ScrapHappy October

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

In addition to my recent scrappy posts here, here and here, I’ve been working on a small project for my lovely SIL (Hi, H!). She’s the one I’m making the Tyger quilt for, and I though it would be fun to assemble a load of scrappy loveliness to make her the TV remote holder she’s asked for in colours to match her eventual quilt. Nothing like a matching set! She’s already warned me that BIL will want his own (competing, naturally) quilt in due course…

Here’s where I’ve got to so far. The idea is that this is a long strip which drapes over the chair/sofa arm, tucks in along the seat and the other end, on the outside, contains pockets for the remote controls. In her case, there are three. Total length still to be established, but I have pocket sizes worked out, and these will go on the end nearest the viewer in the above photo. I’ll  use a dark colour to counterbalance the fairly pale overall effect at this end. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll recognise a lot of those scraps. I think the oldest ones there are from another ‘supporter’s quilt’ I made 8 years ago, called Go the Pies. I really do hang onto my scraps… It will be sandwiched, backed, quilted and bound, and then she can have it as a ‘deposit’ on her quilt, which is next in line after I finish Hopscotch.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at).

Today we are also welcoming Esther to the group. She is a wonderfully talented quilter and makes the most beautiful pieces, so her blog is really worth a visit.

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Esther

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

A Scrappy Milestone

I know, I know, this is the wrong day.

But I’ve been hammering away hard at finishing up the blocks for the Hopscotch quilt and it’s done. All blocks are now complete.

I confess to a sense of relief. Oceans of 3 inch squares can be, well, dull, no matter how brightly coloured they are. 20 was enough, or 22 if you count the ones I used to make the recent book bag.

I don’t have a photo of every single individual block, since by the end I was moving them around a fair bit to get a layout I could live with. But here are the last 4. If you’re reaching for your sunglasses, I don’t blame you!

ScrapHappy Day will feature other scrappy projects for a while. I need to take a break from this before I start the task of sandwiching and quilting the blocks, and then joining them all together and binding it all. I have several ideas in the pipeline, so you won’t go short of colourful scrappiness.

And in other domestic news, I am happy to announce the hatching of Baby Sunbird(s?).🥂🐣

Mrs Sunbird is no longer sitting; she and Mr Sunbird are now business shooting to and fro with beakfuls of hatchling-fodder, mostly of the wriggling insect variety. Since this is a sensitive time, I’m respecting their privacy and restricting access to that area for both man and dog. Which is why this photo was taking through both glass and the screen door. You are seeing Mrs Sunbird moments after stuffing something leggy into a gaping baby beak. It must be a relief to stretch her wings after all that relentless sitting.

I’ll try and keep you posted. Hopefully I’ll be lucky enough to capture the next life-stage for your entertainment!

Time to go and look at something fabricky that isn’t a 3″ square.

Scrappy Book Bag

I needed a bit of light relief.

There are 4 more blocks to stitch before I complete the top for my scrappy Hopscotch quilt for Days for Girls. I needed to stop and have a breather, and also to find a use for two blocks which didn’t quite fit into the lineup. They’re too strong, and without enough contrast between dark and light to fit with the other blocks.

It was obvious. These are 15 inch blocks, and large. I’d make a bag; one on the front and one on the back. I hauled out some leftover fabric: mattress ticking for the handles and gussets, and some old kitchen curtain fabric I had left over after recycling most of it to make a quilt duffel, which would be the lining. It’s a simple structure: front, back, side and bottom gussets, handles and lining. Make up the outer, baste on the handles. Make the lining and stitch them together at the top edge, right side to right side, leaving a 3 inch gap in the seam to turn the bag  through. Topstitch the top edge to neaten it and close the opening. Done.

It looks nice, doesn’t it?  I wouldn’t mind keeping it, except that I’m committed to making prizes for Days for Girls for their next annual raffle and cent sale.

Well, I’ll buy some tickets when the time comes. Maybe I’ll win it back!

Twilight… fades to black

It’s done.

In the shade apart from a splash of sunshine, where the colours are mostly, but not quite, true to life

Twilight is finished!  It has taken me a stupidly long time to complete what is, after all, not a very complicated quilt, but it has hit me in the middle of a patch of de-motivation, loss of quilting mojo and needing to get other things done. Now that it is finished, I wonder why it took me so long, and I love it and am proud of it.

In the sun. See what I mean about the colours? Not true to life; all the purple has gone brown.

Photos just don’t accurately communicate the lovely sheen on those shot cotton squares, the flashes of double-colour. The values are all wrong and the colours are off. Never mind. I know it looks better than what you see here.

(Thanks are due to the Husband, who patiently held it up at arms length all around the back yard till I found somewhere that worked, still in his work clothes after a long day and before he’d had a cup of tea, just because I wanted to catch the light. You’re a star!)

The back is nice and simple, just a dark petrol green-blue, and a simple label.

I’ll mail it off on Monday, with love and a sigh of relief!

… and night falls on yet another quilt.

Trying it for size

They’re back.

The sunbird couple are flitting around the nest again. Not constantly, but regularly. Mrs SB spent a good hour this afternoon sitting in the nest with her head out the hole (see her curved beak sticking out on the right?). Whether she was assessing it for comfort, fit, ambience or location I don’t know, but she was there a good while. Maybe she was even laying an egg?

I’m going no closer than I absolutely have to. As it is, we’re reluctant to use the back deck for fear of disturbing her. Mouse, of course, is totally unconcerned, and as this is his route out to the back yard to do his business, he trots happily under the nest without paying it any attention. She ignores him right back… I do hope they’re planning to stay and raise a family. It’s usually two eggs, I believe, so maybe we’ll be seeing a pair of tiny curved beaks opening wide for nectar and insects from the hardworking parents. And of course, situated where they are, they’re safe from both larger predatory birds and cats, and extremes of weather.

On another note, I have one seam left to go on Twilight, always the hardest because I’m wrestling the full weight of the quilt and trying to keep quite tiny seams straight.

Tomorrow should see it done. Once more unto the breach, etc.  I also have the binding made and rolled up neatly, waiting for that bit to start. I need to start thinking about a label!

So, progress on all fronts!

ScrapHappy September

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

Here’s Block 13 of the Hopscotch quilt for Days for Girls. I haven’t got a lot done on this quilt in the last month, but one block is better than no blocks. I’ve also traced and cut the pattern for the patchwork tote I’ll be making as another raffle prize, but bits of paper doesn’t make an interesting photo, so for that you’ll have to wait for a month where there’s more on that project to show you.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at).

Today we are also welcoming Jule to the group. She tells me she has a lot of scraps that need dealing with, so I’m looking forward to seeing what she has for us.

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule,
Gwen, Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Esther

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

 

Slow, like a slow thing

…. that’s very slow.

Which is a fair description of my progress on Twilight. It’s getting done, but in short bursts. Unfortunate, because QAYG needs concentration and a decent chunk of time applied to each section. Still, at least there is progress.

I have two thirds of it assembled. You can see the top and middle sections are put together, the bottom one is still to be done. After that, I will have the two long seams to do, always the worst part because the sheer weight of the thing drags and makes sewing accurate small seam allowances difficult to maintain. It’s my main reason for assembling it the way I do; minimise the number of long seams you have to do, and you minimise the potential issues as well as the definite stress! I know people who do their QAYG assembly row by row, and I don’t know how they do it!

I really like how the very dark blue sashing makes the colours pop and gives definition to each individual block as well as bringing the whole thing together.

Not much to report on Chateau Sunbird. They added the porch, a little lip that sticks out over the entrance hole, and then apparently went on their honeymoon. Either that, or they decided it wasn’t quite perfect, or they didn’t like the neighbours, or something. Time will tell if they come back and move in.

Oh, and one tiny landmark. I have now lost 20 kg (44 pounds) since the beginning of May. My doctor is thrilled! I’m pretty thrilled too, as I can now wear lots of old clothes I’d put away sadly, thinking I might never get into them again. I have a waist once more!

Back to the sashing strips, I have a quilt to finish!

Quilting, and housekeeping

Hello there, I’m still alive!

I’m so sorry it’s been an age since I checked in. A lot has been going on behind the scenes. First, some good news. My relative with bowel cancer has been given the all clear after surgery, no chemo or radiotherapy required. Huge relief all round! The family have had a tense wait for all the pathology to come in, but totally worth it. More good news. My own annual cancer checkup has shown that the Little Bugger lurking on the other side is still snoozing. No change in size or condition. Another six months’ all clear until the next MRI.

And so with that out of the way, I finally buckled down and got on with Twilight. I’ve finished all the sandwiching and quilting, and have cut all the sashing strips to start assembly, which begins today.

As always, I’m breaking the task down into manageable chunks, but I hope to have the assembly all done by the end of the coming week. That leaves just the label and binding.

As you can see, it’s only lightly quilted in my No. 2 fallback pattern, crosshatch. This keeps it very soft and drapey, which combined with the lovely hand of the fabrics will ensure a really snuggly finished quilt. I think I’ll be binding it in the same inky dark blue as the front sashing.

And finally, the housekeeping bit. The Olive-Backed Sunbirds are back, and flitting around our front and back porches, looking for a suitable place to build their amazing sock-like nest. Mr Sunbird has been dismantling/destroying the nest they started and abandoned last year, right beside our back door, with the result that it’s a sad, tattered rag and the ground below is strewn with bit of dead leaf, dried grass, fluff, hair, twig, thread and who knows what. I’m leaving it for now in case they want to recycle it, and I have put out a container of fluff, dog hair, thread and whatnot, but so far this has been ignored.

He’s also spending considerable time admiring himself. I see his point, because he is exceptionally colourful and handsome. Meanwhile, Mrs Sunbird, who wears much less showy feathers , is darting here and there, and is probably doing most of the work!

So now you’re all caught up. I expect there’ll be a bit more to tell you soon, because I have various activities planned, but until they happen and i have photos, they’re on the back burner.

Till then.

ScrapHappy August

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

Here are Blocks 11 and 12 of the Hopscotch quilt for Days for Girls.

I have another 10 layouts stacked up waiting to be assembled…

…and three more sets rolled up in bags waiting to be laid out.

That’s 25 blocks in total, which would give me a 75×75 inch square quilt. I originally thought of making it 90 inches long, but this is plenty big enough. Future squares will go towards the other project ideas I have in mind, such as table runners, heat pads, place mats, bags, cushion covers, etc.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at).

Kate (me!)Gun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith and Debbierose

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

 

Nothing to see here

Isn’t that what they say?

When there’s actually quite a lot to see, but they want you to move along? I, on the other hand, have literally had nothing to see for quite some time. But now I have things to show and tell.

Let’s start with… Baking. I have always been fascinated by cooking from the Southern states of the US. The names of the dishes are mysterious and wonderful, the combinations and flavours can be strange to UK and Australian palates, and many of the ingredients are not at all easily obtained here. But one thing I’ve always loved the sound of is ‘biscuits and sausage gravy’. For breakfast, mind you. Now obviously, these are American biscuits, which closely resemble our scones, rather than being the sweet, flat, crisp jobs we dunk in our tea or coffee. And sausage gravy? Not the rich, meaty brown liquid we make from our Sunday roasts, but a thick, pale, creamy sauce flavoured with crumbled ‘breakfast sausage’. This latter ingredient isn’t snags, or bangers (‘links’ to my US friends), it’s a large roll of seasoned sausage-meat cut into thick slices and fried, served with eggs, etc, for breakfast. I haven’t seen breakfast sausage anywhere in Australia*. You can take a pork snag or two and squeeze it out of its skin, mash it up and that will do the job, fried in a skillet and crumbled. After that, add flour, seasoning and milk, and stir till the whole thing thickens. It takes patience but is very tasty. Anyway, failing the sausage gravy, I made biscuits. I think they turned out rather well! Yummy eaten warm with butter. I would have added honey except, you know, diabetes… If you’re an expert biscuit baker, I’d love to know what you think of my amateur effort.

Gardening. As you’re probably well aware by now, we have a caravan (travel trailer). We keep it in the front yard on a not quite level piece of ground between two flower beds. Because of the curved, banana shape of the outer, raised bed, nearest our front boundary, it has been difficult to back the ‘van into her spot when we come home. So I have shortened and straightened it. Which involved heavily pruning some ornamental trees (ixora, hibiscus, variegated ficus, azalea, Bankok Rose and Snow on the Mountain), shifting what felt like several hundred edging bricks, hacking out soil, repositioning irrigation pipes and some power-weeding. Total time, 2 days of hard labour, but so worth it. I also enlisted the Husband and his angle grinder to remove the old and nasty mailbox which lives in that raised bed. It had finally rusted past the point of no return so that rain more or less guaranteed soggy mail, and will be turned into something more useful in its next incarnation. We also got rid of the ‘ornamental’ street number some aesthetically-challenged previous owner had crafted out of welded steel chain and tack welded to the supporting post… A new, functional, powder-coated steel mailbox improved matters no end, and I wrapped the now-disfigured post in a square of imitation buxus panel. It looks rather fetching…

And finally, Sewing. I have finally got back to the Twilight quilt, and the first two rows are sandwiched and quilted, although I’m not sure you can tell from this photo. I’m using a rather beautiful purple Rasant thread, which blends rather well, but also has a pretty shine. It’s made by Amann, and is  cotton spun on polyester core thread which is both strong and smooth-running. So far, so very good! I’m quilting a cross hatch a hand’s-width wide, which is enough to safely hold the layers together but also results in a very soft and drapey finish to the quilt. There has also been activity on my Hopscotch quilt blocks, but I’ll leave reporting on that until ScrapHappy Day.

Amazing what a long post I’ve written about nothing at all!

 

*If you’ve seen it, do tell me where, as it’s just the sort of thing the Husband would love…