Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Christmas madness

Deacon with Grandma,                             Daniel painting Connor,                              Grandma with Santa
I'm feeling a little overwelmed, the first week of December is almost over and I still have so much to organise, my head is spinning with everything I want to do.   The shops are very busy, the shopping centre in my town is building an extension and a large section of the carpark is closed off, so it is a headache trying to find a carpark.   My daughter has a birthday next week and she has decided to have a bbque on Saturday night, I haven't bought a gift for her yet, what to buy her,  I asked her, and her reply was "I don't know" I thought she might of helped me a little.   The Vietnam Veterans Childrens Christmas party was last Sunday, it was a lot of fun, the magician kept us all entertained.   My son, the one who does everything and my daughter-in-laws sister, Belinda volunteered to be the face painters for the day, they did a fantastic job, the kids looked really good.  Once the magician was finished with his show the children were anxiously waiting for Santa to arrive, everyone except Deacon.   Deacon takes after his mum, she was also scared of the big man in red, all the coaxing in the world would not entice her to sit with Santa.  Deacon was playing with other children when he spotted Santa coming in the gate, he froze until he had passed by and then made a run for me where he stayed until his name was called,  Aunty Tanya picked him up to collect his gift from santa, screaming and crying while Taneesha was trying to take a photo.   Once santa was gone he settled down to eat his icecream and lollies.   This morning while Daniel and his father-in-law install two lightshades for me I have been writing Christmas cards , this always takes longer than I plan, I usually end up writing a few words in most of the cards, well the cards I send to the people I don't see very often.   This afternoon I will sort through the recipes that I am going to bake next week, some I will give as gifts and some will be for over the Christmas break.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Last craft day

Sunday was the last craft day for this year, our craft day has been succesful so I'm hoping that we will continue this next year as well.   Our theme for the day was Christmas, and everyone had something different in mind to make on the day.   I saw some cute paper decorations that I wanted to make, I remember my mum having some of these decorations when I was young, they were flat half circles, when fanned open they formed a ball.    The directions for these were simple enough, cut nine 3" circles, fold each circle in half and stack on top of each other, tie these together with cord down the middle of the stack, the idea then was to fan them apart and glue each fold a little from the top and bottom alternating as you glued them together.  I found the glue gun was the best method for this. Once complete run some glue along the edges and sprinkle with glitter. Seemed simple, well, as you know what seems simple is not always that way, it took me all day to complete just two.  Yesterday I managed to make another four, so, I was faster with each one I made.  Taneesha made lovely tags for her gifts, Tanya bought a panel to make an advent calendar, Belinda was making gifts for her sons school friends,  and Jacinta who has always been tinsel mad made a wreath for her home.   Belinda had made some yummy truffles,  as you can guess these did'nt last long.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Vegetable patch

I thought you might be interested to see how my vegetables are growing.   The carrot seeds have sprouted, the beetroot, silverbeet, and tomatoes have taken off, the capsicum is a little slow, but my brother-in-law informs me that they will grow when the soil warms more.   I have peas and beans about to climb the wire fence and cucumbers are now trailing on the ground.   While visiting my sister I noticed my brother-in-law has covered everything in his garden with mesh,  I'm thinking of doing the same thing, although I'm concerned it may prevent the bees from pollinating the tomatoe flowers,  I don't like using chemicals and hope I can go organic. I am very pleased with my little vegetable patch.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Christmas tree skirt

Every Christmas as I unpack the decorations and the tree, I also unpack the patchwork tree skirt I made in 2000.   The skirt is a little faded, but still looks just as beautiful today as it did that first Christmas I layed it on the floor.  The pattern for the tree skirt was in the Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine, Volume 7 No. 1.   This pattern was easy to follow and I was able to have it finished in a short amount of time.   The finished skirt measured 491/2" or 26cm.   As I lay it out I think of all past Christmas's and how our family has grown from just the six of us.  My family now numbers seventeen and in early March another addition, I am told this baby will be a boy.   My second eldest son Michael's step-daughter is having a baby, making my son a grandfather and me a great grandmother.  With the five grandsons that I have another boy will fit right in, can you just imagine what fun they will have together.   I am hoping one of my children will provide  me with a granddaughter, I am keen to sew some beautiful dresses and a girlie quilt.   I am looking forward to this Christmas, everyone will be together, my son and his family from interstate will be joining us this year.  It will be wonderful to have them all together, this does'nt happen very often.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Fairies and applique

I had a lovely day yesterday, I spent the day with the son that does everything.  We did'nt do much, mostly I just tagged along while he was sent from one place to the next.  It started as a simple thing, build a patio at the back of a house, even though it would be free standing he would need approval from the local council to erect the patio, who then said because of an easement along the back of the property,  he would have to check with our water authority and get their approval.  Then we were sent to a draughtsman who would draw plans with the design and  position of the patio, including the slope of the block.   In the end this simple patio was going to be an expensive excercise, each of the authorities wanted a fee, the most expensive would be the draughtsman who would draw the plans, something in the region of $600.  I wonder what the cost of building something larger would be.
 Today I have been sitting sewing some applique flowers around the outside border of a quilt for my sister, I have to finish this quilt, it is my sisters birthday in January and I would like to give it to her then, she is crazy about fairies, her bedroom has paintings of faires, ceramic fairies, and she wears jewelery with fairies.  This collection has now invaded her living area, fairies everywhere.   This is the quilt I pick up when I just want to relax, once the applique is complete I have a little embroidery to do, then I'll be able quilt it and have it finished.  I still have two quilts to finish for my grandsons.  So much to do, so little time.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

A Christmas plate

While Taneesha was decorating her plates on Sunday, Jacinta asked if there were any spares she would like to decorate one for her partner Josh.  It took her no time at all to finish this cute plate.  This is such a fun thing to do,  all you need are some cheap plain white plates, we were lucky that Kmart has a pack of ten boxed for $10, and  Sharpie pens of your chosen colour.  Draw your design on to the plate, and if you make a mistake just wipe it off with a baby wipe and start again.  When you are happy with the design, place the plates in a cold oven and heat to 180 degrees for 30 mins. let them sit in the oven with the door ajar until they cool.  The design is now permanent and washable, this would be a great idea for kids to do over the summer holidays, they would be so proud that they have made their own plate. I know that Jacinta is proud of her plate and she is no longer a kid.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A day in the garden and an eclipse

I spent the day outside in the garden, pulling weeds, trimming the edges, and feeding plants.  I have now resorted to liquid plant food for all the plants on the dogs side of the fence, I think they have eaten all the dynamic lifter, (manure pellets)  that I spread over the garden, an expensive snack for them, he he.  This morning it was lovely, lots of sunshine, it was good to be outside, but then it clouded over this afternoon.  I was hoping the skies would be clear in Sydney and Queensland for people that travelled to this part of the world to view the eclipse.  My eldest son Darren, has in the past travelled to different countries to view an eclipse, to record and take photos of this amazing event.  I should say that his job is in the Science field and he is very interested in all things space.   He would very much like to be in Queensland this week as well,  but he now has a young family to consider.  He tells me he is planning and saving to attend the eclipse that occurs in America in 2017.   While outside I didn't see the eclipse, I did'nt look into the sky, I'll watch the evening news tonight to see this one.   I cut some roses to place in a vase on my desk, they are so beautiful, I love Lucetta, it  opens to a beautiful dark pink and then fades to apricot with a subtle frangrance. The darker double pink is Dan Poncet it is a smaller flower with a stronger frangrance, so beautiful.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Girls craft day

Yesterday was as much fun as it usually is, we always have a laugh and everyone had something different to make, this makes it interesting and fun.  As I said in my last blog Taneesha was making place settings for christmas day,  everyone gets to take them home on christmas day.  Belinda was making fabric crayon folders as christmas gifts for the kids at school,  Tanya was painting wooden letters and upcycling an old mug tree, something for her jewelery.   Jacinta came along to enjoy our company, although it wasn't long before she was helping me with the felt christmas tree and decorations.  When I spread the felt to trace the outline of the tree I realised I hadn't purchased enough felt, so it is more like a pine tree than a christmas tree, I don't think the grandkids will mind.  Jacinta did a fantastic job of painting the felt baubles, we used glue glitter, this took awhile to dry but looks great.  The baubles can be removed and placed where ever the children want on the tree, they naturally adhere to the felt. I'm hoping this will keep them away from my decorations.   I have artistic and talented children,  which comes in handy. We will be meeting again at the end of the month, everyone is too busy in December what with shopping, baking, christmas parties and kids finishing school for the year.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Crafty Christmas

felt, glitter glue and sparkly ribbon
 This morning my daughter, Taneesha and I and of course our little tag along Deacon went to Spotlight to buy supplies for craft day tomorrow.  Taneesha has told him before when we go shopping not to touch anything, so I was'nt surprised to hear him say,  from his seat in the back of the car,  "I dont touch anything at the shop"  we both laughed at this, so, so cute.  Tomorrow we will be making items for christmas,  Taneesha will be hosting christmas lunch this year and has decided to make the name settings for the table,  I can't tell you what they will be, because everyone in the family will see them and therefore no surprise.  Every year we make something different, something that each person can take home with them and either put on their tree the following year or can be used during the year.   I have decided to make a felt christmas tree and decorations for the kids to play with,  hoping to keep them away from the christmas decorations.   I saw this on Pinterest a few weeks ago, I'm not sure how to attach it to the wall though,  I will have to think about this.   I also have to redo my wreath for the front door, what colour? I'm going to sort through my christmas supplies and see what I have before I hit the shops again.  I need to be thrifty this year, that's why I'm recycling the decorations I already have. Looking forward to seeing what the others are making.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Home again

my son and his beautiful family
I had a wonderful time in Sydney, but, as usual when I go away the time goes by too quickly, and before I know it I'm boarding the plane to fly home again.   It was really lovely to see Isaac and Noah again, I sometimes wish they lived close by, kids grow so fast and I miss so much.   Noah was the perfect little boy at his party and just to prove he is now one year old he has started to take the next step from sitting and rolling to wanting to stand on his feet.   It will be a few weeks before he will be taking any steps but the look on his face when he stands is precious.   Darren and Renee were busy with work, but Renee did find the time to drive me to the home of Jan-Maree from Aussie Hero Quilts.   Jan-Maree warned me before I arrived her house had been taken over by fabrics and all things Aussie Hero, she was right it was everywhere he he, it was so good to meet her and chat over coffee and cake.     I arrived home to find that I had missed the first blooms from my roses, Daniel, the son who does everything,  had been feeding the dogs and watering my garden while I was away told me they were beautiful, of course they are continuing to bloom  and I'll soon have enough to cut and take inside.  The good news is, all my vegetables look great everything is growing even the carrot seeds have sprouted.  Yesterday I picked some young silverbeet and beetroot leaves to add to my salad, yummy.   This afternoon I'm joining a friend for sewing and a chat,  I have some applique that I have to finish so I will busy working on this, then tonight back to sewing the blocks for Aussie Hero Quilts.   I love visiting my family but it's good to be home in my own bed.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Flying on a jet plane

I won't be posting on my blog for awhile, I'm flying interstate to visit my son and his family for my youngest grandson Noahs first birthday.  Wow, a year already, I know I have to say "Where has this year gone", we live such busy lives these days that it seems time goes by to quickly.  I had coffee with one of my girlfriends yesterday, something which is unusual mid week because she works full-time.  She has decided to leave a job that she was finding stressful, where she didn't feel like she was part of a team, she is going to take a couple of weeks to unwind and relax before she goes job hunting again. I wish her luck.  It was a nice morning, the conversation mostly about our kids, we have known each other since we were neighbours and our kids were small.  While interstate this week I have arranged to meet with the woman who is head co-ordinator of "Aussie Hero Quilts". This woman is a hero, she has put aside her home and most of her life lol, for this cause, one she feels very strongly about.  In her words "We care about the people not the politics" her mission is to provide quilts and laundry bags to as many service men and women in the Middle East  as possible. When I contacted her to arrange the meeting she thought we should meet at her house, with a note to mind how much the house has been taken over by AHQ, I laughed to myself when I read this, having memories of my own house when I was part of a group that did charity work.  I am looking forward to this meeting, and of course catching up with my family. Ok, back to packing, I'll be in touch when I arrive back home.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

So much to do.....no time

"Peak Hour" designed by Riley Blake for Moda
I really believed that as I became older I would have more time to do the things I love to do, not just the usual mundane things like housework etc.,  but at the end of the day I look back and wonder what I have done and where did the day go.   I seem to be running out of spare time, is it because I am not as organised as I was when the kids were at home or is it that my life is now busier than I expected.   I love catching up with friends, my kids and grandchildren and babysitting when needed but this doesn't take all my time. I have so many quilting projects  I want to sew but I find myself procrastinating over these, I really need some motivation.  My machine is all set up and I have been doing a few things, mostly blocks for "Aussie Hero Quilts" these don't take much time and sewing these lessens my guilt.   I was part of a local quilting group, one that I was a founding member of and also a past president.   I was very active within this group until I became unwell and found I could no longer participate in the many activities I was part of, and so,  I resigned from this group almost five years ago.   Recently I have been thinking of rejoining this group to give me the motivation that I need.   Last week my daughters drove me to a fabric shop, a shop I haven't been to in a long time.   I was surprised to find that the cheap fabrics that they used to supply are no longer available, that wasn't the surprise as much as the price on the fabrics they do stock, these range from $22 to almost $30 a metre.   Needless to say the list I of fabrics I wanted to buy, was scrapped as I searched through the racks.  I did buy a few pieces of  "Peak Hour" by Riley Blake, these would be just right for one of my grandsons,  Isaac. I will add this to the list of quilts to sew, when I find the motivation. lol

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Clipped and bathed

Tyler has been to the doggy beauty salon today, he has been clipped and bathed,  my shaggy dirty dog is now looking very up town and clean.   I'm sure he knows this because he has been prancing around with head held high.  The best part of this has been that it hasn't cost me anything to have him groomed.  My son, the one who does everything, did some art work for a close friend who happens to be a dog groomer,  she was competing in a competition and needed a display, my son volunteered to paint this for her in return for a couple of grooming sessions for Tyler.  She was very pleased with the result, as a matter of fact she placed third in the competition.  My son, of course, thinks this was all due to the display, Haa Haa.  I am very lucky and grateful to take advantage of his thoughtful gesture, and so is Tyler.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Testing the soil

Blue Rosemary
When buying something for the garden never listen to a man who isn't a gardner, never.  When I purchased the soil and mulch for the raised vegetable beds the man at the garden supplies told me their blend of mushroom compost was very good for growing vegetables.  I have just learnt a valuable lesson,  a couple of the plants that Tyler dug up were'nt looking so good and I was concerned that it was the soil,  so today I bought a Soil ph testing kit  and was shocked to find that the ph level of the beds were  8- 81/2, an alkaline level to high to grow vegetables.  I have just treated the soil with Sulphar and now have to wait a few days for this to settle.  While in Bunnings I found they have heirloom seedlings from Diggers, what a bonus, I've purchased capsicum, beetroot, silverbeet, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions.   I also picked up some packets of carrot and bean seeds, in the mean time the little punnets of seedlings will be cared for under cover till I can plant them out into their new beds.  While in the mood for gardening I have planted a few companion plants, lavender, marigolds, rosemary, basil, thyme.   I can't wait to see everything growing.   I'm also watching Tyler, if he ventures over to that side of the yard he looks up to see if I'm watching and if he spies me he slinks off, oh, yes he knows.  Tomorrow is forcaste rain, might be a good day to do some quilting.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Spring blooms

white azalier with rain drops
I ventured outside this afternoon, to look at what damage the dog had wreaked on the garden over this past week while I have been unwell.   He hasn't been walked,  so I could only imagine what he had been up to.  Back to him later,  I had the most wonderful surprise, one of the potted azaliers was in full bloom and covered in flowers, so beautiful,  I had to get my camera to take a photo of this.  This azalier is one of the potted plants that died back after the move here,  I had no shelter for them when the temperature hit the mid forties and everything wilted.   I purchased a piece of shadecloth and covered all of them but unfortunately I lost a big percentage of my plants.   In Autumn I cut everything back and then hoped for the best,  I was rewarded with new growth on a few of them, but surprising me most of all  two of the azaliers had survived.   Getting back to the dog, I will have to erect a fence around the new garden beds, he has had a wonderful time,  I know he has been bored having missed his walks but, I can't keep planting just for for him to dig them out.  Part of the yard will have to be out of bounds for him.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Stage two in the garden

Today was stage two of the redesigned backyard,  early this morning I ordered the soil and the mulch, the garden supplier has a mushroom compost blend that he says is great for growing vegetables.  We spread a thick layer of newspaper  over the area, wet this and then,  my youngest daughter and the son who does everything filled the raised vegetable beds with the soil mix.  There is an area in the garden that has sunk, I'm thinking this is due to the sewage pipes and all the rain that we have had this winter.  We filled this in with soil to build it up and then covered the whole area with mulch, all this was done was in a couple of hours.  I left them to finish off while I made lunch, chicken and salads with fresh pita bread that I'd made this morning.  After lunch my son used his Karcher to clean all the paving, while we put away the tools   The yard is looking really good now.  All it needs now is for me to decide what I'm going to plant, and then, hope I can keep the dog from digging everything out.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Blocks, for Aussie heroes

Over the Christmas holidays I became aware of a small group of women who are sewing quilts for our service personell who are fighting in the Middle East, particularly Afghanistan.     This small group, "Aussie Hero Quilts and laundry bags" that started in New South Wales has now spread to all the states of Australia, and I'm not sure how many women are now involved, but I do know the list is growing fast.   Women who are giving of their time and resources to provide as many quilts and laundry bags to as many service personnel as possible.   From humble beginings the current total of quilts that have been sent has reached over five hundred.   Every month there is a new block pattern provided on the website that you can sew and donate, these are then sent to Jan-Maree, who co-ordinates this team,   the blocks that arrive are then sorted and sewn together to make quilts.   Last night I cut and stitched twenty four blocks, these will be mailed off to them today.   It's times like these that I wish I had a longarm machine, to be able to finish every quilt that I make would be wonderful.   This group now provides quilts  not only for troops in Afghanistan but for our soldiers in all parts of the Middle East, and now those serving on HMAS Anzac as well.   These women,  especially Jan-Maree need a medal for the work that they do to make the lives of our forces personell a bit brighter.   I am proud to be able to do the small amount that I do for this cause.  There is a donation button on the website, this is a secure sight and  is provided by Westpac bank,  if you cannot sew then maybe you would be generous with a donation.  You can find Aussie Hero Quilts and Laundry bags on Facebook or at Aussieheroquilts.blogspot.com.au. where you will find a long list of thankyous from the people that have received these quilts and laundry bags.   Oh, by the way do you want to know why the laundry bags, well, it is very difficult to find one laundry bag in amoungst a pile of plain blue or grey bags, with a distinctive bag it makes this an easy find.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Animals two by two

Look what arrived in the mail, I have been waiting seven weeks for this to be delivered.   My youngest grandson is named Noah, and so of course, he has to have an animal themed bedroom.   I have been looking for animal print fabrics to make him his first quilt but until recently hadn't seen anything that I liked,  until I found "Bungle Jungle" by Tim and Beck for Moda, this is it I thought.   I couldn't find it locally though, so had to purchase it online, something I don't like doing but this time I didn't want to miss out.   I have found a pattern on Moda Bake shop by Sew Crafty Jess called Jungle path baby quilt,  as soon as I finish the summer quilt I will be busy cutting these gorgeous animals into pieces for Noah's quilt.   I was hoping to have this ready for Noah's first birthday but because of the delay in getting the fabric I hope it will be ready for christmas.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Mosiac stepping stones

About ten years or more ago, when my daughters were young teenagers on school holidays, I was frequently hearing the usual "I'm bored, what can we do" So I organised some supplies for them to make mosiac pavers for the garden.   Daughter number one decided she did not want to get her hands dirty and daughter number two was enthusiastic enough to finish two of them.  I really liked the designs she made and was hoping she would finish the other two but the holidays finished and she went back to school. The supplies were packed away and forgotten.   I set these two in the garden under an arch way that was covered with a yellow climbing rose and they did look so good.   When I decided to sell the house I lifted them from the garden deciding to take them with me when I left.  While they don't have the same beautiful position in the garden that they once had they are keeping my feet clean when I go to the compost bin.  With the new garden beds in place I find I really need a couple more, not sure I can still buy the same paver anymore though.  A trip to Bunnings to see what they stock in pavers, tiles etc., I wonder if I can encourage one of my daughters to complete the set.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A summer quilt top

Pattern from Missouri Star Quilt company by 3Dudes
Yesterday,  between another visit to the dentist, the moulds, impressions, were taken for the plate for my new molars, and shopping  I finished stitching the blocks together for the summer quilt.   I did find with this pattern that it was diffficult to match all seams, in the end I just gave up and made sure that the blocks were just square.   I'm happy with the secondary pattern that emerges,  I tried a couple of other ways to join them but like this one best.   I have sewn on a two and a half inch white border and am thinking of either another scrappy border or just a scrappy binding with the fabric pieces that are left, not sure, what do you think?   I am leaving it on the table to contemplate this as I get on with other things.   It looks so good on the table it may just become a table cloth, except when the grandsons are over, hehe, no messes on this little lovely.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

A summer quilt

Fabrics are Summer house by Lily Ashbury for Moda
Yesterday while browsing through some online quilting sites,  I came across a video on you tube from the Missouri Star quilt company.   It was showing a quick and easy shortcut using 2 &1/2" strips, anything with quick and easy gets my vote,  so last night I rummaged through my stash,  which I don't have a lot of now,  but  I did find a pack of fabrics that I had purchased last year to make a quilt for the family room, these are blues and greens in bright summery colours.  These would be perfect to cut  into strips,  I was able to get all the cutting done last night and this morning set to work to sew these together.  The interesting thing about this pattern is when you have your strips sewn together and then cut into squares,  I cut 10' blocks, you then turn one block around with right sides together so you have a vertical block on top of a horizontal block and then stitch all the way around the two blocks, stitching them together, press then cut twice through diagonally, just like you would for pinwheels.  Press these open and you have some interesting patterns, not sure yet which way I will lay these out.  Let you know when I have them pieced together.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

A home in the corner

When I moved into this house, I brought a few pieces of furniture with me from the last house that I couldn't part with.  This house is much smaller than the house the kids grew up in and while a lot of futniture didn't make it here I was determined that these would.  I have moved these around several times trying to find the right spot for them and sometimes wonder if I should part with them.  Yesterday it was the old treadle sewing machine cabinet which belonged to my grandmother,  I had learned to sew on this machine and was always told it would be given to me, remember,  my sisters don't sew.   Imagine my horror when I found they had taken the sewing machine from the cabinet, it was too old was the comment I received when I asked where it was.  So the poor cabinet has lived in the passage at this house, and to be honest has been in the way of through traffic.   Yesterday I decided to find it a new home, the corner of the family room and kitchen looked like a good spot.   As I pushed it down the passage it rattled and shook on the tiles, then settled as I pushed it into place.  Yes I think it looks good, as I stood back to admire it.   I have two lovely handmade tiles, made by my very clever sister-in-law several years ago positioned above it,  I think I have them a bit too high though,  I will have to lower them,  and sitting atop the cabinet one of the small cases that I collect.   I think the word that is being used a lot these days is vignette, not sure, what do you think. Next to find a home will be the curio cabinet or that will be going.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Here comes the sun

Yah, It's spring, the sun is out and so is my enthusiasm for getting outside in the garden, over the past few weeks I have been planning changes to my backyard, these entail raised vegetable beds and adding a few fruit trees.  Last week I dragged my poor complaining younger son off to the local hardware store for all the supplies needed for the extravaganza I had planned.   I rang son number two to invite him along to lunch at the weekend, oh,  and by the way I will need your help on a little work that we will be doing in the yard, my eldest daughter was included as well, she did a great job of digging out the grass.  With tools in hand we got to work and by the days end and with a beer in hand stood back to admire our work.   I must say that I am very pleased with all that was achieved, everyone worked especially well, and although not quite finished it is looking fantastic, just what I had envisaged.  What would I do without these fantastic kids of mine?  Youngest son returned yesterday to add the cross slats and wire to the posts, now to order the soil and mulch, then onto the planting, can't wait for those fresh summer vegetables and herbs.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Up date on my craft room

I have cleaned and reaaranged the craft room and thanks to Pinterest have been busy making crafty things for this room. See if you can spot some of the things that I have done.  I still don't have the extra table I need so I'm still moving my sewing machine to the kitchen table along with my craft mat and bits and pieces. This means that if I'm expecting anyone I have to put everything away.   I can't find a table that is the same height as the table that I have my computer on.   Everything I have found is either to tall or too long, I will keep looking, I'm sure I'll find something eventually.  I can't use all the space in this room, because it is used by my grandchildren when they stay.  As you can see by the photo the cupboard also needs more shelving, or maybe an extra tidy.  I'll paint the brown bookshelves white over the summer months so these will look as good as the new shelves.

Monday, 27 August 2012

View from my window

My bedroom is at the front of the house and across the street from my window there is parkland, so every morning when I wake up, I look out at trees and parkland instead of what could have been someones elses house.   This morning it was windy and  while I was  lying in my bed watching the branches and leaves blowing around I was day dreaming.  The council has told  the local residents  they have a six year plan to develop the area with garden beds, more trees and a bigger playground.  Some of the area will be set aside for tennis courts and maybe a football field and exercise course.  While I am looking forward to what this will bring to the now empty space I am also aware it will mean more traffic to this area. I'm hoping it will become a busy happy place.

Stars for Connor

One of my young grandsons, Connor, asked me if I could make him a starry quilt.  After looking through all my magazines for stars, I came across Peaceful Stars by Erica Johnstone and Petra Davies in Patchwork and Quilting Vol.12 No6.   I decided to hand piece this quilt so I could take it with me when I went to craft morning.  I finished all the blocks early this year and have put them together,  I can't decide whether to add another border, Connors mum asked me not to make it too large,  I think it might need a small border though.  I will have to shop for the backing because I used it for another project, but am undecided, blue or red.   I don't like to quilt the childrens quilts, I send them off to be quilted on a long arm machine, they get so much wear and tear I think they need it.  Hope to have this one finished very soon.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

So much has happened

This is the first time since my last blog that I have had time to sit at the computer and put into words what has been happening.  Where to start, probably, with helping my daughter pack her things to move house, I had spent a few days during the week wrapping and boxing her things for her move.   Then last Thursday when she picked up the keys to her new house I said,  "why don't we just take a few boxes around and have a look at the house".   Before the day was over we had moved almost everything but the washing machine, the outdoor furniture and Deacon's swingset into the new house.  I have to say that if my son had not arrived with his trailer this would not have happened,  I'm not strong enough anymore to move furniture but the two of them did a great job. I was so exhausted moving boxes I can only imagine how tired they were.   On Friday night  I attended the Vietnam Veterans Long Tan dinner dance  it was a lovely night, the food was really good, the entertainment not so good but we still had a good time.   My daughter rang Saturday morning to say she had no power,  it had been on when we moved her things in but was turned off  during the afternoon.  Her and Deacon had stayed at her girlfriends on Friday night while it was sorted.  Well, it wasn't sorted, no, it would'nt be connected untill Tuesday.   They stayed with me over the weekend.   Friends that had moved into the mud brick house I spoke of a couple weeks ago organised a house-warming get together of old friends on Saturday afternoon, it was so good to see everyone together after so long. We laughed so much during the day that my ribs were sore for a few hours after I came home, the afternoon became evening and the bbque was lit for dinner, it was quite late when I arrived home, very full and happy.  We have promised each other that we will do this again.   Tuesday afternoon I noticed something at the door as I drove into the garage.  What a surprise,  there was a bunch of flowers on the step, they were from my daughter and grandson to thank me for being a wonderful mum and grandma and for all my help.  So lovely.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Winter melancholy

This is the wettest winter that we have had in sixteen years, unfortunately along with the rain is the overcaste miserable, dreary days.  The kind of days when you just want to stay in bed where it is warm or sit on the lounge wrapped in a quilt and knit, crochet, hand piece or just watch the Olympics on the television.  I am deffinately not a winter person, I always feel a little melancholy over these cold and wet months and look forward to the first sunshine of spring.  While at my daughters a couple of weeks ago she received flowers, after answering a knock at the door to a person delivering a large bunch of beautiful red roses she was excited to see they were from her partner who was at work and thinking of her.  That made me think that I miss those little surprises of unexpected gifts.  It has been a long time since I received flowers, except when I've been ill or in hospital.  These roses were so beautiful that I took a photo of them and now have them as a screen saver on my computer, I can look at them during the day and they make me feel good.  I can't wait till my roses are in bloom and the rest of the garden is alive with colour.  Hurry up Spring

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Kitchen Compost bin

Since deciding to compost all my kitchen scraps,  I've been looking for something more appropriate and nicer to look at than the ice-cream container that sits on my bench.  While shopping in KMart last week I came across a very cute compost bucket that has a lift out liner, so much more attractive than what I have been using.  The price of $8 was also very nice,  there are also peg bins and containers for the laundry sink in the same range.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Still Juicing

My daughter asked me yesterday if I was still juicing, the answer to that would be yes. The decision to add fresh vegetable and fruit juices to my diet was made over the New Year after reading about all the benefits that can be gained from including raw foods and juice in our diet.  Then I saw the documentary "Fat sick and nearly dead" with Joe Cross and my mind was made up that this was what I would do.  It wasn't untill my birthday though, when my kids bought me a Juice Fountain that I started.   I should say that the reason for me wanting to do this began after I was diagnosed with Addisons Desease, after being ill and so thin for such a long time I suddenly gained a lot of weight, 1kg a week, as this piled on I began to wonder if and when it would stop. For a shortie like me 68kg's was very scary, especially as the other side of this desease is Cushings Desease and I didn't want to go there.  I have one juice every morning, if for some reason I miss this I have a juice at night, and for the rest of the day I try to eat well. This morning my juice consisted of Silverbeet, celery, carrot, capsicum, apple, lemon, cucumber small piece of ginger and a kiwi fruit.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

I stood my ground

Today I went back to Target to claim the pillowcases that were offered as a replacement to the missing pillowcase from the quilt set I purchased on Tuesday.  I was told I would have to pay $7 for them, well I did'nt think this was fair and stated my case, the manager was called,  managers are very young these days, or am I getting very old.  Anyway back to the story, I stood my ground but she was just as determined and long story short I have paid $5 for the pillowcases that are the same colour as the ones I had already purchased. I have made the bed with the new linen and I will now be looking for a green decorator cushion to lift the soft look.  I also bought fabric for the drapes, Spotlight was having a sale 50% off the tagged price, so I'll be busy next week sewing drapes for the windows in this room, a few more little details and the room will be finished. 

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Crocheted blanket

With my craft room all clean and sorted, apart from the new table, I'm ready to finish a couple of quilts that have been sitting in the "waiting to be completed basket".  In the meantime while I've  been watching some of the Olympic games on the television I have been crocheting a blanket  my mum had started before she passed away.  Mum had only crocheted a ten inch square and looking through the wool that was left in her box I knew there wouldn't be enough to go much further,  I would have to purchase more if this was going to be a decent size.  Luckily I was able to find what I needed at my local craft store,  some balls of  Sirdar Snuggly called  "Kisses" in beautiful soft greens, blues and cream just perfect.  I was a little shocked at the $8 per 50gram balls cost but I'm sure this will beautiful when finished.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Missing pillowcase

Breamlea collection from Grandeur
I was in Target shopping for new linen today, why, oh why, does it take so long to buy what you want.  I was looking for something pretty but not girlie, after all it was for the spare room and this I found wasn't going to be easy,  so many quilt sets but not much in light colours that were'nt runched or frilly.  Finally deciding on the quilt cover set I wanted it was off to look through the sheets. These don't come as a pack anymore, oh no, you have to buy a flat sheet and then try and find a matching fitted sheet.  That done I then needed pillowcases, I knew that there would be two with the quilt set but I wanted a plain colour to contrast with the quilt.  This was becoming something of a drama and with no staff around I ended dropping everything on the floor and standing on the first shelve to go through them, you see, the pillowcases are on the top shelf,  not in any order and anyone that knows me, knows that I'm a shortie.  Finally mission accomplished and off to the register to pay.  Feeling very happy with my purchases until I unpacked everything to wash them, and found a pillowcase from the quilt set missing,  not happy now,  I phoned the store whereby I'm assured they will call around and find another one.  Outcome is that there isn't one, no more of this set anywhere. They will offer me a plain set of pillowcases as replacement, I asked if it would be in the same range as I purchased,  if I want these I will have to pay an extra $7-00 what, I have to drive back to the store by Friday and pay for them, ok it's only $7 but it is their stuff up.

Monday, 30 July 2012

New shelving unit

Repositioned unit and table

My craft room is coming together, I have sorted through all the boxes and I'm proud to say I have been cruel to be kind, so much has gone. I had things I had kept because I might have needed them one day, well I'm not getting any younger, not too many one days left and besides I still have enough to keep me going for a long time yet.  I purchased a new flat pack shelving unit today, which meant my son was roped in to help put this together, this one is going inside the wardrobe, I think I will need another one but I'll see how much I can fit on this before I go and buy another unit.  I have new light shade, a bit of bling but I have high ceilings and will have to wait till one of the boys can do this for me.  I don't have a view from this window, just a colourbond fence and last night before going off to sleep I was thinking about this, I always seem to do my best thinking then.  Today while at Bunnings I looked at some big terracotta troughs, these would fit along that  corridor outside the window.  My son has several pieces of trellis that are'nt being used so I have asked him if I can have them, once painted and secured against the fence I think a climbing rose growing over them would look lovely.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

New dresses for the dolls

Isbella in her old clothes, the material for her new outfit and the new containers
Now that I'm re-organising the craft room I've decided on a whole new colour scheme, everything from frames, stationery, boxes and storage are having a makeover.  This will include a few of the rag dolls I made years ago, since moving into this house they have lived in the cupboard out of sight, I am making new clothes for them and then they can go on display once again.  I went shopping today and found a beautiful floral print, at first look I wasn't sure of the size of the print but I kept going back to look at it and so decided to buy this along with a beautiful light aqua blue.   I don't have the pattern  for the dolls and their clothes any more so will have to unpick the original dress and jacket and cut the pattern from them.  I have been painting some food cans and jars, and I have decorated the cans with ribbon and old brooches, these will be used  for knitting needles and the jar will look great with fresh flowers, when we have some, I can't wait for Spring, I'm so over this cold winter.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Cleaning the craft room

before the clean out

Once I began to sort through my mums things I looked at my craft, computer, spare room and thought it is time to sort this mess out.  I need more storage, maybe this will encourage me to put things away when I have used it, if it actually has a place where it belongs.  I have shelves but I usually just put it on any available shelf and as you can see apart from the magazine holders everything else is just stuffed in. I have transferred everything to the bed  in the another room while I decide what to buy and where to put it all.  My son and his wife have moved my shelving and table to the other side of the room, the table will be under a window so I will have more light to work with.    I'll also need another table to extend my work area, my computer uses most of the existing table, and there is'nt any room for my sewing machine. I usually set up on the kitchen table and this defeats the purpose of having a craft room. The  shelves and table unit  were purchased from Ikea so a shopping trip back to Ikea to find another table of the same height and colour is in order. I might find some storage solutions as well.

the bed stacked high

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Finishing what was started

A treasure trove of squares
I have three sisters who are each very talented in their own way, but I am the only one who inherited my mothers craft gene, so when mum passed away five years ago it was decided I should be the one to have all her craft supplies.  At the time my life was very busy and so the boxes with mum's things were just packed inside a cupboard.  Overtime I have often thought about looking through these boxes but then I became unwell and once again they were left in the cupboard.  Five years have flown past and I have been feeling very guilty that I have not looked through mums things.  This morning I decided I would open one of the boxes that contained mums crocheting and wool.  She was part of a group of ladies that knitted and crocheted small things for the hospital Auxilliary, little things like babies jumpers, cardigans, bootees and shawls. The left over wool was then crocheted into small squares or flowers to be used at a later date. Once I had looked through what was there I found a lot of squares of the same colour,  there was enough for me to be able to finish at least two small blankets.  I hadn't used a crochet hook for a number of years but it has been easy to pick up and now I feel good that I will be able to finish what mum had started.

Missing stitches

Tyler and Casey
  A short while ago I was speaking to my dad and told him of Tylers return visit to the vet tomorrow to have the stitches removed from when he was desexed  two weeks ago.  Dad started laughing, and then told me about a puppy he had when he was younger, this little puppy had been born with an inverted eyelid and dad took it to Lort Smith Animal Hospital to have it repaired.   He was asked to bring the pup back in a week to have the stitches removed. Dad went back the following week, the vet took one look at the puppy and asked why dad was there  "to remove the stitches" said dad "what stitches" replied the vet.   Dad hadn't noticed that the puppy or it's playmate had removed the stitches.  Dad said he felt like an idiot as he took the puppy home.  This got me wondering,  so I called Tyler over to check his wound and,  guess what, no stitches, he had removed them himself.    I have just phoned the vet to cancel the appointment. oh, clever dog.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Craft and good company

Cars glued and waiting to be sprayed blue

Yesterday was our second family craft day, we had decided this craft day would be all about frames and what could be done with a simple photo frame. We all had different ideas and I must say that everyone of them look good, two of them are even functional. Once the glue gun was plugged in, the paint, brushes and other equipment layed out we did'nt stop except for a small break when we grabbed something to eat and drink.   Belinda had a large bag of blue buttons that she used to shape into the letter 'O" and then hot glued into place, this looked beautiful.   Tanya decided she needed something to hang her hair ties and hairclips from, she painted her frame then attached lengths of ribbon to the frame, then using a small piece of metal that Taneesha had over from her project, covered this in scrapbooking paper.  Then the knobs were painted and screwed in to the bottom of the frame.   Taneesha decided that her frame would be a magnetic board, once painted,  scrapbook paper glued over the sheet metal,  then small magnets glued to the back of her makeup containers, she then lightly sandpapered the frame to give it an antique look.   I have been collecting plastic animals and cars over the past few weeks, and had a look through the kids toy box for things that would be appropriate for the frames I wanted to make.   I  decided to glue these onto photo frames and then spray paint over the whole frame so it would be one colour, another coat of paint and these will look really good in my grandsons bedrooms.  Just like the last craft day the time went by so quickly  and once again it was about five o'clock before we were packing up.  Next month we have decided to do our own thing again, but I'm really looking forward to November when we will be making all things christmas.
first coat of paint

Friday, 13 July 2012

No Crunch

I'm a really big sook when it comes to going to the dentist, so much so that I have'nt been for years.  I finally plucked up the courage a couple of weeks ago, and as was expected I have a list of repairs to be done including the removal of two molars.  This was not a simple removal, oh no, not for me it had to include a small graft and several stitches, needless to say the dentist has not moved up my not fond of doing things list.   I am a crunch kind of person, an apple, crisps, crackers anything that can give me a crunch, I don't like smooth and velevety, probably why I have never really liked chocolate or ice-cream.   For the next few weeks everything has to be soft and mushy and I'm finding this really boring, so,  I'm not really interested in eating.  This is probably a good thing as I have a few kilos to lose, in the meantime I'm dreaming of putting my teeth into a big green juicy apple.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Beginings of a tea party

Taneesha's tea set
I have a beautiful china tea set that belonged to my grandmother, something I had admired for a long time while growing up.  When I was young this set was used on a daily basis, no mugs were ever used by my grandmother.  After my grandmother died my sisters and I were asked if  we would like to have something as a memory of her, of course I asked if I could have the tea set.  This set consists of unmatched tea cups, saucers, and side plates, all beautiful bone china, and so precious to me. This set lives in a glass cabinet and is taken out when I have girlfriends over for lunch or afternoon tea, no men allowed to touch, no big fingers would be able to hold these cups.   My daughters love these pieces as well and have grown up seeing the special effort I make when these are taken from the cabinet.  Only the lace cloths, silver cutlery and crystal sugar bowl with a vase of flowers are appropriate for this special set.  Last year with my eldest daughters birthday imminent and not sure what to buy her, I saw a beautiful cup and saucer with an oriental design, this would be the start of my daughters own tea set.   I purchased several pieces along with a tea pot, creamer and jug.  Of course, I have two daughters so this week we went shopping to buy my other daughter her starter set, both these sets can be added onto, so now I'm waiting for my invitation to afternoon tea.
Jacinta's tea set

Friday, 6 July 2012

The plastic collar

Tyler looking confused
Yesterday morning my one year old schnaunzer cross Tyler, had a visit to the vet, it was about time for him to be desexed.  He is still very much a puppy, jumping and bouncing everywhere until we walked inside the door at the vets and then he was very quiet, no-one would have guessed that he was'nt this well behaved all the time.   When I went back later that afternoon he was very happy to see me albiet very confused about the plastic collar he had attached to his neck.  This has given me a lot of laughs as he becomes used to this collar, he hasn't been able to judge the distance he needs to enter doors, to find his food, turn corners or sit down.  When he follows  me he keeps catching me on my heels with the collar.  My dogs are inside, outside dogs but they always sleep in their kennel under the back patio, curled together for warmth.  Not last night, I was advised to keep him inside for a couple of nights, which meant both of them.  It was a cold frosty night, I know,  I was outside a couple of times during the night waiting for him to pee, you see if I did'nt stand outside with him he just stood at the door looking at me and would'nt go.  Cold or not they are both outside tonight.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Sorting the fabric stash

Like most, or should I say all quilters I have a fabric stash.   In spite of all good intentions I always seems to end up with fabrics thrown in a large tub, these are usually the fabrics that I have taken from the cane boxes I store them in,  looking for the perfect piece that will be used for the current project, or the leftover pieces from a past project added to the tub to be sorted and put away later.  Of course later becomes much later, and then the recently purchased fabric is added to the pile and the tub is full.   While I am house bound for a couple of days I have decided to tackle the tub, having just had a look I think I need more cane boxes, am I procrastinating, surely I have enough, I'm just starting to think that I'm not really into doing this job today, maybe another cup of tea while I think about it.  While I'm thinking about this, I should think about rearanging the room so that I have more light when I work, ok, it's official this has been put off till another day.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Cooking for the freezer

Osso Busso, Bolognese and Lemon Chicken Tagine
 Only 4 degrees inside the house this morning, aaagh so cold,  I threw on my gown and slippers, put on the heating, grabbed a magazine and a cup of tea and jumped back into bed till the house was warm enough.  While flicking through the current issue of Better Homes and Gardens I came across the slow cooked meals section, I don't have a sow cooker but these recipes can be cooked in the oven, what better way to spend a cold day than with the oven on and cooking a few meals for the freezer while also warming the kitchen.   I have an appointment with the dentist on Tuesday, normally I'm a scardey cat at the best of times but now with Addisons I'm worried how my body will react to the stress of having two molars pulled.  With that thought I realised that a few meals in the freezer as standby would be a good idea, something soft that doesn't have to be chewed much.   The smells in the house are amazing, I have osso bucco, bolognese sauce, and a morrocan lemon tagine all cooking, I have also made lasagne sheets, I'm going to freeze half of the bolognese to use for a pasta meal later on and make a lasagne with the rest.  I will have to rearrange the freezer because I also cooked a pot of soup during the week and I have enough for lunches for next week.   Last night while watching a movie I managed to finish knitting another beanie for my grandson Isaac, I will be able to post these tomorrow. Time to put the knitting away for awhile, I have so much quilting to finish.