Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy 10th wedding anniversary to me!

Today it is 10 years since we got married...
At the time I was doing our family grocery shop this morning, 10 years agoI would have been at the hairdresser with my girlfriends and sister getting my hair and make up done! How times change!
But these were on the table to greet me:
When I opened the card, I said "What a beautiful card! I wish I could get that in fabric." Ah yes, it still comes back to sewing!

Today, as we remember back 10 years:
we are going away overnight to relax and celebrate together.
Thanks to Nan and Pa for the help with the boys!

On this day, both of us also think of our grandfathers who went to war. They both came home, but so many didn't. I can't quite imagine that, but to think it is still happening horrifies me. This year we have been challenged by Mr 6 to explain why people go to war. That's been hard, especially knowing that he may hear other things at school, from friends and everywhere.

We pray for peace... and celebration of happy events...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

remember me?

It is so long since I've blogged... and moving sounded like it was a very organised affair last time I posted! Well here we are in Melbourne. Our poor packers started packed in minus 2 degees. After cleaning, cleaning and cleaning some more, we got to Melbourne at 11.30am. It was wet and cold when we arrived at the house to meet them at 7.30am the next day... pity they didn't arrive! It seems that there was some confusion - and our truck arrived about 27 hours after we expected it! What fun! It's hard to describe in nice words how over the whole moving experience we were by the time we actually had boxes in the house.
BUT let me give you some amazing stats.
  1. my sewing room was the LAST room in the house to be unpacked (I know - hard to believe!)
  2. we unpacked more than 20 boxes before the truck left (20 less boxes to be stored!) - I think it was about 50 boxes actually
  3. we went away 4 days after we moved... and it was cold and rainy, and let me sum it up with the words of the kids "I want to go home"... only problem was - were they talking about the old 'home' or the new one? Luckily, the new one!
  4. All the boxes were unpacked by the 10 day mark.
  5. I made it to the quilt show - yeah! It was great. Had a lovely time catching up with Wendy from Horsham, and together we braved public transport, and spent lots of time at GJ's fabricn (poor Boy 2 had to be very patient - sorry!). Great to see all the Horsham entrants in the Vic Quilters competition won their categories - congratulations!
  6. Boy 1 has settled in really well to his new school... amazing... and exciting... and Boy 2 is loving his new 'music church' - a Mainly Music program at a church nearby... the highlight of our week together!
And now there is nothing more to distract me from the reality of having surgery on Friday morning (surgery is to relieve compression of the nerves and blood vessels which has been causing lots of sensation problems and poor blood flow to my arms and hands).
Unfortunately I'm missing my nephew's first birthday party, but I'm hoping to finish a 'bunting' decoration for it, and the kids and husb will still get to go... and have fun... don't worry about me.. I'll be fine... no, really... hmmm... all I can say is if I don't get a piece of cake and see lots of photos I will be VERY cross!
Happy Birthday B!

Photos of quilts will take too long to load tonight - I've still got to do the dinner tidy up! - but I will do it sometime soon 'cause I've got lots of new ones to post - and hopefully I'll be able to use the computer while I'm recovering... here's hoping!

Monday, May 31, 2010

on a brighter note!

I've been sewing again, and I love variegated thread!
 Not the best photo, but I can assure you that the bright on black looks really good.
Can't show you the whole project yet - it's another gift... but let's just say that that thread looks great with ric rac (see this post)... thanks to all who supplied their little bits of ric rac! It's been put to good use.

I was going to put more photos on here - sneak peeks of more projects, but I really don't want to ruin the surprises for the gift recipients. More photos soon.

Move and pack update
In addition to sadly farewelling our faithful couches, I've sorted out my sock drawer - no, seriously, I have!!! And let me tell you, it's amazing what you find in your bedside drawers! Nothing I'd lost, just really special things - cards, drawings from the kids, pregnancy records, a few odd photos... things to keep.
Scary what you do when faced with a move...
I've also sorted our craft supplies (kids and mine), and packed it into good containers (that sounds quick and easy, but was far from it). In the process, I've designated the current hall cupboard as the "walk through room", meaning everything that is in that cupboard is to go to the room that links the original house and the added-on unit.... ah yes, the new house has quirks... wish me luck in managing them!

goodbye comfy friend

Farewell to the blue couches... one chair left us in the last move, and now the remaining chair and two couches leave us for this move. I feel sad. We can't take them with us because they don't fit. We have only one living area in the new house (pity one of the three bathrooms can't be a lounge!)... so time for the couches to move on...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

just in case I forget...

This morning I spent some time tidying the kids bedrooms and taking some photos of their bedroom...
and there are some funny things I don't want to forget.

Boy 2 has a Big Ted - given to him by my friend Liz. A week ago Boy 2 told me that Big Ted wanted some pyjama pants to go with his 'Big Ted' t'shirt. I had the idea of getting out a pair of Boy 2's first pyjamas - he thought that was pretty cool... so on went the rockets. Last night Boy 2 decided that Big Ted needed a rocket top to match his pyjamas... and hey presto... Boy 2's top fitted Big Ted too. How can Boy 2 have grown so much? He used to be this size!

Boy 1's bedroom always has things stuck everywhere - he draws and creates all the time, and likes to display what he's made... on his door, his walls, his cupboards etc... but one of the funniest of them all is this...
Next to many of our light switches are little pink pieces of paper with a face drawn on them. They are the secret tunnels the teddy bears use! From the show 'The Secret World of Benjamin Bear'. It's going to be hard to remove them! And the 'tunnel colours' will need to go too. They are coloured pieces of paper on the doorways telling us the colour of the tunnel we are about to enter. Boy 1 put them up, and Boy 2 refers to them all the time! (It's an idea from the show 'Chuggington'). Perhaps we can put Boy 1 to work on the tunnel colours for our new house on unpacking day... mental note to self - keep out drawing stuff and coloured paper - oh yes, and sticky tape! The tunnels might actually be useful in helping us to find our way around the very difficult layout of the new house!

I also found time to do some more outside stuff - I keep thinking I've finished out there! But no, there were more things to be sorted and bundled together, and now they're in the shed ready to be moved.

Slowly getting there I think....

sneak peek at latest project

This is the ric-rac project... it is absolutely stunning... but I don't want to give it away just yet.

I've just finished putting on the first border, and will next add the ric-rac... I'm doing everything in a slightly different order to the pattern, but I think it will work.
This is definitely another "I don't want to give it away"quilt!
But this time I am promising myself that I will make one for myself too... it's a lovely reminder of all the other quilts I've made, as it's using up all the little leftover bits! Of course there are the obligatory few new fabrics! And Boy 1 chose the spots for the backing.... yet again I think I've underestimated the amount of fabric I would need, and some creative piecing may be required there too... time will tell.
Stay tuned...

Monday, May 10, 2010

special delivery for ME!

Do you remember the excitement of the postie, before all he brought you were bills or letters offering you credit cards you don't want or need?
Well, I had that sort of excitement today, when my doorbell rang, and it was our friendly Australia Post deliverer! Yay - I have been eagerly awaiting this parcel...
 Inside this boring brown packaging from Social Club Books was an exciting treasure-trove of books! Given that I rarely buy books, I decided to capitalise on not only the great prices, but the fact that I was already paying postage and handling, may as well make the most of it! (It's good logic! I think!)
"Sewing in No Time" includes ideas such as a children's play tent, fabric lined baskets, cutlery wraps etc. - what a great thought-starter!
"What Shall We Do Today? 60 creative crafting projects for kids" - sounds like a perfect book to delve into after our move... the kids are really interested in sewing - I'm disappointed I haven't got a photo of Boy 2 doing some hand sewing - bright thread on flanelette, using a large needle with no \point. He does an amazingly good job, even before he's three. Move over Kaffe Fassert!
"Material Obsession - Contemporary Quilt Designs" - a book I couldn't quite justify until I saw it at this unbelievable price. It is from the very talented women of the shop 'Material Obsession'. The first prize raffle quilt from the Horsham Quilt Show (below) was a design from this book.

Speaking of raffle quilts, I went to Rosemont Quilts just out of Horsham to buy some Prints Charming fabric, as I was so inspired by 2nd prize at the Quilt Show (left).

I was keen to try the blue colourway, but wanted the large flower block - too late, for Isabel has already sold out! Lyn has a few in the quilt pictured on the right - and reportedly purchased the last of the bolt... and rumour has it that she hasn't even used it yet! The cheek! Isabel has some of the black and white (not the same as the one above which also has a taupe colour in it), but I am picturing a striking black and white quilt with red as the feature colour... just for something really different for me... will have to think quickly, for Isabel is selling, and my opportunities for a dash out to Wartook are limited - time is ticking... 7 weeks until our move... not that the removalist has confirmed a date yet... that will hopefully happen tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I am keeping busy with lots of sorting out of the different areas in our house, working out how we will manage with only one living area, with no storage built into it! Hmmm.... the lounge suite will be moving on before we leave here because there's nowhere to put it... and I think we might be in the market for some bookshelfy-cupboardy things... oh dear, we might have to go to Ikea ! Yay!

And I'm also trying to finish sewing projects that I ambitiously started.... we'll see...!

And trying to work out where my sewing machine will go in the new house, and what it will be on (my current bench arrangement below a fluoro light is fabulous, but built in! It might be a bit destructive to take it with us!) A friend is going to show me a new quilting table she wants to sell... and there are some sturdy tables at the op shop but I am keen to have a flat bed quilting table so that would require some handy carpentering... maybe that could be fun... not sure.

So much to do, but The Mentalist started 20 minutes ago. Which means that if I press play on the DVD recorder and watch it in timeshift without the ads, I should finish about the same time as if I hadn't sat down to write this post. How strange. So off I go to get my weekly dose of Simon Baker...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

11's and the wedding ring quilt

A few years ago, just after Boy 2 was born, I made a double wedding ring quilt for my brother and sister in law as a wedding present. Not quite sure how I achieved to sew a queen quilt to the floor in only 3 months - must have been the post-baby hormones or something!

Anyway, ever since then, I have wanted to make one for David and I. It is our 10th anniversary in November this year, so that seemed like a good thing to aim for... until I started to have neurological problems, and have to have surgery; AND we decided to move house in the middle of the year... what is this conspiracy? So, a few months ago, I resigned myself to waiting until our 11th anniversary, at which time I realised an amazing thing.
On the
it is our
How cool is that?
So, the wedding ring quilt will be finished for that - I wonder if I could get away with making only 11 rings? now that would be cool!

Anyway, I've been keeping my eyes out for nice fabric, and the other day saw this one...
It's nice quality, and has the colours we like in it. But I wasn't sure about the brown background. I purchased just one metre to fiddle with, to see if it would work out... Here is my trial using seeded homespun for the 'background' and aqua fat quarters from stash...
The verdict?
Too brown.
The solution?
Take it to quilting group and ask everyone else!

We decided that perhaps the aqua was too contrasty for the brown. And given I actually wanted to use the deeper aqua in the fabric rather than the lighter, this was pretty good.

Then I found a piece of deeper cream fabric in my bag from another quilt label I was doing.
I laid the ring out to see if it would be different...
The verdict?
The solution?
Go and buy it while it's there!
Armed with a 25% off voucher, I went to Spotlight to buy at least 4.5 metres (I used 4.5 metres of feature fabric last time). Of course, how much was on the bolt? 4 metres. But, add that to the metre I had already purchased, and it was fine - phew!
So at just $9.70 a metre we have a lovely feature fabric... ready to put away for later in the year. Yeah!

Rockets are rocketing r,r,r

The rocket blanket is finally finished... now Boy 2 can be warm at night too.

I've had the rocket fabric for almost 2 years, and purchased the red fleece for the back at the end of last winter... and they've finally been put together (funny how the easiest of jobs often get left to the end isn't it!).
Boy 1 has a lovely transport-themed blanket which is similar.

I put it on Boy 2's bed, and he cried... not with relief, or joy, but because he didn't want it. He wanted is doona (which was underneath of course). Being a practical mum, who just wanted Boy 2 in bed, I laid it at the end of his bed, and tried not to feel too sad about the irony of prioritising this task after so long!
However, in the middle of the night, when Boy 2 was returned to his bed, he very proudly showed dad his rocket blanket! How come dads always get the good reactions??

Go figure.

Boy 2 is learning the alphabet at school, and the sounds each letter makes. They have a little rhyme which they sing - a different rhyme each week - all to the tune of 'skip to the lou my darling'. This week's letter happens to be r! So we sang the given rhyme - Robots are racing, r,r,r... and then changed it... lots of times... hence the name of this post - Rockets are rocketing, r,r,r !

Elmo fans - this one's for you!

A friend of many many years, Nicole, has ordered lots of blankets from me, but here's a different one... her friend's little girl just loves Elmo, so instead of the usual stripey border, I made a binding from Elmo fabric, and just did raw edge applique in a matching thread around the letters rather than contrast blanket stitch.
 Pretty cute I think...

Lots of Elmo's for Caroline, and a card to match! (It's not this blurry in real life!).

I hope you like it Nicole!
Sutherland couriers will deliver it on Sunday!

(Marcus' blanket will be delivered then also)

Nicole has also given me another challenge - to make a blanket with something Australian included, for a friend overseas... So far, I've found this Zany Zoo fabric which I might use for a border...

cats... cats... cats...

My friend Kathy gave me some fabric when she was cleaning out... for some reason she decided she may not ever have time to sew... or quilt... She mentioned that there were probably some blocks in there from a quilt she'd started for her youngest daughter many years previously. When I got home and excitedly opened the bag, I found 5 blocks done, and the fabric to make more... what else could I do but... make some more?!!! I ended up using up all the outer fabrics, but had the feature fabric left over. I began to imagine what the quilt would be like... and then decided to finish it for Kathy, as a surprise... I gave the finished quilt to her last weekend, and here it is...

There were some of the cats left - so they're hiding on the back!
It was amazingly easy to find fabric to match this one - the cordoroy was given to me by another friend, Louise B a few years ago - what a great use for it. The quilt is an unusual size, but fits beautifully across the foot of a bed, or on the back of a couch.
I hope you love it Hannah!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day gardening

A great day for gardening...
Well, potting up our favourite plants ready for the move anyway!

We love gardening, and our garden has been beautiful here in Horsham... it will be with great sadness that we leave lots of plants that we have nurtured along here.
Especially our beautiful roses...
This is my Pat Austin rose - named after David Austin's wife. It is a stunning rose, with a beautiful perfume, but it is very, very thorny... Not sure how I would feel if I was the wife! This rose has travelled with us, and will likely continue on it's travels - sorry Horsham-ites!

Anyway, I have decided to try my hand at growing roses from cuttings... a bit adventurous, but nothing to lose. I read that one of the best times is the 3rd week in April - but that was Boy 1's birthday! So, the 1st May it was....
And here they are:

(Pretend they're all in terracotta pots - so they can 'breathe' - my theory is that the colour will cheer their root development!)

They look a bit sad don't they? Little sticks in sand... well, we'll see what happens.
I've already booked my pots into the Special Care Nursery (Nan and Pa's backyard) prior to the move!

And by the way, for those of you who objected most strongly to my severe daisy cut-backs in a previous post, this is what they look like now...

Nice huh?
Now will you trust me with the secateurs?
Actually, you will notice there is no photo of the fuschia at the moment - I believe I run second only to my mum with severe cutbacks, and hubby assures me that the fuschia is not nearly as severely cut back as it's first 'trim' six years ago... as performed by my mum... now that was a shock!

Here are all our plant cuttings in pots...

Happy May Day...

Friday, April 30, 2010

10 reasons for not blogging...

I've been so absent from my blog... not even updating my photos... so here's my excuses, I mean reasons...

... prepare for a long blog-post!...

10. so many things, so little time
The most obvious of them all - where does each day go? I notice my last post is Jan 30, and I remember being happy that I got one in for January - and here I am on the last day of April, doing the same thing! Oops. Must find more time... perhaps a new clock with 13 hours?

9.  Happy birthday Dad!
I made Dad a quilt for his 70th, and was going to give it to him at his SURPRISE party... but then he ended up being here for his birthday, so he got it with the binding pinned in place, and I quickly hand-sewed it down while he was here. Bizarrely it matches their couch perfectly...

We travelled to Rutherglen for Dad's party where we got together with the whole family... a rarity. A great time was had by all. We went via Melbourne and enjoyed visiting a fabulous swimming pool there.

8. a weekend away... and even better... a sewing weekend!
It was great!
Unfortunately I had to come back early as a friend was leaving her job at the church - she's lucky I had the weekend to work on her table runner - completed in just 10 days!

We ended up with a wonderful collection of sewing - this is just a sample. Jacqui has more photos on her blog, and she wrote about it when it happened - in March!

7. extra-ordinary jobs!
I'm so sick of "oily" spots on my clothes AFTER they've been washed! When I googled it, others described the same thing and had no idea either. But after many people said, "it's not your washing machine - I bought a new one and it's still happening", I started to get a bit concerned... am I looking at my clothes the wrong way or something?????!!!!
I decided to follow one person's advice and thoroughly clean my washing machine. I took it apart bit by bit, and just when I thought I'd got to the end of my taking apart ability, I dropped a screw, and it went right inside the machine - right inside! "****" I muttered! Obviously there was more that needed to be taken apart, and so I did. Oh my goodness - you would not believe what I found. I took photos to prove it. The inside of my machine (around the drum part) was disgusting, absolutely black, slimy and feral. That is where the water passes through to get onto my clothes... YUCK. Here's evidence of the yuck and the clean!

When I mentioned my feat to a school mum friend she said "oh yes, it's mould on your clothes - it's called black mould. I always put bleach in my machine once a month to stop it". Yuck again.
I'm pleased to report that there are now no traces of mould!
I decided to demonstrate my amazing ability to take apart washing machines to my mum as well... almost gave up when we decided that their machine didn't come as apart as mine because it was an older model. But that didn't make sense, so of course I persisted! Theirs was not so bad, but still pretty feral. My advice... be brave, take out as many screws as you can see, layer by layer, and scrub your washing machine!

6. gardening and Ms fix it
I spent 10 days in Melbourne with my kids, staying with my parents... and hardly saw my kids! Sounds idyllic doesn't it? Only problem was that I was working harder than I think I ever worked in my life. We were working on our unit before new tenants. I did so much gardening, including sawing off high branches balanced precariously on a ladder on a slope - superwoman!
This was one of the bigger branches though you can't really tell from the photo - just trust me - my pruning saw has never had such a good workout, and I am now really wanting a chainsaw - scary but true!
I was happy with what I achieved, and hubby reviewed my progress by email photos at the end of each day... he was away on a youth camp. lucky him! don't worry, I made him do some hard work the next time we went down...

5. finally finished
I can't believe that the quilt I've had on the go for more than 18 months is finished!
The quilt is Be Attitudes by Nancy Halvorsen (not The Beatitudes as my mum thought until I was doing the label!). It has been so much work, but I love it. I used the original fabrics. I machine pieced each block, then hand-appliqued the picture part and words. Then got stuck because I wanted to 'custom quilt' and I wasn't quite brave enough, so it sat and sat and sat. Then I got sick of it sitting, so I just started. At first I spent more time unpicking than I did sewing! But in the end I really enjoyed quilting it, and my confidence with free motion quilting has grown enormously.
It's now got pride of place in our front hall, and I am starting to stitch the label today.

and I've also finished...
'Farmyard Friends'
I can't give too much away about this quilt... it will be revealed after my nephew's baptism. Here's just a teaser...

4. quilt show
Why the efficiency in completing projects?
The Horsham Quilt Exhibition of course!

It was just amazing... so many beautiful quilts.
The abc and 1-10 are mine... and the one on the RHS is one a friend Lyn made for boy 2.

The LHS corner is my floor rug for my nephew, and his bag is hanging beside it, and the red, yello, green and blue one is also mine (Fiona don't look too closely)  The orange and green tree is also mine - I don't think I've blogged about that one yet, but it's a fabulous pattern.
 And the one that was finally finished... excuse the same photo again!... be attitudes.
I've embedded a slideshow of photos from the quilt show in the side bar, but let me say a few things. There's some photos of bright machine quilting on a black background. that is a quilt by Vicki Jenkin (a Horsham-ite who has won national and international prizes for her quilts). She is the most amazing quilter - you'd swear it was variegated thread but it's not. Sorry the photos are not so good, but these are the quilts I really liked. Some were completed by the group as raffle prizes, but most completed by individuals.
until you look closely.

I joined the Horsham Quilt group this year... it's nice to meet with other like-minded people! Boy 2 goes to care while I go the quilting group... perfect!

3. Boy 1 turns six
How can he be 6 already??? Considering we moved to Horsham when I was pregnant, that means we've been here more than 6 years. Oh goodness time flies.
We had such a fun party... trains, trains and trains.

What a cake!
I made a Thomas from a cardboard box, and linked him to some troublesome trucks! We travelled by train from our neighbours garage to our back yard station. Boy 1 in Thomas, friends and Boy2 in the trucks!

There are lots more photos of course! But in the interests of not putting kids photos on the Internet, that'll do.

2. who can have kids, without having sickness?
Boy 2 has been sick, not really sick, just annoyingly sick, and consequently not sleeping well, and grumpy and irritable - what fun for Mum!.
A couple of weekends ago we had a quick trip to Melbourne. We dropped the boys in Ballarat where they stayed in a caravan park with Nan and Pa... with the unit being right beside the indoor pool, jumping castle, playground and picnic table. What more could 2 boys want? Well they got it... pancakes for breakfast, and a trip to the Ballarat Wildlife Park where they got to feed and touch the animals. Amazing. (Thanks Nan and Pa!). Meanwhile, hubby and I went to the unit to do final jobs, spend 2 hours waiting for our dinner at an Indian restaurant (not a good night for a long wait - we were both hungry and grumpy - how romantic!). After a very full-on Friday evening and even more full-on Saturday morning, we met up with the boys in Ballarat.
Boy 2 has a cold - his nose was a tap that we couldn't turn off, and of course I had packed Neurofen, Panadol and lots of different ointments etc. but not the cold medication!
It seemed to clear up over the next few days and then WHAM! along came the gastro! on the morning of Boy 1's birthday, when I had the day to myself to set up because Boy 1 was going to day care. Oh great... I had a helper... ALL day. Wonderful timing...!
So far it's been cold, gastro, cold, gastro for boy 2 ... and then boy 1 says "I've got a sore tummy". Oh no. Yep Boy 1 got sick too. And now, guess what? I feel sick... I'm only mentioning it because living in a house of boys I don't expect a lot of sympathy at home!

and the top reason for not blogging....?
... like I need more...!

1. we're moving house, to Melbourne, at the end of June.
Oh oh.
Packing up the house...
Oh oh.
how did we accumulate so much stuff - and two kids - in just six years?????

Hubby has a new job, so Melbourne here we come. When people ask where, I say, do you know Chadstone shopping centre? near there! The irony being that I am not a shopping centre lover at all. As in, not at all. It has been an extremely stressful process so far, and still is, as we try to sort out a house to live in. And the timing is not exactly perfect. We became aware of the possibility of this move the day before Boy 1's first orientation visit to school. He will see out Term 2, but have to deal with big changes in his first year at school, as will I! It will be so weird to do drop off and pick up and not know anyone... even for a social person like me, that will be a challenge.
Ah, but Nan and Pa are close by... and Aunty Fi and my beautiful nephew. and lots of other family and friends too. That will be great. And the amazing Ashburton YMCA swimming pool - there's a small enclosed waterslide for up to 12 year olds! Within a kind of playground in the swimming pool - wahoo! For a water-loving family, this will be fabulous. And I've already met a new friend, Jan, how amazing and small is the quilting world? I'm so looking forward to spending time with Jan... and of course, seeing Sewjourn for myself!
Fingers crossed all the rest sorts itself out soon.

Now, am I excused from not blogging?

I hope to prioritise it more in the next few months, but who knows?

Our family steps out into the unknown together...

This must surely be the longest blog-post ever. No wonder I haven't been able to get to it!