Wednesday, 23 December 2015

WOW for Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas Everyone,

I wish everyone a very happy Christmas and festive season shared with family and friends.
May all your dreams come true in 2016.
We have no family in Whangarei so our family catch ups will be on the phone and then sharing our Christmas Day with friends.
An update, having a tooth out was the best thing I have done in years. An altered bottom plate that no longer does rock and roll when I chew will be bliss for Christmas day, bring on the nuts and other yummies that I have had to avoid in company for years!!!

To progress on my Building Blocks pattern from Ginny Beyer. Before starting to assemble my blocks  I visited the Ginny  website and watched her video tips on stitching Y seams again,
Ginny made it look so easy and I noticed she had an angle marker for marking the vital 1/4 inch corner dots. I didn't have one but I do have a very handy DH and a 9" square ruler I don't use.
Explained what I needed and 5 minutes later.

Perfect for my square blocks, a little more tricky to be accurate on the diamonds but with holes now   drilled in several places this ruler will get a lot more use in future.

So on to stitch my first blocks.

My layout for block 1, but what did I was this.

I got a perfect Y seam but reversed my side block and put my two dark corners together.
I took them all off the design board at once, marked the dots and stitched them together, without checking the placement!! I didn't pick this up until after I had stitched the next blocks together and wasn't getting the effect I had expected. Didn't do that again!!
Here is the first triangular corner unit creating a new block emerging.
Anyway I carried on thinking lets see what happens, if I need to I can unpick and restitch that unit.

That video on Y seams was great, everything came together so easily. LOL
Yes, the Y corners were simple afterall but I also had to match all my fabric intersections so there was plenty of unpicking. I pinned carefully or so I thought but when opening out the seam WHY am I an 8th or 16th inch out where the colours meet.
Patience was the name of the game for stitching this together, it doesn't always go together first time but I am very happy with progress.

Now it is all together but which way is up or does it really matter???

Finished size is 24" square so could be another cushion cover, or a table topper.
Now it's time to prepare for Christmas day so my sewing room won't see much of me.

Be happy and enjoy the festive season everyone. Hugs to all, Jenny

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

WOW for Dec 16th

Hi Everyone,

Starting this weeks blog very early as am taking it easy this Friday.  Had a bottom tooth out yesterday and my jaw is still quite sore. Last night Steve took this photo of the recovery process

My shoes aren't meant to be on the couch and neither is Gracie and her toy but she Really Really wanted to help me feel better, swollen cheek and all.
Forget the sheet of gib board behind the couch -  I have - it covers the opening of the old fireplace.   One day that wall and our lounge will be finished.
The cushion I made from a Ginny Beyer pattern is getting well used as you can see.

This cushion cover was a learning exercise in reducing Ginny's pattern to 1 inch finished size segments. Strip piecing meant it came together without being too fiddly.

 After the painkillers kicked in this morning went back to my 9 piece 3D blocks.
A Ginny Beyer pattern from her book  Colour Confidence for Quilters.

Another block made and feel I am getting a good balance of Purples, Blues and Teals.
Now for the center square. I tried Purple / Blues and it didn't work so went back to the photo and  brown /green shades were what I needed.

So two blocks left to make before I look at the corner triangles. Yes, there is a final step, the corner triangles using template 3 the center block square's plus a triangle template to create new blocks emerging in the corners. Forgetting that for now - but I am thinking about them all the time -
I decided that the right hand block needed to be brown / green and possibly a splash of yellow.
Put my samples up for this block and found the fabrics for my left block instead, as you do!!!

However, it brought a change of position for my bottom block as this corner feels all too blue now!!!
Have swopped top and bottom blocks and like this look much better.
With my blue /mauve block stitched my browns and yellow seemed too dark for a front face block. I played for ages and cut lots of squares to try and get something I was happy with.

Finally a combo that seems to work, nothing like what I started with. At the end of the day it was a piece of my LE background fabric that gave me the lightest square in this 9 piece block which brought it together and my blue block has come back to the bottom.

I am now not sure which look I prefer and every time I blink the optical illusion changes, which doesn't help at all. Can you can see the change in 3D on the left side as well?
Steve tells me it is just too many wines, LOL

So now to watch Ginny's tips on Y seams video on her website and try to figure out in which order to stitch these blocks together.
Enjoy your Wednesday everyone, Cheers Jenny

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Approaching Christmas

Hi Everyone,

Haven't blogged or done any sewing for a couple of weeks as have had a stressful time at work.
The company I worked has been restructuring and rerostering in all their stores for some months and it was our turn. Outcome - my position was disestablished and although I could apply for the new position there were no guarantees I would get it. After some hard thinking and talking with my DH I decided it was best to take the companies redunancy offer and after 8 1/2 years loving my work, move on. SO this year no long hours leading up to Christmas and I am able to have quality time with my DH while I work out what next for me, Mon 30th Nov became my last day.

Dec 1st, out came Esther's wonderful 12 days of Christmas. Steve bought me the pattern for Christmas last year and I have waited for 11 months to hang her in pride of place in our lounge.

There will be another photo when I have finished decorating the buffet as I am going shopping for new decorations to make this our Christmas feature.
I increased the size to fit the same quilt hanger as Faberge which normally hangs here.
That is why I have added the hanging bells that you won't find in Esther's pattern. which is available from her website. I so love the christmas stocking border fabric I found.
I will have to pick my decorations carefully as Gracie believes everything belongs in her mouth. 
The large bowl with candle is usually on our coffee table but not this year as the candle is surrounded with loose berries, holly leaves etc that would soon be destroyed.
Here a few photo's which show my making of 12 DOC

My Baubles, I have never been brave enough to draw the faces on 

What else have I been doing. Last blog I was heading out to hopefully buy some more Jinny Beyer fabric's from Grandmother's Gardens'  roadshow to Whangarei. I limited myself to buying fat quarters and added another 12 to my collection plus a 1/2 metre of my favourite black eyelash fabric.

I have been reading and re reading the Jinny Beyer book "Colour Confidence for Quilter's" and have been very intrigued by a pattern called  " Building Blocks"

Since making Faberge I have been fascinated by the way 3D designs can be brought to life.
There are only 3 templates for this design which on their own would make an eight inch block.

I have made them out of freezer paper so I can cut my strips accurately.
Jinny talked about fragmenting and enlarging a pattern to add shade and colour, 
This is simply making 9 patch or 16 patch square and diamond blocks from these templates and shading as desired. so my sewing table now looks like this.

I have gone with 9 patch blocks. Each block needs 5 fabrics that work together so I have the photo for a guide plus my limited selection of Jinny Beyer fabrics which don't give me a complete colour wheel so I am just playing and having huge fun!!!
I should end up with a 24 inch block to frame and use as a table center or if I add a half block to each end it will be a table runner.

 This was my first block and it didn't work as I forgot which block was reversed  and which was not, Unpicked and restitched I can use it elsewhere. The red, orange and yellow are fabrics I bought, just because I loved them!!!
I have now made several more blocks and they are pinned to my design board.

You can see how block one would have looked if I had used the correct orientation,
Combining two very different colour pallette's with limited fabric is so much fun.
A week later more blocks have been made and the design is coming together

My incorrect block 1 now has a possible home at bottom right.
Now I am at this stage my colour choices for each block are taking ages. I have 4 blocks to make but what fabrics to use. I know I need another brown/green tone one so that is probably the next and for the square on the left.
As I make the blocks I am thinking more and more about the assembly, no instructions for that and I see so many Y seams in stitching these blocks together - there must be any easy way!!!

Now back to Christmas and decorating the buffet. DH came home yesterday with a ten dollar box of 100 xmas baubles from The Warehouse. NOT what I was thinking of  buying but at least a  hundred dollars cheaper than the beautiful decorations I had seen in a lovely boutique shop.
Most had a very harsh gold finish or were plain white with no glitter but a few were a softer textured gold. DH simply said the coloured packs were 30 dollars or more so what colour would I like these to be,  Red, Silver or Blue? After an hour in the garage he helped me decorate the buffet and my 12 Days of Christmas wall hanging plus put together a centre bowl for the dining table.

Hey!!! I'm happy with these super cheap baubles.
 I chose red and silver as the new colours - automotive paint by the way, LOL
Had never thought of adding more decorations to 12 DOC until holding those drop baubles and thinking what would they look like on the outer points of the tree. From there it took off, they are all only placed with pins but for this our first  year with Gracie it really is our Christmas tree.
Thank You Esther your pattern has made our Christmas.

This bowl and 3 wick candle we have had since we met 18 years ago. The candle has long lost it's glitter and sparkle  and the leaves and berries that surround it are past their best tbut the wonderful vanilla scent is still there  year after year, We only light it 3 or 4 times each Christmas so will hopefully have it for many years to come.
The Bamboo tray was a present to us in Raro and this year has let us surround the candle bowl with deco's that won't runaway and are hopefully "Safe from Mouth"
"All Black" cereal bowls - a give away from the local supermarket last week hold the other baubles.
Am not a tinsel fan but it came with the pack, somewhere I have wide white and gold xmas ribbon that may replace it - but where is it ? I have no idea!!!

And the left over's

A never used bowl decorated with gold leaf ( which is why it is never used ) has become the perfect table centerpiece with a wild berries scented candle and more of the repainted baubles.
Again hopefully safe from Gracie's mouth.

I am applying for jobs as they come up but in Whangarei they are few and far between so am  not stressing and looking forward to enjoying Christmas with friends and our family in Christchurch then beginning a new journey in 2016.
Enjoy your Wednesday everyone, now linking with Esther's WOW on Wednesday.

Cheer's Jenny

Friday, 13 November 2015

The Rose and other things

Hi Everyone,
It's been a couple of weeks since I have had time to blog or to stitch very much as the arrival of Gracie has very much reduced my sewing time. Early morning before work was daily sewing time for me, now it's cuddles and games but please don't ruin my work clothes - okay, change the routine and have old clothes then change into work clothes, Gracie won that round!!!
Lots of things have been happening around home but I have managed to nearly complete "The Rose"

Am very happy with progress but it took a while to decide what to do.
I still haven't quilted the central background fabric as after ditch stitching around the border's I ended up working from the outside borders in. The dark Burgundy binding is just what I wanted and I have straight stitched the next border with mitred corners as if it was a picture frame.

I am terrible at FMQ but wanted something in the next border but nothing too elaborate as this would be the matte mount in a picture and just a plain colour without detail but it needed something.

I decided to use my cuved ruler which I have had for years but rarely use to create curved lines on inner and outer edges, the smaller curves worked perfectly to match in the corners
I then created leaf templates from the original pattern to use inside the scallop lines
My curved line templates and the leaves were all drawn onto freezer paper so I was able to stay in my comfort zone. I know I should be pushing my boundaries and using FMQ but I become so scared of ruining what I have made.
All I have to decide now is will I FMQ stitch the main background - or not???? 

Since Gracie arrived projects around home have progressed as well.
With her jumping out of a 5 foot high plus run it was time to address our boundary fences!!!

A few weeks ago it was a three foot fallen down wire mesh fence between us and our neighbours,
 now replaced with a six foot iron fence. We planted the Yucca's and flax a couple of years ago in anticipation of replacing the fence. Wow I can't believe how good they look now.
We have a 1960's NZ suburban home on the original 1/4 section that everyone in NZ wanted to have.

Out front - a new fence as well.

Looking so much better.
We decided to drop the height of the center third so we could save as much of our old tree as possible.
It is a very old tree and has at some stage been cut off about 12 inches from the ground.
Goodness knows how tall it would be if this hadn't been done as what we have now is 5 years growth from a perfectly square toparied 3ft shrub when we moved in.

We did a huge clean out to the lower and inner branches on the inside removing lots of dead wood and this lovely framework of the lower branches was revealed.
Many of the branches we cut off  are already sending out new shoots.

From our deck nothing has changed. Still a wall of foliage above and you can just see in top right corner the branches of the neighbouring old lady Jacaranda towering above, she will be in full lavender bloom in a couple of weeks

The new fence now shows off the lovely colour of the Silver Birch trunk
Not our choice of planting and will have to be topped shortly but then I think it will only get better.
For the first time since I bought the bird bath once the fence went up it has been used.
Both a thrush and then a pair of blackbird's that nest next door yearly have been using it - obviously it now has enough privacy - and a direct view from our dining room.

Gracie is settling in very well

I am so good

Mum had to put a new cover on my bed, I ate the bottom!!!!

This is what I did to my duvet - I like it better now.

I love it when we water the plants.

That's it for now as this morning I am off to buy some fabric, what I don't know yet. 
Grandmother's Garden (a wonderful fabric shop near Hamilton) are coming to Whangarei for two days. I am hoping they will be bringing a selection of the Jinny Beyer fabric they stock with them.
They are selling Fat Quarters at 10 for $40-00 so a good price to add more to my stash.
Enjoy what you are doing everyone.'
Cheers Jenny.

Friday, 16 October 2015

WOW The Rose continues

Hi Everyone,

Grace is settling in, loves us both and is jumping out less but we were ten years younger last time we had a two year old in the family. LOL
I have now been able to get back to sewing after the last couple of weeks.
My top is now stitched to my fusible batting and the 3D of the rose becomes clearer.

The only stitching I have done is this.

An edge stitch around the Rose and a central stitch arond the center whcich has resulted in increased puffiness.
The leaves are edge and stem stitched and their defintion has increased also.

The peeper border shows well in this photo as my first border is now in place as
 my extra fabric arrived and I have been able to add the next two borders

The cream border is a fairy frost so has the shimmer that I love.
The second a red similar to the peeper border but I could not find the same fabric.
 It doesn't compete with the Rose which was essential.

The final choice was for my binding to edge my picture frame for that is what this wall hanging  has become, a framed picture or photo. There is all the quilting to do before it is added but I have it and it will add the extra dimension needed. I have tried to photograph it but it will not play ball with me, it is a dark burgundy but it wants to look either black or purple.

So this is where I am at this week. Sewing has to give way to gardening for the afternoon as we are replacing our side and back boundary fences to give Grace more space and hopefully keep her in.
Enjoy your week everyone.
Cheers Jenny

Friday, 9 October 2015

My Last two Weeks

Hi Everyone,

Haven't blogged for last couple of weeks as they have been shadowed by sadnesss as our wonderful companion of ten years had to be put to sleep. Kelly's health had deteriated over the last six months but we stayed optimistic that with ongoing treatment she would be with us for a few more years.
It all changed when she stopped eating - her favorite pastime apart from sleeping and sharing my sewing room when I was home!!! A tumor causing internal bleeding could not be treated so we had no choice but to end her suffering.

Goodbye our wonderful companion.

The following day was unbearable with no companion around the house so a decision was quickly made, find a rescue dog in need of a forever home. We searched the SPCA  websites and 2 hours drive north of us in Kaitia we found a dog called Blue. A 20 month old female  Lab / Staffi  cross, listed the same day we had Kelly put to rest, was it meant to be? A phonecall later she was ours if we wanted her.The Kaitia SPCA would bring her half way so last Friday we met for the first time at the Kerikeri SPCA.

A Staffi head with the height of a Lab she was adorable and totally loving.
Yes she was coming home with us.
We discovered her real name was Grace or Gracie not Blue as put up on their website.
Much more suitable for her.

Before we went to get her we made some alterations to our backyard as Kelly didn't do anything but eat or sleep and stay inside so our deteriating boundary fences were not an issue for her but a 20 month old would need a secure run for while we are at work.

Our solution was to move the trellis fence on our back deck further back and give her both a paved  and grass area and add a gate at the far end. The lower trellis fence in this area should be fine!!!

Add a gate and fencing at this end and Grace has a large day run for while we are at work.

By our back door is the in built kennel for her at night.
The ramp was added when Kelly hurt her hind leg and had trouble with the steps.
We intend to make it a permenant more gradual  ramp - one day!!!
So Grace came home with us last Friday.

I think I might chill out here!!

I'm sure it's my toy

I really am a good girl.

I know my beds meant to be in the dining room but is this close enough..
In a week she has wormed her way into our hearts 
Grace has never been an inside dog but we are allowing her the kitchen//dining area as we do like our dog with us and it has taken no time for her to adjust and say I love this too.

However her outside run is now a major problem.

Guess what guys, I love jumping and I'm really good at it!!!!
My fence changed to 5 foot palings on the inside and the gate has been lifted to match.
I can't get a grip on the metal gate any longer but if my Dad is in the back yard I can still jump over the highest fence part to see what he is doing. Why - because though I love my new mummy I adore my new dad, he is my pack leader and I have to help him with everything!!!

Oh No, an extra eight inches means I have stayed inside my run for the last day but just give me time.

So for us we have now ordered all the materials we need for two new six foot boundary fences for our  property then this run will become obsolete. Our clothes line is in this area so it may mean we can lock her out and keep our clothes intact while they are drying as anything is a toy for her mouth at the moment.

As for any sewing these last two weeks I am waiting for extra border fabric for The Rose to arrive.
I had enough of a cream fairy frost for the long sides of the next border but needed matching fabric for the top and bottom borders. I thought I had purchased the correct extra fabric but in pure daylight it is lighter than what I need. 
Sadness at Kellys passing has turned to happiness with the arrival of Grace and I can happily wait for my fabric.
Enjoy your week every one.
Cheers Jenny