Saturday, 26 September 2009

A Good day to stay indoors........

The weather has been so cold, wet and windy this last few days that this very brief, but very cold snow shower didn't really come as much of a surprise this afternoon. I think it lasted all of about two minutes, just long enough to grab a camera and snap a shot from the verandah! So what's a girl who is totally non interested in Grand Final games of any sort, to do? :o)
Yep, not much competition there is there? Footy v Sewing. Absolutely no contest whatsoever. LOL!
This is Caitlin's birthday quilt, her birthday is the last week of November so I thought that I had better get started on it. I was just going to do random squares, rectangles and strips but then I decided to put the flower panel in the middle somewhere! The flower patterns are from
Kellie Wulfsohn's (Don't Look Now) 'Love Birds' quilt, from 'The Garden Issue' of Australian Homespun. I'm pretty sure it was last month's issue?
Just playing around with the fabric at the moment. I machine appliqued the flowers and stems on, still have lots of leaves to put on there and have a little bird and lady bug that I'm hand stitching on to the flowers. I thought that I might applique some individual flowers on some of the squares and perhaps some stems, leaves and a bird or two on long strips, just randomly around. Did I say I had 8 weeks or 80??

This is my groom block for the CWBQ, I'm not very happy with the way it's going at the moment. Lots more flowers, leaves, some cherries and another pear to go on yet! I had to make this block up because I decided she needed a groom! He's looking as if he's got a decidedly feminine waist right now, not sure what to do with him? Perhaps a leaf or flower to just hide that slim little waist? I really don't want to pull him off, this is the second attempt, one more and I might just have to leave him out I think!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Giveaways everywhere.........

Lots of giveaways all over blogland at the moment, apart from the ones from 'the nutters' from Among the Gum Trees, Fiona from Mothers Cupboard is having a sale AND a giveaway. Also Lyn from Bluebird Quilts is having a giveaway for some gorgeous fabric and darling cookie cutters! Mmmmmm, I wouldn't mind adding some more cutters to my collection too!
So click on over and do some visiting, always nice to do. Grab a cuppa first though, you might be a while.
Now you might be just wondering why the sunflower pics? Yesterday I was telling you how cold and wet it was, still is actually!
Well, last week (I think) Julie had a post on her blog about sunflower seeds and the giving away of same! Now being a particular fan of these statuesque beauties, I put my hand up for a few of these and today the postman, well, Sue at the Post Office actually, handed over a lovely envelope that was fat and crinkly!
Thank you Julie. I shall be popping them into our lovely moist ground very soon I think, well perhaps next month here.

So I just thought I would show you my last sunflower crop, this was January 2008, didn't have any this year. We hung up the dried heads in the trees last winter for the parrots to feast on, so Julie's seeds are much appreciated.
Don't you just love the photo of the sunflower nearly open, just showing it's lovely colours to the sun? And look at the Alliums, with their beautiful orb shaped flowers, the agapanthus too, the dublin bay rose showing it's lovely red blossoms through the ornamental grape............sigh, can you tell I'm waiting for summer..........sigh?

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Blossoms & Rainbows..........

This is how the weather has been all day today, typical Victorian spring day. I'm thankful that we don't live in Sydney and didn't have to put up with the dust storm. We spent several years living in Ouyen when the kids were little and dust storms were the norm for summer. I can vividly remember having to madly run around bringing nappies off the clothes line because a dust storm was coming. If you left them out, they would be red and gritty and have to be washed again, that wasn't always an option if water was scarce!!

Anyway, this is how it's been today, sun, rain, wind - wind, sun, rain - all day. It's quite cool today too, right now it's 10 degrees C on my verandah.
But just look how green it is!!!!!!!!! So far this September, we (here in my rain gauge) have had 85mm, for the whole of September last year we had 43mm. Just about double, and we have a week of rain forecast - yippee!!

Look at my poor pink daffodils though, bowing there little heads with the weight of all the rain.

The rain isn't really affecting my gorgeous Crab Apple, it's just sucking up all that wonderful moisture and showing off it's beautiful rain washed petals..........

......and being touched by a rainbow..........

Just beautiful.
Now the rain is back again, so I'm off to make a delicious cheese and cherry tomato pasta for dinner, yum, makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Pushing my boundaries...........

Last month I joined an online virtual quilting bee called The Bee Balm. The idea of course is that every month one quilter will send fabric and instructions for a block that she wants making, to the other 11 quilters (there are 12 of us). We have a month to make the block using fabric sent and some of your own stash, if it's appropriate to the quilt, and then send it back to the owner.
So each of us ends up with 12 blocks at the end of the year to make into a quilt of international proportions so to speak, 10 are from all over America, one from Canada and me! One of the reasons that I decided to join, apart from little friendly pushing from Elaine from here, was to push my boundaries a little. I tend to get into a groove as far as colour/pattern choices are concerned, I seem to pick the same type of patterns and the same colour families over and over!
So I thought that having to stitch something someone else has chosen, their pattern and colour, would help me broaden my horizons so to speak.
Talk about being thrown in to sink or swim, boy oh boy, did I get shoved out of my comfort zone on month one!!!
This is Tara's block. Tara organised and started The Bee Balm, so she decided she would start everyone off with her fabric and block (my turn is February). Tara wanted her quilt to be along the lines of this one here but in 30s reproduction fabric. The instructions were very loose, green for grass, blue for sky, house no bigger that 5 x 5. Simply hey??

You're talking to the girl that does earthy or historical, maybe a little bit of contempary but only in earthy or safe colours and fabrics. Do you know how hard it was to NOT match the fabric, to NOT make the house at least a little realistic, to NOT add some little flowers at the front of the house?????????

It was hard, trust me.

I so hope Tara likes it, it's in the post tomorrow, fingers crossed for me!

Postscript: I just noticed that it looks like it's raining little ducks :0)

Monday, 21 September 2009

Spring Clean.............

This weekend I decided that it was time to clean out my sewing room, honestly, I had accumulated so much stuff that there wasn't a shelf that wasn't groaning under the weight.
The room that I claim as my own is actually the third bedroom and it's directly off the lounge room. This house is only a small weatherboard about 80 years old and as such the rooms are quite small and storage is non-existent really, this room is part of an extension from later years and has a slightly sloping low ceiling. Being off the lounge room it also tends to become a catch-all for some people (I'm not saying who but there are only two of us living here!!) to dump things that don't have an immediate home!
So walking in there on Saturday morning and looking at something else that had absolutely no business being there, well, I have to admit, I lost the plot!!!! Instead of a tranquil day of stitching I had two days of insanity. You know of course that by the time I had emptied every shelf and cupboard, dragged all the furniture out into the lounge, had boxes and boxes of fabric, scrap booking gear, magazines spread all over the house - I was over it and just wished I hadn't started the whole thing! And of course, I couldn't stop because there was no where to sit in the kitchen OR lounge so I had to carry on.........sigh!
Anyway, yesterday I finally finished. I've stashed scrap booking stuff in big plastic storage containers out in the shed (thank goodness it's a rural shed and big), anything not pertaining to what I want to do is out there, safely packaged against vermin in those great plastic toy boxes from Big W. All that's left is some fabric, some fabric, quilt tops, buttons, some fabric, notions, threads, fabric.....................OK, you get the picture. ;0)
This view is looking from just inside the door from the lounge room, the window looks out over a verandah, the back garden and a rose garden. Nice in the summer, we get winter sun through this window but no summer sun.

This picture above is looking back from near the window, the door into the lounge is just on the right. The little alcove beside the cupboard has become my sitting and sewing area, there's a better view further down.

This wall on the right is being replaced when we do our extensions next year, so for now I've fastened some cotton batting on one side and some black/dark grey fleece fabric next to it. When I get my new room, I will have a full wall covered in flannel or fleece right from day one, much neater. But this does the trick for now.

Just thought you might like to see what's on there. On the top of the black section are my finished Civil War Bride blocks and below them are the blocks I was stitching before my life was over taken by the Civil War! On the right side, on the cotton batting is the start of Caitlin's birthday quilt, still a lot of work to go on that one! The odd blocks that are on the wall I found in boxes and bags, bit's of unmade quilts? Probably just a try out block for something I didn't carry on with! Story of my life..........

This is a better shot of my sewing corner, you can see my lovely Diamond in a Square that I made a few years ago. I love the colours in this quilt, it always looks so rich and glowing!!

Of course, the all important computer area where I sit now looking through the window that looks directly out onto the garden and gate leading out to our few acres. We have no neighbors so we have no need for curtains, I like that I can look out and only see birds and plants, nice!

Stashed away in one of the boxes I cleaned out was this crumpled brown paper bag, inside...

.....were these. Paper templates and leftover bits from the first full size quilt I ever made. It was a Schoolhouse quilt, all blues and whites. I made it for our youngest daughter and she still has it. It is worn badly in many places, this is the quilt that she has always used if she was ill and when she was pregnant. Her kids have always dragged it around when they were sick. It's a comfort quilt for her. At the moment she needs comforting so she will be wrapped in her soft, raggedy quilt, taking comfort. Every stitch on this quilt was hand done, Sarah has promised to take photo's for me. She took some bits of blue fabric back to W.A. with her last week and even though her medium is canvas and paint, she will endeavour to put some saving stitches in her quilt because she loves it still.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Lovely mail of a different kind.................

No squishy, soft fabric parcels today. Instead one with a live sticker on it. It must be spring........the mail order plants are starting to arrive!! WooooHoooo!!
Oh no, wait a minute, that means less time stitching.............
stitching .....................planting, planting...................stitching??
Both creative and the sun's shining today so the garden it is.
I love getting mail order plants, all snuggled up in their little packages, just waiting to be released and planted into the warm (soon) earth. These are mostly Australian Natives I think.
Things with delicious names like Woolly Grevillea, Winpara Gem, Possum Magic and Blushing Bride. Or what about Protea 'Inca Gold' and 'Carnival Yellow'. We've also got some Banksia Ericifolia and Violet Honey Myrtle, a Weeping Myall and some Philadelphus Grandifloru or Mock Orange Blossom to you and I. Lots of Penstemon 'Hidcote Pink' too which is a particular favourite, such a lovely long flowering time with the Penstemons.
Do you think this 'Blushing Bride' is living up to her name, just peeping out to have a look at the world around her. She certainly shows a lot of promise for magnificent blooms!

Just some of them waiting to be released and have a drink.

On Sunday, He Who Works has a day off, so we will have a planting day I think, the ground is lovely and moist after this weeks rain - perfect.

And this is the second box that arrived today.............yummo!!

Beautiful, big, brown, meaty, earthy Portabello mushrooms, home grown. What could be better?
We love mushrooms, especially Portabello's.
Just goes to show, not every package has to be squishy to be delightful, every second one will do. LOL

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Give me a home.................

.....................among the gum trees!! Go visit the newest blog on the block here and say hello and well done to some very special, talented people, it's very exciting. :o))

Thought you might want to sing along, I know it's running through my head now. LOL!!
I've been around the world a couple of times,
or maybe more,
I've seen the sights,
I've had delights on every foreign shore,
but when my mates all ask me the place that I adore,
I tell them right away.
Give me a home among the gum trees,
with lots of plum trees,
a sheep or two, a kangaroo.
A clothes line out the back,
verandah out the front,
and an old rocking chair.
You can see me in the kitchen cooking up a roast,
or Vegemite on toast,
just you and me,
a cup of tea.
And later on we'll settle down and mull up on the porch,
and watch the possums play.
Give me a home among the gum trees,
with lots of plum trees,
a sheep or two,
a ka-kangaroo.
A clothes line out the back,
verandah out the front,
and an old rocking chair.
There's a Safeway up the corner,
and a Woolys down the street,
a brand new place they've opened up where they regulate the heat,
but I'd trade them all tomorrow for a simple bush retreat
where the kookaburras call.
Give me a home among
the gum trees,
with lots of plum trees,
a sheep or two,
a ka-kangaroo.
A clothes line out the back,
verandah out the front,
and an old rocking chair.
Some people like their houses with fences all around,
others live in mansions,
and some beneath the ground.
But Me, I like the bush,
you know with rabbits running 'round,
and a pumpkin vine out the back.
Give me a home among the gum trees,
with lots of plum trees,
a sheep or two,
a ka-kangaroo.
A clothes line out the back,
verandah out the front,
and an old rocking chair.
Give me a home among the gum trees,
with lots of plum trees,
a sheep or two,
a ka-kangaroo.
A clothes line out the back,
verandah out the front,
and an old rocking chair.
John Williamson

Monday, 14 September 2009

Lets Swap....................

I've been having a bit of a spring clean in some storage boxes. We are planning on doing some (small) extension's to the house later this year/early next year and part of this will involve the room I currently use as my workroom, so I thought I would start early moving and sorting 'stuff'!!
I have quite a few cheater quilt panels and some reasonably large bits of fabric that I know I won't use. A few of them are baby boy orientated and our babiest boy is going to school next year!! I think he's a bit past Blue Jean Teddy now! So I thought that someone else might be more than happy to use them. What I thought was this...............You can see what they are, make me an offer of some fabric that you no longer need/like/use. If you are a regular visitor you know what I like in fabric, anything really except neon's and I'm not that in love with 30s repro, but thats about it.
It can be charm squares, fat 1/4s, like colours/tones bundled together - surprise me. I don't mind posting OS if we are both happy, could be fun, lets give it a go...................
OK, Swap 1:
Obviously Blue Jean Teddy cot panel. The size is 106cm x 89cm or 42" x 35".
Isn't he adorable, never been washed, just as new.

Swap 2:
I've had this fabric for ages. Oh yes, all of these are 100% cotton/quilters quality fabric.
There is just a fraction under 2mts/just over 2 yards in one continuous piece and another smaller piece as well. So enough for a cot quilt back with some leftover.

Swap 3:

These are two little panels, maybe cushions? Lovely soft cotton, really cute.

Swap 4:

This is a whole piece of Christmas themed fabric, there are six panels in all, three snowmen and three Christmas Angels and birdhouses. This measures 138cm x 115cm or 54" x 45".
Brand new, never been washed.

Swap 5:

Another Christmas panel, this one is a little wall quilt, some Christmas ornaments and a huge stocking. All together this measures 116cm x 90cm or 45" x 35".

Lovely country Christmas colours.

I haven't finished going through boxes yet so there could/probably/certainly is more. I'm not expecting huge things from this, I just thought it might be a way to freshen up my/your stash of fabric and I can't justify giving it all away at the moment. I'm not going to use any of this so a fat quarter or two would be nice and I thought it would be good fun too.
What do you think?
Do you have bits of fabric that you no longer like but I might love?
Are you game to give it a go for the price of postage?
Send me an email with a pic of what you want to swap and we can take it from there!!
Oh yes, I'm not adverse to a second hand pattern or two either.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

60 Years of magic.................

60 years and they still have that magic together, they still have 'IT'.

Dad says 'IT' is honesty, Mum says 'IT' is making sure he knows what he's supposed to do, they both say 'IT' is everything ~ friendship, love, mateship, companionship, patience, respect, understanding ~ whatever 'IT' is, they still have it!!!!!!!!!!

Boy, did we have to do some coaxing for this shot.......... gorgeous is it?
Dad said that Mum set his heart a flutter again and that he needed a nap after all that frivolity.........

My brothers from left to right, Andy (the baby), Eric, Me & Bob with Mum and Dad.

Our gorgeous eldest daughter Rebecca at the front and our beautiful (future) daughter-in-law Anastasia.

Boys will be boys and Ryan thought that we should all inspect his tongue, very nice it is too Ryan. ;o))

.............and the irrepressible Jett, my great-nephew, mischief bundled into cuteness and I suspect the reason his mother might have a few grey hairs!!

Two adorable granddaughters posing in the gardens, you can see how warm it was, T shirts in September.......! Emily from Western Australia and Caitlin from here in Victoria

Chris & Anastasia, our youngest son and his beautiful bride to be...........

Our youngest daughter Sarah, over from Western Australia, cuddling up to her Dad..........

...........and last but by absolutely no means least, Mum and I.
I can't believe that I forgot to tell you what my niece gathered together for Mum and Dad.
She had procured letters of congratulations from everyone from the local (Geelong) Mayor up. She had :
The Mayor,
Local MP,
State MP,
Premier of Victoria- John Brumby,
Federal Member for Geelong,
The Governor of Victoria- David De Kretser,
The Prime Minister of Australia- Kevin Rudd,
The Governor General of Australia- Quentin Bryce.
Then the biggie:
The Queen of England, Elizabeth II.
For a pair of ex-Brits this was just amazing and wonderful, just topped off the day for them. Something to keep for the rest of their lives.
Well done Kylie.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

I've been busy............

This week has been a bit frantic so far and doesn't look like slowing down any until at least Sunday or Monday. Fathers day of course was busy, visiting my Dad and going to eldest daughter's for dinner, youngest son and his lady were there too. Phone calls from West Australia from youngest daughter (who will arrive in Victoria tomorrow with her youngest daughter). Yesterday our youngest son came up to help his Dad move some windows that we had been given, they are destined to be a greenhouse eventually. They stayed for dinner too, so more cooking.
Today I finished making this.........
Mum and Dad's wedding anniversary cake...................
If you want to see the whole story, go HERE.
I'm really happy that it's finished in plenty of time for the party on Saturday, are you sick of hearing about my parents anniversary by now??? LOL. For an event that they were organising, paying for etc, it's been extraordinary hard work for ME!! It's nearly over folks, but as you may have noticed, I love them both dearly and am very close to both of them, I guess being the only girl in a family of 4 kids will do that for you!!

I have been doing a little sewing at night though,

this is my 4th block of the Civil War Bride Quilt. The picture is a bit dull, the weather is dreadful here again, grey skies and rain, so no chance of taking pictures outside today. But you get the idea. This is a really bright block and I'm loving stitching it.

Next week, when life returns to normal, or what passes for normal around here, I want to look at starting Caitlins birthday quilt, and I am going to help Jen make her very first quilt, so I'm really looking forward to doing that.
Oh yes, I nearly forgot to tell you all.................30 years ago today my man and I walked down the aisle!! Well, metaphorically speaking anyway. We got married in the sun room of the house Mum and Dad were living in on the South Coast of NSW, 4 kids running around our feet, they still think it's really cool that they all got to be at the wedding! Except our eldest took off down the beach with a mate 'cos he thought all this messing around was boring, boy did he get in trouble for that, he was only 7!!!
We had thought to do it on the 10th, which then happened to be Mums 30th anniversary, but the celebrant could only do the ceremony on the 8th, so the 8th it was.
So to celebrate ~ I'm here talking to you all and he's off down the paddock burning a load of rotten wattle bushes that were blown out of the ground in the big winds of winter plus all the accumulated stuff that seems to gather ready to burn throughout the summer and autumn. It's still raining, but it seems to be still burning, if he doesn't do it now it will be fire restrictions in a few weeks and we won't be able to do it until next year - again! Plus we don't like to leave stuff lying around, we'll be coming up to snake season soon. Copperheads love to hide under stuff and my four legged babies will be at risk of being bitten the way they like to explore!!


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