Tuesday, 29 September 2015

My 5 tips for Quilting with chronic pain

 I know there are many fellow quilters out there that suffer from chronic pain and as I am a long time sufferer of chronic pain and have used quilting as my therapy for the past almost 3 years. So along the way with new issues arising and working with a chronic pain psychologist and chronic pain physio  I have figured out some ways of still being able to quilt that doesn't add to that pain level.

Tip number 1

 Pace yourself

So the first thing that I always use is to pace myself. This was something that through working with the chronic pain psychologist and chronic pain physio that we came up with was for me to work out how long I sewed for before I was at a point of no return for the pain to flare up, so say I could only sew for 15 mins then the pain flared up and  was so bad and that was it for the day I would now only sew for 10 mins at a time then stop and take a break for a while then go back to it. So for me I can sew for about 10- 15 mins then I take at least a 30 min break. This has helped me immensely and works wonders. And you would be surprised at how much sewing you can still get done in 10-15 min intervals.

Now if you have to, set yourself a timer so that you stick to that time frame and don't lose track of time and keep pushing through the pain.

Tip number 2


My next tip is to make sure you have things at the correct height for you. So for me I have had to adjust cutting tables and things like that so that I am not having to bend over tables. That can really flare up things like lower back injuries or upper back and arm injuries. I had my husband build me a cutting table that's at the correct height for me and it's on wheels so that it can be easily moved around but you could just as easy use a kitchen bench which is at a much better height for cutting than say a table or you can try to source things called bed risers to bring the height of a normal table up to the correct height.

Also when I am hand binding my quilts I like to be sitting at a table that has the correct height or sometimes I use my ironing board because it's adjustable in height and set it to the correct height so as I am not having to lean over and put extra pressure on my neck and shoulders. And I will also pace myself on that too by setting myself a 10 min time frame then I walk away and come back later on to do a bit more.

Tip number 3

Table top basting

I also very quickly learned that basting my quilts on the floor wasn't going to work for me so I figured out a way that I could baste them on top of a table which there is an earlier blog post on and it has made that whole process so much easier and more pleasant.

Tip number 4

Using an ironing board when quilting

When I am quilting my quilts I like to use an ironing board beside me to take the weight of the quilt instead of having it up over one shoulder and this has also helped me so much.  Have the ironing board adjusted to the same height as my desk that my sewing machine is sitting on and to the left of me and have the bulk of the quilt sitting on there and then the rest of the quilt that needs to be under the machine under the machine.

Tip number 5

Have fun

And lastly just have fun. It's not a race to beat anyone else in how much quilting they can do you need to relax and just go at your own pace. Everyone has different amounts of time they can spend on it and also depending on flare ups you will go through stages where you can't do any at all. So try and not put too much pressure on yourself with too many things at one time that have specific deadlines because stress can very easily cause a flare up and if you are going to be stressing yourself out about having to do too many things all at once you really are taking the fun out of it and lets face it this is something that we are doing for fun not to create  more stress in our lives. So just relax have fun and things will get done when they get done. If it's no longer fun it isn't working.

Just remember everyone's journey is different.

Hope some of these tips can help you out if you are suffering from chronic pain disorders. Hope you are having a lovely week and take care my lovely people.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Crafty Gemini quilt club September swap

At the end of last year I joined an online quilting club with the crafty Gemini. This club started on the 1st of January 2015 and as part of this online quilting club they have been running a monthly swap. At the 1st of each month they list the sign up that is open for a week to enter if you want to join in.  It lists the details for that swap for that month as in what it is we are to make. We have done some great projects over the last 9 months from mug rugs to the ugly fabric swap. These swaps work a little differently to other swaps I have participated in where who you get as a partner they also get you. So no secret swapping . You get to email back and forth and makes friends. This has been a lot of fun and I have met some lovely people and made some new friends especially my swap partner from the January swap who turned out to be living not that far from me and we had so much in common.

Anyway this months swap was an fall/autumn themed postage stamp mini quilt. I had so much fun with this swap. I love autumn and I love postage stamp quilts so it was great fun getting to know my partner and making this mini.

This is the little autumn/fall mini quilt that I made for her. Oh and I used the vine stitching that I have on my sewing machine to quilt this. Some in orange and some in green. (but slap me silly if I ever try to quilt with that brand of orange thread again) it was the biggest nightmare to work with but I do love how it looks though.

And I also made her this little pumpkin pincushion to go along with it.

I have also received my parcel of quilty goodness from her too and I love every bit of it. She has done an amazing job and she went above and beyond making teenie tiny 2 1/2 inch pinwheels. ( Oh so brave of her. I hate tiny piecing, or should I say my machine does and spends more time eating the fabric then sewing it.)

And I totally love the extra pattern that she sent me too.

 This was such a fun swap and I had a blast and I am looking forward to see what the  October swap holds for us. So stay tuned to see what else is coming up.

Take care my lovelies and have a great weekend.

Monday, 21 September 2015

2016 Pouch Swap

Going along with me deciding it was time to start joining up for some more swaps. My next swap I decided to join was the 2016 Pouch swap. I decided this swap would be a great one to join in on because it is not due until 4th March next year so plenty of time to work on it with other swaps on the agenda and Christmas just around the corner. This swap is being run by the wonderful Kristi from @sugarndspice77 over on instagram.

This seems like such a fantastic swap and we were to answer some questions about our likes and dislikes on fabric and different kinds of pouches and so forth then we were to post some mosaics on instagram of some different pouches we liked. I will post some pictures below of the pouches that I liked but once again like my other swap I joined I am really not fussy and would love and appreciate whatever my partner chooses to make. For me swaps are more about having some fun and getting to make some friends along the way. And lets be real here if you love sewing and quilting and are addicted to fabric like I am anything you get is beautiful and who couldn't use another pouch right. I know for me I love using my pouches that I have for storing all sorts of things in from Hexies to have on the go for traveling to my quilting wonder clips. They just come in handy for almost everything.

                                                                          Mosaic 1

                                                                       Mosaic 2

So these were my mosaics that I posted on instagram of some pouch ideas but liked. but like I said earlier to whoever my partner is these are just a guide and just relax and have some fun. I will love anything that you make.

I will do another update on this swap once we have sent and received our swap parcels so stayed tuned if you would like to see what I am making for my partner and what I receive.

Take care and have a fun week.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Best Scones ever

I used to be the worlds worst scone maker. I am sure if you threw them at the wall you would probably have broken the wall before the scone. But last year that all changed when my mum finally shared her recipe with me and these scones are a no fail recipe. So soft fresh.

So today I am going to share this yummy recipe with you.


3 cups self raising flour
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cream
1 1/2 cups milk


Preheat oven to 240 degrees Celsius and line and grease a baking tray.
Sift flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the cream and milk and using a knife stir to form a soft dough (it will be quite wet and sticky still). Then turn out onto a floured board.

Knead very lightly with floured hands and smooth out to about 5 cm thick (or slightly thicker is okay). Cut scones out with a scone cutter or I just use a drinking glass and place on baking tray.

Cook in very hot oven (240 degrees Celsius) for 10 to 12 mins. They will only go slightly brown on top. Then take out and let them cool wrapped in a clean tea towel.

Serve with jam and cream or topping of your choice.

Hope you enjoy this scone recipe as much as we do and you can do variations too by adding sultanas or dates .

Monday, 14 September 2015

THYROID CANCER AWARENESS MONTH : My journey with thyroid cancer

So September is Thyroid cancer awareness month so I thought what better opportunity to share my journey with thyroid caner and to bring some awareness to this disease.

So a little bit of my back story to finding out how I had thyroid cancer. First of all my story kind of starts about 8 years ago when my current husband and started to try for a family. After we had been trying for a bit over a year we started to seek help and tried several things and some surgeries before we finally found ourselves about 5 years ago starting our first round of IVF. we did 2 completed cycles and 1 frozen cycle with our first fertility clinic before we changed clinics. We continued on and did about another 9 cycles with this new clinic over the years until we came to early 2014 when we had 2 A grade quality frozen embryo's left and I was at the point where I really had just had enough and had given up all hope and didn't even want to transfer the last 2 embryo's. The embryologist rang me and told just how great a quality they were and persuaded me to transfer the last 2. So I did every bit of research possible and decided to try vitamin therapy along with this cycle so got all my vitamins ready and in August 2014 we started our frozen embryo cycle. Through doing the vitamin therapy I was talking to a naturopath at vitamin king and she seemed to think that I had some kind of issue with my thyroid ( even though all blood tests kept coming back normal) so she started me on a thyroid supplement and within 2 days I noticed some pretty big difference with my energy levels and some other things. Anyway our IVF cycle came to end  and was unsuccessful once again. So a few weeks later I went in to speak to the head nurse regarding a few things I had noticed in this cycle and she wasn't available so they sent one of the other nurses out to speak to me (one who had been very helpful before) so I was happy to speak to her. Anyway one conversation led to another and I mentioned to her about the thyroid supplement helping me and that the naturopath had said that sometimes things are missed in blood tests and you need an ultrasound to pick it up. She advised me to immediately go and see my GP  and to demand an ultrasound ( she later told me that when I had told her about this she noticed that my neck was quite enlarged and after I left she also checked with a picture that was taken when we started with that clinic.) Anyway my ultrasound came back saying that I had an enlarged multi nodular goiter and needed to have a fine needle biopsy done on the largest nodule . So a week or so later I went in and had the FNA biopsy done and on OCT 3rd 2014 (my husbands birthday) I got a phone call from my doctor saying that I needed to come straight in. Once there she told me that I had thyroid cancer and needed to go to accident and emergency to get them to process the paperwork and get me into to the specialist. with a very stressful few weeks and not getting any where with specialist so I made another trip back to accident and emergency and we finally got things sorted out. I had my appointment with the surgeon and he told me that the results only said suspected thyroid cancer and that I would be put on the waiting list to have only that left half of my thyroid taken out at first and if the result came back confirming it after the surgery I would be put back into hospital a few weeks later to remove the second side.
So I had my first surgery on the 4th Dec 2014 and a week later got the results back that I had a 2.7cm papillary carcinoma that was acting as follicular carcinoma and it only had a 2mm margin before moving outside the thyroid so I would need to have a further surgery to remove the otherside of my thyroid. The second surgery took place on the 21st of Jan 2015 and came back all clear. Then we proceeded to doing a round of RAI (raidation iodine treatment) in April and spent 3 days in hospital in an isolated room and then another 10 days at home isolated at home. Sleeping on my own and not able to prepare food for anyone else and taking care with cutlery and other things. I had a follow up full body CT a week after that and got the all clear and this month I am currently off all my thyroid medication (which makes you feel really crappy for the last few weeks with hypothyroidism) to have a follow up full body CT in the middle of OCT for another check then I will go to yearly check that I am still in the clear for the next 5years.
They say that thyroid cancer is the good cancer and whilst it is fairly curable in most cases it still comes along with being on medication for life and many ups and downs with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism whilst getting a balance with the right dosage of medication.
So everyone if you are concerned check your neck and see your GP. If it wasn't for me pushing and giving that last go at IVF who knows how far it may have developed before we found it. Mine was only just caught in the nick of time before spreading. So our failed IVF cycle ended up being a blessing in disguise.
Everyone take care and remember check your neck regularly.

The thyroid cancer colours are Teal, hot pink and royal blue.


Thursday, 10 September 2015

A quilt for dad

So this Sunday just gone the 6th of September 2015 was fathers day. With a dad that's got everything and when you ask him what he wants he always says "don't worry about me I don't need anything". So with that this year I decided to make him his very own quilt. What better way to spoil him than with a handmade quilt and something he can't say that he already has or doesn't need or want. So I set to work and had some left over 10 inch squares from another project and found some very manly cowboy fabric at my local spotlight store (he loves country and western movies ) that I incorporated into his quilt and turned it into a diamond style quilt. Which I am calling "Country boy diamonds"

I am so pleased how this quilt has turned out and its something that he can always treasure and he can use to snuggle up on the lounge.
I love making homemade gifts for people as I feel like they are something that has come from the heart and its like giving a piece of yourself to those that you love and care about. They are the things that get treasured and hopefully one day handed down through the generations.
So happy fathers day Dad and to all the wonderful amazing dad's out there. Hope you got well looked after and spoilt.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Spotlight quilting expo

So this past Saturday 5th September 2015 was spotlights quilting expo.

So I went along because they were having some free demonstrations of the brother scan and cut and I have one but haven't tried it out much yet and really wanted to see how to use it. They are a little tricky to get your head around but the demonstration  was great and very helpful.

I also too some of my quilts that I have made along with me to show the girls and they were all very fascinated by my feathers quilt that I made earlier this year and snapped some photo's for there store.

On the day between 11 am and 3 pm they were running some demonstrations and the lovely Jess from weatherill park spotlight demonstrated how to make a santa stocking.


Then she also did a demonstration on how to use the fabi die cutting system by sissix's. They were also giving one of these away as first prize for one lucky winner.

They also had a second prize for this quilting expo which was a fiskars 45mm rotary cutter and I was the lucky winner of 2nd prize.  YAY me.

They also had some quilting specials on the day on some of there fabrics so of course I couldn't resist and just had to buy myself some more fabric. ( not that I really need more fabric if you ask my husband) but you know a crafty gal can never pass up the chance to buy more fabric especially if they have discounts on.

This was my little haul from the quilting expo at spotlight.

All in all is was a great fun day and I had lots of fun and got to learn how to use my brother scan and cut.
I hope everyone had a lovely weekend take care and stay safe.


Friday, 4 September 2015

Schnitzel & boo mini quilt swap

So I have decided that it's time that I started to join in on a few Instagram swaps. I am fairly new to swaps with only having done a few through a quilt club that I have been subscribed to this year. So far I have really enjoyed those swaps and love that its a great way to make new friends and have some great fun along the way.

My first Instagram swap that I decided to join in was the Schnitzel & boo mini quilt swap. This swap is due for posting early November 2015 and is also a secret swap so who I get to make something for is not who will be making something for me and we won't know who has made for us until our swap arrives in the mail.

So I have done my mosaics ready for my partner to be able to view and get a feel for what I like but truly I am not that fussy and really like most things quilty and homemade. It's the thought and hard work that someone else has put into the piece that makes it truly so special and unique. But below I will post some pictures of my inspiration mosaics.

                                                           Inspiration mosaic 1

                                                            Inspiration mosaic 2

But to me swaps are truly about meeting new friends and having some fun along the way.  So to whoever my partner is and if you get a chance to read this my pictures are just some inspiration and I really just want you to sit back and enjoy yourself with this swap.

Have fun quilty friends and until next time stay safe.