Quilting conundrum

I stopped off at my local patchwork store today and grabbed myself some luscious fabric. I grabbed four fabrics from the Mint Collection Down Under collection. I’ve had my eye on these pieces for a while now. I am having a bit of an obsession with grays and there was something about this collection that just shouted out to me with its pops of yellow and turquoise. Now I am not a yellow fan. In fact, I used to openly say that yellow was probably the one colour that I detested. But as I get older I find that I am liking it more and more, which is a little worrying to me because I have nothing in my house that will go with yellow. But, I saw this fabric and fell in love with it.

A while ago now I bought an old second hand rocking chair, with the intentions of restoring it there and then. Well, move on a few months and the rocking chair is still sitting in my study in all its ugliness, with its even uglier 70’s brown and orange cushions. I would cringe every time I saw it, except it’s piled up with so much crap that you can’t really see the cushions. Just the ugly dark wood. When I saw this Down Under collection I immediately thought of making new cushions for the rocking chair out of it. With the rocking chair stripped back and painted a nice crisp white, I think these fabrics would just look glorious. (Of course, this means I will have to eventually get off my buttski and strip and re-paint said rocking chair.)

Down Under Collection
The four corner pieces are from the Down Under Collection. The top one is a gorgeous grey chevron.

Now my dilemma. WHAT pattern am I going to use to create fantabulous cushions? I would ideally like to combine these fabrics with splashes of white and perhaps a little more yellow (omg here comes more yellow!). I have gone through Moda Bakeshop and Elizabeth Hartman’s quilt book, but I just can’t seem to find the right pattern. Any ideas? Something simple. And square. I admit, I’m truly stuck.

While I was at Patchwork Pear today though, I did pick up a few more little fat quarters in some greens. These I have plans for… But it’s all secret squirrel at the moment 🙂

Special Greens

Kitchen window quilt

Finally I have managed to spend a crapload of time working on some of my quilting projects that I’ve had on the go for a while now. I admit that I pretty much put everything else on the backburner to get this quilt finished, but I just couldn’t stand seeing it lying around any longer. I got some design work knocked off yesterday, so today I was determined to concentrate on getting the binding sewn on. That was all it needed to be finished off. But hand sewing for me, is one very long tedious and slow task. Not to mention painful. I sat down, put on the Time Travellers Wife and was still sewing it on when the movie finished. By this time, my wrist was crying out in pain but I was so close to it being finished, that I kept going. I know that I’m going to pay for that tomorrow. But take a look at the quilty goodness that I now have – for me, that’s going to make the pain worthwhile…

The front of the "KItchen window" quilt
The back of the "Kitchen window" quilt
The needle is now blunt after I stabbed it into my fingers only about - oh 500 times or so.

So I admit (for 12WBT followers) I ignored all exercise this weekend. I ate well (except for dinner last night, but shhhh….) but I did nothing else except work and quilt. And I have to admit, I feel better for it. I feel re-energised and re-focused on getting back into the swing of things tomorrow morning with a shuffle and getting back on the JFDI thought process.

Now, to work out which quilt I’m going to finish next. The “New Beginnings” challenge quilt (which I need to post to USA on 12th March), the “Rain or Shine” quilt, the “Blissful baby” quilt or the scrappy quilt for our bed. Hmm I suppose seeing as how I have to send the new beginnings quilt in about 2 weeks time, I should probably get started on (and finish) that one.

So excuse me now. I’m off to turn the air conditioner down to about 15 so I can go and snuggle under my quilt. Just cos I can.

A life other than dieting

Today’s daily food intake…

Quite obviously a lot of my time lately has been taken up with the 12WBT and eating healthy and exercising and that’s all I’ve really talked about. Well that’s really all that has been part of my life lately – or feels as if it has. I feel as if my life has literally revolved around menu planning, counting calories, exercising and counting calories burnt because that is all I have done. I go to work, and I think about food, what I’m going to eat for dinner and how many calories would be in that. I come home, and I exercise, then at night, I blog about my food and exercise. *sigh*

Today I took a break from it all and caught up with the super fantastic Mrs KW, who I haven’t seen since before Christmas. She is like the sister I left behind in Adelaide and when we get together, it always ends up being a long catch up session. When she sent me a text the other day asking if we could catch up for lunch on Friday, I mentioned that I only get an hour lunch break, would that really be enough? We both decided it wouldn’t, so we made plans for today.

It was awesome! We went out to visit Tumby Bay (a little town about half hour from Port Lincoln), visited a craft store, and I managed to stock up on some fabric, had a nice long lunch (salt and pepper squid – healthy or not? I thought it was, now I’m not so sure…) and ended up back at my place having more coffee and long, long talks. Best day I’ve had in quite a while. The fabric I’ve bought I’m planning on making a baby quilt out of for a very dear friend in England who had a baby at the beginning of the year – which I’m hoping I can manage to make in between exercising and all that.

I’ve decided I need to try and find a bit more of a balance in my life. I’m going to totally burn myself out soon if all I do is work and exercise. I need a bit of fun and enjoyment in my life again – exercise to me isn’t fun, it’s work. Quilting however, is lots of fun. So I’m going to do me a little bit of quilting in between my eating and exercising. Starting tomorrow. After I’ve exercised (because with all the catching up I did today, there wasn’t any exercise *sigh*)

Back on the 12WBT wagon

Yes!!! Yes yes yes yes. I have signed up for the 12wbt program again and I feel better for making that change and decision already. I’ve allowed myself to slip in both my good eating and my exercising and as a consequence I have gained 4kg since finishing up back in September. That’s an extra 4kg that I now have to work hard to lose again.

We have a wedding that we are going to in the middle of April (Easter Saturday to be precise) and my goal is to get down to 90kg by the wedding so that I can buy a pretty new dress (I really have a lovely dress obsession happening at the moment). And further than that, is to drop down to 70-65kg. But it will be a long process, and I expect I will still be working on that by the end of the year, but that’s cool, because as they say, slow and steady wins the race.

The important thing for me to do at the moment is to start writing down what I eat and get back to the gym and start exercising again. So expect to see my daily food and exercise intakes coming back on this site along with quilting projects.

While on the subject of quilting projects. I started the first of my mug rugs for the swap today. Hoping the idea I have pans out and that my partner enjoys her mug rugs. Shall post photos once the first one is finished.

Queensland quilt

Wow this has been a super busy week. I would love to say that I’ve been relaxing in front of the TV or reading a good book or just casually making progress on my Rain or Shine quilt, but none of that is the truth. I came home from work last Thursday night having just read that Toni from make it perfect was going to be starting an auction to raise money for the Queensland flood victims. So I quickly came up with a very simple design for a quilt (a disappearing nine patch quilt, cut up, rearranged and sewn back up to create a new pattern – very funky), hunted down some fabric fat packs that I had been saving for a quilt that I might one day make and started cutting.

Fabric selections
Fabric selections

That was mistake number one. I just totally went in gung-ho. Did I stop at any point to measure up my fabric, to perhaps work out how many squares I would need to cut to create the whole layout, to work out how big to make the original squares for the nine patch? Of course I bloody well didn’t. That would have made sense. So I cut out all my fabric, leaving one flat fat of each, for just in case, or for future use (because I really did love that fabric) and started sewing up my squares. Then I cut the squares, then I sewed them back up again. That’s when I realised that oh dear… I wasn’t going to have enough squares to make the whole quilt.

So that’s when mistake number two comes up. I cut into the last of the blue flat fats that I had. Again with the not measuring… Will I ever learn? (Well yes, I have now learnt my lesson – believe me). I align the edges of my last fat of fabric and start cutting the squares when I realise that SH*T I am ONE, yes only ONE square short. At that point, about 11.30pm on Thursday I threw all the fabric down and stormed off to bed. I was not happy with myself.

Friday rolls around, and we had a wedding to go to, but Mick – being the wonderful man that he is – spent some of our precious shopping time taking me to a couple of different fabric stores, hoping that I could still get a couple of the flat fats to match. Alas, I was out of luck. I toyed with the idea of buying new fabric for it, but there was too much to choose from and we were running very short on time before the wedding. So off we go to the wedding – absolutely gorgeous – and out went all thoughts of quilting from my head. Or so I thought, but about halfway through the ceremony, right about the time the I do’s were being said, I realised that I would have enough fabric if I pulled everything apart and cut all my squares down from 6inches to 5inches. Such a simple idea, that took so long to come up with.

Close up of the fabric and layout
Close up of the fabric and layout
Another close up of the fabric and layout
Another close up of the fabric and layout

Finally something was going right. I sat down on Saturday morning, started trimming all my squares and re-sewing them till at last the top was finished. And those one inch strips came in very handy to do a pretty detail for the back of the quilt.

I would love to say that I managed to finish the quilt and get it up online in time for the auction, but as I’m sure you can see, there are no posts below with details of a quilt for sale. No people, it’s still not finished. With all my stuffing around (my own fault, dumbarse that I am), and with the unexpected arrival of Mick’s daughter Miss Snotface (xoxo) and Mum2 (Mick’s mum) who both decided to stay for a few days I didn’t get anymore sewing done.

The quilt layed out and ready for the backing
The quilt layed out and ready for the backing

So if anyone is interested, this is the quilt that was supposed to be in the auction. I would still love to auction it off for the flood relief, but feel a bit weird selling off an unfinished quilt. Maybe I will see if I can donate it to someone up there instead once it’s finished (this weekend hopefully *touch wood*). Does anyone know of any quilt drives happening?

Max decided to test the quilt out
Max decided to test the quilt out (he approves btw)

So that is the story of my rather fuddled way of making a quilt. Note to self (and anyone else out there who would like to listen) Measure twice (or three or four times) and cut once. Yes, I should have listened to my woodwork teacher years ago. It really applies to quilting – who’d have thought.

Oh and please everyone, if you haven’t already, head over to make it perfect and bid on some fantastic items.

Recap on November and sewing happening again

So, it’s been a week of holidays from blogging and I have to say that it’s been great to come home from work at night and know that I don’t have to try and find something witty or interesting to write about, and that I can just sit on the couch, watch some tv, read a book and just chill. Though having said all that, I was beginning to miss my little blog over here. It’s bee a week since I have done any writing of any sort. I’m missing it all to be honest.

So a recap over November (which I had actually planned to do on the first of the month, but quite obviously that didn’t happen). November was for me a month of stress, highs and lows. I would like to say that the family issues have resolved themselves, but they haven’t, in fact, they have only gotten worse. Having spent the past 30 years fighting with family members over various stupid and petty things (I’m only 34, that’s pretty much my whole life), I’ve given up and I refuse to fight anymore, I really have lost the will. I have the wonderful love and support of my partner, whom I just couldn’t imagine living without, and I have a wonderful stepdaughter who I love and cherish, and from now on, they are the only two important people in my life. Everyone else comes second and if it’s going to be such a fight to keep everyone else in my life, then I think maybe it’s time not to have them in my life. That’s how much I have given up. So that, was the very low point of the month (of the year really.)

Onto brighter and better things. The official word count for NaNoWriMo was 50,157 words. SUCCESS! Yes, I actually did it, I’m so bloody pleased with myself. I will admit, that at the end of the night, when I was completely and utterly stressed, I inserted text back in that I had originally deleted, but, well, I worked it back in, so it’s not cheating. A bit of a blurring perhaps, but not cheating (I did write it after all…) I’d love to say that I have finished the novel, but I haven’t. I found that there was actually more story left in me, and left to tell. I’m not sure how much longer it’s going to be, but there still has to be a whole ending written and a few parts in the middle that I never completed and left to finish later. But I will finish it, and I’m hoping I will finish by the end of the year. That’s my goal anyway. Then comes the editing, and then I want to print a couple of them up to give to my stepdaughter (it was originally written for her after all) and to my sister and friend for being wonderful readers of my very rambling style of writing. I think there’ll be a copy printed up for myself also. I mean come on, I wrote a blimmin novel!!! The fact that no one will ever read it is beside the point, it was a great accomplishment for me. I’m proud.

Other bright points – this time for December – I’m back into sewing. My sister and I have started doing hexies, with the intention of making a small quilt each, with exactly the same hexies, but obviously in a different style from each other. We’re trying so hard to have just one fabric sort of each, so here’s hoping we one day finish. I think the current total is about 29 hexies, so we have a long, long way to go. I’m also about to make a stuffed rabbit for one of the girls at work who goes on maternity leave at the end of the week. Yes it’s true, I’m leaving it to the very last minute, but hey, apparently I work well with a looming deadline 🙂

So it’s lovely to be back in blogland. Now excuse me, I have some sewing to do.

Excuse me while I drool

A couple of weeks ago I ordered a copy of Elizabeth Hartman’s book The Practical Guide to Patchwork: New Basics for the Modern Quiltmaker. Well yay for me it finally got here. If you are a quilter, or interested in quilting, or just want to have a look at a book that has some damn gorgeous quilts in it, then may I suggest that you rush out and get your own copy of it.

I’m such a newbie at quilting, and I’m learning more and more every day, but I do wish that this book had been around six months ago, it could have saved me a lot of time and heartache with some of the things I had been working on. It is full of information on choosing your fabric and how to cut your fabric correctly, even a little information on free motion quilting. Jam packed full of goodness. Seriously I could rave and rave about this book.

I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth Hartman, my first major quilt was her Mixtape quilt pattern, and it was so easy to do, her instructions were so well written and in depth. I think that might be my only slight (and it really is only slight) gripe, and that would be that I don’t find the patterns in the book quite as in depth as the ones that are for sale on her site. But that’s not to say that they aren’t still easy to understand, because they certainly are.

So my only problem now? Deciding which quilt I am going to make first. Arghhh.

Maybe a bit of sewing this weekend?

I admit it. My life has been taken over by writing lately. Trying to write my “greatest story ever” for NaNoWriMo and making sure that I post here every day for NaBloPoMo, even though sometimes there just doesn’t seem a point to it – blogging for the sake of blogging has never really sat well with me, so I’m a bit miffed with myself for doing just that – so here I sit tonight, with a very sore wrist and sore fingers from all the typing I’ve been doing and a sore head from all the thinking, planning and plotting I have had to do to get my story going somewhere (12,327 words so far – still a long way off 50,000), so I’ve decided that this weekend is going to require a little sewing relaxation to get my brain back into gear.

A few weeks ago one of my favourite all time slouch bags started falling apart. I’ve had this bag for so long and it just had the perfect length strap, the perfect inside, it was the perfect bag. I was quite upset when it started falling apart, but I kept using it, until the stitching actually started coming away from the handles. It was at that point that I realised I couldn’t keep using it. So I ripped it apart at the seams and decided to make my own bag using the pieces. I’ve never done this before, so I’m hoping it’s not going to be too hard, but I figure if I can make clothes and jeans, I should be okay with a bag. Cross fingers for me and I’ll let you know how it goes.

The bag pulled apart
The bag pulled apart

A place for the zipped pocket

My chosen fabrics for the new bag
My chosen fabrics for the new bag

No quilting, but writing is happening.

So with November only having just started I can feel myself getting stressed already. My quilting projects have definitely taken a back seat to all the writing that I need want need to be doing, and the writing is happening, but only very very slowly. I seem to be having more luck writing my ideas down at the moment, rather than actually writing any of my story down. The only quilting that I seem to have gotten done is my little mug rug (which I have to still take photos of, but did turn out quite nice).

The lack of quilting is partly due to the fact that my wrist has been giving me problems again lately and using the rotary cutter is actually quite painful. However, tomorrow I am heading off to the Adelaide craft and quilt fair with my sister, and plan on buying up on some lovely fabrics, so pain in my wrist or not, there will be cutting out done shortly followed by some serious quilting.

In fact, I’m thinking of buying myself a little voice recorder, so that as I am cutting and sewing I can tell my story out loud and then type it up later. I think I can talk as quick as I think, I’m a fairly quick typist, but I still can’t seem to type as quickly as I can think, so maybe this is a way for me to be able to do all the projects that I would like to get done over November without pulling out my hair due to stresssssssss!!

So with that in mind, I thought I would leave you all with the first few paragraphs of my story, which is titled “The adventures of Snotface, Boogerbum and Soggy Scab.” There will be an explanation about the names in the next few days. I hope you enjoy this excerpt:

Snotface and Soggy Scab had always led a very quiet and peaceful life, where they had their set routine, and not a lot changed. They would wake up in the morning, have a leisurely breakfast of toast with jam and cream and Soggy Scab would read his paper while sipping his first cup of tea for the day, while Snotface would sit down and write in her diary about all the extraordinary things that had happened to her on the previous day. Her father would sit across from her and wonder what she was writing about, because as far as he knew, nothing exciting ever happened in the village.

The little village they lived in was called Willow Grove, and it was the most beautiful village you would ever come across. There were green fields, with wildflowers waving in the wind, and dandelions aplenty for the children to pick and make wishes upon. There were lakes, and streams filled with fish, to swim with, or if you were of the mind, to catch. On the edges of the village was a forest, so big and green and dark. No one ever ventured into the forest, the children were too scared to and the adults had no need to – what point was there? Everything they needed was right there within the village itself. No one ever left Willow Grove, and no one ever came, except of course for that one time, when someone did come, and then left again shortly after. It was as if time had stood still. There was farmer Murdoch who grew peas and corn for the village to eat, farmer Riley who made sure everyone had potatoes and tomatoes on their plate and then there was farmer Shane – he kept the pigs and cows, but the less said about that, the better.

Why no one ever ventured into the forest, I cannot tell you. I know I certainly would have gone in to have a bit of a peek, to visit with some of the animals, but it seems that the folk of Willow Grove were not very adventurous, or even really rather curious. Occassionally a deer might wander out of the forest, but it was only rarely, and it was only really to wander into Mrs Gumbles garden to eat her roses. Because the deer of the forest love Mrs Gumbles roses, they are a delicacy to deers, indeed they are.

Hitting a wall already

Last night I sat down and started writing my grand novel for NaNoWriMo. I wrote all of 496 words (oh yeah, I’m so well on my way to 50,000 can’t you tell). I hadn’t sat down and written up a plot, I hadn’t formed my characters and had absolutely no freaking idea what the hell I was doing. Okay, so I still have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m going to persevere.

To take my mind off all the writing, I sat down and whipped up a little mug rug, which is nearly complete, just needs the binding to be put on (pictures shall follow), and I’ve decided I quite like doing some little mini projects in between all the big piecing and quilting. I’ve bought a couple more of Elizabeth Hartman’s patterns so I can decide which three quilts I’m going to start making for a very special project. The Adelaide Craft and Quilt fair is on this weekend, and I’m going and can’t wait, because it means I can get some great fabric (I hope).

So after a long (and very boring day) at work where I was sitting there obsessing over character names and plots and sub plots, I realised that I was making it way harder on myself than it had to be. I had been trying to create a story and fly by the seat of my pants (which wasn’t working for that story at all), when I had a great story in my head, one that I had been wanting to write for the last two years, since just after I met my partner. So I’ve scrapped the original story, and have started the new one, and I can feel the ideas coming thick and fast and the words are flowing. I’m feeling slightly more confident about the coming month. I’m not out to write the next bestseller, just a story that my family will love.