Sunday, 30 June 2013

Before Hello Kitty: The Quilt

The news that Chelsea was coming to live with us stirred a memory in the depths of my brain that I had an unfinished doll lurking somewhere in the house.

I went and had a rummage and there she was - all packed up snug from when we last moved. It must have been at least 5 years ago that I started her.

Guess how much I had to do to finish her?  It took HOURS*. I had to tidy her hair, iron her top, slip stitch her mitten tops down and put two press studs on her dress. Why did I leave that unfinished for so long?  Who knows. 

Phew - you found me!

Anyway - I thought she would be a nice little friend for Chelsea. She is a Nekomimi (cat ear) doll made from this pattern. She is not quite as cute as the inspiration doll - I didn't get the cheeks and chin quite right - but I still think she's very sweet. I recall she took long and painful hours to make - although now I have her out, it is possible I may make her a friend at some point.

Cat paw boots - snuggy and cute

And a tail for balance, like all good cats.
She was a little bit embarrassed to be stripped down to her dainties for a photo to be taken, but I reassured her that you wouldn't smirk. 


Is this my best side?

Or this?

That's enough now.  Where's Chelsea?

Off to the quilt cabinet she goes.  Although Princess has already spotted her and sobbed with abandon when I informed her that she was mummy's doll and only able to be played with on special occasions by very very good girls.

"But I AM a very very good girl, Mummy" *sob, hiccup*

*hint - sarcasm. 

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Achievements - nil or thereabouts

If this was a weekly report, my quilting achievements would read like this:

Progress on Oh Dear - nil
Progress on lattice quilt - nil
Progress on puffy quilt - nil
Progress on buying more quilty stuff I don't need - superb. 

*quiet sigh*

This is the liberty blowout, in anticipation of my EPP book and paper pieces (I went for hexies and 6 point diamonds - most of the EPP quilts I like are those or a combination of both).  Who knows when this will get done. I'm thinking this is a 200 year project or something (I meant to type 20, but 200 is probably more apt). Really you should blame Hydeeann for this - she totally pressured me into jumping on board the EPP bandwagon (Her email went something like "so are you thinking about doing some EPP?" - talk about twist my arm, eh!).

Liberty vomit - the only sort I don't mind cleaning up.

This one is my favourite. 


This is nearly all of my Tula Pink Prince Charming collection, gathered from around the world. I'm just waiting for the last two fabrics, which I could only find on eBay and which are on their way.  I have NO IDEA what I'm doing with this. 

Charming Prince Charming

This is the start of my Parisville collection - it distracted me while hunting for Prince Charming. I have found an AWESOME Parisville quilt which I am going to shamelessly copy. It's all good.

The next obsession

This is Chelsea. She's coming to live here from Bamboletta Dolls. I don't really want to talk about how irrational this purchase was except to say that I HAD to have her.  Well it seemed that way at the time.  Isn't she precious?  I want to make her little dolly clothes so she doesn't have to wear the same old thing every day.

I suspect I'll be having a long chat to Princess about this being mummy's doll. Not sure how that's going to go. I think she can hang out in the quilt cabinet and say hi to everyone as they come in the front door.  What was I thinking???

Chelsea Shush

I need to get back to quilting. It would be a great money saver!  Linking up to Sunday Stash at Finding Fifth. Howdy visitors!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Man of Steel Fountain Pen roll

Hubby collects fountain pens. I bet you didn't know that!  Some of them are quite nice, too.

In fact he may have persuaded me to get two of my own, for work. I get him to fill them with turquoise and pink ink. That way, when I'm editing work for the juniors, they can have pretty pink comments instead of the red pen comments of doom.  And turquoise is prettier than plain blue, don't you think?  Although if I carry on like this I'll have scented paper and sign Liz with a love heart over the "i" before you know it. Super professional. 

Anyhoo, hubby has been nagging for a pen roll for a while. So much so that he emailed me some blog tutorials the other day. Subtle he is not. But I had my own plan, because unlike standard pencils rolls, these pens need a bit more protection.  Enter the Man of Steel fountain pen roll. 

Drum roll please ....

Ta dah!

Happy pens

The flappy bits at the top and bottom fold up, so when it's all rolled up, those little pens are as snug as a bug!

Fabric: from the Man of Steel collection for Camelot Cottons

Do you wanna know how to make it?  

Here goes ...

You will need:
  • outside fabric at least 18" x 10"
  • batting at least 18" x 10"
  • lining fabric at least 18" x 10"
  • fabric for pen holder approximately 7" x 28"- I used the same fabric as the outside but you don't need to
  • ribbon or cord for ties - approximately 36"
  • scraps for binding - a WOF strip 4.5" will be more than enough

This pen roll is to fit 10 fountain pens, so you would need to adjust the size if you have more or less pens. 

First, cut fabric, batting and lining in a rectangle for a finished size of 18" x 10" and quilt as you desire. I recommend straight line quilting 1/2" apart like I did because it helps the fabric to naturally roll and gives you guidelines for when you attach the pen holder fabric later. I used a Superman fabric I got recently from which received the hubby seal of approval. The lining is a plain red, and the batting is 100% cotton. 

All lined up and ready for their new home

Once you have finished quilting, trim the fabric back to 18" x 10". Then measure down 2.5 inches from the top of the 18" length of your fabric at each side, and mark a line straight across the roll. You will then stitch along this line to create the fold line for the top flap.  Do the same again from the bottom. See. 

Quilting 2.5" from the top and bottom

The next stage is to create the fabric panel for the pen pouches.  Cut a piece of fabric approximately 28" long by 7" wide. Fold it right sides together along the length and stitch together with a scant seam along the long side, leaving the short ends open.  It will end up being a bit long, but this will allow you lots of leeway for your pen pouches.

Fabric band sewn right sides together, before turning right sides out.

Turn right side out and press. Topstitch each long side for added strength. Then pin one end of the panel to the side of the 10" side of the roll. It should be roughly in the middle, but measure it against a pen, remembering that the pens will sit with the fabric at the top of the pen clip.

Check the placement of the fabric against the pen, then stitch in place.

Stitch in place along the side of the roll, less than 1/4" from the side.

After this, you need to make the little pouches for each pen. As hubby's pens are all different sizes, I did this for each pen - laying them under the fabric and pinning 2" apart - which happens to be every fourth quilt line (see it was worth doing that 1/2" quilting!).  Remember at the beginning and the end to place a pin 1/4" in from the side, as the binding will be sewn there. 

All pinned up

Pin across the entire roll

Stitch down each line, securing firmly at the top and bottom. Before sewing, I marked each line with chalk, to try and make it match up with the underlying quilting. Then pop your pens back in to make sure they fit!   

Trim the extra length of the panel off at the other end. 

Trimmed end. Soooo close now. 

Nearly finished.  Cut two pieces of ribbon or tape 18" long and attach to the outside of the roll, at one short end. Sew down securely within a 1/4" of the edge. You will then need to make sure you don't catch the long end of the ribbon in your binding!

Tape sewn on the outside.

Make approx 66" of binding 2 1/4" wide, and then iron in half. That allows 56" for the binding, and 10" leeway for the final seam matching on the binding. If you don't know how to make binding, this tutorial from Crazy Mom will help. I then machine bound the binding on to the roll, first sewing it to the inside. This binding is Barcode from Timeless Treasures, which I got from Sew Me a Song.

Binding all sewn to the inside.  High fives all round.

I then folded the binding over to the outside of the roll, and machine top stitched it down. Because this will be well used, I think machine binding is preferable to hand stitching, but it's up to you,

And your pen roll is finished. Stand back and admire. Make your friends ooh and ahh at your skills.

You're a handsome devil, Superman.

Close up. Show us your best side.

What a clever pants you are!  To roll up, fold the top and bottom in along the stitching, and roll from the end without the ribbon. 

I didn't have a third hand to show you how to roll it. Can you figure it out?

Enjoy.  Let me know if you make one - I'd love to see it!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, Crazy Moms, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, TGIFF. Howdy visitors!

Bits and bobs by request

I have been a busy little beaver making this:

It's a bird .. it's a plane .. it's super pen roll.

Awesome, eh!  Well I think so. So there has been very little Oh Deer going on, despite my two block a day plan. I need to do six now. Meh. But to keep you amused while I sort out my pen roll blog, here are various treats, by request. 

First (and he needs no introduction) the man I was going to marry. He was later replaced by MacGyver as my potential betrothed, but for a few short years, there was no doubt I was going to be Mrs Solo.

*wistful sigh* mmmmmmm

And that's why I love scifi. 

Secondly, Hello Kitty meets Liberty. A marriage of total cuteness. If Han Solo doesn't rock your boat, this should. 

Pretty teeny tiny kitties

And finally, I keep forgetting to show you my lovely refinished oak quilt cabinet, first seen here.

Ta dah!

Needs more quilts.  Rightio then.

There's even some quilts in it!  Please also notice the nice new oak floor, and the freshly painted walls.  If you're wondering about the weird lighting, we have a wicker lampshade, which casts shadows all over the place. Nice for mood lighting. Not nice for photos.

That's all I've got until tomorrow!  Get quilting quilty friends. 

Friday, 21 June 2013

Return of the Sewjo*

 - Stars Wars theme music -

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (or in Auckland, New Zealand) evil forces had been at work, stealing the sewjo from honest quilters. But never fear, because the force was strong in the quilters, and their sewjo returned ...

- Theme music crescendo, and ... End -

And not before time either. But thank goodness, the funk has lifted. I'm not sure why - perhaps it is the new iron supplement?!  It's certainly not because I've been getting good night's sleep. That is still a fantasy, like Harrison Ford as Han Solo. Mmmmm. 

I digress. 

So sewing has happened. Not a whole quilt top - don't be silly!  But at least some reasonable progress on the Oh Deer quilt. First, I made a few more blocks, because I thought maybe if I could see the pattern emerging, I might like it more. Which worked. Phew. Although not straight away. Here is the first pic I took of 6 blocks.

Hmmm, those little deers seem to have their ugly pants on.

Not loving it. I didn't like the brown all over the place, and I was beginning to think I'd be the only quilter in the galaxy capable of making an ugly quilt with this cute fabric. So I decided to put the brown together in a block, which I think worked better. It means less of an overall brown look, but a nice block of pattern where the brown is together. See.

Marginal improvement.  Perhaps some more blocks would help?

And then there was 9, which made me much happier.  I like the red and the full block of the brown. 

Yep - 9 is good.  No longer hating it.

And although it didn't make me love putting these blocks together (seam matching is not my friend - it seems to go best when I don't try so hard!) it did give me enough oomph to sew the four patches. All of them. So now I have 9 finished blocks, and 71 four patches, all ready to be cut up and rearranged. Yay for me.  I'm patting myself on the back!

And to make my life even more complete. My Hello Kitty Liberty fabric arrived.  I might be late to the party, but I sure love my Liberty tana lawn now. Silky soft like a baby's bottom!  It can go in my fabric boxes which are full of beautifully FOLDED fabric. Yes they are. Little piles 11" long and 6.5" wide. Lucky my ruler is the same width as my boxes, eh!

Top left = patterned neutrals, which I keep thinking I don't have enough of.  Turns out I do.  Pink isn't full though. Time to shop, shop, shop.

Here is a sample of their fabulousness. 

The week didn't pan out so bad after all!

Linking up Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Crazy Mom and TGIFF. Howdy visitors!

*aka Sewing Mojo - a term unashamedly stolen from Kristy at Quiet Play, who we like because she also likes Star Wars, also comes from Down Under and makes AWESOME Lego Star Wars blocks. Go see. 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Wednesday wipe out

Right - whoever stole my quilting mojo - I want it back, right NOW, okay?!

*stamps foot*

No?  Well until you give it back, there's not much quilting going on. Nup. I've managed, wait for it ... four ... blocks on the Oh Deer quilt. Only a bazillion* to go. Even Hydeeann's sage advice that little quilting chores make big quilts isn't enough to get me going.**

That's it. 

Of course the only sensible thing to do when you can't quilt is shop. So I have. It's so exciting. But I can't really remember it all.  I know that I have at least little packages with these delicious things on their way:

- liberty Hello Kitty fabric, Peter Rabbit (too cute) and Star Wars (hubby wants a pen roll) from (a new favourite place - good prices)
- Tula Pink Prince Charming and Nightshade bits and bobs from everywhere. My Tula Pink obsession has been late forming but is now full blown and it is VERY hard to find some of the fabrics. It is critical to have a whole collection you know.***  I am going to have to stocktake when this lot comes in and do a list of what I'm missing. 
- Michael Miller loveliness.
- geeky stuff, Japanese prints and various script fabrics from Sew Me a Song. She lured me with half price shipping. Evil minx.

And, having read a few blogs about fabric organisation, I've started sorting by colour. Enter the plastic bins. I'm up to 10 now.****

Folding required.  Want to come round and do it for me?

However I can't bring myself to separate the Tula Pink, so she has a special bin to herself. So pretty.  I need to refold everything to the same size, but that's a job for another day.

Mmmmmm.  Is it wrong to offer to have Tula's baby?

Anyway, I'm off to stroke my fabric and imagine what it would be like to finish a quilt. Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, because Oh Deer is definitely a WIP in all its stalled glory. 

* or 76. Either way it's too many. 
** and you should listen to Hydeeann, because she's, like, ancient (at least eight months older than me, anyway).
*** I blame Mother - she collects things and has instilled the collecting gene.
**** I think that's officially a stash, right? 

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Mini Quilt Madness

After a decent nap this morning (thanks hubby) I have managed to get some blogging mojo back, and tell you about my latest little project - the mini quilt. Hopefully I'll just manage to get this post sorted in time to link up to the modern mini quilt challenge over at Ellison Lane.

Like many other things, this has been festering for a while. The issue is this ridiculously expensive wallpaper we purchased for Princess.  

$ $ $
It is yet to go up in her room (just one wall - you'll have to bear with me if you're a feature wall hater, but it is too crazy for a whole room) and I had visions of finding matching peacock bits and pieces to tie the paper into her room. Alas, pink peacock accessories are not a dime a dozen. But, you say - why don't you make her a mini-quilt for her wall?  What a great idea my quilty friends!  Okay then. 

I decided I didn't really like the peacock in the wallpaper, so I changed him up a bit and drew a few sketches for some ideas. I made a quilt background out of 2" squares with a border - sort of a picture frame. And then I got hacking into the scraps from my lattice quilt and ironing with fusible web.  To cut a long story short, here are the progress shots.

It doesn't help that the iron leaks.  *sigh*

Half way through the ironing.  Fiddly. And not really in a good way. 

Aggghh - I can't see.  Where's my eye?

Started sketchy quilting. A first for me. Not awesome at it, but not too bad either. The yellow is my chalk lines for the whirly swirly bits. 

Still blind.  Will you just sort it out?

Finished sketchy quilting. Well except for around the feather dots and a bit more for the branch - I decided it didn't look thick enough to support a peacock!


I decided to straight line quilt around the black border, to emphasise the picture frame. But then I decided it needed more colour. Enter the hot pink border. This was a 1" strip, ironed in half - and then stitched around the edge. A bit like piping, really. And then I machined bound in the usual way. 

I'm so pretty, pretty.

Ta dah!  One mini quilt approximately 15 x 15". 

I totally forgot to put the hanging sleeve on, after thinking a million times 'I mustn't forget the hanging sleeve'. 

*Dramatic sigh* 

But I can do that later. 

Angle shot.  Ooooh.

I might attack it with a little hot pink embroidery. I shall ponder this further!  This was an interesting experience. The sketchy quilting was quite fun, but in my view not really suitable for bed quilts. I don't think the appliqué would handle being washed too often. 

So what do you think?  Princess was quick to claim it!  But next time I would spend more time thinking through the design. Maybe a bigger peacock. Hmmmmm.  

And just so you know how awesome and organised I was during this wee project, here is an action shot of the dining room table. Jealous?

Ka-boom.  Quilting explosion.

Not really, right?!

Linking up to Sew Darn Crafty at Sew Many Ways and Charm about You for the Lets Get Acquainted Monday link up. 

Friday, 14 June 2013

It's time to Par-tay

*turn up the stereo - woo hoo*

(Bet that's going to annoy you all day. Heh.)

That's right my quilty friends, Henry Fish: The Quilt is bound. Here are a few photos.  Your accolades, awards and gifts can start flowing in.

Who is that handsome fellow swimming across the bottom of the bed?

I have looked at a LOT of quilts since I started this and made a few more myself, but I still think this is one of my favourite blocks. It is so lovely and clean looking, and works with so many fabric types.  I think there may be one for the Shush bed in the future, although that's a king, so not for a wee while.  I am firmly sticking to smaller quilts in the short term!

Hello Henry Fish
The quilt fits a king single, with the border being the bit that's tucked in. That's why I decided to use yardage for the border, and not block to the edge, to save myself some quilting misery. No one will see it. 

We have this photo, although it looks like there is a curious lump in the bed, because it captures the colours the best. 

Angle shot.  Ooooh.
And here's another one, just because. 

Sick of it yet?

There is no photo with Henry Fish: The Pillowcase, because he's already living with Mother. I will get her to send a photo through when they are united. I am sure they will be very happy together!

Mother is coming to visit in July, so he will be going home then. But no need to cry, because I may have been visiting Spoonflower recently, and I may have got a spare yard of Henry Fish. But he's mine, all mine, this time!

Finally, because I know you all want to know how BQF's quilt is coming along, here is her most recent progress shot. Roger is being super dooper helpful.

I like this block.  THIS BLOCK.

Linking up to Crazy Mom and Confessions of a Fabric Addict, because this is definitely a finish Friday.