25 September, 2011

Instagram fun

Although I had a slight hiccup with the new upgrade, I've been enjoying Instagram enormously, particularly playing with filters and using other apps to produce images that don't remotely resemble the original! On some levels that bothers me because I do like pictures to look like reality, but I can't deny the appeal of the filter.

I'm always interested to hear about other people's forays into photography with the iPhone so I thought I'd just put up a couple of mine of a Magnolia tree at the top of the drive down to Hazel's school and just show you how I did what I did - nothing particularly complicated and I haven't managed to come to grips with putting an image through numerous filters on various apps.

Magnolia 1
Clockwise from top left: SOOC; edited for contrast and saturation in PS (Photoshop) Express; Cropped and edited with X-Pro II filter in Instagram; same photo but using the Gotham filter (sadly gone since last upgrade, I'm pretty ticked off about that, hope they bring it back!).

Magnolia 2

Clockwise from top left: SOOC; edited in PS Express for exposure, contrast, saturation and focus - all to get it looking like it did to the eye at the time; run through the app Snapseed (can't remember if I did two filters or just grunge at 400). I came across Snapseed a couple days ago via a contact on Instagram and am really liking it. The filters are interesting and the basic photoediting tools are probably better than PS Express's, plus you can crop to various dimensions easily, so I suspect I'll be using it a lot.

24 September, 2011

That winning feeling

You'd think all I did was enter giveaways these days because dammit I won another one! I suspect this is my luck for the rest of the year, or maybe the next two, but I'm pretty pleased anyways. The giveaway was at The House of Marmalade, a blog about corsetry that I've been reading for quite awhile now and which I find endlessly fascinating - despite not owning one! Corsets really are rather gorgeous objects. Anyways! The giveaway I won was from Dragonfly Fabrics in the UK and was a Colette pattern and 3m of ribbon. Woohoo! And then of course they had a sale on summer fabrics and hey, it's going to be summer here at some point so I showed Hazel a few things and bought what she wanted (like that's any guarantee of success, but I live in hope). There's a voile (top) a cotton with blue flowers that she fell in love with immediately (interesting crisp weight with a bit of a wrinkly texture, I'll have to think carefully about what to make with it) and two lovely knits. I've always wanted to try a Colette pattern but have been a bit unsure about the examples I've seen (the skirts always seem too short to be honest). I went with the Chantilly dress because I thought it would suit a curvy figure the best without being too retro. And the whole package came wrapped up in the most gorgeous ribbon, pretty much as nice as the spotty raspberry ribbon that was the prize. And as usual I'm amazed how fast stuff comes from the UK - I think this took 3 days? I guess that's the benefit of lots of planes travelling back and forth between here and the motherland.

I'm posting this during the All Blacks vs. France rugby game - am I the only person in New Zealand not watching? I'm sure I'm not but they may try and deport me anyways because I admitted it (plus I talk like a furriner).

22 September, 2011

Cathedral Window pillow WIP

Cathedral Window pillow WIP

I've been having great fun figuring out how to do cathedral window blocks so I can make a pillow for a friend who needs more fun cushions on her couch. It's definitely a learning curve, although the process itself isn't hard, it just has about a million steps. I've discovered that it's the points that make or break it, so I'll have to be more careful with those mitres next time I try it - which I think I will. I'm using this tutorial at House of a la Mode.

A question for experienced quilters about templates - I've been using a thin cardboard one to form the blocks, it's just a big 15" square that you use with an iron to mitre corners and fold over the edges evenly. The cardboard hasn't really held its shape all that well with the heat of the iron, and I think it's partially the reason why my corners weren't perfectly mitred. What would you recommend instead? Can you iron template plastic?

19 September, 2011

SMS MBOM September

Ack, it's been a bit quiet around here lately! I think I'm suffering a bit from having so many things to do I don't know where to start and consequently don't do anything - my instinctive reaction to stress and not exactly the best way to cope with it! So instead of painting the rooms I've painted a side table and instead of tackling larger sewing projects I've done another Sew Mama Sew MBOM block and some stuffed animal sleeping bags (photos when finished). And no, none are indicative of starting small and working my along that way - they're all avoidance behaviour! As is Pinterest, Instagram and the internet in general...

This was a super-challenging block for me as I've never done triangles before and the instructions were a bit vague when it came to piecing the angles together. After a few false starts and unripped seams I got there! Though oddly, the top and bottom strips are too small - I'm sure I cut them right, but something happened somewhere so I'll have to cut longer strips and do that bit over.

SMS MBOM September

And all three blocks so far

SMS MBOM July, August and September

I'm generally not a huge fan of quilts with random blocks (I'd be hopeless in many bees for this reason), but so far I think I'll like it, and I guess given that there will only be 12 blocks in it I'll duplicate a few of my favourites to make it a good size. I like the scrappy wonky block the best but who knows what blocks are to come! If we're going to be covering a variety of techniques then I'm guessing there will be a circle and some curves (eek! might have to investigate this Curve Master foot), some stacking and cutting...a dresden plate or something like that? What do you think is still to come?

11 September, 2011

My next big adventure

I'm starting on a cathedral window pillow for a friend. Precision ironing takes time but it's quite satisfying!

08 September, 2011

Organic baby

I've finally finished up the quilt for baby Oliver

Baby quilt

The fabrics are all by Mona Luna and come from Stitchbird - I also completely copied her quilt with the same fabrics. Why mess with perfection?

This is the first time I've sewn with organic cottons and they were very nice. The texture is more like sheeting, which means they don't quite behave like regular quilting cottons being a bit crisper and more densely-woven.

I made a huge mistake when I pre-washed them though and did my usual routine of "treat 'em mean" by putting them through a hot wash and the dryer, and then a hot iron. Well it turns out that when it comes to Mona Luna's organics treating them mean doesn't keep 'em keen, it makes them shrink a bit and fade along creases! Ahhh! As Lyndy found out for me subsequently, they recommend a cold wash - so let me be a terrible warning for you all. It didn't ruin them exactly, but the bears look a bit faded in places and I couldn't quite squeeze out 7 squares from each metric FQ one some so there is more duplication than I'd have liked.

I used a wool batting for the first time and while I like the loftiness and warmth it has, it doesn't have the drape I'm used to with cotton and, combined with the crisper cotton fabrics, is quite stiff. But that might be the batting itself, perhaps if I went for something more expensive than Spotlight's version it might be nicer?

Baby quilt

I do love it and the crazy brightness though, and I couldn't resist getting a bit extra of the Swedish Forest one with all the animals for me. Not sure what I'll do with it though! And Lyndy, you should try and get in some of the Woodland Party print to go with the others, it's gorgeous!

07 September, 2011

My Web

I just updated Firefox and it had this fun little quizzy thing when it restarted that promised to 'visualise my web' and what the hell, I don't have much else to do tonight! If you click on this link to it you can see what each symbol represents, but they're pretty self-explanatory I'd say

Jacqui's Web

Two things they got wrong: I am not in the U.S.A (Statue of Liberty) and I have no idea why they thought I was (perhaps in their little world they think the whole world wishes they were?) and I'm most definitely not the life of the party (party blower). But otherwise, yeah not bad!

06 September, 2011


I seem to have forgotten to blog recently! No real reason other than having a guest over the weekend (who was using my computer in the spare room) and generally just not having things to blog about. I've been working on a quilt for a friend's new baby, but there hasn't been a huge amount of craftiness going on recently. But hey, this isn't just a crafty blog, even if it seems to be, so how about some pretty photos?

When our guest arrived on Friday morning I took him out for a walk along the harbour edge to stave off jetlag, and we found a whole bunch of kina shells (sea urchins) that someone had collected and eaten and the spines had all fallen off subsequently. Personally I wouldn't eat them, they look like snot, but the outsides, well they're just gorgeous


And the insides of the shells are pretty cool too

Kina inside

Hopefully regular programming will resume soon, although there is the small matter of two rooms to be painted...


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