Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Warm and toasty rag quilt...

You might remember that back in October, I mentioned that I was starting a quilt - like the one Tara Dennis made on BH&G last August. (Her little video is here.) Well, I was right with my off-hand comment that it might be quilt weather by the time I was finished. D'oh!

I wanted something for myself, to use the fabrics in my stash that I just hadn't been able to part with. So a simple quilt for the couch was the answer.

I didn't want to buy anything new, so I based my square size on the amount of the fabrics that I already had - they ended up being 20cm x 20cm. They can be as big or as small as you like, just remember that you need enough backing fabric to make the same number of squares as the front (I used 48, in a 6x8 formation) as well as enough of your 'warm' filler to make the same number of squares, 2cm less per side than the main fabrics. For the back I used a thrifted red sheet (heaps left over) and my fill was an old, soft, thick, flanelette sheet. 

Here is a little quite long (sorry!) step-by-step, if you're thinking of making one for yourself...

Once you have all the squares cut from all three fabrics, press all pieces well. (It will make them easier to handle and line up.)

Sandwich a piece of the fill centred between a backing and top piece and line up neatly. Pin to hold in place.

Stitch across both diagonals of the square. (You can either use the same colour thread for each piece, or co-ordinate with your fabric.)

Once all the squares have their layers sewn together, the fun part starts! Lay your squares out to decide on the design. I was trying to have an even mix of colours spread across the rug (the cat was quality control). I also tried to vary the direction of the designs so that it looked OK from any angle. Once your're happy with the design, pin the squares into rows. (I did 6 rows of 8 squares.)
This is the unusual part of the project - you need to pin and stitch the squares wrong sides together! (For anyone who has done some sewing before, this will feel really wrong.) Stitch your squares into rows, keeping them in order so you don't mess up your carefully contructed design. (Just sayin'. Not that I would do this...)
Press the seams on one row all in the same direction. Then do the next row in the opposite direction. This will make the seams less bulky when you come to sew the rows together.

The back of the row should be nice and neat - feels weird, but it will look great!

Once all your rows are complete, line up and pin the rows - wrong sides together, then stitch. (As I had 6 rows, I did them in 2 lots of 3, so I wasn't handling so much of the quilt at once.)

Then sew the sections of the quilt together in the same way. Once it's all in one piece, do a row (or two) around the entire quilt, leaving the same seam allowance as the rest of your seams.
Now for the tedious bit, that makes it look so cool once it's washed. You have to clip all the seams.
All. The. Seams. There are many. Use very sharp scissors and cut down to (but not through) the stitching, about every centimetre.

One more step!
Put the quilt into a pillowcase or cloth bag (to stop your washing machine getting full of threads) and wash well. I also put mine through the dryer. The exposed seams should go all fluffy and delicious. And that's it!
Now pop it on the couch and wait for cool weather and Desperate Housewives a very interesting documentary. Mmmmmm.

P.S. "Really I don't dislike to cook, but what you cook is eaten so quickly. When you sew, you have something that will last to show for your efforts." ~Elizabeth Travis Johnson

*I am linking up with DIY Day @ A Soft Place to Land here.*
* Made By You Mondays @ Skip To My Lou here*
*Get Your Craft On @ Today's Creative Blog here
*Look What I Made Day @ Creations by Kara here*
Go and check out all the wonderful projects in blogland!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Latest Fab Finds...

Just thought I'd share some of the best items I've found in the last month, between the local 'op shops' and the church rummage sale.

What do you think you can get for $2 at the local Lifeline?  How about these great prints for the bedroom wall at two bucks a pop....

They are the perfect match for our linen! Have a look at the original tag on the back...score!

The next find was from the church rummage sale...looks a bit grubby... It's only silver plate, but heavy and good quality.

Now it is shiny and lovely and looking after our mess of remote controls...mmmmm.

Unfortunately timing is everything with second-hand shoppping. If only I had found this great set of aqua mats before Christmas! Not entirely sure, but I assume it is a short table runner and two placemats?

The colour is great and they are a lovely texture. They would have been great here!

This lovely picture has been used for another project, which I'll show you separately another time. Needless to say, it has improved!

And finally, you'll also have to wait to see what I did with this classy, brassy little number...

Enjoy your week, and keep an eye out for things that might have a second use at your place.You just never know!

P.S. I believe that thrift is essential to well-ordered living.” John D. Rockefeller

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What A Day!

Well, Canberra on Saturday was great - although I think I'm a bit past the jetsetting lifestyle.

A 5.30am flight out of Brisbane, a day of walking, standing and crowds, a bit of anxiety over timeframes and a long, dark drive home from the airport had me falling asleep on the couch about 9.30pm!

Not that it wasn't totally worth it! Look at this face...

While we didn't get time to visit here...

Or here...

Or here...

We did see them from a distance, while we had a lovely walk from the city side of Lake Burley Griffin to the gallery, across the Commonwealth Bridge.

 We really enjoyed the lack of humidity and the cool breeze. And it was fine!

 What we did get to see at the exhibition (when we eventually got to the front of the reeeeeeeaaaaaly long queue) was this...

                                                                photo from www.canvaz.com

and this...

                                                                                      photo from www.janeresture.com
and this...

                                                                                    photo from Musée d'Orsay, Paris

and not to mention, this...

                                                                photo from www.allmonet.com

 It was such a revelation to see these in the flesh (or is that 'in the paint'?). Almost every work was a different size to what I expected (some were huge!) and the shiny silkiness of the oil paint and the visible brush strokes were just so different to seeing prints or photos. 

One of my absolute favourites was this Van Gogh...


 The paint was so thick and textured, the colours so vivid! The perspective is so unusual - when you stand in front of it, it seems to come towards you from the top. I was quite taken aback by a painting having such an unexpected impact. 

It was also really interesting to see other visitors looking at the works. The looks of surprise, the eyes squinting at the pointilist ones, the steps back to get a better view - people watching at it's best! (Not to mention some of the best art wank 'amateur art critic' conversations ever overheard. Bahahaha!)

We had just enough time to see a few other sections of the permanent collection at the National Gallery and to check out the shop for a few souvenirs (suffice it to say that I now have a Cezanne still life ready to hang in my kitchen!) before heading back to the airport.

It was the best birthday gift I have had for ages! Thanks D, and to my Mum and sister for sharing the adventure with me. 

P.S. “Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
Henry Ward Beecher

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I am the Answer...

If you are a fan of Douglas Adams you'll get this.

Yes, today I'm...

Or, to put it another way, I'm celebrating the 21st anniversary of my 21st birthday party...

If you still haven't cottoned on... it's my birthday and I'm 42. (I know, I know, I don't look a day over 50. Ha ha.)

My sweet kids gave me these things this morning

(they chose the cards themselves - thanks D)

I treated myself to this beautiful handbag pattern (from eBay - a bargain!)...
(can't wait to find just the right fabric) and this delightful piece by Gradum Gypsies on Etsy, which I luuuurve!
But what I'm really looking forward to this birthday is actually on Saturday, when I'm going here...
Photo courtesy of facts-about-countries.com
to see this...

image: Vincent van Gogh Portrait of the artist 1887 Musee d'Orsay, Paris Copyright RMN (Musee d'Orsay) / Gerard Blot
Masterpieces from Paris:
Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne and beyond

4 December 2009 – 18 April 2010 | Exhibition Galleries
 The National Gallery of Australia is proud to present one of the most extraordinary exhibitions ever held in Australia. Soon, you won’t have to travel to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris to see masterpieces by Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Paul Cézanne, Georges Seurat, Pierre Bonnard, Emile Bernard, Claude Monet, Maurice Denis and Edouard Vuillard; you can visit them in Canberra.
View more
Vincent van Gogh Portrait of the artist 1887
Musée d'Orsay, Paris
© RMN (Musée d'Orsay) / Gérard Blot

Yay!! Can't wait! Thanks to the best husband in the world - Happy Birthday to Me!!

Friday, March 5, 2010


                                          Photo courtesy of powerfulwords.wordpress.com

I have been trying to keep my word in focus for the last week or so and something I read on the blog of a terrific writer, Brene Brown (author of "I Thought It Was Just Me") really resonated with me.

She has been researching how women finding their voice and speaking out can be a shame trigger. Even so, she writes that, "If you decide to trade in your authenticity for safety, there are a few things to keep in mind. Your unexpressed ideas, opinions, and contributions will not just go away. They are likely to fester and eat away at your worthiness. You may experience the following: anxiety, depression, overeating, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment and inexplicable grief."

Something to think about...


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