Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

I do so love these lazy days between Xmas & New Year. Usually we take the opportunity to tackle a largish project at home, but this year I am suffering from a major bout of 'can't-be-bothered-itis' so we've barely left the house. Miss R has been at a friend's for the last few days so I was going to take the opportunity to go to the movies but ........didn't happen.

So what have I done? Well, yesterday I watched the entire 4th season of Mad Men (can't wait for season 5!!). I've also wasted an extraordinary amount of time playing on the Acer tablet I indulged in for Xmas (checking Facebook 15 times an hour does not make it any more interesting) but I have managed to start cutting out fabric for a new quilting project. I do have a couple of others in construction phase but too, too hot for anything but piecing. Actually too hot for anything really. (And why is NYE always so hot???)

I'm also slowly attempting to transfer everything from the ancient desktop computer to the newer Windows 7 laptop but it's not going smoothly. I've discovered that the versions of Microsoft Office and Outlook on the laptop are trial versions only. I've bought a version of Office but it's the student version and doesn't have Outlook. Ok, maybe I can live with only using Gmail & Google calendars....nope, not the same. So still struggling with "what to do??" on that - buying Microsoft Outlook is quite expensive although it has been suggested that I can get an Academic version cheaper. More research you see why I said I'm SLOWLY doing this? At this rate, I might be able to retire the desktop by NEXT Christmas....

Anyway, I wish you all the very best for 2012. I hope it is a good one for you - I know many people will not be sad to see the back of 2011 but it hasn't been that bad for us (2005/2006 & 2008 were much, much worse). The holiday house is going well so far, but I'll save that for another post. And Mum bought us all XLotto tickets for tonight so there's always a possibility of a FANTASTIC new year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas

I know, I haven't blogged for so long! I have had a few things to say but never got around to posting. Right now we're having a tiny family crisis with a very sick family member living interstate. So I'll just wish whoever is reading a very Merry Christmas and I'll be back in the new year sometime.

I'll leave you with this picture of the baby quilt I made for my cousin. She had a little girl a couple of days ago - nearly 9lb! - and hopes to be home on Saturday afternoon. So welcome to the world Baby Abigail.

Monday, November 7, 2011


I had a lovely day yesterday at the Quilt Fair with Theresa and Clare. I bought some fat quarters for my beach themed quilt I'll be making for the holiday house, some new blades and enjoyed checking out the quilts on display. I was quite keen to look at handbag patterns as I have a bit of a handbag fetish and it would be nice to whip up a handbag to match an outfit, as well as great for Christmas presents. So I looked at a few different stalls and bought 2 different patterns.

I wanted to get all I needed from the first stall so I could go home and get started but she had sold out of the important stuff - the bag wadding and the clasp - but I could order it online. Great, just have to add postage. The next one I bought, I decided to buy as the kit, so I knew that everything I needed was included. I also made a point of asking whether the instructions were easy to follow as I can sew, but had never made a handbag before. I needed to buy the wadding seperately but assumed that everything else was there so I could rush home and get that bag started!!

However, I found that I needed fusible webbing, which wasn't included. And the instructions are dreadful - no pictures to show the steps involved. I do know how to read and follow a pattern, but I've had to read each step over and over to try and work out what needs to be done, and I'm convinced that steps are missing. Trying to work out how to attach the base has me quite baffled, as nowhere does it indicate how it gets turned right side out. I've given up and am making it up as I go along! Haven't quite worked out how to attach the lining yet but I'll cobble something together.

So all in all, I'm feeling terribly ripped off....and I can't even show you a picture of progress to date as I'm STILL having trouble uploading pictures to Blogger!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

And here's how the fabric stash turned out

It does look very pretty and neat but I'm still in two minds as to whether it was worth it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Someone must have cut down a tree

Because now we actually have sea views from the kitchen window! Not just sea glimpses (if you stand on tippy toes).

And yes, it's a great view of the neighbours roof. Men were traipsing around on it a few weeks ago, with much measuring going on, so we're pretty certain some solar panels are going to appear on there at some stage.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Face of Misery

Poor old Anzac had a trip to the vet today. And the poor old Visa hasn't recovered yet either. But at least the Visa card doesn't have to have a bucket on its head for the NEXT 10 DAYS. Once Anzac gets over the grogginess, he ain't gonna be happy.

We noticed a couple of days ago that he seemed to be licking his left paw a lot and when I finally got a chance to have a good look, I could see blood, so off we went to the vet. He'd ripped his dew claw, and as he'd done the same thing about 12 months ago (which also involved expensive surgery) the vet suggested we have them removed permanently. Anzac doesn't co-operate at the vet's - he's a very anxious dog and I have the bruised cheekbone to prove it - so he was booked in for today to have the works - both dew claws removed, vaccinations, teeth cleaned and nails clipped, all while under full anesthesia.

He only has one paw bandaged though as that one was oozing a little blood. The vet has used internal stitches so Anzac won't have to go back to have them removed BUT if he manages to pull them out, then it's back under the anesthesia to have them put back in. So the bucket stays ON!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

School Reunion

I have my school reunion coming up next month - 30 years since I did Year 12 (or Matric as it was known then). I've been to reunions in the past, but I really don't keep in touch with any old school friends, apart from the occasional comment on Facebook. So I think I will ignore this was interesting to see what people were doing after 10 years but I can't really sustain the interest after 30 years.

Have you been to a school reunion? Was once enough?

(Funny story - I was chatting with R's psychologist about the social side of school life, and commented about a couple of girls I went to school with who completely intimidated me. Now, the psychologist is completely cool and together and the last person I would imagine being intimidated by anyone, but she confessed that there was a mother at her kid's school that she found completely intimidating - until she had to work with her on a committee and found she wasn't as bad as she thought. The mother? One of the aforementioned girls I went to school with!!)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tidying up the Fabric Stash

A while ago, I saw this really neat idea on someone's blog which made her fabric stash look really tidy. I've been keeping my fabric stash in a big plastic tub but had moved it to my 'quilting shelves'. I wasn't happy though as it just looked really messy.....

(is it just me, or does that shelf looks like it's bowed???)

She had used sheets of plastic cardboard (can't remember the name of the stuff but you get it from hardware stores) to wrap her fabric around and stack it neatly. I found her by clicking on a link from someone's blog, and naturally I can't find it again to give her credit but I gave it a go and this is the result (although I got bored and haven't finished yet).


It certainly looks a lot tidier but I'm in 2 minds as to whether it's worth it. I guess once it's done, it will be quick & easy to maintain.

And here's a sneak peak at the Indigenous Quilt.....just have to stitch the binding down and it is done. A few puckers on the back where I didn't stretch the backing enough, but I have to remember that only *I* see the imperfections....I hope....

Friday, October 14, 2011

Secret Santa

Yes I know it's a little early but my thoughts this morning have turned to Christmas already. I was thinking about the projects I have to finish by Dec 25 you see. I work in a team of 8 people, and 5 of us have school aged children. Only 2 can be on leave at the same time, so you can imagine that the school holidays are hotly contested! This year I got totally discouraged over the typical bunfight (it never seemed to be this difficult in the other team....much better communication, you knew what your team members had planned and there was always a bit of give and take) so I offered to work 3 full days (rather than 5 short days) each week, take 1 day as flex and the other as annual leave. I'll be doing this from early Dec to end Jan, although I do have the days between Xmas & New Year off as well. So I realised this morning that this means that I'll be working on Xmas Eve (which I haven't done for years and years and years) and so will be guilted into participating in the Secret Santa exchange.

So, I'm on the lookout for a simple project that I can make that won't be too geeky or home-made. I was thinking of a "Mug Rug" (mainly because I really don't see the point of them, so it will be a little geeky chic, maybe???) or maybe one of these Fabric Trays to sit on the desk and hold pencils. I don't know who the recipient will be, so it will have to be gender neutral (even though more girls than guys). So if you see a cute & easy project that you think is suitable, send it my way please. Otherwise I'll be gift wrapping a box of Ferroro Rochers on Dec 23rd.....

Monday, October 10, 2011

School Holidays

Where does the time go? Into the second week of school holidays already. Mr G stayed home with Miss R last week and from what I can gather, they had a particularly lazy week. I've been home with her today and how fast did the day zip by?? A day at work never goes this quickly.

Yesterday I took Miss R and 2 girlfriends to see Monte Carlo at the movies. The blonde girl really reminded me of a young Toni Collette (and I've just realised that her father is David!). Selena Gomez....meh..... but the girls seemed to enjoy it and let's face it, I'm not the target audience. (We've also been to see Footloose and that was much, much better....)

Today we managed to get to Ikea where we had lunch but they no longer serve hollandaise sauce with the salmon so I doubt I'll ever eat there again - save my money and just get the $1 hotdogs instead. I also took Miss R to a local beautician to get her eyebrows waxed and decided to get mine done as well. First time I have ever had them done professionally, and for $5....maybe not the last. I also managed to mop the floors and have marked quilting lines on the Indigenous quilt and right now, am trying to find enough motivation to go cook dinner. Time wasting on the computer sounds like a lot more fun though.

And finally, the holiday house is going really, really well so far. We've had 3 groups stay and all have given us some really lovely comments about the house and presentation. Each has left the house in good/great condition but it's taking about 2hrs to clean & tidy ready for the next guests. (I'm possibly being too fastidious.) I think we're going to have to hire a cleaner after all - maybe just do it ourselves once a month to make sure it's up to scratch. For Oct - Jan, we're averaging about a 48% occupancy, which I know won't last over the winter months, but I can dream, can't I??

Was going to add a picture here, but for some reason I can't get it to upload....

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Finally some photos

Here's the quilt I made for my aunt for Xmas. The front is all 2 1/2" squares and all from scraps (apart from a small amount of cream material). Mr G was holding it up for me but his arms weren't quite wide enough....I haven't measured it properly now it's finished but it's huge - roughly 2m x 2m.

The red panels in the back and the binding is an Ikea fabric which echoes the swirly pattern. I'm really happy with how this turned out - hopefully Auntie S will be too.

And here's the Music Quilt in all its glory.....the back is just as nice as the front. I planned it so precisely that there is no wasted fabric....I used every scrap! (Well not quite that well planned, more a fluke really....) The hardest part of the quilting process is, for me, getting the back lined up with the front. This is not quite centred enough for my liking but it looks ok. I kinda made this one up as I went along and it showed - not so much in the finished product but definitely in the amount of angst in putting it all together!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2 Quilts almost finished - photos soon

One I had professionally quilted and it has turned out just stunning! I'm so pleased and wish I could afford to have them ALL done professionally. I just have to add the binding and then I'll take some pics.

The Musical Quilt is also nearly done, I'm just machine stitching the binding. This one has been a bit of a handful....I'll be pleased when it's done and dusted!!

Progress on the Indigenous Quilt has stopped while I wait for a parcel from the US. It's been around a month now and I'm getting impatient. One parcel has arrived but naturally the fabric I'm waiting for is in the OTHER parcel.....

We're almost ready to go with the holiday house - this weekend coming will be our last opportunity to get it finished. Mr G spent last week down there getting all the last minute things done - including installing a dishwasher - but naturally a problem cropped up which took longer to resolve than expected (and more $$) so I'll be doing some last minute painting on Sat. Hopefully Sun will be devoted to cleaning and tidying inside and out - have to get rid of all the cobwebs as that's my pet hate at holiday rentals!! We have our first booking going in on October 1, and these school hols (as well as January) are pretty much completely booked.

Will update with photos sometime soon.....well, in the next month or so.  :-)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lots of thinking going on here!

Lots to update; I've composed many a blog post in my head over the last few days but if I try and do seperate posts, I'll never get around to them. My main thoughts centered around WHY I blog......I know that very few read it and I certainly don't have any great desire to be a writer; it seems odd to send words out into the blogosphere and get nothing back. So I'm still mulling that one over.

Miss R had been getting prank calls on her mobile. She forgets to take it off silent, so wasn't picking them up but there would be 2-3 missed calls and occasionally a disjointed voicemail message that was difficult to decipher and rather silly. From the nature of the messages, we were certain it was someone from her class so I emailed the classroom teacher, not really expecting much. Well, the response was fabulous; the class got a talking to, and it turns out that Miss R wasn't the only one. There haven't been any further calls, so hopefully that is the end of the matter. But it also got me initial reaction to the calls was negative - these girls are picking on Miss R, it's bullying and harrassing, just when I thought things were improving for her socially, it's all been undone - when really I should be focussing on the positive - she's had 5 party invites this year (which is 4 more than last year), she was included in a weekend trip to the movies, she's been asked over to a new friend's house......  I've become so used to fixing the problems that I'm failing to see the huge amounts of progress she's made. This was reinforced by one of the support staff comments in an email I sent regarding some missing information  "All good, I think R has done wonderfully well to keep up with all of the information and expectations etc. good on her!" So my new resolve is not to get so hung up on the negative and focus on the positive! (We'll see how it goes....)

We've advertised the beach house on a holiday website and have had a fantastic response. It's been online for 3 weeks now and we've had over 400 views - you could see the spike in views the day I put the link on Facebook and the day I emailed my workmates but there has been steady interest since then. We've also had 10 booking requests, 4 of whom have paid deposits so that has been very encouraging. I've stopped being so concerned about getting the bookings now, and have turned my thoughts to the more practical side of having a holiday rental - the logistics of keeping track of bookings and payments, cleaning and handing over and collecting keys. I'm still watching every dollar we spend, but hopefully will be able to relax a bit (and buy more fabric) in about 6 months time.

Progress has stopped temporarily on the Music quilt as my lovely Bernina had to go in for a service - over 2 million stitches in 5 years. Not a lot really for the age of the machine, but I'd love to know how many I've added in just 8 months! LOL I dropped it in on Friday and picked it up the following Thursday so I was impressed with the speed of the service. I asked about a new table while I was there - I bought my machine second hand off eBay and didn't know the quilting table was cracked at a corner until I went to use it. It's been superglued about 3 times and is currently held together with duct tape but I hesitated to buy a new table as I could only imagine how expensive they were! Imagine my delight to find out a new table was only around $30....needless to say, I'm now the proud owner of a quilting table that is NOT cracked.

Well there's more but I need to go eat, so will update again later.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Home Improvements

Back on the June long weekend, rather than relax, we built a deck instead. As you do.

Then it turned into a porch....then grew to include a covered pergola.....and now it's finally finished. And I must say, it does look great. But I think those posts should be blue to match the window frames.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I wonder how reliable the stats are?

Because it seems I have a fan in Russia. Wish I knew how to say "hello" in Russian....

And more importantly, how on earth did I fail to notice the little tab at the end called "stats"???? Has it always been there?

Thursday, August 11, 2011


It's the one step in quilt making that I really don't enjoy.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I've lost my blogging mojo

Had to write this post today so I could have at least ONE post in July.

I've been in a bit of a funk lately....little black cloud floating over my head. I'm really over going to Victor every weekend and feel like I'm constantly playing 'catch-up' through the week, and there have been a few little things that have happened recently that have bothered me waaay more than they should have. I do recognise this though, am aware that I'm over-reacting, so have just been riding it out. Hopefully will be back to normal transmission soon.

On the quilting scene, I've finished 48 blocks for another string quilt - love using up scraps but still have so much more to use! I pulled apart the music quilt that I had sewn together.....couldn't get the top to square up and it was absolutely doing my head in! Then I read this post and decided to undo all the strips and start again, alternating which end I started stitching from and using my walking foot. I haven't quite finished putting it all back together again (I was so disheartened I made the scrappy string blocks instead) so it will be interesting to see if it makes any difference.

Next on the agenda is a baby quilt for my cousin, and then these Swoon blocks that Theresa has inspired me to try.

So I'll leave you with this shot of my favourite room in the house at Victor....can't wait to actually have the time to curl up here and read a good book....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Blog Update - Random Thoughts

Since Easter, we've been spending most weekends down at Victor working on the house, and during the week, I've been busy catching up with shopping, washing, sewing and internet surfing. I've also been suffering with the most terrible congestion for the past 5-6 weeks; at first I thought it was a cold, then possibly hayfever, then sinuses maybe, but by the 4th week I had no idea and was just so tired of not being able to breathe through my nose or get a decent night's sleep. I finally managed to get an appointment with the physio and it has improved immensely since then, although not cleared up altogether. So coupled with busy weekends, I've also been going to bed at a ridiculously early hour (for me, anyway) so I'm way behind with sewing.

But this weekend Mr G is working, so I finally got around to having the glucose test I was supposed to have done 3 months ago (when am I supposed to find 2 hours when I can just sit and do nothing at the IMVS???) and today has been a completely lazy day, where neither of us have quite managed to get out of our pj's yet. Although for some reason we didn't get our paper delivery this morning so I am going to have to drag on enough decent clothing to walk down to the servo to get a paper before they sell out....which had better be soon.

Miss R had a 'playdate' (what do you call them once they hit the teen years???) with a new friend yesterday and as they offered to drop her home again afterwards, I spent most of yesterday afternoon frantically cleaning the house. I had a huge box of stuff to drop at Salvos, so popped into one nearby and found 2 pairs of shoes that I just couldn't leave behind. I'm a bit (ok, VERY) wary of buying second hand shoes but these were both virtually new (in fact, I suspect one pair had never been worn), one of my fave brands (Diana Ferrari) and one was a style that I already have 3 pairs in 3 different colours because they are so comfy. So when they tick all those boxes AND are in the right size, isn't it meant to be???

One great thing about furnishing a holiday house on a limited budget, is the euphoria you feel when snagging a bargain. So far I've managed to snaffle, not one, but TWO Stanley Rogers cutlery sets for around $40. One is a 8 person setting (including salad and cake servers) and the other is a....wait for it....12 person setting! Woohoo! So we should have plenty of spare cutlery for when pieces get lost. Harris Scarfe were having 50% off kitchenware so I stocked up on lots of bits and pieces - graters, whisks, roasting pans and I've also managed to snaffle discontinued quilt covers for a bargain price. So while my spare room is almost overflowing, I think we have just about everything we need apart from beds & mattresses, TV and washing machine/dryer. (Although we have been offered a washing machine for $25, we don't know what condition it is in, so it may only be ok for the interim.) I won't lose this anxious feeling until we actually have some bookings though, so I'm hoping to get it listed on the stayz website by the end of  July, ready for bookings from October.

I've made steady progress on the music themed quilt I've been commissioned to make. I've chosen a Chinese Coin design and it is coming together very nicely. Right now I'm too lazy to take any pics but maybe next time. I've had several quotes for having the 2 1/2" square quilt professionally quilted; one was significantly cheaper than the others so I rang and discovered that she had misread my email so had quoted on a smaller quilt. But she is prepared to honour her quote, so I will drop in one day in the next few weeks to discuss quilting options. For a brief moment there, I thought it actually WAS affordable to have quilts professionally quilted!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Update to the Pile O'Crap

One of the things we discovered amongst the crap was a Nintendo GameCube, controllers and games which we thought might be worth listing on eBay.

I'm pleased to report that we got $53.65 for the lot.

Score!! LOL

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pile O'Crap

Since we need to furnish an entire holiday house as cheaply as possible without lowering our standards, we have, naturally, turned to eBay. So far we've managed to pick up a TV stand, chest of drawers and outdoor setting. The last 2 we bought from a storage company in Port Adelaide that were selling off a defaulter's storage cubicle to recoup their costs. We've been watching their new auctions over a few weeks and are kicking ourselves that we didn't bid on the washing machine and fridge but that's another story. Anyway, the last lot they had up for auction was assorted junk - was difficult to tell exactly what was in it but there was a sound system and some kitchen stuff that we thought would be useful so decided to bid if we could get it for a song. (There was also some gaming stuff that we thought we could re-sell.) Ended up paying $56 and Mr G went down to collect it last week on his day off.

Well. This would have to be the best $56 ever spent.

We're still sifting through the stuff and a lot we'll throw away or give to the Salvos, but so far we've salvaged:
  • a 4 piece dinner setting identical to one we already own, so now it's an 8 piece
  • a small rice cooker
  • an electric frypan
  • a small deep fryer
  • assorted Tupperware
  • Sony bedside clock
  • various kitchen utensils - beater/whisk/potato peeler etc
  • Breville toaster
  • stab mixer
 And all in excellent condition.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Am I the only person in the universe that thinks Mother's Day is a commercialised bit of cr*p and would rather ignore it altogether? Seriously, once my own mother is gone, I'll happily wipe the day off my calendar forever.

In other news, I've been busy sewing curtains for the holiday house and have only 3 left to hem. I finished the quilt top for Auntie S's Xmas present a few weeks ago and have pulled some Ikea fabric out of my stash for the back, but haven't gotten much further. Won't be tackling 2 1/2" squares again for a while though, very time consuming! Am scouting around for my next project and am tossing up between something easy that will be straightforward and quickly finished, and something a little more challenging like paper piecing stars. Yep, I think I'll stick to option A.

Still have my "Kitchen Windows" quilt to machine quilt too; I put that aside back in February because it was too hot to be quilting, but I don't have the excuse anymore. My philosophy is to finish one quilt in its entirety before starting the next one....I tend to have an 'out of sight, out of mind' attitude which will result in many, many unfinished quilt tops otherwise.

We had a busy time over Easter, moving furniture into the holiday house and getting it sorted. Discovered that the plumbing to the laundry is definitely dodgy and the question now is how much to we spend to fix it? There is a shower in both the laundry and the bathroom but limited cupboard space - perhaps better to remove the shower in the laundry altogether (seeing as how the hot water doesn't seem to work) and use that for cupboard/storage space? Also discovered that the air conditioner in the lounge doesn't appear to work, so Mr G is heading down there tomorrow to meet with a repairman to see what needs to be done. Hopefully something simple but we're anticipating a new unit will be required....seems to be the way our luck runs lately. Although on the plus side, we've been given a second hand fridge that will do nicely in the short term.

I took Miss R and friends to see Justin Bieber in concert last week. Thankfully I was able to sit out in the foyer as she was chaperoned by 2 Year 10 girls but a kind usher did allow us to sneak inside for a quick peek. It did look amazing, and Miss R screamed herself hoarse.....came out absolutely glowing with joy. I think she's still walking around on a cloud.  She has NAPLAN testing next week but I've exempted her for many reasons but mainly because she was stressing about them and we won't gain any new knowledge regarding her progress from them - just call me a conscientious objector. She's been much happier since the decision was made.

Rehearsals for the school play start next week and unfortunately they are on Wed after school. Same time as the speech therapist.....what are the odds, eh? It's taken us all year to get a time with her, and now I'll be cancelling - speech is important but so is the play. First time she has ever put herself forward for this type of thing and she's rapt to be in it.....we don't care if it is only the dance chorus! speech will have to wait until term 4.

Again, no photos, sorry about that but I never remember to take the camera with me anywhere. I do have some photos on my phone but still have to find the cord to be able to download them... Next time maybe.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Poor me, took Miss R to drama on Mon evening with a little tickle in my throat; by the time I went to bed that night it was like swallowing razor blades. So I toddled off to the doctor on Tues morning who diagnosed pharangytis, gave me 3 days off work and put me on antibiotics.

Yesterday I felt absolutely no better - felt worse if anything. And the sore throat had turned into blocked ears and sinuses so I made the decision that I had been dreading.

I 'm not going to go to Melbourne on Saturday for the Australasian Quilting Convention.

Waaaah! We booked the tickets back in August and I've been so looking forward to it. But I often have trouble with my ears when I fly (I once flew with an ear infection and it was EXCRUTIATING) so I wasn't going to risk spoiling my day, as well as Theresa's, Claire's and Michelle's. So Theresa's sister Margaret is going to be me for the day. I don't know if she wants to go to the AQC, but she'll happily spend the day shopping in the city instead.

And of course, once I made that decision, I woke up this morning feeling much, much better....what's the bet I wake up tomorrow feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed and raring to go???

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Taking a Walk down Memory Lane

My brother recently sold his house, so he & family have temporarily moved in with Mum while they find a new house. He & SIL are sleeping in the room I used to share with my sister, so Mum has cleared all the crap out of the top of the wardrobe. Now, I thought I had taken all of my stuff over the years but apparently not - all my teaching stuff has now gone into the recycling bin (I see I habitually handed in assignments late) and I'm now ploughing my way through a box of old letters.

Back in 1983, I was doing my second year of a teaching degree (Early Childhood Education) and Dad was transferred to the Perth office. So Mum and my younger brother went West with him, and I moved into The Granny Flat. The Granny Flat belonged to my aunt's SIL (so known to the family but not actually related to me) and it was probably one of the best year's of my life. I was just developing a circle of friends and a social life, had a little bit of independence but was still being supported by Dad. Most of the letters in the box date back to that time - many of them from my parents....seperate letters as Dad would send me the fortnightly rent & living expenses cheques, and Mum would give me the lowdown on what was happening over there. What a hoot some of them are to read! Dad was only there for the one year in the end; he was sent temporarily to Sydney in 1984 so Mum & bro came back home and so did I, so no more letters from Dad. He passed away very unexpectedly about 5 years ago.....I think I'll be keeping those letters.

There's also heaps of letters from various penpals I had over the years. Now I know the idea of having an overseas penpal is to learn more about their culture, but I just found it incredibly difficult to relate to them, so none lasted very long. But I can see that I wrote to a girl in Barbados for a while (must have sounded very exotic!!), a boy in Scotland, a girl in the US (booooring) and a girl from Malaysia. I've dipped into some of those but will definitely chuck most of them. But the ones I'm enoying the most are from a girl in Melbourne that I wrote to from when we were 13 until we tailed off sometime around 20......I met her in 1983 when she came and stayed with me in The Granny Flat. Re-reading some of those letters has been hilarious - I would LOVE to know what I wrote back to her b/c I lived the most boring life imaginable back then (still do, really) and she seemed so much more sophisticated. It was probably all made up though..... I definitely think I'll hang on to those letters too.

Oh, and I googled her name and the only one I could find was an architect in Sydney. Wonder if that's her? She doesn't strike me as the type to change her name if she married.

And Dad's "temporary" move to Sydney? Lasted about 20 years.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Can you believe it's April already?

Seriously, there's only 2 more weeks of term - how did that happen??

Been busy here. We have agreed to buy the house at Victor which I'm still finding stressful but feeling a little more positive about. Many people have commented that they would stay there, so here's hoping they put their money where their mouth is. I've been spending lots of time online looking at prices for fridges, beds, couches has been a bit of an eye opener as I had no idea that beds were so expensive!! We want to keep everything light and airy, so most stuff will be from Ikea, although Kmart has a great range of inexpensive kitchen ware. We're heading down to the house later today to take some measurements - have to organise curtains and a shed as a priority.

Yesterday we caught up with Mr G's cousin and family for breakfast. The 2 girls go to school together, but we haven't seen Mr Cousin for ages as he spends a lot of time in the UK and the US for work (don't ask me what he does; I have no idea). So it was lovely to catch up and we could have chatted for most of the morning. But we had to head off to help my brother move - they sold their house (very quickly!) and are moving in with Mum while they search for a new abode. Didn't get home until 9pm but virtually everything heavy was moved so he was happy with that. Settlement isn't until Friday so they still have a week to tidy up the loose ends.

On the school front, Miss R is doing well. Seems to be keeping up with the homework, has a group of friends to hang out with and she got a part in the school production, so she's happy with that. Now I have to come through with my promise to let her have streaks in the hair. Her hair has gradually darkened over the last few years and she tells me repeatedly how much she hates it, but I refuse to let her start colouring her hair at 13!! (The hairdresser has told me that colouring will help with the oilyness but we both agree that she's too  young.) Anyway, I told her that I'd let her get lighter streaks IF she got a part in the school play, so looks like I'll be making an appointment for the school  holidays.

Work is ok for the moment. I don't hold out much hope for the job I applied for. Had to do an online test which was mainly logic problems - I don't do well in those kind of things, never have - so I don't think I would have scored high enough. Anyway, we shall see.

Not much sewing has been going on.....I'm so very sick of 2 1/2" squares......but I hope to have some photos soon. Mr G has suggested that I'll be making many quilts for the beach house, so that will be a good use of the stash.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Feeling Stressed

Mr G has been harping for months about buying an investment property and I keep ignoring him. I control the finances - Mr G wouldn't have a clue what our income/outgoings were - and I keep telling him we can't afford it. Neither of us earn big wages and I have no desire to return to full time work. To humour him, I  have looked at a couple of properties but he keeps coming back to one in Victor Harbor. For months he has been watching it, watching the price gradually drop to a point where even *I* have to concede it is a bargain. However, a bargain is no bargain if you can't afford it in the first place!

We went down to Goolwa last weekend (long weekend here in SA) and I agreed to go look at the property one more time. And found myself agreeing to putting in a low offer, knowing that it was likely to be rejected. And it was. But then they agreed to drop about $11k from their current asking price, which is still about $3k more than our final offer. It's more than I want to pay, but less than Mr G wanted to pay so it's a compromise. So I've agreed, although we haven't signed contracts yet and it's subject to finance (although we have agreement-in-principle for that).

So now I'm feeling highly stressed about the whole thing. Actually, one minute I'm almost hyperventilating from anxiety and the next I'm convinced we can manage....just. Which makes me think I should go with my gut feeling and say no. Or is it that I'm just too cautious to take risks? Will Mr G just sulk if I won't let him have his heart's desire? OMG, someone just tell me what to do!!

So I have said yes with some provisos:
  • we put it on a permanent rental for 12 months while we assess whether we really can afford it
  • during that time we assess whether it's worthwhile using as a holiday rental.
  • if, after this time it's too stressful, we sell - hopefully making some money
The long term plan is that we knock the existing house down and build a new holiday home, eventually to retire there.  We've canvassed a few opinions over the last week, and the majority agree that it is a great long term investment. Hopefully we won't get out fingers burnt.

Oh, and if it all goes ahead.....settlement before Easter. Mr G couldn't even hide his delight....we'll be sleeping on blow up mattresses and keeping food cold in an esky....just like camping but within 4 walls.....

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Miss R and I went to Melbourne early in Feb just for an overnighter. It was her birthday surprise.....we also had tickets to see Mary Poppins. I'm not a huge fan of the movie, but Miss R has seen it repeatedly, so I thought she'd be ecstatic about it, but her whole reaction was very low key. I think she was fighting the disappointment of NOT getting an iPhone. (Hint: Miss R will get an iPhone when SHE can afford to buy one.)

Anyway, we were on an early flight out on Sun am - which coincided with Chinese New Year - and a late flight back on Mon. We actually had a great time (I was a little worried that we'd be snapping at each other....she is a TEENAGER after all....and we all know how moody THEY are!) and I cannot rave enough about Mary Poppins. It was absolutely brilliant and I loved every minute of it. I'll definitely be seeing it again if it ever gets to Adelaide.

We also checked out the ACMI exhibition on Disney films and did some shopping. Miss R had plenty of birthday money to spend, and spend she did! I had to laugh though - the 80's is definitely being revisited. Everything she picked up, I thought was terrible (the first time around!!) and she turned her nose up at everything I suggested. She LOVES anything sparkly, glittery or with shoe string straps.....not always that practical for winter! (The words "pole" and "dancer" also spring to mind.)  Her best - and most expensive - buy came from Sportsgirl....a pair of black pants that make me sing "can't touch this" every time she wears them....which has been a LOT. So regardless of what I may think, they've been value for money on a cost-per-wear basis.

But there was just a couple of things that really annoyed me about Melbourne though.......does nobody understand the whole 'keep to the left' rule on footpaths???? I was constantly dodging people walking straight towards me....didn't seem to matter where I was walking, they were too.  And why are cyclists allowed to ride on footpaths??? Bad enough dodging the pedestrians without throwing a cyclist into the mix!

    Friday, February 25, 2011

    Making Soap

    For some strange reason, I've had it in my head that I want to try my hand at soap making. I'd looked at a few blogs that had done so, and the whole caustic soda bit put me right off. But then I read that home made soap contains less harsh chemicals, and I've noticed that my hands and legs seem to be getting drier and drier, so over the past few weeks I've been putting together my "soap making kit". And last night I gave it a go, and it was much, much easier than I imagined.

     It now has to cure for another few weeks, otherwise it will be too soft and won't last very long.

    I used these blogs for inspiration, but I know I did a few things wrong (not drastically wrong, but I'll know for next time).
    • I think I over-mixed it, as it was too thick to pour.
    • I should have banged the air bubbles out.
    • I should have had all my ingredients ready to go at the start as it was a pain to try and open containers with rubber gloves on.
    • I think I've cut the blocks too big.
    I don't think soap making is going to become a regular event, but I'll definitely have another go. Next time I'm going to add some oatmeal (is this the same as oatbran????) for a bit of a loofah effect.

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    You can tell I'm back at Work

    7 posts in January and none in February.

    Sunday, January 30, 2011

    2 1/2" squares

    For some time now, when I have a few spare moments between projects, I've been cutting my smaller scraps into 2 1/2" squares. I've had this vague notion that I'll make a scrappy 9-patch quilt at some stage.

    My current project - photos soon - is at the quilting stage, but it's been too hot to quilt this weekend. So Friday night I pulled out a random selection of Australian Patchwork & Quilting magazines, opened one to a random page and thought "this is my next project". It's a triple Celtic Knot, so far more challenging than anything I've done before, and I'm sticking with the pictured colours of red, green, black & cream. (It's from Vol 19 No 3 if you're interested.) And strangely enough, it needs 2 1/2" squares....lots and lots and lots of them. If it works, I intend to gift it to my aunt for Christmas.

    So with the air conditioning whirring away, I've been catching up on TV and chopping my scraps into 2 1/2" squares. I never really enjoy the cutting stage....always eager to move on to the piecing stage but it is a necessary evil. In this case, one that will be repeated over 2000 times.

    Saturday, January 15, 2011

    The King's Speech (& other Movie Reviews)

    Kath asked what I thought of The King's Speech, and my response got rather wordy, so I thought I'd give it a post of its own.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and thought everyone was brilliant really.....couldn't really single any one performance out. Geoffrey Rush was just fabulous, especially when playing an amateur thespian, and Helena Bonham Carter....who knew? She was perfect as the Queen Mother (as I will always think of her). I loved that Princess Margaret was fantastic little Karen in Outnumbered (and Princess Elizabeth looked vaguely familiar too). Guy Pearce...lordy, no hint of an Aussie accent there - a long, LONG way from Ramsay Street! Winston Churchill made me laugh....isn't he Peter Pettigrew from the Harry Potter movies??? Those jowls were fabulous. But Colin hard would that role have been? Seriously, he did a fabulous job. Made me sad to think what kind of upbringing he had.....I've never had much interest in the Royal Family but this made me want to find out more.

    Other movies we've seen these holidays? Tangled was a surprise - Miss R & I went to see this on Monday and both thoroughly enjoyed it. I was a bit put off by how many under-10's were there, but it really would appeal to all age groups. There were a few very funny lines and the songs were good. It reminded me of  The Little Mermaid actually, in its tone (and THAT is a movie I've seen thousands of times!!) and I reckon this is another movie I'd be happy to watch again.

    We all went to see Gulliver's Travels (or Gulliver's Travellers, as Miss R kept calling it) and I was expecting cr*p, but it wasn't actually that bad. You would have to be a Jack Black fan though - I loved him in School of Rock - as he plays the same type in all his movies.

    Looks like we've missed Narnia though - no longer playing at Wallis (my cinema of choice) and I refuse to see anything at Marion since they introduced seat numbers on the tickets. Sorry, but *I* like to choose where I sit, not the computer. I had no interest in seeing Burlesque except Cher was on the Graham Norton show the other day and it made me re-think my position. Miss R is off to a friend's for 2 nights next week, so Mr G and I might go see something after work.....good grief, I can't remember the last movie we saw together, just the 2 of us!!

    Friday, January 14, 2011

    Another Finished Creation

    My first commisioned piece, in fact. Made for a workmate who has a new baby grand-daughter. I used this pattern from Cluck Cluck Sew and it was a breeze to make.

    Look at that gorgeous blue sky!! Ignore the pegs on the line! LOL

    A couple of blocks I particularly liked...

    I'm also particularly happy with the free motion quilting. It was heaps of fun to do, but lordy, lordy, I hadn't realised just how much thread it uses!! The Bernina was well worth the money spent just for that (although I am still feeling some guilt over the cost of the new machine. Mum came through with a cheque for Xmas, but still, we could have bought a new couch for that money.)

    I machine stitched the binding as usual, but had to go back over it in a few spots where it hadn't caught on the back. I cut this binding at 2.25" rather than 2.5" as I only j-u-s-t had enough but it meant there wasn't as much binding to 'play' with at the back. Overall though, I think it looks neater so I think I'll use the narrower binding again in the future.

    Once again, the backing was from Ikea, pieced in the middle to make it wide enough.

    Now I just have to work out what to charge her. I used a few scrap fabrics for the front, but with the fabric I did purchase + wadding + thread, it's around $100 already. I just don't feel I can justify charging for my time when I get so much enjoyment from the creating side. Still mulling that one over.

    And now I'm starting on a project from this fantastic quilter and her book "The Practical Guide to Patchwork".

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Today I'm going to tackle the study! Wish me Luck!

    Over the last few weeks, whenever the house has to be tidied, everything that didn't have a "home" was dumped in the study. This is the view from the doorway - I'm lucky I can even get inside!! (Look very carefully and you'll see a doggie in the entourage goes everywhere with me.)

    So today I'm going to tidy this mess up. The box in the foreground holds the Janome which will be listed on eBay. There's another box back there that has some clothes Miss R has outgrown that I'll also list. Other stuff has been held on to for a garage sale but I'm debating whether it will just get carted off to Salvos instead. And I know there's a box of Tupperware in there somewhere and it might just be time to get ruthless with that too - if it doesn't fit in the kitchen, then it doesn't fit into my life! LOL

    We have too much stuff - sometimes I'm appalled by how much stuff we have! I *was* intending to go to Ikea today but then I'll only be tempted to buy more.....

    Sunday, January 9, 2011

    Good Weekend

    What a good weekend! Started on Friday night with friends over for a BBQ - good friends, good conversation, good wine.....should definitely do it more often!!

    Yesterday afternoon we went to "High Tea" at the Lakes Hotel for a 70th birthday. Lovely little sandwiches and scones, although nothing on the menu that suited fussy Miss R; after much persuasion she reluctantly ate half of chicken sandwich. Never mind, we stuffed ourselves.

    Then this afternoon (after a lovely sleep in) I went to the movies, on my own, to see "The King's Speech". Thoroughly enjoyable and lovely to have some 'me' time.

    On holidays again for the next week before back to work properly. Nothing planned except Miss R wants to see "Tangled" and I hope to finish the baby quilt for my workmate. Already thinking about my next project and hope to start cutting it out tonight; I just can't decide between 2 different projects from The Practical Guide to Patchwork. Ah, decisions, decisions!

    Sunday, January 2, 2011

    Free Motion Quilting

    Here's my first proper attempt at free motion quilting. I've attempted it before on my Janome but was never happy with it; just couldn't get the tension right. I bought the Bernina for the BSR in the hope that even *I* could manage free motion quilting with it, and I can!! My perfectionist streak can see major flaws with it but I'm ignoring that.....and I'm sure I'll improve with practice.

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    Happy New Year!

    We went into the city to see the fireworks. Went with 2 other families and had planned to see the 9.00 fireworks and be home by midnight as Mr G had to work today. Unfortunately we were so busy chatting at B's house that we completely missed catching the tram in time, decided we'd just stay there and watch the fireworks on TV but the girls were so disappointed about not going anywhere that we ended up going in for the midnight fireworks after all. Crowd wasn't as horrendous as I imagined it would be and all in all, it was a lovely evening. (Thankfully it didn't get as hot as they had anticipated!!)

    Here's a glimpse of the quilt I've been working on...

    And here's the one I made for my sister for Christmas.

    The front....and the back. The back is Ikea fabric. I love using their fabrics on the back and must venture in to stock up and see if they have anything new.

    Hope your 2011 is everything you want it to be.