Monday, October 13, 2014

Daily photo challenge

There are always loads of daily photo challenges running on Instagram, but I have never managed to be organised enough to play along. When my friend Mikaela from the Makers' Collective (formerly Canberra Creatives) announced that there would be a photo challenge to celebrate the announcement of their new name and launch of the new website I just couldn't resist.

I love the way Mikaela has set up the prompts - the month has been split into 4 weeks-ish, and there is a theme for each week and the same 8 prompts for each day in that theme - the pic below makes much more sense!

So far I'm having so much fun thinking about how to reflect the prompts in my daily photo, and checking out the photos others have taken too. You can see my first week's worth of photos below. You can play along with the daily photo challenge any time - just tag @themakers.collective and #tmcphotochallenge. If you'd like to know more about the Makers' Collective you might like to check out the Makers' Hub open day on Wednesday 22 October.

And the fun doesn't have end on 31 October - on the weekend Amanda from Bimble and Pimble announced that she'll be hosting a 'Sewvember' daily photo challenge for the month of November - if you love sassy sewists and raptors do yourself a favour and check it out =)

X

 

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

In October I am reading..

...and reading and reading and reading. Because last weekend I finally decided I needed a Kindle.

Now, I love books - I will always love books. I love holding them, flick from one spot to another, the feel and smell of the paper. There will always be books that I buy hard copies of, to hold and to share and to admire on our shelves. But I also love to read, and over the last little while it has become clear that there were a few things holding back my reading that could be solved by getting into eBooks.

I have written before about how I love reading young adult fiction, and there is so so much around at the moment. The books are quick to read and few of them are 'stand alone' - everything is part of a series. And there is a lot more out there I'd like to read than I can find at my local library or bookstore. Take the Shadow Hunters books. There are 6 books in the mortal instruments series and 3 in the internal devices. The stories are so quick to read that even with only an hour or so a day to read they didn't take more than a week each. Each book is about 5cm wide and if I'm lucky I might get them for $10 each. That's nearly half a metre and nearly $100 for just a couple of weeks of reading entertainment. Suddenly I sound like the economists I work with, but I had really started to think that way, and to feel guilty about the idea of 'wasting' our money and space on books that I would burn through so quickly. I have also realised that while I have been wishing for more time to read, I have been wasting lots of time playing bubble games etc on my phone while I sit under a sleeping baby. With an eReader I can choose books that cost only a few dollars and they aren't taking any space at all and it is just as easy to manage with one hand as a phone! Win win win win =) Now I just wish I'd done it sooner!

So, what have I been reading? I've hopped straight into that young adult fantasy pulp fiction.

  • Beyond Our Stars has a very Divergent feel, and maybe a bit of the 100, and is about humans who have landed on a new planet they hope to colonise after the destruction of the earth.
  • Stolen Songbird is about a young women kidnapped by trolls in the hope she can break a curse cast on them by a witch. It took me a little while to get into this one, but by the end I was quite hooked, and now I can't wait for the sequel to come out next year.
  • Next up I'm reading the Throne of Glass books - a series of 3 about a female assassin.

As always, I'd love to hear about what you're reading, and if you have any recommendations. Also, I've updated my Good Reads account, and would love to connect with you if you're interested!

 

 

 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I quilt :: slowly, slowly

I have quite a few quilts in progress at either the finished top or finished block stage - a product of the time that passed between me being confident and comfortable enough to cut into my beloved fabrics and then being brave enough to take that next step of quilting them. A couple of weeks ago I basted and quilted this one, the today is your day quilt, and this weekend attached the binding. I am absolutely the slowest binding sewer down in the world, so several two nights on the couch still has me only about halfway around. But that's ok with me - I find it therapeutic carefully making my way around the quilt - folding and wonder-clipping, fussing with each corner to try and get the mitre just right, and, in this case, admiring the perfect spottiness (no, not snottiness, but thanks autocorrect) of the binding (I do adore spots and stripes for binding!). I'm hoping to be ready to give this quilt to a friend on the weekend, so for now I'm just enjoying our evenings together =)

X

 

 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Canberra Quilters Members' Exhibition

I had a fantastic time at the quilt show and craft expo on the weekend! It was such a thrill having my quilts exhibited (and very kind of the exhibition designers to hang them close enough together that I could do just one daggy photo!)

A huge highlight for me was finally meeting Caroline from Nightingale Quilts (designer of the finding formation pattern) in person - yay! Caroline gave us a bit of a sneak peek at some of her upcoming pattern and they are to die for!

It was also exciting to see my friends' quilts hanging - it wouldn't be nearly as much fun to do this on my own! Some of my favourite quilts were by Michelle, Gemma, Angie, and Sam. I got quite a thrill showing my family around the exhibition and pointing out the quilts made by my talented friends! =)

And of course the best bit, which I tended to forget in the whole process of sewing and finishing and delivering and visiting, is that now I have my two beautiful quilt home to live with us =) We're making the most of them already this afternoon

If you're interested in seeing pictures of the gorgeous prize winners from the exhibition, pop over to the Canberra Quilters website. There are also some posts on the blog with pictures from the opening and exhibition, and even more pictures on Instagram (@canberraquilters)

 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Zippy wallet

Yesterday afternoon saw the sad and sudden demise of my lovely, handmade, red umbrella print wallet =( I have already ordered a replacement from the same designer (Miranda Murphy, formerly Only Midge) - a gorgeous clutch style wallet in dala print (!!) and I can't wait for it to arrive.

So as not to look too much like a hobo carrying my coins in a ziplock bag until then, this afternoon I whipped up a little coin/card purse. I used the zippy wallet tutorial on the noodlehead blog, but left off the exterior pocket. The instructions didn't include the tab on the side, I used another noodlehead tutorial (lil cutie pouch) to make sure I got that right. The tutorial is fantastic - so clear and easy to follow, and it was really very quick to sew up. I'd actually like to make pretty much every noodlehead pattern - they are so cute! I think the open wide zipper pouch is next on the list.

I used some of my Lizzy House catnap for one side, and a scrap of one of my favourite Kate Spain fabrics (from Terrain) for the other. The dots are a spotlight basic - I have some left over from backing my finding formation quilt.

I'm already planning fabric combinations for a couple more of these as presents since they are so simple and turn out so cute, and can be sewn up from scraps, which I love! The pieces are actually less than 5" square, so this would be a fantastic pattern for using up left over charm squares.

 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Delivery day

Saturday was delivery day for quilts entered in the Canberra Quilters Members' Exhibition. It felt really good to have both quilts finished and delivered, and I can't wait to see them hanging in two weeks time (the exhibition runs 21-24 August).

Before dropping our quilts off, Michelle and I went to Mt Stromlo to photograph two of her quilts. Her Across the Universe quilt, which she exhibited last year, looked amazing photographed in the remains of a building that used to house a giant telescope before it was completely burnt out in Canberra's bushfires. It is such a beautiful place, but also a bit sad. Michelle wrote more about our photoshoot on her blog, but also kindly gave me permission to share a picture here - I think it's just gorgeous.

Xo

 

 

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Taadaa! :: Happy Herringbone Quilt


Can you believe it's a week before our exhibition quilts need to be delivered, and both of mine are finished?! (I can't!) Michelle and I had so much fun photoshooting my finding formation quilt that we've decided from now on we're going to take all our finished quilts out for photoshoots - starting with Michelle's Manhattan Clams and my Happy Herringbone. We took the photos in a laneway in Civic - I loved the contrast of the rusty and grey and grotty backgrounds vs the bright bold colours of the quilt.

I'm not afraid to admit I'm a bit of a fabric hoarder - when I see something gorgeous I just want to snap it up so I don't miss out, and so it's right there ready when I come across the perfect pattern. So, I had a couple of Kate Spain jelly rolls hanging out on my shelf*, and when I saw the tutorial on Maureen Cracknell's blog for a herringbone quilt-as-you-go quilt I knew it was that perfect pattern I'd been waiting for!

And a perfect pairing it was. Having jelly rolls meant hardly any cutting, and because the fabrics are all so beautiful, and all work together so well, no planning of fabric placement was necessary - I could literally just grap and handful of strips and sew them on as I got the chance. Also, the strips are long enough to really showcase the gorgeous prints.

I've written a bit about the quilt-as-you-go method already, and of course all the details about how to do it are on the tutorial page. It was a really simple way to get a fabulous effect. I've mentioned before that I don't have very much quilting experience, and I think this method would be great for a beginner - I found the basting less intimidating (your fabric and batting are already sewn together, so you are only basting 2 layers) and the only quilting you do after basting is long straight lines using seams as a guide. There are a couple of things I'd note though: the first is to make sure you get a suitable batting. You really need to be able to give the batting a good warm pressing on both sides - the batting I used was kind of soft and fluffy on the 'right', and pressed well, but the other side was kind if like an interfacing. This meant I couldn't press it without a cloth, which made it really tricky to press the seams open and I think also meant my batting wasn't very stable and stretched a bit. I was a bit worried that those seams where the panels joined would be a bit too lumpy, especially since I couldn't press them well, but they weren't too bad, and actually seemed to soften once the quilting either side was done.

You can see from the pictures that the zigzags running across the quilt are 'broken.' You could definitely be more careful with your piecing to make continuous stripes running across, but I actually offset them on purpose because I suspected I wouldn't be able to get the accuracy needed for that. I also played with the seam placement a bit so that there are some fatter and thinner strips. The backing is the pink bee print from Honey Honey. I made a scrappy binding using some of the left over pinky orangey strips, and a label using some leftovers too, including a text print that I love, which says "let the sunshine into you heart". I love how it has come out - this quilt is inspired by my daughter Amelia (whose favourite song is Pharell's 'happy') and I really wanted it to have that feeling of the colourful happy 'chaos with a bit of direction' that she has brought to our lives.

* I used jelly rolls of the following ranges: Cuzco, Central Park, Honey Honey, and Daydream, as well as bits and pieces from Good Fortune, Terrain, Sunnyside and perhaps some Fandango? (I think that's all of them, but let me know if you spot something else so I can add it to the list =))