Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

 I'm not sure if I believe in the saying that what you do on the first day of the year is what you will do for the rest of the year, but I wasn't willing to risk it so I decided to get busy with some hand applique. I worked 2 extra nights and I'm really feeling sleep-deprived and didn't want sleeping to be the activity I did most of the rest of the year, although that seems to be an attractive idea at the moment.
I am down to appliqueing the last two triangle pieces and I have about 8 Square in a Square blocks to make and the individual parts of this quilt will be done. Then I can get busy on putting them altogether and then the quilting.I am off tonight and then work another night tomorrow night so I hope to get more stitching done before I go to bed again tonight.
 I hope you all had a Happy New Year and wish you all the best that life can bring for the coming year. Thanks for being part of my blog world and encouraging me to continue with my quilting journey.
Love and hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Quick Stop

I have been working nights and was due to have a couple of nights off but someone has a sick child so I'm going to be working extra. Having kids myself I can certainly sympathize with the need to be with family and the extra money will be good for my travel funds.
 I did manage to finish one of the triangles and I also prepped all the pieces for the last two triangle pieces. When they are finished I will be able to assemble the top so I'm making good progress and will soon have a top ready to quilt. I need to send off my entry forms for the exhibition and it will be good to have a top to show rather than a half finished piece.
 Off to bed again now.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, December 27, 2013

Centre Stage

 The centre block is finished and now I'm working on one of the triangle blocks. one of the feather in the urns is too wide from the centre piece but now that I have finished the stitching I'm going to leave it as the quilt won't be judged and I don't think it will be noticeable when the quilt is finished.
 One was completed a long time ago as I think I started this quilt 4 years ago. It's surprising how quickly it is coming together now this is the only project I am working on at the moment.
 I'm auditioning fabric for the centre block border and then I have two more triangles to complete. The end is in sight though. Maria, I can't lose my mojo now as I have this quilt and two more to finish before mid March. I hope yours' comes home soon.
Our little house guest is helping with the household chores and just generally being a cute addition to the home.
I'm back on nights again tonight so I'll share my progress soon.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, December 26, 2013

It's Growing!

 Now that I am just focusing on working on one of my quilts instead of all the donation quilts, I'm really making progress. I have finished the 12 China Plate blocks and am now finishing off the centre block.
 I should have that completed tonight or tomorrow. I have lots of little circles to make and applique but they don't take long to stitch when they are prepped.
 We are also enjoying our house guest, Buffy. Our youngest DD has gone on holidays and we are cat-sitting for her. She certainly livens up the household and we will miss her when she leaves on New Year's Eve. We don't have any animals of our own at the moment so we can travel without having to leave them with other people.
I am really enjoying the time to sit and stitch while spending time with DH too. Luckily I still enjoy my paid work as I have a lot of work lined up again in the new year and that will help with paying for my next trip.
Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

The Aftermath

 What a busy week we've had.- with a camping trip and then family home for the Christmas festivities. I didn't get any sewing done as my time was taken up with making food, changing bed linen, and all the other things necessary to ensure everyone was comfortable. All our visitors left this morning and I was looking foward to finally having some time for some hand stitching while I watched the cricket on TV. That is, apart from a couple of naps I needed to take.
   I reverse appliqued these 2 China Plate pieces to their background and appliqued the flower in the centre of the plate.
 I only have 2 left to complete and I think they look OK so far.
I have one left to be hand-pieced together and then I need to reverse applique the last 2 China Plates to their background.Then I need to finish off the hand applique for the centre block and the 2 remaining triangle pieces. Then I can finally begin to join all the pieces together. I'm pleased with my progress despite being so busy with other things for the last week and I hope to get it machine quilted very soon.
 I'd better not get ahead of myself though and get back to finishing the hand stitching. We had a lovely day of family gatherings where we celebrated Christmas and caught up on all the family news. It's always great to get together but I must admit it's also very tiring.
 I plan on having a couple of quiet days of stitching before I go back to work again. I hope you all have some quiet time to catch your breath in between the busy days of gathering for Christmas and the New Year.
Love and hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sewing Slow-Down

Not much happening here sewing-wise with the lead-up to Christmas. I worked more night shifts than I'd originally planed and spent more time recovering as a result. Then we had a trip away for a bit of camping but instead of staying two nights we stayed only one as it rained and rained. That meant we couldn't drive on any of the 4wd tracks so we decided to come home early. It was still a nice break with our youngest DD and her partner. I didn't even get the camera out as we weren't there long enough.
  I did get some more done on my Mrs Williams centre block and if I get some free time after Christmas I plan on getting some more done.
I also started to stitch this pieced block to its background.
I also needle turn appliqued the centre piece to a background and have started to hand applique the hearts to the background for another block.
 I have finally wrapped all the presents and put the Xmas tree up so after getting more food prepared today I think I'm ready for Christmas now. I hope you are more organized.
Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, December 15, 2013

It's So Surprising...

 ...how many blocks you can finish off when you are working on one quilt at a time. I needed 16 Ohio Star blocks and had only made 3 so the rest were quickly sewn up and that part is done.
 I need 32 Square in a Square blocks and had completed 15. Currently I am now up to 24 and only have 8 left to make. I might leave some of those until I am up to putting them together to make sure I have a good spread of colour.
 I had a small Oops!! I was digging into the bin of fabrics I'd put aside for this quilt and found that I had already made a lot of the Half Square Triangles for this quilt. Never mind this will give me a head start on another quilt.
Now that I am focusing just on one quilt at a time I am making good progress despite working nights again. I have 6 China Plate blocks finished, 4 pieced which need to be appliqued to their background and 2 more to piece. Now I have the centre blocks to finish appliqueing and then I can start to put it all together. I'm very pleased with my progress and will have to keep my momentum going so I don't get distracted by other projects I want to finish. I'm off to bed now to recover from working nights again.
Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, December 13, 2013

I Have a Plan

 I'm catching up on the housework and the washing and I am finished up with the donation quilts for this year so now it's time to focus on some of my quilt projects. I have two quilt exhibitions early next year for two of my quilting groups. Therefore I need to get some finishes so I can participate. The first exhibition is for my Applique Group and will be held on 15th and 16th of March. I have decided to finish two quilts which are mainly appliqued for this exhibition. My first choice is A Tribute to Mrs Williams. I have made lots of the parts of this quilt but haven't started to put it together yet.
 I have half appliqued the centre block and two of the large triangles, as well as finishing the appliqued hexagon flower blocks- 4 of them. I've made 3 of the Ohio Star blocks and I need 16. The 8 hand appliqued petal blocks are finished and I have made 16 of the Square in a Square blocks, of which I need 32. I am working on the China Plate blocks now. I had pieced 4 of them, of which 3 were reverse appliqued to their background. I didn't like the accuracy for the fine points so I have started hand appliqueing a fussy-cut flower circle over the middle of the circle.
 I started yesterday afternoon and have pieced 8 of the China Plate blocks and appliqued 7 of them to their background. Four since yesterday so I'm going well so far.  I also needed 128 half square triangles which finish to 2.5" in size and I have made 88 of them last night. I plan to get the rest of them finished tonight as well as more of the China Plate blocks.
I've included a photo of the pattern so you can see what I am talking about. I have a plan to finish 3 quilts for the two exhibitions, 2 for mid March and another 1 for April. I need to focus on just these quilts as they are still in the early stages so I will pack away my other projects and focus on a finish. Time will tell if I have bitten off more than I can chew!
 Wish me luck. I'll keep you updated on my progress.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I Rode a Camel!

Look No Hands!
 We spent some time in the desert over near the Pakistan border and rode camels across the sand dunes to view the sun setting. Once you get in the rhythm it's a rather pleasant experience but I asked the camel boss to just let us walk as I didn't want to be madly struggling to hang on while I bumped and bounced across the desert. There is only a thin strap to hold on to and we were lucky to have stirrups as many didn't have them.


 We rode for about 45 minutes and then rested on the soft, white sand while we waited for the sun to descend.
It was a fun experience and another one to mark off my Bucket List. I'm still cleaning up and getting ready for Christmas but I am also getting my sewing projects ready for some intensive sewing.
It seems like a long time since we left India but it's only been 5 days. It's surprising how quickly things get back to normal at home again. I hope you are all more prepared for Christmas than I am at the moment.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Wildlife of India

We saw lots of different animals while traveling through India. I rode a camel across the desert which had been on my "Bucket List".
 
 
 We saw lots of cows, which are sacred in India, as well as sheep, goats and lots of dogs. We only saw a couple of cats but also lots of bird life. Water buffaloes, horses, donkeys and camels are all used to pull drays. There were some elephants but a lot more camels as we were in a semi-arid desert area.
 These cranes are from Siberia and they migrate to avoid the harsh winters in Siberia.
 We saw lots of small squirrels darting everywhere and people were feeding fish at a local lake.
 Horses are part of the wedding ceremonies and we were lucky enough to be there during "wedding season". Grooms ride through the town on horses and the festivities last for about 3 days.


 Monkeys roamed the country roads and then jumped on the cars if you stopped for photos. I'm not sure what type they are but they had very long tails.



 The dogs have a very relaxing life and are looked after by everyone.


Here is a flock of camels. Yes I know it sounds strange but that is one of the correct collective nouns for camels. They are also known as a herd or a caravan.
 I'm still catching up on sleep and the washing as well as getting myself organized for Christmas so no sewing yet but I hope to get back to it soon.
In the meantime I hope you are enjoying the photos of our trip.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Faces of India


 We flew home yesterday after a wonderful trip to India. The time went by much too quickly and I have so much to share with you all. I bought a new camera on the day we left and I just love it. It's a Nikon 3200D and the photo quality is great and now I just want another lens or two to allow me to take more close-ups of people and animals.
 These are some of the lovely faces I captured on film as we wandered around the towns and villages.

 










 The wonderful colours of the clothing worn in Rajastan are in contrast to the drab colours of the landscape which is mainly desert in this area of India (over near the border with Pakistan). The people were very friendly but also very curious and loved to talk "cricket" which is like a religion for them. I'm back to working nights again tonight but will share more photos very soon. We had a fabulous time but it's always good to be home again. Now I need to get organized for Christmas.
 Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac