Tuesday, 26 July 2016

'Piece Yourself Together'... Last Of The Colours!

Happy Tuesday Everyone!
I'm a bit excited about these little cuties... they're the last of the coloured/print hexy's for my Super Long Term Scrappy Hexy Quilt... a stack of purples to toss in the tub with all the others.

A layout has been decided upon for this quilt... what a hard decision to make, given there are so many great inspirations out there & zillions of fabulous ideas!
Consideration is also being given to background fabric... but it's a bit of a thing... white or a very pale cream?... hhmmm... they're a bit hard to get a good photo of... I have put a pile of coloured hexy's with both colours & fear a white background might end up looking a bit grey, or stark, or just not right... I'll have to have a good think!
Those black fabrics are there for a reason... they're going to be a small part of the quilt.... small but I think good.

It was such fun reading the Comments about my 'literary dilemma'... the decision has been made... the next book already has my bookmark in it!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Hibiscus How-To... Pressing Station/Board for Patchwork & Craft

Having shared a blog post early in June that showed off my new pressing station board, I have put together a few pics of how I made it.

 I didn't want a regular ironing board for my new room... they're not a good shape for patchwork & not easy to press big items either; after all, they're designed for the ironing of garments, not the more important stuff like patchwork!
So I had a really good look around online for various tutorials & images ... got all the inspiration & ideas I needed... & headed off to the hardware shop.

 The measurements I state are what I used for my own board, but of course can be adapted for any size.

To start with, I purchased the following:
* a pre-cut piece of MDF board - 1200mm x 600mm x 9mm
*quilt batting - enough for two layers over the board
*fabric - enough for one layer over the board
 * I also bought a staple gun, plus 6mm & 8mm staples.
My batting is cotton, because it sits nice & flat. You might like to use 3 layers; I found 2 sufficient.
The fabric is a decorator cotton, slightly heavier than standard quilting fabric. I think decorator cotton or drill is more suitable for this purpose; perhaps regular quilting fabric will wear out quicker.

A Word About The Staple Gun.
For best results the staple gun needs a good firm hand, so I used the heal of my left hand to hold the gun in place while squeezing the lever with my right hand. I also used an old magazine under the gun so I didn't cause dents in my table.
Without that hand in place & something underneath the back of the stapler, I found the gun pushed
up on me a bit, & the staples didn't fire in nicely & sit flat.

Let's Get To Work.
Decide what size you want your board, & cut it to size. Make sure there are no rough edges.
The 600mm was too big for my space, so I got mrHS to cut it to 500mm.

The batting & fabric need to be cut bigger than your MDF board. I allowed an extra ~13cm (5") on each side, which allows for folding under & stapling down.

On a firm flat surface (I used my table), lay your pressed fabric RIGHT SIDE DOWN, then layer with the two pieces of batting. On top of this, carefully place your MDF piece, centred as best you can.

I chose to staple the batting first, separately from the fabric... why? because the fabric is likely to need replacing a couple of times before the batting needs to be changed.

Using the 6mm staples & starting in the middle of a long side, I folded the batting & stapled towards one end of the MDF, leaving about 3 inches between each staple. Then I went back to the middle & worked towards the other end.
There's a staple about 2½inches from the very end, so the batting has a smooth edge all the way along.

Do the same for the other long edge, making very sure to pull the batting a little so there's no wrinkles, & it's fairly firm. Just don't pull it so tight that it rips!

For the corners, cut away the batting so it will fold neatly & without unnecessary bulk.
It's important to take care with this folding, so it sits nicely & gives a good finished result; you really don't want fat/squishy/strangley-shaped corners that don't sit nicely.
Cut the corner batting, & play around with the fold until you're happy with how it sits.
(Yes, I'm obsessed with each stage being just-so, but it's worth it I assure you!)

You can now fold & staple the short edges of the board, just the same way you did the long edges - starting in the middle & working towards one corner. When you get to a corner, fold your batting up into that nice fold you created, & secure with a staple or two.
I found that the 8mm staples were better for the corners, due to the thickness of the batting in these areas.

6mm staples used:

A couple of 8mm for added security:

Continue stapling along the short edges & do your corners until all your edges are done. Lovely!

Now for the fabric... This time, my staples are a little closer together, & I've folded under the edges of the fabric for a nice finish. I went back to the 6mm staples for this, & used the 8mm for the corners.
Again, I took my time with this... to get a good firm pleasing result, but also to take into account the geometric pattern on my fabric.
 Be sure not to staple on top of one that's already holding the batting!
 As with the batting layer, I started in the middle of a long edge, worked to one end, then went back to the middle & worked towards the other end.
Put a staple about 2inches from the end of long edges - this will end up under the fabric when the short edge is folded over, & helps maintain a lovely smooth edge, right to the corner.
( I forgot to take a pic, sorry)

When stapling the opposite long side, pull the fabric so it's tight & will remain firm when in use.

Then I worked on the narrow edges, carefully folding the corners before stapling. These corners were now a bit thick, so I changed up to the 8mm staples & banged them with all the Better Homes & Gardens confidence I could muster!

You're now done, just turn over your MDF & admire your handiwork!

To keep my board from sliding around too much on my table, I glued some 12mm x 20mm pine beading underneath. Any form of stabilising can be used - customise to your own situation. There are plenty of ideas to be found online.

 For me, I only glued the beading to the underside of the front edge, so my board doesn't slide backwards towards the wall. There's also a thin non-slip matting between the board & the surface of the table.

So there you have it... one fabulous pressing board for you to work with when you're doing what you love... no more struggling with an ironing board that's designed for clothes, with its annoying shape & size that's not practical for patchwork!

Thank you for reading... maybe this gives you an idea for your own space?!

My Very Lazy FNSI...

Friday Night Sew In... more like 'Friday Night Sloth In'... or perhaps 'my Friday, No Sewing Imminent'...
Not a stitch was done, & no guilt is being felt either.
It was so lazy, I'm only just posting about it on Sunday evening!
 But I did do something that is at least related to stitching, so I didn't completely flake.

Friday was a stunning sunny day here... so I sat outside in the sunshine... teapot within reach... perusing a new-to-me pattern... for several hours!
It's a Leanne Beasley design called Journey Of A Quilter.

Why this?
Well, back in late-April when I was on Retreat with my Patch group friends, one of the ladies showed us her finished work of this very pretty design... & a few of us oohed-and-aahed... & then we talked about it a bit... & a bit more... then came to the conclusion that it would be a great Sew Along amongst ourselves.
We haven't yet decided when to start, & I think it will be more of a 'start together, & share progress when we feel like it' format (which suits me just fine!). Also, I was able to get the pattern without paying full retail for it, which is fab. This is most certainly a project to look forward to!

 The two pics below are of Julie's very pretty creation... there are lots of sweet little details in the stitcheries, & the words sprinkled around on it are so lovely.
No wonder we fell in love with the design!

Thank you Wendy for hosting us for this fun sew-in, I thoroughly enjoyed my non-stitching!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

CTTY for July & A Literary Dilemma

Yes, it's back for July!

I have at least made a start on an item, but it's not finished... story of my life lately, it seems!... but started is better than not, is what I tell myself!

For some reason, I can't position the linky here, so please scroll down to the bottom to link up... Thanks for joining in!

Thank you friends far & wide for your Get Well wishes last week... it really has been a horrible time but I'm finished my antibiotics now & can't wait for that metallic-salty taste in my mouth to go away!

I've been just pottering along basting a good number of the cut hexy's I showed off last week, it's about all I've had the energy for.
There has also been sneaky-stolen downtime... so lovely to sit in the morning sunshine & read my book for a little while (not that I was overly impressed with it)... drink a cuppa & watch the Site Manager wander around his gardens. I feel I'm finally getting some energy back.

Speaking of books... the book I read was not very satisfying in the end... And now I face a situation... Do I read the remaining two in the series, just in case they're more enjoyable than the first one, or just move on to something else?
If I don't read the other books, I'll never know if Edward manages to hold on to the business empire he's built & prevent his brothers from ousting him... I'll never know if his wife Elizabeth dies in childbirth, or whether his mistress Jane continues to tolerate their arrangement... And what will become of the illegitimate daughter he fathered so young; she knows Edward is her birth father, but will Grace Rose continue to be loyal to him while her half-siblings appear to be getting preferential treatment?
Yes I will be frowned upon for reading such silly stuff, but I don't care... I call her work 'soapie in  a book'... something to enjoy without getting too involved. Maybe I AM involved?!
 Oh the dilemma!! What would you do?

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

It's Been A Long Week...

But first... I'm showing off the LAST of the hexy's I need for my Super Long Term Scrappy Hexy Quilt... 
these were cut out nearly two weeks ago... good thing the Tour de France is still on, I have a few evenings of basting ahead of me!

As for the long week... it's been a very long one... very sick one... the one where you lose track of the days...what started out as a sniffle on Monday has ended up with me on super-strength (seemingly veterinary-sized!) antibiotics for a trio of infections... I have never been so wiped out by this sort of thing, so I must have done something really terrible to earn it.
Happily, I'm getting better... Good Riddance.

When the CEO of Domestic Operations is out of action, things get a bit untidy around here, so I have a bit to catch up on... including blog-reading & posting off my Christmas In July parcel.

This is really quite a pitiful post, so I thank you for dropping in & reading it!

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Friday Stitching With Friends

Goodness, how did I forget to post about FNwF?!I'm going to blame the cold weather & the start of school holidays...

Thank you Cheryll for hosting this fab evening... it's always great to hop around the list & see what everyone got up to.

Although this fun party is Friday NIGHT with Friends, I did my stitching during the day, at Patch group... It was not quite as fiddly as I thought it would be, to work the back-stitching for these two darling Christmas characters... I always do faces last... I love to see their features develop.

mr16 plays soccer on Friday nights & as much as I love my stitching, there's no way I'd choose to miss a game... plus I'm team manager so I have responsibilities... warm attire is absolutely necessary & along with the oranges for the boys, I always take the Thermos for my half-time cuppa.

It's great to take advantage of the school hols... the extra time at home is a bonus right now... plus mr16 is helping me with things that only tall handsome sons can assist their Mums with ;)

Have a Terrific Tuesday!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

A Few More Hexy's & My Lovely Saturday...

Slowly, slowly, slowly... a few more hexy's for my tub...
Hexagons are such a simple shape... so easy to do... & I'm smiling on the inside because in a couple of months I'm going to start stitching them together into blocks... yay!

I had the loveliest day on Saturday!
In April when we were on Retreat, one of the ladies showed us two gorgeous quilts she'd made, using a block she called Indian Hatchet. It was great of her to agree to come & show us a bit more about how to piece it & lay it out as a quilt.
I got all my fabrics pressed, cut & marked in preparation for the day... so all I had to do was learn how to sew the block, then get Pfaff-ing on it! Woo hoo.

I'd been wanting to do a black & whites with greys type of thing for ages... so this was my chance... what do you think?! This is my progress so far... just sewing the blocks then laying them out to appreciate them... tossing in a pop of pink here & there... I'm loving it so far!
This is my work space for the day... hhmmm, I seem to be taking up a lot of room there!
There was only a small number of us sewing, which was a shame considering how many members we have, BUT our little gathering was so very enjoyable & rejuvenating.

This is going to be yet another great project to just potter with... sew a few blocks now & then... something easy that will give me a happy result... fabulous!

Thanks for popping by & I hope you have a Wonderful Wednesday♥

Monday, 20 June 2016

'Christmas Through The Year' for June

Wow the months are flying by... time for CTTY again!

All the information you need for CTTY is in the tab at the top of the page.

I hope you'll join me in making, blogging about & then stashing any non-Christmas themed items you're making as gifts.
I'll be sharing mine in a couple of days... not quite finished just yet.

Join Me?!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Not Very Productive FNSI...

Friday Night Sew In for June... thanks Wendy for hosting us!
I had every intention of being busy & getting lots done... but no... didn't happen!
I spent Friday at Patch group... finally got around to cutting the pieces I need to make the kitty zipper pouch, & even pinning the pieces to the zip... which took me a whole 20 minutes to do.
After that, I pinned a few more pieces to their zips...took me a solid half-an-hour... this is the last of the strawberry print canvas fabric... I cut it months ago but obviously not sewn yet.
I did also help a lady at Patch group, with a bag she's making... the pattern is a bit confusing, but the fact she'd sewn things somewhat out of order, certainly made it interesting for me... but we worked it out in the end & her bag will be great.

♥Have A Great Week & Do Something You Love♥

Thursday, 16 June 2016

No-Fuss Swap... Kapers in the Kitchen...

The ladies at No Fuss Swappers have done it again!
The most recent swap for this fun group is themed 'Kitchen Kapers'... these are such fun & straightforward swaps... if you're not already familiar with No-Fuss, I hope you'll pop over here to see what they're about.

This time we were tasked with sending: a tea towel, a recipe card with recipe on it, a spatula, a wrapped cookie & a cookie cutter.

My parcel of goodies went to the lovely Melody:
The recipe I sent to Melody is a family favourite here, Mocha Brownies... It's taken from a Women's Weekly cookbook I've had for many years, never fails & is easy to make.
(Golly, I really need to change that ironing board cover, or stop using it as staging for my photos, it looks terrible!)
And I received my goodies from the ever-busy Shez:
Can't tell you how handy a lloonnggg spatula is Shez, Thanks ;)
 And the Hibiscus Offspring send their thanks too, they're already using the spatula for getting the last peanut butter from the tub!

Now it's time for me to get my skates on & get to work on my Christmas In July items... I adore this swap & I'm excited for what I have planned to make... secret sewing underway!

This is a quick post for the morning, but hopefully I'll have access to a computer again this evening, so I can catch up on some blog reading, see what everyone's been doing... have a great Thursday xx

I leave you with a bloom from a new plant hibiscus in my garden... oh those colours... sigh...
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