Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

I haven't been doing much the last couple of days except pottering around the garden and catching up on ironing and housework. But for the sake of a blog post, here is the little dress I bought for my neice for Christmas. I bought this at Morriset markets from a woman with lots of lovely handmade children's clothes - such a cute idea:

Olivia looked very cute in it.

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and has a safe New Year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Introducing the Red Wattlebird

Thanks Bettsy and Caz for your help identifying the baby bird. While my poor photo didn't help, your suggestions got me searching and I think I finally found it here: I'm not sure, as I haven't noticed the red cheeks on the mother, but everything else is exactly like her. The baby just looks a bit odd at the moment. I'll try to take a better photo though soon.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What bird is that?

Thank goodness I finished the little cardigan I was making for my neice in time for Christmas. I don't think it will fit - the arms look kind of long, but it is summer here anyway, so maybe it will fit in time for Autumn. I guess it is the thought that counts. I made this from a thick cotton blend I bought a while ago from Lincraft, it is so soft.

We are spending Christmas Day with my family this year, so on Sunday night we had Christmas with Jeremy's family. I was very spoiled by their thoughtful gifts and affection. I'll show the other gifts soon, but here is one particular favourite. This is actually a half-watering can planter. So the rear side is flat and has a screw hole so I can put it on a wall and plant things in it. It already has drainage holes too. I think this will be just perfect for geraniums.

And finally, are there any bird watchers out there? There is this lovely native bird with a long curved beak who likes to suck the pollen out of my grevilleas. This bird is quite large (probably a bit bigger than a magpie) and brown and tawny. I think the male has large red swellings on either side of his cheeks - unless I saw an symetrically deformed one! But it is the female I have seen around a lot over the last year. Anyhow, this bird has had a baby!! It sits around and cries constantly for food. And I mean constantly. Its cry sounds like someone winding a very rusty winch .... all day long. And the baby is actually bigger than the mother! The baby gets nervous if I get too close and flies off in a very wobbly and precarious fashion - hence the poor photo. I didn't want to alarm it as the last time it saw me it flew into a wall. The mother also came when I took this photo and gave me a very aggressive telling-off. The baby is more yellow-y than the Mum who is quite brown. So, does anyone know what kind of bird this could be or know anyone who could identify it?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More Christmassy gifts

Wow! Thanks Kandy, my Fiona Marie swap partner, for the gorgeous gifts!

Kandy sent me one of her original bag patterns as well as a beautiful art card and snowman wallhanging.

Isn't this postcard just so clever:

And my hasty photography does not do this amazing wall-hanging justice:

The stitchery and piecing is just so meticulous and the quilting so fine. I feel very honoured to receive such a lovely gift from a very talented woman!

What I've been working on

I've been really busy with work lately, and very stressed, so haven't been doing much in the way of craft the last month or so except for managing to finish off my Christmas swap things.

One thing (or two things) I have managed to finish are these dishcloths from the scrumptious Peaches n Creme cotton Sue sent me in my Christmas parcel. I love this cotton, so I had to use it straight away and these took no time to whip up:

I've also been crocheting a cardigan for my little neice for Christmas. I hope I finish it in time. I only need to do the sleeves (and it is only a baby size!) but I'm kind of struggling with it at the moment. I'll take a pic if and when I finish it.

I did play with the disappearing nine-patch after seeing a lovely version by Gabbie, no blog, of Patch-n-Chat, a few weeks ago. Before I saw hers, I just didn't get the attraction of this technique! But something about her colour arrangement really worked, and her quilt was spectacular. And so I put together a little pink cot quilt top and a bigger lap quilt. But I haven't quilted either and haven't managed to take a photo. So maybe I'll get a chance if I manage to get a day off over Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Singer sewing caddy

My good friend Lyle found this at North Rocks markets for me on Sunday morning - isn't it great? An authentic Singer sewing caddy with heaps of room for lots of sewing bits and pieces, and in pristine condition.

It will make a lovely addition to my Singer collection - I already have 4 vintage machines ranging from treadle to early electric. I've stopped buying them because I have a small house and have no more room, but I can certainly find room for this caddy.

Jeremy and I also joined Lyle for Blacktown Markets and we picked up some aluminium pails to put some decorative greenery in (since Jeremy insists on using the vintage milking jug I bought for this purpose as an umbrella stand!) and heaps of Thorobred knitting/crochet cotton. All good bargains, but the best buy of the day was my sewing caddy. Thanks Lyle!

Ornament Swap

I took part in the Patch and Chat Christmas ornament swap again this year and look at the gorgeous ornaments I received from my secret swap partner.

This beautiful beaded ball must have taken ages to make, it is so intricate and perfect:

And I just adore this Prim Angel ornament. She is just beautiful in her simple, rustic elegance:

Thanks whoever you are! As usual, I am just humbled by the skill and generosity of the women in our group and am just so proud to be a part of this group.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree

I love my tree ornaments - almost all of them were either handmade by me or patchwork friends, or given to me by patchwork friends. Each one is unique and precious, and reminds me of a special person.

Spoiled rotten

Gee, there are some wonderful, generous patchworky people out there! I have already been so spoiled and Christmas isn't even here yet.

Bennie sent this very clever ruler holder her husband Dick designed and made - and I know for a fact this kind and talented fellow made one for everyone in our patchwork group! Isn't it a clever idea - I just have to find all my rulers to put in it now. But now I have this holder, I shouldn't lose them again! Thanks Bennie and Dick!

Sue from Illinois was my Quilted Angels Secret Santa this year and she sent me some very lovely and useful gifts. Look at this incredible collection of pressies:

And not in the photo are these lovely ornaments she also sent:

Thanks Sue, you made my day!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weird Plant in my garden

I have no idea what this weird plant is - I call it an octopus plant, because its long green legs come climbing over the fence from my neighbour's place. It is some type of cactus I imagine, as it has little spikes on it and rubbery green skin. But at this time of year it also grows these weird long hairy things then all of a sudden these amazing flowers burst out of the end of them.

The octopus plant lives amongst my passionfruit vine which has flowered for the first time this year. It is covered in fruit and I can't wait for them to ripen!

So today I have been working on Christmas presents. Firstly, these two little bags (pattern in the latest Homespun):

I love the effect of the shabby roses on them. And then this little Christmas decoration:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fabulous Dishcloths

If you think you might be in a Christmas Swap with me then it is probably a good idea to stop reading my blog now. I'm going to be occupied with all things Christmas for the next month or so and I if I can't show some of the gifts I am making then I will have nothing to blog about. So you have been warned!

I bought these gorgeous dishcloths from my talented friend Julie for stocking fillers. They're knitted with that super thick, super soft Sugar & Cream cotton by the feel of them. They are so thick and soft. I actually wouldn't waste them on dishes. I'd use it as a flannel or face washer, they feel so good!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Christmas Mice and Dog Bibs

I have finally managed to get a little sewing done .... I need to do lots more and very quickly if I am going to be ready for Christmas!

Yesterday was taken up mainly with doggy dramas. The pups had their annual vaccinations yesterday but Sugar had a severe allergic reaction to one of the injections and had to be rushed back the vet for an antihistimine injection and a medical checkup. She is all recovered now, though, thank goodness.
In between giving Sugar lots of cuddles, I managed to make this Christmas Mouse from Homespun No 66. I still need to search the garage for some fishing line for her whiskers. I have attached a loop to her back so she can be hung from the tree.

I was looking at for some Christmas inspiration and found these cute dog bib patterns (that is, bibs with dogs on them, not bibs for dogs) and just had to make a couple.

There was also a cat bib, but I am a dog person and I also thought the dog pattern was cuter.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Catching Up

Well, it has been a little while between posts so I thought I had better catch up.

Firstly, pop over to Lzilulu's blog for a link to a great giveaway. I'm not linking directly from here and you'll see why when you read more about it! Good luck Lzi!

Secondly, I've been in contact wih my Fiona Marie swap partner and she seems like so much fun, and very talented too. She coordinated and wrote the patterns for a year-long bag swap for the British Quilt List. You can see some of the amazing creations here:

I'm hoping to get stuck into making things for all of the Christmas swaps I am in this weekend, fingers crossed. Somehow I injured my neck and shoulder last Sunday so have been in a lot of pain all week and not able to do much. The first couple of days it was so bad I stayed in bed trying not to move. It got a bit better but going back to work and being on a computer all day hasn't helped and it is still sore and stiff. But if I manage to get even a little bit of sewing done this weekend, it will be better than none.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Jeremy's Ride

Forgot to say, Jeremy finished his ride from Sydney to Wollongong. He said he will be sending out a thank you email with details of his epic journey to everyone who sponsored him, probably tonight. He didn't get home til about 8pm last night and was too tired. Note: it didn't take him that long to ride the event, it took him that long to get the provided transport back to Sydney, wait 2 hours for the truck with their bikes on it to turn up, and then drive the hour home.

Weekend works

I managed to get a little bit of sewing done on the weekend for the first time in ages, despite having piles of housework and lawns to attend to.

First, I quilted the gorgeous little cot quilt top I won from Toni. I was a bit scared of ruining it, so I just quilted in the ditch around all the blocks and the borders. I was going to stipple in the large border but wasn't sure if I had enough pink thread to finish it so didn't. Since then, I actually found another reel of pink quilting thread hiding in the mess that is my sewing room so I could go back and do it. But I am thinking of quitting while I'm ahead. So that is one Christmas present finished ..... a zillion to go! Thanks Toni!

I also made a couple of pillow slips from some Amy Butler fabric. I originally bought this fabric with the intention of making a skirt or something. But after pondering it for a bit, I realised that I'm not really a bright colour person and I would probably never wear anything I made from this. Also, I always seem to be short on pillow slips. I don't know where they go. Maybe the same place socks go. Or maybe just at the back of my very disorderly linen cupboard! Whatever - the point is I could use some spare pillowslips so I made these from the fabric instead. And they actually kind of "go" with several of my sheet sets.

Then I started a little Christmas stitchery. It didn't photograph well:

And his eyes are a bit creepy!

And lastly, I started playing with a YoYo maker I bought ages ago but never got around to trying out. And you know what, it does make suffolk puffs or yoyos much easier to make! I am using a charm square pack from Moda's Harvest Home which are just the right size for my YoYo maker, so I have quite a few more to make. I'm not sure what I am going to do with them but I have a matching Jelly Roll, so that should widen the possibilities.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Singapore Sling

And here is the second gorgeous Red Boot Quilt Co quilt I was lucky enough to buy. This one is embellished with self covered buttons and exquisite quilting.

And here is the quilting, what a great pattern:

These quilts are so beautiful, I'm certainly not sharing them. They're all mine! I'm definitely not going to let any clumsy, messy puppies near them. Oh, no, here comes Sugar:

Get off! Get off! No! Don't SIT on it!

And don't make yourself comfortable!

For crying out loud, now Spice is joining her Sister! It is MINE I tell you!

Never mind, I managed to coax them away with a bone and reclaimed my quilt. You can also purchase this pattern from Toni's Etsy Store and view some of her other amazing patterns.

Maude's Medallion

This has got to be my favourite Red Boot Quilt Co pattern. I have the pattern myself but just haven't found the right fabrics to make it yet and now I don't have to because I have the most beautiful original!!

Here is a detail from the applique centre, such beautiful work and gorgeous fabric choices:

And here is a detail of the lovely quilting:

And one more pic for good luck:

You can buy this pattern from Toni's Etsy store for a bargain price (and see her much better photo of this gorgeous quilt). And I can thoroughly recommend her patterns - they're clear and concise with lots of diagrams and pictures, and well-tested so you know your quilt is going to turn out right!

Lucky me - again!

I posted a few days ago about winning the gorgeous cot quilt top from Toni at The Red Boot Quilt Company, well, here it is:

My photo just does not do justice to this cute little quilt. The little nine patches are so tiny, the piecing so perfect .... I almost took a photo of the back of the quilt to show you how neat and precise the work is!

I can't wait to quilt this one. I just hope I do it justice. Thanks so much Toni!!!!!!

Now the reason I titled this post "Lucky me - again" is because Toni also gave me the opportunity to buy some of her gorgeous quilts. She knows I am an avid devotee of her talented work and I have been lucky enough to buy some of her quilts before. I received them today in the post and am going to show them off in separate posts ..... because they are beautiful enough to deserve a post each and also because it makes me look more like a conscientious blogger if I post three times today!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mr Gobble

This is Mr Gobble, he still needs some boots and a few adornments and then he will be ready for Christmas. As you can see from the glue gun etc in the background, he is a work in progress.

He is from Australian Homespun No.38 and is a design by Goldie Konsak.

I was looking for things to make for the various Christmas swaps I am in, but now realise Mr Gobble is a bit impractical to post so he may have to live here. At least, with me being a vegetarian, he will be safe from Christmas dinner here!

Lucky Monday

I am so thrilled - I have won a lovely cot quilt top from Toni at the Red Boot Quilt Company! Toni has made my day! I can't wait to receive it. I'll share a photo when I do.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sydney to Gong Ride

Jeremy is going in the 2008 Sydney to Gong bike ride - a VERY hilly, 90km ride from Sydney to Wollongong to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis.

He has a close friend affected by this disease so it is something close to his heart, as well as a motivation to get fit for the big day!

If anyone can spare a few dollars, he would appreciate your sponsorship. Donations are tax deductible (in Australia anyway). To donate, click here.

Christmas Swap

Has anyone else signed up for Fiona Marie's Global Christmas Swap yet? A few in my patchwork group did last year and enjoyed it very much.

I liked the lovely patterns that came with it but didn't have a great experience with my swap partner last year - she wasn't very computer literate, inadvertently blocked my email address as spam and made communication very difficult. I did eventually get my swap, but a month or two late. I also accepted her invitation to join an art card swap a few months later and while I sent mine, I never received one back and never heard back from anyone in that swap.

But having said that, I guess it was just an unfortunate combination of circumstances and I'm keen to join Fiona Marie' swap this year and see if I can have the same joyful experience so many of the other swappers have. And if not, at least I'll be able to download a new lot of lovely Christmas patterns I can use for some of the other Christmas swaps I'm in!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Next Project

I went to some more markets last weekend with my friend Lyle, the market afficiando, and bought some old lamp bases. I've been wanting a nice lamp for ages but the ones I like are really expensive, so I decided to buy some bases and make the shades myself.

This one is quartz and gilt. Unfortunately, the pretty marbling and internal crazing in the quartz doesn't show up in the photo:

And this one is gilt with a marble base:

I am still thinking about what I am going to do but I have some lovely flowery fabrics just pining to be used. And I think lots of beads and ribbons and braids are a must! Although I could go and do something plain and elegant ..... I'll keep you posted on how successful this experiment is!

Quilt Hanger

I found this old, battered quilt hanger at the markets at Morriset a couple of weekends ago and bought it for just a few dollars:

And spent last weekend sanding and staining it. I am so happy with it, I love the mahogany stain:
I am still working out what will look best on it. But these will do for now:

I still don't have my patching mojo back. But it had better return soon - in time to make some Christmas pressies!