Sunday, 30 May 2010

Book shelf Quilt

Last night while watching Eurovision I was doing some top stitching on a quilt. It got me thinking about all the quilt projects I'd like to try.

In particular a book shelf quilt for our Library. A snuggly quilt that we can camp under on a cold night while reading a book

via Flickr

There are lots of variations on this design floating around the internet .. but essentially it is a variation on a stacked strip quilt quilt with some strategically placed colour. Lots of opportunity for some hand sewing and personalisation with the spines of the books.

via GardenWeb

Some people do these quilts in 2D others do them in 3D to make them stand out a bit more.

via Pats Pattering blog

I like the idea of including non-book things, so there will probably be a cat in my quilt, perhaps some pictures of my grand parents in frames (thanks to printable quilting cotton) and other ornaments. There are lots of examples of bookcase quilts once you start looking online!

This idea is of course, just a pipe dream. I haven't started buying fabric or plotting out the blocks, we first have to get the Library fully functional. I also have Tori's paintbox quilt to finish by September and then of course all the "works in progress" for my online shop.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Weekend crafting?

Despite the fact that my non-craft list is very long this weekend, I desperately need to find some time just to "be me" in my own space. It has been quite an intense week and I am missing my craft. I have a few orders to finish and some more re-organisation of my craft space. Am I the only person that does a re-organisation every few months?

But I am looking forward to spending some time in front of the box this weekend watching Eurovision.

Lordi, winners in 2006

Yet again we will try and have an embargo on "news" in our house on Sunday so that we don't know who the winner is. But there is always a news service that announces the winner with no spoilers - grrrr. No regard for Australian audiences who want to keep the surprise until they watch SBS on a Sunday night.

Have a happy Eurovision weekend!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Save the world?

Crafter extraordinaire Sandra Pepperberry is off to save the world next month and is fundraising to aid her volunteering efforts.

Head on over to her blog and check out the details of the crafty fund raising night she will be having TONIGHT in Thornbury.

If you have a few $$ donate to her worthy cause there is a paypal button on her blog as well. Alternatively, come along to this screening of Crossing next week.

This is such a worthy cause and she is a very courageous person to be able to put her life on hold for 3 months to help others who don't have the civil liberties like we do. The world needs more people like her willing to take risks for others

Please find the time to drop into her blog and wish her well with her trip and if you can donate a few dollars or more to help her quest.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Hexagon Patching

A few of the Year 7 girls at school are interested in patching, so I thought I would introduce them to paper patching. Something that they can do by hand, it is portable and they don't necessarily have to do a blanket, it can be a pillow or a pencil case.

Inspired by Patch Andi's Hexagon quilt, I went-a-searching for Hexagon pieces for patching and came across this web site that produces PDF Graph Paper. Print out on the ink jet and voila! But if you don't want to cut out the hex's yourself, then craftylady has some 1/2" hex's pre-cut that you can use.

Barbara Brackman's blog has this wonderful post on working with Vintage patchwork blankets. I could flip through her blog for ages, such lovely posts and information about being a Quilt Historian!

picture via Film in the Fridge

As for me, I don't think I will have the patience to be able to make a whole blanket, but maybe some accents on my bags or a brooch or two will quench my hex thirst.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Japanese Quilt Magazines

One of the quilters at the Modern Quilt Guild meeting on the weekend had a stack of Patchwork Quilt Tasushin magazines.

All in Japanese of course, but at the back visual diagrams of how to put together the creations, so you don't really need to understand the kanjii.

Some gorgeously coloured quilts

And then some really WOW quilts. Check out this stained glass window quilt.

I found that Super buzzy has an excellent range of magazines and periodicals.

Does anyone else know of any other destinations online that sell good quilting magazines?

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Tetris Quilting

On saturday I was fortunate to spend most of the day at the Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild. We took along our hand sewing for the first part of the day and then the second half of the day was workshop time. Pure quilting goodness!

In the afternoon I attempted to re-do my attempt at a tetris quilt. Unlike some quilt designs a Tetris quilt isn't very forgiving when it comes to seams lining up and I wasn't happy with what I had done. So I unpicked my 2.5 inch squares and I thought I would try the technique that Elizabeth from Oh Fransson used with her postage stamp quilt.

Using a pen, I ruled out a cube on a piece of iron on interfacing The cube was 6 x6 with each square being 2.5 inches in width and height. Pinned down the bits of fabric and then once I got the design right, pressed them onto the interfacing.

Then I ironed each seam, sewed it and voila! Instant Tetris quilt block within an hour. This block will turn into a pillow and I am thinking of getting some soluble interfacing so that I can use this technique to make a baby quilt with.

What do you think?

Friday, 21 May 2010

Joie de Tea

At the recent Modish Market, I stumbled across Joie de Tea. A Melbourne gal, she hand blends some gorgeous tea's.

picture via Joie de Tea

She has an etsy shop and also a twitter account which is worth following. She is also donating 10% of her sales to the Australian Cancer Council's 'Biggest Morning Tea' throughout May.

So go and buy from her and support the "Biggest Morning Tea" initiative!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

My creative space

I'm doing lots of writing at the moment, so in my study I sit with Vlad our newest addition to the family purring away on my lap. My workdesk is pretty messy at the moment!

I am looking forward to the Modern Quilders Guild meet on Saturday in North Melbourne. A whole day quilting ... just me, my rotary cutter and my sewing machine - bliss.

And if you are playing "My creative space" this week, don't forget to pop over to Kootoyoo's blog and leave your name.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Five Favs

I thought I would join in on Pip's post on her five favourite things this week ...

1. My cats
Introducing a new cat into the mix is always dangerous .. Vladamir is settling in well, every once in a while you hear a growl and a hiss as Natasha and Vlad pass each other in the hallway. He is adjusting quite well to being an "inside only" cat.

Natasha watching Vlad as he washes

2. Geek crafts
As I type away at my manuscript I am tempted by lots of crafty and geeky ideas. Dreams of assembly language cross stitch fill my head. Sad huh?

via bishopart on etsy

3. Heat packs
Sitting at the computer for far too long this week, my heat pack is my favourite thing. Sitting at my lower back as I type or they come to bed with me when it is cold. I think I need a new one and I might just buy one from Me and Mlee at their next market, their heat packs are lovely!

4. Nice cups of tea
Essential to any writing process, I came across Joie de Tea and her black vanilla mix at the last Modish Market. Yummo!

picture via Joie de Tea

5. The Good Wife
I have really been enjoying "The Good Wife", especially as the characters developed and there is heaps of UST (unresolved sexual tension) introduced into the episodes.

picture via buddytv

These are my fav fives, what are yours? join in!

Treasury goodness

A few bloggers and etsian's have been feature a few of my wares in their posts and treasuries ..

This gorgeously themed "who dun it" treasury by TheBeadStorm was in honor of the axing of Law and Order featured one of my crime scene bags.

Pardalote Beads did a post called Ruby Tuesday and featuring my Skull love baby quilt. Lots of lovely things to covet in this post.

One of these days I should sit down and create a treasury of my own!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Modish Market Reflections

The last week has just been hectic. New cat, lots of school work and lots of writing due.

I am only now just getting around to uploading pics of the Modish Market that I did the weekend before last. So while I savour my cup of tea, lets reflect on my market experience.

The space was magnificent, Malvern Town Hall is a gorgeously restored space and we each had huge tables to put out bits out on. Of course I bring so much stuff that it isn't a problem, but my table cloths which were cut for a smaller table protested. So I swapped the red top for the white top and ended up with this set up.

I really do need something that stands up the back of my stall independently of the table so that you can see all my bags from a distance. Any ideas? I have discussed with my dad some ideas because he is very crafty with metal, but we are still working out the measurements and logistics of getting it into a small car!

I ended up making a batch of key fobs for the market, which were very popular indeed! I have made more and they are on display at my cube at incube8r on Smith Street. I got to try out my new tool that dad made me and it worked a treat to crimp the ends of the fob. I do have to invest in some good felt for the end of the tool so that it doesn't scar the metal.

I had all my quilts on display and I got some good feedback from the little old quilting ladies that wandered past. Lots of people took cards and enquired about smaller and larger quilts. So maybe there might be some business heading my way. Again, I need to find a way to display these more effectively.

I've done a lot of markets over the last few years and I also been on the flip side organising the Northside Makers Market. The market was so well organised. These girls have put their hearts and soul into organising what they hae tagged a "lifestyle" market (rather than a craft jewelry market) and there is food, tea, chocolates, traditional crafts and more importantly cup-cakes!

I was so thankful to my dear friend Chrissy for coming in for an hour to give me a rest so that I could wander around and an check out the stalls and she took Tori for a walk to get a cupcake. She was very impressed with herself! And thankyou to Beky, Karen, Tracey and Catherine who popped in to say hi and support the market.

Unfortunately, the May market was the only Modish Market I as able to sign up for. It was the "first" market and probably a little quieter than usual. The next Modish Market is on the 19th of June, so head on over and show your support to this market which is still quite new, but I think it might be around for a while once it builds momentum.

Project Deadlines

I've been a bit absent lately from posting as I am furiously working towards a deadline. It is only when you have written a book that you realise how much effort actually goes into it and how many people are involved in the process.

picture via churl

Once this next stage of my writing is finished, I am looking forward to getting into my sewing room as it needs a serious clean and vac ... a bit of furniture re-organisation, some more plastic tubs and then hopefully I will be able to share with you what my creative space actually looks like.

Until then, what projects are you all working on at the moment?

Thursday, 13 May 2010


We have a new cat in our lives ...

Vladamir is a 2 year old stray that needed a new home and our home was missing the presence of a Russian boy.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Konstant Kaos @ Incube8r

Have you taken the time to check out Incube8r? Konstant Kaos are very excited to announce that we have a cube at Incube8r on Smith Street. There are some really gorgeous products from some of Melbourne's newest designers and now there is a Konstant Kaos cube!

Starting with some lovely Japanese florals and some select alternative prints, Konstant Kaos will be rotating through some of the unique products that we make every few weeks.

We have Cube #1 .. top left hand side of the left hand cube stack. Can you see the Kaos star??

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Mothers Day Classic Reflections

Rather than do what I did last year (and the year before) and sleep in on Mothers Day, a friend and I made a decision a few months back to train towards the day and enter into the 4km Mothers Day Classic Run.

Every week we have been meeting for training and although both of us have encountered various difficulties, we both turned up on the day.

We were up at 5.30 ... an ungodly time of the morning. Due to general indeciciveness, I didn't register online, but arrived early and registered on the day. We left without much breakfast, we took some food with us instead.

All along the course there were signs like this one, generic "feel good" signs. There was about 5,000 runners, some were trained well, others struggled. The pushers in particular were a bit annoying, prone to stopping without warning ... If I do this again, I will try to start closer to the front to avoid pushers and kids.

Heading towards the finish like .. exhausted! I ran about half the course and power walked the rest, running, walking, etc. I was pleased that I managed to run half of the Anderson Road hill in one go. My aim for the next run is to run more and walk less ;-)

The best thing afterwards was seeing Tori running towards me. "Mummy you were running". Hopefully when she is older, she will take up running with me.

Jen and I after the run ... we did it! Now that our metabolism is working, lets go and do brunch!

The next run will probably be the Melbourne Run on Sunday July 18th.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Breath of Avignon

I bought a jelly roll a while back American Jane, Breath of Avignon. In a moment of weakness, the rotary cutter was calling me and I found myself at the machine .. patching again!

If you have ever wondered why I sew with so much red, it is because I buy red homespun by the bolt. I found it more economical to do it this way as I use so much red in what I do.

The fabric is very very busy and I played around for a while with mixing and matching the different patterns together and ended up with this. One 3x3 block and a block done using the Oh Fransson method again, with a fussy cut center and a frame around the outside.

How do you work out your quilts?
Do you sketch them out, use a computer or just "go with the flow"?

I think that the red blocks balance the busy-ness of the blocks. I decided to cut two 2 1/2 inch strips down to four 1 1/4 inches to do the border around the outside and when I get my backing fabric in and my batting I am hoping to do some hand quilting detail around the red blocks in white perle embroidery thread.

For the backing, I have ordered a yard of this matching fabric from Hancocks. I haven't ordered fabric from these guys before, so I am hoping that it works out!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Turn of a Friendly Card ...

I've had a few metres of gorgeous playing card fabric in my stash for a while now. I've made lots of pouches and lunch bags with it, but I wanted to try my hand at a baby quilt.

I played around with some 3x3 patch blocks, but ended up using a method that I learnt from the Oh Fransson web site. You fussy cut the middle block and then framing it in a complimentary fabric.

I am rather happy at the way this one has turned out. My hubby was rather excited when he realised that it was the size of a card table as well .. baby quilt doubling as a table cloth?

Now to find the energy to batt, back, quilt and bind. I was going to do the back in the fussy card houses print/check and then probably bind with a striped bias. If only I could find black and red striped bias!

I am hoping to get to the Stitches and Craft show this afternoon. I have school reports due in and the deal I have made with myself is that I get my reports in early, then I can go for a few hours and enjoy the crafty goodness ...

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Modish Makers Market this Saturday

If you are on your way to the Stitches and Craft Show in Caulfield this Saturday, swing by Malvern Town Hall and drop in on the Modish Creators Market. We are right around the corner!

Konstant Kaos will have a stall there, along with some gorgeous crafters. Modish have a fabulous blog which spotlights all their stall holders. Back in March, Konstant Kaos shared the spotlight, head on over to their blog to read all about me!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Gubblebum Kids

A while back I made a batch of baby shoes for Gubblebum Kids and now they are online and ready to be bought!

Konstant Kaos are very excited, this online store and it has an excellent range of baby wear! All I need now is another baby ...

On their NEWS page there are a number of specials!
So check them out and spread the message using your social networking tool of choice!

Monday, 3 May 2010

New Glasses

The last time I had my eyes tested was three years ago ... finally got around to getting them re-done and my left eye now has a stronger prescription.

In addition to my serious "teaching" glasses, I have opted to go for a funky pair as well.

What do you think? You might not be able to see, but the arm has a tattoo design on it.

Does it say crafty, alternative Margaret?

To wash or not to wash

Since I started to make baby quilts I have been plagued by this question. I spend hours patching quilting and binding baby quilts, but should you wash your quilt before selling it?

We all know that if you work with heavily dyed fabrics such as red fabric, a pre-wash will save you angst later on. But do you wash your quilt after you have finished quilting and binding?

I don't wash any of my other products, but I have this niggling in the back of my mind that if someone is going to buy a baby quilt then they are not going to wash it before they use it.

So what are the pro's and con's? You run the risk of shrinkage or colours running, but is it better if it happens before the product gets to the customer?

I took the plunge and washed my baby quilts in a low allergy soap wash with vinegar as fabric softener and there was only minimal shrinkage.

So these two quilts are washed, pressed and packed ready to go on Saturday for the Modish Market at Malvern Town Hall and I have three others which are awaiting finishing, but realistically with everything else happening this week, I will probably only get one more done before market day.