Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Here she is, our cute little granddaughter.

We are going to enjoy our first Christmas with her. She is adorable, cute, beautiful, sugar and spice and all that. We are smitten!

Naughty - but nice

This is "My Leaf Quilt" from 2001 - well used and well loved....

I did something naughty (but nice) a couple of weeks ago when no-one was looking!
I started a new project.........like I need one.
Anyways, it is going to be another leaf quilt for our queen size bed. Now, last time I made "My Leaf Quilt", I vowed and declared I would not do another queen size quilt.
How the memories fade, a bit like having a baby, we go back a second time.

This leaf quilt is going to be my own design and has been in the back of my mind for a couple of years now. In fact, I already have about 300 leaves cut out, tacked, and ready to applique. No two will be the same. On Wednesday I cut about 60 miles of bias (well, maybe not quite that much but it felt like it) for the vine. I am going to put it through a 1/4" bias maker and at the same time attach some paper back adhesive.
It will be a hand project that I can take here there and everywhere in the next few months. Can't wait to get started on the stitching now.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Child is Born

Our beautiful baby grand-daughter, 'Lilian May', was born on Tuesday 9th December. She wished to enter the world earlier than expected by about 3 weeks and was a healthy 5lb 9 oz. She is the most adorable, cutest baby (of course, we are not one-eyed). Mother, father and baby are all doing well.
I am off to their house tomorrow to prepare for the home-coming, and to help our daughter and husband settle into their new way of life.
Exciting times! As soon as I get pictures downloaded from our son-in-law's camera, I will show her off to you.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Yellow Squash

Recently I read in a blog that it is a good idea not to plant more than one zucchini plant at a time.
May I also add to that yellow squash???
OMG we don't know what to do with them.... not too many people are fond of these things, you can't give them away! Hubby and I quite like them but are really over them now.
Any suggestions gratefully received.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Crazy Block No 3 - revisited

My sewing days have been a little restricted lately, so I am revisiting crazy block No 3.

Life has been very busy around here, and quilting/sewing has taken a bit of a back seat. Every day I try to snatch a couple of minutes to put needle to fabric, but it doesn't always happen.

We have only 3 weeks to wait now for our first grandchild and I have been visiting our daughter off and on over the past few weeks as she has been feeling poorly. We are all getting very excited!

To the left of the saxaphone, I created a "McIntyre" tartan. It is a criss-cross of stem stitches and closed herringbone stitch in the tartan colours in a vague pattern of the tartan. Now, the truth..... it became a tartan because the stripey brown fabric underneath just did not work with this block, so I had to devise a way to completely cover it up. My mother's family originated from Argyll district in Scotland, so I came up with the idea of their tartan!
Aquarius, the "water-bearer", embroidered up in the right top corner there is pretty self explanatory. I am not a great follower of astrology, but whenever I do read the traits of Aquarians, I must admit a lot of them seem to sum up my personality.

The monogram "D" is done in a closed herringbone stitch shown to me by Robyn Ginn. For some reason I love doing herringbone stitch, and it shows up often in my crazy blocks.

It would not be a 'me' block without my favourite flowers, roses. The silk ribbon roses on this block are my very first attempt at silk ribbon embroidery, and I loved doing it. I just followed the instructions in a book and I think this one was called a woven rose - very easy. I also included some chain stitch roses in deep dark red in the heart embroidery. You just go round and round in chain stitch til you build up what resembles a rose. Robyn Ginn also showed me this technique, and what I like about Robyn's work and her instruction is that she uses all the basic stitches to build up her designs. The other roses I have done beneath the silk ribbon ones are bullion roses.

Lastly, the pictorial embroidery at the bottom right, represents a memory of going on Sunday picnics as a child with my mother and her best friend and all the kids piled into a small sedan (no seat belts in those days). We would go to a beautiful little creek which was lined with willow trees. The bullion stitch teddy bear is having cake and tea under the willow tree. The cake and tea came from the local cafe "Hamlyn's Cafe" (just pretend). My paternal grandparents had a cafe in the 1930's - 40's in our small country town, and my grandma did all the cooking as well as rearing five children. Home made cakes, pies, sandwiches etc. She was a legend!!!

The willow tree trunk is built up with stem stitch and the branches are lots and lots of fly stitches. I enjoy doing sketches with outline stitch like the saxaphone and the tea and cake and have done more of this in subsequent blocks.

GOAL - to have this crazy quilt finished sometime in 2009.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Big Strippy Star

This quilt top evolved from the strip party we had at quilt group back in March. I just added some all dark and all light blocks to the ones I had already completed.
The configuration of blocks came from Hanne, as soon as I saw it I knew I had to make mine like that. I love doing strip piecing and I love stars, so it was perfect. Check Hanne out some time, she does lovely work. Thank you Hanne.

I also love Hanne's Life Motto, it reads:
"One has all to gain to accept reality as it is!"

Friday, November 21, 2008

Quilt - Finished

There is going to be a new label added to my posts "Quilts- finished". I wonder how many posts are going to make there way there?? No doubt there will be a whole lot more in the "works in progress" label!!

This quilt was started waayyyyyy back in about 2001. My sister-in-law picked it out of the Australian Patchwork and Quilting book ,"Colourful Scrap Quilts". She picked it out to go with her new sofa which was in the blue colour, similar to the border on the quilt. It is a quilt by Michelle Marvig and she called it "Amish Monkey Wrench".
In my case, it was more like a "monkey wretch". From go to woe I had big troubles with this quilt, which is why it probably sat in the cupboard unfinished for so long. Piecing is not my forte and things didn't go well there, and then I did a bit of accidental cutting as I was trying to "square" the quilt up and left a few of the seam allowances a bit scant. Oh yeah, if it can be done I can do it. Then, I stretched one of the inner border to fudge a fit, and that came back to bite me in the rear when it came to quilting it. Some things do not "quilt out".
The most enjoyable part of the whole process for me was the hand quilting. It mostly ran smoothly, except the outer border was meant to be done in a cable, and none of the stencils I tried fitted, so I went for the old grid quilting. By the end of all the grids, I just about had that little quilting stitch mastered. The hand quilting alone took about 2 years to complete. Usual explanation - there were many projects in between.

By now, of course, my sister-in-law, Annette, has totally refurbished and redecorated and no longer has the blue sofa. Oh well, she is still getting this quilt and I know she is going to really appreciate it and love it. She possibly won't even remember choosing it, and it is going to be a real surprise when I present it to her on Dec 20th.
Annette is currently undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer and is feeling very low and a little worse for wear.

The label reads
"Annette's Quilt"
Made for Annette J......
'A quilt to warm your body and comfort your soul'

I am blessed to have five of the bestest sister-in-laws - love 'em all.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Selvage Star

Linda - You're a STAR *****

Linda is featured on the Selvage blog today. They are showing her fab selvage totes. Check it out selvageblog.blogspot.com

It seems to be neverending what can be made from selvages.

What a week....

It's been "one of those" weeks. It all started on Melbourne Cup Day, when we had a call from our daughter to say she was going to the hospital with contractions and bad pain. (She was only 33 weeks along). She lives 3 hours away, so I was feeling a little helpless.

Our son-in-law is very capable and caring, and they were in constant contact with us. By Thursday morning, I had decided I must go and be with them. The good news is - all is well - and she was home Friday morning, so I stayed on for a few days and "spoilt" them.

During this time, life dealt other annoying little problems, but they all paled into insignificance.
Needless to say, it all ended with a big headache yesterday.

Whilst sitting around, (can't do much else) and feeling a little sorry for myself, I clicked onto Martha Stewart on cable and she was talking to Dr. Maya Angelou. Dr Angelou said something which resonated in me and switched on a light bulb. "If life deals you bad things, take an attitude of gratitude". So I got to thinking......

We are so grateful for the hospital care our daughter received at Nambour Hospital. The doctors, the nursing staff, the midwives, were all outstanding, and even the food was good.

We are so grateful for modern medicine.

We are so grateful for valued friends and family who gave their support.

We have much to be grateful for.

I am very grateful to be living in Australia, land of beauty and bounty, where we have peace, freedom of speech and freedom of choice.

When I got home on Tuesday I had an urge to go into the garden and work. Physical work (not too much), seems to get rid of some pent up emotions in me!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Stained Glass Finished

Finally, I have finished this little stained glass project I started back a couple of months ago. It was such a fun project to do, sooooo I have started another. It is a Santa Claus and because it is one of those lovely overcast, showery spring days, it is going to be the perfect afternoon to sew. I am up to sewing on all the little black bias strips and have purchased an open toe applique foot for my sewing machine to make it a little easier.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Headache Dayze

If you are a headache sufferer you have my complete understanding and empathy.

I know people around you cannot understand how you may be completely lucid and full of life one hour and down in a screaming heap a few hours or less later.
I know the frustration of not being able to do what you want to do when you want to do it.
I know the pain.
I know the disappointment when you are unable to attend a function or something which you have been looking forward to.
I know how taking too many non-prescription cures can cause havoc with your body.

There are three headache phases in my life right now.

1. Headache - Free Days (last about 3-7 days)
2. Headache - mild to severe - All day (last about 3-7 days)
3. Migraine - Knockem down and out (last about 1-2 days)

This is what I have decided. On "headache free days" I do as much as I can of the things I can't do when I have the "headache all day".
On "headache all day" days I do mundane chores which require no concentration whatsoever.
Today, I am making a list of all those things I may be able to do on "headache all day" days.
Of course, Murphy's Law states, you are unable to do those things you enjoy most on "headache all day" days, such as sewing (hand or machine).
Needless to say, "Knockem down and out" days are simply wasted.

Let me know how you deal with headaches if you are in my camp!!!

PS - Cause unknown..........................

Monday, October 13, 2008

Crazy Block No 3 - The "Dianne" Block

This Block is all about Moi. There is no guessing anymore about how old I am huh? Another 54 would be nice, in fact, I may need another 54 years to get through all the UFO's!
When I was about 15 years old, I was wanting to pursue my love of making music. My mother was a talented pianist and I had dropped out of piano lessons. They were too structured towards the classical and I was wanting to play popular music like my Mum. She could not teach me, as she did not read music and played totally by ear. I could also play by ear, but wanted a more portable instument so that I could join a band. My Dad came up with the saxaphone, an instrument he had always loved the sound of. They bought me a sax, and my Mum drove me twice a week to the nearest music shop which was about 20klms away, and I was taught by a wonderful man called Cliff. Cliff loved music from "hip" groups like "Tijuana Brass" and such, and he also encouraged me to join an old time dance band to learn the old time favourites which I loved. For a couple of years I spend Saturday nights playing in a small old time band all around our district. Of course at about age 17 I was looking for something a bit more stimulating. A group of us local teenagers formed a band called "Impulse". We didn't last too long, but had a lot of fun putting together our "gigs".
Much later, when the children had grown up a little, and we were living in Rainbow Beach, I dragged the sax out of it's box again and joined a couple of locals to form a trio. We played at a few functions, but most of the enjoyment was from simply getting together and making music.
I had fun embroidering it on my block and remembering all the joy it has brought me through the years. I still have my original sax and get it out occasionally to blow the cobwebs out.
More about block 3 later..............

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Post Exhibition

At last, after several weeks, I have gingerly entered my sewing room (it is in rather a mess), stepping over all the aftermath of the exhibition, I managed to sew this.
My daughter and I salvaged an old basket I had kicking around, and I sewed a lining for it in this cutesy baby fabric. It will hold all that baby "stuff" in their nursery. It is getting exciting now, with only a couple of months to go before we welcome our first grandchild. Yes... it is a girl.
I have been very busy these past few weeks leading a committee to organize our quilt club's exhibition. It all went very well, and the members who came along on roster all enjoyed themselves interacting with each other and meeting new people. The quilts were stunning, and on Saturday, we will find out who took out "viewers choice".
My organizational skills were tested to the max (considering my New Year's Resolution every year is to get organized!!). Co-ordinating things to happen when, how and where they were supposed to happen was the easy bit. Dealing with all the different personalities of the members was a little more tricky, and called for all the diplomacy I could muster. One can only do one's best, and if I take on a job, I do it to the best of my ability and see it through. We are having a "post exhibition" meeting on Saturday where I will be giving many recommendations to the next committee. I will post some photos after Saturday, once I get permission from a few people to do so.
Now in the next couple of months, I will catch up on some of "my sewing" finishing off a few UFO's before our new granddaughter arrives and life takes us in a new direction.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Selvage Key Rings

Some of my quilting mates have been chopping off their selvages and giving them to me to 'play' with. I came up with these quilty little key rings and will sell them on the sales table at our quilt exhibition (this weekend). They were fun to make, a bit fiddly, and a bit messy too.
I had to make them stiff, so I used buckram for the base to sew the selvages onto, and also used a fabric stiffener and matt varnish to finish them off. The tag is some measure tape ribbon I found in the scrapbooking section at Spotlight.

This gorgeous rosella was having a feast in our back garden this afternoon. The photos were taken through a tinted glass window and the camera was on full zoom, so not very good I'm afraid. We do have some lovely birds visit us. We also have some pesky birds. We call them pee wees, but I believe they are also known as mudlarks. They dive bomb our windows (especially the tinted ones) and with each dive bomb they do a poop. They have been doing this for some years now and we do not know how to stop them. We are constantly 'washing up' after them ! Grrrr.

This is a pale-headed rosella, often referred to as a custard head rosella. The colours are brilliant and it is such a pretty bird.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Spring-time Action

The weather has warmed up heralding the beginning of Spring. Mother Nature has been busy at work and our garden is just starting to spring into action. (sorry about the pun). The weather has also sprung yours truly into action, and I have been busy dusting, vacuuming, washing down etc.etc. this morning. This makes me feel righteous so that I may get into that sewing room this afternoon with no guilt feelings.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Father's Day Surprises

Sunday was Father's Day and it was tinged with sadness, filled with intrigue, and was, all round a day for reflection.

It was the 11th anniversary of my Mum's passing, and eventhough I think of her each and every day, she was a lot in my thoughts on Sunday. She was diagnosed at age 54 with early onset dementia (Alzheimers)......very sad and tragic. I am now age 54 and I look back at her life and only wonder what could have been. She passed away at age 67.

RIP Lilian Jane

Since both our daughters live out of town, they were unable to make the journey to see their Dad, so my hubby and I went and had morning tea with my Dad who lives about 20 k's away.

Just before we were ready to leave I asked my father about his own Dad. Well, he said, "You know, don't you, that he didn't know his father?" No, I did not know. I knew there was something different in his background (you know "family whispers") but didn't know what.

It seems a twig has been broken off the family tree! My great grandfather is unknown. This was a surprise. According to my Dad, one of the daughters of my great great grandparents fell pregnant and was not married. Shame and scandal at that time, so to cover it up they pretended that the baby (my grandfather) was their own and brought him up to think his mother was his sister.

Dad then loaned me a book about our ancestors who came from Argyll, Scotland. Of course, there is no mention of this "illegitimate" child, and I am yet to determine which daughter it was who gave birth to my grandfather (choice of 2). In the years we knew our grandfather (he passed away in 1970), we never met any of his family apart from our "Aunty Ida" who I have mentioned in the previous post "Crazy block no 1", who lived in the same town. For a long time ,and growing up, we thought "Aunty Ida' was just a church friend of our Nana. My Nana, God bless her soul, did mention other relatives of "Pop", but we grandchildren never knew them. I am now beginning to understand why he seemed to be aloof, detached and somewhat estranged from his family.

Another amazing bit of information I found out was that my paternal ancestors hail from Argyll and so do my maternal ancestors! Scottish through and through?

Anyhow, fathers day continued at my sister's house for a barbeque lunch where we contemplated, laughed and reflected on the past.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Home-baked Ginger biscuits

Ahh the aroma coming from the kitchen is bringing back so many memories of my Nana. Apart from being a wonderful gardener, she was a good homely cook. She had xxx numbers of grandchildren and great grandchildren (lost count) and whenever one of them visited, she always had a bag of bikkies (cookies) for them to take home and enjoy. Her favourites were ginger nuts, jam drops and anzac biscuits. She baked in large quantities and then froze them if need be.

These are my version from a friend's recipe. Unfortunately I don't have many of my Nana's recipes.

Of course, I could hardly wait for one to cool before taste-testing. Next time, I will add a little more ginger powder. I am crazy for all things ginger, and at the moment this is the flavour of the minute - I can't get enough of these little morsels, can't stop at one!

I am only sorry I didn't think of adding some of these, finely chopped, to my ginger biscuits. Oh well, next time.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Crazy Quilting - Block No 2

Spring has arrived and this seems an appropriate time to introduce Block No 2 of my crazy patchwork project.

Block No 2 is all about flowers. I love flowers! I love looking at flowers, smelling flowers, drawing flowers, growing flowers, embroidering flowers - everything about flowers.

My love of flowers started when I was a very young child and we stayed with our paternal Grandmother. (of ginger biscuit fame - see above post) She often baby sat us when Mum was busy helping out in Dad's butcher shop business. In later years when we were a little older, we stayed with her for an extended period while Mum and Dad took an overseas holiday. She had a typical country garden with standards such as snapdragons, sweet peas, pansies, daisies, lavender, roses and lots of other beautiful and perfumed plants, fruit trees and flowering shrubs. She always had great big vases of flowers around her huge house. Her house was an old army hospital, a remnant of the army's presence in Oakey during the 2nd world war. It had many rooms and lots of lovely nooks and crannies - ideal hiding places to play our favourite game "hide and go seek".

The top left embroidery reads " I love flowers" Can you make it out? It is not such a good photo, I'm sorry. The heart is done in Robyn Ginn's stitch, row of roses. Basically a coral stitch surrounded by a lazy daisy stitch. The text is done in every variety of stitch I could think of that would fit in with the relevant letter. Then there are some little rosebuds underneath done simply with a fly stitch and a lazy daisy stitch.

Gosh, I am sorry about these blurry images! The blue butterfly is a bit of a cheat. It is broderie perse to which I have added some extra embroidery. The hollyhocks under this are once again the "row of roses" technique. I just love this stitch. There is a simple feather stitch heart in the centre of this block to which I have added a very elaborate swag of lazy daisy flowers filled in with colonial knots.
The large white daisies are of course lazy daisy stitch but elongated a bit. The pale blue "flowers" are actually tatted by a friends mother. My friend had a whole bag of these little tatting motifs and kindly passed some on to me. The yellow butterfly in the left of the block is also from this collection. I was very please with how the bouquet of bullion stitch roses turned out (bottom right). The colours are very striking and I was worried if they tied in with the other colours, but I think it worked okay.
Sometimes doing a crazy block is a bit like painting a picture, you have to know when it is finished and I think with "the flower block" I may have just gone past the finishing point. Guess I just got carried away with my favourite topic!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Crazy Block No 1 - Revisited

After reading my post about Crazy Block No 1 "The Oakey" block, I thought I would journal it a bit more and explain how I came to do some of the motifs, stitches etc. Someone may find it interesting, but really, it is for my own records and for my family to look back on.

The little sheep in the top left hand corner were done in a bullion stitch workshop at quilting group with a lady called Cathy Sotiriou. I added some hay bales and grass. These little sheep set the block on the path to being the Oakey block. My dad had sheep, cattle and pigs and had the town's only butchery. There was another large abattoir just outside of town which was more of a wholesale and export abattoir. Our family, my dad and his brothers, operated a small slaughter-house which was situated adjacent to the pig sty. Dad was the "cattle, sheep, pig man" and did all the tending and buying and selling, his one brother was the "slaughter man" (don't envy this job) and his younger brother was the "butcher shop man". It was full on, and my dad started work at approx 4.30 am every day and returned home at dark (earlier in winter ). Sundays were done in shifts, approx 5.00am to feed the pigs, home for lunch and a nap, and back to the pigs in the late p.m.

My sister and I loved going to "the pigs" (apart from the atrocious smell), but we rarely ventured to the slaughter house. Only the once did I visit there when I was about 10 years old, and the memory is forever etched. It's a wonder I still eat meat - no choice really, we were served up red meat morning, noon and night.

At "the pigs" my sister and I loved going into the chook pen and checking for eggs. The chooks were the domain of my dad's younger brother and he collected the eggs and distributed them to family members. There is one of the little chooks, chickens, and old man rooster there on my block.

The grapes were done in a stitch shown to me by crazy patch guru, Robyn Ginn, and are a cable stitch surrounded by a lazy daisy stitch and worked in 6 strands of embroidery floss. Occasionally my sister and I were babysat by my dad's cousin and husband and they had a most wonderful orchard and vegetable garden. I can still taste the sweet, juicy grapes plucked straight from their vines. The pumpkin in the bottom right hand corner also came from memories of their garden, certainly not from ours, as dad was too busy working to be gardening, and Mum was more of an inside house person. Thus, we had a very low maintenance yard and employed a gardener to keep it all tidy. The pumpkin is outlined in stem stitch and filled in with closed herringbone stitch.

We had a lovely old stucco house with a little white picket fence at the front and along the front of the fence we had some miniature pink rose bushes. They were very hardy (needed to be) and tolerated the wicked frosts we had in that part of the country. There they are in the top right hand corner of the block, with bees hovering and the bluebird of happiness dropping by as well.

The bees and roses were also done in the bullion workshop and the bluebird of happiness is a representation of my first jewellry, a little bluebird brooch.

As a child I loved to collect feathers, and there was a plentiful supply of these at the pig sty and around the chook pen. My feathers are shown there in the left bottom block and adjacent is the sheaf of wheat. Apart from all the other things my Dad and his brothers did, they also inherited from their father and puchased for themselves a good deal of wheat farming land. During the 1960's wheat farming was very viable and the weather was very conducive to growing. A good deal of money was to be made from wheat, but the workload was excessive. During harvesting, my dad would come home, have his dinner, push his empty plate away and promptly go to sleep with his head down on his hands at the table!

The heart in the centre is my heart, it still belongs in my old home town.

This block has brought back so many very wonderful memories of childhood, and the process of creating it has brought me so much joy and given me the impetus to explore much more crazy patchwork and embroidery in the future.

Friday, August 22, 2008

On a Roll

The last couple of days have been quiet on the home front, so I ventured into the sewing room for "little" sessions. I got these selvedge pin cushions done and also another 2 quilt journals. I really enjoy trying out different techiniques for a small project like the quilt journals.

The sewing room is calling again this afternoon, as hubby has headed off to the football in Brisbane. I intend to make another quilt journal and a couple of small items for our quilt show sales table. On a rooooooooll.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Crazy Quilting - A work in progress

This is a project which I started some 3 years ago after doing a "session" with a very talented lady called Robyn Ginn (OAM). OAM stands for Order of Australia Medal, and Robyn received this medal on Australia Day this year for her outstanding contribution to the Arts of quiltmaking and Needlcraft. She is very inspiring and set me on the path to crazy quilting using a pictorial kind of approach.
Originally, the blocks were going to be very traditional using browns, creams, gold and laces, pearls etc.!!!
Well -------- as you can see by Block No 1 it all took a very different path. It is turning out to be a glimpse of my life so far - and I can tell you it's not all that interesting. Hence, what started out to be a quilt of twelve blocks is now down to nine. Even so, the journey has been a lot of fun, and I enjoy attempting all the different stitches and working out the designs to use. In fact, working out what comes next usually takes longer than putting it into stitches.

This block is "The Oakey Block". Oakey is the little town I grew up in. It is in a rural area, and my Dad was a wheat farmer, butcher and raised cattle, sheep and pigs. He led a busy life and he instilled in us a solid work ethic. It was a great town to be brought up in and these images bring back memories of experiences as a child.
I am still looking for some egg-like buttons to place under my little chook. The rooster is a design I made up myself and I think he looks pretty grand.

I will put some of the other blocks up over the coming weeks, so hope you enjoy looking at them and of course, if you have some feedback for me, that would be nice too.

Lisa from "Ivory Blush Roses" has inspired me to put them up on the blog. If you are interested in crazy quilting, pop over to her blog and enjoy her wonderful creative work, gorgeous photos and inspirational words.

Sorry, my photos aren't up to Lisa's, but I have a very basic digital camera and I am still learning.
I found Ivory Blush Roses through Allies in Stitches, another blog I love, so go have a look at Allies work too. Fantastic!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Have caught up on sleep now after the annual Toowoomba Quilters retreat and feel up to posting a little. Sleep was a little hard to come by, cold cabins, hard bunks, squeeky doors and noisy neighbours (possumns), so it was great to come home to a warm house and warm bed.

Food at camp this year was superb, and all the ladies bring along homemade treats for in betweens with our coffee. mmmm. I think I put on a couple of kilos in two days!!

I continued work on the long-term crazy patch project, and I am all inspired now to get to the finishing post. My mentor on the project, Robyn Ginn was at the retreat and she is always inspiring. Over the next few posts, I will endeavour to take a decent photo of my crazy patch blocks I have done so far, and show and tell all.

Alas, I did not win the Canberra Quilters raffle, so will have to put up with my old sewing machine for a bit longer. It desperately needs a service, and I've booked it in. The repair man comes to the house in his little van and does it on the spot, so I don't have to part with it for any length of time and suffer separation anxiety.

Here are some colours of Australia which I photographed at the retreat.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Dianne Firth Quilts

I have just been to the Canberra Quilters Exhibition site and after seeing the winning quilts by Dianne Firth, I have to say I am just head over heels for her work. I sooooo want to buy one of these, expecially the "Cone" and I also would love to get "Coffee Swirl". She had a couple of quilts in the Sydney exhibition too and also at the Gold Coast earlier this year. It was at the Gold Coast that I fell in love with her quilts.
Go have a look and enjoy all the other winning quilts. I am also going to win the raffle quilt by Helen Godden, just waiting for the call.

A windy quilt retreat

True to form, a biting cold Westerly wind has blown in for our quilt retreat this weekend. This is the time of year we can expect "the westerlies". Having grown up in this area, I can attest to the fact that these westerlies are yearly visitors in August/September. They traditionally herald in the beginning of the Brisbane Exhibition and get us diving for our hats, scarves and gloves. Brrrrr.

Thankfully, most of our time at quilt retreat will be inside around the "big fire" (which is now a large gas contraption due to "workplace health and safety" issues with the beautiful log fire we used to enjoy). Alas, the cabins are of a wooden variety with lots of draughty spaces and no insulation. Maybe I will sneak the electric blanket in like I did last year. Shhhhh.

I will post pictures after the weekend of where we stay, the fun we have etc. etc. Stay posted.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Four Seasons of Toowoomba

This is the raffle quilt for our quilt group (Toowoomba Quilters Club Inc) for 2008. The quilt was designed by a group of members and quilted by a local professional quilter. (See the Toowoomba Quilters blog for some up close photographs of the magnificent custom quilting).

The quilt represents the four seasons of toowoomba in a row by row style, starting with summer at the top.

Sue did a lot towards bringing the quilt together, so congratulations to her for this outstanding achievement.
Now, I am off to pack some of my sewing gear up for our retreat. We start on Friday afternoon about 3.00pm with coffee at "The Chocolate Shop" at Highfields and of course, a visit to the Quilters Angel shop which is just a few short paces from the Chocolate Shop. Then it is on to Perseverence Dam (the one with very little water in it) where we will "camp" for 3 glorious nights. Glorious because there will be all sewing with no interruption of household duties. Breakfast, lunch and dinner served up to us - Bring it on!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

It's a funny ol' day

It started off at dawn with this rainbow and the promise of some much needed rain. Well it rained all right. In fits and starts all day - sometimes sunshine - sometimes squall. At lunch time we had what I can only describe as "ice rain". It was similar to hail, but much finer and a lot of it. A little dog from the neighbourhood was running around the front of our yard and he had all these little icy particles over him. Very comical. Our dog was much wiser and stayed on her sugar bag mat on our porch out of the wind and rain and ice. As I write, the sun is out again but who knows for how long???

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Been busy.....

Organizing and making items for our springtime Quilt exhibition sales table.

For several years now I have been co-ordinating and producing items for sale at our annual exhibition. This year, in a moment of temporary insanity, I put my hand up to "help" organize the whole exhibition! Well........now, after the other lady decided she couldn't help out at all, I am doing the whole darned thing. Acutally, I am quite enjoying it so far, but don't even come near me around the week before 20 September. We hold the exhibition at the same time as Toowoomba is showcased around the country by holding their annual Carnival of Flowers. It is the most beautiful time of year in this part of our splendid country. Bring on Spring!!!!!!

The last couple of years, a friend and I have been doing a joint effort. This happened as a result of some kindly ladies giving us fabric they could not use at the local nursing home. Thus, we started making "things" with these donated fabrics and our collaborative was formed. It has been such fun - and my friend is very imaginative and does beautiful work.

Speaking of our splendid country, last weekend we went into the mountains, away from the hustle and bustle of the Gold Coast, and enjoyed some fresh country air. We headed up to Springbrook and the Purlingbrook falls for a picnic. Bliss.

That is the Pacific Ocean you can see on the horizon. We were mighty high up at the "Best of All" lookout.
This valley leading down to the Gold Coast is called the Numinbah Valley.

The tree on the far top left is said to be 2000 years old. I just wanted to hug it. I love Australia!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Marmalade Jam learning curve

This is my very first attempt at making any sort of jam. When we visited our daughter in Caloundra on the weekend, they had this very fruitful orange tree at their new rental property. Yes, I thought, I'll take some and make some jam. I only used 5 small oranges to make these four jars of very ordinary marmalade.

I have learnt a lot though, and may make some more next week when we return from the Gold Coast.

What I have discovered is that there is a very fine line between jam and toffee. Also, I was extremely lazy in cutting up the oranges and thought a little bit of pith couldn't hurt. Hmmgh, I definitely should have peeled the rind off, removed the pith and then sliced up the oranges. Instead, I just chopped away and threw it all in the bowl.

Well, the upshot is, it actually tastes okay, but I think the big lumps of rind will be a little hard to digest!

Oh, about the rain - we did have a little. The weather is still like spring weather though, hope it keeps up for the weekend.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Winter Rose

This beautiful pink rose greeted me when I headed out to the clothes line this morning. The roses haven't been pruned yet, (waiting til after the threat of any frosts). It was a very pleasant surprise to see this rose blooming in the middle of our winter. It is quite warm here today, more like a spring day, so it might be gonna rain. We can always live in hope!
If you know the name of this rose, please let me know. It was one we transplanted from another area of the garden when we first bought the house.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Dads 80th Birthday

This past Sunday we had a lovely family luncheon to celebrate Dad's 80th birthday. He is pretty good for 80, considering he has very bad heart disease and is an insulin dependant diabetic.

We think he enjoyed his day - he is not very demonstrative.

Here he is receiving his quilt. He seemed to like it very much, and was concerned he might dirty it, like spilling his dinner on it or something. I reassured him it was meant to be used and was fully washable. This is my sister on the left who just loved the quilt, and we gave it to him as a gift from all the family. There is just my sister and I and she has 3 children and I have 2.

Here he is with four of his five grandchildren - Nicholas, the only boy amongst them - was on tour with his rock band "Phalanx".

I ended up tying the quilt with six strands of brown embroidery thread (I was in a hurry). It turned out to be just the thing to finish this type of quilt off.

Next Project?? Maybe I'll start on the Kaffe Fassett I have in mind.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Evolution of "The Brown Thang"

Remember "The Brown Thang"? It is now a quilt top and is going to be an 80th birthday present for my Dad. I am going to call it "Target 80 and Beyond" because the circles look like bull's eye targets.

I think my Dad will like it, although he finds it difficult to understand the whole concept of quilting. "Why do you piddle around with this stuff?" is just one comment he has made in the past. The fact that it has been made especially for him and made with love, I think, will appeal to him.

Instead of quilting it, I am going to tie it in brown (what else) crochet or perle cotton.

Dad, always the ultra conservative dresser, has always been fond of brown actually.