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.

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Bibs and Bobs…

Not a lot of stitching going on still in the Frou Palace… am still sorting out cupboards and boxes and bins purging stuff (see the For Sale pages)… look what I found, and forgot I had…

These were a set of Dresden Plates I bought on ebay a few years ago.  Not vintage made, but using vintage fabrics.   So have cut out muslin squares to applique them on to.

What little work I have been doing is primarily work on South Seas Lace – this was a SAL I was doing with Claire and Sandra – but both of them have finished theirs… so I’ve been attempting to get this done in what little time I have had free.

I did manage to get a Kris Kringle present stitched up last weekend, but forgot to take a photo!   I’ve talked before about The Parsonage gang – a group of women who are planning our 4th visit to The Parsonage in 2010, a weekend of laughter, mayhem and stitching.   On Thursday night, we had a get together – partly to do a block exchange – as we are making Dresden Plates for each other, as well as a chance to catch up with each other before the Christmas crazies kick in.   We organised a Kris Kringle exchange, something sewing related – and I made a couple of stitched pincushions.   And was very lucky to end up with Jayne’s gift … isn’t this gorgeous!

And the only other excitement is the purchase of this!

I’ve fallen for Moda Bella Solids – the white is lovely and crisp, gorgeous to work with, some give but also irons up well.   Have recently bought some of the Bella Snow a lovely pale cream after noticing that lots of designers are using it.    And being constantly frustrated by the difference in image quality and reality looking at fabric online, ordered the Colour Card… dreaming of working with solids!

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.

Dresdens in the Barn…

Well The Parsonage Dresden Plate Exchange is off and running… with 6 of the 9 girls meeting at the annual Quilts in the Barn on Saturday.

I showed you my sample blocks last post and you can see Jayne’s blocks here, so I’ve posted another couple of the girls blocks.

First off is Catherine’s yummy red, green, brown DresdenIMG_0144

And then Megan’s gorgeous red and white one… this is huge, blocks will be about 21 inches finished, and Megan is a newbie quilter, so this is her first Dresden. This is the first one I get to make… and I have the perfect red and whites in my stash… which is sort of disappointing, was looking forward to a shopping spree of red and whites.

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I’ve been so enthused with the making of my Dresden’s I’ve prepped and made up another 5 plates… as I knew I’d be handing over my template until next May… will post photo’s for this week’s flaunt.

Quilts in the Barn this year featured the quilts of Margaret McDonald… I’ve got Margaret’s Exuberance: Princess Feather quilt pattern and starter pack ready to go (have had it for a couple of years… sigh… oh to have more time!).

There were lots of lovely quilts, but I particularly liked these…

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Aren’t the colours in this Lone Star quilt stunning!

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A gorgeous Lover’s Knot quilt

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And a close-up of a stunning Irish Chain quilt

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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