Friday, December 30, 2011

End of The Year Report

I haven't been quilting for the past few days but I have been very busy getting ready for my trip to Hong Kong and China. We fly out tonight and will be away for 4 weeks. My DH will be at home to receive any parcels as I'm traveling with our youngest DD. We have 9 days in Hong Kong before we meet up with our tour and local guide for the 3 weeks trip across China.
I have managed to crochet almost enough squares for another blanket and will finish that when we return.
The total number of finished and donated quilts for Oz Comfort Quilts this year was 543 which I think is an amazing number. Thank to all of my very generous blogging friends for all their support and donations of fabric, QAYG blocks, quilt tops, fabric and money. We have managed to make a difference to many people affected by the natural disasters in Australia, New Zealand and Japan, as well as warming the needy and I'm very grateful for all the support.
I will be straight back into production when I return from my travels and I pray that we are spared the disasters that so many experienced this year. I wish you all the best for 2012 and I hope we can continue to work together to make life a little easier for those in need. I'll be updating my blog while I'm away as long as I can get internet access.
Stay safe. Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Featured Blogger- Giraffe Dreams

I've chosen Carol E. from Minneapolis, USA. Carol and I first met online when we were members of the online quilting group, Sunshine. The group continues on to this day and I made some lovely friends through my membership, including BJ who was the founder of the group, and also Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville.
Carol's father had just passed away and she challenged us to make and donate quilts in his honour. This was ten years ago and we are still donating to many groups, in our local communities and overseas. We've sent quilts all over the world, including some which were auctioned off at the Armenian Embassy in Paris (I think that's right) and we raised money to pay for heating for 3 orphanages.
Carol is a lovely lady and a very generous quilter, with very similar ideas to mine. She also believes that we serve God and our community by using our quilting gifts and talents.
I've added her photo with her latest quilt which she calls a Lego Quilt and it is such a masterpiece and made from 1 1/2" strips so I hope this is one which she will keep for her family.
So please check out Carol's blog, Giraffe Dreams, check out her lovely quilts and tell her I said Hi! She also loves to read and shares her latest book on Fridays which I think I may adopt too as it's a great way to find out about new authors to try and share with each other.
Thanks for stopping by. Do you have a favourite blog to share? If so I'd love to hear about it to expand my blogging world some more. You can also ask for your own blog to be featured if you would like to encourage more people to stop by your blog.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Out of The Box

I seem to be very organized and have even found/made time to get some more donation quilts finished. I have several boxes of fabric which has been cut into 6" squares and have decided that I need to get them made and out of the cupboard. I did sort them into colours but had a box of just all sorts of bits and pieces. I did start randomly piecing them together to make backings for quilts which is an excellent way to use them up. I've also been piecing them to add to fabric to make it wider for backings. I seem to have lots of tops which are just a bit too wide for the quilt shop fabric which varies from 40 to 43" wide, and adding a strip of these squares uses them up but also makes them into backings wide enough for some of the larger tops.
Having finished enough baking for Christmas and as I seem to have most other things up to date I decided to see how many more quilt tops I could finish to donate to the needy for Christmas. I quilted 4 yesterday and another 2 this morning, managing to get them packed off to the post office and they should arrive in time to be given out for Christmas.
Tomorrow I'm off to Melbourne to arrange our visas for China and I may get a few more quilts done before we leave but they will go onto next year's total. The new quilts are on my other blog at Oz Comfort Quilts and I'll do an update of the number donated for the year, very soon. I did enjoy my short break from the donation quilts but it was also fun to get some more done and ready to comfort their new owners very soon.
Many thanks for all your help,
Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cross Stitch Tuesday Dutch Beauty

I'm loving working on this cross stitch piece again and have almost finished the first row. It was a bit daunting to start with as it's such a large piece and worked on linen but I'm really enjoying it now that I'm using glasses with an increased magnification which is making it much easier working on the linen fabric.
I've found that I'm getting more of my own UFOs worked on now that I'm just concentrating on one for quilting and one for cross stitching.
I must get busy with the Stars quilt again as I am well over 3/4 of the way done with piecing the stars together.
I've also been baking for Christmas and have made 2 batches of lemon slice, as we have plenty of lemons on the tree, as well as apricot balls, rum balls and hedgehog ( a chocolate slice). I also met up with my sister and sister-in-law to plan the meal for Christmas dinner as we all contribute to providing the food to make it easier on the host family. It will be the usual fun and noisy event as there will be 34 adults and 3 children, all talking and laughing.
I feel very blessed to have wonderful family and friends to celebrate Christmas with and make new family memories. The young adults have been in the habit of playing charades in teams, with much laughter and I'm guessing this year will see the tradition continue.
I feel that I've been neglecting my blog at bit for the past few weeks but plan to remedy that with some postings about my favourite blogs and websites so you may like to check back tomorrow to see who I'm recommending. I'm hoping that this may give you all some new blogs to read over the holidays as well as allowing us to share those blogs which interest and inspire me. I'd also love you to make your own recommendations too and I'm going to try to post more often again now that life seems to be settling down here again.
See you tomorrow.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, December 19, 2011

Are We There Yet?

Sorry friends but I missed posting an update on my stars quilt on Sunday. I have been working on my cross stitch more during the week and haven't found/made time to work on the Stars.
The time has just flashed past for the last 3 weeks and I have just checked the calender to see how many days I still have before Christmas. I don't think there will be enough to get everything done and I've been very busy with family commitments. The good news is that our house guest has been reunited with his Dad and now has support services etc in place.
I was very happy that I'd already delivered all the donation quilts and the last 4 were delivered to the local women's refuge for their clients for Christmas. I was also asked for a cot quilt for one of my DD's fiance's family and managed to get it finished before I start on today's Christmas baking. I've also been called into work so I'll have to get busy and get the baking done now.
I hope all of your Christmas plans are going smoothly. Luisa also asked if I need more QAYG blocks and of course I am happy to accept any donations of blocks and will get them made and donated as soon as I have time.
I'm off for all of January as I am going to Hong Kong and China with one of my DDs. so I'll be back into the donation quilts when I return.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cross Stitch Update

I'm still working on my Dutch Beauty cross stitch piece when time allows. I'm so glad that I delivered all the quilts and packed away the donation quilts for the rest of the year as there has been little time of late for anything other than family commitments and Christmas preparations.
I also have a couple of baby quilts to make before Christmas so I'm trying to get them done this week.
I hope you are all enjoying a break over Christmas too.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, December 12, 2011

Stars on Sunday Part 7

A little late but I did manage to work on some more stars for this quilt as well as stitching more to the top. I've now stitched 47 stars to the top and the pile of star pieces has decreased a lot. I need to make a decision about how to finish the edges and whether or not to make half stars to fill in the gaps on the sides.
It's been good to stay focused on just one project for a while and to get it finished.
I hope you're all ready for Christmas now. I still have a few gifts to buy and of course a lot of cooking to do. I always look forward to spending time with family and friends and it's a lovely time of year to count our blessings.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cross Stitch Tuesday

I didn't proceed with the small cross stitch pieces to finish off as I was excavating the sewing room and have mislaid the pattern LOL
I did find this piece and decided to get some more done while I had time.
This is a huge piece known as Dutch Beauty. It is a sampler made in 1790 by a 13 year old girl form the Low Countries (Holland). It measures about 1 metre across and is a very involved piece but the variety of the desgins makes it an easier one to keep my interest.
The first photo shows my progress to date and then next two photos show this week's progress on stitching the little men. I hope to keep working on this one for the next few weeks and will have more progress to show next week. I took a photo of the pattern so you can see how large the design is but will try to remember to scan it so it shows in more detail.
The days have been very busy lately so it's been a relief to have packed away the donation quilts and focus on family for a bit.
Take care, Jan Mac

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Stars on Sunday Part 6

I'm back into routine or at least a somewhat altered routine and have been working on my stars again this week. I now have 40 stars joined together and have less than 10 to stitch to finish the quilt.
Then I need to stitch half stars and add borders but the end is almost in sight. I was going to use the signature blocks for the backing but it will be much too large so I'll probably make another quilt from those.
Tonight I plan on doing some cross stitch too and will show that progress on Tuesday.
Thanks for stopping by.
PS Also just wondering if you think it is good to have lots of blogs listed on blog sights so it's easy to cross from one to another or do you prefer to have a less cluttered blog to read?
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Change Has Arrived

Sorry that I've been MIA for the past week but there have been some big changes here. We delivered more quilts to a group which helps the needy in Melbourne and also took down a car load of knitted blankets, quilts, as well as toys and 3 large bags of donations of Christmas gifts for the homeless and various organizations. The three very large bags came from the Kyabram ladies and Lesley Lowe and they have done a wonderful job with all their donations to bring some joy to people who have very little.
I also received this fabulous big bag of QAYG blocks from Sandy L. and the Geelong Stitchers (Vic). The blocks are beautiful and will make some wonderful quilts which I'll get started on when time allows.
The change of circumstances which has taken up a lot of my time in the past week is that we have taken in a teenage boy who has been having a hard time due to his parent's recent breakup. He can't live with his father due to distance and lack of space and he won't live with his mother. He's a lovely lad and so grateful to have a quiet and peaceful place to live. We're taking it a day at a time but life is busy with making the arrangements with the various agencies, job seeking and just spending time together debriefing and counselling. He's more settled now and with Christmas approaching we are making sure that he is supported through this transition from his immediate family. He was so at a loss that he'd been walking aimlessly around the streets and had worn blisters on his feet.
I'm sorry that I missed my posts for cross stitch Tuesdays and the stars on Sunday but will try to get back on track with those when time allows. I guess that must have been the reason why I felt the need to pack away the donation quilts for a time, I just didn't know why then. We did deliver 52 more quilts and I'll do a tally for the year soon.
Hope all of you are nearly ready for Christmas because it will be here very soon.
Hugs Jan Mac

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

UFO Progress

I've decided to finish some of the many UFOs I have at the moment as well as choose one new kit or pattern to make up. The first one was a bag kit I bought from one of the Craft Shows. I can;t remember how long ago I bought this one but it could have been 10 to 15 years ago. It only took a bit over an hour to make the bag and I'm very happy with it.
I've also been making more stars for the Sunday Star project (UFO) I'm completing and I have really shrunk the pile of fabric for the stars so I must be making good progress there.
I also packed some more soft toys I'd found to be given to needy children and received 7 fabulous mini Christmas stockings from Gina Wilson (Vic). I was planning a trip to deliver the quilts and Christmas gifts today or tomorrow but I have another dental appointment tomorrow so I'll be making the delivery ASAP.
PS *The mini Xmas stockings measure 3" across the foot and 4.5" in length- the pattern is on the sidebar on the right.
*Also could the lady who wanted to purchase the Kate Greenaway pattern from me email me again please as I have lost your address in the computer crash last week.
Many thanks, Jan Mac

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cross Stitch Tuesday Part 6

I can't believe it but I finished the cross stitch Kate Greenaway Alphabet sampler that was published in 1979 and I bought it that year to make during my first pregnancy.
Well you know how that idea went as I was working full time until I was 42 weeks pregnant. I remember wanting to come into labour so I could get a break from work LOL.
I finished this piece during the week and I think I'll make it into a wall hanging as it will cost about $200 to have it framed and it's too large to frame it myself.
The next piece of cross stitching shown here are 7 pieces made for me by our eldest DD when she was recovering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She did them as a surprise for me and it was a wonderful gift as I know and appreciate how much work she put into these. They just need some outline stitching and some beading and I will frame these with a bought frame as they are fairly small on 18ct aida. I want to get them finished so she can see how much I love and appreciate her work on these.
I had root canal done today so I won;t be doing much tonight but I have found a few projects I'd bought and never even started so stay tuned for some new projects to appear here.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, November 21, 2011

My First Textile Art

I have finally finished a UFO of mine and it is my first piece of Textile Art. I took a class called Luminous Landscapes with Gloria Loughman at AQC in April this year and used her technique to represent the scene in my photo.
I took the photo last year and it was a happenstance photo where we were camped on the border between Sth Australia and Northern Territory. We were inside the camper and just happened to look out and saw this wonderful sunset. The photo looks a little dark here and I actually lightened it a bit more for my class piece.
My DH loves it so that's a bonus and if you get a chance to take a class with Gloria then take it. She's a lovely lady and an excellent teacher with lots of experience which she shares willingly. I'll take another class with her in the future just because I had fun and learned so much. I'm very pleased to have one of my UFOs finished and have finished the last donation quilt for the year (shown on the other blog). I say that but I'm sure I'll still work on them for a couple of days a week when I have time. I'm taking a break to concentrate on family commitments and Christmas and to have some fun working with my projects that have been pushed to the backburner for quite a few years while I worked on donation quilts..
It's time to get some on my UFOs finished too and I will be reporting on my cross stitching tomorrow. Don't worry this break probably won't last long. I'm delivering all the quilts and Christmas items for the needy on Weds this week so if you have any mini Xmas stockings please post them directly to Janice Bartlett and email me for her new address.
Judy Cooke sent these 12 fabulous Christmas stockings and they are so pretty with their feathery tops that they are sure to be a hit.
Thanks for all your support, Jan Mac

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stars on Sunday Part 5

Family commitments have kept me busy this week so I haven't sewn as many stars as I would have liked but I've still made progress so I'm happy with that.
This week I've stitched 38 stars together but I have made more stars and I've sewn in a lot of the beige diamonds around the edges.
I'm going to try to get more sewn this week but with all the quilt deliveries etc my time will be taken up and I'll hope to stitch some at night.
I'm also getting my Christmas shopping done now so I don't have a last minute rush. I read to day that there's only 35 sleeps until Christmas so I plan to deliver all the Christmas gifts and quilts for the needy this week and then concentrate on things I need to get done for the family. I'm also trying to resist starting a new quilt for me and am just planning the colours I want to use at this stage. I would like to have some hand applique to work on and I have a couple of projects that I could alternate with the stars. I'll have to see if my resolve to finsih the stars first holds.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, November 17, 2011

More Arrivals

Yesterday I met up with the lovely Lesley Lowe from Kyabram as she had lots of quilt tops and 2 quilts to donate as well as lots of donations for Needy Stitches.
Here is one of the quilts she donated and they will both be shown on my other blog.
The beautiful and bright QAYG blocks came from Leonie of Luv Lee Handknits (Vic) and she sent 4 lovely blocks to be made into quilts. The bright colours will be lovely in some kid's quilts.
Thanks you to everyone who continues to support these quilt projects with their donations.
Many thanks, Jan Mac

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cross Stitch Tuesday Part 5

I expected to have finished this cross stitch piece by now but I found that I had made a mistake by one stitch on the letter Z. I was using a photocopy of the pattern so I could cross off each row and the photocopy was a bit crooked so I was a stitch out and although it wouldn't have been detectable I decided to un-stitch the error.
I hadn't made any mistakes for the rest of the piece so I decided to get it finished correctly rather than quickly. I finished the last design of a girl reading a book and have almost finished the letter Z now.
I should have it finished and ready to show you next Tuesday. I'm not allowing myself to think of the next stitching UFO I want to finish until this is completely done. Oh I'm not usually this disciplined so I'm going with it while it lasts. LOL
Hugs Jan Mac

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Virus !

I've been absent again as I had an "off week" and just didn't feel well. I was aching and felt nauseated but nothing else eventuated so I had a quiet week.
We had our youngest DD back home for the weekend and had a lovely time catching up even though we talk on the phone every day LOL!
Her mischievous kitten was very happy to play with my knitting yarn while I crocheted more squares for blankets for the needy.
I have also been without a computer since the weekend as it had a virus as well. Luckily DH is a computer techie and he's spent lots of time sorting it out and I think it's finally right again now.
I missed posting on Sunday for the Star quilt update so here is my progress so far. I've joined 35 stars as well as joining more star pieces together. It's less than I'd hoped but still progress so I'm happy with that.
Hope all is well in your corner of the world. BTW There is still a need for more mini Xmas stockings if anyone still has some to send.
Many thanks, Jan Mac

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I'm Home

We are glad to be home again after our 4 WD trip. We started at the Border Track over on the Sth Australian and Victorian borders, and then traveled to Wentworth in NSW.
From there we did the "Darling River Run" which follows the Darling River from Wentworth where it joins the Murray River, up to Walgatt in NSW. We saw lots of emus and their chicks and traveled on many dusty and corrugated roads.
We had planned to be away for another week but the friend who was traveling with us blew up his engine just out of Walgatt so we had to tow him 140 kms (100 miles) back to civilization. It was a big ask as we also were towing our camper trailer and we had to tow his car and camper as well. Luckily we made it to Coonamble safely. From there we arranged for his car and camper to be taken to Dubbo and we brought him home with us.
I arrived home to find a lovely gift from Kaite M. who sent me a lovely broach made from a textile house. The fabric for the house looks like there are flowers twining across the house and it looks very cute.
Thank you so much Kaite- I will treasure it.
I also received two more lovely tops from Mary-anne R. (Vic) and they will be finished and donated soon. I missed an update on my cross stitch and Star progress so I hope to show a finish on the cross stitch piece next Tuesday. I took a break from stitching while we were away and it was too hot to do much knitting or crocheting so I'm back into the swing of it again now.
It's good to be home!
Hugs, Jan Mac