Tuesday, 23 August 2011

15 minute challenge update: week 7

For those of you who don't know, I have been challenging myself, for the last month & a half, to do at least 15 mins of craft work each day.  I have found that since I started pushing myself to do this that I have finished a lot more projects that I did before I was doing this.  Only a brief report back per this week's results...

Tuesday 16th August: 1/2 hr hand-sewing

Wednesday 17th August: none

Thursday 18th August: 1/2 hr hand sewing; 1 hr in sewing store, finding the perfect fabrics for seasonal swap project.

Friday 19th August (FNSI): 1hr EPP fabric cutting; 1/2hr preparation of stitching for seasonal swap

Saturday 20th August: approximately 2.5hrs of hand sewing on SS stitchery throughout the day (at ladies retreat)

Sunday 21st August: only a 1/2hr of crochet at the park with DD and mum (physically and emotionally exhausted from ladies retreat)

Monday 22nd August: approximately 3hrs of hand sewing on SS stitchery

Tuesday 23rd August: 5hrs of hand sewing throughout day on SS stitchery to 9.30pm (now)

I am planning to finish off the hand sewing on the SS stitchery tonight, though this should only take me approx 1/2 hr to complete and iron out the creases from the hoop.  I am also hoping to get at least another block done to send through to it's partner tomorrow.

This post is linked to Ann's host post at her blog Life in Pieces.  
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I received a message from Bobbie this morning informing me she'd received her mug rug from the swap last month.  I showed you a snippet of the rug the other day, so here is a pic of the full rug ...

And a close-up of the FMQ'ing...

It took me a half hour to resort to using a water soluble marker to mark out my guidelines for this after finding that I couldn't get the stitching even enough for my liking.  Once I'd drawn these up and made the foot speed quicker (I had it on the slowest setting thinking this would make it easier), it went a lot quicker.  I also used insulated wadding in this, primarily as I wasn't able to get wadding with enough weight, but also because I was aware that coffee mugs and the like can get quite hot on their backsides.  Thought it would be more appropriate :)

Friday, 19 August 2011

Swaps update

Well, so much for showing these pics "tomorrow" (ie. Wednesday!!)  Better late than never I suppose *grin*

Much of All my crafting lately has been for swaps (or the H2H Challenge, of course) of various kinds.  I am hoping to show the blocks I haven't yet shown ... up to current 'date'.

To begin, 6in Block Swaps Australia ...

These lovely blocks were received by Monica in the US (no blog) - Thankyou!!
I especially love those little bumblebees!!!
These blocks were sent to Sue B (no personal blog) ...

Does anyone have any tips on how to ensure the colouring in red fabric doesn't weep and leave marks on lighter fabrics (white in this case)?!  I sent two red blocks as I couldn't believe that the red had bled on the first one.  At this stage I was using water soluble markers to guide my seams as I didn't yet have a 1/4in quilting foot.  I used a touch of water to get rid of those lines ... and then the morning after discovered the red on white fabric.  Any feedback and tips will be much appreciated!!!

Okay, moving on to the Christmas Quilting Block swaps Australia swap ...

In June, my partner was Leena (no blog).  I received this lovely Goose Creek block (requested block) with some beautiful fabric scraps included of fabrics used in the block ...

The block I chose to make for Leena was a "Comforts of the Home" block by Janet Wicknell, found HERE ...
My first Flying Geese!!
My July partner was the lovely Fiona of BubzRugz.  I have been an avid follower of her blog for quite a few months now and was concerned that this block be just so.  She'd requested a "Christmas Tree" block, and as I hadn't found any pieced blocks that I particularly liked I decided to try my hand at designing a tree.  I also felt the urge to do some hand sewing (the sewing machine was really bugging me at that time!) and needed to 'get back to my roots', if you could call it that.  Fiona has also recently begun learning the needle-turn applique technique - quite beautifully I must add! - and so I wanted to use this technique in the creation of this block to pay homage to this new crafty undertaking of hers.

And a close up (sorry about the fuzzyness in the lower part of the frame)...

Each 'layer' of the tree is a separate entity, appliqued separately to the rest ... four pieces making a whole, with the bottom of each segment wavy like the bottom - thus why I spent a good 4-5 hours on this part alone.  I am not completely happy with the placement of the 'tinsel' (not quite 'sitting' right, lol) and I think if I had more time I could have worked on the placement of the 'baubles' more, but mum assured me it was good ... and Fiona, after it arrived yesterday, let me know that she "loved" it!  I am so glad!  I really love this needle-turn applique & embroidery/stitchery creation of blocks! 

Fiona sent me an equally lovely Goose Creak block ...

I love this tan coloured fabric across all four 'segments' of this block!
My August block partner, Pat, has already done and sent through my block for this month.  As she lives in America, she must have done it as soon as she received my information!!  A beautiful log cabin block...
I am in love with these berry/mistletoe fabrics!!
I was also a participant last month in the Christmas themed mug rug swap that Crafty Pug organised through the CQBSA group.  Bobbie B was my partner for this wonderful swap and look at the lovelies she sent me ...
A beautiful crafted 'postcard', a package of various panels and pieces for applique,
some pretty buttons and an absolutely gorgeous mug rug with appliqued teddies!!
And the mug rug up close ...

I have finally finished her rug off.  It is on its' way to the mailbox as soon as I press "publish", so I will hopefully be able to show it to you sometime next week.  Until then, I can show a 'sliver' of the rug...

This was the first time I'd ever attempted FMQ'ing... and once I got the hang of it (and drew out some water soluble guidelines ... I really quite enjoyed it!  It does take time to get it looking good, but I truly believe that it's worth it!

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I am heading off on a 'ladies retreat' with our church tomorrow, leaving DD with the grandparents (well, really just 'home' as we live with my parents, so she'll be home ... I just won't be).  I have only spent one night away from her since she was born - and that time I was staying 10 mins away ... and didn't leave until she'd gone to sleep!!  This time is different.  I will be leaving Saturday morning for a remote property, approximately 1.5hrs away, in a place I am not 100% sure I will have phone reception!!  I won't get back until just before lunch time on Sunday.  This will not be the first time she is looked after during the day by them, nor the first time they'd put her down for a nap ... but the first time they looked after her care through the whole day, night and then part of the next day.  We have been weaning all last week and this, so getting her feed at night will not be an issue...it's whether she can handle being away from mummy that whole time - and visa versa!!!  

The rest of today will be focussed on (well, after posting the mug rug); vacuuming and mopping my cleaning area (2hrs for only 1/2 the house!!); cooking some curry (from scratch, including the curry paste  (!); the meat is marinading atm) and something sweet for morning tea (not sure yet, but probably brownies) to take to the retreat, and a egg & ham pie for dinner; and pack for the retreat.  

All that before tonight's FNSI work - I plan on preparing a bunch of stitcheries to do at the retreat (I think better when I stitch, don't ask me why!) and then getting some blocks done for swaps to pop in the post tomorrow morning on my way 'out'.

Better get to work!!  I hope you have a great weekend too!!!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

15 minute challenge update: weeks 4, 5 & 6

Since I haven't updated for a while, I decided I needed to do a full 3 wk update.  I will try to keep the babble short as there is more to report back than a usual update.
Be warned, this will be a rather long post!


Tuesday 26 July:  45 mins, EPP preparation
Wednesday 27 July: 2 hrs, mug rug; H2H cutting (black strips) and sewing
Thursday 28th July: mug rug & H2H sewing
Friday 29 July: EPP prep (paper shapes prep); mug rug hand-sewing
Saturday 30 July: 2 hrs, EPP prep (fabric selection, cutting and prep) & hand-sewing.
Sunday 31 July: 1hr, H2H top
Monday 1 August: 1.5hrs H2H & EPP hand-sewing

This week I had a 1000wd reflection assignment due on Monday, so much of my time went towards this.  Craft-wise I did well to get something done everyday, though I felt disillusioned, flighty and unable to commit to one particular project.


Tuesday 2 August: 1 hr, H2H (black insertion in 1 block)
Wednesday 3 August: nothing
Thursday 4 August: nada
Friday 5 August: zilch
Saturday 6 August: zip
Sunday 7 August: 4 hrs, pattern prep, fabric prep and beginning needle-turn applique for 12in QBSA block
Monday 8 August: 2hrs, needle-turn applique for 12 in QBSA block.

This week was my 'first' week of my current (not quite out of) self-sabotage mode.  I think I 'realised' I wouldn't get the H2H quilt done in time to send to Judi ready for giving in Romania and thus I simply shutdown.  I also gained at least 4kgs (8lb 13oz!) in as many days, setting my weight loss back over a month in less than a week - boo!  By Sunday I realised that moping about not getting this quilt done was not helping me - I am now behind with my swaps.  Emails were sent and partners informed, and I have now - thankfully gotten back to working on these.

Note: When I informed Sarah of my inability to finish the quilt in time to be sent through to Judi from Green Fairy Quilts, she let me know not to be too worried about it as they have received more than their quota this year and so have quite a few all ready for next years' trip - mine would be added to that lot regardless. 60 quilts from 47 H2H Challenge participants alone - let alone all the others that have been donated to Judi over the year!! Praise the LORD!!!  Such an Awesome result!!  I will continue to work on this quilt, sending it through when it is finished, and yes I will show you when I do get it done.  It is, however, no longer priority #1 craft-wise!


Tuesday 9 August: 2hrs, needle-turn applique & hand embroidery on 12in QBSA block
Wednesday 10 August: 4hrs, hand embroidery on 12in QBSA block
Thursday 11 August: 1.5hrs sewing (12in QBSA block finish, mug rug) & 1hr in quilt fabric shop for supplies and browse sans DD
Friday 12 August: Selected pattern & figured out adaption (sent email to designer for approval) for Spring swap and a birthday present
Saturday 13 August: 1.5hrs in quilt fabric & Spotlight stores selecting fabrics and notions for several projects w/ DD
Sunday 14 August: 1 hr, EPP hand-sewing
Monday 15 August: 6hrs+, FMQ (first time!) and binding on mug rug

This week I've gotten back into my craft, thoroughly enjoying the hand-stitching, particularly the needle-turn appliques.  For that particular project I really enjoyed putting the design together from conception to creation.  I hope my partner Fiona enjoys the block when she receives it (hopefully Wed or Thurs depending on Aust. Post).  {Photos to come when it arrives}

So all in all, at least 30hrs over the three weeks (10 hrs per week when you even it out, even with that self-sabotaging spirit invading week 5!).  Pretty good don't you think?

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I will be linking this post in with Kate's challenge post.  It is always great to see how much the others are getting up to each week and giving them a good dose of congratulations and encouragement.  To see how others have done on their challenge, why not head over to Life in Pieces.

I will post some pics of recent finishes and swap receivals tomorrow.

Until next time, hoping you have a wonderfully crafty week! *Hugs*
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