Monday, December 31, 2012

100 Day Hustle - The End

I can't believe it's December 31 and the New Year is going to rock in in just a few hours.

100 days seemed like such a long time.... 100 days ago. In reality, it's gone very quickly. I did accomplish some stuff, though not as much as I'd have liked. But it's a very busy time of year, and the juggling of work, kids, home and creative time is hard enough without beating yourself up over not being the quilter extraordinaire you'd be if you had unlimited time... so I'm okay with what I achieved.

A final recap of my goals: 

1. Keep sewing space tidy: Right now it's a nightmare, but overall I've done okay on this. I have most of January off and I am inspired to do lots of tidying and organising in that time. No photos of this right now!

2. No new fabric bought: Epic fail. I don't know why I even bother declaring this goal, ever.

3. No new projects: I began planning a quilt for my mum and I am nearly finished with a wallhanging that is a Secret Santa swap gift. Other than that I haven't started anything else. This is probably the biggest achievement at all - I am plugging away on a still-too-long work in progress list, but at least I haven't started on new stuff.

4. Finish fabric storage boxes: Done! I am so glad I got this project completed.

5. Finish Phoebe's bed quilt: This is still in piecing stage but is a high priority now as she's asking for it.

6. Finish piecing five current tops: I finished the Craftsy BOM, my polaroid block swap and my Tetris top, so some progress made here.
7. Finish quilting and binding five quilts: I finished the Tetris quilt and I have the polaroid rainbows and another older quilt waiting to be bound. These are highest priority as I am ashamed to say I got projects all the way to binding stage and then stalled.
8. Empty mending/refashioning basked: This is definitely a holiday project. I want these baskets gone and the clothes back in the wardrobe!

9. Keep on top of swap blocks and BOMs: I finished the year with all my block commitments for 2012 complete and my two BOMs complete (one all blocks done, the other is a completed top). Yay me!

10. Finish smaller craft projects: No progress. 

I am really grateful to Kelsey for setting this challenge - I knew going in that finishing my WIP/UFO collection by the end of this year wasn't realistic, but this has set me in good stead for 2013, I am focused and motivated to finish my UFOs this coming year!

Linking up to Kelsey for the last time! 

I need to get my head together a little more on my goals for 2013, but I'll let you know when I do. Here's to a great year of creativity ahead!

PS: I am shamelessly behind on commenting. I am going to sort out my inbox and start fresh for the new year. If you commented here and I didn't reply, I do apologise - I love reading each and every comment and appreciate that people take the time to read my little blog.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

100 Day Hustle - 20 Days to Go

It is crazy to think there are only 20 days left of 2012! I have conceded that I will not get too much further on my 100 Day Hustle list, and won't meet my very lofty goals, but that's okay. This project has at least made me slow down on starting new things and made me consider what I want to achieve creatively in 2013, so it's all good.

To recap my goals:
Keep sewing space tidy - I'm doing okay on this.
No new fabric bought - hmmm, no comment. That was a stupid goal.
No new projects - I started planning a quilt for my mum, but I haven't got far on it. I also got sidetracked with a non stitchy project the last few days.
Finish fabric storage boxes - see below.
Finish Phoebe's bed quit - this is all cut out and progress made on piecing, but I still have a ways to go.
Finish piecing 5 current tops - I have finished three.
Finish quilting and binding 5 quilts - One done, quilting done on another.
Empty mending/refashioning basket - this is a holiday project, I swear!
Keep on top of swap blocks and BOMs - I have now completed my two BOMs, one is a finished top, the other still in blocks. I am behind on block swaps but will get there. My goal for this week if I don't get sidetracked.
Finish smaller craft projects - no progress, but it's a case of sitting down and just getting on with these.

Speaking of the fabric boxes I've been planning on making since I got my new, fabulous craft table - here they are! This was an epic, epic task. There are 14 of them all up, on two shelves - I kept two shelves for my colour sorted scraps, since that system works well for me.

There are boxes for storing WIPs, scraps, selvedges and each family member has their own box.

They are made from recycled jeans and vintage sheets, so even the 'making' of the fabric was a bit of a task. The whole process has taken me the last two weeks but I am so glad they are done, I have fitted so much in them and my craft room is starting to look how I want.

Also, this was a major experiment in self-control. I told myself I couldn't do anything else until I completed these and I managed to do that. Considering my ADHD tendencies, this is major. It bodes well for my planning to kick the UFO/WIP habit in 2013.

This is my favourite box, my selvedge collection. So much possibility here!!

My goals for this week are to get those block swap blocks out of the way until January, but I've been a little bit sidetracked. I saw some darling dreamcatchers on Pinterest, pinned a bunch more here  and then just went to town with making dreamcatchers for my girls for Christmas. Only thing is, I'm a bit impatient, so I might give them to them tomorrow instead!

I am a huge believer in the therapeutic benefits of making, and this project was one of those creative projects I want to do more of in the future. You could barely wipe the smile off my face as I gathered fabric, buttons, doilies, ribbons and yarn to put these together. It was so improv and flowing, I had so much fun doing it. And I pushed myself out of my comfort zone in the process.

That is totally what making should be about - it isn't always, but it's important to get outside your comfort zone for a while and just play!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday Stash - A nice surprise and something for you.

I have no new purchases to report last week (after last week's efforts I wouldn't want to!)
But this isn't to say there'll be no new squishy mail soon - I was lucky enough to win a Sew Mama Sew giveaway over at KD-Quilts. I'm so excited! I haven't seen much of this range before, but I do love it - can't wait to have it in the flesh - I really need more of these autumny tones to balance out my stash.

Okay, stop reading now if you don't like swearing...

While I was trawling the mall today working on Christmas wish lists with the impossible-to-buy-for kidlets, I found a very cute notepad that said "Fashion is my second favorite F-Word". I think there have been variations on this using Friday, too. I had a giggle, because I have been known to swear like a sailor, but I am no fashionista. No points for guessing what my second favorite F word is, but if you need a clue, here it is: 

Since I really love craft themed printables, I decided to have a go at making my own. If you'd like a copy, it's here. Please let me know if it doesn't work, I am TOTALLY new to making printables!!

And I'm going to be celebrating a milestone in the near future right here (can't tell you exactly when since I actually don't know), so stay tuned for a little giveaway.

Linking up with Sunday Stash at Finding Fifth.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lucky Little Wombat

I'm in a little paper-piecing bee called Wombat Stew - which is a bit of a nod to the famous Ringo Pie, and a bit of a nod to us all being Australian. Wombating along with me are Alyce, Fiona, Gemma, Kristy, Lara and Marieka. - and they are all such talented paper piecers!

I have been very slack in sharing these pictures, but back in October I was the Queen Wombat. I requested house blocks, with my only stipulation being that they featured the street number 34, because that's my street number and I also wanted a bit of selvedge love in them.

 I got all my blocks in the mail over the course of a few weeks, and eventually they were all together, and looking wonderful. They're all a little different, but they all happen to feature that clear blue sub-tropical sky we have here. I adore them!I am a lucky, lucky girl. Actually, scratch that - I think my 8 year old is a lucky girl, because this quilt is probably destined to go to her. Between Fiona using purple as her main colour and Lara putting Blythe dolls in the window - two of Brooke's most favouritest things in the world - it seems like a sign that this should be her quilt.

Take a look at this paper pieced love!

Alyce's Little Red house

Fiona's purple Nanny Goat house

Lara's doll house

Kristy's Quilter Lives Here house

Marieka's actual house - Kristy designed this block based on a picture of the 100 year old bluestone cottage Marieka recently bought!

Gemma's traditional Noumean house

I really think that one of the key things with paper piecing is your fabric selection. The thing that really makes all of these blocks pop is the choices of fabric. And I think we're all finding that the fabrics we choose for paper piecing are often different to what we'd use for regular piecing. We're looking for a lot more textured look, small scale, natural looking prints that can pass as wood or bricks or leaves, or cute designs that can be fussy cut.

The girls also included some scraps for me, which I shared on Sunday, but I'll share again 'cos they're so freaking cute. My girls have the BEST taste in fabric!

I'm not quite sure how to finish this up - I think I'll add 3 more houses and then put a picket fence border around it all. I'm not in a huge rush though, I am loving having these babies up on the design wall for a while.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Super Stash

It should be known that I haven't written a Sunday Stash post in 7 weeks. And that I fully acknowledge that I'm a total craft addict who spends pretty much all my discretionary spending on craft supplies. 

So with that information in hand, these are my recent purchases. The list just kept getting longer and longer as I kept remembering things. If they stop making craft supplies tomorrow, I should be good for a while.

Warning: you may want to get a snack before you continue.

I went to a conference for work which had lots of great natural play supplies. I couldn't go past these colour pencils for my kiddos.

I have wanted pearl cottons for the longest time but they are pricey locally - ebay to the rescue! I plan to get a bunch of these in solid colours too.

I am on a fabric destashing page but sometimes other craft supplies sneak in. I totally scored with this baby for $50. I have since spent more than that on additional supplies, but you get that. This will revolutionise my much neglected scrapbooking.

Got a great deal on these at Spotlight - on sale plus $10 off coupon. Again for scrapbooking, and the girls. Girls love glitter.

Another little treat for the girls from the wonders of online shopping - no way could I find these cute little Japanese cartoon tapes locally. And they were only 13c a roll, so the kids can stick them anywhere and I don't care. It was a bulk lot, this is just a sampling. They are freaking adorable.

Again for the scrapbooking - some bargain washi tape bought online. It was a bulk lot but my friend bought the doubles off me. For about 1/5 the price you can get it locally, I'm a happy girl.

I went splits in an order from Fabric Shack with Kristy and Marieka - great way to cut down on postage. I filled out my Domestic Bliss collection... major, major love.

Alyce was doing a little destash so I bought some Washi FQs from her, since I missed this range when it first came out.

Also in my Fabric Shack order, some Good Morning hexies. Is this not a wonderful blender?

Between Spotlight having 30% off on fabric and another destash page purchase, I have lots of new backing fabrics. Two for planned quilts, the others just because.

Along with the backing fabric above, I bought a scrap bag off the destash page. Seriously, some people's definition of scraps is very generous! There are some fabulous bits in here, and I only had a couple of the prints.

I am part of a paper piecing bee called Wombat Stew - you may have seen the beautiful house blocks that have been made for me lately. I PROMISE to do a show and tell very very soon. 
But my beautiful bee buddies also popped in scraps - again with the very loose definition of scrap here - don't they have incredible taste. I love these fabrics!

I feel like I can call myself a real quilter now, because when Spotlight had 40% off fabric, I picked up 2 2/3 bolts of homespun. I had to wait for it to come in, but it's totally worth it having neutrals on hand. 

Last but not least, glitter glue for me and the girls - discounted from $7 to $2 a bottle at Spotlight. Love a sparkly bargain.

And that is the end of today's confessional.... linking up with Fiona's Sunday Stash and hoping you are enjoying lots of crafty indulgences in your life.

Friday, November 9, 2012

100 Day Hustle - Halfway point check in

Somehow, I can't quite believe this is half over. I am double checking dates, but I'm pretty sure the calendar and the rest of the blogosphere are right, and it's me who's deluded on this one. Doesn't help that I kept meaning to do little updates and running out of time...

To be honest, I'm not doing as well on this as I'd like. This is possibly related to the quilters ADHD which has me flitting from one project to the next. I need to get some follow through happening, because I've been working hard but don't seem to be ticking anything off.

Anyway, to the list....
1. Keep sewing space tidy - it's not too bad, but probably a fail overall. Oops! I really need some serious time to organise and cull.
2. No new fabric bought - Epic fail on not buying craft supplies lately. Check back on Sunday for my Sunday Stash, which is full of quilty and scrapbooky goodness.
3. No new projects - I did some little ornaments for the Sew Seasonal blog hop, but I haven't started any quilts that weren't on my list. Good thing too, since I have too many in progress.
 4. Finish fabric storage boxes - no progress.
5. Finish Phoebe's bed quilt - no progress, but I am getting nagged. I need to find my notes and get on with this.
6. Finish piecing at least 5 current tops - I finished my Polaroid Rainbows top this week, which brings total for this to two, I'm also piecing this chevron top and my paper pieced Harry Potter. But I keep flitting from one thing to another....

7. Finish quilting and binding at least 5 tops - I have quilted the Polaroid Rainbows, just need to bind it. And I've still got this one in progress too - just need to put it back on the machine.
8. Empty mending/refashioning basket - ha ha. You're joking, right?
9. Keep on top of swap blocks and BOMs. Progress made, though I have three more blocks I could be doing that I need to make priority.
10. Finish smaller craft projects. No progress.

Work and life are very busy over the next few weeks, so I don't know how much time that'll leave for sewing. Hopefully I'll be able to get a bit done here and there and get through my epic WIP list.

Though I think 2013 will still be the Year of the WIP!
Linking up to Kelsey's half way point check-in.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

WIP Wednesday - Polaroid Rainbows

I was part of Kristy from Quiet Play's Say Cheese Polaroid Block Swap, and while she's just sorting most of the polaroids now, I was lucky enough to get mine a few days early because we are in the same real life quilt group together, so she brought my swaps to the meeting.

Can I just say first that I Spy prints are waaaaaay cuter than they ever used to be. Just looking at these cute little fussy cut morsels had me giddy with delight!When I cut my 50 squares for the swap I cut myself an extra set and then crossed my fingers I wouldn't get any doubles back, with a plan to having 64 blocks to work with in an 8x8 layout. I also decided I was going to rainbow strip my background, and while I have a zillion other things I could be working on, I couldn't help but start playing with these cuties right away.

And I am so, so in love with the results (which are looking a little fuzzy here, but I took a zillion shots and none of them were completely in focus. Waaah!).

Check out some up close polaroid goodness:

We used this tutorial to construct the polaroids, and when I got them back I just trimmed up the sides. I was totally lazy and didn't even measure them to make sure they're all the same because I knew I was going to frame them again and precisely cut that block. 

But just in case you need some tips on wonky framing, here's a mini-tutorial. 

You will need about 18 inches of 1 to 1 1/2 inch wide sashing to border each block. This is a great opportunity to use up little scraps you've had around for ages. While I used solids, I totally think this would work in tone on tones or blender prints - think background paper for a scrapbook page if you will. 

So take your 1inch (rough cut) strips and chain piece them to either side of your blocks. I like to chain piece as much as possible, chain piecing is your friend! It doesn't matter if you go top and bottom or left and right here. I actually did half each way for easier piecing down the track. Cut them apart and press open.

Trim your sashings to the edge of the white. Now chain piece the other two sides and press.

I have just got myself a 4 1/2 inch ruler and it is soooo handy, and perfect for this job. If you don't have a square, then you can cut a template for one, but this is a great investment. They're also useful for squaring up components of larger blocks.

Say hi to my cute little foxy friend, whack your ruler on top in whatever wonky shape your heart desires, and trim. Tip: If you do this standing up you're more likely to be able to do all four sides with your dominant hand and no tricky block turning.

Now pair up your squared up blocks. Make sure the wider polaroid piece is at the bottom. This is where the alternating directions of sewing on the sashing comes into play - if you did this then you'll find you have four vertical strips that are all one piece which will go through the bottom layer of your machine easier. Totally not compulsory, but it does make a wee bit easier.

Chain piece your row together.

 Then stitch your finished row to the rest of the quilt. And of course you can totally leave that to the very end and sew all the strips together at once, but that's my least favourite part, so I prefer to do it as I go.

Now, in exchange for that maybe useful tutorial, I need YOUR help. I have basted and we are ready to quilt. But I have NO idea how to quilt it! Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

I'm linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.