Staying cool with Lime & Soda

In case you were wondering, this is not a recipe post…

Mackay is in the tropics. Our climate is hot, ranging from pleasantly sunny to raging, stinging heat with the force of a hammer. Our old wooden house requires no heating and air conditioning is a must. In the winter, the sun is the only way of taking the edge off any mild chill inside a house designed to stay cool. To this end, the house was designed with a sun porch running along the north side of the house, following the track of the winter sun from east to west. It gets sun all day long. Our living room has 4 continuous french windows which open onto this sun porch, but they’re never open, despite the fact that it would increase the space, warm the room on cooler days and increase air circulation. This is because the sun porch gets too darn hot; the aircon compressor lives in there, and the louvre windows have no fly screens so they stay closed, and the screen door onto the porch lets in the hot air.

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this?

The porch roof slopes down so the curtain needs to be higher on one side than the other. I shall fill the gaps with sashing fabric.

Curtains. If I screen off the area of the porch where the compressor lives with a heavy curtain, keep the louvres closed and the bamboo blinds down, and have another curtain for the screen door, I can open the french windows and air condition the sun porch too on hot days and allow warm air into the main room on cooler days. And the Lime & Soda bit? That’s the clever name my friend Carla came up with, back when I was going to make a quilt from these blocks, which were made as part of the first FootSquare Freestyle (F²F) block swap.

Sashing fabric for between the curtain blocks. The flowers are about 2 inches across

NYB tablecloth, which I will edge with the sashing fabric, and three cushion fronts

Instead, I shall make a heavy curtain from 28 of the F²F blocks, and for the table and chairs in the porch a tablecloth and cushions from the four gorgeous New York Beauty blocks made by Avis and the final  three blocks.

The screen door curtain will probably come out of the numerous black, white, grey and lime green scraps I was hoarding with these blocks.

That leaves just one problem. How to stop the barking geckos leaving their pellets of poo all over everything.

Up to now, they’ve had it all their own way in there, and that’s going to stop.

Still, the little poops are black and white, so at least they’ll blend in with the colour scheme.

Ah, life in the tropics…


Curtain down: Foot²Freestyle draws to a close

For the past 21 months, an unusual swap bee has been quietly unfolding.

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 7.32.54 pmIt hasn’t been well known or publicised at all, but it has produced some extraordinary creativity, exciting use of colour, and inspiration to try our hands at something a bit different. Foot²Freestyle, or F²F as it has been familiarly known, required its members to produce three foot² (12×12 inch) blocks each month, in the recipient’s designated colours, but in any design, hence the Freestyle. Each member took it in turn to receive the month’s blocks, and while the rest of us could see and enjoy the blocks we were making in the F²F and then the F²F² galleries, the recipient stayed away, to enjoy the surprise when opening her envelopes. After the first 12 months, there was sufficient interest in the process to go again, with some new and some existing members from the first round.

The result is a pair of block galleries of great beauty and variety, a source of inspiration and ideas for future quilts for all of us. If you haven’t been following F²F up to this point, I encourage you to go and take a look, using the links in the previous paragraph and scrolling down month by month to see what everyone made. The galleries also show some finished quilts, demonstrating the amazing results a collaboration of creativity can produce. I also hope that members who complete their quilts at some future stage will let me have photos so that they can be added to the roll of honour.

To all those who have participated in either or both sessions, Sue and I as the originators of this block swap would like to extend our thanks and very best wishes for the future. We have greatly enjoyed working with you all, and hope that we will have an opportunity to renew that pleasure at some future stage.

Until we meet again around the F²F campfire, happy sewing, may your creative juices never run low, and see you on the other side of several fun new projects!


Please note that I am on the road most of 2 and 3 March, and may not be able to respond promptly to your comments or messages. I will do my best to catch up quickly!

F²F² January round up

Slowly we are coming to the end of F²F².

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 7.32.54 pmThere’s a really beautiful array of blocks for Esther’s magenta/ green/cream colour choice in the gallery. It’s an unusual and sophisticated combination of shades and works brilliantly, so I think the finished quilt is going to be outstanding. Esther has not made her own blocks for this yet, I suspect she’s waiting to see all the others before she decides, and I believe they’re all in now.

February is Claire’s month. She’s been the first to mail her blocks almost every month, they’ve all been beautiful, and she’s waited patiently for her turn. Finally, it’s time! She’s chosen a bright and happy combination of blue, green and orange, based on what is for me a very familiar image – Australian rainbow lorikeets 🙂

As you’ll remember, this month is the last of the second F²F series – Sue and I are taking a break to concentrate on other things. If there’s anyone who’d like to carry on and take up the reins of organising and maintaining this block swap, just leave a comment or contact me by email. We may bring it back at some future stage, as it has been both fun and helpful in encouraging inexperienced quilters to try new ideas, blocks and processes. I’ve learned a lot, and have made new friends I’d never have met without it.

To any F²F-ers out there who are looking at their blocks and thinking about what to make, do make a start! I’m still hoping to put a finished quilt for all our members in the gallery one day… 

F²F² December round up

Already the end of the year!  Where does the time go?

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 7.32.54 pmWell, everyone has had a lot of fun with Gun’s pink, blue and yellow colour scheme. There are some really gorgeous blocks over in the gallery. Due to the extra busyness of the season, we are still awaiting two sets of blocks, but I hope they will be added to the line up soon.

January is Esther’s turn, and she’s chosen hot pink/magenta, muted dark green and grey on a white or cream background. She also prefers fabrics that read as solids or have small scale patterns. She’s provided a lovely photo as colour reference, so take a look at the Members’ colour page to see what she’s thinking. And then after Esther, it’ll be time for Claire’s turn, and something completely different! 

At this turn of the year, it seems an appropriate time to tell you that this is the final F²F Sue and I will be running. We have other interests and goals to pursue, and the admin can be a little time-consuming. I have enjoyed it enormously, but now I want to turn my attention elsewhere. If any of the existing members wishes to continue, or indeed, administer the project, I will be delighted to turn it over to them, including administration of the Footsquare Freestyle blog, so let me know if you fancy a turn at the helm!

A happy New Year to you all 🙂



F²F² November round up

Sorry I’m late with this, but I had something urgent and unplanned to do for the last two days, and there was no opportunity to get this post written, let alone published!

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 7.32.54 pmSo, November is all but done. All the blocks barring one set are made, and if not yet received, then at least in transit. Esther is having a struggle to find sewing time and space; she has sold her apartment and is camping with her family till her new home is ready. I imagine her sewing things are mostly packed away and she has not much space to work in, hence the understandable delay with her blocks. The blocks that have already been completed are there in the gallery; they’re lovely, and worth a visit.

December is Gun’s month. She has chosen pink, yellow and blue, in vivid, bright shades – hop over and take a look at her inspiration photo on the Members page, and you’ll see how harmoniously they work together. I definitely need to go and buy more yellow!

Just to remind everyone that the Christmas season will mean mail takes longer than usual.

No more excuses!

My best excuse for not completing my FootSquareFreestyle (F2F) 2015 quilt has just evaporated.

There was one outstanding set of three blocks, due from Emmely in the Netherlands. Now, Emmely got married recently, so has had a great deal on her plate. Then she went on honeymoon. And once she got back, she’d been feeling unwell for quite a while, so I was happy to wait patiently, and I think you’ll agree it’s worth it! For any new followers who haven’t seen the other blocks in the 2015 collection, hop over to the gallery page and take a look. Scroll down… and down…. and down…. My blocks are last of all 🙂

Emmely 1 Emmely 2 Emmely 3Of course, you know what this means…

Yup, it’s now officially a UFO, a quilt which will have to wait patiently for me to find the time to sandwich, quilt and then join everything together.

On the upside, because this quilt is staying at home with me instead of being given away, I’ll be able to improve my FMQ skills on it without fear of  giving away a quilt with slightly-less-than-perfect stitching.

You know me: Finished is Better than Perfect.

So I won’t be rushing, or guilting myself, or inflicting any (more) stupid deadlines on myself. It’ll just be slow, steady and as time allows.

And by the end of 36 blocks, I’m willing to bet I’m not so scared of FMQ any more…

Foot2Freestyle: May roundup, and conclusion

It’s the last month of the first round of F²F!

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 7.32.54 pmMost of the blocks are either here or on their way. A couple of us have not been able to get their contributions done by the end of the month, with excellent reasons, and I’m really not complaining. For the first time in my life I have multiple WIPs and making my F²F quilt has to take a back seat to getting more important things done, so a delay in receiving blocks is not a problem.

It has been a wonderful year of working with you all, and Sue and I have enjoyed it enough to be going round again. Lessons have been learned, skills have been honed, new skills acquired and perhaps, for some, new passions developed. Personally, I have gone from detesting paper piecing because it seemed so hard, to absolutely loving it and preferring it to regular piecing for many applications. It has given me new ambitions to reach for, and taught me that we all work in different ways, all valid, and all best suited to each of us.

I thank you all for the enjoyment, the beauty, the challenges and the lessons learned in organising this block swap. Some of you are joining us for the next round; only 9 months this time. To the rest of you, I wish you happiness, good progress with your projects and a hope that you will stay in touch.

To the F²F² members, see you all over at the block swap’s new home:  Progress reports and roundups will still happen here, images will be displayed over there in the new gallery. What a riot of colour that’s going to be – everyone has gone vivid this time round.

It’s been a great block swap. Thank you all.

NOTE: This post has been prepared in advance and scheduled for posting on the last day of F²F. I may not be able to reply to comments straight away due to medical issues, so please be patient. I’ll reply to everyone as soon as I can 🙂