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!
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