Tuesday, 18 December 2012

December 18th 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone.

This Christmas for us  is very different. Steve is away 3 or 4 days a week working on a friends house in Pahia, an hours drive away so he stays over to get more done.
He goes on my days off and is home when I am working - Kelly has company most days - but it doesn't feel very festive for us this year.

No Christmas tree this year as when DH is home he works on our house so we decided we didn't need a dusty tree to clean and pack away.
My Red December table Runner will come out plus a Christmas tablecloth but that's it for us this year as I have Christmas Eve day and Christmas day off work, then back to work right through New Year, while my DH will be helping friends shift  into their new house.

I so wish I had belonged to Esther's group for the 12 days of Christmas Wall hanging.
Those I have viewed are just stunning, Congratulations!!!

I found a little bit of Christmas spirit visiting Carol Doaks BOM group and have made her Shooting Star Block with fabric left over from Red December.

Can't show more photo's as DH took our camera to capture his progress in Pahia for the owners but am now making some of Carol's 3" Christmas ornaments to make a small paper pieced wallhanging - probably for next Christmas as the days are flying by and I am back at work on Thursday!!!!

Am also adding your blogs to my reading list so that I can stay up to date with what everyone is doing
Again a Very Happy Chrismas and New Year to everyone.
Hugs, Jenny

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

WOW on 28th Nov

Have had a wonderful couple of weeks working on Esther's Nov blocks.
It was so hard to decide which flower on what background, which is why I made my banksia flower first.
Knew the yellow would work on either but it was not until I went with the blue based green for my leaves that I made the decision, witth help from BOM members.

The leaves were very strong on my striped background but this feels more like looking at the flower against the sky. I had also felt that this was a more stylised block - until I googled images  and found that the leaves are really as serrated as the design shows.

 Beeding Hearts and Daisies, I  knew I couldn't do white daises but I had a of very very pale yellow Fairy Frost fabric which I really wanted to use.
My first magnolia block now looks very sad as I used the background fabric for several attempts to make it work - waste not - want not, as if I need to remake a block I only have one piece of striped fabric to spare!!! However it would not work but I am thrilled with the how my final choice worked.
It was also my base fabric for the Banksia Flower.

I put my daisy on stabiliser and  marked the center circle, straight stitched all the petals out and back from inside the center, then trimmed the stabiliser and padded the Daisy. Satin stitched the edges then did one cicle of stitching to flatten the center and added the beads.

The Bleeding Hearts look a little more orange/red in this photo but it is a blue/red which works well with my border fabric. I now have both red and yellow flowers in mainly pink based blocks so am very happy.
Slight errors in fabric movement when satin stitching the "teardrops" frustrated me but had always planned on adding at least one bead. When I opened my bead packet I found many had not seperated into singles.They looked so good in two's and three's I used them as was, but did seperate and catch each one down as  I stitched them.

This was my inspiration photo.

Knew there was a myth  linked to Bleeding Heart's and have always thought of the throat as Teardrops. Think the pearl beads express this, may even add an extra couple of falling teardrops after quilting!!!

And now.

My DH came home last night with the  most winderful Pelergonium,
Almost Black I have never seen anything like it.

repotted it this morning and it will be wonderful on our deck.
Also bought home a Fucshia cutting and I really hope this survives.

What a beauty. Almost cried when I stripped it's flowers this morning and planted stem into pumice.
Hopefully we will enjoyi t's beauty for years to come.
Enjoy you wednesday.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

WOW for Nov 14th

Only Tuesday but working tomorrow, missed linking to Esther's Blog last week for same reason so decided to start early.
Quick addition on Wed. Got a wonderful view of the eclipse this morning, only about 91% in Whangarei but just before 10.30am soft cloud covered the sun and you could safely look and see the complete moon and  a cresent of pale sun on the edge. Our manager totally convinced because of the shape that the sun was the moon!!!
A few minutes later full cloud moved across and no view at all.

Summer is slowly arriving in Whangarei and my favorite rose is already in full bloom.

Roses don't grow as well here as they do in Christchurch as our winters are not really get cold enough.
This is Crepescule, a old fashioned climber and we have planted two  to hopefully eventually cover our very uninspiring boundary fence

My DH and I just love the wonderful apricot tones as the buds  first open, then the changing shades as the flowers mature.

They are repeat  flowerers so we will have their blooms well into Autumn
Our Agapanthus are just coming into flower and in another couple of weeks will be spectacular.

And  I will be picking this and a few others later today, summer is here!!!

On my last post I said we had found a wonderful wallpaper for the kitchen / dining room that worked so well with our stainless appliances. This is it, metallic silver squares on a white/grey marbled background.
That 70's lime green has finally gone.

Unfortunately ---- we are going to be one roll short to finish the room as we bought all they had but the match was bigger than DH thought!!!
Means the other end wall  which has a sliding door to our Laundry will have to be painted, not a major as most of that wall is the door.
Was a major though that when we moved the fridge freezer to wallpaper behind it - it stopped working!!!
Needs a new electronic's board - and it's only six years old.  $260-00 I can't spend on fabric.
We are watching one on TradeMe that closes next Sunday, it has a damaged door and may be a cheaper option as we can just swap doors.  At present have a friends fridge sitting on other side of kitchen.

And I can't blog without quilting so have looked back to show you an almost totally original design from a couple of years ago.

This is Drumbeat, a quilters group challenge. It now hangs inside our front door
We were given a 5" Fabric square that had to be used within the design, with the Challenge theme of Celebration and it had to be within 36" square.
A very tribal looking  fabric, my DH drew me the main drum pattern,-- to call the tribes for a celebration--and he made me the fabric padded drumsticks for hanging it. I just love his 3D drawing skills.
I bought an extra metre of the challenge fabric so I could fussy cut as I had a secondhand book called Angle Antic's by Mary Hickery and I resized and used various pattern segments from a pattern also called Drumbeat for the foundation pieced areas, then applipieced them to my background fabrics.
The feather fabric horizontal banding is raw edged and hangs loose from the quilt.

You can see the original 5" square I was given on the backing of the quilt as I got concerned I hadn't used the original piece of fabric so designed this variation of a Mariners Compass for the backing, using the 5" square and incorporating my drum fabric scraps.
I was very pleased to be awarded the prize for Best Use of Fabric at our biannual exhibition.

Will post this tomorrow then the following day we will have Esther's wonderful new blocks for November.
Happy Wednesday everyone


Wednesday, 31 October 2012

WOW 31st October

Missed linking last week and wasn't sure if  I would find time today either.
Have taken time out from my sewing room this week now that I have finished Esther's October's blocks and suddenly it's the last day of the month.
Have been sanding and painting window frames in our Kitchen/Dining room.
It's not like quilting  but if I take my time I do a respectable job!!!
Steve has been wallpapering - Yes after time spent stripping all the old paper we are now repapering, something we thought we would never go back to but we found a wonderful  paper that suits the area at the local emporium shop.
Heavy vinyl paper, made in Canada, $10.00 a roll, far cheaper than paint!!!
Can't show a photo this week as Steve is renovating a house in Pahia, an hours drive north and he has taken the camera so he can show the owners updates of his progress
When I have had enough of painting I have played with my photo programmes, yesterday that was when I could leave the CNN News of Sandy's progress across the east coast of USA
Many of us are making Esther's blocks and I am sure we are all wondering how they will all come together - will they work or won't they.
Before Steve left I took a few photo's of background, frame and inner mount fabric's and have made collages.
Some of the proportions and shadings are out because of photo size but I think my wall hangings will work
Esther, your blocks are wonderful - and am not unpicking my Morning Glories!!!!

Used a photo of extra fabric as my background so have not been able to line up my fussy cutting of border  strips, background flowers will show much more.
Have not worked out how to do oval insets for the mounts, but feel colour balance with the white snowdrop block is coming right.
My frame fabric is the same fabric Esther is using for her light background Blocks and my mount fabric is the Lavender from my other blocks.

Again the background is oversized compared to the blocks as I photographed a couple of strips to create my background, these photo programmes are such fun to play with!!!
I am just hoping this works at the end of the day.
The colour balance I think is finally coming right
My frame fabric is a 3ZL mans shirt, a burgundy flocked iridescent paisley. I had only the collar left over once I cut  the framing strips but I am hoping it works.

Cheers for this week, enjoy what ever you are doing

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

WOW 17th Oct

Just home from work so time to link to Esther's Blog for this week.

In July my DH was asked to redo a garden, getting rid of all the old plants incuding a couple of very old standard roses, plus Azaleas and Lavender.
We had had all these growing in Christchurch so thought lets try and rescue them as our garden is also very much a WIP and free plants, Yea!!! we can design to suit.
The Largest Azalea was still in flower at the time and has never stopped blooming all winter

The other 2 are putting out buds, but this week the oldest of the standard roses opened it's first flower.

I am sure it is Deep Secret and she is just beautiful!!! Imagine appliequing this.
Think she is approz 25 years old by the age of the property she came from.
We didn't know if she would survive the shift but this is the proof of my DH's gardening skills.
He took her back to bare root stock, trimming any damaged roots off.
Gave her a radical prune keeping only the strongest branches with a few leaves.
A fertilizer tablet underneath at planting and once new leaves started appearing he wire brushed the crown.
We have new growth and buds everywhere.
The other standard has budded but nothing open yet so have no idea what she is.

Now to quilting.
 Esther released October's blocks on Monday.
Glorious blocks, but I was out of printer ink so had to wait to print the patterns and get started.
Played with making snowflakes for the Snowdrop block to stop my frustration.

This is the technique Mary Transom taught for her insect wings in the course I attended a few years ago.
Draw you basic pattern onto Solvy. A plasticised wash away.
Place net or tulle over top and secure both layers  in an embroidery hoop.
Stitch your design in free motion zig zag for outer edges, and main lines, stitching over the lines a couple of times then free motion straight stitch to fill the design.
I didn't use free motion as I found an embroidery stitch on my machine that resembled a snowflake pattern,
bernina 440 it is stitch 54.
Because the snowflakes are small I compromised and used zig zag for the first cross then straight stitched out and pattern stitched back to center with dark silver mettalic between the arms of the cross.

After stitching I trimmed as much of the Solvy and Tulle away as I could without cutting into  my stitching.
If you have an edged design like wings this is so much easier, as you have your zigzag stitch for the edges, very easy to trim close to.
Rinsed under warm water to dissolve the Solvy and dried with an iron you are left with only your stitching on net.
Yes I am thinking of making the snowdrops on my light background.
White on light, I am not sure but have a white with mettallic sparkle that may pull it off, and have 2 white flower blocks already on my Lavender background.
Will make the flowers up first and see how they look.
Happy sewing everyone.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Work On Wednesday 10th Oct

A muddled week.
Worked Monday which I never usually do but a work mate had a family bereavment so we swopped days and I go back on Friday. It has thrown me completely out as to what day  is which.
My DH was away  Mon / Tues and I nearly forgot to put the rubbish out Tues Morning as thought it was only Monday.
Can't get enthused in stitching my last 3 Kaleidoscope blocks, think I am in applique mode so am patiently -or impatiently - waiting for the 15th and Esther's next blocks.

Thought I would show you this week the full Poppies Wallhanging that I  use as my Header,
and where some of the techniques I use have come from.

Another pattern by Adrienne Walker, same designer as my Wild Lilies, and the only wallhanging I have parted with as a girlfriend fell in love with it and has furnished her spare bedroom around it.
Some of you might recognize the striped background fabric!!!Also the metallic silver leftovers in my coffee table runner. Don't ever throw any fabric out, no matter how small.

This is also where I discovered the Ribbed Wheel for my centers, and the outward blanket stitch for furry stems!!

The other major influence on my applique has been Mary Transom.
I did a course with her a couple of years ago and that was a big learning curve for stitching and padding before adding  applique to the background.

We had a choice of  Poppies or Pond Life.
As I had already made Adrienne Walker's Poppies  I opted for Pondlife.

This is Mary Transom's  teaching project, where we could prepare a pieced background before the class.

I had been reading a book on 3D perspective and offsetting horizons and much more so thought why not give it a go for my background.
Could only find fat quarters for my water foreground so played with that as well as my sky.

It worked -- but initially it didn't!!!
The lowered vanishing point on the horizon works well but I had origionally offset it to the right.
Tried toooo many things at once.
I am minus 1 bullrush and a couple of leaves in my finished hanging in order to make the fish the focal point rather than the bullrushes. Thanks to my group for their advice on how to fix it.

Also learnt how to stitch onto net over washaway for the insect wings.

I had shadow stitched the ripples for my quilting and it wasn't working either.
A group member suggested stippling the water, using  darker thread as shadow behind  the reeds, so my first attempt and I went overboard, but I am very happy with it.
Cheers everyone for this week, roll on the 15th.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Work on Wed 3rd oct

Where did Sept go!!!
Am on my last day of 5 days off, although yesterday had to go to work at 4pm to help with stocktaking,
extra pay so not all bad.
Have really enjoyed Esther's blocks this month.
Both are now finished and I am very happy. Went back to my roots I guess, lots of fussy cutting and prestitching rather than using pencils to add color and shadings.

Hibiscus came out stronger than I expected,  and I will have to be careful with fabric choices for next blocks on this background, or balance between blocks will go awry. It is so like  the one I had growing in Raro, so very in your face!!!

We have a new computer, it is 4 years old but compared to the old one I'm in 7th heaven!!!
Still adding programmes we want as it was stripped back to bare bones.
Found a free download for a basic photo editor and discovered I can make collages, so here are my seven lavender background blocks.
You can  see what I mean about careful colour choices for the rest of this set, it is not an easy background like I hoped it would be.
My Pansies, have had this fabric for a while and I just knew the right flower would come up to use it for.
The Violets fabric is a Blue/Purple batik that I have pulled out several times but was never right for my blue, until now.  Used an eyelet stitch to make a yellow center before adding the beads so they are just edged with gold. Yes I am Happy!!!

And a collage of these blocks.

Think the balance is pretty good but stll not sure about the Magnolia, I feel it looks better in this photo than in real life. So ----

First flower of the remake, have fussy cut my petals and stitched the petal veins with flower on a lightweight stabiliser. Last petal to attach and stitch.

Both main flowers vein stitched and ready for padding and applique.
And now completed.

I feel this is so delicate compared to my first magnolia.

Felt it was just a little insipid when finished so reverted to pencils and just edged some of the petals over my stitching with a deeper line plus a very little towards their center.

Have added it to my collage,  flowers appear bigger against the others as I took the photo from closer however I think it's colour fits better.
Interested for your comments.
Cheers everyone for this week

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Work on Wednesday 19th Sept

Have had busy days off, but NOT in my sewing room.
Last week my DH finally convinced me it was time to part with some of my "treasures" from over the years.
Went through the cupboards and brought back to daylight items I have had for years and never see or use.
So my first venture on to Trade Me, and I didn't realise how time consuming it is.
Spent enough time spent answering questions, but they all closed on Sunday night, so my planned 3 days of sewing Esther's blocks turned into emails, packaging, and trips to the post shop!!!!
However all sold and we have extra funds for the house and for some FABRIC SHOPPING FOR ME!!!

So what have I achieved in my Sewing Room.

Esther  gave me a real problem this month, I love both the blocks but which to go where.

For the first time I have worked backwards ( for me) and made my hibiscus flowers first, before deciding my background fabric.

When we lived in Rarotanga we had the most beautiful mixed hibiscus hedges, withan enormous yellow/orange Hibiscus so decided to fussy cut each petal to try and get the yellow centre and deeper petal edges of that flower.
These have the vein and stamen stitching done and are padded ready to go on my background, which this morning was still undecided.
I really wanted to add this colour to my white striped background blocks as most are in varying pinks and blues, but when I sat the flowers on the fabric along with my leaves - it didn't work.
But on my Lavender Background - WOW

It was one last trip to the post shop this morning, and now my leaves are sewn on and first flower is in place. Once I link to Esther's Blog will decide what thread to stitch the flowers with.

Hope you are all enjoying your Wednesday and Esther's beautiful blocks.
Cheers, Jenny

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Work on Wednesday 12th Sept

My 10 days of holiday has rushed by and I am back to work on Friday.
Finished stripping wallpaper and have managed to get some weeds out of the garden on the few fine days we have had. Was a very wet July and August but seeing all the spring signs now.
Have not spent much time sewing - think I am saving myself for after the 15th!! but have completed another 2 kaleidoscope blocks and have the first two rows stitched together.

I laid all my bocks and centers out and decided which was going where so knew which order I needed to complete them in. What a happy surprise I got with the 2 rows completed.
The pattern I had looked at had used the inner cream triangle fabric for the outer borders, which did define the star points much better but was quite strong. I love the floral block that has appeared for me, and I am not a floral person.

Thankyou to those who have commented on my Mermaid Trilogy, they are still I think my favorites of everything I have done.
These next two photo's are my other applique's with People.

My Flamenco / Calypso Dancer is a free download leadlight panel that my DH found and showed  me which I just had to make, it now also hangs in our hallway.
Guess what, the mettalic fabric in her shawl is leftover from Dusk the Merman.
The vibrant green background leftovers made many of my leaves in Heart's Desire and the  border fabric all my heart flpwers.
Don't ever throw anything out!!
The background fabric I ironed onto 1/4 inch pellon batting so she is appliqued directly to the batting.
When I added the backing fabric the only quilting I did was to stitch around her and in the ditch around the borders, it didn't seem to need any more.

And for a totally different look.

This years Christmas present for Mum - Just hope she likes it.
It is one of the hundreds of embroidery transfers she gave me.
My DH has just finished mounting it over an art board so it will be easier to hang and size didn't increase with border and binding, as her room is not that large.
It is 24" x 16" and was batted and backed before mounting, again only edge stitching and applique detailing.
Background is a thermal backed drape fabric with a lovely texture and sheen, and for this was a good dense weight to work on as the leaves are all machine stitched from a basic programme stitch also all the branches from the trunk are machine stitched.

Have had a haircut this morning ready to go back to work, bought a new blade for my cutter, and some  Steam a Seam ready for Esther's new blocks on the 15th.

Enjoy your Wednesday

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Work on Wednesday 5th Sept

So far a  varied week for me, we are so quiet at work that I was asked to use us some of my rather large amount of leave so have been off work since last Fri and don't go back until 14th, yes the day before Esther's new blocks come out!!!
What have I been doing, stripping wallpaper in our kitchen dining room for a couple of days.

This is the original 70's nicotine stained wallpaper from when we moved in, and the only bit that didn't get painted over immediately, we ran out of paint and thought oh well it's all coming off one day!!!

Under that wallpaper I found the original almost dayglo yellow paint. The photo makes it look almost livable but it really is closer to the colour of the brush and pan on the table, and it hits you when you walk in. Just hope this WIP won't take to long!!!

Posted a blog on Sunday about my first ever applique project,  Mermaid Trilogy.
Then I made Steve his favourite Muffins.

Double Chocolate and Raspberry
they are so yummy

Steve has been renovating a bathroom for a friend and guess who got called to help strip wallpaper, followed by grouting tiles. So much for my holiday so far, but I have found time to unearth some blocks I had been making before my sewing room shift, and now hope to do more work on them.

I have been fascinated for ages with the wonderful effects in Kaleidoscope Quilt patterns and after plenty of reading on the web decided to have a play, using once again Mum's fabrics as this really is a practice exercise which will probably end up as a charity quilt.

These are the 4 Kaleidoscope centres I still have to turn into blocks
I was amazed how much material it took to match up 8 identical fabric layers to cut the centers from.
More amazing are the pattern's you don't see until the segments are stitched together.

I found an Avalon Bloom quilt design and drew up similar blocks that worked for my finished centers.
Here are the 5 completed blocks.

As you have probably guessed the floral border fabric is the one my kaleidoscopes were cut from, and why I had difficulty matching the pattern repeat, it looked like it had a repeat across the width as well but it didn't!! I now know why so many of the fabrics used for these blocks are a border stripe that repeats across the fabric.
The one I want to use eventually is Shimmer Butterflies border stripe by Timeless Treasures, and Hooray I have just found it released in NZ.

The only other thing for today is that I keep trying to comment on Esther's Blog and although the comment form comes up and I can fill it out, including the letters and numbers, the form won't scroll down further or enlarge for me to find the post button. Is this my internet explorer or some other hiccup?

Anyway, enjoy your Wednesday everyone