Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Goodies for the Stash

Welcome!  If you have come to visit me from the Grow Your Blog party, the post I did for that is here.

Otherwise, please feel free to keep reading.

In the past couple of weeks I have had a lovely time adding to my stash.

First up Jan and I decided to pay a visit to the Crewel Gobelin in Killara on the way to Stitching Hearts a week or so back.  This is a specialty embroidery shop which is seriously divine.  I had been there before, many, many years ago, but this was Jan's first visit.  We were like a pair of kids in a lolly shop.  LOL

Here is what I bought....

 
From the top, clockwise:  A little kit for an embroidered pincushion with embellishments; a tiny cross stitch pattern - gift for my birthday from Jan; some 25 count even weave linen; crushed nut shells; and 5 skeins of embroidery thread I had never seen or used before - samples to trial.
 
The threads
Left to right: Rajmahal Art Silk, shade 94; Weeks Dye Works, Hand Dyed Pearl Cotton 5, Fawn; The Gentle Art, Claret, hand dyed variegated stranded cotton; Weeks Dye Works, hand dyed stranded cotton, 2338 Purple Rain; Gumnut Yarns, hand dyed stranded silk, No. 563.  This last one is an Australian thread so I was particularly keen to trial it.
 
My lovely man gave me this book for my birthday....
 
 
He did have a little bit of prompting from yours truly.  LOL
 
Then I found this at Craft Depot at Pennant Hills....
 
 
 
A fat quarter bundle of 5 fabrics from the 3 Wishes Line.  Not really what I usually buy, but I love it!

And lastly, today Jan and I drove up to the mountains to check the accommodation for the retreat we are organising in May.  It was a truly revolting day, winter temps and bucketing with rain.  It was hard driving.  On the way home we stopped in Glenbrook for a yummy lunch and then paid a visit to Post Office Patchwork.  I just love that shop - not a centimetre of fabric that I would turn my nose up at.  And joy of joys, there was a sale on.


From the top:  One of the fabrics from the new French General range; Civil War Tribute Collection by Marcus Fabrics and the yellow is a Riley Blake, pattern C4063.

There are so many gorgeous fabrics in that shop that I have trouble choosing what to buy.  I am on a budget and its almost too hard to choose, so sometimes when I go I actually come out with virtually nothing because I couldn't make a choice.  Do you do that?

Hope you enjoyed sharing my little shopping excursions.

Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Grow Your Blog 2015

2 Bags Full
 

If you are visiting me for the first time as a result of the Grow Your Blog Party - Welcome! 

Firstly, a little bit about me.  My name is Dasha, and I live on the gorgeous NSW Central Coast, with my Dearly Beloved and my furry baby, Tibby, and not all that far from my daughter and her family of 3 girls, and little 3 month old foster son as well.

I can't remember a time that I haven't been involved in craft.  I started with dressmaking, and progressed through knitting, cross stitch, embroidery, and patchwork.  Now my craft revolves around my grandies and the charities I support.

I have had my blog now for 2 years - my second blogaversary was just 2 weeks ago.  Mostly I blog about twice a week or so.  I blog about:

The beautiful place I live....

 
My little scamp Tibby, appears now and then.
 

 Sometimes my garden gets a mention.  I'm a pretty terrible gardener but I love it nevertheless.
 
 
Occasionally my grandies make an appearance, but generally I don't like posting photos of the kids on the Net.
 

 
Most of the quilts I make these days are for charity, and I am very involved in a group called Stitching Hearts.  You can read a bit more about them here.


I also make quilts for Aussie Hero Quilts and sometimes laundry bags too.  Aussie Hero Quilts is an organisation which makes quilts for Australian service men and women who are deployed overseas.  You can read a bit more about them here.

 
You will have gathered by now that I like scrappy quilts.
 
And sometimes I'll show you bits of my embroidery.
 
 
Sometimes I talk about the things that are uniquely Australian too.  I'm proud of my country, and I know that many of my readers like the blog posts I do about  our animals....


and the countryside too....


If you would like to see some more of my work, you can take a look at the tabs at the top of this page, or take a look at some of the previous posts you'll see under the heading Blog Archive on the right. 

If you would like to see some of the other blogs participating in this blog hop, you will find them at Vicki's blog, 2 Bags Full which is here.

I do hope you have enjoyed your visit to my little world, and that you will come and visit me again.  Please leave me a comment so that I can return the compliment and visit you.

Til next time.....Keep on stitching

Saturday, 24 January 2015

January Blues

No not the depressing kind, but the Rainbow Scrap Challenge kind!

Firstly this week, I made up another three little Twinkler Stars.  I now have 5 of the small sized ones.   Love these!

 
Then I made up some Bow Ties. 

 
I have seen them around a lot on the Net recently.  Sharon at Vrooman's Quilts had some pretty straightforward instructions here.  Hers are much bigger than mine - I used 3" squares for the bows and 2" ones for the centres.  The block measures up an 5.5".  One of the people I follow on Instagram @redandgreenquilts said recently that they are addictive to make.  They sure are!  I had not intended on making as many as I did.
 
During the week I had a birthday.  And was absolutely spoilt by my daughter and my 3 lovely grandies.  Here is my booty:

 
A self sharpening ruler; a fat quarter and a "Beetle" bag (project bag)

 
My gorgeous girl made the bag.  So useful.  It has two pockets and a pin cushion on the inside of the front and back cover, and some little zip baggies in clear plastic to pop the blocks or embroidery or whatever into for travelling or just keeping things neat.  I can see this being used a lot.
 
We had a sumptuous afternoon tea, and then played Carcassone.  Have you ever played that?  It was a Christmas present to my Dearly Beloved, and we have had great fun playing it.
 
This week I have also finished up the quillow I was working on last week.  Here it is all folded up into its pillow....
 
The Front

The Back

Linking up this week to Angela's RSC link party at soscrappy.  Why not go and take a look at what others have done this week.
 
Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Give Away Winner

The Give Away is now officially closed.



I had 18 comments on my post, and 2 email subscribers entered by email as well.  To be perfectly fair, I wrote out the names in chronological order, slotting in the email entries according to the date and time they arrived with the comments.

I put the total (20) into Mr Random, and the winner is .....

 
And the 12th comment was Gill.  I will be contacting Gill by email as soon as I publish this.  Congratulations Gill.
 
Til next time.....Keep on Stitching

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2015

Before I get onto the RSC, have you entered my Give Away yet?  You will find it here, but you'll need to be quick as it finishes at 5pm on Monday 19th January 2015 Australian Eastern Daylight Savings time.

RSC 15
 
Angela at soscrappy is running a new Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year - there is a little button on the right which will take you to the page that tells you all about it.  Bottom line is, each month has a new colour, and January is pale blue.  It is actually the third week of January, but the first time I have had a chance to make a block or two.  Mind you, I haven't made up any of the blocks I made for last year's challenge.

This year I hope to make 3 different blocks in the colour of the month.  The resulting quilts (when they are made) will be for Stitching Hearts.

1.  Twinkler Stars.

I have seen this block around a lot on the web.  It has a few names, Twinkler Star and Friendship Star are two that I know of.  This is what I have made:

 
I made one large one which is 11" and 2 smaller ones at 6.5".  I will try and make a couple more of smaller ones as I think I will need at least 40 to make up a small lap quilt, the size we make at Stitching Hearts.
 
My inspiration came from Quilt Fabrication, but I did not use the size in her tutorial.  I made the large one with 4" coloured squares, because I have loads of them, and 2.5" white, and the small one with 2.5" coloured squares (I have loads of those too) and 2" white.  In retrospect, I think I should have used 1.75" squares for the white on the small one, but never mind, it looks good enough for me.
 
2.  Crossroads Block.
 
The tutorial for that in 3 sizes is at Freemotion by the River.  I made up the largest which is 12", because I wanted to use some of the 2.5" strips in my scrap bins.

 
3.  Bow Ties.
 
Still to come.....
 
Not quite blue, more teal is this quillo top I have finished quilting this week.

 
I quilted it rather heavily, outlining all of the cute little figures in the print.

 
Very happy with the result.  I finished the pocket this afternoon, but my air con is out of action at the moment, and by 4pm it was so hot, I couldn't stand my work room any longer, so I still have to sew it on to the quillo.
 
It is the first of the quillos I am making for a family of 4 kids.  Sucker for punishment eh?  LOL.  You will see the others as they appear. 

Linking up with the link party at soscrappy tonight.

Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Wednesday's Excursion

If you are here looking for my Give Away, you will find it here.  Otherwise, you are welcome to keep reading....

On Wednesday we were due to visit friends of ours who live at Avalon.  Avalon is right at the northernmost tip of the Sydney Metropolitan area, and to get there from our place there are two options; about a 2 hour road journey skirting Broken Bay, or a ferry trip from Ettalong to Palm Beach.  For those not familiar with Sydney, here is the map of the area:

 
Ettalong where the "A" is, Pacific Ocean on the right, the mouth of the Hawkesbury River on the left, the open area is called Broken Bay, and Palm Beach and Avalon are at the foot of the map.  While it wasn't a shorter trip timewise, it was a brilliant way to spend a summer day.
 
Wednesday dawned sunny and hot, with little wind, which is fortunate, as the ferry crosses open water and on a windy day, the crossing can be choppy.
 
Summer Holiday queue for the ferry 


View back towards Ettalong
Lion Island - its the tiny green blob on the left in the map above. The beach you can see hiding behind Lion Island, is Pearl Beach, at the very southern tip of the Central Coast.
Barrenjoey Headland with the lighthouse on top.  There was a severe bushfire there a year or so back which completely denuded the vegetation.  Thankfully the historic lighthouse survived.
Palm Beach

The houses on the waterfront are so far down from the road, which you can see mid photo, that they require an inclinator to take you down from the road to the house.
 
We were also treated to the spectacle of the sea plane coming in to land, but those photos did not come out too well.
 
We missed the bus connection to Avalon of course and had to wait in the park at Palm Beach for half an hour for the next one.  Such a hardship when its a beautiful day and beautiful scenery.  Time for a selfie, much to the Dearly Beloved's disgust.

 
There were pirates all around us, of the duck variety that is.  This one, having fossicked in the lady's bag for a while (head down, tail in the air), found that the fish & chips she was eating were of much greater interest.  LOL

Duck Pirate
 
 But then the food left, and the pirates had a nap.
Arriving at J's, we had a lovely lunch on the shady verandah.  Then the girls asked the Dearly Beloved if he had ever done Geocaching.  They had borrowed some tokens from their cousin on a trip to Germany a year back and were desperate to set them on their way.  The DB is an Orienteer, so he was able to work out the co-ordinates and help with the decoding the clue.  So we set off to the location, which was the A.J. Love Lookout at North Bilgola.  You can find out a bit more about it here.

The location as absolutely stunning, and while the DB & the girls were looking (successfully) for the token, I took a truck load of photos....


Avalon Headland - Boudhi National Park on the Central Coast in the far distance.
The new tokens will sent back to cousin in Germany.

On the way back to the ferry, our friends took us to the Bible Garden at the highest point of Palm Beach. 

This is the most serene, beautiful place I have been to in a very long time.  The garden was established by Gerald Hercules Robinson in 1966, and donated to the public in perpetuity. 

 
In the photo above, you can see pretty much all of Palm Beach, with the Barrenjoey lighthouse top right.  That is the Palm Beach surf beach on my right and just to the right of my head is Ettalong, where we came from that morning.

One of the delights of this garden is a lily pond, with this gorgeous lily.

 
Many of the plants in the garden are those referred to in the Bible.  And there is a beautiful bench you can sit on, in the shade of a tree, to read the Bible provided or simply contemplate the view.
 
Thank you J for suggesting this lovely day, and making it a very special one.
 
Til next time.....Keep on stitching (or tripping)

Monday, 12 January 2015

Second Blogaversary



Thank you for putting up with my ramblings for 2 whole years!  I must be doing something right occasionally as my followers creep upwards fairly steadily.  LOL

To celebrate, I am going to have a Give Away.  Yay!  Anyone and everyone can enter even if you live overseas.  And even better, there are multiple chances for you to enter.

Here is what I am giving away:

 
A little Dilly Bag made from Japanese fabrics made by me of course.  I will try to tailor a surprise inside the bag specifically for the person who wins.  What I mean is that if the winner is from overseas, I will find something to pop in which is uniquely Australian (promise it won't be a jar of Vegemite.  LOL); or if its a local winner and she/he sews or knits etc., then it will be a gift for a sewer/knitter.  Get it?
 
So what do you need to do?
 
1. Leave me a comment, tell me what you would like to put in that little bag. If you are an email follower (and I know there a few of you) send me an email (email address in my blogger profile).  I will add you to the list of eligible entries.
2. If you are a follower, either new or old, here or on IG, leave me a second comment to tell me how you follow.
3. Share this post on one of yours, and come back and tell me you have done that.

Make sure there is a way I can contact you in case you are a winner.  Remember if I can't contact you, I won't be able to let you know you have won.

Last but not least.  This Give Away is open until 5pm on Monday 19th January 2015 Australian Eastern Daylight Savings time, which is when I am going to ask Mr. Random to pick a winner.

This is my way of saying thank you to all the lovely people who have taken the time to visit, read my thoughts and leave lovely comments, throughout this past year.  Thank you.


Good luck,
and now I'm off to sew......

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Still Time to Register

for the Grow Your Blog Party.....

2 Bags Full
 
You need to do that before the 17th though, and all the registration details can be found here.
 
I did that last year, and had a lot of fun visiting lots of new to me bloggers.  And found lots of followers too.
 
So what I have been up to lately?
 
I wanted to have a holiday at home the last few weeks.  So I have made a point of not spending too much time on the computer; I have read several books; spent time in my workroom clearing it out and tidying it up; done minimal cooking (yay!); had time with the grandies (its summer school holidays here); and generally tried to slow down and have a rest.  Tomorrow is the start of the new year and most of the things I do are ramping up after the summer break this coming week.
 
While I was clearing out the "stuff" downstairs, I found a large pile of half square triangles.  Some are still triangles, but most have been sewn together into squares.  They were donated to Stitching Hearts as a UFO and were in a pile in the cupboard at Cabarita, so I brought them home to "do something with them" a bazillion years ago.  They have languished in MY cupboard since then. 
 
I found them yesterday, and took a good look at them.
 
 
To be perfectly honest they are pretty ghastly paired up.  Not only don't the fabrics tone, but all of those plain ones are homespun and whack me in the eye each time I look at them.  So I thought I would unpick almost all of them.  I won't mind doing that in front of the TV at night - two mindless things deserve one another LOL.
 
My initial thought is to pair them up with a tone on tone cream.  There are a few already done this way, and they aren't too bad.
 
 
Do you think the cream tone on tone will work with all those different Japanese fabrics, none of which blend with each other, or should I try to find something else to blend with them? If not the cream, where should I be going with these?  Perhaps a cream with more yellow in it??
 
While delving into the cupboard, I also found this medallion (another UFO from Cabarita). 
 
 
It is currently 34" square, and to make it up to the usual lap quilt size that we make, I thought I would add a narrow framing border in brown (maybe not that one), then add a border of the HSTs above, once they are remade. 
 
 
The HSTs might work.  What do you think?  Will they work with the medallion?  I think I need to trim them to a slightly smaller size.  Currently 5.5"; maybe trim down to 4.5" to balance with the rest of the quilt.
 
Like most people whose blogs I have read recently, I vowed and declared that this year I would clear out some of the UFOs in my cupboard.  So the medallion and the HSTs are two of them, but I also dragged out this wall hanging, which I finished off yesterday.
 
 
I made it about 2010 (possibly even 2009) as a class sample in foundation piecing with the original inspiration from an old magazine.  I taught the workshop at Friday Quilters.  And what did I need to do with it?  Hang my head in shame - all I had to do was put the hanging tabs on it so it could go up on my wall.  Sigh....  It has sat there sadly for at least 4 years, waiting on half an hour of my time. 
 
Til next time.....Keep on sewing.


Monday, 5 January 2015

Dressmaking

Last Tuesday I took my eldest grand daughter to Spotlight for a little shopping.  We had given her a voucher for Christmas plus there was a $10 off voucher which needed to be used.  She wanted some fabric to make a skirt.

We did well, and I just might have been a bit of a naughty girl!  Bit hard when we found that there was a 40% off sale on dress fabrics, plus extra discounts for VIP members. 

 
This is my booty.  I purchased the fabric to make the pink dress in the middle pattern.  The pattern for dolls clothes only happened because the patterns were 3 for $15 (discounted to $10 at the till.  Woo Hoo.  A win!)  Miss 8 is still very much into her dolls, so that will come in handy.
 
I have wanted a 50s waisted dress for a while, but as I am short waisted the ones off the rack all look bunched and weird, so I decided to try to make one.  First up I measured my back waist length and amended the pattern to suit.  BUT when I put it up against me I saw that it was far too short at the front.  What the??  So I reverted the pattern to its normal length (thankfully I had not cut it) and made up a calico bodice.

 
Then I fitted it to my shape with the assistance of the Dearly Beloved.  It appears I am short in the back and normal at the front.  What is that concave?? LOL.  No wonder nothing off the rack fits me. 
 
So then it was time to lay it all out and cut.
 
 
 
It was a juggle.  I had bought the last fabric off the roll, and there was not quite what the pattern stated I needed.  Directional fabric, so not much to play with, but I got there. 

Disaster struck almost as soon as I started sewing......


Over locking the first seam, I caught some of the fabric under the blade of the overlocker.  Bummer!!  I could have wept.  Or stamped my feet and howled more like it. 

No future going back to Spotlight - they had no more of this fabric.  A lovely friend on IG offered to go find some for me, then I called Spotlight central office, and they assured me that they would be able to supply it from one of there stores, so an order is in.  Phew! 

While waiting for the fabric to arrive, I have continued with the rest of the dress, and it is half made.  When I get the extra fabric, all I need to do is cut a new back bodice panel and fit it in to the rest of the bodice, then sew to the skirt.

Since Christmas, I have also made up a block for Aussie Hero Quilts. 

 
Hard to see in the photo, but I have signed the centre square.  The block will be made up with others, into a signature quilt for a serviceman currently serving overseas. 
 
I have also been busy cleaning out and tidying my sewing room.  Not much off loaded, but it feels good to be working in a clean and (almost) tidy workroom.  My desk still has far too much on it.  But I need to spend quite a few days sorting, actioning and filing the stuff on it, and I resent the time taken from my sewing time, so the piles of work are just sitting there.  Oh well.  Maybe one day....
 
My New Year's resolution is to complete a few of those WIPs and UFOs in the cupboard.  Seems that I am not the only one out there with a lot of those. 
What's yours??  Not doing too well, starting a new dress as my first project for 2015 am I?  LOL.
 
Til next time.....Keep on stitching.