Saturday, November 26, 2011

November Swapping with QBSA

This month in the Quilting Block Swap Australia group I was paired with Michell, who asked for either a Sawtooth or Pinwheel in civil war or reproduction prints.  Even though we are only asked to make one 12.5" (unfinished) block, I decided to make Michell one of each of her choices - for the practise and to use up the fabrics.

In the past I've had problems with star blocks and, though this Sawtooth still proved tricky for me and is not perfect, I do believe I am now a little closer to conquering it.  Next time!  Hopefully Michell is able to use it regardless of the little errors.


Thankfully, the Pinwheel went much more smoothly and came together with no problems at all.  Infact, it was alot of fun.  I am extremely happy with this block - and that is especially nice as of the two patterns this was Michell's preference.  Yay!  (Sorry about the weird, unrealistic colour of this pic.)

Yesterday I was lucky enough to receive my block from Michell.  For the purposes of this swap I've stated my preferences as either Abstraction or Birds in the Air in predominately white & black with touches of red or orange or yellow.

So, without further ado, this is the lovely block that Michell made for me.  The yellow swirls are gorgeous.

Birds in the Air

For December I have been paired with Brenda of Ohio who has requested Storm at Sea in blues and browns.  This one looks a little trickier but I'm up for the challenge.  Wish me luck!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WIP - Pillows Anyone?

I must admit, not much has been happening around Chez Missy Mac in the last week or so.  Well, not much sewing/crafting/creating at any rate.  My poor Christmas to-do list is still looking rather full.  Uh oh.  But I am working on a few goodies, so hope is not completely lost.  Yet.

My main items on the go seem to be pillows.  Yes, plural.  No, nothing is complete.  Unfortunately I haven't seemed to master the art of finishing something before starting anew.  Sigh.

Firstly is a personalized pillow for my cousin's son, Alexander (obviously).  My auntie asked me to design and make something with a car theme - so this is what I've come up with.  Now I would like your help though.  What should I put in the blank space infront of the car?  Originally I had a set of traffic lights in the gap but it just didn't work.  Infact, it really bugged me.  So, now I'm stumped.  Any ideas?  I'd love you to leave a comment with any suggestions.

I will be backing (and possibly bordering) the pillow with these Alexander Henry prints.  I love those little cars!  I went crazy when I purchased these fabrics so will have to start thinking of some future projects for them too.  Unless Alexander wants, or needs, a bed full of pillows?!  ;)

I'm also working on another personalized pillow but, as the recipient's mother occassionally reads this blog (I think), I can't show you this one just yet.  AND... I have another two on order for Christmas which are still just design ideas bouncing around in my head.  Time to get a move on, me thinks!

Even though I shouldn't be, I've also been wasting spending time with this personal project - my Mod Mosaic Floor Pillow (ala Oh, Fransson!).  I was originally planning to leave the quilting until I mastered FMQ but as that is a completely unrealistic plan, at this stage, I thought I'd dive in.  As you can see I've now made a start with diagonal lines running each way through the centre - but again I need your help.  Should I (a) continue quilting in this vein with diagonal lines 1" apart  OR  (b) focus on the individual triangle segments and quilt "v" shapes pointing towards the centre (sorry, not sure on the technical term for this), 1/2" apart.  The more I look at it the more I'm leaning towards option b... but I'm in a very indecisive mood so would love some (more) help.  Thanks in advance.

Lastly, stay tuned for a little giveway now that I've reached 50 followers.  Fun!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I am once again linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.  I am loving some of the goodies that have popped up over there this week.  Yum!  Check them out.


Handmade Love by Little Sew and Sews

With Christmas looming and my list for handmade presents not getting any shorter (argh!) the birth of a good friend's baby boy last week sent me into a little bit of a spin.  Yes, of course, I was super, super, SUPER excited for him and his partner but... I did not want to be my usual bad friend self and give them their congratulations gift in a year or two (that is not an exaggeration... I am notorious for my lengthy delays with gifts).  So, to avoid the inevitable, I decided to accept help and purchase a handmade present.

Boy, am I glad I did because it gave me the opportunity to "meet" the wonderful Belinda of Little Sew and Sews, also based in Perth, Western Australia.  Not only does Belinda make some gorgeous softies at extremely reasonable prices for bubs, little kiddies and, dare I say it, big kids... but she was an absolute delight to deal with.

As the new dad is a carpenter by trade I couldn't go past these adorable softie tool sets, which include a hammer (with rattle!), screwdriver and wrench.  At 25 - 28cm long they are perfect for little hands and will hopefully provide many hours of entertainment while Mr T helps his dad around the house.  ;)

To save me a few dollars by avoiding doubling up on the postage (Little Sew and Sews to me to Mr T) Belinda kindly offered to wrap the gift herself and post it straight through to Victoria.  Wow!  And then, to give me peace of mind, she sent through a picture of the paper and card she picked out.  How perfect!  I think at this point that I fell a little bit in love with Ms Belinda.

So if, like me, you value quality handmade goodies, as well as fabulous customer service, then you can't really go past Little Sew and Sews.  Check out the online store for a range of pre-made items, or email Belinda for a custom order.  I know she will do her best to accommodate your request.  AND... don't forget to "like" the Little Sew and Sews Facebook page to keep up-dated on all new arrivals and clearance specials.

DISCLAIMER - Though I have received permission to re-use these photos, I am not an associate, friend, family member or similar of Belinda of Little Sew and Sews and have not been asked, nor compensated, for this advertisement post.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Charming Stars = Complete


Remember these stars that I made in September?

Well, the amazing Sarah of So Sarah Sews has just completed Charming Stars, the first of two (nay, make that many) quilts for foster children.  So you must, must, must jump over to her blog and check out the finished product.  It is gorgeous!  If you are interested, I think my block is in the first row, third from the left (or second from the right, whatever you prefer).

Garden Fence is currently in hiatus thanks to an injured machine but Sarah hopes that this quilt will also be completed very soon.  And, then, Sarah plans to put a call-out for some more block donations, this time for a boy, so if you are interested, be sure to join the Quilting for Kids Flickr page.

Thanks Sarah for organising this charity drive - and for bringing all our blocks together in such an awesome quilt.  Love it.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WIP - Summer House Quilt

Remember this disaster from last weekend?

Yes, the photography doesn't do it any justice but, trust me, it was horrible to begin with.  It still makes me shudder even thinking about it.  But even though I was completely disheartened I refused to be beaten so I sat down with a glass of wine, a movie and my trusty friend, the seam ripper, to start again.

After a little bit of playing, and the inclusion of a solid, this is the direction I am now headed.

What do you think?  I must admit that I am much happier and am loving how the white solid makes the colours (from Lily Ashbury's Summer House collection) pop.  Last time they were just so overwhelmed and seemed to compete with each other - and nothing was showcased.  Now it just seems so much brighter, perfect for summer.  I also imagine this would look gorgeous with Kona Ash, or similar, but as I am on a fabric buying ban til January 1, I needed to use my stash - so Kona White it was.

Obviously it is still following a similar design - based on the Boxed in Quilt tutorial from Moda Bake Shop.  Admittedly I only read through this once, then kind of went my own way, so it is not an exact replica.  Once it is done it will (should!) fit a single bed.

So that is my latest WIP - from tears to triumph.  I am hoping to have to top completely pieced soon but as Mr C has just returned home... I can't imagine that I'll fit too much sewing in over the next few days.  Oh well, it can wait - spending time with my beloved is so much more important!

Hope you are all having a fabulous and inspiring week.  Stay tuned for my first giveaway - coming soon!


WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

This post has been linked to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.  Pop on over to see what everyone has been up to.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I Love 'I Hate'

This is an unusual post for me because, well, I've never been a huge music lover.  Sure, I love to sing and bop with the best of them but if you asked me about a band or singer or song name I couldn't tell you to save myself.  Seriously.  But, for many reasons, this guy is different.  I love, love, love him and that makes me want to shout it from the rooftops. 

So, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to Passenger, as he sings "I Hate" live from the Borderline in London.  (Thanks YouTube)

The brainchild of 26-year-old Brighton born singer/songwriter Mike Rosenberg, Passenger is redefining the troubadour for the 21st century. Formerly a five-piece band, Passenger has now pared back to basics, quite literally bringing music to the streets on a series of lengthy busking journeys across Australia, America and the United Kingdom. A classic journeyman musician, cut from the same mould as Van Morrison, Neil Young and John Prine, Passenger has the unique ability to move from the humorous to heartbreaking with every song (excerpt from the Passenger Facebook page).

The first time I saw (indeed, even heard of) Passenger was earlier this year when he was the support act at an Angus & Julia Stone concert in the Perth hills.  From his very first song both Mr C and I were blown away by his talent, lyrics, sense of fun and, well, whole performance.  It was such an amazing gig (made even better by being nestled amongst the trees with the Perth city skyline in the background) that right then and there I jumped onto his website and booked tickets to his next gig in Fremantle.  No joke - right then and there.  AND... I will not hesitate in saying that he completely and utterly up-staged the main act of the evening.  Yep, that good.

Of course, I now have two of his albums and I play them ALL THE TIME.  It drives Mr C mad as he has a vast collection of music yet I always pick the same thing.  I'm pretty sure even the neighbours know all the lyrics by now.  That's how much I love this guy.

So, in the interests of bettering the world and making people smile, here I am spreading the word.  I hope you like Passenger as much as I do.

For more information on Passenger and/or his current tour in Australia, check out the website.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Summer House Quilt-To-Be

A little while ago, on a whim, I bought a layer cake of Summer House by Lily Ashbury.  I think I was initially taken by the bright, happy colours and as I hadn't played with layer cakes before I thought I'd give it a go.  When it arrived, though, I was... hmm... not exactly thrilled with the collection.  Don't get me wrong, some of the designs are gorgeous... but, to me, it is a rather eclectic mix that doesn't fully gel.  As a result I was utterly confused with what to do with it.

Then, late (around midnight) on Thursday I finally took the plunge and started cutting.  I was following the Boxed in Quilt tutorial from Moda Bake Shop, but using just the prints with no solids.  I cut, cut, cut.  I sewed, sewed, sewed.  And when I stopped (at some ridiculous hour of the morning) and laid out the squares... I literally shuddered in disgust.  It was soooo busy and... just soooo wrong.  Not me at all.  I honestly wanted to cry but instead just dragged my tired self off to bed, feeling defeated.

This is a sample of what I woke up to...

Ugh.  What was I thinking??  That, right there, is proof that any brainwaves at midnight are not to be taken seriously.  Ever.

At this point, I would normally pick up all the pieces and shove them in some dark, cobwebby corner never to see the light of day again.  BUT, instead, I got stubborn and refused to let this collection beat me.  No way hosay.  I know that something great can be made from this line.  A Google Image search confirms this.  ;)

Before I could even start thinking about Plan B, though, I had to reacquaint myself with an old, but very dear, friend...

And then, after a number of hours, I was left with this...

Time to go back to the drawing board.  I'm positive that this project is selvagable but as it is, once again, past midnight I'm going to learn from my mistakes and leave it be until the morning.  I shall keep you posted with my progress.  I will be victorious.  Err... wish me luck.  I'll need it.  :)


PS - I apologise for the utterly shocking phone pictures.  The "proper" camera is due back from its holiday on Tuesday.  Yippee!

Friday, November 4, 2011

TGIFF - A Forgotten Finish

Remember this little man from a few weeks ago?

Well... somewhere between then and now I finished him... and then promptly forgot about it.  Which is strange because he has been sitting in my lounge room staring at me every day, wondering when I will blog about his utter cuteness.  So, before he gets any more upset at my oversight (and seeing as how it is TGIFF and I thought I had nothing to show), I'd like to proudly introduce Sergeant Sebastian.

Isn't he adorable??  I know, I know, I'm not supposed to say that about my own creations but I can't help it - he just makes me gush.  I love him soooo much (even if he has a really big head).

For those that are interested, here are some little facts -
  • Sergeant Sebastian is made from a pattern by Rachel of The Two Windmills.  Her design was originally for an astronaut but I figured it would do just as well for a little soldier. Was I right or was I right?!?
  • I used a combination of felt and cotton fabrics.  The gorgeous camo is Meadow Friends Cotton Grass Green and Boy Camouflage.  I purchased mine from The Fat Quarter Shop.
  • He is 11.5" tall.
Now I just need to get a move on and get my nephew's matching pjs finished before Christmas.  Oh the cuteness!  Oops, there I go again.  ;)

This post has proudly been linked to this week's TGIFF over at Quokka Quilts.  Seems I had a finish afterall.  Who would have thunk it?  ;)


TGIFF at Quokka Quilts

Unfortunately I do not have a finish to show off today - though I still have over 22 hours of Friday (somewhere in the world) left so maybe I'll get there?? - but I realllllly wanted to let you all know that today's Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday is being hosted by the lovely Laura of Quokka Quilts.  AND... true to form... Laura has an absolutely gorgeous quilt to show-off, especially for the occasion.  So, what are you waiting for?

Go now!  Quick sticks. And don't forget to link up your own fabulous finish.  I know I'll be back to drool over everyone's creations.  :)


For more information on TGIFF check out the home page.  While you're there, why not take the plunge, and volunteer to host your own Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday linky party?  Hosts are now needed for early 2012 - so you have plenty of time to get that project finished.  Just do it!  ;)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WIP - Softies for Mirabel

Have you heard about Softies for Mirabel?  It is a fabulous Christmas Craft Appeal, run by Pip from Meet Me At Mikes, that benefits the Mirabel Foundation.  This amazing organisation supports children who have been orphaned or are living with extended family due to parental substance abuse so a little bit of handmade love for Christmas goes a looooong way.  The mailbox for this year's drive is now open so if you feel like spreading the love then it's time to start crafting!

My first donation to the cause will be this lovely creature, made from a Dolls and Daydreams pattern.  She has come together amazingly quickly (I started her between much needed couch-time last night) and all that is left to do is the face embroidery... and then sew her together and stuff.  Easy!

This is the first time I've used this pattern and I have been amazed at the simple and easy-to-follow instructions.  Seriously - if you are a newbie to softie making then this is the pattern to try!  If you've had a little more experience then this is still a winner as you'll be able to whip up these delightful dolls in no time at all.  And, at 19"(48.5cm) tall, there is a lot for a little girl to love.  I can't wait to get her done.

As I know that it's not only little ladies who love their softies, I also plan to make a less feminine creature that can be given to either a boy or girl, as required.  Again I have been scrolling through the Dolls and Daydreams etsy shop but I can't seem to decide which pattern to get.  Hmm... a sheep?  Frog?  Fox?  Monkey?  Zebra?  Oh, I might just have to buy them all!

If you too would like to jump on the bandwagon and make a softie for this great cause, then click on the button at the top of this post.  I will also be keeping it in my side bar for the next few months so feel free to pop back any time.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

This post has been linked up to WIP Wednesday at freshly pieced.  Feel free to jump across and check out all the great projects that people are working on all over the world.

Small Blog Meet

I am also taking this opportunity to link up to the Small Blog Meet over at Lily's Quilts.  I have somehow managed to miss this the last few months so should get on board again.  If you have popped over from Lynne's then welcome.  Please leave a comment so I can repay the favour.  I look forward to checking out your blog and getting to know you a little.