Tuesday, January 30, 2007

(Posting my chooks with the idea I may use this as my profile pic)

I'm still standing...
Well, the computer has managed to stay on so I thought I would attempt a quick post before it goes in for a going over.
Lucky I got the phone back on yesterday afternoon because I could start to go a bit nutty here if there wasn't a phone or computer and my two little mates are back to school tomorrow! Life would have been very quiet.
I have had an extremely hectic last few days-a cabbage patch doll afternoon tea party that we had to cook cakes for and my Christmas cabbage patch attended with my DD's and my SS's beanie kids; a few good games of star wars Monopoly (that I won); a few hits of cricket (that my 6yo with a good eye for the ball won) and a day out in town shopping and lunching with my girl yesterday while her Dad and brother went up north for fertilizer...So not a lot of sewing time but "everything has a season" and tomorrow they go back to school and a nice proportion of my time will be my own. Kinda happy about that, kinda not. I would imagine by tomorrow afternoon I will be well over the separation and enjoying getting stuck into things.

Some of my new little "I've found good fabric websites!!" material purchases. Nice to have a few "real" fabrics in the stash, I'm hoping to do a few purses, bags, and little wall-hangings for some sewing money, so these should help with that! some is also for summer dresses for my girl-I think the pink floral in the bottom left and some of sonnet's teal bluey colour will be great for dresses. There's some Nell's flower shop, blackbird village and cornucopia there as well. A good range for a year filled with quilting1

It's a sad thing when you buy fabric for your children's clothes only after giving full thought to how you can sew with it later! DH was telling someone the other day that he is constantly having to retrieve shirts that he still thinks are fine from the shirts 4 quilts pile! Speaking of that, I'll have to show you the shirts4quilts stash because I'm thinking it is about time to chop into them!!

Hopefully back online very soon (at least it's got an extended warranty!!)LOL Tracey

My computer has now moved from dodgy to completely unstable and shutting itself off. I've just managed to get back on and am taking it in tomorrow to the technician. So if I'm not posting it's nothing major. Well, kind of, how will I go without the net!!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Don't you just love a baby!
Well, I do anyway! I got to spend some nice time with the new Great-niece the other night when her grandfather (and my BIL) celebrated a special birthday. Found myself giving a little moral support later in the evening as well. Remember the days when the baby took over an hour to feed and wanted to feed every 2 hours-and you still thought you should be able to do everything and be supermum!! Well, I think she's at that spot and with no family within 2 hours so a couple of us spent a lot of time saying "just write these couple of months off as baby time" and were getting somewhere when an older woman came over and started telling her she shouldn't be yawning (although it was 11 pm and she had a 3 week old baby) and that everyone else has done it and it's not that big a deal! That fired me up-Note to woman: It is a big deal, you can be tired, your body is knocked around,your life is upside down..... and your superwoman persona fools no-one who knows your children!! It always amazes me the amount of people who have to put other people down in order to build themselves up and validate their own decisions. Anyway hopefully the negatives didn't get through and DN spent a good break at the in-laws.

Here's the final result picture on the quilt and the little Millie wall-hanging I played with the day before. Thanks to Tonya at Lazygal for the general idea, but I was well away from the computer so had to do what felt right. It's a bit pale but done to match the quilt and the colours DN chose. My junior critic thought it was great and is hinting madly!(Even without hot pink!!) she has also pulled the splish splash tin out of last weeks fabric purchases and is hoping for a wall-hanging with that and embroidery including her new cat. Do you think she has come to the right place? I love it when all she wants for her birthday is a quilt from me-how to make friends and influence people!
Her best friend had a birthday, she's mad on little things and polly pockets so I borrowed from an idea from Fiona in England and made a little Polly bed with pillow that can lie or hang. She was very happy, as were the pollys.

I have shelved the hexagon idea for a while as I have gone mad for Lone Stars. I have the templates, the fabric came the other day and this is the general idea, to hang in the kitchen and match this couch. I have 27 of this moda blackbird range so after I baste I can check to see if it works and make any appropriate changes.

Last pic is my gratitude for the day AND the reason I plant these everywhere. I'm not going to tell you what it is, I'd like some guesses please. The only clue I will give is that it is summer here. This plant always amazes me and lifts my heart as it comes out of the dry, bare earth and gives us all hope. There will be a flower pic very soon by the looks of these-but if I waited for that it would would make it too easy!!Ps, that's some of my tougher rosemary in the background-I actually have losta fair bit with the drought and the weeds are because i've given up on the garden until it rains!

Updates: I have already backed up everything onto CD, it's just that all the photos are still listed as being on the Kodak Easyshare program and I can't work out a way of deleting them from the collection except one by one! V. tedious.

Hedgehog is a great slice made from Marie biscuits (or just a plain sweet type biscuit) sultanas, butter, condensed milk and cocoa. Then iced with choc melted with a bit of butter. Probably not a health food but delicious for a treat.I haven't had a phone for a week (rural living!) but when I get it back I'll ring Robyn and see if I am allowed to share! Thank goodness my internet is satellite or a very quiet week would have been far more of a crisis!

Have a great day, I need to go and decide whether I watch my Aussie cricketers flog NZ or Speedy Gonzales have a red hot go at the Fed. decisions, decisions. I envisage much channel surfing. Tracey

ps In case Katie Holmes ever Googles her name (because I would) -WELL DONE on the support (suck it in) underwear you were snapped in today. Much better to have everything looking sleek than to do a Britney. Also, same look as actual exercising!!Works for me!!

Friday, January 26, 2007

My "string" quilt.
I have been interested to look at all the string quilts happening on the blogs. I went to the new Heartstrings site and found all the detailed instructions which were great. I've always done mine a little differently and as I like this look as well I thought I would share.

1st step: Find those containers, like the above, that are full of your strips and scraps. You can probably see here that there have been times when I have been all enthusiastic and cut and rolled my scrap strips, but from the rest of the containers you can see it doesn't happen often!

2nd step: Pull out a range. I just grabbed anything and gave them a quick iron, I didn't worry about tiding the strips, they were sewn 'as ironed'. If you want red centres to your block you should probably have a fairly wide red middle strip but I wasn't worried about that. they are best if they are at least some varying widths as you don't want it to look like it's meant to match but is a little out-make sure it looks a lot "out". Or you can go the completely different way of having all your strips the exact same widths and getting an equally good end result, just with actual precision required! Sew these together and press, all one way is the easiest when later joining them together.

3rd step: Neaten it up. My strips seem to wanted to come out at around the 9 inches long so I trimmed them to be exactly 9 long and 9 wide. You can make this part as big or small as you like depending on how many strips you want to use and how wide they are.

4th step: Cross cut as shown. I've separated them to show you but don't separate them between cuts.

5th step: Start playing!! This is what 4 of those blocks has produced in around 10 minutes. As you make more you can play around further with how you want it to look and get some quite interesting patterns happening. I quite like how this is looking and had forgotten what fun it was so I will probably shelve a few things and finish it off! (This is why I have to make aims on not starting 2 quilts in one day, I am easily sidetracked!)

Have to run, DH calls, I may try to answer a few questions and post tonight, Cheers, Tracey

Add-on: Nov. 20th (i think) has a photo of a quilt done in brights and made using this technique. Sorry, it wouldn't re-upload and I don't know how to link so you will have to search if interested.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Feeling very refreshed-it's 10.15 here, only about 16 degrees celcius and I've just hopped out of the pool! A girl swimming here today apparently left her goggles so I was the lucky volunteer who had to search. A good chance to get a few laps in, especially with no-one trying to swim around my neck! My knee's been a little dodgy lately and swimming is preferable to walking. I would like to say it is some sporting injury but far more likely to be RSI of the sewing machining knee!

Cooked a bit today. If I am making one slice, I may as well double or triple it. This was Robyn's highly tweaked and popular-with-everyone Hedgehog. I make it, then cut it into sixths or quarters and freeze the slabs. Fabulous for when the kids are going somewhere for a play,quilters, bible study or when I'm on meal support for school or church. It's all there packed and waiting.

I have been spending ages trying to clear up my computer, especially seeing it is now making groaning and creaking noises when I turn it on or ask it to change jobs. After a lot of effort I managed to get off all of the pictures out of "my pictures" but The Kodak "My collection" is still listing 3727 images! I'm manually disappearing those one by one-there has to be an easier way-or do I even need to worry if they are off the hard drive. I have tried to get onto my friend's 16 year old for help. 16 year old's are the best, they think like computers (recalcitrant and think they know everything!!) But he's away for a week, AnywayI think I've also managed to save my documents and my email contacts and that's about the best I can do. If I go offline for a while it wont be me that's dead, it'll be the computer!

Do you know that my Fat Quarter Quilters order (15 pounds!!) came today (Wed.) and I only ordered it from the U.S on Friday. It was all presented beautifully as well so I am basically just walking around here rubbing pieces to my cheek. It's kind of sad but I think some of you will understand!

Another little Internet thing- (this is basically an internet based post today, tomorrow will be quiting, I promise!) I worked out that jennifer Chiaverini was someone who wrote quilt themed novels as she had an excerpt in one of my Christmas books, so i googled and found a place I could get her sampler book , with the first 3 Elm Creek novels, for $27 delivered, Australian. I then took the ISBN into our bookshop to be locally supportive and they said I probably couldn't get it but if I did it would be $46!! I had a look at the 2nd hand bookshop in W'Bool but they'd never heard of them. Two guesses on where I'll buy it?!

Now, an echidna is well worth googling for more info. They ARE similar to a hedgehog but have a pouch that their baby lives in and they feed it milk-all really amazing.

To finish, we noticed tabitha was a little smelly so here are the junior workers applying themselves to that task of bath. I got a little distracted taking the photo and they ended up letting her go while she was soaking and we all spent a hectic 5 minutes chasing her all over the house and getting her out from under MY bed! Stop laughing, stop laughing NOW! See you tomorrow when I will hopefully get time to show you how I make my string quilts.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A change in the weather

A fair bit of Australia is finally taking a breath of moist air. We have had over 3 inches fall here in the last few days, of course it isn't quite the season for a proper break like this but it's so lovely to hear and fabulous for my now dried up garden. Still quite muggy so it may not even be finished.

A few photos to share, this is today's sewing effort. My boy and I found this Star Wars panel on ebay as he wanted a quilt to match his pillow. It arrived on Friday and I had continual reminders until I managed to find an hour and a half today to make it up. He is extremely proud of it (and me!) I love it when the recipient is excited, especially when the recipient belongs to me! I was fairly short of oranges in my stash but managed to come up with enough to make a spark. It was going to have a 3 block wide checkerboard but only had enough for two, did them end to end and of course mucked up the light and dark pattern but as my boy was leaning over my shoulder waiting and didn't look like he would care if a few red squares were matched together I didn't worry either! I backed it with an opshop navy bedspread-already backed and quilted so very quick. Looks to me like he's happy!
My little darlings enjoying the Gratitudes and School holiday sleep-ins, but only 10 days to go!

When my girl and I were in Warrnambool last week we did the School shoe thing and to congratulate ourselves on an easy fitting and good choices we second hand book shopped before going for coffee. I found the latest Bastion club historical romance by Stephanie Laurens, but my girl found this great quilt mystery, right at her level! They find this quilt in the old house and it's an exact replica of the house with a secret to solving the mystery! How great is that? She is right into it and loving it-I can't wait for my turn.

We then coffeed and I bought some great fridge magnets, they are hard to read i know, but you can get the drift. I particularly like the clean house is a sign of a wasted life!

I went back to the beach to swap her for her brother who wanted to replace a broken toy with some savings and we spotted this enormous echidna in the scrub next to the main beach path. He just wouldn't quite smile but I thought he was worth a post anyway, we were all very excited as you are more likely to glimpse these shy creatures dead by the road.

Last picture is my kids re-enacting the old Goodies episode of Kitten Kong with my very treasured Anne of Green Gables Dollhouse, but they had fun! If the Goodies weren't big in the U.S and you like English humour, find these on DVD, BRILLIANT!

Now, some housekeeping. I have finally managed to setup a hotmail email account so I am fully contactable for all of those who have tried and failed. Thanks for all the feedback re: fabric, that was great. There is a 15 pound box on it's way from Fat quarter quilts so I should be right for a week or two!!!
Also, do I really want to change to Beta, will it make my life easier or harder-comments please!!
And does having 3500 photos on your computer slow it down, someone suggested this to me, that they need sorting and saving to disc. It sounds like a job this tech-illiterate will hate! Why can't I just sew and blog and not have to deal with "stuff!!"
Have a good day, Tracey

Friday, January 19, 2007

You Are An ENFJ
The Giver
You strive to maintain harmony in relationships, and usually succeed.Articulate and enthusiastic, you are good at making personal connections.Sometimes you idealize relationships too much - and end up being let down.You find the most energy and comfort in social situations ... where you shine.
You would make a good writer, human resources director, or psychologist.

Doing some very late blog checking tonight after racing home from a few days at the beach for impromptu quilting meeting here. Had a ball as usual-and introduced the girls to some of the US online quiltshops. they are in shock like me-do you know that we pay around $24 per metre Australian here for the proper ranges?? It's almost unjustifiable. (I said almost!!) Some half price shopping is about to occur online. My quilt shop will still get plenty of work from me matching jobs etc, I wont forget them! ($20 for charm packs!)

Anyway, must go to bed but after everyone had included this personality test I remembered that I did it months ago and ended up an ENFJ: I printed it off but didn't post it. So I did it again today and thought I'd probably answer differently. But no, I'd say I'm still the same personality I was 2 months ago. You can't really fool yourself, can you! And if you think that idealising relationships bit doesn't get my heart broken on quite a regular basis you would be wrong!

ps, remember it's de-lurker time! Say hello!

Monday, January 15, 2007

A quick post.

Here is precious little Millie Charlotte at 11 days old. Already travelling for 2 hours to see her extended family.

My girl is very proudly holding her. She is very maternal and still extremely attached to her Baby born who came to hospital the day her brother was born and still has to have matching outfits made when I make DD a dress. Baby born also gets strapped in a car seat on trips to Warrnambool and has more luggage than me. I am very encouraging of this little girl play. Little girls grow up too quickly in general but seem to really be being hurried there at the moment. It is sad when you have to buy Bewitched, I dream of Jeannie and Little House on the Prairie for your girl to watch because there is absolutely nothing without some questionable content on TV after 6 pm. Bring back family shows! (And don't even start me on music-what is there between the Wiggles and Britney??And Britney's no role model!)

Enough of this little pet hate, have to run, hopefully some quilting time soon.

ps Thanks to dawn in Korea for the note about de-lurking month-and for commenting!. Seeing as I get about 100 hits each post I must have a few lurkers as well. Consider this an invitation to say hello.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

38 degrees celcius, a strong, hot North wind ...and a lucky escape!
Apologies for a lack of posts, "Life" intervened! Perhaps in the winter there may not be quite as many distractions.
Major "distraction" was my parents farm being caught right at the forefront of a forest fire. As you can see in this photo that is looking at my parent's blackened hill and down to the cypress trees that hide the house-there is a still smouldering forest in the background. In the atrocious fire conditions of wednesday we learnt the forest had gone up and they were under ember attack. After a hectic day of ascertaining who was with Dad, and whether they were evacuating or not the results were that Dad and my visiting brother and his girlfriend all stayed to fight ember attacks, with a number of fire tankers. Although a number of fires came as close as 20 metres from the house and over 50 acres of hill and land were burnt all the stock and house were safe. The helicopters were great, filling from the town's reservoir that is Mum and dad's backyard and saving many firefighters from having to enter the forest.
So the day after saw us down there and then into the beach again. It really was very fortunate for the whole district that the wind calmed in the evening.

On a lighter note, here was my exciting mail the other day. I love good mail, especially when i know it's material! I discovered the fat quarter shop when I baulked at some prices here recently.

Almost more exciting than these nice contents was that I saved 40% on retail here and had it 6 days after I ordered it! I am particularly excited about the Moda tins that I couldn't source at all here. I am a sucker for a tin!

The general intention was that a lot of these things were gifts. Oh well, you know what they say about intentions. Does it count if you just show the people you may have been buying for the site instead? Then they can share the fun! What a gift!

An update on the baby quilt. I am enjoying these colours, it looks more vibrant in real life. I also made her a muslin wrap edged in pink gingham, almost made me clucky!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Back from the beach and back on track!

Feeling great today, and not just from a few days at the beach! The junior workers and I went mad on the house today, they are presently resting! I made lists and worked on both of their motivations-money for DS and DVD's for DD (as in I took away the right to watch them until the work was done-and she got $ per job.) We even got all of Christmas packed away, which is always sad. Here is dear tabitha kitten illustrating how much a part of the family she now is, she had to "help" too!

The beach was great, it is at Warrnambool, on the Victorian Coast, right at the bottom of Australia. A great seaside town that really takes off in the Summer. It was my hometown and there is always something special about going to the beach there, really feels like Summer. The kids seem to have inherited this beach gene, it certainly wasn't from their father who doesn't even like sand between his toes.

A lot of photos taken but most more personal than postable, here is one of my DH showing me in unarguable terms that he does not want his photo taken...and yes the camera did recover.

I managed to get a feed of my favourite meal as well. Gently fried abalone. If it looks good let me only add that with a little vinegar it tasted even better. When I was younger and Mum was SCUBA diving I thought everyone lived on this all Summer. How wrong I was!The weather was very hot and muggy while we were there and just as I was about to start chasing the kids towards the car to come home the heavens let loose with almost an inch of rain (at once) and thunder and lightning. I ended up right in it, in the bathers, digging a trench around the annexe but it still managed to seep through. Added to the holiday adventures.

When we were finally able to leave I snapped this at the breakwater, love the rolling clouds.

Update:After extensive searching I found some purple for the HST quilt for DN, I put it together a little more tomorrow but will hopefully have more progress to show next post. Cheers, Tracey

Joy in daily living.

A house back under control, the beach, happy laughing children, coming home.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Exactly the kind of fun I like!

Call me dull, but playing with HST's is my idea of fun. I love the variety of primary and secondary patterns that appear just by rearranging your pieces. Here are baby Millie possibilities #1,2,3,4 in descending order. I'm off to the town that possesses my favourite little quilt shop for a few days beaching. As it is where I got this little pack I am hoping to pick up more of "something" for the border or a few plain edge blocks. What is the general consensus-1,2,3 or 4?

Quite partial to number 1, would obviously need to make some more squares which I can do. i like the secondary star pattern, thought if I put some plains in the corners it may make the starts stand out more. Also weighing up plains in the centre or are the squares in a square alright? The plain pink centre is only a guide, I would look for some matches tomorrow.Another favourite way of positioning. Obviously needs some more blocks but the idea is there.Think the contrasts may be a little pale for pinwheels, nothing jumps out.Ever reliable, may look really good on point with a substantial colour as the filling triangles. Anyway, some feedback would be good as it is so hot here I haven't had a proper night's sleep for about 4 nights and I don't think I'm mentally up to the task but I like my baby quilts in my hot little hand when I first see the baby!

Been spending the days around the pool-along with a fair few neighborhood children. My kids have had a ball but are exhausted-now for the beach! DD will be sleeping over at the camping ground with her Ma,(She is ma's current favourite) DS and I are sleeping over with my sister. Bunking with my Mum is not my idea of a holiday! It's meant to get back up near 40 degrees celcius tomorrow so we will be spending a lot of time in the water!

Hoping to see my Hub soon, he left at 2 pm to fight a bushfire down near the coast and hasn't returned yet and it's 9.30 pm. It could even be tomorrow before we see him. I try not to think about it when he is fire-fighting, I just pretend he's in the tractor! Works for me!

Okay to the perceptive souls who picked up on the life-changing Russian trip in my"5 things you didn't know about me". Seeing I've now gone well over the 3000 hits I'll give you a few more details. (But maybe not all of them as not enough people are dead!)

In my last year of University I had a fairly eventful love life. I had been seeing a fellow for over a year (that REALLY wouldn't have worked out) when, in the January I went to a big country wide Church youth gathering for a week and met someone else. We commuted the 800 kms between us for over 6 months and on the eve of my leaving for the University Russia trip lets just say future plans were discussed(by him). Well I headed off to Russia in absolute mental turmoil because he wasn't looking quite so shiny as he had been but my Mum was insisting this was it (and still loves him!) I also didn't want to look like some serial breaker-upperer!!

But everyone knows what happens on overseas trips,( well I have decided any kind of week long holiday away is no good for me so i have warned my DH to keep me close!) I made lots of new friends, realised I was so not ready to settle down at 20, had a fabulous time and came home where all h*ll broke loose! All was eventually gotten over and really it has all worked out so well, I could not be more happy with my 'totally-unrelated-to-all-these-events, DH'. All of which goes to show that we are not the architects of our lives!

So now my favourite piece of advice to my daughter is that you need to kiss a few frogs to find your prince!

Have a great quilty day, Tracey

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Another Millie!-(Millie Charlotte.)

As I was posting about the prospective arrival's tardiness last night at 11:45 pm, she was actually being born! A nice healthy 7 pound for her little slip of a mother and everyone is well so I get the unbridled joy of taking this little present like bundle of fabrics and making a special girly quilt to match yesterday's more generic variety.

There is very little in life that is more fun!!

Better run and start. Cheers, Tracey

ps Dh very pleased, he will actually be able to remember someone's birthday!

Monday, January 01, 2007

I'm on time!
It's the first day of the new Year and I have managed to begin the New Year the way I want it to continue. Well...that's not entirely true-dragging myself from bed fairly tired and with an ever so slightly muddled head is probably not the way the year should continue but the finishing off of quilts that are due, the walking, the sorting of sewing projects and the time with family were positives that made up for the inauspicious start.

Had a few families and single friends over for a BBQ and swim to see out 2006. All of the 13 children managed to see in the New Year so you can obviously tell that my girl continues to get better and better.

As the stroke of midnight of a New year always begins a second celebration-my DH's birthday- it is not always so easy to have a relatively early night and believe me, if my 6 year old had not been jumping on me saying, "get the presents, it's daddy's birthday" at 8.30 am this morning I could well be still tucked away under my Gratitudes quilt tonight.

This post is called "I'm on time" for several reasons, but the main one is that the baby quilt for the potential great niece or nephew due on the 28/12 is finished, so I have done my bit but the baby is not being quite so punctual. DH is still hopeful it will be born on his birthday but I personally think you want to spread your yearly opportunities to celebrate out a little bit so I hope it's a few more days now. (This is easy for me to hope as I am not having to be pregnant with it!) This will be my 4th great niece or nephew, the first arrived when I was 28y.o and 12 weeks off having my first baby, our family is very out of whack!

The quilt is the chenille and cotton fun print that I posted as a 3/4 finished flimsy. My DN chose the fun print from the stash. It has my label on it which is their family name as well so that looks quite good.

As I am very big on goals, challenges and trying to stay organized these are some of my New Year resolutions to "do something with". Feel absolutely free in coming weeks to ask where the completed photos of these things are. I'm hoping this motivates me to stop looking at them!

Some plans or resolutions for 2007.

1. Master how to put the quilt goals in my toolbar-I have the general idea but I'm going to try tomorrow when I am more refreshed and less likely to give up and throw something at the screen!

2.UFO's-fix my favourite bag, red and white quilt, work on roses, sew last strip on the Moda faded memories, sew last strip and fix dodgy edge on quilt group rounds, finish flanelette panel, finish other baby chenille quilts and do some of the above pictured projects.

3. Quilts I want to start .

-Another plaid and check shirt quilt, single size.

-Red rose quilt.

-DD doll for birthday and small wall hanging.

-Chris' tessalations.

-Log cabin with the red flying geese on the edges.

-farm one.

-Christmas table runner.

-Everything I see really!

4. General resolutions.

-Keep car clean so DH doesn't need to shake his head at me once!

-Remember that skin products only work if you take the time to put them on, they will not make you beautiful just by having the jars in close proximity to you in the bathroom!

-Put things away rather than just down!

-Get books from the library more.

-Don't start more than 2 quilts in the one day!

-Clean the house early in the day so it doesn't drag in to fun time.

-Walk 5 times a week, do Pilates at least 3.

-Have at least 2 scheduled afternoons in the studio per week.

-Take time for cuddles!

My New Year gratitudes.

-A lovely, happy and fairly healthy family.

-The hope of rain that a new Year brings.

-Great friends to celebrate special times with.

-A clean slate and the excitement of what the New Year will bring.

-Plenty of beach days left in the holidays.

-Lots of lovely blogs to read.

Enough of plans for the coming year. I think tomorrow will see my 3000th hit since I got the counter, I may just update the 5 things you didn't know about me from my 2000th hit-whoever knows?! Happy New Year, Tracey