Author Archives: Helen

Half done stars


On impulse, at the start of lockdown I bought a bundle of fat quarters online. They have been sitting on my table staring me down for months, as I had no idea what I wanted to do with them and I didn’t really have anything to go with them.

I cracked them open this week and started making 16 inch star blocks, which for some reason seem to be taking forever. So despite a week of cutting and sewing I have sixteen half done stars about which I have really mixed feelings. Which might be why its taking so long. When I started I was worried that there wasn’t enough contrast between the fabrics and the whole thing would end up looking like a busy mess.

I think they are starting to grow on me though.

The other thing I have been working on is trying to translate the instructions for a kit for a pencil case I bought in Japan. I don’t speak (or read) a word of Japanese, but it’s amazing what you can achieve with a translation app on your phone. At least I’ve gone from completely baffled to, maybe I get this.

Progress of sorts?


OK, so I said two weeks ago that I was going to quilt the baby quilt at the weekend. Well, I have done exactly this much…

I guess two blocks is better than none, and I tried out two different stitches on my sewing machine the straight quilting stitch and the built in stipple stitch.

The stipple stitch is quite nice, but it is quite small so wouldn’t be great for across a really large area. The straight stitch not so much as the fabric was bunching when I sewed towards an area I had already stitched, but pretty good considering I don’t have a walking foot for this machine yet.

Getting back into the swing of things

Getting back into the swing of things

I haven’t been doing a lot of sewing lately. I’ve been trying to finish a quilt from a kit and have to be honest, I love the quilt but I’m not a make things from patterns person. Everyone sews for different reasons I guess and for me the problem solving bit of making things from scratch is part of what I find enjoyable about craft. I like figuring things out.

In the interest of getting my groove back, this weekend I tipped a whole bunch of fabric onto my coffee table with the intention of making something small and getting some practice quilting on my new machine.

I didn’t start with a pattern in mind I just started by picking some fabric that I liked and the idea of making something simple. So I went with the plaid fabric that I bought in Japan with the idea of making basket weave blocks. When I went to cut the blocks which were supposed to be made up of three 21/2 by 51/2 inch rectangles I realised I couldn’t cut very many pieces from the small bits of fabric I had, but if I cut them 21/2 by 5 inch I could get twice as many. So I did that.

The problem then was that my basket weave blocks were rectangles not squares and I had to think of some other way to put them together. I decided to separate them with some plain blocks and then went back to my coffee table for more fabric.

After putting it together I decided it needed a border to make it big enough to be a baby quilt. I auditioned a few choices.

I couldn’t make up my mind so decided to go with both.

Not sure how I feel about it at the moment. The blue pops way more in the photo than it does in real life, but I think how I quilt it will change the look again so I have pinned it and quilting will be this weekend’s job.

The saga of the ironing board cover


It feels a bit weird because the world is going a bit crazy but in my personal space not a lot is happening, so I tend to get excited about the small things. About 2 months ago I bought a new ironing board cover online, but it got lost in the mail. After a complaint to the post office, who graciously admitted they had delivered it to the wrong house and couldn’t get it back, the company I bought it from sent me out a replacement. It arrived yesterday – delivered by a very friendly, post person who went out of their way to make sure I was home and had received it. It’s a bit exciting, especially given the state of the old one.

Appreciating the rain


It’s actually raining. Really raining. Which is good. I have a huge Mango tree in my yard. It was here when I bought the house and from the size of it I think it is probably at least 40 or 50 years old. Yesterday I had to remove a huge branch which had died. I was standing on my dried out back lawn, which I haven’t had to mow for months, trying to figure out what was wrong with the thing and whether I should prune the whole thing instead of just the dead branch, and realised that the only explanation was the drought we’d been having. It’s bad when even the big trees are struggling.

So today, I am just appreciating the rain even if it means I don’t get my washing done.

Not much crafting going on here, though maybe I will get some done this afternoon. It would be a good day to sit on the couch and knit.



Not much happening here, some big plans swirling in my head but not really ready to unleash them on the world just yet.

Sewing is going slowly. I finished two more little zipper pouches, but the one thing that I have been able to stick at is some sashiko panels that I bought at a show earlier in the year before everything went pear shaped. There is something very calming about the stitching of these.

Mostly I have been making the squares into napkins, and maybe one day I’ll actually get up the nerve to use them for that, one day in the future when I’ve forgotten how much work went into them.



The last couple of months haven’t been super productive for me and I guess, like a lot of people, I have been struggling to focus and control my stress. Also, I think working from home was changing the way I saw my space. Trying to have my work office and my home office in the same space and just switching out the laptop when work finished wasn’t really helping. Yesterday I moved my sewing machine, my personal laptop and some of my craft supplies to the dining table. It does feel better already working/playing out here. Not that the office isn’t nice, it’s actually the nicest place in the house on a winter’s afternoon, I just feel freer out here. Though I do have one small carry over. My glasses.

The last couple of years I have worn glasses at work. My eye sight was never that bad,  I have a slight astigmatism, but a combination of screen time and artificial lighting meant that by the end of the day my eyes were strained and tired and the glasses helped stop that. However, I was taking a shower the other day and my shower is over the bath. I was squinting at the end of the bath from the shower end and realised I couldn’t tell which bottle was conditioner and which was shampoo. Got me thinking about a whole lot of other things. Firstly, I probably need to go back and get my eyes checked again, despite only having them done 6 months ago, but also what other areas of my life this was impacting without me even realising it. I was always a reader growing up, novels mostly, all sorts of things as a younger adult but over the last few years the number of books I have read has gradually decreased as I struggled to pay attention to the page. Maybe putting my glasses on would help 🙂

I have been a little productive. Everything in my veggie patch is still alive and I have been taking a break from the big quilt to restock my present stash. There have been a couple of birthdays and mother’s day over the last few months and not being able to go shopping for gifts has meant raiding my stash of hand made objects. I started making some little zipper pouches, because you can never have too many of them. They are handy for pencil cases or separating things out in your handbag, can be used as dice bags for geeks. Lets face it, everyone needs storage and I have two down and two more cut out. So now my chores are done I am off for an afternoon or sewing and reading (with my glasses on).


Growing little things


A while back there were some raised garden beds on sale at our local hardware store for seriously cheap, and because my 5 year plan at some point demands a veggie garden I bought four of them and stuck them in the shed for later. Having been stuck at home so much of late, I decided it might be a good time to mulch the garden. So I ordered 5 cubic metres of mulch, and since the same place delivered soil I ordered a cubic metre of soil as well.

All up I spent 2 hours a day for a week shovelling mulch and soil, which wasn’t as exhausting as I thought it was going to be. It made me realise I probably need way more exercise than I am getting and that I am probably capable of harder exercise that I set out to do. That however, is a story for another day. Today’s story is about my new veggie patch, because after all that shovelling I now have one and last weekend I planted out some seeds.

I was a little bit worried about the whole endeavour because the seeds have been in the cupboard for a while and the veggie patch is only getting winter morning sun. It will be ideal in summer for making sure that the veggies don’t get scorched during the hot afternoons but I was a little worried it wouldn’t be enough sun in winter. Happily though, when I went out to water this morning I found a whole bunch of growing things. Spinach, zucchini and lettuce have all sprouted. Just waiting on the tomatoes, leeks and peas.

Now the hard work begins, keeping these suckers alive for long enough to produce some actual vegetables. I should have plenty of time for that though. My work has announced that when the return to the office starts we can only have 30% of people in the office on any one day. They left me and one of my colleagues off the roster since we have the longest public transport commutes. So looks like I am working from home for the next couple of months at a minimum. I’ll try to add being a good blogger and posting more to my extra time list as well.

On not getting things done


Despite being home almost 98% of the time, I feel like I am getting less housework done than when I am working from the office. Also, getting to wear casual wear while working from home is making me a lot slack about doing the laundry.

Despite this I am actually getting things done. My garden is gradually getting whipped into shape, I made a bunch of face masks and I am cooking more.

I also have my sewing mojo back, well a little bit. I decided I needed a challenge and so I pulled out a kit I bought a while ago on impulse. I’m not ususually a kit person, but the shop was relocating and it was heavily discounted and I loved the fabrics. It is a foundation paper kit by Brad and Judy Niemeyer. I don’t think it is too complicated, though I haven’t got to the curved piecing yet, but it is pretty slow going. I’ve spent a couple of days on this so far and all I have are about 12 blocks and a whole lot of stuff cut out.

Just have to keep chipping away at it I guess.

Here are the finished blocks
Here’s what I still have to do