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!