Tuesday, 31 July 2007

PS too Busy

I tried to add these photos earlier however through the combination of me and Blogger it wouldn't work. Here they are again.
With regard to the Irish Star diamonds, Kathy and I have decided to swap 10 when we reach 100. Much fairer as Kathy ALWAYS finishes before me and so she would have to give me MORE of her diamonds. Talking of Kathy, who 'phoned today to tell me that her diamond total is ........... (drum roll) 96. Or something so damn close to 100 that we might as well call it 100. I have 76 and 42 in the process of being made. So that is ...... a lot. Over a 100. Just got to go down to the donga and sew the tackers. The picture above is of the 42 partially pieced diamonds. Do you know that it was raining so hard and for so long the other day that I got stuck at the donga. Busting to go to the toilet and STARVING. All the time I have been taking my umbrella - not so this time. I couldn't wait any longer so I emptied a storage bin of fabric and stuck that on my head. 80l storage bins not only store things, they can be used to stay out of the rain. Sounded nice - the rain hitting the bin as I was walking along.

I decided, as you know, to take part in the 365 Insanity Challenge of Leanne Beasley fame. So far so good. I have managed to write one every day since 13th July, nearly twenty days. I tried out the new Clover 6mm Fusible Bias Tape Maker. Worked really well once I reduced the temperature of the iron - I nearly burnt the thing to b****** - and so petite and pretty as well. I mean the tape that I made.
I have ordered the Clover YoYo makers in the various sizes. Why don't you make your own YoYo templates I hear you ask? I can make YoYos in my sleep and believe me I have. Three children in just over four years, I was at the coal face a lot and it wasn't pretty. Anyway they are now doing heart shaped YoYos. I am a sucker for a heart, so this week they should arrive and I will try them out and put them on my Insanity Challenge for you to have a look at.

That's it - a quilt top is calling me to 'come and quilt' and I'll piece more strips on those diamonds while I'm down there.......but don't tell Kathy.

Busy, busy, busy

Finally the Raffle Quilt for the Field of Quilts is finished and tickets are on sale. It's all downhill from here. This weekend the FOQ Quilt will be on display at the West Australian Craft Show held at Claremont Showgrounds.

The FOQ will this year be on Sunday 30th September. Note day changed from Saturday to Sunday to placate all those Aussie Rules following patch workers. They can watch the grand final on Saturday and go to a quilt show the day after.
These patterns are from One Song Needle Arts and are 'Janice With Attitude'. Worked well. I used two layers of wadding - Hobbs 100% Organic Cotton Bleached and Hobbs Polydown - to get the trapunto look and that was where the McTavishing came in and flattened out part of the loft. Even with the two layers the quilt is still beautifully light and supple.

Nearly all the borders are on Sue's quilt. The vertical border is just sitting there to give the impression of what it will look like.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Chaos and Harmany

Here is a quilt that I want to share with you that I eventually gave to my Dad as he loves it. This was free BOM available through Patchwork Planet that my friend Kathy and I kind of did together. If you can call doing something together when the people live ~200kms away from each other. As per usual Kathy streaked ahead and finished and I finished ....... later.

Most of the quilting designs on this quilt are free handed and because I knew that it was for Dad I could be as extreme as I wanted with thread choices. So I tried out complimentary colours and different freehand thoughts.

I really like what I did in the borders - I just marked the diagonals on the sashing side and the outer borders and feathered my way there and filled in with the sun thing when I had created the 'v' from the feathers. Whenever I see this quilt, I always run my hands over it and smile. It has gone to a 'good home'

Here are some bigger shots of the stack 'n' slash that I posted earlier. These are for you Swooze. There have been so many of these quilts made in the area where I live as they are very quick and easy and can be made using fat quarters and some border fabric, although Bev didn't do this with hers and also added an interesting stain glass window effect using a thin strip in the slashes.

Just Procrastinating

This is a photo that the youngest sweetie took of himself posing with the gift that he gave for his Poppa's 70th Birthday. A bit less Lego. Yay! We have a vast collection of Lego - however I am impressed that the Lego interest has lasted with an 11 yo and a 9 1/2 yo. Long may it continue.

Hmmm. I remember when I first learnt of the word 'procrastination' and I had a moment of frisson when I understood exactly what it meant. Well I am procrastinating. Everyone else in the house is asleep and this means that it is very quiet and there is no mother, just a woman on a computer, drinking her first water of the day(that sounds odd) I'll rephrase that. Drinking her first glass of water, for the day. Got to keep the system flushed! There was a visiting Sweetie here yesterday and as it was raining I pulled out the Indiana Jones Trilogy that I had been saving for just an occasion. Looking back, I must have been about 16 when Dad & I went to the cinema. I was amazed and I still am amazed as it was all done before the days of CGI. All the Sweeties were squirming in their seats with the excitement of the films. They watched the first two yesterday and as there is a different Sweetie coming over today, I don't know whether they will watch the final one. The Final Crusade was released in 1989 and I can't remember seeing it, I am sure that we all will sit down at the end of the day and be thoroughly amazed again.

After all that spiel what am I avoiding - cleaning! If I start making too much noise they will get out of bed. The school holidays have been really good for the boys and I, just to spend time together without having to be anywhere at a certain time. They get to sleep in which I really feel at their age is so important. I remember reading somewhere that children grow when they are asleep and they mostly grow in the spring. I always thought that it was summer that they did most of their growing. However they are getting some much needed z's.

I have installed a Stat Counter on my Blog as I primarily wanted to know where my visitors were coming from. I was delighted with the result and even had visits from Newfoundland and the Isle of Man(that is where my maternal grandmother's family came from). So I'm stoked.

I'll post more later today. There is a quilt that I would like to show you that I did a while ago and ended up giving to my Dad as my oldest (and grumpiest) Sweetie here took offense to it. He thought that it was OTT - just how I like it - and my Dad thought that it was the most marvellous quilt that he had ever seen. So I'll post some photos later. I need someone to hold the quilt up so I can get those pictures with all the quilt.

Grumble !@# I'll start cleaning now.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

What A Wonderful Day

I had a fantastic day yesterday - here was some of the presents that I received yesterday - thank you Kathy. This present was wrapped up in the lovely chartreuse fabric, and then in the 4M! of measuring tape fabric. Honestly it was like pass the parcel, and I was the lucky one who was able to unwrap it all. The case is beautiful with origami fabric flowers. The foundation pieced diamonds are from Keryn Emmerson (see the link at the side) and it is an attempt to reduce some of the stash, which we are doing kind of together. I think Kathy has sewn about a gazillion and I have now done 45.

Monday, 16 July 2007

School Holidays July 2007

This is one of the spots that we often visit to see how much water there is, what type of birds, sleep on the grass, have a BBQ and sew. In summertime we bring a canoe and we have an explore from the water side of things.

The younger Sweeties went for a 'paddle' in the weir and their feet went pink. Not surprising as it is as cold as a witch's whatsit in the water.

This is a photo of my favourite handbag. To tell the truth, it is my only handbag as I don't normally 'do' the handbag thing as I find them a bit small. I'm more of a backpack girl as I can fit everything in - maybe when I don't have children at home I might have a full time handbag. The colour of this bag swept me off my feet and so I spent some housekeeping money on buying it. There are handy pockets inside for keys and the ever present 'phone. I like the beads too. In the picture there are some more of the Christmas Wreath hexagons, so things are progressing.

Tried out a pattern called Celtic Hearts - worked beautifully.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th is such a furphy - yesterday was an amazing day - quiet yet busy. Although ........ the house looks terrible, however lots of other things happened.

Here is part of the quilt that I am making for the senior Sweetie's (my Dad) girlfriend. I made a Bullseye Quilt in 2001 when my Mum became very ill, and it is my favourite quilt. I talked about this quilt in another post, and please forgive me as I haven't worked out how to do the link thing - yet!, and it being a kit.
So using the cut outs from the back of my favourite quilt - I even like the back of Sue's Quilt - and some stash, some new stash, eBay purchases, and shirts from the Op Shop - I am making a 60th Birthday present for Sue.

This quilt will end up a bit bigger than mine, and it will be square. I have a 'thing' about square quilts and I truly dislike long, thin quilts. I have had a few late nights with this quilt, and have staggered to bed at an unearthly hour, however it means the quilt has come together quite quickly and that is a lovely feeling, as was the feeling when I went to bed early last night. Too many late nights normally set me up to contract some bug, so off to bed to allay any sign of sickness. Oh, and I get cranky too and just a little short tempered.
I have been looking at the 365 Challenge for a while and I decided to start yesterday. At one stage I thought about giving it to myself as a Birthday present, only three more days (but who's counting ;-))))), however in true Nic style I thought I could be dead by then sooooooo I started it yesterday.
I printed off all the info from Leanne's blog and got all the stuff together and simply started. The first fabric that i will be using will be the circles from the back of my favourite quilt - very apt I think - as I'm trying to use up pieces of fabric that I have kept 'as they might come in useful'. And now they are and it makes me feel good.

I had a bit of an experiment, as you can see, with the Bias Maker. I hate just doing a sample w/o it being used. The background fabric is off Sue's Quilt and the blue bias has a double life as a fabric that I used as a backing as well as appearing in Sue's Quilt. I love all these connections that can be made with the use of fabric.

Happy Bastille Day

Bastille Day in Australia? My mother grew up on the Channel Island of Jersey and her mother lived there for close on 60 years. My daughter Nina Rose was also born on this day in 1993. So this day is one of celebration. Nina would have been 14 this year, unfortunately she drowned in the beautiful river at the back of our property, at the age of 19 months. The youngest sweeties never knew her, and that is sad. I miss Nina very much and her death has changed me, and for the better I feel. I have learnt tolerance and patience with other people and myself. I have learnt that the most important thing is love. Sounding like a hippie here - love is the most important gift that you can ever give any one. That all consuming, all leveling blanket of.just.love.

We had a day to spare, earlier in the week and decided to do what people do in the city so we went and saw a movie called 'Bridge to Terabithia'. Great movie, however a bit close to the bone for us as the heroine drowns. I was sitting there crying and I look over to the younger sweeties to see them huddled together, with arms around each other crying. Oh dear.

We have gone on to have two great children and they have given us so much unconditional love. Growing up as an only child, I found life very quiet and lonely, having two boys I have found life very noisy and full. I never imagined that life could be like this. Boys are full of ........boy stuff. When the going gets tough, go out (side) so we do and have some incredible adventures. I never thought that there could be this much companionship and love. How lucky am I? Seize the day - you only live once.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Stash Bingeing

Hmmm, I was reticent about posting this picture of the fabric that I bought as I am now a member of StashBusters, see link on the right hand side. Some of the fabric is to finish off a quilt, some of the large pieces were such a good price that I bought 5m of each for backings, and other pieces were just because I could. Oh I have fallen big time, but it's all just sooo lovely.

Yesterday we had such a deluge of rain. Strong winds, thunder and hail are such wonderful forces to witness. Although the hail did break our laser lite. Blob. I ate some of the hail, as I knew that the youngest Sweeties would want to know all about it - their school is ~30k's away and probably wouldn't have hail -and I was able to report that it was cold, wet and tasted very nice. I thought about preserving some for them in the freezer, however I decided that it would be too Calvinistic (Calvin and Hobbes).

Shortbread Recipe

Swooze asked for the recipe for shortbread. Very easy to make, as long as I remember to soften the butter. Don't ask me how I know this.
250g butter
1/3 cup castor sugar
2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup rice flour or ground rice
Have butter at room temperature. Beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until combined. Adding large spoonfuls of sifted flours (I don't sift) to the butter mixture, beating between additions. The recipe says to press it all together and then knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. I do all the mixing and kneading with the electric mixer. Use a dough mixer or the 'k' mixer on your Kenwood mixer.
Divide into two portions. Make into a ball and place on the tray, already lined with Glad Bake, and push out to an 18cm circle. I just push it out until it is the thickness that I want. Pinch a decorative edge, mark wedges and then prick with a fork. Bake in a slow oven 150C/300F for about 30 minutes. Cool, on a rack, for 10 minutes and then cut when cool.
I always double the recipe as there are some very tall, voracious mice here who can open biscuit jars.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

The Last Few Days

Tested the pH in the trial plots. Quite illuminating as the Broad Bean patch has a pH of ~8.0. I will have to go and find out how to lower this organically. Part of the problem is that I dug two buckets of ash inti the plot and wonders of wonders the pH is up.

Here is the start of the experiment in potting mixes. Six pots in all, five different combinations and one control. The plant of choice French/African Marigolds or a hybrid of.

The pots and plants

Here is an experiment that I had to do before I tackled the big one for the Field of Quilts. Two layers of wadding - Hobbs Polydown and Hobbs Organic Cotton Bleached. This is in the early stages, at the moment it is off the machine as I unpicked a bit, and I'll put it on tonight and finish it off. After that I'll have to wash it and then block it. At this stage I have no idea how I'm blocking it, however there will be a way. I just had to put a photo of it as I think that it is gorgeous.

On the way back home yesterday we stopped at Lane Poole Reserve to see what was happening with the Murray River. We made the decision that we had to come back again and do some more camping here.

Had a bit if a bake Fest today - just the weather for it - we were all cosy inside and the rain was lashing down outside. What did I cook - Orange and Almond Dessert Cake, six dozen short breads, rice pudding and chicken, bacon and white wine casserole. The smell of the Orange Cake was divine - almost heady.