December 25, 2012

Christmas Day

A time for family and friends 


A time that bridges generations.

This HAS to be the Photo of the Week
A story with Great Grandpa.



Christmas Eve....

Hey!
Someone left some Milk out....

Therefore it must be mine....


December 14, 2012

Butterflies....

Block 1 - NOW finished!... for me Butterflies have come to signify New Beginnings, and so - as I  progressed along the journey that I have been travelling over the past 2 years -It seemed appropriate that I add some to my version of Heart's Desire.

I started last November by placing a ring of Fussy Cut Butterflies around my Centre Block.
And drawing from a lesson I learnt in Cake Decorating that also applies to Quilting...

If you  make a mistake...
.... Embellish it!
(Ok that's Craft-speak
for "Cover it up")

in this case I had a stem that had lost it's leaf.. and rather than remove it and unbalance the block - I balanced a Butterfly on it instead.

That reminded me that I was going to allow a few more of these beauties to alight where they pleased.

And just to let you in on my little secret....
I have been using this beautiful print called Kiyomi Butterflies from Red Rooster Fabrics.

I haven't finished with them yet,
and I'm not telling where I plan to place them next..

After all - this is a mystery quilt!





December 9, 2012

Together at Last.....

 I have placed the last stitches
 in the last leaf
on the last block,
 so at last
 I can say...
the Centre is done!

....now 
on to the borders!

December 4, 2012

Christmas Baking #1

It is the time of year when the family starts coming home and writing "Christmas Break-up" on the Wall planner.  This is the cue for me to start dusting off the Christmas Recipe books.

First request for this year was ...
"Mum, can you make a Gluten Free Christmas Pudding and can I have it for Tuesday?"
My (predictable) response was "Of course you can" whilst remembering back to my childhood when the lady down the road started making her Christmas puddings on Boxing Day (January 26) for the next year.
That meant I was about 11 months late!

I like a steamed pudding for Christmas but the thought of having the steamer going for up to 6 hours on a 40 deg C day does not fill me with any enthusiasm. BUT... whilst trawling the Internet for Gluten Free Pudding recipes I found a tip that confirmed what I had been wondering for a while...
You CAN make a steamed Pudding in a Slow Cooker - Fantastic!
No hot steamy kitchen and no boiled dry pots!

So armed with a recipe from one of my (not so dusty) cookbooks,
I swapped the flour for Gluten Free,
I raided the pantry, and used some mixed fruit that had been soaking in Grand Marnier,
I set to work and made......
5 individual steamed Gluten (and Egg) Free Christmas Puddings.

Then had some fun with DS#2 and his new camera to make my little pudding look like it came from a fancy recipe book!

November 29, 2012

Getting Organised Pt 2...

Like so many other crafty folk - storing your treasures is one thing....
Being able to get at them easily is quite a different story!

Most of us find that everything gets shoved in boxes - and sometimes those boxes are neat and small and clear - easy to see inside and not too heavy to lift.



But - in the case of all good stories (get that? store - ies...  Oh never mind....)
- the thing you want is ALWAYS in the bottom box!
And that bottom box was ALWAYS inaccessible.

Solution No. 2 to the problem I had was found in the shape of .....



DRAWERS..

These ones are by
(Aussie Company) Oats

and the good thing about this storage solution is that if the thing you want is on the bottom....


Just pull out the drawer....

or

better still.....

Take it out completely and go sort through your stash for those colours you need..

With an internal measurement of 12" x 16" it is very easy to fit those treasured fabric lengths.


I also have one of these in the top cupboard with all our First Aid stuff in it - so when a band-aid is needed urgently - we just pull the drawer out and are good to go where ever it is needed.

AND they make a VERY neat solution to the mess that was underneath my work table.




November 21, 2012

Shake a Tail Feather....

Which is what I am going to have to do if I am going to get this Quilt finished in time for it's appointment with the Quilter!

Ever since I first started working on "Sing Me a Song" with my little 'Steampunk' style Bird, I just felt that he was missing something.

I set about asking, searching, drafting, photographing and googling in the search of a suitable 'rear end' for my bird.

Finally coming up with this wing and tail combination.

Don't worry --- I didn't destroy my block
I had a 'brilliant idea' !
(Well, I thought it was brilliant)
I photocopied the block,
Then cut out the pieces I wanted to alter - all without removing a single stitch.

I also copied the fabric that I wanted to use.

At 100% scale and in Colour, it gave me the advantage of "Having my fabric... and using it too!"

and what's more....
When I fussy cut out a piece and it didn't look right...
I just stuck it back into the page and cut out another one!

As you can see, my fabric would have been quite a mess in the quest to find the perfect Tail-Feathers.

Now I think That looks better!


And he can continue to sing to his little Heart's Desire!



November 15, 2012

I Spy.....

It has been finished and carefully wrapped up for ages, and now I can finally share with you the completed I Spy Quilt that I had been working on.

The problem with making a quilt for someone who you know has read your Blog, is that you can't post about it - or show it off - until it has been given....

It is intended to be a play-mat with lots of things for the 3 older children to find and teach the new arrival as she grows.  And in true play tradition -  I chose a backing of deep blue with silver stars so it can become a canopy of starlit Night Sky.

Did they like it?
Well, I think little Willow looks a bit ticked off that the older siblings had appropriated it so soon...


The last I saw of it - it was draped above the dining room chairs, underneath was stuffed full with every cushion in the house and a giggle of girls!

November 7, 2012

Getting Organised Pt 1

I like to be organised... 
this is a task that I fail miserably at... 
but I keep trying.

I know there will be LOTS of crafty ones out there that have already come to the same conclusion that I did last week... So I am going to share this with those of you who haven't!

And that is .....  Scrapbooking Paper Storage Boxes make ...

AWESOME block boxes!


 And Work in Progress Boxes!



And
"I bought all the fabric - Now what am I going to do with it?" Boxes....



And...
UFO boxes!


Ok, maybe that one isn't technically a UFO - it's more of a
"I bought a Kit and haven't had time and /or space to get back to it without interruptions" box
- but that doesn't fit on the label!

....you get the idea!
And they all stack up nicely.
(Can't show you a pic. of that 'cause I only have one box)
Yep.... real organised!

November 1, 2012

Cat in the Hat rescues Quilt...

This time last week I posed two questions, and received some great suggestions back, but ultimately it was my decision.
And that decision was..... 
...Pull it out - and do it again!

My Dad would say, If a job is worth doing it is worth doing well, and that applies to Quilting as much as it does to your daily 'Desk Job'.
So the Orange got tossed in the Scrap basket and the search began for the right fabric.

I was chatting to the ever helpful team from Logan's when I spied the "THAT'S IT" fabric sitting on the back of the stand at the craft show last Saturday.

This Dotty Blue Background from the Cat in the Hat range was perfect for the style of Quilt that I wanted to achieve.

The blocks went together reasonably well considering the (hideous) amount of bias seams that were involved.

...I saw a bug... and I jumped on it.....
The family all like the new colour scheme  and have been making comments about what it could represent -
(it even got Spike's seal of approval).



But the best came from DS#2 who stated :-

"Mum - That's what happens when you drop a "Bugs in Bottles" Quilt!



October 25, 2012

Curve Challenge Pt 2

I have cut out all the pieces for the blocks, some of which were rather tight curves, so when the standard small rotary cutter couldn't handle to job - I went looking for something smaller.  I found this at Spotlight in the Scrapbooking section.
Works for me (and Rita - my Hand Model)

The piecing is going together wonderfully with the help of the "Curve Master" accessory that I pulled out from the 'useless gadget' drawer.


The problem that I am having is:

1.  The fabric that I bought to use as background takes up (OK - shrinks) when I touch it with the iron - not to mention when it gets wet. - I know - I should have pre-washed it, but the test piece didn't shed dye when I tested it so I forgot to check to see if it had shrunk as well.  I also SHOULD have realised something was not quite right when I couldn't line up the selvedges!

2.  I think it may be a little bit TOO Orange - and that Blue would have been a better choice, after all the design is intended to be an Island.

So what do I do?

I can cut my losses on some rather not-cheap fabric and redo the background. - Wash and re-cut/re-use the fabric in something else.
OR
Continue on with the project, and Quilt the daylights out of the background in the hope that it may stay put when the quilt is washed.

So you can see my dilemma - In the meantime it stays on the floor, threatening to become a UFO until I can decide what to do!

Hmmm.. Any Suggestions??


October 22, 2012

No, seriously.......


... I am just trying to get to the QANTAS terminal!

Photo from The Hume Leader News
An Eastern Grey Kangaroo was found wandering on level 5 of Melbourne International  Airport (Tullamarine) Car park  this morning.  Staff, once alerted to his presence, cordoned off the area and called Wildlife Victoria, who tranquilised the bewildered 'roo before taking him off to a vet for a checkup prior to releasing him back into the bush.

I am sorry to advise my international readers that this is not a common occurrence, and usually the only Kangaroos at Tullamarine Airport are the flying variety!

But, having driven up onto Level 5 of that car park - It leaves me wondering ... How on earth did he get that far without being noticed?

Hmmm - was he was heading for 'Departures' ?
- maybe he'd just arrived!


October 18, 2012

Curve Challenge

Well, I suppose - seeing that I suggested the Challenge, I'd better participate, so when I found this really fun fabric - with lots of curvy bits on it - I just HAD to have some.


A couple of Shows ago, I bought a template set for a "Snake's Trail" block, and I thought this was just the project to use it.  

To get the idea 'down on paper' I had a play in EQ6.  But first had to draw up a block so that I could play with the design.
It was worth the time it took when the alternative was drawing and colouring each idea separately - over and over again!
(Oh yes, definitely - been there done that!)

Cutting the pieces individually is time consuming but I was able to place the template more precisely and cut out enough blocks from what was actually - not enough fabric.
One trick I did come up with was to number each block, then cut the pattern apart and pin them to the blocks as they were being cut and constructed.  

Well, at least I'll be able to see which bit now gets sewn to what and hopefully not get in too much of a muddle. 

That being said - I had better get on with actually making the top, before my time runs out!


October 10, 2012

A little tweaking in the garden......

My garden is a little over run at the moment and in need of a Spring Clean.  We have, what the Garden Gurus refer to as 'rooms' in our garden.  Places that invite you to wander over for a closer look... well that's the theory anyway!

This week we worked on the 'Japanese Garden'.
as you can see...it is a little sad and a bit of a mess.


The Violets have started to show up again after DH's futile attempt at pulling them out, the path is full of weeds and the Japanese Maples have overgrown it so far - that it is unusable.

Maybe we could look at it from a different angle?

OH.. That looks so much more intimidating!  
And several cups of tea later.... 

DH decided not to prune the trees... 
No .....
 He decided..... 
to ...
...move the path!
Ummm?  ... yes ... 
Of course you do!

Fortunately, it has been a wet winter and the turf came up easily.  With much walking back and forth, the new course was mapped out. And the bricks, (yep. recycled house bricks from our extension years ago) were carefully belted back into submission.

Laying a path with recycled house bricks is never a straightforward affair, especially when it has to be curved and that no bricks are to be 'harmed in the process' - so no cutting of bricks to make life easier!

I have lost  count of how many bricks I have laid over the years and how many times the paths have been re-coursed, re-designed or tweaked.  This time I have handed my mallet to my DH and DS#1 so maybe...just maybe... they will understand why I have said NO MORE!

This time I was quite happy to work in my most favourite spot of all in the garden.



Behind the trees and under their canopy of soft new leaves, at the back of the garden bed is -

My Secret Garden.
It is a magic place where you can allow your imagination a little freedom.
And a place I am sure in time, young visitors to my garden will discover all by themselves.


In the meantime, there is still the Azaleas and Hellebores, along with my long suffering Vireyas that have been languishing in their pots to plant....


and we work hard to make this magic place -



-  just a little more magical.









October 3, 2012

Dragonflies and Batiks

Last week I posted about the perils of not washing your Batik Fabric, and this week I'll show off what I was doing with them, now that the quilt top is finished.

When I found this beautiful fabric at my LQS I knew it HAD to be turned into a Stained Glass Window!

So I chose some Batik fabric to match... and washed them (actually I was more concerned about them shrinking than shedding dye.)


And decided to try out a new pattern, before I cut into the fabric that came in the kit.


The pattern went together well, and although the sashing is actually too wide for a real Stained Glass, it still looks pretty good - although at 56" x 50" it is a small quilt.


(Yes, You have seen this quilt before)
It stayed on the floor for a bit and I realised, for what I was after, it needed a border, so it was decided (my family often has input into what they would like or what would look ok for where the quilt is eventually going to end up - ie Who is going to claim it when it is done)


And this is the result.  Personally I think the border is a little wide, but after doing all the math and then sewing it on..... It can stay there!

Now all that is needed is to work out how to quilt it!
Any suggestions???






September 27, 2012

...and don't let anyone tell you

..... that Batiks do not need to be washed!


I have had conversations with people at Fabric Shops - both humorous and deadly serious about the necessity to pre-wash Batiks.

I think this speaks for itself!

Had I thought sooner, I am quite sure that I could have easily dyed a couple of meters of fabric a lovely shade of pale pink while rinsing this one meter piece!