31 December 2011

2011 - The Year in Review

I have found that writing a Blog is very much like writing a Journal that you allow others to read. Some entries are fascinating to others and Some are only relevant to the writer.
It also gives an opportunity to look back and review the Year that Was...
So - What DID I get up to this year?

March 2011
I took a big deep breath, Pressed "Publish" 
and entered the world of Online Blogging

The reason behind starting a Blog
was to document my progress with my First Mystery Quilt
"Heart's Desire"

With a lot of encouragement from new on-line friends
I participated in my first Link-up with
WOW (Work on Wednesday)
First task to get the Blog working properly!

And YES, it was "On the List"
DH and I Celebrated our 30th Wedding Anniversary
with a night out at Gilbert & Sullivan's MIKADO

11 Posts this month must mean that I am becoming more comfortable with sharing "what I Do"
and I realise I can help others by writing tutorials.

was a Huge month - Physically and Emotionally 
and yet Sewing was still high on the agenda, 
this time making a Costume for my Son to wear to an event he was working at.
*note: 7 years later... this post is still my most viewed

My Twin Sons turned 21
And had a WOW of a Party with a Steampunk Theme

Working on a Challenge piece for my Janome Group 
I discovered that not all rulers are created equal
- or is it just a little worn out?

I shared a Family outing to the Strawberry Farm 
on Melbourne's Mornington Peninsula
And it was Good!

Ah - November was VERY memorable for all the wrong reasons
That will teach me for being in a hurry to get to a Craft Show!

A time for Family and Celebration and Reflection

Merry Christmas Everyone
and See you in the New Year.

Happy New Year

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
Give me a light that I might tread safely into the unknown.
And he replied – 
Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to thee – better than a light and safer than a known way.
                                                      M. Louise Haskins

29 December 2011

Look what the Postman brought me.........

Under the Australian Sun #2.....
 .....I have had this on order - sight unseen - since before Christmas, and it certainly does not disappoint. Ordering a fabric line sight unseen may be deemed risky by some

but I knew if  "Australian Sun #2" was anything like the first instalment it would be awesome, especially when I was told that it was going to feature Full Scale Aussie Butterflies!
I chose the blue colourway for these pieces.

...and the Violet/Purple for the main fabric.
(I know - the photo looks Navy but it is actually Purple)
Those flowers are Banksias and Clematis with some 'Happy Wanderer' thrown in

...now all I need to do is....

Work out what I am going to make with it!

27 December 2011

Boxing Day -

...the day after Christmas is the time that my DH's family all get together.  This year it was held at the home of one brother who lives in a regional town less than an hour out of Melbourne.  Having 4 1/2 acres gives the family plenty of space to........

Catch up with ALL the Family - Well, most of them anyway.  (This year we only had 42.)
Participate in the traditional Boxing Day Test Match.
Cricket at it's finest where the only rule is... If you are caught - by anyone including Uncle on the deck - You are OUT!

Exchange Gifts.
(This year "Santa" had 3 Elf helpers - 'cause his back isn't quite what it used to be.....)

and  whose idea was it to start the After Gift Paper Fight?  ......... Oh yeah Aunty Helen!

The Boys got to play with their toys.....

.....and Oh Look - Uncle John has a Helicopter tree!

While everyone else decided to go down to the dam and see if the Yabbies were biting...

They were.......
.......We caught them...... (DD actually caught 4 - not bad seeing she had never been yabbying before.)

....... and we BBQ'd them! And they were delicious!!

A wonderful day was had by all......  Now who is hosting it next year?

28/12/11 Footnote:  Yabbie - A small freshwater crayfish that live in rivers, streams and dams.  Found across Victoria, Western NSW, South Western QLD and Eastern South Australia.   

25 December 2011

Family time - Christmas Day

What can I say? Today was a day to remember!
...well it certainly finished with a light show and a bang! Thunder storms rolled in across Melbourne in the afternoon bringing damaging hail.
We were fortunate that we are quite protected from the extremes of these kind of Summer storms where we are and "only" got pelted with these hailstones -some were not so fortunate, with cars and property being damaged by hail the size of my lens cap!

But back to earlier in the day.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I was hosting my family Christmas lunch.  With a guest list of 14 plus 2 toddlers a buffet lunch is the best option.

I am very glad that I did a lot towards today in advance.  Deciding to cook the meat last night and have it cold with hot veggies worked a treat and certainly took a lot of pressure off the cook!
The meal was deemed to be 'The Best' and a last minute visitor (who would have been spending the day alone) commented it was Just the Christmas she had wanted.
(Isn't that what every hostess likes to hear?)

Tree time had a new helper with Great Nephew #1 helping DH (who was 'playing Santa') deliver the gifts.

Tomorrow we are off to visit my DH's side of the family.......

....and That's why there's a Christmas Day

Today is my first Christmas post.
It is a time when Friends and Family join together and celebrate  - But what is it that we are actually celebrating?
Could we all spare a minute or two today to remember the reason for the Season.  Perhaps the Hymn we used to sing in Sunday School sums it up.... 

When I was just a youngster Christmas meant one thing
that I'd be getting lots of toys that day!
I learned a whole lot different when Mother sat me down
and taught me to spell Christmas - this way....
C - is for the Christ Child - Born upon this day
H - for Herald Angels in the Sky
R - is MY Redeemer
I - for Israel
S - is for  the Star that shone so bright
T - is for The Wise Men, they who travelled far
M - is for the Manger where He lay
A - is ALL He stands for
S - means Shepherds came
and That's why there's a Christmas Day
and That's why there's a Christmas Day!

May The Lord Bless you and Keep you. Where ever you are.

21 December 2011

WOW - Is it that time again?

The sewing has been packed up - out of harms way, and I now have a rather large space in the back room.  I hope the family does not become accustomed to it!
Underneath the tree (yes, it's a real one) is my bag of goodies from my stocking swap partner.  I have been VERY good and not peeked - well, maybe a squish & sniff before going into the sack - but that WAS allowed!
On the shelf are my beautiful Postcards that I have received as part of the "We are the World" challenge I participated in this month.  The last 2 arrived in this morning's mail.

I have been a VERY busy with the Christmas Goodies today.
The Christmas Cake - which should have been baked 2 months ago is finally done and cooling....

... beside the Walnut & Candied Peel Tartlets that I made yesterday.  These, I understand just need lashings of fresh cream! 
And the Mince Pies which still need to be iced with some fondant stars 

along with the 'bucket' of Gingerbread Cookies that DD made on Sunday.  
(She made Shortbread too).

The custard for the Ice cream is absolutely perfect and has just finished in the Ice cream machine. This is going to be made into a giant version of a Mango / Macadamia Weiss Bar.

And .... what do you do with all those left over Egg Whites?
Make a Pavlova of Course!

Oh I am SO enjoying having an oven that works!

PS:  It is my turn to host my Family's Christmas Lunch - Just a small gathering - 4 Generations around the table.  That is 14 Adults and 2 Toddlers.  Then the next day, It is on to My DH's family Doo, where 35 - 40 is not unheard of.... Oh the Pressies under THAT tree is a sight to behold! - Maybe I will give you a peek at THIS Aussie Christmas next week.

15 December 2011

Always a Work in Progress.....

Today's WOW sees me showing off my space.  I don't call it my Sewing Room - because I don't sew in here.  It is my "Shed".  It started life as a place my DH could study in when he was at Uni.  Like all backyard bungalows - it turned into the dumping ground for all the Stuff you can't fit in the house and won't throw away.

A couple of years ago I decided to 'commandeer it' - do it up and use it for a sewing studio. It worked well - until the foundations started to sink!

The inevitable happened and the space was no longer something to be proud of and things were getting harder to locate.

I knew exactly where they were ---I just couldn't get at them!

And of course - all that neat and tidy space meant that other stuff just had somewhere else to live!
Then when DS#1 decided to do a Music Degree he thought it was a good place to practice his Tenor Saxophone.
All that fabric makes good acoustic insulation. Oh well, at least it got him out of the house - I just hope the neighbours like Jazz.

THAT was until last Saturday when we came across some bookcases on clearance at Officeworks.  How many would we need? Did I really want to be doing this 2 weeks before Christmas - with my ankle not healed???

Why not? -- They ARE very cheap.

It has taken all week but...

Who would have thought that 3 little bookcases would achieve so much?


 ....and the top of the bench --
  ............and the cupboards!

and now I may actually be able to use my over-locker.

It's looking good once again - -  
    except...... Oh well........
doesn't every one have to share their space -
                         - with Garden furniture and a Musician?

7 December 2011

"The Roo Arrived"

Well, that is good to hear!
Last week I posted that I was working on a Fabric Postcard Challenge.  The theme "We are the World" was a difficult one to work with...
How DO you make a topic like that out of fabric that is restricted to 6" x 4" ?

Julie's Card to GraceSome chose to make a Globe and surround it with figures, This is Julie's card she sent to Grace.

Others decided to add an extra line to the challenge title
 ..... "And this is my part of it!"
I chose to go with this option..

I decided on symbols that are universally recognised as Australian.  Those in the 'know' would instantly recognise the Australian Aboriginal Flag.

The symbolic meaning of the flags colours are:
Black:   Represents the Aboriginal People of Australia.
Red:     The Red Earth, the Red Ochre and a Spiritual relationship with the Land.
Yellow:  Represents the Sun. Giver of Life and Protector.

I also used the Stars of our National Flag - The Southern Cross.  To me this represents Home.

A Kangaroo?  Who in the World does not know that Kangaroo's and Gum leaves are Australian???

The mini quilt was satin stitched onto a card with Gold thread and Green in the bobbin, then sent "Naked" through the post.  I posted them on Tuesday afternoon and the first one arrived in Canada 3 days later!

Also during the week I have been doing some fine tuning on my Blog - I have changed the wallpaper for Summer added a Greeting to the sidebar and a New page.
I understand that not everyone wants to comment on a specific posting so I created a place to leave a greeting or just an autograph.
So don't be shy - sign the 'Visitors Book'

3 December 2011

A delightful evening

You walk into a beautiful venue with perfect acoustics, you sit and listen
 - eyes closed to a string Orchestra playing
 Transylvanian Tango by Zac Wallmark and
William Hofeldt's Soaring Spirit.  

It is only when you open your eyes you remember that the piece was being played ....by children. The youngest just 5 or 6 years old.

It is followed by the older group - The Youth Orchestra - playing Robert W. Smith's Into the Storm and Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain.

I decided to concentrate my lens on the hands of these talented musicians - - 

Every hour of practice, every minute of rehearsal is worth every second.............