Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Time to record the past, present and future


Well another foray into blogworld. I have not accessed my old blog, 'Sew Me Sillly' for a while now- and life has taken on new challenges and  I find myself sewing more for enjoyment again.
I seem to have put on a spurt the last few months- must be the colder weather:-(; however, I live at the beach and am lucky enough to enjoy pristine sunshine most of the time.
I am back to quilting and sewing with a frenzy. last year I made dozens of owls, several quilts and clothes for my grand babies. This year has been no different but I am also sewing for me.
I turned 51 this year- whoa!!!!!!!!!!!! Happy Birthday to me.
Time to rethink the future and reflect on how the learning of the past can shape my next phase in life… Not that I am thinking of anything radical just yet- more that I want to start thinking about where I will be in ten years from now. Will I still be standing in front of increasingly fractious teenagers teaching HSC English? Will I move? Will I …well you know, the myriad of questions  we all face.
I, however, am in the unique position of having grown up children, no spouse and so,……..can do what I want.  A liberating concept.
So quilting it is- and sewing etc. If I can make a few dollars and put some away for a trip to gay Paris with my youngest daughter next year that would be nice.

Last year I was fortunate enough to sell some of my hand mades in a great gallery in Mossy Point (Eurobodalla Coast, NSW). Here is the view right outside my door.

This year I am making a new range of bits and pieces to test out what is selling. Me, I like a bit of retro- seeing that I am now retro of course. So here are a few of the things I have made over the past few weeks.
You might enjoy my tutorial on the new quilt top I just made- in less than thirty minutes!! A little start to Christmas.
I hope to find some friends in the quilt blog world- looking forward to sharing ideas and life.


Where do I start?

Well I did decide I needed some art work in the lounge. I am a renter so hanging art is always a hassle but I was allowed to put up a hook for this:
Paper, acrylic paint, vintage doilies, found objects and buttons on canvas. Sits above my new lunge.I love it. It sparkles,

To the more practical end of the spectrum,  I decided I needed some oven mitts - cooking is distinctly NOT my thing but if I do cook it would be good not to burn my already aging age- spotted mitts - pardon the pun.

Just love retro orange and green. The orange fabric is old curtains I bought  from an op shop more than 20 years ago - I just love it!

My other love in life is felt- I love making shapes, embroidering it etc. So I decided to make felt tea cosies for both my tea pots- they both appreciated the extra warmth now it is winter.

Note the divine canisters in the background. A garage find about 22 years ago and still serving my tea for me.

So with my cups of tea and prospective cooking looked after I got to making clothes for my twin grandsons' first birthday- cannot believe it has gone by so fast. I made matching outfits and a matching dress for their sister, my Rory girl.

My daughter wanted a red and white theme. Oscar's outfit is the boat- with an O on the stern and a number one in the sail. Fraser's outfit is a little plant with F on the tale and one on the wing.

This is Rory's dress- she didn't wear it on the day but had some formal shots taken in it recently and her Mumma is going to send me some of those.

I made a few extra outfits for the boys for winter as well.

With all the baby clothes making and showing off the photos of my beautiful babes to colleagues at school a colleague, the beautiful Belle, told me she was looking for 'burp cloths' for her sister's new baby boy, Jonah. I got to it and made a sample which she loved and then made a few for her, and a little quilt for Jonah!

Couldn't resist the whales!

This was my favourite burp cloth- has pockets for wipes etc.

and a whale.................

My three besties invited me for lunch for my birthday. We all have out birthdays within a few weeks so I made them some placemats each. Here are the super patchwork ones, with matching trivet and oven mitts for N.

I really loved these and have made some reversible ones for the gallery. sets of four mats with matching trivet and mitts. Love the lime green ones best.

My Rubi girl told me she was cold- she lives in Canberra, it is cold. So I made hot water bottle covers personalised for her and her partner. Initials on each. hers have extra foot warmer layers to slide her toes inside the cover like little feet pillows.

So to this last few days where I can be home for a week before going back to school.

Last weekend while I was in Canberra I went to Addicted to Fabric. They had some leftover block of the month packs which had about thirty 4 inch strips of different bright fabrics. So useful in my applique stash!

Saw a pic on the internet somewhere for a tree of leaves and so made my own version.

I wanted to clean out the sewing room - I have taken over the dining room with the colder weather, don't want to have to heat too many spaces. Moving back and froth has made me lazy and I could not find some of my scrappy bits so a clean out was in order. I decided to go through all my scraps and odds and ends. Yesterday I spent the whole day cutting my bits and leftovers from projects into 6,7,8 inch squares and a range of strip sizes. For some inexplicable reason, probably brought on by my singing 'I can see a rainbow' to myself ( sang it with Rory girl all last week while staying with her), I decided to make a string quilt using the foundation method. Don't think I have done one of these before, at least cannot remember doing so. Sent Rory a photo this morning, she loved it.

I was banned from taking any more dollies out to Young this time so made some placemats for the kidlets instead - and a set for my son's four children.

Which brings me to today - I am so proud of myself, got through a lot in the last month. To digress, yesterday I was looking for a quilt as you go tutorial as I thought might be a quick way of finishing the string quilt. Instead, I found a tutorial video for a 10 minute, three seam block. yes, just three seams.  Very cool. So I made a block yesterday.  View a video tutorial here. My step by step to making a Christmas wallhanging is below. 

love the Eiffel towers
And.... after whipping in to town today to get some wadding, and there not being any, I bought some new little Christmas fat quarters and made another today.

Here is my tutorial for making the quilt.

For a one metre by one metre wall haning quilt purchase five ( or six as I did) fat quarters. The key here is to have at least one focus fabric and four background fabrics. I chose four fat quarters, two each of two fabrics on cream and gold.

Step 1: Cut the fabrics into ten inch squares.

For one block you need five ten inch squares.

Four cream on cream with gold detail Christmas fabrics, 10 inch squares.

This cream fabri is very pretty, Chrysanthemums with gold edges.

little gold swirls on cream.

 One focus square - a little traditional for my liking but will work for the purpose of this tutorial. I do like the gold detail.

  Fold the focus square in half, wrong sides together, and press.

Place the focus square between two of the cream and gold squares. The fold should be towards you and the raw edge away from you.

Pin the right hand side from the top to bottom then stitch. ( Seam 1)

Open out the cream fabrics so the right side is showing. Press.

Place the focus square as shown above between two more cream  squares which are right sides together. One under and one over.

Pin this left hand seam and stitch. ( Seam 2)

Once this seam has been stitched, open out the fabrics so you can see all the right sides and press. You have a strange flag looking piece.

Now for the fiddly bit but don;t be scared off- still very easy.

Lift the top fabrics from both sides up to meet each other.

You then straighten the work out into a long sleeve.

so looks like this with the open seam at the top. all top edges should be raw edges.

if you lift the bottom of the fabrics up you will see the focus fabric folded underneath.

Looking down at the top of the raw edges you can see the focus fabric still folded to one side. You will need to open the fabric out across the centre seam.

Opening out the fabric. You will want the focus fabric to now be right sides together with the cream fabric.

 Once the fabric is opened up you need to pin the centre seam first, use the dove tail method to ensure lack of bulk in your seams.

You need to 

Pin right across the top of the raw edges ensuring the raw edges of the feature square are even with the raw edges of the cream fabric.

 If you lift the bottom of the fabrci up at this point you should see a duck bill look shape.

Stitch right across the top.

Ready to open the final block.........................

Get ready for the big surprise.................

Wah Lah.........

Now make three matching blocks to practice your technique. I used a green cotton Christmas fabric to add contrast.

And expand into four blocks.

The squares in the centre of the blocks are on the bias so you can turn them back they make mock cathedral window shapes.

You can create the quilt anyway you wish from now. I plan to quilt then add tassels to the bottoms of the squares. As they are three dimensional I am going to make small spice bags, cinnamon sticks and cloves and insert them into the little pockets that are evident.

Alternatively, you can sew the edges down as you quilt.

I hope this is not too difficult  but the quilt took less than half an hour to put together. My plan is to make a scrap quilt and use black and white spot centers to tie it all together. Photos to come.

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