Welcome to my blog.

Welcome to my world - mostly the fabric world that I escape to whenever I have time. Hope you enjoy it and please feel free to comment.....

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Check, Check and more!

Quilt Group today -
Labels sewn on quilts - CHECK
Round Robin Quilt handed on - CHECK
Three Quilts for Queensland handed over to a willing volunteer - CHECK (well she was mostly willing - thanks Andrea!)
Christmas Stars not sewn or more cut out but we did discuss exactly what we are going to do and how we are going to do it for the Christmas Star Quilt which will be given to the local Bushfire Brigade as part of their annual Christmas Raffle.  Prior to next meeting everyone will either cut out Christmas stars or sew some or just come to the next meeting ready to sew and cut more.  We have decided to alternate to stars with five inch squares as well.  We will probably make a quilt big enough to go on a sofa or a single bed.

All in all a good result for a Quilt Group meeting!

And because i am not ready to show you any more of my work - the planning stage is so boring and nothing photo worthy yet - I decided to show you another of my Nanna dolls.  This is a cute little one. She made these to sell at the church fete too and they were great for little girls to play quietly with in church.  A little crocheted cot -

 complete with mattress, pillow, doll and blanket,

 and the top gathers up into a little bag.  The base if the bottom of a cleaning product bottle!  How cute!  This would have been another pattern from a magazine!
Till next time.........happy stitching!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

No sewing but some showing..........

No sewing today.  Grrrr.  But I had a very important mission today - buying Father's day goodies for my gorgeous hubby.  Mission almost accomplished.  Have to do a few more on Thursday.

Tomorrow is quilt group.  There is lots to do - I have cut out a dozen or so little Christmas stars and there are more to be cut out there.  I have the three quilts for Queensland to be looked at and planned for and a bunch of labels to be sewn on quilts. 

But a post without photos is pretty boring so I thought I would share this:-

This is the first day Maisy has wanted to sit out in the sunshine on her favourite chair.  This is her favourite spot I am sure.  It has been too cold up until now.  Sunday was the first day we left some of the doors open for some fresh air without freezing! 

And I also thought I would share this.  I THINK this is Queen Victoria - as made my my Grandmother - my lovely Nanna.  She would have got the pattern from a ladies magazine.

I always marvelled at the details in it. 
 A lot of the materials that Nanna used were donated bits and pieces.  She used to make things for sale at the church bazaar and would turn old fur coats into traditional teddies.  Old jumpers used to be unravelled and the wool would be knitted into soft toys.  Old clothes became dolls clothes and soft toys.

 The features from this little purse would have been collected from the ones the doves dropped in her backyard.  I still always think of sleeping over at Nanna's when I hear doves cooing.  That is what I always woke up to at her house.
 An old necklace was turned into her tiara.  Nanna didn't have money to run out to the craft shop for bits and pieces for her dolls so she had to use what ever she had but the people from her church soon worked out what she did and she would often be given a bag of bits and pieces.

Another post I will share some more of her dolls.  Nanna collected dolls from all over the world and they are mine now - very special!  I have a special nook in the living room with my very comfy chair and ottoman.  I have a bookcase and my cross stitches on one side and my doll cabinet on the other side.

The most special dolls are the ones that Nanna either made or dressed herself.  I have a few more to show you.....next time.

This is my dearest Nanna.  She was the softest, gentlest lady.   Whenever we used to go and visit her we would hope there would be Lemon Sponge Kisses or Pop's Specials (a chocolate chocolate chip cookie) in her cake tin - and there usually was.  She made the best lemon butter - we used to call it lemon cheese - I still love it on toast for breakfast.  She also made meat paste - a kind of very rustic terrine or pate made with ordinary mince and pressed.  I loved.  Meat paste on sandwiches with tomato sauce for my school lunches - mmmmm my favourite!  Sadly, I could never duplicate it no  matter how faithfully I followed the recipe!  if I could I would be making it nowadays!  I left home when I was 19 and moved to the other side of Australia to join the air force.  But, it didn't matter how far away I was or where I went i always made time to call or write to Nanna.  I just had to.  And i always visited her whenever I came home.  She was one of my favourite people and I really miss her.  Luckily I have quite a few of her things around my home to remind me of her - her favourite chairs and her cake tin for starters!  When I have grandkids I hope I will be just like her - lots of hugs, cookies or cakes always on hand and home made stuff like quilts and toys and so on.

And until next time.............happy stitching!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A momentary lapse....

We had a very busy day around here yesterday.  First my wonderful hubby arrived home from a business trip after dinner on Friday night and had to get up at 4am to get ready to leave at 5am and drive Fly Boy to Canberra and back so that they could go to the ADFA  Open Day.    What a long day - 7 hours of driving at least, lots of walking around at ADFA and concentrating during the presentations. 

While they were away I was lucky enough to head off to the city to Mary Poppins.  Seriously wonderful show.  If you haven't seen it you should! 

I made it home about an hour before the others.   They got home around 7pm, rushed dinner and then we headed out to take Fly Boy to a party.  We had to go back again to collect him at 1130pm and it was midnight before wonderful hubby managed to get back to bed.  Unfortunately in between taking Fly Boy to and from the party we discovered that our Internet had stopped working. (hence the title!) More work for Wonderful hubby!  He couldn't rectify the problem before going to bed and that meant I couldn't post last night. 

Luckily he managed to install a new router today and that has solved the problem.  Hooray! 

So, here is what I have been doing.  Last night I managed to finish sewing the 6 church dash blocks for Bruce's quilt. 
I really like these - I have had a hankering to make some churn dash blocks for a while now  - I think I need to make some more and make a quilt!  Maybe a baby quilt for my friend.....but first I need to finish Bruce's quilt.

This afternoon I managed to cut out the rest of the blocks and tonight I got them sewn together.  Now I have to decide what to do next.  Tomorrow I want to double check the sizing of all the blocks.  Then I have to decide if I want to use a sashing or not.  I was wondering what colour sashing to use as it can't be red or blue and white just doesn't work for me.  I think I might have enough to do the sashing with the baseball and basketball fabrics.  Or I can use the cream stripe fabric on the side. 

Next I have to decide what to do for a border.  One option is to make some more churn dash blocks and another option is to do a narrow border of the cream stripe and then a wider strippy border of scraps.  Ok, so what do you think?  It is always better to talk it over with friends, especially bloggie friends.

I think I have to mull it over for a few days. 

Till next time..............happy stitching!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

another quickie

Just have to say that I hope all my bloggie friends, and all your bloggie friends, who live in the path of Hurricane Irene stay safe.  I will be thinking of you all and keeping you in my prayers!


Quick question.....

Just a quickie, so to speak - how big do you make a cot quilt?  I haven't made one for years.  I didn't make on for these when they were born as I was doing cross stitch more than quilting then.  I did make their overalls though - if you look closely you can see that I cross stitched their initials on the front so that the relatives could tell them apart - this outfit was for a family wedding.

And I wouldn't have had one either - just as well my sisters don't read my blog!  Check out their haircuts - real homemade skills there!

So, any suggestions on cot quilt dimensions?

Happy stitching.

Friday, August 26, 2011

One to go!

Hooray again!  Just one star to go.  I need to make one red baseball star and then I am all done and can start on the churn dash blocks and the other blocks to go in the quilt.  Woo hoo!  I am really pleased with how these blocks have turned out but I can't say I have enjoyed the process.   I think it is because up until today I didn't really get time to sit at them long enough to get into a routine so I kept making mistakes - whatever the reason I am glad that I only have one left to make.  I think I will do a bit of reading up on Paper Piecing 101 before I have to do more paper pieced blocks as there are probably some tricks that will help me to avoid mistakes in the future.
Now I am off to bed.  I have to be up in five hours to help DH and Fly Boy get out the door by 5am.  They are driving 3 1/2 hours to Canberra to attend the Australian Defence Force Academy Open Day.  Down and back in one day! 

Till next time...............happy stitching!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A stellar evening...

I have finally drawn up a plan for the quilt I am making for my friend Bruce who is fighting bone cancer in America.  he is mad keen on the New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys so that means five point stars and baseball and football. 

I am making 12 paper pieced star blocks - 6 baseball ones and 6 football ones. let me tell you - I am no paper-piecing offianado so these blocks are a challenge but I am getting there. I have all the pieces cut out, labelled and separated into bags. Just the sewing to do.
 Once I get all the paper piecing done I will get started on the other blocks I am throwing in. there will be two blocks featuring the Dallas Cowboys helmet and two featuring the NY logo.  These are embroidered panels I bought on ebay. 
I am also going to do some churn dash blocks and some simple blovks featuring some Dallas Cowboys Fabric.  I looked everywhere for some New York Yankees fabric but there was none anywhere except on ebay and that was ridiculously expensive!

I haven't decided what the sashing will be yet nor what the border will be - that can come later!

Till next time.....happy stitching!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's da BOM!

Hooray managed to get some sewing done today!  I completed work on another Round Robin Quilt but of course I can't show you that one.

What I can show you though are these.  I have made up my versions of the BOM for my LQS.  First the orange and pink version.  Let me tell you it is so much brighter in the flesh!

 And then there is the red version.  I am enjoying this version too.  I am not planning to keep both of these but I think it might be hard to decide which to give away.

I am dying to see what the next block looks like!

No other sewing today but I have managed to cut out more star blocks for my quilt for Bruce and I have finally settled on a design.  Too early to show you anything - maybe after the weekend.  Too many things to do in the next couple of days!   Didn't make it to my sewing class tonight - have to play mum's taxi as the boy who normally carpools with Fly Boy for Cadets is ill so obviously i get to drive both ways.....speaking of which I had better get going.....

Till next time.......happy stitching.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I used leftover beef casserole to make home made pastries with bought puff pastry sheets.  I had one leftover sheet of pastry and decided to make it into a dessert.  I sprinkled it with sugar and topped it with sliced strawberries, diced apple and blueberries mixed with a little jam.  I called it fruit pizza!
 I offered some to my boys and they both turned up their noses at it!  One because it has berries on it!!!  Ho hum!  I enjoyed it! 
Pity there are three more pieces!  I can't eat all of them!

That is all I have got to show you tonight!  I have done a bit of sewing but nothing ready to photograph yet.  Tomorrow I have a fair bit of the day at home and I intend to catch up on some sewing and there should be photos tomorrow night.  I also go to the Wednesday fortnight sewing night tomorrow night - more FMQ or maybe finishing my BOM blocks.

Till next time......happy stitching!

Monday, August 22, 2011

A little bit of history.....

So, no sewing today but I thought I would share this with you instead.

My Dad was a special guy.  He passed away in 1989 but not before he left behind a wonderful legacy (and more than just the red hair and sense of humour he gave me!)

He was a primary school principal and taught at tiny one room schools to start off with and this is a painting of one of them.

It was called Cailbro because it was on the farm owned by the Cail brothers in/near Dalwalinu in the wheatbelt of Western Australia about 250km north of Perth.  Dad told me that at one point there weren't enough students to require the Education Department to continue paying for a teacher (him) so the Cail brothers apparently imported some relative's children from somewhere else to keep the numbers up. 

Dad loved teaching, and really loved teaching manual arts.  One day soon I will show you more photos of some of the things that he made but one of the things he taught to the country kids in his schools was cane work. 
This shows some of his students from a tiny school called Cowaramup in the south west of Western Australia - the photo was taken in 1964!  I was 2!

He did lots of other cane work too and I am only just beginning to remember some of the pieces I have around the house.  I try to use the things I have from my childhood as I don't see the point of having them packed away. 

This is one of the pieces of canework that I haven't used for about 14 years when my boys were babies and then again almost (but not quite) 50 years ago when I was a baby! This is the bassinet that my Dad made when my sister Glenis was born in 1955 (lucky she doesn't read my blog so I can tell you that!).  That cane piece over the top is not a handle  - it is to rest a piece of netting or gauze to keep the flies or mosquitoes off the baby.  When we babies were born we lived in the country and were lucky to have fly screens! 
 I used it for my boys, my sister used it for her three.  I think my other sister missed out coz she was living on the other side of the country when her two were born.  Since then a friend of mine from quilt group borrowed it for her first grandchild and her son and DIL loved using it so much that they kept it for all three of their children.

I am about to rejuvenate it for my friend whose daughter is expecting baby number 1.  I am thinking a new mattress, a new pillowcase style sheet for the mattress and maybe a tiny little quilt.  The latter might only be used for decoration in the bassinet - I will check with my baby nurse friend to find out (Jennie?)

 My dad also made a stand for it - a kind of trolley with a shelf underneath for storage.   I will lend that too but at the moment it is in the shed and needs a clean.  

My dad would be so pleased to know that it is being used!  Sadly he passed away in 1989 - such a loss and I miss him every day.  Happily so many of the things he made live on to keep him with me every day!

I have always loved to hear stories of those who learned to quilt at their grandmother's knee - that heritage is marvelous.  But now I am beginning to realise that although my parents and grandparents didn't hand down a quilting heritage to me they did hand down a rich heritage of all sorts of handcrafts and in the future I am going to share some of them with you!

Till next time............happy stitching!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What a great day!

Well I don't mind telling you I am tired but it is a good kind of tired.  Today I went to a sew in to complete quilts for Queensland. Corrie of retromummy put out a call for people to donate 12 1/2 inch blocks, quilt tops or quilts to be sent to those who were affected by the floods in Queensland in January.  She had no idea what she had got herself into as she received blocks, flimsies and quilts from all point of the compass I am sure.  Today was the day to try and finish as many of them as we could. 

What a well organised day it was!  We had a huge room on the second floor of a community centre.  Corrie cooked up a storm of frittatas for our lunch and we all brought a plate of other yummies - cakes, cookies, slices, brownies - we did not go hungry.  Tea and coffee, soft drink, water - LOLLIES purely for energy of course!

We set up our machines on tables side by side in a great big L shape along two sides of the room and on the floor in front we laid out the blocks and quilts.  We started by laying out quilt blocks in groups of 12 or 16 usually.  At times there were upwards of 18 or 20 quilts laid out.  When we ran out of floor space we started sewing them together and then adding backing.  By lunch time I think most of the quilts blocks had been turned into quilt tops! While some of us concentrated on sewing, others concentrated on pairing up tops with backing.   Most of the quilts were small children's quilts and we simply backed them with polar fleece.  I have never done that before and was interested to see how it worked.  Lots of my bloggie buddies have done it.   We sandwiched the tops and fleece right sides together, sewed around the edges, left an opening to turn them right side out and then top stitched the edge.  Simple!  This was the first quilt completed and then we were on a roll!!  

 I really like this one - lots of these blocks were completed by HAND!!!
 Someone bought in a piece of camouflage polar fleece and amazingly there was the perfect quilt top to go with it!

 Congratulations to this lovely lady below - this was her first ever quilt!  Woo Hoo!!!
 End result:  A lovely big pile of completed quilts
 a number of quilts divided up among us to take home and finish, some large ones to go to some generous long arm quilters and a bundle more to be sent to the Queensland Quilters for completion.

I bought home two to finish - a lovely small Aussie one that has lots of button hole stitch applique.  It is gorgeous but too small on its own so I want to do it justice with a border to make it big enough to stand along.  I also brought home a lovely jungle themed one which with fabric for the backing.  The backing needs piecing and there just wasn't time to do it justice today so.  I will post photos of those tomorrow I hope.

At the end of the day Corrie gave us all a charm pack - an unnecessary but not unwelcome and definitely generous gesture.  I received a charm pack of
Yahoo - I love this fabric - particularly the one one the top - might have to buy me a bit more to use as a border on the resulting quilt!

I met some great people - lovely Lisa who worked with me till lunchtime, trimming, pinning and ironing while I sewed.  She, sadly doesn't have a blog.  I also met the lovely Sheridan a.k.a. chaletgirl who also organises the  sew it together events.  I missed this year's but I will have to try and schedule in next year's.   There were lots of other awesome ladies there but I was just too busy sewing to chat much and didn't really get to know any of the others!  But you know, quilters are always a lovely bunch so you can imagine what they were like!

Till next time......happy stitching!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Prelude to a busy day

My sewing machine and all the bits and pieces that I am going to need like thread, cutters and so on, are all packed away and waiting for me to load them into my car for tomorrow.  I will be spending the day with ten or so other ladies finishing off quilts for Queensland at a sew-in organised by corrie of the retromummy blog.  I have made ribbon sandwiches (instructions below) to take along
and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (recipe at the end)
and I am all set.  No chance to sew today then but I did spend some time cutting out tonight. 

First up I cut out the BOM blocks for the LQS.  if you remember I had decided to make two versions of the BOM: 1 in Kaffe Fabrics and one in reds.  After making up the first BOM in each version, and cutting out the BOMs for the second month, I promptly put the second blocks pieces somewhere "safe" and now I can't find them!  Agghghg!  So I have decided to continue with the red version and re-do the first BOM in hot pink and bright orange instead of Kaffe!  Tonight re-cut number 1and 2 in my orange and pink fabrics and I cut the red version in number 2.  I can't wait to sew them up to see what they look like.  Another couple of weeks and I will be able to get block 3 and I am quite looking forward to seeing what it looks like. 

I have also decided to join in with the Happy Quilting QAL Stars.  I haven't done a QAL before and I am not sure that I will be able to keep up seeing as I have to make Bruce's quilt but we will see what happens!  Not sure what I am going to do with the resulting quilt but I can decide as we go along. 
I have bought some rosie pink solid for the background and am hoping to combine it with scraps - wish me luck! 

Sorry there aren't many photos but I will post photos of the blocks where they are made up.  Tonight the camera is packed ready for tomorrow too.

Now, if you want the recipe for the cookies


125g butter
½ teasp vanilla
½ teasp grated lemon rind
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 ¼ cups plain flour
1 teasp bicarb soda
½ packet choc bits

Preheat oven to 180°/160°C fan forced.  Line baking tray with glad bake or similar.  Cream butter, vanilla, lemon, sugars and peanut butter.  Stir in flour and bicarb soda and choc bits.
Roll into ball and placed on trays and bake 15 minutes.  Cool on trays.

And to make the sandwiches.....

Buy two loaves of different bread, e.g. wholemeal and white.  Spread one slice of white with gherkin relish, top with think slices of ham, then top with a slice of wholemeal bread, spread this with cream cheese spread and sprinkle with crushed walnuts.  Spread a slice of white bread with cream cheese  spread and place on top of sandwich.  repeat with the remainder of the loaves alternating breads so some sandwiches have white bread on the outside and some have wholemeal.  Slice each sandwich into half and then each half into three.  I usually make these sandwiches and then freeze them before cutting them - wrap them in a double layer of plastic wrap.  I keep them in the freezer until the day I want to use them - then I cut them while they are still partially frozen.  makes it much easier to cut them nicely.

My Mum used to make these often when she had to take a place or when we were having a party and needed finger food.  I don't like gherkin relish or cream cheese spread but it always surprises me that I like these.  They are really yummy.

Well, I had better get to sleep so that I am full of energy for sewing in the morning.

Till next time.............happy stitching!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Doing a happy dance!

....because I have finished my Rainbow Scrap Challenge Quilt!  I managed to finish piecing the backing, layer it, quilt it and machine sew on the binding between breakfast and lunch today!  After doing my normal drive everywhere Friday bit I managed to finish hand sewing the binding and now it is done!  YAY!!!  

 I raided my scrap binding drawer and dug out anything that I thought would go - added a bit of the backing fabric and sewed it all together.

I pieced the border with adding in some of the purple from the front and a new blue that I bought yesterday.  I just didn't have enough or didn't like the other fabrics that I used on the front so had to buy the blue and I am happy with the way it turned out.  The main backing is a companion print for the larger blue squares on the front so they tie in nicely together!  These fabrics are dated 2000 and 2001 and that would be around when I bought them!  Egads!  Sometimes it is just not worth thinking about how long a piece of fabric has been in your stash!
 And finally my label!
 This quilt will be off to the post office on Monday. 

On a less positive note i have discovered that one of the reds I was using for Bruce's quilt is not colour fast so before I go any further i have been checking all the others.  I have had to throw out the one I discovered - three washes and it was still losing HEAPS of colour - just not worth the risk.  The others seem fine.  Just means I will  have to re-do one star block  - grrr - but I can't take the risk as there is a fair bit of white in this quilt!

That will be tomorrow's problem!

Till next time - happy stitching!