Sunday, 21 December 2014

Sunday Stash #105 - Princess Twilight Sparkle

Oh honey b. flying. I thought I had my weaves in order, but I just got schooled by Princess Twilight Sparkle. Not only is she rockin' a massive blown-out 'do in the front, she's working the curls right down the backside too. Oh, you don't know about Princess Twilight Sparkle yet? Well, she's the My Little Pony you could only dream about, she is everything, she is the now. She's also my new mascot! What's not to love about a pink, flying unicorn, with silky pink and purple hair? Seriously, nothing. Obviously, I could stand to learn a thing or two from her!

This Princess to Princess meeting all comes courtesy of Mr. Paul Hallinger (IG: evildemondevildog) who sent this with a wink and a smile as an early Christmas pressie. We had discussed the television series My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic way earlier in the year during the NGAQB. So it was with utter surprise when I opened up the overseas mail to find Princess Twilight Sparkle's beautiful eyes staring back at me and a generous cut of fabric featuring her friends! I'm going to have to break my mini-quilt rule and get this in my studio pronto!

Paul also made me a deer bag. He knows I absolutely adore woodland creatures in my fabric choices. 




Thankfully, Charlotte is all about the animals and yellow is one of her favourite colours; along with purple, teal, green, and orange, and yellow again, and sometimes white, but that doesn't really count. No seriously, she was a big fan, and sent a virtual "thank you" to Paul! Ordinary teenage children would be left wondering why a grown-ass man was sending them a handmade purse from around the world. Not Charlotte, she's pretty switched on to the whole community now, and just rolls with the crazy!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Sewing For Sydney - FAQ

Well, Glitterati, it's time to show the world what we can do together. The response to last night's post has me completely overwhelmed. I expected with the holiday rush that I'd reach a few of you, but nothing like what I've seen in the past twenty-four hours. Comments, prayers, thoughts, and good deeds are still rolling in, and I am comforted by your generosity! Quilters rock! Now that I've got a better idea of what I'm coordinating, I've created the following frequently asked questions list below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's going on?

Start here for my Help for Sydney Heroes post. It's time to join forces and make comforting quilts for the families of those most severely affected by the Sydney siege. It will never be enough, but it will be something.

Who's getting these quilts?

Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson lost their lives in the Sydney siege. At the very least, I will be making two quilts, one for each of their families. If there are enough blocks to make other quilts, I would like to create quilts for Katrina's three daughters, and Tori's partner. Yes, that is six quilts.

Update: Based on the current outpouring of help, six quilts are being created!

What type of blocks are we supposed to make for the quilts?

Hashtag quilt blocks using this tutorial. (<-- Click there!) Use any white fabric for the background, and a solid or tone-on-tone fabric for the front. Ideally, the hashtag should read as a single colour. Please do not send other types of orphan blocks, as I wouldn't be a great parent right now!

How big is the hashtag block?

On paper the block will be 5.5" unfinished, but depending on your seam allowance it may finish slightly bigger, or smaller. Do your best, and I'll work with what you send!

Update: You may want to consider measuring your quarter inch seam prior to starting this, or any block. I often find sewing with a scant quarter inch seam helps me achieve better results.

How many hashtag blocks do you need for each quilt?

I would like to make 60" x 75" quilts, which would mean a formation of 12 x 15, or 180 blocks per quilt. This may change, as that's 1,080 quilt blocks needed. Whoa.

Update: I'm pretty sure we'll get there!

How many hashtag blocks should I send?

As many as you would like. 1 to 100 and beyond!

Should I sign my hashtag blocks?

No. Purely to keep it simple. A label will be made explaining that these quilts were created from the global quilt community.

When do you need the hashtag blocks by?

Please post/mail/ship your blocks by 02 January, 2015. However, I would like to receive as many as I can as soon as possible so that progress can begin. If your blocks are received after 19 January, 2015, I can not guarantee they will make it into a quilt top. But they might!

I don't live in Australia, can I still send hashtag blocks?

Of course you can! Please do so!

Where do I send them?

Joshua Helms
201 / 20 Dunkerley Place
Waterloo, NSW, Australia 2017

Also, Julie from Intrepid Thread in California has agreed to post a batch of blocks from her shop. This is great if shipping to Australia is cost prohibitive for you. Grab a local stamp and get them to the Intrepid Thread by 31 December, 2014.

Intrepid Thread
1709 S Main Street
Milipitas, CA, USA 95035

I can't get quilt blocks to you, but I want to donate money. How can I do that?

You can Paypal to "" any amount you like! Any funds collected will be used for quilt materials, shipping and handling charges, long arm quilting fees, and/or other associated costs. Any excess funds will be used on further quilt charity projects. I am willing to disclose my Paypal transaction history to anyone donating money. Keepin' it honest!

I can't donate money, but I can donate time, materials or other services. How can I do that?

You are so generous! Email me at and let's make something happen.

Update: All longarm quilting positions have been filled. 

What do you need help with, Molli?

Thank you for your generosity of time in making and sending blocks to contribute!

If you are Sydney local, and would like to help stitch blocks together, we should have a stitching party! If you have a long arm and want to work some magic, let's talk! If you are the fastest binding stitcher in the Southern hemisphere, well come on down!

Update: Volunteers local to Sydney would be appreciated for quilt assembly and binding services.

Ironically, is there a hash tag?

Why, of course! Try these out: #hashtagblock #GlitteratiToTheRescue #SewingForSydney

If there's something I haven't addressed, leave it in the comments, and I'll add it to this page as appropriate. Once again, the Glitterati shines!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Help for Sydney Heroes

Hi everyone. While I grew up in the US, after nearly ten years here, I now consider myself a Sydney-sider. It was with utter devastation yesterday that I watched the Sydney siege unfold a block away from my office building. While I was completely safe on the sixteenth floor, and my employer took the utmost care in making sure we all arrived home safely, my thoughts through the evening never left the events unfolding.

Upon waking this morning to find that two of the hostages had been killed by the gunman, I sobbed. I sat on my couch and reached for tissue after tissue. Terror was suddenly on my doorstep, a situation--living far away in Australia--I thought I was immune from. As a full account has emerged, the two slain victims in this horrific ordeal are the true heroes. I am compelled to play a part in recognising this, and sharing my gratitude with their families for protecting the lives of others in the Lindt cafe, and the sanctity of free human life.

So what can I do? I can make. I can make quilts. And I'm asking for your help. I already have the #NGAQB sending rainbow, tone-on-tone, hash tag quilt blocks for my month of December as King Bee. So do you want to join us in contributing to what will be two seriously awesome, rainbow quilts celebrating the lives of two seriously, wildly deserving people? I hope so.

The tutorial for these 5" finished (5.5" unfinished) blocks is here:

They are super easy. They take ten minutes max. You can use your scraps. You can make one. You can make one hundred. You can help. 

I'm still formulating details, and I'll share them as soon as I can--and I've figured them out myself! Leave your thoughts in the comments, and share this with as many sewists as you know. 

My address to send blocks:

Joshua Helms
201 / 20 Dunkerley Place
Waterloo, NSW, Australia 2017

Thank you Glitterati for your support. Thank you for your thoughts for our city, our country, and the affected members of our society. Let us love each other. Let us help each other. Let us show the world how we truly sparkle.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Sunday Stash #104 - In the Beginning

It's about damn time I show you my new sewing studio! Now, be forewarned, this is just the beginning of its development. I'm still feelin' it all out, arranging, rearranging, and scratching my blonde hair extensions. It faces north, which for us southern hemispherers brings the most sunlight through those (dirty) windows, nearly all day long! I'm still figuring out what to put on the walls; maybe I will become a mini-quilt convert. I also need to make a pressing board ... but I'm getting ahead of myself, small steps!

I'll be the first to admit I can be a bit of a furniture snob, so you bet your hot pants you were not going to catch me sewing on MDF. Many of you would have seen me tease a photo of this lovely new addition on Instagram (IG: molli_sparkles). I had been looking everywhere for a desk with some unusual character, but that was also sturdy enough so that my beast of a sewing machine didn't shake, rattle and roll. I also didn't want a giant piece of wood furniture that over-crowded the room. I'm demanding, I know!

While walking the very last aisle of a local antique warehouse, I came across this beauty! Cast iron Singer cabinets aren't necessarily rare, but this one was in pretty good condition. Plus, it was already configured so that there were no bars or carriages in the foot area (a much rarer site). For a very economic $150 AUD, it was mine! It came with a worn out pine table top that I quickly took off, and went to work scrubbing and polishing to get it looking nearly new.

To increase my work space, I added an over-sized Hilver table top from Ikea that was $99 AUD. It measures 25" x 55" (65cm x 140cm), has a beveled edge, and was easy to screw together to the Singer frame. It's all super secure, no wobbling, and also feels modern and light-weight at the same time. For a total of $250, I'm completely lovin' my old-but-new sewing table! Because I have a ergonomic, caster-wheel sewing chair, I picked up that Kolon floor protector from Ikea as well. For $28 AUD, it will help preserve the hard-wood floors.

As for this guy, well, lovelies, it is a behemoth. It's actually a kitchen island bench from Ikea called a Stenstorp. It was a tad pricey at $500 AUD, but it does have a solid oak timber top, and is extremely heavy. This makes it wonderfully stable for cutting, and a great backdrop for photos! There are stainless steel shelves for storage on one side, and room for stools for sitting on the other. Those bins house all of my colour-coded scraps, which is so handy having nearby! You might also notice my four-tiered fabric stash to the left. Well, this was all destined to go in the wardrobe of this room, except the builders forgot to build the shelves in it! (sigh -- I mean how does that even happen?) So once that is complete, my stash will be tucked away from the light, with divine organisation. That will be a whole other post!

So there's one other piece in these photos that I haven't even talked about. I need to clean him up a bit before he gets his own reveal ... hmmm ...

P.s. A very special thank you to Mr. Sparkles for putting all this furniture together. Useful and beautiful, indeed! ;-)

Saturday, 13 December 2014

#NGAQB - October

I am finally getting settled into our new home. Despite the French Polisher showing up to attempt to fix the cabinetry and proceeding to spill paint thinner on the hard wood floors (never-ending nightmare), I am mostly keeping a smile on my face. Sometimes it's a grimace, but that nearly counts! 

I am definitely smiling about the #NGAQB blocks I have finally finished for one of my fave, pug-loving, male quilters, Nicholas Ball! Mr. Quilts From the Attic is a relative newcomer, but he has burst onto the quilt scene with gusto! Normally I like to share a little bio about the guys, however, this month you need to read Nicholas's instructions. They really say a lot about him, his personality, and how magical this particular quilt is going to be. Nicholas is an improv master, so a special thank you to him for pulling us into his world! 


"My favourite painting in the whole, wide world is Salvador Dali’s “Persistence OF Memory” which currently hands in New York’s MOMA.  I have been to New York three times, and never once have I seen the painting in person.  Trip one there wasn’t enough time (I was travelling with a large group of friends and some were more interested in 5 I heart NYC tees for $10!), trip two the only free day we had the museum was closed and trip three the painting was on tour.  What…a…BITCH!  Want to hear the real sting in the tail?  My friend went to NYC this year, went to MOMA, saw the painting, face timed me and I MISSED THE CALL.  I don’t think it’s in the stars for me to see this painting in anything other than my countess Dali books!

So, this is where you all come in.  If I can’t see the painting then I’m just gonna have to make one of my own…from fabric.  That’s right guys!  I want your help to make my very own Persistence Of Memory.  You want details?  No problem! (Best New York accent).

I would like you all to make some improve blocks. That said, I do have a few requests:

  • I really want to keep to the colour palette of the original painting. 
  • I want it to be a representation of the painting, not a replica, so now I’d like all colours in the blocks, with the intention of creating a feeling of the work within your blocks.
  • Even though I’m asking for imrov blocks, I’d like it if you could keep your piecing quite square/rectangular.
  • In terms of size, I always think you’ll know best when an improv block is done.  However, feel free to make any size block, which can be square or rectangular.  As this is going to be quite a large quilt, I’m going to need to play around with layout, so I ask that you don’t straighten the edges of your blocks please but rather leave them ‘ragged’.  That way I’ll have some room o chop and change!

  • As for fabrics, I really like modern, graphic, geometric prints.  I’d like a mixture of solids and prints, in the colours of the painting.  I love lines, crosshatch and modern florals (think Friedlander). Please don’t use any clock or time fabric either! That’s not the look we’re going for people.
There’s no pattern or pre design block for what I want so you’re gonna have to go it alone. Have fun with it and release your inner Dali."

Find More:

Instagram: quiltsfromtheattic

I hope I did my inner-Dali justice!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Marsala Erotica

Marsala. Love it, hate it, meh it. Pantone will never please everyone, and nor should we expect it. However, I am a bit befuddled by their overtly sexualised story line revolving around a supposed colour trend. Y'all know I am not one to shy away from sexualised anecdotes, but really Pantone: Is this the only way you can make the world embrace this colour? Perhaps pleasing everyone was on your mind after all.


"Hey ladies. Wassup? You need help reading those legs, er, I mean lines?"

"We sure do! I don't know what this play is called, but let me pull my skirt up a little higher so you can find out."

Maybe if I put this fox mask on we can pretend we're in Eyes Wide Shut and really get this party started.

"There's nothing sexier than you putting your shoes on my coffee cup. Mmm, and pomegranate, wet, pink and fleshy. How appropriate."

"Have a taste, and wash it down with this magic elixir. I think we all need to loosen up a bit more. Don't you?" 

"I couldn't have said it better myself Leatrice Eiseman! I need him to embrace my warmth. You're such an inspiration!"

Damn it, I can't get rid of that girl and her fuck-me legs. Fine!

"Well, I thought it was going to be just us, but two on one can be just as fun!"

Hmm... this is almost Radiant Orchid, maybe if I dangle it next to my delicate bosom...

"That's a lovely flower you have there. It's kind of like the sexy flowers on your skirt. Can I have closer look up,  at,  in, um, that's sexy." Just smile, just smile, play it cool.

If this isn't an invitation, I don't know what is! It worked at the last party I went to! Why do we even still have our clothes on?

"Oh Leatrice. You really have thought of everything. How quaint of you calling our tickle sticks a small appliance. Nurturing and fulfilling indeed! I guess if we're stirring the honey pot, keeping it in the kitchen is a logical place! Duly noted!"

"Mmm, this fabric feels so soft against my skin. I want to feel it all over me. Let's roll around on the floor with large rolls of marsala between us!"

"Bitch, stole my look."

"I knew those pants had to go. This floral marsala brocade will look so much better wrapped around you. Actually, so would I! Pick me!"

"AYFKM? I work all night to get you in my marsala and you're choosing her?"

"Ladies, ladies, don't you worry. There's enough of me to make both of your raspberries swirl."

 And it looks like he took a bite out. of. that. Universally appealing, indeed.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Sunday Stash #103 - Drama Cake

You would not even believe the drama cake and truth tea I have been havin' to serve about our new apartment! As I've told you we bought off the plan, (prior to it being built), and now that we've moved in, there are some rampant defects. I have had a parade of tradesmen wondering through my apartment over the last week, and not a single one of them has even been cute. Lord, give me strength! I won't bore you with the entire twelve pages of defects I identified (seriously). However, the latest is a large patch of silicone stains a foolish tradesman left all over our hardwood floors. The only solution from the flooring installer in removing them: move out again so they can re-polish the floors throughout the apartment. AYFKM? Bonus points if you get that acronym. 

Suffice to say, it was a welcome surprise to see this Botanics Aurifil thread set show up on my work desk this week! Now I can strangle all of those tradesmen that keep damaging my apartment, without fear of thread breakage! (Conversely, if any cute ones do show up...) This lovely gift came from Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts because I won second prize in her Bright Sky QAL! I also won a $30 gift certificate to Southern Fabric, but I haven't managed to even sit down and try to use it yet. 

A lot of you have been asking about my new sewing studio, and I promise it's getting there. I bought furniture today, and it will most certainly feature in a future Sunday Stash. It's pretty amazing, if I do say so myself! Please bear with me while I try to get our apartment business straightened out. Kisses!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

#NGAQB Hash Tag Tutorial

Planted firmly between the cheeky songs of Nicki Minaj's Anaconda and Jennifer Lopez's Booty, it looks like 2014 is gonna end up being the year of the ass. It's a good thing too, because I am behind! I haven't managed to complete my October or November NGAQB (No Girls Allowed Quilt Bee) blocks, and they are such mahvelous selections. Thankfully, December is all about me--when is it not--and I've instructed the guys to make me tone on tone hash tag blocks.

This quilt is going to be a slice of rainbow heaven! I'll fill you in on all of the details about my design intentions and rationale when the blocks start rolling in, and for now I'll show you the tutorial I made for the guys. Oh and by the way, Grandma Sparkles always told me not to, but I'll gladly accept blocks from strangers!