Monday, April 30, 2012

Everybody keeping busy

The rest of the weekend we kept rather busy.  The mister got one of his workers to help him build cupboards in the garage.  These were salvaged form an old building site and after the builder delivered the planks to us they've been sitting in the garage against the wall for almost 3 years.

Without going on any guilt trips I could therefore retreat to my own little space with all my assistants with me.  They don't get paid so they don't help much but at least I can never complain about being lonely when I sew.

Here Ash is rather upset because Meeko (parrot) claimed his favorite spot on the ironing board.

The men made good progress and after the first day, this was already in place.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Testing my quilting machine in its new position

I had a rather productive Thursday and finished 8 more blocks for the Twisted Log Cabin quilt.  The outer top row done in other words.

The house was respectable when the mister came from work and I had a huge pot of soup with fresh Portuguese rolls ready for supper.

Before I took Meeko (the African Grey parrot) to bed for her afternoon nap (which I tend to enjoy more than her lately) I cleaned and oiled my PFAFF Grand Quilter as I've never used it since it has been embedded in the new tailor made table.

I have a small project that I wanted to start and what better time than the present (she says with a list of 21 UFO's already).  No actual quilting but straight stitching around applique with heaps of little curves and I figured it would be much better to do this with a free motion foot than having to turn the quilt top constantly.  Worked like magic with the top being able to smoothly slide over the surface without me having to clutch for dear life to prevent any part from falling off the table.

I am not showing any photos yet.  It is not a chapter in this story.  I will start a fresh new story for this hopefully soon (or then definitely in a couple of years).

I have also read all the blogs I follow and if I can managed to keep this up and get to read all the e-mails in my Inbox I might just feel a little better about myself come next week.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A sore butt and a happy me

I decided to start my long weekend a day earlier (Thursday).  Being mom and housewife I anyway have to cook and clean no matter what's being celebrated, so taking an extra day is well deserved I figured.

The only difference in my day when I take a so called public holiday is that I start doing my own thing first and in between I'll tend to the housework.  On ordinary days it would be housework first and only when done can I do my own thing.

The day started out raining and wet and I couldn't help smiling.  The Bloem Show (annual event) used to be end April but because it coincides with our rainy season the organizers moved it to end May and guess what......  it rains!!  Fortunately I had no plans of visiting the show on the first day.

It therefore didn't bother me in the least.  I was quite content in my new sewing space or female cave as I refer to it to the dismay of my family but if men can have 'man caves' why can't I have a woman cave?

My latest setup is perfect, I sew, swivel my chair slightly to the right to press, swivel slightly more to cut and pin, swivel back and start again - never getting up at all.  I have to admit at the end of the day I suffer from a rather sore butt but not having to get up to iron or cut makes me move along so much faster.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Creating a new page

Occasionally I like to know how much projects I've done in a year up to a certain time.  I suppose it serves as a motivational tool but previously I had to go back and read through my blog again and again.  I am really not having fun rereading my own stories, I'd much rather read those of others.

So I created a new page on my blog and named it 'Completed quilts/projects'.  You will find it right above the normal posts and here I only have pictures with the completion dates.  No sobby family or pet stories.  Just pictures to stare at or get a new idea from.

So next time you don't feel like reading visit this page and just look at the pictures.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Twisted log cabin center part done

This is how far I am with the twisted log cabin I took up again during our all night quilting in this post.

These 36 blocks make up the center part of the quilt.  I still have 28 blocks more to go but with a lovely long weekend ahead of us, I'm hoping to get plenty done.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A post for a nagging friend

This post won't show any quilt progress but I decided to do this especially for friend Karin, who had her mouth full about my ugly pinning boards in my post HERE.

Now there, as tidy as they'll ever be but I obviously have more things going or more to remember comparing my pinning boards to hers!

O and I won't change the towel over my chair with a pretty one.  This towel protects my chair against bird poo when my parrot sits with me.  She's highly intelligent and when I asked her if she wanted a new towel she said she really didn't care which towel catches up the poo as long as she can relax!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Liebster Award continues

I could cook an egg in a very strategic place yesterday when I couldn't find time to write about this award any further.  Friend Karin says I am set in my ways when it comes to my house but failing to stick to a routine just boils down to 'cutting your nose to spite your face'.  Eventually you have to do it and procrastination never made anything more fun to do.

Now a little more about this award I started posting about yesterday.  This is given to a blogger with less than 200 followers by a fellow blogger who follow or read their blog.  This hopes to give those bloggers just a little more attention.  As the recipient of this award you have to thank and link back to the blogger who gave it to you and I already thanked Marlize Ries from the blog New Beginnings in my previous post.

The rules after accepting this award are:
  • Thank the person that nominated your blog and link back to them
  • Nominate up to five other blogs for the award
  • Let them know via a comment on their blog
  • Post the award on your blog
I have decided to nominate the following bloggers.
  • Karin de Villiers - Kadevquilting - (
  • Leeann - Quilt Whangarei - (
  • Etty and her group - Quilting Corner (
  • Glenda - Ikati's Quilts - (
  • Paige - Quilt Nerd - (
Ladies I do hope you will accept this award and spread the love.

Monday, April 23, 2012

I received a Liebster award!!

I started blogging in 2006 after I kept a manual quilting diary for some time but with my filing skills (putting something away to never find it again) I wondered out loud how long it would last before I misplace it.  My son (computer geek) suggested I started blogging for then all I needed was a name and a password and I would never lose it.

The word 'diary' to me always had somewhat of a private connotation to it and I never in my wildest imagination thought anyone would have access to or even bother to read my stories...... until I started getting comments on my blog posts.

I grew up with one hell of a snob of an aunt who thought any and everyone was beneath her and even though I'm not good at any resolutions I remember as a child vowing that I never wanted to be like her.  So I don't pretend, what you see and hear is what you get.  If I have to introduce myself to strangers I would state my name followed by "I smoke, drink, swear and made all my kids myself".

Make no mistake I don't think a pregnant, smoking, swearing drunk is a pretty sight and I try not to swear just for the fun of it but hell if I drop something on my foot, you will know it.  The rest I do in moderation, after all I only have 2 children - so not that bad at all.

Anyway what I meant to say was after the first comment I got, I was totally blown away and started rereading my old posts to see what utter nonsense I might have said or how much of my private life I shared and had to find out....... quite a lot (of both!).  So for the next couple of posts I found myself counting my words, thinking about what I wrote and how other people would see it (me) but then it hit me;  I am being pretentious, I am being my aunt!

I try to live my life by the saying "life is about the choices you make" and I feel other people can do it too.  Reading a blog is not compulsory, so should anyone not like what they read, they don't have to but I refuse to try to please everyone.  From there on I continued in my old ways and receiving this award from a fellow blogger (not a personal friend) just made me realize that one has to be who you are - those who like you or what you do would do will, with all your flaws right where they should be.

So I wish to thank those of you brave enough to put your faces in my 'Followers' column for accepting me as is and a special thanks to Marelize Ries from the blog New Beginnings for this award.  I dearly appreciate it.

I have more to say about the Liebster Award but I unfortunately have to do my own cooking and cleaning so for now I'll stop here and walk away on a high cloud.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

No quilting on Saturday

After catching up on some lost sleep during an afternoon nap I looked forward to start sewing in my new space however DH and 'his' friends had other plans.  I was simply informed that Karin's revamped space and his new tables were incompatible and things needed to be changed.  DH wanted to help Karin's DH and I had to go along.

Ha! Did I enjoy seeing this mess when we arrived, especially after her snotty remarks about my space in my previous post.

Just for the hell of it I also took out a couple of pins holding her blocks to make it even messier.

However the men had a plan of action and pretty soon things were looking up again.

All the lady of the house did was taking photos.

All is however not done as Karin has more orders - another table, new cupboards, a flat screen TV..... her poor husband!

We stayed for Karin's husbands' famous cooking and a couple of drinks and when we got home I went straight to bed.

My new tables

Couldn't quite sleep as long as I hoped for on Saturday morning after quilting through the night but what kept me up was well worth it.  I was actually awoken by the blue parrot screaming (nothing wrong, her usual attention seeking act making her the one pet I hardly ever talk about).  So tired and upset with the stupid bird I got up (07:30 - only went to bed at 05:00) made coffee and realized I was home alone.  The blonde worked this weekend and I just finished my coffee when DH returned.  He went to the office to fetch the new sewing tables he started for me to finish these at home.

Before the new tables I used 2 standard size metal army tables (this is how we refer to these in South Africa).  I love the size as one represents the top of a single bed and 2 pushed against each other is the actual size of the top of a double bed.  So my tables serve as measuring devices when I start piecing quilt tops.

I however wished for a table with a hole big enough to have my quilting machine sunken to have a flush quilting surface and started looking for images on Google and showed these to DH.  He got the message and soon started making me one.  While busy he wondered whether he shouldn't make Karin one as well.  She has the exact same machine for quilting and knowing the 2 of us I think he knew once I had one, the nagging from her side would follow.  So I phoned dear Karin and this is how the conversation went:  "My DH s making me a table for quilting... (before I could continue, she interrupted with) "well tell him to make two".  So order given DH knew what to do.

The rest of the early morning was spent with DH calling me to the garage to "see this, look at that, try it this way and what do you think of that" until we could finally remove the old metal tables and move in my new tables; changing my setup for the better.

This photo is the space seen from the door as you enter the room.

The second photo shows my new quilting corner.  Flush with the new white table to the left is my Grand Quilter.  The little table to the left of that (right in the front with the fabric strips on it) will serve as a weight carrier when quilting large quilts.  Then in the corner I have 2 sewing machines and an overlocker pushed to the back (hardly ever uses this), a small ironing board and my iron.  What more could I ask for?

I was just still too tired to start working and decided to try to take another nap while DH started on Karin's tables but again the stupid blue parrot made such a noise that I weren't too successful.  I was really not the friendliest person by then.

I e-mailed Karin these two photos to show off my space and remember how I complimented her space in my previous post?  Well, don't for a minute think I got the same compliments back.  She phoned me and for a moment there I thought I confused her with my mother (not that my dear mom was ever this bossy) but the conversation went something like this:  "No sis man, remove those papers from your cupboards, straighten out your pinning board, line everything up, close your cupboard doors, have everything flush and neat like mine."  I mean really with a friend like this, who needs an enemy?

When I however realized DH left to take her tables and knowing my husband's organizing skills I knew dear Karin was in for a huge surprise.  Finally when the time came for me to put the grey parrot to bed, again home alone, I thought this would be my chance to get in a good bit of sleep, hoping to get some quilting done in my new space later the evening.

Remember one of my favorite sayings "life happens while you're making other plans"?  No quilting done the evening as it turned out totally unplanned.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Twisted Log Cabin progress

I left my house at 6 pm yesterday to go to Karin's and I LOVED her revamped room.  Just look at this neat space and here I've already moved in and moved things (the ironing board) around to where I felt I would be most productive.

Okay so maybe productivity had very little to do with me moving the ironing board closer.  With a cover like this, wouldn't you want it closer as well?  The fun part starts when heat touches that little towel and it disappears!  I could iron all night long.

Then friend Marie arrived initially helping Karin with goody bag projects until I ironed ans she saw the towel disappear; then I had my hands full keeping her out of my space.  This photo doesn't show it clearly but here she was blushing badly when she realized I had the camera on her as she too took before and after photos.

With Marie helping Karin she took way too many breaks and I wonder who taught her to put her feet up a table.

I finished 10 more blocks and I am really chuffed with myself.  With 25 pieces per block I think I did loads.

I left Karin's house at 4:40 am and were amazed at all the joggers (groups, couples and individuals) I found that time of the morning.  I could only come to one conclusion - we must have an amazing bed and mattress for there is no way you'll convince me to be out of bed and jogging at that hour or as Karin (not a morning person at all) would say "in the middle of the night!"

(PS:  Andre thanks for the lovely very expensive Lindt chocolate and ice cream pancakes and Ida if you read this, we talked about you last night.)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Preparation Day

I don't believe I am going to get any quilting done during the day.  However I am preparing for an all night quilting session by friend Karin's house tonight.  We just have to inaugurate Karin's new sewing space.  It is still the same room but this lucky lady got new laminated flooring, a fresh layer of paint, reorganized her space and a couple of new cupboards too.  Now if she's anything like me, she won't be able to find half her stuff after rearranging!

I've decided to take my least favorite UFO along to see if I cannot make any progress.  Least favorite because it is all done using foundation piecing - my least favorite technique.

So with the mister playing golf (read I don't have to cook) I tidied the house, got the washing machine going and now I have the rest of the day to print, cut and mark my foundation pieces.

When I say 'mark my pieces' I simply use a colored pencil to mark which color should go where.  When quilting through the night one becomes extremely tired round about 3 am.  This lasts for roughly an hour before you get your second breath but this hour (giggling hour as I think of it - you giggle about the most ridiculous things) is the one in which I am most probable to make stupid mistakes.  So having my colors marked on the foundation hopefully will help me survive giggling hour without any mishaps.

I am still seeking a way in which one would waste the least amount of fabric when foundation piecing.  For tonight I'll measure the width and length of the largest wedge on the foundation sheet, add an inch both ways, cut strips and see how it works for me.  Any better suggestions would be appreciated.

The top 18 blocks surely took me 4 years (if not longer) to make but don't dare call me negative as I've printed and prepared 18 more blocks for ONE night!

With my strips cut it was time to hit the shower and get myself as prepared as I have my quilting.  My cellular phone mysteriously set itself to "emergency calls only" and it was only when DH phoned the house to ask why I don't answer that I realized and understood why it was so dead silent and me not noticing where time went.

Okay I'm about as ready as can come, bobbins wound, machine oiled and preparation done.  If I don't make any decent progress tonight, I never will.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Play blanket for Marlene's grandbabies

Our local PFAFF used this butterfly print at a show to demonstrate their quilt frame and when dealer, Marie, decided to clean house and get rid of it, saleslady, Marlene, decided 'waste not, want not' and claimed it for herself.

Marlene recently became grandmother of twin girls but the story had somewhat of a twist in that the doctor wanted to abort the smaller of the two to give the bigger one a better chance.  Luckily the parents decided against it and both little girls were born just fine with the little one turning out to be the healthier one.  As we speak the bigger of the two is back in hospital.

Marlene asked me to continue the all over meandering from where everyone else who attended the show, could give the frame a test.  I didn't quite like the idea and tried to unpick but some of those stitches were so tiny they were literally embedded in the fabric.  I decided to cut the already quilted piece off, added a funky border and start quilting from scratch.

There this looks much more like a play blanket than the 'fugly' piece of fabric I had to start with.  Now just to get Marlene's opinion.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Easter project done

I stitched the top together on Tuesday evening but I didn't get anything done on Wednesday.  I had an evening class and printed center panel patterns all morning.

Thursday I added the first think navy border.

By the evening I had the second border on and my quilt covered with pins and pinmoors ready for quilting during the all night quilting friend Karin and I planned for Friday evening.

To see how nice pinmoors work, take a look at this video.

I ordered mine from Day Style Designs.

Somehow Karin and I weren't very productive but then we figured we haven't seen each other (for a week!!) and needed to catch up on some talking.  So we mostly talked but she did a couple of goody bag projects and then started quilting a baby panel quilt.

When I finally got going with the quilting I made good progress and was able to finish the binding Sunday evening while watching the movie on TV with DH.  There are still a couple of piecing mistakes but at least I now get the unit of construction and it can only get better from here.

Completed:  15 April 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

February beginner group

This beginner group is starting to round things up now and by the next class we'd be ready to do the borders and sandwiching.

Local PFAFF owner, Marie, on whose behalf I teach quilt lessons, came to check on us bringing along 2 milk tarts.

We don't mind being check on if there are snacks involved!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter project

Thursday before Easter I was so tired that I actually believed I wouldn't touch any quilting the weekend and for once in a very long time, my cutting table was totally clean except for a couple of bird seeds after we found this little one in the Mall right in front of Pick 'n Pays' doors.

However after taking most of the morning and afternoon off my addictive cravings returned and before we left to celebrate Karin's husbands' birthday the evening, I had my strips for my new project cut.

Waking up in a productive mood was somewhat hard on Friday.  I guess the Bubblegum Tequila from the previous evening had something to do with it.  With that and my brand new toy, a Samsung Galaxy Note phone I didn't get much done.

The big kids came over to guide me through the process of using the phone but for the first time, after upgrading, I actually understand a phone from day one.  I suppose because this little baby is more like a computer than a phone.

When the kids left I managed to stitch my strata and iron these ready for use.

While DH and the gardener got the outside in order I spent most of Saturday seriously stitching and I know I said it many times before I truly dislike foundation piecing.  This took the longest but I could see something happening on my design wall and I'm chuffed.

Not much to see on this photo but I'd rather show the project once completed.

The mister drove all the way to meet Karin's husband at their cabin by the dam on Sunday for their golf date.  With me home alone and having the house to myself I thought it good to leisurely start with some of Monday's household chores.  With Monday still a public holiday, the blonde and the mister at home, I reckoned it would be more rewarding to clean house and have it stay clean for a while unlike days with them around and it feels as if you simply can't win.

Unfortunately even with my house impeccable I didn't do as much sewing as I hoped for on Monday, therefore no completed project.  The units are all done and once trimmed I can start piecing it all together.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Giving up temporarily

Last week Tuesday I had to rearrange my sewing space (again!) to accommodate this huge quilt measuring 2, 5 meters square.

Friend Karin suggested I echo quilt and I obviously listened.  Worked a little every day hoping to finish the weekend but gosh did I have a hard time with this one?  As usual I had the weight of the kittens to take into consideration but it is not as if I am not used to this by now.

I encountered every problem in the book with thread shredding being the most prominent.  I could stitch towards me, to the left or the right but there was just no way I could stitch away from me without the thread snapping.

Frustrated and wanting to finish I decided to then work around it and start at the top every single row - not much fun either and as the weekend progressed I realized that my time was running out and I would not have this done before the end of the weekend.

With my setup rearranged I couldn't get to my high-pressure steam iron leaving the laundry piling up in one guest room, not good for the moral either.

So I decided Sunday was the deadline anyway, so off with the undone quilt and what would I see on the back?  Folds and puckers in the backing fabric.  Now for all I care this can just stay there.  There is no way I am unpicking to fix these.

Until I've done something else (hopefully with more success) to boost my spirit this dear quilt will now have to patiently wait on another spare bedrooms' bed to be completed.