Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What shall we do for Valentine's Day

Tuesdays my cleaning crew (a group of 5 ladies) comes in and in a jiffy they move through this house, leaving everything spotless when done. The only part I don’t like, is not really knowing where I belong during this hour and a half but boy once they’re gone every possible guilt trip about the house lifts from my shoulders and I can happily play on my own in my sewing room.

This morning I decided to make a tutorial on slip on wine glass coasters – an old pattern I found years ago on the internet and recently saw again – for one quilt group. They are currently rather busy with a free-motion sampler as well as the design challenge blocks previously mentioned, so I decided to keep the project rather small. This is how my end product turned out.

Basic background blocks done!

Had a birthday party for hubby at home on Saturday evening and weren’t up to much the Sunday. Lazed around (mostly in bed) watching the Australian Open Tennis and only started feeling guilty about the undone housework, rather late in the day. Had some bad news too when we discovered Sushi, the ginger cat that arrived on our doorstop some 3 months ago, ran over by a car. Old Socks (the other ginger cat) is devastated and misses his buddy. Decided to get up early Monday and make it a productive day, which I did.

Just before the big kids came over for dinner, I started with the rest of my design challenge blocks, thinking that if I can do all 12, I only have the appliqué per month to do and I actually got to finish the remaining 11 basic blocks.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

January block - Design challenge

I set a design challenge for a quilt group in that we all have to make a basic foundation piecing tree block per month with a blank fabric to the side of the tree. On this we must then appliqué a picture of

a) What this month resembles to us OR

b) What kept us busy during this month OR

c) What was foremost in our minds during this particular month?

Having my youngest finishing school at the end of last year, starting her tertiary studies this year and January traditionally being the beginning of the new school year for South Africans I decided on a stack of books.

I found the picture in a clip art computer programme appliquéd the coloured shapes using appliqué paper and did the black with satin stitches. My apple could have been a little brighter but I always try to use from my scrap stash for appliqué and this was the most suitable in reddish for an apple.

Block done:  22 January 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010

2010 Beginners' Sampler

With the most welcome summer rains falling softly outside and the Australian Open Tennis on TV, I finished my beginner’s sampler quilt this morning after taking Blou (translated = Blue) the ring-neck parrot to the vet. Still not sure what’s up with Blou, so another visit to a vet flying in from Stellenbosch tomorrow morning. Ideal opportunity to take Meeko, the African Grey, and one of the younger cockatiels (we ran out of names for them) for check-ups as well.

As if we don’t have enough pets, my blonde went to Kentucky to buy lunch one afternoon during a break in her classes and instead of getting food, she came home with a tiny little black street cat, now named Catsidy. Catsidy is officially cat number 4 in this house and has taken to quilting and the sewing machine as if he’d done this in a previous lifetime.

Completed: 22 January 2010

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Outsourcing and Valium

I had such a productive quilting day. To get myself motivated for the new year I quickly paged through my "How to be a Perfect Housewife" (author Anthea Turner) book and as if a higher force wanted to put me at ease because all I really wanted to do was quilt, I opened on the page where she explains that there is nothing wrong with getting help and that is just what I did.  After I arranged with 2 cleaning ladies to come in and do all my windows and gave Milla (our fattest little dog) her valium - she suffers from major muscle spasms brought on by tension especially if we have strangers in the house - with Milla relaxed as can be, I could quilt to my hearts' delight, which I did. 

I finished a small hand quilting project which I started when doing a class with national teacher, Sue Prins, in November but still need to do the binding and then I did 2 more blocks and Powerpoint notes for the beginners' course so the quilt on my design wall is slowly but surely taking on shape.

The other good news is that my imported kitchen floors have arrived and hubby and crew will be fitting it tomorrow.  I have a nervous excitement about this.  Hubby tried everything to persuade me to choose something else but once I saw this design (- the best I can describe it would be to say it looks like water puddles on a tarred road -) I wanted it.  The kitchen was designed by an architect and even though I love it, almost too picture perfect and seeing that the architect had no say whatsoever in the floors, I wanted something that represented a little of the 'not-always-so-perfect' me.  Fingers crossed that opposites would attract in this case too!!

Monday, January 04, 2010

New Years's resolution

I made only one New Years' resolution...... to quilt a little every single day.  I've noticed that too many days passed in the previous year that I didn't even touch a piece of fabric and I wanted to change that.  However, as the saying goes, "life happens while you're making other plans" and as early as the 3rd day of this new year I was unable to stick to my resolution.  The big kids came over early Sunday morning supposedly to have a quick coffee and this "quick coffee" lasted until 22:30 the evening - so much for quilting a little every day!

Today, the first Monday of the year, we all decided to get into somewhat of a routine after lazing around for 3 weeks during our summer break to prepare us for next week when the South African working year will start in all earnest for most of us again.  Started my day out with a very sweaty workout session at the gym - this is really not one of my favourite activities but something I unfortunately need to do and if I am forced to be honest, it gives one energy during the day and ensures a good nights' rest. As usual I made undone all the hard work at the gym by having several cups of coffee (with sugar and full cream milk) not an hour later when a friend came over to visit.

So finally after working through my list of housework, ticking off as something got done, I was able to start with lesson 8 of the Beginners' Sampler and completed the block.  Come to think of it.... if I can make a block a day, I should be able to finish a hell of a lot of quilts in a year.  Okay, that was just a thought, not a definite decision or a promise.