Welcome to my blog.

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.....

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

First up I have to share with you a photo from one of the girls in my quilt group.. She is Canadian but has lived here for ages.  She has however kept tradition Halloween alive for her grandkids - just littlies.  It is becoming easier to do that in Oz these days.  Anyway, yesterday she and her husband had the three little ones, the oldest of them is five, over to carve pumpkins.  The kids chose a face off the Internet and then drew their faces on the pumpkins and Daddy and Grandpa cut them out.
Check them out - they are cute, cute, cute!!!

 If you look really carefully you can see Miss Irene's pic in the mirror - bet she didn't think of that and let me tell you - she hates having her photo taken!!!

And below you can see the equally cute special cupcakes that Grandma Irene made for the pumpkin carvers afternoon snack!  How cute are they!!!!!  Lucky little grandkids if you ask me!
The rest of the post is not so exciting - today I finished preparing my share of the backings for the soldier's quilts.  Now they are all ready - hooray! 
Tonight I remembered that I hadn't made label for our female soldier's quilt.  Poop!  Oh well,  I traced one off and sewed the borders on and then when I went to piece the backing for the quilt I was a tiny bit short of fabric.  Not sure what to think of my solution but it was the best I could do without buying more fabric and I really wanted to get it layered tonight.

I really like this backing fabric - it just reminds me of a meadow of flowers.

 and every now and then there is a cute little surprise like this grass hopper.
Hope everyone who is trick or treating or staying in handing out the candy has a wonderful night. 
Happy halloween and happy stitching!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

And the winner is......

Well, first up as promised I have drawn the winner of my first ever giveaway and the bag and the enclosed goodies go to.............................................................

 Congratulations Jean.  Please email me your address so I can send your parcel of goodies off to you.  the rest of you will have to wait until Jean lets me know she has received her parcel safe and sound before I show you what I sent her - I don't want to spoil the surprise!

Moving right along I have been busy working on the components of the quilts for the soldiers in Afghanistan.  These are some of the backings.  I have been finishing up sewing the borders on the labels and then I put iron on web on the back of them and fused them to the backings.
 I deliberately put them on an angle so there is no stress about making sure they are straight when we layer the quilts.  The calico patch is for the soldiers to write their names in for identification.
 I also finished piecing the few backings that needed it.   Andrea dropped in today and dropped me in some more printed labels made using that special paper that you can put thru the printer.  apparently it has been treated so that it is launder proof.  Andrea took three quilt backings with her.  The labels need to be zigzagged and then the calico patch needs to be sewn.  Luckily Irene has said I can drop half of the remaining 19 into her tomorrow and she will sew them.  I still have to fuse for more labels and, because we ran out of the printable fabric, I need to trace and border two more labels.  Then I will fuse the remaining labels to the backings and sew around them.  I want them all ready for Wednesday's working bee.  I also need to sew two more laundry bags.

We are really getting close to taking everything to the post office.  I think I am going to need some help!!!  This is what has been accumulated so far. 

Check out these reindeer antlers and nose.  Can't you just see these on a Hummer?  I am not sure if the guys will be able to use them but they will get a laugh out of them anyway!
 Then there is the wired tinsel garland,
 And loads more - Fruit Tingles, Malteasers, Oreos, postcards, coasters, writing pads
 Freddo Frogs
 Pens covered in aboriginal designs
And of course a special stash for our one lone female soldier.  Every girl needs some pink and lilac tinsel, pink Oreos of course and some pretty notelets.  There will also be smelly soaps and hand creams and so on.   I forgot to put it in the photo but she also gets a Japanese lunch bag in fabric to match her yellow laundry bag and a tissue holder and tissues.
 these boxes are the same size as the ones we will be sending the soldier's Christmas parcels in.  Tomorrow Andrea is going to buy 15 for us to use.  We will fill one for each soldier PLUS some extras for soldiers who don't get much mail!

 I was going to go and buy some extra stuff for the boxes tomorrow but I have decided that I better wait and see what else turns up on the working bee day as I know that some of the other girls have bought  stuff like toilet paper, envelopes, candy canes, muesli bars etc.  In the mean time I have more than enough to go on with!

Now I don't usually post links to YOUTUBE, and I promise not to make a habit of it but you have go to love this one.

If you love your Dad you just have to look at this! Bet you can't watch it without laughing (and maybe cringing too!)

And finally just before I go....
Guitar Hero's Home Hint for the Day - if you spray deodorant on a T shirt that you have been wearing for two days then you can keep wearing it even when you are going out.

Till next time.....happy stitching!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It suits them!

Took my boys shopping today to buy their first suits so they are ready for their Year 10 Formal.  Without further ado, here are my little boys - first Fly Boy.  He knew exactly what he wanted to wear - black suit, white shirt and red tie.  He chose what he wanted as he wasn't yet asked anyone to the formal so didn't feel the need to match anyone. 
 And then came Guitar Hero.  He is taking a cute little doll of a girl and she is wearing a dress that is mostly black with some denim blue and shades of purple.  Purple and Black are his favourite colours  so he chose the pale purple shirt and the darkest purple and black tie.  Love it!  Purple was everywhere so it seems it may be the colour this season!
The whole process was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be thank goodness.  We even managed to get some casual shoes for them - hurray!  Vans if you are interested!  Just not sure when they got this big!

And I even managed to get a little bit of sewing in today - I have finally finished the binding, at least I think I have, so that we have enough for all 22 soldier's quilts.
 Oh my goodness, I never thought I would need a laundry basket full of binding!

One more sleep till I draw the winner of my first ever giveaway.  I am not planning on telling you what is in the bag until it has arrived in its destination so if you want to know sooner than that you better hurry up and leave a comment! 

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

Friday, October 28, 2011

all cut up!

Lots of cutting today.  First I cut lining for two last laundry bags.  One is for our current batch of soldiers and the other is for a special soldier who is going in December - the son of one of our quilt group members.  Next I cut up some extra 6.5" strips.  We were 5 short for our last quilt so I cut those and a few extra and now we are making 22 quilts not 21 - well I like a nice even number!  And finally I cut extra 2.5" strips for the extra binding.  Oh and I also cut some Aussie fabric strips to go around our labels for the quilts.  I have sewn a few - need to cut a bit more of the kangaroo fabric to finish the rest.

Then onto some sewing - first I finished sewing one quilt that was half done after Wednesday, then I sewed the extra 6.5" strips together, cut them into lengths and sorted them into groups for two quilts. I took the original 6 leftover strips and added them in as well as they were pretty ugly and needed to be broken up some more.  I sewed one together and the other is going to another quilter with two other quilts to sew together for next week.  Mine are now happily sitting on the pile ready for Wednesday's Blitz!  

I also managed to sew a little something to add to my giveaway - no hints! 

Big day tomorrow.  We have to take the boys to buy suits - their first suits - for their formal!  Shirts and ties as well - their first ties other than school ties!  CUTE!!!!  Hopefully I will get some photos of them!!!  Wish me luck!  Clothes shopping with the males in my family is no easy task!!!

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

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Batting, backing, binding

That is what my day mostly consisted of.  First I cut 10 lengths of batting for the soldiers' quilts.   Each length is doubled so will do two quilts.  I still need to cut another but the first 10 finished off our bolt of batting and I just couldn't be bothered dragging my bolt out to cut the last length.  I will wait till the weekend and my husband will help me.

Next I went  thru my stash, lengths I had been given and the groups's stash which lives in my back room and pulled out anything that I thought would work for a quilt backing.  I found enough for 19 quilts.  In the afternoon I had to drive to the local train station to collect Fly Boy from a school excursion and wouldn't you know it, the station is right next to a fabric store. It is not my favourite store but can't have everything!  Right out the front of the shop is a $5p/m box and right on the top were two bolts which were perfect for backings so I grabbed them quickly!  Yay!  All twenty one quilts now have backings!  They are all laid out on my air hockey table waiting for next week.
Finally tonight I am sorting and joining binding scraps!  So far I have approx 78m of binding sewn together.  It needs to be ironed but that is a job for another day.
Tomorrow I will cut some more binding to make sure we have enough.  I think we need another 6m or so but I will cut some extra just to be on the safe side.

Not a very exciting dya but a necessary one. 

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Group Stripping!

After a steamy hot day on Monday reaching the heights of 34C here on Monday the temperatures have crashed back down again yesterday and today but that didn't stop six of us getting together today to do some good old stripping!

Oh Clean up your minds! Piecing quilts from strips you sillies! After loads of piecing we started out this morning with a 200m long 6 1/2 inch strip! Then Cynthia and Sharon brought some more and we joined those up too - another 50m.
We set up two ironing boards - one at each end of my kitchen table. We put a big cutting mat in the middle of the table and then two girls ironed and two cut! And once we had enough strips cut two girls started putting the strips together in groups of eleven - enough for a quilt.   It took ages to get all the strips cut into 42" lengths and then we stopped for a quick lunch. After lunch all efforts turned to putting all the strips into groups of 11.  Audrey and Cynthia worked on a design ottoman!
We ended up with enough strips to make 21 quilts - minus a couple of strips I will cut later. We were aiming for 14 so 21 is wonderful!   Sharon, Lyn and Irene (who always hides from photos) worked on the design Air Hockey table and Cynthia lended a hand after she had exhausted her supply of strips.
And after all the groups were decided upon we started sewing them together. We got 8 quilt tops completed before we had to call it quits. The rest have been divided among us to be sewn together and then brought back next Wednesday when we have our next sewing bee.

This is what they look like. They are all different but all the same if you know what I mean.  There is nothing fancy about them but this was the quickest way to organise 20+ plus quilts in the minimum time so good looks wasn't important - built for comfort not looks - but I still think they look ok!

They are about 42 inches by 65 inches in the end and should be just right for the average soldier to put on his bed or wrap around himself around the camp fire.

Update on the laundry bags - 12 out of 15 have been made. The other three should be finished by next week and we will be well on schedule to get them posted off in time for a Christmas arrival!

Just before I go don't forget to enter my giveaway - still a few days to enter.

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

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It ain't easy being a stripper.....

Oh please!  Not that sort of stripper!  Last night and this morning I sewed strips together, some cut me, some by Irene and some by Andrea, both from the Gumnuts (my quilts group).  We are making 15 laundry bags to send to Aussie soldiers in Afghanistan and we are also making 15 quilts to send them as well.So far 12 of the 15 laundry bags are sewn!  Yippee!  And these strips are for the quilts. 
We have cut loads, and I mean LOADS, of 6 1/2" strips of any length and I have pieced them all into a long strip.. this washing basket contains 120m - yes one hundred and twenty metres!  I think I worked out that we needed another 38 or so meters to have enough for all 14 quilts.  The fifteenth quilt is already made and it is a much girlier pattern for the one female soldier.

 So, we needed another 38m!  I cut a few more strips
 and then tonight Cynthia dropped in this 4 1/2" pile of more strips.
 After a couple of hours of sewing look what I ended up with - about 65m of strip!  I have sat my mobile phone on top so that you get an idea of the scale of the pile!
 Tomorrow the quilt group comes and we will get stuck into ironing these strips, cutting them into 42" lengths and then sorting them into piles of 11 strips for each quilt. Then the next round of sewing will begin and we should have two sewers tomorrow.

I showed you a bunch of the laundry bag in my last post and these ones were made by Andrea.  the first one has all sorts of beer labels printed on it and Andrea was concerned that the initials done show up well but in the end decided that the beer labels would make it stand out anyway!

And to finish off here are a couple of reasons why my hubby is the best,  He has just come back from a two week trip to the States and look what he brought me.  Two little boxes of chocolate that he saved from one of the hotels he stayed in.
 And also a couple of Calendars.  My girlfriend Barbara from Halloween Wall Hanging Fame always gives me the Quilting Magazine calendar pictured on the left but this time David bought me another Quilting Calendar as well as next year's Mary Engelbreit calendar.  Anyone who knows me know i love all things Mary and I try and get her calendar every year but the last couple of years it hasn't been so easy to get.  So thank you lovely hubby!  Mwah!

A big stitching day tomorrow but I am excited as we should have lots to show for it by the end of the day!

Just before I go, I hear there is a really neat giveaway happening over here.  Be sure to check it out if you haven't already! 

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

Monday, October 24, 2011

Guess what I learned....

Triple stitch is an absolute pain the the butt to unpick!!!!But it is do-able thank goodness.  How do I know this?  Coz I have done plenty of it in the last two days.  You see, all the laundry bags are triple stitched for strength and they are also lined.  The way I make them is pretty much the same way I make the Japanese lunch bags.  I sew the outside into a bag, then I sew the lining, then I put them right sides together and sew them together, then finally I unpick a small part of the lining seam to pull them right sides out.  Easy!  Sure, if you don't do triple stitch.  I made that mistake yesterday with the four I sewed but I sat and unpicked while I watched TV with Fly Boy and it was fine - just took longer than it would have had I just sewn with a normal straight stitch.  You would think I would remember that lesson today when I sewed the next four wouldn't you!  Well I did.......until just before I sewed the linings again and then I forgot again!  Grrrr.  Oh well,all's well that ends well and it ended just fine.

Four more bags completed, all except for the top stitching around the top but that can wait till tomorrow.

 Irene did the applique on these ones.  There is one more of hers to complete but I had to pre-wash and pre-shrink some calico for the lining first so that will be tomorrow's job!  I have folded them up so you can see the top band and the applique.
My husband has just arrived home from a two week trip to the States so I will keep this short.  Before I go, don't forget to enter my giveaway.  I will happily post anywhere and if you are one of those bloggers who is having trouble commenting on my blog as sometime inexplicably happens then feel free to enter by sending me an email.

Till next time, I am off to sew a few 6 1/2 inch strips together for our soldier's quilts and for you............happy stitching!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

4 more down....

Sometimes you have got to have a win and my win today was getting my 15 year old boys to change the sheets on their beds without any complaints!!!  I know that seems like a simple thing - ask them nicely, give them clean sheets..........ah not exactly.  Apparently it is a really unreasonable request.  So, I stopped asking.  No, I didn't give up.  I still put their clean sheets and pillow cases in their rooms for them and tonight they made their beds without me needing to say anything and without a word of complaint!  How?  Easy!  I stripped their beds for them and removed the dirty laundry.  If they want to sleep on bare mattresses and pillows they can....but guess what........they don't, so they make their beds.  Ahhh bliss!!!

All in all had a very successful weekend.  I managed to get my five laundry bags sewn.  I showed you the one I made for our female soldier and today I finished the some for four of the male soldiers. 
We had to work with what fabrics we had and luckily we had a few pieces of ticking and similar.  I am not sure what this chek is but it is about the same weight as the ticking.  We needed to make the bags different and easily identifiable so hopefully we have achieved that with the initials and the contrasting strips at the top.

Tomorrow I will collect a few more from one of the girls.  She has done the applique and if I have time I will sew them up.  Tonight, once I finished the laundry bags i spent a little time sewing the 6 1/2" strips for the quilts.  Heaven only knows how much we have here but I suspect we will have more than enough for our first 15 soldiers.

Before I forget, don't forget to enter my giveaway.

Till next time...happy stitching!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

better late than never!!!

Well at least I hope it is better late than never.  I promised you a giveaway when I hit 300 posts and as you know I was a bit tied up and so am running a bit late!  Only two posts late thought thank goodness. 

And here it is.....one of my favourite Japanese Lunch Bags.  I haven't put the draw string in it yet as I want to get some cream ribbon for it.  That is a trip to the store tomorrow. 

And I am not telling you what is in it!  A few posts ago I asked for giveaway suggestions.  I wanted to know what sort of things you would like.  I  received a number of great suggestions.  Some of them will be included here and some will be part of my next give away.  One of the suggestions was a surprise - so that is what you are getting.  Something I have made and some surprises!

All you have to do to be in the running for the goodies is leave me a comment.  Feel free to blog about this and if you aren't a follower, feel free to become one, but you don't have to to win.  I am happy to post anywhere as long as I have your email and can get your address.

I will draw the winner on 30 October 2011 and will let you know the winner in my post on that day.  Please make sure I can contact you via email.  Only one entry per person please.

Till next time.....happy stitching!

Friday, October 21, 2011

One down, 14 to go!!

Laundry bag that is.  This is the laundry bag for our female soldier.  It is lined with more of the pretty creamy yellow floral and it is all triple stitched.  This thing is not going to come undone!

To go with it I have made one of my favourites - the Japanese Lunch Bag. 

 And a tissue cover.  I will be buying a pack of these tissues to send with the goodies as I doubt she will be able to buy them over there!
And now it is my bedtime and I am so ready for it.  Tomorrow is another day of sewing!  More laundry bags to work on......

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

Thursday, October 20, 2011

300!!! Oh my goodness!!!

300 posts!  I can't believe that has gone so fast.  I am still planning to do a giveaway.  It was supposed to coincide with my 300th post but I am a bit tied up with another project at the moment so forgive me but it will have to wait a few days.  But it is coming...

I have been promising to explain what my current special project is so, assuming my teenage boys can leave me in peace for a little while, I will tell you what is happening.

One of the many blogs I follow is one called Posie Patchwork, written by Jennie. Jennie always makes references to her handsome soldier husband and being ex-military myself that catches my attention.  Last Friday I was reading this post in which Jennie told us her husband was now in Afghanistan.  I was prompted to write to her and ask if there was anything I, or my quilt group and I, could make and send over for him and his mates. You see, I am always reading American blogs which talk about the Quilts of Valor Project.  Such a wonderful project and I always wish we had something like that here, so when I heard about Jennie’s husband it seemed a good chance to do something for at least some of our service personnel. 

As it turns out, Jennie’s husband is in charge of 15 soldiers and, believe it or not, a really useful gift would be a laundry bag.  Sounds like such a little thing doesn’t it?   Well not so.  You see the soldiers send their send their uniforms to an Afghan run laundry, in hundreds of plain white, navy & green ‘sacks’ with only marker pen initials on them for identification.  You can imagine how hard it would be to find your laundry bag amongst hundreds of similar ones and apparently emails go around each day saying “someone picked up my laundry bag”.  Jennie made her husband a colourful one with large initials; he finds his laundry very easily.   So, Laundry Bags it is.

I emailed my quilt group and as I hoped they are all on board as much as the different individuals are able to be.  We are going to be making 15 very durable laundry bags with lots of reinforced stitching etc as the actual laundry bags also get tossed in the hot commercial washing machines & dryers too.  All the fabrics must be pre-washed so no colours run – as Jennie said “we don’t want pink soldiers on patrol”.  We have chosen a selection of tickings and upholstery fabrics which we luckily had on hand and at Jennie’s request will be appliqueing the soldiers’ initials in large letters on the side using various novelty fabrics. 

We will also be adding some goodies to the bags to make them like Santa sacks.  Our goal is to get them in the mail no later than 7th November, or if we absolutely have to, the 10th of November. We want to make sure that the goodies get to the soldiers in time for Christmas and we have to allow for three to four weeks in transit plus the normal Christmas rush!

Once the laundry bags are under control, if not finished, we are planning to start on a quilt for each of the soldiers, hence my sneak peak of last night.  Did you know that it gets down to MINUS 25C over there at Christmas time!!!  There are 14 males and one female that we are sewing for.  All the guys will receive quilts similar to the one I showed you last post, except that we have come up with a few ideas to jazz that simple quilt up easily and appropriately.  The one female soldier is getting some special girly love from all of us.  Her parcel will contain some nice smelly pampering etc.  Her quilt will also be a bit more girly.  We are gathering all our soft and pretty orphan blocks, or making some new ones, and will be putting a much more pretty and feminine quilt together for her. 

Today I cut out her laundry bag from a pretty piece of curtaining I have had for awhile.  I will line it with the same fabric for extra strength and will applique her initials on in green. 

 I also made her a matching tissue cover though I expect I will need to send the tissues along with it.

During yesterday’s sewing bee we sorted out the fabrics for all the laundry bags, even cut some out, divided up all the soldiers amongst us so that we could get on with appliqueing their initials, finalized our plans for the guys’ quilts and began planning for the female soldier’s quilt.

Today I collected some orphan blocks from the lovely Audrey around which we will base the girly quilt. 

We have decided that we will just use the soft and pretty blocks and will save the darker pansy blocks for another time.

Apparently there are other soldiers that Jennie’s husband can identify who do not receive mail on a regular basis and that just breaks my heart.  Imagine being that far away from home and all the normal comforts and not having someone to send you mail and care parcels.  I have decided that once these fifteen soldiers have been sent their laundry bags and quilts I will continue to send parcels over to others as well as long as there is someone to tell me who to send them to.  It is such an easy thing for me to do and it is something that just feels so right!

So, now you know why I am not quite on schedule with my giveaway.  The last few days have been consumed with getting this up and running!  Now you can see why the quilts have to be quick to construct and serviceable in style.   

Till next time....happy stitching!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Boxers? Not exactly!!!

We had another quilt group sewing bee today which had two main purposes.  The first was to help some of the girls make some of my favourite little bags, the Japanese Lunch Bag.  Irene is making three adorable jumbo ones for her grand babies to use as Santa Sacks.  Here she is after making a slight mistake - sewing the wrong seams together and ending up with a strange looking pair of boxer type shorts rather than a bag.

 She finally got it right though and here is the completed Mickey Mouse bag for Eric! - CUTE!!!
 And the equally gorgeous Disney Cars bag for Max - Just too cute!!!  I need grand babies!!!

Don't you love this Cats stripe!
 Sharon and Cynthia both made lovely bags too, Sharon even made two, and i am really cross with myself as I forgot to photograph them for you!   aggh!

Over lunch we got on to the second purpose for our sewing bee and planned our next big project which is what the sneak peak was for last post.   This is one of the quilts my 31meters of strip will make.  It isn't pretty but it will be serviceable and for where it is going that is much more important.  Hopefully tomorrow I will have time to sit down and tell you the whole story!
This is a really exciting and humbling project for me and I am just so impatient to get going with it.  It is for such a good cause!!!  Sorry (not really) to be such a tease I will try and fill you in tomorrow - it is a bit of a long story!

Till next time.....happy stitching!