Thursday, December 31, 2015

Farewell 2015

I don't know where 2015 has gone, but here we are at the 31 December 2015 and the clock is ticking steadily towards 2016.

2015 has been a bit of a mixed bag, however I have a lot to be grateful for and feel very blessed.

Here is a photo of our eldest daughter with her daughter over the Christmas holiday, we had some precious family time and some special memories were made.

Happy New Year everyone, I hope 2016 brings special moments for you all and heaps of stitching opportunities.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas is done for 2015

The dishwasher has been busy, the washing machine is churning out clean sheets and towels and our family have started their long journey home in the steady summer temperatures that we have been experiencing here in Tauranga. 

The house is very quiet now but we all had a fantastic time together over the past week and many memories have been made and I feel incredibly blessed for my family and the quality time we have just shared together. As the time came closer for family to leave I have to confess that I did start thinking about what stitching was waiting for its turn under the needle. 

I did manage to get a little stitching done while everyone was here, sewed on a button that came off in the wash, stitched ribbon back onto a top for my granddaughter plus I did also get some hexies sewn.

Here is a pic of 'Oh, Christmas Trees' hanging on the wall. It was great having it completed in time for Christmas this year, an awesome sense of accomplishment and I do love it's more modern look. The green borders are my own hand dyed fabric which adds to the satisfaction too.

Unfortunately this beauty didn't get quilted in time for Christmas this year but it got put on the wall anyway. Today it is coming down and will be the first thing on the list to get quilted. I purchased this as a kit at the Taupo Symposium 2013 and can't wait to have this one done.

As always as the year draws near to the end I become very reflective about the experiences that that year has provided, the challenges - the good, the bad and the ugly, and the things I can be thankful for. One of the things that I have been reflecting on in particular, is what has worked for me, what hasn't and what changes I can make to improve things so as to allow for the coming year to be more productive especially in terms of my stitching. 

I do like the quilters planner that I have seen on several blog sites but I have however already sorted my diary for 2016 based on what I used this year. I like a large diary that I can write appointments or time allocation down, important events and things that have to be done. I also like space to put other information in, like what can be sown in the kitchen garden for each month. One of the things that I will be adding this year is my stitching goals, at the moment I have them in another book but think that having them together will mean that everything will be in one place and I will be reminded regularly of my stitching goals. Allocating regular stitching time into my schedule will help with my productivity this coming year too. 

Right now however, I need to get my sewing room back into production mode from being a guest room over the last few days. 

Hope to see you back here soon, happy stitching everyone.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

All things Christmas

As much as Christmas brings all its own hustle and bustle, for those of us living in New Zealand it also brings our summer holiday which brings its own hustle and bustle as everyone is trying to get things tidied up for summer, Christmas and the end of the year.

The shops are busy, the temperatures are rising and tempers are fraying. Anyone working in the retail industry can confirm that. The other day in the supermarket there were definitely some grumpy people doing their shopping moaning at any holdup at the checkout. You know, it is what it is and there just isn't any point getting all grumpy, bitter and twisted about it. We just need to be thankful that we are here and can enjoy this festive season with our friends and family, so just grin and move on or at least don't moan or grump at those around you.

I enjoy being able to pull out of the cupboard some special things for the Christmas season. Here is a pic of the Christmas stocking that I made last year for our granddaughter. I used the stitch and flip technique for this stocking and others that I have made previously and I like how they turn out.

Some of my other favourites are two canvases that I did a couple of years ago now, they were kits that I purchased from The Apple Basket and are Ngaire William designs and I just love them.

I still have a couple of things to get completed if I can before Christmas, we will just have to see how things unfold around here.

Happy stitching everyone,

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Slow but steady wins the race

Things are happening slowly around here, the sewing room is getting more and more organised as each day passes and projects are getting completed little by little. I have my list as my guide and things are improving. 

These crumb, string blocks and strips surfaced in my clearing of the sewing table, I love how this happens especially when you realise that with a few more you could do something with them and have them gone.

I have a long list for today and stitching is on there, so I am going to head off and make a start. What is on your list today? Let us all know in the comments below.

Until next time, happy stitching

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Progress is slow

My rheumatoid arthritis has flared up again and is making progress very slow. I over did it yesterday moving furniture and doing things on my own that I should have asked help for, however for someone who is fiercely independent it isn't easy to admit that you need some help and you also have to wait until someone is around to give you that helping hand and I can be too impatient for that. I am paying for it today and although there is a lot to do I will be taking it more carefully for a few days. I find by pacing myself and taking rests from that particular activity I can still achieve my goals. I find myself sorting out how I can work smarter rather than working harder more and more these days and it works for me, until I over do it that is.

There is still some sorting to be done in the sewing room as I moved a large white cupboard yesterday from one side of the room to the other as it was too close to the doorway and was restricting access a little bit. There are a couple of little things that I wouldn't mind getting sewn together if I can get to the sewing machine in the next few days. 

I don't know about you but I have a few very special Christmas ornaments and this is one of them. My friend Wendy lived in the USA with her family for a couple of years while her husband studied there. On her return I was gifted this decoration which she had purchased while at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. Every year when this decoration is placed on my tree I think of Wendy and the special place that she has in my heart. As I sit in the lounge through the festive season and my eye catches that decoration I am reminded of special memories and the connection that we have. I am very grateful for my special friends and the richness that they bring to my life.

This time with Christmas approaching can be very stressful with all of the business that this season brings, but please take some time for yourself even if it is a few stolen moments and remember the things we are grateful for - mine are family, friends and memories.

Until next time, happy stitching everyone.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

The hexies continue...

With spring cleaning  and preparation for Christmas underway I haven't got as much sewing done as I thought I would. However I try to sit and stitch for at least half an hour a day and it is working, even these little snippets of time accumulate into results.

Here is my hexie progress to date, in terms of pieces being sewn together. I have chosen to use all different colours of fabrics, I considered using just one fabric line but I can't do it. I am a scrappy, throw it all together kind of gal. 

It is surprising just how many hexies you can get out of some scraps of fabric. Maybe this quilt will be the quilt that shows my history - the fabrics through my quilting journey, scraps from special fabrics evoking special memories. 

I really enjoy sitting and stitching the hexies, I find it incredibly calming but incredibly addictive!

I am very grateful to have the scraps of fabric to enable the variety that I hope will be in this quilt, I am also very grateful for the time that I can just sit and stitch these small pieces of fabric together. Funny that as we sit and make sense of the fabric pieces we also take time to sift through our thoughts and make sense of the pieces of our lives.

I have much to be grateful for especially coming up to Christmas which is such a special time giving us the opportunity to spend special quality time with those that are closest to us, our friends and family. 

Some stitching time is waiting for me - so until next time, happy stitching everyone.


Monday, December 07, 2015

Whangamata Quilt Show continued

Here are some more photos from the Whangamata Quilt Show. I was very impressed with both the amount and the variety of quilts in this show, these ladies have been very busy.

A few wallhangings that were done in a class with Jacqui Karl.

Some of Jacqui's work was on display as well.

I always enjoy seeing what other quilters and clubs are doing. Whangamata also had the Aotearoa Green 12x12 challenge, plus the suitcase exhibition. A great display by everyone involved and a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Thank you ladies.

Until next time, happy stitching everyone.

Friday, December 04, 2015

More from Whangamata

Yesterday I had a day out of the house visiting some of our beautiful countryside of New Zealand and I didn't get any photos as I was just enjoying being in the moment and the people I was with. I thought that this would be a good opportunity to catch up on some pics from the Whangamata show that I haven't shared yet. 

Annemaree's quilt by Margaret Wells, quilted by Christine Collins. 
really like this quilt, especially the large pieces and the graphics.

Diamonds and Crosses by Wendy Dowling
String quilts always just go and the pink makes this one pop.

Out of the Blue by Margaret Wells
I just love blues, and this looks great.

Moody Blues by Lyn Osmers, quilted by Christine Collins.
This is just striking.

There were several entries by Norma Ewart that just blew me away. The amount of work in them is  huge and they are just gorgeous.

Tranquility by Norma Ewart

Otahu View by Norma Ewart

Forever Friends by Norma Ewart

So there is some eye candy for you, probably enough for one more post. You might want to check back tomorrow for that one. Until then happy stitching everyone.


Thursday, December 03, 2015

Yay for a finish!

I couldn't leave the Christmas trees alone and found myself sitting and sewing the binding on yesterday afternoon while watching Masterchef on tv on demand just to get it finished.

So last night I sewed a few hexies, just a couple.

The hexies are sitting on the next project which is waiting for completion, but more on that tomorrow. I am not sure how much I will get done today as we are going out of town today but I will keep you posted.

Check us out tomorrow to see how much progress has been made. Until then happy stitching everyone.


Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Oh Christmas Trees...

Oh Christmas trees, oh Christmas trees....

The binding is going on this wallhanging today, right now!

It is a good feeling getting this done and dusted. Yesterday there was a lot of reverse sewing going on as I was experiencing trouble with my thread and machine combination. I persevered as that was the thread that I had started with and didn't want to change halfway through. I also know that my Janome handles that thread better too, but again I didn't want to stop to set up my sewezi table and Janome machine. I just want to get this quilt done!

I made the binding and sleeve yesterday, so getting this binding sewn on shouldn't take long and I can do the hand sewing tonight watching some television.

So what is under your needle today?


Tuesday, December 01, 2015

First day of December 2015

This is what I am focusing on today.

I have used the end of the kitchen bench to batt this up - I am wanting this done!

Christmas is just around the corner and my list is too long.

What are you working on? Leave a comment and let us all know.

Happy stitching 

Monday, November 30, 2015

November is moving on

I don't know where the last few weeks have gone. I have spent some time away with mum to get the results from some tests. We are just waiting now to hear when her treatment starts.

We spent some time with mums brother and his wife along with their grown daughters calling in to catch up with us too. It is really nice being so welcomed and having the support from extended family especially through these stressful times. My sister who lives in Australia was here for several days which was nice and my sister who lives in Auckland managed to get some time off which allowed us to spend an afternoon and evening all together with mum. It has been a very long time since mum has had her three daughters all together like that, special quality time. The time spent with mum, my sisters and my relatives made me appreciate anew the support of people who care about each other. 

I worked on my hexies a little while I was away and it was very special sitting with my Aunty Bev and us both working on our hexies together while visiting with each other. My hexie collection is growing, I will have to start sewing some together soon.

I have spent some time doing more organising in the sewing room and have now completed sorting all fabrics into bins by colour. This took longer than I thought it would and I now have better knowledge of my stash. I don't think it matters how large or small your stash is, I do think we all have more fabric than we remember and I do have more than I thought I did.

This afternoon I watched some videos on machine quilting by Leah Day and then had a bit of a practice session, trying out a couple of the design ideas I had seen on the videos. The first one was a meandering ribbon type design, this was more difficult than I thought it would be. The scale I was doing this on was a little small and I will try it again on a bigger scale. 

The second pattern I did was a curved line pattern which I really enjoyed doing and love how it looks. I think this one will appear on some quilts in the near future. 

The biggest thing that I got from watching the videos of Leah's today was to give myself permission to play and explore and that practice will develop my repertoire of designs while developing my self confidence in using them. Yes, I knew this already but sometimes it is good to have a reminder.

I also spent some time de boning some of my husbands shirts that were worn around the collar. The shirts were still in good condition other than the collars and will make a good contribution to my strip drawers and scrap bins.

That is all for today, so until next time happy stitching everyone.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

One of my Top Five

Today I decided that I needed to work on something that kept my mind occupied and had decided at the beginning of the week to set aside today for sorting out Home Coming Lane and getting the blocks spread out on my new design boards. It is blocks like these that I thought the boards would be absolutely perfect for and I was not wrong. 

I have been procrastinating about this quilt and always get it so far and then I have to pack it up again and until now I had not found a way to keep it all organised but still ready to work on until now with my new boards.

I spent yesterday afternoon working through what still needs to be done for each block. This pattern is a mix of piecing and appliqué and each block is at different stages. Having the boards means that everything for each block is laid out and all together and I can stack the boards.

Block one, nearly completed just vine below house to do.

Just about all of the appliqué pieces have now been attached to fabric, so the next step is cutting them all out and getting them attached to the backgrounds. This quilt was a kit and it is fun choosing the fabrics for each component. One of the reasons that the boards are really good is I like to have the whole quilt spread out at one time so I can check and see that the colours and fabrics are spread evenly throughout the quilt. I don't have the space for a design wall so these boards are the next best thing. 

Boards with everything laid out and organised.

I was really impressed with the how the cotton batting works holding the pieces in place with no movement, the other thing is I pressed directly on the board. My iron is very small and low wattage and while it gets hot it wasn't too hot for the board. 

Isn't this iron cute? Yes it is real and it does work.

Once I have all the appliqué pieces in place then these can be added to my 'to go' bag. I am really keen to get this one to completion and up on the wall. There are four blocks made up of both the appliqué and the piecing which I am intending to quilt as you go although I haven't thought through yet how I am going to deal with the borders.

Right, this one of the top five is calling me, so happy stitching everyone. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tauranga Patchwork and Quilters Group Open Weekend

This weekend 14 - 15 November Tauranga Patchworker and Quilters Group are having an open weekend.

The Open Weekend gives us an opportunity to promote our club and showcase the type of work that patchwork and quilters produce from traditional works to works of art.

On display we will have the Aotearoa Quilters "Green 12x12 Challenge" which is a series of 12x12 inch artworks that members have created.

We will also have the New Zealand Quilter "Suitcase" Exhibition which is a small number of invitation only quilts that are chosen to travel New Zealand in a suitcase.

On display will also be our club members Challenge Quilts from our recent exhibition along with our winning quilts.

Also on display will be club member Melanie Martin's award winning quilt 'Is it Art?' along with some of her other works.

We will also have quilting technique demonstrations taking place along with refreshments available and an espresso coffee cart on site.

Please if you are close enough to us, don't hesitate in coming down and checking us out.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The hexies have begun

I am loving the look of my hexies all ready in a container  - they look quite different when looking from another perspective, this way you just see the colour leaving any design as secondary interest.

I haven't sewn any together yet as I needed a project quickly and didn't have time to sort what colours I wanted with each other so I decided to just start making hexies and make those decisions later.

I have decided to bite the bullet and do the insanity quilt, although mine is my 'sanity quilt'. My mum has recently been diagnosed with cancer and having this project to do helps keep me calm and keep my fingers busy especially when waiting at appointments etc. I find that when life gives me curve balls that I tend to become more creative or simply having to keep my fingers and mind as busy as I can. Sometimes the simple act of stitching can help me sort out in my head what is going on in my heart and accept the path we now find ourselves on.

I love the way that hexies are so transportable and I have removed the tacked hexies to the above container from my little bag, making room for more supplies.

A special friend made and gifted me this gorgeous little bag for my birthday last month and this is what I keep my 'to go' project in. It is small enough to go in my handbag and therefore I am never without something to do when I need it. 

I think I will continue to tack hexies and get a variety of colours before I start sewing some of them together. As I was tidying a little in the sewing room yesterday some fabrics were cut and put straight into the hexie bag. I was quite surprised at how far a piece of scrap fabric can go when converted to hexies. 

That is all for now, happy stitching everyone and hope to see you back here soon to check out what I am doing next.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

More little projects

Little projects can be so rewarding, they can be a good interlude to bigger projects and can be so much fun.

For Debbie I made a pair of oven mitts...

And I also made her a doorstop...

I love it when friends really like what I have made for them and I really enjoy seeing the items being used. I was a little concerned about the oven mitts as I only used one layer of insulbrite but Debbie tested them out and they work perfectly - no burnt hands.

These doorstops are very effective and look great in different colour ways and are filled with rice that has been frozen for 24 hours to stop insects eating it.

I was on a bit of a roll and also completed these folders that had been sitting around for a while. I am pleased with how they turned out and can't wait to make one for myself. These are going to be Christmas gifts, I will put some extra things inside as a surprise.

Until next time, happy stitching everyone.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Little Projects

Little projects often get squeezed into our busy schedules and amongst our other projects and I have recently squeezed in a few.

Over this last year we have been having projects at Tauranga Patchwork and Quilters Group and one of those was fabric baskets. So yesterday I made two fabric baskets as a baby gift for my hairdresser who has just had a gorgeous little boy.

Last weekend I made some portable design boards that I had seen on a blog which I thought would be beneficial to have in the sewing room or wherever I am sewing. They do make a good tray or work surface when sitting on the couch in the evenings with the family. 

I like how the boards can be stacked and because they are light they are easy to carry from one part of the house to the other. I usually do the cutting of fabric on the end of the kitchen bench - it works for me. Being able to spread the boards out on the dining table and place the components on each board and then transport them to the sewing room is definitely a bonus.

Lori has very good instructions on her blog for making these and you can check it out here. I chose to make my boards 16 x 20 inches so I can use them for different size blocks, as I have already mentioned this size also works as a lap top work surface.

I have several more projects to make and complete  today and they are gifts for a special friend that we are having quality time with this weekend who has moved into a brand new home. 

Check back to see what I made for our friend Debbie.

Happy stitching everyone

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Whangamata Quilt Show

Labour weekend saw Whangamata quilters have their quilt show and what a show it was. The Whangamata group have 20 members and hold their show every two years.

Here are some of the awesome quilts that were on display.

Star Burst by Sandy Briggs

Close up of some of the quilting.

Postcards from Paris by Marion Welsh

The detail is amazing.

The mitred corners make the most of this beautiful fabric.

Still of the Night by Sandy Briggs

Close up of detail

Close up of quilting detail.

There is more to come so check back soon and in the meantime happy stitching everyone.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Oops, things have slowed down some

Okay, things were going at great speed on my current top five project until I couldn't find my specialty rulers - particularly the companion ruler. 

When my mum came down to convalesce following her surgery I had a tidy up in the front room where I sew and people stay and now I can not remember for the life of me where I have put the rulers.

 In the spare time that I should be spending sewing I have been looking and reorganising with some sorting as I go. After spending nearly the whole day today in the front room, I still have not found the rulers but I have reorganised all of the fat quarters into containers by colour groups. I have moved things around and put like things together, labelled containers and just had a really good sort out. 

I have found even more four patches - I am really going to have to sort a project to use some of them up or might indeed be drowned in them.

While I am looking for the misplaced rulers I have decided to continue with another project that I uncovered and here is a sneak look but there will be more about it very soon. I am pushing this one to a completion before I return to Orange Crush.

Watch this space to keep up with the progress.

Keep stitching everyone