Friday, January 27, 2012

TGIFF - Owl Love

This week I only have a small finish for show & tell - and just in time too.

For January's block for the Quilt Block Swap Australia group, my partner, Melody, asked for any block featuring an owl, either pieced, stitched, printed etc.  I decided to use this opportunity to try some embroidery... so...

after transforming this -

to this -

I came up with this -

I have to admit - I am in love.  In fact, I am umming and ahhing about actually sending it away.  Am I crazy?  Maybe a little.  So, Melody... if you don't like this then please feel free to send it back and I'll happily whip up another owl block for you.  Seriously.  Seriously.  :)

The pattern itself is called Owl Love You and is available for free from Stitchy Britches.  As you can see, I used a variety of thread colours to match in with the Delighted by Riley Blake border and, due to my lack of skills, the whole design is completed in back-stitch.

This project was really enjoyable so I am definitely keen to increase my repertoire.  As such, I have signed up to Shiny Happy World's Embroidery 101 and am looking forward to receiving the weekly emails introducing me to new stitches.  Wish me luck!

I'm off to the post office now to send this lovely away.  I really hope you like it Melody.


This week's TGIFF linky party can be found at What a Hoot! so jump on over to check out everyone's awesome finishes.  AND... don't forget to come back here next Friday as it's my turn to host.  Uh oh... I'd better get a-sewing.  ;)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Weigh In Wednesday - Day 22

Weigh In Wednesday

Before I get into my latest stats, can I just say a big WELL DONE to all of you who are playing along and linking up.  It has truly been inspiring to see your progress each week and I am over-joyed that you are all so committed to working towards a happier, healthier you.  Big pats on the back.

If you have only recently stumbled across our little linky party then please feel free to jump on board anytime.  You're sure to find our group friendly, approachable and very inspiring so don't be scared.  The more the merrier!  We link up each Wednesday but you may come and go as you please - and there are no restrictions to what you can / can't / must share.  You make the rules to suit what makes you comfortable and what will be the most motivating for you.  Hope to see you soon. much as I try, I can't stall any longer.  Unfortunately Mr C is away this week (acting in his role as Superhero Extraordinaire) so there will be no full body shots this post.  I know, I know, it is such a shame.  So let's go straight to the stats, shall we?

Weight Loss Goal: -10kgs (-22lbs)
Week's Loss: -1.0kgs (2.20lbs)
Total Loss: -3.7kgs (8.16lbs)
Distance to Goal: 6.3kgs (13.89lbs)
Week's Gym Visits: 1 (ugh!) - plus a stroll & swim or two
Total Time Exercising: 1hrs 15mins
Alcohol Units Consumed: Nil
Date of Last Alcoholic Drink: 31st December 2011
Highlight of the Week:  Actually missing the gym whilst being sick.  Could I possibly have felt the smallest niggle of a new addiction?  If only!

At the risk of sounding silly, lately I have noticed (imagined?) a little more attention from the opposite sex whilst being out and about (no, it is not because I bat my eyelids!).  Now, realistically, I haven't physically changed that much in the last month BUT my attitude has begun to change and my confidence is definitely growing.  So, what I'm saying is, be comfortable in your skin.  Walk tall.  Lift your head.  Be proud.  When you start paying attention to yourself then others will follow.  And, let's be honest, it feels damn good to be noticed.

So, on that note, here is my music clip of the week, Beautiful by Christina Aguilera. Listen. Believe. Conquer the world. ;)

Now over to you. How was your week? Link up and let us know. :)


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Weigh In Wednesday - Day 15

Weigh In Wednesday

Really, is it that time again?  Already?  But I'm really not ready!  Argh.  This week has definitely not been a good week as my motivation went AWOL and I got slack and grumpy and tired and blah.  Really slack and grumpy and tired and blah.  Unfortunately, the proof is in the stats...

No, I am not a morning person

I seriously should stop putting these side pics up

Weight Loss Goal: -10kgs (-22lbs)
Week's Loss:  -0.5kgs (1.10lbs)
Total Loss:  -2.7kgs (5.95lbs)
Distance to Goal:  7.3kgs (16.09lbs)
Week's Gym Visits: 2 (oops) - plus a stroll here and there
Total Time Exercising:  2hrs 15mins
Alcohol Units Consumed: Nil
Date of Last Alcoholic Drink: 31st December 2011
Highlight of the Week:  Making a comeback after a bad start to the week and getting back on track by Tuesday.  Thanks for keeping me going!

Not as awesome as my first week, I know, but I'm still happy that I had a loss at all.  Though, it seems I have discovered that sitting on the couch watching inordinate amounts of tennis does not help.  Hmm.  Oh well, time to wipe the slate clean, me thinks, and start afresh.  I, nay, WE can do this.

To start the new week with a 'push' I've picked a motivational track from the supremely talented and always entertaining Salt-N-Pepa.  ;)

So, how are you going after two weeks of the Missy Mac Challenge?  I was blown away from all your efforts in week 1 so am looking forward to seeing this week's progress.  Link up and share your news.


Friday, January 13, 2012

TGIFF - A Shirr Thing

It's TGIFF time again and even though I feel like I've been incredibly unproductive this week, I do have a little finish to unveil.

This little shirred dress is for my friend's 2 year old.  I followed the Easy-Peasy Shirred Baby Dress tutorial over at Hand Made-n's and am happy with the final result.  Let's just hope that Miss L likes it too.

The "hardest" part of this dress was the shirring, which can prove to be a bit of a non-event when sewing on a Brother.  I actually didn't find it too bad and, after a few helpful Bloggers pointed out the need for steam (thank you!), it seemed to pull together nicely.

That said, though, it could still be tighter so I plan to adjust the lower tension by following this video tutorial, as suggested by the lovely and talented Kermit Katy.  I'm hoping that this makes things a little more 'springy' - and then I'll sew up a second dress for comparison.  Stay tuned.

That's it I'm afraid.  I really should have had my two quilts for Blankets of Love all done by now but... no.  Oh well, there is always tomorrow.  ;)


I'm linking up to Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday, hosted by M-R this week.  Come on over.

Edited to add - I've also linked up to Pam's ongoing linky party for little girl dresses, Threading YOUR Way with Threading My Way.  Pam is creating an amazing resource with different categories started each week.  Jump over to check out the latest projects - (1) Bags,  (2) Little Girl Dresses and (3) Women's Dresses.  Definitely more to come so keep an eye out.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WIP - Bit O' This, Bit O' That

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I have to apologise for the dual posts today... but whilst Weigh In Wednesday continues it might just have to be like that.  Afterall I don't want to miss out on Lee's fabulous WIP Wednesday linky party.  Hope you all don't mind!

Unfortunately, I don't have any finishes to show off as yet (I'm working hard to have something finished in time to link to M-R's TGIFF post) so today is all about those works in progress (funnily enough).


First up, a small quilt I am making for the Blankets of Love campaign.  If you haven't heard about this one, Kat is asking for donations (of blocks to complete quilts) for premature bubs born at the main women's and children's hospital in Perth, Western Australia.  As I live nearby I immediately put my hand up to contribute to this worthwhile cause.

Measuring just 25" x 25" this baby is basted and ready to quilt.  Astute eyes would have noticed the indents from previous quilting, which was unpicked the other night after a disaster with a pieced back.  Um... I seem to have learnt the hard way that squaring up the top and back is hard work.  So, after much grumbling, I've retreated to my usual safe option of a plain back, no piecing involved!

As this one was so quick to put together (as I told myself before the quilting disaster) I've also cut out another 25 5.5" squares to make another.  A good cause is a good cause afterall. 

The second quilt will be quite similar with only one print swapped out and another popped in.  There is a method behind my madness as I wanted to take this opportunity to play with colour combinations - and, in this case, see what difference more blue and less red would make to the overall look.


For this month in the Quilt Block Swap Australia group I've been paired with the lovely Melody who has requested a block incorporating an owl, in any capacity.  As I've been itching to start embroidery I couldn't resist having a play.  Here's a sneak peek of what I'm working on.

This has been a lot of fun and a great project to have on hand when I need to sit and relax.  Might have to get a move on, though, to ensure Melody receives it before the seasons change.  ;)


I've been hearing rather nasty rumours that my new little Brother BC-2500, Laurie, wouldn't handle shirring at all well... so I was determined to find out for myself.  I mean, shirred dresses are quick, easy, inexpensive and adorable!  So I stocked up on shirring elastic and sat down with some scraps for a play.  I found out pretty quickly that Laurie can, in fact, shirr... and after a play with stitch length and tension he was doing a pretty good job.  Yippee!!

So I requested some measurements from a friend with a 2 year old... and set to work.  Unfortunately things didn't go exactly to plan.  I'm not sure if I've done something wrong, or if this is how it is supposed to look... but I expected it to gather more than this?  Any thoughts?

Would absolutely love to have some tips if you know of any.  And, no Katy, I don't want to hear that he can't do it.  My beloved Laurie can do anything!  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So that's what I'm working on this week.  I'm pretty sure that there are many other WIPs stashed around the place (a certain Summer House quilt, for example) but let's not go there.  ;)

I'm looking forward to checking out all the other projects linked up to Lee's.  Pour yourself a water/coffee/wine/etc and pop on over for a look-see.


Weigh In Wednesday - Day 8

Weigh In Wednesday

Firstly a BIG thank you to everyone who linked up or commented after last week's initial Weigh In Wednesday post.  Honestly, your support and encouragement has been amazing and, no word of a lie, has really, truly helped me get through this week without scoffing down an icecream (or seventy).  To say it was a tough week for me, mood-wise, is a slight understatement so the thought of having to weigh in today infront of you has really kept my feet on the... err... treadmill and my hands out of the cookie barrel (though I did have two that Mr C freshly baked... yum!).  THANK YOU!

To those of you who have joined me on this journey - CONGRATULATIONS - you've made it through the first week of Missy Mac Bootcamp.  ;)  I hope you've been positive and successful in your endeavours and haven't raided the pantry at 2am more than, say, five times.  No matter what, I am proud of you all for starting the journey and committing to keeping on track with me.  You'll all be looking hot, hot, hot in no time.  :)

It is now a new week, though, and it's time to look forward to the next seven days of healthy eating and exercise.  Here's where I'm at, Day 8, beginning of Week 2...

Front - Can you see the difference?  Nah, me either.  Yet!
Side - Can you see the difference?  Yep, it is worse!  Bloaty, bloat, bloat.  Ugh.
Weight Loss Goal: -10kgs (-22lbs)
Week's Loss:  -2.2kgs (4.85lbs)
Total Loss:  -2.2kgs (4.85lbs)
Distance to Goal:  7.8kgs (22lbs)
Week's Gym Visits: 3 - plus walks along the river / beach (yay for summer!)
Total Time Exercising:  2hrs 55mins
Alcohol Units Consumed: Nil
Date of Last Alcoholic Drink: 31st December 2011
Highlight of the Week: Managing to drag myself to the gym for 30mins of exercise when I really, really, really didn't want to go.  Even though I hated every miserable second, I was still proud of myself for doing it.

As per usual, I'm finishing with a little bit of music - to make you laugh, smile, cry or groan.  So, little lady, it's time to jump down from your trusty steed, yank off your cowboy boots and pull up a hay bale.  Here is Bobby Dare with the "Diet Song".

Ha! Ok, I promise... no more country.   Actually, that's a complete and utter lie.  I have another ripper lined up for you... but that'll have to wait a week or two.

Now it's over to you!  Link up and let us know how your first week went.  :)


Friday, January 6, 2012

TGIFF in Pictures

As my last few posts have been very 'wordy' (I know you're sick of hearing from me), I thought it was about time to limit the chatter and just show you what I've been working on this week...

Circle Zip Earbud Pouches for me and Mr C

22" Mod Mosaic Floor Pillow for me (not Laura!)

Simple Pyramid Doorstop for my Mummy

Sewing Machine Cover for my new little Brother, Laurie

Scrappy String Blocks for the QCA's 2012 Bee (it's my month!)

So, there you have it - quite a productive week for me.  AND... all of that between sweating it out at the gym for Weigh In Wednesday.  Wowsers.  ;)


I'm linking up to the first TGIFF party for 2012, at Quokka Quilts.  Pop over to see Laura's gorgeous summer skirt, with matching accessories.  :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Introducing... Laurie

Picture this, if you will.  A few days before Christmas, whilst I was in Adelaide enjoying some one-on-one time with Mr C, I get a cryptic text message from Laura saying "I think I will go and look at the sewing machine for you - it looks awesome."  Huh???  Of course, I thought she was looking at some new beaut, fancy-pants Bernina for herself and using me as an excuse but, no, she honestly meant for me.  Apparently earlier on she'd emailed me a link to a second-hand machine for sale in her neck of the woods and she was keen to check it out on my behalf.  Umm... oki doki!

At this point I should interject and just clarify that at that stage, Laura and I had never actually met or even chatted on the phone (she didn't even know I wasn't in Perth).  So the fact that this almost stranger (you know what I mean!) was willing to go out of her way and do this for me was... humbling.  Seriously, I was touched.

Anyway... hours later (whilst Mr C and I was enjoying a bevy or two and watching the sun set), Laura rang me with her report.  It was a Brother BC-2500, in near new condition, going for half-price.  Noice!  She was a little concerned that (a) the automatic threader didn't work (I didn't even know what that was but figured I could manage without it) and (b) it only had 60 different stitch types (I just laughed).  After a brief chat about the pros and cons, and then a few seconds of battering my eyelashes at Mr C (it didn't take much as he'd had a few), it was decided that Laura would pick it up for me and then I'd grab it from her once I returned.  Score!

Of course, even now I can't get over the slight craziness of it all.  I mean, we barely knew each other and, yet, we both we were willing to go along with this whole idea.  Isn't it funny how sometimes you just trust someone inexplicably?  For me, especially, that was so out of character because I can be as cynical and untrusting as they come but this time I followed my gut and I'm so glad I did.  Not only because I have a fabulous new machine but I also now have a fabulous new friend.  :)

So, without further ado, meet my Little Brother, Laurie.  Yes, he was named in honour of his finder & minder, Laura.

I was super dooper excited to pick him up and have a play on Friday - and he did not disappoint.  Besides a few teething problems as I got used to a computerized machine (Laura, in her ex-"teacherness" was very patient!) it was a lot of fun to sew on something so... smooth and trustworthy.  I even had my first ever go at FMQ which was a laugh but definitely whet my appetite.  Unfortunately I don't have a pic of my efforts for you to have a chuckle at.  Next time (my darning foot should arrive shortly)!

Now, what does a new machine need when he comes home?  Why, a new cover, of course!

I LOVE this donkey print by Alexander Henry - I also have it in white (anyone surprised?).  I've been hoarding it for a few months waiting for the perfect project to come along and ta-da.  I'm soooo happy with it.  Everytime I walk by and see it I can't help but smile.

This cover came together very quickly and was so simple I didn't need to use a tutorial.  Basically, it is just a rectangle with some ribbons sewn into the binding for ties.  The quilting is a little hard to see but it is crazy lines, as suggested by M-R for my Terrain Mod Mosaic Pillow.  This design was a lot of fun and very, very easy.

Lastly, here is Laurie settling into his new home.  I even cleaned up my sewing room for his benefit!

Welcome Laurie.  I'm sure this is the start of a wonderful (and productive) new partnership.  :)

Anyone else get an unexpected windfall over Christmas?  Feel free to leave a message and brag.


Weigh In Wednesday - Day 1

Weigh In Wednesday

It's time.  Are you ready?  I know I am!

Welcome to the beginning of Weigh In Wednesday with Missy Mac Creations.  I hope you will support and encourage (and join!) me in my quest to lose 10kgs by Saturday 3 March 2012.  Why then, you ask?  Well, basically, that will be the day of my 30th birthday party and I want to look smokin'.  ;)

Each week I will post an updated photo of myself (ugh... but I'm sure I'll appreciate it down the line) along with a series of stats.  If you are playing along please be assured that this is a supportive environment - you will never be forced to show/reveal more than you are comfortable.  For example - I have chosen not to advertise my actual weight, just the +/-.  You set the rules!

First up I'll share the lifestyle changes I will be concentrating on during the next two months (and beyond) -

a) Eating more healthily
b) Eating less (portion control!)
c) Exercising more
d) NO alcohol (uhh... whaaaattt??!!)
e) Drinking more water

For me, these are all totally doable goals and are things I want to incorporate into my every day life from here on out.  Well... the no alcohol is not a life-time goal but it won't hurt me to back off the drink for the next few months.  As for the a, b, c and e... these are things we all know we should aim for... but sometimes the knowing and the doing can be two different things.  Time for me to remedy that and teach myself some better habits.

So let's get this ball rolling...

Day 1 - front

Sad face!  Please excuse the "just got out of bed" look.  You'll probably have to get used to it over the next few months.  ;)

Day 1 - side

I wasn't going to include a side profile (because it is realllly embarassing) but in the interests of 'keeping it real' there it is.  Got to love Mr C who gave me a cuddle and said "You're not as bad as you think you are, sweetie."  Aww.  Thanks babe.  I think.  ;)

Weight Loss Goal: -10kgs (-22lbs)
Week's Loss:  0.0kgs (0lbs)
Total Loss:  0.0kgs (0lbs)
Distance to Goal:  10kgs (22lbs)
Week's Gym Visits:  4 (including 2 in one day... whoop!)
Total Time Exercising:  2hrs 30mins
Alcohol Units Consumed: Sorry... wasn't counting before New Years Day (I didn't need to know!)
Date of Last Alcoholic Drink: 31st December 2011
Highlight of the Week: Putting myself out there and starting Weigh In Wednesday.  Scary!

That's it, as painless as that.  Now, who's with me?  I would love to have you on board as we battle the wobbly bits together.  We CAN do it!

Let me give you a few minutes to think about it... with this week's clip.  Never fear, though, as I received numerous death threats complaints after the last WIW post, today's entertainment will not be brought to you by Ms Newton-Jones. Instead, here is a little bit of inspiration from OK Go who are not only singing but also showing off their mad cool treadmill skillz. These are just a few of the moves that Mr C and I practise in the gym...

So, after that awesome bit of inspiration, are you in?  You are?!  So very glad to have you on board.  Don't forget to link up (and grab the button from my sidebar) so we can cheer each other on.  :)

If losing weight isn't on your list for 2012 please don't feel left out (ha!) - I'm sure everyone would love you to be part of the support crew.  Membership is easy, just visit the various links and shout out your encouragement.  Thanks!

Hope you all have a fantastic (and healthy!) week.  Can't wait (weight?) to see your progress next Wednesday.  Good luck.  :)


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Final Christmas Wrap-Up

For many of you, Christmas is but a distance memory but, for us, it really only finished yesterday as we finally caught up with my parents for lunch.  As always, Mum and Ted put on a gorgeous spread, including our traditional prawn cocktails and glazed ham.  YUM!

Now that that's done, I can showcase the last few gifts I made as presents - a tray mat for my Mum and a personalised pillow for baby Mitchell.

First up is the tray mat, made using Delighted by the Quilted Fish for Riley Blake and linen.  The white and natural striped binding just happened to be in my stash - perfect!

I still need a bit more practise on the binding side of things but I'm definitely improving.  Slowly but surely.  For the quilting I just did some wavy lines, as per my first quilt.

Now that I have a new machine (oh yes, it is true... more to come) I'm hoping to expand my quilting repertoire in the near future.  Any ideas on where to start??

My other secret project was a 18" personalised pillow for my friend's baby boy, Mitchell.  As she is a fan of turtles the design for this one was a total no-brainer.

Especially after I saw (and fell on love with) this adorable backing fabric, Snails and Turtles for the Love U collection by Deb Strain.  As with all my kiddie pillows, this is removable for cleaning and has a zip closure.  I just need to work on matching up my prints a little better.


So cute!  Lastly, because I couldn't help myself, I continued the theme by adding in a cute little snail on the front.  I get the feeling that those guys are best buds.  ;)

So there you have it, another Christmas done and dusted.  This year, though, I may need to ask Santa for a few photography classes...


Monday, January 2, 2012

Let's Get Physical... Physical...

I wanna get physical...

Ahh!  I'm so sorry if that song is now stuck in your head (it is in mine!) but it seemed a fitting tribute to this post (and who doesn't love a bit of ONJ every now and then?).  Some of you may remember that my numero uno resolution for 2012 was to get fit and healthy and now, one day in, I'm pleased to report that I haven't yet fallen off the wagon.  ;)  BUT... to help keep me on-track long-term I am enlisting your help.  Yes, YOU!  Thus, I introduce...

Weigh In Wednesday

"WHAT????" you ask?  Well before you get all scared and run for the "unfollow" button, please hear me out.  This isn't about competition, judgment or nastiness or any of that kerfuffle but a chance for us to unite in our goals of getting fit and losing weight.  A forum to provide support and encouragement to each other as we sweat it out (pun intended).  And, well, the knowledge that people are watching is always a great motivater to get physical... physical...

Oops, sorry.  Momentary lapse there.  Right, what was I saying?  Oh yes...

Weigh In Wednesday, for me, will be a chance to keep a record of the stats, such as loss to date, time spent exercising, visits to gym etc, whilst also allowing myself the opportunity to celebrate each milestone because, let's face it, dieting is THE PITS and if you can't do a jig after every kilo (pound?) lost then you'll be scoffing down those chocolate bars in no time.

So, if, like me, you'd like to get fitter and healthier in 2012 and would like a supportive shoulder to cry on when it gets too much (errr...) then please feel free to link up to Weigh In Wednesdays with Missy Mac Creations, starting this week.  I would love you to join me - we can do it together!

If weightloss isn't a goal of yours for 2012 then please feel free to follow along with my (our?) progress anyway and help us celebrate the good and commiserate the bad.  The more people joining me in my happy dance the better (it makes me feel less of a fool, for starters).

Remember, it all kicks off this Wednesday, 4th January.  Don't be late.  ;)

Before I go, though, here's a little treat, just for you.  I know you would have googled it anyway.  ;)


Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Block for the QCA Bee

It's January (just incase you've been in a bubble or something) and, for me, that means it's time to reveal my block for the Quilt Club Australia 2012 Bee. Whoop!

Members will know that originally I was going to go with a simple stacked coins block but after seeing these floating around Blogland, and then again in Laura's copy of Block Party, I couldn't resist.  I love the diagonal lines, varying widths and the bright, fun colours.  AND... the white stripe across the middle to bring uniformity to all the blocks is an awesome idea.

For this block I used this great tutorial by Film in the Fridge.  It is already perfect so I figured there was no need to reinvent the wheel and write my own.  Saying that, though, I do have some stipulations that I would like the bee participants to adhere to.  These are -

a)  The block should measure 8" square so please use this as your template.  This size will fit on A4 so you shouldn't need to get your hands on anything bigger than that.

b)  As per the tutorial, please include the strip of white across the centre.  This should be cut 1" wide, resulting in a 1/2" stripe once sewn in.  I used Prima Homespun White from Spotlight.

c)  You will need to start with a variety of strips, varying in width from 1" up to 2.5".  As you can see from my example I like bright, modern and fun prints.  Feel free to raid your scraps bin and use what you have on hand.

d)  Please ensure that all fabric is 100% cotton that has been pre-washed.

e)  I'll send you my postal address separately but please try to have them sent by 31st January. 

Think that's pretty much all I need to say.  If you do have any questions though please do not hesitate to contact me. 

Now... all you have to do is click the link to the tutorial (above) and get sewing.

Have fun!