Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Projects for a New Year.

Before I get into my exciting new projects - a bit about the unusual weather we have been having.  Yesterday I was  finally able to hang my clothes out into the sunshine after about 5 days of constant rain and drizzle.  The flooding in some districts in Queensland, particularly to the North and West of us has been devastating.  Towns are being evacuated as water levels continue to rise.  We are noticing heavier than usual light aircraft and helicopters passing overhead.  They are probably heading out to survey and report on flooded regions to our West. 
Our thoughts and prayers are with those out on the land who are doing it extra tough.  After years of drought and poor crops came some earlier much needed rain and this promised bumper crops for this year.  All of that hope has been shattered as some of the best crops in years now lay under water.  It is at these times we really appreciate what our farmers have to go through to supply us with the food we sometimes take for granted.

Now, to my new projects - even though there are some old ones still languishing in the cupboard. (Ahemm we will put them to the back of the mind)

The first is Sashiko.  I am excited to be booked into some classes with the lovely ladies, Sue and Colleen from Indigo Niche during the months of March and April. They are going to help us construct a quilt in a Japanese style.

I am going to embroider some Japanese motifs in sashiko and surround them in a scrappy manner with various commercial Japanese cottons and indigos.  That is the plan anyway.  It may change a little as I go on.
Firstly though, in January, I am joining a group of friends to put together a basket using fabrics and cord.  We are just having a fun day putting it together and yesterday I started preparing the fabrics (above).  Still have to buy the cord yet.  Looking forward to starting that one.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bags O' Fun

I have had fun the past couple of days making some of these drawstring bags.  Whenever I have had a spare moment I have been in the sewing room.  I find in the sewing room that some days are diamonds, some days are stone.  Today while I was making hubby his drawstring bag it was a 'stone day'.  Everything went wrong, but I was determined to finish it.  When I have a bad date with my sewing machine I always walk away and come back another time.  Otherwise, we would end up on really bad terms.

Yesterday I made our 2nd daughter a bag for her usb cables etc for her camera,

a camera bag for my new u-beaut small camera which fits nicely into my handbag

and a bag to hold the 'stuff' in.

The fabric I used here I got in the fat quarter swap at our quilt club.  The rule was, we had to bring to next year's Christmas party what we have made with our traded fat quarter.  So, for once in my life, I have got in and done it a full year in advance  :-)

Hubby's bag for his brand spankin' new video camera and bits and bobs that came with it.

I used this easy pattern from the current Quilting Arts Gifts Magazine (Page 30).  Pattern by Kathy York.  

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Wet, Wet, Christmas

Pool of water under the clothes line.

It's been a wet old Christmas and Boxing Day in our part of the world!  We have chosen to stay inside and hibernate and watch heaps of movies.  Of course, with this type of weather we turn to food, and there has been no end of left overs from  Christmas Day.  There have been lots of 'goodies' consumed too and lots of wine and beer.  I can feel the fat going on just by typing this.'

The Christmas Spread
Israeli Cous Cous Salad
Layered Garden Salad
A Special Coleslaw (Recipe given to me by Shirley B - she calls it "The coleslaw to die for" and I can assure you it is.

My specialty 'Stuffed Eggs'.  Do you love the vintage platter?  It is special to me - given to me by my late mother in law.
My sister's specialty Salami Pasta Salad
Older daughter made the Potato Salad.  She is a great cook.
Ham, Chicken and Pork

Lily 'undecorating' the tree Christmas morning.

We gave Lilian a blackboard with magnets.  She loved it!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 24, 2010

Cooking for Christmas

One thing I love about Christmas is doing some Christmas cooking.  For years I made a Christmas cake, but the last couple of years I have let that slip.  It seemed I was the only one in the family that truly loved Christmas cake, thus, I was the only one eating it and showing it on the hips.
 I am very tempted after seeing this recipe over on Down-to-Earth to do this particular cake next year.  Maybe if I cooked it early in the season, I could share with visitors during the month of Nov/Dec., then I wouldn't feel the need to eat it all myself!  Or, I could freeze some I guess.

I now do a Christmas pudding to share with family on Christmas Day.  We serve it with premium custard with added whipped cream and ice cream.  This year our daughter is making rocky road ice cream with cadbury flake, bounty, marshmallow and turkish delight.  Can you tell we are foodies??

The start of the Christmas pudding.  I don't drink or like Brandy, but the smell mixed with the spices in this mix was absolutely deeeevine.  It is now cooked and ready to be re-boiled for a couple of hours on Christmas morning so it will be nice and hot and yummy for lunch.
  Lunch will be entree of fresh king prawns and oysters, followed by delicious leg ham from the bone, chicken and roast pork served with various salads and devilled eggs, followed by the aforementioned dessert. All swallowed down with a couple of bottles of 'bubbly'.   We will all then collapse in a heap and 'sleep it off'.  Oh Joy.

CHERRY & GINGER SLICE:  I am nutz nutz nutz, about ginger, particularly ginger pieces covered in dark chocolate, ah, but I digress.  This is a very yummy slice with two of my favourite ingredients, chrystallized ginger and glace cherries.  I always add more of these two ingredients than the recipe states.
I am going to share this recipe with you, so if you are a ginger lover like me, beware, it is very more - ish.

4 0z butter or margarine
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 cup Self Raising Flour
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup Rice Bubbles (I did not have any rice bubbles for this batch, so used Cheerios crunched up a bit - even better)
1/4 cup finely chopped chrystallized ginger
1/4 cup glace cherries

Put all ingredients into bowl except syrup and butter.  Melt syrup and butter and pour over dry ingredients.  Combine.  EASY.....  Press into slab tin and bake in moderate oven for 20 minutes.
Ice with lemon Icing.  (I use 1 cup of sifted Icing Sugar (confectioners sugar), 1 teasp butter (Melted a bit in microwave) and enough lemon juice to make a spreading consistency.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Winner

I WON!!!  This gorgeous pattern by Natalie Ross from the Patchwork Angel.  Can't wait to make it up and perhaps give it to one of my quilting friends as a gift.

If you have never been to the Patchwork Angel shop, well as Molly Meldrum would say, "Do yourself a favour".  It is a wonderful shop set in a little old church in the small village of Forest Glen on the Sunshine Coast.  Call in and see Penny and the girls and check out their fabulous array of fabrics and patchwork goodies.  

I won this pattern over on their blog.  Thank you Penny for this opportunity.  I don't enter a lot of blog competitions, so it was a real thrill.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Lunch with the Thursday 'Girls'

 L-R Kerrie, Pam, Joan, Robyn, Carmel, Frances, Sue, Robyn H, Di (front)

We had a fun day in Brisbane at our annual Thursday girls break up lunch.  This year Frances hosted it and she did such a wonderful job.

The table was set, the food was ready, the wine was chilled.  We swapped Christmas ornaments, had some nibblies, and then tucked into a lunch of superbly fresh salads and meats, followed by mini plum puddings with clotted cream.  Yum.. Diet next week:-)


Even Frances' dogs got in on the action.
Frances has a collection and love of flying pigs.  Flying pigs everything -  even her tea towels had flying pigs on them.  Where does she get this stuff??  This big flying pig hangs at the window of her sewing studio.  This photo is taken from inside her studio, and this is what she sees as she sews.  I would have never realized how many things came with flying pigs on them!!

 Frances also has an amazing collection of Nativity scenes and she had them displayed beautifully.  Got to love the Aussie ones.  The ornament she received this year was the larger kangaroo shown in the kangaroo scene.  Someone knew something!

Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 10, 2010

Viva Valentino - Art Journal Quilt No 2

The Valentino exhibition inspired me so much I just had to do my November art quilt to commemorate the visit.
Of course it had to include some of Valentino's  signature red.  The dress form is a stylized version of the black velvet vintage Valentino gown worn by Julia Roberts at the 2001 Oscars.  I added some swarovski crystals to it as Valentino was very fond of using crystals on his gowns.  To finish, I quilted the piece (it is only 8 1/2 inches by 9 1/2 inches) in the letter "V".  Once quilted, it was quite serendipitous that the black gown just 'popped out' from the surface of the quilt.  It is very tactile with the two different textures of fabric.
It looks much better in real life.

Last night at TQ Art quilt group we met at the studio of Kathy Adams (of Koolkat Quilting).  Kathy took my photograph of a Banksia and altered it in Corel Draw.  When I was happy with the look, she then printed it out onto a silk sheet for me.   It has turned out very painterly and I can't wait to embellish it with some hand stitching and maybe some beads.  Thank you Kathy, it was a lovely evening.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The lovely Lily is 2 today

We celebrated with our little granddaughter  today as she turned 2 years old.  How time flies.
We ate cake, played with the new horse and baby doll (Nana and Grandad gave her this), rode in the red car shopping cart, met with friends and had an all round good time. Hip Hip Hooray!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 6, 2010

Where is Summer?

It has been Wet Wet Wet and downright cool at times.  I am still wearing my winter PJ's to bed!  

The jacarandas were a little later to flower this year, and I think they weren't as spectacular as in recent years.  This street is lined with them, and I love how the pavements are carpeted in jacaranda blossoms. Since this photo, they have all turned to mush from the rain.  No complaints though, our district really needs the rain.

I have made some Christmas tags. This time I constructed some Christmas fabric by cutting up ribbon, cord, threads etc and covering them with part of an old chiffon scarf and sewing all over with embroidery thread.  The card was painted roughly in gesso and dried over a couple of days. A couple of pieces of card are dress labels (not my original idea, but, sorry, can't remember where I read that). It always gives me a thrill to recycle something. Tragic!?? 
I used some crayons and scribbled over to get the background colour.  Cut out some triangles from my 'fabric' and glued them on.  The trunks are snippets of the scarf edging.  I love making cards and tags even though they are very time consuming.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Gifts

Look at this gorgeous gift my lovely friend, Marleen presented me with on Tuesday.  She knows I have been struggling to get the house decorated and back into order since our renovation - so thoughtful of her.  The whole problem is DH has no time left after his busy days to put hooks and hangers back up on the walls.  I am useless at that sort of thing so have to rely on him to do it.  Patience.......This one was easy to hang on the wooden dresser.

I have had some time off and on in the sewing room this past fortnight.  This is what I have made for the Secret Santa gift for our quilt club's Christmas break-up on Saturday.
It is a sewing machine mat with organizer.  I have seen a few of these popping up on the blogs, so thought I would have a go as I think they are a wonderful idea.  It was a bit trial and error, but I got there in the end.  The quilting could have been done a little better.  Think I was rushing it too much.  
I simply measured the width and length of the sewing machine bed and added a couple of inches.  Cut front, back and wadding allowing about a 4 inch hang over for the hanging pocket.  Then quilted it.  Added the front pocket and bound it (all by machine) and then made a few pockets on the front.  I varied the sizes of these to hold different sized items.  I am reasonably happy with how it turned out after making a few boo boos. My usual silly things.  Thank God for quick unpicks!!
Lily and her mummy paid me a visit today.  While Mummy was continuing to cut out her first quilt, Lily decided she would lay down with Teddy and John (her Daddy's childhood teddy) and go night- night, just pretend.  She made a little bed with one of my quilts and set herself and friends up on the living room rug.  She is giving Teddy a goodnight kiss here.  Very cute............  Can you guess she is our one and only grandchild and we are a little besotted
with her?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Topper

We think Robyn H of our Thursday group of sewing friends wins the annual award for the 'Topper" of the group.  Here is just some of the tops Robyn has completed this year.  Mind you, some of them were started some time ago, but it is all about finishing.

This one is similar in style to my 'Stash Buster' quilt.  Look at the work Robyn has done on her seam treatments, and I love how she has tied it and the ties have turned out all fluffy. This is the finished one of the group.

This one is called "Seven Sisters" and Robyn has used Liberty prints. She has six sisters, thus the title.  It is a huge quilt and I didn't have a space large enough in my home to photograph it!

 Isn't this one beautiful??  Robyn did this in a workshop at Precious Time (LQS) and they had to bring along their ugly fabrics.  Talk about the ugly duckling story!


This is another huge quilt.  The colours were chosen by Robyn's daughter.  The border is really unusual and I missed getting a photo of time. 

Good work, Robyn.  Looking into my chrystal ball I can see a lot of quilting in Robyn's future.  She is a hand quilter too. 
Posted by Picasa