Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lyle's Cushions

I finally finished Lyle's second set of cushions. They are very simple, but the fabrics are just lovely:

Here is a close up of some of the fabrics:

And here are the cushion backs. I was running out of fabric, and getting impatient, so the back of each is different:

More Christmassy things

I finished these little gift bags this morning. I have used the same applique pattern as some of the potholders. I just love the little stocking pattern.

And this is the back of the bags:

And also turned the little stitcheries into tree ornaments:

Now I'd better get back to Lyle's cushions!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Christmassy things

I spent yesterday making these Christmassy pot holders for my friend Alex whose shop needs a Christmas display in Sept/Oct. Hope these are ok, Alex!

I also made a couple of little quick stitcheries while watching TV. Not sure if I am going to turn these into little hanging decorations, or gift bags.

Well, I just don't know how I am going to go back to work next week. Over the last week my body clock has finally adjusted to this life of leisure - so I've been having trouble sleeping at night, and then sleeping in really late in the morning. In fact, it is nearly 9.30am here and I am still in my pjs and having my first cup of coffee. Even the pups have adjusted - they normally turf me out of bed early to get their breakfast, but I've been having to kick them out of bed these days! I just can't imagine adjusting back to my 6am wake-up. I really need another month off .....

Monday, July 28, 2008

First set of cushions

Here are Lyle's first set of cushions. Not a great photo, but the fabrics are just beautiful.
I am making another set and have half finished, but I've just been having one of those awful sewing days where everything goes wrong so I'm quitting while I'm not too far behind! I've run out of the right thread, substituted a cheap thread which kept breaking every few seconds, then my bobbin has been playing up, the tension has gone all wrong .... you name it, it has gone wrong. When this happens, it usually means my machine is asking for a good clean and service, so that is what I'll be doing this afternoon.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Rainy Friday

It has been really chilly and rainy here the last few days, so I have been spending a lot of the time sitting in front of the heater or the fire and crocheting. I have made several pairs of slippers - they are so great for wearing around the house and to bed! Here is a pair I made for my Mum:

I ordered some fabrics for Lyle's cushions yesterday and wow, they turned up on my doorstep at 8.30 this morning! What great service from Quiltsmith. I am so keen to get stuck into making his cushions but as they are all dark colours and prone to running, I have to wash them first. With the weather like this, they probably won't dry today either.

I couldn't decide, so I ordered this Oriental Traditions fat quarter pack:

It doesn't show well in the photo but most of the FQs have a tan/gold trend, which should go well with Lyle's dark chocolate sofa. And also some China Doll yardage, these ones have a satin-y sheen to them:

I had a couple of designs in my head, but as the fabrics are so lush and busy, I think I'll just do something really simple and let the fabrics do the work.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Xmas in July Gift

Thanks Julie, for the amazing Xmas in July gift - so many wonderful goodies packed into a cute little Christmas suitcase!

Julie spoiled me with some great patterns, a book, a sewing kit, a ceramic coaster and lots of other goodies.

I don't seem to have accomplished much the last few days. I have been flitting from one thing to another and not really accomplishing anything, it feels like.
My friend Lyle has bought a new sofa so has asked me to make him two new cushion covers to cover some lovely, plump inserts he has bought. I am still mulling over designs. He likes traditional Japanese fabrics of navy, black and red, like those below. The sofa is quite a dark colour though so I want to incorporate a lot of cream or white.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

More table runners

I made two more table runner tops, the same as the ones before, but in pink. Just finished piecing them and will have to quilt and bind them another day.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I am so spoiled! I received this great parcel from a secret swap partner in my patchwork group this morning for my birthday. How exciting, I just want to start playing with everything right now. There is a Bronwyn Hayes bag kit, a special template ruler, special curvy pins, gorgeous fat quarters and beautiful trims. I love that chunky pom pom trim! Thank you Secret Sister!

I caught up for coffee with my old friends Barry and Ann yesterday, and Ann gave me the cutest little knitted bear. She has been making these for the Children's Hospital and Ronald Macdonald House and has made something like 80 so far. Amazing!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Finished Table Runners

I quilted and bound my table runners yesterday. I am so pleased with them. Don't look at the dirty floor - I am on holidays so I haven't been doing housework the last 2 weeks! Unfortunately, that means I have even more to do today. Some friends are taking me to lunch tomorrow so will probably pop in first, and my family are coming to dinner on Saturday so I have to make this house clean.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Latest projects

This morning I have been piecing some simple table runners together. Here are two so far:

I really like the blue and white one. I am thinking of making another in pink.
Yesterday I had a bit of a lazy day stitching in front of the TV. Here are a couple of stitcheries:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Chilly Monday Morning

I've been trying to post everyday so when I get to the end of my holidays and think, "Where did all that time go", I can look back and know! And here it is, 5 days since my last post .....

So what have I been up to? First, Jeremy took me to the Phantom of the Opera at the Lyric Theatre on Friday night as my birthday outing. He even got out of work early so he could come all the way home and drive me all the way back into the city again. Then we had a drink and dinner, and enjoyed a lovely show.

On Saturday afternoon we headed for his sister's place at Sans Souci where they were hosting a big birthday party for two of his nieces. Shelley was turning 2 and Kiera 1. It was a huge party with a big jumping castle (which I had a go on when I thought no one was looking). One of the presents we got for them was these cute felted slippers we bought at the markets at Glenbrook.

Other than that, I haven't been doing much. The only thing I accomplished was this little cabinet, below. The rest of the time I've been starting little crochet and stitchery projects and then getting bored with them.

While we were out on Saturday, we popped into Jeremy's Mum's so he could get lots of tools he had inherited from his father and grandfather, and left in storage there. For my woodworking! There are several huge boxes I haven't even explored yet, but I did spy some vintage chisels and files and planes ..... exactly what I need to improve my woodworking and begin to get a bit more professional!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wonderful Wednesday

It is so great not to have to go to work, I have gotten so much done today!

First up, I tried making soap for the first time, overcoming my fear of caustic soda. Everything seemed to be going well, my mixture turned into a lovely thick cream and I poured it into an old baking tray as a mould. Then out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw it move. I stared at it for a few moments and sure enough, it was rising like a volcano at an increasing rate. What had been my lovely smooth slab of soap was soon Mt Vesuvius. I would have taken a photo but I was hiding behind the door, waiting for the explosion at this stage. Then, just like a volcano, it kind of exploded out the side and a tide of lava began oozing its way out. Then, I remembered the instructions had said to cover it with a towel, so I hastily threw a towel over it and it suddenly deflated. So, to cut a long story short, it did actually turn into soap! I have it cut up and it is drying out on a wire rack at the moment. But they are strange shaped bars of soap.

Next, I organised my bookshelves, and cleaned out a few clothes drawers, ruthlessly throwing away half of everything. Then tackled my wool box/mess and also threw heaps away. I turned this mess:

Into this:

A big improvement. I just wish I had the stamina to even think about doing the same to my patchwork supplies. Then I relaxed in front of a DVD while I crocheted this little cotton washcloth:

And finished this needlecase:

So now I'm going to relax in front of the fire with a book. It is freezing in Sydney today!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Peaceful Tuesday

I spent today weeding and mulching the vegie garden before I lost sight of my poor vegies altogether under the encroaching weeds. I find winter gardening a bit disheartening. In Spring and Summer, it is so exciting - I can go out to check on my plants a couple of times a day and every time something different is happening. In Winter, I can look once a week and can't see any changes. So I tend to get disheartened and neglect the garden, which is probably why my Winter vegies never flourish.

So now I've given them a bit of attention, hopefully they will do better this year. I have broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, snow peas, parsnips and carrots in at the moment. I planted them a month or two ago. As well as all the herbs and spinach and silverbeet, which are pretty constant. I ordered some seed potatoes the other day so I need to prepare some garden for them too. I've never grown potatoes before, so that will be fun.

I also made some washing liquid, following the instructions on the Down To Earth blog. I was pretty amazed. It took less than 10 minutes and it has the same look, smell and texture as commercial liquids - I just need to try it out, but I am sure it will work just as well. I also bought some caustic soda the other day so am just trying to work up the courage to make some soap. I need to get a candy thermometer first though.

New Hobby

It has been a while since I last posted. I keep meaning to but I have been really busy with heaps of projects on the go, plus I am taking some annual leave from work so I needed to finish a few things up there. But the good news is I am now on annual leave!

Yay! I have so much leave accrued because we are always so busy, there is always so much work on my plate, we never have enough staff, so it has just been too hard to take leave over the last couple of years. Something just snapped inside me a couple of weeks ago, and I realised that there are always going to be projects that need finishing, deadlines looming etc and I just needed to cut off from work, stop caring so much about it and take a much needed break before I just went crazy.

So, lately I have been trying to use up some of the citrus fruit on my trees. I have mandarin, orange, lemon and grapefruit trees and I can usually use up or give away everything except the grapefruits which no one (including me) seems to like. So first I made a grapefruit and orange marmalade. I don't like marmalade either, so I have been giving it away to everyone I know.

Then I made this grapefruit cordial. It actually isn't too bad. I think I'll try it in summer with some soda water. It is kind of freshing, like lemonade, and not too bitter.

I've also been crocheting. I made this little slipper for myself. Unfortunately, I have two feet so I have to make another one but I started making a crochet cardigan instead, so I want to finish that first. The slipper looks a bit funny here, but with a foot in it, it looks pretty cute.

And lastly, Jeremy bought me a new toy! He decided to give me some early birthday presents to keep me occupied on my annual leave so I now have a stack of new DVDs to watch while I do some hand sewing and even better, my very own electric jigsaw! So that is my new hobby, woodworking!

I've been hoarding some scraps of old plywood for ages, meaning to make a little stand for the TV in the bedroom. Because the TV was really heavy, we couldn't put it on top of the DVD player so everything took up heaps of room. Plus, to make the TV easy to see over the bed, it had been living on top of old phone books. So my first project was this little TV stand.

And this is my second project - a little padded footstool/storage box. So now I can put all my crafty things in the box and rest my feet on it while I do some handsewing or crocheting.

Ok, it isn't going to win any design awards but I am still just practicing. When I get better, I will buy some decent timber for my projects instead of using scrap and will buy some other stuff I need like a nail punch, a router, some files and chisels.

I've spent all this morning painting some lattice around my vegie garden and pulling out some old rocket I'd left to self-seed. My legs are aching now from all the bending and stretching, so I think I will go and test my new stool out.