December is a wonderful time to be off work - I have so much time to make my favourite Christmas treats. Today (while wishing I was in Oprah's audience at the Opera house), I made some gingerbread men, boys and even some houses - tomorrow is decorating day.
I have finished the binding on two of my quilts and also made a few other little things for the bub too. Hopefully photos tomorrow when the light is better.
I'm spending my days at the moment cooking, reading and sewing. Yesterday I made banana bread, today I finished my Christmas cake and I'm hoping to make some shortbread by the end of the week. December is a really nice time to be off work - I love Christmas and I love making Christmas goodies. We won't be cutting into the Christmas cake until Christmas eve, so I suspect it might become the perfect midnight snack in the new year when I am up every 4 hours or so.
I've also been sewing the bindings on my 4 quilts - 2 presents, 1 for me and 1 for the bub. And seeing as though it's been a while since I posted my 'bump' photo, I thought I'd show you my bump from last week at 36 weeks. Although I swear I have doubled in size since then!
I've really enjoyed my pregnancy, so much so that I am a little sad that it will be over soon. It is such a special feeling to have this little one growing inside of me - but that said, I can't wait to meet her. I spend my days wondering whether she will be easy going like my husband or a little more anxious like me (!), whether she will have my blond hair or his dark hair and other little things. But it won't be too long now until I find all these things out. I still have a few more things to do, so hopefully she will wait for me to cross everything off my "to do" list before she makes her entrance!
My mod sampler is currently at the quilters. I can't wait to see it all together! This is the design I chose to match with all the daisies in the fabric.
Unfortunately I haven't been able to get a good shot of the entire quilt top as I have been getting home when the light is terrible, but once it comes back I will get a nice one.
The back turned out lovely too. It looks a little dark here, but it is quite fresh and bright. Sampson definitely approves of it!
I finished work on Friday (hooray!), so now I have 4 weeks (hopefully!) to get things ready for the little Miss, as well as some presents to finish for her soon to be friends. I have binding on 2 of them that still needs to be sewn down by hand and I am about to go sit on the couch, put my feet up and get them started.
I made this taggy blanket in about an hour a couple of nights ago. It is nice to have finished something - even if it is pretty small!
A simple cotton on the front, some satin, grosgrain and gauze ribbons as well as some ric-rac, and some super cuddly minky on the back.
I struggled to find any coordinating fabric in my stash to make a patchwork front, so instead I decided to make it textured. I used the 'shrinky sheet' I bought at last years 'spring stitch-in', however my cheap and old iron is not too good at steaming, so it took quite a while to shrink!
And look at these lovelies back from the quilters yesterday - now I just have to get onto binding them all!
I ordered this cute little fat quarter bundle with the idea of using it to make some fabric storage baskets. Imagine my delight when I opened it up to find it perfectly matches the babies quilt! Remember I said I was going to use neutrals and a splash of colour in the babies room? hmmm... I lied! I couldn't help myself - these colours are much more fun!
Unfortunately, looking for a quilt for the bloggers quilt festival made me realise just how few quilts I have actually completed this year. I have a heap of quilt tops that I have finished (including 3 currently at the quilters), one that has been quilted for months and is still waiting on binding, but I think this is the only quilt I have actually finished in 2010 (not to mention any of the WIPs).
This quilt was made for Alessia - the first child of some very good friends of ours. I allowed my friend to choose the fabrics for this quilt and I was so nervous that it would not look any good once the blocks were all sewn together. Thankfully I was pleasantly surprised as the quilt top came together and it did not look like the dog's breakfast I thought it might. I quilted this quilt myself which I am so proud of. It is the biggest quilt I have quilted and it was a lot of work, but I am so pleased with the results. And I have it on good authority that Alessia loves it too.
2010 has been a big year for me - a move early on, starting a new Uni course, expecting our first child and now finishing off work and planning our move home to Melbourne - so understandingly, my sewing has stalled a little. However when I think that I am 32 weeks pregnant and I have still not completed a single handmade item for our baby, it does make me a little sad! I spent yesterday working on the quilt top for our little girl. However there was a moment of sheer panic when I realised that the instructions I was following have been taken down! Thankfully, the original instructions had been cached by google and my mini crisis was averted - phew! I hope to get this quilt top finished over the next few weeks which will leave the four weeks of maternity leave prior to my due date free to make up some bibs, burp cloths and finish my crocheted blanket too.
Head here to check out all the other gorgeous quilt festival entries
Apologies for the low light photo - but in my defense, I took it at 11pm. I can't believe I stayed up past 9:30pm without feeling unwell! And I even sewed in the evening. I don't know what this pregnancy is doing to me!
I woke up yesterday morning knowing I had a pile of things I wanted to get done and a little nervous about completing any of it. However I think I managed one of my most productive days in a long time - one session of yoga completed, the weekly grocery shopping done, I wrote almost half of one of my big uni essays, a trial cake was made for my dear husbands upcoming birthday party (this one), dinners for the 2 nights we have birthing classes this week are in the fridge and two quilts and their backings were finished and ready to go off to the quilters.
So much for the vacuuming...!
I am still trying to make a decision on the quilting design for the above quilt - I am leaning towards this one which is what my windmill quilt was quilted with. But then there is this one too - any opinions?
Our weekend away was lovely - lots of relaxing, lots of crocheting and some good food (and yes, a little football too!).
My blanket is now actually looking a bit like a blanket and I am really happy with the way it is progressing. Unfortunately I have 3 big uni assignments plus 2 trips to Melbourne before the end of the month, so I am not sure I will be doing too much crafting until November. I do have 3 quilt tops that need backs so they can be sent to the quilters ASAP, so hopefully that will happen this weekend at least!I bought some more yarn recently - a lovely organic cotton to knit up this cute little cardi (pattern info here). Thankfully (as my knitting skills are very limited!) my Aunt keeps asking for patterns that I like which she can knit for our little one. She has so far knitted a version of autumn leaves and I am about to send off this pattern and yarn for the baby kina. I can't wait to dress our little one in them!
I spent Saturday afternoon on the couch in front of the TV and the AFL grandfinal. Meat pies and beer (of the ginger variety for me) were consumed as the traditional meal of the day. While the game was incredibly frustrating, I managed to get a lot done on my crochet blanket. I am hoping it will be a good size for the cot or the pram.
Next weekend we are heading to the Hunter Valley for 3 days, however the impending grand final replay left us a bit nervous that my husband (an AFL reporter and diehard) would have to work again on the Saturday. But thankfully it seems he has been granted the weekend off as hoped. Now I just have to see if he can hold up his end of our 'no tv, no phones and no computers' on holiday rule! I think I will be taking my crocheting with me just in case I end up in front of the game again
I have sewn more than half of my blocks together tonight for my mod sampler baby quilt. I am a little worried about one of my fabric pairs, but I am perservering...for now. I seem to have a lot of yellow in there... Otherwise, the blocks are looking really sweet. I am still waiting on a delivery of white fabric from my favourite store, so I won't be able to get the sashings on these blocks until then. I hope to have it finshed ASAP though so I can send it with my other quilt tops for some long arm quilting love after the school holidays.
This morning, Michael and I headed to Lakemba for some grocery shopping as well as some lunch. I'm not sure what it is, but ever since I fell pregnant I have been craving Lebanese food - and in particular, the dishes that I would eat as a child. Lunch today consisted of kafta, felafel, salad, bread and baba ghanouj at Jasmin's. Last week I made a lamb and okra stew called Yak'nit Bahmeh and after my exciting find on this mornings shopping trip, tomorrow I am making Jew's mallow or Molokhia with chicken. I wonder what it is that it causing me to crave these dishes of my childhood? It has been a great push though to finally learn how to cook these dishes which my Mother, Aunts and Grandmother have previously prepared for us. I only hope I can do these recipes justice.
I have had a lovely, relaxing time at home this weekend. I cut out all the fabric for the blocks of my mod sampler baby quilt; I picked up some backing material for my pinwheel sampler quilt as well as for 2 of my baby quilts; I have 'booked' in 3 quilt tops for some professional quilting (surely I shouldn't crawl around on the floor to baste quilts while I am pregnant? That's my excuse anyway and I am sticking to it!); I baked some lovely brioche cinnamon pecan scrolls (even though they look rather anaemic in the photo below); and I have been playing with my new toy - an iphone 4! Hence my new look photos - courtesy of the iphone!
It has been so nice to have a relaxing weekend. We've had so many visitors recently, which is wonderful but I felt like I was constantly entertaining. I'm still prac teaching for one more week and then I only have 10 weeks left at work before I start maternity leave. I can't quite believe it is all coming along so quickly. We even start our childbirth and parenting classes in 2 weeks - eek!
There's still 15 weeks until the baby is due and my list of things to do is growing every day - my crafty list that is! I still have to cut and hem the material I bought to make sheets, I have to hem some muslin for some swaddling wraps, I need to make some bibs and burp cloths, finish my granny square blanket and I also hope to make a Sarah doll for the wall of the babies room - not to mention put the quilt together! Although I am feeling very crafty at the moment so I need to take advantage of it - maybe this is start of the 'nesting'?
I'm off to the Craft room tonight with my granny squares and some strawberry and coconut loaves. I'm currently in the middle of another round of prac teaching which keeps me pretty busy, but it will be nice to have an evening of crafting, chatter and nibbles. We've had visitors staying with us for 3 of the past 4 weekends, so my sewing is progressing incredibly slowly, but I am looking forward to starting on my own version of Oh Fransson'smod sampler very soon. I want to make a quilt for my little one that will last longer than just the baby years, so I think this particular pattern will be perfect. I am going to use some fabric I have had squirreled away for quite a while now.
And from that I think you might be able to guess the sex of my little one!
Sometimes it pays to be slow. With so many babies due around the same time as mine, I was getting a little nervous about the amount of sewing I had in front of me. Thankfully, my UFO basket is full of half finished quilt tops which will be perfect for these little ones!
This is a top I started when we first came to Sydney just over 3 years ago. I remember now why I never finished it, because I couldn't figure out how ... and I still can't. I'm thinking a solid light peach border followed by a dark binding. The only thing is, the quilt top is still quite small- about 30"x 33". I'm thinking of quite a thick border, maybe 3" finished? Making the finished dimensions abour 36" x 39". Is that too small? I guess it could just be a little snuggle quilt, maybe for a pram? I would add more blocks, but I barely have any of this fabric left. Otherwise this weekend, I have finally put together my pinwheelsampler quilt top. I ended up adding a scrappy border too, similar to this one, as it looked too plain without it. Now I just have to get some backing, choose a quilting pattern and send it off. I can't wait to have this one finished and on our bed. Too bad winter is almost over! But that's what happens when you are slow! Sorry about all the dark photos lately (including these awful ones). My husband assures me he has re-set the camera for me now!
Isn't this just the most gorgeous fabric? I saw it here and immediately bought half a yard as I think it will be wonderful for the babies room. I want to keep the colours in the babies room fairly neutral, but with a few splashes of colour. I am thinking this will become a cushion perhaps...
My granny squares are slowly coming together, but with Uni in full swing at the moment my progress has been a little slower than I had hoped. But I am determined to have it finished by December!
My granny squares are starting to pile up and I have recently learnt from you tube how to join them. I am really enjoying making these little squares and imagining the little fingers that will run accross them
Turns out four of my friends are also pregnant and due within a month or two of me as well as my cousin who is expecting her third! So I have lots of baby related sewing to do. A quick clean-out of my craft area led to the discovery of 3 unfinished baby quilt tops, which will definitely help, and also two orphaned quilt blocks from a quilt I made for my cousin Belle. After seeing the ridiculously overpriced taggy blankets in the shops I decided that these quilt blocks could become perfect taggy blankets.
With some satin and felt ribbons and some soft minky on the back, they were very quick little gifts to whip up. And I even got to practice my free motion quilting too. During my cleanout I discovered a shrinky sheet I purchased last year, so I hope to use that in the next one to give it a little more texture.
Now I just have to start a quilt for my little one.
These pics are my current flickr faves. I have found some lovely bright wool and have started my granny squares. I am using a 4 ply merino wool and a size 5 crochet hook. I tried a 3.5mm hook first but the squares were tight and very small, but with the 5mm hook they are big and soft. My only worry is that they might stretch - does anyone know if this might be a problem? My knowledge of wool and crocheting is limited to say the least!
Remember when I said that 2010 looked to be full of change? Well I wasn't kidding - along with our new home here in Sydney and my study, my husband and I are also expecting a special kind of Christmas present this year - one with 10 fingers and 10 toes. To say we are excited is an understatement! I have been very lucky and not been sick at all, just VERY tired. But hopefully I am getting to the stage now when my energy should be coming back.
I bought some material last weekend to start making some wraps - some muslin and some flannelette as well as some gloriously soft minky to make a cuddle toy. Only greens, yellows and aquas at the moment as we don't know the sex, but hopefully the little one will cooperate in a few weeks time so that we can find out.
When I told my workmates I was pregnant one of the girls showed me the gorgeous crocheted hats and jackets she makes for premature babies (which she donates to hospitals), so I took the oppurtunity on one afternoon tea break to learn how to crochet! I am so happy to have finally learnt and have made myself some granny squares to practice. I am hoping to get to the shops this weekend to pick up some soft baby yarn to make a special blanket.
And to add to the change, we are also planning our return to Melbourne early next year too. My life really doesn't feel right if I don't have a million things going on at once!