This blog should be called "The Adventures of a Fabric Junkie!". I am passionate about fabric, threads, colours and textures. I can record my crazy quilting, sane quilting, embroidery and everything else that I consider important in my life.

Photo shows my block for the Hurricane Katrina fund-raising quilt "All That Jazz".

Friday, December 30, 2011

Lorrie's Traditional Christmas Tree Skirt Wedge

This is the same tree skirt once the embellishment has been completed
The second wedge which Lorrie sent was traditional red, green and white colours.  I have some ideas brewing for this one as well especially using the print of the word LOVE and the pine-cones as a feature.

Lorrie's Poinsettias and Purple Tree Skirt

Lorrie in Canada sent me two wedges to work on.  My favourite was this one with patches in purple, cream and Red Poinsettias with green leaves.  I can hardly wait to get started on this challenging colour combination.
And here is the finished product - lots of purple, gold, red and green with a little bit of cream to balance the colours that Lorrie used.  She wanted "Royal" and what could be more royal than three crowns at the top representing the three Kings from the Orient who visited the Christ Child, bearing gifts.  It was quite difficult keeping the red and green down to a minimum as well, my natural instinct told me to keep adding more and more but I resisted, LOL.

Christmas Tree Skirt Wedges - Juli

Juli was the first person to send me one of her Christmas Tree skirt wedges to work on for the World Wide Crazy Quilters swap.  Juli used tiny patches to piece her wedges which means lots of short seams and lots of variety in the charms, beads and trims.

 This is naked tree skirt wedge.  When I have finished, I will post a photo of the completed wedge to compare the two.  And here is the completed skirt showing the extremely busy treatments of so many tiny seams.  My favourite pieces are the Mother-of-Pearl button snowman and the colourful button trail which I made to balance up with the fabric on the other side of the wedge.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Favourite Photo from Christmas......

I took this photo of my husband and our youngest grand-daughter Juliet on Boxing Day.  He is so BIG(6ft 3ins) and she is so little (19 months old) but oh, the attitude!!  We had gone to the park and once she was out of the stroller and walking, well, that was that, there was no way that she was getting back in again. She must have walked a couple of kilometres on those little legs.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

ANOTHER UFO finished - Lenny the Lion

After all the mending, filling and grooming, Lenny still looks sad.  Some lions are never happy!!

From this angle, Lenny looks downright grumpy!
This UFO was a pain in the backside because of the sheer size of it.  My 40 yr old plumber son was driving along the road during a Council Clean-up and spotted this poor, decrepit bean-bag lion sitting on the verge waiting for the rubbish truck to come and pick him up with all the other rubbish.  Well, my old softie took one look into the lion's eyes, stopped his truck and shoved the lion in the front seat next to himself and then brought him to me to fix up...."Mum, look at him! I couldn't leave him there for the dump truck, it wouldn't have been right!!"  So, lots of patching, nearly another bag of styrofoam micro-balls and a good brush to his mane and tail and here he is, waiting for my son to come and pick him up and take him home.  DH and I spent half the day filling him up with beads and we over-did it to compensate for the sad state that he was in before, hopefully the beads will settle down and he won't look so fat.  Anyway, he has been lying on the bed in the back bedroom for about three months until today when I finally felt up for the challenge and here he is - DONE!!  The lion is about five feet tall, Leigh wants him to sit on his living room floor.  The first time my grandson Jesse came to visit after the arrival of Lenny, he came marching out to the kitchen and exclaimed "Nanna! There's a giant bear on my bed!!"  I told him it belonged to Uncle Leigh and I could tell from the expression on his six yr old face that he didn't believe me..........

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Next lot of UFOs in the Queue

These are the next lot of projects - we can't help ourselves, we just keep finding more and more things to restore and to bring back to some sort of usefulness.
Here is my collection of English 1950s dolls which all need cleaning up, re-wigging and dressing.  I'm not sure where I will display them but they are all just like the ones that my sister and I had when we were kids.  The first two which are not in the photo were found by my son on the side of the road during an annual Council Rubbish Clean-up. He saw them and thought straight away "Hey! My mum would love those!!"  Needless to say, I did love them and then bought more on eBay and in a second hand shop. Mostly they were in pieces and needed re-stringing, eye-lashes, mouths painting and totally restoring.  They are now all in one piece again and are waiting for some 1950s style clothes which I shall copy from my Mum's old "Australian Home Journal" magazines which I have in my cupboard. Sadly they are deteriorating fast as the paper is becoming brittle but the gorgeous drawings of the dresses that my sister and I wore as children are still there.

The next project appeared on the pile of next-door's rubbish during the local Council Verge Clean-up a couple of weeks ago.  We already had a cane chair, a cane rocking chair and a cane coffee table on our front porch, all bought in charity shops at different times and all painted gloss white with colourful cushions etc and this settee was exactly the same pattern in natural cane.  Eddie was taking me to work early one morning and spotted it, stopped the car and the two of us scuttled over to the rubbish pile, picked up the settee and carried it home. One leg was broken but Eddie quickly fixed that with a large screw and a bracket, I bought a cane basket for $2 at the Salvos which we unpicked and used to cover the joins at the back and will cover the feet.  It is as solid as a rock now and will look fantastic painted white like the rest of the furniture and next-doors will never know it was their old one.....I mean to say, we're not telling them it was us who scavenged on their verge!!!!

I guess I could describe my style of decorating as "re-cycled Country"??  or maybe it is just plain "my own style" but I love the look of my 1950s childhood and anything that reminds me of my Grandma's house or my parents house.

The March of the UFOs

We had a great weekend finishing off some UFOs which have been hanging around our house for weeks, months and even years.  What a terrific feeling to sew the last stitch or glue the last bit of braid or polish the last piece of wood and in the case of Pippa's baby bag, watch it walk out the door!!

Firstly, was the baby bag.  I used a pattern from a book on making baby gifts and while it looked simple and straight forward, it was the worst pattern that I have ever tried to decipher!! In the end it took about twenty hours of cutting, sewing, ironing, unpicking and hand-stitching over three weekends however when I gave it to Pippa today, she loved it so I guess the effort was worth it in the end.
While the front and back of the bag show the printed PVC with the pattern the right way up, the flap which is part of the same piece of fabric as the back is up-side-down. The change mat is rolled into a swag and strapped to the front.

The inside is lined with wadding and gingham with lots of pockets to hold all the important things that babies need.

Secondly were a pair of beaded lampshades for our bedroom.  I bought the pair of them for $8 at a charity shop about two years ago.  They had lacquered black bases and the frames were covered in grubby white fabric with a fringe of fraying knitted cord however, I loved the shape of the bases so I bought them anyway. Eddie scraped off all the black lacquer and sanded them down so I could spray paint them with Antique Cream paint. I ripped the grubby fabric and fringing off the frames but left the lining intact and then covered them with cream fabric and ivory stretch lace and cream braid.  Finally they were given their beaded fringes and now sit at either side of our bed. I love the soft, romantic Edwardian look - they'll go well with the still unfinished patchwork quilt one day.....
Finally, Eddie put the finishing touches to the 1921 Singer Treadle sewing machine that has languished in pieces in our dining room for about 12 years.  I saw it outside a second-hand shop and it reminded me so much of the one that my Nanna and my Mum had when I was a child. It was a wreck as it had been sitting on a verandah out in the weather and was badly water damaged.  Eddie totally dismantled it and treated each piece of metal, each piece of wood and even the leather strap has been treated with leather protection stuff. I love the finished product, he took all the bits of peeling veneer off the lid and saved them to cut into strips and cover the left-hand side piece on the top. He replaced the veneer on the lid with a new piece and had to re-make the curved base under the machine itself.  One bonus was that it came with the box of bits including the key and when I unlocked the drawers, they were full of 1920s haberdashery including embroidery cottons wound around magazine pages from a 1926 magazine, suspenders extensions, ancient bias binding and braids which had faded with time, artificial flowers and netting for hats and heaps of other mostly unusable bits and bobs. The machine will now take pride of place in the hallway so that it will be the first thing that people will see when they walk in our door.  Now I know why I married Eddie - it wasn't just for his good looks, LOL.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Christmas Present and Postcard swaps 2011

The Southern Cross Crazies hosted a Christmas Present swap plus a Christmas postcard swap this year.  I have been so very, very lucky with the beautiful gifts that I have received from Maxine, Alison and Florence, not to mention the gorgeous postcards from so many friends around Australia.
Here are photos of the gifts I received....
This is the needlecase which Alison made for me with the "Silent Night"  postcard she sent as well.  I love the fact that the needlecase is a very generous size, 7inches x 5 inches.

Florence made me this very special note-book with the heavily embellished back and front covers.  I am going to use it to keep a record of crazy quilting stitches.  Below it is the Christmas postcard she made with Santa and his reindeers on a sparkly, snowy background.

This is the heart decorations that Maxine made for me.  I really love the purple and turquoise colour theme and those tiny Roses in the centre are to die for.  Each one is exactly the same size and shape as all the others.  I love it.

This group of "German Christmas" postcard and machine made lacy decorations as well as the tiny animated card and the circular Father Christmas decoration came from Natascha.  Natascha and her machine are a fantastic team!!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

My Christmas Tree Skirt

The Christmas Tree skirt showing the position of the Poinsettia fabric on each one. Obviously I will alternate the single and double floral pieces when I stitch the wedges together.

Well, I finally got my Christmas Tree Skirt panels pieced and ready to mail off to the girls in the US.  Eight panels to be embellished by eight people so that every one of them should be finished when they return, all ready for me to just sew together. I love this idea as it also means that I shall be working on eight separate panels myself - all of them totally different to one another.  I was lazy cutting out my base shapes, I simply got a large piece of fabric, folded it in halves, quarters and eighths then cut a curved edge at the bottom and a small hole out of the top and voila!!  a circle!!   Then I cut the circle into eight equal wedges and covered each one with fabric. The only common denominator is a patch of cream and gold fabric placed in the same position on each wedge. The fabric had a rather spectacular design of pink Poinsettias and green leaves with a glittery sparkle so I made it my starting point for each of the wedges.  I am really looking forward to this Round Robin and the different wedges that arrive for stitching....

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Oriental Tote Bag finished - another UFO hits the dust!!

I spent the day sewing the tote bag with the front and back panels from the SouthernCrossCrazies Tone-on-Tone Round Robin.  This bag is for a Chinese/Malay workmate called Debbie who loves the bright colours that I used in the two panels.  My thanks go to the girls who worked on the RR - they all did a fantastic job.  Debbie wanted a bag with short handles that could also convert to a shoulder are the photos of the finished bag.

Debbie's tote bag FRONT view
The BACK view

The bag with the shoulder strap out and the little handles tucked away.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Christmas Tree

Having chatted in the Worldwidecrazyquilters chat room this morning - well, after having worked out to post messages, LOL, the girls were talking about crazy quilted Christmas tree skirts.  I said mine would have to be huge to cover the base of the tree but actually the base of the tree is only about two feet across so it wouldn't have to be more than 3 ft across at the most.  I said I would post pictures of the tree - here they are......the tree is actually 7ft tall to the very tip of the top although it doesn't look it here.  The grandkids decorated the bottom of the tree with unbreakable ornaments then DH and I did the top half with glass and crystal ones.  The reason the tree is outside under the patio (remember it would be very, very unusual if it rained here in Perth over Christmas) is that it takes up so much floor space inside.  The tree measures about 8ft across the bottom branches. So, how big should I make the wedges for the Christmas tree skirt???

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Southern Cross Crazies Christmas Pressie swap completed.

I agreed to swap with three other members of Southern Cross Crazies and always had in mindusing  some special patchwork fabric that I bought during a holiday in Linlithgow, Scotland, last year. I bought two strips of fabric, each strip was made up of twelve 3 inch square pictures with Christmas themes.  The strip that I used was traditional Christmas images while the other strip was "antiqued cream/beige" background with red-work Christmas pictures.
Each swap partner will receive a fat pincushion with a matching needlecase.  Both have hanging tags so they can be used as Christmas ornaments and then once the festive season is over, they can be used as functional items.  I am always on the look-out for ways to conserve space in my studio so I made these pairs of items so they can be hung from a hook...........the needlecase hanging from the pincushion which hangs from a hook on the wall.  Alternatively, they can be hung from drawer handles......whatever the ladies wish.

One pair of Christmas ornaments cum sewing items. I hope the girls like my pressie when it arives.

Sorry about the angle girls, these were on the wall and I, being  height challenged was underneath  with the camera pointing upwards.

These are the three sets of pincushions and needlecases.  The sun really picked up the gold thread in this photo.
My big achievement is that they are finished well before time so I can now move on to my next project - a UFO - finishing the hot pink and black tote bag for Debbie at work.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Southern Cross Crazies Christmas postcards finished

Today I took a sickie from work and made four dozen Spring Rolls for a Chinese themed dinner party we are having on Saturday, cleaned the kitchen, pulled up some weeds from between my bulbs and then finished these seven Christmas themed fabric postcards.   One of the two vertical ones I will keep for myself but I'm not sure which one I like the best yet.  There were seven participants in this swap so I hope the other girls like what I have done for them. Here are the photos.......and before anyone tells me, I KNOW that the reflection of Santa and his reindeers are going the wrong way to the actual silver charm ones, LOL.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rebecca's cq bibs in the CQI FFT18 Swap

I have joined the Fabulous First Timers 18 round robin, (FFT18 RR) and for the last month I have been sewing on Bec's bibs.  Bec made two bib shaped blocks, one cream and the other BLINDINGLY bright.  They will go on the front of singlet tops when she gets them back.

I chose the bright one to work on but had trouble getting going because of the large floral patch of bright stylised flowers.  First of all I chose to sew in one strand of DMC cotton with 2 strands of Kreinik Blending Filament but it was too heavy.  I unpicked the flower and did it again but by half way through I could see that one strand of Rajmahal Art Silk with two strands of the Kreinik was still too heavy.  Finally, I stitched the whole thing in just the two strands of Kreinik Blending Filament and it was fine.

Bec had used a huge piece of floral fabric which swallowed up the embroidered flower so I took the liberty of adding another piece of fabric in the same orange colour as another flower which had also become lost.  The two together blended well so then I put some metallic gold lace along the two seams and added little irridesent blue flower beads.

I didn't take Bec's fabric from under the orange piece because I thought that if she had particular ideas for the large floral piece then she could unpick the orange piece and get back to what she wanted.  I remembered the Golden Rule of Round Robins - never do anything to someone else's block which can't be undone by the owner later.  Fortunately Bec loved the orange bit so I was lucky and it will stay now.  Here are the photos of the block - naked and dressed, LOL.

The two photos at the top are of the naked and dressed block and below is a close-up of the embroidery (long and short stitch and blanket stitch) with the Kreinik thread plus Kreinik very fine braid for the outlines.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Finally Finished Taylia's quillow

Last Christmas I made quillows for three grandchildren - Trucks and Construction Vehicles for Jesse, Dinasaurs for Beau and Baby Animals for Lola. I ran out of time to finish Taylia's but she has been very patient and I have finished it in time for her 12th birthday next week.  

Here are photos of the front and the back of the cushion.  The front (right) shows Taylia with the Janome sewing machine that we gave her for her 10th birthday.  While the machine is hers and she uses it whenever she comes to sleep-over, it lives in my studio.  

The back shows her on the new bike that she got for her 11th birthday from her parents. She was one very happy little Vegemite when she got that bike to replace her old one which was too small.  

Here is the quilt itself with the twelve photos which are in no particular order, I stitched them together so that the colours blended together well and added a coloured button on each corner to anchor the front of the quilt to the back. Several of the blocks have scraps of fabric from dresses that I have made for her over the years, including a smocked romper when she was 6 months old and a flowergirl's dress when she was 3.  I made sure that I included photos of two very big happenings in her life, the births of her little brother with she was 6 and her little sister when she was 10.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

1956 Fabric Stash from Aunty Amy

I met my cousin Jackie for lunch this week and she gave me another box of treasures from Aunty Ame's stash. For those who haven't read my previous blogs, Aunty Ame died in March 1970 and her boxes of fabrics, trims and laces ended up with my cousin who has kept them all these years just as they were 40 years ago.  Aunty Ame was my Mum's eldest sister and made dolls' clothes for Pedigree and Roddy dolls for a man who owned several toy shops around Perth and Fremantle in the 1950s and 1960s.

The contents of this box of tricks also included patterns for dolls' clothes cut from newspaper - dated 26th September 1956!!! I didn't know that before she made the dolls' clothes, she obviously did alterations for people so included in the box was the complete circular bottom 6 inches of a wedding dress with the hem on one edge. It had been shortened for someone and was a beautiful ivory satin fabric with a tiny rib pattern, perfect for crazy quilting.

Perhaps the greatest treasure as far as I was concerned were several cut-out bodices for Pedigree Walky-Talky doll size dolls where my aunt had probably cut out eight at a time and only needed seven.  There were lots of taffetas, satins, crepes, georgettes, voiles and unknown rayon type fabrics among the scraps and never having seen the light of day in 40-50 years, they were as bright and crisp as the day they were put in the box.  The only casualty was a gorgeous piece of grey voile fabric with a floral design in black flocking. The flocking had disintegrated into fine black "sooty" powder in some parts and landed all over my table, my clothes and the other materials in the box........rather than breathe in a lung-full of black flocking, I reluctantly threw that out.

It is so nice to meet Jackie and reminisce over our Aunty Ame, her boxes of iron-on transfers, cupboards of fabrics and drawers of laces and braids.  She was also a talented pianist with a dance band and was a wonderful cook. I can't believe it is 41 years since she brightened our lives with her lively personality and interesting stories which may or may not have been true.  Perhaps the best part was the smell - that fantastic smell of material from 1950s when the lid was taken off the box.  Sadly, now that the material has been ironed and allowed to breathe the fresh air again, the smell has gone - but it was Heaven while it lasted!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My blank block for FFT18 with CQIA

I have decided to bite the bullet and join in a Fabulous-First-Timers Round Robin with CQI.  I can't join in any of the other swaps until I've done a FFT - this groups is FFT18.  I chose a vintage image of a girl asleep with fairies and goblins flying around her.  The words below the image are:

Tonight, upon your pillow,
Close your eyes and hide your head,
For the fairies and the goblins
Will be hovering round your bed.

I have tried to choose fabrics with the same colours as those in the picture.  Even though I ironed each patch after I sewed it on, the light reflected from the satin fabrics has made them look puffy.  Believe me, they are flat.  I can hardly wait to see what the other girls in this swap do to my block.  I'm hoping for all the glitter  and magic of fairies, goblins, beautiful dreams and the mysteries of Hallowe'en.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Inheritance from Aunty Ame

Click on each photo to see the contents clearly.

Mum's oldest sister Amy (my Aunty Ame) died in March 1970.  Her house and everything in it was left to my four cousins including a large box of laces, braids, ribbons and scraps of fabric. Aunty Ame was a professional doll's clothes maker during the 1950s and 1960s so every month or so, a man would leave dozens of naked Pedigree and Roddy dolls in their boxes at her house and he would pick up the previous lot, fully dressed in knickers, petticoats, dresses and bonnets. Some were dressed as brides and Bo-Peep while others were dressed as little girls in their Sunday best but all of them were absolutely gorgeous in their taffeta and flocked nylon frocks. I am not sure if this bloke owned a chain of toyshops or whether he was a toy wholesaler but this business transaction went on for several years that I know of.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, my sister and I met several cousins for lunch on Sunday and I shall always be indebted to my cousin Jackie who has hung on to the box of bits for over forty years. They have not been touched........until today, when we met for lunch and she gave me the box.  I think I have died and woken up in Crazy Quilter's Heaven!!! I have just been going through the box and I actually remember some of the braids but the part that really spun me out was several little bundles of short length of laces and braids (obviously scraps) tied in bundles with ribbon.  I REMEMBER doing that when I was about ten or eleven and I was staying with my aunt and uncle during the school holidays.  She was sewing and I was bored, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck when I found them.....just as I had left them over half a century ago.

Right now, I am so delighted and stunned by all these treasures, some will undoubtedly find their way onto crazy quilt blocks.  I can never repay Jackie for her generosity nor can I repay my aunty for stashing all this stuff in the boxes and winding a lot of laces and braids onto cut pieces of cardboard from old Pedigree Doll boxes. Here are some photos of the stash which has not seen the light of day in over forty years.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Spring in Valley block, Mark 2

After Gerry's suggestions on how to improve block seventeen, I changed the tiny sun for a much larger one and outlined the flower in the corner with a fine gold thread.  I didn't have another butterfly so I added the roses and leaves to the right of the gold grape charms.  Gerry, you were spot on once again, it looks much better now.