Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Decisions, decisions........!

I'm going to buy a machine quilting frame and I need some feedback/opinions/advice as to which one to buy. At the moment I'm swaying between this Happy Jack Quilting Frame and this John Watts Personal Quilter. I did think about buying a larger one but realistically - will I get anymore out of a large one - don't think so! I'm not looking at doing anything fancy, just want to be able to finish quilts in this life!!!
Does anyone have one of these or another that you can recommend? Any advice as to which one is best for just plain home use. I did think about waiting until the next quilt show in Melbourne but that's not until next March! Can I wait that long now that I've decided to buy one? Nope!!
Just to explain why 'He Who Works' made this very generous offer the other day("why don't you buy yourself one darling") were his exact words. Here is the anouncment I put on my status on my Facebook page on Monday:

ANNOUNCEMENT.............My esteemed other half has a new baby in his life, Bert (Bertie to his friends) Beetle. Found in the 'Home for Lost Volkswagens' and now adopted into a loving, caring home (his words not mine). DOB -1973, complexion -pale (white), date of delivery - Thursday. Father doing well, Mother still in shock!!!!! (no ipod connectivity!!!)

Total spur of the moment thing, was on the way to Bunnings Warehouse (for non-aussies, large hardware retailer), passed the European Car Salesyard on the way and didn't get any further!! With all due credit, he has been looking for a Vee Dub for quite a while and I guess that we always knew that he would buy one if he found a good one! Just not 4 weeks before Christmas!! So I gain a quilting frame (please insert VERY big grin here).

In the meantime I've been making inroads into my Christmas sewing. This bag above is from the Janelle Wind 'Millies Market Bag' pattern that I won in the 'Gum Tree Designers' giveaway. I made this one in mainly 'Authentic' fabric and will be for my daughter-in-law to be, all I have to do is stitch some buttons on this one. I still have two more bags to make for daughters yet.
The pear pin cushions are a dream to make and are from the Fig Tree Quilts book 'Vintage Sewing', I've put tiny red beads down the seams on the red one and left the green pear without. The stems and leaves are wired and I love the scraps of raffia tied around the stems. I think one of these might be a Kris Kringle. I have this gorgeous silver bowl and I want to fill it with these pears and some apple pin keepers for the centre of the coffee table, with perhaps some red and gold Christmas baubles in there too??
I found the instructions for this Christmas Wreath on a blog somewhere, I can't remember where it was but I will find it and let you know. I ran out of baubles and will have to buy another box when I go out but isn't it going to be gorgeous? It's a wire coathanger reshaped into a circle and the balls are threaded on (after a dab of hot glue to keep the little caps in place) until it's full. Twist the wire back together and tie a big bow at the top, hang and admire!! I bought the baubles at a $2 shop and I think I bought 48 different sized ones, I need about another 12 I think. All up it won't be over $20, how good is that? I like that I can hang it in the window and it looks good from both sides!

So it's been a busy Christmasy week, yesterday I gave Caitlin her birthday quilt and she was overjoyed, tracing the stitches with her fingers, yelling at her brother if he approached too close (contamination alert!) and telling her Dad that it wasn't just 'pretty good (when he admired it) but it was 'awesome Dad, nothing pretty good about it' ! Bless her, she does love her Nana :o)

Is anyone going to the 'Daylesford Makers Market' on Saturday? Julie had a great idea, she suggested that any bloggers that are happy to be approached by fellow bloggers wear a pink yo-yo/suffolk puff on their top. Check out Julie's post to read her post, I'll be there with a yo-yo pin on.

I'll leave you today with this little photo of some of my cherished old terracotta pots with their new Summer inhabitants.
Have a great week.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Ta Da.....

This is why I've been in hibernation for the last week and a half, Caitlin's birthday quilt. Finished, quilted and washed!! I don't usually wash my quilts before I give them away, but the white area's of this quilt had just become so grubby while I quilted that washed it had to be...
I had been going to machine quilt it, that's why I had left it until last Tuesday!! Then I decided that I really wanted to hand quilt it, madness........ I know!! So, 10 days, high 30s temperatures, perle thread and big stitched and it's done. Last week I was sitting in front of the air con with a quilt on my lap, same this week. I finished the last bit of binding at my patchwork group this afternoon. So next Tuesday we shall see if she is happy with her quilt, I'm thrilled that it's finished and I can now get on with things I want to make for Christmas presents.
On the Christmas front, earlier this week my advent swap left on a jet plane, winging it's way to Fiona in Tasmania, look out for the Postie masquerading as Santa Fiona, he's on his way!! I also finished and sent off my PIFs yesterday, the local one is already there ( I forgot to take photo's) good work Australia Post!

I got mail too this week, these gorgeous 2.5" squares from Moda. I ordered three boxes from the Fat Quarter Shop (love that site), they're samples of all the new fabrics due out next year from Moda. There are 40 squares in each bundle, 480 in a box! I make that 1440 little squares of loveliness, mmmm, mmmmm!! I also won a giveaway on Blackbird Designs blog last week, hasn't arrived yet but in the light of all the squary goodness that I bought, it could come in handy!! You'll see when it arrives.

I bought this gorgeous red bundle at Ballarat Patchwork the other day, the dog was at the groomers and I had to fill in an hour or so, what was I to do? Sigh, it was difficult driving just down the road to Victoria St. Anyway I think I'm going to make a table runner for Christmas with this and maybe a Rudi or two??

The chocolate and aqua bundle and the Authentic bundle are destined to be bags for my girls, to go with their Christmas gifts. Both girls carry around lap tops everyday, well Bec does and Sarah will at Uni next year so a big shopper that will take computers and STUFF that we need everyday, sounds like a plan to me!!

I've got a couple of Kris Kringle gifts to make for the beginning of Dec and I would still like to give finishing my Christmas quilt a try???? Hmmm, time is marching on, we'll see.

This is my California Tree Poppy, I think you should be able to see the size of the flower by looking at my hand holding the stem? The flowers are huge and always give a good show, about bread and butter plate size I would say!

Gorgeous isn't it?

So is Miss Martha, fresh from the groomers, all ready for the hot weather. Natalie (the girl who looks after her) always puts a bow in her ear, it lasts about a week then we find it on the floor somewhere. I like to see her hair a little longer than this but for the whole of the summer this is how she will stay, trimmed once a month for comfort for her.
No quilting to do tonight so I might just get the last leaf stitched on my CWBQ block, it's been hanging around for a month I think. I've really slowed down on the blocks but I did know that would happen come this time of year, our Northern Hemisphere friends are curling up in front of fires, snuggly and warm stitiching on their quilts, while we try to get through the heat without a total melt down. Good job Santa has a good pair of boardies????
See you next week..................

Friday, 6 November 2009

I'm still here........

I've been absent for a while haven't I?
Thank you to everyone who sent words of support and comfort yesterday. I really appreciated them. Thank you!
We're certainly a strange lot us humans aren't we? If you read yesterdays post and followed the link then you will know that on Nov. 5th 1970 I gave birth to our first baby boy, Shane Warren. On the morning of Oct. 26th 1971 he just didn't wake up, ever. Cot death or SIDS as it's now known, took our beautiful boy away. He was ten days away from his 1st birthday. We grieved and we moved on. Another four healthy happy babies saw to that, I didn't have time to think about the what ifs with four kids under six!! BUT, every year for the days between 25th Oct and 5th Nov I tend to fall into melancholy and the older I get the more the 'what ifs' invade my days and nights. For the last few years I've taken to broadcasting in some public way that it's my boys birthday, even if it's only spoken to a stranger (or written on a blog) it seems to help, it's a statement I think, that he was here and I do remember him. Once the day has gone I'm back to normal, or what passes for normal for me these days!! So today I can tell you all about him without crying over my keyboard. Go figure, yesterday I cried reading your lovely comments!!
So with renewed vigor today I can show you what I found in a lovely little shop just down the road in Ballan (about 10 mins away), just look at these spools of cotton! Are they not delicious?
The labels say 'Superior French Finish Spool Cotton', Made in Gt Britain.
There were six of them but I only bought four, of the two left one was empty and the other cracked and chipped. I thought that I might leave them for somebody else. LOL! There was 9600 yards of thread on each spool, could have stitched a couple of quilts with those hey? Surprisingly the thread is still really strong, I wonder how old they are, might have to see if I can find out, interesting! Oh yes, I should have put something with them in the photo so you could see the size, they are a whopping 18cm/6 1/2 inches tall!!! My collection of cotton reels is growing in leaps and bounds!
Remember a while ago I was telling you that I had joined an online 'quilting bee', well this is Novembers blocks. These are as we speak, in a big metal bird winging their way to Victoria in New York! The brief for these was to use every scrap that Victoria sent and make up a Wonky Log Cabin, whatever was left we then had to make a small block and whatever was left after that we have to send back with the blocks. Victoria wants to put every last piece of fabric into her quilt!! As you can see, the tiny piece of pink is all that I had left :0). I was very pleased with myself, inordinately so I might even say. Once again it was pushing the boundaries for me. Talk about 'think outside the square', there wasn't a square to think outside on this one!! Victoria gave everyone specific instruction to NOT square it off. Glad it's her that has to put all those blocks together, should be fun hey? Actually, once I got going I really enjoyed it, so easy, just round and round, shut your eyes pick up a piece, stitch and repeat!

Not much else on the sewing side of life to report this week, I've done a bit of stitching on my CWBQ, but not enough to show. I still have to quilt Caitlin's quilt, I really have to start that this weekend, it's her birthday in two weeks! I'm trying to finish things for my Advent Swap with the lovely Fiona on the other side of Bass Strait (Tasmania), fingers crossed that I can have it all finished in the next few days. Two PIFs to finish and get on the way too. Busy, busy!! See, no more time for melancholy and misery, have to stitch, stitch and stitch!!!

I thought I would leave you with some pics of my garden in the sunshine, that burst of warm, humid weather last week pushed the rose buds to open and the garden to burst into colour. The rose above is 'Just Joey'.

Pink Iris about to burst open.

A tiny 'Cecil Brunner' bud.

Solomon's Seal.

Pink Dogwood

Flanders Poppy.
That's one thing that does flower at the right time here in Australia. Flanders Poppies in time for Remembrance Day, November 11th.

And to finish some photo's taken last week on a warm, humid misty day. Surreal!

Looking out across the verandah from the lounge room.

Looking South across the railway lines (hidden in the mist).
So, that's it for this week I think, once again, thanks for your words and for the friendship across cyberspace. Have a great weekend.


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