ScrapHappy March

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.

Well, this month it was something both pretty and useful. VanEssa, the new caravan, has a door with a window in the top half. Great for letting in light, not so great at night when anyone can see in. It needed a curtain, or blind, or something.

So I made a Something. A quilty Something, of course. Very simple piecing, and very simple cross-hatch quilting. It’s all about the colour and the scrappiness.

All scraps. The oldest one there (a scrap of green Katie Jump Rope fabric by Denyse Schmidt) is 15 years old, from my early days in Melbourne when I first arrived in Australia. You can still get it, but they’re calling it a ‘legacy print’, available in special short runs only. That doesn’t make me feel old at all… Some of the others may look more familiar from recent projects.

The backing is from the remnant bin and is from the end of a bolt. I had to cut around holes, ink stamps and pen marks. The batting was a very thin wadding used as packing material on something I bought ages ago. The binding is all scrap. It’s fixed in place with recycled hook & loop tape, and when rolled up, is held up with a hook & loop tie I rescued from somewhere. So, very scrappy indeed, then. Also, cheerful, colourful and a nice antidote to all the extremely pristine black and white caravan interior.

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). The list below is the most current one I have, so if you’d like me to update something, let me know in the Comments.  This month, we’re welcoming Amo and Alissa, two new members. Be sure to drop by and say hello!

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, 
JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera, Edith
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Carol, Preeti,
DebbieroseNóilinViv, Karrin,
Amo and Alissa

Quilts for VanEssa

I know, I know, it’s been quiet round here.

I’ve had a lot of vertigo. It’s… unpleasant. I’ve been busy, but haven’t been doing anything worth showing. Lots of hand-stitching on the Delft quilt (two and a half sides stitched down onto the border with teeny weeny hemstitches). Lots of long-overdue tidying up that I can just put down quickly if I start to feel weird. Mending. Loading stuff into VanEssa and finding homes for everything.

Anyhow, today I felt OK, so I thought it was time to start something new. And that something is the bunk quilts for VanEssa. First I had to separate the existing quilt blocks into his’n’hers.

Hers are the loud, vivid, fancy blocks. Well, you didn’t really expect anything else, did you?

His are the simpler, plainer, less vivid blocks. Calm, pale, formal, but still colourful. And the eagle-eyed will notice that this quilt is a extra row taller. Because the Husband is a head taller than me, so he needs the extra cover 😊

As there were only 30 blocks originally, I needed fillers to make reasonably-sized quilts for the two bunks. So I used a really pretty Jocelyn Proust ‘fruit dove’ print which picks out some of the colours already in the blocks.

For the backing, I’m going to use an old cotton doona (duvet for non-Aussies) cover, in the Natalie Engdahl Sunset Frangipani print. It’s huge, splashy, colourful and fun. And I don’t use it any more (not big enough for our bed), so it’s an excellent use for it. It won’t be too eye-searing as a backing for the quilt, but it will be a flash of unexpected colour if the quilt top gets folded over.

I’m going to keep the quilting simple and supple, so probably cross-hatching. Now I have to do some more cutting and decide whether to use a quiet warm grey or a bright greeny-yellow for the sashing. Or maybe both: his and hers.

That’s a job for tomorrow.


Delft, doggo, and decals

It’s been a while.

Sorry peeps, I’ve been very silent recently. Mostly that’s been due to medical issues once again; I had about a week of quite unpleasant vertigo and associated hearing problems. I’m now in the diagnostic mill once again, waiting for a head MRI and a date for something called a Vestibular Assessment. There’s something called Menière’s Disease in the family, and it looks like I might have it too, but there’s no real way to check/confirm without this testing, and no cure. It leads to long term severe deafness in the affected ear. So, happy days there… If anyone has experience of living with this, I’d be interested to hear and get some idea of what to expect.

Meanwhile, in other news, doggo got dragged off to the v.e.t. to be spruced up. Teeth cleaned, ears deep cleaned and nails really cut back. He’s super-resistant to any personal care that isn’t just grooming, so needs to be anaesthetised, particularly for the teeth. Not aggressive, mind you, just that he’s very strong and fast! The side-eye we received afterwards was withering, but he’s over himself now, and does seem to be happier about trotting about on those shorter nails, so I’m guessing he’s more comfortable.

I finally got back to the Delft quilt. I’m currently in the process of hand stitching the outer edge of the hexie panel to the striped border. One side down, three more to go.

VanEssa is slowly being filled with the necessities of travel. It’s kind of weird, because while she does have a lot of storage space, it’s in different formats and places, and I have to think quite hard about how and when everything gets used before I give it a final home. I made up the bunks with the original bedding and quilts, and while they look a bit dull (dark blue and a bit of white) against the black and white background, they’ll do till I can make something more colourful. It looks cosy, anyway.

I’ve also finalised the design we want for her name decals. For information, the name Vanessa is derived from the Greek word for butterfly. And the striking blue and black Ulysses butterfly is a native of north Queensland, and incidentally also colour-coordinates with her existing decals.

So, that’s about it. I’ll try and be a bit more regular about posting going forward.

More soon, I promise.


Storage baskets

I made some more.

I’d done some as a way to fill a bit of time and use up some leftover fabric from recycling the Husband’s work pants.  You can see them here. Well. It was easy, and turns out, a little bit addictive.

So I couldn’t help myself.

I now have 4 for the Husband and 4 for myself, different sizes. And of course, in more girly fabrics for me, because let’s face it, the Husband doesn’t want his undies in a splashy floral-lined basket, even if he is a very supportive quilting husband.

I don’t know if anyone’s interested in having a go, but the photo below shows all 4 sizes as patterns, with all the measurements clearly indicated so you can make your own. Seam allowance of a quarter inch is included. Click on the image if you need to enlarge.

And the process:

  • You need to cut 1 firm outer fabric, 1 lining fabric and 2 light/medium weight interfacings from the pattern piece. I tend to layer everything together, pin on the pattern and cut them all out at once for accuracy.
  • Fuse interfacing to both lining and outer fabric. Stitch up the side seams and press open. With the side seam facing you, squish the corner flat so the edges line up, side seam in the middle. Stitch. Repeat other side and with the lining.
  • Turn the outer fabric right side out. Place it inside the lining fabric shape, right side to right side. Line up the side seams and stitch all round the top, leaving a 4 inch gap.
  • Turn the outer fabric out through the gap, and then push the lining into the basket. Get everything lined up nicely, and press the top edge flat, including the open seam allowance of the opening. Topstitch 1/8 inch all round to close the opening.

Done. Simple, isn’t it? And the results are pretty cute and versatile. I’d recommend a noticeably heavier weight for the outer fabric, but if you want to use something like quilting cotton, then either very heavy interfacing or bag foam would be needed to allow them to hold their shape. It would be easy to add handles, or as in one of the earlier baskets, a pocket (especially if you’re recycling denim pants!).

Anyway, I’ve told myself to stop now. Other things need my attention.




VanEssa’s new clothes: a shopping list

Well, she’s ours.

At present, VanEssa is sitting in Mitch’s yard, waiting for the right connectors to be fitted on our vehicle so we can tow her home. I managed a few brief measurements on handover day before I had to head out again, enough to establish that a) the bunks are both as long as the Husband’s current accommodations; and b) there is space under the table for His Majesty’s dog bed. Both important, I think you’ll agree. She’s going to need the following:

  • New sheets for my bunk, unless I can cobble in a section to make the existing much shorter sheets fit. I think I may have enough sheeting left to do that…
  • A new quilt for the Husband’s bunk. I’m going to nab Anemone for mine! Both current quilts will become multipurpose spares. Retired from active service, but still handsome and very useful.
  • A rug/mat or two for the floor, some just for comfort, others to slurp up paw prints, sand, water, etc. Some of the existing ones will work, but more are needed because bigger caravan.
  • A padded headboard/back rest for each bunk. Colourful scrappiness for these, definitely!
  • A pair of curtains to pull across between the sleeping and living sections. These are not strictly necessary, but may be helpful if one of us wants to sleep while the other watches a movie, for example (and before you ask, headphones). I had a lot of fun looking at fabrics in Spotlight the other day, as I don’t think these are going to be scrappy. Life is too short, there are some really beautiful prints, and we have trips planned already… Lots of colourful gorgeousness there, so hard to pick just one!

I do think everything needs a bit lot of colour. There isn’t any. Not anywhere. It’s all black and white, which is nice and fresh, but does not please my eye. It’s not alive, or friendly, or vivid.

We also need places to put things around our beds, so I’ll be looking for stick-on shelves, pockets, racks, hooks, etc.

And I’ve carried on making storage baskets for our clothes lockers. Four sizes now: s/m/l/xl.  I’ll show those another time.

Tomorrow, Miz Lizzie makes her final journey with us. Sad, but it’s time.

Farewell, but not forgotten

Miz Lizzie is nearly ready for her last ride with us.

I have spent the days since we got back on Saturday afternoon emptying her out. It’s amazing how much you accumulate without noticing over 5 years. And also amazing that it’s been 5 years already. Still, she has done sterling service, and is now heading over to Yard 5, where Uncle Mitch the caravan whisperer will give her a makeover and prepare her to be holiday accommodation.  Less rollyness, more cosyness, as it were.

The Husband has to empty the tool box at the front, but everything else is clear. I’ve wiped and swept, but I’m not sure how much point there is to that, since Mitch will undoubtedly be ripping out some of the panelling and moving stuff around.

In the process of clearing out I saw that the blind for the clear top half of the door was stained from top to bottom, and I wasn’t able to wash whatever it was out.

I love this fabric. It’s furnishing weight, and I found a small piece of it and managed to eke out these two cushions (still going strong) and the window blind from it by piecing very, very carefully.

So I wasn’t going to just throw the blind away. I cut out all the motifs that were (mostly) unaffected by the stain, and I’m appliquéing them with blanket stitch to a piece of matching-ish fabric to make yet another cushion. Miz Lizzie’s heritage lives on. The original cushions will be migrating to VanEssa too.

Speaking of VanEssa, after we have delivered Miz Lizzie to Mitch, we are then having a new hitch connector fitted to the ute (flat 12 instead of 7 pins). Once that’s done, we can go fetch VanEssa, bring her home and I can start playing!  The previous owners have left stuff, but I’m not quite sure how much or where, or what it’s like, so it’s all to be discovered. I’m developing quite the list of things to make for her, first of all being new sheets for at least one of the bunks. The Husband’s original set fits his new bunk, but my set is far too small, since my original bunk was a lot shorter.

It’s hard to wait, I want to get in there and get cracking!

VanEssa: Inspiration strikes

Well, I was thinking about caravan furnishings.

As you do.

And then it came to me. I will take my inspiration from an earlier plan. What do you get when you mix black and white (ie, the new caravan interior colour scheme)? Yeah, grey. And what do I have that was going to be named Fade to Grey?

This beauty is the last of my F²F blocks, and I’d planned to make a big quilt. But now I might make two smaller quilts, with the addition of a few more appropriately coloured blocks. Or perhaps wide borders. Or something. There are a few more blocks which aren’t shown on this layout, which I would add to the Husband’s less, er, hectic version, but then I could top up with a few more bright ones for myself.

And then of course there’s a padded headboard, and a couple of cushions, and a nice bright rug or two. And this caravan actually has a curtain rail across the width of it at at the foot of the beds, so you can curtain that bit off for more privacy or to let one person sleep while the other does something that needs light. So a set of full length curtains is also on the list. Also pot holders, tea towels and…. well, you get the idea. There will be a textile frenzy, and the colours will be fresh and bright, to give a nice pep to the clean black and white theme that’s already there. Think turquoise, green, orange and pink, and you won’t go far wrong. Hehehe… story of my life. I don’t do minimal. Or discreet.

I want to be…. Vivid!