Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas to All!!

It is just a little while after midnight here. Santa has visited and filled all the sacks. I am just waiting for my Christmas pudding to finish cooking and then like all good children I will be tucked up in bed, dreaming of Christmas things. I'll probably be up way too early thanks to two small excited children and one over-eager 14 year old. On in the early hours of Christmas morning I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Holiday Season.

Friday, December 15, 2006

changing to beta

I finally changed over to beta and so far haven't really had a chance to see what is different. I'll check it later when I don't have children wanting to use the computer. I guess I'll find out soon enough if there are any problems.

I was looking through some old photos and found this one of Christmas morning two years ago, before everything was opened. Phil, of course, was excited to receive new socks from Santa. I wanted to get a new tree this year as this one in now probably nearly 20 years old - but somehow this week I needed to buy a new microwave oven ( the old one died on Monday) and a new vacuum cleaner. Hopefully we can pick up something in the after Christmas sales.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Somehow December and Christmas have left me behind. I have been doing no crafty things and unfortunately I haven't decorated for Christmas. The picture above shows the only thing so far that relates to the season in our house. This goes back quite a few years - it is a printed panel and was one of my hand quilting efforts. You can't see it in the photo but there are holly leaves in the border and it is quilted on the outlines in the picture.

Life just has been busy. Here in Australia it is the end of the school year and now we have our summer break until the end of January. This year I have one son who has finished high school and we are waiting to learn what his university options are. At the other end of the age scale my four year old has finished kindergarten with his final break up party today.

Hopefully tomorrow we will make a start on the decorating. I have done some shopping so am not stressing about that. I doubt if there will be much done in the craft area until after Christmas. But I can always have fun dreaming....

Monday, November 27, 2006

What's in the box?

Unfortunately this is not mine, even though my children wish it was. I borrowed it to take some photographs for reference and ideas and thought I would share. It was made for my friend Dianne who made the nine patch quilt I have previously posted about.

Just a peek....

Fully open....
Some close ups...

And Colly's four year old hand showing how small the items are. The photos on the wall of actual family photographs. The stockings and presents are named and if you look on the right wall there are some little bolts of fabric, scissors and a pincushion.

My children have loved looking at this - maybe we can start work on our own this Christmas.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving...

Just thought I would say Happy Thanksgiving to people in the States. Warm wishes to you all.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The bags are finished...

Just thought I would post the bags all done, complete with cord. I am very happy with them. I can see lots of uses for them. And it means I actually finished something..... Anyone who knows me knows that I am much, much better at starting things than finishing.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Thank you May Britt....

May Britt posted a tutorial for her little bags on her blog and I thought I would try them. There were two main reasons ( apart from the fact that they just looked like fun). Firstly I need a secret santa gift for my craft group's Christmas party next week. I know it seems early but it keeps December free for other things. And secondly, I need all the practice I can get using my Bernina BSR. These pieces are perfect for trying it out. When I went looking for fabric to use I found a bag of Christmas scraps and decided that I would make scrappy bags. I am almost finished them and I found everything I needed in my stash. Now all they need is cord but I thought I would post pictures so you can see what they look like. They are very easy to make and something that would be a great idea for Christmas. Thank you May Britt.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I knew this one already...

Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!

I don't usually do these things but I have always loved Pooh and his friends. For years now we have known which family member is which. My 17 year old son has always been Eeyore, my 14 is Tigger, 8 year old Panda is Piglet and 4 year old Colly is Roo, following in Tigger's footsteps. And as for me, I have always been Kanga. So when I did this one - how did they know? I think my husband is Rabbit - but I don't tell him that.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I was feeling sad about not having written anything and I realised that I was thinking that if I didn't have a photo it wouldn't be worth making a post. So I have to overcome that hurdle - to keep things up to date. There doesn't have to be a photo everytime, although that has also been a great incentive to take photos of things around me.

I am about to go and cut some fat quarters. On Wednesday I was a bit naughty and visited three local Quilt Stores. ( well I only bought things at two) Now for the rest of the year I am really going to try to to use just what I have here. I guess I can justify it this time in that I bought things that were for projects that I already had here. I did get some fat quarters which go with some other FQs I have here and that I what I am about to cut.

The reason for the picture of the magazine - well, I am in a number of yahoogroups and often I see there people writing about the price of magazines , and of course the Australian Magazines. Also from those groups I see things mentioned that are coming up in magazines which take a while to get over here. This one had a project that I was interested in and while a lot of the projects are fairly simple there are quilte few ideas which I think will be a big help in reducing stash. The point of all this - and I hate to admit it - is that I paid $23 Australian ( which is about $17.64 US) for this magazine. At that price I think I need to make every pattern in here to justify this. At times I think I should subscribe directly to magazines but I don't always want each one. I just bought the lastest Quilt Sampler too and that was $17. So I really need to start thinking about how much I really want these magazines.

So now off to cut - and it is something from this magazine although I could do it without the pattern. It was just good to have the visual idea, because I didn't know what I wanted to make with the fabric. I doubt if I will get the sewing done tonight or tomorrow for that matter but at least I will be ready.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Jenni mentioned that it had rained here on Saturday. It rained here again last night. This was the sunset last night before the rain. The whole sky had cloud cover except this little patch in the west where the sun shone through. This is the view from the back of my house ( and my kitchen). We do live in the suburbs but as our house is at the top of a hill we can look over all the houses so they don't appear in the photo.

We are in Level 4 water restrictions which basically means that we can't use water for very much. The problem for us is that as we have a pool it needs to be filled up every so often and there are strict times when we can do that. Also they are bringing in conditions that if you have a pool, you have to have three of four things. 1. A pool cover 2.dual flushing toilets 3. a water saving washing machine 4.and water saving taps and showers. Well, so far we have the toilets but it is going to be expensive to get the pool cover and other things. So.... hopefully we will get lots more rain so these things won't need to be enforced. It is not that I don't want to do my bit about water saving but new plumbing, a pool cover and a new washing machine will put a dent in the budget. As I wash for 6 people in this house trying to get a suitable washing machine of the right size might be difficult. Keep your fingers crossed for more rain.

Gone Quilting

Seems like I have been away a long time from posting but I HAD to finish that quilt for my friend's birthday. I haven't done a lot of machine quilting so it is still an effort and this time I was using my new machine so had to adjust to that. But I do have to say that apart from handling a quilt bigger than I would have liked the machine handled it beautifully. I finished the quilt at midday and I was supposed to be at my friend's place for lunch. It still doesn't have a label but that can happen at my next visit. I guess I was disappointed by her reaction but maybe it was because there were other people there and she didn't want to make a big thing of it. She just whisked it away to her bedroom and that was it. I guess time will tell... she may talk about it more when we are one on one. I know that giving a quilt is like giving other gifts - sometimes we put a lot of time and thought into a gift and we have to accept that the receiver doesn't feel the same way. Still I am happy that I chose to give it. And I feel good because I have actually finished something. That is a big achievement for me.

And how to wrap the quilt? In the end I just used ribbon that matched the colours of the quilt. The stripe is the backing fabric ( yes, I know stripes are hard to get straight but I did a fairly good job.It was just that the fabric is from the same Pandolph range and it was a good price.) I wish the flash shot didn't make the quilt look so orange but the one I took without the flash was just too dark.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

More sunday bushwalking...

Here's Phil at the bottom of Twin Falls. This is the bottom half of the falls - there is probably about the same distance again to the top.
Daddy and Colly going through a rock tunnel....
Looking from behind Rainbow Falls through the water...

From the track on the way to the falls...

Monday, October 30, 2006

My weekend - Sunday - bushwalking and barbeque....

No quilting here either. My husband loves to get out with the family, so he organised for the family to go to Springbrook which is in the hinterland behind the Gold Coast.

It was cold and misty - this view though is looking towards the high rise buildings of Surfers Paradise but they don't show very clearly.

And here's the barbeque, with my husband on the left and my BIL on the right. I guess you could say that it wasn't a typical Australian meal as the main meat you can see is Cajun Chicken although our nephew had brought two pieces of kangaroo steak which you can see on the right corner of the plate. We did a short 4 kilometre walk to visit some waterfalls which were lovely as you can walk right behind them. Apart from the weather the day was lovely.

My weekend - Saturday - school fete

The school my daughter attends has a fete every two years. This year it coincided with the school being 50 years old. There was a history display and the usual stalls and my daughter's class put on a play about the way it was in 1956. Out on the school oval were rides - and here is my 14 year old Phil showing off at the top of the climbing pole and my daughter trying really hard to get up there too ( She's in the blue shorts) The day finished off with an open air movie.

But no quilting today.... and that birthday gift ( October goal) is looking like being an IOU....

Friday, October 27, 2006

If you don't have a quilt of your own to show....

then show someone else's ( with permission of course).

I go to a small quilting group every second Tuesday afternoon. Small ? Well there are three of us. We talk about anything and everything, do a lot of planning and fix the world's problems. Maybe we just fix our quilting problems. The time before last I turned up with my new copy of the Quilter's Newsletter Magazine's Quilt It, More Nine Patch Favorites. My friend, Dianne, pounced on it and suddenly remembered that she had a number of nine patch blocks which she received as part of a swap last year,which were sitting in her cupboard. So using two of the patterns from the book this is what she came up with. All the nine patch blocks are from the swap - she just added the extra setting squares.This was a quilt she hadn't even planned on making and a week later this top is what she has - isn't it fabulous? I think I would have been so discouraged by the variety of colours that I would have given up. ( If you have the magazine you can see where her ideas came from. The setting is from Garden Party. It is much scrappier but you can see where the diamond is formed. The diamond border comes from another pattern On the Edge. I have to admit that I tend to think that nine patches are fairly boring but this has inspired me.

Here is another of Dianne's quilts. I was prompted to put this one on because of the squares that Jenni had posted that she had bought at the craft show. I thought these were the same blocks but I can see that they are similar, not the same. All the fabric is Japanese and it is another great quilt. Needless to say my my friend Dianne is much better at finishing things than I am.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Strange things we do

Here's another Little Quilt I was working on over ten years ago. It got to where it was ready to quilt ( in those days I hand quilted everything), and then ended up in the UFO pile. Then some years later I bought a walking foot to go with my old Bernina and decided to try it there and then. So with no practice I grabbed the first thing I had ready and started quilting in the ditch. It was a dreadful job and even worse... I didn't change my bobbin! The backing is black and the bobbin thread was light blue/grey. What was I thinking?

What a shocking job.... I only can talk about it because it seems like a lifetime away and done by another person. So when I was looking for something to sit with the other day I started to unpick all the stitching. I suppose the good thing about using the wrong colour bobbin thread is that I can see it. I am thinking that I might try quilting it with black perle cotton but I am not sure if that will look too much with the black button hole thread. I suppose the only way to find out is to try it. Otherwise it will be just a black quilting thread in the ditch.

I don't even know what I will do with this when it is finished - but I know that I do want it finished. Maybe I could hang it somewhere like I see here ( Libby) .Or maybe someone will see it and love it. I have to finish it first. There is value in everything and I have learnt some important lessons here, especially about planning ahead.

Friday, October 20, 2006

catching up on my October goals

With all the children at school today ( Four year old Colly goes to Kindergarten on Thursday and Friday so I do get a little bit of a break to sew) I decided that I needed to spend some time working on the quilt I am making for my friend's 50th birthday. This is a job to do in my garage. I have to set up the table tennis table ( it has seen better days but still works fine for quilts) and then spread the sandwich ready to pin. Sadly though I am not as organised as I would like to be and when I got the wadding out it wasn't big enough so I had to make a quick trip to the LQS. Then I realised that I had forgotten to piece the backing ( only two pieces to join). With the plan to finish off more of my tops this preparation should get to be easier over time. Then just as I was nearly finished I got a phone call - from the friend who the quilt is for. She was ringing to say she was coming to visit in five minutes. Arrgh!!! At least I was very close to finishing, and managed to get it folded up and away before she arrived. I am confident that I will get this one finished in time which will be a big achievement for me. Sadly I have to say that I am much better at starting things than finishing them....

The photo actually shows part of the view from my garage. It was taken yesterday afternoon when we saw a rainbow. It was back to blue skies again today - not good news for the drought but a nice outlook to view while pinning a quilt.

too much shopping

Well, I ended up spending two days at the Craft Show which was definately too much for me. I always limit myself to one day which still usually means that I spend too much money. But I had already planned to go on Wednesday (with my quilting friends) and was meeting up with Jenni as well. ( That was fun to be able to put a face to the name) Then as my step daughter was going on Thursday my husband said he would look after the children so I could go with her too. Boy, was I worn out!
Of course I spent too much money butI did have some special things I was looking for. I am collecting older Jan Mullen/Stargazey fabrics and found these ones I didn't have. I have a Stargazey quilt in the planning and early stages and I want to make sure that I have a variety of the fabrics to choose from. So I am happy with that purchase. I found an Atkinson designs book I hadn't seen before and a bundle of cheap baby FQs, also I got two more Hey Diddle Diddle fabrics ( just something I seem to be collecting because I like the design.) There were a few other random FQs (not pictured) and some small scissors I needed/wanted. ( I had to surrender a pair of these recently on my plane trip to Hamilton Island. I had forgotten that I had a pair in my hand bag. The good thing is that they only cost $2.50 so it wasn't a huge loss but I wanted to replace them as soon as possible.)
Of course there were quilts to look at, with two displays at the show. And with lots of vendors represented there were lots of quilty things to view. There were lots of other crafts too - something for everyone.
Now I just have to make sure that I use what I got - the ideas are there but I need more time.....

Sunday, October 15, 2006

My mother...

My mother is a quilter. For many many years I resisted sewing and quilting because she was so good. I did other crafts that she didn't do - for example crochet, which skipped a generation from my grandmother. There was cross stitch and embroidery which she did but it wasn't her craft of choice. My mother does beautiful work but I actually don't have very many examples. I think I have 5 quilts in total - and one is a joint effort where I made the top and she handquilted it. I have two cheater sheet type quilts - one machine quilted in monofilament and one hand quilted. The last two are machine pieced and hand quilted. The pictures here are of the smaller of those two quilts, which she gave to my daughter on her first birthday ( although it was made a long time before that). In taking photos I realise that there is no label on it, and so the next time I see her I am taking the quilt back to her and making sure that she puts one on. However I don't know if she will remember any dates - still a little bit of history is better than nothing.
Nowadays she tends to keep things small and makes charity quilts for premature babies. They are all hand quilted - I think the one quilt I have which was machine quilted may be the only one she has done that way. ( It is one of those road fabrics which are great for little boys to play on) .

Here's the hand quilting on the pink quilt and it is followed by a close up of the candlewicking. The quilt has been washed a bit so it is starting to get that wrinkly look of older quilts. Also a lot of the fabrics were her dresses from my childhood, (I particularly remember the white one with the orange and yellow flower and pink grid ) so there is a bit of a mix and the backing is a cotton sheet. I think that it may have been completely a stash quilt.

messing up

In the light of the next day I had a good look at my convergence square and realized that I had actually messed up twice. The red arrowed strips I couldn't fix because one was cut too small but I did fix the right one of the green arrowed strips because it was too wide and could be cut down. At least now my strips are a little bit more the way it should be. My advice to anyone - this is a really easy technique BUT......check everything twice and don't have interruptions.
The finished product....

Thursday, October 12, 2006

While the cat is away......

My husband went away for two days. I had great plans. You see, he is the family cook and the kitchen is mainly his. But I like to use the kitchen bench to cut fabric on because it is a nice height. The problem is that he gets priority because feeding the family is considered more important. (I don’t quite know who came up with that idea.) So I decided that I would try something new as I had a few hours to myself as well as a clear kitchen bench.
Back at Easter time I picked up two lots of Ricky Tims convergence fabric for $5 a metre (a great buy in Australian standards). I was going to use it just as backing until I thought that I should try actually making a Harmonic Convergence quilt. I thought it was a good exercise. The first half was fine – I had no problems with that at all.

By the time I was ready to do the second half the kids were home from school and all of a sudden I was cutting fabric between sandwich toasters, juice, butter, jam and Noise!!!!!! I have realised that it is highly likely that Ricky Tims has a beautiful studio where he doesn’t have to deal with four starving children after school. I don’t know why I thought I was Superwoman and kept cutting. And yep, I messed it up. One of my cuts was the wrong measurement and there are two the same size now. Too bad…..

Did I achieve what I set out to do? Yes, I did – I worked through an interesting technique, and learnt something new. It was interesting to see how it would turn out.
My evaluation – well, I don’t really love what I ended up with. I have seen some beautiful convergence quilts. I think mine has too much contrast and looks like a checkerboard to me. This could also be because I messed up the measurements too. I used fabric I had and I think it would have been nicer if it blended more. I also learnt that I should stop when things get crazy – but it is so hard to do that when you want to finish something. It will still make a fine table topper – or I may make it into a larger quilt. It didn’t cost me much and was well worth doing, but next time I’ll stop when the kids get home. And maybe that October goal of making my own little sewing area has just gained more priority. Dream on……

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Back to everyday life...

Here I am on Hamilton Island - I said to myself at the beginning of blogging that I wasn't going to post a photo of myself. However I wanted to show the beach and somehow I am in this one (it is a bit windy).
The wedding went well - or rather in the words of the bride and groom - Perfect. The wedding was on the beach and then lunch was at a restaurant overlooking the water. The weather was wonderful and it all went beautifully - what more could we ask for?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Another October Goal

I decided to add this task to my October list. It is one of the baby quilts from Quiltmaker - they appeared in the magazines but you can buy them as a set now. I loved making it - making one block in a larger size was so easy. This one was made for one of our grandchildren ( we have three). He is now 7 months and very active so I don't think he will be lying on this much but I see this quilt as one he can play on.

The task though is to pin, quilt and bind. I have so many "flimsies" (thanks to Norma for this description) and it seems that this is the area I need to work on most, but probably the area I like doing least. I actually enjoy hand quilting but the quilts I need to finish are ones I will machine quilt.

I doubt if I will get much of a start on these two quilts this week as in two days time we are off to Hamilton Island for a wedding. In fact the couple are parents of the grandson I just mentioned - the groom is my husband's son. I'll write about that after the big event.

The children go back to school next Monday so hopefully then I can really get to work on these goals. That's the nice thing about blogging ( for me anyway) - I have put my goals out there and so feel a little bit more motivated to complete them.

Just wanted to add that the quilt was completely made from my stash - I think that is a first for me as I always seem to feel the need to go to the quilt shop and look for something better. So I was quite proud of myself this time.

Monday, October 02, 2006


This is what woke me up a few days ago. I think they waited until they were right over my bedroom to power up the burner. It had all the dogs in the neighbourhood barking, and everyone else in my house slept through it. It seems that we are often on the flight path for hot air balloons. There are about three regular ones - this one is advertising a wine company.

I think I have to keep my goals for October fairly short, as my time will be limited. My main goal will be to pin,quilt and bind the Just Can't Cut It quilt I have previously talked about. It is for a birthday on October 31 so that has priority.
My second goal is to find a special corner so I can set up my sewing machine in a more permanent place. That sounds simple but to do that I have to get through a lot of clutter to clear the space. These are two big jobs which need to be done and anything else I achieve will be a bonus.

There were some questions about the Little Quilt so here it is with its matching pincushion.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


There she blows.....
Guess what I did today......

It is school holidays here so we decided to have a day outing going whale watching. The whales travel up (and later down) the east coast of Australia and there are a number of ways to see them. We went on a day trip from near where we live and were lucky enough to see them playing at close range.

This is a mother and her calf.

What a great day!!!

Friday, September 29, 2006

What next?

Back in the post about my pincushion I mentioned a Little Quilt that seems to find its way around the house doing interesting things. When I put my photos on my computer today this is what I found amongst them. My 14 year old son has taken up building card houses (and taking photos of them - I think there were 8 on the camera showing different stages). Obviously my quilt is a good way to stop the cards from slipping. What will I find it doing next, I wonder?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ta Da !!!!!!!!!!

I have finally finished my UFO. It is a wall hanging with needleturn applique and hand quilting. I sould still add more quilting in the borders but it is okay for the moment.

I bought this as a kit probably about 12 years ago and did all of the work except for the binding back then.I can't believe that I haven't done anything about it until now.

An interesting thing is that I have always liked Santas, and moons, and so now 12 years later it is quite possible that I would have still chosen to make this pattern ( although maybe with different fabrics, there are so many more choices now.)

And I can see that I still need to work on my blog skills to try to get the photos in the places I want them. But for now my goal of finishing and posting is complete.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A musical interlude...

Last night we went out ( without children, like real grown ups) to see Ron Sexsmith, a Canadian artist we like. This is the second time we have seen him.
And next week we are going out again to see a great band ( they are friends but that doesn't change anything) called The Flood.
Tomorrow I am going to make a big effort and finish that UFO I mentioned - the bindings are on and all I need to do is stitch down two sides of binding and the hanging sleeve. That shouldn't be too hard as it is only a wall hanging. My goal is to finish,photograph and post. Fingers crossed...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Special time...

I decided that the last photo was all one colour (boring,lol) so I thought
I would post something with lots of colour. Here is Colly doing what he loves best - swinging. This is at a big park in the centre of the city. We were here waiting while his brother was at a drum lesson on Saturday morning. Just a nice time for the two of us.