Monday, December 31, 2012

Makes of 2012

2012 was an interesting year for me craft-wise as it was the year I found myself quilting obsessively again. I didn't crochet very much, and I didn't sew many clothes after the beginning of the year. But I thought on the eve of the new year, I would take a quick look at the finished makes for the year, and perhaps have a think about what I wanted to achieve next year. No resolutions, though.

Because as you all should know by now, I think new year's resolutions are a crock.

Making clothes:

I didn't make much this year. Probably too busy quilting.

Simplicity 2938   Simplicity 2938 - in linen   Simplicity 2247 
 May 27 - Me Made May 2012   McCalls 3507 - Christmas Skirt 2012

I made a total of three crocheted items.  THREE.

Armorique shawl  Dentelle cowls


I made or finished five quilt this year - and only one of them was for me. And that one was a 7 year odyssey for which I was rewarded with a Highly Commended in the machine quilted section at the Canberra Quilters' annual quilt show.  Proudest moment of my quilting life!

Sunny Day Baby Quilt   Twisted Hexagons at the Canberra Quilters Exhibition   Twisted Hexagons at the Canberra Quilters Exhibition

Trade-Winds-and-Stars   Emergency Hug quilt   Accentuate the Positive

I published my first pattern at Moda Bake Shop, and people made my quilt! Second proudest quilting moment ever.

For 2013 I'd like to keep to my "no deadlines" philosophy. It seems to work for me, except where emergency hugs are required (and please, universe, no more emergency hug moments in 2013 thanks.)

I will finish some of the things I started in 2012. Including at least two of the three hexagon projects I have going at the moment.

We're going to travel a fair bit in 2013, and I'm even going to travel to some exciting places for my quilting.

It would be an almighty achievement to sort out my sewing room once and for all.

I will make a motherload of winter skirts and dresses. And line them.

I'd like to tackle sewing with stretch fabrics. And finally replace my gazillion year overlocker with something a little more flash and a little less rusty.

But most of all I'd like to continue to have FUN with my crafting. Because if it's not fun then there's really no point!

I hope 2013 brings you all health, happiness 
and lots of hexagons. 

Thanks for sticking around this year - I've had a blast hanging around with you all!

Michelle xx

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Christmas Skirt

This is the skirt I never thought would be made, not in a million years, or the 36 hours I had left in Canberra before departing for Bendigo for the Christmas holidays.

I had the fabric, and I had the pattern. But I had no time. Nor did I have much inclination.

But it so happened that I found an unexpected hour-long "window of no obligation" on the 21st in between getting the car cleaned, delivering the second last boiled fruit cake to a sick friend and heading to a medical appointment. So I pulled out the fabric, pattern, my cutting board, pins and scissors, and got to work.

McCalls 3507 - Christmas Skirt 2012

In 15 minutes I had a cut-out skirt. Most of that time was spent positioning some cute birds on the skirt - in the end I had to settle for them sitting at the top of the skirt, not the bottom of the skirt as I'd hoped.

McCalls 3507 - Christmas Skirt 2012

After 30 minutes I had a half-sewn skirt.

McCalls 3507 - Christmas Skirt 2012

I had a perfect fit without the waistband on it, and I knew that thanks to my weird lopsided stomach (thanks gallbladder surgery!) the waistband would only destroy a great fit, especially if I wore a t-shirt over the top of it (the waistband would just poke through). So later on that night when I should have been sleeping, I used some 100% cotton grosgrain ribbon as a facing instead. I added a hook and eye, sewed a hem, and chucked it in the wash to dry the next day.


Except I'd forgotten that although I'd prewashed my fabric, I hadn't washed the grosgrain ribbon, and the skirt waist puckered. It ironed out OK, but the result was actually better than expected - that sucker came in at my waist like nobody's business, and I had myself the perfect skirt! FINALLY!

McCalls 3507 - Christmas Skirt 2012

On Christmas morning it went perfectly with my orange Salts so I happily trotted off to church wearing this year's Christmas Day skirt. I also made a salad in it, ate lunch in it, took a long nap in it, and then drove to Melbourne and sat up all afternoon and night having dinner and talking to my friend. Still wearing it. So comfy. Perfect fit. Loved it.

McCalls 3507 - Christmas Skirt 2012

And the best thing? Besides having the perfect skirt? I managed to avoid a Jesus Arms Butt Incident. It was a Christmas Miracle.


Pattern: McCalls 3507 (out of print)
Fabric: Medium-weigh cotton print from IKEA
Modifications: Lots. Hip seams out, darts increased, grosgrain ribbon (1 inch) facing instead of waistband, back seam split sewn up. Longer zip used than usual (it was in my sizable zip stash)
Started and finished: 21 December 2012, possibly less than two hour's work in total.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Swappity swap

A couple of months ago, my friend Cathy from Tinniegirl blog fame contacted me and asked if I would be interested in a swap with a difference - a quilt for a painting.

Initially I was reluctant. I can't quilt quilts bigger than about 60 inches, and I worried if Cathy wanted a larger quilt I couldn't fulfill my end of the bargain. Also I wasn't sure what kind of quilts she liked. Would she be happy with my bright and geometric quilts? 

But it turned out she was more than happy with a 60 inch quilt, and the quilts I made were the quilts she liked. And I love Cathy's paintings so I signed up! And got sewing.

I was in Melbourne for a few days over Christmas, so we met up on Boxing Day to do the swapping. Cam came along for afternoon tea too so it was a fantastic reunion of old friends and I finally got to meet Ms L.

And the quilt?

Accentuate the Positive

The back was quite possibly my favourite back ever.

Accentuate the Positive

The very important label.

Accentuate the Positive

Cathy loved it! Phew!

Accentuate the Positive

Quilt/painting swap

And my painting. Just wait - it's amazing.

Brilliant, brilliant life

Us with BigCat!

Quilt/painting swap

That afternoon I took it home to my friend Helen's place, where I was staying. We propped it against her fireplace and then we gazed at it for hours while we chatted and ate dinner. It's one of those paintings which changes constantly with the light and the angles. When I left for Bendigo the next day I think Helen was sad to lose temporary custody.


So thanks Cathy! I love my painting so much and I loved making this quilt for you. Most of all, thanks for your fantastic friendship.


Fabric: Bella by Lotta Jansdotter; and grey homespun
Quilting: Machine quilted, straight lines, using Aurifil Mako 28/2 thread in grey (2605)
Batting: bleached 100% cotton
Started: 17 October 2012
Finished: 24 December 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I'll be home for (the week before) Christmas

I've always considered my hometown to be Townsville. My parents moved to Cairns 18 months after I moved to Canberra. My brother lives in Brisbane. And it seems I lost my hometown somewhere along the route and I rarely visit it anymore.

Alex Surf Club

So when I say "I'm going home" I really mean my second home at the Sunshine Coast - the place we spent at least a month in every summer from about the age of 7. And I've been coming here for summers ever since. Alex is now a central place for all of us - my parents spend a month there, we visit for a few days, or stay for Christmas every second year when it's not Bendigo's turn to snaffle us.

Surfers at Alex

We are creatures of habit when there. We have breakfast on the patio every morning, early, before anyone else is awake. This year I brought my own granola, and ate it with fresh fruit, including my parents' homegrown mangoes. Man, they were GOOD.

Summer breakfast

Mum and dad usually swim at the Mooloolaba Spit, which I think is crazy when Alex Beach is right across the road from the unit. But the first morning we went there too, very early, and you know what? It was good. Lacking serious waves, but good.

Mooloolaba Spit

(This is not my mum and dad.)

We had fish and chips at the Spit one night. Canberra fish and chips, indeed fish and chips from anywhere, is pretty crappy compared to the Sunshine Coast version of it (sorry but it's true).

Fish and Chips on the Spit

When I was at university, I worked one day a week as a nurseryman at a palm and cycad nursery. One of the most fascinating plants we grew from seed was Pandanus. My fascination with them continues to this day, which is lucky as there are a gazillion of them on the coast.



And my favourite part - the seed.


We came back to Canberra very relaxed, but I also came back a bit sick. I've had laryngitis - and absolutely no voice - for two days. It's also slowed me right down in the Christmas preparations - this week isn't my week for being Wonder Woman. I baked my last cake tonight (that makes seven cakes, people), but I don't think there's going to be a 2012 Christmas Skirt.

Unless there's a Christmas miracle and I gain an extra 10 hours sometime between now and Sunday.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A weekend away

Right now I'm probably swimming in the surf somewhere on the Sunshine Coast, evading bluebottles and sunburn and enjoying the first part of our holidays. But last weekend we spent a few days in Sydney, just to relax and see a friend.

Sydney December 2012

We stayed at the usual joint we've been staying in for 18 years.

Sydney December 2012

And started our second day there with a fantastic breakfast. That French Toast kept me going all day. Loved it.

Sydney December 2012

We went here.

Sydney December 2012

And then walked there.

(And this is where it pays off to have a husband who actually enjoys fabric shopping with you, but only if there are comfortable husband chairs. Both stores delivered. Thank you Tessuti and Fabric Store.)

Sydney December 2012

I bought these fabrics, and some linings, and then hauled them all over town the rest of the day. I didn't think that through very well, did I? It was a hot day and by the time we walked all over Surry Hills and the city it was time for some air conditioning back in the hotel. And that view of course. And a swim.

Sydney December 2012

The next morning I woke to the most spectacular sunrise.

Sydney December 2012

Later on we visited Finders Keepers markets. Loved this dress by The Professor's Daughter.

Sydney December 2012

Dragging the husband along was no fun on this one at all though. No husband chairs. No husband interests other than the fantastic building that is the Carriage Works. Great market, way too crowded, but OMG then he found some PULLED PORK SANGERS.

Sydney December 2012

We dawdled back to the car which we left somewhere in Eveleigh. We may have been a little lost when we took these photos but that was OK.

Sydney December 2012

Sydney December 2012

Sydney December 2012

Then a little reconnaissance mission to Ikea, and perhaps someone found the perfect Christmas skirt fabric.

Sydney December 2012

(Ironically I was wearing the 2010 Christmas skirt when I took this photo).

A good weekend.  Really, really good.

Friday, December 14, 2012

It's a wonderful time of the year

The Christmas Spirit is sneaking around the back yard and trying to make it's way in through the windows. I knew I just had to give it some time.

Cakes have been baked (lots and lots of cakes).

Christmas 2012

And granola gifts for my lovely team mates too.

Christmas 2012

Presents wrapped.

Christmas 2012

There was a wonderful work Christmas party at my boss's house.

Christmas 2012

We found a tree we both liked (I lie - it was the only one left in any of the stores but it's just a bit kitsch, it sheds "leaves" all over the floor, and I love it).

Christmas 2012

I'm now officially on leave for a month. We are doing a little bit of travelling to see our families but once we are back home I'm looking forward to participating in the annual ritual of not leaving my postcode for the duration of the holidays.

I'm going to quilt, and sew, and tidy, and garden. I intend to relax. Clean the shed. And swim every single day. And I can't wait.