Monday, 26 December 2016

Lavendar and Mint

With new baby news I asked what colours the new mum would like, she said pastel mauves and mint and greys. First I looked at my stash, then went to Masters for paint chips. Well I didn't know there were so many shades of 'mint'.
So after auditioning some fabrics I came up with these tones.
 So with fabrics chosen I started thinking about what design to make. I looked in a few books and decided on a nine-patch quilt. Most of the sewing was done while we were caravaning around New South Wales and Victoria on my Elna Sewing Machine.
Once home, I finished any outstanding blocks and planned the layout.
I ended up with four orphan blocks, that I will use in my patchwork jacket.
Next was the pinning and the quilting.
Baby now has the quilt, and I hope he likes it.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Life can be hectic...

The past few months we have been busy renovating and traveling and simply enjoying life. I have been sewing - a lot - but with limited internet, and/or time I have sadly neglected my quilting blog. I am going to try to blog at least once every two weeks, even if it is a short blog like this one.

Most of my sewing has been by hand stitching Farmers Wife and hexies while traveling in the caravan. I was able to pull out the machine when we had power plugged in. For the next two weeks I have hexies packed to sew. 

I have finished many Farmers Wife blocks, and I will post about each one. I started three mystery quilts, and finished two of the mystery tops, the third needs a bit more time to work out the tonal background. I have also finished a baby quilt top, that I will complete when we get back from our next adventure in about two weeks.
And of course there is Bonnie's new mystery En Provence. I have some of the fabric, and will start the first and second parts just before part three comes out. You can find the link to Bonnie's mystery here.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Farmers Wife #61 May

When I first saw this block I made a note to paper piece it, and promptly moved on to another block. After making a few of my own templates for other blocks, I decided to have a go at making a template for this block. Glad I did. This block has 8 y-seams, but they don't cause a problem when hand sewing.
GnomeAngel tutorial can be found here.

My thoughts on the letter - "A Mother's Smile"

by A Mother, 1938.

The letter was a reminder to mums everywhere, to smile, to laugh each day - no matter what one is going through - one needs to make the effort to smile and laugh. 
I start most days with a smile, and it does make one feel more positive.
Laughter, well that does take a little more effort, especially when things are going wrong.
I will try to find something to laugh about each day, not a fake laugh, a real laugh because something is funny. (May need to watch 'The Project' each day LOL)
What will you do?

QUOTE:- Life is better when one is laughing.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Farmers Wife #15 Blossom

I do like this block. I have made a similar one for a family tree quilt. I guess that is why it was not so daunting to make. I used my own graph paper and made templates. Again, I did hand sewing of the pieces.
GnomeAngel tutorial can be found here.

My thoughts on the letter - 'Three Hollyhocks' 

by Flower Lover, 1938.

Flower Lover was saddened by the state of her garden after the ravages of weather and pests. However she ended her day happy and looking forward to her garden after a kind and thoughtful neighbour shared half of her plants. The neighbour said “It isn’t much” but Flower Lover was so overwhelmed and appreciative.
How often do our friends do what they consider 'little things' that we really appreciate. Even a simple smile when one is feeling sad is often a great uplifting expression  that makes one feel they are important to someone.
One does not know how others feel with what one says or does. We should all try to be more kind to ourselves and others.

One kind word can change someone's entire day.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Farmers Wife # 6 April

After making the nine mini blocks for April, I had to check that I had made them correctly. I had, but when they were placed together it just didn't look right. I thought about changing the corner blocks, but decided to leave them, but I would not make the same block the same way again. I used my own templates and hand pieced this block.
As you can see it was another block with so many pieces - 53 pieces to be exact.
You can see how small the corner blocks were with the small needle beside it.
You can find GnomeAngel tutorial here.

My thoughts on the letter 'And Beets in a Jar'
by But-after-all, 1933.
But-after-all writes about leaving the home to go to work and as she looks around the home she is happy with the sights and smells - her mother canning beets. She is obviously happier working in the home rather than an office.
I must admit there was a time when I was happy at work and really enjoyed being there, but that was a few years ago. I am much happier now working at home and having 'me' time. "Me' time is very important for all of us.

The magic thing about home is that it feels good to leave and it feels even better to come back.
~ Wendy Wunder

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Farmers Wife #28 Dolly

Another hand pieced block, with heaps of pieces. Dolly has 61 pieces, and I really enjoyed hand piecing it. I used templates that I had cut from my own template plastic, and will use again. I found it easier than paper piecing. Travelling in the caravan and not staying long in any one place meant that I wasn't able to get the machine out - and we often chose not to have power, to save money - meant that I was hand sewing a lot. It took forever to cut out all the pieces for this block, and once I finished cutting all the pieces, it sat for days on the window sill in the van with me sewing one or two, or if I was lucky, three pieces a day.
As it took so long to cut, I decided the best way to catch up was to cut out each block when we got home, and to continue on my hexies and hand quilting my 'country quilt'.
GnomeAngel tutorial is here.
My thoughts on the letter "That Easy Road"
by Quiet Living 1933
Quiet Living was married at the age of 17, and things were hard at first, but became easier - until they had to 'keep up with the Joneses'. It is hard when one is young to be what other's are, or perceived to be. I'm not sure that I was ever trying to keep up. I didn't want to be 'out of place' so I guess I was somewhere in between. My sister use to lay-buy many items, particularly clothing, but I have NEVER had a lay-buy. I pay cash, or in later years used a credit card, that I promptly paid off each month. Does that make me unique, I don't think so. I'm sure many people do the same. 
Don't get me wrong, we do not do with out, but we are careful with our money. Maybe it is my Scottish ancestry - to be thrifty. Now we are retired, every dollar counts. We still want to enjoy life, but now we do it differently. Fortunately we didn't go through a Depression as bad as "Quiet Living" - but on a limited budget one needs to be aware of what one spends.
The easy road often becomes hard, and the hard road often becomes easy.
~ Robert T. Kiyosaki 

Farmer's Wife # 23 Charlotte

Charlotte was hand pieced in two halves. I'm not sure if I should sew them together, or keep them as halves to use in the finished quilt. The problem is that I have not decided how I am going to finish the quilt, other than machine sew it. I could do it the way the book says, or with sashing in between each block with corner stones, or use alternate light blocks. Then there is also the issue of what size to make.
so many decisions......
I guess the block is very indicative of the choices we make, being two sides to everything!

You can find Gnomeangel's Tutorial is here.

My thoughts on the letter 'Vacation at Home' 
by Happy Farm Girl - 1937
I don't recall ever going on holidays as a young child, maybe we did, but all my childhood memories are of spending holidays at home. We had good imaginations back then, and would play for hours and hours, in the house, in the small concrete back yard, or in the back lane.
As I got older I do remember my Mum sending us to our Aunties (in Newcastle and Sydney) for holidays. We mostly stayed and had fun around the house.
Even as a Mum, we often had family vacations home - yes, we did do the odd weekend away which was fun, and we did start tent camping, but staying at home was easy and we could make our own fun. When our children were young, and even teenagers, I use to enjoy them being home on school holidays. We would do whatever suited the circumstance, inside play, outside play or a small excursion to the park. It was fun.
I believe in making the best of what you have (that's why in later life I knew to walk away when circumstances were out of my control - that WAS making the best of what I could do). Making the best of what you have is demonstrated in the letter.
As Angie said in her thoughts '...just because something “bad” happens doesn’t mean we have to let it dictate how we respond' We need to move on and get the power back to do what makes us happy, even if it is a long process!

Fill your life with experiences, not things - have stories to tell not stuff to show!

Monday, 13 June 2016

My Country Quilt ... and catch up!

Haven't had a lot of time to talk to you about patchwork and quilting since we have been travelling in the caravan. I have been doing a lot of hexies and have made 6 Farmer's Wife blocks by hand sewing while away. We didn't really stay anywhere long enough to get the machine out, so hexies and hand quilting a 'country button' quilt that I pieced some 20 years ago - yes I know, sad.
The photo on the left was taken in 1999 and used as a prop for a book week display.
We have been using the 'country button' quilt to keep us warn in the van for some years. Over the years I have been collecting metallic buttons to add to some lovely buttons my Nanna had. This last trip I was able to finish the binding and start on the quilting part - all while we were using it as it should be used. I still need to find some more pretty metallic buttons to complete it.
Oh ... and the backing of the quilt is a fleecy blanket I received for a 21st birthday present. Things were made to last back then!!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016


Machine came home today, I named her Claudia after the lady I purchased her from. Claudia said the machine was circa 1927 - I just liked the fact it was a treadle.

I have been busy last night and today looking up information to find out more about her. I also spent almost 3 hours this afternoon, just gently wiping everything down to get the first layer of dust and spider webs off.

So, what do I know, and what have I found out:

*My machine has a fiddle base
-The 'fiddle' shaped base was phased out about 1891 (or 1895 - depending on the web page), as was the big Singer Logo cast under the machine.

*It is model VS2 - Vibrating Shuttle, and one of domestic machines, I think.
Singer did not have the model number anywhere on the machine, so I am only guessing what it is from what others have said / written. I posted a query on a FB Vintage Machine page and a reply was the first model 27 type machine was a VS2 on a fiddle base - that's what I have. It was replaced with model 27 on a rectangle base, and later became 127. So I have the older style VS2. It is a full sized machine, 35-38cm. It has a circular chrome stitch plate covering the feed dogs and 2 split chrome slide plates that run from back to front that covers the shuttle mechanism. They are caked with dirt and will not budge, so a lot of gentle cleaning will be involved. VS2 was introduced in 1887.

*The faceplate is plain.
The faceplate on early models were polished plain plates, while older models are embossed with a ‘grapevine’ pattern. I will have to look up dates to see when this changed. All the crome parts are very dirty and will need a lot of cleaning.

*I think the decals are the Victorian design.
Most of the decals I see on VSM are very ornate. I now can easily recognise the Sphinx and Lotus designs. Apparently Singer did not name their decals, it is the collectors that have named them.These decals are very worn and little of the original gold remains. I don't think I will replace them, as it machine is old, and the worn decals simply show there age.

*My cabinet is a five drawer table with a coffin case
It has the Singer badge on the sides. I will be restoring the gold on the emblem. I will have to find out how to restore the cast iron. I think that will be an outside job.

*Serial Number 10 033 684
Singer dates 9 810 000 - 10 629 999 as 1891.
Singer Sewing Machine Models dates a machine 10356980 as April 1891.
If that is true, mine must be early 1891.
* The drawers have the original diamond Singer emblems - underneath all that dirt.

There is a lot of work to do, and I will be happy to do it.

The Coffin top laminate is peeling very badly. One piece was already off, and laying on the top. I'm glad the ladies in the LQS decided to leave it with the machine. Although I carefully cleaned each piece, I did break off another piece of laminate from one of the drawers. Both pieces are now safely in a drawer with one tiny shuttle (with thread on it).

I'm not sure what the object is in the photo below, I think it may have something to do with the shuttle. More research is needed. 

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

My First VSM

I have always wanted an old treadle machine. I am in a VSM (Vintage Sewing Machine) FB group and love looking at the machines that others have restored. Now it is my turn. Today - 26 April 2016 - I purchased my first VSM. I am so excited and can't wait to bring it home tomorrow. Of course, I will spend the next few weeks researching it and finding out all about it. It was advertised as a 1927 machine, but I have my doubts as I think there are so many inconsistencies, but of course I am definitly not an expert, so researching will be fun - I hope.

I will post some photos when I get it home :)

Sunday, 17 April 2016

New Mystery Quilt

I am in many Facebook quilting groups and love to see what others are making. I also love making mystery quilts,  so when 'Just Us Quilters' started posting a new mystery quilt, of course I had to make one.

What I like about Just Us Quilters is that the pieces are large, so the quilt will come together quickly. This one started with a log cabin - my favourite block.

It also required as a focus fabric a print which had many colours. I had purchased a brightly coloured fabric way back in 1995, in Cairns, that was perfect for this mystery.

Part 2 was large half square triangles, using the focus fabric and white (or light coloured).

Part 3 was a simple four patch.

Part 4 was combining part 2 and part 3 to make this large block.

Now, I wait for the next part to be released, in the early hours of tomorrow morning, my time.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Farmers Wife #11 Bea

Another hand stitched block. I guess by now you have guessed that I am not doing the blocks in order of Angie releasing them. One can only do what one can while travelling.  I am 'playing' catch up by going through the book and doing each block that has been released in numerical order.
This 'basket' block was also easy while hand piecing and sewing, and surprisingly quick to do.
You can find Angie's tutorial here.

My thought on the letter "Only Twenty-Four and a Queen" 
by Queen Bee, December 1935.
  Queen Bee writes about wanting nice things and getting sad because she doesn't have them. To resolve her feelings she puts on her best dress and a happy attitude and all her housework doesn't seem so bad.
Mood can have a very big influence on attitude and how others perceive you. 
What makes me feel better when I'm feeling down? Sewing, listening to John Farnham, being with the grandkids, spending time with family. 

Do small things with great love and joy in your heart.

Farmers Wife #42 Heather

This was another hand stitched block while travelling. The good thing with hand stitching is that it is easier than getting the Elna out and machine piecing while travelling. I have not trimmed this one yet, but still very happy with the way it turned out. You can find Angie's tutorial here.

My Thoughts on the letter "Just Pass it on" by Mrs F.P. November 1938

Mrs F.P. talks about how grateful she was to have a neighbour who recognised when she was overworked and who would 'borrow' her small children and return them fed, bathed and ready for bed. All the neighbour wanted in return was for Mrs F.P. when her children were older, to return the favour to another young mum.

I feel blessed to have friends who know me well enough to recognise when and what I need, and provide it. 

Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.  ~ Voltaire

Farmer's Wife # 86 Priscilla

Sorry for the break in blog posts, we have been touring this wonderful country  of ours. Such a good release from the stress of work life.
While travelling we called in to see my auntie, and she re-kindled my old hand sewing habits. #86 Pricilla was the first block in the Farmers Wife Sampler that I hand stitched. I must say I did enjoy it. I hand stitched a few other blocks but then found it would be easier to cut the pieces using template plastic. So off to Spotlight.

I didn't find Pricilla difficult, maybe because I was hand stitching.
See Angie's tutorial here.
My thoughts on the letter 'Dishes with Fairytales' 
by More Fun in Dishes  Dec 1938
As a child my sister and I would take turns in wiping the dishes, we didn't like or dislike it, it was just something we did. I'm not sure if my brother helped, I have no recollection of him helping, but maybe he did. More Fun in Dishes would entice her brothers to help with the washing up by telling them fairy stories. Her brothers thought washing up was girls work, but in the end they wanted to help so they could hear the stories.

When my own children were young, they never had the joy of washing or wiping up. We had a dishwasher! Once when we lived in Canberra we went to my cousins home and our girls actually fought about who was going to wipe up - now they are older, they no longer do that LOL.

Quote: This home runs on LOVE, LAUGHTER, and sweet tea.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Simply Colorful Mystery Quilt Along

You all know I love mystery quilts. The hardest part is choosing the fabrics, as it is a mystery and one doesn't know how it will turn out - it's a mystery!!
This new mystery by Lynn at Simply Colorful named Oh Baby Baby Mystery Quilt, started a few weeks ago.
Above is my first choice of fabrics. I wasn't sure about the grey fabric, and asked the Simply Colorful Facebook Quilt Along group if I should change it to white or cream. Lynn thought white or cream would work better, so below is second choice of fabrics.
I had the fabric laid out for over a week before I decided to change my fabric choice yet again. 
I have my favourite colour choices, I am always buying pinks and purples and teals. So to change fabric choice again was hard.
This was my final choice, so I started cutting.
Part one finished.
Parts one and two.
Part three complete. I started this mystery at home and will finish it while travelling along the east coast of Australia.
I love sewing, and I love travelling.