31 Dec 2008

Christmas loot



I recieved some lovely presents this year, including an embroidered cushion from my Mum, new Pandora beads for my bracelet, and some new and exciting books and dvds.

29 Dec 2008

Christmas rundown...

Christmas eve we had a BBQ dinner with DH's family, and then went to outdoor mass together. It was very relaxed, with the congregation sitting on picnic rugs and very nice. I prefer indoors though, simply to get the full effect of masses of voices singing together.

Christmas morning we spent discovering the contents of the Santa bags. The kids were delighted. (I've since discovered 5 things so far that didn't make it into the santa sacks....)


Around 11 we went over to DHs sister's place for lunch under the pergola. It was a fairly relaxing day, and the kids enjoyed a swim in the pool. Despite emerging after about 20 minutes with absolutely purple lips - it really wasn't hot. The kids were given far too many cheap plastic toys as usual, but received a few nice things as well.

Returned home around 4, to relax properly.

Photos of fabulous gifts tomorrow... along with thoughts towards new year resolutions.

24 Dec 2008

More swapping fun

In the leadup to Christmas, I participated in another 'cloth and soap' swap on Ravelry.

I received this wonderful pack from blogless Celeste;


and sent this washcloth and some other goodies to blogless Maree.

Crafty Christmas

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas here. The Santa key has been hung on the front door - we have no chimney, so this will let Santa open the door...


The Santa sacks are hanging on the hat rack...


And the Christmas quilt I started last year is complete and ready to hang.


It's a very effective design by Runaway Quilts which I bought as a kit (all fabrics supplied - no creativity required) back in 2002. (I can't find any web address for them anymore.) I'm really pleased with this, although the metallic thread was a pain to use - should have just used gold colour embroidery thread. The quilting's not great (specifically the words in metallic thread have bunched up the fabric despite basting well), but I'm so glad it's done.

I think we're all prepared for Christmas now - not difficult in the kitchen department, since we all we have to supply for the festive family meal is fruit.

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

11 Dec 2008

Meme time...

It's been a while, but this sounds like fun... found by Quilting Mick

(bold means I've been there, done that - italics are just comments)

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band.

4. Visited The Great Barrier Reef.
5. Stood under the stars in the outback, the real outback – think Uluru.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to the Gold Coast’s theme parks – anyone, you take your pick.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.

10. Sung a solo.
11. Bungee jumped, jumped out of plane, been paragliding or hang-gliding, hot air ballooning – you get the idea, you’ve been hundreds of metres about earth in a seemingly flimsy contraption. (Heavens no!)
12. Visited Melbourne.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Had a child. Raised a child. Worked with children.

16. Had food poisoning.
17. Been to the Snowy Mountains.
18. Grown your own vegetables.

19. Visited the Brett Whitely studio in Surry Hills, Sydney.
20. Slept on an overnight train or bus.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Been backpacking.
23. Taken a mental health day.

24. Been buried in sand with just your head and toes sticking out.
25. Held a possum, kangaroo or koala – or any other native Australian animal.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Been in a fun run.
28. Been on the Blue Mountain cableway. on my hens weekend
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Played, or watched, summer cricket.
32. Sailed, kayaked or canoed our beautiful waterways.

33. Seen the Daintree.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Visited an Aboriginal settlement or mission.

36. Learned a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Toured the Sydney Opera House.
39. Tried rock climbing (indoor or outdoor), abseiling or just simple bushwalking.

40. Visit Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art.
41. Been to the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
42. Sunbaked at Bondi. I'm pale and interesting - and don't sunbake.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Broome.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone fishing.
49. Seen Tasmania’s old growth forests.

50. Been to the top of Q1, on the Gold Coast.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Driven the Great Ocean Road.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Norfolk Island.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Guide biscuits.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason.

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.
65. Gone jet boating.
66. Visited Port Arthur.
67. Bounced a cheque.
68. Flown in a helicopter. on our wedding day, as a surprise for DH
69. Saved a favourite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Australian War Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.

73. Stood in Federation Square.
74. Been on the Murray River.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Travelled, or climbed, over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Three Sisters at Echo Point, Katoomba.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited St Mary’s Cathedral, in Sydney.
82. Bought a brand new car.

83. Been to Hermannsburg.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited Parliament House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.

89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.

94. Saved a pet.
95. Been to the site of the Eureka Stockade.
96. Swum in The Whitsundays.
97. Been involved in a lawsuit.
98. Owned a mobile phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day.

10 Dec 2008

Toot toot, chugga chugga...

Well actually, they sang 'beep, beep, chugga chugga' which was a little disconcerting.




We took the kids to see The Wiggles concert in Canberra on Tuesday morning, and had a fabulous time. Through some miracle of the internet, the tickets I bought online were in the very front row. Amazing.

They are such entertainers, we all enjoyed it. Most photos of Lucas show a slack jawed look of amazement, and Annabelle's waving in all of her photos (and got waved back to, so was VERY excited.)

This was our third Wiggles concert, and probably our last, given the children's ages. Sad, really, when I've finally just about mastered the art of Wiggles photography.

9 Dec 2008

Backtacked!

A great big box arrived at my door today, all the way from Jennifer.

She's included some lovely things, including this lovely mirror.


And sock wool, wrapped in a woollen zip bag

And a mug, in a cute little wool tote-style bag (which Annabelle tells me is surely meant for her...)

And assorted candy canes, and a pack of jasmine petal tea, with tasting notes - can't wait to taste it.

Thank you so much Jennifer - I'm feeling very spoilt.

I hope your parcel arrives soon, and that it's exciting for you.

7 Dec 2008

Secretive Santa

Today, I went shopping for a Secret Santa gift. I've only met the recipient once, and I know little about her tastes. In the end, I decided on an Oxfam chook. Being a quilting friend, I thought I'd better sew something to go with it, so found Tracey's instructions for a chook pincushion, and got to work. I may add a little chocolate to it, but basically, I'm done.

Edited to add; she was polite about receiving the gift, but later I found out a couple of year she made chooks for everyone. Oh well.



I've also been knitting this week, after I suddenly realised (on Sunday) that a jumper was the perfect gift for one of my English nephews.

Thursday night I sewed all the ends in, and posted it off yesterday. Amazing.

4 Dec 2008

Quilt swap


There are still places left in the Four Seasons Quilt Swap - for a swap that's a little different, and may teach you more about colour and value, sign up today!

Another sassy apron

Just look at the box full of lovelies that arrived for me!

A festive apron;

Some cookie cutters;

And an assortment of Christmassy craft magazines.


Thanks so much, Kathrine - it's a great apron, and a wonderful swap package! I hope your makes you equally as happy, and welcome to the world of swaps :)

1 Dec 2008

Smiling with the sky

Tonight, our Moon, Jupiter and Venus are smiling down on Australia. I'm not a very good stargazer, so this is the first time I am confident I have seen a planet. Lovely to see, even if my photo's not much good.



After being so thoughtful about swaps yesterday, today the new Four Season Quilt Swap opened up, and I signed up straightaway. The rules have changed this time, and I'm keen to be challenged.

Along with the Christmas tree, we put up some outside lights on Saturday. Here's a dreadful photo of our solar powered 'icicle' fairy lights. I love fairy lights, and these are pretty much guilt free!

30 Nov 2008

Sassy!

Yes, it's my latest sassy apron, ready to be posted off for the swap. I would have done it yesterday with the back tack parcel, but forgot about having to write out a biscuit recipe.



I made the Emmeline apron, but made a few alterations. I didn't have enough fabric to cut bias for the neck/bodice sides, so just used a straight piece. I then decided it wouldn't sit properly along the sides (and thought it looked unnecessarily fiddly too) so just sewed up the sides, and sewed the neck strap as one piece. Despite measuring, the strap was too long, so I slashed it and added a Velcro adjustment section - the photo was taken before this. (A note for the future - if making this apron for me, I would need to increase the bodice section - width and depth.) I'm still pleased with the apron, and hope my swap recipient likes it too.

The next swap in the Four Seasons Quilt Swap will be open in the next week or so. I'll probably sign up again, but what I'd really prefer is a regular challenge theme, all done online, with a gallery at the end. Eliminates postage (says she having just spent nearly as much posting a parcel as I did on the contents!), and and maybe I would see my own style emerging.

29 Nov 2008

Backtacked!

and posted.



Jennifer, your Backtack parcel is in the hands of Australia Post.

28 Nov 2008

Slipping...

out of the habit of blogging, really. Instead, I've been feeling anxious. No reason, just mounting anxiety. So, I'm spending time in the garden , and thinking about making lists for the approaching Christmas season.

The garden is growing like crazy, thanks to the recent rains.


On Monday, it was my turn for craft at playgroup. We made angels. Lucas was enchanted, and since then has used up 32 paper doilies and is on his second glue stick. Somehow, I'll have to make them into a garland... and if you're expecting a swap parcel from me - expect an angel!

We also received a parcel from my Mum, with Christmas outfits for the kids. They look great.


In other news, I'll be posting both my Back Tack swap, and Sassy Apron Swaps tomorrow morning - I've finally finished sewing the world's slowest apron (not the fault of the pattern either...)

23 Nov 2008

Pop!

As in, just popping in.

There's been some Christmassy crafting...

a wonderful discovery (Mama's sewing machine CAN go faster!)

and a lovely day out with quilting friends. Despite the sleet.

13 Nov 2008

Random Thursday

Exciting mail - the latest package from Amitie's VIP blog program arrived, and it's gorgeous!



Yesterday, I got sick of the birds eating my vegie plants, and covered the garden in bird netting. It's held up by an old laundry airer.


Finally, I've made some decisions for a couple of swaps that I'm in, and have started cutting.

7 Nov 2008

Thoughts on quilts

I've had a lot of fun today, waiting for all my fellow swappers to open their parcels, and post pictures of their fabulous quilts.

It's amazing what a variety of styles of quilts have been made, with a fairly small group of people. I must go through and match everyone's preferences up with their quilts (made and received).

Purpose is the biggest factor in my choice of a quilt design. Bed quilt vs wall quilt is the major factor here. (In this swap, I have classed play quilts as bed quilts.)

My bed quilts are usually traditional blocks, usually pieced with a small amount of applique.

Wall quilts are quite different. For those, I make a picture.

Of the two, my wall quilts are much more modern.

Cass, I'm sorry, the quilts I made for you were not modern at all. Modern fabrics in the larger of the two, but still a traditional design. I don't know why I didn't think about this before.

Maybe the next bed quilt should be a purposefully modern design....

The other side

of the swap, that is.


My swap recipient was Cass, of http://snailblazer.blogspot.com


Cass requested a play quilt, with modern style, any techniques, and fresh, modern or retro fabrics. However, she has two children, so I couldn't resist making a quilt for each of them.


I practised my machine quilting, and was fairly pleased with the heart motifs I managed on this quilt.



My yoyo maker also finally got used too. Definitely an easy way to make these little puffs.


Yoyos tend to be either loved or hated. I quite like them, so was delighted I could include them. As it turned out, I only used one.

Opening Day!

for the EB Doll Quilt Swap, that is.

Look at this lovely parcel;



I was so excited on Tuesday when my parcel arrived, and I read that it was from Ingrid at Lottielulu. I was lucky enough to receive an apron from Ingrid, and it's one of my favourites. More to the point, I love reading her blog, mainly because of the design and fabric choices she make.

Wel, look at this quilt, and you'll see it's no exception.


Lovely design (so optimistic!), the fabrics are just gorgeous, and superbly sewn.


Thanks so much, Ingrid, I love it!

(sorry, I don't know why that last photo is sideways...)

5 Nov 2008

Fewer words....

seem to be making it into my posts lately. I'm very much about the pictures, and brief explanations (except the bbq fire - that got lots of words.) I think it's also because too much thinking seems to lead very easily into 'down' days.

So, in the interest of maintaining my equilibrium, here are some more photos (no tonsils, Lily!) and a few words.

My latest knitting project, a short sleeved summer cardigan. I haven't finished any of the other things I'm knitting for myself, however, of course that won't stop me starting something new...


Some quilt binding;


Today's mail; Sew Hip magazine. To be savoured later with a cup of tea.


Another washcloth. This one is taking a while, since I parsimoniously refuse to print out the three page pattern, so have to knit at the computer.


Today's clean washing (3 loads! lucky it was a pretty good drying day!), after an all-nighter spent with Annabelle vomiting. Poor thing.

2 Nov 2008

Stash Sunday

Just one from my stash;



I was given this fat quarter as part of a birthday swap a few years ago. I requested realistic looking flowers, and this was probably my favourite out of the ones I received. Still unused, though.

Regarding the fire blanket picture in my last post, yes, we did have a fire. I started the barbecue up, and a minute or two later the connection came apart, so the gas bottle was still emitting gas, which was alight. It was pretty alarming, and I tried hosing it to not much effect. (My volunteer firefighting mother tells me this was a good thing to do though, as it would keep the bottle cool.) I then got the fire blanket out of the kitchen, and laid it on top of the gas bottle, and kept hosing. This controlled the flames long enough for me to turn the gas bottle supply off, through the blanket. It probably took about 10 minutes to manage this, all the while talking with the kids through the back door regarding sleeping beauty. I returned shakily inside afterwards, to Lucas jumping out from behind the kitchen cupboards yelling "BOO". It was all I needed.

However, all's well that ends well, and all that. My lovely parents-in-law arrived shortly afterwards, and helped me check out the barbecue, and then proceeded to cook dinner themselves.

Here's a safety tip; fire blankets can only be used once, after which they MUST be discarded and replaced. Cheap at the price, I tell you.

During the week, Annabelle had another night of croup. It's been some time since her last infection, but I guess she hasn't grown out of it yet. When we visited the doctor the next day, I was told she also has some mild tonsillitis. So (of course) I googled tonsillitis, and was amazed. I have a very sore throat, so asked DH to look at my tonsils. He wouldn't, so I tried to take photos of them. It didn't work at all, but amused me for quite a while.

Finally, today I went along to a quilting friendship group. Just 7 quilters, gathering at someone's house together to sew and chat. I've been quilting for 13 years now, and this is a first for me. Lovely. I hope there's many more to come.

30 Oct 2008

Happy things

Some things which make me happy right now;
WIP (soon to be a finished (and posted) object)

Wheat... accidentally growing in our garden

Lemon flowers

Black eyed beans - I adore these beans, and haven't been able to find them for ages.

Fire Blanket. Soon to be replaced after an 'incident' on Tuesday night.

The chicks. No longer cute and fluffy, I am so glad they've graduated to the great outdoors.