Saturday, 1 August 2015

Catching up on July – What I Created

I thought July was going to be a quieter month, but it certainly hasn’t turned out that way, so once again, I will have a few catch up posts. 

As Kris would say, grab a cuppa for this one.

Firstly, so that I can report in to Peg and Kris with my OPAM finishes, I will show what I have been up to on the crafty front.  I actually have done quite a bit by my standards.

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My main priority, as it has been each month this year, was Nature’s Journey.

It was even completed with a day  to spare....for a change.

I really enjoyed playing with this block.  Firstly piecing the background and making the most of the toile fabric.

SAL background for July

Then it was time to sit and do the appliqué.  I even tidied up my sewing table.

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The appliqué actually took longer than I had expected.  Once again I had to use some fabric from my stash, as my little scrap bag didn't have any decent sized pieces left.  There are still a few I can cut squares out of for the next borders.

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And here we are, all done.

SAL block for July

I'm very happy with the way it has turned out and am loving seeing the many other versions that have been completed, especially the bright ones.

Now I have to decide how I will attach the diamonds on the next border.  Will I use blanket stitch or will I have to bite the bullet and do some needle turn?  Decisions, decisions......

Thanks to Chooky and Susan as always for keeping me accountable.

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As I have done each month this year, I made a little something Christmassy.  I made a few of these balls a couple of years ago and they were definitely on my to do list this year.  The only problem was that I couldn’t find my pretty Christmas Chocolate tin with all the pins and ribbons – they had been packed safely when we moved.  Luckily, when I was looking for something completely different early in July I found it.

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I spent a rather lovely afternoon one Sunday, sitting in the sun on our front porch pinning away, with quite a bit of assistance from our six year old next door neighbour.  As he liked it so much and was so involved in the making, it has now been sent to their house to put on their tree at Christmas time.

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When we travelled to New Zealand earlier in the year one of my shoe bags ended up commandeered to be used as a “sox and jox bag”.  It proved to be very handy, but being black and having a shoe store emblazed across one side wasn’t ideal.  I vowed to make a proper lingerie bag for travelling, in a colour that would stand out in my suitcase. (You should see my handbag, everything is a different colour and quite often a different texture to make things easy to find.  Call me silly, but it works for me.)

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Shortly after we returned from our trip I stumbled upon two fat quarters of Lori Holt’s fabric with coat hangers in Big W.  (You can sometimes be lucky with fabric there, although it is a bit of a lucky dip.)  I had it on my list for a few months ago, but it became a low priority.  I thought about them again before we visited Chooky, but ran out of time.  We went away for the weekend last week, so this time I actually got in and made them. 

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I followed a very simple tutorial here as I had minimal fabric and wanted to use French seams.  I used the full width of the fat quarter, folded in half and cut them 14 inches in length. A French seam across the bottom and up one side.  Just a simple casing with ribbon drawn to one side. They worked a treat.

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Another thing that I had planned to make earlier in the year were these Origami Butterflies.  I saw them on Fiona’s blog back in May, when I was making the origami Christmas decoration and hoped to make them in early June when we visited Chooky.  It didn’t happen.  Eventually, at the beginning of July I cut them out, then a week or so later sewed the two fabrics together, and finally this week I finished them off. 

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I love the way they look so different just by reversing the colours.

I’d hoped to make one into a magnet, and was delighted that when finished there is a little triangular pocket on the back into which you can pop a magnet.  Happy dance!  They look nice and cheerful on the fridge. You could easily stitch a brooch clip on as well.

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I used this tutorial.  It was very clear to follow.

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Next on the list for this month was to make a couple of bibs.  We have quite a few friends having babies in the near future, so time to top up the gift box.  I love getting a chance to use cute fabrics.  The pattern is just one that Mum had used for donkey’s years.

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Remember back in May I bought the colourful homespun yarn.  Well, now that I had finished my purple cowl it was time to do something with it.  As there is so much colour variety in the yarn, as well as difference in thickness (it ranges from about 2 ply, if that, to about 12 ply) there was no point in doing any fancy pattern.  I’m just knitting a 4/4 rib until I run out of yarn and will turn it into a cowl.  I got this far in a couple of nights knitting and have done nothing further.  I need to get going again or winter will be over before it is finished.

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I’ve even made a little progress on our project from Girls Day in the Country from this year. I had originally decided to tweak the colours from what were in my fabric pack, but now that I have seen some finished table mats I’ve decided to start again with the original fabrics.  I hadn’t done very much, so it didn’t take long to undo my stitching.  For the record, Sue Daly’s “knicker knots” work well.  The stitching between the corners came apart really quickly but the corners all held.

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So I now have a total of a whole three hexy blocks made.  Woo hoo!  Next to cover some more papers and try to get the rest of the blocks done in my lunch breaks.

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I even took up some jeans that had been sitting in the ironing basket for about three months.  Gosh, it must have taken me a whole half an hour. Huge job.

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And finally, there is progress on my drunkard’s path quilt.  I completed the top at our retreat at Cottage on the Hill last August.  I purchased fabric for the backing shortly afterwards and then packed it away for moving.  In June I took it all up to Chooky’s and got the backing pieced.  Now, nearly twelve months later I have delivered it all to my friend Anne to quilt for me.  This quilt is B.I.G. – coming in at 96 inches square, so there is no way I was going to tackle the quilting.

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We called out to visit this afternoon, so I took a couple of progress photos.  The pattern and colour of the quilting really suits it.  I can’t wait to get it back all done………except for the fact of nearly 10 metres of binding to attach and then stitch down.  Wish me luck.

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So there you have it.  Lots of little things.  Let’s see what I can get done in August.  Probably not as much as this month, but we’ll try.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Wow! Snow!

When I opened the curtains this morning I was greeted by a blanket of white.

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Bathurst doesn’t usually get snow, other than the slightest bit of sleet.

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The last time I remember snow like this in town was in 1974 when we made a little snow man at school.

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That’s real snow.

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Joey was sensible and watched it all from inside, mind you, it isn’t nearly as cold as most mornings.

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Here he is perched on the windowsill.

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This is what he was looking out on.  Mt Panorama blanketed in the white stuff.  There is a big multi million dollar Mercedes Benz week taking place at the moment.  They haven’t exactly had the ideal weather conditions for it.

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Everything was looking rather pristine until Mick decided to take a walk along the path.

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Here is the front of the house, showing just how lovely and snowy everything looks.

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Our new little garden will be getting a good gentle watering.

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Of course, as you can imagine, Mick was throwing some snow balls at the kids next door and made a little teeny snowman, complete with tie. Isn’t he a cutie.  No, Mick refused to have his photo taken with it, complaining that he was now too cold.

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It is now trying to rain, so I dare say the snow won’t last all that long.  The whole central tablelands are covered in snow, so I dare say there will be quite a few disruptions around the place, with so many roads closed. 

Funnily enough, this would have been our first ever snow day if we still lived out of town.  No such luck now.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Ho! Ho! Ho! – A Finish for June

OK, just another little origami Christmas decoration, this time in more rustic colours.

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I’m really enjoying making these.  Next I think I will have to try a red and white version.

So far I am on track to finish one thing each month for Christmas.  Mind you, they have all been small projects.  Maybe I’ll have to be a little more ambitious, as I have a few on my wish list.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Finishing a UFO For June

I have quite a collection of UFOs.  I keep saying that I will do something about them, but it never seems to happen, despite my best intentions.

Well, after I purchased that skein of rather lovely yarn recently I thought I had better finish the scarf I had on the needles.

This was started quite a few years ago now.  Initially, I just knitted it in garter stitch, but wasn’t really happy with it.  Then I found a pattern that I liked the look of, so simply pulled the needles out of what I had started and commenced the new pattern on the second ball of yarn that I had.

I didn’t get very far………..

It has languished in a box ever since……..

Until now……..

I looked at what I had on the needles now and knew that I wouldn’t finish it and even if I did, I wouldn’t wear it.  Fashions have moved on.  So, I turned my attention to the length of garter stitch knitting and picked up the stitches.

After a couple of evenings of knitting (great for while we were watching the first State of Origin footy game at Mick’s Dad’s) I had a nice long length.  I had a little read on Ravelry and discovered that somewhere about 54 inches was a good length for my needs. 

Next, sew it into a circle and I now have a nice, snuggly cowl to wear and don’t feel the slightest bit guilty about starting a new knitting project.

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I might make a start while watching the final of the State of Origin series.

Happy dance.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

This, That and Every Other Thing

There are many little things that I haven’t shared over the last couple of months, so now is as good as any time to do a little catch up.

Button Border Firstly, around home we are well and truly settled here until we get ourselves organised to have our new house built.  We should have final plans soon, so will then start talking to builders.

We don’t see nearly as many birds as we used to, but after hearing a different bird call recently, I was delighted to see a King Parrot high up in the neighbour’s tree.

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We can’t have Mick getting bored while he is without a shed, so he has found a couple of little home improvements to do here.  The front porch and back landing have never had any cover, so he has built a little verandah on each.  The front garden was pretty well non existent, so we have now planted a small area with easy care plants.  (We do have another little garden down the side of the house with plants that we brought with us and will then move to our new place.)

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Ah! That’s better.  They should start to grow in spring.

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The weather had turned decidedly wintery, as it should here at this time of year.  We have had some big frosts and also some pea souper fogs.  This was the view out our back window a little while back.  The spires of St Stanislaus College were shining in the one little bit of sunshine peeking through the wispy fog.

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Brrrr!

Frost

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On Mother’s Day we gave both of our Mums a lovely maiden hair fern.  They looked so nice that I treated us to one as well.  I’m not very good at looking after indoor plants, despite the fact that I had a bedroom full of them as a teenager, but this one is going really well so far and looks so fresh on the table.

Fern

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I have joined in a birthday fat quarter swap this year and I still haven’t shared the wonderful selection of fabrics I received back in January.  Woops!  I requested Bonnie and Camille.  I love the way they all coordinate so well and can’t believe that there were no duplicates.

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I have added two more coordinating fabrics and a grey to go with these to make the Swoon quilt.  It will be a nice, fresh quilt for our bed.  I probably won’t start until I have finished Nature’s Journey. 

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My Blog Header was looking a little tired.

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So I had a play around and freshened things up. 

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I even figured out how to add some pages at the top.  If you have a look in the “Our Motorcycles” page there are a few photos and stories.  I’ll gradually add some more pages to tidy things up further.

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Earlier this month three Tibetan monks visited Bathurst to create a Sand Mandala at the Art Gallery.  You can read about it here and here.  They have been here on a few previous occasions, but we have never had the opportunity to see their work.

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We visited on the second last day, so were able to see the nearly finished masterpiece.  The Mandala is created from crushed limestone coloured with vegetable dyes.  They pour some sand into a long brass funnel with a fine tip. They tap the funnel to get an even flow of sand onto the work.

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The design is named “Tara” .  There are lots of different designs and the monks have them all committed to memory.  It was smaller than I expected and some of the wriggly sections of the design were really intricate.

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Apparently, on the following day, once the Mandala is completed they hold a ceremony and dissolve the piece.

It was really peaceful, sitting quietly watching the monks at work.  We were really pleased that we took the opportunity to visit.

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So, while I haven’t been blogging as often as I’d like we have still been out and about doing things.  I commented recently that I thought things may settle down a bit now it is winter, but that hasn’t happened as yet.