Thursday, September 30, 2010

Feet are made for walking....?


FIrst step (excuse the pun) towards my half marathon was walking the City to Surf 12km on Sunday which was a bit harsh after not getting to bed til 2.30 daylight saving time....mmmm.... hadn't planned that one too well had I!!!! So when that alarm went off both Vince and I had to drag ourselves to the car to drive the  2 1/2 hours back to Tauranga from Auckland ready to hit the pavement along with a couple of thousand others who looked way more energetic and alive than us.
But we don't look toooooo shattered afterwards do we? Although I do wish I glowed healthily rather than looked like Rudolph with bright red cheeks.
It was great that the day was nice and clear - in fact the last couple of kms round Mauao (that's the Maori name for Mt Maunganui) was literally stunningly hot, and I was hanging out for that energy drink at the finish breakfast meant my blood sugar levels were somewhat lacking, not helped by the two nights of limited sleep from my quilting marathon!!!!
Now training wind-downs as I head into this Sunday's Hamilton Half Marathon....... remind me why I'm doing this again?

And not that I am into extrinsic motivation but I will share my certificate with you all, as well as my not too shabby results: I came 94 out of 760 walkers yesterday, 71 out of 612 females, and 14 out of 91 in the female 45-49years
Meanwhile on the home front I am enjoying doing some smaller sewing projects and a friend wanted some baby gifts so yesterday I began making some bandana bibs that I have been wanting to try making.
This is one almost done and the next one about to be cut out. I found a great cotton candlewick/chenille dressing gown at the op shop and have used that to back it with, and then discovered in my stash some lovely soft flannel so am using that to back some others. Need to finish them today with snaps or some velcro, and then see how they look. It's fun to be working on some little projects for a change.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

50th birthday quilting marathon DONE!

Seems like forever since my last post as I was a whirlwind of creativeness starting Tony's (my husbands best friend) 50th birthday quilt. One would ask why, when I knew he was having a birthday for quite some time, I leave it till 4 days before the occasion to begin thinking about 'what to do'. Mmmmmm...... won't think too long on that one!
I knew I wanted the blocks to be a visual representation of moments and memories in Tony's life, but my biggest hiccup was how to put it all together. 
And you know how you actually create a wall and then just can't make yourself climb over it? Well that's what I seemed to do. I fluffed around and had bits of blocks all over the living room floor so that by Friday I was reaching the initial stage of "Ok, I really need to get myself going here cos tomorrow morning we are in the car heading up to this party!".
And like all things I worked to the deadline:)
Funny how it ended up leaning towards the blues colourwise, but I used the red to add zing through the lettering. Each of the blocks has its own little story and includes the logo from his company, favourite sporting activities, countries that hold special memories, etc.
Don't you love the birthday cake? It's from a Mary Lou Weidman (I think?) and I've got 10 candles on it to represent a decade, and 6 layers to the cake - 5 for the 5 decades of his life so far and 1 for the next decade he's entering. Deep and meaningful, ay!!!!
Worst block of all to work on was this one -
Those jolly Space Invaders were so small, but the words at the bottom were even worse! My husband and Tony apparently wasted some of their misspent youth playing this game and Vince really wanted me to have a block featuring this in there ( actually Vince wanted a block with a picture of him in the quilt but I said no way!).
SO for a marathon effort I'm pretty pleased with how the quilt turned out. Didn't hit the pillow til 5am Saturday morning then up again at 8.30 to hop in the car and drive the 2 1/2 hours up to Auckland. Lunch with my Aunty (who I still need to make an 80th birthday quilt for) to celebrate her birthday having spent parts of the trip handsewing the binding on the quilt and experiencing bouts of car-sickness along the way.
On to the house we were staying at where I continued sewing the last side of the binding while Vince showered then sewed the label on before I, too, had a quick shower then off to the 50th.
And did Tony like his quilt? Well, who would know, as he didn't open his presents!!!! 
Still waiting to hear................

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jandals (or thongs) finally revealed....

I love being able to surprise people and today was a goodie:) This particular quilt was for the young teacher I released when she was just a newbie, and have watched her grow in so many ways. She is such a unique young woman, became a wife, and a little over a year ago a new mum to Kaea (who is just the bestus wee girl). KB turned one in June and this is the quilt I made for her
I think she kind of liked it!!!!! It's based on a Mary Lou Weidman pattern, and the colours are just perfect for Kaea's room.

When Rochelle left our school I hadn't quite finished her quilt so gave her the label for the back of it, with a promise the quilt wouldn't be long. BUT when I did complete the quilt top I never really felt it was right. Several years have gone by, and it was only a few months ago that "the" right quilt idea come along. I organised a block swap with Kiwiquilters, an online quilt group and this block was one of the swaps I had going round. The ladies who made blocks have done an outstanding job - I gave some background of Roch's personality, events and life happenings, and they captured these. Right down to the fact that she wore silver jandals (or thongs) on her wedding day.
And this is what I was able to put together for her
I have amazed myself in having blocks come 'home' to me from a swap and getting them put together and a quilt finished within a week!!!!!!! Talk about a record.
The border fabric is of bright coloured jandals scattered across a white background, which I picked up ages ago. I had fun quilting it, and have written lots of wee words for Rochelle to discover, affirming the fabulously multi-talented woman she is.
We had our mummy coffee group today, so I managed to sneakily organise for some of the teachers who had been at school when Rochelle was there to join us during their lunchtime, and that was when I made the surprise presentation. It hadn't been easy to stop Roch from taking Kaea home for her lunchtime sleep, either!!!!!!!

KB was so cuuuuute as she tried to put her feet in the jandals, because the thongs or straps are free from the background, being attached only at the side and the toe part. Then she had fun finding each of the buttons and other interesting bits at the toe points. Now both Mummy and Kaea Belle have their own quilts.
And of course a label - but funny - I sewed it upside down on the top corner!!!!!! But decided that added to the uniqueness of the whole quilt.
So, a really special quilt for a 'real' woman.
Big hugs, Rochelle.


Monday, September 20, 2010

You Go-Go girl!

 Yep, it was a fun night had by all at the 60's themed 50th birthday at the weekend, and somehow I did manage to whip myself up a wee dress on Saturday afternoon after returning from dropping the birthday girls outfit off to her.
Here's what hers looked like originally 
It was a classic long lined skirt in a lovely (I say that with tongue in cheek) nylon based fabric homemade skirt, fully lined with a zip in the side. Somehow I was to turn this into a wonderful outfit that would resemble something that the gorgeous slim actress that starred alongside Austin Powers would wear so Christine would look eeeeeexactly like her. Unfortunately I am unable to work miracles. 
However this is what I did manage to produce
It's a bit hard to get a real idea of what it looks like being flat on the floor but think halter and I think you get the picture. Must admit it would've been very helpful to have the lady in question handy for a fitting!!!!!
So then came my own outfit. When I had been scrummaging last week for batting I had discovered this groovy fabric in a chest that I had completely forgotten about and still don't know where on earth I picked it up from 

  but isn't it just ideal? Talk about groovy baby:)
I know I suit the same halter style that I had designed Chris's dress around and had a few modifications I could work on, so what the hey, why not just develop that. 
SO, voila - this is what I managed to create for moi

 And you will not believe it, but on the way back from dropping Chris's dress off I stopped at a wee op shop down the road from her place that just happened to still be open on a Saturday afternoon and.......... yep, there were these white boots - in my size - for the grand sum  of $4!!!!!!!! It was karma.
Put it all together and here was the end result (although the photos are a little grainy cos they are just taken with my wee carry round camera) 

That's the birthday girl on the left and me on the right - we decided we could be the NZ group "The Chicks" but then decided perhaps best not to break out into song.

 And that's we girls joined by my Vince. Man, you've gotta love those white boots. Unfortunately you can't see that I have, in fact, got green tights on not dark ones as the photo seems to show.
So, I am indeed a true child of the 60's. Although I was in fact a baby of the 60's and don't think I would ever have quite got to party in the 60's!!!!!
Now, must get cracking and head to the sewing machine as have 2 quilts to get made for this weekend!!!!!!!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

'All you need is love' baby quilt

Where has the week gone? Well, I can actually answer that as I've been happily attached to my sewing machine:)
I was able to give the mum-to-be the baby quilt today and she was just so pleased with it.
This is how it started out 
I had a piece of fabric with the printed nursery print blocks in the bright primary colours with the black and white lurking in my stash so thought it was a great starting point. Aims loves aqua and I had used some of this aqua fabric in the quilt I had made to celebrate her wedding, so it seemed to work really well with these.
I bordered the blocks in a black fabric that was scattered with small red and blue patterns which looked fab. 
And then the back I managed to piece from polar fleece, which I thought would be great for Aims as the house they are living in has polished wood floors, and I was thinking this could be a blankie to throw on the floor for bubs to lie on.
And just to tie it all up - there was one block left that worked brilliantly for a label:)
Now can't wait for this wee treasure to make his or her presence known but that won't be until October sometime.
This is the quilt I made Aims for her wedding on behalf of our school - the photo isn't the best and I'm waiting for one from her now that it is in her home but it gives you an idea of her love of aqua.
It was sewn onto a blanket I had had as a child so was very special in lots of ways.
RIght, heading off to a 60's themed 50th birthday. Made my dress and the birthday girls dress so will post photos tomorrow........well, only if they look ok.


Monday, September 13, 2010

First sewing room 'revealing' and madly quilting

Here it is - the first reorganised, sorted space in my sewing room/creative space. I know it's only a small area, but positive thinking - it's a start:) 
I love the old treadle machine but don't use it and at one point used to have my machine sitting on top of it but it was at totally the wrong height to work at. So now it can hold my baskets, which in turn hold my fabric scraps and patterns. The one on the pedal has my stash of new and vintage buttons.
The cape on my big torso is one the team at school made for me a couple of years ago when I finally completed the last few papers for my degree and graduated. It is very much 'me', covered in bright funky paper flowers.
The wee, blue suitcase was my first schoolbag - I remember swinging around with it on about my third day at school and hitting a girl in the mouth and knocking her tooth out!!!!! The nuns were not impressed. I've yet to decide what to store in that. Above it is a sewing basket I have had since I was a young girl, and perched atop that is a little tin sewing machine I used when I was a girl. Many a seam was hand cranked with that little treasure. It's past it's use by date now, but I do love it.
So that's possibly 1/6th of the room sorted. 

As for what else I've been doing ....... still waiting to hear about the job I applied for...... 
found this bright, rainbow mat at the op shop

which I think my lappy quite likes sitting on while I work on it in the dining room. Certainly makes tapping away a lot brighter:)
Then there has been the mission to de-fabricate an old lampshade that Gran gave me. Man has that ever been a mission.

Ripping the fabric off was fine, but the problem was the it seemed to be almost glued as well as stitched to the metal edges. SO I soaked it all day on Friday in a hot bath, then spent more time picking and peeling. FINALLY I managed to have success. My plan is now to wire and bead it and make a funky sort of chandelier for my creative space. Watch this space.
Oh, and in amongst all this was our midnight trip to Hamilton to collect our son from the airport after his 5 months working in Jakarta. Was lovely to see him, even if he was the last one to get through customs as they decided they would check every single item of his - and I mean every single item!!!! We were literally the last people to leave the airport at 1.45am, so didn't get home until 3.30. Ah, but he's worth it.
And since Saturday I've been madly working on putting together some blocks I got back from a block swap....... but more on that in a couple of days.......


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wee collection displayed

It was such fun to be able to put up my wee sewing paraphenalia this afternoon. Took longer to find a couple of flat head nails to bang into the wall than it did to display everything!!!
Tomorrow I might even be ready to share a first photo of a part of the sewing room that is actually decluttered and organised ..... don't hold your breath though but I am pretty pleased with this wee small piece of tidiness:)
Not quite sure why it has taken me quite so long to get round to doing it but it sure is satisfying.

Off to a day in the classroom first though so will do the "photo shoot" in the afternoon.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Phew - interview over, and a project completed

Yep, I had an interview for the job I applied for last week. Not quite sure why I chose the first slot of the morning, but at least it didn't give me much time to work myself into a state of total nervousness!!!!!! Now it's just a matter of waiting 'til probably Monday to find out. I've developed a bit of a if its meant to be philosophy - never been quite this relaxed about the whole interview thing before. Would almost, al-most say I enjoyed it!!!!
I managed to borrow some pinking shears from a friend (really must get my own ones back) and finish a project that needed one little step done. 
Yes - here are the angels. You might recognise them from that piece of embroidery that was in an earlier post. Don't they look much nicer now?
I'm a bit of a sucker for hearts and the designs just seemed to fit the shape perfectly. Think I might add a wee bow at the top and a ribbon hanger. For some reason though when I started cutting round the fourth heart the pinking shears decided they really were a bit tired and started chewing the fabric so I've still to finish that one.
Can't wait to get into my sewing room tomorrow and find another project to finish.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Beaut Banner and aching bits

Spring has sprung and it's brought some much needed blue sky this week although the rain is still hanging in there unfortunately. 
I had a great start to the week with two days relieving. Such fun in first a junior class, and then a Year 3/4 class. I'm loving spending time back in classrooms with kids, rather than being in the management area.
Have managed to get some creative time along the way as well, and worked on a 'commission' for a friend whose husband sells plants at local weekend markets. Tanya wanted a banner or flag that her lovely John could put up at his stall.
So with that brief.....
this is how it turned out.  He grows wonderful hibiscus ..... umm hibiscii?? Well they are gorgeous anyway so that's what Tanz wanted featured on it and red if possible. I'm pleased with the end result, although hung this out on the line in a rush to take the photo before heading over to go for our training walk and it's a bit wonky.
That one's a bit clearer although the background fabric colour is way wrong. The hibiscus is appliqued on and then I felt it needed some free motion embroidery in yellow to give it a wee touch of highlight. It is backed in a funky black fabric with groovy white retro type flowers, and has side slots so he can run poles up it. Should look very bright and draw the customers.
Meanwhile, I sit here in my PJ's after having walked 14.5km in 2 hours as Tanya and I do our pre-training for the Hamilton Half Marathon in early October. Mmmmm not sure quite which bits of me are aching tonight, but feel happy that we improved both our distance/time on last weekends training walk. Yay.