Thursday, 28 April 2011

I have a friend....

...a friend that I've never met. I know that we make many 'blogging' friends that we will never meet in the 'real' world, but this person has become a true friend. Anyway, yesterday I got a parcel in the mail from this friend. This is what fell out when I opened the parcel...





It's an old quilt top, my friend knows that I love Civil War fabrics and that I have a love of the quilts of that period. When I asked her in an email this morning how old she thought this one might be this was her reply.....


I did not wash or mend it. It is a wonderful example of post Civil War piecing. A lot of the fabrics are from the 1880 era. Some earlier and then some later. I would venture to guess that the fabrics probably came from Grandmas scrap bag. I love the Indigo fabrics the most. The Indigos came from South Africa, but when the factory there went belly up, they sold the rollers to a company in South Carolina, then back to South Africa. Busy little beavers. I love quilt history, and fabrics, threads, dyes, etc.

As for the true age, hmmm, open for debate. If the thread on the back is thicker than normal, that too will give you a definitive clue to a time period.




Look at those stitches, so neat and even. I wonder who she was, did she have a family to care for, did she stitch by candle light, how many other quilts did she leave unfinished..??



..look at this little piece, a tiny sliver of fabric pieced into the bow tie, nothing wasted, every little piece used..





I'd like to repair and quilt this top, finish what another woman started, love and cherish what another woman put her heart into.


I love it. I just want to look at it for a while, just enjoy it for what it is right now and think about how I'm going to repair it, then how I will hand quilt it..?




I'm not going to tell you my friends name or blog because that's not the way this friendship works and I don't think that's what she would want me to do, what I am going to say is that in all this world, I couldn't have found a better friend if I had tried. Thank you, you know I really, really love it....


I've got my very best friend coming for lunch tomorrow so I should move myself and get some cooking done, do some washing while the sun is still shining, I might even run a duster over some furniture (or else the railway man will do it for me, he's much better at it than me) but if I don't, it doesn't matter 'cos Jen and I won't be looking at dust, we've got some catching up to do....


Just before I go, have a little look at this....





...I persevered with my struggle, nothing fancy and to be truthfully honest, not the best quilt that I've ever made BUT Edie will love it I know! It's ready to have the binding hand stitched down, not tonight though, that's my stitching while I sit in front of the box watching THE wedding tomorrow night...!! I love a bit of Pomp and Pageantry, it's the Brit in me I guess....
xxx

Monday, 25 April 2011

Distractions.......

I really struggle doing this....





...so when I see this outside my window...





..it's not hard to get distracted by the autumn sunshine, perhaps I need to move my machine do you think?





This little lady is helping with the distractions and the rubbish bin...





These sit on the windowsill and distract my eyes with their soft and restful colours which will last all winter long now...





Some bunny is watching, distracting me with his dark, sweet charms (thanks Jill)....





...this bunny paid the price for distracting me during the movie last night (thanks Gudrun)...





...and now this is whistling at me to go make a cup of hot, strong tea while I wonder how many more distractions I can find so that I don't have to go back to the struggle....!!
xxx

Friday, 22 April 2011

Good Friday........

The girls and their respective families are coming up today instead of our usual get together on Easter Sunday as The Railway Man has a rostered day off. So we decided that the kids could have Easter eggs today from Nana and Granddad and the adults would have a late and leisurely lunch. I'm not a religious person at all but I love the symbolism that surrounds Easter and other religious holidays. We always, always have some form of fish on Good Friday, just because that's what I grew up with so today I'm cooking this....





Some of the kids (and adults too) don't particularly like seafood of any description, so I've got a vegetarian lasagna ready to go in the oven too, both with a yummy green salad on the side...
Then we'll have some of this....





..with a spoonful of whipped cream.


We'll also have a slice of this I expect...





..I made a traditional Easter Simnel cake yesterday. I changed the recipe slightly as I don't particularly like mixed dried fruit so mine has just sultanas and some chocolate chips with the cherries. I still put the layer of marzipan in the middle and then the marzipan on the top with the twelve minus one little marzipan balls (to represent the true apostles) you can read the history of it here on Wiki.


There's plenty of these in the pantry too....





...more of that religious symbolism, although I'm sure that many people now don't actually know the origin of the hot cross bun. I remember as a child the playground chant of...


Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One ha' penny, two ha' penny,
Hot cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons
One ha' penny,
Two ha' penny,
Hot Cross Buns!


Too many moons ago to count that one...!!


Of course there's plenty of symbolism of another kind in the house this weekend too...





...these little guys are destined to be well and truly minus ears and tails by the end of the day, the boxes of eggs that go with them are tucked away until the kids get here..





...we adults like a little chocolate boost too, these little eggs are perfect to just 'snack' on and of course, this Easter we've also got Anzac biscuits in the cookie jar as it's Anzac day on Monday so it really is a weekend of symbols and symbolism.


The rain woke me several times last night, dripping outside the open window and pattering on the tin roof, always a lovely sound when you're warm and snug but I woke up early and cold this morning, time to put an extra blanket on the bed? So I got up and lit the fire in the lounge room at 5am, the kids will be cold when they get up here, definite temperature drop as you come up into the hills. 


This morning through my window....





...it was cold, grey and wet so a good day for tasty comfort food in a warm, steamy kitchen, family chatter, shiny wrapped chocolate to nibble on and symbols.....
Lots of comforting symbols....


Whatever your Good Friday and the rest of the Easter weekend holds for you I hope it's full of the symbols you love.......
xxx

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Millrose.....

I told you the other week about my new local quilt shop didn't I? Well I finally got around to taking some photo's to show you...





...I was meeting some friends to show them our new lunch and shop spot (I like that, lunch and shop!) but I forgot my big guns camera so had to resort to the point and shoot thing that lives in the glove box for emergency's, so please bear with me....sigh, I couldn't get the arty shots that I love. I might have to go back and do it all again :o)


Don't you love the colour of the door, can't miss it even on a grey day...






When you walk through the door, this is the room you see first. Remember I told you that it used to be a Masonic Lodge, still a little of the symbolism around, no secret handshakes though...
This is the classroom and gallery. Light, bright and airy, lots of windows and quilts lining the walls...





..books...





..patterns, gorgeous Cosmo threads...





..quilting threads, then round the corner into a second, or is that third room to....





...rows and rows of fabric and the lovely Annie being spoilt for choice....





..you could be forgiven for thinking that Jodie was having some trouble with choice too..



..greens....



....pinks.....



....whites and creams and homespuns....



...the luxury of Liberty...



...owls and trees....



...and fabulous Kaffe's...



...fabrics to make your quilty heart bump...



Hmmmm, I wonder who this belongs to?



A little corner to sit and recover before you wander next door for coffee and cake...


All in all a lovely day out. Come drive up, it's only an hour from Melbourne. The trees are all red and liquid gold, leaves line the streets, we don't have traffic lights and you won't have trouble parking. I'll meet you for coffee...!!!


You can visit the website HERE but I really think you should come see for yourself, you'll fall in love with my local..


Millrose Quilting & Gallery
Main Road Ballan
92 Inglis St
Ballan, Vic.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

I've gone all woolly...

...obviously I've contracted the wool bug again! Well I never really lost it, it just got lost somewhere in life, but I found it hiding at the AQC (Australasian Quilt Convention) this weekend...!
I went down to Melbourne on Friday with the group of friends that I quilt with every week and had a fabulous day. A few of us are starting a new Japanese inspired quilt after Easter so we wanted to pick up some fat quarters for that....





..my friend Jill and I are both sticking to reds and indigos so we each bought eight or nine fats and we'll swap so that we both have a bigger variety. The pattern calls for 10" blocks so we'll have plenty to swap around...
I bought one of those little irons too, you know what they're like don't you. Every year at quilt and craft shows, I look at them and think about buying one! Every year I think will I or won't I? Do I really need a teeny tiny iron? Every year I've gone home without one! This year I bit the bullet and bought one, I'm a bit over having my regular iron and ironing board up all the time in my sewing room and now that my room is open to the main kitchen area I just want to put it away all the time. I did have one of those little fold up boards and then Mum gave me her table top board, it's quite old and much sturdier than the new ones so the little iron will be perfect on there. More space in my room too..


Hmmm, what else did I come home with..? Oh yes, I bought a little (I seem to be into tiny don't I?) light to go on my sewing machine. The inbuilt light on my new Brother is quite woeful, nowhere near as good as the light on my 20 year old Pfaff so I visited the wonderful Scissorman at the show and he had some little battery operated LED lights. Two for $20, can't knock that back can you. But that was yesterday! Yep, I went back for another go on Saturday. I had always planned on doing this, I just find that you don't get round to everything in one day and there were a couple of blogger friends that I wanted to catch up with too. I caught the train early on Saturday morning and eventually found Jodie and Annie (after much arm waving out of train doors and the disconcerting sight of me running down the platform to the back carriages!!) where they had saved me a seat (it's a busy train on a Saturday morning and quite often even though we are only the second stop, you have to stand) so we could chat on the hour journey. A quick trip up Burke St on the number 96 tram chatting to the passengers around you (as you do) and we were there. First stop coffee then off to explore again. My friend Sue from Millrose Quilt Gallery in Ballan was right next door to the Quilted Crow girls, how good was that? Thanks to all of you that stopped by and said hello to Sue and her sister Julie by the way, were you impressed? I bet you were..! I have to ask, which of you is the blogger from Sydney that visited? Sue didn't get your name and I really need to know now, wish I knew you were there, I would have loved to say hi!!


Anyway, over the day I 'bumped' into the gorgeous Nat, finally met Vikki, even though it was only a quick hug it was lovely to finally meet you Vikki, and had a chat with Deb and some of her sisterhood, saw the lovely Karen who I met last year a SIT (Sew it Together in Melbourne) I drooled (but not quite as much as some hey Annie) over the Sweet Sixteen quilting machine, spent quite a bit of time actually trying to work out how we could finance it! We finally ruled out the streets (who'd pay honestly) and selling the children ( mine are too old but who's going to give you serious money for untidy, grumpy teens...really!!) so we're still thinking about it.. Was really, really truly disgusted that someone at a quilt show for goodness sake could steal a gorgeous bag from a stand here, click on the link or Karen's link and read what happened.


Oh yes, woolly, nearly forgot there for a minute....





I bought a teeny bit of felted wool too..!Do you know how hard it is not to fondle felted wool? If you were there yesterday you might have seen Jodie and I having little face rubbing sessions with bundles of wool!!! Hmmm, that's enough said I think. Anyway, I bought the big roll on the left and the pieces over the arm of the chair from The Quilted Crow, honestly I could just move in there, seriously!! The bright rolls at the back (and the lovely piece of green velvet) were from..................damn, I don't think I got a card and it's not on the rolls so I can't tell you, but it's lovely anyway. The Mary Flanagan bundles of red and green were from Dyed and Gone to Heaven. Oh they are so lovely. Are you impressed with my restraint  :O) 
What do you mean..what restraint? I was very restrained, I wanted to buy it all, but that would have entailed streets and selling children again so I thought not..  :o)
We got thrown out a 4.30 'cos it was closing but Jodie did manage to buy something quite special just before the venue closed, I'm sure she'll tell all about it soon. Quick dash to get the tram back down to Southern Cross station and caught the Ballarat train by the skin of our teeth, yes that did involve more of that disconcerting running. Women over a certain age should NOT run, really..! 


A fabulous couple of days thanks to all the friends I shared them with, it definitely wouldn't have been as much fun on my own..


Now, I need to stitch some wool.....
xxx

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Pets...

A couple of weeks ago, the Railway Man received this email (without the photo's) and I've been meaning to share it with you. You know the story though, too much happening and I forgot all about it until I was cleaning out my gmail and realised that he'd forwarded it on to me. So for all my animal loving friends, enjoy...


"Note found taped low down on the 'fridge door....


To my pets,


The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. the other dishes are mine and contain my food...
Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Racing me to
the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster
than you can run.

 I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this.
 Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort,
 however. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is
 not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other, stretched out to the
 fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and
 having tongues hanging out on the other end to maximize space is
 nothing but sarcasm..

For the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom! If, by some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge in an attempt to open the door. I must exit through the same door I entered.
Also, I have been using the bathroom for years - canine/feline attendance is not required.

The proper order for kissing is: Kiss me first, then go smell the other dog or
cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough.

Finally, in fairness, dear pets, I have posted the following message on the front door:


TO ALL NON-PET OWNERS WHO VISIT AND LIKE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT OUR PETS:


(1) They live here. You don't.


(2) If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay


off the furniture. That's why they call it 'fur'-niture.


(3) I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.


(4) To you, they are animals. To me, they are adopted sons/daughters who


are short, hairy, walk on all fours and don't speak clearly.


Remember, dogs and cats are better than kids because they:


(1) eat less,


(2) don't ask for money all the time,


(3) are easier to train,


(4) normally come when called,


(5) never ask to drive the car,


(6) don't smoke or drink,


(7) don't want to wear your clothes,


(8) don't have to buy the latest fashions,


(9) don't need a gazillion dollars for college and


(10) if they get pregnant, you can sell their children    "



Photo's courtesy of me  :o)

To understand JUST how apt this is I have to tell you that this is a man who when he gets home greets the dogs and THEN me  :o)
xxx

Sunday, 10 April 2011

From my Window....

This was the view from the window of my new sewing room on Thursday....





Yesterday...





This morning...





...all that colour just about gone, blown away in a blast of autumnal rain and wind, but I still get to look at this everyday...





..so it's not too bad really :o)


The Curly Willows on the left and the Oak just behind it will all lose their leaves in the next month or so but the view down what is our secondary driveway won't change too much. Some frost and maybe some snow hopefully to show, just different seasons on the same scene. I love this vista, since we came here nine years ago the trees in the driveway have more than doubled in size, totally changing what we see. The big old Cyprus trees that you can see arching over the entrance to the driveway are about 120 years old and sadly coming to the end of their lifespan. We have to seriously think about removing them in the next few years. We can't risk those huge branches cracking and falling. We will miss them and so will the Magpies and Crows that have nested in the same branches since before we came here. We can see one large nest from our bathroom window and have watched each year as Mama Maggie hatches her eggs and nurtures her babies, I've wept as I've picked up tiny hatchlings thrown or fallen from the nest and laughed at her newly fledged babes learning to fly, first from branch to branch then taking the leap of faith and following mum to the sky above...
We'll plant new trees in their place of course but we'll be gone long before any new trees reach greatness...


I haven't just been staring out the window thinking deep and meaningful thoughts this week, I have done some sewing, honestly I have..





This is Marl's block from the Bee Balm online bee, isn't it striking fabric, I can't wait to see this one put together it's going to be a beauty I think...!


I've also done some stitching on my Pennies quilt and finished all the blocks for our granddaughter Eden's quilt. Sashing and corner posts are cut and ready, so today I'll put it together ready to sandwich and quilt. Her 12th birthday is only three weeks away so I'd better get myself into gear and stop watching the world go by from my window...

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Isn't she lovely.....




...with apologies to Stevie Wonder, but she is isn't she..? I bought this book a little while ago from the Book Depository...





..I wasn't actually looking for this one but it found me, you know that happens to you too don't you..? I had to have it!! Really I did :o)
I've been gathering supplies, well, I already had most of them to be honest but I wanted to do the background in black cotton. The one in the book is dark blue wool but I don't want it that heavy. I knew that I wanted a black with depth, not just flat black and I found it here



...only not on the web, it's my local quilt shop. Sue has just finished restoring the old Masonic Lodge next door to the cottage and last weekend was the opening of Millrose Quilts and Gallery and if you get the chance come up and have a look, it's well worth it. Anyway I digress, the gorgeous cream fabric is from Eureka Patchwork in Ballarat where you can get the best range of fabulous Japanese fabrics at very reasonable prices. I already had that (stash busting right?) and I already had all these...





..gorgeous felted wools. Since I took this photo I've changed my mind about the canvas on the right, I'm just going to use wool for the applique. I still need more wool (you knew that was coming didn't you?) and I'll have a look at the Quilted Crow girls at the AQC (Australasian Quilt Convention) in two weeks time, oh yes, Sue from Millrose will be there, stand 189 I think. Go say hi and tell her Liz sent you!





Isn't it lovely? I can't wait to get into it but I have one more quilt to finish first...sigh, then I can get to it. I'm really excited about doing this and I haven't been that way for a while.
Gotta go deliver some meals to Mum and Dad today, they cancelled the Meals on Wheels last week as they said it wasn't very nice lately, so guess who the new Meals on Wheels is...? Also going to see the boy today, he arrived back from Thailand on Saturday and I'm so looking forward to catching up after school today..


C U later dudes (see the boys influence already ) :o)
xxx

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