27 April 2015

Finished 2015: Four little projects

In amongst all the quilt action and uni assignments, I have actually managed to finish a few little projects over the past month, but eeek, I never seem to find the time to blog!

First up, the kid was off to a birthday party and I suddenly got the urge to put something handmade with the present.  I have had Pretty Little Thing's Owl Mask pattern sitting in my folder for quite a long time now, and thought they would make a great little gift.  Obviously I couldn't make just one, the Kid wanted one too and I made a spare for the next party!

Second little project was a birthday card for niece.  I have wanted to make a little stock of embroidered cards for a long time, to use for special friends and families birthdays, but of course that has just not happened.  So I decided to just sit down and make one for my niece, sometimes you just got to start.  I may not have a supply of them, but I now at least have some ideas on paper of what I want to do.

Third on the list is another coin purse.  The rate Im churning these out, I should have about 4 done for the school fair in November!  Maybe spreading myself a wee bit too thin - haha.

Last little project are these two embroidered hoops.  On our trip to the UK earlier in the year, my brother and his family treated us to a lovely weekend away with a little surprise - we were staying in a LIGHTHOUSE.  Now we are not going to forget that holiday in a rush, so much fun.  The kid drew this picture of the lighthouse and I thought it might be nice to embroider it - one for me and one for brother's family.

And now I am up to date!

14 April 2015

A quilt update

It seems I now have four quilts in varying stages of completion - how the hell did that happen?  Come on, we all know its exciting to plan and work on the top of a quilt but yeesh the binding and back and quilting, well its just not so sexy.  That's the way it seems to be for me anyway!  So not surprisingly I am good at getting quilt tops done but the rest of it, not so much.

Quilt #1 is the green coin quilt I started way way way back when.  The top is done but I am held up because I haven't bought the wadding yet.   I also realised that the back is smaller than the front.  Holy Crap Batman, how did I manage that - its bloody annoying.  So after some thought, I decided to add a panel to the bottom of the back piece and also take a couple of inches off the side of the top piece and that should sort out that problem.

Quilt #2 I have ingeniously named the square quilt.  The top is finished (woop), wadding has been bought (woop, woop) and binding has been kind of made (woop, woop, woop).  But oh no, no back piece for this one.  I have decided to keep it simple after the debacle of Quilt #1's sizing issues (Im sure I measured it properly) and I have decided to just do a plain fabric piece for the backing.  Just need to actually buy something.

Quilt #3 Not content to have two unfinished quilts, I decided I needed to start a new quilt.  I wanted to move on from squares and rectangles - you know, stretch myself, if only a little. So I have decided to do a relatively simple (I'm hoping) flying geese pattern in the new oranges, reds and greys I recently bought.  Cutting has started but I have a long way to go and it is pretty low down on my to do list, so often nothing happens for days and days - oh make that weeks.

Quilt #4 is my denim quilt - basically I am embroidering rainbow abstract designs on cut up old jeans.  Its a slow slow process but the pile of squares is starting to grow.  Not sure how this one will work out right now, but Im sure it will come to me eventually.

Well I better get cracking, lots to do.

15 March 2015

Finished 2015: Lotta Reversible Sun Hat

Well blow me down with a feather, Ive finished something else.  My first thing from the Make Stuff from my Existing Craft Books Project......definitely need a snappier title for this project (any suggestions?).

I have had Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing book on my shelf for many years and love most of the projects in this book.  However, until now I have only got around to making one thing from it and that was back in 2009 for goodness sake (see my version of the All Day Tote).

This time around I decided to make her version of a Sun Hat.  Originally the yellow fabric was my choice for the outside of the hat but since I have finished it, I think I actually prefer it the other way around with the paisley on the outside.  Well that is the joy of being reversible!

Next thing up from my The Crafty Books are off the Shelf project is a new pin cushion........ ooooooooh I hear you cry.

06 March 2015

First thing I finished this year

The problem with having lots of different projects on the go at any one time, is that it can be ages until you finish anything.  With this is in mind I decided I needed some little projects to go along side the almighty ones.

I made a couple of little coin purses last year out of cute fabric but really wanted to make some with my own embroidered designs on and here is the first cab of the rank so to speak.  I am thinking I might make a collection of them for the school fair this year, just slowly plod along with them and by November I should have a nice little pile of them.

Oh and remember all those craft books I was browsing through and all the projects within their pages that I wanted to make this year, well I decided that my first one would be Lotta's Simple Sewing Sun Hat.  Hopefully have this finished by next week, fingers crossed.

Love these smaller projects!

20 February 2015

2 quilts and a lighthouse

Work continues on my denim quilt / picnic blanket. It is a slow process embroidering these 14cm squares but I try and do a little each night in front of the teev.  Ive worked out that I need about 50 embroidered squares and I have about 10 done so far, seems this may be an all year long project.

Obviously, I don't have just the one project going on, of course there are many!  I decided to get cracking on the quilt I started cutting out late last year.  Just a a load of 5 inch squares incorporating some of my stash fabric and some specially bought ones from Remnant Warehouse.  But realised I didn't have quite enough and happened to be walking past Lyncraft last week, just as they were having their half price fabric sale.  My god their fabric variety is woeful but I did manage to find a couple that I thought might fit in with the colour scheme.

All the squares are cut out now and the sewing has begun - no thanks to her ladyship below.

My other little side project is this lighthouse embroidery.  We were lucky enough to be treated to a weekend away during our recent trip to the UK - with my brother and his family.  We were completely blown away when we arrived at our little holiday home and it was a lighthouse.  The kid drew the cutest picture of our lighthouse home and I thought it might be kinda cute to turn it into an embroidery for Ellie to send back home to her cousins.  Ive actually decided to make two because I want one as well - so better get cracking on the second one.

11 February 2015

Projects galore

If you are like me you probably have a LOT of crafting books.  I have loads but the sad thing is that it is not very often that I get around to making any of the cool projects found on the pages of these books.

So I was just browsing  through one of them the other night and I started sticking post it notes on the projects I would really like to make in 2015 and then I grabbed the next book and then the next.  OK so I  have bookmarked quite a few projects and it will in no way be possible to make them all but it sure seems silly to have such cool books and never make anything from them.

So I am going to choose a few of my favourites over the coming months and see if I can't knock a couple off.  The only problem, what to do first!

05 February 2015

Books in 2015

I set myself a target to read 30 books this year - thats pretty doable don't you think?  Im also interested to see what percentage of fiction to non fiction I read.  My reading tastes have really changed over the years, in my twenties I would have read 90% fiction but now in my forties it is the complete opposite.  However, I am wondering if another swing of the pendulum is starting to happen.

Fittingly then, my first two books of 2015 were both right ripping yarns (though one may have been more ripping than the other).

First up, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Time and Time Again by Ben Elton - it was perfect airplane reading - a bit of a mystery, an easy read and a lot of time travel.  Damn I LOVE time travel stories and this one was a good one.

My second choice was The Martian by Andy Weir.  I loved this book too, but it was a slower read and very nerdy.  Think Apollo 13 set on Mars - I got a bit bogged down in all of technical space stuff at times and would put the book down for days on end, however, I was still intrigued enough to keep coming back to it.  If you thought the movie Gravity was cool you would probably like this book, if you would rather poke your eyes out with a stick than watch that movie (as some of my friends have said they would like to do) then maybe give it miss.  Me, I liked Gravity and I like this.

On the nightstand for February and in various stages of being read are:

... Mindset: How you can full your potential by Carol Dweck
... The Book of You by Claire Kendal
... Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
... Elizabeth is missing by Emma Healey
... Happiness by Design by Paul Dolan

03 February 2015

Daily habit for 2015

I wanted to commit to a creative daily habit in 2015 but wanted to be a more specific rather than just anything creative.  Therefore, I decided to concentrate on making quilts - as the kid become less interested in wearing the things I make for her and I'm not really that enthusiastic (yet) in making clothes for myself - it seemed like quilts were the right thing for me at this time.

Starting this project whilst on holiday in the UK was a bit tricky as I had no access to all my fabric or a sewing machine.  However, it had been on my mind for a while to make a picnic blanket style quilt made out of up cycled denim and then thought it would be cool to embellish some of the squares.

So began my square embroideries that saw me through all of January.  I opted to limit the colours to a rainbow palette and picked appropriate shades which I pretty much plan to stick to for this project.  I have been inspired by both the sashiko and zentangle styles for my squares.  I am not sure how many squares I will do in total and I am planning on leaving some squares blank, and I may incorporate some non denim squares into the patchwork - just not sure yet, it is a work in progress.

Whilst some days I only managed very little towards my quilt progress, I still have only missed one day so far and I had a good excuse for that one (a 24 hour cross the world plane journey will do that).

I have two other quilt projects on the go at the same time that I started in 2014 - one is very close to being finished and the other is just in the cut out stages and hopefully I will find some time in February to look at these two projects.

My progress for the denim quilt so far (including another daily habit I may have picked up nom nom nom):

30 January 2015


Well jet lag sucks big time doesn't it!  I have been back from England nearly a week now and I am still waking up at 2am in the morning, completely unable to go back to sleep.  I feel like I am living in the twilight zone and I am getting somewhat grumpy about it all.  I want to get my energy back and get on with stuff but instead I am in a constant woozy and vague state of mind.

At least the Kid is back on Australian time......I know, I must be getting old, Im sure crossing 11 time zones never used to be this bad.

It was, however, completely worth it.  We had a ball back home with the family.  I had been worried that we were going to be a bit bored going to UK for 7 weeks in winter and be stuck in a lot but I was so wrong.  I won't lie, it was blooming cold, but we had very little rain and there was much more going on that I realised, we did so much.

I want to do it all again next Christmas.......well except for the jet lag.

09 January 2015

Non Resolutions for 2015

So you may have noticed that it's 2015 already.  And a new year means resolutions, right? Well, I'm not really one to set hard and fast resolutions but all the same there were thoughts and ideas knocking around my head, things that I hoped to get done or start in 2015.

Consequently, I grabbed my notebook and as an idea came to me I would pop it on the page and before I knew it the page was full.

OK, so what are those non resolutions:

  • spend even more time on my bicycle
  • get a job
  • work out if I can afford to study fulltime
  • spend less time down the internet rabbit hole
  • learn 100 new words
  • work out if I can afford to visit the UK again next Christmas
  • finish my foundation Uni course
  • start my degree course
  • stick to a couple of daily habits and track them
  • 10,000 steps every day in 2015
  • eat mindfully
  • keep my Instagram and Blog up to date
  • finally finish the C25K running programme
  • I can never take enough photos
  • lose enough weight that I feel good in my jeans
  • run the City 2 Surf again or do a charity run or both?
  • read more books - target 30 for the year
  • start a gratitude project with the kid
  • get more plants
  • make 2015 the year of the quilt
  • make handmade gifts for everyone - need to start planning early
  • work on my patience with the kid
Lots to think about there, some Im very excited about, some I know will be hard (i.e. getting off Facebook) but a shiny new year is always full with opportunity and this one is no different.

Happy New Year to everyone, hope yours is a wonderful one.

31 December 2014

2014: the year in review

Sometimes I get to the end of a year and think well I didn't manage to do very much. However, when I actually take a stroll through the year that was, I realise that in fact I did a lot more than I had imagined.

This year saw some big life changes for me, not all that I have gone into in this space, but in short I moved house, got retrenched after 18 years with the same company, started a part time university degree course and flew home to the UK to see my folks who I haven't seen in 3 years. Phew!

So I was actually quite surprised that I have managed to complete as many craft projects as I have...

So I wish you all a wonderful 2015 and my it be filled with joy and peace and a lot of crafting.

27 November 2014

Finished: Stella Monkey Dress

I told you that the projects were all finishing at once: voila another completed job.  I've made this dress before and the Kid loved it, and she actually asked for another one and picked this rather subtle yellow, monkey fabric for the job.

I couldn't find the pattern I used before, so I cut out another one but I must have gone a size up because this dress has turned out huge.  I have to tie the bow very high on her shoulder otherwise the kid is liable to have wardrobe malfunctions all over the show.

Pattern used was the Stella One Shoulder dress by Violette Field Threads.

26 November 2014

Finished: City Gym Shorts

Another project finished.  I am simply racing through them...or should I say they have taken me months to make but all the projects seem to be finishing at the same time.

I loved Purlbee's City Gym Shorts tutorial from the minute I saw it and was really pleased it came in adult and kid's sizes.  And you know what that means....matching shorts of course.  Though I haven't actually been game to wear them out in public yet.

I will definitely be making more of these for me and the kid - but perhaps one pair of matching shorts is enough.