Monday, October 31, 2011

I Heart Surprise Gifts

Every now and then my mum surprises me with a little, "just because" gift (yes, I am very spoilt). Usually it is a delightful bunch of flowers which brightens up my house for days and days... but every now and then she stumbles across something that, as she says, screams me.  For example -

Source

Isn't this tea towel just fabulous?!  I love it and can't help chuckling whenever I look at it.  In fact I love it so much that I can't imagine using it to dry dishes... so am thinking about framing it and hanging it prominently on the wall.  Possibly before Mr C gets home, just incase he's forgotten who's boss while he's been away.  ;)

Do you have a saying that you just love?  Leave a comment and share the laughs.

E.

Friday, October 28, 2011

TGIFF - Mug Rug Love

I have just, emphasis on just, finished this project in time to link to this week's Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday post hosted by Jess of Life Under Quilts.  As my post last week was such a disaster... I am beyond pleased that I now have something to share with you all.  So, without further ado...


I made this mug rug for my partner in the Quilt Club Australia swap.  I have honestly been fretting and procrastinating and designing, unpicking, then re-designing all in the hope I end up with something she likes.  Ahh... the pressure!  So I am now keeping my fingers crossed and just hoping, hoping, hoping that this is accepted with a smile.

I broke the rules slightly and made a square mug rug, measuring approximately 9.5" by 9.5".  It didn't start off square... but when it ended up that way I was pleased with the look so stuck with it.  The fabric is Delighted by the Quilted Fish for Riley Blake, with Kona White.  I chose simple straight line quilting as my newbie status suggests I shouldn't try anything too tricky unless I'm keeping it for myself.  My poor partner doesn't need (nor want) any disasters from me!

This will be posted off on Monday so thankfully Brutus let me meet that deadline.  Thanks also to TGIFF for encouraging me to get this finished now, instead of late on Sunday night.  ;)


If you have a finish to show-off, be sure to jump over to Jess' blog and link up (when she posts... being in Western Australia I'm a little ahead on time).  Don't forget to stop by and have a gander at everyone else's projects too.

UPDATE: Due to logistical issues the linky party can now be found on the TGIFF blog.  Sorry about the confusion.

E.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

TTT - the Lovesick Edition

Thursday Think Tank


*** WARNING: this post may be soppy and pathetic to some readers ***

Today's Thursday Think Tank is dedicated to the main man in my life, Mr C, as today he is all I have been thinking about.  Regular readers will know (because I've continuously whinged about it) that I am currently living the "single" life as my beloved is travelling abroad.  I miss him terribly and am counting down the days until he returns (only 12 sleeps now!).  So, to honour him, and the fun we have had together over the years, here are a few pics of the two of us.


Over the last 2.bit years we have been lucky enough to have had some amazing experiences, adventures and lots of laughs.  These include, clockwise from the top left -

Dressing up as hotdogs for a friend's "H" themed housewarming (just ridiculous...)
Travelling to various wineries throughout the Barossa, South Australia (nom nom nom)
Seeing U2 live in concert (soooo good!)
Gardening, gardening, gardening (this pic is actually our first ever together so is extra special)
Frocking up (me, not him) and celebrating close friends getting married (x2... and many more)
Dressing up as TMNT for Mr C's 30th birthday bash (the other two turtles also made an appearance)
Travelling to gorgeous Kalbarri, Western Australia (with a great friend... road trip!)
Being stupid whilst waiting for our taxi to dinner on our last weekend before he flew out (the norm...)
Sunset sailing off Fremantle (windy but fun!)

So there you have it.  A little snapshot of our lives.  Ahh... makes me smile.

If you are lucky enough to have the one that you love within reach now... don't forget to give them a hug, a kiss and tell them that you love them.  It will no doubt make their day.

And to Mr C -  I miss you babe and am looking forward to having lots more crazy times together in the weeks, months, years, decades to come.  xx

Photobucket

This post is linked to Thursday Think Tank with making rebecca lynne.  This week is being hosted by the gorgeous Lucy of Charm About You so be sure to jump across and check out her... disaster.  ;)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Want to Win? Read On!


To win a copy of this gorgeous book, featuring 99 modern blocks from "your" favourite designers, head on over to Patchwork Duck Designs and leave a comment.  Unfortunately it is only open to US and Canada residents (I'm not sure why because it's an ebook... but hey, what do I know??) but I love Nicole's creations so much that I thought I'd spread the love.  Trust me - check out her blog!



While I'm sharing the giveaway fun I thought I'd also send you over to Cheree's lovely blog, The Morning Latte, to have a chance to win one of these oh-so-cute owl pincushions.  I've already bagsed the green one (and named her "Gertrude")!  ;)  Update - Cheree's giveaway is now closed.  Unfortunately I did not win.  Aww.

Go on... off you go.  Good luck!

E.

Friday, October 21, 2011

TGIFF = Epic Fail!


Hello.  My name is Erin and I am a complete failure.  Ok, that is admittedly very harsh, but the truth of the matter is - I have nothing complete to show for today's Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday.  Doh!  I am very sorry and completely embarassed as I am this week's Post Host but, as the wise and oh-so-gracious Lucy reminded me, s#*t happens!  Yes, yes it does.

So, without wanting to make a ton of useless excuses, let's just say that my beloved sewing machine, Brutus, is no longer in my good books.  Infact, he probably hasn't really been in them much over the last month or so.

In the interests of "keeping it real" here is what I was working on when Brutus went on strike.  (Ok, I'm really just trying to earn brownie points by proving that I have been doing something.)

WONKY STAR TABLE RUNNER

This was what I had planned on revelling for this post - in all it's finished glory.  But the best laid plans, and all that.  So, instead, here is a shot of it half-quilted (and destined for the ever-growing WIP pile...).  As deadline was looming I just decided to quilt it quite minimally by just following the outline of the stars, on the white fabric only.  It looks ok but I'm not crrrrrazy about it.


MOD MOSAIC FLOOR PILLOW

This may be stretching the meaning of "finished" but I did manage to get the top of this pillow completely pieced.  Yay!  And, I am happy to report that I totally love it!  As promised, it is BIG, with the insert measuring 24".  Ohhh.  Lots of lovely, squishy-ness.  Now I just need to practise FMQ so I can really make this fabulous.  Stay tuned!


SECRET SQUIRREL BUSINESS

I shall finish with a (blurry) sneak-peak of another project I am working on that, thankfully, doesn't need Brutus, at this stage.  Who said that handsewing is the devil?  I can't really reveal the whole design as it is a Christmas gift for a special little man but, can you guess what it is?  I'm loving this one!



So, there you have it.  My not-so Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday.  I anticipate that you haven't let down the team though, like I certainly have, and have something wonderful to show off?  Yes?  YES! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

TTT - the Machine Edition

Thursday Think Tank

Regular readers may be surprised to see me blogging today - because I quite clearly need to get something finished in time for tomorrow's Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday post.  Well... do I have news for you.  And, trust me, this time it is not the good kind.  Sad face.

Brutus is, once again, on strike.  This time, I assure you, I was nothing but kind and gentle and loving yet he still took exception to having to work at all and calmly and decisively just... well... stopped.

Once again, we are not on speaking terms.

deep breath

So, thanks to the gorgeous Becca over about making rebecca lynne, I will calm my nerves by drinking copious amounts of wine participating in this week's Thursday Think Tank.  In a little "stuff you" to Brutus I will dedicate this post to... the new machine that I will now be requesting from the wonderful, generous, amazing, thoughtful Santa.  Take that Brutus!

Here are some pictures of what I am thinking...


Ok, obviously I am living in La-La Land but I need to escape from reality right now.  Well, that and I have no idea where to even begin when it comes to sewing machines.  I've had Brutus for about 14 years (we think) and he was a gift so I've never had need to research.  So, please, please, please help me out.  What do you use?  Is it good or great or best to stay away from?  What features can you recommend I look out for?  Help!

Thanks in advance.  Seriously.  Now, where is that wine?

E.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The News You've All Been Waiting For

Ok, maybe you haven't been waiting for this news... but I certainly have.

*** insert drumroll here ***

BRUTUS IS HOME!  Yippeeeeeeeeeeeee!  I am super dooper excited and have already had a play or three AND I am glad to report that he is feeling happy, healthy and ready to help me tackle all my crazy WIPs.  Oh, Brutus, I love you so.

Thankfully he came home when he did as a few weeks ago I agreed to write a host post for this Friday's Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday.  Ahh!  As if the pressure wasn't already great enough, now I am a whole week behind.  Double ahh!   So, needless to say, I imagine some insane sewing time ahead and some very late nights (though not tonight as I start work at 6:30 tomorrow morning... which is unheard of in the Life of Erin).  Wish me luck!

In the meantime, please feel free to drool over this adorable little man, Mr M, and the delightful (if I do so say myself) little tie onesie he wore as guest at his first ever wedding a few weeks ago.  Soooo cute!  I'm definitely a lucky girl to be surrounded by so many gorgeous friends and their wonderful children.


E.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

TTT - the Guest Post Edition

Thursday Think Tank


For this week's Thursday Think Tank head on over to making rebecca lynne to see my guest post.  Yes, my first ever guest post.  Woooohooooo.  ;)

Otherwise just sit back and enjoy these gorgeous prints found on Etsy.  No words are needed. 






E.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WIP Wednesday

So... poor Brutus, my beloved sewing machine, finally decided that a hospital visit was, in fact, necessary (read about our fight here) so I am now left twiddling my thumbs anxiously awaiting his return.  I think he enjoys having such power over me and was just waiting for the perfect time to give up and refuse to sew even one more stitch.  Hmph!

Oh well, let's spend this time reviewing some of the projects I was working on when Brutus rudely decided it was time for a holiday -

CHRISTMAS TABLE RUNNER

I love the look of wonky stars and think they are perfect for the silly season.  I hadn't tried this block before but grabbed some red, white and silver fabric that I'd picked up at Spotlight on sale, and just jumped right in.  It was quite straight-forward as I followed this simple tutorial over at Silly BooDilly (though my stars are only 6.5" unfinished).



Embarassingly, even though this one is still to be basted, quilted and bound, I have already started on another two table runners with the leftover fabric - one a simple stripe design and the other offset stacked coins.  Stop me!

MOD MOSAIC FLOOR PILLOW 

During one of my many random internet searches I came across this gorgeous design by Oh! Fransson and immediately starting sewing.  Like, immediately.  I have now completed three of the suggested nine blocks and I have enjoyed every second. 


These blocks are easy, fun and do not involve one shred of stress.  What a relief.  I love having a project like this to fall back to when the pressure of points or piecing or handsewing etc etc gets a little too overwhelming.

SOFT BABY CUBES

These are nearly finished, with only one out of five left to sew.  That'll teach me to start on other projects before completing a commission.  Thanks for that little life lesson, Brutus.


And, just incase you think I've forgotten something - I leave the little holes til last so that I can try to stuff them all uniformly.  Try being the word.

SERGEANT SEBASTIAN

I am completely and utterly in love with this little guy already - and he's only half-way done.  This design actually started out as a pattern for an astronaut by Rachel of The Two Windmills... but I figured it might work for a little soldier too.


Unfortunately I can't keep him all to myself as he is destined as a present for my nephew, who will also be kitted out with matching pjs. 


Too cute!

So that's what has been keeping me busy of late and still it barely makes a dent in the to-do list.  Ahh!  Hopefully Brutus is home soon, better than ever.

This post has been linked to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.  Check out what everyone has been up to this week.  You might just be inspired.  Or... better yet... feel free to include your list of works in progress to inspire the rest of us.  ;)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

E.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Depression and Anxiety Don't Discriminate. Do You?

I'm sorry for going awol of late so thank you if you are still reading.  I have actually been crafting like mad and my poor loungeroom is currently covered in fabric, threads, patterns and countless WIPs (I just keep starting more...).  Unfortunately 'my' camera is holidaying in South America so getting pics of what I've been up to isn't as easy as it normally is.  I will work on that and get back to you all as soon as possible.

In the meantime, I shall move on to the real reason behind today's post -


Today, Monday 10 October 2011, is World Mental Health Day.  In Australia, beyondblue is working hard to break down the stigma associated with anxiety and depression and they have put the call out to encourage everyone to make an effort and spread the word.

This is an extremely personal subject for me as I have suffered from bouts of major depression a number of times in the last decade or so and anxiety & stress is a normal part of my everyday life.  In fact, there are times that it gets so crippling I can barely, if at all, leave the house.  This, for obvious reasons, can have dramatic results on relationships with partners, friends & family, as well as employment.  For years I hid in shame and went out of my way not to get too close to too many people for fear of (a) letting them down and (b) embarassing myself when an attack struck.  These days I still go into my dark zones or need periods of time-out but I am surrounded by loving friends and family who accept this and are extremely supportive.  For this I am eternally grateful. 

Depression and anxiety are illnesses.  There is no quick fix and sufferers can not "snap out of it".  Yes, medication can help but in my case, and no doubt many others, I need to completely change the way I think about myself and the world around me before I am completely "cured".  It is a hard slog but I believe I am getting there slowly, even if it is sometimes two steps forward, ten steps back.  If someone invented a pill to stop me hating myself and over-thinking every little thing I did then I'd be set.  But alas.

So, please, if you know of someone who is suffering, lend an ear, ask them if they are ok or drop them a nice note just to let them know you care.  They may not respond but don't take this personally.  You may also like to aquaint yourself with the various resources on the beyondblue website.  Knowledge is power and it may just help you understand what they are going through just that little bit more and what you can do to help.

Lastly, if you are suffering from dark thoughts and/or anxiety please, please, please talk to someone you love and trust and, this is the important part, let them help you.  I understand the difficulty in taking this step but you won't be sorry.  You are valuable.  You are loved.  Let people in.  Don't be afraid.

E.