Tuesday, March 29, 2011

15 Minutes A Day Weekly Report

It's reckoning day for the  15 Minutes a Day Challenge over at Life In Pieces (Hosted by the lovely Kate ) It was not a sterling week for craftiness at my house. When I went at it - I went at it hard . The rest of the time I totally slacked off! This is how the week crafted out.

Tuesday of last week - I pressed about 30 HST blocks and squared 81 blocks up. Then I laid out the design for the quilt. Then I sewed three rows together...Looking good.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were all bombs. Miss P and Little P came for a few days of sleepovers  and by the time Little P went to bed at night  I didn't have the energy to do anything but collapse. (Where do almost 2 year olds get all that energy from?) Friday I got home from work at what felt like Twenty dark o'clock and blobbed around for a couple of hours (that part involved aperitifs to end my working week ) and then I  spent a lot of time on the phone talking to Little Miss Sunshine because neither of us appear to know the meaning of a short phone call...

Saturday I finished the HST quilt top, then raided my stash and made the backing and then basted it all together.  I know 8 inch  HST's are not technically very challenging  but making this quilt  was more to prove I can do HST's without wanting to commit hare kare. I've decided to call this quilt "Saturday with Sara " in honour of the bringer of these fabrics and the lovely Saturday I spent with Sara last week. I love the simplicity and colours of this quilt. It screams "snuggle me".

Saturday also saw some stitching. I couldn't be outdone by Miss P.   

Sunday I bought these fabrics while I was at Spotlight...I went in with Miss P so she could buy an erasable marking pen. What can I say- they were 20% off - so they were down to $3.98 for a half metre. And they stack them  all together so they look all enticing and pretty and scream "Buy Me".  By the way, you each get blamed in turn for my fabric purchases.  Sara has had her  two weeks but I swear I'm moving on to someone else this week. I like to vary my excuses to Mr. P.

It wasn't all beer and skittles and fabric shopping on  Sunday. I quilted about 70% of "Saturday with Sara". In between I made chocolate chip cookies and did some other things I'll talk about later this week. 

Monday night after work I quilted the rest of Saturday with Sara! It's not perfect but I'm planning on washing this at one billion degrees so it crinkles up a lot to hide the imperfections. I'm not too fussed since I think a little imperfection will give this particular quilt some more character. I want it to look well loved and old.

So there was my week in craft. I'm committed to doing 15 minutes  every night this week. It all counts and once I start it's an enjoyable way to shift mental gears from the rigours of the work day.

I hope your week was full of 15 minutes. Thanks for hosting, Kate!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ooops..She Did It Again

It has long been a dream of mine that Miss P would one day find at least one crafty bone in her body. After 20 years of half finished projects I have all but given up hope. I envy mothers and daughters who do those sorts of things together but have resigned myself to the fact that it just wasn't going to be a part of our relationship. In the past when I have started to talk about my love for crafty pursuits her eyes would glaze over. That's a pretty good indicator of her level of interest don't you think?

You may recall last weekend when Miss P decided to stuff and sew a carrot.  As if that wasn't crazy enough she voluntarily did a second one. At that point  I almost made her do a random pee test for illicit drugs because I figured she'd gone down the Whitney Houston "Crack is Whack " road.  Since an enforced urine test would probably be against her civil liberties I had to content myself with checking out her pupils. They looked normal. She didn't go crazy in the middle of stuffing a carrot and stab me in the eye with the  needle.  She wasn't gibbering about pink elephants. In the end I just figured it was a one off and took the (very pleasant)  memory and filed it away under "Stuff I'll probably only see once in my freaking lifetime"

Miss P has been staying with us again the last few days and Saturday night I decided to go for broke and  ask her when she might really rock my socks off and decide to make a quilt. Just as her eyes glazed over she made this earth shattering announcement:

 "I really want to do some of that stitching stuff".

The above sentence deserves to be in HUGE letters because it's something I thought I would never hear. In fact when I did hear it I thought  I was having a stroke. Within about 30 minutes she was set up with her first stitching project ever because I can move like greased lightening when it suits me and I didn't want her to have an opportunity to change her mind. I figured this would at least give me 45 minutes of happy.

And after about 3 hours of concentration this was the result...

Pretty good for someone who has never picked up a needle prior to the great carrot incident of 2011,  don't you think? Better than the stitching her mother knocks out too. I don't know whether to bust with pride or kick her butt.

And then today we went shopping because she expressed a desire to buy these because sewing "is so relaxing".

And nobody was holding a gun to her head.

And while we were out she bought this kit which she is already halfway through finishing for Little P. 

I guess all this proves miracles really do happen. I had to call my mother tonight to forewarn her that Miss P will probably be bringing sewing up for Easter because I didn't want the shock to kill her...

P.S. I think Miss P has her mother's sewing gene. I've heard a couple of murmured profanities when things haven't been going so well.I'm so proud.  

P.P.S. I did achieve things over the weekend but this monumental news deserves it's own post.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Favourite Things Friday

Welcome to FTF for this week. I'm looking forward to wandering around to see what kind of things have made your favourite lists for this week. And if you;re new here or haven't participated before - feel free!It's easy. All you have to do is bang up a post about something that makes you happy and link up at the bottom of this post.

With Little Miss Sunshine's visit less than two weeks away , I've been thinking a lot about my house this week. What needs to be cleaned or done before she gets here, how much of my garden I could actually get looking decent before her arrival.. and whether she is really likely to judge me for the state of my oven.

But, it's the little things that make a home. Things that we might have picked up on our travels , things that are special to us and us alone , design ideas and inspirations that we've incorporated that make our homes uniquely ours. It might be a throw rug in your  lounge room, or a special piece of furniture or one piece of art.

Each of my rooms has it's own feel, with the exception of my un-renovated bathroom which is 1970's grunge. That room has no personality.

I don't have a particular design style. There's no overall plan. I like to think  that you could walk into any room in my house and get a sense of who I am without an overall design aesthetic. I like quirky stuff or unusual stuff and I put it in weird places. Shutters on a wall. A leadlight door on top of the  fridge, free standing windows propped up against windows. But one of my most favourite things is this.

I bought my strawberry cookie jar years ago and kept it boxed up for the time when I finally had a black and white kitchen. It makes me smile every time I look at it. It rarely holds actual cookies and was ridiculously expensive in comparison to the old brown cookie jar we do use for cookies which cost me all of 2 bucks at the op shop. But it was one of those things that I saw, I loved and I had to buy.  And it's my favourite thing this week.  It's one of the things that stamps my style on my house.

Have you ever bought anything ridiculously expensive and pretty much non functional that you just had to have simply because you liked the look of it? 'Fess up!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

15 Minutes A Day - A Challenge with Kate

Kate over at Life In Pieces has decided to do a Tuesday Linky Party called the 15 minute challenge . The deal is that you commit to doing some crafting, quilting, knitting ...whatever floats your boat ...for 15 minutes a day or every couple of days or whatever you decide. I love link ups with very few rules,  and I need the motivation Monday through Thursday to continue the amazing craftiness that goes on here Friday through Sunday so I'm in!

Here's what happened for me last week.
Last Tuesday - I whipped off to Spotlight's 20% off sale and bought 10 metres of ribbon for under 10 bucks. Supply gathering counts as crafting...oh yes it does...

Wednesday Night - I went for tea at my in laws and took my carrots with me...and did nothing. When I got home I spent some time sorting through my stash ...for about three whole minutes. I picked up some mess from the cutting table, sewed four lines on a crappy looking mug rug and went and ate a pack of salt and vinegar chips. Did I mention I've been hitting the chips and jellies pretty hard lately and put on 2.5 kilos in the last three weeks?

Thursday -I decided if I was going to be crafty at all I needed to put some effort into cleaning up my sewing room. It was kind of messy. OK fine .It looked like a whole fabric store had imploded in there.  Then  I promptly sat on my arse for the rest of the night. I guess that was pretty much a fail.

Friday wasn't as craftilicious as I'd hoped for Friday Night Sew In. You can read about it here. But I did do something so that was a pass.

Saturday - National Quilting Day : What better way to celebrate than by buying fabric for my paper piecing quilt along.

I tried some stitching. Hopefully I'll get better with practice.

And the back for the snowball quilt got finished -Elizabeth sent me some fabrics a while back and some of them made their way into the back of this quilt when I found myself 10 inches short AFTER I'd put it together a couple of weeks ago.Thank You E for saving my bacon. Miss P has claimed the snowball quilt as hers in place of the Lily and Will Quilt I finished earlier this month which is on it's way to it's new home as we speak.

On Sunday I made the Christmas Quilt back and squared it up. One step closer to another finish. This one is one my official PhD list.

I squared up Little P's quilt back so it's ready to go to the quilter.

I finished the carrots with a little help from Miss P.

And I cut all the squares for my new quilt and sewed over half of them together .

Monday -I came home from work late and decided I was going to finish the rest of the blocks for the new quilt I started Sunday. Done!

So all in all . I'm giving myself a 5/7 for the week.  I still had two days where I couldn't be stuffed. Sometimes it's so hard to drag myself away from the computer but I think I got more done than usual this week regardless.   If you want to join the linky party you can head on over here and see how Kate and everyone else did.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Adventures in Shopping and Amazing Events

It's been raining here. This has been the view from the front of my house for most of the day. Dreary, rainy and cool. Autumn has hit with a vengeance.

I met up with Sara yesterday morning for our shopping expedition to Spotlight. Sara and I have a lot in common. Since I don't have the maturity a woman my age should and Sara has the maturity of someone older than she is - it worked out about even.  Meeting people from the Internet can be fraught with danger. For example Sara was hoping I wasn't a 50 year old guy called Irving who owned a trench coat and I was hoping she wasn't a serial killer. Neither of us were what the other was hoping we weren't and we got down to the business of gossiping and drooling over the fabric bolts at Spotlight pretty quickly.
When I walked into  the quilting section it seemed there was a lot less full of fabric on the shelves than usual. That's because Sara had already chosen about 324 bolts  to take to the counter to purchase. I thrust a diagram at Sara and blurted out something like "Ooga Booga" and some other stuff that sounded like Norwegian Arabic and she understood perfectly and broke out that cool maths brain of hers. Who knew she was multi lingual? It normally takes years for people to learn Shay-ese. Anyway once Sara had worked out how much fabric I needed I started to look at fabrics.  I was being quite indecisive because if it isn't in a fabric range people - I am a complete ditherer.  Eventually after about an hour I made my choices.

As we staggered up to the counter (It took two trips -I am not joking) the sea of waiting people parted and looked at us in horror. There was a general melee while people dashed to the numbers you have to take to get served , obviously realising if they got stuck behind us they would have no hope of getting home before dark. Sara rugby tackled an 80 year old lady to the ground to get poll position and we took great pleasure in holding up that line for about 45 minutes.

OK - the rugby tackle was a bit of poetic licence but seriously - she had so much fabric people were staring and one lady couldn't help coming to ask what Sara was actually making. I guess when you look like you're about to collapse under the weight of that much fabric people are curious about what you're up to. My 6 bolts looked pissy by comparison.  Yes I bought some fabrics. Yes I blamed Sara when I got home. And yes,  I blamed Becks as well since this was for her quiltalong.  

Then we  hit Lincraft so I could get some more fabrics. More hilarity ensued, more fabrics were bought along with books I don't need except for the pretty pictures  and then we went for lunch. I had chicken breast fillets and chips in case you're interested.  It was a lovely way to spend a Saturday. Thank you Sara. You are everything I thought you'd be but even better.

So this was the damage for the day...

Fabrics from Lincraft and Spotlight for the Paper Piecing Quiltalong

Books from Lincraft (Crazy Bargains!)

I finally splurged and bought  a new cutting mat ...and some new backing for the long dormant Christmas quilt because I don't like the idea of  spots anymore.

Sara also brought me these gorgeous fabrics  from her personal stash.  I've already started making something with them. I can't resist repro fabrics.  In honour of Sara, who can make a quilt out of just enough fabric so that there is only about a quarter of an inch left over after cutting ...I am making something out of this fabric and am vowing to have a minimum of fabric left over instead of my usual 3 metres. I'm going to try and use every possible scrap. And also in honour of Sara I'm going to make this quilt as fast as I can.

In other amazing news, Miss P came for a sleepover so we've had the pleasure of her company for much of the weekend.  Yesterday she asked me how I make the carrots I'm doing for Easter and decided without begging , cajoling or interference from me to give one a go herself. MY DAUGHTER DID CRAFT! Today, I walked into the lounge room to see her doing another one. Here's the proof! 

It is with huge pride I show you this finished collaborative project made by Miss P and Mrs. P -Easter Carrots 

Honestly , seeing her with a needle in her hand almost gave me a heart attack. (but made me very proud of her at the same time ) There may be hope for her after all.

May the craft be with you.

P.S. I know you're wondering what I did this weekend aside from shopping. I did a lot of sewing but honestly this post is wayyyyyyyy too long already. I'll be back Tuesday to share.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Friday Night Sew In

I was full of good intentions last night for FNSI. I attempted my first ever zip repair and gave up after 10 minutes of struggling. I thought about making a public appeal to you all saying I would  gladly post the cargo  pants to anyone who wanted to fix them for me. Eventually I super glued the zip back in because posting someone pants sounded just plain weird.

I started with dinner...an Australian delicacy ...Vegemite on foccacia.

Thus fortified with Vitamin B and large amounts of salt  my night of fabulous sewing began!

First item on the agenda was the binding for Little P's quilt. Done in record time.

Then I ate some chips....checked the Internet ...and checked some blogs. I like to keep on top of what you're all up to at all times.

And then I  made 3 more carrots for the Easter Bunny.

Then I ate some chocolate..... and checked some blogs , and sent some email and read some email and surfed the Internet and ate some chicken.

And realised I had worked my way down to the trickiest bit on my list ...working out how to make 60 inches of backing fabric work for a 70 inch front. I ignored it last week and decided to ignore it again last night. I am so not good at maths. And the idea of making the centre circles for the Dresden's was utterly unappealing at 10pm last night so I mooted that idea too.

I ate some more chocolate and had a cup of tea. And got up from the computer again when it was time for bed.

To check out people who actually achieved greatness, pop on over to Handmade by Heidi  for a full FNSI report...

PS. In my own defence I achieved semi greatness today and it was still Friday somewhere in the world. More about that tomorrow.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Favourite Things Friday

Welcome to Favourite Things Friday.

I'll be amazed if someone from the other side of the world doesn't put up an FTF post about Spring this week , so I'm filing a counter post about the Joys of Autumn.
Yes- it’s definitely Autumn. Despite the fact we didn't actually have a real summer here this year. That's the way the seasons roll.They happen regardless. Autumn where I live still means temps of around 27C (70F). The mornings are crisp and clear. The nights are cool but not yet freezing.

The leaves are starting to turn, which will mean sweeping for me since we have two huge trees in our backyard. It also means Indy will spend 6 hours a day waiting for leaves to fall , run up and bark at a single leaf  and then return to his standing spot until the next leaf falls. This will occur daily until about June.

Last night I thought  about turning on the electric blanket for my bed. There's nothing like getting into a warm bed on a cool night.

Embracing Autumn means comfort food. Roasts and casseroles, pies, puddings and soups. Autumn usually means yummy food full of flavour , slow cooked and with lots of delicious ingredients.

I'm discovering things in my wardrobe that have been neglected for months and got quite excited by the thought of a "new" wardrobe of clothes to wear. 

And it wont be long before I need one of these  ...

I have at least 5 winter coats. One for every day of the week.

I'm starting  to think about puffy marshmallows and hot chocolate.

And last night  after not wearing shoes at home  since about November, I dragged out the yeti boots . My feet were cold.

Football season is about to start here , which means I'm about to be subjected to Mr. P watching 8 games of football each and every week. That translates to 24 hours of uninterrupted quilting time!

Autumn means making the most of the sunny days that are left before we hunker down to an Aussie winter. It means rugging up under home made quilts in a warm lounge room. It means increasingly rainy days and glorious displays by mother nature. It means country walks and Sunday pub lunches in the country. What's not to love?

So what's your Favourite Thing this week? Link up and share it with us!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

15 Minutes and a Giveaway

Kate over at Life in Pieces has been challenging herself for the last few weeks to do 15 minutes of sewing/crafting  related activity a day . I've been watching her progress.

I'm a slacker. I tend to do my creating in huge hunks of time on the weekends and on my other days off. I start the week with good intentions and then  tell myself I'm too tired after work Monday to Thursday and sit on my pattootie in front of the computer instead of doing anything.

Kate has made it official with a linky and she's challenging us to report our weekly progress. 15 minutes a day is all it takes. Or 15 minutes every other day if that's what you decide.  I'm in. If you want to join in here's the link. So from next week my Tuesday posts will be all about what I worked on/did DAILY in the previous week.  Yesterday after work I went ribbon shopping. As far as I'm concerned that's craft related activity.

Elizabeth at Such a Sew and Sew and her friend Wanda are giving away a stash of Reproduction Civil War Fabrics and a copy of the Civil War Diary Quilt book so if you win you'll have everything you need to make a gorgeous quilt. Even though I desperately want to win them for myself after seeing this finished top by Loz over the weekend - I like to play fair  and  so I'm sharing the chance for you to win this wonderful giveaway too.

So hop on over here and throw your hat in the ring. Even though I'm going to win them...I'm feeling lucky this week.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lazy Monday

My lazy public holiday Monday started with breakfast at Primo with Mr.P

The Snowball Quilt Top finally got a border. I planned to do the back but I don't have quite enough fabric...I'll have to think about that some more.

 I finished a Tote Bag (7 to go)

And I made some of Clare's carrots. Thank you for sharing your tutorial Clare! These were fun to make! I'm doing Miss P a set too.

It's been a wonderfully relaxing day. Back to the madness tomorrow.  

Sara pointed out that the fabric squares I bought yesterday shouldn't go on my fabric tally. (She also did complicated maths in the comments on my last post and almost made my head explode , but she's promised never to do that again ) Anyway,the theory is that fabric squares are like broken biscuits. They don't count because they aren't really fabric. Since this made complete sense to me I asked her for advice about what excuse I could use not to put my damask fabric on the tally board. Real Blog friends will always help you out. They'll take the time at 10.30 at night to collude with you, and will ultimately send you an email or two that read something like this.

Okay, so is it actually "quilting" fabric? Can you say it's curtaining or something and you've re-purposed it? 

How about, since the total cost of the damask and the squares was less than the price of the squares, which we've already decided to not include (biscuit rule) then you got the damask for free... No, actually, the lady gave you a discount on the squares if you'd kindly take the damask off her hands. For showing the poor, overfabricburdened lady that kind of generosity, you should almost minus 9 meters from your own total. Because of, like, karma from the universe for being so selfless or something...

Sara's got my back .  I've decided the damask is really curtain fabric and the layer cake squares are really biscuits. It's coming off the total.

Oh and I realised that if layer cake squares don't count - neither do the 3 Bali pops I bought Friday night drunk shopping....

PS. Sara , I'm thinking of chucking a sickie Tuesday week. Can you start thinking about a back story for me? Heads up: all my grandparents are dead so if we could steer away from a sick relative story that would be great. Ta!

(And Ruth if you're reading I'm totally kidding about chucking a sickie)