Sunday, October 24, 2010

Life's lessons.....

I loved it when my dad mowed the lawn.
I don't know....there's something about the smell of fresh mowed grass and bits of grass lying on the path that sends me right back to when I was little and I'm standing on the concrete at the back of my first house.
It's lovely seeing L wanting to give daddy a helping hand this afternoon.
And learning how to manouvre the mower. (Just look at that concentration and tongue placement!)Who knows, we may not have real grass or this kind of mower in the future (I'm sure that thought never even entered my dad's head as he did laps of that yard 40 (arrghemm 50) years ago!) but the time spent today can't be replaced and the lessons learnt last a lifetime!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Orange and black....

Halloween is not really celebrated extensively in Australia but the commercialism has taken hold as part of the retail calendar so there is ample evidence of its existence.
A few years ago my kids begged me to carve a pumpkin so they could have a little Halloween party. We only had Jap pumpkins available so our Jack o' Lantern was little greenish and squat but they thought it impressive enough for us to do it a few times since then.
Last year Alison of Cluck Cluck Sew made a fabulous quilt and table runner for her festivities and she's pulled them out again. It got me thinking about all my black and orange fabrics so I thought I'd have a go at a little runner like hers. I'm obviously attracted to black and orange as evidenced by my scissors and glasses!
This is last night's spur of the moment, I'll give it a go. I'ved used 2 1/2" squares, cutting around 60 of each colour and all out of scrap and offcuts. I should have enough for a long table runner and a small mat for the cake stand. The kids haven't said anything about a pumpkin as yet, so we'll see if it ends up being used!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Told you so....

Yes indeed. There was a quilt in that bag and bin of scraps. It's a mega scrappy paper pieced strip quilt.
It uses offcuts from backs, sides and every other time there's a bit left over that you just can't throw away. Even though my taste in fabrics has completely changed over time, I still couldn't bear to get rid of them.
I've used three different solid anchor strips - Kona celery green (centre and outer), a Moda duck egg blue and Kona coal that forms the large diamond. I'm sure it will become clearer when the top is pieced. This is it just laid out on the floor. It's funny how you look at the photo and realise that, "that block can't go there and that one shouldn't sit next to that one".
There are 36 8" blocks and I'll probably add a border or two....remembering that the goal is to not buy any new fabric and use from the scrap bin. I think I can still manage that!
The funny thing is that even though I've managed to extract this much scrap to make the blocks, the scrap bin is still pretty full! It must be air!

Monday, October 11, 2010

There's a quilt in there.....

I'm pretty sure there's a quilt worth of strips in this pile. Let's just see if I'm right! The challenge is to not cut anything unless it's absolutely necessary and even then, out of scraps. Game on!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ticked off.....

No, not my demeanor.
I'm ticking off achievements as my short break during the children's school holidays draws to a close.
Yesterday was a magnificent Spring day. But instead of heading out somewhere to lap up the sunshine, I spent the day doing the washing and that included stripping the beds of all the quilts, putting them through the wash and line drying. They're now all cuddly and smell like fresh air. I opted to keep them off the beds last night as it's getting warmer...although we do have some rain forecast for later in the week, so they may make it back on the beds before too long!
I also made a new cover for the ironing board. The old one was a disaster! With all the ironing that goes with making quilt tops I burn through covers like crazy. I had read a tutorial that involved cutting off the pull cord from the old one and attaching that to the new fabric. It worked like a charm. I've used some doubled over fabric from Ikea.
In between various activities, I managed to finish quilting R's Choc Cherry Milkshake quilt and last night I finished the threads and binding. It's bound in Kona Chocolate and I really love how it frames the quilt. I still dislike the cutting of the large polka dot but overall, I'm really happy with this quilt and R loves it so that's perfect.The back is Amy Butler's honeycomb and there's a strip of coins made up from all the fabric in the quilt running down the side.Choc Cherry Milkshake is roughly square measuring 64"x66". It was a big quilt to quilt. Lots of concentration, manipulation and maneuvering in the machine. After my first session of stippling, I headed out to the hairdresser and as I was turning corners in the car I felt like I should free motion the turns a little. My brain must have been firmly in free motion gear!
It was also Joe's birthday during the week. He's a particularly difficult person to buy presents for as he tends to buy what he needs. I even asked what he wanted and didn't get a response.
However, Joe loves his coffee. So the solution? An espresso machine. He loves it.....and even though I'm not a big coffee drinker, I'm a little partial to what this machine can produce. Joe has even perfected a pretty decent Chai Latte. Yum!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The coffee, cake and culture tour....

We had been planning a visit to Melbourne to see the Tim Burton exhibition which has been on tour from the MOMA. The long weekend seemed the perfect opportunity as it was also within the school holidays. What we didn't anticipate was that the AFL grand final that was a drawn game on the last weekend in September was to be replayed the weekend we were travelling to Melbourne. We're not fans of either team particularly, although Joe subscribes to the A.B.C. principle.....Anything But Collingwood which then meant we had a leaning towards the Saints for the duration. However, our support wasn't enough for the poor old Sainters.
Things started out OK, we left home only 1/2 an hour after we'd planned. Joe commented that the car was driving really well after its service. I wish he hadn't!
Three hours into the trip we pulled into the bakery at Bordertown when an alarm sounded on the dash, telling us to check the alternator. OMG! Even I know that's not good! I called our local Holden dealer and they gave us the number for the dealer in Bordertown, the Farmers Centre. What champions. They were happy to look at the car straight away. (We were thanking our lucky stars that it was a Friday and not the following public holiday Monday!) The mechanic confirmed that the alternator was putting out a massive charge to the battery....even though we had our lights on, were running the air conditioner and the iPod! We needed a new regulator and thankfully they had one in stock. If they hadn't, the alternative would have been to drive an hour and a 1/2 to the next major centre at Horsham with the dash alarm beeping the whole way and everything on!
They had it fixed in an hour which gave L the chance to have a sit on the quad bike on display which he lovingly referred to as his 'baby'!
The enforced layover in Bordertown put us about 2 hours behind schedule and this meant I didn't have a chance to pop into Ballarat Patchwork. Oh well, things could have been worse, like not even making it to Ballarat!
It also put us well behind and had us arriving in Melbourne in peak hour traffic, the night before a grand final! We made it just in time to check into our apartment 5 minutes before reception closed at 7pm. All good.
This is a section of tiled floor at the Tribeca apartments just up the road from where we stayed. It's in the old Victoria Brewery that's been converted to restaurants, shops and apartments. It reminds me of a quilt!
Our tickets to the Tim Burton exhibition were pre-paid and for a scheduled entry so we had just enough time the next morning to visit the Victoria Markets.
The first of the Melbourne coffee and cake stops! The kids got into the grand final spirit and had a Saints cup cake.
Onto the exhibition and marvel at Tim Burton's cleverness and quirkiness. L was particularly impressed with the Batmobil in the foyer.
Heading out through Federation Square and the crowd was starting to build to watch the game on the big screen.After lunch we dropped Joe off at some random hotel broadcasting the game in Richmond whilst we hit the shops on Bridge Road which I must say was a little underwhelming. I really think there are more bargains and variety to be had in the 'regular' shops rather than the so called outlet shops. But I also know that I get bored trawling through racks of disperate garments. I like a range. Give me a tidy department store with a fashion story any day!
We picked up Joe and he decided he needed a coffee. So we headed back into town for Little Cupcakes in Degraves. But alas, they are football fans and had closed up shop early. So we made our way to Laurent. Heaven in a french patisserie!

We'd actually purchased a combined gallery ticket which also gave us entry into the European Masters from the Stadel Gallery, Germany which was on at the NGV. So the plan was to head out early, morning tea at Little Cupcakes and then the gallery. I can't show you the cakes from Little Cupcakes because they put up such a fuss when I tried to take a photo. Serious dummy spit stuff. I felt like telling them to shove their cake....but the family would have been less than impressed with me. And to think, we go there every visit to Melbourne and were making a return visit seeing as they had closed the day before. Haven't they heard of negative word of mouth! I'll be thinking twice about visiting the next time!
After the exhibition and a play in the water that forms the main entrance to the NGV a tram ride down to Lygon Street for lunch at Brunettis.
Another tram ride followed out to Fitzroy for a wander down the eclectic Brunswick St and afternoon tea and a refreshing ale at Little Creatures. This is a great stop for a boutique beer, a glass of wine and reasonably priced food.It was the first day of daylight saving, so even though we'd lost an hour of our day, the day was beautiful and sunny even into the early evening so L made a shadow bird on the wall.Home again the next day. First stop Ballarat Patchwork.
Guess what?
They're not open on Monday's. The fabric gods were really conspiring against me!
Oh about some coffee and cake?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Kozzy's Quilt....

Remember the little Rainbow Magic quilt that I made for our friend who lives in Surrey in the UK? At the time we didn't know the baby's gender, hence its neutrality. Nor did we have his address as we tend to email these days. It took Joe so long to get Scott's address that the quilt remained here unsent. I quipped a few weeks back that I may as well wait till the baby is born and send another that fits the gender!
As I was tidying up my fabric stash a week or so ago I found a little pink Prints Charming bird panel that I'd bought at AQC and a whole bunch of pink fabrics that I'd forgotten that I had. I started fiddling with a layout and was really tempted to cut the quilt out. It would be perfect for a little baby girl. But I'm superstitious and thought that if I cut it out, Scott and Rachel would surely have a boy.
That pile of fabric lay on the table for days as this baby grew longer and longer overdue.
Then as we were all screaming at the television in the dying moments of the AFL's drawn grand final two Saturday's ago, the phone rang. It was a very tired Scott. He and Rachel had a little girl. I fired off all the questions that you ask when a new baby is born with Scott just laughing, unable to tell me much more than her weight...."why do girls ask all those questions?", he said.
"Well, what's her name then?", I asked.
"Right now it's Kozzy. We haven't got a name for her just yet, so it's a mix of Kiwi and Ozzy." (Rachel is a New Zealander.)
So I got to use that Prints Charming bird panel and the pink fabric, along with some pastel yellow and cerise.And as I was spending quite a few hours sitting in the car on the weekend travelling to Melbourne, I got to finish the binding and embroider the panel with co-ordinating cottons. (Now that I look at the photo I can see the shape of my quilting ring!)
So baby Kozzy will be receiving two quilts very soon.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ortho a-go-go...

It's been quite a few weeks here in the orthodontic department. A few weeks back R had oral surgery to remove two teeth in preparation for banding. A week after that, spacers were inserted between her back teeth....(boy have things changed, when I got my bands on I had to have spacers between every tooth!)...and then the day before school broke up, she had her bands fitted. I think at first she was a little sad that she had only one day to show them off before the holidays but that was before the pain of newly installed bands, the aching and the ulcers really kicked in!
Her mouth is settling down and we're getting used to this little face that we'll be seeing for about two more years!