Licorice Allsorts

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted on the blog, had disconnected my camera and it’s a major drama climbing under furniture to reconnect, and basically I was lazy!

And my oldest furbaby, Gertie has suddenly taken to taking up this pose everytime I sit in front of the computer… easy enough to surf the net, a bit difficult to type.

Gertie helping me update Flickr

So, this is a licorice allsorts sort of post, with an update of what I’ve been working on for the last little while and other stuff and nonsense.

OUT THERE IN BLOGLAND

First off, my lovely quilty fairy godmother Jasmine is having a blogaversary giveaway, she’s made a quilt from a jelly roll I sold in the big clean up last year!    She’s my fairy godmother, because the first time I ever met her in person, after corresponding online for awhile, she was wearing purple and black striped witchy socks with a tutu and a tiara!    And she almost conned a lovely man at the local pub into buying us a bottle of Moet Chandon – have loved her ever since.

Bobbi and Heidi have organised another Friday Night Sew-In for this Friday – Friday 19 March, you can find all the details here.    As Saturday is also International Quilt Day, I’m planning a night in on Friday that will probably extend over into the wee small hours of Saturday.   Will either do some more work on my Red and Green Sampler blocks like last time, or work on some Teapot blocks I am making as part of a Flickr Quiltalong.   By the way, I’ve finished the block I started at the last Friday night sew-in.

Source: Darlene C. Christopherson – A Perfect Union

FABRIC FONDLING

Mid February, inspired by my finishing the last of my Baskets full of Butterflies blocks, I dug out another old WIP.    This quilt was designed by Michele Hill and is called Folk Art Sampler, published in APQ Vol 12, No. 12 and 13 in 2005.    I bought the fabric for this quilt while away studing at the University of Ballarat in July 2005 at Gail’s Patchwork Emporium, prepped 5 blocks, and stitched one flower on one block and then put it aside, where it has remained ever since.   So during February and March, I’ve finished buttonhole appliqueing the 5 prepped blocks, prepped and started stitching another 2 blocks.    I bought some sashing material a few weeks ago, and want to finish the centre blocks and add the outer borders.    I think the easiest way to get this finished is to prep all my applique and fuse and stitch one side at a time.

WIP Folk Art Sampler

WHICH STITCH?

Since my last post, I’ve also finished another Blackbird Design Stocking as part of Dragon My Needle’s Christmas Design SAL – gee there is some lovely work happening in the gallery of photo’s.

Blackbird Designs, Love is in the Air - Be Mine, Stitches and Spice Gravestone 32ct Belfast Linen, The Gentle Arts Thread - Aged Pewter, Clover, Avocado, Harvest Basket, Apple Cider, Antique Rose

I’ve also made a start on Ink Circles The Bramble and The Rose as part of a stitch-along that my cross-stitch enablers Claire and Sandra are also doing.   There are a few stitchers working on this one on the Ink Circles Stitchers blog.   I’m using Threadworx Lava Rocks, which is more a solid colour then I thought it would be.   Was originally going to use 32ct linen, but didn’t like the linen I’d ordered online, so found a piece of what I think is 28ct quaker cloth and am using that instead.   Means will be a bigger finish, but am loving it so far.

The Bramble and The Rose, 1st Progress Update

TRAM TRAVELLING

I really hate catching public transport!    I miss my car, and being able to drive to work without the hassle of city traffic and parking.     The only thing that has made life bearable is that I am using the 45 minute journey to and from work as an opportunity to use needle and thread.   BUT, what to do while travelling that doesn’t involve major supplies?     My Butterfly baskets were perfect, as they were fused and all used black thread… but I didn’t have another fused applique project that didn’t require multiple needle/ colour changes.    So for the last fortnight, I’ve been working on another of my It’s a Redwork Christmas blocks by Rosalie Quinlan, and this is my progress to date.    There are 9 of these blocks all up, and this is my 2nd block, so this could take me most of 2010 to work on during my travels.

It's a Redwork Christmas

YARNING AWAY

And just to round out the whole needle and thread experience, I’ve also started playing with some crochet.    Inspired by Attic24, Do You Mind if I Knit? and Sarah London and some of the stunning work  they are all doing, I’m attempting to master the art of crochet.   While I’d love to try some of the more complex designs out there, I’ve started off simply, with a giant granny square, am going to use light pink, hot pink, red, yellow, green, turqoise and purple alternating with this creamy/white colour using yarn I had collected for another project that didn’t happen.

Giant Granny Square

And just to make sure she get’s her mugshot here, have a look at Gracie, my ever so slight crazy cat, assisting Mum as she prepared the surprise 50th quilt’s binding last weekend at my house.     I’ll post a proper photo of this quilt in a week or so, as the party is next weekend and it’ll be unveiled then.

Gracie helping with the quilting

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Christmas Design SAL – January 2010

Well the staycation is over, back to work today…

The last few weeks of my holidays were spent doing some stitching on my Blackbird Design Stockings for Yoyo’s Christmas Design SAL for January, and I finished another two.

Blackbird Designs, By The Chimney with Care - Auld Lang Syne, Stitches and Spice Celtic 32ct Belfast Linen, The Gentle Arts Thread - Onyx and Cherry Bark

Blackbird Designs, Love is in the Air - Sweetheart Sampler, Stitches and Spice Celtic 32ct Belfast Linen, The Gentle Arts Thread - Cherry Bark

While I’m really loving this little stockings, I realise the stockings aren’t actually Christmas themed… so am also hoping to progress some Christmas designed cross-stitch UFO’s starting with my Patchwork Santa which is currently at this stage, and has been since 2008.

Patchwork Santa

The other main priority for January was my blocks for Aunty Pitty Pat’s Holly Jolly Christmas Swap.   As I joined up in three of the swaps, I made 72 twelve inch blocks – 36 appliqued blocks and 36 nine patches, all posted off last week.

Holly Jolly Christmas Ornaments

Holly Jolly Santa's Hats

Holly Jolly Plum Puddings

Having got these out of the way, I spent the last few days watching Series 3 and 4 of Numb3rs while working on a very, very old UFO or PAASS (Projects at a Stand Still)… will post some photo’s later.

Christmas Design SAL – December 09

Blackbird Designs, By The Chimney with Care, Stitches and Spice Wintered Marble 32ct Belfast Linen, The Gentle Arts Thread Antique Rose and Avocado, Weeks Dye Works Light Khaki and Sunset, Crescent Colours Nutmeggie

Well, I managed to get finished the tasks I set for December for Yoyo’s Christmas Design SAL – two of the Blackbird Design Stocking Series from the January 2009 By the Chimney with Care booklet.   Knew I couldn’t do the third stocking as I need a different linen, which I’ll order this week, so the aim is to get that one finished in January, and hopefully at least 1 of the February stockings.

Blackbird Designs, By The Chimney with Care, Stitches and Spice Wintered Marble 32ct Belfast Linen, The Gentle Arts Thread, Apple Cider, Antique Rose, Avocado, Cornhusk

As I sat over 2 nights watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire while I stitched the 2nd of the stockings, I estimate that each one takes about 5-6 hours to do.  I may try to make Sunday – stocking stitching day from now on!

It’s nice to be able to say that I have done what I set out to do.

Am busy finishing off my blocks for Aunt Pitty Pat’s Holly Jolly Christmas Block Swap – want to get them finished this week and winging their way to her.   Will post photo’s when they are all finished.

Though having a break today, as Mum has come to stay for a week, and we’re having a sit down day – have all of series two of East of Everything to watch, Mum is doing some handquilting and I’m in a stitching mood, so will be working on some cross stitch (not sure what yet!) or some embroidery.

Having a great holiday so far… a bit of a viewing, reading and sewing feast.   Have been to the movies twice this week – on Monday to see Where the Wild Things Are and last night to see Sherlock Holmes – both thoroughly enjoyable.   Have more plans for flicks this week – hoping to see Meryl Streep in It’s Complicated on Thursday and off to see Little Ashes on Sunday – Robert Pattinson as a young Salvatore Dali…

As for reading, bought a bundle of books on a remand table the other day but have been on a bit of a reread kick – slowly working my way through the J D Robb Naked in… series.  Have read the first 13 of the series over the last few months, only 14 more to go!!!

Staycation Day 3 … every little stitch

Well my plans for a blog post a day have already fallen over…

Never mind… have managed to use needle and thread every day…

Zen de Jour

Friday night at Mum’s I finished stitching the Winter Carnation stocking – this means I’ve finished my commitment  for Yoyo’s Christmas Design SAL for this month, though I may try to start another of the stockings by the end of the month.

Blackbird Designs, By The Chimney with Care, Stitches and Spice Wintered Marble 32ct Belfast Linen, The Gentle Arts Thread, Apple Cider, Antique Rose, Avocado, Cornhusk

And because I was still in a cross stitching mood, on returning home and loading up the VCR with more X files episodes, I continued on with South Seas Lace, that I am doing as a SAL with Claire and Sandra.  Completed another long side – only problem is I can’t remember which side is up, and it doesn’t really matter design wise, except I suspect my stitches are angling different ways!

Reading de Jour

The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts – this was a re-read, the final book in the Sign of Seven Trilogy.   I was telling a friend about them awhile ago, and she asked to borrow the series.  Found the first two books on my bookshelf, Blood Brothers and The Hollow – but couldn’t find the last book, until I found it when searching for something else the other day.

This trilogy tells the story of 3 boys, all born on the same day, when celebrating their 10th birthday together unwittingly unleash demonic forces on their town.   For seven days every seven years, strange things happen in Hawkins Hollow.    Each book focuses on one of the 3 men 21 years later, and the women that come into their lives to help stop The Seven.   Typical Roberts romance with a good mix of paranormal suspense.   This is not the best of the trilogy… the first two books are better, but still a great holiday read.

Work in Progress Show n’ Tell

I realised I hadn’t posted a photo of a recent block finish.   I’m recieving Rosalie Quinlan’s It’s a Redwork Christmas each month from Under the Mulberry Tree, and finished Block One’s stitchery ages ago, but forgot to post photo.    Will get the block put together when Mum is here with the machine first week in January.

This was great fun, even though the blanket stitch (which is actually all back stitch) took an age – and all of the 9 blocks have this trim!!!   I’ve discovered I enjoy stitching (and cross stitch) where you are just working with one colour rather than constantly having to change colours.

Have blocks 2 and 3, and want to get stuck into those, but need to get my Holly Jolly Christmas Swap blocks finished first – which is what I’ll be working on for the next little while.

Staycation Day 1 – It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Yesterday was Day 1 of my 6 week ‘staycation’ and I’m hoping to do a blog post each day monitoring my progress towards my goal of using needle and thread every day!

I spent the majority of the day doing shopping, as another goal of this break is to get into a better ‘eating’ regime.   Spent the afternoon at Mum’s basting a quilt top to take to our hand quilting class at Needle and Pins last night.

This was the 2nd and last class with Kaye – last month we worked on a practice piece learning Kaye’s technique involving using your thumb and a very loose quilt.   I wanted to have a go at working on something bigger, so have started handquilting a quilt made for me by Anjii from QDU several years ago… can’t show photo as I left the quilt at Mum’s last night to do some work on tomorrow.

Zen De Jour for Staycation 1

Have made a start on my Blackbird Designs Stockings Series which I am doing as part of a year long Cross Stitch Chrismas Stitch along organised by Yoyo at Dragon My Needle.   Each of the monthly patterns include 3 stockings, and I am hoping to get at least 1 stitched each month.   This one is  Winter Carnation.   Using Stitches and Spice Wintered Marble 32ct Belfast Linen and Gentle Arts threads.

Also still progressing on the South Seas Lace SAL, though Claire and Sandra have finished their’s awhile ago!   It’s coming along, a little bit at a time.

Viewing De Jour

While doing this work, I’ve been watching Season One of the X Files – I loved this show back in the day, one of those programs where I’d seriously debate going out if it was X files night!   So, have been enjoying watching these again, and realising that some of these still are really creepy!   Have watched about 7 episodes over the last week.

Reading de Jour

Finished Book 8 of Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Series – Dead to Worse – having read 1-8 over the last 2 weeks.   These are ok, not as great as other Harris books, but fun and easy to read.

Am hoping to do a fair bit of reading or re-reading over this break.   Though this year has already been a major reading year for me.

Only other thing to show is these Christmas decorations I made for a group of friends last week.   The 6 of us worked together between 1990-1995 and have regularly caught up since, usually for brunch several times a year and an annual Christmas get together.  I’ve missed a lot of the catch ups this year, so it was lovely to see them all last weekend – and as has become tradition – I made them all a hand stitched ornament.   These designs came from a vintage book of iron on’s – I had wondered if they’d still work – well they worked so well not only did they iron on to the fabric, but I also each image imprinted on my ironing board cover!   There are about 50 designs in the book, and I’ve decided to do each of them onto blocks next year to see about incorporating them into a quilt – as they were fun to do!

Now!  Regarding that blog title.  I usually go all out decorating for Christmas, but since moving into the place I’m in I haven’t been motivated at all – hence Christmas decorations – of the santa and angel variety – have been kept in the garage for the last 2 years.   Mum, on the other hand – transforms her house each year – there is usually some new stitchery project or quilt, plus the old ones – to the point that she’s running out of room.   So below – a tour of Flossie’s Christmas living room!

The mantle – filled with homemade stockings.

Redwork Santa – a design from a McCalls Quilts for Christmas Magazine

Technicolour Christmas – a Row by Row swap we participated in – sorry for the blurry photo, and the colours are a lot more vibrant then they appear – all Moda Marbles fabrics,

Another blurry photo – Various redwork Christmas designs – made by Mum about 6 years ago – still one of my favourites!

A variety of stitcheries.

Below are Mum’s projects from this year – one a little stitchery, the other a English paper pieced Christmas tree – she was still working on this when I took the photo’s last weekend, but it’s now finished and up on the wall.

And each year Mum makes a Christmas themed T-shirt for my sister and herself (much as I love the craft – I ain’t going to wear patchwork or applique!!!).   These are this years efforts.

And finally – one my favourite of the Mum’s Christmas decoration – she’s made lots of these over the years!