I’m Still Alive!

Wow! What a busy month it’s been!

We have had alot going on around here … Mr Manic was retrenched in August so he has been looking for work. There are so many retrenchments happening round here lately, it’s quite scary! But … he has an interview for a dream job next week, so please send up a prayer for us … And some luck wouldn’t go astray lol :)
While he is searching I have been lucky enough that my boss has doubled my work hours to keep the $ trickling in. I am very grateful, but that also means double the work for me! haha Which in turn means less time for creativity and sewing.

I have managed to do a couple of little bits n pieces – SLQ’d a lap/couch sized quilt; about 1/4 thru FMQ’ing a cot sized one; Made a couple of test blocks that I can’t share yet … Hmmmm no pics in that bunch. How about this one –
IMG_7241This baby is destined to be a place mat for me! I have made two and I am just loving the pretty fabric


I am also up to my neck in module 2 of my Interior Design course right now.
I’m so LOVINGΒ  it! Don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it before, but in high school I toyed with the idea of doing Architecture {among other things}.
And this Module is all about architecture!! YAY!

While I was studying this morning, I remembered something I think of now and then from when I was a child … It’s a memory from Grade 2 – which for me would be about 33-34 years ago.
It’s of my teacher criticising my drawing of a house. You know the type, sun on the corner of the page, rolling hills behind, tree to the side. A square house under a triangle roof, with a front door and crossed window to the side. Maybe with a chimney atop the roof blowing smoke and a few flowers? Kinda like this!
Kids House drawing… well he said that it was totally unrealistic. That the windows were totally wrong, along the lines of “Windows are only one pane of glass, not broken into 4 like that!”
I was 6, too little to argue the point and it stopped me from drawing them for a good while … and I still remember it! I am surprised that he had never seen windows with more than one pane when you consider the famous buildings in the world with more than one-pane-windows :)
Even Buckingham Castle has 4+ panes in its windows, see? haha
Buckingham CastleIsn’t it funny the things kids remember?
Oh well, lunch is done, back to the books computer lol
KATE Sig for Manic Mumdays

Plodding Along and Some Pretties

Oh dear! It’s been a full month since I last posted! oops … Where has the time gone??
I have been doing a little sewing.
I made another quilt top and back, sandwiched it and it’s patiently awaiting quilting.
IMG_7023 (2)I am also in the middle of finishing a QAL quilt. I hope to have it finished by the end of the day. Not sure I will get the binding on, but having a few days off work added to school going back tomorrow means I’m hopeful it’s finish is imminent!
I also have my gorgeous Heather Bailey Charm Swap quilt to finish!
IMG_6711This one ^ … I have the top and back done, just need to quilt it!

*Sigh* I know why – I am only just starting to get used to FMQ and I want to FMQ them but am scared to start them cos I don’t want to stuff any of them up! haha :D

I am not allowing myself to start any more tops {that I am desperate to start} until I get these 3 quilted!

Actually, I just remembered, I have another quilt sitting in my tub awaiting a back and quilting! D’OH!!!

I think I will start by cleaning my sewing table so I have the room to quilt them. Then I might be inspired to get going!


Last weekend I sewed a these blocks to send to Jackie Gillies as part of her #quiltblockstoendviolence … If you have never heard of it, you can check out her Instagram account HERE which has all the details you’ll need to join in :)
QuiltblockstoendviolenceI love this block so much I am going to make my own quilt with them!

Well, I am off to clean up my sewing table and look for some clarity and motivation lol
Hope you all have a great week :)

KATE Sig for Manic Mumdays

A Finish and a Vow

The finish.
I have a cute little finish to share tonight :)
This lovely has sat on my couch patiently waiting for me to finish it for the last 3 weeks … All I had to do was 1 1/2 sides of binding! Slack hey?IMG_6933 (2)The front. Held up by my best helper, Master 9 {That’s the top of his tennis cap peaking over the top. We took these waiting for their lessons lol}
I used Riley Blake’s Country Girls fabric. It’s such a pretty range!
IMG_6932 (2)The back :)
It’s a nice size for baby – 45″ x 48″ {114cm x 122cm}

The vow.
This little beauty sat half done for aaages. I am vowing to myself to not let that happen any more. I am so gung-ho when doing my tops. I can often whip one up in a day. or a weekend. But when it comes time for the back I struggle!!
I prefer to make pieced backs creatively use up scraps from making the quilt and I have been struggling to come up with ideas. By that stage I want something that’s going to be quick but I want it to still be pretty.

So. My vow is this – Make the back right away! While I have momentum!
And, if I’m struggling for inspiration – Remember KISS!
Keep It Simple Stupid!

In that vein I am going to whip up a couple of backs for the tops languishing in my “To-Be-Finished” pile. Lets see howΒ  go. If successful, I should be able to share another couple of finishes in September! Wish me luck!

KATE Sig for Manic Mumdays

Kate’s Top 5 – My Favourite Authors

Everyone knows I love sewing and doing up furniture.
But you might not know – reading was my first love!

This is sooooo me! :
book hangoverI have been squeezing in a little reading time for a change in lately. And I have to tell you – it feels good to be back to it!
I have almost a whole shelf on my bookcase dedicated to unread books and I have promised myself to clear it before the end of 2015! Wish me luck :)

Okay! My Top 5 favourite Authors!

#5 – James Patterson.
He’s been round for a while and I have been reading him for most of my adult life. Some people say a lot of his books are alike. I can kinda see thatΒ  – the main reason I read his is because of the main character of one of his series – Alex Cross. {They’ve made a few movies from Cross books} I’ve been reading along since the start and want to read til ‘the end’ … He is a prolific writer and has a couple of regular series {The Women’s Murder Club is one and a TV series was made of it} … as well as a heap of stand alone. He also takes new authors under his wing and co-writes with them. What a brilliant opportunity that must be for them!
I also like that his chapters are mostly often short, only a couple of pages and I can easily squeeze a little in here and there!
MM Books#4 – Diana Gabaldon.
Diana wrote the Outlander series which have now been made into a TV series. I read them quite a few years ago now and really enjoyed them! They are a little fantasy, a little drama/thriller, and a little romance. What more could a girl ask for? Totally worth a read! I love the TV series too! It’s a fantastic adaption, and I don’t usually like books I love being adapted for film/TV!
MM OutlanderFor the record, I am Team Jamie allll the way! ;)

#3 – Harlan Coben.
Another thriller writer. I love this Author! He is the king of the twist! My only gripe with him is that he doesn’t write fast enough!! haha
MM harlan Coben

#2 – Stieg Larsson.
Technically, Stieg only published 3 novels. But they are up there with the very best books I have ever read. Ever! They of course are the Millennium Trilogy – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. These novels were published posthumously – Sadly, Stieg died in 2004 and left the 3 completed novels. He also left 3/4 of a 4th book in the series {it’s believed he intended to write 10} has been finished by another Swedish author, DavidΒ Lagercrantz, and due to be published this year! On the 10th anniversary of the first.
Needless to say I am excited to get my hands on that soon!! Some say Stieg may have left behind synopses for a 5th and 6th novel in the series so perhaps we may even see more … I wish he had been around to see the success of his great books! {And to finish the rest :) }
MM SLIf you’ve never read them I totally recommend you do! :)

#1 Tess Gerritsen.
Tess is pretty much my favourite author! I haven’t read a book of hers I didn’t love. She created the characters Rizzoli and Isles from the TV series of the same name. And while I enjoy the series I don’t think of it as Tess Gerritsen’s because there are too many differences! And the characters don’t look anything like described in the book so I disassociate them from each other and manage enjoy the series lol
MM TGLike my cute dolly Mercedes sitting there with all my Tess Gerritsen books? :)

Honorable mention!
I adore the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling! She is a fantastic writer and I re-read Harry Potter every year or so! They are just that good!
MM HPI always get a bit of a kick when I see these distinctive spines on bookcases elsewhere, or on tv or pictures in magazines. They stand out like the proverbial lol

What are you reading right now?
I am reading Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. It’s the long-awaited sequel to The Shining, another of my favourite books. It’s grabbed me pretty quick and I am powering thru it.

KATE Sig for Manic Mumdays

A Finished Top!

Hey y’all :)

As you might remember, I participated in Ms Midge‘s Heather Bailey Charm Swap and subsequent Charm Along recently?
{While you check out Ms Midge’s page, why not join in the Aussie Aurifil Club?? Those threads are simply gorgeous! <3 }

HB CA Ms MidgeLook at all of the pretties we swapped!!

Well, I was sewing like a demon to finish in time for the deadline {linked at 11.45 for the 12.00 deadline! haha} And this is the result :

HB Charm Along finishedWonky Stars!! Can you see the secondary white wonky pinwheels?
I am working tomorrow, but planning on whipping up a quick backing on Sunday and quilt it next week some time.

I love it, but kinda wish the stars and pinwheels both stood out more … So I think I might try this one again down the track but use deeper colours and stars all in one colour and see how that turns out :)

I still haven’t used my precious Amy Butler Charm Along squares yet!!! I MUST get onto using them soon …

Anyhow, this one was meant to be a shorty – see you with a finish next week hopefully!

KATE Sig for Manic MumdaysP.S. I haven’t said it for a while – but why not check out my Facebook page, Pintrest or Instagram? :)

“Kate’s Top 5” #3 – It’ll warm your heart

It’s winter here and the cold {and being sick for the last 3 weeks} has got me digging deeeep into the memory banks for warmer thoughts. So I have been thinking … Beaches !!

Here is a list of my own Top 5 Beaches { … that I have actually visited ;) }

#1 – Far and away my favourite – Cottesloe Beach, WA.
Beach CottesloeBeautiful, hey? :) This isn’t my pic. All of mine are buried deep in an old external HD which I don’t have nearby right now …
Having lived in Qld almost my whole life I thought we had the corner on beaches. But hubby took me to his home state a decade ago and I fell in LOVE with the majestic Indian Ocean and her surrounding white-sanded beaches! We went to many, many beaches over there and all of them are spectacular! It’s been too long since we’ve been back, might have to plan something there for next year :)
If you’ve never been, you should put it on your bucket list now!

#2 – Coolangatta Beach, The Gold Coast, Qld
Beach Coolangatta 1IMG_3876I like most of the Gold Coast beaches, but Coolangatta is my favourite. Despite nearly drowning there 19 years ago! The sand is fine and crunchy and sounds musical when you walk on it. I’ve had a ball each time I’ve been there :) The first pic was taken almost exactly a year ago and is looking back towards the Surfers Paradise from Coolangatta. The next one was 5 mins later looking straight out. So pretty!

#3 – 4 Mile Beach, Port Douglas Qld.
Beach 4Mile #2Gorgeous! Been here quite a few times and it’s always pristine :)

#4 – Yejele Beach, Mare, New Caledonia.
Beach Yejele 1One of our stops on our cruise last year was Yejele Beach on Mare, and it was just gorgeous! White sand, turquoise ocean, and blazing sun! Loved it there :)

#5 – Saunders Beach, Qld. Just up the road ;)
Beach SaundersThis beach is 15 minutes up the road and I often walk here with a friend. It’s gorgeous!

Honourable mention – Kuta Beach!
Beach KutaI know, I know! Kuta isn’t the prettiest beach, sometimes I’ve heard it can be downright grubby! It was lovely when we were there tho, so I can’t speak to that.
I included it as an honourable mention because I bungee’d here and the view is gorgeous!!! :D

Do all of those gorgeous beach piccys warm you up?
Have a great week!

KATE Sig for Manic Mumdays

Kate’s Top 5 ~ Tips And Tricks

I quite enjoyed my Top 5 from a couple of weeks ago so will keep them going as long as I can think up good ones … This one was suggested by {another awesome} Kate who blogs over at talltalesfromchiconia! Head on over and check her blog out, it’s a great read!

So. My Top 5 Tips & Tricks … Where to begin? I am by no means an expert quilter but I thought since Kate suggested it, I’d share a couple of tips that have made my sewing life easier. Hope they help you too :)

#1. LEADERS & ENDERS! If you’ve read my blog in the last few months you might recognise my absolute favourite tip!! After making a quilt I would end up with a pile of wasted thread … Now instead I have these!
Leaders n EndersI always have a bowl of scraps cut into 2.5″ squares sitting beside me and slip a pair thru at the end of each chain. It’s like you’re making a bonus quilt without any real effort ;) I chain stitch wherever possible. Chain stitching is putting thru multiple blocks without stopping resulting in a chain of goodies that you then press all at once too! These chains are from when I made “Kate’s Kate” :
IMG_4227 (2)I sew them into strips of 7 and then into blocks like this :

#2 Measure twice, cut once. An oldie, but a goodie. Tips like these are long-lived because they are always relevant. I have lost count of the times I’ve saved myself juuust in the nick of time because I double checked before I cut. Mis cuts are the one of the easiest ways to waste fabric. And I don’t like wasting my pretties!
Measure Twice Cut OnceThis tip also works when I’m playing with timber and furniture!

#3 PRESS. Press, press, press. Do not iron!
There are heaps of debates out there on whether to press to the side or press open. Personally I prefer to press to the dark side, but try both ways and go with what works for you.
Press to the dark sideMy main tip here tho is PRESS – DO NOT IRON! Set your seam by pressing it, then open your seam in whichever direction you prefer and press :)

#4 Know your feet and use the correct one for the job. This one’s pretty self explanatory. Your machine comes with a wide variety of feet. They should all be explained in your machine’s manual.
FeetI mainly use my standard foot for piecing {not a fan of my 1/4″ foot, tho some people swear by them.} My machine came with a walking foot for quilting without slips or puckers, but you can pick one up at your local quilting store if yours didn’t. A guide bar is handy if you find one that comes with that too. I also bought a FMQ or Darning foot for my machine. And those are the 3 I use mostly. Because I also sometimes stitch clothing I also use a button-hole foot, hemming foot and zipper foot. {Not a fan of zippers tho so seldom use this one heehee}
If you’re not familiar with all of your machine’s feet, go find your manual and have a read … Better yet, grab some scraps and have a play with them! :)

#5 Look after your machine. I’m not sure if maybe I clean mine too much, but I give my bobbin case a quick dust with a soft brush every time I change the bobbin {unless I am in the middle of quilting a piece} and full clean after each project. They are also serviced yearly. Trust me, your machine will thank you!
Actually, I will add a little extra note here = Please change your needle regularly! Your machine will thank you, your fabric will thank you <3

Bonus Tip – Give it a go! Whatever it is, most ‘mistakes’ are fixable so try it. You don’t know what you can and can’t do until you try, and I learn alot by trial and error! Your seam ripper can become your best friend and you may get frustrated, but it’s such a good way to get a feel for things! And you may surprise yourself and get it right straight up – imagine how great that will feel!

Well, I’m all worded out, so catch you next time! :)

KATE Sig for Manic Mumdays