Sunday 28 June 2015


The birthday girl - Rachel

Show and tell

Deb busy finishing the other Rachael's belated birthday gift.

Those margaritas were everywhere.

My sewing girls and I had our bi-monthly get together on Sunday.  This time Rachel (Woodenspoon Quilts) was the birthday girl.  After the present opening session in the designated birthday chair, we did our usual show and tell of swaps received, new quilty books and projects to ooh and aah over, and of course a beautiful potluck lunch.  New margaritas - this time plum sorbet flavour (made by Gwen ,  a new member in our group) were a big hit,

The gifts I made Rachel were: a Liberty pincushion, a Liberty covered wooden spoon to hang in her sewing area and a Denyse Schmidt and linen zippy Pouch.  I used a new tutorial for the pouch from Tessa at The Sewing Chick.  This pouch has tabs at each end of the zip and covered seams, so there was no need to turn it inside out,, which made it nice and easy.  It has a lovely flat base too, so stands up nicely.  Tessa's tutorial has great photos and clear instructions, so I will definitely use it again.

Now I am at home recovering from a full day of fun, good food, a little sewing and lots of laughter with friends.

Thursday 25 June 2015

Scenes from my Week

From the sewing room
  •  raspberry kiss blocks for my scrappy sampler quilt, made using my friend Rachel's tutorial
From the letterbox
  • my fabulous Mr Fox pillow I received from Kirsten in the X Factor Pillow swap. Details about the pillow and fabrics on her blog.  Round 11's theme is HST (half square triangles).
From the EPP box
  • the first of my cart wheel blocks is done - now it's decision time for the next row
From the book pile
  • Shotgun Love Songs by Nickolas Butler.  I enjoyed this book set in small town America, however I see it has had mixed reviews on Good Reads. 
From the back yard
  • I have a Tui that visits my back yard regularly and serenades me. Also known as the parson bird they have two voice boxes which means they have an incredible range of sounds they can produce. I am hoping The Scout will make me a bird feeder to put in the trees for the Tui's and waxeyes that visit my garden.

Sunday 21 June 2015

Scrappy Sampler Quilt Progress

Today I made a temporary design wall, so I could see all the blocks of my scrappy sampler quilt together.

The mini dresden/solid block really dominates the blocks so far, but it will be cut  to a smaller size when I start assembling the quilt top, it has just been  left larger because of the amount of fraying that happens with the shot cottons.

I think I need to find some  fabrics in my stash that bridge the warm/cool spectrum for a few more blocks, then it will be onto the low volumes for filler blocks.  Luckily some new ones arrived in the post a week or so ago.

Overall I like what has been made so far, and am having fun trying new blocks and techniques, and fabric combinations.

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Mad Hatter's Tea Party Pillow

After watching on the sidelines for a couple of years, this year I plucked up the courage and joined the X Factor Pillow Swap group on Flickr.  This swap differs from others in that we are given a theme each round to sew to.  Previous themes have included Drunkards Path, hexagons and Low Volume. This rounds theme was Liberty Fabrics.  We are not allocated a partner, and are able to sew whatever style of pillow we want, as long as it fits the theme requirements.

Once we have finished we send a photo and details of our pillow to the group administrator, who then posts it on Flickr.  This way no one knows who has made what.  At the end of the round we all vote for our favourites, the person with the most votes for their pillow, gets to have their first choice and so on down the list of participants.

I decided to use all my Alice in Wonderland/Tea Party prints.  I had an idea of making a Mad Hatter's Tea Party themed pillow. Luckily I was able to find free tea cup and saucer paper pieced patterns here.  I sewed them all with a contrasting solid scrappy strip on the saucers and used Kona white as the background.  I wanted it to look like pretty china tea cups on a crisp a white table cloth.  Simple cross hatch quilting in the white fabric only completed the front.  The back is a plain natural coloured linen with a hidden zipper and binding is a simple floral from Dear Stella - Flirt collection.  Pillow size 20" square.

 This has now been sent off to it's recipient, and I can't wait to see what pillow I end up with. and what the next round will be.

Sunday 14 June 2015


  • Twiggy branches have been found for my sewing room and butterflies have been attached, and some  for a vase in the house
  • I made start on my EPP Cart Wheel - and changed my mind on the previous post's colour musings
  • some days all the good books arrive at once - perfect for perusing in front of the fire
  • another little block finished for my sampler quilt
Hoping you all had a relaxing weekend too.

Thursday 11 June 2015

Wednesday WIP

In a couple of weeks time, I have another sewing day with my friends, and also a few days away during the school  holidays.  I have decided I need a hand sewing project to work on while I am away.  So after spending a fair bit of time googling different EPP projects, I decided to make this pillow, using these free templates.

I selected my fabrics ( I have since added another couple to this original pull) and started preparing the templates, and then came to  to a halt.  I couldn't work out what colour the diamonds and the  half octagons block edging should be.

After playing round with some different backgrounds, I have pretty much decided that the diamonds will be grey, which picks up on the grey in the centre octagon, and also makes the colours pop a little more. (Then I start second guessing myself and wondering if I should use a combination of all three ....) I am thinking the edging pieces will be the shot berry fabric in the middle of the fabric pull photo.

So now there is just lots of template cutting, and basting to be done, ready to have an away from home sewing project.

A question about needles -  I like to hand stitch with quite a fine needle, however they all seem to have very small eyes and I struggle trying to thread them, especially at night.  Can anyone recommend to me a brand of fine needles, that aren't too short with a large eye, so that I may see more easily what I am trying to thread.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Wednesday 10 June 2015

A Private Swap

Way back in January I received an email from Claudia asking where I got the pattern for the  Liberty needle book I made myself last year.  Because it is a pattern of my own design, and no two are ever the same, I offered to make her one in a private swap.  After a little to and fro of emails to each other we agreed on a project for her to make me.

The needle book I made Claudia, consists of bright  Anna Maria Horner hexis quilted onto a natural linen,  This gave the cover rather a firm finish, but I am really pleased with how it has held its shape.  The inner is a cream solid, and the pockets are another bright Anna Maria Horner print,  She does a lot of different craft work, so asked if it was possible to put in more than one page of felt for the needles, so I put in two sheets of hand dyed wool felt.  Again my little zippy pocket on the right hand side for scissors and other things you don't want falling out.  Finished off with a matching covered button and ribbon loop.

In return, Claudia made me some beautiful crochet butterfly bunting to hang in my sewing room.  I requested rainbow, and they definitely fulfil that criteria.  Currently I am having fun deciding where to hang them.  There were also some loose ones that I want to attach to a twiggy branch like  she did here. Some vintage handkerchiefs and chocolate completed my beautiful package.

Thanks for a fun and colourful swap Claudia.

Tuesday 9 June 2015


Making :   A huge mess (again) in my sewing room
Cooking :  Meatloaf and mashed kumara for dinner
Drinking :  Rose and French Vanilla Tea
Reading:  The Mapmaker's Children  by Sarah McCoy 

Wanting:  to start another Liberty project
Looking:  at bare branches and leaves on the lawn
Playing:  alpha betty on the kids ipods
Wasting:  time on Pinterest
Sewing:  a mini EPP dresden 
Wishing: the housework fairies would pay a visit
Enjoying:  getting emails from my Mum while she is overseas
Waiting:    for a parcel from Germany

Liking: finding Uppercase magazine in the Auckland Library
Wondering: what would happen if I didn't nag my children to do their homework
Loving: sitting by the fire with a good book
Hoping:  my sore hip gets better soon

Marveling: at the card tricks Mr J has been showing us
Needing:  chocolate
Smelling:  wood smoke in the night air

Wearing:  my winter boots
Following: my Mum's itinerary each day through the UK and Europe
Noticing:   I have moth holes in another merino knit top
Knowing:  I need to colour my hair and possibly cut it too
Thinking:  about a day trip by train all by myself when my family is on their next scout camp
Bookmarking:  new recipes for tasty winter dinners

What is happening in your life lately?

Thursday 4 June 2015

2015 Finish-Along - Q2 Goals - Completed

Yes - you read that correctly.  I have finished my Q2 Finish-along goals
  • One SWAK envelope top completed.  This top measures approximately 48" square.  I decided not to sash between the blocks, so that the bright jewel toned colours of the envelopes really popped against the scrappy low volume background.  A low volume border was added to frame them  Now, I just have to find the right backing fabric for it , then it will be ready to be quilted and bound. 
  • The wet weather we have been having has been perfect for sitting in my sewing room and getting stuck into quilting my Christmas place mats, a couple of hours later, they were done.  I even have the binding cut ready to make and attach for these.
So pleased to be able to cross these off my WIP list.  Now onto make something for a friend for her birthday, and start planning the Q3 list.