November OMG

I posted here a few days ago about this project, which I started early on this year and which had been sitting in my WIPs since March – you may recall my discovery of a mistake I had made in the alignment of the blocks in the third row, which I just couldn’t let go … just couldn’t.

I’m happy to say that I have now fixed the error, chosen suitable fabric and constructed a backing, and it’s now sandwiched, pinned, and awaiting quilting, so today I decided it would be my November OMG 🙂

At this stage I think I’ll bind it with the same fabric as the strip I’ve inserted on the back, but we’ll see how it looks once I’ve done the quilting.  Of course, in order to do the quilting, I first have to decide what sort of quilting … so this may or may not be a completed project by the end of the month! 🙂

esq-omg-buttonThe OMG link-ups are being run by Elm Street Quilts for the rest of this year, so I’ll be linking up with them here. Once again there is a wonderful variety of projects there for you to have a look at 🙂


Why is it …

… that quilting mistakes sometimes slip under the radar, and don’t present themselves until you’re well down the track with a project, and correcting the mistake then requires a whole lot of unpicking, re-arranging and re-sewing?!!! 😦

Take this project for example, which I got to the flimsy stage at the end of March this year, and then became tired of and put it away while I moved on to something else:

Finally, it's a Flimsy!

Finally, it’s a Flimsy!

I was sorting through my WIPs and UFOs yesterday, looking for something to work on as my November OMG, and decided to finish this one off so I can add it to the donations pile at the December Christchurch Quilters’ meeting.

I spread it out on the bed, ready to audition backing and binding fabrics, and … WHAM!!! That’s when it hit me.

See the third row down?  See how the blocks are all oriented the same way as rows 2 and 4?  And see how the rest of the rows (1, 5, 6 and 7) are NOT all oriented the same way, but alternate from row to row???  *sigh*

So before I think about backing and binding, I now need to go back and unpick the side seams, unpick row 3 from rows 2 and 4, rearrange the blocks so they alternate correctly, and sew it all together again.  By which time I may well be bored with it all over again …

This may or may not end up as my November OMG project.  Some other brighter, more attractive, appealing project may well muscle its way into reckoning before then … all that lovely new fabric I’ve recently acquired is pretty tempting! 🙂





Brisbane Craft and Quilt Show, October 2016

craft-and-quilt-show-programme-1For the last seven years, my sister and I have been going to the Brisbane Craft and Quilt Show, held annually in October at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. The show runs for five days (although next year it’s been reduced to four), and for the first few years we focused solely on looking at the quilts.  As you can imagine, with over 600 on display, we were very happily occupied for a whole day 🙂

After a few years we decided to go for two days, and take in some of the free workshops which are offered.  As you will see from the programme below, these are many and varied, covering all sorts of crafts; they also include some Make and Take classes which you have to book in for, and pay a fee for materials, etc.



This year we carefully studied the programme, and selected these workshops:

  • Unique Quilts with Just One Fabric
  • Quilt as You Go, Reversible Scrap Quilts
  • Magic Half and Quarter Squares
  • Versatile Scrap Crazy Template Projects
  • Quilting with Templates at Home
  • Australian & Indigenous Designs;
  • Quilt as You Go; and
  • Easy Applique (not listed on the programme shown).

Of all the workshops we attended, only one was a disappointment (and I won’t embarrass anyone by naming which one); all the others were very informative, with plenty of tips, advice, ideas and suggestions, time for questions, and hands-on samples passed around or pinned up for closer inspection.  Most of the presenters were excellent, knew their stuff, and knew how to communicate to and connect with their audience.

In order to accommodate so many workshops, and see all of the 600+ quilts on display, we figured we would need to purchase a 2-day pass.  Pfft!  By the end of day 1, we had done 5 workshops, but only managed to get round maybe a third of the quilt show.  By the end of day 2 we had done another 3 workshops, but had still only seen approximately half of the quilt display. So a third day was deemed necessary, in which we focused almost solely on the quilts, managing to see them all – and to puzzle, again and again, just why this fabulous quilt had received no prize, but that so-so quilt had won a third, second or even first place ticket (What??  Are you kidding me??!).  Neither of us has any intention of ever entering any competitive quilt show, but we both felt very strongly that it would have been helpful to have had some indication or comment alongside the prize winners as to why they were chosen.

Not only that, but we’d also love to see the quilts unobscured by any entry number, information sheet, or prize ribbon.  We adhere very carefully to the instructions not to touch any of the quilts, but we love taking photos as we go round, so we can look back on them when we get home and discuss what we like about this or that quilt, how we might attempt such a project, what we might do differently, what fabrics or colour schemes we might use, etc.

There were some fabulous quilts on show, and I’d love to share some photos with you, but there was a big sign to say photos of the quilts were not to be posted on the internet or other places without the artists’ permission.  (I have posted some in previous years, I know, but now try to respect artists’ rights when requested.)

So instead, I thought I’d just share a few photos of some of the goodies I picked up over the three days – after the first two days we were determined the third day would be purchase-free, but … well, you know what can happen to good intentions! 🙂

Day 1:


Goodie bag from the Scissorman stall – with many pairs of scissors, naturally! 🙂



Half-metre fabric swatches, reduced to from AU$7 to AU$6 each if you bought 6 or more



Applique mat and 2 patterns, bought after our applique workshop

Day 2:


Purchases after our Versatile Scrap Crazy Template Projects workshop



Jelly rolls and Fat Quarters from East Coast Fabrics stall

Day 3:


More East Coast fabrics, plus purchases following our second Quilt as You Go workshop

We came away at the end of the third day well satisfied with what we’d learned and seen (not to mention what we’d bought …), and already looking forward to next year! 🙂

Retirement: so far, so good

One week ago last Thursday (29 September) I retired after 19 years and 4 months working for Christchurch City Council.  I hadn’t quite reached the magic age of 65 by that date, but near enough that I was ready to call it a day 🙂 (Besides which, I had a date with my younger sister for the Brisbane Craft and Quilt Show in early October, and didn’t really feel like having to go back to work for only a couple of weeks after that.)

Two of my work colleagues arranged a fantastic farewell afternoon tea, where I was presented with some delightful gifts:  a lovely scrapbook full of photos of fun times at the Council; not one, but TWO certificates to commemorate the occasion; gift cards for two local coffee shops (to ensure I make a trip or two into town for a catch-up); a beautiful scarf; a couple of soft toys which have special significance (and tales to tell …); and a wonderful, wonderful basket full of fabrics.  Here’s a montage of some of the scrapbook and other photos:

It was a fun afternoon:  lots of good food, good friends, and good stories 🙂

The following day was spent preparing for my holiday in Brisbane (including persuading Henry Lee that he really did want to go to the cattery ‘holiday camp with Auntie Lisa’ while I was away…), before I flew out of a damp, foggy Christchurch early on the Saturday morning, to arrive to brilliant blue sky and warm sunshine in Brisbane a few hours later:  fabulous! 🙂

It’s been a year since I last saw my sister, although we Skype reasonably regularly.  In the last couple of years she’s also taken up quilting, and I was delighted when she presented me with yet another retirement (and early birthday) gift:  the most gorgeous, colourful African quilt  – have a look at this:

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Isn’t it stunning??!!  We’re the last two of seven children in the family, and were both born in Zimbabwe (the rest were born in England), so this is a very special reminder of our life in Africa.  I shall take great pleasure in snuggling under it at every opportunity 🙂

In my next post I’ll tell you about our three days at the Brisbane Craft and Quilt Show this week: inspiring, educational, and very fulfilling for my stash and quilting resources! 🙂


Pleasingly productive

September sure was a good month for me project-wise:  not only did I finish off my OMG project on time, but I also managed to complete another two projects as well 🙂

The first one was a set of four little mug rugs for some of my work colleagues, to say thanks for all their support during my time at Christchurch City Council (I retired yesterday, after 19 years of service – I’ll post about that in a couple of days).

I had one made-up DNP block left over from my OMG project, so I unpicked it to give me four quarter blocks to use as starters for the mug rugs; added a strip of different fabric to each; slapped on some batting and a suitable backing (different for each to give that individual look); did a little bit of FMQ (again, different for each) to decorate; and finally bound each of them with a different strip leftover from a jelly roll used in another project.  (Good use of just a little more of my stash 🙂 )

Here’s how they looked from the front:


and the back:


It took me a couple of days to complete them, which I thought wasn’t too bad, given that I kept being distracted by the rugby and cricket on TV … nothing like a cry of, “Bowled ‘im!!” or “Yes!! He’s over the line and that’s a great try!” to pull my attention away from the sewing machine! 🙂

The other project which I managed to complete was my August OMG:  that lovely strip triangles quilt which I had initially intended to be a donation, but then fell in love with and decided I couldn’t let it go (not just yet, anyway … 🙂 ) – here’s how that turned out:






Love it when everything goes well with planned (and unplanned) projects:  I feel a distinct glow of satisfaction … 🙂


September OMG

Each year, the Christchurch Quilters’ Club seeks contributions from its members of community quilts, which are given to charity organisations for them to distribute as needed.  The club provides free batting for these quilts to its members, so all we need to provide is the fabric and our time to make up as many quilts as we can.  Initially I had intended my August OMG project would be one of these community quilts, but then I fell in love with it and changed my mind, deciding instead to keep it 🙂  Which meant that I needed to come up with something to replace it!

So, while I will still be working to finish off my August project, I have chosen to make a new, quick, simple, scrappy (sort of) Disappearing Nine Patch quilt as my September OMG project.  A quick fossick through my stash found a number of smaller amounts of fabric which I thought would make a nice cheerful quilt, so I set to cutting out and sewing together my nine-patch blocks:

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Some of this fabric has been around for yonks.  See that orange stuff with the birds and flowers on it?  That’s been skulking undisturbed in my stash for so long it’s almost fossilized, so it’s high time it was liberated to make a more meaningful contribution to the world 🙂

So, my aim for September is to get this quilt completely finished off (the quilts must be ready by our next meeting early in October, but since I’m going away for three weeks right at the beginning of that month, I need to get it done before I leave:  no pressure … 🙂 )

OMG buttonI’ll be linking up with Heidi’s Goal Setting party at Red Letter Quilts just as soon as it’s available 🙂


Two more finishes for August …

I mentioned in an earlier post that August had been a productive month, and that I would tell you about it later – and that ‘later’ has now arrived 🙂

Project No. 1

When I had the wee stutter on my August OMG project because I didn’t have the right thread for quilting it, I was so in the sewing zone that I just didn’t want to stop … so I delved into my UFOs/WIPs and pulled out some string blocks which I had made up about two years ago, and sewed them together into a small lap quilt.  I found a piece of fabric in my stash which was just the right size for the backing, did some very simple diagonal quilting, and then bound it with some lovely blue striped fabric which I’d recently purchased as backing for another project (see more about that in Project No. 2 below).

The front ...

The front …


... and the back

… and the back

Project No. 2

This was another one I fished out the UFOs/WIPs box – an OBW (One Block Wonder), also started two years ago.  At that time I had just started learning about OBWs and this was my first attempt – now I know a little bit more about what kind of patterned fabric works best for this type of project, I can see that this fabric isn’t really suitable.  (Good lesson – part of my learning curve 🙂 )  Despite this, I’m still quite pleased with the end result, which this time was quilted with some simple wavy lines (getting adventurous … 🙂 )

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The front …


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… and the back

Both of these will probably end up as donation quilts.

I was definitely on a roll in August – OMG achieved plus two more finishes! 🙂


Community service … and the Big R!

Community service day

Yesterday my team at work spent some time out of the office to undertake a bit of community service, and we chose to paint out some of the graffiti in our part of town.  We struck a beautiful day weather-wise (after the morning fog lifted), with clear blue skies and a comfortable temperature in which to work outside.  Here we are gathered together in our best old clothes, smiles at the ready, at the start of the morning (minus our team leader, who was Acting Photographer in Charge) 🙂

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And here are some action shots to prove that we didn’t just skive off for the day!

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Good job, team!


The Big R Day is coming up really fast!

After nearly 19-and-a-half years with Christchurch City Council, I’m due to retire at the end of this month (scary to think I now only have 4 weeks left …).  I started preparing for this last July, when I was allowed to reduce my working week to 4 days; and as from 1 July this year, I reduced this further to a 3-day week (Tuesday-Thursday), for my final three months.  (I can thoroughly recommend 3 and 4-day weekends!! 🙂 🙂 )  With a retirement function scheduled for the last Thursday in September, I gave some thought as to what sort of gift I would like, and came up with the idea of asking for a small amount of fabric (fat quarter, fat eighth, or even scraps) from any of the invitees who would like to contribute, which I can then make up into a quilt to remember my time at the Council.  So this request was duly included in the invitation, and my friend who is organising the function set up this crate in the office:

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As you can see, there is already a donation in it – but I’ve been very good, and I haven’t peeked inside the bag … well, not really, but I couldn’t help but see that it was considerably more than what had been suggested; however, when I ‘chastised’ the donor for her generosity she just smiled and shook her head and said, “Oh, I just had a wee clean-out …” . Bless her! 🙂

It’s definitely a little weird thinking that in another four weeks I won’t be working any longer … but I’m looking forward to unscheduled days when I can potter at whatever takes my fancy; not to mention delving into the depths of my fabric stash to reacquaint myself with what I actually have in there, and putting it to good use! 🙂













Winter photos (August 2014)

In early August 2014 I had planned to take a few days off and drive down to Invercargill (at the bottom of the South Island, NZ) for a couple of days to help my friend, Isobel, celebrate her 90th birthday. Mother Nature, however, decided to throw a spanner in the works, and delivered a big dump of snow over a good part of the South Island just a day or two before my trip, so I changed plans and decided to fly down and back instead of driving.  (A flight of just over an hour and a half compared with a drive of 7-8 hours each way sounded pretty good to me when I saw news footage of the driving conditions down south, I can tell you!)

I was looking through my external hard drive the other day at some of my stored photos and came across these shots which I’d taken during the flight down (I was lucky enough to get a window seat), and thought I’d share them with you – seeing them again reminded me of what a pretty winter wonderland it was! 🙂

The first three were taken just after 9am as we crossed over the Rakaia River (or was it the Rangitata? Not sure now …) to the south of Christchurch – I think we were only flying at about 18,000 feet and as you can see, it was a glorious winter’s day, clear blue sky and look at those snowy Southern Alps in the distance!

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The next photos were taken about 30 minutes later as we flew inland and passed over Mackenzie Country and the Waitaki Basin.  This was absolutely stunning – I was fascinated by the patterns formed by the lines of trees providing shelter breaks, and the writhing, twisting course of the river, which reminded me so much of oil on top of water. (I think the lake in the final photo is Lake Benmore, but I could be wrong – if anyone from New Zealand can identify it for me, please do! 🙂 )

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As we flew on the land use changed to forestry (again, I was struck by the patterns of the rows of felled stumps on the cleared areas), and then gradually we began to leave the snow behind as we drew nearer to Invercargill …

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It was an amazing flight; much better than the return trip when we ran into some rather nasty turbulence which nearly did me in – I hate flying when it’s bumpy! 😦

And I thought I’d finish off with a photo of the birthday girl herself, with the quilt I made for her and a stupid chicken toy which I gave her (she has a thing about chooks …) – it gave us all a good laugh, when you picked it up by the neck it let out an almighty chicken cackle and flapped its wings (small things amuse small minds, I know, but we all got a kick out of it! 🙂 )

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Lovely memories of a great weekend! 🙂


August OMG: Lookin’ good!

At the beginning of the month I selected this project as my OMG for August, and I’m pleased to say that I’ve managed to achieve above and beyond my target:  woohoo! 🙂

Not only did I get it to the flimsy stage as planned, but I also managed to get it backed and basted, and it’s now ready for quilting.  Here it is hung up on the washing line for this morning’s photo shoot (had to hang it sideways ‘cos it would have dragged on the wet grass if I hadn’t … it’s single bed size).

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The front …

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… and the back

Had a little bit of a stutter last weekend when I realised that I didn’t have the thread I wanted for quilting, but a quick purchase during the week solved that 🙂  I’m just going to do some simple wavy line quilting, nowt fancy stuff, and I’ve got a nice darkish green fabric in mind for the binding.

This was going to be a donation quilt, but when I saw it laid out on the bed it made me smile so much I think I might change my mind 🙂  Although I do have more than enough strips already cut to make another one, so who knows … there may be an addition to my Project List!

OMG buttonLinking up with Heidi’s “It’s Finished!” party at Red Letter Quilts here – I really enjoy checking out what everyone’s been doing in the month.