Friday, 31 August 2007

Keeping dolls and teddies cozy

Elizabeth's doll quilt has certainly started something! I have joined the EB Quilters doll quilt swap and will be making a doll or teddy quilt for another little child as well. In fact, I love working on these little quilts so much, that I have decided that I will also do one for one of Austy's Due in November buddies 2nd birthday. So with that said, I can now give a sneak peak... but which is which? And now I love the girly selection SOOOO much, I am wondering whether to give that one to Elizabeth and the one I'm working on for Lizzie to someone else, that way I will get to see it again. Hmmm... Will have to wait until they are made and decide then.

Here are the cute little fabrics I have collected:

For a lucky little teddy bear.

For a sleepy little doll.

Or should I team it with this?

I'm undecided at the moment - I wanted to team it with the Tiddleywinks charm squares (top) but didn't have them with me at the shop so bought the pastels just in case. I would love to hear what the rest of you think as I am a tad stuck. Considering I have changed my mind a thousand times for the fabrics I will use before settling on these prints, I figure I can use all the help I can get.

How cute are kids prints? I just can't get enough of them!

Today was a mother's group free day as Austy is still getting over the chest infection that resulted from the virus he had. The last of his spots faded today but we decided to stay home just in case, and to keep him from running around too much. Which meant I got some sewing done while he slept and some gardening done out the back while he played with his new little wheelbarrow (that Austy's Dad repainted for him when it was very generously given to us by his little cousin, Harry). That all ended though when he dissapeared into the laundry and climbed into the drier with his muddy shoes on my clean washing - ahh that will teach me to leave it in there till I'm ready to sort it!

The borders are now on the disappearing 9 patch quilt that I am calling "Choco- latte dreams" as all I could think about while piecing it was chocolate or coffee. All those yummy browns! And I did get to knitting that sleeve for Austy's jacket, but still a little way to go yet with the bands and zip to do.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Illness strikes again

Just as Austy gets over his bronchiolitis, I get over my chest infections, we have about a week's grace, and then wham. It hits us again. Austy broke out in a rash today which explains his clinginess and night wakings all weekend while his Dad was out of town playing golf. The one consilation is I got some sewing done during the weekend, while Austy was sleeping since I was on my own.

I went home early today to take care of him, and we decided to do some painting to distract him. Luckily the graininess of the photo, and his weak little smile cover up the fact that he looked dreadful. The t-shirt and nappy attire was because he had a temperature and had been dressed warmly before I got home, so I was trying to cool him off. After the painting it all went downhill though, with a few "accidents" and then throwing up minutes after I put him to bed. So in lieu of working on my quilts I am updating the blog while I wait for a locum, after I think the dr he saw today misdiagnosed him.

Here are some of the fruits of my weekend home alone with the little guy - more quilty progress.

I completed the d9p part and started on the pieced border. Awaiting an equilter order for backing and dark chocolate binding.

The Elizabeth Doll Quilt coming along slowly in between D9P piecing

And finally a shot of that jacket I've been telling you all about (but not knitting...)

Bugga! That didn't work - I thought doing something might make the locum arrive, but no... if I pull out that quilt, he definitely will, as soon as I start sewing. Maybe that sleeve should get finished off instead.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Flashback Friday - T-shirt theme

I nearly didn't make it for Flashback Friday today... I have been busy hand stitching around the applique for Elizabeth's quilt tonight after finishing the quilt top for the EB quilters 9 patch swap/sew-along.

But here is my photo, almost too late. I know the theme is t-shirts this week, so this pic is me wearing one, but the story is more about the bike.

This photo was taken on Christmas Day 1982. I had caught Dad in the shed with this bike in pieces on the workbench one day along with the blue one he had just put back together after re-spraying. I asked alot of questions about what he was doing and how he was fixing them, but still had no idea they were Christmas presents for us. Dad gave me some story about them being for kids down the road and that they'd had a bingle so he was fixing them. But in actual fact he was making them look brand new again for my big brother and I and adding the little accessories that made me love my first real bike so much. Can you even believe it was second hand? Everything's so sparkly in the pic - he did replace a few bits but whatever he did, he did a fantastic job!
I never saw him doing the one for my little sister, but on Christmas day, I remember having a falling out with my new bike because I couldn't ride without training wheels and told her to get off my old bike and give it back. She was in tears, and Dad distinctly told me that no, it wasn't my bike, my old bike was red (my favourite colour at the time), and this little one of hers was yellow, but I'd worked it all out by then - he had resprayed my bike and given it to her!!! How dare he!!! Of course, I had a better, bigger new bike, but I wanted my bike - the one I could ride! The first day that the shops re-opened Dad rushed out and got my new bike some training wheels and peace restored to our home (until the next sibling arguement!).

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

The disappearing act of quilting

Well I now have all 20 9-patch plocks all ready to get made into a disappearing 9-patch quilt. I started the "disappearing act" of cutting them out into quarters and rearranging them tonight, but stopped halfway after getting thoroughly annoyed with my new rotary cutter blade that doesn't cut...grrrr. So here is what I have so far. Remember half of the quilt top is still on the table waiting to be chopped up, so the colours here will be spread around a bit further when I have all of them cut. I think I might do an aqua border in a brighter shade rather than a light one, or perhaps some manzanita or chocolate lollypop fabric after a thin bright aqua border around the blocks. Still lots of time to think about that one.

And one with the flash - if only I had sunlight during the week to get the colours right in my pics!Please excuse my dodgy photos tonight!

Here is another little project I have on the go, yes that makes three quilts in progress with only two ever completed! I like the fun colours in this little one, destined to be a doll quilt for my niece. A nice break from the two larger quilts I'm working on. A couple of the blocks need squaring up and I am still embroidering the butterfly, the pink they are laying on will be used as sashing between the blocks. It's soooo cute - when you look closely there are little stitching lines in white that form the outline of kittens playing.

I am still knitting, Austy's jacket still hasn't moved since we got back from the snow though... and he still only has one sock made. When the quilting buzz settles (of course any new hobby is bound to take over for a little bit) I will get back to them and I reeeeeeeallly need to start the R4K boys rug, but I need to do some prep work on the list first as I only have half of the adresses. The girl's rug is moving along beautifully.

Uh oh.. so much for an early night! Nearly midnight... again.

Friday, 17 August 2007

C is for CUDDLES!

This week's Flashback Friday theme is groups, and as the criteria suggests photos be from 1985 or earlier, (when I was 7 or younger) I don't really have many group shots, except perhaps my Prep/1 class from Crib Point Primary when Dad was posted over to Victoria one year for the Navy. So instead I'll post this picture - a cute family snuggle.

I don't know who took the photo, it's seemingly like we were all alone in our togetherness, all enjoying each other's company. I think I remember Mum telling me that this was only a couple of nights after Dad got back from one of his postings and you can see in their faces that they'd really missed each other. I was also a bit of a Daddy's girl and used to cling to him like glue when I was little. My sister must have been in bed as she is missing from the family cuddle, but she was just a baby at the time and in much need of her beauty sleep. I'll have to include her on another Flashback shot very soon.

I finished the shorties! Only to realise I never listed them on the sidebar so I don't get the satisfaction of crossing them off my WIP list... I was going to do a lizard on the bum (and perhaps a little one on the front somewhere in that huge expanse of grey) but on moving the knitting to the laptop to sit and view the knitty tutorial on grafting (I have done it many times but check the pictures every time to make sure) I lost the darning needle! Last time I think I bought 5 because I lose them ALL the time. And now I've lost the 5th one. Anyone have any tips for NOT losing them? In the past I stored them in the crusty old pencil case that holds my knitting needles, but that doesn't zip shut anymore as some of my needles are too long for it. Now I store them in the box my stitch markers came in.

A note on the colours - I know they are very bland for a toddler, but it kind of makes me feel all environmental, looking at them. I bought the yarn (cleckheaton merino supreme) when it was on runout sale, and since there weren't ever many appealing colours in the range this was all that was left besides the bright orange, black and red. When I went back later for a ball of red to brighten up the kahki, it had all gone. But I LOVE this yarn. For a commercial yarn it is so soft and not the slightest bit scratchy. For less than $4 a ball, of premium knitting wool I had to have it. Perfect for a pair of sleeping shorties for my boy. Pitty they don't make it anymore, instead they went all cheapo on me and brought out Merino Spun which has acrylic content in it - yeeulch!

On starting this blog I had many intentions of learning new things and trying out new techniches, so while the urge to do another moss stitch cuff nearly grabbed hold again, I fought it off and tried the icord edge for the first time. It's rather strange how it works but I love the effect. As they get worn and washed a few times they should stop rolling up. I think it looks pretty neat.

And a dry shot of my new wool, I love kool-aid!!! My favourite dye job yet.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Facelift time

Well, I am probably around the 6 month mark of having my own craft blog, and thought I should probably get around to making it more me. Regular readers will have noticed me playing with different templates every now and then, but I wanted my own header bar too. I FINALLY found the tool to do this (so obvious!) and changed the colours to suit. You will also notice that I have added some links to many of my finished projects in the list on the sidebar, so you can click and it will take you to a post where the item is pictured. I have also added a "What's on the sewing desk" list as this is becoming more of a general craft blog as time goes on and I wanted to share all the projects I'm working on, not just the woolly ones.

Back onto the crafting. My D9P quillt now has a total of 12 patches sewn up, as I have been fitting one or two in before bed each night. I am really enjoying working with the colours. Lots of pretty little squares! Thanks EB Quilters! Our next swap looks like it will be a doll quilt - just my size. I want to make one for Elizabeth for her birthday or for Christmas so this will be good practice and hopefully give me some more inspiration for what to do for her. Austy's quilt now has 10 picture blocks and 3 filler blocks, but lots more filler blocks to go. He will get a bed quilt, hopefully for his second birthday in November.

I have also been knitting when I can. I did have a goal to finish at least one sleeve for Austy's jacket by the weekend, but I have been sidetracked finishing some shorties that were hanging around for a while. I want to make a monster bum like my link from the other day, or start knitting with the gorgeous wool here that I managed to buy from Monster Knits - all her hand dyes sell REALLY quickly, especially in the thicker stuff that Austy needs for his night nappy covers so I was very happy to get 200g of this super soft and squishy Blue Faced Leicester wool. It's even prettier IRL.

And you may be wondering where that picture came from for my header bar? It's some wool I have sitting on the sink at the moment, draining off. Yep, I've been at it again, hand dyeing with Kool-aid this time, that the wonderful Ann sent over for me from the US. I am really happy with this one, it was just some cleckheaton country that I picked up on sale at spotlight tonight, with the boys Rugz4Kidz project in mind. It has always stumped me how to make dark blue/denim tones with things like jelly, food colour and kool-aid as the blue is quite bright. My last attempt was the nautical colourway which came out more inky than denim using food colouring. But this time, I think I got it! I almost wished I'd dyed the whole ball blue when I saw the various shades come out. Oh well, Ann gave me plenty of Kool-aid to do it again. I got the colour by using two satchets of Berry Blue and a little tiny bit of Cherry red, adding it almost grain by grain to stop it turning purple. I do have some acid dyes but am yet to get myself some cheap dishes to "cook" it in so am just using food grade "dyes" at present so I don't get acid residue on our casserole dish (that I use to set the colour by microwaving the wool in it).
More pictures to come of what's on the needles... Hopefully I'll have some shorties to show off soon.
Ooooh - I nearly forgot! I got nominated for a rockin girl blogger award - will be back later to fill you all in and give my noms.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Oh MY!!!

I have been blog hopping (clicking on bloggers favourites lists to find new blogs).

I just stumbled across this amazing inspirational blog... lots of simple ideas for using up beautiful fabrics. And how CUTE are these longies? I just HAD to share, and now want to get the needles clacking again!

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Promise kept!

As promised, here is one of the shots I took of my darling little man in the snow, wearing his new hat, scarf and mitten set I made him (and stitched up the hat in teh car on the 8hr drive to Kyabram VIC). The hat is a tad too big, as I made the large after the medium didn't quite have enough coverage, and I never had a chance to block it so the front rolls up a bit in the photo. The mittens are hiding, underneath the waterproof set for playing in the snow, but he wore them visibly when we went out to dinner and there was no chance he was going to get them wet and cold. The good thing is that in the set, only the mittens will be too small for him next year, and thank goodness for bendigo wools coming on massive 200gm balls - there's still plenty left for me to make him another set for next year. DH wants me to sell this years set on ebay, but for now I am keeping them, they are so small and cute!

And here's a close-up of the scarf and hat:

Bugga! looks like he's already pulled a thread in that hat, I will have to try and fix it when I finally get around to blocking it now that we're home. Unfortunately it took a photo to point it out.

And a rough and ready shot of the trousers I made him (the ones I dubbed "rave pants"). Rough because he won't stand still enough to get a good shot! Wish I'd snapped him wearing them the day we arrived at Falls Creek - he was a bit apprehensive about walking in the snow, so was nice and still for me, just like the good old days when he couldn't walk... I mean, run away. My little monster! The pattern called for buttons and buttonholes on the instructions, and while I'm not afraid of buttonholes (thanks Janome - I love the one step buttonhole!) I decided the snap press would come in handy here, as it means the pockets are easier for Austy to open and close, just perfect for stashing little cars and things - every little boy's dream!

I also stitched him up a pair of stirrup pants to go under his pants to keep his legs warm as his pants often ride up when we pick him up, leaving his legs bare. They are nothing special, just a beige knit fabric I had in my stash and not really worthy of photographing, but I was glad to have them, especially when I saw a Dad holding his 1yr old out in the snow and his pants did the same thing (no snowsuit on) leaving icy legs on the poor little boy. Unfortunately the trackies are still unmade, I had every intention of doing them in time for the snow, but with both Austy and I getting sick there was no chance.

And finally, I couldn't help myself but to make a start on my disappearing nine-patch swap quilt (sorry - another bad photo taken at night on my very cluttered sewing desk). The swap squares started rolling in and I had to start playing! I have added to them with a couple of recent purchases from quilt fabric delights and the fat quarter shop, and am now addicted to these beautiful fabric sites! My favourite of all the prints I picked up has to be the Amy Butler Belle print with the deep chocolate background and aqua splodges. Nice technical term I know, but the Amy Butler fans will be sure to pick it - there is only one Amy piece in that lot. I also love the Manzanita squares that came from a jolly pack I couldn't help but purchase at the fat quarter shop! I am a bit apprehensive about chopping these up to make them disappearing yet, I'm scared I'll stuff it up! But a good press first and some dutch courage and it will be well worth it. Check out Helen's D9P quilt that inspired all us EB quilters (can I call myself a quilter after only 2 small quilts?).

And on non-crafting news, I just HAD to share. This afternoon during snack time Austy started asking me to "have Austy's baby sister?". Too cute. I gently reminded him that it was his friend James that has a baby sister, not him, but Austy's Dad told him we'd see what we could do, but we need to find that house first! Then again, when I put him to bed he told me we were going to see his baby sister tomorrow... hmm... I think we need to teach him that these things take time, and what would he think if we gave him a baby brother instead?

Friday, 10 August 2007

Flashback Friday rolls around again

Well a whole week has passed with no crafting content at all... I have been busy nursing my chest infection, which seems to have come back with a vengence on our return from our snow holiday, and the lack of posts is also due to that holiday. Unfortunately our trip was cut shorter than planned and I just managed to remember how to ski (last time we went was 4 yrs ago, the day after our engagement in Melbourne), then it was time to come home.

But we are all set to go next year! And next time will be for the whole week. I wanted to try Austy on the skis but he was a little unhappy about walking in the snow ("Mummy pick you up" was his most common saying for the few days we were there - he still hasn't worked out the concept of you vs me yet). Next year he will be 4 months too young to join the Milo kids ski club but should be a better age to put on skis and ski between us as we drag him along.

I do have some photos to show off of him in his hat, scarf and mittens set, and the new "rave pants" I made him the day before we went (they are jumbo cord pants, that are quite baggy and have cargo pockets, reminding me of rave pants), but I'm just not up to pulling them in off the camera yet, so you'll have to wait. I also have some gorgeous fabric purchases and my swap squares for the dissapearing 9 patch to take photos of. I look forward to playing with them under the sewing machine soon!

I do have this Friday Flashback pic though, that I scanned in earlier. The EB girls have decared this week as dressups week, however I jumped the gun and put my dressup pic up last week, so this calasthenics pic from when I was about 4 will have to do. I was practicing my "mexican hat Dance" in the back yard in full costume before our concert.

I promise to be back with craft stuff very soon!

Friday, 3 August 2007

Flashback Friday!

Inspired by all the dress up pics in the EB sewing blogs of late, I thought I'd jump in on the bandwagon of Flashback Friday posts popping up all over the place. Here is me at about 2-3yrs old, dressed up as Little Miss Muffet, eating curds and whey with a dirty great spider on my hat! Mum whipped this little number up for me when my big brother Nicholas had dress up day at kindy. His outfit was a spectaccular Pinocchio get up with a hand carved woooden nose and all!

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Time for an update

As we are going to the snow next week, I thought I really SHOULD get around to updating the blog...

I have been busy trying to finish off my tote exchange parcel, and the dreaded hand stitching and end stitching in on the little blanket of love quilt, but both have been sent off now, and the tote parcel has been received already! So what has taken me so long getting back into the swing of things? Well lack of sleep for starters.

Austy had us up all night last Thursday night as he couldn't breathe or sleep himself, and his temp wouldn't come down with the panadol. So we called the locum at 2am and he didn't arrive until 7:45am! DH and I took turns with the boy, trying to let him sleep as much as he could and trying to keep him cool. Turns out he had a bit of a flu, and that had turned into bronchiolitis hence the difficulty breathing. He's a lot better now, no more medication required, but still has a bit of a cough that we are hoping will clear up before the weekend. At least he's sleeping through again.

Unlucky for DH and I though - we both caught his flu, and mine turned into a chest infection. With urgent deadlines at work, I forced myself to go in Monday and Tuesday but was absolutely exhausted by yesterday, when I finally decided to go to the doctors myself and try and clear this thing before the snow trip. So between nursing a sick child, and trying to rest up myself, not a lot of crafting has been going on. Instead I have been browsing the net and finding lots of quilt fabrics to spend money on! I think this is going to become a new favourite hobby of mine (along with the knitting of course!) as the fabrics are just too enticing! And with the Aussie dollar doing so well at the moment, it works out much cheaper to buy fabrics from the US so I have been drooling over at equilter and the fat quarter shop and planning my next quilting project. After Austy's big boy bed quilt of course! I think the size of Austy's quilt puts me off a bit, and the fact I want it to be perfect but I know he will love it if I ever get it finished so must push on. But I plan to make more of the cute little blankets of love as they are the perfect size for me nto practise on and try out new techniques, plus they go to a good cause. I also have a "Disappearing 9 patch" scrappy quilt in the planning as the girls in the EB quilters group are running a fabric swap and sew along when we receive all the fabrics. I picked browns and aqua's and looking forward to seeing what turns up in the letter box. Here's what I sent:

I can't show pics of the blanket of love in completion mode as it wasn't allowed to be published anywhere under the comp guidelines but I was happy with it in the end. I can share my tote exchange pictures though - I managed to stitch up a nice little needle roll to hold all her knitting needles, and also a cute little simple pin cushion. They were a single night of sewing, nice and quick and worked out well. I really should make myself a needle roll like this one, because my needles are in an absolute shemozzle at the moment, mixed up in an old pencil case which I can't zip up because the needles are too long for it!

On the knitting front, I have made Austy a matching scarf, mitten and hat set. Not completely finished yet - the scarf needs blocking to stop it rolling up, the mittens need the string attachd to stop them being lost, and the hat needs stitching up. This time I made the large earflap hat as the medium didn't have quite enough coverage to keep him warm, although the large is a bit too big - it fits me! I also started a zippered jacket, from the sirdar "Cheeky Chinos" pattern book the lovely Helena gave me (I am so very lucky!) I am half way through - it just needs sleeves and finishing, but it's size 3 (like the star jumper) sop will fit him next winter as well, with any luck.
Talking about lucky - I also received MY tote from the International Tote exchange, last Friday.

The very talented Ann sent it over for me, all the way from Wisconsin. You can see my excited thankyou post here with all the luscious details. She also spoiled me BIG TIME with loads of other goodies like FIVE skeins of Cascade wool (perfect for felting - it's what she made my bag from) , and loads of bag patterns, since this was the first time I have ever knitted a bag, and she is a bit of a bag guru. She even found a bag with a pocket for finger puppets ( with the finger puppet patterns included) especially for Austin, as I'd mentioned how I'd love to make finger puppets for him one day. My Nanna made them for us as kids to match all the fairy tales and nursery rhymes and they were always a big hit. We used to make little plays up with them and play together with them - I thought they were a fantastic imaginitive play toy, much better than some of the cheapo plastic toys you can buy these days. So Austy gets a knitted bag next - will be great for carrying toys around in when we go to the inlaws for dinner.

Next week we will be ploughing up the ski fields in Falls Creek so I won't get much crafting done then, either but don't worry - we'll be having lots of fun!