Saturday 22 February 2014

Heart Quilt Ta-dah!

Well hello again my friends, and welcome; thanks for being here and for all your sweet and encouraging messages, you know I love to get them, as well as your snippets of good advice!

Speaking of good advice I want to particularly mention the lovely Wendy from 'September Violets' who left me a very useful message regarding not using a steam iron when pressing quilt pieces as this can cause some stretching of the fabric - Wendy's message is there in my previous post if you'd like to check it out, and she also relates some funny experiences she's had whilst hand stitching! Thanks so much Wendy, I will remember this and have already learned from it!

I will be linking up again with Chrissie - we surely all know the lovely Chrissie - for 'Stitching Sundays', so do have a look and see what she and other crafty stitchers have been up to this week. Yes, I know, it's not Sunday yet but hey, I just had to get this project finished; can't sit back on my laurels and let the world go by, now can I - and besides, I'm raring to go on another adventure already!

So you now know that this is my Ta-dah post for the little heart quilt so how about we take a look . . .

. . . what do you think? I love this - it finished up measuring 40 x 30 inches, a little bigger than the first quilt (see 'It Started Like This' post), so perhaps the next one will be bigger still - we'll see! I'm becoming braver as I learn! And perhaps I may even be brave enough to risk wrecking the next one by trying my hand at free-motion machine stitching on it: there's one thing, I'll certainly be doing lots of practice at that before I actually risk spoiling a quilt - there's too much work involved to be doing that, methinks!!!

So let's look a little bit at the progression with this since last post . . . here we are with the binding ready to put in place . . . 

. . . and for this I folded the (cream with pink spots) strip double, placed raw edges together and stitched it to the front of the quilt top. Afterwards the binding was folded over and hand sewn to the backing. I know that having chosen the same fabric to back the quilt with, I could have cut that a bit larger to allow for  binding to be incorporated and finally brought round and hand stitched to the front, but for me, and being inexperienced in this quilting world, it was easier to do it the way I did! All's fair in love and war, as they say!

I must say that these little clippy-clicky things were really helpful in keeping the binding in place while I hand stitched, and would also be great when hemming or doing anything of a similar nature. You've probably seen them before, but they were new to me and I might add, so much easier and more efficient than pins. I was getting a bit tired of pricking my fingers, and besides these little clips hold the fabric flat without wrinkles and gathers.

Those lovely little felt balls are the ones so kindly included in my surprise parcel from
'J' at JaB Creations a little while back - I just love that little dish of colour by my side as I work!

Here we are at the final stages - I'm relaxing on my nice comfy chair, feet up, with quilt spread over my wee legs - very comfy position doing something I really enjoy!

And the very last stitch on this sweet little quilt that I love . . . just making doubly sure that corner was safe and secure!

We can't leave it at that of course - I took more pics so you may as well see them, don't you think? Here it is all folded up . . . I don't know why that middle pic makes the background colour appear more cream than it really is . . . 

So that's quilt number two completed and time for me to get cracking on another project, so watch this space. In the meantime here's a pic that shows just a wee corner of our local park, taken a few months ago, but for those of you overseas who have suffered such bad weather this winter, I thought it might bring the thoughts of SPRING to the foreground of your minds - it will come, you know it will!

So lovely that you could all be with me again, and thank you for sharing my Ta-dah moment with me!

Wishing you all a very happy weekend and week ahead, and looking forward to keeping in touch through your lovely blogs and messages!

With my love,
Joy xoxo

Monday 17 February 2014

Progress on Quilt Top

Hello everyone, I hope this finds you all well - and safe and dry, those of you who are going through such a dreadful time in Britain; my heart goes out to you suffering through this prolonged period of wet and stormy winter!

This is just a quick progress report on the hearts and fabrics that have been captivating my attention, as well as causing me to fall behind in my following of your lovely blogs; this I managed to pretty well remedy this morning though, so that makes me happy! I would hate to miss out on anything you've been up to, or the inspiration and encouragement I derive from this wonderful pastime! 

This is the quilt top as it stands right now, but, we've had a few hiccups this little piece and I, so let me show you more . . . . . .

. . . . . . planning and placing did not come easily and I fiddled around with this and that before making a real start to putting together the blocks - and after that I slowly played it by ear until I felt it was as well balanced as it could be - if you've done any of this sort of thing I'm sure you know what I'm getting at!

So much effort and time went into getting the blocks as right as I could that it just didn't hit me until everything was all stitched up that the hearts really could have been better placed! You know how sometimes we can look and look but somehow don't see? I didn't see!!!

Spot the difference!

You saw it straight away, didn't you! I knew you would! I didn't get upset, I didn't throw it across the room . . . . . . I thought about it for a little while but knew it couldn't be left like that, I'd never be happy with it, it would stare me in the face every time I looked at it, so the unpicking began; that was the easy bit, it didn't take long at all! 

The re-placing and sewing back into position? Don't ask! Only a couple of expletives - not too bad - and this little quilt top is back together now anyway so better not to go there! We have a couple of little wrinkly bits that I'm sure weren't there before but I guess a good ironing and the quilting work done and it won't be noticeable. Do you think it looks better? Do you think it was worth the effort? What would you have done? I'd be really interested to hear your views for I realise it was a bit of a risk to take!

There's lots more work to do yet of course, next step being borders . . . . . . at the moment this is what's been decided but watch this space, for anything could happen! The spotty one is also for the backing.

I am linking up with  Chrissie  again this week - do pop over and see what she, and other talented crafters are busy with, it's always inspirational over there!

For the past few weeks I've been trying to get some decent pics of kangaroos to post but it's not the easiest thing in the world to do even though they are close by in various locations. Anyway, on Sunday morning as we drove up a steep hill, not five minutes away from home, around an area where there are homes with bush and paddock around them, we spotted these ones. Now this is the back of someone's home, just off the road that takes us up that hill and can you believe how tame they are? If I had stepped out of the car no doubt they would have taken off but because I just reached out the window with my phone you can see, they hardly budged an inch! Incidentally, the address is Peace Street!

I haven't tweaked these pics at all except to crop them because it's apparent to me that my phone doesn't  capture subject matter nearly as clearly as my 'real' camera, but I really did want to show you these big boomers!

No garden pics today folks, sorry, but I am sending you loads of good wishes and hopes for lovely sunshine and blue skies, as well as lots of time to spend crafting and doing all the things you enjoy best!

With my love,
Joy xoxo

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Hearts for Keeps

Hello everyone and thanks for joining me once again on my little crafty adventures!

I have started something new and it just happens that it's appropriate for Valentine's Day this week, but that wasn't really planned - we surely all know that love needs to be spread around all year long and not only on particular days, although I do acknowledge that anything that brings hearts and love some extra attention must be good, so Happy Valentine's Day to you all - every day!

Oh and while I think on - for sometimes I forget to include the link, naughty naughty - I am linking up to the lovely Chrissie with this little stitchy for  Stitching Sunday - many thanks Chrissie!

Okay, so we have a pretty flowery heart and a little bouquet of flowers and where is this leading us?

Ah well - so here we have a few more hearts and pretty flowers - AND some rather gorgeous fabrics too . . . . . . are you thinking what I'm thinking . . . . . . ?

It's not too difficult to guess is it . . . . . . 

we're looking towards another quilt of some description, and a little help and advice too, which I have definitely found in these two books - 'Beginner's Guide to Quilting' by Elizabeth Betts and 
'First Steps to free-motion quilting' by Christina Cameli.

First are some pics from Beginner's Guide …...

and here are a few from First Steps ……

Hopefully you will be able to enlarge these pics and have a clearer look at some of the beautiful projects, as well as the lists of contents and a little sneak preview of just a very small sample of  the wonderful hints, tips and advice included in these two great publications. I can't praise the authors of these two books highly enough - such expert advice available for very low cost - why wouldn't you treat yourself to these if you have caught the patchwork/quilting bug and really want to go, go go! And even if you're not a total beginner, I'm sure there are those of you who would love to give some of these projects a try …...

My decision about where I was going with these hearts was made before I found these books so I won't be doing any of these projects just yet, but you can be sure I am itching to get cracking on a few of them! And of course I will be referring to them while going through the process of putting this little piece together! 

And while on the subject of quilts, although there are many beauties in familiar blogs and on the web all over the place - too many to list that really have inspired me no end by beginners as well as very experienced quilters - do take a look at the lovely Hannapat's First Quilt here - she has produced such a gorgeous piece and on that particular post also includes a few links which may prove helpful to you if you are interested in 'having a go'. Through these links I was led to YouTube videos expertly done by Jenny from 'The Missourie Quilt Co' - you can't go wrong by taking a look at these.

I just want to brag about my dear Hubby's veggies now - the tomatoes are finally ripening and zucchinis are growing by the hour - see what you think . . . . . .

. . . . . .  ah mother nature, how you bless us with your delights, thank you, and to J and his green fingers!

Have a wonderful week each and every one of you, you are very special and important to me! Also thank you again for all your lovely caring messages which I appreciate more than you know!

With my love,
Joy xoxo

Wednesday 5 February 2014

It Started Like this …….

. . . . and, contrary to what is often the case with me and these little stitchies, I did have a loose sort of plan for these little girls and their puppy when I began . . . . yes, I did, and this time it all came to fruition!

Do you remember the sweet gifts I received from the lovely 'J' at JaBCreations  - we looked at them in the post entitled 'Carefree New Year to You' - 

- well, here is what became of those lovely fabrics!

This is my first ever quilt - yes, it's only small (24'' x 32'', or 61 x 81cm, to be precise) and very simple, but would probably be suitable for a cot or just to fancy up a little girls bed! I am really happy with this and think that the fabrics have been so well chosen and matched for me by the lovely 'J' - I only brought in the green and yellow for the edging - and strangely enough, those were still in the bag and forgotten, from when I appliqu├ęd Mr Cockerel; you may remember him from a while back in the post 'Mr Cockerel Comes Home to Roost' - I used the yellow for his crop! 

Oh I forgot to take a snap of the back - never mind, I can just tell you that I ripped up a peachy coloured damask tablecloth for that; it had some faded red wine stains on it but otherwise was in great condition and I soooooo enjoyed ripping it up and voila! a suitable backing for this piece.

Thank you so much 'J', you have encouraged me to fulfil a wish that I've been pushing down and back for many years - my first quilt!

Once again I am happy to thank each and every one of you for your visits and messages left for me - and special welcome to new followers, I look forward to getting to know you better! 

I also would like to explain that although my posts have been rather irregular of late and my visits to your blogs slightly 'erratic', I am still here wishing you all well and with unfailing interest in your activities and lovely projects. Unfortunately at this time it is sadly necessary of me to limit my time on the computer as migraines have become very prominent, and at an increasing rate, in my life. 

It's only a wee hiccup though, and I'm sure we'll soon get to the bottom of what's causing this inconvenience, but the thing is - if I start leaving messages or writing posts when my head is all over the place, you may not want to know me at all, for when I'm 'out of synch', it's really bad!!!

Anyway, in the meantime here is a snap of a few pelicans that I managed to get a couple of weeks ago by the river just near the local caravan park:

Aren't they smart fellows! They were waiting and hoping near that little building on the right for that is where a fisherman was busy preparing fish - oh give us the scraps please!

And this morning my lovely Hubby J popped into the garden a took a couple of shots of the
 Native Hibiscus which grew from cuttings  we took a while back.

I hope you are all well and doing happy things, and for those of you going through Winter wet and cold, I wish you days of sunshine and cheer, and were it possible I would gladly send you truck loads of it!

Lots of love to you all!

Joy xxx