Friday, July 27, 2012

Friendly Friday - Karen from Sewing Tales

Are you doing a happy Friday dance? I am! because it's Friendly Friday time and this week we're featuring Karen from Sewing Tales. Karen is another Aussie quilter, in fact she practically lives just down the road from me. Our busy lives meant we haven't met in person yet but we do like to chat. Karen has a House Quilt WIP too, so who knows maybe we'll get together and sew our house blocks together one day. In the meantime you can hear her thoughts on quilting and have a look at her wonderful work.


Hi Karen, tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello! Its very cool to be here chatting with all of Rachael's friends. My name is Karen and I live in Sydney suburbia with my husband and 6 year old son. I work 3 days a week in a bank and am extremely thankful to be able to remain in a paid job I love working with very nice people as well as having time to help out at my son's school if they need it. Currently that is reading groups with my son's class every Friday and working in the canteen once a month.

How long have you been quilting?
Would you believe I can't actually remember the exact year. I think it was 1998.


What enticed you to start quilting?
My best friend and I mapped out a 2 month holiday to Mexico and the States. As part of the holiday we picked up a hire car in Philadelphia and drove out to Lancaster County.  In doing our research the Lonely Planet travel guide recommended buying a handmade Amish quilt. Well we hit the shops and I saw the price and was devastated that I couldn't afford one. The quilts I saw were just so beautiful. I bought a quilted pot holder instead. I couldn't come away empty handed could I?  Well when I got home and settled back in I couldn't get those quilts out of my mind. So I signed myself up for a class at the The Quilting Bee in Gordon (now sadly no longer in business). When I first entered the shop I just fell in love with all those gorgeous fabrics and colours.  I had bought a sewing machine a few years ago and dabbled in making clothes because I liked playing with fabric. But it wasn't until I found quilting that I realised that 'this' was what I really wanted to be doing with fabric and that was it. Nothing else was going to get a look in.


What do you love about quilting?
I love all the different fabrics, designs and wonderful people that quilt.  I used to attend a weekly quilting group but after having my son and returning to work I could no longer attend the weekly meetings. I don't remember exactly when I got into blogs but BOY what a wonderful way for me to re-connect with the quilting community. I really found a place that suited my lifestyle and was so welcoming. I don't get that much time to create these days but I don't mind so long as I have my eye candy from reading blogs. Thank you to all the bloggers who share their beautiful creations.


Is there any part of the process that you don't like?
Yeah, basting. I have never liked it and probably never will.  I like big quilts so their size is also a big deterrent. But I have basted a few quilts so I know exactly what I am missing out on when I send my quilts to a longarm quilter.  The added bonus is my quilts do get finished fractionally quicker when I send them out to be quilted. She does a beautiful job.


Do you have a favourite sewing saying or motto?
I love the galloping horse one (if you can't see the imperfection while galloping past on a horse its not worth worrying about).

What model sewing machine do you use?
I have a Janome 6125 quilters edition.


Do you listen to music while you sew? What is your favourite type or cd?
As my sewing 'nook' is in the family living room I really don't get a say in what's on. If I get a chance to play music I set the MP3 player to random and sing while I sew. I have so many differen types of music on board and I love not knowing what the next song is going to be.  Please know though that I am in no way a good singer and only do this when no one else is home. The fabric can't yell at me to stop because I am hurting its ears with my woeful singing (ha ha).

What is your favourite food?
Now this is a difficult question because there is so much good food around. I love good hot chips, chicken laksa, tabouli (so fresh!) and vietnamese pork rolls from my local bakery. At home I love Jamie Oliver's chicken stroganoff (so easy and so unbelievably tasty) and some roast pork with my hubby's greek salad (oh soooo good).

Do you have any furry friends that keep you company while you sew?
No, we don't have any pets.


Tell us about the house blocks you've made?
I made Rachael two blocks.  I won some house blocks a while ago and have been collecting house block patterns to add to the blocks I won to make a quilt. I  picked two of my favouite patterns.  The block with the yellow background is from a pattern called 'Mad Plaid Houses' by Deborah Dorward (Down Under Quilts magazine). I call my block the 'Patchworker's House'.


The block with the blue background I call 'The Homestead' because of its size. Its bigger than I thought. Its the centre block from a Blackbird Designs quilt that was published in Australian Homespun. I thought clever Rachael could pimp it up if she wants to.




 Yay! Double the Fun!!! Thank you Karen, Your houses are so wonderful! I love the names you came up with and the summery sorbet colours you've used. "Patchworkers House" is the only 3 story house so far and "The Homestead" is made with one of my most favourite ever Sis Boom fabrics! 


 Pop over and say hello to Karen at Sewing Tales to see more of her beautiful work. And if you like Blythe dolls you should have a look at Karen's Flickr site, her dolls are sooo cute!!


And have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blue Daisy Days



On the same day I found this blue daisy button...


 I was given this wonderful blue daisy tea cup!


 It's just the sort of cup that fairies would use. Thank you Sue!!


Soon afterwards this beautiful gift arrived from Melody of The House on The Side of The Hill Blog.
 Pretty little yo-yos all lined up in a row, each with its own unique button...
 Making this bag the prettiest string bag ever!!
 For those who don't know... Last year I was lucky enough to win Melody's giveaway of a Year of Gifts made by Melody. Each month I find a special surprise in my letter box. It never ceases to amaze me that Melody comes up with such wonderful and different ideas each time.
 Thank You Melody, this is a gorgeous bag and I love it!!

I've been doing a bit of sewing... English paper piecing starry hexagons for the 2013 Springwood Quilt Show raffle quilt.. It's a group effort with the committee all pitching in to sew, many hands make light work. Read more over at the Springwood Show blog


Talking of quilt shows... The Hunter's Hill Quilt Show is on very soon!! If you're in Sydney this is a show not to miss!! 3 days of delicious viewing from Friday 9th - Sunday 12th August. I'm hoping to be there on Friday. For updates and to see their raffle quilts check out the Material Obsession blog. For a taste of the wonderful work that this group does you can read my post from 2 years ago.

Happy Daisy Days to everyone!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friendly Friday - Kelly - Pinkadot Quilts

I love Fridays!!! Not just because it's pizza night but because it's Friendly Friday time. This week we have the lovely Kelly from Pinkadot Quilts. Kelly was one of my first blogging friends, she'd reply to my comments with questions that would get us chatting. It made me realise there was more to blogging than just posting pictures. Though I do always love seeing Kelly's pictures. Not just her amazing, fun, wonderful, bright, colourful, creative quilting projects but her photos of her garden or cute grandchildren too. Okay, time to let Kelly take the floor...


Hi Kelly, tell us a bit about yourself? 
I am 55 years old and have been married for 36 years to my husband Bob. We have 4 children and 4 grandchildren. I used to be a real estate agent.



How long have you been quilting?
About 35 years.




What enticed you to start quilting?
I saw a Lone Star quilt on the cover of Country Living magazine in 1976.  It cost $200 and I thought I would never be able to afford that but maybe I could make a quilt. In hindsight that was pretty inexpensive! I started hand piecing a Grandmother's Flower Garden and end up making a twin size quilt. When we moved in 1986 I threw it out! I thought it was ugly, I wish I had kept it.



What do you love about quilting?
The creativity is my favorite part. You can give 2 people the same pattern and the quilts will not be the same. The possibilities are endless!



Is there any part of the process that you don't like?
I really don't enjoy squaring up my quilts and they usually need it! It feels very cumbersome to me.



Do you have a favourite sewing saying or motto?
Measure twice and cut once. I need to pay more attention to that one.



What model sewing machine do you use?
A Bernina Artista 180 and a Featherweight




Do you listen to music while you sew? What is your favourite type or cd?
My guilty pleasure is to catch up with the Housewives of New York, or Orange County etc. They are so shallow and total junk tv, I love it.




What is your favourite food?
I love anything Mexican

Do you have any furry friends that keep you company while you sew? 
We don't have any pets, but lots of grandchildren. My granddaughter Maddy is going to be a quilter, she is always in my sewing room playing with pins and such.


Tell us about the house block you've made? 
When is started pulling fabrics I saw the white daisies on the blue background. In my mind I instantly thought Blue Mountain Daisy! So the rest of my fabrics were selected using that as a background. I like using big prints so it was perfect. I also know you like flowers as much as I do so I had to be sure to include one in the block and bigger is always better! I like the whimsy of a big giant flower.
I have so enjoyed getting to know you through our blogs and I really hope some day we can meet in person!


Kelly, Thank you so much!!! Your house block is so much fun!! That big giant daisy just makes me smile sooo much!! And you incorporated ric rac in the eaves, genious!  This house is just so sunny and wonderful!! Thank you!!! And yes you can be sure we'll get to meet in person one day. It's on my Must-Do list! :)

Pop over to Kelly's blog Pinkadot Quilts here and check out all her wonderful sewing adventures.

Have a great weekend everyone!! 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friendly Friday- Beth of Smazoochie

It's Friendly Friday time and I'm so happy to feature Beth of Smazoochie. I just love Her and her quilts!! She's definitely on my list of people I'd love to sew with one day. I really admire the way Beth plays with form and pattern, and how those factors work with different fabrics. You'll find this out as you read on... Okay Beth it's over to you...

"I have quilts or quilt tops made by my grandmother, great grandmother & great grandmother. The quilting bug skipped my Mom -- though she did piece some blocks, guided by her grandmother. It was a stack of her 4-patch blocks that started me quilting. I set them together in the late 70s and I was hooked."


"I love geometry & pattern, a big field of repeating shapes makes my heart sing. I also love cloth & color. Put these together & you have Quilting! Put me in my sewing room playing with fabric, in front of my sewing machine joining pieces & you will see a Very Happy Person!"



"I guess my quilting motto would be "Don't worry". I sometimes see people truly stressed about color placement or seam alignment -- it makes me sad. I wish they could find joy in the clashing colors, in their wonky (or not wonky enough) seams. Quilting is fun! Quilting is play!"


"I have a whole fleet of sewing machines -- though truthfully, only 3 are my real day-to-day machines, each with their specialty. I would wish at least 2 machines for every quilter -- unfortunately, machines do sometimes need some medical attention; with 2 machines, you should never be unable to sew."


"My music tastes are as varied as my fabric preferences. I love Lyle Lovett, Pink Martini, Dinah Shore, ZZ Top, Queen, the Beatles. But often I just sew in the peace & quiet of my room."



"Now we have 2 cats. The calico (of course! all quilters should have a calico!), Pippa, is often helping or hindering me when I sew. The tuxedo, Louis, sometimes drops by to stir things up. All my fabric has a scrim of cat hair."


"I wanted Rachael's cottage to be made of daisies -- & some bluebonnets to represent me in Texas, to be slightly traditional but kind of not traditional & to have a wild-ish combination of pattern (I don't have her skill for exuberant pattern & color combinations, but I am working on it!). I started thinking of her collection of houses as Daisy Town & as I made my block, I kept singing to myself about it to the tune of "Funky Town"! I think it will be a fun place to live!"
Thank you Beth!! Blue Bonnets and Blue Daisies rock the house together!!!  Hello happy smiley door. I love that this house block is so modern and yet honours tradition with HST's used for the roof. And don't you think the roof looks a bit like a sail boat, which is so perfect because I recently discovered Beth enjoys sailing.
So are you wondering why Beth's blog is called Smazoochie? to find out pop over here and you'll find out.  

Have a great weekend everyone!!!



Monday, July 9, 2012

Horned Melon...


After going round and round in circles I'm happy to declare this top finished. 
I just need to make the backing, baste it and then I'll be hand quilting these with big perle cotton stitches. It seems the obvious choice.

 My sewing machine hasn't returned from having it's service. Why does it always take longer than they say! I lasted a week before I had to get out my old 1960's Bernina, fondly known as Betty. It's been at least a year, maybe 2 since I used her but she sewed beautifully... backwards... It took me a while to remember which knob changed the direction. It amazes me now that I sewed quite a few quilts and even quilted with her.


This is what Betty and I made... Something quick and fun. I just couldn't resist those Lauralee Zebra prints.  Sis Boom meets Gees Bend!! I'm calling it Wild Thing! 


 On Sunday I went to a dress making class and luckily was able to borrow one of the teachers sewing machines. I made a skirt using Anna Marie Horner's Queen of Hearts fabric from her Innocent Crush Home Dec range.
Here's the back, I really did my best to line up the fabrics down the middle seam. I don't think anyone will be checking out my derrière so closely that they'll notice it's not quite perfect, the skirt, not my derrière!

Now this is worth checking out! We found green spiky mystery fruits growing in our garden. They're about 6-7inches long.

A bit of research showed them to be Horned Melons. Gbf bravely tried one, he says they taste like a cross between a lime and a banana. Weird! We've been trying to figure out how they came to be growing in our garden. We figure a bird must have dropped a seed as it was flying over onto far away places. 


Or maybe they are really from Mars and a family of aliens stopped by in our garden to have a picnic and dropped a few seeds. 
Or maybe a rose thorn said to a pumpkin, how about we get together and pretend to be a melon.
Or maybe...

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