Life story - the short version

I'm a fun loving 30 something year old . Married my favourite guy. Started on my production of children & number 1 is an adorable boy. Big on family. Big on craft. Love country music. Love fuss free + practical ...aaand maybe with just a little bow for decoration!

Love the law of attraction too. And singing ...dancing ...bright colours and excessive punctuation ...and stationery.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

How to start your very own travelling stash

(If some of this sounds familiar, much of it is from the original Travelling stash post)

So, a "Travelling stash" is a bunch of things (say 10+) such as fabric/notions/mags, other exciting goodies that is posted to you. When you receive it, you take out items you like and replace each item you took with something new. Then post it to the next person.

The traditional rules

say you must have a blog to enter. You would hear about this on someone's blog, comment to be in the winning, and if you win you blog about it on your blog. Repeat repeat repeat, but nobody is "overseeing" it or organising its return.

The rules of a traditional travelling stash are
1. You must be an ACTIVE BLOGGER
2. You must be local to the country in which it's held
4. When you receive it, write a blog post on its contents, what you removed, and what you put in.
3. Replace per diem - if you took 4 yards of fabric, replace it with 4 yards. of quilt quality fabric
5. Leave a comment on the blog (of who currently has it) for the chance to become the next recipient.

Another way you can do it, what I did

I put all the items in the stash at the start, at my expense. I'm monitoring it in the hopes that everyone is attentive enough to pass it on, and my local friends and I are last on the list.
At the end I get to keep the remaining stash*

So these are my rules:
1. You sign up before the end date, and one day soon you will receive the travelling stash.
2. You take out any things you like (might be every thing in the stash, could just be a few items).
3. You replace them with equal value stash items. (If you took 4 fat quarters of quilt quality fabric, replace it with 4 fq of quilt quality fabric, if you took a notion/magazine/pattern, replace it with a similar value notion etc.)
4. You must be committed to share photos of how you got/left the stash and be willing to pay the postage (including tracking of some sort) to the next recipient (I give you their address, by email).

Also, consider starting a Flickr group for this method.

I encourage you to begin one - especially a group of ladies might be able to all contribute a little in order to get a big start?

Either way you go about it, each participant needs to be willing to pay postage of the parcel to the next recipient.

* Further to my comment "I get to keep the remaining stash" I think there will be items in the final parcel that aren't my style, and depending on how my sewing group attacks it, if there is any left I am thinking of doing a give away, or maybe turning the unwanted items into a traditional travelling stash. But this wont be for a few months, and it will all depend on how it pans out.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Entering my quilts in my first ever quilt competitions!

I'm excited and nervous to tell you I've got the entry forms for two quilt shows this year! I've never entered a quilt in a competition before, but thought if my friend can do it then so can I!

NEWSFLASH:The Travelling stash has been received by Janine in WA! I'll post more once she gets a chance to swap items in and out :-)

The first comp I found, said "Are you under 35? Are you interested in quilting?" and I was hooked. It's the NSW Quilter's guild's 30th anniversary and they're celebrating with a comp worth up to $21,000 in prizes!

I'm not greedy, I don't need all $21,000 worth, but a new Brother machine would be super!
It will go nicely with my other new machine, Bernadina Brother.
Sounds like a name for a Bernina? I know, but it was my Grandmother's name. I was only a baby when she died so I don't remember her, but I know she sewed clothes for her 12 children, was quite a whizz with a pattern (as forced to learn due to my mother's interest in fashion at the time haha) and I wanted a name beginning with B for my new machine. So I trust she watches over me whilst we blissfully complete projects together.

I have a top secret idea for this comp [How does your garden grow], which ends in September 2012, but I will share all the details once the closing date is nearer.
I *will* tell you that I'm going to include some of this "Fanciful flight" fabric which I've already bought because OMG OMG I know, right!?

The other comp is a local one, The Central Coast's Quilt Show 2012 Annual Charity Quilt Competition and Exhibition on Sat 5 to Sun 6 May.

I started on this self-designed quilt, this week, and made this much in one day (even including unpicking one of the rows because it was upside down dammit).
I'm still to add borders and then quilt & bind it, but I think this will be one of my entries for the local show...

From this:

Progress to this (the bit missing was the bit I had to unpick ugh I hate unpicking)

To this

What do you think?

By the way I used Robert Kaufman's Quilter's helper Android app

to get the sizes for cutting the setting triangles. That app has EIGHT calculators on it, you really need it in your life!

And I know now why I never calculated offset triangles properly before. The seam allowance means your triangle never really meets the size til you sew it. Anyway, just a revelation that had nothing to do with anyone.

What else I've been up to:
I unpicked (again!) the stuff up I talked about here, and made 'im into a cute piggy!

Hope I win!

Also, I sewed this car cushion for a baby in my mother's group who's first birthday party is tomorrow.

I originally went to Lincraft to buy a cushion insert for a name pillow, and the plain insert I wanted was $4.99. I walked past the car cushion, marked down to $8.99 and decided I couldn't really make it for that cheap anyway, and the car cushion looks awesome, so I got out my favourite fusible webbing and fused "Samuel" on.
I've finished it now, but it's too late at night to get any better picture than this one. I'll add an updated one to my facebook page soon.
Thanks for visiting :->

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How to make bag that looks like a little girl's dress - Tutorial

It's just adorable isn't it??
A lady from my sewing group brought in a simple 2 dimensional bag with a bit of trim around it that made it look like a dress. I thought "I could do that!" But once I released the girly fabric I got really carried away (pinks and roses and frills! Oh My!) and I'm really happy with the results.
I knew it would be somewhat cute, so I made a tute for you along the way :-)

This tutorial is intended for someone who has made a bag before, is willing to choose their own length for the straps etc.


  • 4 fat quarters (Lining, underskirt and rosette, top, skirt)
  • heavyweight interfacing. About a fat quarter's worth or whatever height you want your bag plus 2x width.
  • thread of course
  • Buttons to make the back look like the back. I used Ashley's DIY self cover buttons idea with no kit to cover my buttons


  • Begin by making a template for the top (in my example the green fabric) and the lining, using my measurements below.
    Of course, you'll have to save up for an expensive template - oh no wait, I made my template from an ice cream box which was about to go in the recycling bin!!

    Make the shape however you like, but make sure it's toward the front of the template as this will be the front of the dress bag.

  • Start with your fabric that you'll use for the top. FOLD YOUR FAT QUARTER IN HALF before tracing on your cutting line. I forgot to do this with a pattern a few years ago and I'm seriously scarred by it!
  • Then trace your cutting line on, and cut out your fabric.
  • Cut some straps out of this fabric too. Whatever depth and width you like.
    You only need the top 6 inches of this fat quarter plus straps, so you can use the rest for embellishing the bottom of the skirt like mine if you like.

  • Continuing on, cut the (template) shape out of the top of the lining fat quarter (remembering to fold) but on the lining, DO NOT cut it off at 6 inches high, rather leave the rest of the fat quarter length uncut.
    If you're adding any inside pocket/s, do so just after cutting.

  • Cut your underskirt fabric by taking 6 inches off the top of your fq (fat quarter) and keep aside for embellishments if you want. In my example, this is the deep pink fabric.
    I don't want to give you depth measurements as not all fat quarters are created equal (some are yards & some are metres and some are just plain dodgy)

  • Cut your skirt (yellow) in half, and sew it short sides together to make it twice as wide, then gather. (Also embellish however you like).

  • So you should have the following pieces cut out (the things up the top are straps, and my white/floral lining has a pink pocket on it):

Ok let's get to the lining first:

  • Fold the edges right sides together so you're looking at the shape just like when you cut out the template, but right sides together.
    Sew the seam for the back, from top to bottom. Leaving open the shaped top and the flat edge at the bottom.
    this is the view of the bottom edge, with the back seam sewn up.

    To find the centre, as above, place a pin in the end of the lining which doesn't have a seam in it.
    Open up the bottom of the bag, and fold it so that the pin meets the seam. This is how you centre your back seam (so your outer and your lining match up).

  • Now that you've centred the back seam: Sew the bottom shut.

    Now we are making a boxy shape in the bottom of the bag. I'm trying to explain what is also shown here (If she makes more sense than I do).
  • Mark a line on the folded edge of your bag corners, so you can squish the corner in a way that Ashley explains better here .

  • Once you've 'squished' the corner, your sewn line (facing up) is matching/running-along the bottom seam underneath.
    Make a mark 1 inch in, to sew along and create a box shape in the bottom of the bag.

  • Sew across that line, repeat for other side, then put lining aside.

Now to the outer:

  • Sew the top to the underskirt along the straight edge (right sides together, raw eges together). No photo.

  • Iron on your heavyweight interfacing to the wrong side of your outer piece. No photo.

  • Now we will sew the gathered skirt on, a little way down the underskirt. This gives a sash effect.
    Due to a teeny tiny cutting mistake on my behalf I made the underskirt a wee bit shorter than I meant to, but I like the way it ended up.

    Mark a line as I have done below, as a guide to pin your skirt on.
    I thought an inch & a quarter would work, but then added another quarter for seam, seeing as I was pinning up against this line.

  • Pin your skirt on right sides together, so that once your bag is upright, the raw edges are hidden.

  • Sew your back seam up on the skirt, as close as you can to the top.

  • Sew your back seam up, being careful not to catch too much of the skirt in the seam (although I allowed a little, in order to be sure the dress had no raw edges, you will see when you make one).

  • Attach straps inside as you would for any bag straps, but I made my front strap a little shorter to allow for the dress shape.

  • Sew outer to inner as you would for a normal bag, and flip through. Here's mine before I topstitched the opening closed, gave it an iron, and attached a rosette:

Then wait for the sun to shine and hit the town! Thanks for visiting :-)

I shall call her Sasha, and she shall be mine, and she shall be my Sasha stash

The travelling stash has brought so many goals up for me. One of my aims in the process is to better connect with you like minded people. So I hope to follow all the blogs of the TS (travelling stash) members. Sounds easy, right? Well yes, but I get distracted by the pretty colours and interesting stories. I haven't made it far, but one of the distracting blogs made me laugh out loud (really) was Bronwyn's Stop that owl blog!
She cracks me up with relatable well written things like "Not opposed to avoiding housework in favour of creating something." and check out the panic associated with having to abandon the sewing room here & you will be laughing I bet!

Anyway, she is really excited about the stash and just posted about it generally (I guess it's like when you go to a concert and the next day you're wondering where the artist is now, are they having breakfast or are they still asleep.... or maybe not LOL) and she said "'the stash' seems a bit impersonal for my liking, so from hereon in, I will refer to her as Sasha Stash" Haha! So from now on, please feel free to refer to Ms Stash by her first name, Sasha.

Other goals I'm getting to one day soon are:
  • To share all my blogging secrets, how I do my photos, html code, and all that jazz
  • To post on how you can easily start your own travelling stash & why
  • To have a guest post by the frequently published quilt designer Allison Nicoll (Exciting!)
  • Share with you my sewing space/s and storage methods
  • Use adjectives other than Awesome a little more often.
  • Probably more, I'll remember them as I'm supposed to be going to sleep and I'm really calculating whether I could turn that whole quilt on point or maybe make the edges octagonal instead, or maybe use that ruler I forgot I had from the last craft fair .......the list goes on LOL.

But for now I must get back to quilting in my pyjamas!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

TRAVELLING STASH - Leaves tomorrow! Entry almost closed

Ok Ladies, the first name has been drawn! Janine was the first person from WA to email her postal address to me, and I'd expressed that WA was the first place I wanted to send it so that's where it will be going tomorrow!!

If I keep it within the same state generally, it will come around faster. Less time with Postman Pat and the quicker it gets to the rest of us. But don't lose faith too quickly, I'll be shaking it up too.
The rules of a normal travelling stash are:
1. You must be an ACTIVE BLOGGER
2. You must be a US RESIDENT
4. When you receive it, write a blog post on its contents, what you removed, and what you put in.
3. Replace per diem
5. Leave a comment on the blog (of who currently has it) for the chance to become the next recipient.


I don’t want you to miss out if you don’t have a blog, and why do the Yanks get to have all the fun?!

So these are my rules:
1. You sign up before midnight Monday 26 March 2012, and one day soon you will receive the travelling stash. Australians only, due to cost of postage.
2. You take out any things you like (might be every thing in the stash, could just be a few items).
3. You replace them with equal value stash items. (If you took 4 fat quarters of quilt quality fabric, replace it with 4 fq of quilt quality fabric, if you took a notion/magazine/pattern, replace it with a similar value notion etc.)
4. You must be committed to share photos of how you got/left the stash and be willing to pay the postage (including tracking of some sort) to the next recipient (I will give you their address, by email).

It’s a bit more work for me to keep track of it all the time, but I hate never winning anything so I’m doing this for everyone who never wins anything and I’m sure it will be worth it.


• You must be willing to pay the postage to forward on the stash WITH TRACKING. The 3kg traceable satchel costs $11.40. If you can get a cheaper rate with then go for it!
• How are you going to share your photo? I will ask you this by email before I send the stash your way.
Please join our Flickr group!
~If you have a blog, that’s probably easiest for you to blog about it (and I will send everyone there to have a sneaky peek! ‘Hello traffic’)
~If you don’t have a blog, you can simply add the photos to our flickr group

• If possible, uncommon fabrics would be ideal for sharing (although not all of us have a spotlight nearby).
• Have fun with it!!
What do YOU think?
Travelling stash Recipient 1

Original post at

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dress-up-your-roll comp (ends 1 Apr 2012)

What I've been up to...

Working on my entry!
Competition starts 9th January 2012 and finishes 1st April 2012

The chitter chatter bit:
I recently saw on someone's blog "the pledge" and it was a pledge to blog about the projects whilst in progress, rather than just finished projects. I thought to myself "You want half finished projects? I can give you half finished projects!!" I've got a bazillion!

But I guess I can see the interactive quality of watching a blooming project come to fruition, now that I think of it.
My pledge is more about being honest about how many failed attempts I have at things before the "Did you make that?" conversation begins LOL.

So I was thinking ok making "a pig" toilet roll cover. Thought about it last night when I was trying to steer my brain toward sleep (but it prefers thread & fabric), imagined how I'll do the nose, nostrils (grab the mobile phone and add that to the Spotlight shopping list, I need black felt) and wondered how I will get the curly tail to work.

I get started, forget all about the things I was going to sew between the sides and the top (like ears) and carry on at a good pace. Here's the inside view:

Not a bad effort, thinks me, til I turn it out and my scrap "inner" is now on the top!!! DAMMIT

Fine, I'll go back to that later. It makes me feel better about having to unpick the bloody thing seeing as I have to put ears in and that illusive tail anyway LOL.

Right, to get started on my other one. It's going to be this envy-of-all Easter basket with a working 'lid'!

Pin city!

Hmm.... It looked better in my head, and it's about 5cm too long. Ah well. I've still got til 1 April I guess.

Update on the travelling stash:
I am finalising all the details and will notify the first "cab off the rank" by Monday. Each participant will need to be willing to post the parcel on, which will cost about $10. That is the cost, plus whatever you decide to put in. (but hello, it's a mystery box and you get to take something out!! So it's sew worth it)

I was trying to keep the postage cost low, but inevitably people are going to add more to the stash than what we have so far (so there's a benefit of having to wait your turn *wink*) so I have decided to start with a 3kg box and keep it consistent from there.

I am going to keep track of it and send each recipient the following person’s address. That way with 20+ ppl signed up (if I keep ppl on their toes) it wont take til Christmas to make its way around. Plus you will know when to expect it, kind of.

Here is a sneak peek of some of the goodies in the stash before the first recipient changes it up!

Don't know what I'm talking about? See the previous blog here

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TRAVELLING STASH (Australians all let us rejoice) March 2012

Updated. See the latest post here.
I have decided to organise a travelling stash!!!!!
So, a travelling stash (as I understand it) is a bunch of things (say 10+) such as fabric/notions/mags, other exciting goodies that is posted to you. When you receive it, you take out items you like and replace each item you took with something new. Then post it to the next person.

You're meant to blog about it on your blog so we all get to follow it, but I will be managing it as well.

I have a list already so we can get started, but I need some more takers [Entry closed Monday 26/3/12]so I can really get the ball rolling!? Who's interested? Please include your state (NSW).

I will get the first bunch of items ready and post up a picture before the end of the week (24/3/12) but you can sign up anytime [Entry closed Monday 26/3/12 See my latest post linked above on how to start your own]

You need to be willing to pay postage of the parcel to the next recipient. At this stage it will be in a trackable $7.20 satchel and may turn into a box costing around $10 to post. I think you'll find it's worth it to take part!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Using fusible thread to bind with machine stitching (FAST and easy)

I'll be the first to admit, machine binding is totally "cheating"! I'm pretty traditionalist, I can't even bring myself to buy those choc chip hot cross buns 'cause that's just not genuine!!

At first I thought "Hmm, the idea of machine binding would really need to be far less time consuming for me to give up that human touch and the ability to manouvre the fabric 'just so' to get a beautifully finished edge" and basically I still feel that way, but Man, it *is* faster!

I will show you here, you give it a go, and whether you like it or not, you will have it up your sleeve on the eve of [say] Mother's day when you have just hours before the handcrafted gift is to be opened ....yeah you know what I'm talking about!!

[This was a pretty rushed project, I whacked this together out of scraps to go on my computer table more for the tutorial. If I was making it for someone else I'd have taken more care]

Let's begin

This is for someone who knows how to bind a quilt already. Sorry for the poor lighting, one day I will replace these pictures with better ones!

  • AFTER QUILTING, KEEPING YOUR WALKING FOOT ON: Select the top thread/spool to match your project, and insert the bobbin with fusible thread into your machine.
  • Sew your binding around the quilt (raw edges together as normal) and you will have something like this:

    Pic of the back (looks like monofilament thread/clear thread)

  • With the top of your quilt facing down, pull your binding to the back (as you do when hand sewing). Iron your binding down.


    I used binding cut at 2 and a half inches wide then ironed in half. I forgot that when using fusible thread you should add about another half inch. That way you ensure you have plenty of room for the binding to cover the fusible thread, and the machine stitching to catch all the way around.
    I had to pin mine down during ironing because I was just cutting it a little too fine, but I still carried on.

    When ironing your binding over to the back, you have the opportunity to make really nice corners. Ironing helps the mitre behave IMO, and if you've added half an inch to your binding before cutting, you will see what I mean.

  • Ok, now flip your work so the front of your quilt is facing up again.
  • Choose a top thread to go best with your quilt top (not the binding, but the top) and a bobbin thread to go best with the binding, or complement the back of the quilt somehow.
  • Align your needle to be in the ditch on the quilt side of the binding. Err on the side of the quilt rather than swerving onto the binding. As with other quilting, the ditch will deepen and hide your mistakes a little, but a beeline into the binding looks way worse.

    Here's what the top looks like once you're done (extreme close up, nobody else looks as hard at your quilt as you do)

    And below is the back.

    I originally had dark blue thread in the bobbin. The fabric when you look at it full scale is dominantly dark blue, but in the binding it's less obvious and eventually I felt that red would complement the overall completed look.

    When you allow a little extra width, your binding will be caught with more allowance. I really wanted to apologise after every photo but I'll just stop apologising now!

Have you given this a go? Where did you get your thread? Have you got anything to add?

Friday, March 9, 2012

What I've been up to lately (Jelly roll skirt and fondant car cake)

My son turned one recently and I used to hate to hear people say "oh gosh they grow so fast" because I mean, really, a year takes 365 days to go by no matter who you are! But ....Oh gosh he grew so fast LOL.
Anywho. I made him a car cake because he loves anything with wheels (vacuum cleaner and wheelie bin included).
Here are a few pics:

I went to the Sydney Craft and Sew show in Rosehill yesterday and bought so much stuff. Too busy to list it here, but I'm sure you'll see plenty of my goodies as they become finished projects!

I wanted to wear my skirt that I made from some of a Moda Ruby jelly roll that Ally gave me! It was a VERY rainy cold day so I just put my black tights underneath it. Here are a few pics (at the end of the day, sorry not freshly ironed LOL)