Tuesday 30 December 2008

New Banner

Do you like my new banner? I have finally worked out how to crop a photo to the correct size. Thanks to Dutch Blue I have been able to use Picnik to add the text.

The background is an old fabric. In the late 1920's my grandfather bought a chair at an auction sale. It was old then. It became my grandmother's chair. It was reupholstered twice by my grandmother and mother, the last time in the early 70's. To make up for being saggy old jumpers and newspapers were stuffed in it. In the 80's it was relegated to rot in a shed.

In the early 90's I was able to claim it. Mick and I took it back to the original upholstery which was the fabric you see on the background of my header. It then languised in our shed for over 10 years as I could never find a fabric I liked for it.

Eventually I found a fabric (although I still don't know if I really like it, it is rather overpowering) and we dragged it out to arrange for professional reupholstering. We took off the old original fabric. Mick was for chucking it out, but I saved some of the fabric off the back which was in fragile but not too bad condition. I cut the best bit to A4 size and have preserved it in a plastic sleeve in a folder. The photo is a very small portion of that piece of fabric.

We then started taking out the miriad of tacks and nails. The horsehair etc. was in such a poor state that we ended up taking it back to just the timber frame and springs. I don't know what the upholsterer thought when I turned up with it. He did a good job on the chair and now it sits in pride of place in our lounge room. I remember Grandma reading books to my brother when he was little in that chair.

This and That

This post is a bit of this and that. Firstly, this is the skirt pattern I used for my blue floral skirt. I now want to make it again using a predominantly black fabric for the top section and predominantly white on the flaired section. Worn with a red top, it should look good.
These are the vintage ric-racs that Mum gave me. They are a nice little addition to my collection of stuff.

For the 70's party I had grand plans for an orange tie dyed t-shirt for Mick. Here are the raw materials. When I opened the dye packaging and was able to read the instructions I discovered you need a fixative that you have to buy as well as a lot of salt. Cath called in at Spotlight on the way out the other day and they don't have any. Not very handy when you are selling the dye. Therefore, when I did the dying yesterday I just added lots and lots of salt, hoping that would work. No, after I rinsed it and gave it a hot washing machine wash, as directed, it is nearly white again. Oh well, I'll just wait until I can get some fixative and then will get more dye and have another go. He won't have a tie dye t-shirt for the party, but I still want to do it. Fortunately, he has his Goodies t-shirt which will do the trick.

I had to go into town again yesterday. I seem to be spending half my time in town. I have to go in again today to meet the lady organising the catering for Dad's party. Yesterday I picked up all the photos of Dad I had copied. Originally I planned on just having photos stuck on cardboard as a collage. However, I discovered this great frame. It came up really well and I was able to make the photos fit in OK. He is lucky to have his mother's old photo albums, so I was able to include lots of photos of his early years.

Yesterday afternoon I started trying to tidy the office and spare room in readiness for people staying over for New Years. What a nightmare. I should have taken before photos, but it was too scarey. I'm gradually getting there. They will be passable (just). I'll get all the food for the party today and will just have to do the final cleaning and the cooking tomorrow. It always seems to come together in the end.

Monday 29 December 2008

What is this - a ham sandwich?

Ham on Christmas day, ham and salad, ham on toast, ham and mustard sandwich, ham and potato salad sandwich, fried rice with ham (from left over rice salad), ham and cheese omlette. I'm running out of ideas..... but I'm not running out of ham!!!
Mind you, the ham is beautiful. It was boned until nearly at the hock and is lovely and moist. Any ideas for more ways of using it up?
I didn't do any sewing yesterday. My friend Cath came over and we had the afternoon chatting, picking more berries and she brought over some 70's records in readiness for the party on Wednesday night. It was just a nice, girly afternoon.
Today a friend from up the road is coming to do some sewing. I had a few friends around 3 years ago and showed them the basics of patchwork and we made a table runner I designed. Barb never quite finished hers, so finally, we have been able to arrange for us both to have some spare time for her to finish it. She has done a bit more patchwork since and needs a few pointers, so we should have a nice morning.

Sunday 28 December 2008

Lazy Days

We've had a couple of lovely lazy days.

On Boxing Day I had grand plans of starting Red Delicious. I found all my reds. I had purchased the large piece for sashings and some white for the background. The others from the stash should be enough. I traced the pattern and then went to get my Vlisofix. I purchased this a few months ago - it wasn't Vlisofix brand and the adhesive has come away from the paper. Totally useless. Not happy. So, consequently, I got no further. Instead, we both did next to nothing.

On Boxing Day evening we travelled to another niece's place for another Christmas feast. This time it was a barbecue, salads and lots of sweets. Mick's sister worked on Christmas day so her kids went to their partners' for the day and her family had their get together on Boxing Day.

Yesterday, as much as I didn't want to go anywhere, I went to town in the morning. I had to buy some Vlisofix. I went to Spotlight and they had 20% off everything in the store. I bought the Vlisofix (yes, the real stuff), some thread and of course I had to look at the fabrics. I came home with a couple of blenders and some juvenile fabrics. I don't know why, but I thought they would look good as bibs. I've never made a bib. I don't know of anyone having a baby soon, but someone will eventually need baby things. On the way home I called into mum's and she gave me some bias binding to use and a bib pattern.

When looking for bias binding I was drooling at all the lovely vintage bias binding she has. She just looks at is as stuff she hasn't got around to using yet. She also has oodle of lovely ric rac. I have brought home the vintage ones on the "ric rac" cards like on Ric-Rac's blog header. There is heaps more as well. I know where to go to if ever I want to use some. Like I said recently, she can be very handy at times.

I also bought some fabric to make myself a skirt. I don't normally wear skirts, but there are some lovely bright summery skirts around this year. I got a pattern a few weeks ago, but couldn't find any fabric I liked. I had another look yesterday and found one with large blue flowers on a white background. Very much out of my comfort zone.

When I got home I pulled out the skirt pattern and took my measurements. The pattern is from size 6 - 14. When I buy clothes I am normally a size 12, so thought it would be fine. According to the pattern I am a size 18!!!! Not happy. Anyway, I added quite a bit onto the pattern and shock, horror, I made a skirt yesterday afternoon. I even figured out how to put in a zip. It is amazing what is filed away in the deep dark recesses of your memory. The skirt is completed except for a hook and eye, which I have to find in all my stuff. It is a tiny bit big in the waist, but as there isn't a waist band, as such, I can easily take it in. The best thing is that now it is made I like it. The main reason I stopped making clothes (like about 20 years ago) was that I went to all the effort and I didn't like the finished product once I put it on. I'll post a photo of my skirt when I can arrange for one to be taken.

I then went on to make 2 bibs. They just need a velcro tab for fastening. I've never made a bib before and was happy with the way they turned out. (Sorry about the side on photo.)

I must say that I didn't expect to have made a skirt and 2 bibs this holiday.

While I was in town I also visited Home Patch, home of Hatched and Patched. I had a gift voucher from my birthday last January which I hadn't used. I now own a really large cutting mat. My old one is only 11 inches wide, so it has always been awkward cutting wide strips of fabric. Now I have no excuse. I also came home with Anni's latest books "The World as it Should Be" and "Simple Pleasures" and a fabric pack for a bookmark. We are so lucky to have Home Patch as one of our local patchwork stores.

Consequently, Red Delicious is still not started. I don't think I'll get much done now, as I have to get the New Years Eve party organised and still have lots to do for Dad's party. Hopefully I'll be able to sneak a bit in.

Thursday 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas

It is now Christmas evening and we have had a lovely day.
Here are a few of our decorations. This is my very small collection of vintage decorations acquired at the local church white elephant stall a couple of years ago with a newer Santa and bears.
The gold and red bauble on the left is my oldest decoration. I received it when I was 5 years old. It was so luxurious compared to our other decorations. It has lasted really well. The gold glass decoration on the right was new last year.

Here is the table set last night in readiness for lunch today. I love the way the table looks all dressed up. We are lucky to be able to fit everyone in the lounge room.

Mick played Santa as usual. There are so many presents under the tree when we all get together. Mum liked her armchair caddy. Mick liked the several books he received, so he will be engrossed for a few days. I gave my sister-in-law a cookbook created by a local school to raise funds for breast cancer research.... and she gave me a copy. Great minds think alike. Now we'll both have to use it.
Mick spoilt me - he gave me a summer bike jacket which is something I have been wanting. He chose it himself and it is ideal and fits well. Very happy. He also gave me a new maximum/minimum thermometer, as our old one isn't terribly accurate after about 20 years.

This is my niece with the new pedal car. She was having a great time riding it around the verandah. Her little sister will get use out of it when she is a bit bigger. Both our nieces and our nephew were with us today and they had a good time.

We had 15 family members for lunch. I didn't have to do all the cooking as everyone contributed something. For the first time we didn't have a full roast. We baked the ham and turkey, but had lovely salads to accompany the meat. This was then followed by plum pudding, pavlova, trifle and lemon meringue pie... and best of all... I didn't have to make any of the sweets, just enjoy them.
This photo shows me on the left and my sister-in-law on the right with the spread of food we created. If anyone went hungry it was their own fault.

After lunch everyone was happy just to sit around and talk and let our lunch settle.
This evening we are just having a lazy time.
In the lead up to Christmas we rush around, get stressed, wonder why we do it, say we'll never do it again. But, in the end, everyone has a wonderful time, family gets together, and it is all worth it.
Merry Christmas.

Wednesday 24 December 2008

Only One More Sleep

Twas the day before Christmas.......and so much to do.
Yesterday was my first day of holidays. Yay!!
I had plans on getting lots done, but you know what they say about "The best laid plans of mice and men". First of all I had to take Felix to the vet. We had heard a cat fight on Sunday night and he was a bit under the weather on Monday, but yesterday morning he had a very sore leg and was off his tucker. He has the start of a abscess, so had injections of pain killers and a big dose of penecillin with tablets to take for a week. Hopefully that will nip it in the bud and he won't have to have a drain in his leg. He picked up a lot yesterday afternoon and got his appetite back. He seems OK this morning too.
So, instead of having a quick early trip to town I didn't get in there till mid morning and it was after lunch before I got home. Fortunately I could leave Felix at Mum's while I was in town. It's very handy at times having a mum in town. LOL
It was a bit stormy yesterday, but at about 6 o'clock last night a really ferocious storm hit. We were going to sit on the verandah and watch the weather, but when it hit it was just a wall of water, some small hail and gale force winds. There is apparently quite a bit of damage in town and the winds were the highest recorded for some years. We didn't have any damage and received just over an inch of rain. Mick will have to fix the tinsel on the tree he decorated up the drive - it will be spread all over the place. We were without power until nearly 10 o'clock. Therefore nothing got done last night.
I finally took a photo of our tree. It looks a bit washed out here. I'll try to take one tonight with the lights. That was planned for last night, oh well. My dad won the pedal car in a raffle, so my nieces will get a lovely present this year.

Saturday 20 December 2008

Blue Wren Armchair Caddy

I have finally taken photos of the armchair caddy I made for Mum for Christmas. I finished it a couple of weeks ago - very unlike me to have something done in plenty of time:-)

My SIL made one of these for Mum several years ago with applique of sewing items from a pattern in a magazine and it has just plain worn out, so Mum has requested a replacement. I couldn't find the pattern, so just took measurements from the old one and adapted it.

Mum loves blue wrens, so when I found the stitchery by Cinderberry Stitches I was thrilled. I then adapted it to suit the caddy and have used more traditional fabrics. The results should suit her.

We saw a blue wren this morning, it lives in our garden. We also saw a robin red breast. We don't see them very often at all, so it was nice to see one at Christmas time.

Friday 19 December 2008

Ta Da!

The Christmas Angel decorations are finished for my nieces. They are very simple, but I think the girls will like them. I put their initial on the wing so they know which is theirs.
We are having a 70's New Year's Eve party with some friends. I have my mum's 70's evening dress, but it doesn't "look" very 70's - she is somewhat conservative - and I just didn't know whether to wear it or not, but didn't have a better option. However, that has now all changed. I called into a local op shop and found a canary yellow dress with white poker dots. I think it is newer than 70's as it is longer, but I'll take it up and it should look the part. It looks bright and summery. There will be plenty of fabric left to make a headband.
For the party, I will tie dye a t-shirt orange for Mick. I bought the gear to do this before I realised he could have just worn his "Goodies" t-shirt. Doh!! It will be fun having a go at tie dying, though - I haven't done any since school.
While I was at the op shop I also found a chest of drawers. They are appear to have been the drawers of an old desk and go a long way back. They have a masonite top covered with contact - bewdiful!! - and cost a massive $7.00. The drawers will strip back nicely and we will put on a new top and then paint the top white and they will be perfect for fat quarters and should fit under a cutting table in my sewing room. The cutting table and sewing room are still figments of my imagination - but hopefully will become a reality in the next year - fingers crossed.

Wednesday 17 December 2008


Well, I didn't get the Christmas decorations finished last night. Maybe tonight........
What we did do was pick raspberries and boysenberries from our garden. We are going to have our best crop ever this year. We picked all these last night (and this is after we had lots on ice cream). There should be lots more for Christmas. It is always one of our treats at this time of the year.
The passionfruit vine we planted last year has flowered this year, so here's hoping we might be able to have our own passionfruit on icecream later in the summer. Yummmmy!!
While we were in the garden we saw two pied butcher birds, which we don't see very often around here, and heard two corellas. I always associate corellas with the outback and the Darling River. This is the second time we have had them in the last couple of months. The first time I heard them Mick told me I was hearing things, until we saw them fly overhead. I don't know why they have come this far east. Anyway, I'll just think of the outback whenever I hear them.

Tuesday 16 December 2008

Getting Closer to Christmas

Just a quick post today. Here is a progress photo of the Christmas decorations for my nieces. The pattern was a freebie from Anni Downs' Hatched and Patched a few years ago. It is quick and easy which is what I want this year. Hopefully they will be finished tonight.

Monday 15 December 2008

More Red Delicious

It is not yet 7.00am in the morning, but I have already started printing out the 2nd Red Delicious block. This looks like it will be a really spectacular quilt. Apparently there were over 11,000 dowloads of Block 1. I can't wait to start.
Yesterday we were able to get nearly all of our Christmas shopping done. There are just a few bits and pieces to get.

Last year I made a Santa sack for my youngest niece as it was her first Christmas. I found the applique pattern in a magazine (I can't remember which one) as a wallhanging panel. I had made the eldest niece and our nephew their Santa sacks a few years ago from a Hatched and Patched pattern and they are used every year. I was really happy how this one turned out, particularly as my machine was playing up at the time and I got rather frustrated with it all.

I started making Christmas decorations for my two nieces yesterday as well. I know this is a bit late but they are away at the moment and won't be home until Saturday, so there is a bit of time. I have tried to make decorations most years, although occasionally they have been store bought. This is the one I made for the eldest last year. It was a kit I found at a market.

Sunday 14 December 2008

Getting Ready for Christmas

Christmas is getting close and today is the big Christmas shopping day. We are going to the Car Club Christmas party at lunch today and Mick and I seem to have developed an annual routine that we do our present shopping in the morning of the day of the party. We usually work out what we wish to purchase beforehand, but this year we are lacking inspiration. As usual, it will all work out OK.

This evening we will be attending our neighbourhood Christmas party. We have lovely neighbours and this is a great way to end the year.

I thought you might like to see what our Joey got up to last Christmas. Here's hoping he doesn't try to repeat it this year as he is quite a bit heavier now.

On a crafting note, I have finished Mum's Christmas present. I haven't had a chance to take photos yet, so will give more details later. I have my fabrics ready for the Red Delicious block of the month and hope to start after the madness of Christmas and New Year has passed.