Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hexagon Flower Swap

I calculated today that I die-cut 5,032 hexagons over my four-day long weekend. Phew! No wonder I didn't feel like doing much tonight.

I made a couple of hexagon flowers for my January swap partner though. (Just squeezed in by the end of the month again.)

Two of these were received from her last week (thanks Deb, they're great!) and two will be posted tomorrow ... also to her.  I hope she likes them.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Another productive weekend

My extra-long long weekend was super-productive. I made over 200 packs for my store! Here's a preview of some new products.

First up are some Hexagon Charm Packs in plain colours. As you can see, I made this batch from red, purple, aqua and white, and some packs have just one colour, some have two or three. All have 42 large hexs per pack.

These match the large Hexagon Charm Packs already available for both machine-sewing and hand-piecing. The red/white pack goes with A Walk in the Woods, the red/aqua pack works well with both Little Apples and Ruby, and the purple/aqua pack goes with Good Fortune.

Next up we have some packs of smaller hexagons, also made from Moda's Bella Solids range. This 1&1/2" size is to match your inchy hexagons - perfect for the centres of your hexie flowers.

These Bella Solids packs contain 20 hexagons, 2 each of 10 fabrics. Choose from a Darks pack, a Warms pack, or the pretty 1930s colours. The Neutrals pack has 4 each of 5 fabrics.

The following packs made from Marbles by Moda also have 2 each of 10 fabrics. Choose from Marble Warms or Marble Brights. And last but not least, shown here are my Bella Solids Favourites, containing 1 each of 20 different fabrics.
Sorry about the fuzzy photos, I'll have better images and more details when I list these in my store later this week. But now, it's time for a night off. Ciao!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Four whole days!

Four whole days! I have four whole days off work and all to myself! I have soooo much that I want to get done (die-cut, sew, sleep, repeat, die-cut, sew, sleep, repeat).

But first I absolutely MUST fix the error in this quilt. The blue in the bottom right hand corner sticks out like a sore thumb.

Oh no, I just spotted another mistake! Top left corner. I better get cracking and fix it asap ... Bye!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A productive weekend

2012 has brought with it some great new quilt projects, hasn't it! Swoon has swept the blog world and although I was tempted, I've decided not for now. I decided to try the Rose Star block instead.

As you know, I like hand-piecing, so that meant a big tick on the side of Rose Star vs Swoon. And I have to admit something here to further explain my decision - I've never actually machine-pieced a quilt from a pattern before. Seriously! I haven't!

But the start of a fresh new year is a good time to learn something new, so last week I started one. I've had my eye on the Stepping Stones pattern for a while. You can download Moda's pattern here.

I think I spent longer figuring out the pattern than actually sewing, but now that I've done it it seems easy. (Why did I wait so long!) I made it using the summery new California Girl range. My rotary-cutting and machine-sewing both leave a lot to be desired, but the point is, I gave it a go.

Once I'd done this much, I decided to do more. I was going to spend the weekend turning this 16-block quilt into a queen-size quilt (36 blocks!) but life had other plans. A friend mentioned she needed to make her wedding invitations asap, so that's what we did yesterday.

I was glad to have an excuse to bring out the Vagabond I bought a little while ago. (It's a motorised die-cutter, see the YouTube video here). My friend had a good idea of what she wanted and we made a quick dash to the wedding stationery shop in the nick of time before it closed.

Actually it was me, her and her fiance making the invitations. They took care of the die-cutting and I assembled the cards. It turned out to be quite a late night, but they were very happy with the results. (They must have been, because they came back today and we made some Thank You cards in a similar design.)

The gold die-cut on the black card looks really striking. I's softened by a pale green ribbon and pale green inserts. And my friend's lovely calligraphy is so elegant!

Oh, P.S., I got my sewing done as well. I had already pieced the extra blocks and I just needed to joing them together. The next challenge is to quilt it. Something else that's new to learn!

What a productive weekend. I'm very happy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tempted? - Rose Star Quilt block party

Has anyone come across the Rose Star Quilt block party? I am soooo tempted to join. (Thanks to Carey for telling me about it.)

It's english paper piecing (EPP) and at first sight it looks complicated but it's not really. It actually only uses three shapes: hexagons, kites, and some 5-sided shapes that I'm going to call squashed pentagons.

Start with a 1 1/2" hexagon in the centre, add a row squashed pentagons, add a row of kites, then another row of each. The white in-between blocks are just a hexagon and three squashed pentagons. Each rose star ends up at roughly 8 inches by 8 inches. (This one by Summerfete is a mini quilt.)

Good colour-choice and fabric-choice will be absolutely essential for this quilt so I'm going to wait until inspiration strikes me. But in the meantime, I think I'm going to get some dies custom-made so that I can die-cut all the papers. (Yes, they'll end up in my store too.)

You can find Summerfete's Rose Star tutorial here and the Flickr group here.  (Looks like over 100 people have joined already.) Anyone tempted?

P.S. This quilt block somehow took me to another great tutorial on how to do EPP without stitching through your papers. There's a photo for every single step of the process. For those of you who haven't tried EPP before, you'll find the tutorial here.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Stash and Treasure Market - post-market report

The first Stash and Treasure Market at Marrickville was a great success for all involved. All the sellers walked away with lots less stuff than they brought, the shoppers walked away with some new treasures, and on top of that nearly $500 was raised for the Miracle Babies Foundation. 

I did end up doing a last-minute destash on Friday night and I rocked up on Saturday with 9 containers of stuff to sell. I strongly resisted the urge to look at what else was available because I didn't want to go home with more stuff than I came with. I could see across the way from me that someone was selling Kona Solids fat quarter bundles at a huge discount. It was hard to pass that up, but I stayed strong, and I went home with 6 empty containers.

I have to say that the market organisers Cherie and Justine did an amazing job preparing for the market. They thought of everything and it went so smoothly on the day. (I'm sure below the surface their feet were paddling away as fast as they could go, but above water everything looked so calm.) And it was such a pleasant venue - indoors in the main hall of the historic Marrickville Town Hall. (I forgot to take photos!)

Best of all, I got to meet some local bloggers - I popped by Badskirt's table to say hello, and I also got to meet the lovely Quilary from Take a peek over the fence and her friend from Marisew. Thanks Quilary for all your encouragement.

For me, the best thing about the day was being in a room full of creative people with interests similar to mine. It was so cool to see the inspiration in people's eyes as they picked up fabric, rummaged through buttons, and spotted vintage treasures. It really was the most pleasant market I've ever been to and I sure hope they put it on again. 

So now that's done, what's next? I've been meaning to make you some new hexie packs for ages, this time in plain colours. I want to make some Bella Solid small hexie packs for the centres of your inchy flowers. Plus I really want to make some large hexagon charm packs in a few different combinations e.g. red/white, red/aqua/white, red/purple/aqua, purple/aqua/white which will coordinate well with the Ruby, Walk in the Woods, Good Fortune etc hexagon charm packs.

I thought if I mentioned it here and put it on the record, then it might make me get it done more quickly! Because I am always getting side-tracked into starting other things ... and I am excited about introducing a new product in a couple of weeks ... but I really must make sure I get these done for you first!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Separation anxiety

As soon as I heard that a new market - an Arts and Crafts recycling market - was starting in my local area, I just knew I had to get a table there and do a destash. I have a big sort out and tidy up each Christmas holidays, so this market on 14 January seemed like perfect timing.

Just one problem ... I'm having trouble destashing! I'm accused of being a hoarder from time to time and I always vehemently deny it. "I'm not a hoarder, I'm a creative recycler ... and proud of it".  But yes I have to admit I've got a lot of stuff.

So my rule of thumb is, if it will fit neatly into the allotted spot on the allotted shelf in the allotted cupboard, then I can keep it. If it's cluttering up the floor, or I have to keep moving it to get to something else, then it has to go.

This time around, when i did my annual cleanup, I found room for everything. So technically speaking, I'm allowed to keep everything and don't need to do a destash. On the other hand, it might be useful to create some empty space in my cupboards. Oh I can't decide what to do!

Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked, I didn't mean to rave on about my destashing dilemma. I actually just wanted to tell you about the market.

It's called the Stash & Treasure Recycler's Market and it's the perfect opportunity for artists, crafters, quilters, scrapbookers etc to clear out their cupboards and say farewell to their no-longer-needed supplies, unfinished projects, and all those little treasures we can't say no to like vintage lace and fabric, books and patterns, etc.

It's also the perfect opportunity for artists, crafters, quilters, scrapbookers etc to find some wonderful new treasures to take home!!! So if you're in the inner Sydney area next Saturday 14 January, pop in to the Marrickville Town Hall. I'm not sure whether I'll be there doing a destash or just browsing and picking up some new treasures (naughty me), but I hear that it's shaping up to be a great market.

Follow the Stash & Treasure blog here and Facebook page here.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

My niece's first sewing project

I was so excited to hear that niece number 2 received a sewing machine for Christmas. She's just turned 11 and clearly has inherited my family's creative streak.

So I popped back home to the Northern Beaches this morning and spent a lovely couple of hours with her. She's a smart little cookie and I'm thrilled to say that she completed her first sewing project - this very huggable cushion.

Did I mention that this was the first time she ever used a sewing machine!

I pre-cut the fabric to save time but made about 4 times what was needed to give her lots of choices.  Do you like the colours she chose?

Here are the measurements to make a 50 cm x 50 cm cushion (using a 1 cm seam allowance).
  • Cut 1 piece = 52 cm x 52 cm (for the back of the cushion)
  • Cut 2 pieces = 17 cm x 52 cm (for the left and right sides)
  • Cut 3 pieces = 12 cm x 22 cm (the thick centre strips)
  • Cut 4 pieces = 7 cm x 22 cm (the thin centre strips)
  • You will also need a Size 20 cushion insert.
  • Join the centre strips in any order you like. (We alternated thin and thick.)  Press the seams.
  • Join the left, centre and right strips. Press. 
  • Sew the front to the back (with right sides together), leaving an opening.

  • Turn right side out and put in the cushion insert. 
  • Hand-sew the opening closed. 

Except for the hand-sewing, my niece made the whole cushion herself! She is clearly a problem-solver and likes to work things out for herself.  I am so pleased.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Giveaway Winners - Happy New Year!

Oh my, I almost forgot to draw the giveaway! I've had such a lovely day in the fresh air and sunshine (stitching hexie flowers on my balcony) that I hardly even looked at my computer.

So here are the results ...

1. (International winner) Natasha from Nova Scotia, Canada
2.  (Australian winner) Elaine T from the Blue Mountains, NSW.

Congratulations to you both! I'll contact you to find out which Hexagon Charm Pack you would like. And don't forget to tell me which pack you would like me to send to your "Secret Santa" friend.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that all your creative endeavours this year are a great success.