Sunday, January 30, 2011

How 'bout a kiss?

A week or so ago as I was wandering the garden and happened to look up only to discover that we had miseltoe in our purple hibiscus! I was really surprised to say the least as I thought this 'pest' was confined to regional areas, and I'd certainly not ever heard of it inhabiting the Adelaide Plains. But I do understand that it continues to exist because of bird droppings carrying the seed pods.
At the time we were leaving for our shack when it was disovered and obviously, didn't do anything about it. Now we're back and it's in bloom.
I'm torn.
It's beautiful but it's a parasite. It's certainly an 'exotic pest'. And I have to say, now that I look at it, its vine structure is tangling its way around a plant that I'd really like to keep.
Looks like there's a bit of homework to be done! Or at the very least, the big clippers will be dragged out of the shed before things get too out of control!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Getting ready for back to school....

Every time R saw the Michael Miller Groovy Guitar fabric in my cupboard she would comment on what a great pencil case it would make. That was just the beginning of her none too subtle campaign for a new pencil case for the new year back to school.
Now I've always been a fan of new pencil cases at the beginning of the year to go with the new pencils and new books that you try to keep neat until the gloss of the new year wears off so it didn't take too much convincing. And, given that R is happy to cover her own books and get her bag sorted for the new year it freed up a bit of time for me to make her one. Truth be told, I had actually purchased this fabric with R in mind, either to cover a music book or make a little something music related.
I used this very simple tutorial from Flossie Teacakes but adapted the measurements to make a pencil case that measures around 40cm x 30cm (16" x 12"). R's only request was for it to be able to hold her 30cm ruler.
But I know that the kids also have to house USB's and various other instruments in their pencil cases. Most purchased versions have inner (or outer) zipped pockets and I'm just not clever enough to work that, I made another mini pencil case that clips inside with a key ring to hold all of those bits. The inside features a few Kona solids in co-ordinating colours pieced together. I love the little tabs at the end of the zips. They really finish off the zip and they weren't too difficult to sew.
Someone is very happy. Let's hope it doesn't end up covered with graffiti!
And on a completely different note. Look what we found in the garden. This is a pumpkin that came up after we emptied the compost bucket with the seeds from the Halloween Pumpkin that we paid a small fortune for. When the plant first sprouted I held little hope that it would ever do anything, thinking that the fruit had been hybridised out for re-growth. Well, fingers crossed we may still end up with that Halloween Pumpkin stand after all!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Take your pick.....

It's true, I'm a 'Nervous Nelly'. Full on!
I basted JP's* quilt and then panicked that I would muck up the quilting because I'm not confident with my new machine...oh, I mean 'sewing computer'.
So whilst I'm on a personal drive of 'not buying fabric, using what I have and not starting anything new' bandwagon, I kind of felt that the only solution I had was to work on a practice piece before I got stuck into the 'big boy quilt'.
I dislike working on slabs of fabric that aren't ultimately useful so I opted for a baby quilt inspired by my heroes, Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. Their blog, Craft Nectar, features a gorgeous new quilt, Big Dots, which I've adapted to a baby sized version.
I cut 36" of Kona White (44" wide) and then a range of solid circles from my scrap bags using an old CD/DVD and the lid from the coffee jar!
It's striking! What's more, the appliqued circles gave me plenty (PLENTY) of opportunity to practice threading my machine, setting a blanket stitch (didn't like) and zig zag (wished I'd written down the size settings from the start!!!). I'm surprised that with all of the solid circle colour options, I had enough thread to match. I only purchased one reel and naturally it was a purple tone....if you read my blog, you'll know I don't do a lot of purple...yet!
The back is the very last of the Ikea stripe that I've had in the cupboard. I had just enough.
The binding is Kona Celery, a favourite and, you guessed it, from the cupboard.
So even though I'm on my stash pact bandwagon, I stuck to the 'no buy' bit (from a fabric point of view) and have ended up with a lovely little baby quilt to gift. What's more, it's circles on one side and stripes on the other, so take your pick as to which is the front and which is the back.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that even though I've had a bit of a wrestle with the BSR/free motion on the machine, the quilting worked out rather well, so now it's onto the big boy quilt!
* I use initials for children in my blog for anonymity but spell out adults names. Funny thing is, my brother's name is 'JP'! Too funny!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Solid foundations.....

Finally, something quilty to share! It's been so hectic around here, what with Christmas and school holidays, study and assignments and then back to work all in the blink of an eye. There just hasn't been any time to sit and sew. And more to the point, because I don't have a dedicated sewing space my lovely new Bernina has been packed away in its box awaiting my long overdue introductory lesson. Once that happens there'll be no stopping me!
This is a quilt that I've been planning for my brother who lives in Melbourne. Sorry about the photos - I either need a new camera or try not to take photos on glorious summer mornings!
When he was visiting last year he spied the green Ikea bird fabric in my stash and we got to talking about favourite colours which in his case were greens, blues and browns. It got me thinking about a quilt out of solids....and only the ones in my cupboard.
I toyed with a zillion ideas, many of which were out of solids and relied on subtle graduations of colour....which I didn't quite have and because I'm really trying not to buy anymore fabric. So in the end the 'lazy gal/square in a square' concept won out.
It was certainly an interesting experiment....I got a little freer and bolder as my desire not to waste any of the strips I'd cut grew. This yields the most interesting of blocks as bits of colour are joined to obtain the right strip length.
The blocks ended up 17" and whilst the flimsie is hanging on its side on the clothes line so as not to get dirty, it will end up around 77 x 60".
I love the little colour swatches that will run either top right or bottom left.....probably bottom left as JP is a leftie! And as always, the backs are just as interesting, particularly with the sunshine behind them to light them like stained glass.
Now to hit the floor for a bit of basting!