Sunday, March 31, 2013


Easter Sunday has been great - we had a lovely time in Mannum. Lunch at the Pretoria Hotel, a visit with Puppa in the cemetery, coffee and chattering with Nanna at her home, and of course the exchange of Easter gifts.

One thing I love to do when we're in Mannum is browse the wares at one of the local second hand stores. They always have lovely things to see, and though I often don't purchase anything, you never know when you may snag a bargain.

Today I brought home two things from the store:

First up a really sweet milk glass footed bowl. It's large enough to be used as a fruit bowl, and that's just what I'll use it for. At $15.00 definitely not a budget breaker. The picture makes it look smaller than it is - it's around 10" across the top.

And second, a set of silver plated coasters. I always try to use coasters when we put drinks down on a surface, so these are a step up from the cork backed ones we're usually using. At $12.00 not too bad either. They did have a set for $18.00 with the holder, but I think it's rare they'll not be in use, so I decided to leave that set behind.

Nanna is always sorting through her bits and pieces and sending things home with us, and today she gave me a really sweet Carltonware bowl, and a little juicer that looks like Carltonware, but I'm not sure as it's not marked on the back.

The bowl has some pretty crazy staining, but I'm wondering if I soak it in a bleachy solution for a while if it may tone down a little. Ideas anyone?

On the WW front, I've been very restrained today, but with all this chocolate in the house, who knows what tomorrow may bring! Chatter soon :-)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

And another one ...

I managed to get the second mat made to give to my Mum tomorrow on Easter Sunday. I started it last night, and quilted and bound it today.

This time I made up the backing from some of the leftover strips from the scrap bag. It's quite cute really - and sort of makes the mat reversible.

I kind of wish I'd backed the other mat the same way - I think it would have about finished the scrap bag off. I think I have enough left over for a third mat later on.

Now I'm heading back to finish off the hexagon appliqué before I head to bed - I've only got about an 18 inch section left to do. It's taken a little longer than I expected, but I'm almost there! Yay!

Friday, March 29, 2013

For Nanna

On Sunday my Mum, Amy and I are going to visit my Nanna in Mannum for Easter. The boys have gone up to the sheep station for some male bonding time, so it'll be fun to have some girly time.

Given my current WW status, I thought it would be nice to lessen the amount of chocolate floating around the place, so I've made Nanna a table mat. It's my old stand-by, using the Kaleidorule, and I've used some of the contents of a Moda Scrap Bag that I had on hand. This one contains the Garden Party by Blackbird Designs range.

It went together super fast, and I'm really pleased with it. I'll probably put another one together for my Mum later on today.

I've used a fat quarter from my stash for the backing fabric, which is from the Baltimore Beauties range, the colours still work well. These mats are always fun to quilt.

I'm thinking for backing the next one I might piece together some more strips from the scrap bag - it would be fun to see if I can use the whole scrap bag up!

Happy Easter everyone, be sure to have a wonderful long weekend! xox

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Show and Tell

Today at class, one of my sweet girls - Julie, brought in show and tell for us. She's been working hard on this project this year, and it's a gift for her best friend's birthday. Julie even delayed the gift giving so we could see the finished result:

Isn't it adorable? I believe it was in an Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine recently, but I don't know the details of the issue etc. If anyone has those details, feel free to share :-) I just love the fabrics Julie chose, they're so bright and cheerful.

In other news, I've been Weight Watcher-ing these past two weeks, and I'm thrilled that I've lost just over 2kg. Early successes will give me the motivation to keep at it. Yesterday Marty wanted to go with me to the grocery store after work, and then he had to dash out to a meeting soon after we got home. So that dinner was easy, I grabbed a couple of frozen pizzas for him and the kids, and I picked up a Weight Watchers one for myself. Check this out:

The temptation of the picture on the box certainly didn't match up to the reality of what was inside. Not very inspiring at all! See on the box there it says 'Now even Better' - makes you wonder what it was like before, doesn't it? It's not often that I grab fast food like this, and you can be sure I won't be doing it again! Ugh!

Hopefully I'll be able to stick to the plan and be good over the Easter break. Wish me luck people! xox

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


I lost a week there! Where did it go?? Probably the same place that the odd socks and biros go I'd suggest! Does everyone else have the same problem, or is it just me?

Anyways, I've been busy appliquéing the hexagon units down on the Mrs Billings border. I think I'm two thirds the way done now.

I'm trying to be super neat, so it's taking some time. See the quarter inch mark on the raw edge there ... that's where I unpicked all the borders before re-attaching them again. I had a brain wave - if I put the old seam on the outside edge it would give me a reference to make centering the hexie units easier. Not bad eh? *grins*

The last part of last week and Saturday were busy preparing for The Big Dinner Party. It was a huge success, and for my usual baffling reasons, I managed not to get any pictures of the event other than a bad shot of the table in progress:

Given that I had such good luck with the candelabras, it stood to reason that the extra Masons Vista plates didn't get here in time for the big day. I had to giggle when one arrived today - yay! I expect six more to arrive this week *lol*. In another life I promise to get hooked on dishes that are current ranges, and not ones that ceased production around 50 years ago :-)

Just for fun I did those cute Martha Stewart napkin folds again - it took a little practice to get them right after such a long hiatus, but it's so effective - totally worth it. Mine don't look quite as crisp as hers, but still cute :-)

The menu consisted of pumpkin soup first. Next, rack of lamb with roasted potato, pumpkin and parsnips, steamed broccoli, carrot and beans. And last of all, my favourite, a double chocolate frozen dessert. This one I should have taken pictures of - it was wonderful. I didn't make it in a loaf tin as the recipe suggests, but made it in a silicone muffin form, so it made individual round desserts, then I swirled chocolate sauce around the plate and added crushed pistachios OMG, it was yummy! One of the guys had three helpings! I'll be making it again for sure. But be warned - it's not Weight Watchers friendly :-)

Before I go, I wanted to mention that I've had a LOT of questions and comments from 'No Reply' and 'Anonymous' users. I do want to answer and say thanks for all of them, so as soon as I'm done with the appliqué I'll go back and answer all your messages. Please be patient with me - I do love hearing from you all.

Well, I need to get back to the appliqué - when I'm on a roll it's best to go with it. I'll check back in soon and let you know where I'm up to. Chatter soon!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How you like me now?

Haha, I've got that song running thru my head - I just heard it on the TV, and it's like a worm. It wiggles on into your brain, and it won't let go! But anyways ... I just had to reveal my progress ...

I'm sorry this picture is so blurry, it's almost 11.30pm here, and I just couldn't wait a minute longer to share where I'm up to with you! So blurry and dark it had to be :-)

All the hexagon units are glued in place (except one small unit in the top left corner that I've lost or forgotten to make). One complete border has been appliquéd  so I just have three sides left to stitch down, and I can send this baby in for basting. I'm so entirely thrilled with how it's coming together!

There won't be any more interesting pictures of the top until it's being quilted, so be sure to get your eye-candy fill for now. I better go catch some zzz's, so I'll chatter soon :-)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Appliqué under-way :-)

Last night while I was waiting for Downton Abbey to start, I got busy and glued some of the hexagon components in place - I was so excited to see how the final pieces of the puzzle would change the look of the quilt top. Here are a couple laid out on the ironing board:

I was nervous about how hard it would be to space the sections out evenly, but I needn't have been concerned - it was really easy - I just placed another unit in-between and it was great. I'm doing my hexagon section a little differently to the pattern. The pattern requires that we make hexagons from the background fabric as well, and the pieces are made into a huge strip before being appliquéd along the border - so that little four piece hexagon unit would have been surrounded by hexagons too. I decided that all that extra work wouldn't really add anything to the finished quilt, so I'm doing it my own way :-)

Here is where I'm up to so far with my appliqué - I worked on it this morning, and I have one half of one border done, so from here it shouldn't take too long at all. I'm beyond thrilled with how it's looking, and it won't be long before I can send the top in for basting. Yay!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

An inch can make all the difference ...

So, what have I been doing these past few days? I haven't been slacking off - I promise! On Friday during the day I completed the last of the hexagon units I shared with you, and then in the evening I attached the outside borders to Mrs Billings Coverlet.

And then on Saturday I removed the borders. As I feared, they were just too full, and even with the addition of the appliquéd hexagon units, I felt they just weren't going to work.

Today I've cut an inch off each border and sewed them back on again. I'm much happier with the end result. The picture above was taken after I took the fullness out, so you can imagine how bad it was before. It still looks a little puffy, but some of that is because the previous border is so heavily pieced that it pulls on the outer border, and also because I need to give the top a good press. When the appliqué is in place, this top will look perfect!

Other than quilting, this has been such a busy weekend - Friday Camo came home from school camp. He had such a great time, and he was just worn out. Piles of laundry came home with him, so I've been busy getting on top of that. Sat night was Amy's boyfie's 21st birthday party. In the morning my friend and I went to the plaza, and I had make-up done for the event. It was such a lovely treat, and something I've never done before. Loved it! In the afternoon, it was stitching at Claire's house - always fun to see the girls, plenty of chatter and giggles. Then in the evening, the party - super fun. Today we're watching the F1 GP and catching up on all things that need to be done.

Hopefully I can get a start on the appliqué this evening, I'm dying to see how it will look! Chatter soon :-)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Almost there ...

I'm soooo close ... I've almost finished making up all the hexagons I need for Mrs Billings final border.

There are only 8 more units to go... I feel sure I can finish them up tomorrow. The next step is to add the large background fabric border that the units are appliquéd to. I don't mind confessing that I'm a little nervous about that step. Because the previous border is heavily pieced, the final border has the potential to be wavy. Very wavy indeed. Let's hope that the measuring and cutting pixies are on my team tomorrow. Chatter soon!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

They're here!

Today the parcel postie hammered on my door, and I was amazed and surprised that he had two very similarly sized boxes for me. My candelabras had arrived! One not so surprising, it had only come from NSW, but for the one to arrive from Scotland on the same day, that was AMAZING!!

Here they are on my table:

They're completely identical in every way (though one needs for me to give it a good polish) and given that they're from opposite sides of the globe, it's a miracle that they're even similar! Kudos to the two sellers for giving such great descriptions - they made it easy for me.

For the big day I think I'll have a nice arrangement of fresh flowers in the centre rather than the vase with silks - I'd still like to have some room for platters on the table too.

Now I just have to wait for my extra plates to arrive, and all will be perfect! Yay!

Monday, March 11, 2013


It's not news that I'm still plugging away at my hexagon units. These smaller ones are easy to put together, and I should be done with them in the next day or so. I'm so looking forward to it! I think I have just over 20 completed so far.

I've almost run out of prepped hexies, so I'll get some more basted this this afternoon. It's the perfect activity to combat this run of hot weather we're having.

Summer mustn't have got the memo - it's over! Only it's not! We've had a heat wave for a week, and I believe we still have a week of it to go - temps around the 100f mark for our far away friends. Ugh - it's lethargy inducing. Thank heavens for air conditioning.

Even the local wildlife are suffering. This little guy was found on the road:

That's a deadly brown snake. Marty says about a year old judging by the size of it - he put it on the side-walk for my photo opportunity :-) It must have been basking on the road and gotten run over by a car. I'm just glad it hadn't slithered into our yard for either us or our cats to find. I just know Gracie would have thought it a plaything - and that would have been about the end of her. I hope this snake's family stay down by the creek - much safer for everyone, including the snakes!

Well, it's into the kitchen to make some dinner preparations, and then back to the hexagons for me. For my friends nearby - stay cool! And for everyone else, hope you've had a great weekend!

Saturday, March 09, 2013

List item checked!

Today I really wanted to spend some q-time with my sewing machine. I haven't visited with her for a whole week, and I was missing Bernie. But first, I made myself promise to do a housekeeping item on my everlasting check-list of things to do: Clean out the cupboard under the sink in my own bathroom. Ohhh, more horror!

The cupboard isn't that large, so how bad could it be?? Well, pretty darn bad!

Just so you know how long it has been since this little job has been done, I found a payslip in there (why??). It was from the month that we moved into this house - November 1999. So, effectively, that means I've NEVER cleaned up in there! Ohhh, the shame!

I think it may be the place where make-up and beauty products go to die. I was able to throw away a supermarket bag full of things with dubious expiration dates and old containers etc. I even tossed all the old make-up that I know I'd had for way too long. Am I right that we shouldn't really keep things beyond a year? I'm thinking that's what I've heard.

And here is the after. Looks like I was thinking at some point there would be a shortage of eyeshadow applicators, pressed powder foundation, soap and hair removal products. Hmmmm ... hoard much?? I think I will invest in a small set of drawers to fit in here some time - maybe it'll help to keep things organised.

See that wavy yellow container there in the corner there? My hubby made it in plastics class when he was in high school - I just love it - It's possible he doesn't even understand why I'm attached to it :-)

So, once that little detail was taken care of, I was able to make up some more of my scrappy blocks for the week. Here they are:

I love working up these scrappy blocks. It's possible I'm actually just dying to work on something other than Mrs Billings. Don't get me wrong, I love, love, LOVE Mrs Billings, but I've been working on it so solidly that I crave other things.

And speaking of Mrs Billings, I did get the large hexagon units finished last night, and now I'm going to work on some of the little hexagon units. Chatter soon! xox

Friday, March 08, 2013

Getting close ...

Lucky me, I only have three more of the large units left to make for the final Mrs Billings border. If I'm super good, I can have them done before the end of the day! Yay!

After that there is the small matter of the little four piece units, but they'll be a breeze. The finish line is drawing near! Chatter soon :-)

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Ebay to the rescue

Yay for Ebay! Last night while trolling around, I found not one but two candelabras to grace the table for our formal dinner party. Interestingly, they were from two separate vendors, one here in Australia, and one in Scotland. The wonderful vendor in Scotland has marked theirs as shipped already, so hopefully it'll be here before the big day. What wonderful service! Here's a pic:

Now I'm hoping I'll find three more of my Masons Vista dinner plates, and it's looking good. I'm beyond thrilled, and can't wait until all my purchases get here!

And after this little spree is done with, I think I'm going to hide my cards for a while ... probably a good idea :-)

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Quilt Sighting #5

On Sunday I flipped on the TV after being out for the aftenoon, and caught the very last part of the movie 'Little Women'. I had no idea it was on, or I'd have Tivo'd it. This was the version with Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon.

It was just playing the scene where sadly Beth is dying. It always chokes me up, but I held it together enough to get a few snaps of the quilt on her bed. It looks so pretty, I wish I could see it better. 

The quilt looks like it has been beautifully hand quilted, and you can see a little of the applique in the next picture. Such a sad scene.

I'll have to make sure to see this movie again in its entirety, as many ladies have commented on the quilts that feature in it.

So, before the movie, Kath and I were visiting Wohlers that Sunday, I've been on the lookout for a candelabra  I didn't find what I was looking for on the day - but they called the next day to let me know they'd found some for me - they're not really vintage looking - so I'm not sure they're exactly what I'm thinking of, so I will probably keep looking. I sadly missed out on one today at auction, but I still have two and a half weeks to find the perfect thing. We're having a formal dinner party again, and IMHO half of the fun is the planning and searching for the perfect things.

Better run, Lizzy is on her way over - time for some stitching and to catch up on all the news! xox

Monday, March 04, 2013

Chores or Hexies ... tough call!

Today it's hot - not super hot, but hot enough that I feel lethargic about doing my chores. Actually - it doesn't take weather to make me not want to tidy - but that's a whole different story. Anyways ... I need to get the bathrooms, floors and Camo's room done, so to make it more palatable, I'm doing little chunks of chores, and then working on some hexies ... and then back to the chores again.

I thought you may be interested in seeing how I deal with basting the hexies. Pauline, who made the wonderful Insanity quilt I shared a little while back gave me the most wonderful tip - and it was super helpful. She uses a tiny dot of the sewline glue to position the hexagon paper on the fabric, then glues just one side to ensure the fabric doesn't move, and then thread bastes. Have a look:

Top left is how I glue the paper to the fabric. I always use the straight grain as the side I choose to glue, it makes it easier to free the paper later with little to no fraying. Bottom left is a basted hexagon. I choose not to baste through the paper, and only catch the corners to hold them in place. This works well for small hexagons (these are 5/8") but I imagine it wouldn't be ideal for much larger ones.

Once I've sewn the hexagons into units, I can remover the papers that are surrounded by other hexagons and re-use them. Because I haven't sewn through the papers, they pop out easily and aren't damaged by thread running through them. Also, I can leave the basting stitches in place, they aren't going to bother anyone - and it's a great opportunity to use up those little bits of thread left over on a bobbin, or that tiny bit of quilting/piecing thread that just isn't enough for anything useful.

Though I'm not as this stage yet, once I've completed all the units I need, I'll hit them with some Best Press before I iron them, pop all the papers out, and appliqué them in place on the final Mrs Billings border. I'm so looking forward to that stage!

Have fun with your hexagons! :-)

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Make some stars!

I've been busy working on my scrappy stars They're great for using up some of my small scrappage - and let's face it, I have SO MANY scraps! Would you like to make some too? The blocks are just darling, finishing at 4". If you'd like to get busy too, here's what you'll need:

Four 1.5" light fabric squares
Four 1.5" x 2.5" light fabric rectangles
Eight 1.5" medium/dark squares
One 2.5" medium/dark square

And here's how you put them together:

You use the flippy corner technique to make up the flying geese units with the light fabric rectangles and the medium/dark squares. Super easy, and has been around forever, but if you're a beginning quilter and don't know it, just let me know and I'll go into more detail.

And when you've had your fill of that fabric combination, then you can make some in the reverse colourway, replacing lights with darks and vice versa. Super fun.

Here are the blocks I worked on yesterday:

It's so much fun working with scraps - remembering the projects the fabrics were originally used in. And then there are the other scraps that I have no idea where they came from or how they ended up in my scrap boxes. Baffling!

Today I have a fun outing planned with my friend Kath, we're heading to Wohlers, so hopefully I'll be able to share some treasures with you when I get home :-)

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Seeing Stars

Because I simply couldn't face any more hexagons last night, I decided I should get busy and make some more scrappy stars. It didn't take me long at all to fall behind on my commitment of four blocks per week for the year - but I think I was behind from the beginning! Here are my latest efforts:

I'm going to make more today - in fact I'd like to work on them all day - let's see how far I get with that. I'm getting better at being more scrappy, and I'm cutting out extra pieces for future blocks as I go. I've made 10 blocks so far ... and I should have made around 36 ... Ooops!

While looking for my phone just now, I wandered into the bedroom, and look who I saw:

It takes serious commitment to fit 25 hours of sleep into a 24 hour day, and Gracie is just the kitty to achieve it! Chatter soon :-)

Friday, March 01, 2013

Quilt Sighting #4

We got one! I mentioned this quilt in my first 'Quilt Sighting' post - it's the gorgeous one from 'When Harry Met Sally'. I remember the first time I glimpsed it - it was love at first sight!

Appliqué has always been a love of mine, and maybe, just maybe I'll make a replica some day. I'll have to watch some more and see if I can get an idea of what the sides of the quilt look like. I'm not sure if the picture above indicates half blocks around the edge, or if there are full blocks and a whole lot more bed we're not seeing. I'm on the case people!


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