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Welcome to my world - mostly the fabric world that I escape to whenever I have time. Hope you enjoy it and please feel free to comment.....

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stipples, Signatures, Bags and Bibs (well Aprons)...

Had my normal fortnightly sewing "Class" last night.  I have Class in "" because it isn't your normal class.  We go along and take whatever we want our teacher to help us with and I took my "shattered notes Shattered Notes Quilt to work on.  I started the course to learn how to make this quilt as it is a Quilt as You Go method and I haven't tried it before.  Also it is made up of 16 blocks and I am planning to FMQ them all for practice.  Well, last night I started on the first one - I had trouble deciding what to do and after talking to some of the others I still couldn't make up my mind so I decided to go with stipple as I like stippling on some quilts and I want to get better at it.  So I stippled away and when I got to the end my teacher wasn't very impressed (cue bubble to burst!) and said she had seen me do better.  Hmmmf!

Problem is I like stippling and I like bubbles (see my hot water bottle cover) and so if I am not going to stipple every second one (which was my plan) I need some more ideas of what to do.  So, Anyone who has some suggestions....fire away.....it is time I bit the bullet and got the hang of this FMQ thingy!  And I still like stippling (don't say anything Ros!) 

So, on today - I spent an awful lot of time this morning pinning straps etc and fronts and back and preparing 12 aprons to sew.  It seemed to take me ages but it was worth is as after lunch I got stuck into sewing them and by the time I had to leave to take Fly Boy out i had done all the sewing and was ready to turn them all right side out - that is a job for tonight if I get to it or tomorrow morning (stay tuned on that one!)  Here they are stacked up and waiting!
Next I did the top sewing on all the bags that were turned right side out and pressed yesterday so they are all done and dusted and ready to be sent off!

it may not be the best photo but it is night time over here and too late to go outside and I was struggling to find somewhere to hang them - didn't think Guitar hero would model them!  I have only shown you four of them as I made four pairs, two of each print.
I had just enough time to finish sewing the blocks for a lovely young lady's signature quilt - I had to hurriedly bundle them up to go and play taxi mum for Fly Boy  but here they are...........
Doesn't tell you much does it......rest assured there are 60 blocks there and my job tonight is to cut corners and iron blocks and pin ready for tomorrow.  Pity I didn't get that far - but at least I got the extra triangles cut apart and that is a start!
Till next time...................happy stitching!

Pinned and ready

Some of the girls in my quilt group came over today and we worked hard.  Quilt to be layered was the Quilt for Ireland.  You can see the bindle of binding sitting ready to go - that is the same as the backing.

Next we sewed the borders on the two mystery quilts that I have been working on and layered them.  I really like the yellow in this one and the burghundy/dark red tones the quilt down, which my boys said was necessary to make it more boy friendly.  Who knows......but the colours worked so why not.
I have to say I love the blue border on this - loved it from the minute I put it next to it and it wouldn't have been my first choice of colour for the border.  I forgot to take the quilt to the shop when I went to choose borders and had to guess and the only reason I grabbed the blue was becuase it was such a lovely colour but it seems to bring the quilt to life.  Everyone else had the same reaction.
 In between, whilst backings were being pieced etc the girls helped turn these bags right way out and pressed them so that now they are ready for top stitching.  some of these are bound for the Irish Charity Bazaar.

Today I have some guys installing a pergola over our BBQ area and I want to quietly watch what they are doing so I am going to set up and sew on my dining room table.  Hopefully I will get some aprons made for Ireland too.

Till next time...............happy stitching!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sleepy Sunday

Not much getting done today as we have a birthday party for my girlfriend last night.  We had loads of fun - yummy food as always - Pavlova
 And Lemon Cheesecake - both of which are group favourites.
 We also had a yummy chocolate slice and special Finnish pastry stars but they were both late coming to the table (we nearly forgot we had them) and I didn't get a photo!  I am really cranky about that and I can't even take a photo of the leftovers as there are none!!!  We said goodbye to our guests by about half past eleven so it really wasn't that late - except that Fly Boy had an excursion with the Air Force Cadets this morning and had to be picked up at 620am so there was no sleeping in!  hence the Sleepy Sunday!

None the less, in between tidying the kitchen up and ducking out for a few groceries I managed to get a little sewing done.  I finished this block which is for Theresa who is organising this project and it will be in the mail on Tuesday. 
The central square is from some fabric that I bought coz the dogs remind me of my girl, Maisy!
And believe it or not the orange and green stripes are leftovers from two huge log cabin quilts I made for my boys when they were about three and they are now 15!!!  Certainly time to use them!

Tonight I have almost finished the blocks for my second Mystery Quilt.  It took me a while to work out what I was going to do with the original 8 blocks that made and I think this is it.  I thought I had cut out enough blocks to complete it but it looks like I miscalculated - oh well...no biggie.   I will cut out and sew the final block tomorrow.  All that will be needed after that is a plain border just to make it a bit bigger and then decide on a backing!
Obviously I have to trim down the darker blocks but that is a job for tomorrow when there is good light.  It is too late tonight!

Till next time...happy stitching!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Here tis!

I have worked hard all day today but there isn't anything to show you.  Most of what I did was working on a round robin quilt for my quilt group and I can't show you my progress as they are surprise quilts and some of them read my blog so you will have to wait. 

I almost finished the two doggy log cabin blocks that I am making to send away but I can't show you those as my camera's battery is flat!   Grrr

I can however show you this -
Couldn't show you this the other night but I have given it to my friend so now I can.  I love these little bags - they are so easy to make and I think the effect is great.  Would be great with a cute border fabric.  I will be trying one of those next.................when I get time!
This one is a thank you in advance as my friend is going to knit me a twirly scarf so the bag is to repay her kindness in advance.

Tomorrow night my sisterhood friends are coming over for dinner to celebrate a birthday.  i made a pavlova today and have some more cooking to do tomorrow.  Not sure if I will get to sew!

Till next time.....................Happy stitching!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Double Mystery Almost Solved

First up a lovely lady over here is getting together some 12 1/2 inch blocks to make a quilt for ......well it would be easier if you read about it on her blog. Anyway, this is the start of my block -
I am going to do a kind of log cabin block with the puppy in the middle and green and orange strips surrounding it. Love this puppy material, it reminds me of Maisy (world's cutest dog!)
go check out the project. You might like to do one too! My block will go nicely with one that LaDonna did. I just love hers. Check it out!

Today I managed to get the blocks for both of my Mystery Quilts sewn together - had I told you that it had grown from one quilt to two?
This is my favourite. I have yet to sew the blocks together. I think it need a dark border - maybe a patterned black - any suggestions? I am hoping a teenage boy will like this - it is for Quilts for Keeps which means it will go to a child in hospital with a serious illness (or their sibling). I was hoping it would suit a teenage boy but both of mine assure me it is too bright - whatever - at least it is bright and cheery.
This is going to be quilt number two. I have eight of these blocks and i need to expand the quilt a bit so i am thinking a nice wide sashing and then a border.
I auditioned a couple of fabrics. I am trying to get out of my comfort zone a bit as i would usually go for a more tone on tone fabric. I am not sure about the red.
But I think I like this black "flame" fabric. I probably have enough of the black to do it all. do you think should put a plain red sashing and then border it in the black? Sorry the photo is a bit blurry. it is too late to go and take another.
I think I need to mull over this for a while. I have to cook and shop tomorrow so i wont get to sew till tomorrow night. Hopefully by then I will have made a decision!

Till next time........................happy stitching!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Trimmed and Terrific!!!!! At last

Trimming would have to be my least favourite part of quilting! My mystery quilt is comprised of 100 blocks and I have finally finished trimming all of them - hooray!!!!!

First I trimmed these......
 And then I trimmed these.........
 And ended up with these........
Got to love the colours!!!!
And now for something cute.  I decided to have a quick snooze this afternoon as someone who shall remain un-named (Guitar Hero......well it isn't his real name) kept me up till midnight with a last minute rush to complete an assignment!  Grrrrr.  Anyway, I was trying to sleep and I felt someone watching me!
This is Maisy.  She was sitting less than a foot from my face and was waiting patiently for me to get up!  Lucky she is so cute!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Just a litte

Can't even give you a sneak peak tonight of the project that has consumed me since lunch time yesterday!  I have been working all day today and lots of yesterday on cutting, sewing, ironing, cutting sewing and so on!  Lots and lots of work on my latest round robin quilt top for the quilt group.

What I can show you is this
I HATE trimming but sadly this pile has to grow a whole heap before I will be ready to sew again!  

Oh well.......till next time......happy stitching!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pieceful Sunday

First up - progress on the Dallas NY quilt that I wrote about in my last post, which I am making for Bruce.  I had the "bright idea" I hope, of getting some of Bruce's old cohorts to sign signature blocks to incorporate.  Just have to get husband to contact them and start the ball rolling.  Once he has told everyone I will get a list of emails off them and start asking them to send me their addresses so I can send them a block to sign etc.  I have also come up with a basic design incorporating two blocks appliqued with the NY logo and two appliqued with the Dallas Star and also a long block appliqued with NO WORRIES which is something Bruce and his wife Barbara say a lot.  I will surround those with a mix of pieced blocks, signature blocks and whole blocks - depending on what I end up with!  Somewhere I even have some Texas fabric, I think, left over from my trip to Houston - Bruce is a Texan!  I was hoping to get some NY Yankees fabric online from eBay but it became too expensive - man did the price go up!  Anyway I think I can away without it.

What else have I been doing today?  I finished a gift for a friend, can't show you yet - you will have to wait till Wednesday.  And then I finished this quilt top by adding the borders.  This is my Rainbow Scrap Challenge piece for this month.  The colour for the month is yellow but I decided to finish off one of the quilts I have been making along the way.  Each month, except for the green month I made a few flower blocks and scraps of yellow.  This month I decided to put them together.  Quilting is going to have to wait a while - join the queue so to speak.

I am really pleased with the blue that I settled on for the inner border - took me a while to make a decision - but i still don't like this block in the corner.  I left it there though coz I really like the fabric!

Guitar hero went to a friend's last night for a sleepover and so today I made a Mars Bar Mudcake - a huge recipe - and sent half home with the Mum after she dropped Guitar hero back.  I will include the recipe - but I warn you!  It is deadly!  It is really nice to eat it luke warm with icecream but it is really hard to cut if it isn't.  The solution is to let it cool completely, cut it into portions and then zap each serving in the microwave for ten or fifteen seconds just before you serve - top with ice cream and don't blame me if you come back for more! 


400g butter
400g good-quality cooking chocolate, chopped
½ cup cocoa
2 cups caster sugar
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups SR flour
3 or 4 x 60g Mars Bars chilled chopped

Preheat oven to 160°C.  Grease a 4cm  deep, 22.5cm x 28cm (base) slab pan.  Line with baking paper, allowing 2cm overhang at both long ends.
Combine butter and dark chocolate in a large heatproof microwave safe bowl. Microwave uncovered on a medium high for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring every minute or until almost melted. 
Add cocoa and whisk until smooth.    Add sugar and mix well.    Add one third of the egg and stir to combine.  Repeat with egg in two batches.  Sift flour over chocolate mixture.  Stir gently until just combined.    Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Sprinkle with Mars Bars and press in slightly.   Bake for 60 – 65 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre has moist crumbs clinging.  Cool completely in pan.  Cut into squares.
I am still sewing tonight but I am working on one of the round robin quilts so I  can't show you what i am doing .......just yet!

Till next time........happy stitching!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

YW Yankees and Dallas Cowboys

Just found out this morning that a good friend of ours, from the days when we lived in CT, has been diagnosed with a very rare form of bone cancer and has quite a struggle ahead of him.  His wife asked me if my husband could contact some of their old fellow work mates and rally them to send him some messages of support etc.  Gorgeous husband got right on it. 

I want to do something so I offered to make him a quilt if she thought that would be a good idea and she said yes.  He is a huge Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees fan so I am hot on to equilter and so on and am ordering in some baseball and football fabrics. Sadly there doens't seem to be any team specific fabrics around though I am sure there used to be but I will make do.  I haven't nutted out a design yet but that will happen in the next couple of days.  I am plannig to feature the NY symbol and the Dallas Cowboys star. 

I know the main colours are navy blue and white - and will order in some navy and white stripe fabric and also some with team pennants on it - saying things like "touchdown", "play ball", "goal" etc.  I might use that for the backing.

If anyone has any other suggestions please let me know.

Till next time..............happy stitching!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Working 9 to 5!

In order of priority!  Most important duty of the day!  I have booked my tickets to see Dolly Parton when she tours Oz later this year.  Don't care what anyone else says, I like her and that's that.  I warned my husband that I was buying two tickets and he wasn't expected to come with me - but he was expected to pay for them!  That's the deal right?  He earns it, I spend it!  We all have a job to do! I rang my girlfriend and asked her to come with me, and she had to think about it and ring me back.  First she thought that it wasn't her thing but her fifteen year old daughter told her she had to go as we are friends and that is what you do (love that girl!) and then her husband said he would go if she didn't(love that guy!!!), and that sealed it so she googled Dolly Parton and watched her on YouTube and convinced herself she could cope with it and agreed to come with me!  What a hoot!  I actually think her show will be fun and it won't matter if you are not a huge fan as long as you like the music and we both do!  So, yay!!!!  Roll on 15 November!

Dolly Parton - Visa Entertainment Pre-sale

Thanks for all the comments re the flower quilt.  I have taken it off the design wall for the moment as the mystery quilt needed to go up there so I could plan the next stage.  When the design wall is free again I will put the flower quilt back up and try a few things out.  I do love bloggy friends for all the helpful suggestions and different perspectives!  Thanks guys!

Managed to buy some fabric to complete the top of the mystery quilt to day, plus backing for the "Aussie to Ireland" quilt. (photo of the latter later)
 Also managed to do some more sewing on the mystery quilt.  I have to put this away for a while now as I need to make a couple of birthday presents and work on two round robin quilts.
On another note my husband has just returned from a trip overseas.  One of the destinations he visited was London and look who he brought back.  Do you know what it is?
This is Wenlock - one of the mascots for the 2011 London Olympics!    He is named after the small town of Much Wenlock in Shropshire - which hosted a precursor to the modern Olympic Games in the 19th Century.  The second mascot is named Mandeville, after the birthplace of the Paralympic Games, Stoke Mandeville hospital in Buckinghamshire.  Apparently the yellow light on the top of his head is to pay homage to London taxis.   Author Michael Morpurgo has created a story around the pair in life for both began as two drops of steel from a factory in Bolton, taken home by a retiring worker who fashions characters out of the metal for his grandchildren.   They appear to have a single central eye, explained as a camera lens, through which they'll see the world, and respond to it.

Isn't that interesting!  Not sure what I think of him though.  I think I like the cuddly soft fur ones but the children in the focus group were very much sure about not wanting that!

Lastly, here is what I have been working on today.  I think it is safe to post this as I am pretty sure the recipient doesn't read my blog and the ones that do won't tell on me! 
I have to say I am quite pleased that it worked out.  I used a tutorial I found here changing the shape of the top slightly to go with my hot water bottle.  I am actually quite pleased with the quilting.  I have decided that as far as FMQ is concerned that as long as I like the results that is good enough for me - it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.  
I think I will be making some more of these in time.  That is about it for me tonight.  Hubby is about to walk thru the door after a long flight home - long because of delays at the airport.  He is only home till Sunday morning when he heads off again :-( so I am going to post this and get ready to go and greet him - that is if he gets home before I have to go and collect Fly Boy from Youth Group.  No rest for Mum's taxi!  Till next time..............happy stitching!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

First up a couple of people wanted the recipe for my little apple turnovers.  I don't really have a recipe but I will try and tell you what I did.  I used bought puff pastry that comes already rolled out.  Cut it into about 3-4 inch rounds.  On each round place some thinly sliced cooking apple - just enough to cover the base and leave the outside quarter inch clear.  Next add a few sultanas and dried cranberries and sprinkle with a tiny bit of sugar.  Cut another round and moisten with a pastry brush dipped in milk or water on one side then place on top of fruit and press to seal edges.  Use a fork to press down the edges gently to complete the seal.  I do this on the tray I am going to bake them on and I have it lined with baking paper or a silicon sheet.  Brush the top of the pasty with milk and then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.  Use scissors or a knife to cut a hole in the top and then place in the over, 360F or 200C till the pastry has risen and it is golden.  Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.  you can eat these warm with ice cream or custard or cream (or all three) and I placed some in my son's lunch box to eat cold.

Almost all of the quilt group came over today and we had a very productive day working on various things but mostly the quilt for Ireland.  We had made the half square triangles previously and I had arranged them in order and numbered them all and today we managed to get the whole top sewn together.  All the fabrics, except for the border are aussie themed designs.  Not sure what the backing is going to be - going shopping tomorrow or Friday. 
Cynthia came over and brought the group's hexagon quilt that she has been working on and she and Audrey did some more sewing on it. 

 Andrea's daughter, Miss G, came over and she raided the huge supply of scraps the group has, as well as my novelty fabric cupboard, and did some serious cutting out of hexagons for herself. 

 We have been making a concerted effort to use up some of the fabric in our group stash and this is Andrea's effort with some fabrics leftover from some quilts that I made.  She laid it on the daybed in my office to see how it went for size on a single bed.  Maisy gave it the seal of approval.  This will go to Quilts for Keeps.

I did some more baking before they came - I had already made the chocolate chip cookies and last night I tried two new, ridiculously easy recipes - Easy Apple Cake (on the left) and Easy Date Cake.
The date cake recipe would be a great one for using up any leftover dried fruit I would think and the apple cake for using up any leftover moist fruit - apples, pears, peaches etc.  And yes, here are the recipes

2 tabsp softened butter
¾ cup white sugar
1 cup chopped dates
½ teasp bicarb soda
1 teasp cinnamon
Vanilla essence
1 ¾ cups SR flour
1 cup boiling water

Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix well.  Bake at 170ºC for approximately 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

150g butter, melted
2 cups stewed apples (fresh or tinned pie apples)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups SR flour
2 teasp cinnamon
2 teasp baking powder
Chopped nuts – optional

Place all ingredients into a bowl.  Stir until well combined.  Add nuts if desired.  Pour mixture into a springform tin and bake for 40-45 minutes at 140ºC. 

You can also try this cake with apricots – and a little coconut in place of the cinnamon, or plums, or any fresh fruit.

I bought the fabric for the border of my yellow quilt yesterday - but have decided that it needs something - not sure what - to separate the border from the flowers.  Any suggestions?

Close up of the subtle pattern on the border fabric

 And this is the backing
And tonight I continued working on the mystery quilt - here is a sneak peak of what I have decided!
That's it for me - till next time....happy stitching!

Monday, June 13, 2011

No rest for the wicked!

Today was a public holiday (for the Queen's Birthday for my overseas friends) but I haven't actually taken it easy.  I started cooking around 8am and finally quit around 130pm.  Phew was I bushed but at least it was all done and my husband was home to help me continually wash up and put away utensils and bowls ready for each next job.  I started with apple muffins and orange and poppy seed muffins.  They are the currency I use to pay the hairdresser and the boys are having their haircut tomorrow night.

Next I made potato bake for tonight's dinner - I was expecting to me out this afternoon so doing it in advance made it easier. 

I also cooked up a batch of meat sauce to use for lasagna, or spaghetti bolognaise - my kids like the mix so I use the same one for several dishes. 

I also made another double batch of chocolate chip cookies; some for my quilt group for our working bee on Wednesday and some to give to the family that is taking Linton to and from a band competition on Wednesday night. 

And finally I made apple pastries.  Really simple and made with bought pastry but yummy heated up and eaten with cream or ice cream.   I took a meal of braised lamb shanks and veggies to my girlfriend and her husband tonight and the pastries are for their desert. 

On the sewing front I managed to get the flower quilt block sewn together last night and i am really pleased with how they look.  I won't post a pic till I have put the borders on.  I have finally decided what to do with the borders but I will surprise you with a picture when I get it done!  First I have to buy the border fabric.  I went to the shop today ----only to find it closed!  Dah!  It is a public holiday!

Tonight's adventures with the sewing machine have resulted in more work on the mystery quilt - lots of this......

 will eventually become like this.  Lots of ironing to do in the mean time.    :-(
Now it is bedtime so until next time...............Happy stitching!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cold wet and rainy - the perfect day to sew!

Perfect sewing weather today.  Didn't get as much done as I would have liked but I still achieved something.  A while ago I started these pot holders which will go to Ireland as part of my contribution for the International Charity Bazaar which my girlfriend is organising.  Today was a good day to finish them off.  I made a mistake with the first two when I was sewing the binding on.  As I like to machine sew the binding on I prefer to sew it first on the back and then fold it over and top sew it down on the front.  I think that gives a neater finish.  Unfortunately I sewed the first two with the binding on the front to start off with and didn't realise till it was too late.  Hmph!  Oh well.  I sewed the binding down on the back as neatly as I could and determined not the make the mistake on the others! 
 Of course I did the first two potholders last night and then when I sat down this morning to sew the rest i forgot about it and had sewn another ten - yes ten!!! before realising my mistake....again!  So, I have decided to take my friend up on her offer - her mother will hand sew for me as hand sewing hurts my hands, especially pot holders as they are a bit thinker than a quilt!  Poop!  But at least they will be done nicely for sale and that is the main thing.  Here they are with the binding pinned in the corners ready for sewing.

Every time I show photos of blocks or quilts made using the flower block pattern like in my last post I get at least one request from someone asking for the pattern,  I am always really happy to share any pattern that I have made up but I am not sure how to go about things when it is not my pattern so bear with me.  The pattern comes from this book from Moose on the Porch Quilts.  They have their own blog and a shop I believe.  I note they also have a new book out called Simply Charming Fun.  I hope that helps anyone interested in the pattern.
And as for me tonight - I think the TV and sofa and snuggly dog are calling my name.

Till next time.......happy stitching!