cough. it’s been a while. can anyone else hear the crickets?

breakfast!!!

Somehow I found myself taking a break from blogging.

After almost ten years of fairly regularly blogging, one day I just stopped. It wasn’t planned, you understand. A couple of days passed, and then a couple more, and before I knew it, several weeks had gone by, and spider webs were starting to pop up in the corners of my blog.

Thank you, kind readers, who left comments hoping that I was well. Your thoughts were appreciated. I can’t really pinpoint as reason as to why the blogging well went dry, but it happens.

Life was pretty busy. There was study. There were two ‘grown up’ kids living in the house, plus an extra staying with us while looking for a job. The man broke a wrist and was travelling every week. One of us was working on her honors year at Uni and working. Another one of us was doing the ‘9 to 5’ thing in the city and keeping everyone fed and dressed. One of us was half-heartedly studying in between sessions of frantic gaming.

There was the gaming. Oh yes, there was the gaming. The girl introduced me to MMOs and I was instantly hooked.

the girl and I, looking mighty fine!

Oh yes, and I think I’m getting older too. I have a really horrible birthday coming up in a few years that I really don’t want to think about. Sigh. Not really sure why that encouraged me to stop blogging, but there you are.

I guess crafting and photography took a sideline for a time, and there didn’t really seem to be anything new to share. I lost access to my crafting room for a few months, and lost the urge to quilt (though I still sew hexagons every now and then).

The renewal for my blog subscription came up and I considered not renewing it, but I just couldn’t pull the plug. So much of myself has gone into the blog over the years, and although there is lots that is now dated, I think there is still some good content that some new readers may find of value and enjoy.

my girl, at her cousin’s wedding

Fast track forward a year and a bit.

There are exciting things happening around here. The girl is getting married at the beginning of next year.

The man has discovered long distance (read that as 100 km) running.

The boy is still half-heartedly studying in between sessions of frantic gaming. Wait. He was doing that when I blogged last. Hmmm … go figure.

And me? Well, I discovered that there was more to gaming than just Final Fantasy XIV … there was World of Warcraft. Oh, the worlds (oh, the pun!!!) that have opened up before me! Read that as ‘massive time sink’ … we have a new WoW expansion at the moment, which happens only every two or three years, and it is SO MUCH FUN!!!

But I think I feel a need to blog once again … I’m not sure what I will blog about, it will be a surprise for both you and me!

I think I need to do some dusting around here first …

Posted in family life, life musings | 5 Responses

sharing audio books – the outlander series, by diana gabaldon …

Outlander TV series

Perhaps, gentle reader, you watched the recent tv series, Outlander, based on the first book of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon?

This series ‘follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate relationship is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.’ [from here]

I’ve reviewed this book series here on my blog before, and after watching the tv series, I headed back to the books on my shelf, to dive once more into the world of Claire and Jamie.

outlander book series

But then I thought, wait … what about listening to an audio book or two? I quickly checked Audible to see if the books were available as audiobooks, and they were! Several were on sale at the time I checked and I purchased these and started listening to Outlander.

The book was narrated by Davina Porter, and I very quickly fell in love with her reading style and was so pleased to see that she has narrated all eight books in the series. I did some research and found out the following about Davina …

She admires authors who do their homework, like Diana Gabaldon. Davina’s readings of the Outlander series, for which she uses her Scots heritage to flavour the dialects of dozens of characters, have many fans. And they’re among her personal favourites. Gabaldon’s lengthy novels require careful preparation. An initial reading, which Davina always does, is followed by preparation of a day’s recording session, with careful anticipation of pages that may involve five or six Scots in a scene. She strives to bring each voice off the page and at the same time maintain a natural sense. A flexible voice, notes Davina, is essential for audiobook narrators, as is the ability to make quick changes and maintain a comfortable narrative level for long periods.  [from here]

This is the magic, for me, of Davina’s narration; she can narrate several character’s voices with no hesitation, with no pauses, and the listener knows exactly who is speaking. I love listening to the ‘Scottish flavour’ of the voices … should a character ‘speak’ with no introduction, I know exactly who they are. She has brought the characters and their world alive to me. She has narrated over 100 books, and I would have no hesitation in recommending a book she had narrated.

Listening to the Outlander series will take some dedication if you would like to listening to the series, as they are very long. I have 14 hours left in the last (to date) book of the series to go … all 8 books add up to just over 365 hours of listening pleasure!!! Here’s a rough breakdown of book sizes.

Outlander (Book 1) – 33 hrs
Dragonfly in Amber (Book 2) – 39 hrs
Voyager (Book 3) – 44 hrs
Drums of Autumn (Book 4) – 45 hrs
Fiery Cross (Book 5) – 55 hrs
A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Book 6) – 58 hrs
An Echo in the Bone (Book 7) – 46 hrs
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Book 8) – 45 hrs

So … anyone else game to listen to all 8 books? I believe there will be a book 9, though there isn’t a release date yet … something to look forward to!!!

Posted in book reviews, sharing books | 1 Response

tutorial – lantern terrarium, by persia lou …

succulent lantern, by persia lou

[lantern terrarium, by persia lou]

Aren’t these lanterns lovely, filled with (faux) succulents that even I could ‘grow’ … I have a fondness for lanterns, and can see one of these in scandi white, filled with succulents, turning a corner of my home into an interesting space.

You can find instructions and photos at persia lou

I found these reasonably-priced white lanterns and succulents at Ikea.

Ikea - white lanterns

[white lanterns and succulents from Ikea]

succulents

Perhaps a weekend project? Enjoy!!!

Posted in fun stuff, shopping, tutorials | Leave a comment

sharing technology – bookbook travel journal, by twelvesouth …

bookbook travel journal 1a

bookbook travel journal 2

[twelvesouth]

Oh my, this makes my little librarian’s heart beat just that little bit faster!!! Technology plus books equals love!!!

From the twelvesouth website … BookBook Travel Journal looks like a vintage book, but it’s really a dapper, hardback leather case designed to hold your iPad and the essential accessories that go with it. Inside you’ll find a collection of pockets and adjustable bands that neatly organize and protect items like your power adapter, cables, USB drives, stylus, mouse, earbuds or high-end headphones. Say bye-bye to your backpack. Everything you need for the road fits inside BookBook Travel Journal. [from here]

Ok, did I mention that I had a birthday coming up soon? I love this clever mix of old and new … and when you’re not traveling, this lovely book can sit on a bookshelf, looking very classy.

PS. You can find it on Amazon!!!

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quilting plans for 2015 …

After dealing with December’s quilting progress, I thought I would work on a creativity plan for 2015.

Last year, I worked on a little challenge called #simplyretrochallenge that I set up for myself. It involved making the 11 quilts in ‘Simply Retro’ by Camille Roskelley. Other quilters who wandered along and expressed an interest were invited to join me, and together we posted over 100 ‘simply retro’ photos on Instagram at #simplyretrochallenge

After I had finished my eighth quilt towards the end of October, I decided that I was done … I was happy with the quilts and mini quilts I had made and was happy to call the challenge finished. I really enjoyed the fun of choosing and making up a quilt each month … eight months, eight quilts. Here are the finished quilts and quilt tops …

simply retro quilts 1-8

I’ve been thinking for a few days now about the quilting opportunities that are spread out in front of me at the beginning of this new year. Already (are you surprised?) I have some quilty ideas quietly bubbling around in the back of my mind.

So for 2015, in quilting terms, here’s the plan …

I’d like to make one quilt each month, and a little something else, for example, a mini quilt, a mug rug, a zippered pouch, or a cushion. I’d like to make some specific quilts/patterns (more on that later!). AND I’d like to work through my list of ‘to do’ projects and either finish them or take them off the list! And, as always, while this is underway, I am quietly working on my handsewn hexagon quilts … there is always one of these in progress!

Where the major projects are concerned, I have the first four months organized!

So for January, I’m going to sew up (it is already cut out and ready to go!!!) the girl’s grey/white/red chevron quilt, and I’d like to make a zippered pouch for the girl’s Playstation/PC controller, and a little padded case for my iPhone.

February is lined up as follows … a king-sized quilt for the boy’s bed, something to throw on his bed during summer, when a doona and cover is not needed. It will be grey/yellow/low volume. Mind you, this is entirely for me, as he wouldn’t give a fig if his bed is EVER made. I like to see the room looking presentable as I walk past!

We may squeeze a mini quilt in there too during February, though a king-sized quilt will take some time to make up!!!

In March, I’d like to make up two scrap 50 x 50 inch quilts that will be donated to a local charity. I’ll use 5” squares from my scrap collection. I always am amazed at what beautiful quilts result from scraps. At Christmas time, a good friend chose a scrappy quilt as a gift, that just happened to have her favourite colours in it, rather than have me make another one for her, unseen.

She chose the quilt below …

14748202813_752f12d082_z

You can never make/have too many scrap quilts, I say, and I’m looking forward to organizing my scraps ahead of time so when I get to March, it’s just a matter of sewing them up.

April … well, in April I’d like to use a Drunkard’s Path pattern, perhaps this one …

Drunkard's Path Quilt, Red Pepper Quilts

[Drunkards Path quilt, by Red Pepper Quilts]

Or this one …

m_soto, modern drunkard's path

[quilt by m_soto]

It will be hard choosing between the two …

Quiltopedia

[Quiltopedia]

To help my creativity along, I purchased (via Book Depository) this quilt book today, called Quiltopedia, by Laura Jane Taylor. I happened to come across it while browsing along the shelves in my local bookshop (where it was twice the price of the BD copy!), and was entranced by the fresh, modern and whimsical quilting projects I found between the pages.

The first half of the book is a ‘how to’ introduction to quilting, and the second half of the book is divided into three sections, one for beginners, one for ‘not-so beginner’ quilters, and one for quilters that fall into the ‘advanced’ category. Can’t wait to get my hands on this book!!!

So there we have the first third of 2015 sorted out … I’m off to inspect my collection of needles, cotton and cutting blades to make sure that I have everything I need!!!

Happy sewing/quilting, folks!

Posted in quilting, sewing | Leave a comment

quilting wips, december 2014 …

IMG_2978Hello fellow quilters and/or gentle blog readers … it’s time to wrap up the quilting happenings of the last month of last year!

It was pretty much a December like everyone else’s, I am guessing, with lots of rushing about and doing important last-minute stuff, with not all that much time for quilting and the like.

Here’s an update of what I did, quilting-wise, during December … oh dear … not much done at all.

I picked up two quilts from the professional quilters and bound them on the very last day of December, and dropped two more quilts off to be quilted. Hmmm … and I think that was about it, apart from working on my current hexie quilt, called *starz*, which you can see above, to the left!

Here are the two finished quilts … Playground and Sweet Life, from ‘Simply Retro’, by Camille Roskelley. I’m so sorry about the quality of the photos, taken at sunset yesterday afternoon. I’ll get some better images over the weekend and repost.

IMAGE_2976

So here’s how the month of December panned out …

the ‘ideas’ stage

  1. a secret project involving diamond paper piecing
  2. Rainy Day Sewing, by thimble blossoms

the ‘construction’ stage

  1. the girl’s grey and white chevron quilt
  2. a ‘secret squirrel’ project I’m working on with the girl [3/4 of the blocks completed out of 10]
  3. a second hexagon sewing kit
  4. 5 in squares to make into scrappy quilts
  5. my next hexagon quilt called *seeing stars*, begun Nov 4, 2014 [50 blocks completed, out of 150]

the ‘quilt top’ stage

  1. Noteworthy hexagon quilt
  2. Limes & Lemons hexagon quilt
  3. a new hexagon quilt called *smiles*

the ‘ready for (professional) quilting’ stage

  1. hexagon quilt 1 made from ‘Good Morning’
  2. hexagon quilt 2 made from ‘Good Morning’
  3. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 7 Dwell

the ‘being quilted’ stage

  1. 2 scrappy 50 x 50 in quilt tops

the ‘finished’ stage

  1. iPad cover
  2. hexagon sewing kit
  3. Sea Breeze Mini Quilt
  4. Scrappy quilt
  5. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 6 Fresh
  6. Modern Vintage hexagon quilt
  7. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 3 Vintage
  8. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 5 Framed
  9. Judy’s Dilly Bag
  10. a second Sea Breeze Mini Quilt
  11. Feathers ‘herrringbone’ quilt (made from leftovers of Playground quilt)
  12. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 4 Swell
  13. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 8 Adorn
  14. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 1 Sweet Life
  15. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 2 Playground

And now we are moving on to 2015 … what quilting fun!!!

Posted in quilting, sewing | Leave a comment

tutorial – woven cane baskets, by design*sponge …

design*sponge Woven Baskets trio

[design*sponge]

You can never have enough storage … can you?

I love these little baskets I found on design*sponge. Of course, I have no great expectation that my attempts would end up looking this beautiful, but oh my, I think I’d like to try.

You can find a tutorial plus more lovely images at design*sponge.

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following @crystalmoody …

crystal moody 2

crystal moody[crystal moody]

Isn’t this a gorgeous collection of creativity?

I discovered the Instagram feed of @crystalmoody this morning and was blown away. I clicked back to her website and read about her work …

I used to spend way too much time admiring others and not doing anything creative myself. I often found myself looking at cool stuff online wishing I was cool too. I looked at my four-year-old daughter’s drawings and I was completely amazed. What happened? I wanted to be more like her. So, I challenged myself and changed all that. In 2014 I made a drawing every day and took a photograph of it, usually with my breakfast. In 2015, I’ll be painting each day. 

My year of creative habits project was inspired by artists that write about creativity like Twyla TharpJulia Cameron, and Austin Kleon. My rules are simple … Choose one creative habit. Do it everyday. Share my effort/progress with others. Reflect and make changes along the way. [from here]

Here’s the thing … I can’t paint or draw for nuts, and I don’t do breakfast, but her Instagram feed makes me wish I did both now. I’m going to be following along for the rest of the 357 days left in 2015, enjoying both her artwork and her beautifully photographed breakfasts.

Oh yes, I just remembered … I do something creative most days! I take photos then craft them into my p365 pages. I’m working on my fourth consecutive year now, and you can see the first three years here.

Posted in instagram, photography, project 365 | 1 Response

sharing podcasts – serial …

SerialHave you listened to the Serial podcast? This is from the Serial podcast website …

Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, and is hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial tells one story – a true story – over the course of an entire season. Each season, we’ll follow a plot and characters wherever they take us. And we won’t know what happens at the end until we get there, not long before you get there with us. Each week we bring you the next chapter in the story, so it’s important to listen to the episodes in order, starting with Episode 1. [from here]

I came across this podcast a while back while blog-hopping, and as I was a This American Life fan, I listened to the first podcast with interest. It was compelling stuff … I have now listened to all episodes and very much enjoyed the relaxed ‘story-telling’ style of This American Life, and the ‘detective’ story line.

Here’s a brief synopsis of season one …

On January 13, 1999, a girl named Hae Min Lee, a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County, Maryland, disappeared. A month later, her body turned up in a city park. She’d been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was convicted and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae’s body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.

Sarah Koenig, who hosts Serial, first learned about this case more than a year ago. In the months since, she’s been sorting through box after box (after box) of legal documents and investigators’ notes, listening to trial testimony and police interrogations, and talking to everyone she can find who remembers what happened between Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee fifteen years ago. What she realized is that the trial covered up a far more complicated story, which neither the jury nor the public got to hear. The high school scene, the shifting statements to police, the prejudices, the sketchy alibis, the scant forensic evidence – all of it leads back to the most basic questions: How can you know a person’s character? How can you tell what they’re capable of? In Season One of Serial, she looks for answers. [from here]

If you need something new to listen to, then perhaps this podcast is something you would like to check out. I am looking forward to a second season of Serial

Posted in fun stuff, sharing technology | Tagged | Leave a comment

chucklefarm – origami bird planter accent …

ChuckleFarm 1

ChuckleFarm 2

[ChuckleFarm]

It’s the little things that make a difference when you are making a house a home, don’t you think? I like this little porcelain bird accent, neatly perched on the side of a pot.

This is from the Etsy shop’s About Page …

Horticulture, meet interior design.

Our hand-crafted planters and planter accents combine playfulness and sophistication to create botanically beautiful spaces.

We are an artisan studio producing high-end, garden accessories for the indoor gardener.

Ok, I’m sold … sign me up!

Here are some other pretties that caught my eye …

ChuckleFarm 3ChuckleFarm 4[ChuckleFarm]

Posted in etsy, house stuff | Leave a comment

tutorial – advent calendar, by sarah & bendrix …

Sarah and Bendrix

[sarah & bendrix]

I’m loving this minimalist, easy-to-make, and elegant advent calendar, assembled by sarah & bendrix … I found this on Houzz.

What makes is special is the touch of pink, don’t you think? You could tuck little cards into the envelopes or tiny, flat chocolates … I would glue the envelopes to white coreboard, and the display could be safely leant against a wall on a sideboard.

Ok, so this year, I think I’m a little late to make this, but next year? It will be done!!!

Posted in christmas, tutorials | Leave a comment

tutorial – a little sugar, by craftberry bush …

Craftberry Bush

[craftberry bush]

I’m all about the white Christmas decorations this year!!!

Of course we don’t have a cold, white winter Christmas in our part of the world … it is a full-on, hot hot HOT summer for us on Christmas Day.

That said, I’m loving this little christmas tree decoration … you can find more beautiful images and instructions here at Craftberry Bush.

I think I would like one of these hanging on our tree this year.

Posted in holidays, tutorials | Leave a comment

two sad donkeys – nester, the long-eared christmas donkey …

two sad donkeys

two sad donkeys 2

[two sad donkeys]

 Oh my goodness, here’s some Etsy cuteness for you … a shop called Two Sad Donkeys!

Olga, the shop owner says …

I love making felt toys that are enjoyable to look at and fun. They are handmade and therefore unique and made for the child in all of us!
All my toys are made using my own original designs, patterns, techniques and love. [from here]

And just in case you need some more motivation to visit this shop, meet some other characters! Oh yes, they’re not all donkeys!

two sad donkeys 1

two sad donkeys 3

two sad donkeys 4[two sad donkeys]

Posted in etsy, fun stuff | Leave a comment

quilting wips, november 2014 …

Three finished quilts this month … a mini quilt, and two lap-sized quilts.

mini quilt

I set to and put together my second Sea Breeze quilt this month. It had been cut out and waiting patiently for some weeks now, so a couple of weekends back, I bit the bullet and sewed it up. It went together quickly as I’d already made one up, and within several hours, it had been quilted, bound, and a little label sewn on the back. What I really need to do now is put my little collection of mini quilts up on a wall, so that I can admire them on a regular basis.

Two of my favourite (to date) quilts came back from being professionally quilted … my ‘feather/herringbone’ quilt, and my #simplyretrochallenge quilt 4, Swell …

IMG_2783

I think I might be keeping these two quilts!

Scrappy quilts

This month I also ran up two scrappy quilts. I had a look in my plastic storage box of prepared 5″ squares and found enough to make up the two quilts from bits and pieces in there. The quilts are now ready for professional quilting. And guess what? There are enough grey squares to make up another scrappy quilt, which I’m thinking will work for covering up Charli’s cage at night. At the moment his cage is covered by a very colourful scrappy quilt, which is a little bit of an eye-sore in my calm grey/white/black tv room!

the ‘ideas’ stage

  1. a secret project involving diamond paper piecing
  2. Rainy Day Sewing, by thimble blossoms

the ‘construction’ stage

  1. the girl’s grey and white chevron quilt
  2. a ‘secret squirrel’ project I’m working on with the girl [3 blocks completed out of 24]
  3. a second hexagon sewing kit
  4. 5 in squares to make into scrappy quilts

the ‘quilt top’ stage

  1. Noteworthy hexagon quilt
  2. Limes & Lemons hexagon quilt
  3. a new hexagon quilt called *smiles*

the ‘ready for (professional) quilting’ stage

  1. hexagon quilt 1 made from ‘Good Morning’
  2. hexagon quilt 2 made from ‘Good Morning’
  3. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 7 Dwell
  4. 2 scrappy 50 x 50 in quilt tops

the ‘being quilted’ stage

  1. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 1 Sweet Life
  2. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 2 Playground

the ‘finished’ stage

  1. iPad cover
  2. hexagon sewing kit
  3. Sea Breeze Mini Quilt
  4. Scrappy quilt
  5. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 6 Fresh
  6. Modern Vintage hexagon quilt
  7. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 3 Vintage
  8. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 5 Framed
  9. Judy’s Dilly Bag
  10. a second Sea Breeze Mini Quilt
  11. Feathers ‘herrringbone’ quilt (made from leftovers of Playground quilt)
  12. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 4 Swell
Posted in quilting, sewing | 1 Response

made by claire louise – felt food …

made by claire louise 1

made by claire louise 2

[made by claire louise]

This week’s Etsy find is made by claire louise.

If you have a little person living at your house, you might like to check out made by claire louise … here are some details from the shop’s description …

I make a range of things from children’s educational and pretend play toys to home decor, accessories and gifts.

Each product is handmade with care by me. I use various materials and textiles including:
– Fabric; particularly felt and recycled felt made from plastic bottles
– Stone
– Wood
– Acrylic Paints
-Washi Tape
– Wool

I am based in Australia but do ship internationally.

Christmas is just around the corner … and I am very sure you will find something fun in this Etsy shop to pop into Xhristmas gifts and stockings.

Here are some more images of shop goodies …

made by claire louise 3

made by claire louise 4

[made by claire louise]

Posted in etsy, fun stuff | Leave a comment

tutorial – hexie case pattern, by During Quiet Time …

During Quiet Time

[During Quiet Time]

Just in case you have a bunch of hexagons lying around waiting to be made into something fun, I thought I would share a link to this hexie pattern for a little zippered bag. You can find the pattern for sale at During Quiet Time here

Here is a description of the bag  …

Hexiecase … This six sided, fully lined, zippered bag with hexagonal ends makes for a roomy pencil case though it could be used for so many other purposes too due to its generous size. You could fit your handsewing projects in there … English Paper Pieced hexagons perhaps? I pair of full sized sewing shears can fit in this bag with ease. [from here]

So, during some ‘quiet time’ during the holiday season coming up, I thought I might make one of these … are you tempted?

Posted in etsy, quilting, sewing | Leave a comment

scrappy quilts …

IMG_2518

One of my favourite quilts to make is a scrappy quilt …

  1. you get to use all those lovely little scraps left over from quilting fun which means no piece of loveliness is wasted,
  2. I love the surprise patterns that can suddenly appear when you lay out a quilt design,
  3. they are relatively quick and easy to run up, and
  4. they can be made in stages over a long period of time. Oh yes, and …
  5. everyone loves a scrappy quilt to snuggle under!

IMG_2520

Let me explain this last reason I love scrappy quilts!

Almost two years ago, I cut out some 5 inch squares from leftover bits and pieces. I found some yardage of low volume fabric, and cut this into five inch squares. I popped the squares into a plastic container to keep them ‘safe’.

Six months or so later, I paired and pinned the squares together (a ‘light’ and a ‘dark’ together)  and marked then ready for sewing.

scrap quilt

Eighteenth months later (this week!), I sew up the squares, cut and trimmed them, laid them out in a design and sewed the blocks and rows together. And now I have a scrappy quilt top.

So, the great thing is, HSTs don’t go stale if you leave them for a while, and eventually they make up into lovely scrappy quilts.  Tonight, I will be eying off another other pile of ‘prepared’ HSQs, ready to run up another scrappy quilt.

Posted in quilting, sewing | 1 Response

clara and macy – make your own kits …

clara and macy

clara and macy

[clara and macy]

Loving these ‘whimsical goodies’ which you can find at the Etsy shop, Clara and Macy … you can purchase kits to make these little characters.

I really loved reading the background to this little shop, which you can find on a blog called Cupcakes for Clara … 

‘I am the lovely lovely Clara. I am extremely funny AND clever. A girl called Laura Clempson makes all my clothes and toys. She also makes bits and bobs and stuff for cartoons on the television, blah blah blah, boring boring boring. Anyway more about me…

I like pink and dressing up and pretty things and of course cupcakes, and sometimes I like my twin sister Macy but mostly I don’t like her, ESPECIALLY when she tries to steal my cupcakes, which is mostly unfair.’ [from here]

It’s worth a visit, I promise!!!

Posted in etsy, sewing | Leave a comment

tutorial – geometric heart, by my sister’s suitcase …

My Sister's Suitcase

[My Sister’s Suitcase]

Need to add a pop of color to your wall? Check out this tutorial for a colorful Geometric Heart guaranteed to brighten up any room!

Visit My Sister’s Suitcase for instructions and more beautiful photos that illustrate the process of creating this piece of wall art. LOVE it!!!

Posted in fun stuff, house stuff, tutorials | Leave a comment

tutorial – *smiles*, a hexagon quilt …

IMG_2523

I have mentioned how addictive making a hexagon quilt is, haven’t I?

I get about 4/5’s of the way through a quilt, and the next one pops into my head!!! My latest finished hexagon adventure is called *smiles* … because it makes me smile when I look at it.

Here are the ‘vital statistics’ of this quilt –

This quilt top measures approximately  43 x 48 inches before quilting.

23 ‘flowers’ = 6 coloured hexagons in each, total of 138 coloured hexagons plus 4 ‘half flowers on the two edges of the quilt (8 coloured hexagons), total of 146 coloured hexagons.

2 coloured hexagons between each flower = 46 coloured hexagons

6 rows of 31 coloured hexagons = 186 coloured hexagons

2 rows of ‘fill in’ coloured hexagons between the vertical rows on the side edges of the quilt top  = 32 coloured hexagons

white hexagons around flowers and centres = 319 white hexagons

total number of hexagons = 729 hexagons

Please bear in mind that although I have checked and rechecked my figures, I may have made a mistake, so please proceed with caution!

If you would like to make this small hand-sewn hexagon quilt, this is what you need to do …

Step 1 … choose happy fabric! I’ve used some of my mini charm packs called ‘Chance of Flowers’ by Sandy Gervais for Moda, and leftover scraps from Happiness Happy Mochi Yum Yum and Good Luck Happy Mochi Yum Yum, and some little pieces from a local fabric shop in bright colours; you will need to construct 404 hexagons. And of course, I’ve chosen to use lots of lovely white fabric, to set off these happy colours. You need to construct 319 white hexagons.

Step 2 … construct your hexagons, and sew them into ‘flowers’. To make each flower you will need one white centre, and 6 coloured hexagons. Don’t get too fixated about picking colours that blend, just put them together as they happen. They will all blend beautifully together in the end, I promise.

You will need to construct 23 full ‘flowers’ to make this quilt.

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If you need help with the basics of sewing hexagons, I have a tutorial with images here.

Step 3 … after your ‘flowers’ are constructed, sew a row of white hexagons around each ‘flower’. There are 12 white hexagons around each flower

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Step 4 … lay your ‘flowers’ out in rows in a design that you like. When I am happy with the overall look, I stack my ‘flowers’ one on top of each other in order in each row, and label/number each row.

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Step 5 … Take one pile of ‘flowers’ and sew them together in order with two coloured hexagons, as can be seen below in the row of hexagons to the left in the image. Make sure that you keep your row number, as you will need to know what order the rows are sewn together.

hexagon quilt

Step 6 … sew 31 coloured hexagons together in a chain. You will need 6 rows in total.

Step 7 … sew these chains between each row of flowers, and sew one chain to the top and bottom of the quilt top. You can see a row of hexagons with chains sewn to the top and bottom in the image above. If you use 1 ½ inch hexagons, a ‘flower’ piece and chain will measure about 10 ½ inches across at the widest point at this stage.

Step 8 … now you will need to think about how you will finish off the edges of the quilt. I have sewed an extra row of hexagons down each side of the quilt (42 coloured hexagons), as I will lose some part of the hexagons when trim and bind the edge of the quilt top.

Final step … your hexagon quilt top is now finished, and will need to be prepared for quilting. You can find a tutorial on preparing a hexagon quilt for this next step here.

I’ve decided to quilt this little number myself … I plan to use this method to finish the top/bottom edge, and black and white striped binding to finish the two longer vertical sides of the quilt top. Pictures to follow … happy quilting!

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