heading off to see the sights.


We had been told that the best way to handle jet lag was to get out in the sunshine as soon as possible (daylight is a powerful stimulant for regulating the biological clock), so after we had settled in, we headed off to explore Hyde Park. I love Georgette Heyer’s historical romance novels, and her heroines are always riding their horses through Hyde Park, so it was so much fun to wander through the park.


Hyde Park was bought by Henry VIII in 1536, and he hunted for deer in the 350 acres of the park. Today, no wildlife roams the park, apart from the squirrels and wild tourists!!! It is a lovely combination of cleared and not-so-cleared areas, and it is always teeming with walkers and joggers, riders on horses and dogs on leads. You can even swim in certain areas, though I wouldn’t advise it, as the lakes are covered with ducks and seagulls.


You can read more about the history of Hyde Park here




Towards one end of the park is a royal residence called Kensington Palace. It has been a residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th century, and is the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. Mind you, I didn’t see any of the royal family during our visit!


Obviously part of the palace is private, and part is open to the public; we bought tickets and toured the state rooms. You could choose four different routes throughout the palace that offered exhibits incorporating cutting-edge digital presentations, interactive experiences, and even audio sequences that brought to life the gatherings of gowns, antique furniture, and other memorabilia of notable residents of the palace including William and Mary in the Queen’s State Apartments, the court of George I and II in the King’s State Apartments and the life of Queen Victoria in the rooms most associated with her. The fourth exhibit displayed selections of Queen Elizabeth’s wardrobe in the 1950s, Princess Margaret from the 1960 and 70s and Diana, Princess of Wales in the 1980s during their fashion heyday. [Wikipedia]


It was a great start to our holiday … we wandered at our own pace and really relished this quick dip into English history.

Highlights of day 1 … I loved Hyde Park’s huge trees, green lawns and lovely sunshine. I really enjoyed the way Kensington Palace was divided into ‘historical eras’, where you could start with the ‘oldest rooms’ and work your way through English history up to the present. Strangely enough, another highlight of the day was slipping into a very comfortable bed at the end of 25 very long hours!!!

We seemed to drive through most of London on our way to our hotel and we really enjoyed looking at all the different architecture along the way, and what was striking to me was the abundance of flowers everywhere, in large hanging pots, in window boxes, in gardens. I would have been happy to take photos all day of the floral English summer that was all around me.

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tutorial – big stitch coaster, by sew mama sew …

Sew Mama Sew

You can never have too many coasters, right?

Here’s a tutorial with photos to make some lovely little quilted coasters with bias tape around the edges … love these, and what a perfect way to use up fabric scraps!!! You can find the tutorial at Sew Mama Sew

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guest post, by cassie …

I’m fortunate enough to have two guest posters this week … My second guest is Cassie, who I have known as long as Carol, but I have actually met!!! We met for a day last year, and I had a wonderful day catching up, meeting her family, and exploring her lovely home …

Hi everyone! If we haven’t met before, I’m Cassandra Madge, and I blog at I have been crafting, photographing and sewing for more years than I can remember, and have known Sharon for many of those years! I’m so excited to be guest posting here today and to be able to share with you the reveal of my “finished” Simply Retro Challenge March quilt.

The pattern we used is Sweet Life by Camille Roskelley, using 9 fat quarters of Full Moon Lagoon from Mo Bedell, as well as pink, orange and white co-ordinating fabrics.

I pieced the back using some of the leftover pattern fabrics as well as some bonus half-square triangle pinwheels from making the quilt top.

Backing chevron/stripe fabric, and binding orange star fabrics are from 1001 Peeps by Lizzie House.

I completed this quilt with my very first attempt at custom freemotion quilting circular arcs around each patterned motif, with pebbling and stippling to fill in. Each motif has either a feather ring, or a chrysanthemum type floral pattern stitched inside.

Sadly, a migraine has beaten me to get the binding finished, so I will have to distract you with cute puppy pictures instead –introducing Coco and Willow, our two Maltese/Shihtzu dogs.

For more of my quilts and crafting adventures, I’d love you to come along and visit me on my blog!

image 1

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guest post, by carol …

Guess what, folks? We have a guest poster here today, my good (internet) buddy, Carol!!! I’ve known Carol for possible ten years now, via the internet, as she tells you below, and we are definitely meeting up at a marathon race very soon. [We are cheering, not running!!!]

Hi I’m Carol and I’ve known Sharon for quite some time now.  Although having said “known” her, we’ve never actually met (something that is soon to be rectified though!!)  Social media is a wonderful thing to find people, some of whom become lovely friends.  I first found Sharon via her blog when she was designing digital scrapbooking product and would offer a freebie Friday.  Then she opened a store and I became a guest on her team, and heck, just never left throughout that journey!  And all the while have marvelled at her blog and all the photography and scrapping and quilting goodness.

So in thinking about what to write for this guest post, my thoughts were drawn to our various crafts, they come and go as our lives and moods take us, and it’s fun to rediscover crafts we once held so dear.  Much like Sharon and getting back to all her beautiful quilting, I too have rediscovered a craft, crocheting, something I learnt at my Great Aunt’s knee when I was about 12 years old.

02-the ripples begin

Combine crochet and my love of social media and it’s a match made in heaven.

Together with some digital scrapbooking friends, Doris and Steph, who were keen on crocheting, we decided to do a “crochet-a-long” (quite international at that, being that it was an Australian, a Canadian and American).  We chose a pattern called the Ripple Blanket and via Instagram it was a wonderful way to keep in touch with each other’s progress, from selecting the yarn colours, to the blanket in various stages and places throughout the endless rows of crochet.  We marvelled that how each of us produced quite a different blanket depending on our colour and yarn choices and our tension.  It was loads of fun.  We made sure we tagged our photographs with #crochetalong so we had an easy way to see each other’s work.

We have since finished that ripple blanket and our little crocheting group has grown to five and we’ve moved on to a chevron blanket, to which it looks like we have this tag all to ourselves #chevroncrochetalong.

Social media and craft – a fun way to hook up (no pun intended) with other people that in times gone by we may have sat together and done our craft over cups of tea and chatter.  Well we’re still doing that, just worlds away.


And here’s some pics of the various stages of play of the blanket and how rewarding seeing your grandson all nestled in the blanket you so lovingly made for him.  It’s like being wrapped in a hug.



10-reward seeing it used

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have you voted?

Sew-vivor3 COMPETITIONThere’s a little something going on at the Family Ever After blog, a Sew-vivor competition! Now, the thought of a competition brings me out in hives, so there’s no chance that I’m involved, but I do love seeing what some of my sewing/quilting friends are getting up to!!!


I wandered over today and found that Challenge 1 projects have been finished and you are able to choose your favourites and vote!!! Now, voting, I can do that!!!

I’m not going to tell you who I voted for, but there are some lovely pieces of work on the website, and I do recommended you have a look see and vote. I won’t post any photos of the projects because that might give you a little clue as to who I voted for … such fun!

So … you’re still here? Go vote …

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the white stuff – living room …

Imogen Naylor

[Imogen Naylor]

A beautiful white living space this morning …

Things to love … all the textures that work together so effortlessly, a white floor softened with the natural rug, the contrast of smooth and rough (that texture thing again!), the white timber shutters that filter the light, and the ‘nature’ touches throughout the room.

Although I don’t see this as a cat/dog friendly room, it certainly is a lovely space to visit …

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project 365, week 32 …

project 365, week 32, page 1

project 365, week 32, page 2[Credits: Hello There Template (altered), by Paislee Press. Font: Courier New.]

Journaling – finished, a mini ipad cover | good morning from charli | new work tote | breakfast with the man | loving black and white binding | at the movies, guardians of the galaxy | park run at minnippi … [wk 31, aug 3 - 9, 2014]

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on the quilting front …


On the quilting front, I worked on a little project last night.

I put together a mini quilt top using a charm pack of pretty fabrics a couple of weeks ago, with the intention of making a sewing machine cover from it. The quilt top ended up being a little smaller than I needed, and then I had a light bulb moment, and my potential sewing machine cover has ended up becoming a little mini ipad cover!

Last night I quilted the mini quilt top using a decorative stitch on my Bernina. I saw recently this clever trick on Instagram … all credit goes to barkinghen who sets her Bernina to stitch #4, running stitch, increased to 4.9W and 3.0L, and quilts back & forth using the outside of the walking foot as a spacer guide.

quilting 2

You can see the results of my quilting in the image above and to the right … I love this look, not quilte straight stitching, but something I can do without going ‘free form’ which brings me out in hives!!! I’m a fan!!!

I made a very simple case for my mini ipad by binding the top and bottom of the quilted piece, then closing a third of the case, and binding along the edges of the sides. Unfortunately I wasn’t impressed with the yellow binding after I had finished, so this morning on my bus trip into the city I unpicked the binding, much to the entertainment (and bewilderment) of my fellow travellers.

Tonight I will bind it in black and white stripes, which I am very excited to do. I bought the black and white striped fabric a little time back with the express intention of using it for binding, so I think it will look great. I’ll post photos of my finished mini ipad case tomorrow … it really is designed to keep my ipad clean and keep it a little safer as it rattles around in the bottom of my bag.

Stay tuned … more tomorrow!!!

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tutorial – diy mini notebook …

A Joyful Riot

[A Joyful Riot]

A girl can’t have too many notebooks … can she???

You can find a tutorial with clear instuctions and photos at A Joyful Riot. I love that the spine is sewn with a sewing machine, then covered in washi tape.

What a great way to use all that washi tape that is collecting quietly behind the scenes. I think washi tape breeds while you are not watching!!!

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the white stuff – bedroom …



I love a serene bedroom, and this is exactly that, serene …

Things to love … pale timber floors, lots of white on the walls, the high bed and bedding, and the little bits and pieces around the room, accents of black in the photo frames on the left, the chair and the clock, high ceiling and lots of natural white through the big windows, and the splash of colour in the pillows on the bed. Note that this colour is picked up in the bowl and books on the little white wall shelf on the wall.

So effortlessly and stylishly done …

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project 365, week 31 …

project 365, week 31, page 1

project 365, week 31, page 2[Credits: Hello There Template (altered), by Paislee Press. Font: Courier New.]

Journaling – date night with the man | lovely way to finish the working week | apparently you need all this to run a marathon | helping the man carbo load | sea breeze mini quilt | considering this | friday selfie … [wk 31, july 27 - aug 2, 2014]

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simply retro challenge, quilt 6 …

And somehow it is August, month 6 of our very informal Simply Retro challenge, where we choose a quilt at the beginning of the month and use it as inspiration to create our own quilts.

We are using the very gorgeous book, ‘Simply Retro’, by Camille Roskelley, to inspire us. If you ‘do’ Instagram, you can find images of our quilts using this hashtag, #simplyretrochallenge.

This month, Micah from a cherry on top and also known as @mpettes has chosen Fresh as our ‘quilt of the month’ for August. Here is the quilt …

Fresh, by Camille Roskelley[Fresh, by Camille Roskelley]

Isn’t it gorgeous? As you can see, it’s a large quilt, and I thought this month I would make a mini quilt, rather than the full size in the pattern. The blocks in this quilt are 24 x 24 inch in size, so one block would make a pretty mini quilt.

So ready, set, go … the ‘rules’ are very basic, and you are welcome to join in any time … here are the challenge ‘guidelines’ (and I use that term very loosely!!!) I’d love to know if you’re playing along, and who knows? You may get to choose the next month’s quilt.

  1. We take turns in choosing the quilt pattern we are using, in order of joining the challenge.
  2. One quilt per month? For the month of July, we will make ‘Framed’.
  3. Feel free to interpret the pattern in any way you wish. You can upscale or downscale as desired. Play with the pattern in any way you wish … it is a starting off point, not an end destination. Fabric selection is also up to the individual quilter.
  4. Don’t stress!!! This is a fun project, and there are no quilting police around!!!
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project 365, week 30 …

project 365, week 30, page 1

project 365, week 30, page 2[Credits: Hello There Template (altered), by Paislee Press. Font: Courier New.]

Journaling – my bus seat with a view | saying good-bye to nikki at work | least favourite part of quilting, the basting process | charli keeping an eye on proceedings | one more hexagon quilt almost ready to send off for quilting | running again, with the zombies | last day of his holidays … [wk 30, july 20 - 26, 2014]

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the white stuff – sheep measuring cup set …



Couldn’t be cuter …

Things to love … white grey and black, useful and decorative, practical and whimsical!

He can come live on my kitchen bench …

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tutorial – hexagon travel kit, by the zen of making …

the zen of making

[the zen of making]

This really couldn’t get any cuter, could it? A little sewing travel kit made with hexagons … I’m smiling as I type this. You will find clear instructions with great photos here, at the zen of making.

It goes without saying that I want one. And I want it now!!!

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more of a gale than a breeze …

Something fun is happening over at Angie’s blog at GnomeAngel, the start of the Sea Breeze Mini Quilt-A-Long!!! I read about this a while back, and thought, sounds like fun, but I have a lot on my ‘to do’ list at the moment, and another quilting project shouldn’t really be tacked onto the end of that list.

Hmmm … but it’s so pretty!!! I caved in and purchased the pattern from Canoe Ridge Creations, and started pondering, because apparently that’s what you do before you start a new project! What to do, what to do …

I decided that I didn’t want a ‘large’ mini quilt, if there is such a thing, and decided to make mine using smaller blocks, and I also wanted to try a new technique to construct HSTs (half square triangles). This technique worked so well for me that I’m sharing it here on my blog.

Here’s what you do … this will create 8 HSTs the super easy way!

Step 1 … calculate what size to cut your squares of fabric. Here is how you do that.

  1. Decide what size you want your HSTs to be when finished. I wanted 2“ finished HSTs.
  2. Add 7/8” to your finished HST, so 2” + ⅞” = 2 ⅞”.
  3. Multiply this number by 2, so 2 ⅞” x 2 = 5.75”.


Step 2 … cut two squares of fabric to 5.75 inches, place one on top of the other with right sides facing and draw a pencil line from corner to corner, as shown in the image above.

Step 3 …  sew ¼ inch either side of the pencil lines. You will end up with four lines of stitching on each square.


Step 4 … using your ruler, cut vertically and horizontally through the squares, taking care not to shift the fabric as you do so.


Step 5 … then cut along the pencil lines. You will end up with eight perfect little squares.


Step 6 … set and press the seams towards the darker fabric and trim off the ‘points’.

And then there’s the fun of laying the blocks out, and putting it all together …



Now … why do I have a gale rather than a breeze? It’s sad … I was so very careful as I put the blocks of nine tiny squares together, but I didn’t notice that the blocks in the pattern were not arranged symmetrically. If you look closely at my finished mini quilt, you will see that it isn’t quite right!

Wait, it’s not a breeze, it’s a gale … everything is being blown over, so all my blocks are pointing the same way. I didn’t notice this until I had sewed the last stitch on my binding!!! Arrrrgh! So, of course, I sat down and cut out another one, which is now underway!

My girl didn’t even notice anything wrong with my ‘practice mini quilt’ … it is kind of cute, don’t you think? I’ll post photos of the new and improved version, when things have got back to a breeze, rather than a gale …

Posted in quilting, sewing | 4 Comments

the white stuff – bathroom …

Bo Bedre

[Bo Bedre]

A room with a view this week …

Things to love … floor to ceiling windows, neutral drapes, the industrial wall treatment on the floor and walls, the lovely shape to the bath, the wall of white tiles, and of course, the VIEW!

I could do with some quality time in this space …

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good stuff …

the girl ...

Well hello there, internet friends!

I’ve been away for a few days, doing family things over the weekend. Our girl came a’ visiting from interstate for two very short days (day 1 @ 2 were shared with her boyfriend, who lives an hour away, and day 3 & 4 were with us!) She flew back to work and studies this morning, so it will be a quieter house tonight when I get home from work.

She has had rather a dramatic hair-style change since we saw her last … I would hate to guess but it would probably be in the range of 40+ cms (15+ inches) trimmed off the bottom of her hair, and now she sports a trendy bob. As she says, it’s only hair, and it does grow super-fast, and it will be so much easier to look after.

She is starting to make plans for next year, as she graduates from university in December with a science degree, and an honors year beckons. She may even be moving back in with us for 12 months while she studies at our local university. No definite plans yet, just exploring possibilities. I started blogging in 2005 when she was eleven, and now she is nearly twenty! Time has flown!

It was a lovely weekend with her … we spend time unpacking her cardboard boxes of stuff we had brought home with us, as the cardboard boxes are not designed to last, and were showing signs of imminent collapse! She repacked what she wanted to keep into Ikea clear plastic boxes, and they will be stacked neatly onto stands in our storage room, so when she moves somewhere on a permanent basis and has room to unpack, she can simply collect the plastic boxes and we don’t have to ‘look’ for her things. She tried to sneak a couple of things like trophies and ribbons into my cupboards, but got caught and had to put them into her boxes! We had a fabulous time laughing over her childhood treasures, and she even threw out a lot of old school notes into the recycling bin.

We made a trip to the dump, visited the local quilting shop, wandered through the shopping centre near home, dropped into The Coffee Club, did some ‘secret squirrel’ sewing together, and generally enjoyed our time together, and believe it or not, she managed to sleep in both mornings. Somethings never change.

We love you, chickie!!!

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