Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Dry July Round Up

July has been quite a dry and barren sewing month for me. Out of the 31 days, 15 of them were school holidays. So I cannot cross off many items in my 'to do' list for July. I have been involved in a lot of fabric swaps this month - so that meant a lot of cutting and posting of fabric. I also had the travelling fat quarter stash turn up too!

I only completed one Zakka Style project with the Sew Along this month. I finished the Delightful Linen Bag today and I made a start on the Elephant Bookmark as well. I have missed being connected to the Zakka group regularly.

However I did learn an important skill - Paper Piecing (which will come in handy with the Practically Paper Piecing Blog Hop which kicks off at Quiet Play tomorrow. Kristy was the one to, not only inspire me but also, teach me how to do it.
 Practically Paper Piecing
This August @ Quiet Play
Kristy came up with a simple paper pieced house pattern for me to use and I have made a start on a little neighbourhood. Then she designed some trees and helped me to design a simple charm pack tree for the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop for small blogs.
Plum and June
Still happening 
The word about Sunday Stash here every Sunday at 'Finding Fifth' is getting out because July saw a regular 5-6 people link up and share their 'finds'. 
Here every Sunday 
Dry July
So here are my actual 'finishes' for July.
8 paper pieced house blocks
4 pp charming trees
1 pp tree
Christmas tree decorations for the Handmade Secret Santa swap
charm square swaps
1 mosaic block for July QCA Bee
Delightful linen bag for the Zakka Style Sew-Along

So how did your July stack up? I guess, one good thing, it will be easy for me to just transfer July's 'to do' list over to August!

Happy Sewing

Linking up with...
Lily's Quilts

Monday, 30 July 2012

Handmade Secret Santa

Handmade Secret Santa (July 2012)

With only 2 days left in July I was hard pressed to get this secret swap parcel out in today's post. I had planned on giving my swap partner, the 'Happy Couple Handwarmers'  which I made with the Zakka Style Sew Along however, research proved that she was from Queensland where temperatures in winter are pretty mild. I don't know Cate at all but she does have a blog called 'Life Behind the Purple Door'.Further research revealed that, like me, she has a 'thang' for felt Christmas tree decorations.

So I checked out Flickr and Pinterest for inspiration and set to work. I do like hand sewing.
I came up with this felt and button tree.
This Christmas house.
And I had enough Michael Miller selvedges to make a couple of these cute trees as well.

I hope that Cate enjoys adding them to her tree this year. She is hosting an event from September called '100 Days of Christmas' and she is looking for bloggers to 'guest blog' during that period. Details can be found here.

I have to thank Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts for hosting this swap. It has added to my repertoire of sewing skills. I hope that a nice Christmas parcel makes its way to my house this week - I wonder who my swap partner will be?

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Sunday Stash #24

What an Opening Ceremony last night at the Olympic Stadium in London! It had all the wonderful wit and self deprecation that I love in the British. The kids and I were laughing so much at Mr Bean infiltrating the London Symphony Orchestra to play the Vangelis tune to 'Chariots of Fire' and his subsequent dream sequence running on West Sands beach.
So in honour of the British, who so lovingly sent the best of their crop to the shores of the Great South Land, I bring you a slightly Pommy Sunday Stash today. These linen blend prints were purchased from Minna Fabric on Etsy.
'Postmark' in red
'Let's Enjoy Britain'
'I love Sewing' in blue

So what's in your stash this week? 

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Finding Farrah

Some of the ladies in my online quilt group Quilt Club Australia were inspired to start some Australian Travelling Stashes earlier this year. Basically a travelling stash originates with someone who puts some craft supplies together, it travels around the country courtesy of our expensive Australia Post system and folks take out what they want and replace 'like for like' until it returns like a boomerang to the originator (hopefully with not the same items returning).
'Farrah - the Fat Quarter Stash' was the brainchild of Bronwyn of Stop that Owl. She weighs just under 3Kg and is pregnant with about 40 fat quarters of all descriptions. 
Farrah arrived  at my Post Office, from Kelly of Made By Kelly... , yesterday afternoon. I was pretty impressed that she could fit into a 3Kg satchel to be honest. Kelly was wise enough to put her into a giant snap-lock bag first. It did not take me long to make up my mind about what to take out. Actually 2 of my choices were ones that Kelly had just put in!

I already had 5 replacement FQs ready to slip back in. A couple of refolding of some and she was back ready to be posted again. 
The next lady on the list is going to be thrilled when she sees some of the prints inside.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Let's Get Acquainted Stops Here Today

G'day and thanks for popping in. Today I am one of two stops on today's Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop for small blogs. You can stop by and get to know Mary from Spoolhardy Girl too!

Basic Info

Name: Fiona
Age: 43
Status: Married nearly 10 years to Dean (lovely guy)
Children: Duncan 8, Tristan 6 and Frances 4
Location: Currently just outside of Alstonville on the north coast of New South Wales in Australia.
Study: Bachelor of Education & Bachelor of Arts in Ancient History. Altogether it took 9 years part time by correspondance.
Vocation: Upper Primary School teacher for 13 years before leaving to raise the three children.

Name: Finding Fifth (comes from driving my friend's car in the 90s and trying to find a 5th gear after only ever driving 4 gear cars)
Photo: Tumut River Valley near Lacmalac
Started: June 2011
Why: Blogging is a bit like keeping a diary but you get to connect to links and stick in a whole bunch of photographs to help document your journey as well.
Tip: I tend to stay away from critical remarks - not a fan of negatively toned blogs. I love witty and down-to-earth ones though.

Started: October 2010 after watching an online tutorial by Jenni of the Missouri Star Quilt Company. My mum is an amazing quilter and so she nearly feinted when I told her I had bought a sewing machine, got lessons and started quilting. 
Fabric Love: Linen, textured solids, gingham, upcycled vintage sheets, Heather Ross, Denyse Schmidt, French General, Lizzy House, Aneela Hooey, Sweetwater Designs, Saffron Craig and Japanese prints. You can see more on my Pinterest board. 
Quilt Book: "Simple Home"by 'Sweetwater Designs'.
Equipment Must: A sharp blade in a rotary cutter. I need to buy one of those circular sharpeners!
Technique Love: Hand quilting with DMC floss.
Technique Learn: I am learning how to do English Paper Piecing after being inspired by the Flickr Community and my lovely friend Kristy from Quiet Play. Her 'Practically Paper Piecing' Blog Hop kicks off on August 1st.
Quilt Group: I am a part of a group but it is a virtual one called 'Quilt Club Australia' on Facebook.  Feel free to join me there.

Other Interesting Info About Me
Book: 'The Lord of the Rings' by JRR Tolkien
Children's Book: I had Trouble in Getting to Sollar Sollew' by Dr Seuss
Movie: The Last of the Mohicans
Album: 'Flags' by Brooke Fraser
Artist: John William Waterhouse
TV Series: 'Larkrise to Candleford' and 'The Wire'
Channel: The History Channel
Historical Figure: Captain James Cook
Current Figure: Barack Obama
Causes: Women's health after childbirth - fistula and prolapse repair (see the work of Dr Catherine Hamlin)
Ambition: To live in Scotland for a few years.
Flora: Flannel Flower
Fauna: Birds
Secret Hobby: Lego

Culinary Indulgences

Breakfast: Pancakes with lemon and sugar
Lunch: Crusty bread roll with BBQ chicken with mayonnaise and salad
Dinner: Vegemite basted roast lamb with gravy, roasted pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot , potato, garlic, onion, Yorkshire pudding and cauliflower and broccoli au gratin
Dessert: semi-freddo
Restaurant: Indian, Thai or Italian.
Alcohol: Moscato 
Hot: Strong white breakfast tea in a china cup
Regular: Mineral water

Identifying? Inspired or Hungry? 

I also host a weekly fabric linky called 'Sunday Stash' where you can show off your latest finds and then skip around and see what lovelies others have found. You are more than welcome to come and join in THIS, or any other, Sunday. For more information click here.
Next stop is a tutorial for a simple paper pieced tree made from just 4 charm squares. You can find it here. Enjoy!

Charming Trees Pattern

I am piecing something suburban for the Practically Piecing Blog Hop when it stops by here on August 20th.  I have already used Kristy's FREE PP 'House' block to make 8 houses for my neighbourhood. I wanted to add some trees to the mix.
Ok I am not a pattern designer - this is my first attempt. It is a VERY simple tree made for paper piecing novices like me. I designed it to be put together simply with just 4 charm squares. I have been using charms from the "Summersville' range to tie the blocks together - and adding some prints and solids from my own stash.
It is a paper pieced tree pattern that I put together as a hand drawing and then with some wonderful help from my Quiet Play friend Kristy, she turned it into a snazzy PDF version courtesy of EQ7.  
It is called 'Charming Trees' and the pattern comes to you FREE. You can download it here.  Let me know how you go using the pattern - I would like to hear your feedback.
And you can join in on the Blog Hop in August. Click on the link below.
 Practically Paper Piecing

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Swap and Declutter

Oh my so many swaps happening this month! I hope to have posted out the last of the swap items this week.
1. Rainbow Charm Swap - 10 FQs of yellow 
thanks to Marieka (2), Elaine (1), Sarah (1), Lauren (1), Lara (5), and Me (1)
2. Vintage Fat Quarter Swap - these are going to Jane of 'Where Jane Creates.'
Handmade Secret Santa
3. Handmade Secret Santa - to my mystery swap partner . I am not very familiar with her so I hope  that it is well received.

Fabric Received

Some fabric is trickling its way back to me.
One Fat Quarter of Heather Ross 'wildflowers' from Waverlee.
Two Fat Quarters of 'Peeps' from Olivia.
And a wonderful Quilter's Quarter of 'Denyse Schmidt' from Simone of Local Honey Crafts.
This was a generous and unexpected gift from Simone to say thanks for pointing lots of people to her 'UFO Challenge' last month. 
I didn't mind that other people won the 10 prizes. I only had one entry but Simone was nice enough to pick out this gorgeous set of four Fat Quarters in this bright yellow and orange colourway. I absolutely love it! 
Thank you so much Simone for your continuous generosity. 
You can see 3 other great QQs over at Red Pepper Quilts.

Decluttering - Clothes
Kid's Clothes were overtaking me. None of my children are big and so they stay in the same size for long time, however Tristan's wardrobe had 3 different sizes in it. And to that end, I had to spend some time last week sorting through and bagging up all the size 4 and 5 clothes.  I had 5 bags full of clothes to pass on to a couple of my friends with younger boys. 

Decluttering - Stuff
We moved to this rental property nearly 2 and a half years ago. Shamefully some of those packing boxes are untouched in our overcrowded garage. My daughter's Preschool is having a 'car boot sale' early in August. So I have been ruthlessly sorting through old toys, books, clothes, baby items and child safety items.
I managed to get through 7 packing boxes last night. And I popped a few bags of goodies into the Preschool at drop off this morning. It's a great feeling to see the garage less cluttered and feel the attachment to 'stuff' give way to freedom.

My husband is picking up his first trailer this week and so the old fridge, dishwasher, couch and mattress will be taken away thankfully.

Monday, 23 July 2012

The Neighbourhood Grows

Because of school holidays I have not really had uninterrupted time to sew in about 3 weeks. My husband could sense my frustration and was lovely enough to cook pancakes for breakfast and take the kids to church on Sunday so that I could have peace to sew. Lovely man.
So I spent most of the day piecing together a new pattern for simple trees. I am sharing the pattern in a tutorial on Thursday 25th July for the 'Let's Get Acquainted' Blog Hop.
I also added 4 new houses to the neighbourhood.

Next I have to tackle Kristy's more complicated Paper Pieced tree patterns.  Thankfully my extra charm packs of 'Summersville' arrived from Want it, Need it, Quilt! yesterday.
Now don't forget that there is a NEW blog hop starting late next week hosted by about 25 keen paper piecing bloggers. It is called 'Practically Paper Piecing' and is the brain-child of Kristy from Quiet Play. I am using these neighbourhood blocks for my project on August 20th - so stay tuned!
 Practically Paper Piecing