Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

2011 was a relatively good and pleasant year for me. Sewing wise, I didn't produce a lot, especially as I focused on making bigger quilts rather than making blocks or mini quilts. I lost my mojo a few times so I was quite surprised that I had this many finishes.  Not as many as 2010, I just went back and looked at my end of posts from last year, hmmm, definitely not as productive this year.
Finished in 2011

I still have quite a few things in the WIP pile which is at least a little smaller than it was half way through the year.
2011 Works In Progress
Hmm, it doesn't look like it when you look at these photos. Ouch.
* Monochromatic Challenge- I only made 6 out of the 12 blocks. Not sure whether I'll make any more or just make a small quilt with the 6 I have.
* Still have to finish the cushion cover I made at the class in Adelaide.
* Floral Bouquet quilt  - at the quilters, then all it needs is the binding.
* McFlurry - need to make the backing
* Tiggly Winks - basted and needs to be quilted - procrastination has set in on this one
* Material Obsession BOM - I've now finished 2 blocks and started the third.
* Mystery Quilt - loved this but dragging my feet on finishing the last couple of blocks.
* Amitie BOM - ouch, only 1 block completed
* Starflowers - ongoing, will take awhile, but I'm OK with that.

Next cab off the rank will be the Floral Bouquet quilt. I'm really looking forward to seeing that finished.

I think I said a couple of posts ago that I was planning on working on smaller projects this year. I like making quilts but they take up so much time and I live in a climate where they are not really used, just very nice to look at. I want to play around with different techniques and make some of my ideas come to life in 2012, rather than them sitting in the back drawer of my mind, never to see the light of day. I'd like to make quilts to hang on my walls.

I'm no longer a virgin swapper so I hope to join a couple of swaps in 2012.  I really enjoyed my first baby steps into the Scrappy Swap.

I would like to try a New York Beauty block this year. Not a whole quilt, though.
I still want to make a quilt with Dresdens. ( I didn't get to that this year.)
I want to practice my FMQ. I really need to set aside some time to practice regularly.
I'm sure there are lots of other things I'd like to try, but I didn't write a list and can't think of them at the moment.
Maybe that should be one of the things I should try to do next year - write lists!
I'm not making any New Year Resolutions as I always break them.

I have enjoyed getting to know lots of people through the blogosphere, that has been one of the highlights of my year.  Blogging is a really good thing. Love it.
On the home front, it's been a pretty good year. Next year BP will be moving to Brisbane so I'm going to have to fill that hole with lots of blogging, internet browsing, and quilting. Not necessarily in that order. I'm hoping to spend a bit more time in Brisbane next year too. I think I might try to join a class or two while I'm down there.

I'm looking forward to the new year and seeing what exciting things come my way.

Wishing you a wonderful 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Quokka Quilts Bloggers Choice Fat Quarter Bundle Contest

I saw this contest pop up a few days ago and thought I would be great to join in.
I'm sure you've seen that Laura at Quokka Quilts is holding the competition, Bloggers Choice Fat Quarter Bundle, there are so many entries already.
Unfortunately changing my hair to blonde caused me to have a huge blonde moment today. I could not for the life of me get my mosaic in Big Huge Labs to work. I finally called on the wonderful Susan from Canadian Abroad for help. Thankfully Susan was very helpful and I finally produced a mosaic.

At last

Now We're Going Places Pink Daisy Chain
Crazy Daisy Yellow with Orange Large
Super Orange Playful Pindots

Alien Friends Bubble Dot Black
Now We're Going Places Pink Scooters In a Row
Free Spirit Designer Solids Yellow

Safari Sweet Organic Dark Orange
Fleur Noir White and Black Stripes
Rocky and Bullwinkle White Daisies on Black

Babysaurus Orange Tiny Stripe
Now We're Going Places Pink Dot
Whimsy Orange Box Lattice

Now We're Going Places White Cars, Scooters and Bikes
Meet Me At Sunset Pink Aquatic Stripe
Michael Miller Cotton Couture Pink

There were so many beautiful fabrics to choose from at the Fat Quarter Shop, it was hard to narrow down to twelve prints and three solids.
I had fun. I love some of the combinations that others have come up with. I can see a bit of retail therapy coming on.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Catching up - at least trying to

Catching up on the Material Obsession BOM blocks.

I'm way behind.

This is block number 2.

Close up of MO BOM block 2

It has taken me most of the day, and I've completed - one 18 3/4 inch block.
Material Obsession BOM
A first for me -  sewing Y seams.

It looks way better in real life, the brown border makes it look a bit dull in the photos.

Of course it didn't go without a slight problem. Nothing is ever straight forward at Chez Sunshine.

I did read the instructions first.

I didn't read them over again, when I was getting towards the end.

I made a mistake, which I'm not going to point out.

Deja vu, after the "shower cap" incident.

It was fixable, in a, that'll do kind of way.

It's now the right size.
Close up of MO BOM block 2

I'm not looking forward to the next one.


Material Obsession BOM
I'm very happy with it, despite the little setback.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ta dah!

I've been making the most of some quiet time between Boxing Day and New Years Eve.

Initial layout on my design table!!!

I've finished another quilt top. I've ordered some flannel for the backing, so I won't be able to do any more with this until it arrives.

Quilt top finished

I was so worried about how this would look, hoping it wouldn't be too busy. I shouldn't have doubted myself, I think it turned out great. I would, wouldn't I! I did have a little hiccup at the beginning, you can read about it here, however it was all sorted with help from the lovely Shay.
This is destined as a house warming gift for friends, I'm pretty sure they don't read my blog. I wanted to make something that wasn't too feminine that they could use on the sofa in the living room. Her favourite colour is orange, specifically burnt orange. 
There are lots of different fabrics in this quilt top. Including Hope Valley, Castle Peeps, Hometown, Zen Garden, Anna Maria Horner, Kaffe, Lakehouse, batiks, a 30s repro, text fabric, spots, checks and so many more. This is my idea of scrappy, I just can't do random scrappy it has to be controlled, so the circles are either a shade of orange or cream and the background is either light through to dark grey or an occasional brown, sometimes with a hint of colour.
Almost final selection, I took out some of the darker purple/greys and the lighter green/greys

I used the Raw Edge Circle tutorial by Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew.

This is the second time I've used this pattern. I love it and I'm sure I'll use it again.
Strawberries and Champagne, my first Raw Edge Circle Quilt


Christmas is over for another year.  I'm kind of sad it's over, we had such a lovely day.

Some Christmas gifts for friends.  You can find the recipe here.

Christmas Gift

Christmas presents opened in the morning.

Yummy Christmas breakfast at my parents house.

Quiet midday time, relaxing.

Drive to Brisbane in the afternoon.
Christmas Tree in Brisbane

Great Christmas dinner in Brisbane with all the relatives.  We had a blast.  My voice was hoarse and my face ached from laughing so much.
Christmas Buffet

Sorry this is the only photo I had of the buffet, it was too dark and I was shy and didn't want to be the only one taking photos of the food.
The remnants of Christmas dinner

I remembered to take this photo. This was a plate of fabulous seafood, prawns, crab and salad.

Me and my dad
Moi and my dad

Me and Emma
BP and me
I hope Christmas was a wonderful time for you and now you have some time to relax and  enjoy the next few days.

Next party -  New Years Eve!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Not aiming for any gold medals (or even bronze or plastic)

You may have noticed by now that I'm a total slacker. I've done very little on the quilting front for the last couple of months. Unlike others who shall remain nameless, who are trying to be the equivalent of the teachers pet and get as many finishes as possible before the end of the year, I've preferred sitting in the naughty corner and playing up. It's been fun but not what you would call productive.
I kind of felt a teensy weensy bit guilty that I had lots of WIP's and hadn't really tried to finish any of them, and also the whole of the universe was making Christmas presents except for me. So last week, I got my A into G and made the First Aid bag for my dad. Saturday morning I went to the LQS and picked up some cord and ta dah, it's all finished.
First Aid Bag

I've also had another go at the "OMG, what on earth was she thinking quilt".  Remember this, hideous block.

I was determined to make it work so after a bit of a re-think and some help from the  goody two shoes "teacher's pet" (hint - starts with Sh and is a four letter word) who was very helpful, even though she's trying to win the award for  the most finishes in the universe for 2011, I came up with this.
Fabric for THE quilt - Plan B
This pile sat on my dining table for a very long time, was then stuffed placed gently and lovingly into a project bag when Julie my organising fairy came to stay.
I finally pulled them out and cut all the bits.
Last week I finally started sewing the bits together.

There are another 46 of these.
So far I've sewn up about 18 blocks.



Here's two, I'm really happy with these. I've still left a little of the browns in the mix but all in all I think it's much more harmonious. I also didn't choose eight of the wildest coloured and patterned prints to put in a block together. That was a smart move.

Also, should I say,

minor miracle,

I finished another WIP, the first hexagons I attempted and was going to make into a cushion, which would probably never be used, so made it into a mini quilt to hang on the wall.
Hexagon mini quilt finished

It looks really wonky, especially the first border, it's not. In fact the first border is straight. Next time I should probably flatten it out before I snap some pics.
It's made with some scraps of Rural Jardin left over from the quilt I made earlier this year. A really yummy stripe that I had in my stash, unfortunately I only had a fat quarter and have no idea what it is. I had to raid my jelly roll of Rouenneries that I have been saving, for the binding. It matched perfectly the two Rural Jardin charm squares that I could use for the corners, win!  The backing is a fat quarter of Hometown left over from the Urban Stars quilt.
I've hand quilted around the inner row of hexies in pale blue, which you can't see in this pic, then burgundy around the outside of the hexies. Finally another round of hand quilting in the first border.

I used this tutorial from A Girl In Paradise blog for an idea on how to hang it using corner pockets. How could I not use it with a blog name like that!

Today the Floral Bouquet went to my other fairy friend, Fiona The Quilting Fairy. It won't be finished until next year, but that's ok, I'll just go back and sit and have a drink in the naughty corner.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Aussie Jingle Bells - Colin Buchanan

This one is for all the Northern Hemisphere people.
As we don't have snow, sleighs or anything else that's in the original Jingle Bells song, Colin wrote some alternative lyrics for Aussies. It's sung a lot in schools at end of year concerts.

If you need translations:

Rusty Holden ute - Holden is General Motors here in Aust.
                           - ute is short for utility
Esky - ice box cooler/ice chest
Beaut - short for beautiful
Thongs - unlike the rest of the world, Australians refer to flip flops as thongs.
Swaggie - Swagman best known in Waltzing Matilda. Wikipedia - Particularly during the Depression of the 1890s and the Great Depression of the 1930s, unemployed men travelled the rural areas of Australia on foot, their few meagre possessions rolled up and carried in their swag. Typically, they would seek work in farms and towns they travelled through, and in many cases the farmers, if no permanent work was available, would provide food and shelter in return for some menial task.
I have never seen a swaggie in my life and I think 99% of Australians have never seen one either.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Favourite Things Friday

It's late Friday evening here, and I've just finished making something with the help of BP, so this is my final favourite for 2011.
I decided at about 5.30 this evening that I'd attempt to make something for my father for Christmas.
After finding this tutorial at Ayumi's blog and seeing this idea on Oh Fransson! I thought I would make dad a First Aid bag.
First Aid bag for dad
The front
I combined the two ideas and came up with this.

AND woo hoo I actually used some of my scraps. Some of them are from charm squares I acquired about 10 years ago. I knew I'd use them for something..........eventually!! Some of the red squares are from scraps Melissa at Clothwork kindly sent me earlier in the year.

Back of the First Aid bag.
The back

First Aid bag lining
The lining, hmm, just noticed a thread on the red casing.

I love it, I hope he'll love it too. He loves bushwalking, birdwatching and the great outdoors. All it needs now is some cord to finish the drawstring closure. That will have to wait until tomorrow.

BP helped me choose the fabrics, piece the back and sewed the lining for me. I love that she wanted to help and enjoyed it. She's even started sewing up some blocks left over from her Paradise quilt to make a small quilt.

So this week, my favourite is sewing with BP and starting and finishing something that I'm really pleased with, in a couple of hours.

Linking with Shay for the final FTF for 2011. I love FTF's and have really enjoyed reading everyone's posts each week. Thanks so much Shay, looking forward to next year's.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Favourite Things Friday

This week my favourite thing is being in the city and enjoying all the things that this brings that I have no hope what so ever of having at home.

Things like home delivery of dinner to the door instead of having to drive 20 mins to get take away and driving 20 mins back home and by the time I'm home the meal is not as good as it could have been. This week we had Italian, yum, we could have had Indian, Mexican, or pretty much what ever we felt like.

I love that the local pub is only 1 block away and it's a really really good pub. It means that I can have a drink or two or three with friends and walk home instead of only having one because I have to drive home.

I can go for walks along the river on a dedicated walking path instead of walking along the side of the road, no footpath and cars and trucks whizzing past at 80kms an hour.
Image from

I can walk a couple of mins and buy a coffee, instead of making it myself or driving 5kms to the nearest coffee shop.

I can catch a ferry to the city or to lots of other places, how cool is that? I love catching the ferry.
Image from

I can catch a taxi and it only costs a few dollars instead of driving into the city and paying an outrageous $40 for an hour park.

My friends can come and visit me, I'm much closer to them when I'm there and they don't need to pack to stay the night, they can pop in and visit for a few hours.

I can sit at night and look at the city lights instead of staring out into pitch black darkness.  I can't see the stars but it's a really nice change.
Image from

I may live in paradise but to me having all these things at my doorstep that I haven't had for almost 13 years is my current idea of paradise.

I'm going to be torn when I have to make the decision of where I'm going to live. You can take the girl out of the city but you can't take the city out of the girl.

Mosey on over to Shay's for all the Friday Favourites this week.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

WIP Wednesday (partying all by myself)

The last couple of weeks have been quite productive for me. I've been trying to finish up a couple more WIP's as I was really starting to feel that they were getting the better of me, and when Julie helped me tidy up my sewing stuff, I realised how many WIP's and projects I had either started or wanted to start. This week Im going to do my own mini WIP Wednesday post, even though Lee is having a well earned break from hosting the linky party.

Urban Stars

After finishing Urban Stars, I was enthused enough to start and finish making the backing for the Floral Bouquet quilt.
Floral bouquet blocks

A couple of peeks at the back.
Another sneak peek of something!

I really enjoyed making the backing. I decided to improvise as I went and had fun, until I kept on having to add piece after piece to make it big enough. The backing is roughly 96" x 66". It's a weird size, long and narrow! This one is going off to Fiona to be quilted, I just couldn't see me quilting this one.

I've also been working away on the Starflowers.
Starflower 11

Starflower 12

Prep for more starflowers

Adding a few made in Kaffe fabrics to mix it up a bit.
Starflower 13

Starflower prep

So the last couple of weeks have been very productive for me. I have found my mojo again, I hope it stays for a bit longer than last time.

Worked On This Week (Fortnight)
Urban Stars
Floral Bouquet

Sitting Patiently On The Sidelines Waiting For Me To Show Some Interest
Mystery Quilt
Tiggly Winks - basted and now desperately trying to decide how to quilt it.
Circle Game BOM
Material Obsession BOM

McFlurry - backing. I've officially decided that the Christmas quilt will be ready for Christmas 2012 as I have absolutely no hope what so ever of getting it finished in the next couple of weeks. Others would have no problems, I would, so it's shelved until next year.
Monochromatic Challenge - I think this is going to go in the UFO pile

Weeks Statistics
Finished - 1
Worked On - 3
Ignored - 6
New - 0   My will power is outstanding

Thanks to Lee for hosting WIP Wednesday each week, it has really helped me focus (occasionally) on my WIP's and make inroads into reducing them this year. I'm looking forward to finishing more early next year.

I'm going all out and saying that I'm not going to attempt any big quilts next year. When I say big I mean anything bigger than a lap size throw.  I want to spend more time trying techniques and playing and having fun. I like the idea of making mini quilts or mug rugs. I think they will be great to try out new techniques, play with colour and they will be much quicker. I might even join in another swap or two after really enjoying Kat's Scrappy Swap.
I also want to concentrate on the BOM's that I started this year, I didn't get very far at all with either of them.  (Unfortunately they are both going to be quite large when finished so these won't count in my no big quilts pledge for 2012).
Oh and the quilt I'm making for my sister for her birthday, that's not going to be small either. Looks like my pledge isn't going to hold for too long.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Urban Stars

Urban Stars
I started the HST quilt in August this year.
I wanted to try out my Baby Go cutter and decided to try cutting half square triangles for a quilt.

I change my cushions/pillows in my living area nearly as often as I change my hair colour. Maybe not quite that often but I think a change is as good as a holiday.  I like having a neutral living area so that I can change my cushions and the look for minimal cost and play out all my colour fantasies. I found some really nice cushions/pillows at a local store that went very nicely with some I already had.  I ordered a fat quarter bundle of Hometown, and then rummaged through my very significant (according to Shay) stash to find some co-ordinating fabrics.
After playing with Quilt Pro I finally fluked working out how to use it and came up with a repeating star using half square triangles. Something nice and easy that wouldn't tax my brain.
First block

I'm over the moon with how this finished up. I love the colours and the subtle star pattern.
HST quilt top finished
When I posted the photos on Flickr there were some great ideas suggested for a name, which I used to help me come up with Urban Star.  I love the urban edginess of the colour palette and the fabrics I've chosen. I especially love text fabric and there are quite a few used in this quilt. The overall look kind of reminds me of city buildings both modern glass and steel and old sandstone and marble.
Close up of "organic" quilting!!!!
As usual I had no idea how I was going to quilt it. I really do need to think more about the quilting in the initial design stages rather than leaving it to when it needs to be quilted.  I didn't want to quilt it by following the diagonal lines, I really wanted to do straight line vertical quilting but was very afraid to do it in case it looked crap. I spent hours looking at quilted quilts on flickr and on blogs, but could never find anything that looked like what I wanted to do. Eventually I just went for it and I'm very very glad I did as I really like the look of the "organic" vertical lines.  Most of the quilting lines are approximately an inch from the seam lines and there are areas where the quilting lines are further apart.
Urban Stars
Back of Urban Stars
All crinkly after a spin in the machine and the tumble dryer. I threw in 4 colour catchers just in case. One came out a soft rusty brown colour, two a beige colour and one off white. Strange, but I'm pleased I used them.

The binding is Hometown City Streets in Mist, I love the soft colours in this one. I wanted the binding to be subtle and I think this fabric works really well, it's also a nice contrast to the backing fabric which is a Lecien Basics.

Pattern - my own using Sawtooth Star and sashing
Fabric - Hometown by Sweetwater plus various other fabrics from my stash. Not 100% sure what the off white was that I used as it was in my stash. I think it's a Kona solid.
Backing - Pieced using left over HST's from the front and Lecien Basics dots a Kona solid and Mist Textured Solid from Hometown.
Binding - Hometown City Streets in Mist, strips cut 2 inches wide for a narrow binding.
Machine quilted
Size - 53" x 53"

Urban Stars

My 10th finish for the year!!!!!!!!