Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dinovember

The dinosaurs have been coming alive at night at our house this month. They've been up to all sorts of mischief, and it's so much fun watching the children discover their antics every morning. We're half way through the month, so here's what's happened so far...

















Is Dinovember happening at your house?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Meet Kai

I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to introduce you to Kai. I've completely fallen off the blogging/quilting bandwagon and all I can say is baby number 4 has tipped me over the edge. My days and nights are filled with baby cuddles, and that's just fine with me right now.


So do you want to hear the birth story? Kai was born almost 2 weeks late. After three days and nights of early labour pains I suddenly went into full on labour while at my parent's house for dinner. All of a sudden I wasn't hungry. My dad asked me if I shouldn't be in hospital and I told Todd to pop his dinner in a container, and take me to the hospital... now! I phoned my midwife on the way and left a message. Previously I had been quite teary that labour was taking so long to establish, but now that things were moving I had a burst of energy and determination  Its funny how the anticipation of the pain was almost worse than the real thing. I arrived at the hospital before my midwife. Fortunately another midwife was able to get the bath started and I wasted no time getting on the gas! Although I don't think it did much for the pain, the gas helped me to focus and not become panicky. Todd had parked in a loading zone, and was about to leave to re-park the car, but I told him not to go anywhere, that this baby was coming and I didn't care if we got a parking ticket! Both my midwife and back up midwife made it just in time (we all forgot to call the student midwife... whoops). As soon as the bath was full I hopped in, and after two almighty contractions I was ready to push. He needed a little bit of help, as his shoulder got stuck, but at 7:20pm Kai joined our family - all 9 pounds ounces of squishy cuddliness. Oh the relief... the joy... there's nothing like it. He came out hungry, sucking on his fist and he's fed every 2 hours day and night ever since!


He's a pretty settled baby, loves his food and cuddles and is really smiley (started at just 2 weeks.)  The whole family love him to bits, and fight over who is going to hold him next.  I can't believe he's already 3 and a half months old!  Here's some snaps from my phone:






This gorgeous outfit was sewn by my lovely friend, Cath Palmer, who happens to be a midwife (and who was able to help calm me down when I was worried about how the birth would go). The pants pattern is Anna Maria Horner's Quick Change Pants, with a lovely soft flannel on the inside.


She was so thoughtful to make tops for each of the siblings too. How nice is that!



My sister, Amelia, made this beautiful quilt with gorgeous soft fabrics! It's the perfect size for him to have some tummy time on. 



She also made a matching ball with some very special fabric. I wish you could see it up close. The stitches are so fine and delicate. What a lucky boy.






I would like to take the liberty of adding 4 lines to my mum's favourite poem:
You are the trip I did not take
You are the pearls I cannot buy
You are my blue Italian lake
You are my piece of foreign sky
You are my quilting masterpiece
You are the book I did not write
You are the blog I cannot tend
I'm far too busy holding you tight.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Flea Market Fancy Quilt while waiting for baby

I'm officially overdue and I can't wait to meet bubs. You know that moment when heaven meets earth and your world stands still and the pains of labour are all worth it. I'm hanging out for that moment!

In the mean time I'm keeping busy. I made this little quilt for the baby using Flea Market Fancy reprint fabric (and a couple of other Denyse Schmidt fabrics.) Not very original, but super easy and very satisfying (I cut the squares 4.5" if you're wondering.)


My husband is always very honest when appraising my quilts (which is good because when he gives a compliment I know it's real) and he told me outright that he didn't like these fabrics at all. It made me momentarily question how I felt about the quilt and I wondered about whether there was too much pink in it. I was going for gender neutral because we don't know what we're having, but I think it's ended up gender inclusive. The more I look at it the more I love it! This is definitely a keeper. 


To keep it really soft I used wool batting (which has a slightly higher loft than cotton or bamboo) and  quilted it sparingly. It has ended up very soft, and the rounded corners just add to that softness. This was the first time I've tried rounded corners, and other than using more fabric than usual making the bias binding, it was easy and I love the outcome. I used this tutorial from "a quilt is nice" for the rounded corners (although I sewed the binding to the front of the quilt and hand sewed it to the back.) I also used this video to make the bias binding.


I didn't get around to making a quilt for me to snuggle under during night time feedings (even though I have a couple of quilt tops ready to be quilted), so I splurged and bought this Daydream bamboo blanket. When Grace was born I bought a bamboo wrap from Aden and Anais, and it was the softest thing ever. Now they make an adult size blanket out of four layers of the same fabric (rayon from bamboo fibre muslin) and it is divine!



So here's me at 41 weeks ready to pop. We're celebrating kids birthdays over the next couple of days, so maybe the baby's waiting for it's own birthday. Either way, it wont be long now :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Waldorf Doll

I started making a Waldorf doll for my little Grace a year ago for her second birthday. The simple style and natural materials really appealed to me. Well, I've finally finished it in time for her third birthday coming up. I don't know why it took me so long. It really wasn't too difficult to make. There's some excellent tutorials out there, and I've heard this book is great. I used bits and pieces from free online patterns, and looked at lots of different tutorials, but mainly used these instructions to make the head, these to make the body, and this one for the hair. The most painful bit was making the dress - even though it was so simple. I really don't enjoy making clothes, especially tiny ones, with fiddly bits of elastic in sleeves. I planned on making a couple of dresses so she could change outfits, but one dress will have to do for this dolly. I'm really happy with how she turned out and hopefully she'll be treasured for years to come. I'm planning on (eventually) making another one with my left over supplies, and I'll try to make the nose stand out next time (I neglected to put a bit of glue on this one to keep it in place.) You can see a hint of a nose though... right?



I also made a little doll quilt with leftovers from my Scattered Showers quilt.



The new baby is due any day now, so the timing for finishing this doll has actually turned out quite nicely, as it will be great for Grace to have her own baby to nurse and cuddle while I have mine. I can't wait!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Baby Nixon's Quilt - Rough Tutorial

I've had quite a few emails asking for details on how I made baby Nixon's quilt, so I've put together a very rough little tutorial outlining what I did, and the basic measurements. Please note, my patterns are nothing like this - they are much more detailed with pages of step by step photos/diagrams, and in depth instructions.


As you may know, I try to find the quickest easiest way of getting the look I like, and this quilt was no exception. It's a fun little one that can be adapted to whatever size you need. I used the same technique on the back of this quilt.

So, I started with pieces of patterned fabric that were 9" wide. I can't remember how many, maybe 20 pieces, 9" x approx 12". Then I cross cut them to varying thicknesses - approx 2" to 3" (see rough diagram below.) (Please note that even though the diagrams look very wonky, the fabric was actually cut with a rotary cutter and ruler throughout the process, so the edges were straight and the corners square.)



I cut the white sashing 1 1/4" wide (3/4" finished - using a 1/4" seam allowance).  I then sewed the strips of patterned fabric together with 1 1/4" x 9" sashing strips in between until it was the width I wanted the quilt to be. Nixon's quilt was about 40" wide.



At that point I horizontally cut through the entire 9" x 40" strip, giving me three 3" x 40" strips  (hopefully the pic below explains it.) 



I repeated this process another 4 times ending up with 15, 3" x 40" strips.

I then arranged all of the strips, rotating some strips 180 degrees to make the quilt look more random. When I was happy with the arrangement I sewed the strips together with 14, 1 1/4" x 40"  strips of white sashing in between.  I don't have the quilt anymore so I can't remember exact dimensions but the process would work for any size. Nixon's quilt was approximately 48"long, but you would just make more strips for a larger quilt.


I hope this all makes sense! I really enjoyed making this little quilt. I like the way the sashing makes the fabrics stand out, but you don't have to carefully align the vertical sashing strips, so it's pretty fuss free. It's also an orderly way of making something which looks random.  Please let me know if you have any questions. Cheers!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Baby "Frequency" Quilt

I've finally finished quilting my small "Frequency" quilt. You can find the tutorial for the quilt top here.


I enjoyed practicing free motion quilting on the pink strips (I tried quilting one of the patterned strips but preferred the puffy look so left them unquilted.) At first I had planned on doing a different design on each strip, but I liked the designs I chose so much that I doubled up on them to practice them more.


The quilting shows up very well on the back (there's no hiding mistakes here!) My machine (Janome 1600p QC) is fantastic for free motion quilting. It glides effortlessly over the quilt.


I've shown these pictures before, but they show the quilting close up, so I thought I'd show them again.

Wobbly "organic" quilting

Pebbling - love this look!

The twirls were a little tricky around some of the angles.

Not perfect by any means, but overall I'm really pleased with the result, and I can feel my confidence improving with free motion quilting.

By the way, only 5 weeks to go until bubs number 4 arrives! Apparently he/she is measuring big (90 percentile), so I'm hoping I don't go late like I did with the others. Exciting times ahead :)