Tuesday, December 20, 2011

An Aussie, mint-y, Grinch-y, chocolate-y Christmas!

I have already gifted almost everything I have made this year, so it's safe to do a blog post!

This apron made from a panel from Spotlight should have arrived at my Dad and Step Mom's house near San Francisco, California. A little bit of Australia for them for Christmas!

To share a weekly ritual I've been doing this year with some of my friends and family, I made them some foot scrub goodie bags.

I sewed draw string bags using one of my favourite prints in Denyse Schmidt's DS Quilts Collection for Fabric Traditions line available at Spotlight. Into each went a jar of homemade foot scrub (epsom salts, spearmint and lavender oils as well as dried lavender), a foot emery board or pumice stone, a small bottle of The Body Shop's Peppermint Cooling Foot Lotion and some chammomile tea bags! And of course, a tub each to soak in!

I made cloth Christmas cards from a gorgeous Laurel Burch Holiday Celebrations panel.

While our families are sleeping, I hope we can all bliss out together every week watching some iView or reading a book, knowing that across Queensland there are other mummas taking some time out for ourselves. Join us!

Last week was stocking-mania, with sixteen Christmas stockings whipped up over a couple of days for the many kids we caught up with. Some were out of a panel from Spotlight.

The rest from various Christmas fabrics including a gorgeous one I picked up from Voodoo Rabbit called Holiday Happy Little Santa by Happy Zombie for Lecien.

I spied this How the Grinch Stole Christmas panel at the Craft and Quilt Fair. My youngest daughter Mia loves the film. I finally made it up into bunting yesterday morning, with the help of a free pattern I received in a Voodoo Rabbit newsletter. You can buy the panel from them here.

I also made a batch of my favourite brownies to share amongst friends. I tried to convert it to the Thermomix, but having done so, I reckon this one is easier to make with the old electric beaters. For those who have drooled over these in the past - I found the recipe online! Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies from taste.com.au

I'm on the home stretch now, with my last project hopefully being whipped up tomorrow along with shopping and packing and a zillion other things before we start our Christmas holidays.

Merry Christmas to you!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

17th quilt for a 17th birthday

The Tempest Quilt pattern by Cherry House Quilts is a PDF pattern available here for only US$9. The idea behind the stunning design is to use solid fabrics in two colourways, one for the main part of the blocks and one for the accents. This is the design as on the pattern cover:

Cherry House Quilts also have a great colour chart "with the exact Kona Solids colors you will need to create The Tempest in seven different options". It helped inspire me to see how I could feature the colours in my nephew's bedroom in their new house, as secretly posted to me on this sheet from his Mum.

Using my friend's invaluable Kona Solids Colour Card (I want!) which has one inch swatches of each of the 220 fabrics in the range, I was able to match up greys and browns for the main colour. For the accents I chose black, two different reds, sky blue, white and ivory.

Based on range and price, I purchased the Kona Solids fabrics from Hancocks of Paducah and Fat Quarter Shop.

The pattern is very simple, featuring strip piecing. All cut and ready to piece:

Blocks made and laid out, ready to sew into rows:

This is the largest quilt I have made so I got it quilted with a modern geometric pattern by Barb Cowan of The Quilt Connection here in Brisbane. It's the second time I've had a quilt quilted by Barb (the first was this one for my friend's daughter). It's a joy to work with her.


It turns out this is the seventeenth quilt I have made since I started quiltmaking in May 2009. You can see a gallery of all of them here on my Flickr page. Sweet then, that it's for my nephew's seventeenth birthday!

Stitched into it is lots of good luck for his final year of school and hopes for his future as he blossoms into a wonderful young man.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I heart my new/old Singer

Back in June I blogged about the discovery of my MIL's Singer 306k hidden deep in her garage. My MIL was given it by her mother here in Brisbane in 1954 when she was fifteen. It was made in the Singer factory in Clydebank, Glasgow in Scotland. She has very generously passed it on to me.

I believe Sewco don't generally recondition old machines as they take so much time. However their sewing machine technician Gareth kindly agreed to bring mine up to working order, for which I am so grateful! It was a big job, with his repair report listing the following work performed:

Dismantle complete machine, remove all corrosion from moving parts and main shafts, unseize stitch length and feed mechanisms, reassemble hook unit, service, retime and retension throughout, reset timings, check, clean, oil and retest, sew test/run.

We hadn't been able to find the accessories which came with it including the foot pedal but Gareth was kindly able to source me one.

I picked it up from Sewco back in October in all it's shining glory. The transformation really was stunning.

I was a bit daunted to jump in! So first I downloaded a copy of it's manual, cleaned up it's matching table and got some spare needles and bobbins.

I finally took it for a test run last weekend, making a Christmas tree skirt out of a panel from Spotlight.

I am just in LOVE with the machine's stitch, it's so straight and perfect. The sound of the motor is amazing.

I can't wait to use this beautiful machine some more.

Now I've got the bug for old machines, I've got my heart set on getting a Singer treadle. I would love this model. The beautiful artwork reminds me of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's designs (one of my favourite artists). Everyone needs to collect something, right?! Please Santa, I've been so good this year!!!!