November 27, 2014

Bali Wedding Star - Progress report.

"Where was I?"
That question - is the one I ask myself every time I pick up this project.


Then I lay out the blocks
- YET AGAIN
... and thank whoever it was that suggested I make a "MAP" of this quilt.
(Thanks again DH).



It certainly made it a lot easier to keep my colours in the right order while sewing the small blocks into bigger blocks.


And when you find that you are walking around the house 
trying to find SOMEWHERE to lay this quilt out - 

It's time to "look outside the box"

Or in my case - The House.
It was a beautiful day outside and all I had to do to access all that floorspace was move a couple of chairs and sweep the deck!

All my enthusiasm soon evaporated when I realised I had not been too careful when lining up my seams.

Some people say
"It doesn't matter" -
I am afraid - for me -
It DOES matter!

So out with the unpicker
and
"Do the Frog Stitch"

c a r e f u l l y - unpick each stitch

and sew them back together again.

This time it is much better - still not perfect - but considering this fabric frays like crazy everytime I touch it - It will have to do.



So now the quilt is back on the floor 
and I am CAREFULLY sewing the blocks into diagonal rows.
And I have realised that - it is really going to need the Flying Geese Border.....

November 21, 2014

Flowers on Friday - Jacobean Lily

Jacobean Lilies always remind me of my other Grandmother
- The One with the Green Thumbs that extended all the way to her elbows!
The One who was "Closest to God when she was in the Garden".

I always admired them and when I asked were they hard to grow - her reply?
Oh No - These things will grow on a Tip!

These plants came from THAT garden.
They have been dug up, thrown in a corner, into a pot with no dirt other than what was pulled up with them, neglected, mowed over, forgotten.
Yet they still bloom and without fail - when I am greeted by this vibrant splash of Red I remember my Nan and her Garden that was full of unusual and fascinating plants.

So, when I had an opportunity to make one from Sugarpaste -
how could I not try?

However, this flower proved difficult for me, I could not get my flower paste to work properly and I got despondent with my inability.

I was packing up my kit when the demonstrator noticed - she came over, gave me some of her paste and encouraged me to try again.

What a difference that new paste made!
Until then I had no idea that I needed to find a paste that suited ME!

I came home with a flower (that looked vaguely like it should), a ton of enthusiasm and a desire to learn more.



November 14, 2014

Flowers on Friday - Grevillea

Grevilleas are great plants for an Aussie Garden.
They look after themselves, require little to no pruning (unless you need to keep them in shape) have beautiful blooms and survive on rainfall.

I have several in my garden.  This one is Molly, she has a compact growth making it suitable for small gardens and it loves to be cut back after flowering.

(Just as well, as it is growing beside the path!)



It is also a favourite with the Birds...

New Holland Honeyeater having breakfast ...






and a Wattlebird pops in for Lunch.







November 12, 2014

Monogram Challenge

This month the Janome 6500 Challenge Group were challenged to create a MONOGRAM using the inbuilt TEXT feature of our machines.


The biggest challenge for me was actually making the time to do the piece.
When it was finished, due to the size of the inbuilt letters, it hardly looked like a monogram at all.


So I set about to try my hand at something a bit more elaborate, and for me - much more challenging.

Free Motion Embroidery in a Hoop.

I found a suitable font on the computer, enlarged it and transferred the letter onto some stabilizer.
The hoop is just one I found in the back of the cupboard from another lifetime ago when I tried my hand at embroidery.

Placing it under the needle before putting the FMQ foot on gave me the clearance I needed.


I then set about squiggling and swirling and generally having a lot of fun 'colouring in' the outline.

I was rather surprised that it was working so well
- for a FIRST try!

Especially seeing my FMQ-ing skills are - not so wonderful
And I was using Metallic thread!


Now comes the FUN part!

In another first I used DISSOLVABLE Stabilizer.

I barely had time to snap this photo as the stabilizer disappeared in the warm water.

WOW it worked - I am going to have a LOT more fun with this stuff!

Taking it out of the water and reforming it into it's correct shape I could see that I had not quite caught all the threads with my squiggles.

Never mind
- it is a prototype after all.

A quick trim and back under the machine to attach my Initial to a coaster.

No need to pin as the stabilizer had left a tacky residue which held the piece in place.


These challenge pieces didn't take much time at all out of my day.
It did, however, set me off to try something new, there were 3 different things I had never attempted before.

So - Why not challenge yourself to try something new today?

November 7, 2014

Flowers on Friday - Strelitzia Reginae

The Bird of Paradise -
I have always loved these flowers.

These flowers waited at the gate of my Grandmothers house and I knew I could tell them anything.
As a small child they were my friends and confidants.

(Grandmother on the other hand, 
was of the "Children were to be seen and not heard" variety.) 

So when I had my own garden - a "Bird Flower" had to be a part of it.

Their grace and structure is fascinating (just try and make one in Sugar - It's on my 'to do' list).

And when the blooms fade and dry - they bear an uncanny resemblance to a Fraggle!
I still enjoy seeing their Regal aloof-ness as they gracefully peer at me (or the neighbours) from the bottom of my garden.
I have been watching this bloom grow over the past few weeks and it is now as high as the fence - I would estimate the stem is at least 5 foot tall!

I wonder what is so fascinating over the fence that it has chosen to 'keep watch'.
Perhaps it has heard the sound of children playing and is patiently waiting for a conversation that will lead to a lifelong fascination.


It is said that Bird of Paradise Flowers 
are associated with 
Liberty, Magnificence and Good Perspective.

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November 5, 2014

Melbourne Cup Day/Weekend 2014

It is "The Race that stops a Nation" but did it stop me?
Well, yes... I did stop long enough to watch The Melbourne Cup run (turning the TV off just after they crossed the finish line) before returning to ....

Painting - again!
Seems that every chance I get at having DH home for more than 2 days I head up the ladder. This time it is to 'tone down' the bright blue of the now spare bedroom and transform it to a tranquil retreat.  Where I can move my beautiful "sometimes furniture" away from the bustle of the main house. (I do have an 'ulterior motive' but I will have to wait for another long weekend to start THAT project.)

And THIS is the paint I used for the ceiling!
Awesome colour isn't it?
But fear not faint heart - it does not stay bubblegum pink - it dries to a lovely warm white.
Useful little 'trick' so you can see the bits you have missed.

It hasn't all been paintbrushes and rollers -

Sunday I joined my fellow Cake Decorators at the Whittlesea Show where we demonstrated some easy cake decorating on hundreds of Lollipops for the children. And quite a few Mums walked away with ideas and tips for their next birthday party.




The very generous Ladies of the Show Committee put on a wonderful luncheon in the Members rooms for the volunteers.

With an hour drive each way, and 8 hours of demonstrating, saying that I was tired by the time I got home, is putting it mildly!

But it was a lovely day -
                         - sharing 'Who I am... and  What I do' with others.