Monday, December 31, 2007

Frugal times...

I am with Di about our affluent society. For the last couple of years, we have been pretty comfortable financially and have just spent money when we wanted (to a degree). However we have made the decision to go to Finland this year. We are going with my parents and I have lots of personal reasons this trip is important to me - one of which is to spend some quality time with my Mum and Dad. However we have recently purchased more shares in the company and had a trip to NZ, so we are going backwards right now as we try to pay off the $6,000 in airfares we purchased before Christmas.
I have always felt strongly about the sentiments Di has expressed (spending on consumables, etc) but purchasing these tickets has pushed us financially (I know I am probably contradicting myself by saying I I am strapped for buying air tickets and don't believe in the consumables guff, but like I said there are lots of personal reasons this trip is important - a finding the roots kinda thing). So I have started re-visiting the simply spending website. If anyone is interested they have a calender for 2008 to help you save money.
Anyway the upshot of all this talk is that I cooked a quiche from scratch tonight. The idea was to make a ham and egg quiche (Super Food Ideas page 20 - Xmas issue)- using what I had at home. I did not have frozen pastry so I was very proud of myself for making the pastry from scratch using Ally's recipe from Toowoomba Quilters. It worked too - I am not good with pastry usually. Then I was going to use the left-over ham from Christmas, but it didn't smell so good, so the dog got that and I used a tin of salmon in place of the ham. I also did not have the mozzarella cheese so used Colby cheese. Also did not have chives so used parsley and spring onions from the garden (Hubby is really enjoying his gardening now that it has rained a bit). So anyway I am hoping it will taste good but I am so proud of it I am putting a photo of it up - I like the way Caity puts in photos of things she has made - cooking should not be relegated to second place - take pride in making thing from scratch and using the ingredients to hand! Anyway this is one of the small things I intend to do to save money and live a simpler life!

Foundation piecing.... Arrgh!!!

I have continued working on the Jinny Beyer quilt today - joining the foundation pieced blocks - now there are 8 of them ... and then... the words to strike fear in any quilters heart.... remove the paper... how long is that going to take me? ...little bits of paper everywhere! I am very tempted to put this back in to the UFO category! Meanwhile the dog has been having a very hard day! Have a Happy New Year everyone! It is going to be very quiet for me and that suits me fine.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

My sewing space

Here are photos of my sewing space. I did manage to shoo the boys out but they landed in the lounge like a swarm of flies and took the Xbox with them. Coco (my ancient cat) usually sleeps in her basket in the lounge but came out about 5 minutes after they started yahooing, to tell me she was not happy! So she helped me sew in between sleeping on the futon. I have also put in a photo of the foundation pieced blocks - 32 all up. These are the last of the foundation piecing - phew! I have spent two hours today and probably a bit longer than that yesterday to make these. It gets faster as you go along and get the knack again.

My Xmas Pressie

I must have been a good girl this year as I received a camera for Christmas. Now I can stop borrowing my son's camera. Also I can now put some effort in and learn how to use it properly. I have included some photos taken at my place on my new toy, including one of some of the family dishing up Christmas Dinner. There is also another book cover I made, in a space theme. This one was a gift for my hubby.

Since Christmas, I have spent a bit more time on my Challenge Quilt and got it to a stage I need to let it sit for a while ( and mature like a fine wine). My next project was a UFO. A few years ago I started the BOM called Around the World with Jinny Beyer. I had completed nearly all of the blocks except the mariners star type blocks. The quilt is all made with foundation piecing and has been quite repetitive to work on, so that is why it got pushed to the bottom of the pile. However now that I have tidied up my sewing space I thought I would finish a UFO this Xmas break and I feel good that I have at last started on that goal. I have been thwarted today as my youngest son has some mates over and they are sitting playing Xbox or Nintendo in my sewing space. Sadly it is a shared space and when it is full of teenage boys all yelling at the screen it is time for me to find something else to do. I may have to move them on soon though as I really feel the need to visit my Bernina.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bags of Love

I have made two quilts as my 'charity' quilts this year. One is from the method Di Showed us for a simple 1000 pyramid quilt. I have backed it in polar fleece to make it cuddly. There are some really ugly fabrics in the mix, but it doesn't seem to matter when they are put together.

The other quilt is made from panels featuring houses, geese, sheep, cats and I have added some 4 patch to make enough blocks for a quilt top. I backed it in a lovely red flannel so it too will be cuddly. The interesting thing about this quilt is that I designed it in EQ5 and found my first colour way didn't really work. It's great when you can 'trial' colorways before you cut the fabric. I am donating them to bags of love which give bags of necessary items to kids who have been removed from homes of parents with drug problems. They give a quilt in each bag as well so that the kids have something to 'own' as they often leave their homes without many of their possessions. Any way I will drop them off today - I hope they like them - it would be nice to think they may not need them, but I was told that they give out about 50 bags just over the Xmas period in Toowoomba.

Dropped the quilts off - they were really appreciative - made my day!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas strikes!

Why do men seem to think that woman like wrapping presents? How come work outside suddenly became so important when I sat down to wrap presents. I needed to get them organised as I had to mail some away - mainly to his family (well I have been married into them for a long time now, but he still knew them before me!) AAARRGHHH!
Anyway the good thing to come out of it is that I found I am pretty well set up except for some last minute baked items, which I will do this week. I saw a good hint for wrapping presents in the free Woolworths magazine. I didn't have enough Chrissy paper, so I used brown paper and then wrapped the Chrissy paper around the middle only, with ribbon etc. I also used some of the offcuts from my silk paper book cover to make tags for the presents. I thought they looked quite pretty! I had to add Coco's picture as well as she wanted one taken!

I have also taken a photo of a stitchery I made earlier this year. It is for my youngest niece. I framed it in a shadow box frame and it came up quite well. It was from a Country Threads magazine. I don't subscribe anymore but occasionally they have issues with really nice stitcheries.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Competitive juices fired up...

Sean (my first born) has finished high school (- see formal photo in earlier post) and I have been helping him today in writing a job application.
My competitive juices started to flow. I have applied for (and won) many jobs over the last 5 to 10 years and I find writing a job application is like a challenge - must get that interview! It is interesting to me that I feel the same way helping Sean write his application! Maybe not though, as this would be a great job for him and I feel very deeply that I want to see him land it... keep your fingers crossed for him!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sunday, lovely Sunday!

I am having a lovely day with my sewing. Yesterday we bought a shelving unit and Brian has put it in my sewing space (can't really call it a 'room') and shifted the other shelves. I have finally taken down the card table that was my main storage point and been able to organise (slightly better) the clutter that is my sewing stuff. This morning I even managed to have a look at what was inside some of the boxes under my bed and found one that I emptied because I knew I was never going to complete that project (Hetty Van Boven - Shadow applique - lovely idea - however, I found it highly painful to do!) If anyone is after the book about Shadow Applique I think I will put it on ebay soon. I also found another box which had the fabric which I had collected for a project which I have already finished. The project I finished is pictured here, called Spring Serenade. It is done in the style of a Ricky Timms Rhapsody quilt but is very small so I felt is was only a serenade! When I emptied the box of left over fabrics I found a piece of dyed fabric in the prefect shade of orange to go in my Dancing Beijing Challenge Quilt.
So now the rest of the day has been spent playing with the Challenge Quilt. I have cut out all the pieces - the only poo-bah so far is that I cut too much of two colors, now I have left over small blocks of those - what a waste - I should have counted it before cutting - that's what you get for being lazy!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Another one...

I have had a busy day (no work - Yippee!), so I have used the day to make some bikkies (cherry shortbread half dipped in chocolate) and to make another book cover as a gift.
This one is done in the style that Kathy taught in her class at Toowoomba Quilters. However I have not been able to keep it as random in shape as Kathy encouraged. I have done a garden theme for this and sewn a brass dragonfly charm over the top of the dragonfly applique on the front cover. Now that I have worked out how to cut them to make the book fit I have had much more success and less frustration! I have one more planned - similar to this but with a space theme.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Book Covers

I have been madly making book covers - which are great for trying new techniques with!
I was planning to make the first one as a gift but then it got so colorful I didn't think the intended recipient would like it, so decided to keep it for myself. this was lucky as when I went to assemble it, I made it to small! Now I have got it to fit on the book but the corners are all daggy as I trimmed the corners the first time I stitched it, and of course when I tried to make it bigger, the corners didn't have enough fabric to stitch them. Now I am hoping I can find some book corners - I remember being able to get them years ago, so I hope they are still available.

The front of the cover is teal with a thread 'sandwich' insert which includes Angelina fibre and some threads I collected from the daggy edges of some fabric I dyed. I then got totally carried away and stuck hot-fix crystals through the 'sandwich' and also beaded with orange flower sequins and beads. I did not have enough teal for the back so I have stripped some colourful fabrics and then quilted the strips.

The second book cover was much more successful. I used the silk paper I made on the week-end. I quilted it with green thread and then a variegated gold thread. I added a strip of white trim with silver feature circles which I found at Gardams today. This one will be a gift.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Silk paper

Linda & I got together today to make Silk paper and play with Shiva Paint sticks. It was fun and here are some pictures of the results.
I am definitely going to do some more of this myself. The silk paper was easy to do but a pleasant activity as the silk is beautiful in your hands. Shiva paintsticks are also fun and I will order some of my own now. With the paintsticks we did some rubbings, stencils and used torn paper to give an edge to paint against.
Since then, however my mood has swung around as when I came home I thought I would tidy up all my sewing stuff on the dining table but hoo... where do I put it? I so need a sewing studio but will not be getting one this year unless a bundle of money falls out of the heavens... boo hoo! Anyway that is enough of the "I want..." sulking. (Do you feel sorry for me yet? I didn't think so).
My other frustration is that I want to use EQ6 to design a challenge quilt for Toowoomba Quilters club but I can't get it to do what I want. I have a photo I want to overlay (like an embroidery or a motif) but the only way I can get it in is as a photo and then when it is inserted it hides the blocks underneath.... frustration!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

It's only rock n roll but we like it...

Just watched 'Rockwiz',

who is ... ??? ... OK obviously a Finn brother... Neil or Tim?? No it's Liam! .... Which brother is that? ....OMG it is Neil Finn's son - now how old do I feel?? It is getting very fuzzy in my memory but I do believe I went to a Split Enz concert at Cloudlands in 1982..83 ??? anyway a long time ago... his son!!!!


Yes, it is officially the first day of summer... tell it to my dog snuggled on the couch into the flannel quilt! I suppose Toowoomba is a bit different to the rest of Queensland but it didn't really feel like summer yet... maybe that is why I like it so much!

We had a good day today at our Toowoomba Quilters Christmas party. I won't put pictures up here - you can probably see any at our blog site. I loved the presentation of the cheque (from the proceeds of the sale of tickets for our raffle quilt) and presentation of the raffle quilt.

I think the only sad person was Chris, who designed and made the quilt top, so understandably she was sad to see her "baby" go. Otherwise it is win-win all the way round - just like I like it! You can see from the picture of the quilt why Chris might be sad to see it go. This picture was taken before it was quilted (after basting) so it only got more lovely! The lady who accepted our cheque from Young Women's Place was really happy to receive a donation of $3,500 and gave a great talk about what their organisation does.

We had a great lunch, secret Santa swap and a few other things like "best Xmas dressed". Everyone seemed to have a good time. Our Block draw went very well with 27 blocks brought in - that means we could hand out 3 prizes of 9 blocks so that those recipients could (in theory) go home and piece a Xmas quilt top together. We used the Ohio Star block in red/green/cream and the blocks made were wonderful! We kept it simple and it seemed to work!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Finally basted...

In my first blog (3 Nov) I mentioned the quilt top I had finished ready to baste the next day, well I finally got it done today. It felt as if everything was conspiring against me to get it done! When I was ready to baste it, then I had to work, etc and so it goes on.... even today at Toowoomba Quilters, we had to deal with locked cupboards with the key locked inside... one of our very versatile members was able to get us into the cupboard, so we got the key to unlock the padlock and then put the locks back to how they should have been. This same crafty person also helped me baste my quilt - thanks Fay! It took ages to baste - I remember now why I usually pin baste, not thread baste! However I am quilting this quilt with perle thread so it needed to be done. I do think next time I will enquire with Kathy at Koolkat as to the price of machine basting!
It was a lovely day at Toowoomba Quilters and it is great that there is tables available to baste quilts on... I don't have anywhere to do it at home.
While I was at TQ we were discussing the Quilting Arts Gifts magazine and I was wondering when my ordered copy would arrive - it was home when I got home so that was a real lift at the end of a pleasant day! I have also received the back issues of Quilting Arts magazines I ordered but I am dithering on whether I should read these already as they are meant for my birthday and if I read them now, I won't have much else to look forward to on my birthday.... maybe I should put half away and read some now? I hope these kinds of decisions are the most difficult ones I need to make for a while - I like a simple, quiet life!
I also appreciated the support I get from the other quilters. Today I showed some of the blocks I have made for the raffle quilt and I do admit to being concerned about how it will all come together but they were all very positive ... thanks guys!

Friday, November 23, 2007

A rainy day is good to... on the Toowoomba Quilters raffle quilt (2008) and to do the washing (I have a mountain in the laundry threatening to tumble on an unsuspecting visitor to this room).

This was going really well until the power went off for over an hour... what do you do without power? ... at least I could make a cup ot tea (as I have a gas stove) and sit and read a quilting magazine in the murky light. We have had a lot of rain today with scary thunder and the works.

So anyway, a few of us in the Toowoomba Quilters Club are putting together the 2008 raffle quilt. It should look something like this...

It represents the four seasons in Toowoomba starting with summer at the top. We chose to do it as a row by row quilt so that a few different club members could make rows in their own different styles and techniques. I have finished making all the autumn leaves today...phew! Now to start on the half square triangles and Autumn will be done.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

He's growing up...

I'm not sure if I'm sad exactly but I do think change is hard to handle. My eldest has finished school and I am really happy for him but how it changes the dynamics between us is a little sad. I have to start accepting he is an adult and let him free..... Here is a picture of him and his date on the formal night. I think he looks gorgeous... I was very impressed at what a lovely girl his date was also, but she is "only a friend" but that is cool ... its great that he seems to have good friends of both sexes. He has now gone off for "schoolies", but not at the Gold Coast which is a bit of a relief when you see the activities on the news each night! Mind you, he can still be up to mischief but I do trust him... however I am not sure I trust others he may come across....

On the rest of the family front, my hubby's Dad was awarded the "SES member of the year" for Queensland today. It was moving to see Alison accept the award on his behalf (he passed away a few months ago - very suddenly ...very sad...he had only visited with us the week-end before and I remember a warm glow that I had when they left as I thought how lucky I was to have a great father-in-law that I could talk to so easily and who seemed so very accepting of me...) . It was a great ceremony but Alison was kept very busy during the day. Alison was to lay a wreath at a their Church Service later but we were unable to stay as we had other commitments. I am sure a few tears fell during that service.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday ... the first day of the rest of your life...

Today I have been toooo busy, but maybe its a good thing. It means I didn't crave my usual glass (or three) of white wine tonight. This morning I went to my PT session - the last one was a killer and I could barely walk the next two days! Today we did some cardio, chest press, super sets of squats and dips and then pilates style ab work. My triceps are feeling pretty stuffed but otherwise so far, so good. I did have an epsom salts bath tonight to try and move the aches on.

After Gym, I came home and rang the travel agent to pay for our flights. Went to Grand Central got my new glasses adjusted, bought an ironing board cover (ripped the old one ironing my shirt this morning), saw to the new phone that was giving us problems and got a travel insurance quote. Left GC and picked up drawings for work. Went to work - worked until 5 pm and then went grocery shopping. Came home and cooked a yummy dinner of fish, gems, salad and asparagus. Is that why I feel so tired now?

Anyway I am glad I have not craved that wine - the first day of an alcohol-free (or at least low-alcohol) life!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Travel on the horizon...

We have decided to go overseas next year to Finland. My parents are going so we thought we would take the opportunity to go with them as they can introduce us to all those rellies we have never met (or knew existed...)

Now I just have to make the bookings - I hope it is not going to be difficult! It surprises me how complex booking these trips can be. I hope we can travel over with my parents but so far have not been able to contact the travel agent to arrange the tickets. I have spent the last few days agonising over whether my son Mr D should take time off from school to come with us... he wasn't sure it would be a good idea, but the Guidance Officer at the school thinks travel is so important that they can work around the time off. Then trying to ensure hubby will be able to get that time off work. He has plenty of leave but I needed to make sure no-one else was taking extended leave at the same time. Once the tickets are booked we are committed.

On the exercise front I am pleased that I attended a Body Step class yesterday and did a PT session today. It was all weights in the PT - chest press, squats with a bar across the shoulders with weights, seated row with alternate arms, dips and pull-ups, shoulders and lateral raises. At lease I think that is what they are called?

I have worked the last few days when I have not been at the Gym so have not done any quilting. Hoping to do some tomorrow.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

My first time...

First time blogger ... how exciting. Where does one start? I decided to start this blog so I can journal the quilts and thoughts about quilts I am having.
At the moment I am working on a quilt from Down Under Quilts Issue 112 "Stash Buster" by Kathy Doughty. However I am not making it all out of strips as per the pattern. I have used my collection of 1930's prints instead. I have made the yo-yo's in yellow and the diamonds are in blue. I will add a picture when I work out how.... I have also decided to add some ric-rac to the binding which I have bought in blue.
This quilt is a just in case someone has a baby quilt which I plan to keep on hand. I plan to have the border on by Tuesday and the backing prepared so that I can pin it at Toowoomba Quilters next Tuesday.
Also today I spent the afternoon at my friend Linda's place and we are planning to get together on a regular basis to play with textiles and hopefully make some journal quilts. Next month we plan to make silk paper. Linda is more the teacher in this as she has done more of this stuff in the past, but she loves to play...
I have worked out how to add the photo of the quilt...