Sunday, October 9, 2016

Bits and Bobs #4 - School holidays and projects!

Fabric pull for a baby quilt

This week has been great - I took the week off of work and the girls and I have had a nice relaxing school break. We visited the museum, caught up with a family friend for lunch, went to the movies (to see The Secret Life of Pets), visited a play cafe with a school friend, had a successful (and cheaper than expected) dentist appointment for Zoe, a trip to the zoo and a library visit. Definitely fun times! Unfortunately, it is back to work for me tomorrow - so I won't get to spend the entire holidays with them - but I am very thankful for the week we just had.

We also looked at three houses this weekend with my best friend. She is looking to buy an investment property and she would be renting it out to me. Our deadline is mid-January when my lease is up, so we have until mid-December to find something. Exciting times!

Now onto my creative endeavours. Currently I have 4 quilts on the go in various stages. First of all there is the mega quilt (EPP hexagon quilt) - which I generally work on one night a week, and realistically I need to work it on more often if I ever want to get it finished. The second quilt is for my friend Janice - she is due in November with her first baby boy. It is a simple HST quilt using the fabrics in the above photo. I will finish piecing the top tomorrow night.

100 modern block layout finalised!

My third quilt on the go is my #100days100blocks quilt - I worked ahead and have now finished the 100 blocks, now I need to add the sashing and piece the top together. So this project is currently stalled because I need to purchase black fabric for the sashing before I can move on.

9 Patch - Basted and ready to quilt

And finally my fourth quilt on the go is my 9 patch quilt, which is all basted and ready for my sashiko thread and big stitch quilting. I am just waiting on some quilter's tape to ensure I get nice clean lines. I ordered some online - and may have accidentally ordered a few new pieces of fabric too.... whoops!

Sashiko thread for big stitch hand quilting

I have practiced my stitching on some scrap fabric and batting and I think I am ready to go. Then it will be binding and one finished quilt - hurray!

Hand quilting practice

ReadingAmy Butler's Style Stitches by Amy Butler (kinda crushing on Amy Butler's style at the moment)

Listening: Crowded House and Washington. 

Watching: Gilmore Girls - finished all 7 seasons!!!

Eating: Good old Sara Lee strawberry cheesecake.

Til next time!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

October Goals

9 Patch - Basted and ready to quilt

Well that was long lived wasn't it? Just when I was getting back into the blogging I go and take a two month break! Well, I am determined to have a proper go at it now, because I feel like if I don't then I am going to forget all the awesomeness that is going on in my life. I want to have a record of where I am going and where I have come from. So back to the blogging!

The reason I have been away is because of my obsession with quilting! I have been super busy every night piecing, piecing, piecing! The quilt above is the quilt that I have been making in my lessons with Lyn at Riverlea Quilts. The lessons have been fantastic - so much knowledge, so many tips, so many cups of tea and a lot of chitty chats. I love it! I feel like I have finally found my creative home in quilts and textiles and all things fabric - I absolutely love it and have a whole heap of projects in mind.

Anyway, anyway - I thought I would set up some monthly goals for myself so that I don't end up all over the place!

Family Goals
  1. Create a special day for Zoe's and Grace's birthday.
  2. Throw an awesome birthday party at the park for the little ladies.
Home Goals
  1. Sledgehammer the bird bath and start binning it!
  2. Garden weeded and tidied up.
  3. Gutters cleaned.
  4. Decluttering in my bedroom, the lounge room and the dining room.
Creative Goals
  1. 40 more hexies pieced for the mega quilt.
  2. Janice's baby quilt top completed.
  3. 9 patch quilt finished (not sure if this is realistic).

I will blog again this week - I am going to try to make the habit stick for my own good!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bits and Bobs #3 - First step in machine piecing and fabric purchases

First Quilt Project

This week I started my little table runner quilting project, and I quickly realised how little I know! First of all - pressing. It seems like an easy enough thing to do, but I don't know if it is me or my iron - but it did not go as smoothly as I had hoped. Perhaps I need to be using starch to help? I'll see how it goes next time and go from there. Secondly - cutting. Again, seems like an easy enough thing to do, but I definitely need to work on my technique to increase my precision. Thirdly - actually sewing, I am a bit unsteady - which of course meant I went a little bit wonky. All in all though - I think I am going well. One small step on my long journey to quilty awesomeness.

I quickly realised that my seams are definitely not 1/4" (much bigger), so I ordered a 1/4" foot for my sewing machine to help me in the future. I've also ordered some Aurifil thread and some fabric online - eep! I can't wait until I get my packages - happy mail!!

I may have also bought some fabric from Spotlight. I spotted this cute bird pattern and decided to find some coordinating fabrics to go with it - yellows, corals, black, grey and teal. I'm quite excited by it!

New Fabric

I'm planning to use the new fabric to have a go at the #100days100blocks Instagram sew-along with Gnome Angel, Sweet Little Pretties and Sunflower Quilting. Seems like an absolutely crazy thing to do, but I'm going to try my hardest and just see what happens. I think I am actually going to make two quilts from the 100 blocks - 35 blocks will go towards a baby quilt and 65 towards a lap(ish) quilt. So I will need to find some different fabric choices for the 35 baby blocks - more fabric fun!

New Fabric

Reading: Tula Pink's City Sampler: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks by Tula Pink

Listening: David Bowie and Prince - still so sad that two of my favourites passed away this year.

Watching: Gilmore Girls, the Masterchef finales and The Bachelor (guilty pleasure).

Eating: Home cooked meals - all week long! Yay for being organised!

Fabric Stash

Til next time!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Bits and Bobs #2 - Basting, Quilt Books and Attempting to Shop

New Crafty Books

This past week was pure madness - work was crazy busy, I had a mini-cold, it was the last week of school holidays and the weather was wild! It was seriously exhausting, but we still managed to have a good time - these were some of the highlights:
  • A trip to the library - where we scored novels for Zoe, a stack of picture books, a bunch of graphic novels, a 500 piece puzzle, a few magazines and a couple of books on sewing and quilting. Gotta love the library.
  • Having my hair cut and dyed - bye bye premature greys!
  • Lunching at the McDonalds I used to work at when I was 15 - almost 19 years ago! It hit me that most of the people that are now working there were not even born when I was there. I'm sooooo old, maybe those greys aren't that premature!
  • A trip to the local park - where I was bombarded with screaming children *shudders*.
  • Going to the Sewing, Stitching and Hand Craft Show, which in all honesty was pretty much a disappointment - I just didn't see anything that really jumped out at me, but also I had the girls with me and they refuse to let me actually look at anything properly. Le sigh.
  • Visiting the paediatric dentist for Zoe's teeth - she has developmental dental defects and is going to need a bunch of work done - 3 fillings, 3 fissure seals and 2 metal crowns. On the up-side she is excited about the chocolate scented happy gas that she is going to have with her treatments. It's the small things.
  • A dinner/play date - complete with homemade pizzas, jelly cups and games of Uno. Nobody even threw the deck across the room - I was impressed.
  • The girls having a sleepover at Bay's (grandma's) house - thus enabling me to stay late at work, then work from home, and then get into work early the next morning. Awesome-sauce. 
  • Spending a huge day in the city with the little ladies - tram rides, a visit to my office - so they could see where I work, lunch at the art gallery, book shopping, bakery break and toy shopping. This then led to general grumpiness in the household from exhaustion.

I just have to put this out there, I can not - can not - choose fabric at a store when the girls are with me! We were in a fabric store twice this week, and while I was trying to choose my fabrics they were both running around like crazy people and continually asking if I was done yet - like every 5 seconds! Arrghh!! Both times I walked out with nothing - I guess at this stage I have to wait until I am child free (which is hardly ever) or order online. The joys of single parenting ;).

In the creativity department I have kept pretty busy this week. I did a huge section of my house cross-stitch and then realised I had made a pretty major stuff up! I am too grumpy about it to even look at it right now - but at some point I will have to undo everything that I did in my last session. Very frustrating! So cross stitch has been a big fat failure this week, but I have made a lot of progress on my hexagon basting for the mega quilt. I am powering through (thanks Gilmore Girls) and will hopefully start piecing again soon.

Forever Basting...

I also got a few new books in the mail this week (mmmm I love that new book smell) - Quilts from the House of Tula Pink by Tula Pink, 100 Modern Quilt Blocks by Tula Pink and Sew to Swap by Chrissie Grace. I am promising myself that this week I will start my quilted table runner so that I can actually start attempting some of these beautiful patterns in these books. So much to do - so little time!

Reading: Quilts from the House of Tula Pink by Tula Pink

Listening: Crafty Planner podcast - I won't know what to do with myself once I have caught up on these!

Watching: Gilmore Girls (up to season 3 now), Orange is the New Black (season 3) and The Walking Dead (season 6)

Eating: Badly! I have been feeling super unorganised - so dinners have been very haphazard and work lunches were scarce.

Til next time!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Bits and Bobs #1 - English paper piecing, cross stitch and podcasts

The Mega Quilt

Welcome to Bits and Bobs - my new weekly blog post about all of the random things that are happening in the world of The Red Deer. I have been biting my nails thinking about what I want this blog to be - making myself a nervous wreck, and then last night I had a brain wave! I said to myself "Alicia, how about you just chill out and go with the flow for once?" - and that is exactly what I am going to do! I have no grand plan at this stage - I'm just going to use this platform to share what I am doing and what is happening in my life, and hopefully make some online friends who have similar interests to me. And thus I have decided that a weekly bits and bobs post is a great way to ease me in. I'm just going to keep it casual and keep a record of what is important to me week-to-week.

The Mega Quilt

So first of all I have been working on "the mega quilt" - I finished all of my hexagons that were already basted, and now I am back to basting up the next batch. Basting is definitely not my favourite part of the process, and I sometimes freak out about how many hexagons there are on this quilt (2,936 to be exact). I have completed 13 out of 57 rows of the quilt - so 670 hexagons down so 2,266 to go! Yep, it is going to be quite a few more years before this one is finished.

House Cross Stitch

The other project that I am part way through is the Old Metal Roof House cross stitch. I'm planning to have this framed and then gift it to my mum for Christmas this year. I still quite enjoy cross stitching - I find it quite soothing and I love the beautiful embroidery thread. I think after I finish this pattern though I would like to start creating my own patterns and try something a little bit different. I tried to start playing around with ideas on the bus into work, but it turns out that motion sickness and cross stitch pattern design don't go well together.

House Cross Stitch Detail

So on the bus I can't draw or design or read, but I can listen to podcasts! I've been doing that every day and loving it! That is one great thing about public transport - it gives you the chance to do absolutely nothing and just sit back (or stand up) and listen to some wonderfully inspirational people. At the moment I am going through all of the Crafty Planner episodes - and I just can't get enough, I've also listened to all of the Craft-ish episodes and soon I will need to find another source to feed the addiction.

New Quilting Fabric

I've also decided to start another project - because you can never have enough projects on the go. I want to start machine piecing - so I am going to make a simple table runner to get me started. I chose to just keep it simple for this project - it is going to be simple squares using the blue/aqua solids and the yellow flower pattern, the backing will be the aqua with gold and the binding will be the black and white print. I am nervous about getting started, but I am building myself up to it - any moment now....

Just got to get my machine up and running - I kinda broke the needle last time I used it, and then I should really get started. Once I have that tiny project done I have a whole list of things that I would like to try. However, I need to remember to take it one step at a time. Baby steps Alicia, baby steps.

Reading: Quilting Basics - A step-by-step course for first-time quilters by Michael Caputo

Listening: Crafty Planner podcast, Craft-ish podcast and Michael Jackson (always Michael Jackson)

Watching: Gilmore Girls (season 1 and start of season 2) and Orange is the New Black (season 3)

Eating: Homemade banana cake with lemon icing mmmmmm

Til next time!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Back from the dead

March 2016

Please forgive me for I have sinned - it has been 937 days since my last blog post.

I feel a bit odd writing here again, but lately I have been overcome with a strong desire to get back into the blogging world. I want to re-ignite my passion for life again - get the creative juices flowing, have a place where I can (hopefully) connect with other like-minded people and share this rollercoaster of a life (even when the rollercoaster feels more like a roundabout). I'm not sure exactly what this blog will be yet, I'm just going to take it one step at a time.

So two and a half years have passed by since I was last on The Red Deer. During that time Grace has gone through kindy and is now in reception. Last time I blogged Grace was a three year old, now she is on her way to being six! She is creative, has a great sense of humour, is a sticker book addict and most importantly she loves her mummy (ha ha). Zoe is now in year 2 at school - my goodness, my big girl! I can't believe how quickly she is growing, seriously growing right before my eyes. Zoe is learning the piano, she loves to sing, read, and of course she loves her art and craft. That is one thing they both love - there is always drawing, colouring-in, gluing, sticky-taping, beading - something going on! So life with the little ladies is going well - they are both growing into such beautiful people and I am constantly amazed by them, and scared by how fast they are growing!

Life for me in the last two and half a years has been busy - of course looking after the little ladies, but also doing some part time work, volunteering, having two short-term relationships and all the little things that keep you busy. Right now I am still single-parenting, I have a job (yahoo!) at the University of Adelaide in academic support and I am getting my art and craft on!

Currently I am still working on the mega quilt - I think I am just over a quarter of the way there. I have also started a cross-stitch that I want to gift to my mum for Christmas, it has been a while since I did one and I'm really enjoying it. It seems that quilting and cross-stitch are what I am obsessed with at the moment - I am constantly thinking about patterns, fabric designs and all that fun stuff. I have so much to learn, but I am extremely keen and can't wait to get down and dirty in the textile world!

Well I think that is about it for now - and I promise (even if I am just promising to myself) that I will be back very soon - I've got to get this habit going! I'll finish up this post with a photo of the girls from every year I have been away - 2014, 2015 and 2016!


May 2015

March 2016

Friday, December 6, 2013

Sand Sculptures

Last Monday the girls and I took a trip down to Christies Beach to see the Sand Sculptures exhibition on the foreshore. The sculptures were absolutely amazing - so detailed and huge! The girls loved it and I was personally amazed. So many pretty things to look at...

Sculptures at Christies Beach

Sculptures at Christies Beach

Sculptures at Christies Beach

Sculptures at Christies Beach

Sculptures at Christies Beach

Sculptures at Christies Beach

Sculptures at Christies Beach

Sculptures at Christies Beach

Sculptures at Christies Beach

Sculptures at Christies Beach

Sculptures at Christies Beach

My personal favourite was probably the seahorse and the girls loved the mermaids, but really they were all amazing.