Saturday, November 30, 2013

The gift of friendship

At the moment we are enjoying flowers in our home that have only come our way through the thoughtfulness of friends.

One of our Sweet Pea ladies, Andreena, popped in to see us the other day and brought these lovely roses from her garden.

These alstroemerias are growing in our own garden but only because of another one of our Sweet Pea friends.

Debbie has these in her garden and they grow so well there she feels they could be considered to be weeds.  They seem to have a habit of growing everywhere, even amongst the vegetables.

A couple of years ago she was digging out the bulbous roots and brought a whole lot our way.

They have taken a couple of years to get established at our place and we are now reaping the benefits.  We have a lot of garden area and are happy for them to grow where ever they like.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Birthday blocks - something different

When Rochelle heard about the birthday blocks the Sweet Pea ladies were going to make for each other she was not sure that wanted to have some made for her.

However, she went away and found a birdhouse pattern that she liked and so birdhouse blocks have been happening.

Different and very bright, they should make a very cheery quilt for Rochelle when they all come together.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

It really works

On the 15th November, Deb Stambaugh shared on her blog, A Simple Life Quilts, about a quilt she was making from half square triangles.

I left a comment about the quilt admiring the fact that she was willing to make so many half square triangles to achieve a lovely result.

She wrote and told me about a favourite quilting tool - a Triangle Square Up Ruler and what a great bonus it was for this process.

I thought it worth investigating.

Eleanor Burns, the creator of the Triangle Square Up Ruler, talks about how to use the ruler on this video and it was enough for me to decide to buy and try.

The ruler arrived today and it worked for me.  It really does eliminate some of the trimming required to square up the blocks and that is a huge plus for me.

Thanks, Deb, for sharing with me - great to have good quilting friends in this blogging world.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

You may have guessed

When I wrote about making a hexie fabric coasters the other day you may have guessed that hexie fever was headed my way once more.

When I made the Science Fair hexagon quilt top in July I was already thinking of the possibilities of making something similar in different fabrics.

In my stash I had a jelly roll of fabric that I had purchased last November when visiting in Seattle.  At the princely sum of US$7.50 it seemed like a bargain to hard to leave behind.

What to do with the jelly roll once I brought it home was another story but it did occur to me that I might use it to make a hexagon quilt.

The 2.5 inch strips from the jelly roll lend themselves to this sort of project really well.

I soon came to realise there would not be enough fabric from the roll to complete the project so I added some soft pink fabric which I had purchased in a stash busting exercise a while back and with this combination I am making good progress.

This is not the final arrangement.  I am pinning the blocks to the design board as I go.  No doubt changes will be made before I am through.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Margaret's work in progress

When we were Margaret's for Sweet Peas last week, Debbie asked if she could see the Golly Quilt that Margaret has as a work in progress.

This was a block of the month project and a lot of work has gone into it to bring it to this stage and still it needs more before Margaret can have it quilted and bound.

I took some close up images of certain parts of the quilt so you can get a better idea of what is involved.

You can see those images below:-

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Gift for a friend

 I visited at a friend's place the other day and she has small circular tables like this one attached to her lounge room chairs.

She only had small round coasters on the tables and it put me in mind of the hexie fabric coasters I made in July when I was going through a hexagon phase.

It seemed only the right thing to do to come home and make some in colours that she likes.

Fancy getting Kaiser the cat included in the photo - how did that happen?

The pair of hexie coasters completed and made so they are fully reversible.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

At last

This week I was able to finish piecing together the Urban Nine Patch blocks I have been working on since early October.

I have really, really enjoyed making this project and doing something totally different from the normal.

The curved piecing is designed so that you can sew without pins.  At first I thought that would be a challenge and I found it so but used a spot of glue at the beginning and end of the curved seams to help.  By the time I finished I was able to abandon that and work without pins or glue.

Jenny Pedigo, the creator of the Urban Nine Patch pattern has just completed quilting another Urban Nine Patch quilt and it looks amazing.
You can take a peek here at her wonderful work.

The good news is that I have enjoyed the process so much, I am going to make another curved piecing quilt but in totally different colours.

It is not too far down the pipeline........

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sweet Peas meet at Margaret's place

This week our Sweet Pea ladies met at Margaret's place.

The first thing that greeted us was these beautiful roses.  Roses were in abundance at her property and these ones were extra special.

Margaret had a couple of items to share.  On the left a gift from an overseas friend.  A necklace knitted with sparkly ladder yarn and finished with a large cube shaped bead.  The star block on the right is the beginning of a Kaffe Fassett quilt that Margaret has recently embarked on.

Andreena shared two recent projects she has been working on with Christmas in mind.  On the left is a table runner for a family member visiting from overseas.  The Christmas panel is for a another family member.  Andreena has highlighted the snow flake motifs by machine quilting.  Fairy lights are also an added feature for this wall hanging.

Moira was thrilled with the machine quilting that Linda had done on her golly quilt.  You can see some more detailed images of the golly quilt on Linda's blog. Rochelle has made a major achievement in completing her 36 block quilt as you go retro flower quilt.  Very impressive and so bright and cheery.

Thank you for a lovely morning, Margaret.

Monday, November 18, 2013

That's my excuse

I am well aware that my Urban Nine Patch blocks are still waiting for me to piece them together.

However, I have another challenge that needs my attention before I can complete them.

Our Sweet Peas group meets this Wednesday and we have a couple of outstanding birthdays for which our ladies need to make Birthday Blocks.

Contrary Wife is the block of choice for Mary on the left and Basket on the right, is for Moira.

Samples needed to be made, some instructions need to be written and then, maybe then, I can return to finish off the Urban Nine Patch.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Quilt labels

When Linda and I make quilts we usually add a label as a finishing touch.

Sometimes I am asked by others to make quilt labels for them and such was the case this week.

Methods for making quilt labels can be so varied and I have tried a number of different ways over the years.

This past week I had three different labels to print and complete and my latest way of completion is to frame the label with a single layer binding.

Top left - I cut a 1 inch binding strip the length of the outside edge of the label plus 6 inches;
Top right - I sewed the binding on to the label the same as if I was binding a quilt, doing mitred corners as I went;
Bottom left - After pressing I turned the binding to the back and pressed, making sure the corners were pressed neatly.  The binding will have raw edges on the reverse side but this will not matter;
Bottom right - I turned the label over to the front and it is now ready to be hand stitched to the back of the quilt. All the raw edges are now hidden.

I repeated the process for all three labels.

I like to use some of the quilts backing fabric for the binding, if it is available.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Our changing times

Today my brother and I had a discussion about the way we communicate with each other.

When we were young our Mum encouraged us to write letters.  We never failed to write home if we went away for a holiday and when we left home letters were still an expectation.

Along came the internet and with it e-mails.

I really liked this form of communication - the speed, compared to snail mail, was great.  With it, though, came a more casual air about how we talk to each other.  I used to work under a senior manager who thought it okay to e-mail communications without any form of capitals or punctuation.  I found that very difficult to come to terms with.

That was nothing compared to texting.  If Linda went to town and I remembered we needed something I would text, 'Can you please buy eggs at the supermarket?'  My sons came to visit and were appalled.  Mum you just write, 'Get eggs.' Somehow it did not sit right with me to text like that.

Advance to the world of social media and with it FaceBook and Twitter and it can all become a bit bewildering for someone like me in my sixties.

Never mind, I can be considered to be making good use of 'blogging' - another form of communication in our changing times.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fresh Interest

We had a gardener come and do a big clearance at our property.

The hens could not wait to investigate and see what pickings there might be in store for them.

Definitely a case of bottoms up for the one in the middle.

Linda captured the hens in action on video.  You can see that here.

When we let the hens out in the afternoon, more often than not, CiCi will be there, quietly watching proceedings.

No, we don't think she fancies her chances for a meal.  It is more like she feels she has a guardianship role in keeping an eye on the hen's activities.

On a quilty note - I finished all 25 blocks for my Urban Nine Patch project today.

I need to attend to a couple of other smaller quilty projects but it should not be long now before the blocks become a quilt top.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What next?

I made good progress on  my Urban Nine Patch project today.  4 blocks completed - now only 5 to go.  Maybe, just maybe the end is in sight.

Already I find my mind wandering to the possibilities of what my next project might be.

I recently bought some second hand quilt magazines and it was not hard to find a few inspiring projects.

There was a time when I would not even contemplate making a quilt with star blocks but I think they are calling to me.

In the meantime, if you are interested in my Urban Nine Patch challenge you may like to take a look at Sew Kind of Wonderful blog.  Jenny Pedigo has done some amazing quilting on one of these quilts where the blocks have been set on point.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Where is that quilt project?

You may well think that my Urban Nine Patch project has disappeared into the unfinished project pile, but not so.

Real life has intervened a bit.  Gardening, housework, supermarket shopping, visitors and so it goes.

Enough excuses - the project continues, just not as quickly as I would have liked.

I need to complete 25 blocks and for a while I had only completed 9 but yesterday and today provided a window of opportunity and I now only have 9 to go so that is a giant leap forward.

I still have sashing strips to stitch and trim but I feel the end is now in sight and am encouraged that maybe I will be able to complete on the blocks over the next couple of days.  It will be lovely to be able to show you the quilt top all pieced together.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Oh dear, what a surprise!

We have had a couple of very hot days here but there was promise of a southerly and with it, cooler weather.

The southerly was more blustery than usual and we were just serving up our midday meal when we heard a noise which I thought was the sound of a door banging in the wind.

Linda found otherwise - a piece of trellis had been blown off its fixtures, had hit the chicken coup and tipped it over.

What a surprise for our hens!

We went looking for them first and they were happily scratching under one of the trees.  They must have had a bit of shock but they did not seem any worse for wear.

We abandoned our meal for the moment, tidied up and relocated the coop to a more sheltered spot and then coaxed the hens back home with a favourite treat, grains of wheat.

Linda has a different take on the day's event on her blog.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Back to the garden, again

It is nearly two years ago since our Mum passed away.

When arranging her funeral the florist came to our home to see if there might be any suitable flowers for the occasion.

We were surprised at what she found to use.  Mostly it was fox gloves and rhododendrons.  They made a glorious display on the coffin.

A lovely memorial for us as we enjoy these flowers that come back year after year.  Thanks, Mum, for teaching us to appreciate and love flowers just like you did.

Bumble bees doing their business amongst the fox glove flowers always fascinate me even if they are a little hard to capture.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Just one more rose, I thought

The apricot rose I talked about yesterday was spent by this morning.

I will just go to the garden and pick one more, I thought.

Too much temptation in the rose garden at the moment.

I did get another apricot rose but there were these as well - so nice to have around the house.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Love that rose

Last Saturday we bought a lot of plants for our garden  from a local church fair.

They never disappoint with the range and quality of plants available for sale at very moderate prices.

It has taken me until today to get most of them planted out - oh dear.

I can blame the rain for some of the delays, we have had a lot of rain this week.

This morning looked like rain but I thought I would brave it and plant out anyway.  Amazingly the sun broke through and no rain at all so most of the plants are now in their new homes.

This rose, however, has been in our established rose bed ever since we came here.

It has soft apricots tones and a delightful perfume.  This particular one is a stunner, measuring 7 inches across.

All of the rose bushes are doing extremely well.  We are not sure the reason for the improvement.  It could be the extra rain this spring, or the fact that our hens have cultivated their roots for us, or the chicken manure mixed with pine shavings that we have been using as a mulch around the base of the plants.  Whatever the reason, we are really enjoying the first flush of roses on the bushes.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Oh how the weeks slip by

This week our Sweet Peas group met at Mary's again.  Trish was back from a seven week trip to Australia so it was good to see her again and be able to catch up with life in her world.

Not so much by way of show and tell and not helped by me forgetting to take my camera.

Time to make do with the iPhone camera.

Moira brought her hen project as a work in progress.  She has done some special stitching on the leaves with trailing blossoms below.  She is still deciding what to do in the centre area below where the hens are perching.

Rochelle has been busy working on her retro quilt.  It is a quilt as you go project and is coming along very nicely.

More to share next time.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Outside my bathroom

Sometimes from my bathroom I can hear happy clucking sounds from our hens.  They love to have a dust bath and between the bushes just outside the bathroom they seem to be able to find enough space to dig, bury and shower themselves with dirt.

You may wonder how we might know they are happy sounds but these hens do have quite a variety of calls.  We certainly know in the afternoons that they would like to be let out for a run.  They can raise quite a chorus of complaint until we come.

We also can tell the sounds of happiness when we enclose a few meaty bits in with their 'cooked' breakfast.  The finding of a meaty piece is highly treasured and celebrated with an excited little peep of triumph followed by frantic efforts to protect the find from the other sisters.

This week we celebrated receiving our 1,000th egg from our four hens.  Hard to believe that since late February we have had this steady contribution to our household food supply.

Thank you, Zara, Clara, Henrietta and Miss Penny.  We do so enjoy having you as part of our family.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

A lot of fun

A few weeks ago now, Linda purchased a new long arm quilting machine.

She has been very busy fulfilling orders but yesterday provided a window of opportunity for me to do a bit of free motion quilting on a blank canvas.

What a lot of fun.

Linda has had a few quilting machines over the years and this one had to be absolutely the best.

She is affectionately known as Big Bertha and has won our hearts with her abilities.

My efforts are definitely those of a beginner but my mind is full of all sorts of possibilities.

I hope that Big Bertha and I get to talk to each other again real soon.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Time to reveal............

Time to reveal the Secret Project I wrote about on the 19th October.

I made three of these Christmas Present blocks, put a couple of borders around them, Linda quilted them and finished it with some of Susie's Magic Binding.

A close up of some of Linda's lovely stitching and another look at that magic binding.

On Thursday night I shared about the raffle block with our local quilt group and it is on for one and all to make as many (or as few) as they like.

The block is from a free internet pattern called Holiday Cheer.

Today I received a lovely selection of these blocks to go in the mix with all the others.

What potential there could be to make a bright and cheery Christmas quilt from these blocks.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Work in progress - little by little

This is definitely a little by little project but I am still enjoying the process.

At this point I would like to talk about the source of this pattern.

The Urban Nine Patch pattern has been created by Jenny Pedigo of
Sew Kind of Wonderful.

Jenny is a wonderful machine quilter and you can see some examples of her amazing quilting abilities in her current blog entry.

Jenny has created a whole range of quilting patterns using her Quick Curve Ruler.

The ruler and patterns are available on her blog.

The curved ruler process has impressed before.  Linda wrote a blog entry called 'add a dash of lime'
in which she shows a finished quilt from the same stable of patterns.