Saturday, December 30, 2017

Christmas Present Swap

For a number of years Maureen and I have made a cushion for each other for Christmas, but this year we had a change of plan and each made mini quilts.  We each have the same quilt stand so that made it easy to work out the size.
When I saw this Anni Down's design I knew that was the stitchery to use and I teamed it with this gorgeous Tilda print in blues greens and pinky purples.  It wasn't too hard to find some threads, some variegated, some plain.

Maureen made this lovely one for me - bright & cheery!

We will continue on with the mini quilts for a while now I think.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas Gifts - Sewing Groups

Just like Birthday gifts - we seem to get a bucket load of gifts at Christmas time 
from our sewing groups.
(Warning  - a long post and lots of pictures.)

First group to enjoy a Christmas end of year meeting was Loose Threads.
Early in the year we had decided on pincushions for the gift.  We do a random draw on the day to see which present we receive.  This is my cute owl  - it's quite heavy - so perfect for using near my machine - and the cat can't knock it off the table!!

This is the one I made.   Anni Downs fabrics and full of walnut shells.

We also each received a little Christmas hanging bag - (with lollies...but they disappeared before I took the photo!)

I made an angel for everyone (as I do every year and now its a tradition so I can't stop!!!)  This year I made angels in two different sizes.

The second Group - KQ Girls - met the day after.  Again we did a random draw on the day.  This year we each made a drawstring bag and added a fat quarter, buttons and a sewing surprise.

This is my lovely bag and goodies inside:

This is the one I made:  I added a fat quarter, matching buttons, a scrap bucket, a pincushion and a bookmark in the shape of a sewing machine.  I must have forgotten to photograph the extras - but here is the bag.

We also received a covered ball, a book mark with some pictures of our group and a mug rug in the shape of a leaf.

I gave everyone an angel and a coaster. - like these:

Third group - Sunday Stitchers.
For this group we draw names during the year and make for that person.  This year we could each suggest what we would like from a list of "possibles".

I received this absolutely fabulous block holder - I have wanted a flat block holder for ages and have just never got around to making one - plenty of plans - but this one is just what I need - it has plenty of space to put blocks in - and it has a hanger - perfect for hanging in the wardrobe along with the other project bags etc.
Noela made it for me and I am so happy with it.

I made a water bottle cover, scrap bucket and coaster for my recipient.

I had planned on making the bottle holder with a circle at the base - but at a recent craft event I saw a thermos holder made in strips with the joins underneath - so I copied that idea.  I feel its much easier.

This group is also quite prolific in giving small gifts - some hand made.  As we had the party to beat all parties at Sandi's house we also collected some little gifts from her throughout the day.  Here is the collection:

I gave everyone an angel and a coaster.

I also meet (usually) monthly with a small informal group - we call ourselves SIMS (from the initials of our names).  There is nothing structured here - we brought cold meat & salads for lunch to share - but we made small gifts for each other.
I received:

An accordion bag - (free pattern & video - DIY Accordion Pouch | with Jennifer Bosworth of Shabby Fabrics), a cute needle case in the shape of a cupcake and a beautiful hanging's very pretty and perfect colours for me but I'm not sure what to call it. 

I made these tuffet pin cushions.

I also joined in the No Fuss Christmas Swap - this is the present I received very early from Anthea - I was very good and took it away with me to Townsville, so I could open it on Christmas day.

This is what was inside - a lovely needle case, a Christmassy Tea towel, 50cm pretty lace, a gorgeous bird button and a treat - the Santa Spreader - he is wearing sunglasses - very cute!

My parcel was hand delivered to Sandi.

I also received two Christmas gifts in the mail - a gorgeous decoration and card from Fiona 

and this cute tree from Maria
And finally - while in Townsville, I was able to catch up with Wendy Bertello - and she gave me a surprise present - a tea towel, a treat which had to be eaten to beat the heat up there, a pencil with the words - "Full bobbins are a girl's best friend",  a tiny quilt hanger, a decorative thimble and some very pretty notebooks.   

It was so good to see Wendy - we chatted non stop eating lunch and visiting a couple of patchwork shops.  Thanks Wendy - I had a ball - hope to see you again in March!  Sorry I forgot about FNSI!!

All in all I feel very spoilt.

I still have one more Christmas present to share, but it will wait for another post.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Birthday Gifts - Sewing Groups

Birthdays do seem to be extended events when you are in various groups etc.

My first collection of birthday gifts was from Sunday Stitchers.
In this group we can give an indication of what we would like at the beginning of the year - so I asked for rasant threads in neutral colours, some blue/grey fat quarters or some scraps that I could cut into 2.5" squares - any fabric, any colour...

I received a great collection of threads, fabrics and heaps of scraps that will keep me in leaders and enders for a while!
What a lovely bunch of friends.

My second collection was from another group - called KQ Girls.  This year we gifted to our swap partner presents that started with the letters in the name of the group.  We had decided they didn't all need to be sewing related.
I received:

Kaffe Fassett fat quarters
Quilting pins
Ric rac
Sauvignon Blanc

and a very useful storage box for some crafty stuff.

This was all totally overwhelming - we don't really have a budget to stick to but I do feel very lucky to have been on the receiving end of such generous gifts..

I was also giving a birthday present - I tried for the Quirky line - to make it a little challenging.  I gave:
Key ring
Quiz Questions - a Pub Trivia game
Granny Square (for a coaster)
Indicators - Post It Notes as my recipient had been seen using shopping dockets to mark pages in magazines
Rhubarb conserve
Squissors - (little snippers)

And finally - my third group birthday present.  This is from my Loose Threads group and we had to give presents starting with the letters in Birthday.
I received:
Ice cream fabric - very clever that one!!!
Ric rac
Adhesive pads for my finger

and a gorgeous tin to put more crafty stuff in.

That's my birthday comes Christmas swaps and gifts....coming soon!!!

Monday, November 27, 2017

FNSI - November

I'm very late posting this - it seems all of a sudden Christmas is almost here. 
(I know that certain people have been warning me constantly on Facebook.)
Whatever sewing I did on Friday night was "Secret" so I can't show fact it is so secret I am not even sure now what I did do - maybe I just slept!!!

I hope the rest of you were more productive than me - I have a long list of things to sort out - I had to create a list - add the "Due Date" then sort it into the order of when I need far - for next weekend I have 1 out of 2 things done...not so good - but I am always meeting deadlines at work so why any different at home???

Thanks Wendy for offering us the chance to be motivated!!!

I did have a busy sewing oriented weekend so there is a hope I will catch up.

Monday, November 20, 2017

National Agriculture Day

My friend Chooky posted about National Agriculture Day (November 21st) here.

She is a country girl - a farmer and also does "town" work - where she gets a regular pay cheque and paid holidays...(unlike her farm work).

I'm a city girl - born in Sydney eastern suburbs, now living in the 'burbs in Brisbane.  All the mod cons, minor concern over water usage (due to the water rates bill) and power usage, can shop whenever and for whatever I like (within budgetary constraints).
I go to the supermarket where milk comes in containers, meat on black plastic trays with Use By dates.  Fruit & vegetables are all "perfect" and uniform shapes and sizes.

Such is the good life in the 21st Century (even in the 20th Century, things were easy although not so pre packaged).

I have never been totally ignorant about where the food comes from and how it gets to me - I have had some small exposure to real life on a farm...but not a lot..however, it wasn't a big factor in my day to day life.

Since I have been following Chooky's blog and become a friend of hers, I am a lot more conscious of the struggle that our farmers deal with constantly.  The unpredictability of the weather is of course a huge issue - especially in Australia which is such a dry continent anyway. 
Then I started hearing "them" say how farmers should put away for the bad times - and I know that this is just hog wash for most farmers - of course they stack up hay and other produce when there is a surplus - but that is only going to last for n years - not forever.

And now we are hearing about the other extreme - huge volumes of crops being ploughed back into the ground because the bananas are too big, too small, too straight, too bent and don't fit the "perfect shape" that sits so prettily on the shelves in the supermarket.

And the milk with all the cheap house brands - which has no taste and is being procured from farmers at a ridiculously low price - making it hard or impossible for farmers to survive.  The same thing has happened to honey and no doubt many other food lines.
I do not buy house brands for that reason alone and avoid imported fruit & vegetables when ever I can.

To balance all that struggle Chooky does see some amazing landscapes, cloud formations and sees a lot more stars at night.  And of course there are often baby animals to be "oooh'd and aaah'd" over.

I have no wish to become a country girl at all...but I do tip my hat to all the Australian primary producers who work hard to produce the food we eat.  

A big thank you to them all.
(off my soap box now)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Glenrose Retreat

Wow!!! What a fun time we had.

A retreat is always a great time - no domestic chores to distract you - nothing to do except sew or maybe some shopping & eating out.  There is always a lot of chatting and usually some fun along the way.   BUT this time beat all that.

This retreat is organised by the Tuesday Girls and I have been lucky enough to be included in the "Guest List".
We arrived Monday morning ready for tea and scones, 

then got set up and into the sewing.  Most of what I did this time was "secret" stuff so there are no sewing pictures.  
Tuesday morning we arrived back in the sewing room to find a Christmas elf had been busy - in fact Mrs Elf had risen early - dressed - snuck out of the cabin and set up all this - then went back to the cabin changed back into PJs and went back to bed...very sneaky!

During the day we had lucky dips to open a box from the Advent box Mrs Elf had supplied - originally a commercial collection of 24 boxes but each box and the container were "Christmased" as only Mrs Elf could!.  Each box contained little sewing treasures. We got 4 each and this is my collection.

We were given a challenge:  - Mrs Elf provided felt, laces, ribbons and beads and we had to make a Christmas Decoration.   We added them to the tree.

Mrs Elf also had a Christmas bag for each of us -- filled with more goodies - a couple of little pouches, note pads and bits & pieces:

We also had some games - threading popcorn onto string

Sucking up M&Ms using a straw (that was quite tricky!)

Tuesday was also Melbourne Cup day so we had a Christmas race

That was hilarious as none of those little wind up toys wanted to go in a straight line.

I didn't win any of the games but still got a prize (just like any kid's party!!!):

Mrs Elf justified all this by saying that she was just getting rid of excess stuff at her place...but a lot of work went into this and everyone had a fantastic time.

Each group at Glenrose get some food to share for a "Happy Hour" - cheese, biscuits etc.  This year we added Baked Camembert and Cauliflower muffins and Mrs Elf brought along a tub of Weiss Mango & Coconut sorbet and a bottle of moscato - slushed up the sorbet - added the moscato and we all enjoyed a drink - Oh My Gosh!!! - just lovely.

It was hard to say enough "Thank yous" to Mrs Elf to cover all the extra work and effort she put in.

Sometime during my 3 days, I did manage some sewing - but it is all for Christmas swaps or gifts so no pictures now.    

It's going to be a long time until next November when we do it all again.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

FNWF - November

Friday night I was busy preparing my "kits" for retreat next week.  I am not as prepared as I usually am - still some cutting to do - but everything is bundled up with the necessary threads, fabrics, pattern as needed...I hope...- but I am off to Glenrose Patchwork for the retreat - and there is a shop - so if I HAVE to buy...I can!!!

Here is my collection of projects - I have a lot of small things this time - it's getting near Christmas so there is a lot of "secret" stuff - so things are hidden and there won't be a lot of pictures after retreat...I will share what I can.

Thanks to Cheryll who is on retreat herself enjoying a FNWRealFriends- for hosting us and therefore making us commit to posting!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Christmas Stockings

A friend of mine from Sunday Stitchers belongs to a group - Knitting 4 Brisbane's Needy (K4BN).  
Each year they supply stockings with lollies to the "needy". 
This year they are likely to provide at least 6,500.
I had thought I could knit one stocking a week for her - mmmm - somehow that didn't happen - so I decided I could easily make 50 little felt stockings - here they are:

I used a decorative stitch in silver for the top and then just sewed around in red, adding a ribbon.

It was a very fluffy job.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

FNSI - October

Yay For Fridays -the end of the week and time for relaxing, unwinding and sewing.

Tonight I crocheted while watching TV - BH&G.  I make crochet or knitted squares to give to a friend who makes them into blankets for the needy.  I find this a good thing to do in the car during the short trip to work - or on  a longer trip - and also when my head is just too overloaded to do some stitching.  I used to only knit them, but the crocheted one grow so much faster and are easier to carry around (since the crochet hook is a lot smaller than the needles).

After BH&G was finished I continued on with another project. 
I bought a new sewing machine in August - it also does machine embroidery - so to make sure I get the most out of the machine I signed up for 3 classes - we had to make a quilt and then quilt it.  The pattern was chosen for us - its quite a dense pattern and probably not one I would have chosen - but it has been a great learning tool - I seriously need to work on placement and lining up the patterns - but I did intend this to be a sampler and it will probably be donated to an aged care home or similar.

I still have a lot more blocks to stitch - 11 minutes per block (and I cannot count how many bobbins of thread!!!) - so I read or trace patterns or hand stitch while its happening.

Thanks to Wendy for rounding us up again - although I probably would have done some sewing without FNSI - it makes me get back to my blog - I have some serious catching up to do!

Click here to find everyone else - there is always a huge variety of projects.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

No Fuss Stitch-a-Long progress

Today was a meeting with Sunday Stitchers.  It's a great hand stitching opportunity so I took my blocks for Ruth's Quilt - doing this in conjunction with the No Fuss Stitch-a-Long.
I finished two blocks today.

Added to these already done...makes a total of 7. 
 Happy with that - as Christmas approaches there will be other things to occupy my hands so it's good that I am a bit ahead of "schedule" - though really it's a very loose arrangement - there are no rules over at No Fuss and certainly NO Quilt Police.  

Friday, September 15, 2017

FNSI - September

Apparently it's footy finals time - yippee...(as in nearly the end of the season)

There are two adult males living here at the moment - two football games on - two TVS - so I was "stuck" in my sewing sad.

Once dinner was over and done with - just in time for the 7:50pm start - I escaped - music on - a few emails and a bit of tidying up done - then into some stitching.

I finished off block 4 for Ruth's Quilt.

I do find sitting on a regular chair means I am not as likely to drift tonight was more productive than most Friday nights.

Thanks to everyone for keeping me company - thanks as always to Wendy for hosting us.  I hope to catch up with some fellow FNSIers over the weekend.

And in case you care -  I believe the right teams won (ie Cats, Broncos) - even though the Ref/Umpire didn't do everything right in the AFL game.  

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Ruth's Quilt - No Fuss Stitch-a-Long

Some things just "happen" . . 

Helen of the Tuesday girls decided she would make Ruth's Quilt - over a period of time...the other Tuesday girls were quick to join ...then it spread to the Sunday Stitchers it's the No Fuss Stitch-a-Long and an IG tag #nofussstitch

I had the book - so I joined in (got sucked in...)   I found fabrics sitting around - planned for another project which is not likely to happen for many a day if at all now....
bought some background fabric and found a Cottage Garden Thread (#408) in my collection.I've traced a row of the stitcheries - Here are 2 that are finished:

and I have cut plenty of rectangles ready for sewing together when the mood strikes - or in between other projects...maybe a leaders & enders project for now.

The "plan" on the blog is just 3 stitcheries a month and a finish in 15 months.  At the rate most of us are going it will be easy enough.

If you would like to join in - the book is available from overseas but - maybe your friends might have a copy??  or just ask around...

Pop over here if you'd like to join and share your progress.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

FNWF - September

I am still on Annual Leave (and recovering from a jam packed sewing retreat) so I was able to do a bit of sewing stuff during the day as well as at night time.

I am booked into a series of classes learning how to use some whizz bang techniques on my new machine - and for homework (!!!) I have to make a disappearing 9 patch quilt.
Part of my FNWF was making the first set of squares:

Whilst sewing I saw this message on my machine:

Love it - and you can even set when the warning message appears - mine is set for half a metre.

Thanks Cheryll again for hosting and organising us all.  Pop over here for the linky of all who joined in.