Tuesday, December 11, 2012


The Swoon quilt is finally finished. I can't remember exactly when I started the blocks, but I'm thinking it must have been January 2012 as I was aiming for a birthday in March.

Completely missed that deadline so I aimed for Christmas, but it kept getting put aside for other, more urgent finishes.

Finally started quilting it in about late September/early October, didn't touch it for days at a time as it was just so large! I was making really good progress when I discovered some puckering in the back.....unpicked the section I thought was necessary but then realised the puckering was far worse than I had first noticed. Knew that I would never be happy with it so over several days I unpicked a huge area and started again.

I have perfected the art of procrastination with this quilt but it is finally, finally DONE. Stitched the last of the binding last night (after having to unpick half because I was unhappy with it) and think I will change the way I machine stitch the binding from now on.

The recipient has been hinting for a quilt for a long, long time so I hope she will love it! Me, I'm sick of the sight of it! LOL

Thanks to my model for holding it up for photos....her arms weren't quite long enough. Note to self: must go measure to see how big this baby really is!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

To Blog or Not to Blog?

That really is the question.

You may have noticed that all my pics disappeared off my blog. At first I thought I'd been hacked or something sinister but after a few days/weeks of pondering I realised that it was because technology is much cleverer than I. Earlier this year I bought a new smartphone....a Samsung Galaxy Nexus S which is a Google phone. Which means it integrates all things Google. Which means that the photos I place on my blog are also saved into a file on my Google account....which also appears on my phone. But I didn't want this file taking up space on my phone so I deleted it....which subsequently deleted all the photos on my blog. Actually, I'm not sure if that makes technology smarter than me or a bit too Big Brother-ish.......

Anyway, after my photos all disappeared, I got terribly disheartened and couldn't be bothered putting them all back on. And now I'm pondering if I want to continue....it seems to make my finished quilting projects more "real" if I've blogged about them. Especially when I've given them away and may never see them again....at least I can revisit them here. But I'm always so time poor; blogging just seems that extra "thing" I have to do.

Still debating.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

It's been cold & wet this winter

so furry little creatures have to have a little help to keep warm.

and when the sun DOES come out, it needs to be soaked up as quickly as possible.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Some Recent Finishes

There hasn't been a lot of stitchery happening around here lately but I have managed to get a couple of WIP's finished.

Firstly, a baby quilt for my niece.

I am a little worried about this one as I didn't prewash the reds. I don't usually bother prewashing and have never had a problem with colour running but these fabrics were from Spotlight and I'm not quite as confident that they won't run. Not sure if I should try 'setting' the colours before I hand it over.

Secondly, the Port Power scrappy for a gorgeous Aunt and ex-neighbour.

I particularly love the scrappy back.

I've done these scrappy string blocks as backs on a couple of quilts now and just love them! Once I've built up some new scraps I'll be adding to the collection.

And finally a glimpse of the quilt I'm currently quilting. I'm about 2/3rds of the way through so should be finished by the weekend. Although I haven't picked binding yet.

Next on the agenda are 2 WIP's that I need to baste and quilt, but I think I might start something new first. I find I get very sore shoulders if I spend too long quilting, so think I need to have a break before I start the next one.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

I'm Alive,

life is still busy and one day I'll get a few moments where I'm not too tired to string a sentence together.

I have had a couple of quilt finishes to share but haven't bothered getting photos yet. It's on the agenda for the weekend.

My mother has recovered and is currently cruising through Canada with my sister. I think Mum's recent hospital stay has made my sister a little nervous though....

Mr G's cousin is - hopefully - on the mend. That has been a complete rollercoaster ride with many prayers being said. Actually, not sure if I've mentioned this.....about 6wks ago, he contracted a streplicoccus infection - apparently the bacteria lives in all of us but if it enters your bloodstream - watch out! His wife was told 2-3 times to say goodbye; so many organs had failed with machines keeping him functioning that the doctors thought he couldn't possibly pull through. The news keep going from good to bad...latest is that he should be home by the end of the week but I think we're all still on tenterhooks. He'll be off work for months while he recovers...life just isn't fair sometimes.

Homework continues to be a major issue for Miss R; her complete lack of organisational skills is letting her down badly. I'm meeting with the school and Catholic Ed next week to try and get an NEP; basically I want her to complete all assignments but not the incidental homework each week. The science teacher, for all the right reasons, is emailing me twice a week detailing all the Miss R hasn't completed and I'm feeling the pressure! Don't think it appropriate to scream "leave me alone!!!" It is affecting our relationship though - feel as if all I do is nag about homework and concentrate on the negative....none of us are happy! (Well, Miss R is very happy with the social side, just not the academic side!!)

Well my brief update has turned out quite lengthy but I have to dash now to get Miss R fed before she heads off to Scouts.....

Friday, April 20, 2012

One Direction Obsession

This is a story of love and devotion. Love and devotion by a 14yo girl and love and devotion by her mother.

A couple of months ago British boy band One Direction announced they would be performing in Australia, but alas, only concerts in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Miss R has been a HUGE fan of them for almost a year, so really, really, really wanted to go. In case you have been living under a rock recently and don't know who they are, they came 3rd in the UK X Factor in 2009. They are very pretty and sing a very catchy song.

Being a sucker (aka good mother), I dutifully lined up at the computer on the morning tickets were released. I'd already worked out that the Melbourne concert was in the school holidays and I had already secured that week as leave (I've mentioned before my difficulties getting leave in school holidays) so it seemed doable. And for some reason the gods seemed to be smiling down on me because I managed to get 2 tickets to a concert that sold out in 3 minutes. Yes, you read that right....all concerts sold out in THREE MINUTES.

Miss R was a little late to school that morning, ecstatic in the knowledge that she was going to see her idols live on stage. During the course of the morning, various class mates received text messages from their parents to say that no, they were unsuccessful, no tickets were secured. Many girls cried with disappointment.

I have a lovely internet group of friends; we started out as sellers of kids clothes on eBay and have been together as a group for close to 10 years now. Our little toddlers are now teens and some have adult children - one is even a grandmother. We've met up a few times over the years but some I only know through cyberspace. Several have One Direction obsessed girls and were keen to get tickets in their home state. All missed out. See, the gods really were smiling on me that day.

So in a complete act of selflessness, I offered my ticket to my friend's daughter B. She lives in Melbourne, the girls had only ever met once but B had missed out, as had all her friends. And while I felt sorry for B, I also thought it would make Miss R happier to share the experience with someone her own age, who was equally obsessed and wouldn't be constantly singing the wrong lyrics and asking "which one is Louis again???"

So on Saturday I flew to Melbourne just for the day (more on that later) and then on Monday morning I flew out again with an excited Miss R. We stayed at the Mecure Treasury Gardens and the price was right, the rooms were lovely (if a little small) and it was close to the venue. We did a little shopping (strangely nothing for me) and Miss R finally got the Vans she's been harping on about. We then met B and I took the girls to get something to eat but they were too excited so we wandered down to the Hisense Arena.

Apparently the concert was AMAZING.

The security was fantastic.....everyone had to file through barricades to get inside and you could only get past a certain point if you actually had a ticket. The concert was all seated so I was confident the girls would be safe. Unfortunately the downside of not being able to get inside the arena without a ticket is that I had to stand outside in the cold for 3 hours.....and it was cold. I hadn't anticipated that, so hadn't dressed warmly enough, even with a cardi and a jacket and Miss R's jumper wrapped around my neck as a scarf. Hardly a fashion statement but I didn't really care.

And it was all worth it to see the beaming smiles at the end.

(There has been some discussion in the media about whether this One Direction obsession is healthy. Personally, I just love to see Miss R happy and engaged with something she can share with classmates. The boys are wholesome and harmless. That may change - they may do a Lindsay Lohan - but for now, I'm happy to indulge.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I had typed a huge post.....accidentally deleted it and am now too tired to try to recreate it.

I'll try again later but here's a potted history:
  1. Easter
  2. School holidays
  3. Plumbing disaster at holiday house
  4. AQC in Melbourne - fly over for the day
  5. Fly back to Melbourne 2 days later for One Direction concert
  6. Get a text message while at Adel Airport to fly out that Mum has been hospitalised
  7. Mum thankfully is ok

I'll be back hopefully tomorrow with more details.  :-)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Swoon - 1 Block Down, 8 To Go

Well after procrastinating for what seems like forever, I have finally cut and made my first Swoon block and am well on the way to finishing my second. The first block :

seemed to take forever while I puzzled over the directions but once I worked it out, it was easy peasy to put together. (I think sometimes it's better to sew WITHOUT the tv on in the background...). I rarely do this, but for this quilt I am using fabrics from the same line - Kate Spain's Terrain which I fell in love with and ordered about 12 different fabrics. I'm pairing each pattern with a complimentary solid and have decided to make some with the centrepiece patterned and some plain. I've had the fabric put aside for months - seriously, before Christmas - but kept putting off cutting into it. But as a complete aside, I decided to make a quilt for my SIL's birthday coming up later this month. She likes blues, pinks & purples, so I pulled out fabrics in those colours from my stash and started thinking about patterns etc.....and then realised that the fabrics I'd put aside for the Swoon quilt were in blues, pinks & purples (with some orange & green thrown in). So it seems to make perfect sense to make Swoon and give it away! Won't be ready in time for her birthday but I don't think she will mind.

In other sewing news, I made another baby quilt which didn't go quite as smoothly. I used this pattern from the Moda Bake Shop which was so easy but my machine must be due for a service as it kept skipping stitches when I came to the actual quilting. I had planned to quilt with straight lines but ended up FMQ as the 'skipping' was less obvious (but I still ended up unpicking and redoing sections). I realise that I didn't get a decent picture but I've used some Little Red Riding Hood fabric that I had put away. Ive decided that there is little point hanging on to treasured fabrics - it's bought to use and there's always something cute on the market! The FMQ was probably the best I've done so far as I made a concerted effort to keep it large and loose and not cross lines.

Backing from Ikea; they really do have some cute fabrics!

I will be dropping the Bernina in for a service on Monday, so I hopefully get it back by Easter for some serious Swooning.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pretty little baby quilt

I used a charm pack of Little Apples for this cute little baby quilt. Simple straight line quilting and cute Ikea fabric on the back. Theresa is right; a quick finish is very satisfying.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Slow Sewing Week

as I've been suffering with a sinus infection over the past few days (weeks actually, but I initially thought it was hayfever). So while I've been keen to get some stitching done, the body hasn't co-operated and I've been falling asleep at ridiculous hours (ie if I sit in the same spot for longer than 5 mins). Having days off work are just not as much fun when you're too sick to enjoy them.  :-(

I have managed:
  • to put together a baby quilt for Clare's Retro Baby market stall, but if she doesn't want/need it, I'll hang on to it for my niece who dropped by unexpectedly on Fri night to reveal that she is expecting #2 in May.
  • my Port Power scrap vomit is almost done - just needs binding and the ends sewn in. I'm going to attempt that today while I catch up on some TV.
  • to check out some new patterns/inspiration for my next project. I was planning to do a Swoon quilt next with some lovely fabrics for Kate Spain's Terrain range but I just keep putting it off, which makes me think that I'm not overly keen and maybe I should just move on.....

Hope your sewing week was more productive.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

And another that I haven't shared yet...

I was asked by a friend to make quilts for her 2 daughters as Xmas presents. One is very musical and the other is training to be a teacher to work with Indigenous communities in the APY lands. I know that I have shared the musical quilt but haven't posted the finished product for the Indigenous one.

It turned out rather well. I was a bit dubious about it but it came together beautifully and the fabrics, while not exactly my cup of tea, look brilliant together. It's also quite large at around 86" x 68" so tricky to get it all in one shot.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Christmas Table Runner

Yes I know Christmas was a while ago but I was looking at some downloaded photos and realised I probably hadn't shared this one. I threw it together quite quickly and think I only did the binding the day before Christmas Eve. I'd bought a layer cake of a Kate Spain christmas collection obviously with something in mind, but then I couldn't remember what I had planned, so ended up with this simple layout. Turned out rather nicely, I thought.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Extending the Stash

I've been very good lately about buying new fabric - having 2 mortgages will do that to you - but when Clare mentioned that she had bought some lovely fabric from Spotlight recently, I thought I would check it out. I was heading down to Victor on the weekend - it was Mr G's weekend to work and I somehow managed to offload Miss R overnight so I was ON MY OWN - so I dropped in at the store in Colonnades. Now, this is not my side of town, but I managed to find my way and not get lost and then had a lovely time browsing.

Some of the fabrics were down to $4/m, some $6/m and some were 30% off. Theresa would be pleased to  know that one of those prints is called Feedsack, and I have been more than happy to express my views on feedsack prints (not always complimentary LOL). And I liked that blue floral on the bottom there so much that I bought all that was left on the roll - not quite 2 metres. I tried to get some colours that I don't normally buy, so some lovely yellows and greys and there's also some from the new V&A collection. I've found Spotlight fabric to be a bit meh in the past but the quality has improved dramatically! In fact, looking at this little stash again has made me want to stock up some more....maybe while Miss R is at Scouts????

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Buying a new mobile phone

used to be so straightforward. Just open the box, pop in your SIM card, import your contacts and away you go! Personalise the ring tone and Bob's your uncle.  :-)

I just bought a new Android phone. I think that bloody Android is laughing at me.....

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Normal Transmission has Resumed

Yes, summer holidays have come to an end and it's back to the school routine! Which means for me back to 9am-3pm each day. Now while I will miss having a whole day off, I also LOVE bolting out the door at 3pm...or looking at my watch around 2pm and thinking "only an hour to go". And those early starts were killing me.Now I don't mean to give the impression that I hate my job, I just don't particularly love it and don't really miss it when I'm not there. However, having said that, I have come to the conclusion over the past few weeks that it is just as well I do have a job, otherwise I could easily become a recluse and never leave the house! Think I better plan for some volunteer work when I eventually retire.....

The new school year started well, with Miss R finding the remains of what we assume was a sandwich in her lunchbox, left over from last year. Fortunately the 'science experiment' was fully contained in a ziplock bag which went straight in the bin with no need for the Hazmat suits. Seriously thought Miss R was old enough now not to have to check her school bag, but maybe not. Then in our haste to get out of the house, I neglected to change the Havianas I'd slipped on to put up the outdoor blinds (was a bit windy yesterday am) so had to wear them at work all day. Oops! No-one said anything so obviously no-one notices what I wear. Must wear pjs and slippers one day to see if that gets a reaction. (Although I did get several comments the day I wore a dress - I readily admit that I rarely wear frocks these days and I did feel like I should be swishing around singing "I feel pretty, oh so pretty...") But the important thing is that Miss R came home from her first day of Year 8 (high school here in SA) happy and looking forward to the year ahead. Yes! Hopefully the feeling lasts. And I've spent this evening writing all the relevant dates on the calendar - camp, Sports Day, Swimming Carnival etc - and filling out the multitude of forms that need to be completed at the start of the school year.

Anyway, now that we're back to a routine, I hope to be able to get some quilting done. I've been very slack in regards to stitching and have been quite envious of how many projects others seem to have managed (you know who you are!). But I also think I needed this break to refresh and recharge, ready to leap with enthusiasm into my next project! (Have been checking out the Moda Bakeshop and have found quite a bit of inspiration.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Things I have learned from having a Holiday Rental

  • People are strange. (Actually I already knew this, it has just been reinforced.)
    • People have different standards of cleanliness. We've had both extremes - the ones that treated it like a hotel and just picked up their personal belongings and walked out the door, and the ones that have left it absolutely spotless AND left a bottle of bubbly in the fridge as a thank you. (No, no, *I* should be thanking YOU.)
      • Generally speaking, when people say they are bringing their well behaved pets, they really do have well behaved pets. Apart from recent evidence of a digger, and the ones mentioned previously that didn't bother picking up after their Shetland pony, there hasn't really been any evidence that a dog has been there....no scratch marks on furniture, no smells. Mr G was right, people who love their pets enough to bring them on holiday really do look after them (and their rental accommodation) well.
        • People really do appreciate the little touches, like toilet paper and Glad Wrap. Before we started this venture, we sought advice from a workmate who has a holiday rental in a nearby seaside town. He doesn't leave ANYTHING in the pantry and thinks we're mad for keeping the basics - oil, butter, foil, glad wrap, coffe, milo, soap, toilet paper, paper towel. Well apart from the fact that I can't be bothered carrying those things back and forth whenever we want to stay, I just think it's helpful when you first arrive somewhere to be able to have a cup of coffee and write your shopping list. And we've had several comments from guests letting us know that they appreciated how well stocked the kitchen was, so I really think it pays off. (This will, of course, be confirmed when we get some repeat bookings.)
          • Some people really don't understand the difference between rubbish and recycling. (The number of discarded nappies I've had to pull out of the recycling bin.....shudder!)
            • Driving back and forwards to do the cleaning really is tiring BUT I know how I want the house presented and I'm not convinced anyone else (including Mr G at times) will leave it to the same standard. Maybe I just need to let go a little......I mean it's not 5 star and we're not charging 5 star prices. (No, nup, don't think I can do it....)
              • We are going to have to think about scheduling 'unavailable' times so we can get down there to do maintenance and gardening. Yes, I know we'll have plenty of opportunity over winter but that doesn't help to establish a low maintenance garden over a hot summer.
                • Sometimes Mr G does know what he's talking about. I was very dubious about the whole "holiday rental" thing but we've been fully booked since the week before Christmas, our occupancy hasn't fallen below 30% since we started in October and we've made enough money to cover the mortgage & costs to the end of April. Projecting a loss of only around $8k for this financial year (and we will hopefully get more bookings between now and end of June so that figure will change). Mind you, I might change my mind if we ever get the tenants from hell!

                  Friday, January 20, 2012

                  School Holidays

                  Previous years, the summer school holidays seem to go by really quickly but this year it seems that Miss R has been home forever. I think the difference is that she is old enough to be more independent and so I'm not constantly arranging to drop her here there and everywhere to be looked after by someone. It's always a bunfight to get time off in school holidays, so this year I arranged to work 3 x 8hr days and take the remaining 2 days as flex/annual leave (I normally work school hours ie 6hrs/day). It's actually worked out really well and I'm hoping that I can continue this arrangement in the future. The days I've worked have been busy, but it's also great knowing that the reward is 2 days off - I really miss having days off during the week but life has been easier for after school activities & supervising homework if I'm home at a reasonable hour, so I'll be going back to that for school terms. As goodness know, Miss R cannot organise her way out of a paperbag, so leaving her to do homework unsupervised?? A recipe for disaster, given that she's starting Year 8 this year.

                  So we've been having a relaxing time, not doing too much, spending far too much time online but still managing to get some sewing done. I've made a couple more of these little purses to give away (do you know, I've made about 15 of these and have given every single one away....and taken no photos!), my scrappy quilt top is finished and in a month or so when the weather starts to cool, I'll start turning all my quilt tops into finished quilts. Right now I can't bear the thought of quilting them.....just too hot. (When I start a quilt, I like to finish it, but am having to compromise for now.)

                  Here's how the scrap vomit top turned out.The solid colour is called Turquoise, but when I started putting the blocks together, all I could see was Port Power teal....

                  Now as it happens, Mr G's mother was a one-eyed Port Power fan and his aunt (who lived next door) is the same. So I made the top smaller so it's lap size and will put that aside for her for Xmas. We usually buy her a small gift but she absolutely spoils Miss R so I hope she will appreciate this. However, it has made only a tiny, tiny dent in my scraps so I will continue to churn some more blocks out - just with a different solid colour! Months ago I made some scrappy string blocks so will use some of them for the back - I don't think it will look too scrappy, will it??

                  The weather was so good yesterday that I did about 5 loads of washing - one load was dry by the time the next was ready to hang out. Must have been in a bit of a spring cleaning mood as I decided to wash the cushion covers in the lounge, and thought I'd wash a few quilts at the same time. Naturally the red from the covers ran......one quilt was fine but the other 2 showed signs of 'pink'....but not all the white turned pink so it was very selective. Today I managed to find some colour run remover and it has worked a treat, so lesson learned the hard way! Wash the reds together! (I usually do but was being complacent.)

                  Neo had a trip to the vet yesterday to have his teeth cleaned. He has absolutely shocking teeth, despite us giving him 'crunchy' dog food, bones, Dentastix etc and so he ended up having 4 teeth removed. He had the same procedure done about 12 months ago where he also had 2-3 teeth removed...vet said this was most unusual. Not much else we can do though, so looks like he'll be costing us a small fortune each year until there are no teeth left!! We've been assured that dogs can survive very well without any teeth - good news as I'm definitely not forking out for doggie dentures!

                  Well, this has turned into a bit of a novel so will leave it there for now.....

                  Sunday, January 8, 2012

                  More 2 1/2" squares

                  Ever since I started quilting a few years ago (June long weekend 2009), I've been cutting my scraps into 2 1/2" squares with the idea that one day I'll make a scrappy quilt. I used a lot of them when I made the Triple Celtic Ring quilt for my aunt....

                  and a couple of days ago I stumbled on inspiration for another.

                  So yesterday and today has been busy cutting scraps into 2 1/2" squares....

                  and I can't wait to get started on piecing the blocks.

                  The sad thing is, I probably have enough scraps to make about 6 of these quilts. :-)