Pezzy Quilt in progress

FinishAlong 2014 -My Q2 list

Remember that list of PHD’s I wanted to have finished by end of March?? Well, I’m pleased to say I knocked off 50% of them by the due date. I’m actually quite pleased with that considering the Peanut is now much more mobile and for some reason LOOOOOVES my company ALL THE TIME.

So, inspired by the fact I can finish things (and despite the fact I find it necessary to start new projects- more on that later) I have decided to sign up for FAL2014 Q2. Given my PHD (Projects Half Done) list for the whole year still has 12 items on it I think I still need this little motivational tool to keep me going…because it is way too easy to just sit and play with the Peanut all day!

I am going to set myself a list of 4 PHD’s again for Q2. Yep, it is probably another stretch target (still can’t stop using my work terminology!!) but that’s OK. I actually had a minor breakthrough as a result of the FAL for Q1. You see, in the past I would often stubbornly keep going with projects even though I knew there was no way I could meet the deadline I had set. It would cause me a great deal of stress and anxiety, but for some reason my pride would not allow me to change anything, thereby ensuring failure. How crazy is that??? Why would I put so much pressure on myself? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do know that, for what feels like the first time, I allowed myself to acknowledge  it was OK to move the goal posts on some projects. Let’s face it, I was the one putting the pressure on; the deadlines were set by me, nobody else had any expectations. Oh it felt like such a relief, and by removing that pressure I could actually look at the projects again and readjust the targets or even rethink the final desired outcome (as was the case with the double wedding ring quilt). I feel it’s quite late in the game for me to finally have this realisation…but once again, I’m not going to beat myself up anymore.

So it’s on to the Q2 FAL 2014 list (and BTW you can link up to at The Littlest Thistle):

1. Pattern Testing (a carryover from Q1)

I did make a small amount of progress on this in the past couple of days, but it’s nowhere near completed obviously.

Pattern test
Pattern test

2. Double Wedding Ring Quilt (another carryover from Q1)

This double wedding ring quilt will be a gift for someone very special to me. I can’t say anymore than that at this point.

Some progress made
Some progress made

3. The Pezzy Quilt

This quilt has so little left to do on it….only about half the quilting and then to bind…so why has it been sitting left like this for over a year?? Who knows…but it will be done this quarter!

Pezzy Quilt in progress
Pezzy Quilt in progress

4. Vivid Dreams blanket

I thought I would throw a non-quilt project into the mix. This is a crochet blanket I started almost 2 years ago. I actually blogged about it here. How embarrassing that it’s not been gifted to this special person yet!

Some joined
Some joined
A bag of squares
A bag of squares

So that is the list for Q2 FAL2014….wish me luck.

FAL-2014-Button

As Peanut will see it.

Finish Along Q1 2014 – 2nd PHD completed!

Oh lordy I am glad I have this PHD (Project Half Done) finished now!

A mobile for Peanut’s nursery, this hasn’t been hanging over my head (pardon the pun) as long as the pouffe had been but considering Peanut is now 8 months old(!!) it was definitely time to move on from this one.

OK….so the Pom Pom mobile was an idea I came up with one day during a pregnancy haze. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I had envisaged two different sized rings with pom poms of different sizes hanging off them. At the time we didn’t know Peanut’s sex so I was going to go with the grey, white and yellow colours we had for the nursery, then thought I could add a fuchsia or teal after the birth (as appropriate). I certainly had fun going ‘old school’ with the creating of the pom poms. I even used the old-fashioned cardboard ring method….but boy was it time consuming. And then the squirrel in me came out again and I got distracted (oh and Peanut had arrived as well)…hence it has been sitting in a bag half finished.

Pom Pom UFO
Pom Pom UFO

But enough is enough….so completing this project has been my focus for this past weekend.

All it needed was to actually join everything together and then hang it…simple enough really. I don’t know why it took me so long!

So here is the finished project….

PomPom mobile completed
PomPom mobile completed
As Peanut will see it.
As Peanut will see it.

You will notice that not all the pom poms I made were included in the final piece. That’s because I learnt a few things on the way….one of them being “sometimes less is more”. The multicoloured pom poms didn’t really fit the look. As it is , I think the mobile is too busy. If I was to start over (and I really don’t have the commitment to this project to do that) I would have:

1. Drawn out a picture of the idea first to see if I really thought it could work, and to have a plan to stick to.

2. Drawing a picture may also have meant I would only have made the pom poms I needed….though on the plus side I can use the spare pom poms now  for gift wrapping etc!

3. Not covered the 2 gold rings in the grey yarn but left them as they were. I think the mobile needs a little oomph!

4. Bought a pom pom maker! I have since been given one and it is much faster than the old school cardboard ring method!

5. Used fishing wire instead of yarn to hang everything from…again I think there is too much going on here and a translucent wire/string may have given the illusion of the pom poms hanging in space.

On the plus side…I finally had a chance to use my hot glue gun for the first time!! Love it :)

As I write this post, Peanut is sleeping so I can’t actually hang the mobile in the nursery yet …but I promise you it will go there… a post for another time.

My first Amigurumi

Trying something new…

Apparently this will be my 50th post for this blog, and a milestone post requires something special. So today I am going to tell you all about my latest craft project which involved trying something new…well, sort of!

Hands up if you know what amigurumi is? OK…so many of my crafty followers will be very familiar with this term. For my non-crafty followers (thank you for sticking with me by the way), Amigurumi is (according to Wikipaedia) the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures. Basically they are handmade soft toys and they are soooo cute!

Since I’ve rediscovered crochet I have been meaning to try my hand at making amigurumi but I wasn’t sure how I’d go with all the fiddly joining of body parts so I just haven’t gotten around to it. However, when a Facebook crochet group I am a member of suggested an Amigurumi Swap for the month of February I figured this was the sort of commitment I needed to make in order to finally try it out! The rules were simple: participants were each given a partner to swap an amigurumi with by the end of February. Each pair would swap with each other so it encouraged a conversation (via Facebook or email) between the pair. As the members are spread all around Australia and the world, it was a great chance to get to know some of the other group members a little bit better given we rarely get the chance to meet face to face.

I figured I best get in touch with my partner sooner rather than later. I knew that my time was limited to get this done what with the Peanut, and my other commitments for project finishes, and I had no idea how long it would take me to make an amigurumi. Fortunately my partner was quite quick to respond and gave me some nice inspiration so I made a start!

Thank goodness for Ravelry . Such a brilliant website for sourcing knitting and crochet patterns, and many of them are free! I just typed in my search topic (amigurumi turtle) and voila….hundreds of free patterns to choose from. In the end I chose this one.

Typically, even though I have a list of PHDs (Projects Half Done) to complete I absolutely needed to get started on this straight away!! I was so excited to try something new (there’s that squirrel in me again..darting around looking at shinier, more interesting objects).

I was surprised at how quickly everything came together though. After a couple of days of crocheting while Peanut slept I had a finished product!

My first Amigurumi
My first Amigurumi

I enjoyed making this one so much I felt he needed a partner, so I quickly made a second, girl turtle…

AmiTurtle_01_27_2014_011
Girls and their bows
Most girls don't like having pictures taken of their bottom but this one loves her heart!
Most girls don’t like having pictures taken of their bottom but this one loves her heart!

And then of course it was time for them to meet….

A bit nervous???
A bit nervous???
But soon they were to become close friends!
But soon they were to become close friends!

The only really difficult part was sewing the feet on the the belly…but as they are stuffed with a soft polyester filling it was relatively easy to manipulate the body parts as I sewed them on. The really fun part is working out how to give them personality…what embellishments will I add, what sort of eyes will I give them, do they need a mouth etc??

In line with my goal for 2014 to ‘use my stash’ 100% of the yarn used was from my stash. The only thing I had to purchase was one pair of eyes! Yay!! I’m also chuffed that I have completed this a month before the deadline…who knew!!!

I loved this little challenge so much…I think I may be an amigurumi convert, so expect to see more of these creations from time to time. I can’t wait to see what everyone else has created for their swap partners.

Now they are made I have to post them off to my swap partner. I hope they make her smile as much as they do me!

I’m happy to say they were received yesterday and I’ve had a lovely message of thanks from the recipient…yay, a happy customer :)

Image source: http://www.nawic.com.au/index.cfm?MenuID=155

This year I will…

OK, we are almost 3 weeks into the new year so this post may seem a bit belated. The truth is I have been umm-ing and ah-ing as to whether to write about my goals for 2014 or not. I finally figured “why not?”. In fact, putting them out there into the blogosphere might actually give me even more incentive to achieve them.

The marketer in me can’t stop myself from attaching some KPI’s (key performance indicators) to them either. So, in 12 months time we shall see how well I’ve done!

Soooooo, here we go….

  • Finish what I have started – Significantly decrease the number of unfinished projects piling up in my sewing area.

KPI = Complete 1-2 PHD’s (Projects Half Done) each month.  I have a separate list containing 14 projects to get through, and each finished project will be recorded here on the blog.

  • Use more of my current fabric and yarn stash than I purchase

The sub-text here is to spend less on fabric and yarn this year. I have kept pretty much all of the receipts from purchases last year so I will track my spending against this. 2013 hasn’t been tallied yet though so you will have to trust me when I do post about this at the end of the year.

KPI = less $ spent in 2014

KPI = 75% of fabric/yarn used for each new project started in 2014 must use current stash (for quilts this does not include batting or backings)

  • More family outings

KPI = Organise family outings at least once per month.

  • Have more tangible evidence of our family life in the house

While I have been good at taking many many photos of our holidays, excursions and daily life, we are severely lacking in physical evidence of this around the house. Gosh, we still don’t even have any wedding pictures up…can you believe it!!

KPI = Complete 3 photo books by end of year.

KPI = Print and hang wedding pictures before wedding anniversary!!

  • Start online business

I’m not going to say too much about this just yet, but when it happens you will know!

Of course, the usual intention of taking better care of myself is there (you know…exercise more, eat healthily) and I will probably chat about that at some point during the year.

So that’s it. For now my focus is on these 5 goals…..wish me luck!

 

FinishAlong 2014 -Q1

For obvious reasons 2013 didn’t result in too many crafty accomplishments (check out my last post). Now that the Peanut and I are better acquainted and have a reasonable routine happening I have actually had the chance to write down some goals for 2014. A big part of these goals is about finishing what I started! Most days I feel a little like a squirrel….darting around from tree to tree and seemingly easily distracted by newer, shinier things. As a result I have many projects that have been started and left unfinished. This year I am determined to put a dent in the pile of UFO’s that has built up over the past couple of years. To that end, I was excited to come across the Finish Along that is hosted this year by Katy at The Littlest Thistle.

My UFO list for the whole year has 14 items on it, and for the 1st quarter of this FAL I have chosen 4 from the list. I’m fairly certain this will be a stretch (given the state of some of these projects) but 2 of the projects actually have deadlines attached to them so I have to get at least 50% complete for my first FAL. There’s really nothing like a bit of timeline pressure! So here are the first 4 FALs for 2014….

1. Hexagon Pouffe

This project is a kit I bought in 2012 from Sydney Quilt and Craft Show. Although it’s not really colours/prints that would appeal to hubby, he has been wanting a pouffe to put his feet on for ages so it made sense this would be one of the first UFO’s to get finished.

Pouffe
Pouffe

2. Double Wedding Ring Quilt

This one is a bit special as it’s a gift for a friend, and it’s a surprise so I won’t say much more than this until it’s finished. I do love the foundation piecing though, and I’m excited to see how the fabrics will all come together in the end.

Double Wedding Ring UFO
Double Wedding Ring UFO

3. PomPom Mobile

Gosh I’m embarrassed to say this is for Peanut’s nursery. It’s an idea I came up with a couple of months before she was born however it didn’t get anywhere near finished. This definitely needs finishing before her 1st birthday!!! Excuse the poor photo….

Pom Pom UFO
Pom Pom UFO

4. Test Pattern

Finally, this is a pattern I am testing for a friend, and I really need to crack on! She has been so sweet to not hassle me about getting it done but I am committed to getting this is done and providing feedback, so what a great opportunity the FAL has given me!

I’m also looking forward to seeing the finished product as my friend’s version of this quilt is so awesome. Sneaky photo done so as not to give away too much about the pattern.

Test pattern
Test pattern

So that is the list for Q1 FAL2014….wish me luck.

FAL-2014-Button

Current WIP

Well, it’s been 6 months (!!!) since I last posted anything. I always said i wouldn’t be one of those people who would let their blog lay idle….how naive of me!

There has certainly been a big project underway in the past 6 months though, and it’s the reason I haven’t posted. We are adding a little Peanut to our family :) …. yes a new little R will join us sometime around mid-June, and we couldn’t be happier!

It has been very exciting, but challenging, so far. The first 16 weeks were rough! I could barely stay awake (or upright for that matter) let alone sit at a computer and type. Everything appears to be tracking along well though now, so we have been busy trying to prepare (as well as we can) for the new arrival.

To celebrate me re-joining the blogging world I thought I would take a couple of pictures of Bump, as that’s the other thing that has suffered this past 6 months. I have not taken my camera out at all! And, that’s sacrilege!

So, it’s April 1, but this is no joke …. I am back, more inspired and feeling more creative than ever. Thanks for being here too!

Bump Close Up
Bump Close Up
Me at 29 weeks.
Me at 29 weeks.

Crossing something off the list

I’ve had a bit of an unplanned blogging break. No real reason for it although sickness and feeling sorry for myself played a bit of a part (more on that at a later date). BUT, I’m back now with a vengeance! In fact, in the past hour I have 100% finished my very first quilt (which some of you may remember from here) and baked Banana Bread!

After going back over my old posts I realised the last thing I told you about was that I was hand quilting my sampler quilt. Since finishing that in record time (I was enjoying myself so much I think I had it completed before my next class a week later!), it was on to hand sewing the binding. Usually this is the final step in most quilts, but one of the things about our teacher’s sampler quilt is the knitted edging added to it, and this is what I have been working on for the past few weeks, and which today I finally finished.

Here are some pics to give you a bit of an idea on the final product. Enjoy!

Passion. Creativity. Fun. Me

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