Wednesday, 5 February 2014

WIP Wedsnesday

As you can see I am getting back on track with this long neglected blog, and now that I take Wednesdays off work to take Master A to his OT sessions, I also get to sneak a little time for me on a Wednesday afternoon, so a return to WIP Wednesday is in order!

Waiting for some white solid background are these little strippy triangles. After sorting through my fabric over the summer holidays, I realised how many scraps I have, and want to tackle a few different scrap busters this year, and this one caught my eye. It's so relaxing, and a little bit addictive.

I have decided to make the finished quilt top my goal for the month of February and am linking up with the "Lovely Year of Finishes".  After this new project, I will be focussing on long term WIPS to get out of the cupboard and into use!

I'd be in that sewing room making more blocks for this now if I wasn't so exhausted from speaking at "acquaintance night" at my children's school.  I shared a little about our beautiful boy, the challenges he faces living with ASD, and how he is transitioning back to mainstream school this year. So far the transition is going better than anticipated, his teacher is wonderfully supportive and open to learning more about how best to teach him, and the parents were very positive tonight, encouraged by what his allowances will also do for their children (his class helpers will help their kids if he is ok) and what he can teach them too. Here's to a positive and productive year ahead!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

My little arty kid

Miss M started school mid last year, and although I promised her a handmade art smock with her name on it in her second week of school, she was forced to wear Master A's blue one... with cars on it... And his name on it too!

At least I managed to fulfil half of my promise, as she did get her library bag straight away, with her name embroidered on it and an owl appliqué I bought specially for her, letting her choose whatever design she wanted from an etsy store.

So when the note came home about art smocks last week, I made sure I had one for her to take to school on Monday. I didn't want her to be without one so sent it along without having taken photos (just as her library bag went last year). But when I found it still in her bag tonight, and the power off since 5:30 this morning, I thought I could spare some time for a little photo shoot (no power makes it difficult to do much housework, other than a quick uniform hand wash before the light disappeared). One big problem I hadn't factored in was all the crazy wind we are having (the cause of many trees on roads and many houses without power for over 24hrs). So please excuse the blurry photos, and creases from being in her bag and no way to iron them out - not exactly what I had in mind!

I took a peasant dress pattern I had, made the neckline a bit higher on both front and back (to avoid paint on her collars), and snipped the back piece down the middle, which makes it easier to get on over clothes. I added a radius (using a small saucepan lid) to the centre back corners, and lengthened the cap sleeves to a 3/4 length to protect her sleeves without having them get in the way. I sewed the sleeves to the front and backs, then grabbed some bias binding I had, and bound the back opening and hem all in one before doing the elastic casing at the neckline. Unfortunately I didn't have enough red or white bias binding so used some navy I had, and hid it under the hem rather than encasing as planned. Lastly I pushed the elastic join into the neckline and secured the back pieces to the elastic at the back opening to stop the backs shifting. I'm very pleased with the fit, not so pleased that I forgot to centre her name in the grid when I did the embroidery and had to add her surname initial to balance it out. At least everyone will know it's definitely hers!

Monday, 3 February 2014

Some Quiltspiration

It's been a very long time since I have completed a quilt, I almost forgot how to do the binding! While I had aspirations to learn free motion quilting last year so that I could finish Miss M's big bed quilt, it was a tough year, and finding the time to practice was next to impossible.

It was Miss M's start to kindy year, then she jumped ahead to school by term 3. Master A was in a 12m Autism Intervention Program, half an hour south of us, while I work 45mins north of us, and to add to the logistical nightmare of a two hour trip between work, childcare or her new school, his school and home, Miss M gets car sick when she has to deal with a drive longer than 20mins, and his school was a rather hilly drive, meaning the poor girl was car sick at least twice a week. (So glad they are both together at the local school this year, even though Master A is transitioning back with half days).

With all that travelling, plus regular physio for her and OT for him, joey scouts for him, calisthenics for her (including her very first solo demonstrations!) and very early starts at work just so I could get home at a reasonable hour to get the kids fed, bathed and to bed on time, you can understand why all I could think of doing when the kids went to bed, was crashing on the pillow myself. (And just quietly, there were a few occasions when I fell asleep on Master A's bed while laying with him to teach him deep breathing and relaxation for sleep). 

When Andrew finally finished building Miss M's bed, I gave in and bought her a wool filled doona, realising that I hasn't going to get that quilt finished anytime soon. I took her bedding shopping, dressed the bed, and snapped a couple of photos to post on Facebook to show off my clever husband's skills, this being his second ever bed designing/building project. You can imagine how elated I was when the very talented Emma replied with a generous offer to quilt this one for me!

Her ability, passion and fearlessness with quilting, as well as her being the perfect mum to two gorgeous kids that are growing up into such wonderful little people, means I hold her on a high pedestal. To have her quilt Miss M's quilt was such an honour. When she asked me how I'd like it done, I didn't want to sound too demanding so asked for a simple meander or stipple. She told me that could get boring, so I gave her free reign, trusting her judgement completely. I asked if perhaps she could quilt a butterfly into it somewhere as Miss M loves them (did you spot the glow butterflies on her wall). The quilt top has some butterflies in some of the fabrics, and the backing is flowers and butterflies in white on cream, so it fits the quilt well too.

I was awestruck when Emma returned the quilt just before Christmas. She had exceeded all my expectations with a beautiful all-over feather design and not one, but a whole border of butterflies! (See how she did it here.) I am yet to come up with a name for this quilt, so am looking for some good ideas so that it can label it, giving full credit to Emma for her amazing work. Of course, it's not waiting any longer to get some appreciation on a bed. I switched the bedding in the middle of the night on Saturday after stitching down the last of the binding, so that Miss M could wake with a big surprise!

Unfortunately my sleep debt from the past week caught up with me and I slept in yesterday, missing her reaction. But when I asked her about it, she grinned and told me it was "cool". She then proceeded to play in her bedroom all day, finding toys she could play with on her bed with her beautiful new quilt. I think she likes it! Its a relief to have it done, as she often gets promised things but has to wait, because Master A needs so much of my time. She hardly complains (other than pushing his buttons occasionally when she gets frustrated or bored) and is always trying to help out and reminds him of things when he forgets or simply didn't take in an instruction. She deserves a special quilt on her bed, and Emma's quilting has made it extra special for her.

For me, the pleasure of finally finishing something gave me the quilting bug, and I found myself rummaging through my scrap bin starting a new one yesterday! I had forgotten how calming and relaxing I find piecing a quilt (sadly I can't say that about the actual quilting yet - that part winds me up into a bundle of nerves!). I am thoroughly enjoying this new one, that involves improv piecing with no stress, no points to match up, and lots of fun prints to sneak in along the way. Quilting (well at least piecing) is fabulous therapy!