Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Confessions of a Novice Blogger

The previous blog, posted yesterday, was in fact written on the last day of last term. I was intending to take just one more photo and then post it...
Then the  school holidays struck with force. Everyone was sick. Princess E, the introvert saw too much of us all, The boy, an extrovert, didn’t see enough of his friends, and  I was a grumpy sick Mummy (and didn’t feel better until end of the second week).

We did have some fun times – went swimming, maxed out all our cards as the library (20 books X four cards!),  everyone had some time with Grandma and Granda and plenty of games with Dad.

I got my assignment finished enough to relax about that at least and it’s handed in now.

Here’s a picture of the last day of school –Pyjama day for preschool  and a opposite Mufti day for the school kids.


Monday, 1 August 2011

Work Completed

My Man ran away with my computer on Wednesday (That was part of the deal... I get a mini machine and he uses it for work trips!). But... I couldn't write my assignment. So...  I wrote my self a list of things today and settled into finishing Princess E's duvet cover...it took me all day.

I finished it in time to throw it over her as she came in the door from school. She promptly grabbed a "fairy book" and read on her bed under it until tea time. She loves the soft backing, a random furnishing fabric I found for $4/m from Morelands Fabric Outlet, in Palmy.

I started by pin basting it, which turned into to red thread basting when I ran out of pins.
(210cm x140cm x 1 pin/ 10cm = lots of pins!)

As for the quilting. I tried free hand quilting around the hearts but wasn't happy with the results, let along the process! (Did I mention I don't like wrestling big quilts?) I'm attempting to give up the fantasies of free hand quilting on large items but the dream isn't dying easily...

So I got out the walking foot and with the 'roll up the sides' method, quilted wavy lines, roughly parallel, (that's why I made them wavy - so they could be 'roughly' and it not matter!)

Project completed - except for a wash which isn't going to happen soon with ran and storms for two weeks straight at least.

Although, the sun is attempting to show this morning!
Yay - I need the boost - feeling a bit fluy and am planning to write my assignment all morning - it's due after the school holiday, so I'm trying to get it done before, only today left...


Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Works in Progress

Here's a couple of things we've been working on:

Princess E decided she wanted a flowery duvet cover and as a quilter, I couldn't settle for a 'normal' one (the light cotton ones drive me nuts as the duvet moves around and doesn't lie flat). We headed for Spotlight and she bought these fabrics with 'her own money'. I've contributed an old woolen blanket and quilted it behind the top. The backing is coming soon. Hopefully it'll last longer that way as the soft flannelet isn't very strong or closely woven. I replaced the blanket with another one from the Hospice Op shop for $5.50. Much cheaper than woolen batting. More photos coming later...

The Boy wanted a piece of the action a while back and choose these fabrics as
a blanket for his 'babies'. I'll post a picture of them all tucked in sometime.

I'm at home in the thick of my assignment and extra kids at home, one 'sick'. The Boy coughed all night and had trouble waking up so we erred on the side of keeping him home. He's having a fantastic morning playing with Madam Four. We'll see how things go for the obligatory sleep/rest after lunch for all sick people.


Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Findings in practice and theory

Here a recent 'finding' from out local Sally Army Op Shop.

I love the way the threads are all displayed tidily and I don't have to rummage and untangle to get them. The big section is a bit chaotic at the moment but that's ok. The round container, old Shiseido loose powder, came with the sewing things I inherited from my Gran.
You can see old wooden cotton reels that came from Gran. I'm using the brown thread to quilt my cushions. It was similar weight as hand quilting thread and I've run it through a beeswax candle - not sure if that's done much though!
The orange purse I've had forever and keep my extra needles in it.
The container had dried flowers in it and a hanger , so you could hang it on the wall. The flowers went to preschool (except the prickly ones!).
It's not ideal as the glass isn't made to always be sliding in and out. I've got two of the brackets really loose. One day I may think of a better solution!

Theoretical findings...

I've been reading legislation for the first time. In my previous life as a science student it was my law student flatmates who did that. Now it's my turn. Today it was looking at amendments to the Child, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989. I'm particularly interested in the amendments that allow for social service provisions for young people 17 and older.
There's a gap in the system from the time they turn 17 until the become an adult at 18 and then there's the assumption that they are adult at 18...need I say more!!
Interesting findings...


Monday, 27 June 2011

My buzzy quilting friend.

I’d like you to meet my quilting buddy and check out her first quilt (finished now).

Her, another friend and I have been meeting most weeks to ‘do craft’, and she’s been working on this project for her textiles course at high school. Her family say's she's going to hang out with the 'Aunties' to learn woman craft!
Coaching her has been rewarding but not without its challenges! I told her not to bother reversing after every seem when piecing but that wasn’t the right advise for her school teacher. I’ve also had to work out when to encourage her to get it ‘perfect’ and when to say ‘Don’t worry, that’ll be fine” especially as the due date loomed.
She had to do it all herself with photos to prove it but...confessions... I did unpick a few bits to fend off the despair and frustration when things weren’t right!
Here she is mitring the corners of the binding.
I think she’s done well to combine such a range of technique for her first quilt. Some weren’t sure about using black on a babies quilt but I think it adds good balance. Using satin ribbon as a boarder was challenging (not that she knew it was harder to sew when she chose it!) but it adds sparkle to the quilt. It is for her newborn nephew and I’m sure it will be well used and loved.
Blessings, Cheri

Friday, 24 June 2011

Beauty in Winter

Here's a picture of the flowers my mum gave me:
They are more gorgeous than the photos shows.
There's a white bulb I think is called Early Cheer with it's distinctive smell
(I always say it's the shortest day then from my birthday onwards it gets better!)
and something white with purple veins that looks like a floral brassica and mauve alstroemeria.
This photo show some light green flax with brownish purple edges.
It provides great structure to the bunch:

I came home to them in my lovely Crown Ducal Jug
which perfectly matched the flowers with it's creams and greens.

This Jug came from our local Hospise Op-shop along with 5 china mugs (made without handles) and number of serving platters and turrens with lids.
I love that way it's elegant without being OTT 'pritzy'. Juga nd mugs look great in summer filled with homemade lemon cordial on ice outside on a pretty tablecloth.

Best be off to bed as I have a 20 month old visitor for the night who may wake and cry for Mum. At home she can scream for a few hours so we'll see what she does for us!
With Uni exams over for her Dad, they're both having a well earned weekend away...but only 30 min drive in case they get called back.

Blessings, Cheri

Thursday, 23 June 2011

It's my Birthday and I can study if I want to...

The day was spent at Massey University for a contact course for my Social work course.

It's not to heavy a load for the two days (another one tomorrow) and I enjoy the change of scenery (I only have 8 of these days for the year, the rest of the course is at home, extramurally).

I caught the early bus - out of the house by 7.15am so I can dedicate the day to study and avoid making breakfast and lunch :)

So being my birthday...

 I came home to a house full of excited children awaiting with balloons, cards, presents, chocolate, dinner cooked by hubby with soup by my friend and hot chips from the local, flowers from mum, cake from my Palmerston North Grandma (delivered complete with the required amount of candles:
I don't feel terribly old but there's enough candles to be impressive... 
 But not scary for long.
All the helpers for the blowing out.
(Quick to reduce spit factor :} )

33 sounds much easier to remember than the numbers before!

Blessings, Cheri

Monday, 13 June 2011

Art Restoration - a messy job.

We live our lives under works of art.

Our late 1920s bungalow has ornate plaster ceilings and our current 'home renovation' project is restoring them to their glory!

 Looking closely on this picture you can see cracks in the paint on the bottom left quarter. Our plasterer craftsman tells us that these ceiling were originally whitewashed and when they were first painted people often just painted over the whitewash, not knowing the paint would not stick well. Later generations have sanded the cracks, skim plastered and then repainted.

Without the luxury of  that ignorance we're taken the advise of our expert and have been pealing off the paint and washing off the whitewash. This photo shows a pale yellow area, stripped and washed, a darker area that needs to be washed and the detailed areas we haven't stripped as the paint appears to stick better there and we're only stripping what we need to.

The stripping is quite satisfying - it comes off far too easily! The washing is more effort - the whitewash comes off well but it's thick and my rag and then my bucket gets quickly saturated with the stuff. The worst patches are where someone has patched with new plaster and so the paint is sticks properly!
My job is the striping and washing and my man has started plastering and will sand then paint it with an oil based sealer before the ceiling paint.
We have at least three rooms to do and Miss Four insists her room needs doing - "I've can see cracks". Her and Mr Six have been earning money by scooping up the paint and putting it in the rubbish bag.

Some days a shower is just the best thing!

Blessings, Cheri

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Sewing and Unpicking Cushions

Today is Thursday and this morning is my study-work time, as I tell the kids, one of whom is home with me today. Hopefully it will be boring enough for her to want to be at Preschool, and to want to be well behaved at Preschool. Madam Four is now one of the oldest left (in NZ you start school on your fifth birthday) and thinks she has a chance at being the boss!

On to the cushions mentioned above:
One day I'll tell you about my friend Chrisy sometime but for now: she made my Mum a quilt and I'm using the scraps to make some cushions to go with it.

This one I'm really happy with.
But...if you have a fine eye for detail you 'll see that squares are all equal, not allowing any seam allowance. I was purposely not taking hours to work things out and got my maths wrong. It was either chop the middle smaller or make other cushions with the triangles. I chose the former as I was so happy with the colours.

Cushion Two
I wasn't happy about the higher contrast of the triangles here but didn't trust my judgement and started sewing. I've now unpicked them and are thinking about using greens:
In the scraps from quilt there was only darker greens of sufficient size so I'm thinking about adding on from my stash (after all there's no rules, are there!). I'm leaning towards the one with gold and red leaves and flowers in the top left corner with the green that's in every corner (which comes from the quilt). Any suggestions?

Best go and use my study-work time to make notes for the assignment I'm writing about social work assessment. A somewhat dry topic but one I recognise as important. The main task is to not get distracted with the interesting bits in the books I ordered from the library!

Also to not get stiff cold fingers while  typing in my sleepout/study
on this almost frosty morning in the Manawatu.
Blessings, Cheri

Thursday, 2 June 2011

More on the Quick Coin Quilt...

Welcome and thank you to Catherine of Catalina's Cottage for being my first follower. It's exciting to see 'stats' that show that people from around the world looking. It gives a feeling of connectedness (the social critics would be say it gives a 'feeling' of connectedness without the actuality - but that's another story...)

So to the quilt... and my attempt at machine quilting.  As a novice I wanted a pattern and I discovered the patterns that long arm quilters use called pantographs - I'm not sure what they are if you buy them (!) but they're continuous patterns so you don't have to stop sewing to do the entire quilt (or row in my case).

I downloaded a sample of one for and I would love to give credit to where from but I can't find it anywhere! I'm not sure of the copyright implications of me using it but as I looked some sites today I see that 'nothing is new under the sun' and many of them are similar.
So here is 'Wildflower'.

I zoomed into it on my computer (a HP mini with a little screen!) and then traced one flower and two leaves from it directly off the screen onto some clear plastic off the front of a spiral bound AGM report.
Who needs a light box!
I cut around the template (only a little at first but found it easier in two parts - a flower and a leaf)
I used chalk to trace them onto my quilt and then went for it - free style - and here's the result:

A bit wonky in places but I was happy.

The only problem was that I didn't enjoy it that much...hand quilting is so much more theraputic. Also this was approx. 1m x 1m with no batting and I can't imagine trying to wrestle a big batted quilt under my domestic machine!! I don't think things would be very domestic for long :)

Lastly, it was rolled up and delivered to the teacher on the last day she taught my son with the instuctions that it wasn't a 'precious' quilt and she could use it for anything - baby wrap, change mat, outside picnic rug...she could machine wash it and if it falls apart I'll take it that it was well used and loved.

I'm off now to fill my hot water bottle (the best thing about winter).
Blessings, Cheri

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

William Morris fabric.

My visit to the optometrist this morning resulted in a tune up (and new arm covers) for my old glasses and no need to spend $100s on new glasses.
So... as I passed the Clothshop on my way home I decided to treat myself to 10cm of what ever I liked best in the shop.
I came home with a sliver of this William Morris inspired fabric. I love them all but this one will go best with the 'scrapy kaleidoscope that I'm paper piecing triangles for.

Monday, 30 May 2011

A quick quilt (theoretically)

So I know that I enjoy short sharp projects but the problem is that I'm normally too ambitious for them to end up quick.

I enjoyed the coin quilts I saw on the web and had this soft grey flannel material that I loved for a baby wrap. The piece I had left wasn't big enough on it's own I had to work hard to get the design right to make the wrop sized quilt big enough (I did not have one rectangle left over!).

So here's the finished product.

And here's it hanging on my 'design wall' (the quilt on my dinning room wall).
I'd hung all the rectangles up then spent hours with a friend getting them just right. I them sewed some, got confused and once I got it close to right again I took this picture. (Can't have same fabric in same row...can't have same fabric in same quarter... can't have that one by that one...can't have that one with anything - get rid of it!)

And so that's what made is a less than quick quilt! But that's the bit I enjoy so it doen't matter.

Next installment will show my experimental freehand machine quilting - I'm still new to that.

Blessings, Cheri

I have a blog...

It wasn't that hard although like anything computers the design took up the time.

So what do I want my blog to be...
a record of my curious thought about life;
a way to share my creations with others who'll 'understand'
a way to share my life with those who care but are not with me.

the question is... will I stick at it, or will it be a flash in the pan!
We'll see...

So.. coming up shortly... the 'quick quilt' that I made for my boy's teach who's left school, expecting a baby girl.