Thursday, December 31, 2009

Finished runner & bag

Well, I guess it did turn out to be a runner after all. I've been having fun hand quilting it so I now have bruised, scabby fingers - I just can't seem to get the hang of thimbles. For a while there I developed quilting callouses which helped protect them but I haven't done much hand sewing for a while so they have gone. In desperate times, I wrap Elastoplast around them as a makeshift thimble!

It needs a bit of a wash as the quilting marks are still on it, but here it is anyway.

I've used some of the remaining strips from the same honey bun to make this sweet little bag.

It has pleats at the front, a pocket inside and a magnetic snap closure. I'm really pleased with it. These fabrics are just so lovely and although they are Christmass-y they are not so Christmass-y I couldn't use these all year round.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Rainy day sewing

It's a wet day here, so a perfect day for staying indoors and sewing.

Do you ever just start playing with fabrics with no idea what you're trying to achieve? That's what I've been doing today. I started sewing the Glace 1 1/2" strips I got for Christmas into sets of four, then cross cut and started sewing together ..... with still no idea what I was making.

A small quilt? A cushion? A bag? A runner?

Well, it ended up this shape so I guess it is a runner or a wallhanging or could even be an extra big, long cushion ..... I still have no idea what I am doing!

The fabrics are so lovely though it has been a pleasure putting them all together.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thanks again Sue!

I've opened by CB Secret Santa gift from Sue in New Zealand and was thrilled to get this gorgeous bag. I just love it! The buttons and sweet tassel finish it off beautifully. Thanks again Sue! Unfortunately in the post-Christmas mess that is my house I have misplaced your card and letter so can't link to your blog right now.

I've spent a few lazy hours in front of DVDs lately, doing some cross stitch. This trivet was a kit I bought from Herrscheners. It came with this plastic trivet you put your cross stitch into, and then some corkboard for the base which makes it sit nicely as well as covering the messy bits.

I also bought a set of 4 coasters with the same idea, but fruit and berries themed. I am sure I'll find a few hours these hols to start them. I love crafts which not only give a beautiful product at the end, but are useful too.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my bloggy friends! Hope you all have a great day.

I've "had" Christmas with my family and friends already so we'll be having a quiet day on Christmas Day which will be great - it will be nice to have a sleep in and a relaxing day!

I couldnt't resist giving the pups some of their presents early. They got new indoor mats:

And new squeaky toys:

They still have some more toys and treats to open from Grandma on Christmas Day.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Secret Santa Visits Again

A Secret Santa has visited my place again today, this time from Patch n Chat. I have been truly spoiled again by some beautiful gifts.

I received some wonderfully fragrant soap "Coming Up Roses"-scented; a gorgeous little tissue holder made by eClare's Patch; a Glace sweet roll; a lovely pattern and this beautiful cushion. Oh, I got some yummy looking chocolates too but it is sweltering here today so I popped them in the fridge. I ate too much today already to even be tempted right now.

I am so impressed with the gorgeous cushion. I love the way my Secret Santa has used the fabric designs to inspire and embellish. The tiny suffolk puffs mirror the circular designs on the main fabric, and the border fabric is cleverly used as a lattice quilting design. Very clever and effective!

I also received my Christmas gift from my Mum and Dad today - an exercise bike I wanted. So I spent the last hour putting the thing together which involved a lot of cursing and swearing, but I finally got there although I'm not sure I put the tension thing on properly. I am quite pleased with it but of course, after putting it together I was hot, sweaty, sore and cranky ..... so I only rode it for a minute to test it. It said I did 0.25 of a kilometre. It's a good start I guess!

We had our team Christmas lunch at work and I ate too much and got a sore belly, plus it was really hot, so I was feeling unwell and came home an hour early. I was going to stop in at the post office on the way home to collect another parcel but a sudden storm hit as I was driving and I could barely see in front of me so I came straight home. Of course, the storm disappeared when I got home and is back to being hot and sticky. Then instead of resting my sore belly I wanted to put my bike together so I'd know if all the bits were there and it worked, so I am a bit exhausted now.

But all in all, not such a bad day, especially because of my generous and talented Secret Santa and despite being zero on the GP scale this morning (which I will explain another day).

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Market finds

I went to North Rocks markets with my good friend Lyle this morning and bought a pile of second hand books, some yummy sour dough bread and other things including this fly trap plant:

There are two Venus flytraps and another one I don't know the name of - in the top right hand corner of the picture. It has fine red hairs on it with a globule of a gluey substance at the end of each strand which I guess catches unwary insects. I have to stop teasing the Venus flytraps, or they'll starve - it is so hard to resist giving them a little tickle to watch them close.

I also got these gorgeous little knitted Christmas ornaments. This talented woman also had whole knitted nativity sets including camels, and some lovely reindeer as well:

Lyle also gave me my Christmas presents early, and as usual he spoiled me rotten. One of the gifts was this chameleon I have been admiring at Blacktown markets for ages. I'm trying to decide which wall to hang him on.

And lastly, just thought I'd share that the "no puppies on the new sofas" rule is going really well, as you can see .....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gee I'm Spoiled

This gorgeous fellow turned up in the post today, a surprise Christmas gift from my talented friend Toni. He is so soft, made of the most cuddly and beautiful flannels. The stitching is just exquisite, and he is just so adorable I will treasure him! Thanks so much!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A bit of sewing

I did a bit of sewing yesterday for what seems like the first time in ages. I put together this little quilt top from a Mill House charm pack and jelly roll. I'd thought I'd bought some yardage of this fabric as well, so planned a couple of big borders, but it seems I didn't. I don't want to buy any more fabrics for a while, so I am going to have to search through my stash to find something else that sort of goes. I want a plain 2" border and then a scrappy 2" border - I have enough of the jelly strips left to make a border of 2" squares.

Sorry for the bad photo - it was a bit breezy and it was so bright I couldn't see the viewer on my camera, so just had to aim and shoot a bit blindly! It's lucky the quilt got in the photo at all!

Just a few weeks ago, I was complaining that with all the rain and hot and cold spells my back lawn was incredibly lush that I was constantly having to mow. I'd mow one weekend and by midweek the thick green grass was up to my ankles again. Recently, we had a couple of 40 degree (105 f?) days and it didn't take long for the grass to suffer. At least I won't need to mow as often, I guess.

Poor Sugar has been diagnosed with a thyroid condition so has started taking medication for that. She seems a bit brighter and more energetic already but she has been a little sick since starting it. I am not sure if it is a coincidence or not as she has always had a sensitive tummy but she's thrown up three times in the last week - and that's the ones I know about (because they were in the house). She doesn't seem to feel off colour though. We're due back at the vet in a week or two to check the thyroid levels again.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Long time no post

This is the gorgeous Christmas ornament I received in the Chooky Blue Secret Santa swap from
Sue in New Zealand. Her stitching is just beautiful!

Sue also sent me this gorgeous keychain fob, which my photo does no justice to whatsoever. It is very clever, all folded fabrics.

Sue also sent bandannas for the puppies. It is really hot here today so they wouldn't cooperate with photos - this is the best I could do!

And I still have another pressie from Sue to open on Christmas day. Thanks Sue, for your beautiful gifts!

Some patchwork friends pointed out that Bonnie at Quiltville is starting a new free mystery quilt. I love Bonnie's quilts and her instructions are always so clear and well illustrated. I sometimes balk at some of her quilts though cos I am a bit lazy and like simple, quick quilts and often hers will say things like here is how to make a 3" half triangle square and then ... "and now make 300 more of these"! At which point I get a little faint. Although her quilts are beautiful, so the effort is rewarded I guess.

But I'm working my way up to this challenge and am thinking of using these Portobello Market FQs (poorly illustrated below) if I calculate I have enough of them.

I bought the full FQ set of this range some time ago along with a pattern which used them. And since then I've misplaced the pattern so I can't remember what I wanted to do with them! I haven't used them, in the hope I'll find the pattern or remember vaguely what it was, but that hasn't happened so I may as well use them up.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

New sofas

I was really thrilled to receive my new sofas this morning. My previous sofas were saggy and uncomfortable, as well as dirty and leaking stuffing. I have a bad back so I wanted a firmer sofa as well as one which was more compact and narrow so it didn't overwhelm my small living room.

The puppies aren't allowed on the new sofas, but Sugar already managed to wipe a drooly chin on one. So now I've covered them up with quilts to protect them.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thanks Anna!

I received a lovely parcel from Anna for JellyWare's Washcloth Swap.

Anna made a gorgeous orange crocheted washcloth in a lovely soft, textured cotton.

And my seeds were some lovely lettuce and tomato varieties - I can't wait to get these planted. Anna also thoughtfully included some yummy dark chocolate - how did she know dark is my favourite?

And did you see this little fellow in the photo?

Unfortunately my photography is even worse than usual today, but he is the cutest little knitted brooch.
Thanks Anna for spoiling me!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cute dolls and a hand towel

I've been having fun testing Toni's upcoming doll pattern, and although the pattern isn't released yet she is kindly letting me post pics of the two I made.

This is such a fun project to make, the possibilities for different variations are just about endless.

I spent yesterday, still sick, watching DVDs and crocheting this hand towel for my kitchen. Try not to notice my dirty oven! I like this hand towel so much I found I haven't been using it - I still keep drying my hands on an old tea towel! So I'll have to try to break that habit.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Some Eye Candy in Pink

I had a day off work yesterday with a throat infection (although I am sure they would have loved me to be at work, seeing as though I was quiet for a change!) so spent a little time sewing in front of a DVD. I made the little sitchery on the weekend and decided to make a little hand quilted bag out of it. This is the front. Still have to do the back.

I bought another of Toni's gorgeous quilts and was thrilled to receive it in the mail today. Her work is just so beautiful I don't know how she can stand to give them away!

Toni is the absolutely master of blanket stitch - it is all by hand but so perfect and even.

The quilting pattern is so cute, with little butterflies flitting about. And I just love the embroidery on this border (above).

I posted off my washcloth swap pressie last week and Carol has received it. She has a lovely blog, with lots of nice projects on it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cucumber Update

Don't they look happy!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Softie bunny

Not much to say today, so thought I'd just introduce this softie bunny I'm working on. S/he is a little wonky, but nice and soft.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cucumbers coming to life

Cucumbers are my favourite vegetable to grow from seeds. They are so quick to grow - you can normally see them sprouting in 2 - 3 days and by 4 days they look the above picture. Some are still struggling to break through the soil, some are already up and waving in the air. It's amazing watching them come to life so quickly. This lot are inside, by a sunny window and I'll plant them in the vegie patch when they're bigger and stronger.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Sepia Day

Sydney woke up to a bizarre red haze this morning after a night of unpredictable weather. These are the views out my back yard - normally at this time of morning, it would be bright and sunny. Instead, everything was coloured sepia. A dust storm apparently dumped about 75 tonnes of red dust an hour over Sydney today. Everything was covered in fine ochre silt.

My poor white car, which I washed on Sunday, was covered in red dirt - I had to hose off the windscreen to be able to see on my way to work this morning. And driving was like driving through a red fog.

But we were pretty lucky here - apart from getting filthy and having itchy throats and noses all day - my area didn't suffer any real damage. Unlike south of Sydney which suffered some devastating hail storms last night, while most of metropolitan Sydney just got a mild electrical storm; west of Sydney where it was raining mud this morning; and other regions coping with the gale force winds.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Helpful Pups in the Weedy Garden

The pups have been helping me weed one of our vegie patches.

Unfortunately their technique of lying on the weeds in a brave attempt to smother them, isn't really that effective.

Nor was nibbling at some errant grass. The idea had merit, it was just a little slow in the execution.

In the end, we decided weeding in the hot sun wasn't it all it was cracked up to be, and to retire until later when it's cooler.

Spring's Sprung

Spring has sprung in Sydney and today is a really warm, sunny day. All of the flowers are in full bloom and look and smell lovely. My vegie patch is sadly neglected and over-run with weeds though, so I think I'll be spending today getting it ready for some spring planting.

Yesterday, I made another bag from the pattern my birthday fairy sent me. This one is plainer, but has a cute little pocket at the front.

And from now on in, I guess a lot of my crafts will be devoted to some of the Christmas swaps coming up so I'll have to restrain myself from posting photos so I don't ruin the surprise. Or get a little creative and take some teaser shots, like the one below.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Some crochet goodies

I've been enjoying some more crocheting recently including some washcloths and some Christmassy things.

Pinwheel Bag

I've put together the gorgeous bag kit my patchwork group birthday fairy sent me. These fabrics are just beautiful - they are Moda's Fabulous Fall.

The tote is just the perfect size. I think it will fast become one of my favourite, most-used bags.

I put a magnetic snap closure on it, to secure all my goodies. I bought these recently from Vintage Inspirations which I can thoroughly recommend. I placed an order on a Thursday night and had my goodies in my mailbox on Monday morning! And the snap closures were something like 25% of the price I have seen in some other places. They had lots of other bag goodies too.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lots of pressies

My friend Michael came back from a trip to Vietnam and bought me lots of lovely goodies, including these beautiful silky fabrics:

And I was really thrilled to receive some gorgeous gifts from someone in my patchwork group this week. Including these scrumptious embroidery threads and needle case:

And this gorgeous bag kit: