Sunday, January 28, 2018

First UFO Finish for 2018.

Every year I plan, or hope, to finish off UFOs but new projects, or other people's donated UFOs seem to be at the top if the pile. This year, as I endeavour to downsize, I really want to finish up lots of those UFOs that I started with lots of enthusiasm before another project captured my attention. Often I started something to see how it would look, or to use up scraps, and then another quilt with a deadline distracted me.
   As I am planning to donate virtually all of my finished quilts and clear some of my fabric, I really want to get more finished. This one was started a few years ago when Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville,  used a Split 9 patch as her Leader/Ender project. I used up lots of scraps and I like it but think if I make another I will limit my scraps to only a couple of colours. This one will be donated too and it's great to have a finish.
  We're off to Tasmania now so hope to keep my blog updated as we travel. I have packed hand stitching of 2 more UFOs and think I should be able to get at least one finished. My niece, who is currently living in New Guinea while her DH flies medical evacuations, delivering supplies etc, has asked if I could make beanies,  blankets and quilts etc for the villagers as they are in the mountains and it gets quite cold at night. They will use them on medivacs too.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, January 26, 2018

Baby, Baby.

My DD has 3 friends having babies by February and decided to make quilts for them as they are very close friends. We've spent 3 days last week and yesterday, making the quilt tops. The first one is for a friend who is having a boy at the end of February and we just need to add the borders. Then when he has arrived and has a name, I will machine applique his name, quilt and bind it for her to gift. DD also made one for her friend's 3 year old son, but I stashed it away so need to take a photo when it's finished. She's happy that she is making a quilt for him so he won't feel left out when the baby arrives.
This quilt was made by me for my great nephew, Isaac. I just need to quilt and bind it and then make another one for his cousin, George. These are the 5th and 6th babies born in our extended family, and the 2 of the 6 babies born in the last 6 months, and my parent's great grandchildren. Five of the 6 were boys which was a surprise as we had more girls than boys in previous generations.
   This pretty pink quilt is for DD's maid of honour who is having a girl after 2 boys. Again,  once I know the name I will finish the quilt to gift. The blue one below is for DD's sister-in- law and she is having a boy after a girl. She wanted pastel colours too and is due in February.
The last set of blocks are for DD's son, Jake,  as she wanted to make him a quilt too. I am in the process of making one for him too but it's not finished yet so I will need to get it finished soon.
      I have been pressing and cutting the pieces while DD sews them together so we have worked fairly quickly. She now appreciates how much work goes into each quilt and had  only made 3 prior to this,  but she enjoys the time we spend together and being able to nake unique gifts for close friends. She is now trying different block patterns which is making it more fun for her.
        It's always fun to pass on quilting to the next generation as well as playing with fabric and design too. As it's been hot lately I am quilting and then swimming to cool down. I hope you're all enjoying some time stitching as well.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, January 19, 2018

Family Christmas Catch Up.

 We had our Ebbott family Christmas catch up on Saturday and it was a big success and a chance for the extended family to see our new home. There were 6 babies born in the last 6 months so we decided to hold it in January to give the new mums time to recover. the youngest was almost 3 weeks old.
 Trying to take a photo was like herdi8ng cats and I don't plan on becoming a children's photographer anytime soon. LOL.

 There were 13 kids, of which 5 are babies and 8 are under 6 years and we had a very busy but fun time with lots of eating and talking.
 There are 6 kids missing as 3 are in Qld and 3 in new Guinea but we meet twice a year to stay in touch. These are all my parents great grandchildren and they would have loved to see the family connections continue.
They used to hold a family night dinner every Sunday so my children have grown up with that tradition and are very close to their cousins. We are starting that tradition now that we have moved closer and we look forward to many fun times ahead. The following day we had Jake, our grandson, for a 24 hour stay over as his parents were given a gift of an overnight stay in a fancy hotel in the Melbourne CBD. Jake wasn't particularly happy as his new teeth were worrying him but he did sleep all night and we all survived but we did have a quiet day afterwards to make up for a busy weekend. LOL.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, January 12, 2018

Another Discovery.

 I was very happy to find another UFO this week. I had started this project as I wanted some hand stitching to do at quilting meetings. I was falling out of love with it as I didn't have a purpose for it and as they are 1 inch stars, it's taking some time to piece. It's a scrappy charm square piece so every fabric is only used once. Now I have found it again I am going to finish it and donate it. I plan to join all the stars together and then add a border and another series of larger stars to make the quilt larger. I'm going to keep this one in sight so it gets worked on at least twice a week and it will be a good one to take on our holidays.
 This is my progress on my Robyn Pandolph jelly roll and I have mainly focused on joining the flowers with the brown paths. I have almost joined all the flowers together now and need to make a few more whole flowers and half flowers to make the top larger.
 This is how it looked when I started a few days ago. It's surprising how much you can achieve in just a few hours each night. This will probably be almost to completion before we go away so I will leave it at home and finish it off when we return. At least that is the plan to date.
We've had baby Jake over to visit for most of the week as I have been helping our DD make baby quilts for her friends. DH has really enjoyed playing with the little man and Jake loves the car steering wheel we gave him for Christmas which makes car sounds and plays music. I'm thinking we need another one to keep here too. He has cut his first tooth on Christmas Day and his second is coming through now so he's doing well at 4 and 1/2 months. He's having a 24 hour sleepover on Sunday so I don't think we'll be doing much other than recover for the rest of the week. LOL. We're both loving living so close to them and being very involved in family life. Tomorrow we are having an extended Christmas get together for my family so that will be a busy but fun day too.
Many thanks for your kind comments on my blog and thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A Simple Idea With Big Results.

My DH has seen lots of quilts, probably thousands have been through the quilt factory here. He's back to holding quilts for me to photograph until I get organized with a quilt hanger etc, and he commented that he never tires of the QAYG quilts. He said they are always a winner and he's never seen one he doesn't like, which is high praise from him. LOL
 It was such an easy way to be able to donate hundreds of quilts during the bush fires of 2009, by quilters from all around the world sending me blocks. That meant that most of the work was done and I only had to join them together. It also meant that I didn't have to buy batting and backing which was a huge help, and quilters usually made them from the left over scraps of their own quilt making so there was always a variety of different fabrics.
   They also look much better in person than on a photo and I am still enjoying putting the QAYG blocks together and getting more quilts donated. These will all be going to the Peter Mac Cancer Centre to bring some comfort to patients. The last train top was made by a lovely friend, Marg. C. who loves to hand buttonhole stitch but doesn't like to quilt them. What fun to collaberate on such lovely quilts for kids.
 The QAYG blocks were such a simple idea which seemed to inspire quilters around the world who all sent me blocks. It was a very simple idea but it has had such a big impact by allowing us to donate so many quilts. I must count up how many QAYG quilts I have made when I have time. LOL In the meantime I am very happy to continue to put the blocks together and get more quilts out to where they are needed.
Many thanks to all of you who have supported this ongoing QAYG project. I know the photos might be repetitive but I hope, like my DH, you never tire of the results.
Hugs and many grateful thanks,
Jan Mac

Friday, January 5, 2018

I'm Excited...

because I have found one of my UFOs, so I can get one of my own finished and donated. I love this jelly roll from RJR Fabrics and wanted to have some hand stitching to take when I travel. Of course once the trip was over, it was relegated back to the cupboard. I had made 15 of the flowers as you can see in the first 2 photos and had started to join them with a contrasting tan fabric which matched one of the tones found in the jelly strips.
 After stitching for 2 nights, I have joined more of the flowers together and have a plan for getting this finished. This one will be donated to Peter Mac Cancer Centre and will make a lovely feminine quilt for someone.
For me, the joy is in playing with the fabric, designing and making the quilt, but not necessarily in storing the quilts, so I am usually happy to donate most of my quilts, knowing that I will be making more. I love to finish off other people's UFOs to donate and it will be exciting to have one of mine done too. Now I can't wait to unearth more treasures from the boxes and get them finished.
   I've been quilting during the day but it's nice to have some hand sewing to do at night while watching television. Or at least, listening to television. I hope to have some more progress to share very soon.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Results Are In.

 The sewing machine has been very busy while I get some more quilts finished and I have more quilts to share from those I've finished in between Christmas and New Year. I am working my way through more donated QAYG blocks and the first 2 quilts will be going to Peter Mac Cancer Centre. I need to focus on more quilts for males as they seem to be in fewer numbers.
 The next 3 quilts will be going to Anglicare for kids in Foster Care. I have boxes of 6 inch squares cut already and I am trying to work my way through them and get some more quilts donated.

I am still going through boxes and finding lots of bits and pieces but no UFOs yet. I want to get them finished and donated too so I can clear the cupboards out. I can see that this will be a constant refrain this year. Every year I want to finish off more UFOs than I start, and I usually do, but often they are other people's UFOs so I hope to get to more of mine as well.
 The start of a new year is a good time to get planning for future projects and I am trying not to start new ones, but uncovering more fabric is giving me more ideas for future quilts too. I'm also getting some hand stitching ready for when we are on holidays and of course I might have to try a few blocks to see if I like them. This is how UFOs happen!!
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Beginnings.

 As we welcome the New Year I thought I'd share how I am re-organizing my work space as I have a lot less work space than at the farm. I have set up a folding table on the deck, and with it raised on two bricks, It's been ideal for pin basting quilts and it means I don't have to clear my cutting table. It isn't too hot there too which means i can use my time more wisely.
 The basting table overlooks the spa and it is my new favourite thing about this house. It wasn't something we wanted when we bought, and DH wanted nothing to do with it after having the upkeep of a pool years ago prior to moving to the farm. However this is undercover and is a spa but large enough to use as a pool too, and the cover means a lot less removal of leaves etc. I want to replace the wooden fencing with glass pool fencing which will open the area up a lot more.
 The spa seats 10 people and we have already had some lovely family times and introducing baby Jake to the water. He has just cut his first tooth which explains why he was a bit tired on Christmas Day. Luckily he enjoyed his swim and soon gave us lots of smiles again. We were lucky enough to baby sit him twice this week and he is becoming accustomed to sleeping in his cot here so he is able to keep to his routine.
We had no idea that we would enjoy swimming again and even DH loves the pool now. I must admit I have been swimming once or twice a day and loving taking some time to relax and recharge. I am still working at a nursing home for young adults with acquired brain injuries and, although I don't need to work, I enjoy getting back to basic nursing and not having the stress of management after 33 years. I always planned to retire early but found I enjoy work now I don't have to do it and as long as it fits in with family commitments.
  I have been seriously considering my quilting plans too as we have such limited storage here at our new home. I have donated almost all of my quilts as I decided to keep my antique and vintage quilts and tops and now I need to decide what quilts to make and donate. There's not a lot of point in continuing to make large quilts as the family don't need or want them, and they take up lots of room. I am thinking of finishing off my UFOs to a smaller size to make them more suitable to donate. About 50 x 70 inches is about the largest I want to donate as they are used as covers or lap quilts rather than needing to cover the bed. Most people still prefer to use doonas with washable covers and use the quilts as a cuddle quilt on the couch.
   Has anyone else been giving this some thought too? I love to quilt and play with fabric but I'm happy to give them away where they will bring comfort. If I keep the hand pieced and hand appliqued quilts for a little while, I am also happy to donate them. I still have plenty of boxes to unpack now that the Christmas season is over, and lots of UFOs (mine and others donated) to finish so I will be making them smaller to donate and hope I can free up some more storage space.
   I hope you all have a very Happy New Year and many blessings in the coming year of 2018. The past year was the busiest we have had as a couple, getting the farm ready for sale, downsizing and moving, as well as welcoming our first grandchild. While it has been very hard physically, it has been worth it to be able to spend more time with family and it has meant that we have been able to remove things we no longer use or need.
Hugs, Jan Mac