Sunday, October 28, 2012

A little of Ollie and Gus

Posts have been pretty infrequent here lately... what between Ollie, Gus, Pepper, the DH, work, the house and everything else in between, we've been keeping pretty busy over here.

There have been some pretty big milestones in our home this past month too. Our little Ollie celebrated his fifth birthday (in Star Wars style) and started school. I was a teary mess the months leading up to his birthday, but by the time he turned five and started school I was more than ready for it!

So here's some photo updates from the past month or so...

 Lovely cake made by my DH and decorated by my SIL.

The Darth Vadar of all frowns going on behind that mask...

I bought these awesome printable masks from here... The kids loved them!



Climbing trees. So happy to have a yard with trees that they can climb :)

Ready for school... Gus was a little bit sad to be loosing his daycare buddy.

The short walk to school (it's at the top of our street).
Oliver is loving school and making us very proud. Gus has settled well into being at daycare on his own too. It's the first time in his entire life he hasn't been with Ollie every day so it was a bit of an adjustment (probably more so for my mindset than anything else).
And here's a couple of pic's of Pepper...
She's getting really big and very tall. She weighs more than Ollie now!

She went to daycare to visit the children too - they loved her!
She's much better now that her canines are all through and her baby teeth are long gone! No more nipping at everything (including humans!). Full of beans and energy though! I'm walking her everyday sometimes twice as well as a lot of playing fetch or puppy in the middle.

Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this photo update. I can't believe it's November next week! We'll be celebrating our second wedding anniversary and from therein it won't be long before it's Christmas. I'll post back with some Christmas sewing updates (hopefully in the next week - but don't hold your breath waiting!).

Happy sewing!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bloggers Quilt Festival Fall 2012

This is my entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2012 (in Spring here!).

If you're new here - thanks so much for popping in - please make yourself comfy and take a look around!

This quilt has it's own story. It's a story I've never shared here because it was waiting for a happy ending. This year, the story got a happy ending so I think I am about ready to share... I want to say though that this post isn't about receiving sympathy, it's a post about a quilt, about finding strength and about making the right decions for yourself.

So like all stories, the best place to start is the beginning. My name is Lara and I was raised in a very loving Christian family. My parents worked very hard to raise my older brother and I. My father worked on average 70 hours + a week while I was growing up to provide a nice home for us and to put good food on our table. My mother worked very hard too and I am grateful to them both for many things.

My Christian upbringing has definitely cemented a lot of values and principals that I am trying to teach my own children, but a few years ago I chose not to follow a particular religion anymore. This broke my parents hearts and shortly thereafter I learnt that my partner and I were expecting our Oliver.

My parents found this particularly difficult to understand and while I know this wasn't an easy for decision for them at the time, they felt that their only option was to have nothing to do with me and my growing little family.

It wasn't easy, but I was lucky to have a very supportive and loving partner with a very large, loving and supportive family. During this time I learned how to stand on my own. How to listen and be guided by own voice and how to be a mother and partner. I realised that friends are the family we pick for ourselves and that by surrounding yourself with good people, you can create a circle of love.


I also learned that there's no family quite like your own and while I desperately missed my parents and my older brother, the most important lesson I learned was to change what you can change and to live my life the way I wanted to with my family. We added another son and got married, travelled and had a lot of fun.

Of course that didn't stop me thinking about my parents often and in my head I decided some years ago to make my parents a quilt a for their 40th wedding anniversary.  In 2009 I made them this little runner for their 36 wedding anniversary which I entered into my first ever bloggers quilt festival. I've always been very proud of their marriage and happy that after many years of being together, they still love each other. When I saw this quilt kit by Fig Tree Quilts I thought it was perfect. So I ordered it. It was a layby arrangement - the first payment was made in December, the second in January and the third in March when it was finally shipped.

A month after ordering the kit, I needed to contact my mother to find out about my family history and medical conditions upon the request of a specialist... this led to a phone call (the first in many years!), a few text message exchanges, and ultimately a meeting in late January to forgive and move forward. My parents finally met my children (then aged 4 and 2) and they've been happily involved in their lives ever since.

Even though their 40th wedding anniversary isn't until next year, I decided to make the quilt for their 39th wedding anniversary instead. It just seemed to be the right time and thing to do. So earlier this month I posted the quilt to my parents with a few other gifts from the boys. Fortunately, my mum loves the quilt and it's happily residing on their bed.

While I made the quilt I thought about all the things my parents had taught me and how they shaped my life. I thought about the good things and the bad things and the kind of mother I want to be to my boys. While my parents probably still don't completely understand the decisions I made and I don't completely understand the decisions they made, I am glad that we have got to a place in our lives when we realise what's important and can move forward.

So there you have it! I told you this quilt had a story of it's own, and if you managed to make it to the very end of this post thank you. Hug and love your family and your friends always.

Thank you Amy for hosting another wonderful Bloggers Quilt Festival. Don't forget to check out all the other wonderful entries here.

Quilt Details:

Fabric - California Girl by Fig Tree Quilts for Moda
Pattern - Boardwalk (with modified boders)
Size - 62" x 62"
Quilting - all over Cathedral pattern by my wonderful LAQ

Monday, August 20, 2012

Proof is in the Pudding

So this is the post in which I prove I have been productive. I have been working hard to finish up some works in progress this year and set myself a goal to use up as much of my stash as possible.

I finally made a proper start and finished the quilt top for Ollie's Single Boy quilt. Last year, I cut out the templates and a few of the letters, but stopped to work on Christmas presents and never quite made it back to finish this quilt. This will be one of Oliver's gifts when he turns 5 next month. The backing is a grey print from the Little Apples line.

I had assumed that this would be a difficult quilt too, but I am pleased to say that sewing those arcs and the curves was not as difficult as I thought it would have been. I was able to finish this quilt top up in about a weeks worth of sewing in the evenings and I would definitely encourage others to try this pattern. I have another matching quilt to make for Oliver's bunks and another Single Girl quilt to make for my SIL and I am really looking forward to making this pattern again!

This is actually the backing of the quilt below. I really didn't want to have to buy any fabric, so I chopped up a bunch of FQ's I purchased last year and a panel, added some left over squares from the Philatelic Society and voila! the backing was complete!

Here's the front... This quilt was also started last year (bit of a theme going on!). I started this around the same time as the Philatelic Society, and by the time I finished that quilt I'd had enough of looking at the Look and Learn fabric. Shameful I know. So this quilt sat in my WIP container unloved and untouched for a LONG time. In the end, this quilt also came together rather well. I finished chopping out the triangles and sewed my half hexies together, then once the quilt was laid out as I wished, it didn't take too long to turn the half hexies into rows and then the rows into a quilt top.

This probably is my most favourite quilt I've made to date.

And finally, a project started this year! I finished up this quilt top the other night (it needed two extra rows). This quilt will be used in our room in the winter months. I am just trying to decide what colours to do the back. I am going to buy some Kona solids.

So there you have it! Proof that I have been sewing! I have shared each of these quilts while they've been in progress over on Instagram. My name is lpsimpson if you want to find me :) I seem to share more regularly there than I do here (and there's quite a few pic's of Pepper too!).

Hopefully soon I'll be able to share these quilts in a finished state (not just quilt tops)! In the meantime, I've started working on another quilt of which I will share here soon. It's a very personal quilt top and I am looking forward to sharing it's story with you.

Until then, happy sewing all! x

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Place to Call Our Own

In March this year we finally moved into our own home. After many open homes and lots of real estate agents we finally had a place to call our own. A home.

I shared some pictures of the house (before we moved in) way back here. I thought it would be fun to share some updated pictures with our things as we continue to make the place ours. There's lots of space on the walls still and I am looking forward to filling it with art and things. Call it a work in progress!

First room on the home tour is our room. The master bedroom.

The mendocino quilt still takes pride of place.

Gorgeous french doors that lead to nowhere.

His n her wardrobes - a dream come true! Mine also houses the stash.

Our room is perfect. Nicely painted with gorgeous windows and lots of natural light. The curtains are tasteful and the wardrobes make me happy. So does that chest of drawers. It's definitely the best bedroom I've ever had! Well worth the wait.

Next up on the house tour will be Gus' bedroom... I'll aim for the same time next week (but don't hold your breath!).

Happy sewing x

Friday, July 27, 2012

3 Weeks! Holy Moly! And a Winner!

Well that went fast! In fact, I am positive I may have misplaced a week or two... Pepper has arrived and is growing like a bean.

She's growing a heap since we picked her up from the airport (above) and is full of beans. I can't wait for the mouthing to stop, but all in all she's a good girl - eats well, sleeps well and she's very good at doing her business outside! Needless to say, I've been juggling lots of housetraining and children and work and housework and family and sewing and... I've come to the conclusion that there's not enough hours in the day! I recently lamented this to a colleague who suggested I "sleep less"... but I'm already doing that too! On average I get maybe 6 hours (at most) sleep a night (not always end to end either!)...

Hmm. Anyway. I *still* haven't taken a photo of the prize, but I can tell you it's one of my AMH voile scarves and a Little Apples charm pack and a few other sewing notions.

Thanks for all your comments. I loved reading about how many quilts you'd made and how long you had all been quilting :) So... the winner is: NUMBER 5! Woop Woop thanks Mr Random Number Generator!

Congratulations Miriam! Love that this prize is going to another Kiwi!! I'll flick you an email :)

In other exciting news, I am working my way through my works in progress pile! More on that soon! Until then (and it could be a while!) happy sewing everyone and thanks again for all your lovely comments!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ummm Say What? A Blog Anniversary Giveaway

So it's been three years since I started this wee blog. It sure has gone by so very quickly. During that time I have made a bunch of quilts. More than I would have thought was even possible! I had to go back through my Flickr stream and old blog posts to count more than 35 completed quilts and table runners! Wowsers. I won't add up the cost associated with those finishes!

Here's a few of my favourites...

Bot Camp Twin quilts for Ollie... you should see how big he is against these quilts now. *sob* (2009)

Gus' winter I-Spy quilt (2010)

A gift... but still one of my most favourite quilts of all time. (2010)

A crafty exchange - 1 quilt for 2 gorgeous knitted jackets for our wedding... (2010). This quilt was a challenge for me.... working with fabrics and a design somebody else picked... but actually once the quilt was finished, I loved it. A lot. I still don't know why I haven't made another like it already?!

Gus' Philatelic Socitey quilt - I still have a love hate relationship with this quilt. Sometimes I love it. Sometimes I hate it. I think it has something to do with those 1200 seams... (2011)

Strawberry Triangles - a Christmas gift for the MIL. (2011)

Arcadia for John. I love Arcadia a bunch. Simple but definitely a favourite. (2011)

Gus' Swoon....

Bliss in Patches (2012)

There have been a bunch of other quilts I have loved... and I hope that the next 3 years brings a bunch more too! In honour of 3 years of posting, I am holding a wee giveaway... Leave a comment on this post for a special giveaway -because 3 is the magic number (well according to De La Sol anyway)... I will update this post shortly with a picture of the loot to be won... but don't let that stop you from commenting in the meantime :) I am just not organised enough! There's ways to increase your chances too...

  • Leave a comment for a chance to enter the giveaway (telling me about your most favourite quilt or how long you've been quilting and how many quilts you've made during that time).
  • Become a follower for a second chance to enter the giveaway. If you're already a follower, you already have two chances. Just leave me a comment telling me :)
  • Blog about the giveaway for third chance to enter the giveaway.
Thanks so much to my regular commenters (you know who you are!) for all your encouragement and support the last few years. I have loved getting all your comments - so thank you very much!

Good luck!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Baby Love

I mentioned the other day that we have a few friends expecting at the moment. The other weekend I went to my friend Lizzie's baby shower. I made this quilt for her baby to be nicknamed Skittles.

Can you see the cute monkey quilting? I used some Lightning Bugs for the back and some Freckles for binding. All from my stash! Boom!

This quilt is going to wing it's way to the UK. Close friends of ours welcomed a little boy. Zachary Leon. 9lbs and pure sweetness and all things adorable.

I used up my remaining dots for the backing and love that it's reversible. I used the same Freckles binding.

And next Friday we're having a little baby shower for one of the DH's workmates. She's expecting a little girl. I used a Bliss charm pack for the quilt top and backed the quilt in a sweet pick all over print from the range and also bound the quilt in pink too!

I hope she'll like it!

And here's the owner of the small feet pictured above. He just keeps on getting cuter and cuter. And bigger and bigger. He really is an endless source cuddles and kisses. Love him!

These 3 quilts bring my total of finished quilts year to date to 9!!! Woop Woop! And... I have been working at finishing up a few other projects too! I have one more quilt waiting to be quilted and another top requiring two more rows! Once it's completed, I plan to tackle Oliver's Single Boy quilt and hope to have it finished in time for his fifth birthday in September!

And in other news, Pepper arrives in 5 sleeps! One handful! I hope to whip up a welcome quilt between now and then for her too - so I had better get sewing.

Happy Sewing! x