Sunday, 20 June 2021

A Mid Month Catch Up

It's been rather a topsy turvy month so far.

On the Tuesday before the long weekend I developed some pain in my upper abdomen and into my chest.  The pain in my chest scared me a bit, so I went for a little ride in the ambulance. After several tests, it was determined that my heart was fine.  The challenge then was to establish what was causing the pain.  In the end they found that I have several gall stones.  Great! Not!   At least it is better than heart issues.  I will meet a surgeon at the end of September to see what he wants to do.

We were supposed to go away in our van on the long weekend, but me not feeling well created some doubt about that.  Then, the day after I was in hospital, it snowed all around the district.  It didn't snow at our house, but the higher parts of town were white from Wednesday afternoon through until Friday morning.  There was rain across a wide area of the state, including the destination for our proposed trip.  We were going to have to travel on some dirt road, and all unsealed roads in that area were closed due to the wet weather.  Therefore our trip was cancelled.

In a way it was a good thing, as my job share colleague couldn't get to work on Thursday and Friday due to the snow, so I ended up going into work and Mick ended up working as well.

The weather has continued to be cold and bleak.  Winter has really arrived with a vengeance.

Despite all that, I have still managed to get some stitching done.
I have completed all my blocks for the Laundry Basket Mystery Quilt.  There are 225 blocks here.  Mind you, some are just a plain square of fabric.
I have completed my five blocks for the Jocelyn Proust quilt. (They are all the same.)
I'm making good progress on my bibs from the pre-printed panel.  I have eight ready to just add a snap and they will be done.
I've made a good start on my crochet scarf.  Joey is a great help, as you can see.  I had originally chosen a different pattern, but it had a four row repeat, and I like my crochet to be rather mindless, and therefore relaxing. This pattern fitted the bill nicely and still gave a similar effect. I have now completed my ball of yarn and purchased a second to make it longer.  I rather like how the pattern and colour flow is looking.

I've read two books as well.
The story is about the Warsaw Zoo during World War 2 and it's keeper. It's not often I say that I would prefer the movie to a  book, but I think that would be the case with this one.  The general story is good, but it goes into a lot of detail.  Excellent if you are a student of WWII Europe, but it did slow down the story.
The second is a good old whodunit.  Like most of the books I read, it was a random find at a op shop, or book exchange or something.  It is set is Sydney and the lead character is a female homicide detective.  Not a bad read.

On Thursday morning we had our first COVID-19 vaccination jab.  We both had the Astra Zenica version.  Funnily enough, on Thursday afternoon they announced that they now prefer to give the Pfeizer version to those under 60.  Oh well, at least I have had something.  We both felt rather doughy on Friday, so I was glad I didn't have to go into work and could just laze around the house. Our second shot is not until early September.

The rest of the month will still be a bit topsy turvy, as we have an unexpected little trip coming up.  Fingers crossed that the latest COVID -19 outbreak in Sydney doesn't get much larger than it currently is and prevents travel.

Hopefully, I will be back at the end of the month with all my stitching goals ticked and other random bits and bobs to share.
Mick just called me out to see the kangaroos over the road from our house.  There are sixteen roos in the mob. The photo doesn't do the scene justice.  The sky is inky black and the roofs of the houses sparkle. However, I don't think there is more rain on the horizon just yet.

Monday, 7 June 2021

Some New to Me Treasures

As I mentioned in my last post, we found a few little treasures while at the Rylstone Swap Meet last month.

On the Sunday morning, after we had set ourselves up I suggested Mick go for a wander around and see if there was anything interesting.  He declined, so I said I would go.

Well......I only got two stalls up from ours when I found a little treasure trove.  There was an older lady and her husband and she had some vintage sewing bits and bobs for sale. My timing was perfect, as the lady was just unpacking her items for sale.  These few items came home with me..... and all at very good prices.  
I couldn't believe my luck when I saw this.  I never find such things, except at exorbitant prices.  Upon doing a little research I have learnt that it is a German made "Muller No. 4", probably made in the 1920s.  Such a sweet little toy sewing machine.  Apparently the lady had purchased it in England about ten years ago.
It goes well next to my Peter Pan.
I do have a shoe similar to this one that was my Grandma's, but this one has the original pincushion and shoe laces.
These pinking shears are quite large, more suited for a man to use.
Once again, I did a little research when I returned home and learnt that the "Pinking Shears Corp. N.Y.C." was the company founded by the man who invented pinking shears.  They would date from the 1950s. I haven't tried them as yet.  Hopefully, they are nice and sharp.
I had to buy this, as I had no idea what it was, and neither did the stall holder.  She had two more, which were a bit larger, about 5 inches wide.
I did a bit of Google research on this too, and finally discovered that it is the shuttle from a ribbon weaving loom.  I must say I've never seen one before, so it was an interesting item to add to my collection of bits and bobs.

She had some other interesting items as well, but I did have to leave something for others to purchase, didn't I.
For Mick, I found a metal figurine, to go with the other couple he has, and when he did finally go for a walk he found the little crane, to add to his collection.  This one is for a Hornby railway layout.
My other find, which I was pretty happy about, was this little item.  I have been half heartedly looking for one for a while now.  My best friend in early high school had one and I was always intrigued by it.  It is a Royal Worcester Egg Coddler. A little research here too, and the design on this one is "Bournemouth".

I could't wait to give it a try.  If I didn't like it, I would just put in on the next Swap Meet stall.
You grease the inside with a little butter, break in your egg and then you can season it with salt and pepper and maybe add a little grated cheese and chives, etc.  Then you screw the lid on and immerse it in a saucepan of boiling water to a height just under the metal rim.  It takes about seven minutes for the white to cook and the yolk to remain soft.  The beauty of this, is that you can take the lid off to check if it is cooked or not, unlike an egg cooked in its shell.
Then sit down to a nice breakfast of egg and avo toast.  Yummo!  I'll try this again. It is not going back on a stall.  Now I'll be keeping my eye out for another one.  I had a quick look on Ebay and they sell for about $40!!  I think I did OK with my $5 purchase.
I went to a garage sale recently as well.  It was advertised as having a lot of craft and patchwork supplies.  We arrived at the advertised start time and there were large plastic tubs of fabric being sold at $10 per tub - like about 20 of them!  There was next to no patchwork fabric.  Apparently, it had all been sold already - about 15 tubs of it!!!  There were tubs and tubs of crocheted rugs, and crocheted kitchen towels, and hand worked baby items.  I've never seen so much craft work or supplies.

There was a huge tub of crochet cotton that Mum could use, so I bought her a few balls.  There was a  big tub full of zips.  I bought a few, but they weren't all that cheap.  

I was very happy with two of my purchases though........
There was a bag of bias binding at $1 per roll.  I bought all of these.  The wide ones have the price of $2.99/metre on the roll.  They will be perfect for trying some quilt as you go and the others for trimming bibs.
For ages, I have been looking for some of this style of trim, to no avail.  You can only buy the cord, without the section for putting in the seam, at Spotlight.  Now I can go ahead with a project that has been sitting patiently for a few years.  The colour is even ideal. I was happy with the price of $5 for the lot.

I think I need to keep my hands in my pockets for a little while now, don't you?



Sunday, 6 June 2021

A Final Wrap Up For May

Before we get too far into June I'd better finish up on what we got up to in May and how I fared with my goals.

1.    READ A BOOK
The Book I chose was "Balyet" by Patricia Wrightson.  She is the author of  "The Nargun and the Stars", which is one of my favourite books. Her books are aimed at teenagers.  Well, it was an easy read, but I can't say I was that thrilled with it.  Not to worry, I"'m still glad I read it.

2.    TRY A NEW RECIPE
I liked the look of the dish on the front cover of the free Coles magazine, "French Style Chicken", so thought I'd give it a whirl.
My version wasn't as photogenic as theirs, but it sure was tasty.  I'll definitely be making it again. It was nice with some crusty bread to mop up the juices.

3.    FRIDAY FUN DAY

There wasn't any Fun Day on a Friday, as Mick has been working full time - so much for retirement.  However, we did still have a couple of Fun Days.
The Canowindra Balloon Festival counted as a Saturday Fun Day.

We then had a Sunday Fun Day, driving out to the historic gold mining village of Hill End to catch up with one of Mick's school mates for lunch.  We have been meaning to do this for I don't know how long, so it was good to make it happen.  There is a pie shop out there that serves delicious food, so that was our destination.  No photo, as we were too busy chatting and eating.
The drive is always nice.  We haven't been out that way for a little while and were surprised to see how close the wind turbines in the Crudine Wind Farm are to the road, just difficult to get a photo.  We'll have to go for a drive one day to see them better.  There are lots of turbines.
From Sofala, we took a detour via the long, winding road on our way home.  
There were a couple of pretty creek crossings.  So nice to see everything green and the water courses running nicely.

4.    HAVE A WEEKEND AWAY IN THE CARAVAN

Yes, this happened too.

The Rylstone Swap Meet was held this year, after their break last year.  We have only been once before and it was a great day out.  

This time we took the van over on the Saturday and had a stall to continue our decluttering. 

Before we set up our stall, we had a wander up the main street of Rylstone.  It is such a popular place for people to visit these days and has some lovely shops to explore.
 As always, lots of selling takes place on the Saturday, before the public come in on the Sunday.  It was funny seeing some of our things being bought by other stall holders, who make a business of it, and then being offered for sale on their stalls at double, or triple the price, and then seeing it still on their stall at the end of the event.  Whereas, we had the money in our pocket and the item out of our house.

As the showground is right in town, we decided to have dinner at one of the local pubs.  They were packed, which is great for their business and we had a delicious meal.
The showground looked really pretty, all lit up, as we returned to the van.

We were so thankful that Mick had installed the diesel heater in the van last year, as the temperature got down to minus 3 degrees C on Sunday morning.  Brrrrr!  We were very lucky in the position we had parked the van, as our stall was facing east and received all the morning sun. It was definitely good luck, rather than good management.  Last time we were there it was very foggy all morning, but this time there was not fog, thank goodness.

We had a very successful day, coming home with quite a bit less than we took with us.

We did come home with a few treasures as well, as you do.  I'll share very soon.

Friday, 4 June 2021

My Goals for June

We are nearly half way through the year and time to make my goals for the month.

Firstly, my stitching goals.

This was a hard decision, as I have two potential candidates - the Joceyln Proust Quilt and the Laundry Basket Quilts Mystery 2021.  Finally, I thought about which is the highest priority (neither), then which is the easiest, then which is more likely to get left by the wayside if I don't give myself a little kick up the butt encouragement.
In the end, I decided to set my goal to complete all the blocks in the Laundry Basket Quilts Mystery 2021, although, it is no longer a mystery.  There will be 225 blocks, once they are all completed.

The side benefit is that I have been sewing the Jocelyn Proust blocks as leader and enders, so it will get worked on at the same time.

I had to have quite a think on this one, as I want to concentrate on the above two quilts, but still want to work on something older.
This time it is not a UFO but a USO (Unstarted project).

While looking through one of my many stash drawers I came across two preprinted panels for baby bibs.  Lord only knows how long they have been there.  I'd completely forgotten about them. I bought some cute flannelette at Spotlight on their 50% off sale last weekend for the backings, so I'm ready to make a few bibs.  It will be a good opportunity to try a new foot that I recently acquired.  More on that soon.

3.    OPAM
As my main projects will be the two quilts, what would I look to finish this month?  Enter "baby bibs".  Win, win.

4.    CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE
I will continue to work on my redwork stitcheries.  No specific quantity, just to make progress.

Tonight is the night.  Now that the footy is back on the tele, I'm joining in again.  I'll work on something tonight. Which project will depend on how warm or cold my sewing room is.  I may end up hand stitching in front of the heater.

6.    CROCHET

Each year I like to either crochet or knit something during the cooler months.  I have bought a ball of sock wool, with the intention of learning how to knit socks.  My Mum was a real expert at this, having learnt the art as a teenager knitting for the soldiers in WWII.  I had beautiful fair isle socks in the early 80s.  Sadly, I never learnt from her and she is now struggling with fairly simple knitting.  Even so, I think she should be able to give me some pointers on knitting on four pins, which is something I've never done. But, I need to have time to concentrate on socks, so not for now.
Anyway, back to my more achievable goal.  Having decided that I need to concentrate on the socks, I came across a pretty crocheted infinity scarf pattern and found some pretty wool.  It should be a rather simple make, so I hope to start it this month.  I don't expect to have it finished, but a start is a good start, so to speak.

7.    JOCELYN PROUST QUILT
Even though I have mentioned this earlier, I want to set myself an actual goal of completing at least another five blocks in June.  They have already been started, so this should be easily achieved........I think I have said that before on goals and failed miserably.

That little lot should keep me amused, don't you think?
Now to my non-stitching goals......

1.    READ A BOOK

I have one  in mind, I just need to allocate some time, given that I know I am a binge reader and once I start a book, I won't do anything else until it is finished.

2.    TRY A NEW RECIPE

I picked up the free magazines from Coles and Woollies yesterday and have had a flick through them.  Surely, I will find something different to try.  

3.    FRIDAY FUN DAY

I'm not sure how this will go in June, as Mick is working full time at the moment.  So much for retirement - there is just a major shortage of tradies.  If not a Friday, I'm sure we will have a fun day at some stage during the month.

4.    HAVE A WEEKEND AWAY IN THE CARAVAN

I think this will happen.. Yay!

Reading this, I think June should be a great month, on all fronts.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

May Stitching Roundup

Here we are at the end of another month and it is time to see how I went with my stitching goals for May.

As usual, we are scraping in by the skin of our teeth.

1.    ONE MONTHLY GOAL
My goal was to complete my pineapple block cushion that was started for Rainbow Scrap Challenge in 2020.
Firstly, I had to make the final block.
Next, work out the arrangement.
Then, construct the cushion.  It ended up a bit of an odd size, so I had some fun finding a suitable inner.  This was the best size I could come up with.
I used the concealed zipper method.  It is a really effective and neat way to finish a cushion. It will look a bit better once the inner relaxes after being taken out of its packaging.

I'm very happy to have this finished at long last.  The idea is that it will go with my Splendid Sampler 2 quilt, which was made from the same fabrics...........I just have to make up my mind as to how to get it quilted.......Soon, very soon.

Thanks as always to Patty of Elm Street Quilts for giving us the encouragement to keep things moving. Pop over and see what the other ladies have been up to.

2.    WOOFA CHALLENGE
My cushion ticks this box as well.

I love this challenge that Cheryll has started.  Once again, pop over and see what other UFOs have been worked on in May.

3.    CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE
As I always say, hand stitching is my downfall.  It should be a very easy task to make at least one of these little stitcheries each week, but I'm struggling to get one done each month.  
Thanks to a Zoom get together with Chookyblue and a few of the ladies this morning, I got out my stitchery and made good progress. After a break to rest my eyes, I went back and finished off this little block.  At least I have one more done.  By the way, clean glasses make stitching so much easier - just saying.

4.    ONE PROJECT A MONTH
Woo Hoo!  My cushion ticks a third box. Kris from Tag Along Teddies is another of the team of ladies that keep me motivated each month.

5.    JOCELYN PROUST BLUE QUILT
The wish was to complete at least another five blocks.
Job done!. (The five blocks are identical.) I have nearly all the flying geese stitched for the next five blocks as well.  I have been using this as a leader and ender while stitching another project.  

There you go.  All goals met.  It definitely helps when you set the bar rather low.
Now, not only but also, I have started another project on a whim..........

Edyta Sitar from Laundry Basket Quilts announced that she was going to host a mystery quilt stitch along.  It would run for 15 days, making four inch blocks and there would be 225 of them.  She would show it in blues and white or a coloured version.  As most of my blues have been put aside for a special quilt (which I must make one day, so that my blues can return to stash), I opted to go down the coloured line, using civil war reproduction-ish fabrics, all from stash.

I'm not going to show any detailed photos at this stage, just in case you wish to go and look into making the quilt.  All the steps are now on her blog.
 I kept up for four days..........then we were away for a night and had other things on......and I lost that initial enthusiasm........but I am making good progress.  I have completed the first eight days' steps, so only four more days of blocks and then putting the top together.

You should see my sewing room. It is an absolute mess. It will be good to have chosen and cut all the fabrics and then I will be able to put some fabric away.

I mentioned earlier a zoom get together this morning.  It was an early virtual Chook Shed Party.  As we have done every year, Mick and I made a cake to celebrate.
Rhubarb Crumble Cake this year.  So yummy.  How sad that Mick and I will have to eat it all.

Happy Birthday Chook Shed.