Sadie the Cleaning Lady and bloggy goodness

At Chez Frou today I’m playing Sadie the Cleaning lady***… not a role I play easily, but it had to be done, while there are advantages to having tiles everywhere except the bedrooms, the disadvantage with two indoor cats is that their fur just sits there!   Well, it had gotten so bad the collected fur resembled tumbleweeds rolling through the desert…I kid you not…


So, I’ve been doing a clean up, something I detest with a passion… and in cleaning up found more things… sigh… (need another long weekend to sort out patterns, and knitting and cross-stitch)… might be some giveaways here soon!

Have some ideas about creating a space for me to do my crafty bits  ala Atelier Frou, but need to get the tape measure out and see if my proposed re-organisation is doable.

Can’t do housework without stopping, actually can’t do anything without being distracted, so the way I manage it is my 45 minute rule.  I set the kitchen timer and must do 45 minutes of housework at a minimum.  When the timer goes off, I’ve got 30 minutes to do something else – read, play with cats, blog or surf the quiltnet.   It’s how I managed to do all my study, and works effectively for me.

Below find some of the results of my surfing today…

May Britt at Abyquilt is running a Finish a Project a Month Challenge, that I thought about briefly – yeah, right!    But in looking through her tutorials, I like this little paper-pieced pincushion.

Kay McKenzie at All about Applique has a very cute freebie pattern in time for Valentines Day.   I first found this blog by a google search for red and green quilts leading me to this post and this stunner.   Site has lots of tips for applique techniques, which are easy to find using the categories sidebar on the left.

Not sure how I stumbled on Inspired by Antique Quilts blog, but she’s a girl after my own heart… look at this gorgeous red and white single irish chain quilt… I must hunt up some ecology cloth and give it a try as over the net it looks like a colour that will work well with 30s fabrics as well as older reproductions, and the Bella solid red look fantastic.   Wonder if anyone here in Oz is going to stock these?

Stephanie at Loft Creations has organised a Time for Tea Swap that is now closed, unfortunately, I found her just a bit too late.   But she’s got some links to some fabulous teapot themed things on this post including links to some free cosy patterns.   And another great pincushion tutorial here.   And if you look at her most recent post you’ll notice she’s a bit smitten with Bella Solids too!

And that post and the delightful teacosy featured led me to Anyone Can Quilt, and what do you know, her most recent post is about a craft room makeover… which is just define… a cosy little room, but a place for everything.   My friend Jayne had already found this post and sent me a link last week, so it’s a small world.   Love the fabric in hoops as decoration on the walls.

Reading back through all Sarah’s posts I found she participated in a Christmas Cottage Houses swap organised by Nanette at Freda’s Hive – another blog I discovered recently (I’m guessing it’s her swap blocks on display in her craft room post!).

I love house quilts, but have avoided making any but reverse applique houses (I’ve made a few of those – some for me as part of my Amish Style Row by Row, and some for a swap partner years ago – made hers in yellows and blues).   But have avoided pieced ones, because there are too many pieces.   But this pattern looks like fun.   And who can argue with red and green anything!

Now that leads me to Freda’s Hive – this is a great blog, particularly if, like me, you like retro, 30s style quilts and things.   I’m slowly reading through all the posts here, and taking much delight it in it.   There is a lovely Heart pattern available free for Valentines Day.   And some other fantastic tutorials including a cute Doll’s House Pot Holder.   Both Nanette and Cheryl from Polka Dots and Rick Rack have organised a Great Ideas for a Handmade Christmas 2009, where bloggers can post crafty gift ideas for people to make through the year.

For the Janiac’s reading here – the following treasures are for you!

Check out the progress on Karen’s 2nd (yes, that’s right 2nd) DJ quilt… love the red and white combo.   You can see a photo of her finished “Insanity” DJ No. 1 quilt here.

Oh well, back to the duster and mop bucket…

***For our non-Aussie readers, Sadie was a popular hit here by a very young and spunky John Farnham, who went on to have a career with Little River Band and a resurgence with Your the Voice.   You can see a video of the song here... check out the dancers!

Sadie, the cleaning lady, with trusting scrubbing brush and pail of water…

Worked her fingers to the bone, for the life she had at home, providing at the same time as her daughter…


Sunday Studio Sightseeing…Treasureup’s Place

Spreading the Craft Studio love again… a very different feel to last week’s studio, but I really like Treasureup’s space… it gives me a sense of the owner, her likes and dislikes … it’s also quite obviously a working space… so lots of busyness and clutter… Have a look at her quilt photo’s on flickr – but get yourself a cuppa first and sit down to a wonderfully diverse slideshow of loveliness.

These lovely old cupboards, made to look the same with painting and changed door handles, and the gorgeous curtains and walls… all the colours in this room work!

As do the framed vintage  needlebooks (what a fantastic idea!)

And lovely collections of vintage tins and baskets to hold treasures.

What a great use for an old computer cupboard for sewing machine and supplies.

And every quilter needs to have a design wall… and the quilt in progress is lovely.

Disorderly Orderly

Pepper Cory on a comment on yesterday’s post (still haven’t come down to earth that Pepper Cory read/s my blog!!!)

“The UFO virus is carried by every quilter but be of good cheer-the ratio is about 6 to 1, as in, six projects started for every one finished. If your odds are better, you’re simply showing off!”

Well, I never did say I was normal did I?   I’d expect my ratio of finished to started is – infinity to 2!

Today was meant to be a day of preparing various project blocks, DJ Marple, Morrell Quilt, A Christmas Wish, Bunny Hills BOM etc.

BUT, at 12.30am this morning, I still was sorting out fabric – and knowing that there must be more floating around in various tubs… so I pulled everything out of the Narnia wardrobe, and from under the beds etc. and sorted through it all and yes, there was stacks of fabric hiding all over the place…

While I was it, I took photo’s of various Works in Progress or Projects in Grocery Bags and quilt tops and created pages here on the blog to track what I’m up to!

imag0617Nobody can every accuse me of having nothing to do…or not doing my bit for the economy!

Nor, can they accuse me of being a negative thinker – I obviously believe I’m going to live in to my dotage with a clear head and nimble fingers, I’ve started or anticipate starting so many things.

I don’t feel guilty about any of the above, these things will be finished when they are finished, or handed-on to others to be finished if I know that I really don’t want to finish them (have boxes of fabric and blocks to go to the Tarrangower Women’s Prison Quilters) or else my friends are going to be able to play to their hearts content with my projects and stash after I’m gone.   And each of the things started have been learning experiences, and enjoyable in and of themselves – for me it’s the journey not the destination that is important.

Being serious though, I think the problem is that everything lives in boxes, in the wardrobe, under the bed etc.   The old adage out of sight, out of mind applies here… if it’s not sitting under my nose, then I don’t think about it.   Hence, wanting to reorganise my space to turn the study into a proper craft room – and those boxes can then be stacked in plain sight, and easy enough for me to get to.

Question: How do other people manage to keep track of projects and progress them?

Work in Progress… Pretty Pandolph Plates

For those of you who don’t me well, I’m going to tell you a secret… I’ve never met a Dresden I didn’t like…

When I first got into quiltnetting (checking out quilts and quilters on the net) and discovered swaps, I was frustrated that most involved mass producing pieced blocks, usually in a tight timeframe that didn’t suit my snail’s pace hand-piecing.

Being the little control freak that I am, I jumped in and organised an international handpiecing swap. What block could we make? Well, Dresden’s of course. We just swapped plates, in the colour scheme selected by each member, making one block a month. Leaving it up to everyone to choose their own backgrounds. We made Dresdens in brights, 30s reproduction, pink/green, red/green – discovered that mauve means a different thing in the US than Oz, as does homespun! Mum choose greys and apricots (at least her quilt has made to the basted quilt top stage), and I chose browns and creams (my blocks are in a pizza box somewhere in my own version of the Wardrobe*** from the Lion, the Witch and the…)

Then on QDU I organised a couple of swaps, again – just plates no backgrounds – first time people made 1930s, hand-dyes or scrappy.  2nd year we had red/green and christmas prints.   You can see aubirdwoman’s quilt she made from the scrappy dresden swap, which featured in a magazine in 2007.   It was her Scot who saved the day by drafting a template so we could make the Dresden’s in the ‘you beaut’ easy peasy machine way described here. Though interestingly, though we sent everyone the same template, the plates varied hugely in size!

Between us Mum and I also have another couple of Dresden’s on the go, including some giant ones made with 40s/50s era prints I bought online.

SO…. when someone was selling a kit of Robyn Pandolph fabrics, with background fabrics, several completed plates and lots of precut petals and a metal template – guess what I did?

Pretty Pandolph Plates

Pretty Pandolph Plates

I didn’t like the background fabric, well not for these blocks anyway.  And unpicked the machine pieced blocks and cut out more petals from the remaining fabric and slowly over the last 18 months or so, I’ve picked them and put them down again.   I’ve now completed 20 plates, just need to find a background fabric (thinking a pale cream, as the lighter colours brightens these prints up a little, whereas a dark cream really dulls them down) and want to find a soft blue for the centres and a simple sawtooth inner border – no sashing – and a wide plain white border – thinking just cross hatching?

*** I swear my spare bedroom wardrobe leads to Narnia as I don’t seem to ever get to the end of the fabrics and projects that materialise out of there!

Psst… don’t tell anyone… but over the holidays I spent a day watching BBC Jane Austen movies and cutting out 4 petals from about 60 different 1930s fabrics!   Just in case, I need something do… lol   And I’ve just found this gorgeous framed Dresden on Bloomin Blog – My name is Frou, and I am a Dresden addict!

The Morrell Quilt … a tale of red and green

Last year, on our annual pilgrimage to The Parsonage we called into Threadbear, my absolutely favourite patchwork and quilting shop.   Actually, we almost lived there that weekend, calling in on the Saturday, and Corliss coming to visit us on the Sunday to show us some of her antique quilts and then calling back in on our way home on the Sunday!

On the Sunday we wandered into the backroom and clapped eyes on this thing of beauty!

Di_ford-morrellThis quilt designed by Di Ford (formerly of Primarily Patchwork) is based on a quilt by Sarah Morrell, and is made up of 60 blocks combining piecing, needleturn applique and broderie perse.

We all swooned, and when Corliss mentioned they were getting the quilt and kits ready to release this as a BOM at the Quilt Exhibition at Jeff’s Shed, my heart raced… do I sign up for it, or don’t I?

We talked about this almost all the way home, it’s gorgeous and it’s RED!   Di’s patterns are always fantastic, but I have a bucket load of fabric from this era at home already, should I wait and see if it is offered as a pattern after the BOM is finished.

Roll on- it’s now September, and in our conversation with Corliss she mentioned that Di Ford is teaching classes at Needles and Pins in Warrandyte, a quilt shop that we weren’t familar with.  And Jayne, who made her first quilt with Di at Primarily Patchwork and has made several other of her designs, decides to track down a class list and emails it to the group, saying “there’s a couple of quilts here that sound promising might try to track down photo”.   And I recognise one of those promising quilts as the Morrell Quilt!   So, 4 of us signed up to do the class, six classes over 6 months but with gaps between each class for us to work on the quilt.

I agonised over what colours I wanted to use.   While the quilt is stunning, I wanted to do something different… and so I sorted through my reproduction fabrics and decided I was going to use an ivory background and make my blocks predominantly red and green.

imag0583Took along my stash to class one, and  with guidance from Di, started on my centre block, which is still a work in progress… as I got a bit disheartened when it became obvious my centre is going to have a hole in it – yo-yo anyone?

But in prepping for some more blocks I realised my fabric, predominantly from the same range, includes a lot of the same prints, just in the two different colourways and if I wanted to jazz it up, I’d need to buy some more fabric, so a few weeks ago, Jayne and I headed over to Somerset Patchwork and I have now ended up with this little collection…

imag0582imag0581The large floral fabric is going to be used to broderie perse blocks (if I decide to do them!)   I need to do some serious piecing if I am going to keep up with this quilt!

But the day spent with Jayne, looking at her blocks and playing with my fabric has me motivated…imag0580

And I’ve discovered other people have either finished this quilt or are also on the journey, which also motivates me.

Links to other people’s Morrell Quilt projects:

  • Jayne’s fabrics – if we ask her nicely she might post photo’s of her finished blocks
  • Helen Hayes finished quilt as displayed at Australian Quilt Convention 2008
  • The Quilting B’s block progress – interestingly using the same fabric for her broderie perse as I have

Flossie’s latest project… Michelle’s quilt

For those of you reading this blog regularly, you’ll know the majority of finished objects on here are not mine, but my Mum’s (Flossie).  This is the story of  her latest!

My brother has a close friend, Darren.  When they met, Darren and his wife had a small son, and Mum duly made him a quilt – a single bed version of Dorothy Clark’s Michael’s Quilt – except done on a bright lime green background, with I spy fabric for the blocks and bordered in oranges, blacks and purples.  There are photo’s kicking around, I should try to find them!

When this little family then went on to have a little girl, Mum made her a traditional Sunbonnet Sue quilt – using 1930s fabrics (again – need to track down photo but similar in style to this one but with pink sashing and borders.

So, when at the start of last year my brother asked if Mum would make a simple quilt for Darren’s wife, Mum said yes, but it would have to come from stash.

She poured through magazines and patterns, before falling back on our old time favourite block – the Dresden Plate.   And commenced cutting up petals for the plates from every floral fabric she possessed… until…

We got the first copy( ** but not the only copy) of a APQ Applique special book as a freebie with an Australian Patchwork and Quilting Magazine and instead of making a quilt out of stash, my brother was ordered to hand over some dollars for Mum to buy fabric and this quilt was made from September-December 2009.   All hand appliqued, and hand quilted using the quilt as you go method – each section quilted individually and then joined together.    My brother thought it was ugly, but Michelle loved it.

Michelle's quilt

** we probably have received about 6 copies of this magazine as a freebie – I keep duplicates here at my place, but we pass on any that are triplicates or more.

Wouldn’t you know it, I can’t find a copy now to give the designer a credit – will amend this post when I track down the magazine.

Sunday Studio Sightseeing… Hummmlan’s place

In talking with different friends over the last week, and also in thinking about wanting to participate in a couple of free BOMs, I’ve realised one of the reasons why I’ve struggled to do much crafty work this last year is my stuff is everywhere, and it’s hard to find anything!

And a workshop I did on innovation and creative last year, talked about your workspace having a significant impact on your creativity – that using colour and changing your space inspire creativity.

So, I’ve been looking at what other quilters and crafters have been doing to create inspirational workspaces, while I don’t have a dedicated room, I’m going to try to do something to organise the spaces I do have** to enable me to access my work and encourage creativity and thought I might share some images with you (with permission from these wonderfully creative people).

So, this Sunday we’re paying a visit to Hummmlan – not only is this craft room gorgeous, if you wander around the blog you’ll also see some stunning other rooms and better yet, lots of gorgeous made objects. I’m a bit in love with this desk and shelf unit…also love the soft green walls.

Also, check out See Jane Run, See Jane Go‘s transformation!   She’s also got a giveaway of some stunning Andalucia fabrics on her blog

** I’m thinking now that I am no longer required to do work from home or study, I could downsize my huge workstation to a smaller desk which means I could convert my small study into a proper crafty space (at present everything is crammed into the spare wardrobe or under beds)!