Sunday, 25 October 2009

That was the week that was............ it just me or are the weeks just flying by??
I can't seem to catch up with things that I want to get done at the moment! He Who Works, has holidays starting the last weekend of November and there are a heap of things that I really want to get out of the way before then. We're not going anywhere, it's too close to Christmas (although I'm working on sneaking a quick trip across some borders for a few days, sshhhh!) but we will do day trips here and there. We want to spend a day over at Maldon, perhaps another in the city (Melbourne) to have a look at the Myer Christmas windows and the Christmas shop and I wouldn't mind a day wandering along some shopping strips over in the Eastern suburbs. Perhaps Malvern or Camberwell?
Anyway, I need to finish some things so that I have some clear days. SO, why did I start something else?
I had this lovely Samsara fabric that I bought over at Lorraines place in Gisborne PLUS, I had my wool that I dyed. I was itching to do something, and the wool & the fabric just looked so nice together. This started out as something for the Christmas table, perhaps a runner or cloth but then it 'morphed' into something else.........sigh!! This block is from the 'Holly & Mistletoe' quilt in the book 'When the Cold Wind Blows' from Blackbird Designs. It's a 21" x 19" block, smaller than the original but I wanted to use the fat quarter I had for the background, I have more applique to do on it yet. The holly leaves are wool as are the berries and the mistletoe leaves are green velvet. I have to move the two red holly berries that are on the mistletoe branch (got sort of carried away). The mistletoe berries of course are creamy in colour. I'm not sure yet what else will happen or where it will go once this block is finished. I shall of course keep you informed ;o).

I've finally finished the table block on my CWBQ, it's taken an age to get this block done, three more blocks and I'll be half way with the blocks!

I still get excited every time I look at how it's progressing, it's just such a wonderful quilt.

Now I'm hoping to impress here so would you all put on a suitable 'I'm impressed face'. The other day I opened a comment email from the
CWBQ blog and was thrilled to read ....

"So excited this famous Album is being reproduced widely!! Elly Sienkiewicz, The Appliqué Academy® ", were you suitable impressed?? I was! The applique queen leaving a comment on our blog. Insert very big grin! I think it had something to do with the lovely
Bobbie from here, if you scroll down to the second post (I think) it might give you an explanation.

Ok, back down to earth. I've finished piecing Caitlin's quilt together, it just has to be squared off now. I'm not putting any borders on, just sandwiching, quilting and binding. The bit you can just see to the right of the quilt top, is a strip of leftover fabric that I just stitched together to put in the backing, which I haven't bought yet, hence it's still on the wall!

Back in April, I found these stashed away and declared that I wanted something done with it, well I've been working on and off on it since then and this is as far as I've got. I still have one Christmas ornament to stitch on the side then I can put it together. There is a slim chance that I can have it done for THIS Christmas, but it's only a slim one you understand. LOL!

I thought that I would show this to you, the top of my computer mini tower. Does anyone else do that? Cover every available space, I think some would (unkindly) call it clutter, for me it's the emphemera of my life. My little things that I have to have around me to function on a daily basis. A changing collage of things that matter in a small way, little reminders that life is short but very, very sweet. I seem to do it in every room of the house, yep, even the bathroom! Oh yes, do you see the little 'Ticketek' ticket that golly is leaning against? WooHoo, that's my next trip to the theatre. Not until February though, Rebecca, Caitlin and I are off to see the fabulous 'Mamma Mia!'. John and I saw it the first time around, this time it's the 10th Anniversary tour. First time for Rebecca and Caitlin. Amazing show. Can't wait!!

I have a few sneaky peeks to show you. I'm nearly finished getting together my Advent Swap and I have some PIFs that are almost ready to head off on an adventure with the Big Red Truck from Australia Post!

The gorgeous Fiona from Mothers Cupboard is my swapee (hmm, is that a word?) and I know that she's busy (hopefully, very busy) at the Hobart Show this weekend, but you never know when she might be looking. So just little tempting macro shots of little bits of things.

Anyway, no one knows whats for the Advent swap and what's PIF, so that's Ok!

Don't you just love that Sandcastle fabric for stitching, it's gorgeous.
Ok, Ok enough teasing, I think that's it for now, it's raining - again! A couple of days of beautiful spring weather and back to rain today, not much, just enough to wet the washing on the line, of course!! I'm going to sit in front of the fire, yes, it's cold today too, and listen to my new audio book while I stitch. I just bought the new Diana Gabaldon novel - 'Echo in the Bone'. Did you read her time traveller books? Cross Stitch, Dragonfly in Amber etc. Excellent reading, I love standing stones and the myths of them. And of course, the American Revolution. I think there is 38 hours to listen to with this new one, 6 parts anyway, I finished part one on Friday. So I'm off back to 'Lallybroch', Scotland, a revolutionary war in the colonies and the delectable Jamie Fraser.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Oh those Boys...................

..................those Jersey Boys!

This is where we went today, the Princess Theatre in Melbourne to see the fabulous stage show 'The Jersey Boys' The story of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons.
I'm inclined to say 'Oh What a Night' but unlike the song, for us it was 'Oh What an Afternoon'. My lovely girls gave me two tickets to the show for my birthday back in July and today was the day.
It was a wonderful show, the actors, the voices and of course the music was magical. The story was funny, sad, uplifting but most of all very entertaining. A great day and if you haven't seen it and get the chance to it, you won't regret it! My head is ringing now with .............
"Sherry, Sherry baby, won't you come out tonight............."
of course they do it sooooo much better than I do - even in my head!

I managed to get some shots of the amazing windows in the Dress Circle bar at the Princess Theatre. If you look at the exterior shot above this one, you can see the windows from the outside, the three large arched windows in the middle of the building. The sun was shining and the light coming through was wonderful.

If you look carefully at the woman second from the right, she seems to have her hand on her head! That's me trying to buy the soundtrack, I wasn't holding my head on or anything, I would have been pulling my 'specs off the top of my head so I could see what I was doing!! Anyway, eyes up. Aren't the windows fabulous?

They did such a great job restoring the old theatre a few years ago. We saw the 'Phantom' here (three times) and it wasn't hard to believe in opera phantoms wandering the stairways!!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

It's finally stopped raining............. I thought I would show you some more photo's of my gardens. I've been cursing the rain in the last week, I'm just so over it. I know it's the wrong thing to say (I'll have the climate police after me) but I don't care, everything is so green and moist we need some sun now to warm the soil up a wee bit - and my bones!!
I absolutely adore forget-me-nots, but I have to pull them out as soon as they finish flowering. The seeds get into the dogs ears and in between their toes and cause no end of problems, so they probably have another week and out they come!
This is the view down one of our driveways, we have another that goes off to the left of this photo, by January, this will all be burnt brown again. Oh yes, this is the view from our dining room/kitchen too, pretty good hey?
Silver Birch. This time last year the parrots had practically stripped this tree of catkins but this year they've hardly touched it. I suppose there is plenty of food around for them at the moment.

Ajuga Reptans 'Caitlins Giant'. Fabulous ground cover all year round with great spikes of brilliant purple in spring. Gorgeous.

Look at this, rhubarb flowers. I should get out and cut them off really, although it's not stopping the rhubarb growing. It's huge this year, all that extra precipitation falling from the sky I suppose!

Not strictly in the garden, but on the verandah, Freedom Bells, how gorgeous is the red?

Tiny, beautiful true Geranium, don't know what this one is called, it was one I got from one of the girls at the gardening group I go to every month down in Ballan.

I call this fellow my 'wacky bird', I bought him at 'The Secret Garden' in Daylesford and I just love him. He spins around in the strong wind and reminds me of me some days, in a spin and don't know which way I'm facing!!

I love lavender and have it dotted all over the place, pretty drought tolerant too. Just up the road (literally) from us is this place, yet we've never been there! How bad is that, has to be all of 5km away, isn't it always the way though that you never get to see whats on your own doorstep??

The first white Iris showing it's buds in between two silver birch trees. Quite often we lose the flowers on these Iris because of frost. It's not unusual to get frost around here in October and even into early November, this year it's been cold but very few frosts, so, the flowers will be fabulous!!

Bellis Perennis, beautiful little English Daisy's peeking out over the edge of a little brick wall.
So, that's my garden in October, notice there are no long shots, that's so you can't see the weeds that have grown like ~ well ~ weeds in all this rain! With interruptions (phone call from youngest son, making a cuppa, let the dogs in and out) I've been sat here doing this post for a couple of hours and guess what........? It hasn't rained in all that time.............yay!!!
I'm off to do some stitching now I think, I have to try and get block 13 of my CWBQ finished. It's been lingering now for over two weeks, I need to get it finished. I want to finish Caitlin's quilt and make a start on a table runner for Christmas out of some of my dyed wool, also want to make a couple of bags for presents too. Hmmm, better move myself, busy, busy days ahead I think.
Have a great weekend everyone.............

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Mail, Mushrooms and Flowers...........

I've been AWOL for a few days so this is the first chance to show you what I won. Yes I was one lucky lady and a winner in the Gum Trees giveaways. How lucky can you be hey??
This is what I won from the lovely Dawn from 'Dawn Hay Designs'. Gorgeous fabric, ric rac, varigated thread, 'dolly' pegs, needles and the fabulous 'Market Bag' pattern from Janelle Wind Collection, and would you look at the card, how appropriate! Adorable gum blossoms. Thank you Dawn, I love it.
Remember my mushroom grow kit I got a few weeks ago, well baby look at them now!! Last night we had bacon, egg, tomatoes and yummy home grown Portabello mushrooms for dinner. Very nice it was too and the mushrooms were delicious. Looks like we'll be having lots of meals with mushrooms for a few weeks!
I'm still working on Caitlin's birthday quilt, nearly finished the top and I'm hoping to sandwich it and start quilting by the end of this week.

I've done some more work on my CWBQ over the weekend but haven't got any photo's to show yet. I should have the next block finished this week too and hopefully I might get another post in later. It's STILL wet and cold here, it's very, very green though so shouldn't complain, full tanks make for happy gardeners. The weeds are impossible to keep up with at the moment and I can see a week or two of weeding as soon as it stops raining and warms up a wee bit, I'll be glad when we don't have to have fires every day.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Colour my world..................

Remember the old blanket that I bought at the Sallie's last week........well look at it now!!!!
I'm in love and thinking of dying everything I can get my hands on..........LOL! Is that not well worth the $10 I paid, that's only half the blanket too! My Oh My, I'm very excited and Oh so inspired by...............................
.........this, and.................
..............this!!! More precisely by Sue Spargo, check out her blog here. I dare'nt go to her web site again. I went, I saw, I drooled and I left, how good was that. BUT, I shall return in the new year. Mmmm Mmmmm!!

Actually, I was very, very pleased with my own small attempt at dying wool. I did try beetroot but it was a bit of an insipid colour. The yellow is from Turmeric and that turned out OK. I gave up after that and went out and bought commercial dye and I think they worked well, I learnt that lots of vinegar is the trick with wool, it really sets the colour well. So I've now got ~ Koala Brown, French Navy, Olive Green, Purple Vine and Scarlett, plus the yellow. All the simmering, rinsing and wringing felted the wool nicely. You should have seen my kitchen yesterday, a kaleidoscope of drying wool, it was gorgeous to behold. You shall see me in the future, scouring second hand shops for things to dye ;o) I'm blown away by the colours I can create!!

A few shots of my garden after yesterdays rain (the reason I had to dry wool inside). This shot, 'Just Joey' with it's new shoots and leaves dappled with raindrops.

One of my 'Snowball' shrubs showing off it's spring growth and buds.

Sunlight through a Rhubarb leaf.

And a branch from the May bush! Isn't is strange that I still insist on calling it a May bush even though it flowers in September here in Australia. As I'm writing this now we are in the middle of a hailstorm, very heavy but tiny spheres of ice pounding away on the tin roof. Ahhh, the joys of spring!!
A couple of macro shots of a moss on a log of wood destined for the fire sometime today. He Who Works thought that there was something wrong when he walked up the pathway towards the house and found me on my knees, Nikon in hand, peering at a log in the wheelbarrow. However, as soon as he saw the moss he just walked off shaking his head.........sigh.........I think he's given up on me!! He still loves me though ;o)

It's no higher than 3 or 4mm, just amazing. I love looking at the world through my Macro lens, it's such a different place.
Anyway, enough daydreaming, I'm off to find something else to dye...........

Oooopps, sorry I forgot to say, the magazine is American Patchwork & Quilting, October issue. The only American mag I buy, I love it.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Lots to tell................ grab a cuppa, put your feet up and come visit for a while.
First off I finally finished my groom block for the Civil War Bride quilt, thanks for all your wonderful suggestions and words of encouragement. This is such a huge thing for me, I don't think I've ever done this much applique on one quilt before ~well ~ not without stopping for a year or two in between starting and finishing, lol! Anyway, I gave him some flowers to hold and I'm happy with the way he is now, there will be a block in between the bride and the groom (a table and more flowers in an urn) so that will change the way it looks again! I'm loving the colours of this, much brighter than I thought it was going to be, although those of you following the 'Bride blog' will know that it's not the brightest on the blog at all!!

It's been a funny week weather wise, freezing cold on the weekend, then milder now cold again today. Good rainfall though, Victoria had the wettest September in a decade, so good news for the farmers watching their wheat crops grow taller and taller, well any crops really! In our little part of the country we had 138mm of rain last month, three times the amount we had same month last year, so a vast improvement :o))

This week was the fortnightly meeting of my patchwork group, but as we meet at the Community House in Ballan we can't meet in the school holidays as the house is closed. So we took a little road trip on Wednesday, aka 'a spending spree'!! Four of us did a tour of a few quilt shops within an hour of where we all are. We also felt compelled to visit some Op Shops (Thrift Shops I think you call them in America) and a couple of second hand stores too.

This was my bargain of the day, bought at the Salvation Army store in Gisborne, a double bed size pure Australian wool blanket! Destined to be cut up, dyed and felted for gorgeous applique. I've been wanting to do something 'Sue Spargo inspired' for a while, so this might be my chance?

Yes, I did pay only $10 for it, how much of a bargain was it? 'He Who Works' suggested it would be quite a good blanket for one of the furry members of our family and just couldn't understand the indignation with which his suggestion was received. He won't think it's the same stuff once it's been cut up and dyed. Have to get some fresh beetroot tomorrow, I have a hankering to use some natural dyes as far as I can, plenty of onion skins in the basket, now what can I use to get a deep green colour - have to google it!!

Our primary reason for going to Gisborne was to go here. Lorraine from Quilters Bizarre is one of our group from CWBQ blog, so we met up in her gorgeous shop and compared blocks, it was lovely to meet and have a chat about the quilt and I hope we can do it again? Well, we couldn't not buy some of her fabulous fabric now could we? Would have been awfully rude to just have coffee and leave, I mean, we just had to..............sigh!!!

So I bought some pinks for my bride quilt and this pack of fat 1/8ths because, well, because I liked them!! My three quilting amigos were just as impressed as I was and felt that they too should partake of some of the delights at the Quilters Bizarre. If you are out Gisborne way, go pay Lorraine and the girls a visit, I promise you won't be disappointed.
Just down the road and round the corner from Quilters Bizarre (literally) is 'The Drapers of Mt Macedon', how fabulous would it be to live in a little country town that has TWO quilt shops.....another sigh!!

The first four fabrics, all the pinky reds, I'm going to use as background squares for applique, not sure what yet but maybe something along the lines of the quilts in 'Quilting the Garden' from Blackbird Designs, I really love that look, busy, busy!! The gorgeous red spotty fabric I just really liked, so I had to have it. I don't buy metreage very much, I prefer to buy fat 1/4s but every now and then I just like to buy a couple of metres of something that hits the spot (oops, sorry) and this spotty red did just that!

Yesterday, I took myself off to Geelong to see mum and dad, I haven't been down since before the school holidays began, had a bit of a break from driving. It was nice to stay home but I miss seeing the two rebels down there! Although, I have to say, being in the car with them on the way to do some shopping I nearly changed my mind!! End of school holidays squabbles, shouts and lots of baiting from the 13yr-old to his nearly 12 sister. Anyway, the book and pattern above were waiting patiently for me at the Post Office on the way out. I bought Lynette Andersons adorable book 'An Angels Wish' last week, the pattern is a gift from Lorraine from here, thank you Lorraine I love it!

Then this arrived today from The Fat Quarter Shop. Now some of this is destined to be a gift, that's all I'm saying along that line right now, but I have to be truthful, it's mostly mine...!!

I have an addiction to buying the whole range of something that I really like, so I bought fat quarters of 'The Caroler' by Mary Engelbrett for Moda. I can't see that I will do anything with this until next year, but it will make some fabulous Christmas 'things'!!

The other is the kit for this pattern, 'Aviary' by 3 Sisters for Moda.
I've been coveting it for a while now and when the FQS had a September sale, it was reduced to half price. I knew that I would regret not getting it later, so another thing to go away for a rainy day. Maybe I should be hoping that our drought doesn't break just yet?? No, No, we need lots more rain yet!

And last for this marathon post. Caitlin's quilt is coming along nicely, I've appliqued all the flowers, a bird and a lady bug on the panel. There is some stitching I want to do but I will leave all that to the very last.

Still trialing some fabric placements for the bottom half, but all in all, I'm liking it!

Well, that's just about it I think for now, have to actually get away from this computer and do some sewing!! Time to make something to eat though now. 'He Who Works' is off for the weekend from late (midnight) tonight. As he was leaving for work this afternoon, he casually informed me that we are going down to Geelong in the morning to look at a house????? A house to buy??? Shouldn't ask! Don't know where it came from, completely out of the blue!! Lunch with daughter and grandchildren on a Saturday is a bonus. so I'll just enjoy! When I know, I'll let you know!!
I nearly forgot to tell you to click on over to Julia's here, she's having a lovely giveaway in celebration of finishing her fabulous 'Dear Jane', go pay her a visit!


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