Good homes for orphan blocks

I’m enjoying this.

It’s a great opportunity to free up some space whilst simultaneously creating something useful and pretty from orphan blocks I haven’t been able to use elsewhere.

Once again, the Days for Girls raffle is approaching. It’s not imminent or anything, so I have time, but it does give me a deadline for turning out a bunch of raffle prizes.

The main one, the Hopscotch quilt, is done and handed in. I handed over a bundle of heat pads a couple of weeks ago.

Now, there’s a new batch ready. They’re finishing at about 10 inches square.

The cushion at the end is coming out at about 16 inches square. The front is a lovely block from the F2F series from which I made my Bougainville Nights quilt. There was too much yellow in this block to work well with the pink/orange/dark navy colour scheme, but it was so pretty I’ve been saving it for a good cause.

The reverse of the cushion is scrappy, but again, it features birds and it’s double-sided with a pillowcase opening, so you can choose which side you prefer to display.

It’s enjoyable because it’s quick. And easy. And each one I make clears a little more space. Mind you, my To Do list remains impressive (Finish the Tyger quilt; hand quilt the Anemone quilt, make an Ovarian Cancer raffle quilt for mid-August; make the quilt I recently laid out from the last F2F blocks; make loads more Parterre blocks…. well, you get the idea).

Still on the DfG raffle pile is a stack of 6 place mats from leftover Twilight quilt blocks, a couple more book bags and if time allows, a rather posh tote from a pattern i bought about 2 years ago and still haven’t tried out.

Tomorrow is free for sewing, but the rest of the week is going to be a question of snatching time where I can.

I’ll keep on keeping on.

Another mixed bag

So, a couple different things to show you…

Yesterday, I went out for lunch. It doesn’t happen often these days, but up here in north Queensland we don’t seem to have any Covid-19 cases, so the sewing ladies of Days for Girls met to catch up on Christmas, the holidays and forthcoming events. Precautions were taken and distance maintained, barcodes were scanned, forms filled in and lunch orders were taken and arrived……… eventually.

It did take a long time for the food to arrive. But when it did, it was worth it.

Sourdough toast with a mountain of free range scrambled egg, mud crab and thinly sliced chilli on a bed of baby spinach, topped with sriracha hollandaise. A reverent silence was maintained.

This, plus the Dowager and Aunty Marion inviting themselves over for lunch today (and arriving at 10.30am!) chewed into my planned sewing time rather, but I did get this project finished in time to post about it today. It’s another Jocelyn Proust furnishing fabric, sold as a pair of 20 inch panels to make into a cushion cover. It was in the Spotlight remnant bin because someone had slipped with the cutting out and demolished part of the border. I love the colour scheme, and the birds are such fun!

And finally, the early stages of a future ScrapHappy project (but not tomorrow’s, I fear). I wanted a large bench mat for the kitchen. I currently use a tea towel for setting out the Husband’s work food supplies: Thermos flask of boiling water and two travel mugs of hot coffee, one of hot home-made soup; milk for future tea or coffee; a banana and two apples, sliced soft fruit or grapes; a bit of cheese and some trail mix. But I’d like something a bit more padded to protect the bench from hard edges and boiling water spills, so I’m going to make a large mat, 30 x 16 inches.

I’ll probably also make another, smaller one for assembling the packed supplies so he can put them in his bag quickly and efficiently. Anything to make things run more smoothly at 2.30am… I picked lots of pale and mid-grey scraps to stand out against the dark acacia butcher-block bench top, whilst at the same time being soothing and not to bright for scarcely-open sleepy eyes. Now all I have to do is press and trim them and start sewing.

Something completely different for ScrapHappy Day tomorrow, though!

A cushy number

I scored another bargain on Black Friday.

I purchased approximately $75 worth of fabric and notions, and I paid… $15. Lots of smugness, of course, but it always pays to have a serious rootle in the remnants and offcuts bin at Spotlight. One of my bargains was a pair of 20 inch cushion panels in a pretty pale grey and yellow colour scheme by designer Jocelyn Proust.

I have a deep hatred of inserting zippers on cushion side seams. It’s unnecessarily tricky and can end up looking lumpy. The zippers always seem to eat the surrounding fabric, the cushion pad, the lining, etc. So I’ve got into the habit of putting the zipper on the back, normally covered by a tidy flap. But this was a pre-printed panel, with no spare fabric to make a flap. I had to improvise.

I bound the edges of a slit across the width with a toning grey shot fabric, and covered the ends of a matching grey zipper to get rid of the bulky ends and stopper.

I inserted the zipper, overlocked the binding/facing, opened the zipper a little and sandwiched the front and back panels together. All the internal seams were overlocked; normally I line my cushion covers and bind the outside edge to finish, but having used up most of my ‘spare’ fabric to create a scrappy back for the DfG quilt, I didn’t any left in a suitable size!

The finished effect is neat and tidy, I don’t mind the bound edges round the zipper, and this will make another respectable prize in the fun-raising raffle for Days for Girls early next year.

And now to play with my next fabric score. Watch this space!

Hand-stitched heaven

Nothing at all ominous about my sudden silence 🙂

Quite to the contrary. I’ve been labouring away at some lovely hand-stitching. Carla at Granny Maud’s Girl has designed an EPP pattern for a beautiful cushion (pillow) cover, and asked if I’d look it over to assess the instructions. I loved it so much I had to actually make it up! I dearly love a bit of EPP, and normally I do it in a leisurely and intermittent fashion.

This was different, since I wanted to give Carla feedback as quickly as possible, so she can finalise the pattern. It isn’t launched yet, so I’m not showing you the whole thing, but this should give you an idea.

Now I just have to add batting and a backing and I can quilt it. After that, I’ll assemble the cushion, and it will go to my sister to join the Bonnard quilt I’m making for her – I’m sure you recognised the scraps!

If you love this as much as I do, hop over to Carla’s blog and maybe leave her a comment or drop her an email to express interest. She hasn’t posted it yet, but I’m sure she will soon.

I’m sure some interest will help her get it finished 🙂

Sea Glass # 7: Cushy…

You’ve got to love scraps.

sea-glass-cushion-front sea-glass-cushion-backHere is the nice squidgy cushion I’ve made from leftover bits from the Sea Glass quilt. It can sit on Cathy’s bed, as a promise for bigger and better things till the main quilt is done. Not that she ever gets much of a lie-in, of course, but it’ll be nice to lean against if she ever gets a chance to sit up in bed with a cup of coffee one morning…

It’s fully lined and the zipper is tidied away under a flap, so there’s no untidy bits or sharp pieces to dig in.

Now, back to the cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter. I have many, many strips to cut before I reach the border!

Quiet play: the big cushion

Having made excellent progress with my cross stitch project while I was travelling, it was time for another kind of stitchery.

Big cushion quilting progressThe Big Cushion is about half done. I’ve outlined all the coloured areas – not just the outlines, but all the colours – and have made a start on the background quilting. This is going to be simple echo quilting in ever decreasing outlines, using the same orange variegated thread as the original outlining. It’s slow, peaceful work, easy to pick up and put down, with the result that I can slot a bit in here and there and make surprisingly good progress there too.

For a sense of scale, the whole thing is about 22 inches square, and that bird in the centre of the image is about 3 inches across.

I think I’ll be propping myself in bed with it pretty soon!

A cushie for your tushie

Now that it’s in the hands of its new owner, I can reveal the Secret Sewing I’ve been working on..

I follow a blog called The Kitchens Garden. It was the first blog I ever followed when I started blogging, and it’s still my favourite of all time. The blog’s resident genius, Cecilia, posted a while back about the joys and ways of saving for something you really want. In her case, it was travel, to visit her far flung children on the other side of the globe.

Cushie frontOne thing she said was that her writing chair was becoming bony and uncomfortable. Normally, she’d be thinking of replacing it, but she was Saving, so it would  have to last a bit longer. I knew right then that a Chiconian cushion was going to make its home on the seat of that bony old writing chair.
Cushie backHere’s how it’ll look once stuffed – I’ve given her just the cover to reduce bulk as she’s travelling. She can insert a pad when she gets it home. If you want to know where the name for this post came from, just read the comments on her Saving blog!


A double bonus for us, the lucky few, having lunch together and meeting a mutual hero!

Birthday and Christmas, rolled into one!

I love it when I hear the postman stopping at the mailbox at the end of our drive.

It means there’s something there. Mostly, of course, it’s bills, or junk mail, or for the Husband. More recently, though, it’s been for ME!  Here’s what came this morning.

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 10.00.02 am Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 10.00.21 am Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 10.00.36 amThe kind and incredibly talented Cath from Wombat Quilts has send me the most beautiful cushion cover, done in gorgeous Essex linen and Liberty prints. I saw it when she posted it on her blog, here, and fell deeply in love with it. And now it’s MINE! She has also sent a generous pile of indigo and red scraps and larger pieces for Worldwide Friends, which is just what I need to give a bit of pizzazz to the top strip of the front. Cath really has the most enviable stash, and I’m very, very grateful to be the beneficiary of it!

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 10.24.50 am Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 10.25.05 am Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 10.25.19 am Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 10.25.37 amThe other bit of glory I received was this, an exquisite little sketchbook from Anne Lawson, a Melbourne-based artist who specialises in botanical illustration. Her feather illustrations are also remarkable, and I’ve acquired a couple of them! The sketchbook is made up of odds and ends from her own sketchbooks, with scribbled notes, sketches and little nature studies on many of the pieces. I’m greatly looking forward to trying to do justice to it with some calligraphy and maybe some sketches of my own.

Do go over to her blog and take a look at her beautiful work – she has an Etsy shop as well, which is well worth browsing in for more of her wonderful detailed and delicate drawings and paintings.

Please remember that the works depicted in these images are © Anne Lawson and you should contact her for permission to copy, Pin or use them in any way.

Surrounded by all this loveliness, I’m once again feeling excited and motivated to carry on. I’ll have a Worldwide Friends post ready soon.