Monday, August 29, 2011

I'm Paying It Forward. Play Along with Me.

Last night I came across this lovely idea over at Just Sew Blossom and I immediately thought I would jump on board.  So, if you too are interested in giving a little back to the quilting community and/or receiving a little handmade pressie from moi, then please read on.

Rules (sorry, but it must be done) -

1.  I will make a little something for the first 3 people (or one or two... if that is all that love me) that comment on this post.  It will be a surprise and may arrive at any time in the next 365 days (yes, a year).

2.  To sign up to receive a gift from me you must play along too.  Share the giving love on your blog by promising to send a handmade goodie to the first three people that comment on your blog post.

3.  You must have a blog.  Sorry my darling non-blogland friends.

4. After commenting on my post, you have to post this (or similar) on your blog to spread the love.

So who's in?  I promise to make something pretty.  I also promise not to drink wine while making your gift.  Scout's honour.  ;)

For those on Flickr there is also a new group dedicated to this little game.  Click here to join (or for a stickybeak.  I won't tell).


If I Must

This week I have a number of projects that must get done.  Must because there is a deadline.  Must because I am sick and tired of thinking about them but not doing them.   Must because it will surely make someone smile and that, in turn, will make me happy.  Whatever the reason, these projects will get done.  Before next Monday.  Especially now that I've announced it to the world.  ;)

APRON - for my daddy dearest for Fathers' Day.  A manly one, of course.  I plan on starting with this simple tutorial... and then seeing where it takes me.  Let's just hope Dad doesn't suddenly get a burning desire to read my blog.

BLOCKS - for two fantastic "charity" quilts organised by So Sarah Sews.  I have signed up to donate one Charming Star block and a Garden Fence block, to be made in pinks and purples.  The cut-off date for these to arrive is October 7 so, as international post can sometimes be a little iffy, I'd better get onto these asap.  More donations are still needed so pop over to Sarah's blog if you are interested in signing up.  You'll get a warm, fuzzy feeling - I promise.  ;)

PERSONALISED PILLOWS - that have been half-finished for weeks now.  Because, ideally I'd like the kids to receive them before they turn 21...

PIN CUSHION - because I am sick and tired of stepping on dropped pins.  And so is my man.  Oops.

PLASTIC BAG HOLDER - for my mummy dearest.  Just because.  Well... she did ask me to make it... but now I finally will.  Make sure you hold me to that promise, Mum.  ;)

TUTORIAL - my first ever, so stay tuned.  I promise it'll be a great starter for any newbies.  Or a quick and simple project for those of you who have more sewing experience.  Winner!

Hmm... that all might be enough to keep me busy.  Wish me luck!


For those of you with pillow orders, please do not despair.  I will get moving on them as soon as my fabric orders arrive.  I have not forgotten you!  :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bye, Bye Baby - Bunting, That Is.

Today I completed another first - a 12" block for the Quilting Block Swaps Australia II group.  Yay for me.  It seems that I am slowly, but surely, on the way to becoming a *gasp* quilter.  :)

As requested by my partner, Alex, I made a Baby Bunting block in white & a pastel (in this case, yellow).  It was the first time I had ever attempted this design (disclaimer below) and I am more than happy with the result.  I hope Alex likes it.  I am really looking forward to receiving my block from her.

DISCLAIMER: Technically this was the second time I attempted the Baby Bunting, with my first trial a few days ago.  Unfortunately I learnt a few hard lessons on this occassion which resulted in me having to have another shot at it. 

Firstly, it's probably not always the smartest plan for a newbie quilter to drink wine while sewing.  It may result in none of the seams even remotely matching up as they should.  I suggest that if you pour yourself a wine... you also go looking for your seam ripper so that it's on hand.  You may need it.  Four times.  For one seam.

Secondly, when the pattern calls for lines to be drawn with a quilters' pencil - pen is not a suitable alternative.  Ever.

And, lastly, 1/4" seam means 1/4" seam.  Simple.  ;)


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

WOW - Thank You!

Isn't Blogland wonderful?  Everyone seems so nice, friendly, willing to help and incredibly generous but, saying all that, I still didn't realise what an amazing "family" I was joining when I began this blog.

So... consider me absolutely gobsmacked when Lynne posted a call-out for advice on my palette choices for the upcoming Dead Simple QAL (read my original post here).

And... then... I was absolutely blown away by all the people who actually took the time to stop by and comment.  WOW!!  So a big thank you to each and every one of you for not only assisting me in this incredibly difficult choice but for also making my day week.

Now I know you are all wondering what I have decided - but unfortunately you'll have to wait a little bit longer as I still haven't made up my mind (no great surprise there).  I can say, though, that today I remembered that I have a little treat on order so this little beauty may just have to inspire my final purple shades.  Love!

Tufted Tweets Itty Bitty Chairs on Orchid by Laurie Wisbrun for Robert Kaufman

I have since discovered that this particular collection also happens to include a little yellow and a lighter shade of purple.  Hmm... interesting.  Very interesting.  :)

Tufted Tweets Birds on a Wire on Orchid

Other than that little teaser, I would like to give you all a rundown of the final votes from the last post.  I found this super interesting, especially because it involved a little secret challenge between me and my partner.  Basically, I came up with Palette 1, he designed Palette 2... and Palette 3 was supposed to be a compromise.  So without further ado, the results are -

Ahh... and again I say a BIG thank you!  At first glance we thought he'd romp it in - and consequently he's been bragging about it all evening.  But when I actually sat down and did a count of everyone's first choice... I managed to cross the line infront.  Barely... but it's still a win to me so it counts!  Hehehe.  ;)

For those that are interested or looking for some assistance with their own palettes, here are some of the suggestions I found helpful (I might be paraphrasing here) -

  • You do not have to limit yourself to a particular number of shades.  It might just be me (embarassingly!) but I got completely fixated on only using five colours... until a few people mentioned working with Palette 2 whilst also adding in the dark purple from Palette 1.  Great idea.
  • Aim for contrast by having light, dark and inbetween.
  • Think about who the quilt is for - this may help you with the final decision.  I'm making this for our house so I just need to make the two of us happy.  I say "just".  Ha.  ;)
  • Narrow down a palette but then go shopping with an open mind - you may find fabrics in a slightly different shade that will still complement the original idea.
  • This QAL is a great opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone - so go with the flow and have fun!

If you are also participating in Lynne's Dead Simple QAL then I look forward to seeing what colours you choose and where it leads you.  If you haven't signed up yet, why not?  It's sure to be a blast.  :)


Monday, August 22, 2011

Dead Simple QAL with Lily's Quilts

For some time now I've been wondering if I'd ever be brave enough to sign up to a Quilt-A-Long or whether I'd always feel not quite good enough.  Thankfully, during a period of fearlessness, Lynne from Lily's Quilts seems to have come to my rescue with her fabulous new idea, known as the Dead Simple Quilt-A-Long.

Dead Simple Quiltalong

The basis is inspiring and perfect for a novice like me - the piecing and quilting itself is to be quite simple (yay!) but the palette is to be adventurous and, hopefully, a knock-out.  Love!

Now... onto Step 1 - Choosing Your Colour Palette.  Thanks to some gorgeous fish prints my partner brought back from Fiji, and my love for purple, I straight-away knew which direction I wanted to head - purples, blues and yellows.  This combination has been bouncing around my head for awhile but I've never really known if it would work in actuality.  So, thanks Lynne for giving me an excuse to give it a go and find out for sure.  :)

This is the point that I thought things would get easy.  Afterall I knew what colours I wanted to work with.  I had figured out the hardest part.  Ha ha, who was I kidding?!  Once I went over to Colour Lovers for a play with colour palettes I quickly realised my mistake.  Soooo many shades... soooo many combinations.  I literally spent hours and hours fiddling... even enlisting the help of my (ever suffering) partner.  And still nothing is definite but here are three examples that we seem to like -

Yes, we both have our faves BUT I would love, love, love your thoughts.  Which combination do you like best?  Or... would you like to take bits & pieces of each to create another, fourth, option?  Or... do you only like 3/4 shades out of the 5 and think that 1/2 need to be altered?  Or... do you hate them all and think I need to go back to the drawing board?  Help!  Please.  With a cherry on top.  :)


The Dead Simple QAL is scheduled to start in September.  If you'd like to join in the fun (and, really, why wouldn't you?) head over to Lily's Quilts now!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Big Unveiling

I've finally done it.  My first ever quilt is finished!  I have to admit - I am pretty bloody proud of myself.  No, it isn't a masterpiece, far from it in fact, but it is 100% made by me and that makes me smile.  Ahh... the sense of accomplishment.  :)

Before making this quilt I had read and re-read a million blogs and tutorials to learn "how-to" but very quickly I discovered that there is nothing quite like jumping in and trying things for yourself.  Yes, I made mistakes.  No, it is not perfect.  But, more importantly than any of that, I learnt invaluable things along the way and I am super keen to get started on my next project.

The top was inspired by a design by Diane Banks of The Remnant Basket published in Patchwork & Stitching magazine, Vol 12, No 4.  Admittedly it is not at all what I had in mind when I first started cutting... and the whole thing constantly evolved as I went along.  For example, I was considering either yellow or orange sashing for quite some time but then suddenly switched to blue as I loved the way it made the reds and oranges pop (sorry Judi!).

Another change was with the actual quilting - it was originally going to be straight lines to show-off the design and showcase the prints.  Unfortunately, though, I made a few slight mistakes that resulted in some of the squares not lining up and, as I didn't want to highlight this further, straight lines were a no-go.  So instead I switched to organic line quilting which worked quite nicely, if not exactly as I had originally pictured.

As I didn't want (or need) to further complicate the process for this, my first time, I left the back plain and just used one piece of the dark blue alphabet fabric, to match up with the squares used on the front.  Unfortunately I stuffed-up during the basting process by forgetting to tape the backing fabric down before pinning so there are a few puckers.  But... they don't stand-out too much, especially from a distance.  And... I'm sure Mr M won't mind a few mistakes here and there.  ;)

Overall I think that my first ever binding job went well... but a bit of practise on the mitred corners wouldn't go astray.  Surprisingly, though, I enjoyed chilling out on the couch with a glass of wine while hand-stitching the back - it was slightly cathartic in it's own strange way.  And the results are great.  I used a basic stripe which incorporated all the colours used on the top.  I love the way it finishes everything off and brings it all together.

So, to the darling Mr M (otherwise known as 'Superman') -  I dearly hope you love this quilt as much as I have loved making it for you.   xo

Again I apologise for the poor quality of these photographs.  I really do need to work on my picture taking skills.  Well that... and remember to wear my glasses during shoots.  ;)


Monday, August 15, 2011

Thursday (???) Think Tank

As I am still sick and seemed to have taken a turn for the worse last week (please enter a sympathetic "aww") I am a little behind with my crafting endeavours.  

Soooo... instead of being productive I am spending many, many hours on the couch alternating between watching tv (the Dexter series, to be precise) and scrolling the internet for inspiration.  Soooo... even though today is not Thursday (not even close) I thought I'd use this down time to join the Thursday Think Tank with making rebecca lynne.  Afterall I've always been a little bit... well... different.

Thursday Think Tank

Soooo... in no particular order, here are a few projects that have recently caught my eye and have been added to the ever-growing Must Do List.

Abracadabra Quilt by Bloom
I love, love, love this quilt and am really looking forward to giving it a go.  The pattern comes with two sizes - a single bed quilt with columns running vertically and a cot sized quilt with, my preference, rows running horizontally (as pictured).  I really can't decide between the white or the grey sashing though.  Maybe I'll have to try both.  ;)

Geometric Quilt by One Flew Over
This is another design I've stumbled upon which I love.  I am imagining this with purple (naturally) as a couch throw.  The new Heirloom collection by Joel Dewberry in the Sapphire colourway springs to mind.  Mmm yummy.

Reuben the Donkey by Ric Rac

For some strange reason I have a little 'thing' for donkeys so when I saw this pattern from Ric Rac I literally swooned.  Only reason I haven't bought it yet is that I'm worried that once I make one I might not be able to stop.  A pace of donkeys anyone?
Ice Cream Dress by Oliver + S
This dress is too cute.  Nothing more needs to be said.

Kindle Cover by Instructables

This isn't actually a new project for my to-do list but I thought I'd include it to inspire myself to get a move on.  This is a basic tutorial that allows for your own creativity and that appeals to me.  Now to find the time.

So, there we go, another five projects for my already long list.  Ahh... they all just make me smile.  Thanks making rebecca lynne for the excuse to spend hours and hours and even more hours researching.  ;)

I hope you all have an inspiring week too.


Monday, August 8, 2011

...Four, Three, Two, One, Lift Off!

Last week I posted about a rocket pillow that I was making for a 4th birthday present.  Despite a few unexpected distractions I thankfully managed to finish it on time and here is the final result.

It measures 13x13in and is stuffed with a 14x14in insert to give it a little more body.  Though I like the size I would probably slightly change the design next time so that the rocket doesn't wrap around the sides so much.  Saying that, though, I don't believe this photo really does it justice - the pictures seem to 'pop' more on the actual pillow.  I also embroidered some subtle craters on the red and green planets to create extra depth and texture.  I was really happy with the result and can see myself making one or two more of these in the future.

For the back of the pillow I tried something new by following this great tutorial from Sew, Mama, Sew!  I love the finished look and the zip tightens everything up to create a smooth appearance, whilst also ensuring the insert is fully enclosed. 

AND... check out my new "Missy Mac Creations" label in the bottom corner.  Love!

Finally, the best thing about this cushion was Liam's excitement when he opened his present - "Look, Dad, a rocket pillow!"

Happy Birthday little buddy.  I look forward to going on lots more adventures with you.  :)


Friday, August 5, 2011


A few months ago, I had a go at making some soft baby cubes for decoration at a friend's baby shower.  To my delight they were an absolute hit with her niece so I decided that Lara deserved a set of her own.  Afterall, it is always a thrill to make things for someone who really appreciates them.

As with my first set, these include applique letters, with a picture on the reverse.  I had particular fun stitching L for Lion and am extremely pleased with the results (unfortunately I need to work on my picture taking skills though - sorry!).  There is also A for Alien, R for Rabbit and A for Apple (hopefully the worm won't gobble it all up before the post arrives).  ;)

The fantastic thing about these cubes is that you can use different materials (cotton, minky, corduroy etc), applique and even tags for a completely different look and feel.  It all depends on you!  These particular ones are made with 100% cotton and are 9x9x9cm.

If you would like me to make some of these for a little friend in your life, please email me the particulars and we can work out a suitable (and affordable) price.  I'm also thinking of working on a tutorial if anyone out there is interested.  Please let me know.

Happy Birthday Lara.  I hope you enjoy these cubes, too.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Small Blog Meet Up

I have recently stumbled across a fantastic new idea over at Lily's Quilts - the Small Blog Meet Up.  As I am indeed the owner of a small blog and also love, love, love reading about other people's crafting adventures, I thought I should definitely jump on board.

Small Blog Meet

In the spirit of the SBMU here are a few little tidbits about me -

  • I am 29yrs old and live in Perth, Western Australia.
  • Though I have been sewing on-and-off most of my life I am definitely new to quilting.  The whole idea scares and excites me at the same time.
  • My favourite colour is purple (if you hadn't already guessed).
  • If I could travel anywhere in the world it would be to Japan - the culture, language, history etc etc fascinate me.  It's on the list (along with many others)!
  • Along with crafting, I love to read - anything except fantasy and science fiction.  I received a Kindle for Christmas and can literally waste spend hours curled up in bed with a good book.
  • Though I have no children of my own I love kids and am lucky enough to be surrounded by many gorgeous little creatures... who inspire me endlessly.
Well, that's a start.  Thanks so much for stopping by.  Please leave a comment and I will be sure to return the favour.  I look forward to meeting you all and hearing about your latest creations. :)


    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five...

    One of the little boys I babysit for is celebrating his 4th birthday with a party this Sunday.  So, in the spirit of giving homemade gifts, I woke up this morning with the desire (and need) to get crafting.  Enter... the rocket pillow.  As Liam and I have clocked up at least a million hours exploring space (and, yes, the rumours are true - lions do live on the moon) I really had no other choice than to embrace this theme and see what I managed to create.

    All I need to do now is all the blanket-stitching and then finish the actual pillow cover.  Ahh...