Saturday, 31 January 2015

Sew Together Bags

While I was deciding on a project for the Christmas Swap I saw lots of Sew Together Bags in blogland.  They looked very useful, rather cute, but on all accounts were a little fiddly to make. However, there was a rather good sewalong with lots of pictures that made it all look achievable.

So, I bought the pattern and had fun going through my stash finding suitable fabrics.

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And started work.

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Here are the colours of the outsides of the pockets.

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And the insides.

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Then lots of quilting of the outside panel.

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Join all those zips together, after shortening them.

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To create one very cute Sew Together Bag.

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I sewed the outside of the binding down by hand, as I couldn’t get a nice finish by machine with all the bulk.

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The pockets.

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And the insides of the pockets.

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It was a lot of work, quite fiddly, but the tutorial really helped.  I think I would have struggled without it.  I just took it nice and slowly and didn’t have any dramas.  It was a little hard to give this one away.

As I showed earlier, my gift in the Christmas Swap was also a Sew Together Bag, with a completely different look.  The workmanship is beautiful, something you appreciate after making one yourself.

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Quite a different look to the one I made.

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My sister in law celebrated a significant birthday earlier this month and had admired the version I made, so I got out the pattern and made another version.  Quite a few different fabric options were auditioned.

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Here is the finished product.

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In the end I kept the colours fairly simple. Purple is her favourite, so was ideal for the lining.

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It was well received….Phew!

I had planned on making one for myself for taking travelling for chargers, cables etc, but the one I received at Christmas will be perfect for that.  I would like one for my sewing bits and pieces, but I think I will need to psych myself up to make another one, but not just yet.

This was my first finish for the year.  Off to a great start.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Christmas Cushion

As a Stitch Along introductory project, while we were waiting for the pattern for Nature’s Journey, Chooky asked us to make a little stitchery that Anni Downs had put on her blog in December.  We could then make it into whatever we liked.

I made a little cushion. It is only 12 inches square, as that is the size cushion insert I had to hand.  The fabric is all from stash.  I sewed a bit to the stitchery and then kept adding, making it up as I went.  I then just did a simple envelope opening on the back.  I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. 

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At the start of each year I say to myself that I will make a Christmas item each month, but it never happens and then I have a mad rush at the end of the year, and not much gets made.  This year I have actually made a start.  Woo Hoo!

Christmas Tea Towels

Recently Jenny of Elefantz shared a tutorial to pretty up some tea towels.  It is a quick and easy project, so I thought I would give it a go.

At Christmas I bemoaned the fact that I didn’t have any festive tea towels.  I had ditched my old ones as they were rather dated and getting worn. Next year I will be ready.

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Jenny used ric rac on hers, but I just kept these nice and simple. I was really happy with the results, so a few more may be created.

Best of all, everything came from my stash, including the tea towels.

Another finish for the month.  I’m on a roll.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Natures Journey Stitch Along

Three years ago I signed up for a Stitch Along that Chookyblue was organising to make Anni Down’s Some Kind of Wonderful quilt.  To my delight and some surprise, I finished it.  It was the most detailed quilt I have made and something I would never have achieved without the commitment and encouragement whip cracking of being part of the group.

In 2013 I joined again, this time to make several smaller projects.  I completed a few and then reluctantly pulled out, as life got in the way.  Last year life got in the way for Chooky, so there was no Stitch Along.

This year there is a new Stitch Along with a new pattern – Nature’s Journey by Anni Downs.  It is perfect, as the pattern has only just been released, so no one has had a chance to already have made it. Once again, it is a quilt I would never attempt without being  a part of this group.  Thanks for the encouragement Chooky.

The plan is to start in February and finish in September.  It is a lot of work, but hopefully achievable. 

I was lucky enough to have a sneak peek at the original in Anni’s shop the other day. 

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The colours are lovely and vibrant.

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I had planned to use some Denyse Schmidt fabrics, but after seeing Anni’s I do love her colours, and best of all, I can make it completely from my stash, right down to the backing and binding.

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I think there may nearly be enough there.  

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Colours similar to Anni it is.

I have cut the background blues for the main panel and appliqué blocks and am ready to start stitching February’s blocks.  Looking forward to the process.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Looking Back at 2014 – November – Bathurst Blog Meet

After our flying visit to Launceston I still didn’t get to start packing to move as I had another busy day ahead of me.

Chooky organised another annual Blog Meet at Bathurst.  This time it was held from Friday afternoon through to Sunday at “The Vale” at Perthville with a two night sleepover. 

As we were travelling from  Sydney Airport to Bathurst on Friday we brought Cheryl with us. She had flown down from Brisbane earlier in the morning. The first event I went along to was Friday dinner at the pub.  No pics, too busy talking and eating.  Just believe me it was a good night.

When I arrived on Saturday everyone was already hard at it stitching away and talking ten to the dozen.

Working at the Sewing Machines

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Lunch was yummy, followed by our swap.  Make it, bake it or fake it.  I faked it. I forgot to take any pics too, slack me.  I received a lovely gift from Kerrie.  It was a skinny pincushion and plum pudding.  Both very well received.

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The Girls

During the afternoon my camera was kidnapped.  The poor thing caused some strange reactions among the girls.  I don’t know how that happened…….

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I didn’t go along on Sunday, as I thought it was about time that I actually did something at home towards moving house.

I really enjoyed the short time I spent with all the girls.  Everyone was having a great time and I believe will be back again next year.  Hopefully I’ll be able to spend more time then.

Thanks Chooky for getting us all organised.

Looking Back at 2014 – December – Moving into Town

December disappeared in a blur….to say the least.

Contracts exchanged on the sale of our home on 19 November, with settlement to take place on 19 December.  That is shorter than usual, but suited us all.  Mick called the removalists to book them in, only to find that the only dates available were 4 & 5 December, so we had to really get cracking.

The priority was to pack everything that was in free standing furniture.  We could pack built in cupboards after the removalist had been.  We filled two 20 foot containers, and that was without the car loads of boxes we were bringing in each day.

I couldn’t get out of going to work on the moving days, but that was probably not a bad thing.  There wouldn’t have been much for me to do and I would probably have stressed too much.  Mick did a fantastic job.

After they had finished, Mick called me at work.  He told me there had been a breakage.  I told he to show me at home.  I fully expected a breakage of some sort, and what will be will be.  When I arrived home I asked him to show me the worst.

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I laughed……and breathed a huge sigh of relief.  Mick has a rather sick sense of humour.

Our main issue when moving is what I call “The Grown Up Cupboard”.  It is an antique display case that came out of a local jewellers.  When it was delivered to our old place the removalists suggested we don’t take it with us if ever we move…………it is so big and heavy that it takes 6 men to move it.  Here is a sneak peak in its old position.  It is now stored in our garage, as it won’t fit into the house we are in now.

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We actually did nearly have a breakage………Mick was putting the glass shelves in the cabinet when one of the doors swung closed.  Mick banged the shelf into the glass door.  It made a huge noise, but didn’t break…Phew!!!!  The poor removalists….. they have to move it again when we move into our new house.  We are designing it to provide easy access to install the cabinet.

The move went remarkably well, considering how much “stuff” we have.  We just brought a car load in at a time and put it away as we went.  The house is affectionately known as “The Tardis”, it has so much stuff crammed into it.  The removalists wouldn’t believe that everything would fit, but we had it all worked out.  One bedroom is “The Box Room”, as it is chock-a-block full of boxes.  Another room is “The Jungle”, as it is piled high with furniture.  Joey the cat loves climbing around in there and finding cubby holes to have a nap in.

We have done this moving stint all back to front.  You are supposed to have the big de-clutter before you move.  We just boxed up everything and brought it with us.  Once we have our new home built we will decide what we do and don’t need or want and will do the big cull then…..that’s the theory anyway.

So that brings us to the end of the year.  We had a quiet Christmas, which was very welcome.

2015 is shaping up to be another big year for us, but we are ready for it.  Bring it on.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Looking Back at 2014 – November – Tasmania

We return from a short break in our programme due to a computer illness, thankfully now sorted.

So back to what was happening in November last year.

Following on from these posts here and here I’ll continue with our busy month.

With the auction date for our home looming we accepted an offer on the day before the auction was due to take place.  Most people would start packing ready to move…..not us……we headed off to Tassie.

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It was a very quick trip to Launceston.

We have been to Tasmania twice before.  The first time was for our honeymoon in 1986.  We visited Launceston, as you do.  Reading the tourist brochures, the place to visit was “Pennyroyal Mill”, so we did.  Well, the mill had been moved there, and other than that it was all recreated and was more of a theme park.  Mick was not happy!  It was not good, and expensive.  I think that experience tarnished our opinion of Launceston as a whole.

When we visited Tassie in 2006 we didn’t even go to Launceston – just another big city was our reasoning.

Well, Launceston was our destination this time, so we were going to give it a second chance.

PennyroyalWhen booking accommodation the best option that I could see for us was a recently renovated studio apartment at, of all places “Pennyroyal Apartments”. Yes, the same place that had once been a theme park.  We had a chuckle.  The accommodation was great.

On our first afternoon we went for a walk along the waterfront, just to get our bearings.

Launceston We saw a cute little ferry that does tours up Cataract Gorge (something to keep in mind for our next visit), we found a nice looking seafood restaurant, so phoned there and then to make a booking for that night, wandered along the very modern marina and stumble upon a little plaque, forgotten in the long grass, commemorating the location of the first landing in Tasmania by a ship.

Launceston StreetscapeWe then just kept on wandering, finding all sorts of interesting buildings and sites.

GrafittiWe noticed some interesting and colourful grafitti. More urban art than disfigurement.

When booking accommodation I came across references to a historic walking tour that you could take.  After our walks around cities in Europe, I thought this would be a good option to get an overview of the city.  It was fantastic and well worth joining in.

Walking Tour Robyn (our guide), Macquarie House, one of the earliest buildings, there is a bit of a battle to save some of the old industrial, buildings, Boags Brewery is going strong, right in the middle of town.

Old Buildings Some more lovely old buildings.

When we visited the area in 1986 we went to Entally House, so we had to go again.  There was a photo of me on the lawn back then.

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Entally House Exterior The grounds are lovely.

Entally House InteriorAs is the interior.

Entally House QuiltIn one of the bedrooms there is a lovely quilt created for the Bicentenary of Australia – compete with cat.

Food in Tas Of course food has to be a feature of any trip. The seafood restaurant really was lovely – something we like to do as a treat if we are at a coastal place.  We also like to treat ourselves for breakfast.

While we were in Tassie, we received confirmation that contracts had exchanged on our home, which was a big relief, so when we got home we could start getting ready to move.

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Meanwhile, back on our holiday we went for a drive up the Tamar River to Low Head.

Low Head Lighthouses There is a main lighthouse as well has to other navigational lights.

Pilot Station Low HeadWe then called in at the pilot station. After the sweltering weather we had been having at home, it was cool and damp.

Pilot Station BuildingsThe setting could have been in England. We had lunch in the little cafe, which was like an English tea room. Seafood chowder was on the menu.  Perfect for the weather and setting.

Finally, I come to the reason for our short little trip to Launceston.  No, it wasn’t just a holiday.  We had been invited to a wedding.

November & December 2014 232Unfortunately, there was a little rain, but it was dry for the ceremony.  The bride and groom looked so very happy.

November & December 2014 225 We have been friends with the bride’s parents for over thirty years.  It was lovely being a part of this special day.

Then, the next morning it was back on the plane to head home.  We did have an extra passenger in the car from Sydney to Bathurst – Cheryl.  But more on the reason for that next time.

The Ulysses Club AGM Rally will be held in Launceston in 2016, so we will be back then.  Although we packed in heaps into our short visit there is still much that we haven’t explored, so we are looking forward to returning.  Yes, as you can gather, our opinion of Launceston has completely changed.  It is a wonderful place to visit.