Monday 29 July 2013

One year of blogging giveaway winner!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered my giveaway to celebrate my first year of blogging!  You left so many lovely comments - they really made my week.  Now it's time to draw the winners of my giveaway!

First up, the winner of my small but perfectly formed bundle of Melody Miller fabrics is commenter number 228 - Heather!

Next up, the winner of the Prince Charming fat quarter bundle in cool colours is Peggy!

Finally, the winner of the Prince Charming fat quarter bundle in warm colours is Cornelia!

Ladies, I've sent you each an email - I hope to hear from you soon so these bundles can make their way to you.

Saturday 27 July 2013

Saturday Pet* Words of Wisdom #29

- Rolly

Todays Cat Owl words of wisdom come from Sarah of Mila+Cuatro.
If anyone would like to make themselves an owl pal, the devil-cats that preside over my house recently created a plethora of unusable cardboard tubes. Anyone is welcome to them*.
*You must clean up the mess that may or may not still be on the floor...

If you would like to see your pet featured on Caturdays (other pets/creations are also welcome!), flick an email to adrianneonthewindyside at gmail dot com.  Have a great weekend!

Friday 26 July 2013

Hexy Quilted Ottoman

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of taking a class, organised through the Capital Quilters Guild, with Penny and Fenella from Stitch Playroom in Christchurch.  We were making this very cool hexagon ottoman, which is designed by Penny and which they sell as a pattern in their shop.


The first step was learning to machine piece hexagons - I've watched the videos and understood conceptually how to do this, but had never mustered up the guts to actually give it a go.  Omg - it's really not difficult, and now I really want to make a hexagon quilt.  I was also very pleased to be able to use some of the heavier weight fabrics that have been hanging around in my stash for a while.

By the way, please excuse the slightly scrunched seams where the top attaches to the sides of the ottoman.  This is not a design flaw, but simply that I didn't follow the instructions to press these seams after sewing because I was TOO EXCITED and had to fill the ottoman IMMEDIATELY!


This is the bottom of the ottoman, made using some upholstery weight fabric offcuts (kindly donated by my friend Anne's mother from her interior decorating business).  It was great to learn how to put in a proper covered zip from someone who really knew what they were doing.  Even though the fabric is super thick and a bit tricky to work with, I think my zip looks pretty good!  By the way, I have used both the right side and the wrong side of the upholstery fabric (partly, to be honest, because I couldn't really figure out which was which, but mostly because I think they both look good), and I love the effect. [EDIT - I've been informed that side with white background and beige leaves is technically the right side of this fabric.]


The sides are made using an Anna Maria Horner linen that I absolutely love.  Have I mentioned before that I love yellow?  This mustardy hue is a particular favourite.  I think this shot also gives a good idea of the scale of the ottoman - it definitely makes a comfy foot rest.  It's stuffed with polystyrene beads (like you'd fill a bean bag with) so it's sturdy enough to sit on, but still light.  Yes, getting them into the lining bag did involve much shrieking and hilarity.  I'm going to share Penny's advice on this - it is a two person job, and if you put the ottoman in the bath to fill it, (most of) the spilled beans will be contained and easily vacuumed up.
Have you made any home dec items lately?
Linking up with finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts.

Also, this is the first of my third quarter goals that I've finished - yay!  I'll be linking up with Leanne at she can quilt at the end of September as part of the 2013 Finish Along.

she can quilt

Wednesday 24 July 2013

WIP Wednesday

These are the first four blocks for my Cherry Christmas Scrappy Trip Along quilt.  I made a beginner's error for one block and put green fabric at either end, so I was left with a double stripe of green.  I'm going to see how it looks once all the other blocks are made - if it's still bugging me then, I'll unpick it.

Cherry Christmas Scrappy Trip Along blocks

I have to say, I am not regretting the decision to hunt these fabrics out - I love working with them and I can't wait to make more blocks.  I'm going to try and finish up a few long-standing WIPs first, but then it's straight back to these lovelies.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
P.S. My giveaway to celebrate my first year of blogging is still open, so don't miss out! 

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Pistols at Dawn Quilt Top

It's been on my to-do list for a while, and this weekend I finally knuckled down and finished up the top to my Pistols at Dawn quilt.

Pistols at Dawn Quilt Top 

Most of the blocks for this quilt were made for me by the lovely ladies of the Fallow Group of the Simply Solids Bee.  When I was choosing the colours for this quilt, I was very inspired by a photograph of a sunset, and used the Palette Builder at Play Crafts to create a bundle of seven solids.  If you are interested, you can read a little bit more about my creative process here.  Of course, it's completely inspired by other modern half-square triangle quilts like HST Love and Pantone Pop by Sew Katie Did.

Pistols at Dawn Quilt Top 

In some ways, this quilt top is a success, in that it was an experiment and a challenge to myself to step away from my usual preference for light, bright, clear toned fabrics.  Even though this quilt is extremely abstract, it still has a sunset vibe to me, and it's interesting and visually impactful.  I'm just not sure that I actually like it - it's still quite some distance outside my comfort zone.

Pistols at Dawn Quilt Top

This quilt is now basted and I'll likely quilt it in the next couple of weeks.  Even though I'm totally sold on it at this stage, I can't wait to quilt it, because I'm impatient to see how it transforms with quilting.  That uncertainty about how a quilt will actually look once it's finished is what keeps me coming back!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not unhappy with how this quilt has turned out so far since it it was always intended to be a challenge.  But I'm interested to know, do you ever have mixed feelings about your quilts?

Linking up with:

Better Off Thread    Fresh Poppy DesignMy Quilt Infatuation

Sunday 21 July 2013

One year of blogging (and a giveaway!)


Today it's been a year since I started blogging!  It's so funny to look back at my first few tentative posts and see how things have changed.  20 finished quilts, nearly 30 mini quilts, cushions, and other small projects later (not to mention all those WIPs), and I've learnt a lot.

Blue and green should never be seen?  I don't think so!

These are some of the things I've discovered in the last year:

- Writing a blog is pretty weird to start with.  The more you write, the more natural it feels.  I think participating in Blogtoberfest last year, and challenging myself to write a post every day in October, was the best thing I could have done to help my writing flow.

- I am pretty terrible at predicting what people will like.  The response to items I have made often surprises me (usually in a good way).  This leads me to two conclusions - I probably shouldn't go into retail, and I should just keep making the things that I feel like making, rather than trying to predict what other people will like.

- People are more willing to help you than you'd think.  Any time I've asked for help or advice on my blog, the response has been fantastic.  Similarly, without the help of the people in my real world life, I would struggle to write this blog (or at least to have any photos to post!).

- Quilters are awesome.  I am still constantly amazed by how friendly, welcoming, generous and funny quilters (online and in real life) are.  Next time I travel (somewhere, anywhere), I will definitely have a bloggy friend or two to catch up with (and hopefully introduce me to their LQS!).

- I am a creative person.  A year ago I would have denied this, because I've always seen myself as a very pragmatic, analytical, low-key person.  I'm still all of those things, but I recognise that they are not mutually exclusive with being creative, and that using my creative energy makes life a lot more fulfilling.

Rainbow bright

Thanks for joining me on my quilting journey so far!  I'm looking forward to my second year blogging and lots of new quilts!  Now, onto the thing you've been waiting for - the giveaway!

I have three lovely prizes for you.  The first is small but perfectly formed - a fat quarter of each of these very special fabrics.  These are hard to let go, but I know they will be enjoyed by the recipient, so I'll be happy to send them off to the winner.

Ruby star risingRuby star rising

Next up is this bundle of Prints Charming for Spotlight fabrics in cool colours...

Prints Charming cool fat quarter bundle 

... and this bundle in warm colours.

Prints Charming warm fat quarter bundle

There are 6 metric fat quarters in each bundle - which adds up to a metre and a half of fabric - definitely enough to make a baby quilt top or be the base for a larger quilt top.  Or, you know, just add it to your stash!

A different person will win each prize.  To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment, any comment.  If you want, you can get an extra entry for each of the following (just leave an extra comment for each that applies):

- following my blog through google friend connect or a feed reader like bloglovin' or feedly (new and existing followers both count);
- liking my facebook page; and
- sharing this giveaway via your favourite social media (you could blog about it, share it on facebook, tweet about it, whatever!).

This giveaway is open to everyone (including international participants), but if I can't contact you, you can't win. If you are a no-reply blogger, please leave your email address in the comment.

The giveaway will stay open until around 10 pm Sunday 28 July 2013 (New Zealand Time), and I will use the random number generator at to pick a winner for each prize then.

Good luck everyone!  By the way, I usually respond to all comments, but giveaways can be a little overwhelming, so I hope you don't mind if I don't respond to your comment on this post.

Some of you may have heard about the strong earthquakes that have struck Wellington over the last few days.  The largest one, at just after 5 pm this evening, was the strongest earthquake I've ever felt, and has left me and my family (including the cats) a bit jumpy but otherwise fine.  If you are interested, you can find more details here.  Neither my house nor my parents' house has suffered any damage, although I have taken a couple of things down off shelves as a precaution.  This is the first earthquake in my memory that has actually caused damage in Wellington, though it's not in the league of the devastating earthquakes in Christchurch in 2010 and 2011. 


Saturday 20 July 2013

Saturday Cat Words of Wisdom #28

"Be the best at what you do, you will get more tuna." Ralph

If you would like to see your pet featured on Caturdays (other pets are also welcome!), flick an email to adrianneonthewindyside at gmail dot com.  Have a great weekend!

P.S. Tomorrow I will have been blogging for one year, and I'm definitely celebrating!  Check back then for at least one giveaway.

Friday 19 July 2013

Laptop Sleeves

I bought the 13" laptop sleeve pattern from Michelle Patterns ages ago on a whim.  I think I saw a version on someone else's blog, but it's so long ago I totally cannot remember where!

Laptop Sleeve
Exterior: Lovesme Lovesmenot in Leaf, from Anna Maria Horner's Innocent Crush Home Dec Collection

Anyway, the weekend before last, I decided to finally make up a laptop sleeve using the pattern.  I would consider myself a confident quilter, but somewhat nervous when it comes to 3D items, so I approached this with some trepidation.  In the end, with this very clearly written and illustrated pattern, there was no real reason to worry!  

Laptop Sleeve
Lining: Paper Clips in Grey, from Julia Rothman's Type Collection

I'm not going to lie - this is not a 5 minute project.  I made two at the same time, and probably spent about 6 or 7 hours in total from start to finish.  That said, I'm by no means complaining about the time it took, because I didn't think there were any unnecessary steps included, and the finish is very nice (no raw edges on this baby).

Laptop Sleeve
Exterior: I think this is a Kokka fabric - it's home dec weight also

I've also had this very pretty floral home dec weight fabric in my stash for a long time, waiting for the right project.  I'm glad I get to see it every day now, as well as this fun pottery themed print I used for the lining.  I have this Michael Miller print in quite a few different colours because I love it so much.

Laptop Sleeve
Lining: Put a Lid On It in Coral from Michael Miller's Mod Prints Collection
Now that I've made this pattern, I would thoroughly recommend it if you are looking to make a laptop sleeve.  The construction is fairly simple, the instructions are good and the end result  looks great and functions beautifully.  It's meant to fit most 13" laptops, and you can see that my 13" macbook pro sits nicely inside.

Laptop Sleeve

The green and grey version above is a slightly belated birthday present for my friend Anne.  She LOVES grey fabric (I think all her quilts have some grey somewhere) and has recently become the secretary of our guild, which means bringing her laptop to a lot of meetings, so this is both a pretty and practical gift for her.

Since I enjoyed making these laptop cases so much, I've joined the Michelle Patterns affiliate program - you can see the button up in my sidebar.  I can't wait to try some more!

Linking up with finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts.

P.S. On Sunday the 21st of July I will have been blogging for one year, and I'm definitely celebrating!  Check back then for at least one giveaway.

Thursday 18 July 2013

Craftsy Summer Sale

Hi guys - just a very quick post to let you know that Craftsy is having a big summer sale.  It's running from the 17th of July to the 21st of July, and a different selection of classes is on sale each day.


I spotted Sarah Fielke's class, Big Techniques from Small Scraps, in the sale section.  I really enjoyed taking this class, and it's massively reduced today - check it out!

Online Quilting Class

This class also caught my eye.  Circles and curves generally are something I'd like to work on.  It's on sale today too.

Do you think you'll be snapping up a bargain in this sale?

Full disclosure - the links in this blog post are affiliate links.  This means I get a small commission if you follow one of them and sign up or take a class.  I only recommend things I have used and enjoyed myself.

Wednesday 17 July 2013

WIP Wednesday

I am experiencing a most unusual desire to make a Christmas quilt at the moment.  Honestly, in New Zealand, the last thing you really need at Christmas time is a quilt - it's the middle of summer for goodness sake.  Never mind, I'm going to make one anyway!

Last year Aneela Hoey's Christmas collection, Cherry Christmas caught my eye, but I resisted because I didn't think I'd really want to make a Christmas quilt (duh!).  It's oh so cute, and when it was still on my mind several months later, I decided to bite the bullet and bought a fat quarter bundle on etsy.  I'm in the process of cutting all my fat quarters into strips for another scrappy trip along quilt.  I think this will be a good project for when I feel like a bit of mindless sewing over the coming weeks!

Are you suffering from Christmas-in-July-itis too?

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

P.S. On Sunday the 21st of July I will have been blogging for one year, and I'm definitely celebrating!  Check back then for at least one giveaway.

Monday 15 July 2013

Toffee pincushion

Have you checked out Le Challenge yet?  It is the brainchild of Lucy at Charm About You and Nat at Made in Home, and is a monthly challenge and link-up.

When I read that the challenge for July was "toffee", my first thought was "mmm, sticky toffee pudding...", and my second thought was "huh?!".  Toffee is a pretty delicious inspiration word, but it was also quite tricky to come up with something suitably toffee-ish.

Toffee pincushion

In the end I went pretty literal with this pincushion that is intended to look like a wrapped toffee.  It was very hard to cut into this very adorable Heather Ross fabric, but to me it was a lovely rich toffee colour that I just couldn't go past for this project.

Toffee Pincushion

This was a pretty quick project to whip up, and it was fun to use my long dormant gathering skills (last used many years ago when I sewed clothes).  However, I'm not completely satisfied with how this turned out - the stuffed part doesn't fill out the "wrapper" quite as nicely as I would have liked and frankly, it's not a terribly practical pincushion.  I'm still pleased I gave it a go though.

Did you make anything for the July Le Challenge? And do you have a major craving for toffee now?

Linking up with:

Better Off Thread  Le Challenge  

Saturday 13 July 2013

Saturday Cat Words of Wisdom #27

"Stay close to your family. This might be closer than I intended." Ivy

If you would like to see your pet featured on Caturdays (other pets are also welcome!), flick an email to adrianneonthewindyside at gmail dot com.  Have a great weekend!

Friday 12 July 2013

Finish Along Third Quarter Goals

she can quilt

Now is the time to set my goals for the third quarter of 2013.

1. Pistols at Dawn Quilt.  I took this very impromptu layout photo after I had received quite a few of the blocks from the lovely Fallow Group ladies.  I have four final blocks to make myself, then I can assemble the quilt top and quilt this up.  I even have a backing fabric picked already!  Despite this, this quilt is a carry over from the second quarter so I would really like to get it finished up this time.

Simply Solids Quilt Progress

2. Oakshott and low volume plus quilt.  I've finished this quilt top and it's at the long-armer for quilting.  Can't wait to get it back and bind it up!

Oakshott and low volume quilt top complete

3. Top of the Lake Quilt.  This quilt is basted and ready for quilting.  I have a fairly ambitious quilting plan, which I'm really just psyching myself up for.  That, or I'll end up doing something super simple.

Top of the Lake Quilt

4. A letter from Lotta quilt.  This was on my list for the second quarter but I never got around to doing anything with it.  Fingers crossed for this quarter!

A Letter from Lotta Quilt

5. Quilt using this fabric that I bleached.  I've actually cut all of these fat eighths into 2" wide strips and sewn them into sets of 4 strips.  I'm planning to make another equilateral triangle quilt, using Essex linen in natural as a background, and really I just need to cut the triangles and start piecing.  I think this will make a great autumn quilt so I would like to get it done for the northern hemisphere autumn.

Fabric experimentation

6. This very bright baby sized quilt I put together over the weekend using mostly Echino fabrics.  The quilt top is complete so I just need to baste, quilt, and bind it.  It's part of a larger project so will definitely be finished by the end of July.  More about this later.

A new baby quilt

7. Hexy ottoman.  I've just finished quilting the sides of this, so I'm on track to get it finished pretty soon!

8. Majoring in Botany quilt.  This is a quilt I made as part of a class run through my local guild.  The quilt top is finished, and I put together the minky back the other day.  This one is going out for longarm quilting, because it's 80" square and there is no way I am going to get a quilt that big, backed in minky, through my machine.  I haven't blogged about this quilt before, honestly just because I haven't had time to take decent photographs of it, but it does exist, I promise!

Ok, I think 8 finishes is enough of a challenge for this quarter of the year!  Are you participating in the Finish-Along for the third quarter of the year?  You can join for any quarter, so if you didn't participate in the first or second quarters, but want to play along, now is the perfect time.  You can link your third quarter goal lists until the 15th of July.

Wednesday 10 July 2013

WIP Wednesday

I put together a new baby quilt this weekend, using these absolutely beautiful fabrics.  The design is very simple - just square in square blocks, but the fabrics made it a joy to put together.  This is part of a larger project - I'm excited to share more details with you soon.  Now to baste and quilt!

A new baby quilt

I also finished my July block for the Simply Solids Bee.  This one is made using the mosaic block tutorial from the Summer Sampler series at Freshly Pieced.  It was really easy to make and I think it's a very effective block.  Kate asked for summer colours - I hope this fits the bill!

July block for Simply Solids Bee

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced