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

There!
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 :
IMG_5840

#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

Oh Dear …

… No sewing happening for me this past week! :(

We are visiting my Mum and extended family {Yayy! :D } so I left all sewing paraphernalia at home. I had intended on doing some of my TAFE course while I was here, but in true Manic-Mumdays-Family-Holdiday-Style, most of us got sick so no studying was done.

sickMy little man is even sicker with tonsilitis to boot :( I hate seeing the babies unwell!
We have only a couple of days left here – it went so quick! But we’ll be glad to be home and back to our routine.
….. And sewing ;) heehee We even missed our movie date with my sister and her babies :( We will have to find the time to go next week. Only one week of school holidays left :-/
I LOVE school holidays!! Do you?

I will leave you with a sneek peek of the project I will finish and share when I get home.IMG_6566It’s using the Ms Midge Charm-Along using the gorgeous Heather Bailey Charms we swapped recently! Can you see the wonky stars or the wonky, white pin wheel first? :)HB CA Ms MidgeThere is a new Charm Swap happening right now – Cotton + Steel:cotton steel charm alongWhich I am not participating in. I am pretty sure it’s full now tho. I’m not really on the C+S bandwagon, not many of their fabrics appeal to me. Tho I really love their selvages! Weird, right? :D One day some might find its way into my stash …
Well, I will be back next week to share my finish! Keep safe :)

KATE Sig for Manic Mumdays

A New Charm Along!!!

Did I tell you I was participating in Ms Midge’s latest Charm Swap?
This time round we’ve swapped Heather Bailey Charms.
HB CA Ms MidgeLet me tell you – they are GORGEOUS!!! This crappy nighttime photo certainly doesn’t do them justice, but here is the only one I have of my actual bundle:
HB Charm swap goodiesI was busy sorting when I took this as an after thought and I have already cut into them! lol

Ms Midge’s Heather Bailey Charm-Along kicked off this week, and I have a fantastic plan for these babies!!
No HST this time ;) Can’t wait to share some pics with you :)

<3

I have a little quilt top finish to share today!
I have been Quilting Along with Nanny Margie and this is the top!

IMG_6562It’s a sweet little cot-sized baby boy quilt!
I have a plan for a quick backing using off cuts from the front, but need to pick up some batting to quilt it. I have some gorgeous striped binding ready too …

<3

After I get this Charm Along done I am going to be strict with myself and get a couple of UFOs finished. I should also have a clean out and destash a few fabrics. I swear I could almost start a fabric shop!Hoarders Meme

Dory fabric

I have felt a little lost this week – this post was written days ago but I have had issues with my WiFi and printer … I was trying to set up my new printer and while uninstalling printer ‘stuff’ accidentally uninstalled something important :( eeekkk … Thankfully I have a fantastic Computer Wiz who sorted it all out for me!
Do you feel a little lost without your internet and printer too? :)

I’m working allllll weekend long, but I really hope you have a great weekend!

KATE Sig for Manic Mumdays

Kate’s First Top 5 – Blogs!

Thought I might occasionally start putting up a “Kate’s Top 5”!
This is the first ever! The themes will change, some might be sewing/quilting related, or some will be timber/furniture, some will no doubt be just general … stuff :) Let’s see where it takes me! haha

This one is going to be …

Kate’s Top 5 BLOGS!
I follow a buttload alot of blogs! I have kinda a large range of intertwined interests and there are sooooo many clever people out there! I love to read along and gather ideas. Some share some awesome quilting tutorials, some include some great discounts from their sponsors, and heaps run fantastic giveaways! ;)

In no particular order here are my Top 5 reads!

#1 – Happy Quilting
This one’s predominately a quilting blog. Melissa is in the USA and does gorgeous work – And often shares FANTASTIC tutorials! There are always tips and tricks included. She also has a cute pattern shop and is an author!
Her book Irish Chain Quilts is on its way to me as we speak!

Melissa Corry Irish Chain QuiltsCan’t wait to get my hands on this one!

#2 – The Kitchen’s Garden
A lovely NZ lady living and farming in midwest US … Celi is aiming for self-sufficiency, sustainable farming, and simple clean living. Knowing where your food comes from and knowing what you put in your body. I love reading her blog and look forward to it every evening {I get disappointed if it’s not landed in my inbox before I crash for the night! haha}

Celi lives with the most gorgeous big, fat pig called Sheila {I won’t say she owns Sheila, because that’s not accurate! haha} There is a large cast of adorable animals and Celi’s photography of her life there is breathtaking.

SheilaThe other cuties include cows and calves, more pigs, goats, dogs, cats {lotsa gingers!!} peafowl, chickens, brand new turkeys … Always lots of brand new animals actually :)
Baby goatsBaby goats!!

#3 – Shanty 2 Chic
Two Texan sisters, these chicks are ROCKING!!
I love their tutes. And they have an extensive range! They share heaps of simple DIY projects from shelves and easy make-overs right up to building your own furniture.
They usually include plans as well, and helpful hints and tips! I have asked a few questions and they always take the time to answer! Here are a couple of my favourites from them, links are in the photos and underneath:

S2C leather strap shelves$5 Leather Strap Shelves
S2C Kitchen Island BenchKitchen Island Bench

#4 – Miss Mustard Seed {MMS}
As you might know, I work in a paint department as well as make over furniture. Both of which I LOVE!
Well, Marian is the maker of one of my favourite paint products – Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint!
And I truly believe Marian and I could be kindred spirits because we both love Hemp Oil to about the same degree haha Check out these colours!!!
mms COLOURSI like Flow Blue best I think … Last year I made over a little TV cabinet for the boy’s playroom. It’s in Luckett’s Green {green is Mstr 9’s favourite colour!} Here it is :Kids TV cabinet makeover

If you make over furniture, or just want to pump new life into an old piece you really should try the Hemp Oil :)

#5 – Pat Sloan

Fabric and Quilt designer, Author, Podcast Host … And all round lovely lady!
Pat Sloan wears many caps and her blog and site show it! There’s heaps to see and join in on. I am taking part in a QAL – the Vacation Time QAL. All of them can be found here.
And have also joined in on one of Pat’s Challenges this year – the String Bean Challenge. Mine is Link #19 {Below} and I am sad to say it’s still in my UFO box :( You can find the challenges here.
IMG_6204 (2)I also first leaned of ‘Leaders and Enders” thru Pat Sloan’s Hip To Be Square Challenge! What a revelation!!! It’s like you’re making 2 quilts at once but you hardly notice … And sooooo much thread saved! Don’t forget to check out Pat’s gorgeous fabric lines!

<3

Well … that’s it for my first “Top 5”!
What do you think? Do you have something you’d like me to do a “Top 5” on?

Have a great Friday everyone!
KATE Sig for Manic Mumdays