Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Apricot Jam

Num Yummy! I went to the tree this afternoon, and because it was a pretty overcast day, not many of the apricots were quite ripe enough - just a few for me to bring inside.

I used 3kgs of fruit (about 6 1/2lbs) and here is my jam haul for the day. The three jars in the back are 600ml, or around one pint. The others I think are around 3ooml.

We've hardly put a dent in the fruit, so I see a lot more jam in my future, and probably some preserves too.

My mind is churning though - we've been looking for a new outdoor setting, and because we're having a few friends over for New Years, we thought it would be nice to have a new one in time. We've found two that we're happy with - one a little more than the other. One is $700.00 (picture is of 7pc, but we're going for 9pc), it's nice enough, and we can pick it up tomorrow. However, we like a different one more, and I think I'll be happier with it long term, but it needs to come from interstate - also, it's price has been reduced by $500.00 in the post Xmas sales. Both Marty and I don't mind paying the extra for the one we like a little more, but we can't have it tomorrow, and we'd really like a new one ASAP. I simply can't decide, and Marty says he doesn't mind ... heavens, I just don't know what to do. I think I need to sleep on it. Ideas??

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tomorrow I'll be ...

... jamming! You know - making Apricot jam. I could start tonight, because we've picked about 2.5 kgs already (around 5 pounds), but there are so many that will be ripe tomorrow, it just makes more sense to do a big batch all at once.

We just love apricot jam in this house, and I've never in the past been able to make enough to last the whole year. Our tree is still young and bearing more fruit each year, will this year be the one where I make enough to see us through??

Our peach tree is also groaning with fruit, but they're still some time away from ripening - they're old fashioned Elberta peaches, and I simply cannot wait to be eating them fresh from the tree.

Because I'm not going to be 'jamming' tonight I'll start working on the blocks for the new quilt I drew up recently. I'll be raiding my scrap stash, and as soon as I have something interesting, I'll share my results.

Be good, and I'll check back in soon! x o x

Saturday, December 27, 2008

What did Camo and I do today?

We watched on. Harry Potter, Malfoy and Santa were hard at work supervising the dock, while oddly a cargo plane was unloading nearby.

Things can get pretty chaotic in Legoland.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sewing Machine Mat

I had a request recently for a Sewing Machine Mat via Etsy, and since I was making one, I decided it was just as easy to make two.

If you've been pining for a mat, and have been waiting for me to list some - now is the time to head to my Etsy store. And if you've been waiting, thank you for your patience, it's only been a year *cough*.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas Eve, in fact around 40 minutes until Christmas Day rolls around. We've been out for Christmas drinks with our friends, and Marty and I are going to get busy putting out presents shortly - but there is still time for an important message:

Merry Christmas to all my special buddies- I hope you have a wonderful day with your family and friends.

Love and hugs
x o x

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Scrapping some more

I'm finally on the home stretch of a runner I promised a little while back. It just needs quilting and binding now, both of which I'd like to finish up before Christmas. I've used some more of my Thimbleberries faux applique fabric (some of which I put aside for Pam - must get that in the mail!) and a pile of my 2.5" scraps and strips.

Honestly - the strip tubs are like the 'Magic Pudding' - it seems the more I use, the more is in there - they never go away!

And since I had a request on Etsy the other day, I've started constructing a couple of Sewing Machine Mats. They'll be done soon I hope - one of which will be off to a new home, and the other - well, who knows, but since it's just as easy to make two as it is to make one, I just thought I'd continue on the scrap-busting journey.

Thank you to everyone for the lovely comments on the 'Back Home Again' quilt top. I'm really thrilled with it, and I'm so much looking forward to quilting it some time next year.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Powering on!

And here it is - the 'Back Home Again' top is complete! I knew that once I finished putting the rows together that the rest of it would go together quickly.

Last night at around 12.30 I finished with the rows, and this morning as soon as I'd had breakfast, I set about cutting up and stitching on the final borders.

There are a couple of changes I made from the directions of the original quilt. Firstly, the cutting info called for you to cut the corner and setting triangles in such a way that you have bias edges all along where you attach the borders. I changed it so the edges are on the straight grain.

Secondly, though you can't see it well in the picture, I mitred the corners of the inner and outer border - this wasn't done in the original quilt, and for me, I just like the mitred finish better, especially when using a border stripe like the small inner border.

This will be as far as I get with the top for a while - there will be no quilting just yet. I've already delivered the quilt to the store, so it can be there on display as soon as they open after the Christmas/New Year break. It feels just wonderful to have a project crossed off the to-do list.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Moving right along ...

Here is the end result of my sewing today (and I don't mind saying I'm really pleased with it). Two rows complete with setting and corner triangles, and one border print set between them. The picture looks really wonky because I just threw the top over the ironing board, and was too lazy to turn the picture to the side. But if you tilt your head, and squint your eyes, it looks really good!

And these are some meringues that Camo and I made this afternoon. Not something I usually undertake, but of course they had a purpose ...

Marty and his mates went away to the beach house last weekend. When he came home, he had some of the excess groceries with him, amongst which was a vast amount of eggs, and three whole packages of bacon! Well, the family put in a request for Pasta Carbonara, which I dutifully made on Wednesday night - that took care of a lot of the bacon, and according to my Donna Hay recipe book, four egg yolks. I can't bear to waste, so I put the whites in the fridge, and they became the focus of today's baking. The family declared them excellent, and they'll definitely be on the menu again.

Hope you're all ready for Christmas - I can't believe there's less than a week to go. I'll be in the midst of a wrapping flurry tomorrow - I hope my paper supplies last!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Loving this project!

Whew! I finished the last of the twelve blocks yesterday. This was another fiddly one - with the centre 6" section containing sixty pieces. All the small triangles were again cut from 1.25" strips - I think my eyes were almost crossed at the end.

And because the blocks were done, today I started sewing the first of the three strips together. I just love the floral fabric in the setting triangles, and the border stripes that come with the kit are lovely too. Now that all the tiny pieces are done with, this should all come together much more quickly.

I've managed to complete almost all my Christmas shopping - not bad for two days effort. I only have two things left to get for family plus a couple of things for the kids. Tomorrow I'll have a looky for myself - and then give suitable directions to Marty :-)

Talk soon! x o x

Monday, December 15, 2008

One more block ...

It's taking me a while to get through these blocks, but slowly slowly I'm making progress. I've only one left to make now. This one I made this evening, and the 6" centre section of the block has 53 pieces. All of the tiny red triangles were cut from 1.25" strips. Very fiddly, but very cute. The next block will be more of the same size pieces I'm thinking. If I'm a good girl I may be able to put it together tomorrow. But first I really MUST get some Christmas shopping done.

And speaking of Christmas, it's slowly infiltrating other parts of our home. Here is a little display from the family room, and this is about as decorated as it will get. The tree has been up in the lounge for ages, and that's where Christmas preparations have stood still. I love my little Mikasa Santas, and some day I'll get some more of these pieces. I'd really like to get a nativity scene in the same range. In the background, the two candles in glass lanterns were gifts from my Thursday girls at the store - very unexpected, and so much appreciated - thank you!

I'm off to do some quilting on a Christmas runner, so I'll check back in with you all soon. x o x

Friday, December 12, 2008

Two blocks to go ...

Yesterday after work, and this morning, I put together three more of the Back Home Again blocks.

Normally it wouldn't take quite that long, but some of these blocks have LOTS of pieces. The one in the back at right has 57 pieces in a 12 inch block, and the one next to it has 57 pieces in the 6 inch centre section, and then a further 8 pieces to make it up to 12 inches. Very fiddly and time consuming!

I have only two blocks left to make. One is the smaller version of the block in front, and the last one will be very easy, the small version of the first block I made which is quite an easy one. Then I can start putting the rows together, and I'm really excited about that!

In wonderful news, I'm finally starting to feel a lot better. Thank you so much for your kind wishes and concern, you have all been just lovely.

**Ohhh, and BTW, I'm finally adding labels to my posts, so I apologise in advance if old posts get busy popping up in bloglines etc.**

Shortly we'll be heading off to Amy's school netball team grand final. They made it again this season against all odds, and they're definitely the underdogs tonite. We're all so proud of them, and thrilled they've made it this far regardless of the end result. Better run, I need to get organised ... talk soon :-)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I have a new quilt in my head that I'd like to get busy making. Instead of sewing, I drew it up today, and when I get the opportunity, I'll start chopping up the fabric. Perhaps I'll fire up the Bernina when I finish the Back Home Again top.

It's based on a vintage quilt I saw somewhere, and I'm thinking I'll make it up in scraps. I have no idea what I'll call it ... ideas anyone??

In health news - still resting as much as I can, and I'm on my fourth course of antibiotics - the chest x-ray came back 'inconclusive'. Don't know what to think really, it would be nice to have some answers. In good news though, the kids have finished school for the year, so there is a lot less running around to be done.

It's getting late, so I'll say goodnite ... and I promise to chatter soon :-)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

It's up there :-)

This evening I spent some time putting the setting triangles on the small 'Back Home Again' blocks. I don't have heaps of energy, so I'm working slowly. I got them all done though, and tomorrow I'd like to cut out the remaining five blocks. Once they're done, I can get busy putting the quilt top together.

I'm loving the fabrics in this project, and can't wait to get more done. It's my goal to have the top complete by the end of the year. Surely I can do it ... really, can it be that hard to find the time?

And earlier today, Marty hung my thread stand on the wall. I'm just so entirely thrilled to finally have the stand I wanted, and all my threads right there where I can see them. I will need to paint the study at some point - I just don't like the colour of the walls in here, but that will have to wait for another time. Ohhh, and Rosaline asked for a side view of the thread stand - I just couldn't get a good picture - I'll try again later.

Hope you're all having a great weekend - I have been good and have rested up big. Thank you all for your concern and kind wishes - it means so much. x o x

Friday, December 05, 2008

In print now!

My 'Among the Evergreens' quilt and runner came out in Australian Patchwork and Quilting this past week. How fun to see more of my scraps up in lights!

The runner in particular has special memories for me. I created the project for the Wednesday girls at the store. It was kind of a ruse, because Maureen had a 70th birthday looming, and we were conspiring to make a quilt for her. So, while the girls were working on their 'runner' they were actually making the blocks up for Maureen's quilt right under her nose. It was really fun. And Maureen made up a whole runner with no idea of what was going on!

I have had more doctors appointments this week. As soon as I finished my second course of antibiotics I started to flag again, but in a different way - breathless and heavy in the chest. I've now has blood tests and this afternoon some chest x-rays. The doctor is worried that I'm not resting enough, and he's probably right - I love my job, and have many deadlines at home too. I'm on my third course of stronger antibiotics, and I'll wait to hear what his verdict is. I won't let this get me down - the power of positive thinking (and some rest) will get me thru this :-)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Fun things ...

A few quickie pictures of fun things from the last couple of days ... I'm still busy quilting at the moment - things will slow down a lot in about a week's time when the kids break for the Christmas holidays. I'm looking forward to some serious piecing time!

First up - here is a little giftie I made up for my friend Jenny. (Hi Jenny - hope you have a wonderful day on Monday!) A candle mat I made, teamed up with a hurricane lamp style jar and scented candle. All wrapped up with cello and a wired ribbon. Lots of fun. I think these will be a great teacher gift too - and the kids will be handing them out at school tomorrow :-)

On Monday, Martin delivered my thread stand to Brian - our friend and a wonderful cabinet maker. In the afternoon, Brian returned, having stained the stand to match our furniture (a lot of which he has made himself). He did a great job, and I can't wait to have it hung on the wall. Being the impatient girl I am, I wanted to see what all my threads looked like loaded onto it. I didn't realise I had so many! I'm thinking I may paint the wall before I hang it, because the study is the only room in the house I haven't yet painted. I'll see ... I may decided it's just too big a job for now ... I'll keep you posted :-)

And last of all, a finish from last night. I quilted and sewed down the binding on my runner on Monday night, and while waiting for Amy at netball last night, I hand stitched the reverse side of the binding. I'm thinking I may need to do a little more quilting to be completely satisfied, but it feels good to have a finish of my own!

Better head back to the sewing room - the machine is calling me :-)

Monday, December 01, 2008

Pieced Back

My 2.5" strip bin 'runneth over', so after Mereth talked about piecing a back out of strips the other day, I thought I could make a back for the table runner I made recently, and it may help clear out some of my strippage.

What a motley collection of fabrics! There is an obvious reproduction fabric or two in there, which of course I love, and the toile - another fabric I'm partial to ... but the rest of them? I can't even imagine why I'd have purchased some of them.

The blue fabric which is on the left there is a fabric from my first ever quilt ... which I made back in 1992! I'm always thinking I've used the last of it, and then some more pops up again! Good grief!!

In a moment I'll pin the runner ready for quilting, and then after dinner tonite, I'm going to make some more 'candle mats' for Christmas gifts. You know, teacher gifts and the like. This year is my most disorganised ever - I haven't even purchased or made one gift yet, and that is just not like me! I need to get busy!


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