Thursday, June 29, 2017

And June's nearly over!

Can you believe it's almost the end of June already? Is it just me, or is time going faster and faster? Seriously, things need to just slow down a little ...

This has been a big month for me. First of all, I finally finished quilting on my Caswell quilt!

If I've done a lot of marking on a quilt, I always like to immerse it completely by washing it in the washing machine after it's done - this way all the blue washout marker is removed, and with hopefully no chance of it returning. Putting it in the washer this time was a bit of a heart stopper, as there was a fabric (I had realised half way through quilting) that was definitely going to run. I put two full boxes of colour catchers in the machine with the quilt, and I'm entirely thrilled that there is no sign of dye in any place it shouldn't be. Whew!

So my quilt is bound, labelled, has a hanging sleeve and is all bagged up ready for its next adventure. I'll keep you posted.

While I was working on the binding, my Bernina was playing up in the very worst way, so she's gone for a visit at the Bernina Health Spa, so for fun my other favourite playmate has come out for a visit:

I realised after piecing for a little while that my (still unnamed) Featherweight also could probably use a service *gah* so I've moved on to Bernie the elder ... and thankfully she's running like a trooper and I'm piecing happily on some little blocks.

These are blocks that my sweet friend Betty was working on from a Jo Morton/Kim Diehl book, and I just loved them. I've made some size adjustments to make the block a little larger and so far I've put about 30 together. It's so much fun to be machine piecing again!!

There are a bazillion projects I want to work on, but I'm managing to fill my days at the moment - all the things I've put off until 'after the quilt is finished' have been rushing at me at once.

For example, I've wanted to do some redecorating in the family room for a little while, but haven't had the time to go around and look at bits and pieces ... now I have the time, and I've been busy ordering! Today my Dad and I went and picked up some kitchen chairs that I bid on at an estate auction. Our kitchen chairs were showing their age and getting a little wobbly from kids rocking back and forth on them. I think Marty was sick of the sight of them from repairing them so often, so they're now replaced: Here are the chairs I purchased:

The table was part of the auction, and I don't need it, so I've passed it on to my sweet friend Lizzy, and she is happy to have the old chairs too, they'll tide her over until she finds her forever chairs. I'm super happy with my win, and when I've decided on the perfect fabric I'll have them reupholstered.

I've also been trailing around indecisively looking for a new lounge suite for the family room. This has been the most difficult thing for me, as my home is really quite traditional in style, but I've been loving some of the retro looking lounges that are kicking around and the moment. I definitely knew I didn't want leather, as we have chesterfields in the front room, and just thought a more casual look would be better ... I even had a quote to get our current lounges reupholstered ... and the quote was DOUBLE the price of new lounges. Baffling!!

Anyway, I've finally decided on the new suite - it's much more traditional than I thought I'd go for, but it's supremely comfortable, and that's never a bad thing! Here is a not great picture:

This picture shows up a little darker than the fabrics are in real life. Originally our plan was to get a blue fabric, but the options were all really blah, and I decided to have something more neutral. Soooo I've selected the linen look fabric over the right back cushion. I just need to go in and place my order tomorrow.

Once the lounge is not too far from delivery, I'll be ordering a new rug, and perhaps a different coffee table, and then I really better stop spending for a little while!!

This month was also a milestone for my little guy. Camo turned 15!!

I can't even believe that he's 15 already - those years went by sooooo very fast. I love him so very much, he's growing up to be such a nice young man, one that I can be so proud of. He's already just over 5'10" (8 inches taller than me) ... it's very likely he'll grow to be taller than his dad! Hard to believe that this time next year he can get his learners permit and he'll be on the roads! Tomorrow he'll be getting braces, another rite of passage for teenagers. Lucky for him he won't need them for as long as his sister.

Last of all, I wanted to share some pictures from our most recent cruise with you - even though it was a couple of months ago now. I don't seem to have taken very many pictures which is irritating - I guess we were having too much fun. My Mum wanted to have a girls long weekend and take Nanna, so on Friday morning, Nanna, Mum, Amy and myself boarded the P&O Pacific Eden for a short four day cruise around the gulf.

Here's the ship as we approached the passenger terminal. It's a much smaller ship than we're accustomed to, almost hidden by the building:

We had a lovely big room, a suite - and though I didn't manage to get any pictures of the actual room for some reason, I did get one of the balcony, which was massive:

It'll be hard to go back to regular sized balcony cabins from now on!

And here's a snap looking back to land as we set off:

And for baffling reasons, the only other picture I managed to snap was one of the theatre while we were waiting for a show to begin:

We were obviously there good and early, as this place was usually packed!!

I will definitely have to do better taking pictures to share with you going forward, sometimes I'm soo busy having a good time that I forget to break out the camera. Next year Mum is planning another family cruise - we'll be flying to Hawaii, spending 3 days there, and cruising back to Sydney via New Zealand. I am genuinely looking forward to that one - it is safe to say we are all completely addicted to cruising!

This week I learned that a lovely friend I just adore and don't see too often, regularly checks in on my blog - I didn't realise this, and it makes me so happy to know they're interested. Big hugs to them, it was lovely to chatter and catch up with you. So now that I have a little more free time on my hands, I'll be sure to post updates more often. Famous last words eh?? 

Well, that's it from me for now, and I promise to check back in soon xoxox

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Checking in ...

Hello friends! This past week has been one of reminders - I was at guild on Thursday night and I had two sweet ladies remind me that I hadn't posted anything on here for a while. And then I visited the Magill Quilters Biggest Morning Tea on Saturday morning with my sweet friend Wendy, and I received a couple more reminders.

It's so lovely that people are interested in what's going on here, and I genuinely do have good intentions of posting more often. The truth is (and it's not terribly exciting) I have been spending every spare moment I have working on my quilt - and I am getting so very close to finishing the hand quilting. In fact, I reached a recent milestone:

I emptied a complete cone of quilting thread. That's 1000 yards of hand quilting under my belt, and I'm not done yet. Can't be sure how I'll measure exactly how much quilting will be in the final quilt, but I'm sure I can work something out! I'll share some more pictures once I'm finished quilting - I'm really hoping it won't be long now.

Note: I had a comment from a sweet reader named Patti asking if I ever have trouble getting the blue markings out of my quilts. Thank you for asking Patti - I would have emailed you back directly but your message came up as no-reply. In answer to your question - after I'm finished my quilts I always fully immerse and wash them in the washing machine. I use a gentle cycle including spin, and then dry the quilt flat on towels on the floor. This washing method should ensure there is no residue from the blue pen in the fabric. I've never had a problem to date, and hopefully this will continue.

In other news, because I can't work on my big quilt on the days I go to quilt group (it's just too big to be portable) I started work on another little project. It's a fun little diversion:

While I was poking around in the sewing room a little while back, I found some fabric that was in one of Amy's cot quilts - named the people quilt, and also the tiny travel version of the people quilt. Amy loved the little dolls and teddies that were on the fabric, and she called them people, hence the name. This fabric has been kicking around in my stash for 23 years now, so I definitely can't say I'm rushing into anything.

In the picture above I've framed the block a little, I've also started another block with a different picture, and I'll keep going and just see where the wind takes me. I love it when projects just evolve. If I really like it I may make another with some more recent fabric and put a pattern out.

Next up, I can't remember if I told you that I ordered a set of Russian piping tips for icing cupcakes. They are the most fun things ever. I love to take cupcakes for morning tea when we play home games at tennis, and I've been practicing since I've had them:

I made some pretty ones yesterday too and silly me I forgot to take pictures of them ... oops!

There are a few things that are helpful with these tips: firstly, the consistency of the icing is so very important - if the icing is too soft, all the definition of the flower is lost. The butter really needs to be whipped well, if there are little lumps of butter in the icing it gets stuck in the little holes and is a nightmare to work around. Lastly, it's important to wipe the base of the tip occasionally or little bits of the design can get left behind. You can see that a couple of the flowers are missing stamens in the pale pink flowers for this reason.

If you get some, there are so many tutorials online to help you out. I'm just starting to find my feet with the icing tips and look forward to becoming more adventurous when I have more time.

Last of all, here's the portion of the post where you get to feel a little sorry for me ... just kidding. Four weeks ago on this day I tore my left calf on the tennis court. It was such a bummer, as my team were having a great day. Even so, there were still a couple of blessings. At least it was my left calf, so because my car is an auto I can still get around and get Camo to and from school. And because I'm not getting to coaching and cardio etc, I have been able to spend more time quilting. At this stage the physio says I won't be back on the court for another four weeks or so ... so there will be a lot more quilting in my future.

I still have more things to share with you from the past couple of months, like the most recent cruise etc, but I'll save them for a future post. Thank you for all being patient, and also for the gentle reminders, you're all so very sweet! xoxox


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