Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday Stash - Hatches, Matches and Dispatches

Just before Christmas I put in two fabric orders from the US, my last big orders for a while, what with me being on a fabric diet and all. Timely too, though this was before I heard about the very steep price increase on flat rate envelopes from $16.95 to $23.95! Sheesh!

I had been eyeing off Ann Kelle's Remix Ovals for a while, and decided to grab them when they were on sale. The colours are just so beautiful and this is totally one of my kind of prints.

The plan was to combine shipping with my other Must Have, Lizzy House's Pearl Bracelets, but disaster of the first world kind struck when the shop sold out of the Pearl Bracelets! I ended up getting a bundle of this Spot On, another fabulous stash builder. And Kristy helped me fill the bag to maximise postage.

Fortunately I found Pearl Bracelets over at Westwood Acres for a great price and I snapped it up before anyone else could even think about it and even before my morning coffee. Oh my god, this fabric is as perfect as I'd hoped. Serious fabric love.

In the interest of filling a bag I also added a bundle of Alison Glass's Lucky Penny Bike Path. These are colours I wouldn't normally choose, but I am trying to diversify my stash a little further and I really love the fall colours.

Now, I shop at quite a few online stores and I've never been unhappy with any service I've had, but I would note that Amanda at Westwood Acres' service is exceptional. After going trigger happy on my order of Pearl Bracelets, I emailed her to ask if I could add the Bike Path without shipping coming up again - not only did she reply promptly but with a link to a special order just for me! And she popped a teeny weeny mini charm pack of Sweetwater Noteworthy into my parcel, squeal! I am saving that for something special just for me, and I have had to put it on a high shelf because my daughters are both desperate to open it up!

Also in the mail this week were a couple of parcels from the destash page I should avoid - two scrap bags that contained lots of great quilting cottons and some vintage sheet goodness, and also a ribbon scrap bag, which is just heavenly. I spent a good bit of time pressing and sorting the fabric, and winding the ribbon, and in all that I forgot to take any photos. Duh.

As I'd hoped, a few of my Bike Path and Pearl Bracelet prints go nicely with my Domestic Bliss bundle, so they've been added to that pile.


I've finally got my act together and I'm selling some fabric on the abovementioned destash page. I am trying to be a bit ruthless, particularly with dressmaking fabrics. There is much craft room organising happening at the moment.

Linking up to Fiona's Sunday Stash, which is over with Audrey at Hot Pink Quilts this week.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Finish - Secret Santa

I actually finished this project last week, but it was in transit interstate to my lovely fellow Wombat, Lara, so I couldn't show it off it until now.

As regular readers know, I'm in a paper piecing bee called Wombat Stew. In December, we opted to make secret Santa presents instead of swapping blocks, and I was allocated Lara.

A few of Lara's favourite quilty thing include selvedges, rainbows and hexagons - we are total kindred spirits in that department. So after a quick stalk of her Pinterest, I came up with a plan for a small wall quilt.

 Some block detail:

And a rainbow stripe back:

I had so much fun making this, picking out my favourite prints, playing with my selvedges, doing my favourite type of quilting, testing my new perle cottons.... it was all fun and games up to the binding, which gave me grief due to the cranky sewing machine phenomenon, but it got done.

I am so happy with how it turned out, there were a few moments when I wanted to keep it for myself. But I know it's gone to a very good home and is most loved - it is always more special when handmade gifts are well received.

In addition to one handmade item, we put in little bits and pieces too.

I broke out my Silhouette cutter to make her this sign and a paper tea set - no idea what she might be able to do with that, but Lara loves teapots and red, so it fits :).

I also sent along a set of quilt row markers I've made, I found this idea on Pinterest a while ago and they're a great alternative to scribbling on tape or scraps of paper to mark your rows.

And some Japanese character tape, another thing Lara likes.

I also sent a little roll of scraps, but this is kind of cheating, because they were Lara's scraps for her bee block - Lara is in both my bees and was queen in December and January, so I popped both her bee blocks in the parcel too.

I wrapped everything up individually because opening it is part of the fun.

And when I took it to the post office, there was my Secret Santa present from the lovely Gemma waiting for me! It would appear my photos of this are on my phone, so I'm stealing a pic from Gemma's post here.

Oh my God, when I opened my parcel I was totally smitten. How amazing is this?

flying geese cushion cover

You may have already seem this cushion, floating around the interwebs on places like Aurifil's Facebook and Twitter feeds!!! - and it is totally worthy of the attention. The fabric selection and piecing is beautiful and the quilting is sublime. It is just so beautiful and I am so very in love.

The only problem is that it makes the rest of my couch cushions look very shabby indeed... so I need to get on the task of making more cushions.

Linking up to TGIFF  at From Blank Pages, and Crazy Mom Quilts.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy Little Vintage Find

This morning I dropped my sewing machine for a service (sob!) and stopped in at my favourite op shop (thrift store), conveniently around the corner.

As I was walking out, this little gem called out to me from the magazine rack, nestled among the craft magazines. Now I totally identify as a thoroughly modern quilter, but I figured for 60c it was worth the look.

Behold, a 1977 Better Homes and Gardens Patchwork & Quilting book. Officially vintage, almost as old as me, back when patchwork was brand new again, long before the invention of rotary cutters and die cutters.

Okay, so the fashions and hairstyles leave a lot to be desired, but some of the quilts are fabulous. If you thought using lots of solids was oh-so-modern, you were wrong. And if you thought bright was a 21st century invention, wrong again. Change up the styling and you'd have trouble telling some of these apart from current 'modern' quilts (though the puffy batting leaves something to be desired).

I was going to take photos of a few of the pages for you, but then I discovered this and I'm not one to reinvent the wheel. I'll wait while you pop over to check out this page.

Are you not loving that orange, pink and yellow curtain? Or that string quilt from solids? Or the applique flowers and butterflies?

But here is my favourite project. Serious love. I so want to make a modern version of this.

Don't you think it would be kind of fabulous? There are a few blocks I'm not so fond of, so I might make a 12 block version. Kristy suggested I make it a reward for finishing projects this year and I think she's on to something, I could make one block for each finish.

You can find your own copy of this little gem at Amazon if you so desire.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Contemplating the New Year

I've spent a lot of the last couple of weeks contemplating the creative direction I want to take in 2013, where I see myself headed, what I want to achieve. I have been reading books about creativity and creative people, I have been taking stock of the contents of my craft room.

And I have concluded that 2013 should be a year of completion and consolidation. This is the year I want to complete quilts that have been sitting around way too long, finish the scrapbooking albums I am way behind on, take stock of the craft supplies I own and buy almost nothing else.

When I talk about WIPs and UFOs, I am talking about 30 of them. There, I said it out loud, in public. I'm not sure quite how the list got so long, but I absolutely need to rectify this. Some of these projects need a fair bit of work, others are close to finished. For this reason, I am ignoring all the new BOMs and sewalongs and challenges that are merrily happening in the blogosphere to people who don't have 30 WIPs.

This, by the way, doesn't include a few small projects and a big basket of mending and refashioning. Gotta get to that too.

On the bright side, I have finished my two bee/swap block commitments for January already. I've packed my machine away and I'm about to send her off for a much needed service.

And for the first time in many months, I have pulled out the paper and photos again and started scrapbooking again. It is a little daunting how much there is to do in this department, especially as I haven't printed a single photo or organised a single bit of memorabilia for the last two years. I am determined to focus on this task and make serious headway on my albums. Happily in the last three days I've completed about 15 pages, which is just about all I did in the whole of last year (which was a bad year for scrapbooking!).

One thing I really want to do this year is Project Life, or at least my version of it. I am using the materials I have on hand, as well as plenty of free printables. While it sounds like a bit lot of extra work, I am so excited about starting this project. It's inspired me to start scrapbooking again, and it's making me take more pictures of our everyday life. As the kids get older and stop doing those incredibly cute things they do as little ones, it's easy to get lazy with taking photos. This week I've made an effort to get behind the lens more and record. The Mamarazzi is back, kids!

So that's where I'm headed in 2013. More finishing, less starting, more taking check of what I have and what needs doing. It's not going to be the most exciting year and sometimes I imagine it will be hard, especially when the lure of the new calls. But I am determined, confident and motivated. Wish me luck!