It’s Time For A Change!

I tell ya what, there’s no nicer feeling than having fresh new linen fitted and laid out perfectly on your bed! And that’s what I’ve done today!

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To start off a new week, I re-vamped my bed with a beautiful 100% combed cotton quilt cover, flat sheet and two matching pillow cases that I recently received from an Australian bedding company with the fabulous name of Sleepy Bum.*

With each piece feeling so delicately soft, luxurious and fresh, it was such a struggle not to jump in and snuggle the rest of my Monday away! The feel of the 200 thread count surfaces truly do just make make you want to dive-in and melt away into a sleepy, peaceful state! (And believe me, I was this close to actually doing so!)

SleepyBum Pic2

It’s really not that often I change things up in my room, but as soon as I saw this set* on their website, I knew things were about to change! I liked that it was a quilt set that was reversible so that if I was in a particular mood, I could easily just flip everything over and be left with a totally different result from the last! It’s a total win-win!! (Plus, I’m not one to shy away from a good bold gridded print and a sweet feminine pastel pink!)

I also absolutely love how it compliments everything in my room! From my Happy Quilt hanging on the wall, to the porcelain bunny sitting on my bed stand as well as to the pastel purple colour on my walls! Even my Christmas Build-A-Bear seems to blend in beautifully with the contemporary and modern feel of it all!

SleepBum Pic5

So hopefully I’ve inspired you to get into the mood to re-vamp your room with some pretty new linen! The anticipation of hopping into bed that night and snuggling contently into fresh warm and soft bedding will be truly worth it! I promise!

Happy Sleeping Friends!

xx

*Sleepy Bum kindly asked me to do a product review post on one of their quilt sets.

*The quilt set in review is the Athens Grid Lines in Baby Pink Cover Set in a Queen size.

Even Finn's excited about the new quilt cover set!!

Even Finn’s excited about the new quilt cover set!

TUTORIAL: FPP Union Jack Block!

Over the past few months, I’ve had a numerous amount of interest and requests to make a video tutorial showing how I make the Union Jack block…

The Union Jack Block

The Union Jack Block

The first time I made this block I had just learnt how to Foundation Paper-Piece and was absolutely daunted by all of the different pieces and angles I had to sew! Oh. My. Gosh. So, I took a deep breath, studied the pattern and instructions and then took one step at a time. So then of course I proceeded to make countless mistakes, under and over judged fabric lengths and widths AND importantly learnt that keeping to a quarter-inch seam was critical for the pattern to come together, crisp and evenly at the end! What’s that saying? Through our mistakes, we become stronger… Well, maybe…

Since then I’ve gone on to make a lot of versions of this block, almost to the point where I could do it with my eyes closed! (Well, no. Not really. That would be a terrible idea!!) I had high hopes (and still do, actually) of piecing my many blocks together to make one of those big Britannia type quilts.

A sample of the Union Jacks I've made...

A small sample of the Union Jacks I’ve made…

I’ve written about it before in other blog posts and it was on my New Year Quilting Resolutions of 2014 list to make during that year. (An idea that failed miserably! None of those quilts got made! My bad.) But hope is not lost! It will get made… one day… soonish…next year, maybe…

But, alas! I have had the chance to incorporate this block into quilt! I was commissioned by a work colleague to make a quilt for our department manger who was leaving to pursue another job. The biggest love in her life was bunnies as well as sharing the same admiration for all things British, like me. So I made her this quilt as a farewell gift!

English Bunny Quilt (2012)

English Bunny Quilt (2012)

It still is one of the most favourite quilts I’ve ever made.

I originally found this block in the book Modern Blocks, compiled by Susanne Woods as I was casually flicking through it when visiting my favourite bookstore in Sydney, Kinokuniya. As soon as I saw this block pattern in the book, I immediately made the decision to buy it without even looking at what other blocks were in the book! That’s how keen I was to make it! However, it wasn’t until I got home that I realised the block was made entirely using the foundation paper-piecing method… A technique, at the time, I didn’t know anything about! With my excitement and high hopes of being able to make an inspiring Union Jack Quilt squashed, I placed the book on my shelf and forgot about it.

My little library!

My Quilting Book Library

A few months later, I signed up to do the online Craftsy Block of the Month with Amy Gibson[And just on a side note: If you’re new to quilting and want to learn lots of new techniques and be wholly inspired by everything patchwork, I recommend highly to watch these video tutorials! It’s 100% free to watch and join. Honestly, without watching these tutorials, I wouldn’t be the quilter I am today! So go! Do it now! Watch. Learn. And grow!] …and in one of the months she taught me how to foundation paper-piece. Here I was, thinking it would be this weird, strange, ancient technique that I thought I would never enjoy. How very wrong I was. In a matter of minutes, I was in awe of just how easy and simple the technique was. I just couldn’t believe how straight, clean and crisp I could get my seams and how many new and awesome modern block designs that were now open for me to make! And then…Lightbulb! I now had the power to make that Union Jack block!! Huzzah!!

The block in question, called Just Jack, was designed by Lynne Goldsworthy. (A quilt-block designer I seem to keep running across over the past few months…spooky!) The block that I make is a little bit different to the one in the book. I’ve made it smaller (165% as opposed to the suggested 200%) and have eliminated the two pieced strips from the top and bottom so that it’s just a Union Jack.

JustJack

Now I must admit, this block is pretty tricky (and a little bit daunting!) if you’re new to foundation paper-piecing but I still want to encourage you to give it a go! Don’t worry if you make mistakes – I did and I learnt from them! Be brave, dive in and see what happens! (Oh man, I should take on some of my own advice inother parts of my life! Jeez!) 

If you are new to foundation paper- piecing, you’re more than welcome to check out this tutorial I made last year that goes through all of the basic tools and steps to understand the technique.

One of the things I absolutely love about this block is that it allows you to be as free and creative as you wish! You can use fabrics that are rich in print and colour, ones that clash horribly but still look good or just stick to the classic side of things using solid colours to bring the block to life!

Now, the final size of this block will all depend on how big you choose to enlarge this pattern. At 165%, my finished block measured 26.5cmx17.5cm (10&3/8″x7″).

If you don’t have this book or unable to purchase it, here are a few other Union Jack patterns I’ve found on the net that are similar to the one I’ve made.

‘Union Jack Block & Bag Pattern’ by Amy Smart (Diary of a Quilter)
‘Union Jack Quilt Block’ by traceyjay on Craftsy (FREE PATTERN!)

And lastly, here’s a list of the tools and notions I like to use when I’m doing any foundation paper-piecing…

- Brother Innovis 200QE sewing machine
– Brother 1/4″ sewing foot
– Gutermann polyester thread
– Fiskars Rotary Blade and Cutting Mat
– Sew Easy Rulers
– UHU Glue Stick
– Triumph Craft Scissors
– Birch Non-Melt Flower Head Quilting Pins
Clover Thread Snips
Clover Serrated Tracing Wheel 
Clover Finger Presser 

Of course, let me know if you’re going to make this block (or already have!). Send me a photo of your finished block, or a project with the UJ in it or your fabric selections for your planned block! I absolutely love it when you share your creations and ideas with me!

The ways in which you can share with me…

Instagram & Twitter: @3and3quarters

Email: 3and3quarters@gmail.com

Facebook

If you’ve made it to the end of this post, I send you a big virtual HIGH-FIVE for getting through all of my rambling back story!

You’re a true super star!

Happy Sewing Friends!!

xx

January Favourites!

Every month for the past year or so, I’ve been publishing a video on my YouTube channel chatting all about my favourite things from that month. These items range from beauty products and fashion items, to music, movie and tv shows, books, sewing and quilting accessories, technological gadgets, food and pretty much everything else in between!

For the last few months, I’ve been tossing up the idea of not just posting a video about my monthly favourites, but to write about them here on my blog as well. So, starting with the first month of a new year, I’ve decided that that’s what I’m going to do! I’ll also post a link to the video version of my favourites so that you can either choose to watch or read (or both or none at all!) what I’ve been loving that month!

So with a cup of tea steaming quietly on my right, let’s get into what I’ve been loving in the month of January!

Taylor Swift – 1989

TS1989

Usually, my taste in music never really consists of the mainstream popular artists and/or songs. I’m more of a supporter of the local (and international) low-key, independent type artists. Although in saying that, I am a huge fan of Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith!

So when it came around to purchasing Taylor Swift’s super-hyped 1989 album, I was pleasantly surprised just how simply brilliant it is! It totally deserves all of the hype it’s receiving. (And never did I think I would be saying that about a Taylor Swift album!)

Not since I was a teenager have I bought an album and literally listened to it over and over and over again. And then do the exact same thing for the next four days straight! Each song has it’s own unique sound to it, catchy, emotional and dance-worthy!

I must also admit my growing admiration for her as a person and artist… The girl is talented in one of those hands-down your-argument-is-invalid type way. She also treats her fans in a way that I’ve never seen a music artist like her do before. She treats them like close friends; encourages them through tough times and celebrates their successes. And I like that.

Tumblr.

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I’ve been signed up onto Tumblr for a almost a year now, occasionally logging in, scrolling through and re-blogging a few things here and there. But over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself on there a lot more often than usual and loving it!

Who knows why this is – even I don’t really know why… To be honest, I think it’s just another online platform allowing me to procrastinate from the more important things that I should be doing on a day-to-day basis (i.e. eating, going outside, socialising etc.).

However, no matter how fun and ‘hipster-ish’ Tumblr may be, Pinterest will always be my #1 website to procrastinate be inspired by!

Nintendo DS Lite & Yoshi Island DS

Yoshi'sIslandDScover

I like to think of myself as a bit of a gamer… I like to play most video games and enjoy playing either on my own, with my nephews or my brother (who is like a pro when it comes to gaming!).

So when I re-discovered my old Nintendo DS Lite this month, I chose to play a certain game that I received for my 21st birthday from a friend. At the time I got it, I didn’t really like it and found it hard to ‘get into’. But after giving it another go, I absolutely love it! And the game in question is Yoshi Island DS.

Yes, I know this game was and is marketed to an audience of kids 7 years and over but I really couldn’t care less! I love these types of games. (Spotlight on the big kid at heart!) There’s little to no violence, no guns, no awkward sexual references and no bad language. It my kinda game. Fun, clean and challenging! And in saying that, do not let the thought of this being a kids game fool you into it being easy to play. It’s not. It’s really, really hard! Either that or I am just really rubbish at playing it!

Revlon Eye Lash Curlers

Revlon Curlers

As I’m slowly getting into the whole ‘makeup and beauty’ thing, I’m beginning to realise the better the tools you have, the better the result you’ll have. (The same principle can be applied to Patchwork and Quilting too!)

So when my very cheap pair of eyelash curlers were literally falling apart and hurting me, I made a trip into Priceline and bought a new pair. I wish I had done it sooner! The new pair I bought are a simple eyelash curler by Revlon and are so swish to use! They curl and separate my lashes beautiful and most important don’t pinch my eye lids! (Which is always a good thing!)

Boots Laboratories Optiva Aqua-Capture Serum

Boots Serum

This stuff is ah-may-zing!! I’ve been using it since just before Christmas, with it claiming to give me smooth, radiant skin in just two weeks. And it has!

After using this product for almost six weeks now, I’ve noticed a huge difference in the way the skin on my face looks and feels. Little problem pumps around the top of my forehead and my nose have long gone and I often surprise myself at how soft and silky my cheeks feels when I rest my head in my hand.

Sadly, I’m quickly coming to the end of the tube! *sob* I’m at the stage where I find myself squeezing the living death out of it in desperation to get the very last drop of this magical serum!

Must. Buy. More.

FitBit Flex Wristband

FitBit

Just like billions of other people in the world, I made a quiet little New Year Resolution to myself to try and attempt to get somewhat fit and healthy.

It’s nearing the end of the month and I confess, I could’ve done a lot more than I have. However, I feel that I have moved more and been a lot more conscious of what I’ve been eating than last year, before all this resolution nonsense began!

And I put that down to this: my FitBit Flex Wristband.

Thanks to this smart little piece of technology, I’ve been able to easily track the amount of steps and calories I’ve racked up each day and then instantly make me feel guilty for not meeting my required goals for the day! But not to worry, that just encourages you to go just that bit harder the next day! So it’s a win-win situation!

I also love how comfortable is to wear, how quick it is to charge, that it’s water-proof and the instant feedback of deets throughout the day. Perfect!

***

So there are my six little favourite things from the month of January!

Did you have anything you’ve absolutely loved from this month? Let me know in the comment section below and we can digress together!

Happy Favouriting Friends!!

xx

TUTORIAL: The Chevron Block!

The Chevron Block

The Chevron Block

Oh, man! There’s just something real cool about the Chevron Block (Am I right!?)! I don’t know what it is, but geez, I just love this block! It’s simple, fast to piece together and is so effective when pieced into a quilt!

This is one I made in 2011 using the Chevron Block…

I called it A Summer Zig-Zag Quilt!

Summer Zig Zag Quilt (2011)

Summer Zig Zag Quilt (2011)

So here’s what you need to do to make this block…

Simply cut x2 5″ squares from two different fabrics (they can be contrasting, matching, clashing, be print vs. solid etc.) and then watch and learn how to piece it together in this video!

FINAL BLOCK SIZE: 22cmx22cm (8&5/8″x8&5/8″)

Here are just a few tips I’ve picked up along the way to help achieve perfect Chevron points…
When piecing together the HST units together, lay the diagonal seams directly on top of each other. (As shown in the video) Pin the two units together and carefully sew them into one row.
By ensuring that these seams are directly aligned with another on either end, you should have perfect points when you open the row out.

Always make sure you sew with a 1/4″ seam. I know I sound like a broken record saying to do this all the time but it really is essential to sew all of your seams exactly the same. If one seams is slightly bigger or smaller than the other, then you’ll begin having problems with matching your seams and points.

This is the most important one: Take your time! Don’t worry about making mistakes! Learn from what you’ve done wrong and simply try again until you master it! I know you can do it! :)

Two Chevron Blocks pieced together

Two Chevron Blocks pieced together

Have you made this block into a quilt? If you have, I would love to see a photo of your finished quilt! There are also some great Chevron Quilts to be found on Pinterest if you’re wanting to give this block a go and are looking for some inspiration!

Happy Sewing Friends!

xx

Classic Lamingtons

Originally posted on One Baker's Daughter:

Each year when Australia Day rolls around, we Aussie’s celebrate by feasting on the food that we’re well known for having… Big ol’ barbies, sausage sizzles, Vegemite sandwiches, meat pies with tomato sauce, ice cold glasses of Milo, a slice of Pavlova (even though it’s a dish claimed by the Kiwi’s!) and then, of course, there is the classic lamington! A simple sponge square lathered in rich chocolate icing and then covered completely in a sweet coconut crumb! Oh my!

Some versions of the lamington have either jam or cream sandwiched in the middle, but my little homemade ones are just the simple classic kind!

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Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe!

For the sponge:

  • 6 eggs
  • 150g of caster sugar
  • 50g of corn flour
  • 75g of plain flour
  • 50g of self-raising flour

For the chocolate icing:

  • 500g of sifted icing sugar
  • 50g of sifted cocoa powder
  • 15g of…

View original 402 more words

TUTORIAL: The Hashtag Block!

The Hashtag block seems to be absolutely everywhere at the moment! And when I say ‘everywhere’, I really just mean Pinterest and Instagram! :D

So I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and make a tutorial showing you how to make this block yourself! Yay!

This is a great little block for all levels of quilters! It’s very simple and quick to piece together and is a wonderful pattern to be able to mix and match prints, colours and values with!

To make this block you will need to…

Cut from one fabric:
x3: 3″x9″ rectangles

and then…

Cut from a contrasting fabric:
x2: 3″x9″ rectangles
and
x2: 3″x13&1/8″ rectangles

And then simply follow the step-by-step instructions in the video to learn how to piece this block together!

The final block size should come to about 32.5cmx32.5cm (12&3/4″x12&3/4″)

The Hashtag Block

The Hashtag Block

And just incase you’re curious, the print fabric I used for this block is called ‘Memoir’, from the Alchemy Quilting Collection by Amy Butler.

Don’t forget to let me know if you’re going to make this block! I would love to know how you get along!

Happy Sewing Friends!!

xx

Sewing Machines 101

Over the last little while, I’ve been asked some wonderfully awesome questions all about sewing machines. With questions ranging from…

What is the best sewing machine to use when I’m quilting?

How do I use a walking foot?

Can I make a large quilt using my small sewing machine?

What are the best types of threads to use for patchworking?

How much money should I spend on a good sewing machine?

And so many more!

So to answer these questions, I made a video where I sat down and went through all of the basics things there is to know about sewing machines!

Now you may be thinking, ‘how is it that she knows all this stuff!?’

Well, for about six years I worked in a very well know craft/fabric store here in Australia called Spotlight. There, I worked in the fabric and haberdashery department where we also sold sewing machines!

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About twice a year, we would have intensive training days with sewing machine reps who taught us everything there is to know about sewing machines, inside and out. We learnt how to demonstrate and talk to customers about sewing machines, how to troubleshoot problems they were having as well as understanding what machine was best for a particular end use i.e. dressmaking, quilting, heavy duty sewing etc.

So because of this, I feel confident in myself and in the knowledge I’ve learnt over the years to answer these questions for you. I am aware that I do not know everything and nor am I ever likely too! I myself, am still learning about the endless possibilities and all of the little intricacies that my sewing machine has to offer and I really love that!

If you have any questions about anything I say in this video or are unsure of any features/functions on yours or are having any issues, please feel free to ask/comment below! I will try my very best to answer you as honestly and as simply as I can!
Also, if you have any tips or nuggets of knowledge that you would like to share with me and others, please comment as well!!

Happy Sewing Friends!!

xx

PS. If you would like to see a few fun little moments where I stutter, mumble, make weird faces and struggle with my words, then you can catch the Bloopers video right here!

Enjoy! ;)