New & Shiny Stuff


Regular readers would know that I am not an advocate of shopping.  Of course, I buy food to feed us and things that we use in our day-to-day lives but I am definitely not into shopping for recreation.

Every now and then I have a day like today when all I seem to do is buy.  I had to go to Brisbane this morning with The Duke as we were to pick up our latest purchase this afternoon, but more about that later.  It meant that I had the whole day to fill in so my first stop was Spotlight.  I bought 5 white buttons for a blouse I am making and I also took some time to look at the fabrics which were all 40% off the marked price.  I do not buy things just because they are discounted but I found some fabric that I am planning to use.

2014-12-30 01

The white piece is linen/cotton blend and I am planning to make a summer dress for myself.  I also bought some white lawn (not shown) for the lining.  I am going to use this dress as the pattern.

Black dress with white spots
The red is a stretch cotton (t-shirt) fabric which I plan to make a copy of a top I bought earlier in the year.

The other piece is white with black silhouettes of kitchen utensils and I am going to make some more potholders and a cover for my Kitchen Aid mixer which lives on the corner of the bench in the kitchen.

After my Spotlight expedition I went to visit my mother and we went to a large shopping centre near where she lives.  Apart from having lunch there we wandered around and I checked out several boutiques and I ended up buying a pair of white, slim-fitting trousers and a blue, patterned cardigan/bolero.  I did try on numerous other pieces but I am very selective in the clothes I buy and wanted to be sure that were exactly what I wanted but more on those another day.

The final hurrah was to pick up our new car after our previous one was deemed to be a total write-off after the damage sustained during the recent ferocious hailstorm.

I am planning a much less adventurous day tomorrow.  I will be staying at home and hope to get some sewing done.  It will not be any of the new material just yet as I have a couple of other projects that I need to complete before I start any new ones.

What are your plans for New Year’s Eve?  Partying or a quiet night at home?



More Material


Last weekend I spent a fair bit of time in the sewing room.  I am working on a project that I cannot show you for another week so more details then.

I have also been cleaning up and sorting out material – yet again.  Much of what I have is relatively small pieces so I have prepared some of them for future patchwork projects by cutting them into 5 inch squares.  The remaining pieces are bundled according to colour so that I know where to look if I need a specific colour.


Today I was given a couple of bags of material.  It is mostly substantial sized pieces which will be suitable for making entire garments so I am off to have a closer look at them and dream of some future creations.


My First Attempt


It is never too late to learn something new so today I have started some patchwork.  I am hoping to make a quilt.  It is not entirely true that I have never done patchwork before but it has been generally on a small scale and my own ‘design’.

Following some basic tips that I gleaned from Frugal Queen and this Youtube video, I set about making my first disappearing 9 patch square.

I did not buy any fabric because I believe that patchwork should be the ultimate in making do with what you have, not an excuse to rush out and buy all of the latest mix’n’match patchwork fabrics.  I am using leftovers and offcuts from many of my own sewing projects as well as some that my mother gave me recently.  Some of the pieces in the bundle are over 40 years old.

Here are some of the first squares I cut out.  I was starting to arrange them for the block.

Squares cut out

I chose to use mostly blue in my first project as that is the colour that I have most in the available fabric.  It is also the colour of our bedroom so the quilt will look perfect on our bed if it reaches completion.

The first nine squares sewn together.

First squares sewn

The disappearing 9 patch depends on then cutting the block into 4 squares, rearranging them and then sewing them together.  This is the result.

Disappearing 9 patch
So far today I have made 4 of these blocks and I am really happy with how they are turning out.

4 blocks made
I think I am hooked but there are other things I need to do today as well.  I will be back tomorrow with more adventures.  In the meantime, let me know if you quilt or sew.  Is it for fun or frugality?


Pretty Pillows

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I didn’t get back to doing the follow-up post about the bathroom cupboards so that may have to wait until next week.  I will do the ‘Foodie Friday’ post this evening but in the meantime I wanted to show you something I made the other day.


These are 2 pillowcases I made from some pieces of fabric that were given to me.  The fabric was just wide enough for the cases.  I cut the pieces to ensure that the design was centred on the case.  The darker pink fabric is from a doona cover that I bought from the op shop to use in some patchwork.

I gave them to Miss O and Izz when they arrived last night to stay for a few days.  They are very excited with the new pillowcases for their beds.

Simply Sewing


One of my favourite activities is sewing.  More specifically, sewing clothes.  In years gone by I have made everything from business shirts to swimwear but in recent years I have not done as much as I used to.

I have never had a huge stash of fabric, although The Duke may think otherwise.  Nevertheless, over the last couple of years I have been working on gradually whittling down what I do have.  I decided that a cupboard of excess fabric is of no benefit to anyone so I should use it up to make things, whether they be for the family, to sell or simply to donate.

Sometimes it seems that as fast as I use up fabric I am given some more so I have set myself the challenge to use up everything I have.  This weekend I made a pair of satin boxer shorts from some gifted material which I think I will give to my daughter.  I will make a camisole from some white interlock fabric to make a set of summer pyjamas.  Here are the shorts.

Boxer shorts

In the same bundle was some crinkle cotton fabric which was a fairly unappealing yellow check but I managed to brighten it up with the addition of some plain red for the contrasting pockets on this dress I made for Izz.  It will be perfect for summer days at childcare.


I also started sewing a toddler dress which I will show you when it is finished.  Then there was the mending/alteration pile.  I hemmed 2 pairs of trousers for The Duke and have adjusted the hemline on a new skirt of mine.  It is now pinned and ready to handstitch.

My goal is to do some sewing each day and gradually work through the ‘to do’ pile before starting on some new projects.  I have 2 skirts which I am altering that are waiting as well as a cot quilt which needs the binding sewn on and some hand-quilting to be done.  I have several pieces of gifted fabric which I contemplating what I will make.  Not all of it is suitable for our family so I am busily planning what to sew that will be of use to someone.

Quilt Update


I have done some more work on the quilt today.  The blocks are all sewn together, the batting and backing are attached and I have machine quilted between the blocks.

Patchwork quilt topHere is a view of the backing with the stitching.

2013-06-13 02This is the fabric I will use to make the binding.

2013-06-13 03I was undecided about the binding until I had the quilt assembled.  This was a piece which I had planned to use when making reuseable Christmas gift bags.  I will buy more if I actually need it for that purpose.

No more craft posts until I show you the finished product.  However, I am pleased to have set myself this challenge otherwise this would still be a pile of fabric on the sewing table.

A Bit Less Fabric

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Last night I made a start on the teddy bear quilt.  I have cut out 24 blocks of fabric.

It is all spread out on the kitchen bench as I had to work out the combination of colours.  Although there are 24 blocks, it is not 8 of each.  I actually have 9 patterned, 8 navy and 7 calico.  This evolved because of the amount of each fabric that I had.  It really is a matter of making do with what you have.

Quilt squares
I chose to make it very simply from large blocks of fabric because otherwise the look of the teddy bears would be lost if each piece just had a bit of a leg or an ear.

The first 8 blocks are sewn together.

Assembling the quilt

I plan to have the remaining blocks sewn together tonight.

Fabric Update:  This project has completely used the navy and teddy bear fabric so they are now gone from the stash.  I still have some pieces of calico left but it is actually a slightly different weight and colour to the piece that I used for the quilt.

Growing Girls and Large Hems


It is easy to forget how quickly children grow.  I made this dressing gown for Miss O in June 2011.

2011-06-16 01By July 2012 I was writing about letting the hem down here.

Now it has been handed down to Izz and the hem taken back up.

2013-05-14 02A few weeks ago I took Miss O to Spotlight and chose the fabric for a new dressing gown.  It is red with black and white dogs on it.  She gave the princess, fairy and other girly fabric a glance but this is the one that caught her eye.  The fact that we have a Border Collie (black and white) may have influenced her choice.

New dressing gown

Once again, I have put a large hem on the gown and it is still quite long so I expect this one will easily last a couple of years.

2013-05-14 04Something as simple as a hem that can be let down is not an option on a ready-made garment but by making clothes you can customise them to suit your needs and generally extend their usefulness.

The Week That Was


I have been making good progress on several fronts here.

Yesterday I spent the day sewing so have something to show for it.  I started by drafting a pattern using an existing purchased skirt.  I had some fabric that had been given to me and this is what I created.  I have yet to do the hem and the handstitching inside the waistband but you get the general idea.  I am not entirely happy with the fit over the hips and also the side pockets are not sitting perfectly but that will improved on in the next attempt.

2012-11-30 01I will still be happy to wear this as the shirt I am going to make will cover the less than perfect area.  This is going to be the top (also gifted fabric).  The colour match of the yellow flowers with the top is much better than the photograph would lead you to believe.

2012-11-30 02The other project has been slowly but surely working through the various piles of ‘pending’ paperwork.

2012-11-30 03This is some that I had been carrying around in my bag for a couple of weeks.  Today I actioned most of it – emails sent, phone calls made and most of it now shredded.  There is still a little to go back in the filing cabinet.

2012-11-30 04This pile is on the small table in the guest room.  It is mostly from our USA trip from over 2 months ago so my goal is to get it sorted out this weekend.  I have finally culled and sorted they photographs from our trip which has been quite a big job.

Tomorrow we are having lunch with friends and are looking forward to sharing the photos from our trip with them.

Have a relaxing weekend wherever you are.

Back Again

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Blogging has taken a back seat this last week as my ‘real’ life has been rather busy.

We have been away for the weekend to catch up with friends and celebrate a ‘milestone’ birthday for my girlfriend.  We had a fabulous time and I have returned refreshed and with renewed enthusiasm after our short break.

I am working through a pile of mending/alterations of clothes for Missy which I have promised I will finish before she moves interstate in a couple of weeks.  I have spent some time helping her declutter and sort some things prior to her move as it is an ideal time to rationalise exactly what you have and what you need.  There is no point in paying to move things that you really do not want to keep.

2012-11-05 01Speaking of things you do not want to keep, this is a pile of fabric that a friend offered to me last week as she did not see the possibility of using it any time soon.  I have accepted it and have space to store it until I start creating.  I think that may be next year as the next 7 weeks are looking pretty busy in the lead-up to Christmas.  However, I already have some plans for some of the fabric and am looking forward to using it.  Thanks, Sandra.

I mentioned that it is 7 weeks until Christmas but my busyness is not really related to a crazy shopping frenzy or significant over-indulgence in food.  It is more about a self-imposed deadline for projects that I want to complete both at home and at work before the end of the year.  More about that in tomorrow’s post.