31 December 2016

2016 - The Year that was.

The Year got off to a melting start with 44⁰ C temperatures
and a good reason not to be outside!

Was the time to start on those UFOs
One down and One into the THB (Too hard basket)

Another UFO finished,
taming the pile of scraps in the sewing room and the weeds at DD's home

I took you on a tour of the Royal Exhibition Buildings in Carlton

Volunteering for way to many projects at once
An Anniversary, Book launch, Mothers Day and Starting a new quilt
What was I thinking?

A good month for adding to my knitting wool stash, 
Baking, working on WIPs and finishing PhDs

To celebrate our 'Coral' (35th) Wedding Anniversary
A trip to the Great Barrier Reef
and meeting up with Quilter friends as well!

Cake decorating and Stencilling with the Scan 'n Cut

Welcome to Spring!

Finally getting to the "Making of the Australian Quilt" exhibition
 to see the Rajah Quilt 

The hand stitching is done, borders are on.
"My Istanbul" is finished and back from being Custom Quilted.

I have been sharing "Who I am and What I do" with you for 6 years now 
and I have also shared the important things that happen around me.
In those same 6 years Our Beautiful DD has been working on her PhD (Chemistry)
She finally graduated - It was a Happy Day!

As I have prepared this "Year in Review" I have thought back and remembered all the things that happened that I haven't written about.  
It has been a VERY busy year, and next year?
... I will keep you posted.

Bye for now and may you have a Safe and Happy New Year.


I thought this was the photo of the day -
Thank you Thrifty Car hire ... The impossible was achievable.
(That was a LOT of weeds)

And then we passed this tree
a massive broken branch
they fall without a sound, without warning -
 Known in Australia as a "Widow Maker"
was this my photo of the day?

And as we neared closer to home
we encountered a little bit of water across the road ...

so we stopped and surveyed the scene in front of us.
The spillway at Edwards Lake in Reservoir 
was unable to cope with the volume of water.

I have never seen it with much more than a trickle, 
behind that fence is a 10 foot drop which is now full of water 
and overflowing the road.

It certainly was a LOT of water
Water aerobics anyone?

If it was this bad here - we wondered what Coburg Lake looked like
a small diversion to see perhaps
The photos of the day

The spillway

The bike path under the bridge.

Yes, we got a bit of rain yesterday.

26 December 2016

Boxing Day tradition

Christmas is a time to re-connect with family and friends.
The day after Christmas is my DH family's day.  

Traditions set years ago carried on in wonder by the next generation.

Believe it or not - these two were our "Santa's Elves" this year and they did a wonderful job.

The traditional Boxing Day Test match starts at the MCG and our Backyard match has carried on through the years.

Some of the 'kids' have just never grown up!

And the younger ones?
Well they may have just created their own New Tradition -
Backyard Fencing !

Take THAT Uncle Danny!

It was a very happy Day - see you all Next Year.

24 December 2016

Christmas Eve - Be careful what you wish for...

Our family started a "Giftser" account this year which has proved to be quite successful.
Happy faces and smiles when wished for gifts were received (instead of those puzzled
"What am I going to do with this?" expressions.)

My wish list included a letter to "Santa" which went like this....

Santa, I already have a bike but something with 4 wheels would be nice oh and could it have working Air-Conditioning?   ;)

My wonderful DD and her DH gave me just what I asked for - 

They gave me a Lamborghini!

Ooooh and my favourite colour too
... not sure if it has working air-conditioning, 
I will find out when I take it for a spin tomorrow!

20 December 2016

Christmas Countdown continues

Christmas Cake
Baked and Decorated?

Done ✔

It really helps when you have an "it will do" Flower Spray on hand.
If stored correctly sugar-paste flowers don't 'go off' and you can reuse them.

This one is being recycled from my Father's 90th Birthday. 

19 December 2016

Last minute shopping

The shopping centre was oddly quiet for the last week to shop before Christmas broken only by the occasional announcement and the strains of Christmas Carols  

* * *

Well, what can I say other than - 
I don't think his Mum had this in mind 
when she took him to all those Saxophone lessons! 

or perhaps it is an
"Uber Ninja Jazz Saxophonist"
that is hiding in a tree?

18 December 2016

The Great Christmas Eve BBQ dinner test drive...

Christmas in Australia is in the middle of Summer and this year we are expecting a hot 30ยบ C. So the 'traditional' Northern Hemisphere hearty meal is not really appropriate.

Freshly caught Tasmanian Salmon and large Prawns looked so enticing at the supermarket today I thought it would be an idea to give our new-ish BBQ a test run for a Seafood dinner this year.

Heat up the Webber, add some potatoes and close the lid.

This sounds like MY kind of Christmas Dinner - no heating up the Kitchen or the lingering aroma of food long after the dishes are done.

While that was cooking, I sauteed some Zucchini and Carrot ribbons in Butter and threw in some Pomegranate seeds for a bit of Christmas colour.

And the verdict?
The Salmon was perfect and would cook it this way again,
the prawns went in too soon so unfortunately they were a bit overcooked and in future, I would serve boiled potatoes - but then, this IS why it was a 'test run' after all!

Now... What's for Dessert?

17 December 2016

Another thing off the list ...


It has turned out to be one of THOSE weeks!

14 December 2016

What can I say?

We are SO proud of her!

Bachelor of Laws
Bachelor of Science with Honours
Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice

a PhD 

In case you are wondering her Thesis was titled

The pH Dependant Electrochemical, Photophysical and Electrochemiluminescent
Properties of 1,2,4-Triazole Based Iridium(111) complexes.

13 December 2016

A Grand Adventure

Today was an early start after a late night spent packing.
Not my suitcase, this time it is DS#2 who is going off on a grand adventure.
His first time overseas.

First leg - Melbourne to Auckland

We wish him God-speed and a Safe return in 5 weeks time.

24 November 2016

Istanbul - Just a peek

My Istanbul Quilt is back from the wonderful Desley who once again has woven her magic and I am thrilled with the result.
As I have mentioned in previous posts - this is our Wedding gift to our DS#1 and DDIL, so I am not going to show it all off until it is bound!

BUT because I just had to share, here are just a few 'teasers' for those who have been following my progress .....

Outer border

(Here I have strayed from the original pattern in that my borders are not RED.)

The Center medallion

(You have all seen me working on the applique here, so I think it's OK to peek)

and it's outside edge...

(Lots of lovely feathers and pebbles).

I can't wait to show off the finished quilt - but I think there are a couple of people who need to see it first!

2 November 2016

Never a dull moment

Is it ONLY Wednesday?
It seems like it should be much much more!

Since my last blog post my Father had a tumble and broke his wrist landing him in hospital.

Sitting in 'Emergency' was not my idea of a fun Friday night - but I did get a bit of knitting done!

The last few days have been taken up with trips back and forth with my Mother for visits and appointments with the associated medical and Aged Care assistants.

I am REALLY glad I have a simple pattern and a very big ball of wool.

* * *

I did manage to also fit in some sewing.
This time I am trying my hand at making a Jinny Beyer pattern for her Medallion Table Runner.

I came across the age old dilemma of having a "Great Wall of Fabric" and nothing that I could use!

DH walked in and said ...
"This one, this one and ...this - no, THIS one!"
Infuriating isn't it?
But on the bright side - if it doesn't work
It's HIS fault!

29 October 2016

Making the Australian Quilt Exhibition

I have wanted to see the Rajah Quilt ever since I first heard of it - and I was delighted when I discovered it would be in Melbourne as part of the National Gallery of Victoria Exhibition.

"Making the Australian Quilt 1800 - 1950"

The Quilt is named after the convict ship "The Rajah" which set sail from England in 1841 for the penal colonies in Hobart Tasmania.

From 1817 - 1843 Mrs Elizabeth Fry supervised a total of 12,355 female convicts by teaching them Patchwork skills as a respectable trade and occupation for the voyage.

These women were all given:-
a Bible, 2 Aprons, 1 small bag of tape, 1 Once of pins, 100 needles, 9 balls of sewing cotton, 24 hanks of coloured thread, 1 small bodkin, 1 thimble, 1 pair of scissors and 2 pounds of patchwork pieces.

At least 29 of the 179 women prisoners on board the Rajah put their gifts and newly learnt skills to good use by contributing to the making of this remarkable quilt.
It is the only known example of a convict quilt made during transportation to Australia.

The exhibition was well worth the visit and my DD & I spent ages peering at the construction of the blocks and applique and admiring the tiny stitches that held them together.

This incredible quilt was made in 1857 by Mary Jane Tolman and sent as a gift to her brother James, in Hobart.

I could not resist including a close up of the blocks - so vibrant they could have been pieced yesterday!

The quilt contains 6063 paper pieced hexagons and being held with 120 stitches per hexagon - there are three quarters of a million stitches in the quilt!

A letter from the maker to her brother asks if his female friends liked it.....

There were so many beautiful examples of hand worked quilts on display I cannot mention them all (you will have to go and see it for yourself - or buy the book!).

I will leave you with some photographs of just one last exhibit -

How beautiful is this....

Wonderful work
and exceptional fussy cutting...

Put away at the end of the day's sewing,
never to be finished.

Having done white glove duty I know just how fascinating the reverse of a quilt can be I was delighted to discover a photograph of the BACK of the Rajah quilt. This link will take you to further information.

Making the Australian Quilt
National Gallery of Victoria
(Ian Potter Gallery - Federation square)
22nd July - 6th November 2016

24 October 2016

Dear Timeless Treasures.... I am NOT happy.

My Aunt has suffered a Stroke and  I decided to make a quick quilt.
Moving past the ordeal of not being able to find pretty floral prints at any of my LQ Stores I chose something that I liked and hoped she would too.
* * *
I chose a pattern that I could QAYG. Carefully fussycut all my blocks and sashing and sat to sew my first block - a 'sample' before chain piecing the rest.
Everything was going beautifully, I pressed the seams to the dark side and picked up the next piece to add and.... WHY did it not fit?

In all the years I have been sewing I have NEVER found a fabric that actually shrank when it was pressed - until today!
I showed DD and we did the experiment. First we pressed, and again it shrank - then we spritzed a new block with water and watched in utter disbelief as the corners of the fabric started to curl.  Pressing the block dry with the iron resulted in the fabric shrinking HALF AN INCH across the 9.5" block!

This photo is of 3 of my 9.5" blocks - the furthest away is as it was cut, the middle fabric has been pressed and the closest to the ruler is what I ended up with once it was wet and pressed!

I am FAR from impressed, at $24 a meter, this was not cheap fabric and I bought 5 fabrics in the range, each one tested and with the same results.

Maybe it was a 'one off' issue, so to be fair - I took another length of Timeless Treasures fabric from my stash - removed the selvages and measured it ....

Then to simulate the worst treatment this fabric would endure (in it's life as a table runner) washed it in warm to hot water
-I was surprised to see how much dye was shed - and then ironed it dry.

The result was a loss of 2 inches across the width of the fabric.

In my opinion, 5% shrinkage across the width of the fabric (the length was unaffected), would not result in a good looking and enduring finished product.

Oh horror! What about those folk you see in Quilt shops that buy this fabric to make clothing from ????

* * *
So dear Timeless Treasures - you have lost this customer.
I am left with the wonderful task of washing / pre-shrinking and pressing a substantial amount of *4 1/2" blocks, re-cutting or re-drafting what was a simple and quick pattern to enable me to use the reduced sized fabric or put it all in the too hard basket and waste the $120.00 that the fabric cost.

Worst of all - my Aunt will not have her quilt any time soon.

*Footnote -
The 4 1/2" blocks are now 4 1/4" x 4 1/2"
The 9 1/2" blocks are 9" x 9 1/2"
and my sashing... a beautiful Duck Egg Blue Moda solid - They are still as cut