Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Now ...back to quilting

I had an exciting mail delivery today, my fabric swatches arrived from the Fabric Club I recently joined. I officially joined it so I could get the 10% dicount on my Birthday Moda quilt fabrics, but I secretly joined it so every month I'd get 10 -5" fabric swatches, and here they are...
mmm What to do, lose them in the stash every month or make something with them as soon as they arrive, what do you think? Anyway they are washed and ironed (Do you do that with swatches or just risk it?) and I'm thinking about them.
Hub is soooo busy cutting all the crops down. I'm not sure I gave you that update-this last weekend's frost was like snow and that..as they say..is that. I'm sure he will show up tonight, just don't know when! So I may get to do a little sewing done in the coming evenings-I generally try not to if he's home as his love language is 'quality time' and (fortunately) he likes to spend it with me,.. and the kids of course. I am actually giving up my monthly quilters for him on Friday. A sacrifice only you girls would fully understand!! Mum and Dad are having the kids for the night so we can have date night before he heads away contract harvesting, he asked for this to happen and I organized it, without realizing it was quilting!!!!He now knows and said I can go to quilters instead because he knows how much it means, but I know how much he means....

I made the included wall hanging for a fete, then kept it, I love how it sums up families.

Some possible November goals:
1. Finish Zara's Advent Calendar
2. Finish George's Baby blanket.
3. Finish Moda florals and bind!!
4. Chooks for open Garden Trading table.
5. Make Judy's 1 hour a day quilt for November.
6. Red and white star quilt top pieced.
7. Quilter's Christmas Buddy gift.
8. Christmas Table runner at least worked out.
9. Daughter's doll started for Christmas.

Joy in Daily Living today is that we have finally worked out the Christmas Eve program for Sunday School and it looks far easier than the super spectacular I nearly went bald over last year!!
Also, how do I get cute coloured letters, etc on my blog? Enjoy your day.

Monday, October 30, 2006

And now for something completely different....Why Ferris Bueller's Day Off is my favourite movie.

It may seem like an odd choice, agirl who likes old movies and old books and making quilts... who chooses an 80's icon as her favourite. Well everything seems to putting Ferris at the forefront of my thoughts this week so I think that means I am meant to blog.

A long , long time ago in a High School Life far far away.. I was blessed to be given two best friends. They both attended my big High School but were essentially rural and Church based girls like me. We all soon started playing tennis together, joined a district non-denominational youth group and spent as much time together as possible. This friendship was to continue throughout our whole High School life, through boyfriends, and more boyfriends and in those boyfriendless times, our trio worked well. We often included others but always remained together. 1986 was our heyday, TL's parents had split up and she was now based in the town, therefore we and our wider group of friends were also based in town. Weekends were spent watching videos at her house in between part-time jobs and eating a lot of garlic pizza which was about all we could ever afford. She had a cool, yet responsible, Mum and we were comfortable. We were so comfortable in fact that we spent one of the best weekends of my life there. We spent an entire weekend watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the movie we loved at the time and we knew every word. I'm not sure we got out of our Jamies and we ate a lot of pizza but it was great.

Now we will roll forward a few years.....
The friendships always remained but LA and I married, TL chose an Accounting career and remained single, SCUBA Diving, sailing and leading a different life to us. We still caught up, never missed a birthday, etc. etc but were waiting for TL to join our stage of life and then the phone call came......
A little over 4 years ago there was a terrible yachting accident off the Australian Coast. A brand new yacht was being bought back to Melbourne, the keel snapped off and though 2 were rescued TL and others were lost at sea. I spent time during the "lost" phase with my other friend LA, we made up photo books and had them printed for her family because we were the photo takers and we had the story of her life. We also spoke read at her Memorial. The most poignant moment for me however, was this, her Mother showed me her profile in her emplyee of the month magazine, on it she was asked to list her favourite movie and even though we had drifted and she lead her wonderfully exciting life, there in black and white she had written," Ferris Bueller's day Off"-and I knew that would always be mine as well.

So this week, when I watched Ferris while making that Moda quilt (and cried) and tonight the TV show, "That was the Year" highlighted 1986 and Ferris, I felt like it was a good time to hop on the phone to TL, but I can't so I told you instead. So go and ring that friend you haven't heard from for a few months..I wish I could.Tracey

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Quilt top is done.

Thanks to you darling girls out there I had a whole new lease on life with this quilt and have the top done. What a fabulous thing a blog is!! I hope I have accomplished my task with your approval! I took everyone's comments on board then had another look at it and came to a few new conclusions. I saw it as being a little bit like that really pretty girl, who we all probably went to School with, that never saw a need for developing a personality! My quilt was like that, it had good bones, but was lacking character! With the help of your ideas and a bit of pink,(To borrow from Steel Magnolia's "my signature colour!")I think I've just about done it. It is certainly looking alright on the Wonderwall, I hope you agree.

As a 'Thank You', I have posted a picture of today's efforts. It was time to shift the chook dome to a new area, fence off the miserably dry vegies that my boy had planted in it and let some of the chooks with chickens out of their more cramped cages. As you can see, they were very happy and there are some unusual ones. All the ones that look like their feathers have been ruffled with the blow drier are frizzle crosses. The kids and I love these. The kids and their sleeping over neighbor had a fine morning helping me fence, weed and catch chickens. They were so keen on this that some of the chickens were probably caught 6 times before they got to the dome! The actual idea of the dome if you are wondering, is that it is permaculture gardening. All the lawn clippings, food scraps and weeding would go in there for 6 weeks, the dome would then be moved, and that area planted out. It requires no digging, is all weeded, manured and naturally mulched. Because it's dry and I have other chook pens, I tend to use it at this time of year to save the chickens from hawks and crows, then plant straight into it after the chicks are all grown and save the vegies from the birds and chooks.
Did a few interesting things this week. Went off to that most male of domains, the cattle saleyards, yesterday with one of my quilting friends. She was looking for 4 bargain cows for her little hobby farm and thought I may know what I was doing. Well I 'm certainly keen on breeding cows and have sold them enough but buying was still a circus. Will we, wont we????We did! She bought four 6month old Angus for $80 each. Great if you are buying but a drought tragedy if you are selling. Anyway we were so happy (and proud) that we went and had coffee and a brownie. I though seeing I have lost the equivalent of 7 of your pounds this month that one brownie was the least I deserved!Only a few more for that bikini?? Maybe just in our pool...after dark...
Talked the local accountancy firm into funding 100 books to be given to babies at the new mum's group. (That also deserved a Brownie!) Also went to a great Breast Cancer luncheon, never won the prize for the most pink on though-one woman had 23 pink items! Finally got back to School after week's missed with sick children and interruptions to do story time; 10 children from the 4 combined classes get to give me ideas and I then incorporate all of them into a made up oral storytelling session. It is the proudest moment of my son's week amd I think his sister enjoys it too but is not so forthcoming! I love it too, it's nice to still get to do a few of the teaching things I enjoy even though I have chosen to stay at home. Oops, I've raved on a bit, you have probably swithched off. Here's cheers...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Help with a quilting Quandary please................
Today was my second try at some uninterrupted hours in the Patchwork room and I actually achieved a few things. The fancy dress costume (a trendy witch design copied from a picture) is now made and safely delivered. It was well worth the effort just for how appreciative this 12 year old was.
I also got in some time on my Moda quilt and this is where I would love some feedback!! I am in that classic position that I'm sure many of you know well where you didn't buy enough fabric at the start and now can't get what you want so there are 3 alternatives for the last border. We'll call the left alternative the butter yellow, the right alternative the green floral and the bottom alternative the yellow floral. I don't have any quilters groups for a few weeks and I want to get this finished so if I could possibly wake up in the morning with some input from the quilting fairies I would be ecstatic. (On that note, wouldn't it be great if, like in the Elves and the Shoemaker, fairies came in the night. They wouldn't have to do the patchwork for me-that would be no fun, but if they fixed the problems and did the quilting it would be fantastic. I'll do what my kids do-I'll write to Santa and see if he can sort that out for me. It seems to work for them!!)

Joy in daily living today, I hatched (well the chook did...) 5 little chickens and 3 Indian runner ducks. They are too cute and may be deserving of a picture at some point. Also,the kids and I played hide and seek outside before tea and both placed that first in their tea-time discussion of the best thing about their day.Sometimes we forget about those little things...
Have a great day and don't forget to give me a verdict. (i just hope the right photos have loaded, I'm only getting writing.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Now that's a great way to simplify life......

How organized was I today?! Well I waved darlings good-bye at 8 am, silently singing the Hallelujah chorus but outwardly putting on the appropriate "gosh, I'm going to miss you" face, (a week of watching DVD's was starting to get to me) raced around feeding chooks, calves, assorted pets, cleaned house and had my walk.
IT WAS TIME!! I walked into my Quilting room, lovingly turned everything on, lovingly fondled some fabric and thought about the blissful next 5 hours I had. Then the power went off......for the next 6 hours!

So the only thing that was done today was that my Christmas boxes were fully packed and the embroidery was just about finished on my neighbors baby blanket. I was sitting there in absolute peace and quiet thinking "how would it be if we never had power?" It really doesn't bear thinking about does it. As much as I adore the old Singer sewing machines, it would take me that long to get my housework done I don't know when I'd ever get to use it!
So Joy in Daily living today is that no matter what other troubles we have, at least we have power! Also, the kids and their friends have just had a lovely hour in the pool and we managed to see Archie arguing with a Kangaroo outside the fence. Huge excitement because even though Australia has kangaroos they are not normally seen in the backyard!
Will be interesting to see if the photos come up today as I'm having trouble and only getting writing. One is meant to be today's work George's baby blanket that now needs heads and legs for the sheep and I think that will about d. George is the fourth child in 5 1/2 years for my neighbors and the first boy. Mum likes windmills and dad likes sheep, hence the blanket. The other photo is Archie v the Kangaroo.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Which came first..............the log cabin chook!!

Here are a few procedural photos if you would like to have the Log cabin chook. I've loaded them wrong so we start with the end result and work backwards. I think the pictures are basically self-explanatory. A few points to note: The beak and crop etc. are of felt; the triangular beak is a a square folded in half; dont sew these in too close to your sewing edge or they catch and the tail is one large and one smaller prairie point. I machine sew this in to the bottom edge then slip stitch the top down. This is neatest if you iron a 1/4 inch type seam first. I use a funnel to fill with wheat or rice when I get about an inch from the end. This is especially relevant if you're making a few and you cut a few corners and do this with a topstitch on the machine.

Unfortunately it did frost last night and looks like another tonight but I'm busy being Pollyanna and playing the glad game so we just need to be "glad" we may still be able to cut some crop and sell it for hay. Also desperately trying to be supportive, encouraging and optimistic wife as I know how this kind of disillusionment can affect a man who has put his heart and soul into his work.

Things that need to be achieved by the end of the week:
1. Christmas joy boxes packed and delivered to co-ordinator.
2. Fancy dress outfit delivered to single Dad friend's daughter. (Whose Mum will not get Mother of the year as she left him for another woman, which is their business, but barely seeing her child and not being willing to sew Fancy Dress clothes is bad mothering that I do take issue with!)
3. Christmas Eve service program, notes and parts allocated for Sunday School.
4. Find sponsors for book giveaway at my promoting literature to new mothers talks.
5. Baby blanket sewn for neighbor.
6. Borders on expensive quilt.
7. Sew blocks together on bargain red and white quilt.
8. Normal helping at School, Bible Study group and farm stuff.

Joy in Daily life today: watching my two kids running like mad things way off in the distance through a paddock of long grass. It reminded me of great summer/spring days with my brothers and sisters. Also when my boy kept yelling out to me whenever I started some job, "where's Mummy darling to give me a big cuddle?" You've really got to drop everything then, don't you. Cheers, tracey

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Hi, what's a good site meter and how do I do it. Also I noticed a couple of comments about how I should/could make money out of filling in surveys. Is this the Blogger equivalent of spam or legitimate? Better run and cater.

Jack Frost still keeps away..........
The "experts" inspected the crops yesterday and said to cut a few paddocks, but that generally eveything should still be fine-- as long as we don't get any frosts in the next 2 weeks while everything is coming out in ear. That's all very well but we have had 4 frosts in the last 2 weeks and all weather reports said severe last night and tonight. Didn't look good when I locked up the chooks but mercifully clouded over last night, so we are one day down! I could say God looked after us but if it frosts tonight then I would almost think he didn't and as we still have plenty to eat, each other( and a room in which to quilt) we are constantly looked after.

So today's post is of my Harvest quilt made 3 year's ago in January after a "Star Harvest" which is it's title. The background fabric had been a Christmas present from a lovely friend, it has pumpkins and the like on it. The stars are all a marbley fabric. It started as a Washing machine cover as I loved my new washing machine. Then washing machine started to play up so was undeserving of a cover and it is draped on my lounge. I like stars.

The next photo is the first quilt I made when I didn't know what I was doing and purchased an eye-spy pack. I told you I would take a photo. Archie, my Japanese Spitz, who never leaves me whilst outside is modelling next to it for you. The flying geese are actually half square triangles sewn together, how they hurt my patchwork eye now! Daughter received this for Birthday 3 and it is still layered on her bed under fit for a Princess each night.

I am presently making one of my log cabin chooks and have taken a few photos of the process, I'll post them tomorrow for those interested.
The blue buckets in my sewing room are labelled, one, one 1/2 and 2 inch strips and I throw suitably cut scraps in there as I go, for later. Must go, I have to help with catering for a Wedding today for School fundraising. Tracey

Friday, October 20, 2006

Another day of Mothering.......
You know how I said I miss the kids when they are at School, well I also miss the quiting time when they are not. Does that make me a bad mother.. or a good quilter? No real answer, today both of them are here so I am still housebound and unable to devote my day to the deliciously and delightfully daydreamed about tasks awaiting me in the Quilting room I can see but can't abandon them too. So you get more blog and more comments on your blogs, hope that's ok.
Oh, son is not sick, simply refused to get dressed, eat or leave for School so he is requiring the most supervision as boys who do not go to School are not allowed to leave their rooms, watch TV or have any fun. How I would love to just curl up with the two of them on the couch, eat biscuits and have a family day but I know I would then get the same act on Monday and they do have to go to School.

Anyway, enough Parenting 101, though ideas and encouragement will always be appreciated. Here are a few things that I like and hope you may too. I think I know which order the photos will be on the blog so I'll work on that theory and say that photo #1 is the Wonderwall. This could mean it's a wonderful wall, a wall of wonder and awe or just what it usually is-"I wonder what I could do with that, I wonder if that looks good, I wonder if I will finish that and I wonder what I will do next?" The big draped quilt is another one of my ideas that started with a 5 inch sample pack and has dramatically grown. My Mum gave me a voucher at my favourite warrnambool quiting shop for my Birthday and my Mother-in-Law gave me money, so I recklessly paid real money for this gorgeous Moda faded memories range. It needs a border because I think I may horrify my husband and place this feminine creation on our bed.
Chooks, chooks and more chooks. I love this quilt,entitled "Chook heaven." It hangs in my kitchen. It took me well over a year to collect the fabric . The chooks are all different pieced and appliqued ones, a lot of the applique came from my children's favourite animal stories so it is therefore precious to them as well. No pattern, all made up and it was one of my first 5. I can photograph more detail of blocks if anyone wants a close-up.

The final for today, as I have to do some housework and draft sheep, is a few of my little chooks. I've just done a few more in brights, I'll give you a close up when they have rice and eyes. Some of these pictured are the standard fabric ones and some are the log cabins, Huge hit at fetes. Cheers, tracey

Thursday, October 19, 2006

To answer a few questions.......

Here is my actual place of sewing, the machine is a Janome Memorycraft 3500 and I've found it great, 60 or so stitches and a great couple of stitches for applique. Was in the middle of the range price bracket and couldn't ask for much more. It is unfortunately in mending mode. How rude of husband to actually suggest that real work be done in my Patchwork room! But as the Patchwork room is a new extension at his suggestion, his every wish is quickly acted upon!
Ill post a few pictures of that,( pre and post filling it) in the near future.

On the way to the Patchwork room I spied this and had to share. We have had half or less of our usual annual rainfall this year and a lot of my garden is already looking sad. This section was, however, looking ok. Therefore it is Murphy's Law that a turkey who has more than 1000 acres in which to lay her eggs, must need to choose here.

Here are the promised close-ups of the chook blocks, I included 2 to give you the general idea.
It's your basic flying geese type idea. Beak can be included the same way or appliqued in later. as I said, the comb is only attached straight to the head when sewing the blocks together and waves free. The blue and white floral was the challenge fabric, a little tricky with lots of plaids.

The pencils that I used on Talina's quilt are called Prismacolour and they iron in after you colour with them to set the colour. I really like them, but I prefer them really for wall-hangings and things that don't have to be overly washed as they have faded slightly. It may be my fault for not setting them for long enough with the iron. ps, tummy pains were giardia (?) and should be fine after 3 days of some strong medicine. Pleased I actually believed her! Bye, Tracey

Wow! I'm blown away!

I just got one little fellow on the bus, his sister is suitably cuddled and settled on the couch with a tummy pain and I managed a minute on the computer. Oh... the nervous anticipation, will anyone have looked at my site, will anyone like my quilts, what do I do if no-one ever views??? And behold, I had all these lovely comments and you've made me want to run around and take photos of pre-digital quilts and go around to all the people who have ones I have given away to take a photo!

Well, I do have plenty more to show and some in progress, so I don't think content will run out.
I don't actually have a pattern for the chooks on yesterday's shirt quilt, but I will take a close up photo of a block and post it next. I just saw it in a shop and drew the layout from there. I have used it a lot for a simple one block wall hanging for friend's gifts and fetes, I just add, "the rooster may crow, but the hen delivers the goods" underneath and they are very popular.

I've just put a couple more shirt quilt photos on. The on point 9 patch is mine, the other photo is of completed and incomplete quilt tops some of the other girls in my group did during the challenge. (With a shop display in the corner.) We had 2 new girls about that time and this was great for them, they could explore and practise their techniques without that fear of ruining fabric.There was also a challenge fabric, a piece of blue and white Laura Ashley floral that had to be worked into your main one.
Have a great day or night , whatever time it is in the U.S and think of me taking photos for you. (And trying for a Doctor's appointment...)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A few quilts to share.....

This quilt was my daughter's 7th Birthday present. It's entitled, "Fit for a Princess." There was no real pressure to make it great ..except it was all that she wanted and it had to include all of her favourite things and be in her favourite colours!! It has stitcheries coloured with those good pencils that don't wash out, there's "an angel watching over me" one, (to stop bad dreams!) chooks, cats and the "Constant as the stars above, always know that you are loved" quote from Barbie as Rapunzel. I made up the castle and added Princesses, a blonde little mermaid and Peter Pan. The big colourful prints are princess and dragon based and the rest you can probably see. I should perhaps take some closer shots, I'll see. It has rainbow coloured flannel on the back and is quilted in the ditch-the actual quilting is not the fun for me!

These next two were part of a quilting challenge I organised for our little quilt group. We all contributed about 6 cotton shirts, then cut them up into fat quarter size pieces and divided them up. We took turns choosing from the piles until they were all gone. Most went to charity, from unwanted to useful. I made a few, I really like this chook one, the combs are only attached at the bottom so give it a lot of movement. Working with shirts was very liberating and also gave a very cosy end result. We all loved the idea we were doing our quilting the "real" way!

The house one was made with the absolute last of the shirt pieces, I had to make every bit work but I love it. I never follow patterns, I just make things up as I go along which drives the perfectionists in my group crazy but provides a real challenge and lots of fun for me. Especially when I have to make things fit!

Monday, October 16, 2006

New to Blogging!!
Well, here goes!! I have very little idea how this works... I wanted to reply to something I found and now I have a blog! Aint the World amazing. Don't you ever think....what if this little step I'm taking is the start of a new interesting part of life? It's like when you meet someone new and you get that excited feeling that this stranger may come into your life and stay-they may be that most prized of all possessions-a great friend, or marry your husband's bestman(which is another story!) or even better (almost)---love to make quilts.
What's going on with me? This year baby#2 (my boy, 6y.o) started school, and left me on my lonesome childwise. Baby #1 (my girl, 8y.o) is in Year 2. It takes some getting used to-some free time!
Unlike some of the other blogs I've been reading where it is snowing, we are in great need of rain already and it's only the beginning of our spring. I am ever optimistic that it will come and hay and crops will be salvageable for everyone. Here are babies and last year's crop from out my front window. (Grampian mountain range in rear.)

I have always loved quilts and basically learnt to sew 6 years ago so I could turn an eye spy pack into a quilt for my daughter, took a year, (had her and a new baby who never slept anywhere near all night until he was 4 and a half) but it well and truly got me hooked. I always felt that even if I sewed just a couple of stitches in a day I could at least show some achievement. I know mothering is an achievement, but quilting really helped me on the days I struggled to see the forest from the trees. I'll perhaps find a photo of the first one and put it on. It's still used, just had others added!

For some reason my computer wont allow me to upload any more photos so the quilts will have to wait until tomorrow!