Friday, 25 May 2012

Calm Blue Ocean Part Two

Print Friendly PDF HERE – diagrams are more specific on PDF

How’d everyone go with the four patches? Sick of them yet? I hope not, as we have some more!

This time we need to piece some more 3 ½” four patches, but instead of making them all blue, we need to throw in some background.

As always, remember scrappy is best! Use lots of different fabric choices when cutting. If you stick to two colour choices (e.g. blue and cream) like me, you should love your finished result.

From cream, cut 256 two inch squares. From coloured fabrics, cut 256 two inch squares.

Piece together a four patch as shown below.


Unit Two – Make 128

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Dear Jane–B1 Batchelor’s Buttons

I don’t know why they spelt Bachelor’s wrong in the book.  Is there a reason? 


Another block done.  I’m sort of pleased with this one, it looks fine from here, but up close my stitching looks like – well, I need to work on it.

Still, I guess that’s what this whole quilt is about.  Improving your skills as you go along.

Freezing day today.  The sun is shining but it’s cold cold.  It’s trickery.

Till tomorrow,


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Weekly Checklist

Part of my trying to get in order around the house/craft room is my weekly checklist.

I have a number of things that I must do daily, or else they will get away from me.  There are a number of other projects that I try to work on weekly. 

I know myself well enough by now to know that I can’t give myself too many daily jobs – they just don’t get done and I end up being deflated.  I’ve listed them into weekly jobs, that seems to be more successful for me.

It doesn’t matter what day I do them on, but hopefully by the end of the week, all of my jobs will have a big fat red line through them.  I’m trying to make myself accountable.

The current weekly checklist is:

  • One Dear Jane block
  • One Farmer’s Wife Sampler block
  • One 25 Patch block
  • One 9 Patch block
  • One Civil War Diary block
  • One Barbara Brackman block
  • One crocheted block a day
  • One Joseph’s Coat block
  • One blog post a day
  • One written personal diary entry a day

I’ve printed them up onto a checklist that hangs square in the middle of my work wall.  I see it every time I go into my room.  So far, so good. 

  • One Dear Jane block
  • One Farmer’s Wife Sampler block
  • One 25 Patch block
  • One 9 Patch block
  • One Civil War Diary block
  • One Barbara Brackman block
  • One crocheted block a day
  • One Joseph’s Coat block
  • One Pineapple block
  • One blog post a day
  • One written personal diary entry a day

So far, so good!  I know it seems like a big list, but these are all UFO’s to be done.  I find if I work on one, I tend to work on it till I finish it anyway, despite all the work I make myself do on the rest of the checklist.  It’s a fluid thing, I change it all the time and take things off, add things on.

None of it is set in stone, except the personal diary entry a day.  Been doing that for years now, and I find if I don’t write every day, whole weeks or months go past. 

I’m also trying to get into the daily exercise thing which is so far not going so well.  But if I add that to my check list, maybe it will.  Habit forming, and all that.

Till tomorrow,


Monday, 21 May 2012

Monday Update

Back to some resemblence of routine today – school, work, shopping.  I’m trying very hard to be ordered.  They say it takes a month to learn a habit – I’m trying very hard to train myself into order. 


If I actually come clean about the number of UFO’s I have, you’d die.  Just So Many.  But I’m systematically working them down, and today I spent some time doing these little 25” patches.  They measure 8” square, and I’m trying really hard to do them all the right size.  I started them as an exercise to get my 1/4” seam working properly, and I’m still not happy with it.  If I move my needle 4 clicks to the left, they are too small.  If I move the needle 5 clicks to the left, they are too big.  I’m not sure just how much more I can do to get that perfect 1/4” seam.

But, I’ve made 20 blocks and I’ve tallied up that I need 61 to make a quilt of a decent size, so I’ll be working on that seam allowance. 

I WILL get there. 

You can just see the tops of the Joseph’s Coat block peeking out there.  That’s a post for another day, but I’ve been working on that one too.

Till tomorrow,


Sunday, 20 May 2012

Sunday Update

Just dropped in to show you a quick couple of things I managed to cross off my To Do list over the weekend.

dear jane



Struggling to get a conversation line in between those two little photos – some days computers are just not my friend.

The first one is (obviously) a Dear Jane block, the number of which escapes me, but it’s one of The Easy Ones.  I’m going to have to start on The Hard Ones soon.  Wish me luck.

The second little photo is a library bag I made for my youngest daughter who started kindy a few weeks ago.  It’s not smudged on the white, it had her name on it and I smudged it out with my photo software to keep her name a little private.  It’s something I grapple with, how much of my children’s lives I should put online.  Remembering of course, that online is forever.  Said daughter is outside bawling her head off, life is not going her way today. 

It’s very difficult, being four years old.

Better go be a good mummy.

Till tomorrow,


Friday, 18 May 2012

Calm Blue Ocean Part One

Print Friendly PDF HERE – diagrams are more specific on the PDF

Are you ready to begin? I hope you have a blast!

In this step, we will be making four patches that will measure 3 ½” unfinished.

From your bag of coloured scraps, you need to cut 356 two inch squares.

Chain piece your two inch squares to make a four patch unit.



This should measure 3 ½” square. Trim if necessary. You will need 89 of these units. Put aside in a ziplock bag marked Unit One.


Unit One – Make 89

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Calm Blue Ocean Intro and Fabric Requirements

Printer Friendly PDF found HERE – diagrams are more specific on the PDF

Hello and welcome to my first ever mystery quilt! I’ve had a blast developing this design, and learnt so much about my computer and EQ6 while I’ve been doing it! I am really excited to share this with you.

This will work wonderfully as a scrappy quilt. I’ve made it in a simple two colour toning (creams and blues). I’ve used the same cream throughout but feel free to mix and match.

See my photo for a guide as to what I used:


There will be lots of piecing in this quilt. There will be lots of four patches, so if you’re a ‘leader and ender’ kind of quilter, you’ll love this design.

It’s easy peasy, and as long as you can cut straight and sew straight, you’ll do really well. I’m not the most accurate of sewers some days, and I find it’s always a good idea to use a scant ¼” seam, and then trimming down if need be.

My finished quilt will measure 75” square, so it’s average in size. You can make it bigger if you like, that will be easy enough. But there are lots of piecing sections to do, so I suggest you start with my sizing first of all.

Each step is easy, and with instructions being released every two weeks (approximately, as time permits), I hope you’ll be able to keep up.

Feel free to take a little break from time to time if you want to, but remember that others may be discussing their quilt around the traps and the design may be revealed if you’re not careful.

That’s all from me. I hope that you love this quilt as much as I loved doing it for you. I know you understand that I am a beginner at publishing this sort of thing, so please email me at with any questions or queries.

Requirements List

· Light fabric for background - approximately 5 yards (I have used cream)

· Coloured fabric for blocks - approximately 6 yards*

*as we are using scrappy fabrics, it’s really hard to estimate. My advice is to just keep cutting from your scrap basket till you have enough, adding as you need it. 6 yards is the figure EQ6 gave me.

· Ziplock Bags.

· All the usual requirements for quilting (rotary cutter, mat, board, iron etc)

That’s it really! Next week we’ll start the cutting and stitching. Let’s have fun!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Calm Blue Ocean Mystery Quilt

As promised, here is the schedule for our mystery quilt.  I’ve decided to go with weekly instalments rather than fortnightly.  Two weeks is too long to wait in between parts, don’t you think?

It’s a ten-parter, so it should take a couple of months to make at an easy going pace.

Due to my limitations with the Blog programme, I’m not really sure how to transfer my EQ pictures into my blog.  So, the PDF’s have all the best instructions and diagrams, and I really recommend that you download them when told to. 

Thursday 17th May – Introduction and Fabric Requirements

Friday 18th May – Part One

Friday 25th May – Part Two

Friday 1st June – Part Three

Friday 8th June – Part Four

Friday 15th June – Part Five

Friday 22th June – Part Six

Friday 29th June – Part Seven

Friday 6th July – Part Eight

Friday 13th July – Part Nine

Friday 20th July – Part Ten

Please email me with any queries or questions, and remember, HAVE FUN!

See you tomorrow!


Monday, 14 May 2012

Ready for a mystery quilt?

So I’ve been a little sneaky.  I’ve done a mystery quilt.  It’s my first, and I did it as a combination of just wanting to try something new for the blog, and also to get to know how to use Electric Quilt.  It worked out really well, and so I invite you to join along in the…….

Calm Blue Ocean Mystery Quilt Logo

The name came about because at the time I was designing this quilt, I was having multiple problems with both the laptop I was working on, and my machine.  I needed the lap top for the Electric Quilt and instructions, and I needed the machine for sewing the jolly quilt! 

I found myself doing lots of deep breathing and walking away and thinking of nice, calming things, like a Calm Blue Ocean.  

Calm Blue Ocean.  Deep breath.  Calm Blue Ocean.

Anyway, I loved doing this design.  I’m thrilled to my toes with the finished result of it.  It’s been quilted by my very fabulous (and free) long arm machine quilter who also happens to be my mother. 

I even made the logo myself. Clever old thing.

I plan to release the new instalments every two weeks, unless you all talk me into doing it weekly.  It’s not hard, not at all.  It isn’t as intense as Bonnie Hunter’s tend to be but there is a lot of piecing, all rotary cut, no applique.  It’s broken up into small steps, and each step is well and truly achievable in a day or so. 

So are you ready?  I’ll post a schedule in a day or so, but tell your friends, make sure you click on the follow me button and let’s have some fun!

(Bountiful Bouquet is still going strong of course, but a mystery is always so much fun!).


Sunday, 13 May 2012

Dear Jane So Far


Getting there.  Oh so very slowly.

Dear Jane - Simple Simon Block M10


Another really easy peasy block this week.  I’m gonna have to start doing the hard ones soon.  Maybe I’ll have some time to myself this afternoon.  We’ll see.


Friday, 11 May 2012

Covering An Ugly Book With A Beautiful Cover Tutorial

Is that title explicit enough?

A few weeks ago I discussed how it was already May and I needed to get my backside into gear and cover my 2012 diary.

I did a search on the internet, but I couldn’t find the tutorial that suited me.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do but I couldn’t find it.  I’m sure it’s out there, and I didn’t look too hard, but I figured Oh why not add a tutorial to the masses that are already out there?  I’m nothing if not innovative.

So here is MY version of the tutorial.  At the very least, it’ll save me hours of searching NEXT May when it’s time to cover 2013’s diary.

Step One: 

Collect your supplies.  You’ll need general sewing requirements, plus wadding, backing and a piece of fabric (or a quilted item) that will cover your book.

I have made a piece of quilted fabric from hexagons left over from another project, and quilted it already.  I didn’t put a backing on it, it will be covered with lining so it doesn’t matter if the wadding is showing for now.  I’ve embellished, I’ve used old quilt blocks, I’ve pieced all sorts for my various diary covers.  Go nuts.


Step Two: 

Measure your book.  You will need to record the measurement from side to side and top to bottom.


In my case, my book measures 12.25” from side to side by 8.50” from top to bottom.

Step Three: 

Add some width and depth to your measurements – if you’re making a small cover, add about five inches to the side to side measurements.  If you’re making a medium or large book, add about eight inches to these measurements.  We are allowing for the ‘foldover’ part of your diary cover.

You also need to add 1” to the top and bottom measurement.

So using my cover as a guide – I’ll add about 6 inches to the side to side measurement, plus 1” to the top to bottom measurement.  So my new measurements will be 16.25” x 9.50”.

Step Four:

Cut your quilted fabric to measure the same as the numbers above – e.g. my measurements were 16.25” x 9.25” so I need to cut to the same size.

Step Five:

Hem each short length of your diary cover by folding .25” to wrong side and top stitching down.



Measure this now.  Mine measures 15” x 9.5” after this step.

Step Six:

Mark the centre of your cover with a pin or light pencil mark.  Lay book cover flat right sides up.



Fold the flaps over to the right side.  Do this by laying the book over the right side of the cover, matching pin with centre spine of book.  Fold one flap over, making sure your book doesn’t move from its position.  Pin flap in place.  Repeat with other side.



I can already see here how my flaps are far too small, so make sure that you err to the side of generous when you calculate how much to fold over.  Too small and you run the risk of your book not slipping into its cover but constantly falling out.   You can always cut them smaller if you need to.

Quickly check that your book will fit inside the cover by laying the book over the cover, matching the centre spine of the book with the pin in the centre of the cover.  Make sure you remove the pin!  Slip the book inside the cover – the cover should be slightly bigger than the book.  We can adjust this – if you think your book is too small and the cover will be floppy, make the flaps a little larger.  If the reverse is true, and the book won’t fit inside the cover, you need to make the flaps a little smaller.

Step Seven

Measure your book cover and record this measurement.  Mine now measures 9.5” x 12.25”.  Cut a piece of lining this size.


Lay this lining piece right sides together over your book cover so that the flaps are covered and secure top and bottom with pins.



Stitch along the top and bottom of the cover using a 1/4” seam. 


Step Eight:

Turn through.  This is a two part step.

Firstly, turn the cover so that the right side is showing.  Slip your hand into the cover, grasping the opposite side.


Pull through to right side.  I like to press it flat now so that the lining is neatly under the right side of the book cover.



Now you need to fold the flaps back to the wrong side.



Give your diary a good press and slip the diary in.


Hopefully, all fits nicely and snuggly and you’re happy with your diary cover!  Obviously my cover flaps are far too small, so be sure to include more for yours.

This will work for any book, though I only ever really use it for those books with harder covers. 


Thursday, 10 May 2012

Bountiful Bouquet Month Eight

I’m so sorry this one is late, and it comes at the expense of photographed pictures.  But I’m assuming by now you know how to do my method of applique, as you’ve had a couple of months previously to do some.  I do apologise once again for the delay.

Click here for a printer friendly pdf

This month we will be making our lower appliqued strip:

100_0601 (2)

You will require all your normal sewing requirements, but you will need the ten inch strip of background fabric you cut off in Month Two, plus various greens and coloured fabrics for your applique.

Press any centre fold seams from your background fabric.

Now, right click on the following files and save them somewhere safe.

bountiful bouquet month eight page one diagram

bountiful bouquet month eight page two diagram

bountiful bouquet month eight page three diagram

bountiful bouquet month eight page four

Alternatively, you can download the diagrams from here:

Page One, Page Two, Page Three, Page Four

Now, right click on each of these pictures and when given the option to print, do so. PRINT TWO COPIES OF EACH PAGE. I'm in Australia, using A4 paper that measures 8.25" x 11.75". Tape them together with sticky tape all the way being sure to overlap where indicated.

It may help if you put the images over the light box when doing this step. You want to make sure that the ones underneath are laying in the right spot before you tape. Now measure your design - it needs to be in the vicinity of 7" x 40" but honestly, an inch or two different in size isn't going to matter as long as it's not bigger than your background piece (which will have a finished size of 8" x 42").

Write at the top of one of the papers REVERSED PIECE and set this paper aside for now.

Okie dokie. Now the fun starts.

**one of my lovely readers has drawn up these beautiful, crisp individual diagrams for each flower.  Feel free to download these and use them as your vliesofix tracing template if that works for you.  Not all of the individual pieces are on there (birds for example) but it’s a good start at least – right click to save them or download them from here and here).

Pattern Pieces for Blocks 1 - 2 - 3

Pattern Pieces for Blocks 4 - 5 - 6

For the next step, I lay my whole border piece of fabric onto an ironing board right side up. I then set up a smaller ironing board (or a folded towel, just a smaller thing to iron on). It will be on this smaller board that I do my fiddly work with the bits and pieces of applique.

Now you can see that I have numbered the floral appliques. It's easier to start at the first number and go on, slowly, while you plod through it. We will work from the first applique design first, not the one marked REVERSED PIECE.

Trace as many pieces as you wish to onto the smooth side of the vliesofix or fusible webbing, making sure that you leave a little bit of space around each shape. Remember to number each piece to correspond with your background diagram. This will save you going nuts later in the placement stage. Cut roughly around each shape in the space provided.

Decide what colours you wish to make each applique shape from. Use our photo for placement guidelines if you wish but be adventurous. Every garden is different!

With the iron on the dry setting (no steam) lay the rough side of the vliesofix onto the wrong side of the fabric you wish to use for each appliqued piece. Fuse the webbing to the fabric by ironing over each piece for a short time. Cut out on the line and let cool completely.

Now, take that other piece of paper marked REVERSE PIECE and lay it face down (or reversed) onto your ironing board. This is your placement picture so it needs to be reversed to the one that we are working with tracing our bits and pieces. You should be able to see your design through the fabric, but if not, I find that taping the paper onto a window frame or light box and then drawing your picture onto the reverse side. Centre your background over your design. The long vertical stem in the middle of the picture is the middle, use that as a guide.

Peel the backing paper from each piece and lay in place over the traced lines on your background fabric where it is indicated. I find the backing paper peels off much easier if you let it totally cool after pressing.

Begin in numerical order. Start with number one and continue onward. Gradually add the layers that are on top. Lay as many out as you feel comfy with and then press in place. This is why I use two ironing setups, you will NOT want to move the background fabric when all the bits and pieces are laying in place.

When all your bits and pieces are in place and you are happy, give it a good final press to secure any loose corners and using a new needle and two strands of matching embroidery floss, blanket stitch around all exposed edges of your applique shapes.

Trim border length to 8.5" x 42.5" and set aside for now.

That’s it!  Please email me if you need help.

Till next time,


Monday, 7 May 2012

Dear Jane–Field Of Dreams Block D13

(I wrote this post last week and hadn’t published it.  I haven’t had time to do anything but redo the complete stuff up on BBouquet.  It’s coming!)

Dear Jane Field Of Dreams D13

A quickie today.  This was easy.  I usually avoid the whole triangle therefore it’s biased therefore it gets all stretchy and it’s all too hard thing.  But this time I did it.  And it worked easily.  So yay me!

This is called Field Of Dreams.  It’s block no. D13.  I’m definitely not following any numerical system to make them.  I decided to start the easy ones first.  Then when I have too many to just let them stew in a box somewhere as yet again another UFO, I’ll have to do the hard ones. 

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Bountiful Bouquet

Hi loyal bountiful bouquet-ers.  Yes it is a word, I checked.

So you know that rule, measure twice, cut once?  It's really important that you follow it.

I didn't follow it, and that is why your month eight of Bountiful Bouquet is a wee bit late.

Let's just say that I made a major mess up of this month, and I'm very cross with myself.

So please talk amongst yourselves for a couple of days, and I'll work my butt off to get it online for you.

Sorry my dears,


Friday, 4 May 2012

Dear Jane … again

Just a little housekeeping update with two photos – I’m trying to upload them all in one spot but it’s not working too cooperatively so this will have to do for now.

Dear Jane Pinwheel Gone Awry A1

A1 – pinwheel gone awry.  This little sucker was HARD.  Took me all day.  Has twenty eight pieces.  Not the best block to begin my journey with.

Dear Jane Uncle Homer A6

A6 – Uncle Homer.  This one was easy peasy and took me about four minutes to piece.  Has nine pieces and should have definitely been the one I started with.  Excuse the stray thread.  I’m terrible about chopping off loose ends.  Metaphor for my life, really.

So, I have made two whole blocks.  Yippee.  Now my Dear Jane looks like this:


Whoo Hoo.

Till tomorrow,


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Oh Dear Jane



Back when I was young and silly, I had enough money not only to buy the Electric Quilt Software, but also the Dear Jane accompanying software. 

Because I had sooooo much time and those little blocks could not possibly be that hard – five inch blocks couldn’t possibly be so bad – I set myself a target of one block a day, so that it would be done in a year.

And of course, I would hand quilt it because only a lazy person machine quilts.  Right?  And given that I’d work on it every day, that too would be done in a few months.  Right?


This is how that went.   And let’s be clear.  I started this well over eighteen months ago.


I got busy.  I built a house.  I had children.  But I must admit, it isn’t fair to blame the kids and all the things a busy life encompasses for my lack of progress on Dear Jane.  It’s damn hard.  It should be called Damn Jane.  That one little block took me   ALL.  DAY.   LONG.

All Day Long.

I was having a clean out of my computer desk and found the software for the Dear Jane which I hadn’t loaded onto my laptop yet.  So I’ve done that now, and I hope that it provides the spur for me to get my act into gear and do more.  I’ve more reproduction fabric than anyone has a right to, so I’m aiming for one a week.  Nothing silly like one a day.  One a week.  You guys will keep me in line, won’t you?


Till tomorrow,



I’m sorry, I’m such a bad blogger.  I do try to write daily.  Really I do.

I have decided that I am possibly the most disorganised person I know.  I do (seriously) have dreams at night about having an organised house, an organised mind.  Other women dream of Brad Pitt or George Clooney, I dream of a house that is clean and tidy and everything in its place.

It doesn’t help that May is quite possibly the worst (best??) month around here for busy times.  Much worse than Christmas.  I have a husband who has a birthday in May.  So we figured it would be spectacularly clever of us to get married in May.  Then, just to spite us, our second daughter was born on our wedding anniversary. 

So in May, I get a wedding anniversary and two birthdays. 

Husband gets it worse than me.  He has Mother’s Day thrown in there too!  But then I’m the one who does the whole ‘Dear Mother-In-Law, let’s pretend that your loving son lovingly chose your mother’s day present for you and wrapped it and wrote in your card’ so I guess you could add that job to my list.

Plus I do have my own mother also.  So May is a busy, busy, EXPENSIVE time for our little family.  Not that I would really have it any other way.  What a terribly problem to have – too many relatives to shower presents on.  But all these little anniversaries happen in the same week, the same stretch of seven days.  We are a busy little family right now.

IBut  haven’t been idle while I’ve been away – I did this:

100_1826 (2)

which I didn’t realise until about two minutes ago that the red hourglass shapes are totally around the wrong way and I’ll have to unpick it.  That’s a job for later on this afternoon.

I also did this:

100_1829 (2)

and this:

100_1833 (2)

and this:

100_1835 (2)

and this:

100_1838 (2)

in a class that we held at our quilting group.  I’ve never dyed fabric before but I think I would safely say that I could well be hooked!  I need to tone it all down a bit, the last three of each colour are so alike that I needn’t have bothered, but I’d like some more lighter variances.  The pink isn’t quite so shockingly bright as it looks online, but it’s fairly out there. 

I might do a photo step by step post to show you how I did it, if I have time soon.  It was the most excellent fun!

And finally.  I’ve been stitching loads of leftover hexies together ‘for a quilt’.  I finally realised that I don’t have to make full size quilts ALL the time, so I think that this:

100_1819 (2)

will be used to cover this:

100_1823 (2)

which if you can’t read the numbers, is my 2012 diary.  Which I was supposed to have covered before the start of 2012.  And seeing that it’s May already, I think I’m a little behind!

Another job for today.  Hopefully.

One last thing – Bountiful Bouquet Month Eight is coming tomorrow!  I promise!

Off to get my photo taken for my new license photo now.  This one will last me till I turn 52.  FIFTY TWO!  Do you ever think how did I get to be this age?  I feel eighteen inside still?  Or is that just me?

Till tomorrow, lovely readers,