Flossie’s Flaunt …going to the chapel

Have a lot of different things to show you over the next few days, but thought I’d start with a flaunt from Flossie (Mum).

She’s part of a group called Huff N’ Puff, held at a local Community Centre and linked to our local hospital – the Huff N’ Puff crowd is made up of seniors with breathing difficulties caused by a number of alignments and health issues. 

The monthly Huff N’ Puff gatherings is one of her favourite places to be – it’s run primarily as a social get together, that includes either lunch or morning tea, with different all day events planned through the year.

Mum always takes along some work to do, and there’s lots of comments and chatter about her work, and she’s also volunteered to make a lap quilt that the group can raffle to fundraise.

One of the facilitators is getting married next month, and Mum has helped organise the purchase of a group gift – but she decided she wanted to make something for her from her.

This is a Teddlywinks Mr and Mrs Teddy pattern that included the pattern preprinted on calico – stitched up and made into a cushion – fits a European Pillow.   I helped Mum select her fabrics when we visited Quilters Bazaar earlier in the year at their birthday sale.

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

Something New…the Secret that’s right under your nose quilt

My brother turns 50 on March 23, and on Christmas day after he made a crack to a family friend about the fact that he was still waiting for a quilt, though Mum had made 2 for my sister and I and one for each nephew, I asked Mum when we were alone if she wanted to make a quilt for him.   He lives in a self contained unit in the back of the family home – a bachelor, a computer nerd/geek, a solitary and quiet man, who loves movies and all things sci-fi and his family.

Conversation went like this:

Flossie (Mum): He’d never use it!  He never makes his bed!

Frou: Doesn’t matter – it’s the making of it that matters

Flossie:  There isn’t time!

Frou: If we picked a simple pieced pattern we’d have plenty of time

Flossie: I can’t afford fabric for a new quilt

Frou: We are over run with fabric!

Flossie: Yeah, but nothing suitable for a man

Frou: We have those 1/2 yard pieces of creams and indigos – they’d work (hoping she’d say no, as I really want to make something for me!).   And we’ve got all those solids we found when we sorted out our combined stash, there must be 100 different colours there.   We could do an Amish style quilt – I think I’ve got a big piece of black at home you could use.

Flossie:  How could I make it a surprise?

Frou: You’re going to be at my place for 10 days after New Year, I’ll help you – I’ll cut, press – you sew – piece of cake!

Flossie:  I’ll think about it.

A week later, she’d found a pattern in a magazine, sorted a huge bag of solids, and rang the Quilt shop to ask what date they’d need the quilt by in order for us to have it quilted by early March to get it finished in time, and I was asked next time I came to bring my piece of black so she could see if she’d have enough (when we measured it, my biggish piece of black fabric turned out to be 15 metres, but sshhh that’s another story).

That done – while at my place she went to work… having precut her strips, she started piecing the blocks.   Took the started quilt home and worked on them while she watched the Australian Open.   Her comment: “He doesn’t like the tennis, so will stay out in his room most of the time, and even if he does come in, he won’t even notice what I’m doing!”.

And so, Mum worked on his blocks right under his nose, until it got to sashing and making up the rows.   Then she worked on the quilt on Thursday nights when he was at his Poker Club, sewing the last seam of the backing just as he arrived home a fortnight ago.

We planned a weekend at my place on the guise of going to a quilt show and a movie, so she could press the quilt and organise to drop it off to be quilted.   This photo, taken with the quilt spread out on my bed was the first time Mum got to see the whole top, as she’d spent most of her time scrunching it up and making it look inconsequently.

Just waiting for the call to say it’s finished being quilted, hopefully before the Labour Day Long Weekend, and another overnight stay at my place “because we’re going to the Ballarat Quilt Show” and we can sew the binding down.

Flossie’s Flaunt…

Well, as Jasmine has quite rightly said in a comment here, what am I doing and why aren’t I talking about it here?

I was going to do a post earlier in the week, but have spent the week doing a bit of a reorganisation of the blog and some other stuff.   Blog pages now sorted out into different crafty endeavours, quilting, stitchery and cross-stitch and updated the status of various works in progress etc.

Mum, Flossie, stayed last week, and spent the week diligently on the machine putting things together that she’s been working on over the last little while.   Funny how by coming to stay here (which is only 10 minutes by car from her house anyway) she gives herself permission to just go for it – whereas if she stayed home, she’d feel the need to do a load of washing, or stop to cook a meal.

We had great plans to work all day at machine, cutting mat and ironing board, and then break at dinner time, head out to one of the many options for food nearby and then come home to a night of sitting in front of the TV with DVDs and some handwork.   Unfortunately the time of year nixed that idea, when most of the local cafes/ takeaways closed for the holidays!

I should explain, my Mum is a former seamstress, who made her living for a number of years making children’s and babies clothing that we sold at various local markets and stores.   So, she’s a production line quilter… she works through various stages of a process on a variety of things, i.e. prepping, cutting out, sewing individual pieces etc.   For instances, it’s not unusual for her to have a dozen different bags cut out at once and then she gets them all finished in a major run (actually she did make about 10 bags leading up to Christmas that she gave as gifts to neighbours and people that she interacted with during the year – the council cleaner, the social workers at her local “huff n’ puff’ group).   Therefore, its not unusual that some of these projects go back a number of years.

So without further ado….

I LOVE BLUE – buttonhole hearts using scraps of blue fabrics.  Stitched over 12 months and put together last week.   Only details we have is on the pattern pack which makes reference to an obsolete website called Crafty Patterns?

COUNTRY DAYS – one of the early Blocks of the months Mum bought, this project has been on the go for a long time – probably at least 5 years if not longer.   The designer is Robb-n-Graves and you can see from the attached link that it was meant to be a 12 block quilt with an appliqued final border.   Unfortunately, the supplier of the BOM was a bit stingy with her background squares, and after appliqueing some of the blocks came up much smaller than the 10.5 inch required.   Mum’s kept those 3 blocks and will turn them into either a runner or cushions.   She didn’t like the supplied sashing and border fabric, so we bought something else, that works really well and she’s decided to not do the final applique border, but some fancy quilting instead.

This lovely is humongous!   The central Dresden plate block measures 32 inches.   When it’s final border is put on it will measure 81.5 inches.  Made from Mum’s reproduction stash, using a lovely caramel/tan background print I bought for her at Threadbear in 2008 – I rang and we auditioned fabric over the phone (luckily she liked it!).    This is a Leigh Latimore design called Autumn Magic printed in APQ Vol. 15 No. 6.    Some initial dramas with this one as after cutting and piecing the individual plate shapes Mum couldn’t get them to fit together – she’d gone off a little in her seam allowance and hence bubbly plates – so some major frogging required and heavily basted while she hand appliqued them down.   Top put together while she watched the Hopman Cup!   Will need to take a better photo once the final border goes on.

And talking about Dresden Plates!   I bought from ebay a few years ago a kit of precut Dresden plates for Mum… having sewn up all of the individual petal shapes she was having major trouble with randomness in putting them together, so I sorted them into individual sets for her and she’s put half of them together.

Feathered Friends, this is a Melly and Me pattern – one of the patterns we received at Country Thyme’s Girls Day Out last year, and the fabric is a kit I purchased there.   I did all the stitching, and Mum made up the bag for me.

This was a Rosalie Quinlan pattern – meant to have an applique on the front, but instead Mum used some fabrics I picked up ‘just because’ to make the bag on the left for me, and some oriental fabric for the bag on the right for her.

Quilter’s Pockets.   Made from a Blue Willow Cottage pattern.  I love the Blue Willow Cottage accessories patterns – we’ve made quite a few.   The 30s print one is mine, of course.   The reproduction print one, Mum’s, made from scraps from both collections.   These is a fantastic little bag that is perfect for the hexagon mat and cutter we received in a Blue Willow Cottage class we did at one of the craft shows last year!

That pretty much covers Mum’s activity, apart from some applique and handquilting done each evening – will post photo’s when those projects are finished.

As for me – apart from acting as hostess, I worked consistently on some blocks for a swap, which I’ll post photo’s of next week – prepping applique, cutting fabric for 9 patches etc.

As well as finishing the stitching on another of the Country Thyme Girls Day Out kits, except I’ve misplaced the pattern to finish off Rosalie’s bag and needle case, so didn’t get it finished.

And some more cross-stitch – still a work in progress, more photo’s to follow.

Apart from that, I’m reading lots, currently reading Pride and Prejudice, and have been to the movies at least once a week, if not more often and generally having a lovely time.

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!

She’s making a list and checking it twice…

Put away the books, we’re out of school
The weather’s warm but we’ll play it cool
We’re on staycation, havin’ lots of fun
S-T-A-Y-C-A-T-I-O-N in the summer sun

Can you tell I’m getting a little excited?   Only 16 more sleeps before I go on leave and I don’t go back to work till the end of January – 43 days off – woo hoo!

This will be the longest continuous break I’ve had since I was diagnosed with glandular fever 20+years ago, and I spent 5 weeks at home feeling cruddy and the only energy I had was to cross stitch while getting addicted to Santa Barbara and Days of Our Lives (I watched the first episode that Patch appeared in and was hooked, lol).

But like then, I’m going to be predominantly housebound, apart from some small trips and a quilt class or two… and a friend coming to stay for a few days.   May actually be forced to be housebound, as my nephew’s car is off the road and he’s regularly borrowing mine to get to and from work.

Flossie (Mum) coming to stay for the 1st week of the New Year, we’re going to have a ‘bee’ between putting together some quilt tops and finishing off some small projects like wallhangings and bags.

It’ll be the usual deal of her using the machine, and my cutting and pressing…though I am thinking of getting her to help me make a start on either one of these gorgeous quilts by Roslyn of BloomSimply a Bloom or Sweet Menagerie.

A bit inspired by Blessed’s version of Simply a Bloom and the bundle of Allspice Tapestry Charm Squares and Jelly Rolls I found when sorting out the stash for the sale of surplus items!

Both of these seem like relatively simple projects for someone who is less than comfortable on the machine, as it’s just straight sewing…

Am busy getting organised and things prepped with the intention of sewing something every day!

Things I must do while on staycation:

  • Get my blocks finished and posted to Aunt Pitty Pat for the Holly Jolly Christmas Block Swap – have got all my backgrounds cut, just need to sit down this week and start to prep the appliques, I’m doing Christmas Wreaths, Plum Puddings and Christmas Ornaments

  • Make softie book/s of this panel – I commented on the Busy Thimbles blog and as a result the panels arrived today and I get to have a play… already have ideas swarming through my head
  • Finish my South Seas Lace cross-stitch… as usual I’m lagging behind behind on this SAL, both Claire and Sandra have finished theirs… and I’m still stitching on mine, making slow progress… got bored with the narrow border and wanted to see what the final border looked like.

Actually, check out Sandra’s Grand Marquoir finish post… isn’t it gorgeous?   This is another project I’m lagging behind on, I’ve done 3 letters…sigh…

  • Keep up to date with The Parsonage Dresden Plate Exchange – I’m working on Kylie’s at present … you can see one of her blocks below, I didn’t make this one, Jules did.    I’ll also have Jules handed over to me in the next fortnight.

  • Start my Blackbird Design Stocking Series – I’m hoping to be part of Dragon My Needle’s Christmas Design SAL – a year long stitch along working on particular Christmas Designs.  I got the January 2009 kit from Stitches and Spice for these gorgeous little stockings, and hope to get the rest of the series during 2010.  So the aim is to stitch at least 1 stocking a month during 2010.

Things I’d like to do while on staycation (and more likely towards the end of my 43 days will be getting lots of things prepped so that I can just pick things up and work on them once I get back to work… including:

  • Prep Aunt Millie’s Garden blocks – I’m using a white with black pindot background and lots of spotty/dotty/striped bright fabric
  • Prep Love Letters blocks – I’ve got 2 lots of fabric for these, deep navy, burgundy, browns on tan backgrounds for Mum, and the 3 Sisters Chocolat range that was used in the original quilt for me.   Not going to make both – will get the blocks ready for Mum to stitch hers, and will prep and applique mine

  • Organise cross-stitch patterns for Aury’s Bride’s Tree SAL.  The Bride’s Tree is a German tradition. It is believed that a couple’s Christmas tree needs twelve specific ornaments for happiness in their life journey together. My eldest nephew and his girl get married in November 2010, and have asked us to give them money towards their honeymoon in lieu of gifts as they are funding the wedding themselves.   This seemed like a nice idea, to make them 13 ornaments for their 1st tree as a married couple, and I thought I’d look for quakerstyle patterns for each months theme, and have found some freebie patterns already i.e. the quaker heart to represent true love and love of family.

I’d also really like to aim to do a blog post a day… either a progress report on what I’m working on, or maybe dragging out some WIPs/PIGs and posting in more detail, in an attempt to shame me into progressing some of these.

Anyway, off away to do the dishes and to bed… coming home tomorrow night to progress the embroidery on some Christmas ornaments for a catch up with some girlfriends weekend after next.

Will blog a Christmas themed post at the weekend, hopefully to show the finished ornaments, and my first blocks for Holly Jolly as well as some show and tell as Mum has started decorating the house today, and I realised none of her Christmas quilts are recorded on the blog.

Flossie’s Friday Flaunt… Angels Everywhere

Once again, this is a flaunt of Flossie’s… Mum has stayed in touch with one very close friend from her work days (she retired on medical grounds in her early 50s), and they organise a catch up in the city once every couple of months and monthly phone calls.

Pat is the complete opposite of Mum, she’s a gym junky and very active lady, who while always very interested in Mum’s quilting, has missed out on the crafty gene completely.   So Mum, who loves to make quilts for kids, started the habit of making quilts for each of Pat’s Grandchildren.   Of course, having made quilts for each of the 1st children of Pat’s 3 kids, as they added to their family, Mum made extra quilts.

This quilt is the latest (fuzzy photo sorry!) , and quite possibly the last – as those first children are now in the 10-12 year age bracket!

IMG_0162Buttonhole appliqued by hand, machine quilted – all fabric came from stash, with most of the applique out of the scrap bin!

You might still be able to see the threads that need to be tied off from the quilting, and the binding needs to be sewn down but she’s quilted it this week, and plans to have it finished next, so she can hand it over at her next catch up.

Gratutious photo of Mum’s cat Scully – if there’s a quilt on the floor, on the chair, or anywhere else for that matter – she needs to sit on it!

IMG_0160And below another flaunt: – I was lucky enough to win the felted bag Julie gave away on her blog a couple of weeks ago.  It’s lovely Julie, except my cat thinks it belongs to her and keeps trying to climb into it!  Check out Julie’s blog – she makes gorgeous bags, and most recently an Irish Chain quilt that I’d like to take home!

IMG_0152

I had grand plans for this weekend, my first weekend at home for awhile, so was going to get stuck in to some projects, but woke up yesterday with a sandpaper throat that today has turned into full on head cold and it’s now 1.00pm and I’m still in my pj’s, I don’t like my chances.   This could be an opportunity to curl up on the couch with some handwork and some video’s, but am tempted to head back to bed to be honest!   Will see how much I manage to achieve by tomorrow night.