Friday, 14 April 2017

Travelling and Stitching


The month of March just flew by. With our new adventure starting at the end of February,  it was a very frantic end to that month.

AHQ RAN Quilt 1
AHQ RAN Quilt 2
Although I was busy getting organised for our travels north I still managed to fit in some time in the "Cave". With the help of a fellow AHQ stitcher I  finished a laundry bag, a quilt, and a quilt top for two members of the RAN, the day before we left home!! I designed, pieced, appliqued, and stitched both quilt tops and Irene did the quilting on her long-arm machine. She also helped me with the making of my very first laundry bag.  Thank you Irene.
AHQ Laundry Bag
Front Cover
Also finished was this little gem - the 'mystery' project mentioned in my last post -- a birthday gift for our two year old grandson. It's an activity quiet book.  The removable pieces are worked in fabric and felt then backed with velcro. It was quite a challenge for me as I  had never worked with small felt pieces before. But judging by Master Landon's reaction I think it was a success.
Back Cover with zip to store parts

Pages 2 and 3

Pages 4 and 5
Completed Quiet Book
After a delightful week with our daughter and grandson (where we celebrated two birthdays), we continued our travels north to Townsville to spend five nights at the "Pera Court Hilton". We only get to see these special friends once a year, but boy do we make up for "lost" time when we do get together!

 Five wonderful days with my 'Stitching Sister', Miss Carmel, meant there were plenty of creative activities shared -- cardmaking, stitching, quilting, and of course, shopping, lunches, morning teas, and one or two (sometimes more) glasses of "stitching juice"!!!!  And plenty of "catch-up" chat.

On our first night SS surprised me with a yummy birthday cake, complete with sparklers -- sorry there are no photos as neither I nor the OWO were prepared for that!

Three beautiful cards
The next day was card-making class (a lovely friendly group of ladies) , lunch, shopping, coffee,  and  more shopping (fabric of course) ! After a "nanna nap" (fabric shopping is a very tiring exercise!) and a few good glasses of "stitching juice", we planned our attack for the next three days!

Poppy block - one of 16 we made
One of the days was spent stitching poppy blocks for AHQ. What fun we had with Mrs OWO trying to get the correct alignment for those blocks -- the MS brain regularly has trouble with the orientation of shapes! We completed 16 blocks over two days! Whilst working on the blocks I encouraged my SS to join the AHQ group and she has since made a number of "propeller" blocks for the group.  I  look forward to sharing photos with her of the blocks we both make during the year.

All too soon it was time to pack up the stitching kit, assess the "damage" and achievements,  and to say farewell to our wonderful hosts at the Pera Court Hilton. Time to continue our travels even further north to our temporary residence near Innisfail. So until we next meet dear friends we thank you for your wonderful hospitality and the happy memories we have shared.

Mow-mow, mow-mow OWO
The residence in Moresby will be our temporary home for the next eight weeks - a housesitting 'assignment' where we will look after a very psychotic cat and have seven acres of ground for the OWO to mow!

The home is air-conditioned  (thankfully) and there is a lovely in-ground pool. But more importantly- there is a room that I can use just for stitching.

I didn't expect to have much time for stitching as we had planned to spend most of our time exploring this beautiful tropical region. However, since our arrival in mid March there have been some interesting events that have proven to be somewhat challenging.

At the end of the first week we found ourseleves preparing for a cyclone as TC Debbie approached the NQ coast. Thankfully, for us, "she" kept moving south. Sadly for the people of Bowen, Airlie Beach, Proserpine,  and Mackay, TC Debbie crossed the coast wreaking havoc and causing devastating damage to those areas. Our hearts go out to those people who lost their homes, and businesses.

Once the threat of "Debbie" passed our region we made plans to explore Innisfail and beyond. But again we were stopped in our tracks when I  contracted a severe dose of bronchitis.  Unfortunately there was no chance of my hiking around the hills when I could hardly breathe or stop coughing.

However being grounded had its stitching benefits though - I was able to sit in the comfort of a cool room with a pleasant outlook and work on my hand stitching projects -- between snoozing! There is ALWAYS a sunny positive if you look beyond the grey clouds!!!!

Completed three blocks for On Freedom's Wings


Oh dear!, Taken me so long to get this post published. It seems I will be grounded a little longer than anticipated as the bronchitis attack has turned into pneumonia!!!! Thank goodness I packed all those hand stitching projects!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Goals Achieved

Oh my! What happened to the month of January.

It was a busy month for this Creative Miss. The month started with a few days in Mackay spending time with our youngest daughter and her family, and enjoying the role of Nanna.

Returning home it was time to deal with the vagaries of life - medical appointments, household and garden maintenance, vehicles services, and re-listing our home on the property market! So many things to get in the way of the important things in life - stitching, crafting, oh, and time in the pool!

With most days hitting temperatures above 35 degrees, it was inevitable that my days would have to be spent in the air-conditioning - even the pool was too warm to cool off with water temp around 30 degrees. So into the 'Woman's Cave' I retired each day for four or five hours. So what did I achieve?

Let's start with the goals I set for January. I did think I would take part in the online UFO project but decided that this year I would set two goals at the beginning of each month. Some of those goals might include some of my PiPs but they would not necessarily be my main goals for this year.

For January I decided it was time to look into setting up an online market shop as my main goal. My second goal was to complete a cot quilt that I had started in 2015.

The cot quilt was finished very quickly using my new "plaything" and I am very pleased with the final result.

It took a little longer to set up my online shop but with a lot of encouragement and support from my two daughters I overcame my nervousness and the end result can be seen at  www.hand-made.com.au/Stitchntonic . The very first item I listed for sale was the cot quilt! (Unfortunately after writing this post I received an email to say this online marketplace would be closing in March, so I will have to find another outlet - bummer 😣!)

So despite all the vagaries of real life getting in the way, January goals were achieved. And there was a bonus PiP completed on the very last day of the month - my purple elephants wall hanging. It was actually one of the PiPs in that Dreaded Drawer 3 last year. Wow!!

New goals set for February do not include any PiPs but if I get any finished it will be a bonus.

Readers may have noticed the logo for Aussie Hero Quilts (AHQ) to the right of my posts and you may recall the photos in my post last month of the quilt that I created. My main goal for February was to contact other AHQ stitchers in my area and organise a working bee. With assistance from JM, the Founder and coordinator of AHQ, I have contacted three other ladies who will be joining me for a working bee this month.

Goal number one for February --- ACHIEVED!

Goal number two is a 'mystery' project which is almost complete and will be revealed in my March post.

The month of February has not started well with health issues for me. After a visit to my specialist in January I agreed to start new medication. I had not been on any MS meds since June 2015 and had been doing quite well until our time in Tasmania. But my body deteriorated quite a bit over Christmas and it was time to reconsider my options. Unfortunately after only three weeks on the new meds my body had a severe reaction and I have spent the last three days totally incapacitated. The meds were stopped on Saturday morning and the specialist assures me I should be feeling better by the end of the week.  So hopefully I will be back in the 'Woman's Cave' at the end of this week.

Although I am only setting two goals each month there will be other projects worked on during the month and I will, of course, have a 'show and tell' in my posts.

With only two goals set each month it allows time to work on other things -- maybe some of those projects on my "bucket" list!!!!

Saturday, 14 January 2017

New year, new goals, and new dreams



Welcome to another year. For me it will be a year full of new goals, new ideas, and new dreams.

Goodness me..... I cannot believe it was six months ago that I made my last blog entry! Sadly, both my blogs were neglected for the latter half of 2016. Somehow there seemed to be less hours in my days to achieve all the things I had planned and my list of priorities kept changing on a daily basis. So here we are planning for another year already.

What are your goals and dreams for 2017? Will you be stitching more? Travelling? Creating? Designing? Will you join a new group? Participate in a challenge? Commit to a BOM? Stitch for a charity? Try a new craft or technique? I would love to hear what my readers have planned for 2017 and maybe share in the progress of your goals for 2017.

Hopefully, I will be able to share my new goals and progress with you a little more frequently in 2017. But before I move onto my new goals for this year I thought it would be worth a little recap on my achievements for the latter part of 2016.

The OWO and I spent the majority of 2016 travelling around the country in our new A-van - in fact we were home for less than four months last year. Of course that had an impact on the number of projects I was able to complete throughout the year.
The year started with all good intentions, setting goals that seemed achievable at the time with the intention of completing some "projects-in-progress" (PiPs). Readers may recall that the OWO assisted setting my goals by drawing two numbers from a basket that represented craft drawers where the PiPs were stored, in their various stages of completion -- that dreaded Drawer 3, remember ? I certainly do!

I am pleased to report that the majority of those projects in DD3 were either completed or received some attention during the year. Drawer 6 contained blocks for a beautiful quilt and all those blocks are now complete and ready to be built into a quilt in 2017!  The two drawers are not empty perse, but progress was certainly made.

Maggie's First Dance BOM
In my last post I showcased a block from the online BOM, Maggies First Dance by Jacquelynne Steves that I started in July. Sadly I am still working on those blocks with an estimated finish for early February. It has now become a PiP for completion in 2017.


My first quilt for AHQ
The online BOM was not the only challenge I signed up for in July. I also joined the team at Aussie Hero Quilts and Laundry Bags, a not-for-profit group that makes quilts and laundry bags for our Defence personnel serving overseas. My first contribution was completed in August (photo below), which I was very proud of as I designed and machine quilted that quilt all by myself. I struggled a little, to say the least, to finish the quilt on my Brother domestic machine but I persevered and was very proud of the end result. I hope the recipient loves it as much as I do. I shall continue to contribute to this lovely group in 2017.

More travelling
At the end of September we were once again off and travelling, this time to Tasmania for ten weeks to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. Plenty of time for hand stitching - or so I thought! I did get some embroidery done but nothing special. Unfortunately due to severe bad weather we decided to shorten our time in Tassie and returned home two weeks earlier than planned.
BONUS as far as my creative persona was concerned. Two reasons for that - more time to complete my Xmas gifts, but more excitingly, I could finally have my special anniversary/early Xmas present delivered and set up! Yay, hooray!

Home for two days and the lovely Marilyn from MK Sewable and her very helpful man arrived with my special package - a brand new HQ 'Sweet Sixteen' quilter.
Oh my, am I going to have fun with this little beauty - and just in time to finish a special Xmas present, Master Landon's quilt. Yep, more finished quilts will be leaving the 'Cave' in 2017.

There are still many, many PIPs in my 'Cave' but that will always be the story for this Creative Miss. Surely isn't that what retirement is all about - accepting new challenges to make life interesting?  So maybe if the OWO ever decides it's time to "retire" from travelling this vast and beautiful country, there will be more time for activity in the "Woman's Cave" -- I can always dream!
The first of many - I hope - on my new "play thing"
So here are some of my "finishes" for 2016. (in no particular order of completion or progress) There were many more made for Xmas gifts, but sadly no photos!

 .......... May there be many more challenges in 2017.......
'Love Letters' Quilt blocks now complete -
Drawer 6 item - one more block to go!

Framed embroidered owl for my
lovely friend Heather in Tasmania
Heather & Graeme
Another quilt -3 more appliqued
blocks completed in 2016


Variety of placemats, runners and
cushion covers were completed


 

Embroidery completed - what next??


     
Beading now complete -
just needs frame
"Miracles by Appointment"
Wallhanging - D3 item

This was a special table center - "An Aussie Christmas"
by Smee Designs - made for Miss Heidi in the UK




"Subversive Santa" by Smee Designs
I couldn't part with this one!


Completed quilt for Master Landon





One very happy recipient!
Do you think he liked his quilt?
Oh, I think so!!!
Until next time --  Hugs - and - Happy stitching!