Baking and binding

I finally got this little Very Snuggly quilt quilted, simple straight lines through the blocks, stitch in the ditch around everything and stipple in the border.  When the weather was cool, I sat and hand stitched the binding at night while watching TV, which was lovely and peaceful!
We don't really have a tradition of Christmas cookies in Australia like the North Americans seem to, but I still end up baking a lot at Christmas time!   
Un cooked gingerbread people and sheep!  DS1 needed a plate for a class party and I personally have a tradition of making gingerbread with the kids.  DS1 helped with rolling and cutting, but was over it by the time it came to decorating (end of year tired), so I got to have all the fun!  No photo, but they had Go Hawks (footy team) and baa written on them!
There was a different party for the kids that competed in the HPV team.  This was a few weeks ago, and the night before I agreed to make chocolate cupcakes knowing that we had left overs for a easy and quick tea.  I then went overboard and made proper butter icing and decorated the cupcakes with the reindeer theme.  I just wished I had known about the little tubes of icing you can get, because these would have looked even cuter with a dot of brown icing in the marshmallow eyes.  Still the kids could not have cared less, all 24 were eaten on the day!
Happy quilting Sue.

Making Christmas reindeer

A few weeks ago a neighbours tree fell on our adjoining fence.  They are what I call farmers fences (wire) but still we wanted to clean it up....when hubby had time.  Luckily the tree missed squashing some of the new trees I had planted and hubby waters.  Thats our routine, I go overboard at the nursery and buy lovely plants, plant them (or set and forget I call it) and then hubby has to adjust the watering system, so they survive!
 I had a light bulb moment and went out with the pruning saw to "help".
I could not get the kids interested in helping, but hubby quickly got on board!
So now we have two more reindeers in our herd!  The one on the end was the original that I brought at a artists market a few years back.
He has one wonky leg that's a bit short, but a cute red nose!  I think he will stay as Rudolph, and the newcomers can be christened Blixen and Donner, if I remember the song correctly.
Its starting to feel a lot like Christmas here!
Happy quilting Sue.

Progress on some WIPs

A trip to Geelong for a family party enabled me to do some fabric (and Christmas) shopping.  I got this super cute Jodie Carlton designed sea gull fabric as the backing for my Modern Plus quilt.  I made the backing and binding all in one day. 
On the same trip I got this nice rust paisley print for the backing of my maple leaf quilt.  I fancied red, to bring out the red, rather then the brown accents of this quilt.  But after the major colour run I had previously with red and white Dresden I am avoid reds!  Bedsides I was shopping in the sales racks, so colours were limited, although there were lots of brown options!
My friend Lisa has been trying to fit in half an hour of sewing here and there. I have done the same, but chosen to dedicate a few minutes a day to making berries!  I think I have enough now for the border on my Warm Regards...but kept loosing count, so gave up!  
Definitely need more leaves.  But the biggest hold up with this project is no border fabric.  My trip to Geelong did not reveal anything suitable as Bellarine Sewing Centre has dedicated most of their stock to modern and brights.  So waiting for a opportunity to travel somewhere a bit different and see what I can find.  
Happy quilting Sue.

Tic tac toe table runner

I have been finishing lots of UFO's to the flimsy stage lately, but did manage to get this new project started and completed within a matter of days!  Still I delayed showing you because it was a special gift for a special person.  I used the Pattern  (but altered the block size) called Tic Tac Toe by Blossom Heart quilts, and my finished table runner 15 x 37".  
I used fabric out of the stash for the backing (top was left overs from another quilt), because the pattern suited the recipient and the colours worked as well.  Even though it is a traditional floral print and the top very modern, it worked. 
I quilted the background heavily with vertical and horizontal FMQ, not adequately described as squiggles....but that's the best description I can come up with...if it has a proper term please let me know!
I prefer heavily quilted table runners, but my right shoulder and neck do not like quilting.  I took breaks, but a trip to the physio is still in order.  
I brought some grey especially for the binding, because I fell in love with the secondary pattern and wanted to compliment it.    I chose to put the grey in a different placement to the original pattern, but only really fell in love with the overall effect when it was sewn together.  
Happy quilting Sue.

Modern plus quilt left overs make bonus project

OK, remember this quilt?
I realised that I had lots of left overs.  My default position when buying fabric and I don't have a pattern, is to buy too much yardage.  But lovely Ann from Periwinkle Patchwork had done the calculations for me so I didnt over purchase.  But I stuffed up the cutting.  So lovely left overs, not excessive, but enough for a bonus project.  
Hmmmm, I need a quick gift for a  `0' birthday - one of those parties where gifts are not allowed, but you want to say "Happy Birthday - you are special".
  Hmmm....I have still not made the Tic Tac Toe quilt by Blossom Heart that I have listed on my Wish List for this year.
The original pattern makes 12" blocks, but mine are 8", because that fitted with the pre cut scraps I had.  Love, love, love this block!  
I am not going to place the blocks on point, but this is going to a retired nurse who worked overseas for Red Cross, so it is very fitting!
Happy quilting Sue.

Modern plus quilt flimsy

I am on a mission to finish some tops and get them to the long arm quilter.  There is a quilt show next May and I have given away the only quilts I have finished since the last show.  Besides having a clean up and putting all my projects into boxes a few months ago, made it easier to find things.  Not to mention the realisation that there were multiple projects that needed minimal work to get finished!
This poor flimsy just needed some additional background fabric to make one last block.   I purchased all the fabric from my favorite retailer and friend Ann at Periwinkle Patchwork in January.   I knew that Ann has a good turn over so no chance of there being any left....but with the magic of modern technology I sent her a photo and she had a neutral that was perfect.  The rest of the transaction was done over the phone and then I just needed delivery .... and of course I was in a hurry!  
Awesome news, my brother was going to Warrnambool and was happy to pick up my purchase for me.  When I asked, he was sufficiently worried that he warned me he had very little extra room in his ute!  LOL!  I assured him I had brought two zips and a single meter of fabric - more then I needed for this quilt, but still not a box full!  Blank looks - he is a farmer - he knows what a acre looks like or an inch of rain, but no idea how much a meter of fabric is!  
Yes bro, it will fit in your lunchbox, don't stress!
Sewing one last block (15" square) took no time at all.  
My new found love of webbing the top together also makes sewing the top together quick.
Modern Plus Quilt (no pattern, inspired by many seen online) 60 x 60"
Happy quilting Sue.

Maple leaf log cabin flimsy finish...eventually

Light bulb moment realisation that I had all the blocks made for a whole quilt stashed somewhere in the house.  Found it and laid it all out....but I was one block short :( 
Drats! I am in the mood to sew a quilt top together.  Only solution is to make it narrower by one block and add a row instead.  Started webbing top together - and realised one block in the last row had came unpinned.  Stopped, pulled it all up from back of sewing machine (where it was sliding down as I sewed) laid it out on the floor.  Crawled around on the floor...found missing block...YIKES there's another block - the original missing block, PLUS an incomplete block.  Sigh. :(
Persistence is something I preach to the kids!  Ignoring the now extra blocks, I kept sewing!
Ta da!  Finished quilt top - little bit longer, not as wide, but most importantly its finished!
I will take a flimsy finish any day!  It might be a fall quilt finish in Spring, but who cares!  
I had a good rummage through the stash, but there is no suitable backings for this quilt, so putting it aside til I can go shopping. 
Pattern is called Scattered Leaves by Pam Burda, published in American Patchwork and Quilting October 2009, finished at 53 x 80".
Happy quilting Sue.
PS.  Stop Press - I just realised the pattern calls for a border.  I will contemplate that when I see what suitable fabrics the shop has to offer!  

Autumn log cabin flimsy finish

I have way more UFO's then I want to admit too!  Luckily I seem to have found the motivation to tackle a few.
I had to find a project to take to sit and sew and stuffed a collection of 2.5" cut log cabin blocks in at the last minute.  Does anyone else do this...take multiple projects and then work on the one you packed "just in case you ran out of work"!  Like that ever happened to me...never, ever!  LOL!
When I opened the project box I found three centres all ready cut, so went ahead and finished making them into blocks.  Then miracles of miracles, that was the perfect number of blocks needed to finish the quilt at a good size 4 x 5 blocks = 48 x 60"!  Even better was the fact I had time to get top sewn together!

So another backing to find and maybe a border?  Not sure if I love this size or not.  Will all depend on whats in the stash. If the stash is found wanting, then it will depend on what suitable yardage I can find in a bargain bin at the nearest quilt shop!  
Happy quilting Sue.
PS I can see one fabric that should have been in the dark pile, but not changing it!

Warm Regards progress

I dragged out the basket with Warm Regards and started by trimming one of the four corner appliqued blocks.  Then sewed the Italian cross blocks around it.
I did another corner section,  and then added a row onto the section of blocks that go in between.
I managed to get all the sides completed in one afternoon, which was good going as I had two lots of visitors.  I was short about seven Italian cross blocks and my mother's arrival was a big help, as she helped me with the final colour layout and choosing colours for the last blocks.  
The next step is to trim back the centre applique panel which is 20.5" square.  Unfortunately I cut the background slightly larger, but it hasn't shrunk at all, despite all the applique.  And when I drew a line as to where I had to trim back to, and another line for the seam allowance it was very evident that I was going to loose lots of appliqued leaves :(
SEW there is lots of unpicking and resewing that needs to occur next...needless to say, the centre panel is back in its basket, waiting for another day when I have the time and patience!
Dont worry I am keen to move this project along.  I have given away quilts lately to family members and my much loved aunt choose the only quilt I had finished this year.  Its new home is on the opposite side of the country (henced too far for it be safely returned for next years guild exhibition), so I need to get another finish in, so I have something to show!
Happy quilting Sue.

Carolina chain RSC blocks

October's colour is green, I think darker greens, but I am going with what I have cut in my 2" strip box.
When I lay out the blocks, the contrast in the colours really helps show the block pattern to its advantage, compared to the one below.  .   
Blue was Septembers colour but because this is a new block for me, and I am just using what was already cut, I am spending more time making blue blocks this month.  
Having said that I have had to cut more background fabrics and I am really close to running out!
These last two photos looks like a giant mess! Definitely need to photograph just four units made as one Carolina Chain block.
Anyway you get the point, I have gone made making these new blocks and having a ball using up my scraps.  
Happy quilting Sue.

Bonnie Hunter projects

I saw a Carolina Chain quilt on someones blog, using a Bonnie Hunter pattern of the same name, but not set on point and I fell in love!   I own  Addicted to Scraps  by Bonnie Hunter, AND I love four and nine patches, so this little five inch block was just calling my name.  AND I was over the two blocks I have been making for a couple of years as part of the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge.  So my solution...start a new block!  Sew having a lovely time making blue and green Carolina chain blocks and enjoying using 2" instead of depleted 2.5" scraps.  
I love making blocks to use up my scraps, but I had no idea what to do with the massive collection of four patch blocks now I have finished them.  I mean obviously I need to make a top, but I cannot get my head around a design I liked for the four patches.  Then I saw this pattern from Gayle at Mangofeet blog - LOL Its a Bonnie Hunter pattern called Jewel Box Stars! Cute four patches (of which I have oodles) and half square triangles.....which I hate making and don't have any pre cut scraps for.  So I just shelved it for time being...but its day to shine will come, just not today!  Which you can remind me in 2019 - that I need to start RSC year making some HST!  Perhaps if I put a reminder in my phone that might happen!
This photo below is also a Bonnie Hunter pattern from her book Adventures with Leaders and Enders, and is a braid.  I am not making a quilt, but thought I needed a utility table runner for under the pot plants and wanted to try this pattern.  Well that is my excuse for starting a new project and I am sticking to it!  Honestly I am easily distracted of late when it comes to sewing and I blame being busy!  Everytime I turn around there is a new problem that needs solving at work and at home, and I dont have the brain power and energy to cope with working on an existing project....because that requires brain power and I just want to mindlessly I start something new!  
Oh, Oh!  I am already regretting it, but thankfully that is what orphan blocks and charity groups are for if it all goes pear shaped at some stage!
Happy quilting Sue.

Tweet tweet!

These are Crimson Rosella eggs, we suspect she is a first time mother, as she is spending more time with her head outside the box, then she seems to be sitting on her eggs.  The birds that used this box last Spring didn't have much success either, but again we think they were first time parents, so either we are attracting the young birds or the nest box is too exposed and they get spooked by our presence.

These are the Crimson Rosella parents.  Their blue feathers don't show as well in this photo.  This is our front yard and the box is not far from our kitchen window, but picture is taken with camera phone, so its not great quality over distance.  

Eastern Rosella eggs and fledglings hatched - these are in the box down the back of our yard, where they seem to know what they are doing.  We are wondering if it the same pair from last Spring.  My father has given us his box, as no birds have taken a liking to it where they live.  So next Spring hubby will be running around like a mad man trying to check on their parenting habits....or if my oldest son has his way we are buying a tiny video camera so we can spy on them inside the nest box for 24 hours a day.  I think that is infringement of their privacy but given that Sir David Attenborough  does it, my argument doesn't hold much weight in our family!  

Small things make me happy

I have all these left over half square triangles in red and pink....I had better do something with them?
OK, that was a silly idea because I didn't have enough variety, so now I need to cut some more triangles and some squares...including some in green!
Strawberries have been a daily news topic in Australia, as some fool has been putting sewing needles into the fruit for sale.  The farmers are making losses and not harvesting perfectly good fruit, the retailers are withdrawing all stock from supermarket shelves and the media are bombarding us with reports of copycat crimes around the country.  
I love strawberries and as a farmers daughter and sister of two farmers I just want to support the producers....if I could find a punnet of strawberries to buy!
I made this as a mini (approx 10 x 12") and then decided I needed some hot pads for the kitchen, so added another layer of wadding and a bit more quilting so it would sit very flat. 
I now have way more left over triangles then before ; )
I made some backs for two kid quilt tops.  One worked just fine.
The other I miscalculated and required a dash to the shops before they closed and the panicked purchase of the last meter on the bolt...when I really only needed 8"!  
A mad desire to bake came over me and resulted in a batch of scones and home made lamingtons.  I made the cake and iced one batch of lamingtons and then remembered why I liked to freeze the cake, then ice it....because when its fresh the cake soaks up all the chocolate icing, goes soft and starts to fall apart - tastes delicious but makes a big chocolatey mess!  
Happy quilting, Sue.

French General Moonlight - sounds like the name of a race horse!

Ta da ... I am finished!
Made with French General fabrics (more then one line) and using the Moonlight pattern by Gerri Robinson, from her book A Cut Above.  Quilted by Vicki Jenkin.  (78" x 78") 
This is such a fun pattern, made with squares and stripes it was very easy to cut out and make.  All the time I was cutting through I was worried that with the beautiful patterned fabrics I wouldn't get a good contrast.  However I am delighted with the end result.  I love two coloured quilts and red with cream is a great combination.  
My favorite part of this quilt is the pieced border!  My friends know that I normally use a 2 + 6 " combination border...everytime!  I cannot think of another quilt where I actually pieced a border, so I am very pleased with myself.  Although it felt odd to not be putting the big stars into the centre of the quilt!  To ensure I didn't change the pattern I made the stars first!
The other reason to celebrate this quilt finish is the fact that it used lots of lovely gifts - my friend Ann gave me the book, Sharryn gave me a layer cake of French General and my mother gave me some FG yardage.  
Happy quilting Sue.

Progress finally

This quilt (Moonlight by Gerri Robinson in her book "A Cut Above") is made with French General fabric and has been back from the lovely long armer Vicki Jenkin for weeks!  Finally I found my box of left over FG to cut and sew the binding.
Its such a treat to have a lovely quilt to hand stitch binding down at night, when its still cool enough to want a quilt on your lap.  The weather has warmed up but a lack of rain has caused me to hold off planting much in the garden, and I have had to start hand watering it is so dry.
Having said that it was freezing cold over the weekend and I just hid in the house as much as I could.  I have been frustrated for months that I couldn't find anything in my sewing nook so I attempted a clean up.  I moved fabric from box to box, upended cupboards, whined about the lack of space and project boxes and made a big mess. I say attempt, because I am so easily distracted that when I found some projects I stopped cleaning up!  I did some unpicking and sewed borders on two projects then dumped them both in a box that I promised myself would be my go to UFO box.  LOL will see if that makes a difference in finishing UFO's!  
This mini cake stand quilt (12") was not a UFO, just a favorite orphan block.  I added two more rounds, quilted it minimally and put the binding on. While I think it deserves more quilting then it received, I am happily calling it a finish for now!
Happy quilting Sue.

Kim Diehl star in a churn dash blocks

I was just popping in to read some of my favorite bloggers, after a six month absence!  Then I saw that there was this draft post, so figure...