Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Beginnings.

 As we welcome the New Year I thought I'd share how I am re-organizing my work space as I have a lot less work space than at the farm. I have set up a folding table on the deck, and with it raised on two bricks, It's been ideal for pin basting quilts and it means I don't have to clear my cutting table. It isn't too hot there too which means i can use my time more wisely.
 The basting table overlooks the spa and it is my new favourite thing about this house. It wasn't something we wanted when we bought, and DH wanted nothing to do with it after having the upkeep of a pool years ago prior to moving to the farm. However this is undercover and is a spa but large enough to use as a pool too, and the cover means a lot less removal of leaves etc. I want to replace the wooden fencing with glass pool fencing which will open the area up a lot more.
 The spa seats 10 people and we have already had some lovely family times and introducing baby Jake to the water. He has just cut his first tooth which explains why he was a bit tired on Christmas Day. Luckily he enjoyed his swim and soon gave us lots of smiles again. We were lucky enough to baby sit him twice this week and he is becoming accustomed to sleeping in his cot here so he is able to keep to his routine.
We had no idea that we would enjoy swimming again and even DH loves the pool now. I must admit I have been swimming once or twice a day and loving taking some time to relax and recharge. I am still working at a nursing home for young adults with acquired brain injuries and, although I don't need to work, I enjoy getting back to basic nursing and not having the stress of management after 33 years. I always planned to retire early but found I enjoy work now I don't have to do it and as long as it fits in with family commitments.
  I have been seriously considering my quilting plans too as we have such limited storage here at our new home. I have donated almost all of my quilts as I decided to keep my antique and vintage quilts and tops and now I need to decide what quilts to make and donate. There's not a lot of point in continuing to make large quilts as the family don't need or want them, and they take up lots of room. I am thinking of finishing off my UFOs to a smaller size to make them more suitable to donate. About 50 x 70 inches is about the largest I want to donate as they are used as covers or lap quilts rather than needing to cover the bed. Most people still prefer to use doonas with washable covers and use the quilts as a cuddle quilt on the couch.
   Has anyone else been giving this some thought too? I love to quilt and play with fabric but I'm happy to give them away where they will bring comfort. If I keep the hand pieced and hand appliqued quilts for a little while, I am also happy to donate them. I still have plenty of boxes to unpack now that the Christmas season is over, and lots of UFOs (mine and others donated) to finish so I will be making them smaller to donate and hope I can free up some more storage space.
   I hope you all have a very Happy New Year and many blessings in the coming year of 2018. The past year was the busiest we have had as a couple, getting the farm ready for sale, downsizing and moving, as well as welcoming our first grandchild. While it has been very hard physically, it has been worth it to be able to spend more time with family and it has meant that we have been able to remove things we no longer use or need.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Our Special Christmas.

 The last two days leading up to Christmas were a bit of a rush as our DD asked me to sew a Christmas stocking for Jake as well as making Christmas shorts for all of them. No pressure then. LOL
 Jake was happy to show off his new stocking and he's such a happy baby that he is a delight to have around. Of course we spoiled him with more gifts than would fit in his stocking but this stocking is for his home and I have a lovely cross stitch one I plan to make as a keepsake but I'd better get busy stitching or it will be a few more years before it's ready.
 The much loved grandson and his parents spent the 3 days before Christmas with us as well as we have just worked out how to operate the 10 person spa at our new home. We thought it might not work but surprisingly it did. DH wasn't interested in it but I asked him to get the filter going so we could use it as a swimming pool, and that was all I wanted for Christmas as our grandson was our special gift. Our son in law cam over and together they worked out how to operate it and now DH is enjoying using it every day. I must get a photo soon. Believe me it is such a lovely way to relax and I've been swimming twice a day since. I can see that we will have lots of fun family time with swims and BBQs and lots of time spent with grandchildren, and that is the perfect gift for me.
Of course we were exhausted after all that activity so we have had a quiet few days watching the cricket and I have started quilting more tops as I continue to downsize and get organized. It's probably going to take me 10 years before I get through all the boxes but as long as I make progress I'll have to be happy with that.
   I hope you all had a relaxing Christmas with family and friends and that you will be blessed by many good things in 2018. We've had the biggest year of our lives and we're looking forward to having more time to relax and we are going to Tasmania at the end of the month to enjoy some cooler weather and some relaxation. Now the spa is functional we could have stayed at home but we love to travel and see new sights too.
Take care. Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Last Minute Rush

 I still had a couple of days when I could quilt some tops and wanted to get a few more to Peter Mac in time for Christmas, to join those that Ann G. had donated.




Apart from the QAYG quilt, all the tops have been made and donated by my lovely supporters and will help to make someone's Christmas a little brighter.
 I also have 2 more for Foster kids but the cutoff date for those has passed so they will join the pile for distribution in the new year.
  I have more Christmas sewing to do but I will get done as much as I can and that will have to do. LOL
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Warm Hugs for Christmas

 I have received another wonderful parcel of quilts to donate and these are such bright and cheerful quilts that they will be ideal for children undergoing treatment at Peter Mac Cancer Centre. These beautiful quilts were donated by Ann G. of NSW and will be treasured by the families who receive them. On their behalf, I want to very sincerely thank you Ann, for your very generous donation.
Peter Mac told me that sadly, more children will be needing their services over Christmas, so I have been quilting more tops to deliver to them by mid next week. I managed to pin baste and quilt 4 today so tomorrow looks like being a binding day.
   I am supposed to be decluttering still so quilting and donating tops counts, doesn't it? LOL At least some kids and adults will get some warm hugs from us this Christmas and my fabric stash and pile of tops will be diminishing, although that's not apparent at the moment. I still haven't managed to get to the box of Christmas decorations so we might we putting up a very small tree this year, but we will enjoy a family Christmas and I hope you all have your Christmas sewing finished and have time to put your feet up and rest.
We had a couple of days at the beach last week as we were baby sitting our beautiful grandson , Jake, while his parents attended a wedding. We stayed on for a couple of days and caught up with my bridesmaid and her husband as they have retired at Lakes Entrance. We've both been so tired after moving that after handing the baby back, we spent most of our time asleep. LOL
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Gift of Comfort From Oz Comfort Quilts.

 We've been settled here in our new home for a week and we're both catching up on sleep after such a busy time of cleaning and handing over the farm. It doesn't quite feel like home here yet as I have been going to and fro for 12 months now and still feel like I will have to return to the farm again.
  We have been emptying boxes and doing further decluttering while we find room for our possessions here at our new home and we need to downsize further as we have a fraction of the cupboards that we had at the farm.
   Consequently I have been donating more of my quilts which I love but they have been stored and un-used. As I am still making quilts, and my kids don't want more than one or two of their favourites, I decided to donate most of them to where they can be loved and bring comfort. Today I dropped off another 6 to Anglicare, for kids in Foster Care, making 26 donated so far. I also dropped off another 27 to Peter Mac which brings that total to 64 of the 100 I have pledged.

 This was a donated top which was too large for donation purposes so I cut it in half and reattached the border. It's quilted now and I will add new borders to the remaining half and make another quilt to donate.
 I am loving having my industrial sewing machine here now and it's been great to get some more QAYG quilts made from donated blocks. It's always harder to find blocks suitable for males so I try to use blocks without too many florals or pinks and this one will be given to a male patient at Peter Mac.

 I love blue quilts and I'm not the only one as I often receive QAYG blocks all in blue. I save them until I have enough for a whole quilt.
 This quilt was one of my favourites and it was hard to part with but it will comfort a person in need of a hug at Peter Mac.
 I loved this one too, with a combination of hand needle turned blocks and pieced blocks. I love the colours in this one too although they are different to my usual colours.
 This one was hand pieced using 1 inch hexagons and I was very tempted to keep it as it was a lot of work and a lovely quilt, but if I love it someone who can't quilt will love to give it a home too.
 This last quilt was a top made by a member of my Melbourne quilting group and the start of next year's quilts for donation.
Anglicare and Peter Mac are both very appreciative of the quilts, as Anglicare said that this may be the only gift some children receive. I can imagine that a pretty quilt will also lift the spirits of anyone in hospital at Christmastime.
 Many thanks to all of you who have donated fabric, blocks, tops and finished quilts. You are making a difference in the lives of others. I hope you also have a very blessed Christmas. Mine is going to be extra special, spending time with out first grandson.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, December 2, 2017

A Super Donation.

 Maria W. from Western Australia has sent 3 fabulous quilts for the Peter Mac Cancer Centre, including a fabulous Superhero quilt. Maria is a very generous supporter of my quilt projects and I know that these beautiful quilts will bring comfort to the recipients.
    I love the bright colours of the quilts and the Disney quilt will be loved by a child too.
 This lovely quilt is a fabulous use of fabric to make striking hexagons and looks brighter than shown here.
Thank you so much Maria, for your ongoing support in bringing comfort to those in need.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Almost There.

 The delivery truck brought all of our larger pieces of furniture and I was very happy to be reunited with my industrial sewing machine for quilting. She will sew through many layers without a problem at all and makes it so easy to get tops finished.
  These 3 were all made by members of my Melbourne quilting group and will be donated at our next meeting.

We have to go back to the farm for one last time to do the final clean, meet the new owners and hand over the keys. It will be a sad day but I will be very happy to have the move done. It's been an exhausting process and now I'm busy unpacking boxes and donating as much as I can to free up some limited cupboard space.
     Luckily our grandson, Jake, makes all the work worthwhile as we have been able to baby sit and get to know him as he grows. He is such a delight and tries so hard to communicate with his "goos and gaas". He's just turned 3 months old and has started sleeping through the night. Clever lad!
   Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, November 20, 2017

So Long.

 Despite my best intentions it has taken me far too long to update my blog again. I will be very grateful when things settle down to a new normal. I have managed to finish another quilt for one of my niece's 4th child and only two more to deliver before the end of the year, but the quilts aren't started yet.
 I also finished quilting 3 more tops for my Melbourne quilt group and I have a few more to do before our meeting in December so we can donate them to the organizations we help.

I am emptying boxes and culling our possessions again as we still have too much stuff. I'm quilting tops as fast as I can as it's a good way to empty the shelves and use up fabric but I need to work faster. LOL. I also got new glasses as my eyesight has been noticeably deteriorating and I was shocked to find that I have a cataract, which explains my blurred vision at times. I guess surgery will be in my future too. I  was shocked as I thought I was too young for those problems but I guess time marches on. I have been working a few shifts in a nursing home for young people with acquired brain injuries, as my time allows, and only because I enjoy the interaction with the residents and staff.
   Thankfully the moving van is bringing the last of our heavier furniture this Thursday and we can finally get more settled. Of course we still have to go back and clean the farm house next week but it will be good to have Ray down here and I have spent most of my time in Melbourne since June, and he has been looking after the farm.
  I do see lots of boxes in our future but hopefully we can take some time off too.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Quilts for Kids in Foster Care.

 The sewing machine has been running non stop for a few nights so I could get some more quilts finished and clear more room in my sewing room. A work colleague made these tops for me a few years ago, as she loved sewing. I used to cut up all my scraps and donated fabric scraps into 6 inch squares and she would then sew them together, trying to put kid's prints in the mix. They are simple but the kids love them so these make up the 20 I will be delivering to Anglicare this week for kids in Foster Care.
 Some of the square blocks were made up from various strips of random off cuts.
 I call these "crumb" blocks as I used to just keep joining scraps until they could be cut to a 6 inch square.



 As you can see they are simple but will bring comfort to a child in need of a warm hug. I still have more tops to finish and the pile of squares isn't diminishing as I am still cutting up scraps but I can see progress in my scrap bins, even if no one else can. LOL
Hugs, Jan Mac


Friday, October 27, 2017

Superheroes and Unearthed Treasures.

 While I have been packing and unpacking my sewing room I have uncovered more donated UFOs so I am finishing them for donation and to make room for more of my stuff. These lovely little nine patches measure 3" finished and they were in a large bag with the alternate blocks of four patches. It's been fun to get them pieced together and into a top. I think I will add borders and this will make a nice male quilt for a Peter Mac client.
   Peter Mac have also asked for quilts with a Superhero theme for the kids undergoing treatment as they call them their superheroes. I have started making some blocks but it takes time so if anyone has any blocks with that theme, that they would like to donate, they would be very welcome.

 I quilted a cot panel and the picture below shows the squares I made for the backing, and I then quilted diagonally through the squares from the back so I didn't have to mark the quilting lines.

 I also found another top made from scrappy squares and used the donated top shown below as a front or backing. Again it made it easy to quilt using the squares and these quilts will be going to Anglicare for kids in Foster Care. I am busy getting 20 ready to drop off next week and just have one more to quilt and 4 to bind over the weekend.
It's great to get some of these lovely treasures finished and off to homes to give some kids a warm hug.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Best Laid Plans.

 I had such big plans for finishing quilts, unpacking and decluttering as I unpacked. Instead very little sewing and quilting has occurred in the past 3 weeks. Instead I've been busy being Nanna to our dear little grandson as he hasn't been well but is improving now and thankfully we are all catching up on sleep again.
   In the meantime 3 more babies arrived in the family and there was a race to get a quilt finished for Clementine before the family returns to New Guinea. Last time they had a baby they left Australia before I finished Spencer's quilt so I wanted to make sure I had one done in time for this baby so I made one for a girl and one for a boy. I still have another boy quilt to finish off but will have that done very soon. Two of the babies arrived early and one was a girl and one a boy so I got lucky and just had to add borders and applique the babies' names.
Little Riley is a cousin to the new babies, 3 in the same family in 3 months, and poor little man had to wait for his quilt as we were so busy with Jake. Jake doesn't have a cot quilt yet but he will have one before he's large enough for his cot.
   I still have 2 more nieces expecting babies in the next 4 to 6 weeks so I'm planning to get a start on the blocks soon before we get busy with Christmas. Of course we are still moving stuff from the farm and have cleared out our large shed which was a huge job, so now we have just the house to go. Even that is a big enough job. We have until the end of November but we just want it done now so we can take life a little easier and enjoy more time quilting.
   I hope life is treating you well wherever you are.
Hugs, Jan Mac