Entries in piper (9)


a year and change.

I didn't plan to take a year off blogging. I had so many cool projects planned! I have a lot to say, about everything, all of the time! But life got in the way, and a lot of it was painful and immediate and I didn't know how to process it, so I kept quiet on this platform. I stuck to Instagram and Facebook, and I slowed my sewing way down.

I hated these :)))) but they're done :))))) #jennteasweetbeans

Long story short: we started having problems with our daughter's school in the third week of term, and the subsequent twelve months were spent finding doctors, getting tested, trying new therapies, and ending up with... a diagnosis of a speech delay. Which we already knew.

It was a very hard year.

We are in a new school now, which is closer to our house. It's a parish school, co-ed, and takes kids pre-k through year 6. P tested high for her age group in maths, logic, and puzzles, and low for speech (which, again, we totally knew) and her teacher is on top of speech and social skills as well as keeping her busy. When she came home after less than two weeks and could write her own name, I cried. I cry when she tells me about all her friends and her teacher and what they did every day. I cry because last year she was so miserable and misunderstood and I was scared it ruined school for her, and it feels like we've been given a massive second chance for her to love learning.

I feel like I can finally breathe.

I like that they like each other. Yesterday Piper taught Owen "ring around the rosie". #latergram

Here's hoping I can get back to writing, sewing, and living again, and that I come back to this space to record it.

My favorite picture from Tokyo Disney. 💖

It's lovely to be covered in babies. :) Even babies who brought the daycare sandbox home in their hair and trousers... 😜


busy month.

I can hardly believe how quickly January has gone by.

For example, this one started school.

"It's Kristoff wearing Chapstick" 😂❄️

I've heard surprise from a few people - as the Tiny Blonde One is only 4 in July it seems like "school" is the wrong word. It's pre-primary at a nearby Montessori school, and she goes 5 days a week, all morning. So this is it, for us. There's no "proper school" starting moment beyond this one. Her first day she wore a handmade dress and cried on the way home from school. She didn't want it to end. I am so glad this is where she's going! It is wonderful how much she loves it!

Meanwhile, the Little Fellow is a bit bereft at the loss of his only playmate. He's extra cuddly these days. Not that I'm complaining, but I utter the phrase "please give Mama some personal space please!" an awful lot. Daddy loves cuddles though!

The Little Fellow is a great cuddler, and he made sure to show Daddy how happy he was to have him home!

And for some crazy reason (teaching!) I've committed to teaching a class on the Aviatrix Medallion. I needed a class sample, of course...so I started another one. (Heaven help me!) I'm up to Border 3.

It's wobbly on the design wall and that border isn't pieced together yet but...you get the idea.

School gives us a good routine, and I do my shopping on the same day each week...it feels like things are levelling out. I'm involving the Tiny Blonde One in more of the food preparation at home. She helped me stir the salt into the yoghurt and spoon it into the strainer to make labneh.

Look, I'm not saying this is the easiest cheese to make...but it IS. A kilo of Greek yoghurt, salt, a cheesecloth, a strainer, and a bowl to catch the whey. After a night in the fridge it's delicious and amazing. :)

And she is a pro at making "chocolate cakes". She gets so excited to help stir! Maybe because I let her lick the spoon after. :)

Yes, she loves helping me bake "chocolate cakes". Why do you ask? 😜🍰

I'm also keeping up with my book pledge this year. You can check out my Goodreads here. This is the series that has caught me the most. I kind of knew it would. Ugh, I just love it so much. Ronan is my bby.

I'm only on chapter five and I'm FREAKING OUT at how good this is.

I am still stitching away on my original Aviatrix Medallion. We have been watching The 100. I am up to episode 5 of season 2, and I love it. It reminds me of The Vampire Diaries but less about romance, more about the uncovering of the plot twists and the things people will do to survive.

Stitching little kisses into my quilt. X x x

I get a lot of quilting done while I'm watching TV!

And the back of this quilt is looking wonderful too. I love how soft this is.

The back of my hand-quilted #aviatrixmedallion. I always like seeing the backs of these projects too! :)

Finally, I have been working on a La Passacaglia quilt. This is a lot of fun. I got my copy of the book from Busyfingers Patchwork and they sell starter packs as well (note: you'll need extra triangles!).

Rosette 1 is finished!

I think that's about it for January and early February!


wip wednesTHURSDAY!


I'm not behind. I've been busy.

I have been fairly productive this week, surprisingly. I washed the car on Sunday and hung out the washing on Monday, so of course, it's rained all week! There is no rain dance stronger than a clean car and four loads on the Hills Hoist, is there?

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Of course I'm linking up with Lee!

This week, due to the rain, I've been spending some quality time scrivening away. I am really ready for my manuscript to be done, so my betas can read it again and give feedback and then I can look for an agent and maybe...get it...published...someday...ellipses...so many ellipses...

My manuscript's biggest problem is that I have other things to do! But I pick up my laptop, and there it is, full-screen, begging for edits. And an hour goes by and I look up and realize that Piper has taken off all her clothes and Owen has pulled all the toys off the shelf. (Whoops.)

All right, that is as it is, so let's get on with quilty and sewing stuff!

Last week the Sydney Modern Quilt Guild kicked off the first meeting of 2014! We talked over color choices for the group quilt and happily I got some hexagons started for my teaching samples. That starts in, GULP, just a few weeks!! WOW!

Meanwhile, how cute is our BOM quilt? Yeah? You jealous? Join up, it's a free pattern...that I wrote, so I plan on teaching this as well! (But you really should join, it is a super great group.) :)

Sydney MQG sampler complete! There is a good chance I'll be teaching this quilt this year, INCLUDING how to sew a machine binding that looks amazing. :)

I loved showing off my quilt, but I needed to get organized for my hexie samples. I raided my scrappy solids for warm and cool colors. I use both glue and thread basting techniques for these little 1" hexagons. I use a dab of glue stick to stick the paper to the fabric, then I go around and thread-baste around (not THROUGH) the paper. It means I can take a whole stack and get them ready to baste in no time, and I only have to process big batches once in a while!

Hexies for teaching

I also decided to use my shot cottons for hexagons. I've only had these 8" square packs for a year and a half, oops! Haha!

Hexies for teaching

Since school starts next week, I've gone off the beaten quilty path and decided to make a new wardrobe for Piper. I have enough fabric for a million dresses but I decided on six. So far three are in the cut out/partly contstructed stage...

Piper's School Wardrobe

I like to do this in little phases so I can go around and finish the inside seams with my serger and then just sew the top to the bottom, hem, and add a zipper!

Here is some fabric for more.

Baby dresses to be

And I did have a single quilty finish this week. Or a few weeks ago. Who can remember! It was gifted this week, which is the important detail. This is Mila's quilt.

Mila's Quilt

I made this with some solids (probably Kona?) and some of Lily Ashbury's lovely Trade Winds fabric. I got a lot out of that fat eighth bundle - it really makes me wonder why I buy half yard bundles!! :)

And here the back, using a gorgeous piece of Rooftop Garden.

Mila's Quilt

I quilted this with Aurifil on my Juki TL98P, using a crosshatch in the centre, stitching in the ditch around the pink border, and free-motion loops in the greeny border.

Today I spent ALL DAY destashing. I didn't sell everything but I made enough to buy my Mama a really nice sewing machine for her birthday. (Girls, if you read this, DO NOT TELL HER!) I was on Instagram for eight solid hours. I am a bit sick of it, to be honest, but so glad I participated. We have over 1,500 pictures under the #greataussiedestash hashtag! I didn't do much (I picked a date, whoop-de-doo) but I still feel really proud.

So yes, a lot of this was sold today! Hopefully I can spend tomorrow morning packing it all up and maybe even walk up to the post office to get it posted out! Wouldn't that be nice!




Since I destashed so much, a lot of people were asking if I have any stash left! I do. Oh, I definitely do. My poor, untidy "keepers" need to be cleaned up! My chippy came by yesterday morning to measure these beautiful bookcases up for extra shelves, so until he gets back to me, messy they shall remain!

My messy stash!

I'm going to love having a properly organized house. Which I will have to do anyway, since...MY QUILTING FRAME IS ON ITS WAY!!!

I'm dancing around with joy. It's all happening! Yay!

So that's almost it for this WIP Wednesday except a very special happy (belated) birthday to my friend Kat. You are amazing Kat and I am so glad we are friends!

Have a good weekend if I don't catch you before then!

Penny xx


[Monday] Night Plan

Not much can prevent me from missing a blog entry, especially one I love as much as the Sunday Plan. I like having my week sorted, my projects laid out and ordered well, my goals sharpened for the days ahead. It suits me wonderfully to check in on Wednesday and adjust accordingly. And it tickles me pink to see those tasks get crossed off, one by one.

This did not happen this weekend. Let me explain.

I had the busiest Friday I've had in a long time. First I went to Mothers' Group, then had tea with Jen, ate a toasty at my favorite café, then snuck in some delicious chocolate with my darling husband. After that I traipsed to FYA Book Club, with our final stop at the Night Noodle Markets to grab pork buns before heading home. All in a (twelve-hour) day's work, right? We did good, the kid and I.

My plan for Saturday morning was to have brunch with a few friends, then come home and sew my sister's quilt top. My plan for Saturday morning was NOT to wake up at five-thirty completely and disgustingly ill. I turned to Mr Poppleton and said, "I don't feel so good."

I'm going to use one of those words my mom hates, and I'm going to say it straight out: food poisoning SUCKS. (Sorry, Mom.) It was short, but awful. I attributed it to those darn pork buns and on Sunday we cautiously went about our business. All seemed well. I was quite worried that Piper would get sick but by the end of Sunday I was up and about, organising and cleaning, and even ate some food.

Around 10pm (the time I usually begin my Sunday Planning), Mr Poppleton got a funny look on his face and said, "I don't feel so good." And lo, he did not feel so good either. Argh. Pork buns, we've learned our lesson. No more street food.

Anyway, I'm sorry. I promise I wasn't slacking. I was genuinely gross. And as of right now, I'm getting stuff accomplished. WOOT, right? WOOT. Silver lining, etc etc. So, here is my adjusted Monday night plan for this week.


x Christmas present lists finalized!
x 2 more hex blocks, 4 more Elwood Rose blocks
x Some hand-quilting on J5's finished (!) quilt top


x Any. Some. Geez.
x NaNoWriMo planning


x I'm reasonably sure my kitchen hasn't been properly mopped since I was, er, pregnant. Making that a priority this week!

So that's it for this week. I'm hoping to get a few more things done by the weekend, but for now I'll leave you with the image of my littlest sister's quilt top, which is finished and, since this photo was taken, the back pieced and battinged and pin-basted. Ta-da! Accomplishments!

Ultraviolet quilt


Fabric Friday #3

I know, it's Sunday, but I promised a Fabric Friday and I intend to deliver! Even if I am a couple days late. (Oops.)

Firstly, I want to tell everyone that despite tempation I am still going strong with No-Buy October! I haven't purchased a single centimeter of fabric. I almost accidentally bought some on Etsy, though. I convo'd someone and hmmm'd and had my finger on the "buy" button before--WAIT! It's NO-BUY OCTOBER! Whew. Disaster averted. Sorry, Hunky Dory yardage. You can wait until 1 November.

Secondly, perhaps my willpower isn't that great. I bought three new templates and a book on foundation-piecing. But since the point of No-Buy October is to work with my existing stash, I call templates and foundation piecing books a step in the right direction. Especially since I picked up the Scrap-Therapy book and have decided that every time I have a largeish scrap, I'm apple-coring it to add to a larger, ongoing project: a Scrapple Core Quilt. (See what I did there? Ahh. Puns. Best.)

Thirdly, I did get some fabric in the mail this week, hooray! My half-yard Across the Pond set arrived on Thursday and two gorgeous yards of complementary brown-stripe Lecien My Folklore arrived Tuesday. I was a very happy camper. Check out this Lecien; it's the same colorway as my very favorite fabric ever.

More folklore

I'm kind of freaking out. I want to frame it! Anything I sew with it won't be good enough! I love it so much! Exclamation marks!!

But I love Across the Pond, too. Especially the cranes. Oh, how I love birds.

Fabric Friday #3

It's so blue and orange. I can't wait to cut into it. I am thinking a kaleidoscope quilt.

Of course, when my best helper watched me tear into those pretty parcels, her eyes got huge. I know just what she was thinking.

you have HOW MUCH fabric?

"You bought EVEN MORE fabric?"

I love that face. Check out her mad sitting-up-in-the-Bumbo skills, too! Her little neck is so super-strong, people stop to stare. I try to explain I'm not a bad mother and I'm not letting her head loll everywhere, she actually LIKES to be craned backwards like a gymnast. If I try to snuggle her head close, she shrieks and does this little cough-cry-hiccup thing. Which is way worse than My Baby, The Human Rainbow. So we love the Bumbo. Crane away, kid! I'll just be sewing with my pretty new fabric.

Next week I should be getting the last of my mail-ordered fabric (a Sophie fat quarter set) and then the real drought begins. I'm just hoping for time to sew this upcoming week! It's been a hectic weekend and I'm only just now sitting down enjoying some free time. Time to get out my handwork and sew another hex square... seven down, 166 to go... yikes!

Hex goals.


shower time

Yesterday my good friends Rach and Lucie threw a baby shower for myself and Piper. I got the idea of waiting until the baby was born from my mom, who always had her baby showers after the birth! It's nice because you know what colors to buy and everyone gets to cuddle the baby.

Lucie is Piper's godmother, and she takes her responsibilities in that area very seriously!

piper & aunt lucie

Rachie's partner Ben was on hand before the party started, making us sandwiches, helping move furniture, and...charming Piper's socks off! Look at her flirting with him.

piper loves ben.

The food was amazing, and there was so much of it!

nana's rocky road

garden punch


The spread was gorgeous. I was so grateful that Rachie's mum Kathy let us use her beautiful house while she is away in South America visiting my brother-in-law and his wife! (PS That is how I know Rachie. She's my sister-in-law's sister.)

such a feast

My favorite touch was the bunting - Puffin postcards from a box I impulse-bought over a year ago!

party bunting

It was beautiful, and it was amazing to catch up with all my uni friends. Piper made a new friend too!

piper & mr stripes

Mr Floyd Stripes, Esq. Mr Stripes fascinated her. He has already found pride of place at home on the coffee table, ready at a moment's notice.

It really was a beautiful day. Thank you so much Rach and Lucie for organizing it, and to everyone who turned up!


sunday night plan #3

This week was busy in strange bursts, so I managed to squeeze in bits of sewing here and there. I have to admit, I thought babies napped a lot more than this...but Piper likes to condense her sleeps into the evenings, leaving the day with just a few grizzly short naps. Yikes. But I can't complain too much. She's so gorgeous and bright, always looking around and taking everything in.

I didn't get very much done this weekend, owing to aforementioned Miss Grizzles, but we did manage to finally buy a pram this week! I am looking forward to walking in fine weather. We took the inaugural walk to our favorite café and it felt amazing to stretch my legs. I forsee many hours out and about in our future!

A quick look at this past week before I get down to the nitty-gritty plans!

An explosion took place, and my goodness, the amount of Napisan it took to get that out! Of course I think all of this is hilarious. For someone so tiny, she can make a LOT of mess!


That picture is definitely going in the "21st Birthday Party Slideshow" file!

We caught up with Ellen and Joel. Ellen and I were pregnant together! They have a brand new baby girl, Olive (she's not even a week old!) who is eight weeks younger than Piper. Ellen is my age-ish and it is so nice having a friend close in age who is also a new mum. Where we live, the mums we encounter are mostly post-career women, in their mid- to late-thirties. This is Ellen, Joel, and Olive (in the sling).

Ellen & Joel & new baby Olive!

Mr Poppleton's school friend Aaron and his wife Floss were up this weekend from Melbourne, so we took Piper to meet them. She especially liked Aaron and didn't complain once while he held her! But then he's always been charming to the ladies.

Aaron & Floss

And of course, we distracted Elle. She is always sneaking off to have a hold of Piper, and always gets in trouble at work! Shame shame.

Coffee Elle

So we have been very social, and as a result I had a very cranky, overtired baby on Saturday afternoon and most of today. But she is happily sleeping now, so I can plan my week!

Sewing projects:

x sew J3's quilt top (still, I know I know, I'm SO slack)
x sew J5's quilt top (which I cut and pinned last week)
x design, work up, and cut out 2 cot quilts
x finish Happy Camper quilt top
x finish wrap shirt
x finish hand sewing last three curved hexagon blocks

Writing projects:

x diagram story
x write something every evening (even if it only 100 words)
x structure story toward a finish line

I have a few other things to do this week, in the "life projects" pile. We're considering a new dining table & chairs, so I'd like to sell my existing set. I also have four chairs I bought and reupholstered, and I just need to give them another coat of paint (or five!) to make them worth selling. I'm also converting all our media from physical to electronic, with a view of having a less-plastic lifestyle in the near future. So that's an ongoing set of projects to keep me busy. For now, I'm going to watch an episode of Gossip Girl and finish sewing this curved hexagon block. Maybe if I am really clever, I can get two blocks sewn before the end of the show! A worthy goal.

PS I read a fantastic book and I am going to write a review of it, so keep your eyes peeled!


progress, ever slow...

Well! The fates aligned this morning and I got some work done!

I had my "fake coffee" (aka my glorious decaf), in my special favorite mug:

fake coffee in my david bowie mug

I had a pile of ironing seams which went wonderfully quick!

ironing times

I had Chuck and Blair to keep me company (oh, the intrigue)!

blair & chuck 4EVA

And, best of all...my favorite tiny terrorist decided to grace me with sleep!

tiptoe time!

N'awwww... well, she woke up and I had the quilt blocks half-laid out so J3's quilt is not quite put together yet. Maybe tomorrow! Until then, I've got a block to design for J5's quilt top. Toodles!


piper rose

I love everything about the tiny creature that we made.

She is so inspiring. She learns so much everyday. And to look down at her in her sling and see all that trust, with her hands clinging on to my fingers...it's magic. Best job in the world.

Big eyes.