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.

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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!

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!

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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.

Friday Flaunt…variations on a theme…

And yes, more Dresden Plates!   These are the last of the ones I’ve made up for now… not quite finished.   5 plates made, 2 appliqued down, 3 to go… and then need to add circles.

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Will have yellow centre when finished…

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This will have white with pink…

IMG_0149Will use the purple spot…

IMG_0150Pink/raspberry spot…

IMG_0151The teal spotty fabric…

I had another one of these marked up, a lovely soft mauve with a purple/mauve spot, but realised both pieces of fabric where too narrow for me to pick one for a centre circle.   Will see if I can pick up some more fabric before making it up.

Enjoying these Dresdens so much I’ve bought myself a smaller Ardco template – for 6 inch curved Dresdens.   Wanting to start to applique the 14 inch curved 1930s Dresdens I’ve been slowly putting together for awhile, and then put the smaller Dresden over the seams.

Speaking of Dresden’s check out the Dresden Plates in Quilting Group on Flickr…I heart Flickr!

Have put all of these aside for now, as I need to finish up my Stitcher’s Angel gifts… planning to sit and stitch while watching the Grand Final tomorrow.

She is the Dresden Queen…

IMG_0129Once again, I’m making Dresden Plates … this time, for the first time, curved edges, only 2 colours, using clear, bright colours, spots, stripes, geometric patterns etc…

Every year for the last 3 years a group of friends have had a weekend away at The Parsonage in Maldon and every year we’ve organised an exchange.  The first year we made small 6 inch blocks in the style we requested, the 2nd we made bags for each other… you can see the bag Debbie made me here.

Last year we had a showbag, and we each bought something to the value of $5 for each other, and now for next year’s retreat in May, we’ve got a bit better organised and have arranged a Dresden Plate exchange.

IMG_0126All 9 of us will make a Dresden Plate, and provide each other with a background, some fabric and instructions.   Between now and May 2010 we’ll each make a Dresden Plate in the style requested by each participant and will reveal all blocks in May.  We’re handing over our kits today, so I’ve spent the week making up a couple of samples and getting fabric together.

Have provided all the girls with one fabric already precut into 8 petals, all they need do is add another fabric of their choice for the remaining petals and centre circle.   I want this scrappy, so have made up kits with pink, red, aqua, purple, yellow etc.    Will be interesting to see what comes back!

Like Jayne, I’m planning to make some extra blocks, have them already cut out ready to go, as I’m giving the girls my template.    At this stage, hoping to make a single bed quilt to go on the ‘guest room’ bed, but may change my mind and go for a larger quilt for me!

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Friday Flaunt…Magpies in the Air Quilt

Well, my week has been sorta cruddy in regard to stitching, late work nights again!   And just tired and out of sorts, has seen me do very little work, apart from continuing to work on the 1930s Dresden plates…

So, another one of Flossie’s quilts… Magpies in the Air…

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Seems appropriate to show this quilt, made for my nephew’s 21st, 2 years ago.  Leigh is a rabid Collingwood supporter, so it was obvious that he’d want a Black and White quilt.   Mum was originally going to make him a Black and White Bears Paw quilt, until she spotted the Birds in the Air block pattern…

Made over a 6 month period, and professionally quilted by Patchwork Addiction in Essendon.

The back of the quilt has a scanned image of the Magpie’s emblem.

Slight drama with the quilt, Leigh had a bust up with his live-in girlfriend last summer, and came home to find she’d been home during the day and packed all her belongings and left.

A couple of months later, he sheepishly admitted that he didn’t know where the quilt was… that they’d packed it up into a dresser during the warmer months, and he suspected that the ex had taken it with her, but as they no longer speak he felt a bit uncomfortable asking her if she’d taken it, in case she thought he thought she’d taken it on purpose.

When he moved out of his share house into the bungalow at Mum’s place a couple of months ago, we were very relieved to discover the quilt folded up into a suitcase!

It now has pride of place on the back of his couch, and he’s often to be found wrapped up in it, watching his beloved ‘pies on the TV.

Will be interesting to see what temperatures are like in that house on Sunday when his Magpies square off against Mum and Mike’s beloved St Kilda!!

Oh, she of the limited attention span…

Well, I’m back with a fully functioning camera… pity the camera operator is hopeless!   So what have I been doing?  Not a lot… have been working really long hours, on brain drain type work – exciting, but exhausting… so when I get home I’ve been flitting between projects and reading (see that other place about that!) while trying to catch up on TV programs and listening to music… so a very flighty flaunt of the last couple of weeks work…

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South Seas Lace – have been going gangbusters on this, except when I called in at Jayne‘s last week for a night of stitching, I spent so much time flapping my mouth, I didn’t realise until a couple of hours later, I’d made a fatal flaw back at the beginning and had to frog my work!   Claire is also going gangbusters, though not sure how Sandra‘s doing?

IMG_0050My working on four lots of stitchery projects at once has resulted in my finishing the stitchery for Melly and Me’s Feathered Friends, just need to put the bag together.   Slow progress on the others, will post photo’s as I finish them.

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English Paper Pieced Hexagons – sorting out craft room I found these, a bundle of precut hexagons in soft dusky pinks, greens and creams and papers, so spent a Saturday at Mum’s basting them to papers and then a Sunday in front of the TV whip-stitching these.

IMG_0047And then discussion about The Great Parsonage Dresden Plate Exchange with Jayne and the girls (a block exchange for a group of friends that kicks off this month to be finished next May) prompted me to dig out these 1930s plates that I had marked up last summer, and spent most of yesterday pinning and piecing.

Below are the fabrics Mum and I have selected for this Saturday’s Mystery Marathon – my fabrics on the left, Mum’s on the right.

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And just in case you despair of ever seeing a finished quilt – photo’s of two of Flossie’s quilts. The black and white churn dash she made and quilted herself several years ago. The bright Aussie themed quilt was a Round Robin she did when I first joined QDU, it’s one of her favourites.IMG_0007

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