Thursday, 31 December 2009

A Lovely Break

(Warning – very long post.)

I’ve been having a lovely break since Christmas.  It’s hard to believe that it was nearly a week ago.

Our Christmas was different this year as it was the first time ever that I haven’t had Christmas lunch with my parents.  We still got to see everyone, which was the main thing.  The weather was pleasantly cool and we had gentle soaking rain all day.

Lunch was at Mick’s sister’s place and despite the rain we ate outside under gazebos.  There was no fear of our food getting wet as we were escorted to the table by these gorgeous “brolly dollies”.


Santa was very kind to Mick and I.  We have a tiny laptop to take travelling on the bike.  Now we won’t be having to look for libraries and internet cafes.  Very handy.

I was spoilt by my Mum.  She made me this beautiful collection. 


Now, I maybe gave a slight hint a few months ago like “Mum, can you please make me some covered coat hangers for Christmas?”… and maybe I reinforced this suggestion by delivering some old timber hangers shortly thereafter that I had found in an op shop.

Dad also spoilt me with this exquisite, tiny brooch. It is only about an inch from wing tip to wing tip.


I had to go and ask the jewellers how to use it, as it just has a couple of little pins on the back.  The body is actually a spring, you squeeze the wings together, which opens the clips and it grips your garment as you release the wings.  How clever.  I’ve always loved brooches, so this is a lovely addition to the collection.

Boxing Day is our lazy day.  We normally sit (or lie) on the verandah reading our Christmas books.  This year it was cool and wet, so we sat around the lounge room reading our Christmas books and doing sweet nothing.  We so look forward to our Boxing Day together.

After that Mick had to go back to work.  He has tomorrow off, and then once again, back to work.

I’ve  been very lazy.  I’ve done a little work in the office, but generally I’ve just lazed about and read a lot of blogs.  I had grand plans of doing lots in this break, but very little has eventuated. The weather has been relatively cool, which has been pleasant.

Sewing was high on my list of priorities, and after the first couple of days of doing nothing I did make a few things.  Nothing of any consequence though.

Spotlight had a special on all their fat quarters and a bought a few.  I then made this “Poochie Bag” from Happy Zombie’s tutorial.  It takes just three fat quarters.  I was quite pleased with how it turned out. 


There was a strip left of the fabrics, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to make a fabric basket from Pink Penquin’s tutorial.  Both these patterns had been on my “To Do” list for quite a while. 

I wanted to use linen on the basket, but as I only have a limited supply (the skirt I bought at the op shop) I had to finish making my placemats first. Therefore, I made a fabric basket to match my sewing machine cover and mat.  I’m sure it will be useful for something.  It turned out really well.


So,  before I could make the second basket I finished making the other two placemats and matching coasters. I made the first ones back here.


Now I was on a roll.  The second fabric basket is very sweet.  Another fat quarter fabric is used for the lining.


There is still a tiny bit of each of the main fat quarters left, quite a bit of the pink lining and still a bit of the op shop skirt.  I’m pretty sure there is enough of each to make a matching journal cover from Bloom’s tutorial


However, when I did the last stitch on the fabric basket my machine gave a big clunk and bent the needle.  Not good. 


I just turned it off and left it till later.  When I had a closer look, there is a rubbing noise in the bobbin housing.  Mick thinks something may be bent.  I now have to see if my wonderful sewing machine doctor is around and let him have a look at it. And it had been sewing so well up till then.  Fortunately, I still have my little Stella that I can use….or I may have to get out some hand sewing.

Today I went to town and called in to Spotlight to buy some more machine needles.  Just as I was leaving an announcement came over the speaker.  As a result I spent an extra $2.70 and came home with all this:


All Christmas decorations at 10c each for 10 minutes!  At the front are glass baubles that you decorate yourself.  I plan to fill some with thread offcuts and fabric crumbs.  Not something I would pay lots of money for, but at 10c!  Also, the Styrofoam balls are ready to decorate with fabric.  I haven’t made these for years, but it could be fun with the new fabrics out.  There are also rolls of ribbon and lots of baubles to make a wreath.  These wreaths have me fascinated, but being ikey like I am, I wasn’t going to make one if it was going to cost heaps.  I think I’ll have lots of fun.  Now…….. where to store them.

Tonight we are off to a New Year’s Eve party with a group of our friends.  It’s been nice this year letting someone else do all the hard work. (That’s very slack of me, isn’t it!)  The dress up theme is the era of your vehicle (we are all members of the Historic Car Club).  Mick will just wear his Goodies T-Shirt for the 70s for his Rickman Honda motorcycle and as the only vehicle I actually own is the 2009 Subaru Forester, I’ll wear all clothes I have bought this year.  Maybe that’s cheating, but too bad. The kitchen has a lovely aroma at the moment as I’ve been roasting pumpkin in olive oil and garlic for a salad.  I could just sit and eat the pumpkin.

Have a wonderful New Year and see you next year!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

One More Sleep

Well, we are nearly there……..the little tree is up, complete with special ornaments, the presents wrapped and the turkey has just come out of the oven, to be served cold tomorrow.  As usual, it always comes together in the end, although this year it has been much easier as we won’t be having everyone at our house.


We went in to the children’s service at church this evening and we really enjoyed the way the children are included in the service and are learning about the Christmas story.

This evening has been nice and quiet for us, sitting on the verandah in the cool, enjoying some prawns. 


This was the view from our back verandah a few days ago.  No, we didn’t get any rain that day, although we were lucky enough to be under a storm earlier in the week and received 17 mm – beautiful – you can already see the slightest green tinge and the house tanks are full.

Tomorrow we visit some friends for breakfast, then to my family for morning tea and then Mick’s family for lunch.  Hopefully, it will be a wet day, which would be the best Christmas present possible.

I wish everyone out there in blogland a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

It’s Starting to Feel Like Christmas

I’ve been somewhat slow in getting into the Christmas spirit this year.  If anyone asks if I’m all organised I’ve been replying that “I’m in denial”!

However, yesterday was our work Christmas party and today was the Historic Car Club party, so I’m feeling a bit more in the spirit.  We won’t be having everyone at our house this year on Christmas day, but yesterday a couple of us dressed the table at the party venue and I used all my bits and bobs, so they didn’t just stay buried in a box this year, so that was nice.

Last night I finally made the decorations to give to my nieces, a little touch I like to do each year.  They ended up being more fiddly than I anticipated, but they didn’t turn out too bad.  They were just big enough to hold a Freddo Frog and Caramello Koala, which didn’t last long when received by the girls.


I’m blowed if I can find my box of felt.  I’ve looked in all the logical places to no avail.  This may be telling me something!  I did however find the red felt that I used, together with some green that I had forgotten I had.  I bought it for next to nothing at a garage sale at Grace Bros department store about 15 years ago.  It had been used in a display and is lovely wool. There is heaps of it.  I must keep it where I can find it again.

Anyway, onto today.  Mick decided that it would be a good idea to attend the party on “Olga” and that she should get in the swing of things, so we prettied her up a bit.  We received quite a few waves on the way into town.


Now that the parties are out of the way, we still have to do all our gift shopping – I’ve only bought two presents so far.   We normally have a big shopping morning before the Car Club party, but Mick had to work this morning. 

I did put up the tree this evening.  It is just a small table topper instead of the big one, but has some special decorations on it including my swap ornaments.  I’ll get a photo tomorrow.

Believe it or not, it will all come together before the big day and we will have a great time.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Christmas Ornament Received

Today my Christmas Ornament arrived from Beccasaurus.  She has created the cutest gingerbread man who looks quite shocked that he has had a couple of bites taken out of him.  He is also accompanied by a little tree with sparkly decorations.


They will look lovely on our tree.  Thanks so much Bec.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

What We’ve Been Up To

Yesterday was our last craft group meeting for the year and we celebrated with a delicious lunch at a local restaurant. Previously we have had the traditional kris kringle swap, but this year we each made a Christmas decoration for the swap.  There were some beautiful creations. I made this little birdie.  I’m liking red and white this year.


I received this sweet necklace.


There was lots of  talking and laughter, so it was just as well the restaurant was fairly quiet. 

When I got home, Mick asked if I’d taken any photos for my blog.  Oops, I just plum forgot.  I must have been talking too much. Fancy that!

During lunch, one of the ladies mentioned that the Millthorpe Markets were on today.  I’m so pleased she said something, as I would have forgotten all about them.  I went last year with a friend and thoroughly enjoyed them.  This year Mick wasn’t working so we both went up.

The Millthorpe Markets are only held once a year in the local showground to raise funds for the Primary School.  There is a great variety of stalls, about 200 in all. 


Lots of craft (more than any other markets around here),  bric-a-brac, food, you name it. The weather was perfect, so there was a big crowd.


We were sort of looking for Christmas presents, but we seemed to be the only recipients of purchases.

Mick wandered off, as I take too long, and spotted this booty.  He did well, and it was cheap as chips.


I was thrilled with this pattern.  It is printed in Australia, I’m guessing in the 40s.  I haven’t heard of the brand before and am amazed that it is printed in colour.  50c well spent!


I also found this necklace.  I’ve been looking for something in turquoise and I love this.  It is actually fashioned from an old fork.  They had lovely wind chimes as well.


And Mick, well his main score is this lovely old wind-up butterfly.  Isn’t it gorgeous.  It will go on display with his other old toys.


On a more serious note, two rather major fires started in our district on Friday afternoon with properties threatened.  Fortunately they are now under control.  Properties not too far from us were door knocked “just in case”.  Hopefully they will be fully extinguished soon as the weather is forecast to be in the high 30s with strong winds on Tuesday.  Not what you want with fires around.

Today is in the low 30s with just a breeze.  It is hot outside, but the verandahs are keeping the house cool.  Our house is built from corrugated iron, sort of in the style of a Queenslander, so it is good in the summer, no bricks to retain heat.

Just to close, it was full moon through the week.  My little point and shoot camera has very minimal zoom, but I was able to take this photo of the dramatic moon rise.


Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Swap Sent and Loot

I have just received word that Bec, my swap partner has received her Christmas decoration.  I posted it off on Friday and she received in on Monday in Melbourne.  I’m impressed.

Anyway, this is what I sent off.  I thought Bec’s daughter shouldn’t miss out on the fun, so sent an extra little one for her.


Now, as promised, here is my booty from Braidwood.  Firstly, I added to my Christmas fabric stash with these cute little robins.


Then, there was this cute fabric with retro transport, which will go really well with a Michael Miller panel I have and will one day make a cute kid’s quilt.  The English seaside fabric is gorgeous.  Don’t ask me what I’ll do with it….probably just look at it.


Then there is some very cute yellow cowboy flannel.  Why did I buy it….I liked it.  What will I do with it?  I can just see me swanning around the house with yellow PJ pants next winter.  I know, I’m a dag,  but why not!


I haven’t opened the Jelly Roll yet.  I’m savouring the prettiness of it all wrapped up at the moment, but I’m sure temptation will get the better of me soon and I’ll have a bit of a peek.  Once again, I don’t know what I will do with it, but it is pretty.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

The Best of Both Worlds

Well, the rain held off so we headed to Braidwood nice and early yesterday on the BMW and sidecar. It was a beautiful morning for a ride, and while having a cuppa at Goulburn, we got talking to another couple on a bike who were also headed to Braidwood for the Braidwood Airing of the Quilts, so we weren’t the only silly ones.

The day ended up being quite warm and windy.  Therefore, quite a few of the quilts hanging from balconies weren’t sitting as well as they could, but that didn’t matter, it was still a great display.

2009_1129Braidwood20090095 Our first stop was the markets.


The park was full of stalls and many were craft related.  I even succumbed and bought my first ever jelly roll.  I haven’t taken photos of my booty yet, so will show you shortly.  It was hard to make a decision as to which design to go with.

Next we headed to the indoor displays.  All I can say is that there are some very creative people out there. It was really hard to try and choose one quilt for viewers’ choice.  My favourite quilt wasn’t in the competition and was only about the size of a sheet of A4 paper.  It was created by Mary-Ann Kane as part of an exhibition of journal quilts by New Zealand quilters.


I was taken with the technique.  The fabric was cut out and fused onto the base fabric with Vlisofix…but it then had a layer of black bridal tulle placed over the top and was quilted with straight vertical lines about a quarter of an inch apart, which held it all together. 


There were two Dear Jane quilts, one in traditional fabrics and one in modern.

2009_1129Braidwood20090068There were two traditional needleturn Baltimore quilts – both major prize winners – as well as another one which had quite fine detail. 


On closer inspection this quilt was fused appliqué with a very fine zig zag in monofilament thread. It was beautifully done.


I also loved this rather dramatic Celtic knot quilt.


The next quilt was on display in the fire station.  The olive background looked stunning with the Japanese prints.  A colour combination I’d never have thought of.


When I looked closer at the technique, I thought of Loulee from the Isle of Man.  This is the same technique as she is using with denim and batik fabrics.  This quilt is a quilt as you go  and had hand stitched blocks with the blocks sewn together with a decorative machine stitch.


We visited a lovely garden that was showing some more quilts and was hosting high tea with vintage tea sets.  Oh, I wish I’d known about that earlier, as we were there latish in the afternoon and didn’t need anything to eat at that stage.  I must remember it for next time as it looked lovely…..and yes, I forgot to take any photos.

There were more quilts on display at the Anglican Church. The building itself was quite stunning.

2009_1129Braidwood20090102 The workmanship in this quilt was amazing.


There was also a short concert held in the church by the Canberra Grammar School Chapel Choir.  This a group of very talented young men, both vocally and instrumentally.  It was an unexpected event in our weekend and one we very much enjoyed.


We capped off a lovely day yesterday by having the most delicious dinner last night at a local restaurant which was quite convenient to where we were staying.  It was so nice, that we ventured there again this morning for a lovely breakfast.  Mick couldn’t wait for me to take a photo before he started on his.


Now, there was also a slight detour into the Patchwork Shop in the main street yesterday where a little purchase was made………and another little detour into the same shop this morning when another little purchase was made………well, it was a patchwork related weekend!

The grand plan was to visit some open gardens today, but not long after we had breakfast the wind picked up again and it was raining in the hills to the west, so we decided to don the wet weather gear and head for home. 

The rain had stopped before we reached Goulburn, but it howled a gale all the way home.  We’ll be glad when we see the end of these westerlies.  Of course, we had no rain at all at home and we desperately need it.

So, we ended up having a lovely weekend.  Mick enjoyed his ride and was very patient with me looking at endless quilts (just quietly, he doesn’t mind at all and appreciates the work involved).  I enjoyed the quilts and the ride and we both very much enjoyed the food.

We’ll have to go again in a couple of years.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Yummy Fabric Giveaway at Retromummy

I don’t enter in many giveaways but Retromummy has some of the beautiful Grandma’s Flower Garden fabric range designed by Rosalie Quinlan in her shop and is having a giveaway.

4126704715_79bb34a771[2] I have fallen in love with this fabric.  It is just too darned cute.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Look Where We’re Going

Mick and I are headed off on the modern sidecar this weekend to here:
My friend Cath and I went to the Braidwood Airing of the Quilts a few years ago and it was wonderful, so Mick and I are going this year.
The plan is to go for a nice long ride (keeps Mick happy) and visit historic Braidwood, which is lovely and Mick hasn’t explored, and I get to see quilts (keeps me happy).
Unfortunately, there is some wet weather predicted, but we are still going.
Is anyone else headed to Braidwood?

Monday, 23 November 2009

No Stitching Happening – Just Motorcycling

I don’t seem to have sewn a stitch lately.  This week has been just too hot and we seem to have been motorcycling on the weekends.

A week ago there was a classic bike rally in Bathurst.  Mick has normally had to work on that weekend, so we’ve missed out.  However, this year, as he’s just got the old sidecar on the road he decided to make the effort to enter.


We had a great day.  The weather was not too hot and we went on some great little roads around the area.  We were surprised to go on a few roads we hadn’t been on before, and we have been on most.


Mick won the sidecar section of the rally, but that wasn’t hard as there were only two in the class.  The bike went really well and is nice and comfy.

This weekend we went to Sydney to the Motorcycle Expo at Homebush on the modern BMW and sidecar.  We travelled down with some friends who have just got into motorcycling and they enjoyed it thoroughly.

Firstly we went to Dural to have breakfast with the Hills Group of the Ulysses Club.  Our friends are members of this group.


The number of exhibitors at the Expo was down a bit on previous years but there was still lots to see. 


Mick treated himself to a summer weight bike jacket and it more than paid for itself on Sunday.


It was really pleasantly cool riding over the mountains early on Saturday morning and the Showground halls were air conditioned, so we avoided the worst of the heat. 


On Saturday night we went to Church Street Parramatta with friends and dined al fresco.  It was a lovely evening.

As it was going to be a stinker on Sunday we left relatively early to head home.  Once we got up into the mountains the wind picked up and it got really hot.  There were fire trucks on standby all over the place.  We were so thankful we were on the sidecar, as a solo bike would have been blown all over the road.  We were very glad to get home at about lunchtime and try and stay a bit cool in the house.

Unfortunately, there were some potentially serious fires in our region, but none near us thank goodness.

The weather has cooled down nicely now, so I will do a bit of stitching in the next few days.  I have secret squirrel business requiring attention.

By the way, Mick got another brown snake between the house and shed on Friday.  That’s now five we’ve seen in the yard and it’s not even summer yet!