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!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Sunday Mumblings

It was frosty this morning.  Only our second frost this winter (and the first was yesterday).

But frosty mornings usually mean sunny days and, sure enough, today was lovely.

Everyone was out enjoying the sunshine.  The boss of the world thought he might herd the ducks.  They were having none of it, and fair enough, they're about twice his size.

The chooks have started laying.  They were hatched on New Year's Day, so bang on six months old.

Floppy (for obvious reasons) is a North Holland Blue, which looks very similar to Barred Rocks.

This girl is unnamed as yet and she's a mix of Light Sussex and Golden Laced Wyandotte.

We put the cows on the lawn to mow the grass.  Grass converting itself to beef, yum, yum.

I tried to work on my swallow quilt but the kids kept annoying me and each other so I got them outside for some sketching.  It worked a treat to get them settled down.

Mine's in the middle, but I think I like my daughter's on the left best.  Although my son's, on the right, might make an interesting quilting pattern!

Hope you had a lovely Sunday too.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

World Famous in Australia!

Down Under Quilts has to be one of Australia's foremost quilting magazines.  We get it in NZ at a lot of bookstores too and it's always interesting to see what our cousins across the ditch are up to.  Linda Robertus is the new editor, and I'm sure she's going to do a fab job.

Well, I'm hitting the big time folks!  Thanks to a heads up from Marls, I discovered my four lines of fame!  My blog is mentioned in the DUQ issue 158 blog roll.

So hi!  My name is Charlotte, otherwise known as Ms Lottie, and I'm addicted to quilting.  I'm in my 30's, married to a pretty nice guy (he doesn't read my blog!) and have two kidlets - a boy aged 8 and a girl aged 5 going on 15.

We live on a lifestyle block, which is a fancy name for a couple of paddocks out in the wop wops boonies a rural area.

I look after my chickens, my ducks, my cows, my sheep and my family and squeeze in some midwifery work too.

My vege garden is going to rack and ruin, I got six quinces, five plums, a handful of feijoas and a wee bowlful of chilean guavas off my orchard this year, and my cat thinks he's the boss of the world.

Mucking around with fabric is pretty good fun.  I dabble in a bit of surface design and I like putting rusty bits of metal on fabric to make pretty patterns.

I make more traditional (mainly pieced) quilts for fun, relaxation and to make quiet night shifts go faster.

I make art quilts for brain stimulation and 'cause one day I want to travel to Houston (Hubby says I'm not allowed to go unless one of my quilts is hanging).

So if you're visiting - say hi and I hope you stick around.  If you're not new here, say hi anyway - I'd love to learn a little more about you.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Lanyard Love

So who knew how addictive making lanyards would be?  I've made five now and have another one waiting for me to get some more D-rings.

These are my latest four.  The one with keys on it lives in my handbag and the other three are destined as gifts.

Do you think the blue/grey one is masculine enough for a guy?  Maybe I should make a shorter one for him so it's more of a fob rather than a lanyard?

I've found that 10 pieces of fabric 2 1/2 inches by 4 inches sews up to the perfect length.  Not so long that you have a huge handful of lanyard, but enough that you can sling it round your neck if you are wrestling kids or shopping bags.  (I gave a quick tutorial on how to sew these here.)

Two of the lanyards match a couple of bags I've made.  Cheesy, but I couldn't resist!

The bags are reversible so you can choose your fabric to match your mood.  The black/orange one is a bit bigger than the Little Red Riding hood one but they are both pretty roomy.  I have two of the larger size ones and they are the best for toting round a big quilt project.  I can fit a queen size quilt in it - seriously!

If either of my two sisters who are yet to have birthdays this year wanna get dibs on one of these bags - let me know!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Welcome Swallows on a cold day.

We've had a bit of a cold spell the last few days.  Southerly winds whistling up from the Antarctic.  Brrrr.  Wellington was hit very hard by stormy conditions and in the South Island there was lots of snow.  Up here at the top of the North Island, we don't get snow, thankfully, but we still had lots of rain and wind.  Today it's still cold but at least there was some sunshine.

When it was really cold I snapped these pictures of Welcome Swallows outside my studio window.  They perch on the firewood bin and in Spring they build their nest up in the rafters (and make a heck of a mess).

I don't know what was so interesting up above their heads, but periodically one would take off and dart around.  It's their flitting and swooping that has inspired the Swallow quilt I'm working on.

They were all puffed up with the cold.  I think Swallows migrate in Winter to warmer climates in other parts of the world, but not in NZ.  They self-introduced themselves from Australia in the 1950's and feed on flying insects.

Hopefully they've found somewhere warm to roost.  It's time for me to cuddle up next to the fire with my book.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hand-cranked Unity Sewing Machine aka Belinda

Meet my new friend.  Her name is Belinda.

We are still getting to know each other.  Belinda needs a bit of TLC.

But her handle cranks and her needle goes up and down.  She has spare bobbins and a few interesting looking feet.   

Shortly she'll go off and meet the nice sewing machine doctor.  I've promised her it won't hurt a bit and she'll feel good as new when she comes home (finger's crossed).

Isn't she a darling?

Monday, June 17, 2013

I like opening the mailbox...

I've been spending a little bit of time lately looking around and NZ fabric stores that sell on-line.  It started when I was looking for good quality solid fabrics and since I live in the boonies on-line is good for me when I can't get to my local quilt store (local means an hours drive).

Today I got a little parcel in the mailbox and thought I'd share the yumminess.

This is from Stitchbird
I'm impressed by anyone who spends the time to wrap nicely and includes some yummy little scraps/swatches!

They have lots of modern prints with some yummy linen as well as cotton.  They have a fairly small range of solids - Moda and Kona and some solid Essex linen - but enough to get a range.  If your order is over $50 they ship free in NZ.  So I had to include an extra fat quarter at $7 just to make up the $2 to get free shipping.....there's logic in there somewhere!

Sorry about the night time photos, but it gets dark early now, and the colours aren't too far off.

So now my collection of solids is nicely rounded out, all ready for my class at Taupo Symposium, only four weeks to go!

Friday, June 14, 2013

What's on my design wall?

Chocolate fish if you can guess what birds these are.  My husband couldn't pick them straight away so now I'm a little worried that they are not obvious.  And they are a type of bird that I'm hoping is easy to recognise, so help me out and tell me if the clueless one is me or him!  (Maybe I just spend more time staring at the sky than him?)

Tomorrow is our second Saturday Stitch and Chat.  Our quilting club is holding one a month to try and encourage new members and people who can't make our weekday meetings.  Last month we had some total newbies and it was exciting to see them interested and keen.  So I'm off to my studio now to try and figure out what I'm going to work on and what I'm going to bring to show any potential quilt addicts.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Personalised Handmade Pillowcase

My boy went off to a birthday party today.  I had a mild panic in the morning because I'd forgotten about a present.  But I fell back on another one of my trusty handmade birthday present ideas - a personalised pillowcase.  This idea is probably best for the young ones among your gift recipients, although a pillowcase with Grandma appliqued on it might be just the ticket for your MIL!

Those are my son's feet - check out the stubbed toes!
Sorry - no process photos but I can explain it easy enough.

For a normal sized pillowcase, cut one rectangle 19 1/2 inches by 29 inches (the back) and one rectangle 19 1/2 inches by 35 inches (the front).  Hem a short end of each rectangle by folding over twice and stitching down.

Draw letters onto the paper backing of some fusible web (remember to reverse them!).  Cut them out then iron them down to the front side (remember to fold the hemmed edge of your rectangle under about six inches to get the placement right).

Now straight stitch around the edges of the letters several times in a contrasting thread.  We're going for a playful, sketchy look so don't line it up perfectly.

Place your back and front sides of your pillowcase right sides together - to figure out where the foldover goes I turn a pillowcase from my linen cupboard inside out every time otherwise I'm bound to get the tuck folded out the wrong way!

Once you've got your foldover sorted, sew around the three unhemmed edged with a 3/8 inch seam.  I finish the seam with a zig-zag as it will be a well-washed item.  Use an overlocker if you've got one.

Then you're done!  Jazz it up however you like.  I've made one side out of strips of novelty fabrics before and appliqued butterflies and done all sorts of things.  They're nice done in flannel too.  Have fun!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

RED 12 x 12 Challenge quilts

One night a week I head off to my quilting buddy's house for a night of stitching and chatting.  Last night I took along my camera for her to have a look at as her camera has died.  I didn't realise she snapped a pic of me, but I'm glad she did.  She's moving back to the UK soon and I'm going to miss our quilting nights SO much.  Doesn't it look cozy?  And what was I working on?  Hand stitching down the facing on my last RED 12 x 12 challenge quilt.

Here's a snap of all four of them.  They are finished and waiting for the postman.  Here's a link to the RED 12 x 12 challenge if you want to know more.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Happy Dance!

I got notice today that both my quilts that I submitted for the Taupo Symposium exhibition have been  accepted!  Woot, woot!

It was my goal to have at least one quilt accepted at one of the major exhibitions in New Zealand this year - and now both have been so I'm over the moon!

To see the whole quilts you'll need to visit the exhibition.  It's the Horn Cabinet Quilt Exhibition Taupo 2013 at the Taupo Symposium 2013 Fabric Art Festival held 18th to 23rd July at the Great Lake Centre, Tongariro Street, Taupo.

I'll be lurking in the background like a proud Mama.....

Monday, June 3, 2013

Quilting with a view

I felt inspired this morning so instead of laying about in bed (it's Queen's Birthday today, a public holiday), I got up and finished some quilting I needed to do.

In between stitches I looked out my studio window and admired the distant view I could see down over the lawn between the chicken pen and the trees.

A cup of tea, quilting, and a gorgeous view.  Much better than catching a little more shut eye!

Happy Birthday Your Highness, thanks for the day off.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Patchwork Lanyard

I had a dream last night.  A really coherent dream about leaving my daughter with a workmate of my husband in a noisy, dirty workshop while I went to work feeling very worried.  Then when I came back to pick her up I was carrying her out and I tripped over a chain, her head hit the ground as we fell.  That's when I woke up (thankfully).

So what's that all about?  Well, I've been working as a locum midwife for the last ten days and I don't think I could have a clearer indication of Mummy Guilt than that dream!

There has been little or no sewing, basic housework only, a funeral service for a dear friend and one-pot dinners.  It was a grand reminder of how easy my life usually is.  Kudos to all of you who work full time and manage kids and households as well.

Anyway.  Today I have a 75th surprise birthday party to go to.  Being so busy I haven't had time to think about a gift so I set to this morning and in half an hour I had this:

This lovely lady who is having a birthday has a tendency to leave her keys on cafe counters.  I'm hoping that a beautiful patchwork lanyard might help her keep them safe!

To make it I cut three inch fabric strips of various lengths (1 1/2 inches upwards).  I sewed them together end to end, pressed the seams open and then pressed the strip in half lengthways.  I then folded each lengthwise edge into the middle fold and pressed it again so those long raw edges were hidden in the middle (like making bag handles).  I also pressed under one short edge by half an inch.

Now here comes the only slightly tricky bit.  I threaded a keyring onto the strip, then I tucked the raw short edge into the pressed under one and pinned it to hold it.  Then I top stitched down each long edge, moving the ring along as I went.  You end up with a big ring of fabric with the little ring on it.

Then I moved the keyring to the area where I tucked in the short end and pinched the fabric together above the metal ring.  I zig-zagged across the fabric to hold the keyring in place and to catch the tucked in ends neatly so they didn't unfold.


I found the keyring in my box of treasures but I know you can buy them at the hardware store or any place that cuts keys.  You could also put a clip onto the lanyard and you can pick them up at sewing stores or maybe the hardware store too.

I can see many more of these in my future!