My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Friday, March 30, 2012

There is no turning back now.

The electrician is booked in for Monday, the windows and doors will be going in soon, it's all taking shape.  I've been working out a floor plan so I can decide where to put light fittings, power points and switches.  Yay, yay, yay!!  

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mat and Ruler Bag

So I had a great retreat.  We missed the people who couldn't come for a variety of reasons, but we still managed to chat and sew the time away.  My Old Maid's Puzzle quilt is backed, layered and basted (many hands make basting a dream - as does a large stainless steel kitchen bench), and I finally made myself a mat and ruler bag.

I've wanted one for ages and I even had fabrics I wanted to use (MoMo by Moda, a pack of four half-metres  I bought once with no idea what I would do with them).  But I couldn't find a pattern I liked. I searched for tutorials or free patterns on the net, nope.  I searched for commercial patterns, nope.  So I just jolly well designed one myself! 

 And I love it!  If I made it again, I might round the top corners, but apart from that, it's pretty perfect for me. And it's done, which is half the beauty.  It's main body is quilted, it opens out flat, has carry handles, ties to hold it shut and pockets inside for my big mat and all my rulers, plus room for a notebook and a few other things.

This is inside it with all the rulers and mats slid away out of sight.  And then below I've slid everything out a little so you can see where they all hid.  I backed the pockets with pink flannelette and lightly 'quilted' them so they didn't sag too much.

And here's an action shot taken by my four year old!  I wanted to show how I fluked scientifically measured the handles big enough to sling over my shoulder, but - get this, I also managed to make them short enough that it doesn't drag on the ground if I carry it in my hand!  (Didn't get the shot of that one - the dogs kept walking in front of the camera).

So I'm very pleased with my little invention.  My mats and rulers are also extremely pleased that they finally have a home.  I'll be posting more shots of the retreat over on the Keriquilt blog soon- keep an eye out.

And I'm whispering this because I still don't believe it and don't want to jinx it - the building has started again after the builder and the husband had a pow wow over the weekend.  Progress shots when I've convinced myself it's really happening!

Friday, March 23, 2012


It seems like a week or so of hard knocks.  Life has been handing them out to many people I know.  It makes my studio woes seem laughable (which they are really).  But I'm retreating from life for a little while.  It is the weekend of our guild's regular quilting retreat and I'm going to sew, baste, quilt, piece, (probably unpick), chat, eat and drink (just a little) the weekend away.

I've finished my Old Maid's Puzzle quilt and I hope to layer and baste it this weekend.  So this morning I've been working out a backing for it.  I have a very scientific method to work out if my backings will fit.

I lay the quilt on the floor (after first pushing furniture out the way and assessing whether the floor needs a clean!) and then lay my bits of backing on top to see if they will fit.  Not very scientific, but actually pretty fail-safe!  I also have a not very scientific way to measure whether my quilts will cover the bed enough.

Just take your quilt top and lay it over the bed you wish it to cover.  Does it fit?  And there you have your answer.  It's also a good way to do a little more admiring of all your had work...;)

I have a collection of paint chips and I rummaged through them the other day matching them to the colours of this quilt.  I think I might use it as the inspiration for the colour scheme of my studio.

Anyway, have a great weekend, I know I will.  And my thoughts and love go out to everyone around the world struggling with illness or tragedy, hardship or grief.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Commiserate with me...

For the studio building is no more :(

When Hubby came home last night he was in a temper, the builder had not followed his instructions.  Bad, naughty builder.

Consequently the builder was here this morning, unbuilding.

Yes, everything he built yesterday has been removed.

Kinda like seam ripping.

And now Hubby says it'll have to wait until he has more time and can stay home in the mornings and direct the builder each day.

Which won't be till after Easter.

Bugger.  I knew it was too good to be true.

So in an effort to look on the bright side, I'm planning paint colours, drawing a floor plan and buying skylights.

Monday, March 19, 2012

My studio is finally going to happen.

See that funny looking house in the picture below?  Well that's where I live.  See the dark and empty-looking, not-quite-closed-in-room to the left?  Well, that's going to be my studio.  And it's been going-to-be for a long time.  But on the weekend, Hubby told me that he's had the go-ahead and he's asked our builder (nicknamed Speedy, because he is) to come see him today.  So it's likely he'll start this week (because he's got no work on at present - how convenient for us!).
The dry spot on the gravel is where my car was a moment before.  That's the kitchen window you can see and the shed, aka 'man-cave', on the left.
Below you can see it a little closer.  It was one bay of the three-bay shed our house used to be.  Behind the white door  is a sectioned off room that holds the bathroom and laundry.  So these are 'before' photos.  And it's so great to be finally taking them!

The door you can see on the right wall of the above photo is our back door at the moment, it leads into our kitchen.  It will end up being an internal door.

You can see that same door to the right in the picture above.  And you can see into the laundry on the left.  The wall between the freezer and laundry will be partially demolished so the laundry facilities will end up being in my studio - but to compensate I'll get an extra long bench that I can dye and paint on.  There will be a door put in the laundry to the back of the house and our clothes line will be out back instead of on our deck like it is now.  It'll be great to be able to utilise the area behind the house too - it's difficult to access so sorely neglected at present.

The photo above is taken as I stood in the doorway leading into the kitchen.  That wall in the right will stay there to divide the bathroom off from my studio and there will be another wall at the same angle that open door is now.  That corner where there is a lonesome cupboard door leaning is where my fabric cupboard is going to go.  So excited!

Above you can see where our floor steps down to a platform.  This is where our front door will be - on the step between the two kiddies.  At the right, the floor will be extended out to the front of the platform. The outside wall will then run along the side of the platform, basically making our front door in a bit of an alcove.

So the floor you can see in this picture above will extend out to the pole, gaining about another metre and a half of floor.  There will be glass french doors here and a window above them to maximise natural light.  And because I can't have any windows in the wall between my studio and Hubby's shed, we're going to put in some solar tubes, which are essentially skylights but insulated so they don't lose heat.  Where the picture is hanging is where my design wall will be.

Sorry if you find my descriptions a bit confusing, but hopefully you get the picture.  And if all goes to plan, soon I'll be able to update you with 'progress' shots!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I've been playing.  Playing with paint - the tui behind is painted through a freezer paper stencil, the one in front fabric.

And then I've been playing with organza.  I attended a weekend workshop with Jeanette De Nicolis Meyer called "Layers of Lightness: Quilt and Collage with Translucent Fabrics" and I had a fabulous time!  We got to paint silk organza (which is soooo much easier to handle than synthetic organzas) and then we started composing little pieces with our bits of yummy fabrics.  Below you can see one of my compositions developing.

This one I'll be stitching down with straight machine stitch around the shapes.  Jeanette also taught us hand and machine pojagi seams (a traditional Korean seam used in wrapping cloths).  I love the prismatic colours on this piece - I used a white background to layer it on to get that translucent look.  Other people used patterned backgrounds with interesting effects.

Then I had a serendipitous moment when I was piling up my scraps and I couldn't help developing another composition.

I really like this one.  It has something mysterious about it.  I used a blue cotton that I had hand dyed and discharged cross patterns on as a base cloth and you can see how it has altered the top colours.  I'm busy hand-stitching these pieces down and liking it more and more as I go.  If you want to see what others did in the workshop you can see pictures here.

And I fear I'm a little addicted!  This is a composition I worked on yesterday. Inspired by a dawn sky I photographed a little while ago.  I have thoughts about putting my tui's over it along with an organza tui, but I'm not sure yet, more playtime will have to be indulged in before any decisions are made.

PS Jeanette is teaching again in New Zealand in April 2013 at the Wanaka Autumn Arts School - she comes highly recommended by me!

PPS Many thanks to dear hubby who entertained the children all weekend, mowed the lawns and cooked dinner both nights too.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sand in my stitching.

Hubby had to do a few hours work today, so I packed up the kids and went with him to Paihia.  Kids and I went to the beach, Hubby went to work.  Hmm, who got the best deal?

Fish and Chips - a kiwi tradition.

This gappy wee boy has made a killing from the tooth fairy lately!
Don't play with your food!

I took my paper piecing.  It's so portable.  I made the little snap-closed purse from a tutorial by Rashida Coleman-Hale, I just enlarged the pattern.  This one fits a small pair scissors, a couple spools of thread and my little needle book.

The kids played happily in the sand for ages.  They went for a quick swim but it's cooling down, Autumn is on it's way and Autumn is my favourite season.  What's yours?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Oh dear.  Doesn't this look awful?  We've got the sickies round here.  Or at least, she does.  I'm hoping it will remain at just her.  Poor little poppet.  She'd just finished having a wee.... ahh, 'regurgitate' inside and she told me that we should go and do this outside.  I left her too it knowing that she wouldn't need me again for at least 30 minutes (that's how long it's been between episodes).  I came back to find her like this.

"Just resting." she said.  We're off to the doctor soon.  I don't usually for tummy bugs, but this one just hasn't settled and she hasn't kept any liquid down for more than 12 hours.

Have a nice and well weekend everyone.