Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Stash: Happy Birthday to Me!

My birthday was a few weeks ago, and this year I decided the fabric fast was off for my birthday and treated myself to some quilting related goodness.

First up, a gift from my hubby and the kids. The easiest way to do this and ensure I'll get something I need is to go to an online store, make a wishlist, then give my login details to my husband. Despite some very good acting on his part along the lines of "I don't think I got that email... do you think if I order it tomorrow it'll arrive by your birthday?" (haha, so funny!), this worked.

They bought me some tools - not super exciting, but useful.

I also caved and bought a couple of packets of Washi tape from Spotlight a while ago and then gave it to my daughter to put away until my birthday.

Then, Spotlight was kind enough to hold a special just for my birthday - $1 fat flats! Woohoo! They only have this sale once a year and I seem to recall it's often near my birthday. For that price, I let myself splurge on 30 something fat quarters. I also got a couple of 1 metre cuts of clearance fabric for $4 a metre.

And Spotlight also had the last of their Christmas craft stock heavily discounted, I got ribbon packages and scrapbooking pads for $2 each. I gave some of the ribbons to the preschool where I work for Christmas projects, and I split the paper packs with a scrapbooking friend. And a packet of Kraft paper, which is my go to for scrapbook layouts and so hard to find, plus a few other bits of pieces also mysteriously appeared in my trolley.

I also heard that Kmart had fantastic metal storage containers really cheap, so I bought a pen holder and desk organiser, as well as an enamel storage tin with "Craft" written on the side that I'm using to store my English Paper Piecing.

Then a naughty, enabling friend who is also meant to be on a fabric diet told me that one of the local thrift stores had a heap of quilting fabric for sale, so I had to have a look. I got some nice designer cuts of fabric, and paid about $25 for around five metres of fabric.

We are doing a birthday swap with my Wombat Stew bee girls, and I got the very generous Kristy as my birthday fairy. Since she knew I was on a fabric diet, she bought me a gift voucher for an Australian online store. I hit the sales section and got about 16 quarter metre cuts (I love places that will do quarter cuts, since I like to have lots of little bits of fabric). Since the store had free shipping for over $50 I let my cart go over $50 to take advantage of that.... but I was very restrained, at one point I had over $90 worth of fabric in my cart.

I got a lovely little collection of stash builders and low volumes.

And... eventually my birthday had to end and now the fabric fast is back on. Probably a good thing, because I don't think I could keep up this pace forever!

Linking up with Sunday Stash with Molli Sparkles.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Finish: The Low Volume Rainbow

I actually finished this baby up a few weeks ago, but life has been crazy and Friday has slipped past numerous times without me posting.

This finish was my February goal for ALYOF and while I didn't get it done in February, it was finished in early March.

This was my first real go at improv piecing, and I love it... it was a fantastic way to use up loads of scraps and hard to use fabrics.

The quilting took forever. It was straight line quilting, but I used seven colours of thread, one for each colour of the rainbow. I took each colour over the corresponding band in the piecing, then into the low volume either side, and horizontally along each band. I love the effect, and how each low volume section is quilted in the colours either side of it. But the thread burying.... OMG. That took forever and ever and ever!!!!

I ended up totally overestimating how much of the low volume improv piecing I'd need for the strips on the front and had plenty left over, so I paired it with some grey solid for a pretty pieced back. Which meant no fabric purchases for the back too.

The only issue I have with this quilt is that it's not totally square, I have no idea why since I squared it up with a ruler when I finished quilting, but I guess the improv nature means it's hard to gauge that it's perfectly square. I'm trying to decide if I unpick some binding, trim and rebind, or if I just accept the fact that it's imperfect, like those people whose shoe sizes are a whole size different.

I'm linking this up with TGIFF over at Blossom Heart Quilts and Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Have a fantastic Easter, and I hope the bunny is kind to you.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

WIP Wednesday: the Domestic Bliss quilt

You know those quilts you've been working on forever, plodding away, making slow progress? This was one of those quilts. I started it in May last year for our bed. I have been working on it while I was at quilt group, which amounts to a few hours a month. 

Slow going. 

At quilt group last Sunday I finally started to see it coming together, I had half the stars pieced and it was all starting to make sense.Since I am on school holidays for two weeks, when I got home I decided not to pack it away. I was determined to get it done.

Three days of solid piecing later, I'm still going. There was so.much.pinning. So.much.pressing. So.much.chain piecing. But we have rows, I'm happy with that. I can see the finish line.

I am loving the secondary pattern of the yellow and white snowballs. A nice place to rest the eye as this baby is busy!!

I started with some of Liz Scott's Domestic Bliss fabrics for Moda. I absolutely love the saturated hues of this line. I wish I'd been able to get some more of the yellows, didn't know those ones existed!

Because I don't like to use just one line in my quilts, I pulled additional fabrics that played nicely with the colours in the Domestic Bliss.

The pattern was a freebie from Moda Bakeshop called Nough Said by Cindy Sharp. I sized it up to a queen size quilt, just to make it a little more challenging. And worked from a black and white print out with pencil scrawl on it, because I love self-torture!

I do have one little problem though. I bought a Denyse Schmidt print at Spotlight which seemed like it would be the perfect border, but now I'm really not so sure. I like the solid yellow sashing, and the striped binding, but the border print seems too busy and too orange. I have enough of it for the backing and I'm fine with using it for that... just not sure as a border. I may need to go shopping to see if I can find something a little more subdued.

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday and WIP Wednesday.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

English Paper Piecing... I Finally Sucumbed!

I have been thinking about doing an English Paper Piecing project forever, I love a little bit of hand work to change things up a bit. But I've always resisted starting something new because I still have so many projects on the go. 

This all changed last month when I saw that Hydeeann has this cool monthly paper piecing linky party on her blog. The fact that I was going away on a road trip to a music festival where I'd have no access to electricity or my stash for FOUR whole days and plenty of free time just gave me another excuse. And yes, you'd better believe that I was the crazy quilt lady sitting on the hill rocking out to country music and doing my hand sewing!

So I trawled Pinterest and found this gorgeous piece of inspiration over at Crazy Mom Quilts. I saw lots more star patterns and decided to do a brights and low volume version of my own.

I am mostly using scraps and have discovered that it's a great way to get through the scrap boxes. I still have a huge bag to 'process'. My bee friends have also been sending me scraps that I'm trying to immediately process into diamonds. 

I found this adorable enamel storage box at Kmart ($12, Australian readers!) that is perfect for storing this project. I love that the top tray has room for my papers, tools and pieces ready to press.

 I made a good start while I was away for a few days, getting these babies together.

And there's plenty more ready to go too!

I am absolutely loving the whole EPP process, I can totally understand how people get addicted! It's nice to slow down and sit down in front of the TV or tucked up in bed and do some stitching. I know this will be a looooong term project - right now I'm thinking queen sized quilt, hand quilted - but I'm okay with that.

Linking up for the very first time to the in hand linky party over at Splish Splash Stash. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

ALYOF - April Goal

I'm getting in on the skin of my teeth again... life is crazy busy here and to be honest I was thinking of skipping ALYOF again this month. But that does nothing to keep me on track, so I decided that I'm going to work on my Harry Potter Bookshelf quilt again.

I started this over a year ago and haven't made much progress, and while I don't think I could possibly finish it this month, I'm sure I can make some progress.

This is where I was at:

This pattern is from Fandom in Stitches, and is available for easy and free complete download at Craftsy. Awesome!!

Linking up to ALYOF... now I'd better get to work!! 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Stashing

I am doing okay on the fabric/craft supply fast... at least I was until I started to use the birthday excuse, but that's the topic of another post.

Meanwhile, this is the purchasing from February and March (most of it). Not perfect, but not too terrible.

A bunch of scrapbooking cuteness from a local cheapy (dollar) store and KMart. Because I seemed to have a momentary lapse that I was fasting. Yes, that's a fruit bowl, but I am using it to hold Washi tape, as you can put it in the bowl and on the spikes. I also bought a plastic storage container for my English Paper Piecing.

A metre of fabric from Spotllight that will be used for something for the Purple Princess, no doubt. It was $5 a metre, then I used my 40% off voucher so it was $3. The lady at the counter looked at me like I was nuts for using such a valuable coupon on this, but that was because I didn't need anything else. SEE, I AM LEARNING!! I actually stood in Spotlight and filled my cart with a bunch of $4m clearance prints and $8m designer prints and then got guilty enough to put them all back. It wasn't easy, but I did it.

My mother-in-law dropped in and asked me how much quilting fabric was, as she was pricing some for the op shop (thrift store) she volunteers at. After I got over the shock of her asking such a dangerous question in front of my husband, when my beloved stash was right in the next roorm in all its hundreds-of-metres-right-here glory, I took a quick look at what she had. Below is $3 worth of fabric - blenders that might come in handy and some hand-dyed fabric that seems to be a heavier weight but would be useful for the art quilts I might get around to doing one day.

I bought these books because I had a gift certificate from returning a few books I bought but realised I didn't really want. One is quite interesting, the other not so much. My motivation here is to extend my creative skills and try new things - I'm currently at the stage of amassing supplies and references rather than actually doing anything new and innovative... oops!

I also bought the digital back issue collection of  Quilting Arts magazine as it was 40% off. See above comments about art quilts and extending creativity.... I have looked at it briefly but it's all a little overwhelming right now.

Not pictured: A frixion eraseable pen as it's useful, and a bunch of glue sticks as they were on deep discount after back to school sales and I use them constantly.

Oh, and when I was in the office supply store I caved on the set of Stabilo fineliners I'd been eyeing off. Whoops. But they are beautiful and they were good value and I'm already using them all the time.

I was also gifted some selvedges from the lovely Kristy and some Project Life cards from a member of a Project Life Facebook group I'm on.

Despite some little lapses, I'm still calling this a successful fast so far. I did torture myself a few times by going to Spotlight for other things - there seems to be some weird magnetic force that pulls me into the quilting and scrapbooking sections when I go there.

I think staying away from temptation is the biggest tool for successful fabric fasting. I need to avoid Spotlight at all costs. I am doing a good job of avoiding fabric store websites and I'm getting very good at sticking my fingers in my ears and singing La La La every time someone mentions a fabric sale.

I am also shopping my stash to remind me I really don't need anything else! I was tempted to shop for a future project until I did a fabric pull at home and discovered I didn't need another thing.

In addition to linking up with Molli Sparkles' Sunday Stash, I'm linking up with Fabriholics Anonymous's March linky party. I'll confess on my birthday haul in another post, but now the fast is officially BACK ON!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Keeping It Real

In the interest of honesty in blogging, I decided that today I'd share some of my craft room photos with you.
I have been feeling very unproductive lately - though that's not really true, as I've nearly finished quilting another quilt and I have started a sweet little English paper piecing project after many years of thinking about doing some EPP.

But in the last few days I've been really tired and somewhat overwhelmed, and I suspect it has a little something to do with this hot mess....

Seiously, is it any wonder I couldn't get my head around any thing? There is everything under the sun in here, from a school bag to about leftovers from the last three projects... and all beautifully organised on the floor. Aaargh!

So even though there is plenty I need to be doing, I decided to spend this evening tidying up. And now it looks like this...

Thank God, Is all I can say. I feel better already, and I am about to write a little to do list for the week (which will include getting my act together on the blogging front).

The desk is still a little insane, but that is a task for another day.

Please reassure me that I'm not the only one who feels like a bomb has sometimes gone off in their creative space! Can you work when it reaches a certain level of crazy, or does your productivity slide too?