Thursday, May 31, 2007

Checking in earlier ...

I managed to get to the computer at a much more reasonable hour today, I'm not feeling droopy eyed :-) It's not that I plan to go to bed late, it's just that there's so much I want to achieve in a day, and I keep going ... and going ... until I can't reasonably stay up any longer. Of course, none of this would be necessary if I were a morning person, but I'm just not.

The placemats were very happily received by Janet & John when I dropped Cameron off this morning. They just loved them, and there were hugs all round. Cam had a great time with them while I was at the quilt store, they went to an airplane museum. Super fun! And I had a great time at the quilt store too, so a great day all around.

And here is a picture of some fabric that arrived on my doorstep on Tuesday. I wanted to share yesterday ... but you know ... late etc ... I purchased it from Z & S Fabrics. I really needed the fabrics for a few of the projects I have in the planning stages, so it wasn't frivolous fabric purchasing. I just love Z&S, I've talked about them before, they're just wonderful. This is only my second order with them, and I'm sure it won't be my last.

This item is an Ebay purchase from earlier this week. It's a football guernsey for Cameron. He started Auskick three weeks ago. It's an early learning programme for Aussie rules football. He's just loving it, and my mother has cultivated a love of one of our local football clubs in him. She's worked hard at it, and it's sure rubbing off. The Adelaide Crows are his favourite - with my Mum working it, he didn't have a chance of supporting anyone else. Because he's still quite little, I didn't really want to spend $80.00 at the AFL store, and managed to pick it up for $26.00 on Ebay. It's a size 6, and should last him a year.

On another quilty note - something fun happened at the quilt store yesterday. One of the lovely ladies that regularly comes to my classes is turning 70 in August. We stumbled on this information, and because we all love Maureen so, I stealthily organised for a bunch of girls to make up some quilt blocks, and we're going to make up a quilt for her big day. Luckily for me her computer isn't working right now, and she doesn't read my blog, or the surprise would be a bust. I'm really excited about the project, and I know the girls are too. I'll show you pictures of the blocks as they come in. I thought we could use the tree blocks from the table runner I showed last month. It'll be super fun!

Lastly ... yesterday my laptop showed me this message "the system has recovered from a fatal error" which sure didn't sound good. When I opened my mail, every item in my inbox was gone. Ooops. I can't imagine what happened, but I've had wonderful technical hubby give it the once and twice over, and all seems to be well now. But if you were expecing a response to an email from me, it's unlikely to happen now. Fortunately nothing was lost that can't be replaced, but it's a timely reminder to me to backup ... and often! This is the second time my laptop has 'burped' in the last few months.

Ohhh, this is really the last paragraph ... I'm thinking about an etsy shop ... maybe with some coasters and placemats ... is that something anyone would be interested in?? Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Mats make great gifts!

Cam's wonderful day care lady is on holidays this week. We just love Christine, and hope she's having a wonderful time away.

So that I have been able to work my few hours at the quilt store this week, our 'sort of' relatives John and Janet looked after Cameron this morning and will look after him again tomorrow morning.

I wanted to make them a little something to say thank you, so last night I started putting together some placemats for them. I already had a strip of prairie braid put together from the other two sets of placemats I made, so they were fast to assemble. I didn't have the perfect thread to quilt them, so I got that at the quilt store today. I just finished the binding a few minutes ago, and thought I'd share them with you.

The main fabric in the mats is a Thimbleberries Club fabric from 2004. It's from the bag project which I never got to making. I don't really love the bag, so I'm giving myself permission not to make the projects I don't like so much, and use the fabrics in things I do like. It's was really quite a weight lifted from me when I made that decision. I made seven of the projects that year, and I think there is only one more of them that I will make - the December project.

The back of the fabric was from my stash, and I pieced the batt from leftovers, so the mats really were another stashbusting project! I'm loving getting thru the stash!

Well, I should run, as it's almost midnight here - I do have more I want to tell you all, but I'm just too tired right now, it's been a big day. Have a great day! x o x

Monday, May 28, 2007

Still Starstruck

Here is where I'm at with my star blocks. I know it doesn't look all that different to last time - sorry about that. There just doesn't seem to be so much stitching time here right now. I know it's not forever, so I can enjoy some seriously quilty days in the not too distant future.

I'm thinking that this quilt will have 'Starstruck' somewhere in it's name, so I've been calling them my Starstruck blocks. I still have five more red reproduction fabrics to introduce to the mix, and at least one more 'star' fabric. It's looking very vintage, and I'm really happy that it looks like I'll have enough of the background fabric to finish it. I was sort of worried that I wouldn't quite have enough. However I shouldn't get too confident, just in case I run out with a tiny bit to go.

And here we have Holly helping out in the garden. Marty did a whole lot of gardening on Sunday, and Holly was completely into everything he was working on. She's growing up so fast, and we're slowly letting her have a little more outside time, but not too much. She's really an indoor girl, we've noticed she kind of tiptoes on grass, like she doesn't like the sensation underfoot. Too funny!

I had taken Cam to a birthday party on Sunday morning, and on Sunday afternoon I had a bit of a Nanna Nap. My bestie's 40th birthday party was on Saturday night, and we had a huge time, so I was feeling a little low the next day. We've had a big run of parties lately, and there are still a number to go. It's such fun being social butterflies :-)

I have to confess that I'm really behind with my blog reading right now. I promise I'll catch up with what you're all up to, and please forgive me if I comment more sparsely than usual - just know that I've stopped by and enjoyed visiting with you! x o x

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Wide brown land & Starstruck blocks

On Wednesday, Marty decided to take Cam for a mini-break to Yalpara Station. It's in the mid-north of our state, I guess around a three to four hour drive from our home. Here's Cam collecting rocks, in the subsequent pictures he was throwing the rocks down the hill. There is a darker stripe in the picture just before the hills in the distance. That is where the homestead is. It's a huge property, quite historic, and owned by family members.

Marty has to go back to work on Monday after having five weeks of his long service leave, so this was some time out for him before it's back to the grind.

And here is what I've been working on. I have made only eight of the blocks I need, and only four of the half blocks. I still have seventeen full blocks, more half blocks and some quarter blocks to make. You're only seeing two of the colour combinations here, but there will be a lot more red prints and star prints. I'm looking forward to seeing how it comes along.

Linda may find this quilt familiar ... and Donna and Karen too! :-)

I haven't actually had much quilting time in the last few days, in fact not much free time at all, hence the couple of days between posts. Cam and Amy have been super busy and I've been doing the Mum's Taxi routine. Cam has two birthday parties this weekend, we have a 40th tonight, as well as Auskick, and two netball games, my time is not my own!

I better get back to doing some chores, there is laundry screaming for attention ... have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Big day at the quilt store.

Today was a busy day at the quilt store, and the afternoon flew by so fast I couldn't believe it. It's just Amy and I at home right now so we're spending some time veging, and shortly I'm going to head into the sewing room.

I promised yesterday that I'd share the pattern source for the watermelon hat. Here it is. I actually used beads rather than sew on the 'seeds'. You will need to string them all onto the yarn before you begin the pink colour. Thank you to Atet for reminding me of the address :-)

Lastly, I've done a little fabric shopping just recently - not exactly good for my fabric diet, but I've been good for such a long time, and I do need the stuff for the quilt I'm currently working on. I ordered some lovely reproductions from Z&S Fabrics. I just love this store! My friend Linda recommended them to me, and I love everything about them. They present their parcels so beautifully too!

Marty has taken the d-camera with him, and I've no new pictures to share today - I will hopefully have some wonderful fabric creation to share with you tomorrow *lol* Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Lemon meringue pie :-)

Just a quick post today - I only have 15 mins before I need to go and get the kids.

First up, here is the first item in the 'lemon use' program. Lemon meringue pie. Yum! This is the first time I've ever made one of these pies, and I love it! It didn't even last 24 hours. Just delicious. The next item I'm going to tackle is lemon bars. They sound delicious too!

And here is the progress on the new project. There are four star blocks with the red tri's attached, and three blocks without red tri's. And there are four half size blocks.

You can just see at the side there the picture I drew up on the computer. It would have been so much easier for you to understand had the printer not run out of red ink in the middle, but it'll make sense as I make more blocks.

I had a couple of people ask for the pattern for the watermelon hat - I haven't forgotten you. It's at the Yarn Harlot's site - I'll have a looky for it later on and post the link for you tomorrow. I promise! Have a great day everyone!

Monday, May 21, 2007

New Project

Last night I really should have been working on the directions for the scrap quilt, but being me, I didn't. Are you surprised? I'm certainly not :-)

I was drawn into the sewing room by some kind of magnetic pull ... completely helpless - I had to go with it :-)

And here is what I started working on. Well, you can't really see from the picture, but I have a cute selection of reproductions there - pretty much all civil war prints, and I'm putting together a quilt I drew up recently.

Instead of this project, I could have kept going with some of the other scrap projects I have on the go, but no ... I needed to play with some 'fresh' blocks. I'll put some more together if I have the chance today, and then I really must get to working on the directions. It seems I always create artificial deadline pressure by leaving things to the last minute. Am I the only one who does this??

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Deb's Quilt

My friend Deb popped in the other day - she's a quilter too - surprise surprise! She's been working on a Dresden Plate quilt, and wondered if I'd be able to give her a hand. She was all done, but for the quilting in the final border. Deb is nervous about freemotion quilting, and I'm always happy to give her a hand.

Isn't this quilt lovely and bright. I love that she's matched up the floral fabrics with the yellow gingham, it's sooo cute.

Here is a close up of the actual block, I love the fabrics she's used. They're not fabrics I probably would buy if I was in the quilt store, and yet I love the way it looks. I always find it funny that I'm 99% of the time hooked in by reproduction fabrics, but I love bright quilts too.

I'll probably tackle the quilting over the weekend, inbetween kid appointments. We've already been to Amy's netball, and Cameron's football. This afternoon one of Amy's friends is coming over for a sleepover, and tomorrow morning I'll take both the girls to a birthday party. I'll have an hour to myself, and then Cam has a birthday party. Marty is away for the weekend with his mates, so the kids and I can chill when we're at home, and we can eat toast for dinner if we like! How fun!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hats off!

I had two finishes yesterday. Number one: While at the quilt store in some spare moments, I was able to finish the second Watermelon hat. The first one I made was a little larger than I wanted, and also got claimed by Cameron, so I made another for my niece Sophia. Most of the time I spent on this hat was 'found time' - like waiting for Amy in the car kind of time. And with this hat I was able to benefit from the mistakes made first time around, like to make the green strips a little wider so they'd roll nicer.

Number two: I hand sewed down the last of the binding on my scrap quilt. I really like this quilt, and I'm raring to go on my next quilt. I have three quilts all drawn up and ready to go ... but ...

My sewing room is all packed away. This time tomorrow, I'll be quilting up a storm, but for tonight we're having one of Marty's friends sleep over, and I don't want to have to tidy the sewing room up again. In fact, today is a really strange day. Once a month on a Thursday, I have a day entirely to myself. Today is that day, and I just don't know what to do with myself. Marty has taken my car for a few hours. The house is "don't want to touch anything" tidy, and I can't do any sewing. Ohhh my goodness ... what do do??

I think I may just keep plugging away at my white wholecloth quilting. I can't think of anything else I really need to work on. As I said ... this is a really strange day!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

People Quilt

Isn't it fun when you're tidying things away, and you find something you haven't seen in a while. This is one of those things. It's Amy's travel 'People Quilt'.

When Amy was a baby, I made up two cot (or crib) quilts for her. One was a panel featuring some cute characters, one of whom you see in the picture. The panel had a cute backing fabric, and I thought it too cute to hide on a back, so it became a quilt too. Each cot quilt was bordered in broderie anglaise lace. As Amy was growing up, she couldn't sleep without the quilts, as she would rub the lace between her thumb and forefinger when she was going to sleep. As she learned to speak, she called the quilts her 'People Quilts' because the little characters were people to her. Even after she moved into a big girls bed, these quilts were still such a comfort to her, and they had to be with her all the time (except school of course, because that's just not cool!).

Fast forward a few years, and Amy and I were planning a holiday to the US with my friend and her daughter. My dilemma: Amy needed her People Quilt, but I didn't really want take up so much space packing it. Solution: I made a travel size quilt with a leftover piece of the backing fabric, and a piece of the leftover lace that I luckily still had.

You can see the quilt in the picture of the two of us here - we're at the San Diego Zoo. I have such memories of this tiny quilt - it was lost in the breakfast room of our hotel, and found and kindly returned in superfast time by the staff. It was lost in the Disneyland Hotel when we had breakfast with the characters. We ran back and found it luckily! It was also lost in Snoopy's planes at Knott's Berry Farm. We figured out where it was and the attendant kindly tracked it down for us.

The cot quilts are long gone - they fell to pieces in time, but I feel sure this tiny quilt will be with us forever, it's been through so much already! Eventually Amy outgrew it, but there is no way I'll ever be parting with it, for me it's such a lovely reminder of how something so small can mean so much to a darling little person.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Another late one!

Have I mentioned before that I'm a bit of a night owl? I feel sure if I haven't actually said it, you may have picked it up along the way. Last night I crept into bed after midnight sometime. I don't know the exact time - I didn't look. That way - if questioned by DH, I can honestly say "Ohhh, I don't know what time it was". Why was I up so late? Well, I finished the quilting on my scrap quilt, and I thought I'd just pop the binding on. There isn't a clock in the sewing room, and it's easy to get carried away.

There is something of a method to my madness though, Marty's friend Peter is flying in on Thursday, and will be staying overnight before they head off together on Friday. This means that I need to convert the sewing room into the guest room, and I don't want it to interfere with my sewing time at all. Now that the machine work is done on this quilt, I can spend a couple of days de-cluttering, folding away the cutting table and sewing table etc. and making the room feel like somewhere you'd want to sleep.

But anyways, Yay! the binding is on the quilt! I got it done a little earlier than expected, so I just need to write the directions now and make a few 'in progress' pieces. I can relax just a bit. I have drawn up two other quilts, both of which I've pretty much decided which fabrics I'll be using. I'll give myself a little bit of a rest and send the drawings off to see what sort of response they get. Super fun!

Thank you everyone for your fun commentaries on your footwear. Clearly it takes all kinds to make a world, and we've got all the footwear types covered. I never expected to be at the medium-high end of the shoe collecting scale, as my Mum has more than one hundred pairs. She's someone who travels a lot, and frequently brings home a lot of pairs. Because she seldom wears them out, she has a LOT. So I guess my perspective on a lot of shoes is slightly skewed. However, like many of you have stated, if I could find the perfect shoe that fit all occasions, I'd gladly trade them all in. Well ... maybe except my patent strappy sandals ... I love them just too much!

Also, thank you all for your tips and recipes for using up the lemons. I know I'm going to love each and every one of them. I'd never heard of Lemon Bars before, they sound super yummy, I think they may be first on the list. Also the lemonade is right up there. I'm going to get some soda water tomorrow, how nice it'd be to have the extra fizz in there.

Well, that's it from me, I hope you all had a great Mother's Day, just like me! x o x

Saturday, May 12, 2007

It's about the shoes ...

Tomorrow is Mothers Day, so I'd like to wish all the Mums out there a wonderful day, I hope you're able to spend time with those you love. I spent this evening with my Mum, as she's going to be out all day tomorrow. I love and appreciate her so much. I'm lucky to have her.

My Mum is always shopping for me and the kids, and she bought me some gifts for Mothers Day too. A lovely dressing gown and a cute pair of shoes which I've pictured.

Now, I wanted to check something with you all (this is completely non-quilt related, so here's your chance to look away!) ... I have a friend Jane, and we often lunch and shop together. This one particular day I wanted to find a pair of shoes, and Jane wanted to know how many pairs I have. I thought about it and told her, "I don't know, how many do you have?". She answered that she has four pairs of shoes. This surprised me a little, as I hadn't really paid attention to her footwear. I asked her if she was sure, because I felt reasonably confident I'd have more like forty four. I was pretty close - I checked at that time, and I had forty five. I was thinking it wasn't too extravagant, because I've probably taken almost a decade to collect them.

She and her hubby must have discussed this at length, because the next time we saw them at a party, he asked me about it, he couldn't believe it, and ever since it has been a source of fun and jokes for us all. But what I'd like to know is this: Which one of us is more like the norm? How many pairs do you have? I'm curious to know, just for interest, and I'm not encouraging excess.

I think tomorrow I'll have a Flylady session in my closet. It feels like the right thing to do :-)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I'll take mine with lemon ...

Ohhh my word, our tiny lemon tree is groaning with lemons this year! This is only the second year this tree has actually borne fruit, it's really young, and it's going gangbusters!

Because I've never really had so many lemons to play with before, my lemon recipe repertoire is extremely limited. Does anyone have a favourite lemon recipe they'd like to share? I'd like to try real lemonade sometime soon, so if anyone has some tips for that too, they'd be much appreciated :-)

On the quilting front, I've started quilting on the latest scrap quilt this afternoon. I pieced the back last night, I used some fabric I got in Paducah last year. One half is a cute blue toile, and the other half is a Kaye England print, I think it was Travels in Time, it looks like scenes from Gone with the Wind. Loving this stashbusting! More quilt news as it breaks! *vbs*

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Top Complete

First up, a huge thank you to my amazing friend Linda. I received a wonderful parcel in the post today, and it contained the yummiest goodies. There were three charm packs of fabric, two of them wonderful reproductions and one lovely Moda. I especially love the Rocky Mountain collection, Linda knows my taste inside and out, she's entirely fabulous. She also knows that I plan to make a Double Wedding Ring quilt someday and she sent me a book by John Flynn with the most wonderful techniques. Another big thank you!

Also in the mail, but not pictured were wonderful brochures from Disney World and the Kennedy Space Centre. We plan to travel there next year, and since she was there last month she has done some intelligence gathering for us :-) Gosh we can't wait until next year! Thank you a million times Linda!

And here is the completed top of the quilt I've been working on. This morning I was thinking about whether or not I should post the picture here, as I was reasonably sure my contract with the publisher stated that I shouldn't be sharing pictures of a quilt once it had been commissioned. So, I had a chat with my editor this afternoon "Hi Marianne :-)" and she assures me it's fine to share my pictures. It's a relief to know with clarity what I can and can't do, I feel sure you all know what a minefield copyright issues can be.

Back to the quilt top - when I drew it up I decided I didn't want to border the quilt, and I'm still happy with that decision. I will bind it with the burgundy fabric I used in the setting triangles, and hopefully that will finish it off nicely. I don't have any more of the nine patches left that Linda and I made, it was so much fun exchanging them with her. I love seeing the fabrics and wondering about the other projects they were in. I know the patches I made had fabrics from my first quilt in them. Surely there can't be any more of that left in my scrap boxes now?? Another thing I like to do when I'm scrap piecing is to use up left over bobbin threads and other odd cottons from other projects. It's going to sound nutty, but I get all happy when I run out of odd threads I've accumulated :-)

On a final note, the current issue of Australian Patchwork and Quilting has one of my projects in it. It's the Applique Special Vol 15 No 8 June 2007. My Winchester Weave quilt is in there, not applique at all, but very happy to be included. There should be three more projects in the coming months - very happy days indeed!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Socks and Mitts

As you may recall, I had plans to finish up the top of my quilt yesterday. It didn't happen. Somehow I managed to put my back out, and there was very little of anything happening at home. It's rare for me to have a sore back, and never quite like this, so I have new sympathies for people with back problems. I think I may have just slept funny or something, and I'm sure it's just muscular. Today with the help of some Voltaren I'm feeling a good deal better.

So, instead of quilting, I was able to work on my knitting. I had already finished the second of my pair of socks. I was thrilled that on the second one I was able to execute the kitchener stitch perfectly, so the finish on the toe was wonderful. My joy was so complete that I was brave enough to unpick the toe of the first sock and have another go, which worked out perfectly too! Happy days! Actually, if the truth be told, I did such a determined job of securing the two slipped stitches I had to snip the last row of stitches off entirely and then start pulling back the stitches ... but it wasn't too much of a horror story, and the finish was worth it! But shhhh ... don't tell the knitting police!

I eyeballed the last of the ball of wool, and thought I may have enough to make a matching pair of mitts. See that little scrap there - that's all I had left over at the end. I have been so lucky thus far not to have run out on any of my projects, however I'm not going to get all cocky, I don't want to attract any bad wool karma!

I have decided that I will give the socks and mitts to my Mum for Mother's Day, along with some Chrysanthemums. I know she'll appreciate them on cold days at the football. Well, that's it from me today - have a great one! x o x

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Help me piece Holly!

As you can see, Holly has a lot going on in her life, she really doesn't have time to help me piece on my quilt! It's just all sleep, all the time. Actually, that's not entirely true - when she is awake, she's very energetic, much to the other cat's chagrin. Can you believe how much she's grown? When we took her to the vet not so long ago he told us she's going to be a big girl, that would explain why her tail doesn't seem to fit right now :-)

I'm still piecing away on the current scrap quilt. I'm well past half way now. I'm enjoying it more now that I can see it coming together. Funny tho, this picture doesn't look that much different to the recent picture. Honest ... it's getting bigger ... trust me! If I'm a really good girl, I may be able to finish the top this evening. If not then, definitely tomorrow. It would be nice to get quilting on it next week. Let's see how I go.

This transmission (doesn't that sound official :-)) is coming to you from the computer in the study. I feel all out of sorts using this computer, it doesn't have my favourite bookmarks, and it just doesn't feel right. My laptop is still unhappy, though it sounds like the problem has been found. It works okay when the wireless networking is turned off, but goes haywire when it's turned on. So, yesterday I frantically backed up all my work on it, which was such a relief. I didn't realise, but it had been a couple of months since I'd done it. Amazing how time flies. Anyways, if a few laptop problems are all the worries I have, I've got it pretty good right?

Well, that's it from me, I must get back to sewing. I'm looking forward to catching up on all your blogs too. Be sure to have a great weekend! x o x

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Laptop Unhappy

My laptop was unhappy. I don't know much about computers, so I booked it in for a service call with the husband. Yes ... I booked it in. This morning it spent some shed time with him while I was at the quilt store.

I explained to him that it was unhappy, and when the laptop is unhappy, wifey is unhappy, and I can't create when I'm unhappy. Oddly enough, he understood.

I'm now way behind with my blog reading, so I promise to catch up with you all really soon. This evening we have parent teacher night at Amy's school, and then she has dancing. I hope we can fit dinner in somewhere.

Be good, and do some stitching for me! x o x

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Table Runner

During the school holidays I was trying to come up with a table runner project that I could share with my students. I wanted one that would use up scraps, wasn't too hard, and of course that looked cute.

After playing around with an applique project unsuccessfully, I had this idea this evening. It's not like it's ground breaking or anything, but I think it'll look really cute made up with scrap greens and backgrounds, and would look wonderful done in a Christmas theme. I think I'm going to call it "Among the Evergreens".

I'll use my 2.5" strips to create the half square triangles, so the squares and tri's will be 2" finished. I don't know that I'll have the time (with the other quilt on the go) but it would be nice if I could make this up for my Mum. If you like it, go ahead and make it, and be sure to share pictures :-)

Vickie W asked yesterday about the finished size of the squares in my other project. I'm sorry I couldn't reply to you personally as your email address doesn't show up, but the finished size of the squares is 1.5". Hope that helps - but I'm sure any size would work great too.


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