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