Thursday, February 28, 2008

Learning to sew clothes... properly!

I went to my first lesson today to learn (properly) how to sew clothes. The only training I have had is in Grade 8 at school, where I felt I didn't learn a lot. I made a lot of clothes when I was younger and also for the kids when they were babies, but lost interest when I no longer could just buy a pattern, cut, sew and have it fit. Patterns have changed a bit and also body size does not fit nicely into their standard sizes any more, so I was lost and gave up. My interest in sewing has been renewed (and re-energised) with becoming a quilter so now I feel it is time to learn to sew clothes with confidence.
Our new Gardams store offered a refresher/beginner class so that is what I have joined and we are making a skirt. We have learnt how to measure ourselves and which measurements to use for which types of patterns - a revelation! Also the best tip today - iron the tissue pattern pieces to iron-on interfacing so that they are easier to handle and pin - and to use them to try on for size (next week's class)! I am making variation A of the skirt in this fabric, ready for Winter.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Toowoomba rain

After the really warm, sunny week-end we had, I woke up this morning to see the cloudy fog all around the house and drizzle. Best of all, it has continued to rain lightly.
The birds (maggies and a currawong) take refuge from the rain under our back veranda. In the morning there were about 5 there, eating the dog's food (that he didn't finish last night). They annoy my hubby because they poop on everything and peck the oddest things. They love to pull the coconut fibre out of the linings of the hanging baskets. The rain also brought out the fragrance of the Mock Orange which has started flowering in the front yard - divine. I do believe the next door neighbour also has a jasmine flowering at the moment as well - pity I can't put smells on the blog!
Sadly, my eldest son has finally heard that he did not get the great traineeship position he was interviewed for. Anyway, now that he knows for sure it has freed him up to look for another position. He has already rung about a job in a pub which was just advertised - so I was quite pleased as he did that under his own steam... a good sign as it is such a hard thing to do.
I should be continuing with the free motion stitching on the runner, but I only feel like drinking numerous cups of tea and reading magazines, while listening to the rain... I even have my ugg boots on as it has got so cool!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Wild Bunch

So far... I have fused all the shapes and started the free-motion stitching. I am coming to realise that even though I love the finished effect, that the making of this runner is really quite tedious! First much drawing (done twice , due to fiasco with Wonder Under), then cutting shapes, pressing onto fabric, then heaps more cutting of fine fiddly shapes - this isn't too bad as it can be done in front of the TV. Then placing all the pieces (130 wattle flowers!), peeling off all the backing paper and fusing again! Now I am up to the free motion stitching - it is quite tedious also as it is just going around many small shapes... why did I think this would be fun!! Anyway will have to wait and see if I have enough energy to make a second (or third!) one of these runners. The photo's colours are not at all true - the background is actually more grey and the darker blue more of a dark slate blue.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Beware Wonder Under!

I sent away for this pattern and on Wednesday arvo, had the opportunity to fondle fabric at the LQS to buy the bits and pieces I didn't have. I had a not so great day at work, so it does the soul good to walk into the Quilt Shop and choose fabrics. I also purchased some Wonder Under (made by Pellon). Fresh off a brand new roll and I took it home and started straight away as the fabric was calling me! After I had traced the whole blooming design - hundreds of pieces - the webbing fell off the whole back! Not happy Jan! The next day the Quilt Shop were very helpful and apologetic - swapped it for another style of fusible stuff. However this particular store (my favorite) has one assistant who irks me and who I try to avoid, however she still had to get her two cents worth in! As we were looking at the problem, she suggested I put some baking paper over it and iron it back on - OK short term fix - once I cut out all the hundreds of little pieces it is highly likely the webbing will do the same again or the paper if I actually manage to get it fused to the fabric! Then still managed to make a snide remark about 'have to keep the customer happy!' like it's a bad thing!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Superb Blue Wren

I love these little birds in the garden and get very excited when I spot some. Today, their chirupping brought me out to look and there were two pairs hopping around on the fence. These were the best of the photos I took. The little blighters move around really fast.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Have had a terrific week-end - a day at Toowoomba Quilters yesterday and Sunday ...sigh... I love Sundays! A morning pottering in the kitchen and the 'kitchen garden'. Made delicious choc-raspberry muffins - I use greaseproof paper as a muffin case as I have run out of muffin cases, but I like the rustic look! This was my own made-up variation on my usual recipe, so I was very proud it worked and was delish! I also picked tomatoes from our own garden. I was going to make a roast tomato sauce, but it will have to wait for Monday as I did not really have enough time to finish it before we went out. I also mixed up some yogurt (easiyo) which I love! So I felt very Mother Earth, especialy as I was wearing my beautiful brown and cream modern/retro apron made by Joan B from Toowoomba Quilters. I bought it last year at the Sales table at our Quilt Show and I love using it! I have also taken a photo of the beautiful pink gerbera my hubby grew for me in some pots which sit at the back door but have been barren pots of dirt until now (courtesy of the drought).

After a yummy lunch of Finn-crisp and boiled eggs, cheese, gerkins and the muffins with a coffee, we drove to Clifton for the Toowomba Photographic Club outing (Hubby is pres) & what a great time I had! We went to the Clifton Movie Theatre which is a really old movie theater they open for groups to use just mainly to fund it to keep it alive. The theatre is the blue building in the photo and it has the old canvas chairs.

It has the couples seats at the sides (my youngest son, Mr D, attempting to look relaxed while I take his photo in these seats) and in the middle canvas single seats like built-in directors chairs with swivel backs - suprisingly comfortable.

The floor is sloped and the seats offset so even the tallest guy in the club (probably the tallest person I have ever met) sat in front of me and it didn't matter, I could still see the show.

They don't use the old projection equiptment (it is all preserved and you can see it) but use a DVD projector to show old movies (I don't think they can get the bits they need to keep the old projection equipment working). We watched a Tom & Jerry funny then the main feature was 'Sahara' with Humphrey Bogart. A Humphrey Bogart movie I have not seen before but thoroughly enjoyed - a war movie but still thoroughly enjoyable - all of us Mr D (15yo) Hubby & I all enjoyed it! Then a luscious (home made) afternoon tea and a chance to see the projector room. Then we moved onto the photography part which was a visit to the Condamine River outside of Clifton to take photos until dusk. Their was the most water running in it that I have seen since I moved to this area. We also saw a beautiful ranibow (a full one) with screeching galahs - great! However the bestest part there was a collectibles store at Clifton and I finally found a great Stetson hat which I purchased for the princely sum of $15. Everytime I am in an op shop I look for this kind of thing, but this was the classic hat! There was a pile of other things I would have liked to buy - kookaburra ashtray (broken beak - but only $3 - why didn't I pick it up?) An old iron ( the type you heat on the stove) - a singer treadle table - no machine... etc A great spot to stop if you are in Clifton. The sunflowers were also out but I dodn't get a chance to take photos - hope to next week-end as we may be going out to Rudd's Pub some time.

Dancing Beijing Challenge Quilt

Ta da!!! My final effort. I was blown away by the other quilts brought in for this challenge! (Double click to view larger image with more detail.) My entry detailed it as : "China is renown for its fireworks and at the Olympics there will be great fireworks. As you watch this show and the shimmering lights glowing, you see the ephemeral image of a dragon dancing in the night sky."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Dragons and Andy Warhol

Yesterday we had a terrific day - went to Brisbane to see the Andy Warhol exhibition. Stopped at the Auchenflower quilt shop - however, could not browse for too long as the boys were waiting outside (we need to do that road trip, Caity!) Then we moved onto South Bank and had lunch at San Marco Cafe - lovely - saw dragon boats on the river - is that a sign for my quilt?
Enjoyed the Andy Warhol exhibition very much - see tourist shot of me outside. (I can be a tourist in Brisbane now we don't live there any more!) I also saw some storm lillies which only flower after it rains. I am sure I used to have some in my garden, but they must have perished in the drought. I will have to try and get some more, but I am not sure what their real name is.

After returning to Toowoomba, one boy rode into the sunset to sleep-over at a mate's house, and I dropped the other at a party, where he also was staying the night. Sooooo... Hubby and I took the opportunity presented to go out and try the new wine bar in town called Swish. Had terrific tapas, great service and lovely wines - highly recommend it - but note to self, next time make a booking as it seems very popular.
Today I have been working on the challenge quilt. Up to the binding ... yeah!!! I have included a photo of the dragon's face which is the best shot I have managed so far. I am happy with it, but if I were to critique it I would say it does not have enough of a focal point. Anyway it will be interesting to see other people's reactions to it.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

On Tenterhooks

Sean (eldest boy) has managed to score an interview for the ideal job. He applied in Dcember and got the call on Monday to come in for an interview. I thought they must have already finalised it but I should not have over-estimated the Council! Anyway we were so excited he had an interview, now we are on tenterhooks waiting for the yeah-or-nay call. I thought they might have called Friday but it was not to be, now we will have to live through the week-end trying not to think about it! I bought him a new outfit to wear (as most of his trousers are all too large for him) and he looked great - the young man-about-town. If wishing counts ...I have heaps of my friends keeping their fingers crossed for him.
Sewing-wise it has been a very dry week. I had a day out on Monday to the Movies with my gal-pals from the Club. We had a lovely time and I got the much needed dose of oestrogen. I would recommend 27 Dresses as a great chick-flick - a must see on DVD to at least see all the crazy Bridesmaid frocks and see some of the great clothes Katherine Heigel (spelling?) wears. A beautiful Audrey Hepburn style piece at the party towards the end. So that was Monday, Tuesday was TQ - social stitching day. Wednesday, Thursday & Friday were a blur of working or going to gym. I did a Personal Training session on Thursday & my legs still haven't forgiven me!
Today we are driving down to the big smoke to see the Andy Warhol exhibition. I plan to stop at the Auchenflower Quilt Shop to see if I can pick up some beads or dangly bits for my challenge quilt.
I MUST bind it this week-end and finish the quilting I un-picked - tomorrow's job! I will try and put up a photo then if I can get one. ( I have found it hard to photograph so far.)