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!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Crafternoon - July 2016

God's Eyes - July 16 Crafternoon

A few weeks ago Grace was very unwell with a very nasty UTI (which is actually still causing her issues) - there were fevers and chills, vomiting, and a total lack of energy or appetite for a whole week. So naturally I stayed with her that week - barely venturing outside at all, and while she was resting I started looking at blogs again and I found (rediscovered) My Paper Crane by Heidi Kenney. I am a long time fan of her work and after looking through her blog I became so inspired to jump into a more creative life again - in fact it is probably why I wanted to start blogging again!

One of the many awesome things that Heidi blogs about is her monthly crafternoons - so I decided to have my own little crafternoon with my bestie Jess and of course the little ladies. We had pink cupcakes, chips, crackers with dip and of course cups of tea, because snacks are very important to any group crafting session. Just as important is the actual crafting - again I took inspiration from My Paper Crane and we made some simple god's eyes (using this tutorial). It was a lovely little afternoon and something that I hope can become a tradition.

God's Eyes - July 16 Crafternoon
God's Eyes - July 16 Crafternoon

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 Adelaide University 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.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Week in Photos

Dirt Cake for Archer
A cake that I made for young Archer - and yep that is his head in the photo, checking out his cake. So cute.

Getting my quilting on
Slowly making progress on my mega huge quilt, almost finished cutting all of the fabric - just one more cutting session required.

Advent Calendar
Our little advent calendar all finished and ready for the girls - and yes I do know that it only goes up to 21 - but that is the day their daddy comes to pick them up.

December 2013
All ready to party - and what a great party it was - hours of bouncy castle fun!

November 2013
Fun at the beach on a beautiful (almost) summer day.

Zoe's welcome pack!
Getting ready for Zoe to go to school next year - so exciting!

Pom pom mania
Making a whole heap of pom poms for a friend - watching Lilo and Stitch and Sleeping Beauty made it lots of fun.

November 2013
Child care Christmas party fun - there were a few tears but the girls had great fun on the bouncy castle and dancing the night away.

November 2013
Another day another party - busy, busy!

December 2013
The tree is up and it is definitely beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, I love this time of year.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Our Simple Advent Calendar

Advent Calendar 2013

This year I wanted to keep our advent calendar really simple and cheap. So I decided to use some pretty Christmas card stock that I won in a giveaway a couple of years back to make little pouches.

Advent Calendar 2013

So to make my advent calendar I used washi tape, pretty Christmas card stock and number stickers. I simply folded each piece of card stock in half then taped up the two edges to make a small pouch. Then add a number to the front of the pouch - and voila! Easiest advent calendar ever! I will stick the pouches up on the wall ready for the girls to see on the morning of December 1st. Until then, it shall remain hidden in the cupboard.

Advent Calendar 2013

I'm filling these pouches with little things I found in the $2 shop (stickers, small toy animals, textas and chocolates) and with some Christmas activity ideas too - decorating the Christmas tree, visiting the Magic Cave, writing letters to Santa and going for a drive to see Christmas lights. Can't wait for December to start - so much Christmas fun to be had!