Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sewing Journal and January Completed Items

Last year I had great plans to keep track of everything I sewed so I could make sure it was all blogged.  Well lets just say I didn't manage that very well and what was worse was that some things I wanted to make never got made so this year I have a different plan.

I found an empty lined journal that I bought some time ago and turned it into my sewing journal for 2013.  There is more than enough room though for this is to go for a number more years if it works.

Inside, all I have done is title each double page spread with the month and year.  Then there are three columns (loosely speaking) Item, Completed and Picture. 

It is that simple.  I have put things in throughout the year depending on when birthdays are coming up and when Jot needs new pjs etc but I mostly add things as they come up.  For example the bottom six items were added during the month.  This journal also includes step for things e.g basting a quilt or binding a quilt as just putting down X Quilt is waaayyy to intimidating and usually results in nothing getting done.

So here is my roll call of what was completed in January 2013.  (yes I know there are still a couple of days left but I have some major study to do and my machine is not going to get a look in till next week sometime)

 Two Swoon blocks

Sashing the Swoon and completing the quilt top (I also pieced the back but didn't take a photo)

1 Quilt Top for Aussie Hero Quilts 

1 set of Overalls for CT

 1 Dolls Quilt

Shopping Bags as a birthday present for my SIL

In addition I have pin basted my Mondrian Quilt for hand quilting over the next few months (I am determined this will be on our sofa THIS winter)

and I made a sheet bag for CT at childcare (again forgot to take a photo)

All in all I am really happy with how much I got done this month.  Lets see if I can keep up the momentum once study really kicks in along with setting up my new business.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

2 of 13 in 13 Challenge

Yup I finished another book.

I had a wisdom tooth extracted on Tuesday and so haven't felt like doing much over the last couple of days.  SO I made the decision to accept it and get another book read.  I really did try to get into Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins but I have come to the conclusion I really need to be out of a pain hazed state before I attempt that one.

I decided that with was time for something lighter and fluffier so I turned my attention to fiction.

I found 'A Trail of Fire' by Diana Gabaldon in my local library and as it is on my list thought now would be a great time to read it.  It didn't take me long.  I am so used to her Big Epic Books (BEB) that this one surprised me as to how fast I read it.  It is in fact 4 smaller books that she calls Bulges, they deal with secondary characters from the BEBs and usually answer questions that may have arisen in the readers mind while reading the BEBs.  Although in the last story of the 4 'The Space Between' she raised more questions in my mind that answers, maybe that was the intention.

Diana Gabaldon is the author of the Outlander Series.  It currently consists of 7 BEBs with an eight due out this year (I think).  They follow the story of Claire who, in 1945, wakes through a set of standing stones and wakes up in 1745.  The BEBs centre round her and her husband Jamie as well as their daughter (Brianna) and her husband (Roger), Jamies son (William) and Williams stepfather (John Gray), and Jamies nephew Ian.  Needless to say they can get quite confusing at times.  The last book in the series 'An Echo in the Bone' has these four stories running parrallel and jumps from one to the other frequently.  The series follows Claire and Jamies story through the Stuart uprising in Scotland through to the American revolution and everything in between.

I first discovered her books in New Zealand in 2000.  We were about to take the ferry from the North Island to the South Island and I needed a book to distract me from the movement of the boat (I do not do well on boats).  Anyway I picked up the first in the series 'Cross Stitch' (also known as Outlander in the US) and was hooked.  I didn't notice the movement of the ferry at all and in fact when R came to tell me we were about to get off I was disappointed I had to put the book down.  By the time we did the return trip two weeks later I think I was onto the Third book in the series.  I read the first four in quick succession (as they were all already published) then had to sit and wait for the rest to come out as they were written.

I do enjoy this series, especially the first three or four books before they started to get complicated to follow and I will be reading the 8th book as soon as I can get my hands on it :).  The characters just seem to suck you in.

I enjoyed this anthology of Bulges especially the one that dealt with Rogers parents and the one that dealt with Ians brother Michael.  You can read this as a stand alone book without having read the BEBs but if you want to read those you really need to read them in order or you will get frightfully lost.

If you are a fan of historical fiction then go and check these out (I really would recommend starting with Cross Stitch) as the historial settings really bring the characters to life.

So two books ticked off my list.  Feeling very happy with myself now.  I wonder what number 3 will be.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Swoon sewing & others

With CT at childcare three days a week I am meant to be studying.  I always knew that was going to be a tall ask for the first week and I was right.

Instead I concentrated to finishing up my Swoon Quilt top (which is for my parents Ruby Wedding Anniversary in 2010).  I started a Swoon along in April 2012 with some online quilting buddies, we were meant to finish it in about July but well you can guess I didn't manage it :).

I finished the last block yesterday morning and sashed it yesterday afternoon.  I pieced the back today and now it is all ready to go off to the long arm quilter.  I am still hopeful that my parents will take it back to the UK with them when they visit at the end of February.  Fingers are crossed.

So here it is (Mum if you are reading this close the browser NOW).

Please excuse the not so great photography I had to move furniture and then stand on the back of the sofa to be able to fit the whole thing in the shot.

I have to say that it is growing on me.  I was distinctly unimpressed by it yesterday when I had to unpick some sashing but now I think I like it.  Hopefully once Anita has had her way with it I will love it and so will my parents.

Once that was finished I felt like I was on a roll so I whipped up a quick quilt top for my next Aussie Heros Quilt.  I really wan't enamoured of the fabric but do like it now it has been put together. I really like the strips running the length of the quilt rather than the width.  The best thing is it only took me about an hour from cutting to pressing.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

1 of 13 in 13 challenge

I finished the first book for the 13 in 13 Challenge run by Rachel at Little White Dove.  It was even on my list that I posted when I signed up.  Very proud to have started off well.

Little White Dove

I started 'I'm Okay you're a Brat' by Susan Jeffers on about the 3rd Jan and have been reading a little a day ever since.  I really enjoyed this book.

Susan Jeffers wrote 'Feel the Fear and Do it anyway' and was dubbed the 'Queen of Self-Help' by the Times in the UK.  She has books published in over 100 countries and numerous languages.  Unfortunately she passed away in October 2012.

I'm Okay you're a brat is one of her less known titles.  In fact a friend who loves her books had never heard of it.  I stumbled across it in my library while looking for one of her audio cds.  It was written in the late 1990s and has stood the test of time well.

It is a book that will (if you are a parent) have you nodding, laughing and crying within the space of two chapters.  She is fearlessly honest about how difficult parenthood can be and highlights some of the guilt traps that are there just waiting for a parent to fall into (in some case time and time again).  She offers some great survival tips as well.

I have to pass on this great quote (especially for all you soon to be parents)

"If a child-care book makes you feel good, relaxed, and competent as a parent, keep reading.  If a child-care book makes you feel guilty, throw the book in the garbage where it belongs." 
Susan Jeffers

I would recommend this book to anyone who is a parent, about to become a parent or thinking about becoming a parent.  It really tells you everything that no one else will.  The warts and all pictures of parenthood.  Not the sleepless nights (we all know they will come) but all the other changes that accompany a baby, lack of privacy, change in family dynamics, peace of mind and a whole lot more.

There is also a very interesting chapter about why not to have kids.  A bit late for me but still a very good read.

I found this book very interesting and thought provoking as well as so very very true.  Many hundreds of times I would find myself nodding as I read and I no longer felt alone in hating the journey of Parenthood but rather one of a silent crowd.  I wish that I had read this pre children - we would probably still have had them but I would have felt so much more prepared.

Anyway, I really liked this book and have actually bought my own copy for the book shelf as there is lots of information in there I will refer back to in the future.

I have two books now to read next.  I will be reading them at the same time as they are both so chock full of information I will need processing time.

Awaken the Giant within - Tony Robbins
The 7 Habits of Highly effective Families - Stephen Covey

I might squeeze some fiction in to but I find myself gravitating towards these books first as I get so much more than a relaxing time from them.

Friday, January 18, 2013

1st Day of school

OK so really it is first day of childcare but the feelings it triggers in me are the same.

CT had his first full day of childcare on Wednesday.  He and  his sister are both in 3 days a week to give me a chance to study.  This week I haven't been able to focus on study as the house is almost too quiet but I know that will be less distracting next week.  In fact I spent most of the last couple of days wondering when he will wake up so I could do x,y &z and then realising I didn't have to wait at all.

He  is doing well there not sleeping much and not eating much either but I seem to recall Jot doing the same thing when she first started at childcare.  I picked them up at 5 yesterday and fed them in the car but CT was too tired and cranky to eat.  I am picking them up an hour earlier today with the hope that I can get them home for their dinner, bath, bed routine as normal, CT needs a good meal in the evening, yesterday he only had two slices of raisin toast at childcare all day as it was all they could get him to eat :).

Here he is on his first day:

Oh my he is growing up so fast.  

I really miss him during the day - a weird feeling for me as all I remember about putting Jasmine into childcare was relief I was alone (but then I only had a couple of weeks before I went back to work).  Anyway I have been able to sew (not something I can do with the boy at home as he has started to pull on cables and has nearly had the iron off the ironing board twice).  I will do a quick post with some photos over the weekend but the teaser is I finished my SWOON quilt top.

I have also finished my 1st book of the year (technically my second finish but the first I started and finished this year) so I am feeling quite good about that.  That will also be posted over the weekend.

For now I am off to study.  Yup I finally think I can concentrate, I have 90 mins before I have to leave to pick up the kids.  See you tomorrow.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Finish and Pattern Review

I have for some time been looking for a good overalls pattern for CT.  I found and tried one from a book a few months ago and I was very unimpressed.

When my wonderful sister got me a gift voucher for Patterns Only for Christmas I decided to invest in a good pattern.  I ended up buying the Little Explorer pattern from Make It Perfect.  I know these patterns are good as I have made multiple versions of their Versatile Wrap Skirt (in fact it is my favourite go to pattern for a new skirt).

I was very excited when it arrived but had guest staying so had to put it aside.  Anyway I saw it yesterday and decided that it was time to search the stash for the right fabric for it.  I found a blue/grey drill and some dots which I believe is Remix by Anne Kelle. 

I love this pattern.  It took me about 3 1/2 hours from tracing the pattern to the button holes but I am sure it wont take that long next time.  I actually read all the instructions this time.  I did have one moment of confusion where there is a misprint in the cutting instructions but I worked it out quite quickly.  There was also one unpicking moment but that was more due to being distracted by the kids when trying to sew in the elastic than anything else.

Things I love about this pattern:
  • The very cute appliqué
  • The technique for adding the elastic
  • The elastic waist means no gaping which annoys me immensely in normal overalls.
  • The clear instructions.  I did have to read a couple of steps through twice, more likely due to the sleep deprivation CT is putting us through that the clarity of the instructions.
There is only one thing I didn't like and that was the appliqué on the pocket.  I found there wasn't really enough room for it and when I top stitched I went through the turtles head.  Minor issue and CT is certainly not going to notice.  I will just enlarge the pockets by 1/2 inch next time to make room.

I made one set of extra buttonholes in the strap as there is no way CT is big enough yet for the buttonholes to be on the end of the straps.  This means that we will double up the straps until he is tall enough for the change.

I also managed to put the pockets on the wrong sides, another minor issue that CT won't care about but it looks a little funny having the turtles bum on the front rather than his face.

I made the size 1 and it is a good size for CT.  It looks a bit small on him in the picture but that is because he is wearing a particularly fat cloth nappy.  When we changed the nappy it looked great.

Disclaimer - Toni from Make it Perfect has no idea who I am but I love this pattern and wanted to let people know about it.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My first quilt for the year

I am so proud of myself to have started and finished a quilt less than half way through January.  Ok so it is only about 21in square but still it is complete.  I am so going to add and keep updated a tally on the blog as I think this could be a great year.

This little beauty is made from random pink strips that I was given recently and hand quilted with flowers.  The backing is the last of my Sunkissed by Sweetwater.  The binding is also random from my stash and it was attached by machine - I am starting to really get the hang of machine binding (now to get the hang of machine quilting)

It was gifted today to a friend of CT on her first birthday.  She wasn't fussed but it went down very well with her mum.

Excuse the photos it was late when I took them.

Hope you have had a good weekend.  I have a post planned for tomorrow with another finish (I know its crazy) but right now I have to crack on and write a business plan.

Monday, January 7, 2013

2012 in Review

I have read loads of 2012 reviews and a large number of people were rather glad to see the back of it.  Me not so much. 

CT is now a year old and the last year has been an absolute blessing in watching him grow at his own pace and develop into the cheeky boy I now have.

However as this is meant to be a craft blog I thought I would put in some of my crafty successes this year.

8 quilts completed (only 7 pictured here as I forgot to photograph the 8th)

 4 Quilt tops / Backs ready to sandwich

Quilt Blocks - 7 Swoon blocks (although I can only find pictures of 6) and 1 for a collaborative baby quilt.

Hats and Bags


Misc Other

All in all I am quite pleased with how crafty I have been.  I have fairly ambitious crafting goals for 2013 but I think I can fit them in - but that is the subject of another post. 

Thank you for reading in 2012 and I hope to post more often in 2013.