Monday, April 15, 2019

ScrapHappy on the Couch

Day 11 of languishing with dengue fever.  Of  body aches, axe-through-my-head- headaches, non-stop nausea, upper abdominal liver fighting the virus ...and high fever requiring a stay in the emergency department until it came down to an acceptable level. Rest, paracetamol and lots of fluids is the only treatment. Molly kept vigil with me.

I spent the days in an odd fever/pain twilight. I drifted off to sleep as clouds come over and it rained.

Then woke to sunshine.

And was lucky to catch sight of an osprey perched in the tree out the back.......... 

waiting for lunch

By Saturday, as the wicked headaches and pain behind my eyes began to subside, I felt able to think about doing something other than sleeping, and gathered some books and stitching to have nearby, ready for an alert moment or two. 

Day by day, friends and neighbours came by and let the chooks out, locked them up again at night, made sure I had gallons of herbal tea and lemon water close by and took Mirrhi out for walks and games. She stayed close the rest of the time, and I often woke to this face close to mine, snoring gently.

So onto scrappiness. Yesterday I felt well enough to sit up and sew for a little while. I had been making hearts blocks for Christchurch.....I'm sure everyone has heard about the horrific terror attack on the mosques in Christchurch. Since then, quilters from all over the world have responded by coming together under the umbrella of Quilters Healing Hearts for Christchurch, making heart blocks and putting quilts together to gift to those affected within the Muslim community, as well as first responders and emergency services personnel. 

Green hearts were requested for the families who lost loved ones 

I had made these pieced blocks....6.5 inches unfinished .... before I took to my couch, but as there was no way I could sit at the sewing machine, but, upright at last, at least for short periods, I decided to make some appliqued blocks. It's been slow going, I still tire quickly, but have this little pile to show for my persistence. 

Coloured hearts for first responders, emergency services etc.

Joining with Kate and many others for ScrapHappy Day. Go check out Kate's blog and be inspired by what others are doing with their scraps.

It's back to bed for me, see you next time.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

ScrapHappy March

I'm a little late for the actual Scraphappy Day...15th of the month.....but had some depressing and gut wrenching news at the end of the week that left me feeling too upset to think about much at all, and definitely not blogging. I'm not ill, but it's something that affects my home and lifestyle, and I might post about it eventually, but now it's even hard to talk about, so maybe one day......

Anyway, on to scraps, which are far more cheery to talk about and make me happy.  We have 2 wonderful op shops (thrift stores) in town run by volunteers, and all proceeds go to the local Wedgetail Retreat Palliative Care Hospice. They're not out to make huge profits, so the shops are treasure troves of minutely- priced bargains. I've made a couple of quilts I've donated as fundraisers, and so Edna, who manages the shops, often puts odds and ends away for me that she thinks I might be able to use.
So when I went in last week looking for a sleeping bag for an old man I found sleeping cold in the unused railways station, Edna had a surprise for me tucked under the counter.....

 ....a lovely handful of fabric bundles, little scraps and left-overs from other people's sewing, all lovely soft cottons in dainty prints and so perfect for a project I've had in mind.....making tiny gowns for prem babies. I have the patterns for 3 sizes - 10 com (4") 14cm (5.5" and 20com (8")

So tiny they don't take long to sew up

Finished size 10cm (4")

A few of the tiny ones ready for sewing

and a pile of my own small freshly washed and ironed pieces ready for cutting.

These will be going off to Adelaide, to Walk with Wings, an organisation that offers not only support to parents during their journey through NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit) but also distributes premmie support packs to hospitals around South Australia, to present to families suddenly faced with a premature baby. It's an exciting time for parents when they're told they can dress their baby, who, being so small and delicate, need simple gowns in fabrics that are soft and gentle, and styles that are ok to to use with these little ones, who usually have tubes and monitors attached. 

A support package for the parents of a tiny premmie baby - credit Walk with Wings website

Joining with Kate and Gun who kindly host ScrapHappy Day every month, where we can show off our scrappy projects....whether fabric, yarn, wood, paper...whatever can be turned into something useful or decorative. There's some interesting posts this month, go check them out....
they weren't late!

It's been raining steadily here for a couple of days, the ground's damp and soft and it's cool(er) out, so a perfect time to head out and do some much-needed weeding.

So, till next time...............

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

I Dream of a World..........

I popped down to Sydney on the weekend for the opening of this powerful exhibit by my friend and amazing artist Mo.  I only started following Mo in January 20I7, after her vision for this artwork was already launched, so I'd had no idea where it all began. I read back through Mo's blog posts today because having seen the culmination at the opening, I wanted to to put it into some sort of context.

It seems to have begun with a number of to and fro conversations back in 2016 on a blog post about Rebecca Solnik's book Hope in the Dark where Mo made a comment about "looking after our beautiful broken world with kindness "  This phrase pops up a few times in subsequent posts, and then the gift of an old wedding dress, Mo's growing concern for our broken world, and a sign on a building in Newtown NSW, where she lives, birthed the idea for a powerful and important message of hope and healing. Mo decided to cut the wedding dress into pieces, and put the call out for anyone interested to put their hands up to make a pennant, making their mark in some way with their hopes and dreams to heal our world. For those, like me, who were a bit slow putting their hand up, Mo called for small talismans to be made to be attached to the installation., which I'll show later.

Photo credit Mo Orkiszewski
 If you're interested, you can read more about her vision, the planning and process and how she pulled it all together here along with posts which celebrate the arrival of the pennants and talismans. 

And so it all came together, and on Sunday we gathered to celebrate this wonderful installation that saw hands, hearts and threads joined across the world.

44 pennants from all over the world - threads and stitch connecting people and making powerful healing energy

(Photo credit Fiona and Bruce Dempster)

awe and wonder 

choosing a favourite
And speaking of talismans.........that's mine in the middle.  And below are close ups of it, front and back.

Talisman - 1.5 cm ( .5 inch) square, handmade felt. It's a little pouch, and inside on two pieces of  handmade paper I wrote .... I dream of a world..... and a Sanskrit prayer. 

 A shisha mirror for protection and reflection of the good we do. A tiny green heart is nestled in the soft wool fringing.

On the back I embroidered an Aboriginal symbol for meeting place.....for Mo's blog and this project have been  a meeting of hearts, minds and intention......and the colours of purple and green symbolise the power of women joining together to help heal our world.

I can't begin to describe the wonderful feeling of seeing all the pennants, talismans and the structure to hold it all that Mo dreamed into being and created to display and anchor them to the veil and train of the old wedding dress. It was possible to stand underneath it, and feel the energy and harmony created by the thoughts and prayers stitched into the work, and feel contained and held by the soft light filtering through the fabric.

As someone else said today describing it .......what a buzz!

Congratulations to Mo.....for bringing us all along on this wonderful journey of love.

If you'd like to see more of the pennants and talismans and their maker's stories, go here to see the amazingly beautiful catalogue.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Scraphappy Day February

On the 15th of every month Kate and Gun host ScrapHappy Day, an opportunity for us to show the myriad of ways we've used our scraps, whether they be fabric, yarn, paper or something else. All scraps are welcome.

I'm a little late, but my scrappy project this month shows my progress on the redwork blocks I posted about here. For a variety of reasons, including the fact it's been too stinkin' hot to sew, and I've been having the laundry's hard to keep the momentum going when it seems the tiler or painter are popping  their heads around the door every 10 minutes to ask 'can you come here for a minute?'....... I haven't done as much I would've liked, but a cool change has kicked in, so sewing is happening again. And the renovations are finished, thank goodness.

To start, I bordered the blocks log-cabin style using  a variety of 1.5" strips I had left over  from another quilt.  When I ran out of these, I cut strips from scrap 'chunks '....pieces smaller than a fat quarter, larger than 6 " length.

So that was the easy bit done......I had 7 blocks of different sizes.....what was I going to do with them? After a bit of time spent on Pinterest looking at various quilt settings, and searching through old magazines,  I decided to set them as a scrappy sampler quilt.  The finished quilt will be around 42 x 46, maybe a little larger if I add borders, and I used pieces of paper to work out the sizes of filler blocks, where they might go, and what they might be.

This will be my centre block, and I'll build the rest of the quilt top around it.

So far, I've made a tiny friendship star...3" finished..... and have two more cut ready to sew.

......and a long strip of appliqued hearts and flowers.

These will border the centre block.

I found some left over dresdens from a quilt I made my daughter a few years ago, and they'll go in somewhere. I think the rest will grow organically, not a lot of planning here, just vague ideas of where it's going, which is rather fun.

Sort of looks like this so far.

Kate has a list of bloggers who usually have some scrappy inspiration for us, don't forget to go have a look here.

See you next time.........

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Light and dark

scrappy teal, that is 

Kate, from Tall Tales from Chiconia is making another fundraising quilt for ovarian cancer. This time it's a tribute to a friend of hers who passed away recently, and Kate has designed a stunning quilt which is called In The Arms of the Angels.  You can see her sketched out plan here and the story behind the quilt.

Kate put out the call for help to make background and border blocks, and so I put my hand up for a couple of these.  The background needed to be in soft shades of teal, aqua, blues and creams and I used scraps to make this kind-of log cabin. I included some pieces that didn't make it when I was playing around with ideas for blocks for the Go Teal it on the Mountain quilt.

And a couple of antique tiles in reverse colourway. Kate wanted low contrast blocks, without a strong pattern that would 'jump out'. 

These two rectangles are 12x18, and are for the borders, with once again ' patterns that don't jump out as these are to be a mosaic to frame the inner window'.  I was running low on teal fabrics by now, and while I have plenty of small scraps, I didn't want to have tiny pieces in such large blocks, so had to be a bit creative in joining the larger scraps......some being 2.5 x4 or 4x4 and saving the few long pieces I had for the outer edges.


Check out Kate's post here to see the start of the quilt going together, and the magnificent set of 3D wings Kate has made. It's really worth having a look to get a clear idea of Kate's vision and how my scrappy blocks will work together with others being sent from around the world.

Joining in with Kate and Gun's monthly Scrap-Happy Day, which is open to anyone using scraps of anything.....fabric, paper, wood, anything that turns your scraps into something useful. Details are on Kate's blog.

See you next time.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Giving myself a push

to get on and finish 

I'm good at starting things, good at keeping up the momentum of doing a bit, here and there, but not always the best at finishing.  I keep busy and rarely sit down during the day, and amble from task to task....the necessary chores of cleaning, changing litter boxes, tidying and so on, then into the garden, see to the chooks, or out for a walk or a chat over the fence with a passer-by. Then there's a bit of sewing, laundry or tidying, soap or jam making, wash the dog or go pick vegetables and do 'something' with them. A friend says she likes the way I hum along in my day with tasks and chores, and I do get a lot done, but not always focused on one task.....the joys of being retired I guess, and being able to please myself how I spend my days.

But sometimes I have to step up, and now is one of those times's a good friend's 75th birthday at the end of February, and I started a lap quilt for her last winter. It has a number of red work stitcheries, and I wanted to give myself not only time to work on them, but to enjoy the process as well.  February  seemed a long way away back in July, but here we are, in a new year, and suddenly the quilt needs to be ready next month !

I have eight stitcheries done, of varying sizes, from 9 Inches square down to 4 inches. They're all Bronwyn Hayes's patterns, from Red Brolly Designs, and this isn't one quilt pattern, but odd stitchery patterns I've saved over the years from various stitching and quilting magazines.

 So I've started to add borders to bring the blocks to the same size, trialling how that might be......log cabin style, coins.....I haven't decided yet....and some pieced blocks to make the quilt a decent size.  I'm wanting to use scraps and my (limited) stash so that will determine how that's all done. I also have some more patterns if I need to add more stitcheries.

And the post title?  I've put it out here now that I want to finish this quilt, but I'm also linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal with my January goal being to at least have the quilt top finished. We'll see.  

I have sewing to do.....see you next time.