Saturday 24 December 2011

Best Wishes this Christmas Weekend

I've wished the best to a few so far, but to be honest, I actually wish you ALL the very best weekend!!

This is such a great opportunity to remember the magnificent gift our Grand Creator gave us ... The gift of relationship with Him through Christ, whom He sent us, over 2000 years ago. A man who lived a sinless life so that he might take on the sins of many, that all who believe in him might live in glorious harmony and community with Him who gave us life!

Happy Birthday Jesus!!!

To the rest of you ... I wish you a fantastic, as-less-stressful-as-possible, fun-filled, joyful weekend!!! Many blessings to you all!!

We'll be getting a few things prepared for lunch, before heading to church for the family service, then heading home to finish lunch preparations and enjoy a good meal with family, with presents and a relaxed afternoon and evening to cap off the day.

Hugs to all!!!

Oh, i'll be floating around the web less over the next week or so as I've under-estimated my data-usage and now need to restrict myself until about the 4th ... Not sure how i'll cope, though a lot of the people i follow seem to be planning to take this next week off, so i should be alright ... Wish me luck!!! Lol!!!

Sunday 18 December 2011

FNSI ... stitchery fun

I spent this last FNSI working on my TTS stitchery.

Since down south to spend Christmas with the grandparents (mine, mum's folks), I am without sewing machine access, which is quite frustrating!! Just having the access if I found the time during those assignments kept me going, but now without being able to use one is putting me a little on edge, lol. Oh well, at least I brought tons of stitching to do with me. I've also brought my trusty little rotary cutter and quilting ruler to allow me to cut my skow appliqué shapes out... But wouldn't you know it... I forgot my cutting board, Lol!!! Thankfully there is a LQS down the road about 5mins walk from where I'm staying, so I'll head up there tomorrow and get another along with some other goodies!! Lots of hand sewing in my immediate future...

Thursday 1 December 2011

My days....

Why isn't essay writing as successful, or even fruitful ... even as enjoyable, as doing stitcheries???

Saturday 19 November 2011

FNSI photo...

Thanks to the darling Amy, I am able to upload my photo of last night's FNSI progress.

I have since done a little more, and will continue during the service tomorrow (something for my hands to do means my mind stays focussed on the preacher and isn't continually wandering).

Friday 18 November 2011

FNSI: November

Just a short note to say I was able, after all to do a little stitching today. Uni has had to take priority over sewing of late (assignments kicking my bum, readings giving me migraines... hopefully should be all over for the year in a couple of weeks). I did't think I'd be able to make time for this months' FNSI, but turns out I needed to get away from all the academia for a night, so here I am.

Couldn't face getting out the sewing machine knowing it would just have to be packed away again for such a long time, so I thought I'd get out something quick and non-thought necessary ... stitching. 'Tia the Season' to be precise. I've had this pattern book for a while, watching everyone on the SAL working on their's and decided to start work on the sticheries myself over my Christmas holidays, among others (more on this next month), and decided to get a couple started to try out some parlan I got a little while ago.

Will upload a photo tomorrow when I get a chance ... unless someone can explain to me how to upload a photo from your iPhone!

Needless to say, I have ordered a couple of metres more of parlan to use with my stitcheries over Christmas... got a half metre of pellon on order too along with a pigma pen to try, lol.

Monday 31 October 2011

Spring swap is in the mail!!!

Oh boy, has this item taken forever to get done!!  Between either DD, me or both of us being sick (DD developed really high temperatures, fluid in the lungs and an ear infection last week ... if I hadn't gotten her to the doctor when I did we would have been looking at a diagnosis of pneumonia if I'd left it only a few days longer!! ... thus I haven't gotten much done this last week at all, especially in the way of uni!) and uni assignments that feel like they are slowly drowning me (yes, I am stressed!!), I haven't gotten much craft done in the last couple of months - I'm having withdrawals!!!

But, the most important item is now in the mail box to fling it's way across the country to my ***very patient!!*** partner Lisa!!!  I have included a number of other goodies along with my handmade item, and I truly hope she loves it ... I will post some photoes of this item when it has arrived.

Oh another note, I have noticed that I haven't shown the blocks I have sent and received in my various swaps for a while... plus, I haven't posted much crafty things lately, and it is always nice to see those things.

So, without further ado...

My August 6in swap partner was Vanessa (no blog).  The top two blocks are ones she made for me, the bottom two I made for her ... she requested friendship stars...

This next block I sent to my August Christmas block swap partner Pat, who made me a lovely log cabin ...

These were my very late July QBSA blocks for my partner Gina who requested stars or applique.  I originally began working on the block on the right ... an antique star tile ... didn't really work, but I thought maybe she could use it in something else.  I also made this Christmas Star on the left.  Lots of HST's pieced together to look fabulous, though I got very frustrated with trying to get the block right ... and now that I look at it I realise I had one of the HSTs around the wrong way!!! Aargh!!!!  Sorry Gina!

My August QBSA swap partner Robyn (who I get the chance to swap with again this month in the 6in swap) made me these lovely bright blocks ...

And for her request of teapots/cups/and saucers/mugs etc, I made this lovely pieced, embroidered and appliqued block.  Once I decided on what I was going to make it came together quickly.  All images came from a google search of relevant images, though unfortunately I didn't think to record the specific pages I got the motifs from ... the teapot was originally a redwork design which I drew out on the fabric with water soluble marker before doing the stitchery once it was appliqued on the central panel...

And a close up of the embroidery ...

 And the last blocks are the ones from my September QBSA swap ... The top two are blocks Elizabeth made for me ... how fantastic is that dresden plate block?!!  She has apparently never done this block before ... but I can't see it!  It looks fantastic!!  And I love the colour blocking in the log cabin!

Finally, my star blocks for  Elizabeth ...  She requested any star block in blue/purple/red/cream ... these two are the Sawtooth Star and Sharon's Star blocks.  Although the second was more fiddly, I really enjoyed this one!

I still have a few blocks that are late in coming ... and I promise I will get onto them as soon as I can ... however I still have a number of assignments that need to be prioritised higher than sewing atm, especially since I have a couple overdue too!!!  **Breathe ... just breathe....**

I have also done more work on my stitchery when I just need to get away from it and do something mind-numbing while watching an equally mind-numbing show ... but this is for my scissor keep swap, so pictures will need to hold off until it's arrived ... still awaiting my fabric to arrive for this, but I still have a few hours of stitching to finish before I can get stuck into this.

Now that November is upon us, I will also mention that I have made the decision to drop out of both the 6in block swap and the Christmas block swap due primarily to time, and the fact that I want to begin working on some full-size projects, namely the Dear Jane quilt and Anni Downs' 'My Favourite Things' quilt from her Some Kind Of Wonderful book, both for which I have joined in a sew along to encourage me in these endeavours!  I will still be a part of the QBSA swap as I do enjoy making these blocks, I am just very aware that I am consistently falling behind in these and it is not fair on my partners ... and the fact that I would like to make some things for myself :)

Anyway, must go.  Got one assignment in and finished at 5am this morning (leaving me with less than two hours sleep) and need to get back to the next one.  They may arrive late ... but at least I am determined that they will get submitted regardless, devil be damned!!!

Sunday 23 October 2011

October FNSI ... sneaks

This month's FNSI was a lot more successful than the last few months, mainly due to me feeling a lot better  this time!  Admittedly, though I had all the cleaning done before 5 (friday is cleaning day), I didn't actually get DD into bed until close to 8pm ... meaning that I didn't have all that much time to sew, especially since I have a number of uni assignments due over the next few weeks!

Anyway, though I was mainly working on items for swaps (and can't really show what I was working on too closely) ... I can show some close-up sneaks...

Firstly, my main item for the Spring Swap ... yes, I know this is devastatingly late.  My partner has been wonderful about patiently waiting for this!!  The Summer swap's deadline for signups is on Tuesday, and I told myself that I need to get this Spring item in the mail before I allow myself to signup for this one.  Though I don't know yet, whether I will sign up, I do know that I want to get this finished by Tuesday at the latest ... just one assignment that has higher priority atm!  So, the very sneakiest of peeks ...

Beautiful 'spring' fabrics ... and yes, lots of hand quilting!!
Another item I did a little work on, though it was earlier on in the day, was a touch of stitching for ********* in the ************ swap ...

And, for the love of stitching, another peek ...

I am enjoying this one!!!

Anyway, I am off to keep working on this assignment ... I know it's gonna be late, but at least I know I can get it done ... whether on time or not, it's gonna get submitted!  (Gonna be late as I can't see myself staying up much longer tonight ... I'm wreaked!  Tired after being up late fretting over DD's temperature last night ... then again this afternoon ... then again earlier tonight!!) **YAWN!!!**

There were many others who participated in this month's FNSI ... head over here if you're curious to see what they were all up to this Friday night!  I'll be sure to hop over to check them all out sometime later this week, when I get a free moment (... or I need something less academic to read!)

Tuesday 11 October 2011


One of these babies is soon to be in my possession!!!!!

The darling Dawn from As Sweet as Cinnamon had a giveaway last week for one of these and three dies (tumblers, chisels and apple cores)... and I was the lucky, LUCKY winner!!!!  Can you believe it??!!!  I don't yet know if I can!!!

My face has been the home to a VERY LARGE GRIN ALL DAY!!!

Can you tell I'm excited?!!!  LOL!!!

Thankyou, Thankyou, THANKYOU Dawn and Accuquilt!!!

... Guess I'd better pull out that sewing machine and dig deep into my sewing to-do-list and uni assignments so I can get stuck into playing when it arrives!!!

Got two 6"  Friendship star blocks, for my (very late) Aug/Sept partner, last night.  In the mail this afternoon...

Got lots more to do, so I'd better get cracking!!!!


Friday 7 October 2011

Why "Crafty God Chick"?

Earlier on in the week, the darling Dawn from 'As Sweet As Cinnamon' challenged us to divulge the reasoning or story behind our selection of blog name.  I loved the idea when I read it, but as you know I haven't been well, so I've mainly just been reading (some) blogs and (very) occasionally leaving a comment ... not even thinking of putting the thought into writing one.

I am feeling a little better, though I spent most of the morning and afternoon on the lounge closing my eyes ... dozing ... sleeping.  Thank God for my wonderful Mum who kept DD entertained most of the day!!  I just didn't have the energy to do anything!!!  I have actually needed to take a Panadeine Forte tablet in the morning when I've woken up, just to feel slightly better!!  (Pain wise!)  It unfortunately leaves me rather tired though!  Double unfortunately I have only one tablet left over ... they were from earlier on in the year when I had tonsillitis (actually, possibly on a few months back if I remember rightly!!) ... and I only had 4 or 5 left over.  Triple unfortunately, I didn't think to request another script for this ... so it is off to the pharmacy tomorrow morning ... once tomorrow's tablet is taken and has 'kicked in' ... to ask if there is anything 'over-the-counter' that I can take which will pretty much do the same job.  Nurofen isn't helping... maybe a number of Panadol will do the trick?!

Anyway... back to why I chose my 'name'.

A number of years ago I came upon a fantastic book by Holly Wagner who wrote a book (among others) entitled "God Chicks".

I love, Love, LOVE this book!!  Every time I read it, whether just a chapter or the whole book again (we're talking at least a half-dozen times here!!), I get something new out of it that never 'spoke' to me before!

As the blurb reads ...
God Chicks come in all shapes and sizes, all colours and styles!   
God chicks are princesses, daughters of a King.  They are warriors with the courage to do what's right (even the hard stuff).  They are lovers, extending their hands and their hearts to their family, friends and a hurting humanity.  They are party chicks, celebrating life with passion and a smile.  They are whatever-it-takes chicks committed to accomplishing their God-given purposes in the twenty-first century.  God chicks are a force for change on earth... 
With God Chicks, Holly seeks to blow the lid off the boxes that women have sometimes put themselves in and encourages women to be the amazing, world-changing champions they were made to be. 
And she really does just that!  I am constantly inspired by the words in these pages ... and even if I don't ever become the 'chick' I believe I should be, then I know that I have tried my best to be the God Chick God created me to be!!  I love the terminology that Holly has used in this title ... the playfulness and cheeky-ness that comes across in her use of the often-derogatory 'chick' label.  I aspire to be the God Chick I was created to be ... the one so deliciously described in Proverbs 31:10-31.

And, well, "Crafty"(?!) ... I tend to be the crafty one in my group of friends, more often than not!  The girlfriends I have now (face-to-face, I-can-physically-visit-with-them friends) are more occupied with tending to their kids and husbands or work to find the time to create and sew!  To say that I now have some friends who I share this passion for handmade crafting ... it is truly a dream come true!!

So, that's me.  Crafty God Chick.

I am linking this to Dawn's post here.  Head over to find out where quite a few other fellow bloggers came up with their names ... or join in the fun yourself!!

Thursday 6 October 2011

Don't you just hate being sick?!!

I'm sitting here in the library, trying to concentrate on my readings for uni ... not very successfully as I am coughing away every few minutes, sneezing almost as often, and wiping my nose so often you'd assume it was a tap left not-quite-shut-off (what a great mental image?!!! Lol) ... and so I decided (my mind is not quite with it atm) that it was about time I quickly update how I've been.

Unfortunately, the last month or so has seen me rarely well! I have been sick more often than I've been healthy ... And I've hated every minute! Whether it was a cold/flu, headaches or migraines, tonsillitis, or any number of other worries ... You name it, I've probably housed it! Last night I went to the free overnight clinic after having a really bad cough, congestion and almost losing my voice since monday ( normal doctor couldn't see me till next week) ... And I came away with a week's course of antibiotics, 2 tabs twice a day. I am hoping this will help me get over this bout really quickly as I have two assignments due ASAP ( one overdue) and then another Monday week. On top of this I am also behind in my sewing ... Again!

God bless my swap partners ... Seriously!!! They have all been incredibly understanding, and I just feel so bad!

Right now, all i want to do is sew and craft ... Unfortunately, there have been times that my migraines have meant I didn't even want to go near the sewing machine! And right now, this overdue assignment is #1 priority! Aargh!! Ibam definitely going back to one unit over Christmas!! And DD will be at childcare two days next year, rather than just the one!!!

Oh, on top of all this, my darling 3yo DD has been showing signs of attention seeking!!! You know, extra tantrums, going into places she knows are out of bounds, getting into food stuffs she knows she's been told 'no' or 'not now' ... FUN FUN!!!

I don't mean to complain, just to update why I've been pretty much AWOL lately!

I do have a few blocks, both received and sent to show, just need to be at my computer to do so. A lot of the sewing I have done, has been hand sewing. Hand quilting is my current project ... Lisa, I am getting it done!! Thankfully my most recent block requests have been easy blocks too. I have my fabrics and patterns ready for when I get a spare chance.

Must go... Sorry for the rant.

Have a great crafty week!

P.S. Can you believe I hadn't been anywhere as sick as this before we had a super weekend at church with a couple of honest-to-God prophets come?!!!!

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.  
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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!

* * * * * * * *
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'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?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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*

Wednesday 27 July 2011

15 minute challenge update: week 3

Just a quick update today as I really need to get back to that H2H Quilt that really needs to be finished this week - plus I have a 1000wd assignment due on Monday which I need to work on tomorrow - so not much time spare.

This week's progress has been good,  though this has been mainly as things need to get done!  I did plan on getting hours done yesterday, but the tv caught me at dinner time and didn't let me go until way after midnight - not good.  I did get a number of shapes for paper piecing drawn up and cut out though!

So, without further ado...

Tuesday, 19th July:  2+hrs, 6in block swap for Sue

Wednesday, 20th July: 1+hrs, (can't remember what I worked on)

Thursday, 21st July: 2+hrs, Quilt Blocks and Hands2Help Quilt (one block finished)

Friday, 22nd July (FNSI): 45mins, mending pram hold-all under where you put child

Saturday, 23rd July: 1hr, 1H2HQB finished

Sunday, 24th July: 5hrs, 4H2HQBs finished

Monday, 25th July: 2.5+hrs, 2.5 H2HQBs finished

Tuesday, 26th July: 45mins, tracing and cutting out shapes for English paper piecing.

All in all, pretty good.  Approximately 15hours across the week!  Though now I really do need to get going.  I need to finish my last H2H Block, sew these together and get it ready to layer tonight so I can get some in-the-ditch sewing done tonight.

I hope you had just as productive a week!

**Photos to come later in the week!**

Monday 25 July 2011

I am In LOVE!! (...and WESI update)

As of 12:01 this morning, I have officially finished 6 out of 9 blocks needed for my H2H Quilt, excepting the horizontal sashings within 5 of them (not yet cut).  This is BIG!!  Before the weekend I had a grand total of ... ONE! Saturday saw me finish another one (long day outing with daughter and cousins) and yesterday I completed the other four.

Why the change of pace?

Well, for starters I am no longer taking the time to draw in my seam markers.

Secondly ... I got myself a 1/4in w/ Guide Presser Foot!!  YAY!!! *happy dance*


And I am officially in LOVE with it!

It is seriously making this SO much quicker!  And, in conjunction with my 1/4in ruler and (also new) finger presser, I am getting these blocks measured out (some are slightly - <1/8in - too small) and sewn so much quicker!!

I never realised just how much quicker these tools would make my sewing/piecing time!!  And with the finger presser, I don't need to have the iron on nearby while I am doing the squares - which makes it so much safer when I am doing it with my daughter nearby!!

So, 6 out of 9 blocks pretty well done.  3 all laid out to sew.  And then to cut the horizontal, then separating sashings ... I am hoping to have a full flimsy ready to show for tomorrow's 15min challenge update!!  And you can bet I have been up to way more than 15mins a day!!!

Oh, my FNSI didn't really pan out how I wanted it to - of course, lol!  We had a public holiday here on Friday as our local 'show' was on this past weekend, which meant that my parents were home - letting me sleep in!  Ah, I had a GOOD sleep-in ... certainly longer than I'd thought once I woke up (11am!).  I couldn't believe it!  Though, since DD woke up a few times overnight (and was quite grumpy about having to go back to sleep at 5am!) I relished the opportunity.  While I slept, DD had breakfast and was out in the garden with her grandparents!

((  She even worked out the frisbee on Friday - something we'd been working on on occasions over the week.  Yay!!  ))

So, after filling my day with lots of stuff Friday, that evening only saw me fix the bottom 'basket' from our pram.  It's a job that has been on the 'to do' list for a while now, it just didn't get done till now.  Basically, a few months ago I pulled the pram apart and washed everything in the machine, not realising that the boards in the bottom 'basket' (can't think of the correct term, but it's that place underneath the main part of the pram [where you put the child], where you can put store the stuff you'd otherwise have to carry) was cardboard.  Not good.  It was pulp by the time it came out.

I had to:
- unpick;
- remove afore mentioned pulp (and vaccum out!);
- cut out appropriate sized pieces of architects presentation board to provide required level-ness and structure to the bottom of the 'basket';
- insert boards into the correct slips of fabric; and
- sew up seams again.

If you can follow that - CONGRATULATIONS!!  Lol!

It took me about an hour, but by the time I finished this it was too late to get onto anything else.  I did however do a lot of sewing over the weekend, as previously mentioned, so hopefully this makes up for my pitiful FNSI (also why I named it WESI - WeekEnd Sew In!)

Anyway must go - gotta finish those blocks for tomorrow!  What did you get up to this weekend just gone?

Tuesday 19 July 2011

15 minute challenge update: week 2

Well, this week I have once again done a really good job in doing at least 15 minutes of craft every day.  Keep in mind, times given are in approximations as I didn't actually make a record of how long I was working, thus the longer times given may have been either slightly shorter or longer.
- - - - - - - -
Tuesday: 3hrs crochet + cut out twenty seven 6in x 6in squares from three FQs for H2H quilt along with some 2.5in strips for binding from leftover FQ fabric.

Wednesday: 2hrs, cutting fabrics for H2H Quilt & began working on 1st quilt block

Thursday: 2hrs, H2H Quilt

Friday: no sewing, however I did a deep clean and re-organised my desk and sewing area as well as my bedroom

Saturday: 1hr, crochet

Sunday: 1hr sewing, finished off Christmas Block Swap for Leena 

Monday: 15-20mins, crochet

Tuesday (today): 1.5hrs (so far, doing more after posting...), 6in block swap blocks for Sue.
- - - - - - - - 
Hands2Hands Challenge: Pretty good, though the H2H blocks were frustrating me as a few of the FQs were not cut quite right, leaving some squares 1/8th inch smaller than needed which is, as you can imagine, making it quite difficult to ensure exact seams.  First block is nearly done - just one more seam to finish it off.

Block Swaps: I finally finished off the block for Leena, who has been been incredibly understanding of me.  It was officially in the mail Monday morning, so should arrive either tomorrow or Thursday.  I am just glad I kept in touch throughout it.  Sue's blocks will be in the mail tomorrow afternoon - one is finished and I am working on finishing the second after I finish writing this post!  

Tomorrow I need to finish making up the remaining blocks for the H2H quilt and put the top together so I can go in and get the batting and border/backing fabrics on Thurs (child-free day) to finish it next week - yes, I know I said I would try to do this last week, but this week I really need to get it done!  I also need to work on a few more blocks for swaps this week - Fiona, Gina this is you - and a mug rug for my partner Bobbie.  

I have linked this blog to this week's 15 minute Challenge post, as hosted by Kate @ Life in Pieces.  

Saturday 16 July 2011

Baby Go! Giveaway

Quilt-Jane from Want it, Need it, Quilt it! is having a giveaway for a Baby Go! machine and three dies of your choice ... what fun!

Giveaway closes 16th August, so if you're keen to enter head on over!

Thursday 14 July 2011

My recent crafty achievements (pics!)...

I realised yesterday that I hadn't put up any photos of some of the things I've been up to, craft-wise, so I am going to attempt to quickly show them now.  Beware, photo-heavy post ahead...
Also, better grab a cuppa - I'm going through a lot!

First off, I have a couple of block swaps received ...

The first from Julie, my June partner for QBSA.  A lovely couple of bright pinwheel blocks with a beautiful floral card...
What a lucky girl was I ... two gorgeous blocks!!

My block for her was the lovely Lady of the Lake 2 in blue and yellow...

My very late blocks for Monica (from the USA, no blog), my 6inBSA partner will be receiving two of these blocks in the mail shortly.  They are the Interlocked Squares blocks in civil war fabrics.  It primarily took so long for me to get these done as I was waiting for the fabrics from America.  I haven't received my blocks from her yet, though since they are coming from so far away I am not all that concerned yet...

I also received in the mail two blocks from Sue, my June 6inBSA partner.  A gorgeous version of pinwheels I haven't seen before now, plus an extra (smaller) traditional pinwheel to boot!
Gorgeous colours!! What a lucky, lucky girl am I!
Your blocks will (hopefully) be in the mail early next week Sue.

Another block I have made - though not sent yet as after I took the photo I realised that it was 1/4 in too small and some of the corners weren't quite right so I had to unpick and re-sew the outer 'borders' around the central 9 square.  I will only put up a sneak peek as it hasn't gotten to her yet.  A block for my June (yes, I am sorry it is so late!) Christmas block for my partner Leena (no blog).
If you are reading this Leena, I am getting onto the last three seams (had to re-do these a second time) as soon as I finish writing this post.

Okay, I think that is all the block swaps I can post on atm, lol.  A few more coming in the next week or so, also with a mug rug swap too.

I have mentioned a few times that I am a recent recruit of the crochet-loving crafters, lol.  I originally learnt (well, taught myself along with some confirmation from my mother) this craft when I found a pattern for a cushion cover that I thought was perfect to give my grandmother for Christmas last year.  Mind you, this was in mid-November ... and I had never done any crochet before!  I ended up getting it done, and it looks lovely - though when mum went down there to visit last week she reported that this cushion had been put on a bed to reside, rather than used on the lounge to replace one of the dead (!) old ones as intended, lol.

Anyway, I have since been working on another cover, this time for myself, though in the last couple of months I have expanded my 'repertoire', so to speak, and tried out some different patterns.  The first one was the doily below.  This pattern I unfortunately had to adapt (the second-to-last row had to be 'pushed over' about 3 stitches), but this was easy enough to work out when I had a play around with it.  I have a third almost finished that I was working on Sunday in the service (sermon ... I need something to do with my hands so I can concentrate on the message - otherwise my mind goes off on all manner of tangents and I finally realise it has finished when the last song begins) which will be finished soon.

The flowers are from a pattern I sourced through Lisa @ Cubby House Crafts.  She has a gorgeous blog - check it out if you haven't already ... her flowers are shown in her header and are just gorgeous!  I prefer the pink ones over the purply-pinky-white flowers, though I do think they'll look even better if I can find some plain coloured thread.  The smaller one was an adaptation to the bigger flower.  I was wondering if it would work, had a fiddle, and I think it looks very cute.

Since working on these was relatively easy I decided I would throw myself in the deep end *chuckle* and try a finer pattern.  This is my progress so far, with the pattern in the top left ...
Very pretty, delicate ... and tough on my fingers!
Finally, an update on my Hands2Help quilt progress.  The other night I finally began cutting out the fabrics.  I say 'finally' as this needs to be in America in a months' time - thus I have, at the most, two weeks to get it done and in the post.  I am hoping to have the quilt top done by the end of this weekend, though am beginning to put the blocks together today after I have finished Leena's block (above).  I decided on a Sudoku-style quilt, with 1in strips of black between the purple squares to separate them, and a 2.5in strip between the blocks of nine.

I just need to decide whether to border these with a 2.5, 3 or 3.5in strip of black outside the squares as the final border.  I will be heading to the fabric store either later today or early tomorrow for some purple floral or stripy backing fabric and some batting so I can get it ready for quilting next week.  I am still thinking about how I am going to quilt it.  Been looking at The Free Motion Quilting Project and am thinking stippling over the blocks and either trailing tears or nothing through the sashings.  I will look at it more closely once the flimsy is done though.  Either way, I will have to find myself a practice block - never in my life have I done any quilting past straight in-the-ditch lines!

Phew!  What a long post!!!  What are you up to this weekend?

Wednesday 13 July 2011

15 minute challenge update: week 1

This week I have been rather quiet in blog-land (usually I am reading and commenting on many more blogs than I have gotten to this week), though I have had my first assignment for my creative writing unit due ... yesterday.  It was to be only 1000 wds - which, I am sure you know is difficult when you need to write a short story!!  It happened though, even though most of the thinking and planning happened over the course of the week and I wrote the piece the day it was due.  It did get in late, though that was primarily because the 'SafeAssign' program you have to submit it through (no, no submissions via emails or the post these days!!), and it wouldn't accept my version of Word - or something like that.  I ended up having to ring Tech Support this morning after about a dozen attempts yesterday and last night, emailing the document to the guy only for him to download, re-save, email it back and then for me to resubmit that version ... it took a while, but it is in.  If I get penalized the 10% for getting it in late, I am not worried.

Anyway, on to a more enjoyable topic - craft, and actually getting a heap done this week!
Last week I mentioned that I had decided to join in the challenge to do at least 15 minutes of craft every day, as hosted by Kate @ Life in Pieces. Since I decided this on Sunday, I have recorded my efforts since then...

Sunday:  1 1/2 + hrs crochet (2 x small doilies)

Monday: approx. 1hr crochet (flowers)

Tuesday: approx. 2hrs machine sewing (quilt blocks)

Wednesday: 2hrs continued quilt blocks

Thursday: [none]

Friday: [none]

Saturday: [none, though spending day cleaning house top to toe]

Sunday: 1hr + crochet

Monday: crochet

Tuesday (today): 3hrs crochet + cut out twenty seven 6in x 6in squares from three FQs for H2H quilt along with some 2.5in strips for binding from leftover FQ fabric.

All in all, not too bad.  A lot more than weeks, or even months previous!  This week I pushed myself to do the crochet while I watched a show or movie in the evening instead of just sitting there - which added heaps of craft time, though I did lapse at the end of the week.  I have begun a rather fine doily using #40 thread and a 1.00 hook - very fine for me, especially as I have only used #5 thread and hooks no smaller than about 2.50!

Tomorrow I need to finish cutting out the fabrics for the H2H quilt and start putting them together so I can go in and get the batting and border/backing fabrics on Thurs (child-free day) to finish it next week.  I also need to work on finishing one QBS (asap) and get a few more done this week.

Now that I have enjoyed a crafty birthday I am headed to bed - it is 1am here atm and my eyelids are drooping!  Hoping you all have a fantastic week!!

Sunday 3 July 2011

WooHoo!!! Happy Dance!!!!

For those of you who read about my three-months-of-hell drawing unit (from March to May) which I really did not enjoy, mainly as I don't believe I have a natural drawing ability ....  My marks arrived.

Well, actually, my mark arrived.  For this unit the grade was an overall mark for the whole unit's work portfolio.  We had to send in a certain number of drawings done on certain studies throughout the unit and then at the end we finally get a grade - though admittedly they do send feedback on the first two submissions.

Anyways, tonight (it is 11:17pm here in Darwin currently) I decided to check out my email for that particular university (I am studying through various uni's depending on where the courses are via Open Universities Australia) even though I rarely do this, tending to prefer that everything just comes through the one email account as I know I will check this account at least once a day.

*hand flaps*

Ahh!  Okay, so here goes.  I was totally happy to just get a pass grade - after all that is all I need to pass the unit, right?!

Did I get a pass?        

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nope!

I got a High Distinction!!!!   

83%!!!  No Way!!!

As you can see I'm a little chuffed, lol!

I'll leave you with my head study (previously shown) of a 'young woman' ... my darling cousin.  (The tutor said "this last work is quite special" !!!! )

A few changes, challenges ...

If you've been here a few times you may have noticed that I have added a few things recently, and I thought that I should make mention of them.

Melody @ The House on the Side of the Hill  has offered this 'White Rabbit's list' logo to those who want to record their must-do projects for the month.  I just love their cute little button noses and furry bodies - I would absolutely love to have a pair of these little critters bouncing around our place, but alas, I need to wait (3 cats is apparently more than enough for Dad to handle, lol)  But bunnies aside, I really do need to keep a list of projects that I need to work on to keep me on track, and more so -  accountable to myself.  My list for July is up on the left ... lets see how I do!

The 15 minute challenge, hosted by Kate @ Life In Pieces, was set in motion when she decided to challenge herself to "get into the sewing room for at least 15 minutes every day", reported on her progress after 12 days to great response. I realise many find this easy to do, but I am finding that these days I am spending more time reading all these wonderful blogs and following everyone else's progress rather than getting any progress on my own projects done. I am hoping that if I 'say' I want to do this - and put it out there - I have more chance of actually doing it. At the very least I have a handful of project that need to get done this month - and at least three every month due to commitments I have happily, willingly made. Kate posts on Tuesdays, so I will endeavour to get in a good week of sewing before my first update (next) Tues the 12th.

I've also paid homage to the three quilt block swaps I am involved in atm - Quilting Block Swaps Australia (QBSA), a 12in block swap; 6in Block Swaps Australia, a sister group to QBSA in which we swap two 6in blocks per month; and Christmas Quilting Blocks Australia, a further sister group, swapping a 12in block each month. I got myself a little behind last month, but I am up to date atm with them with the last couple in the mailbox late Friday arvo.  I am hoping to get another couple done this week for sending.

Well, I guess after all that I'd better get my behind into gear and get some cleaning done so I can get lots of sewing done tonight after 'Dancing With The Stars' - semi-final tonight!

Monday 27 June 2011

5 Books a Day: week 5

Okay, yes it has been a while since we participated in this fantastic literacy challenge, hosted by Anna @ The Imagination Tree, but I've decided it is high time that we jump right back in (so to speak) with some of the new books my darling daughter (DD) received for her big 3yo birthday just over a week ago.

I have only taken one picture of our books this week ...

When I'm Feeling SAD, written and illustrated by Trace Moroney.  Everyone feels SAD sometimes.  It's a quiet, lonely feeling.  But it can often help to talk to someone about it. (blurb)  
I love this series - its such a great tool in helping you to talk about the various feelings we as humans experience throughout our lifetimes with our little ones.  This is one in a series of eight books I gave my daughter in a box set this past week.  The pictures are both cute and emotive.  They really help you delve into the topic (or feeling of note) and give children a safe context in which to discuss what they feel and how they can work through and experience that emotion in healthy, positive ways.

When I'm Feeling HAPPY, written and illustrated by Trace Moroney.  So many things can make you HAPPY.  Playing with friends, a special treat - or just a big hug. (blurb)
A second book from the same series.  Bright, bubbly and fresh illustrations alongside fantastic text that helps little ones explore what it feels like to be happy, ways they might explore happiness - even that "feeling happy helps me to have more patience and helps me not to get angry over small problems ... and makes me feel more kind and caring towards others."

The Magic Balloon, written by Oakley Graham, illustrated by Dan Crisp.  Many, many years ago, in the city of Montreal, lived a boy called Will, who was very, very tall.  Will was a great inventor and was over the moon, when he created the world's first magic balloon.  New and emerging readers will love to read about Will's adventures in his magic balloon, and will be captivated by the colour-changing balloon light. (blurb)
Such a creatively thought-up adventure for children, written in rhyming prose and illustrated in seemingly hand-painted imagery.  A gorgeous little story with a balloon light in the centre of the page which changes colour and gives it that little added-extra, though the amount of detail included in the illustrations is amazing.  A much loved gift from her god-mother.

Sesame Street My First Library: Abby Cadabby's Rhyme Time, by P.J. Shaw, illustrated by Tom Leigh.  
The much loved Sesame Street character Abby explores rhyming words - "you know, words that end with the same sound, like bat and cat!  Rhymes are so fun to find!".  As Abby goes along she does just that - looks for a word and then thinks up other words which rhyme with this original word.  A very cute book that explores this ultra-important concept; with gorgeous, dynamic illustrations featuring all your favourite Sesame Street monsters and puppets throughout.  As soon as I saw this one in the store I knew I had to get it for DD!

And last, but definitely not least ....

Sesame Street My First Library: Elmo Goes to the Doctor, by Sarah Albee, illustrated by Tom Brannon.
This month DD and I have had at least one visit to the doctor each week for various reasons and so when I saw this one at the shop I thought that this would be a good one to help us talk about what had happened when we went there - we really hadn't been all that regularly before this at all, and then five visits in as many weeks?!!!
This book is a delightful tale of a worried little Elmo ("Elmo really feels fine, Mummy," he said.  "Let's just go home.") who has to go to the doctor for a checkup and a shot.  The doctor checks his height, weight, breathing, heartbeat, ears, throat etc... A cute little story about all the different things a doctor might check when you go to the doctor for a routine health check - and later, if you eat "all the monstermallows out of the Monster Flakes cereal box"!  A fun, simple tool to help facilitate a discussion about going to the doctor in a positive way.

** Well, they are the books we are looking to read each day this week.  We didn't get to them this week (only just decided on our selection), but will make a great effort to read each at least once a day.

If you are looking for some more great options for reading with little kids, why not head over to Anna's host post for the challenge this week and have a look at the other book selections the other wonderful mothers are reading with their children this week.  I often find titles I'm either introduced to new (to me) titles, or reminded of beloved one's I've forgotten about from my own childhood, when reading the other participants' posts.
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