Monday, January 28, 2008

Back to Brissy

This Australia Day weekend we did a touristy thing and went back to our old hunting grounds of Brisbane. We stayed at our brother-in-law's house and he took us to various places we hadn't been for years and years.

I took the opportunity while we were on the South Bank of the Brisbane river to take in the Andy Warhol exhibition. This exhibition is showing at the relatively new Gallery of Modern Art. It was very intriguing, and I loved his "Mick Jagger" portraits (and all of his portraits really). His use of colour was phenomenal and also his use of his favourite colours, black and white. Truly amazing. There was all sorts of ephemera on display in glass cabinets as well, and if you were to stop, look and read every little thing it would take a week or more. I was on a bit of a time limit as the family were in tow and waiting for me for lunch at the gallery coffee shoppe.

After the exhibition we took a ferry across the river to the Story Bridge park where No 2 daughter was having a typical Aussie Day party with her mates. They had the ubiquitous barby with a sausage sizzle, played a few innings of cricket with the toy bat, ball and stumps, a game of touch footy and were consuming copious amounts of good ol' aussie beer. After this they (apparently) went over to the the Story Bridge Hotel with some 1,365,000 other patrons to have a coldy and a look at the cockroach races.??

We made our way back over the river via ferry to Eagle St to partake of yet another cappucino, after which we jumped on a City Cat and did a trip along the river up to the University of Queensland and back to South Brisbane. After a nice cold drink at a pizzeria, we made our way to the train station and home. It was a very memorable Australia Day, and we were so impressed with how many young people were really getting into the patriotic spirit.

On Sunday we trekked (by car) up the Mt Cootha mountain to take in the wondrous views of Brissy and have another cappucino. The city centre sure has grown since we lived there in the 70's and 80's. I came home fantisising again about how nice it would be to have an apartment along side the Brisbane River for a city sojourn now and again. Oh well, we can dream!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Book Cover Gift

I made this simple book cover for my sister's upcoming birthday. It has been a work in progress for a while, but as her birthday is just a week or so away, I had to get crackin' and finish it.
Hope she isn't going to finally read my blog now and spoil her surprise.

My sister is one of those very gracious people who always loves anything I hand craft for her, and she always appreciates the time and love that goes into making a special hand made gift.
These book covers are so easy to make, so I might whip up a few for the Toowoomba Quilters exhibition sales table. The exhibition is not until September, so have plenty of time.

My next project is dyeing some old white buttons. Have purchased some tintex dye which is wonderful for this application. Did a test run on some crappy white buttons I had kept for this very reason, and most of them took up the dye in various depths. Of course, the pearly type ones don't respond to the dye, and generally, if they float to the top they ain't gonna dye. I use the microwave (being very careful not to splish sposh the dye all over the place) and place the buttons in a cold dye solution, then give them about 30 seconds to see, then more if they need it. The good thing is you can make up your own colours. The little daisies on the book cover (above) were originally white and I used the rose pink to get the desired colour.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Flying Thingys

These flying thingys came to us courtesy of a small bag of brown rice. (they are now dead - after a good spraying). We hadn't opened the packet yet, but when I went to the cupboard last night to search for some noodles all these flying moth-like thingys flew out at me. The brown rice was unopened and on close inspection these animals were in residence. Oh well, I know what I will be doing this morning. BTW - the rice was "packed in Australia". Don't know it's exact origins!!

This is our daughter's doggy "Wilbur". (He is the one in my profile picture). He was sold to them as a "spoodle" but we have since found out he is a "Tiboodle" - cross between a tibetan spaniel and a mini poodle. It is this gorgeous fluffy tail that gave it away! He is highly intelligent, cheeky and frisky and absolutely adorable. Pleeeeeese Santa, can I have one for Christmas?

Friday, January 18, 2008


My first attempt at needleturn applique. Pretty pleased with the result, and it does seem to get easier the more you do. It is actually very enjoyable and relaxing, but each time I get to a point I hyperventilate (probably due to the fact that I am holding my breath that the whole point doesn't fray out). Wonder why the stems and leaves are all "crinkly". It won't iron out, and I don't want to push it too much with the iron.
Could it be that I didn't cut these parts on the bias? I will try that next time.

All tips and hints on needleturn applique very much appreciated.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sewing room chaos

I tell you what I've done. I've started something I don't really feel like finishing. Haven't even tidied out the cupboards yet, and for sure I will have to turf some things out 'cause I have more stuff than space. HELP!! This is a waste of good sewing time.
Anyway I will go off to Toowoomba Quilters today, do some hand applique and forget about the mess at home for a while.
The great distraction at the moment is The Australian Open (tennis) - hard to leave the tele.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Silverbeet Pie

Spinach (or silverbeet) has never been a favourite. Had the odd spinach and feta pie, but it never really grabbed me.
My Dad and his wife gave us a few bunches of silverbeet yesterday with the following recipe, which we whipped up last night, and thoroughly enjoyed.

Fry up a chopped onion, some chopped capsicum, chopped bacon (and if you like it a crushed clove of garlic) in a little oil.

Throw in the sliced up silverbeet, put a dob of butter on top, salt and ground black pepper, and pop the lid on the pan and cook until silverbeet is just cooked.

Put mixture into a deep pie dish and grate over this some tasty cheese. Cover with puff pastry and bake in moderate-hot oven til the pastry is lovely and crusty and brown. (You may want to have pastry in the bottom as well).

They also gave us some of her homemade goodies - A jar of pickled beetroot (hers is to die for), some pickled cucumbers, mango chutney and green tomato pickles. (A good cook!)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Pandora's Box

I decided today was the day I was going to attempt to tidy up the room of utter chaos - the sewing room/3rd bedroom.
Bedroom no more folks! This bed is going, and not before time. It was the first bed of our second child, so it was definitely time to say goodbye. There are good and bad ramifications in losing this bed.

Help!.... where am I going to secret all the junk that currently will not fit into the cupboards and was lurking under this bed?

That is the bad news.

The good news? There will be more space, and at last Iwill be able to access the bookcase easily instead of having to climb over the bed and all the crap thereon.

Me thinks I have opened a Pandora's box in trying to tidy up this room!!
More cupboards please!

I will post "after" picture when it actually happens - don't hold your breath.

My favourite summer fruit, the cherry. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm. Can't get enough.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

1000 Pyramids

Having just re-read the last posting I must apologise for going right off and swearing and losing sight of the subject of this blog. Guess I was just hoppin' mad.

Now - back to the subject.

Somewhere over the past 13 years or so I read an article on how to do a quick and easy 1000 pyramid quilt. Traditionally, this scrappy quilt, a one-piece block, would have been hand sewn using templates and each triangle cut out separately. Often it was done as a charm quilt i.e. every pyramid would be done in a different fabric - no two the same.
P.S. I hate templates!

With this technique, it is all done on the sewing machine and leaves a lot of scope for creativity, but, will not be a charm quilt. Charming maybe! It is a good way of using up left-over fabrics from other projects though. The one pictured, is one I did quite a few years ago and became my children's favourite for throwing over their legs on a coolish night. It was made from all the "ugly" fabrics I seemed to have collected at the time, but it was done purely for trying the technique out. The most important component in achieving success with this style is the use of light and dark. This gives the quilt depth and interest.

Firstly, cut two strips from two different fabrics. (one light coloured, one dark). The length will depend on how much of the fabric you have. Remember, this is a scrap quilt. The width I used in my quilt was 4 1/2 inches, but if you want a quicker result cut them 5 or 5 1/2 (wouldn't go any bigger than this). If you are a devil for punishment, you may cut them smaller.

Put the two strips right sides together and sew a 1/4 inch seam along both long sides. Yes - both.

Place your ruler with the 60 deg line along the top edge of the strips to make your first cut.

Then flip the ruler as shown, and cut.

Open out and press to dark side. You end up with a parallelogram.Join this parallelogram to others and voila! you have your pyramids joined.

Nobody believes me when I say I did not cut one triangle to make this quilt! Have fun!!!

Sue has also done one using this technique - so have a look at a different quilt altogether.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Where is the Quality?????

Tonight I am on my "soapbox".
I hate wasting food and I am in a foul mood anyway tonight after spending yet another day in headache land. Missed the shared lunch at my quilt group, so I'm shitty about that.

We live in one of the most food productive countries in the world, so why can't we buy some decent bloody food? Buying seafood this far from the coast is, I suppose, a bit of a challenge, but hey come on, with all the elaborate refrigeration and transport we have today, there is no excuse for the pitiful Australian prawns I purchased yesterday. These were purchased from a franchisey type grocery store and they seemed to look okay in the display cabinet. I went to a lot of effort (with the No 6 out of No 10 headache) to do a lovely rice and prawn salad with a chilli/lemon dressing. After a couple of mouthfuls, I nearly puked, as the prawns were clearly tainted with some hard to detect taint. Maybe washing liquid/bleach which they must use to clean the cabinet and trays? Or maybe they were just a bit old, as when I was peeling them I was a bit sus about how long they may have been in said cabinet.

The dog enjoyed them.

For afternoon tea I decided to eat an apple from the same grocery store. One bite in I knew there was some more waste a-comin' up. Okay, this one is probably my fault, as I have bought fruit that is not in season ,and has probably been sitting in cold storage for God only knows how long. But holy dooley, how awful can an apple be? Lesson learnt.

Last year some time, hubby and I were travelling from Brisbane to Toowoomba and stopped at a popular "local produce" store in the agricultural belt of the Lockyer Valley. The Lockyer Valley is renowned across Australia for its fertile soil and ability to grow all sorts of vegetables, especially potatoes. So, imagine our surprise when we picked up a bag of spuds only to see that they had travelled all the way from South Australia. We dropped them like a hot potato. We purchased only a couple of items as we fought our way through those little flying insect things, that warn you the fruit and vege has been hanging around a while.
Hubby liked the look of the "fresh" asparagus - he had been hankering for it.
It was a handsome price, but since he rarely treats himself, why not?
The following night he unwrapped all the plastic wrap and pulled off the "local produce" sticker which was conveniently covering the fact that the aspargus had made its way to our shores all the way from The Phillipines. LOCAL PRODUCE - my arse. It was thrown straight in the bin.
More waste!
From now on I am going to be a very descerning shopper when it comes to so-called fresh food.
Currently, due to a blow out over Christmas/New Year, I am being kind to my body and trying to eat fresh as much as possible. But when I want fresh I want bloody FRESH!!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Celebration Time

Celebration Time, Come On! Let's celebrate and have a really good time!

We are celebrating the start of a new year, and I am celebrating the finishing and hanging of the Christmas quilt I have called, appropriately, "Celebration". It is even hanging on the wall already. I decided to let it hang there until Christmas in July, so that we may enjoy the "fruits of my labour", (all four years of it).

We had a quiet New Years Eve and were tucked into bed by about 11.00 pm, but crawled out at midnight (awoken by neighbours yahooing) and viewed the late night fireworks in Brisbane city from our daughters balcony. Earlier in the evening we visited the Treasury casino and had another lovely meal at Cafe 21 in the casino. We have been there a few times now and have never been disappointed. Eventhough they were extremely busy, and we had to queue up for a while, they still served a quality meal. After dinner, we took in the 9.00 pm fireworks on the South Bank of the city (viewing them from Victoria Bridge). Very nice.

The next day we went to hubby's sister's place on the Gold Coast and enjoyed some rainy weather. The holiday makers were whinging about the rain, but it was wonderful for us to see it, hear it and feel it. Beeauutiful!!

Di's New Years Resolutions -:

1) Get organized (This one is perpetual)

2) Cut down on spending on unnecessary consumerables (This does not include fabric/craft - although I am going to try and be more resourceful with what I already have. It also excludes travel - have a couple of things planned)

3) Improve my diet (being kinder to my liver) and drink more water

4) Finishing something off before starting something new (oh yeah!)

This really does sound like post-Christmas guff. Bloody hell! These are going to be challenging.

PS Toowoomba's water is YUK after the Gold Coast water!