27/04/2013: Almost May already! This year is going so fast!
02/04/2013: Happy Easter. I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend.
01/01/2013: Happy New Year!!
24/12/2012: Merry Christmas!!
13/11/2012: Getting hand-made presents ready for Christmas!!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Steampunk QAYG Quilt Progress

I've been doing a fair bit of reading about how to Quilt As You Go as I am getting closer to the point where I will be assembling my Steampunk quilt blocks. Here is a quick peek at where I'm up to - a long time in the making considering I started this quilt back in August 2010.

8 of the 12 planned Steampunk blocks

With the Quilt As You Go method of quilting I'll be taking each of these blocks and quilting them before they are sewn together. They will be assembled with black sashing between each block into a grid of 3x4. I think this is the easy part... what has had me procrastinating and searching the internet is how to add a border, rather than finish the set of blocks off with just a binding.

I've been asking on blogs and forums with limited success. I believe the adding of borders to a QAYG quilt is something that is usually taught in a class and hard to explain without being able to show step by step photos, but I've never been one to take classes and I've never let a little gap in knowledge stop me from trying anything - don't worry, I'll document the method I end up using so you can have a go too!

What I think I'll end up doing at this stage is add the border the same as I will the blocks which will mean an extra 8 pieces - 4 sides and 4 corners - in order to make the sashing pieces look symmetrical. The sashing should look the same on the front and back, but the back will be completely black unless I change my mind between now and quilting.

The octopus is the most recent addition to the Steampunk set and was developed from conception to execution in a really short time - only about 2 weeks! I had the idea for him not long ago, while other designs are still sitting in my notebook. I really love some of the more abstract Steampunk icons creeping into this quilt.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Out with the Old...

... and in with a brand new look!!

My blog was starting to look brown and dull to me so it was time to spring clean and freshen up. I needed some colour and now I think I'm happy and ready to unveil it to you!

The Old...

This really was a little more trouble than I expected. I built the new site in a test environment and when I thought I was ready, copied it across... but unfortunately a lot of unexpected things happened. First all my little gadgets broke and I had to readd everything to my sidebar. Next I realised there was no blog navigation, so no way to get to any of my previous posts. Finally I realised the comment form was completely broken.

Happily I was able to fix everything, but not without a few headaches. In fact it has taken me about 6 hours longer than I expected and turned into two evenings work instead of one, but I am happy with the results. The old hints through from the background, but the green and white lifts and brightens everything up.

Thanks for your continued visits everyone. Let me know what you think of the new blog.

PS: There are six hens hidden around the site too!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Because side projects and hobbies are important!

... but is there such a thing as "too much"?

I feel like every week I add a new thing to my list of things I'd like to do when I get home from my day job. Do you do this too or are you content with picking one hobby and sticking to it?

I wonder sometimes if I'm overdoing it. Actually I wonder that a lot and sometimes I burn out and have a week of procrastination... or two. And I'll procrastinate about everything! I won't sew, draw, or even exercise. I'll plonk myself infront of the television or computer, but I won't blog, I won't even read blogs. I'll do nothing.

What a waste of time! However, I think these weeks are my body and brain going "critical mass reached, system shutdown initiated..... rebooting brain"

Well I've had a couple of weeks like this and now I'm back at things with a fresh frenzy. The unfortunate thing is that during these weeks of nothing I have a tendency to come out of it with a dozen brand new ideas which I must try NOW.

ATC Swaps is a perfect example of this. This is actually a a bit of fun. I'm justifying it as my excuse to make a mess and get dirty with things I don't usually use in my art. The pieces are so small that it only takes me an hour or two to follow a tangent and them I'm free to go back to my bigger projects. What a great load of justification right there... of course I haven't mentioned the number of hours I've put into setting up the new blog and planning out a few months worth of small projects, or the fact that I want to make all these little projects NOW, not in a few months.

My Sketchbook Project is another perfect example. I didn't quite get through the last 30 day challenge, but I did learn a number of things and gained confidence. I am itching to start another one, but know I should wait a little longer. Maybe I'll start May 1. I'll let you all know.

I *need* to make things right now. I *need* to be doing things with my hands. This week I've made 3 ATCs, all our wedding "save the dates", jumped on my exercise bike every day, been super productive and up to date at work... I've been shunning the television and the internet, I've been walking to the shops instead of driving, I've been cuddling chickens. Anything that gets me moving, making, creating, observing - the senses scream for stimulation!!

Most of all I have ideas and not enough time. I know the burn out will be back in a week or two so I'm doing as much as I can while my enthusiasm is high. Another positive to my creative side is that daylight savings is over. I tend to focus better in the evening when it is dark as I don't feel that I'm "wasting" a beautiful day indoors. The downside is less daylight means less time to cuddle my chickens because they go to sleep just after I get home from work. But at least I can get started on projects by 7-8pm instead of just coming inside from outdoors some nights at around 9pm in the summer.

Well it is good to get all that out. I need to create, create, create!! What are you working on right now? Send me a link to your current project if you've got a blog entry!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Sewing and Swaps

Long time no post! I have been sewing though.

I finished another applique for my "steampunk motifs" quilt. This one is a crown. I really love how it looks and want to do another one in blues or pinks. I need a little princess to give it to though, so perhaps that will have to wait until a future time.

The last few months have been full of lots of ideas and not enough time to execute them all. I always get into these modes and then get frustrated at having to spend my 9-5 at my day job...

Do you want to do something fun with me?

I've started making fabric ATCs because I want some little things to do so I can learn some new techniques and have a play around. An ATC is an Artist Trading Card - a little project only 2.5"x3.5" which is usually swapped with others (or you could just keep them yourself).

I've started a swap with the first technique - Check it out here. Sign up this time is only 2 weeks, but the next one will have a full month to sign up. I'll run one a month so join in at any time.

I've also got a few pre-loved embroidery magazines in my shop for a really good price. If you love embroidery, these magazines are absolutely stunning. Check them out here

And I promise I'll post some actual sewing soon!!