Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bags and spiders.

A short post before I start ferrying playdate children home and cooking a quality tea for a little bit of husband spoiling this evening!

Answering a few questions : there are 4 ways in which you can have a plastic coated bag-

1. Purchase the fabric pre-coated, as I did in yesterday's bag. It was Moda's faded memories and available in my LQS.

A bit pricey but it came in these next colourways as well and they are the bag stash waiting for the right moment. I posted a pic of the big blue one I made my sister for a beach bag at Christmas so go back there for a search if you would like to see it.

2. Make the bag in normal fabric sewn with clear thin table cloth plastic like in this demo photo. This was my first try and I wouldn't let you look too close. Very fiddly and difficult to turn. You also can't iron the fabric so difficult to get a clean look. I moved onto the pre-plastic coated after this!!

3. You can buy iron on plastic here that bonds to the fabric. Probably not a bad idea but worked out at least as expensive as the pre-coated and I felt it left more scope for me to muck it up!

4. You can send fabric to plastic coating factories here and get it done for you. I know this as I chatted to an apron selling lady at a field day and that's where she got hers.

The plastic coated fabric is also brilliant for toiletry purses and aprons. I'll show you some of the purses another day when I can borrow one back or make another. Last picture is the toiletry laundry bag I made with the zip section of my floral skirt. I don't like to see things like pre-done zips go to waste.

The quilt is coming along nicely; mainly drank coffee, ate Lindt chocolate and worked on my Lone Star at quilters last night so you will have to wait a little longer for an update.

What is a spider? I didn't think it was just an Aussie thing but maybe I am wrong. A spider is a drink made of (usually) red lemonade (soda?) with a big scoop of ice-cream in it and it reacts and froths up the glass. It's usually in an ice-cream sundae type glass and my kids think it is wonderful as they are not allowed "bubbly drink" at home.

Have a great weekend, I am, as my beloved Australian Rules Football season has started AND I get cricket as well!!

Friday, March 30, 2007

A Mixed bag.Thanks for all the ideas on the pink floral skirt quilt, I'll work on that tonight.
Just a little peek at what the "book shelf" (read-floor) next to my bed looks like. There are bookshelves all over the house but these are the ones I need close in case I need to read one of them in particular when I go to bed. Heavy reading for when I am not exhausted and light reading for when I am. I have to read something before I go to bed or I can't sleep- read even a page and I go straight to sleep.

The Time traveller's wife is such a fascinating concept that it has me right in, it is in my bag!

Speaking of my bag, here it is. It is plastic coated Moda, a great theory, tricky to work with but I am pleased with the end result. You have to make these with a leather needle, use a bigger stitch and try not to make mistakes as resewing cuts the fabric.

This is where some of my cut in half HST's have ended up. A completely different idea to those I showed you before, but I am short on Christmas quilts and this spoke Christmas to me so it is in progress. Well worth the mad cutting spree!

Joys today:

Took DD for a haircut and followed it up with devonshire tea and spiders for both kids at our favourite antiques and tearooms, that was great but when we were leaving an older couple congratulated me on my outstandingly behaved children who had beautiful manners and were obviously well bought up!! What a win!!

Have a good day, Tracey

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Midnight fabric play.
I have had a good night's sleep and recov red from all night cricket game#1 so I am ready to focus and show you what I made that night.
I took this great skirt that was an op shop find and decided to have a play.
The resulting photos are largely self-explanatory.
- added in a cute hot pink polka dot from the stash and some white sheridan sheeting off-cuts to make 9 patches. (9x4 inch patches) At this stage I was planning on making bags!

-Decided I liked the look of it and to see what happened if I treated it as if I was doing the quick form of creating HST's. So I cut out a piece of the hot pink polka, (that was almost the same size-I trimmed it later!) drew the sewing lines on, sewed and then cut it into 2 new blocks.

Here is what 4 of the resulting blocks looks like. I'm not exactly sure which way I prefer so give me some feedback because I'm going to make more blocks and make it up at quilters tomorrow night.

It felt very odd working in the middle of the night, when I started to get tired I made 6 foot of strudel- that kept me busy and awake.

Kids started Easter holidays today so a fortnight of sleep-ins and stolen sewing minutes are in the pipeline. Have a good day, Tracey

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Many different jobs.
I have been very slack lately and have let my big milestone hits go virtually un-noticed.
Well, I only have a minute to post today as when you only get 2 hours sleep watching cricket (that then gets rained on and the next innings gets postponed until tonight) you might just have fallen asleep reading your library copy of the Time traveller's wife in the afternoon and now not have done your jobs!!-Time traveller's wife sounding just as good as I hoped...thanks reviewers!

So, here is a slightly different post as I haven't unloaded pics:

Occupations (well, some are just plain jobs!)
I have had these jobs:-(Approx. in order)
1. babysitter (don't we all)
2. Animal Nursery steward
3. Delicatessen sales assistant. (Where I found my exotic tastes)
4. Shearing shed hand. (I can really throw a fleece)
5. Relief milker (Not by hand!!)
6. Swimming teacher
7. Waitress
8. Nanny (for 18 months live-in, that teaches you how to be a good guest!)
9. 3 year old kinder teacher
10. After-School care co-ordinator
11. Integration Aide for children with Special needs.
12. Prep through Grade 6 teacher
13. Mother-that's the least pay but the nicest staff!

Note: Yes, the idea with the peg noticeboard was my own. I may have seen square in the square blocks before though!
Joy:DD at School AGAIN!

Monday, March 26, 2007

A successful addition in the never ceasing quest for improved organisation.
This little treasure achieved all of it's aims.-
1.It had to be practical, holding all the important lists and notes.
2.It had to fit this spot (above the kettle where I would always look in the mornings.)
3.It had to be pretty and fun to make.
It has been positioned in it's locale since DD went to School and is usually fairly well full of information, I cleared it and just left this lovely couple on it as a demo for you.
the pegs are sewn on and not hard to replace in the unlikely eventuality of coming apart.
I stuck it on with double sided sticky tape so it is there for the duration!

Oh, and don't mention the chook decorations...because my dh does all the time!!

Happy quilting, Tracey

Joy for the day: DD did half a day at School yesterday and has headed off for a full day today!!!And my calf man rang me, a dozen little calves will be ready for me to pick up and mother on Sunday-I'm sure you will see many photos of those cuties!

I'm going to be a Maverick......
I wonder which one I'll be, Tom Cruise's Maverick out of Top Gun or Bret Maverick, the poker hustler......wait, what's that I hear.....oh, it's a quilt maverick! Well that hopefully wont be too hard for this "don't read a pattern- just see what happens" quilter!
I always wanted to join but was a little afraid it would be like trying to be in the in crowd at School and I might face rejection!! That's a little bit of a sensitive issue with me as you can see from the fact I don't list my favourite reads in my sidebar , I don't like others to have hurt feelings because they aren't on my list!
Happy Quilting and thanks to Bonnie for the OK! Tracey

Post Script: I was also in the mood for a change of scene on my blog, what do you think-I'm trialling it so see how I feel. (I was hoping it would give me back the 'post title' section!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Post #2 for the day is a time management problem-and it's huge!
You see Australia is playing in the Cricket World Cup in the West Indies, a completely different timezone!
I have been trying to go to bed earlier and get more sleep but this hurdle has been put in my path. I was able to go to bed with my radio headphones on last night (hub didn't notice!) and get regular updates. But now the Super 8's are on it will be telecast-for the next month!
Granted I would mainly only watch the Aussie games but they go all night. I am wondering how many day activities I can get done at night so I can justify a nana nap in the afternoon!
I wish the computer was in the TV room, at least I could read blogs!
I envisage a lot of ironing, doing the paperwork for the fete, hand stitching.... and snoring on the couch!

A bit of play
So pleased that I am not the only one who makes those mistakes (Note to self: buy 5 unpickers and have them strategically placed as fixing that rip is harder than it looks!)
Only had half an hour to spare in the sewing room and, as the ripped string top has been placed in the "Thanks for calling-I'll get back to you" basket (as against the "too hard" basket)- I thought I would just find stuff that annoyed me and cut it up!
Hence the coming photos.....
I found a few HST's that just didn't fit when I made my big HST stash quilt....they were ugly, not necessarily full of ugly fabric but joined up to be not quite right in colour.
Now, I am about to describe something that was a new idea to me, as I don't follow patterns and only look at magazines, etc for ideas. So all of you out there who are probably about to say that you always do it this way will just have to cope!
Look what happened when I decided to cut my HST's in half. (I was in too much of a hurry to iron...)
.........And then played around with the resulting units achieve a far more interesting array of blocks than when they were just HST's these.....and this.

I think I may actually sew a few of them together, when I decide which way I like them, and then I will know where they are for next time I am in a mad cut stuff up mood!

Friday, March 23, 2007

A Lesson

OOps!! Hate unpicking so I thought I could just rip this binding off that wasn't sitting properly...unfortunately that wasn't the only part that ripped!

It teaches me a lesson that I should have learnt already, "Cutting corners will add time!"

Have a good day, Tracey

Thursday, March 22, 2007

More tractor quilts.
An oldie, but a very much loved goodie here. This is my boy's tractor quilt, made a few years ago now (like 4). It has a couple of socks strategically placed to cover his name so if you are wondering about the blue bit then that is the answer.
It has a black background because John Deere green tractors and red Case headers are not that easy to tie together.
I'm rather proud of the pieced tractor even in the cold harsh light of 4 more years experience. It is amazing what some graph paper, great fabric and the will to get a good end result can achieve.
All of the fabrics are farm and tractor based and were acquired at Field days or by a lot of searching. I have had several queries about the Case fabric in the last post (hence I have pulled this off my boy's bed) and while that was picked up locally a fortnight ago, these fabrics have long disappeared.
Had a full day on the High Jump and as the timekeeper at the kids School sports yesterday. Organized parent teams for the potato race and out House won for the second year in a row. I did an impressive slide in ...that I am paying for today but don't tell my kids or hub!
Time to get organized for School Council after more helping at School today.Maybe tomorrow will see some sewing done!
Happy quilting,- and thanks for all the lovely stay at home Mum encouragements! Tracey

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

How to fill in a day when you don't "work".

I think Mums who work are amazing, even though it isn't for me. You see, I just don't have time to fit in the paid work thing ...and I have a husband who says he didn't wait until 40 to get married to then never see his wife.
Being on a farm makes it all very different. While my sister and many of you bloggers know that after your husband has left for work you have 8 or 10 hours clear in which to do as you like (READ BLOGS!) I'm generally never sure when mine will walk in the door for a coffee or to get me to deliver a calf/lamb, (because these hands are useful for more things than sewing!) help shift machinery to the next paddock, run to town for parts, draft a mob of sheep etc, etc (as the King of Siam would say!) So time management and Ladies lunches and morning coffees can be tricky...and paid work really takes a back seat. It would have been especially tricky in the past 5 months that precious girl has been more out of School than there, I can't even think of a plan that could have dealt with that!
But, being what is probably a Type A personality that likes to be busy and organising and have a hand in a lot of activities, not being seen as a "worker" can be tough. Our western societies define us by what we do, and overcoming this need to justify our existence can be very tough. Anyway, it may have taken me a while but I am well adjusted about my role now... I look at questions about my stay-at-home role as a type of adult peer pressure, and as I never cared about peer pressure in my Youth, I really can't see why I should let it affect me now.
So lets look at today's "non-work" achievements:
DD having a few tummy pangs so she is at home, try to clean in the morning while intermittently watching "Annie get your gun" with her.(she is fast becoming a musical/Howard Keel addict.)
Finished off the "Writing champion" capes for DS' classroom literacy lessons.
Preparing for the School fete, which I am convening. A parent sent home a box of apples which I convert to 12 foot of Strudel...and it's good.
All the time working on more Zucchini and cucumber pickles, also for the fete (and for me!) The top photo is to show you how they started...a beautiful aroma as they soak... and the lower pic is the end result.
Manage to get the last tray of Strudel out by 2 pm and realise in the 1 and a half hours until I need to go and see my little niece for birthday #2 I could almost make her a tractor blanket so at least she gets something with a tractor on her birthday and here it is-
It's not bound just done in the pillow case style with a bit of seam left for turning then I ran around it with top stitch. Has a nice cosy polar fleece on the back and when I last saw it she was using it to sit on in her lounge room and having a snack. The proper quilt can wait until a couple of free days and no kids at home. I'd say maybe for Christmas now!
Managed to pull out some pre-prepared and frozen-for-just-such-a-day-as-this meatballs from the freezer and turned them into everyone's favourite casserole after arriving home at 6pm.
...So you can probably tell that the detox and extra rest program is going well and I'm feeling pretty if I could just fit in that walk!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A busy weekend ...of non-sewing!
Rock-pooling in Warrnambool yesterday and trekking through the Mt. Eccles National Park today on the Church Picnic. The days are starting with an Autumn nip in the air but coming out sunny, so lovely days for getting out and about.
On Friday I sewed my strings together. I was mainly doing it to keep track of them and was planning on making it bigger. But after looking at it, and in discussion with my quilting friend, Helen, I think I have decided to add a few borders and call it quits for risk of it getting too busy and lost.
For the borders I'm thinking the plain homespun red that you can see in the centre square and perhaps something in the goldy yellow line, you'll probably get a look tomorrow.
Still on the book theme from the last few posts. I have received a lot of emails and comments about my new books so I thought I would share my favourite. It is edited by Margret Aldrich, and that is all you need to put in your search engine to get her full quilting range. It has excerpts from the likes of Jennifer Chiaverini novels, as well as humorous little quilting stories and historical quilting details. All with heaps of pictures. My sister gave it to me a few year/s ago but I saw it was still available when I ordered it's companion one (for my husband to give me for Christmas!) Consider yourself tagged if you have a great book about quilting to share, but I don't think we are really meant to show interior pics due to copyright. Would that be correct? What I am doing is fine, as it is for the purpose of a review.
Should get at least 2 days at home this week , expect to see the heartstrings as a top and my niece's tractor one started. Have a great day, Tracey

Friday, March 16, 2007

In a (persian) pickle!
Now last night I managed to break blogger to the extent I finally came up with a post page that had a section for title...and do you think it still has that section this morning???

Thanks to Ann at quiltoholicker for her excellent assistance with this, I'm sure I should eventually get it!

Started on Sandra Dallas' Persian Pickle club last night, the drought theme hits a chord. I'm really loving the whole thing. (It was softcover so I wasn't scared of starting it!)
Busy making pickled zucchini and cucumbers this morning. I was given 12 pounds of cucumbers yesterday and with the School fete coming up I couldn't possibly waste them. These pickles are also just about my favourite thing. (Thanks Kath, who I forget reads my blog!!) I am trying to get mine to taste as good as the ones that one of our Church ladies makes for the Church trading table.

Bit of stash assessment going on here. I went looking for egg fabric for Joyce and needed to empty out the chook material stash This is JUST fabric with a chook theme. It's meant to be enough for a full sized chook quilt...more like 3, as there are full metres of fabrics in there. Shall add that to the list. (I think I am going to have to live until I am 100!)A book purchase I forgot to show you, as I dropped it straight into my daughter's room when it was delivered. Fabulous little novel that she devoured in one sitting last night. Even better than what I hoped, a lot of working through a much-loved grandma having a stroke and knowing the end is near and as we have a much-loved grandma in the old house 20 metres away who turns 87 soon it's probably a good discussion book.The book looks at quilts for therapy and my girl thinks like that as well. How could you not continue to make quilts for a girl who has them all layered according to order of receival whan she sleeps. Did anyone tell her it was Summer? They still all have to be there! This is her bed after she rolled out this morning.Here's an update on the Lone star. To borrow from Sesame Street, it's a long long climb, but I'm gonna get there....

Have a great day, Tracey

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Books and bargains.
Not much sewing achieved in the last day or two, an urgent dentist appointment for my girl in Warrnambool yesterday and in the local town for School canteen duty today.
Kids due home on the bus in 7 minutes, I wonder if I can post by then...
Went to the Op Shop looking for red skirts to turn into cloaks for my boys literacy time at School. Found the good treasure in the above picture...and the skirts that I'll show you later.
The stained glass window, that I want to make ONE DAY was a dollar!! It's even got the hanging pocket. Can't decide what to do with it but couldn't leave it there..all homeless!
The q/s bed quilt will be fabulous for santa sacks or backing things I can tie, it's perfect. And the little bindings, thread, etc were all in a little bag for another dollar. I was happy with that shopping but SOOO excited when I got my book delivery.....
Ordering books online can be tricky, I'm working off recommendations from blogs I read and short excerpts in the compendium books I like but it's still trial and error. Today.. I really kicked a goal.
I knew I would love Rebecca Barker's pictures as I have seen them before but didn't realise I would get patterns for the quilts. The devotional one is fantastic, I thought it may have just been a myriad of different devotions and therefore labelled a "patchwork" but each short devotion is centred about quilting with a message and Bible Verse. I have it's sister edition still on backorder. I can see that suiting a lot of my quilting friends.
I will have to just touch the novels for awhile and enjoy owning them before I dare soil them by reading them!
The Josephina storybook is a fabulous kids one about a girl on her way across the prairies in her wagon who brings her pet chook and sews storyblocks on the way.
Do books get much better than that, I ask you?!!
(And therein lies today's joy)..and fitted into my time frame.
Off to do do homework! ) Oh yay!
Cheers, Tracey

Monday, March 12, 2007

Took time out to smell the roses today...
well, I would have had a smell if they hadn't dried up a month or two ago, but I think you get the idea. The flowering succulent pictured above will have to do.

The kids had a public holiday so I spent time watching the birthday "Calamity Jane" DVD, visiting the chooks and going for a walk with my son. Oh what a different experience that is, no marching at high speed with him, rather we followed runaway hares and the cattle's trail through the maze crop. We let the cattle on it today as it has never managed to have 1 shower of rain on it in the 2 months since it was sown, and although it has tried valiantly to stay alive the withering was just beginning. With virtually no feed here we couldn't see it wasted. DS is pictured doing a reindeer impersonation with the plants he has now put in a vase ( and covered with plastic snakes) on my kitchen table.

We visited the chooks on the way back and we thought you may like these frizzles and frizzle crosses for a little change from quilts (my boy suggested that!!)

He especially likes this photo where you can see the little chicks feet as he attempts to dive into the grain eating throng!!

So, I've walked, juiced and only had 1 and a half coffees-not a bad start. Also, NO chocolate or lollies! Hope you are having a great day.


-little boys to slow you down and baby chickens who love eating the leftovers after you make juice.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Having your cake...

Seems a very appropriate title for this post, perhaps "not having your cake" may even be better!

I have been running like a mad thing for weeks and that's been fine, and I think necessary, but I'm starting to feel the old "not waving,...drowning!" feeling so it's time to take a deep breath and take stock. As a very good friend warned me during the week-you can't keep it up, you know what happens, you get a week's worth of the flu.

So as of tomorrow morning I am going to acknowledge it is Lent and tighten the ship. There are 3 weeks until Easter, I think a full detox is in order, back to walking once a day (that I haven't been fitting in) back to my pilates and no chocolate and little or no coffee or alcohol and bed before 10.30 pm would be a useful shock to the system as well!! It is well and truly time my juicer returned from it's purely ornamental state of the past few months into being a useful item. I would think 4 kgs off and back into all my favourite clothes would be achievable in 3 weeks so we will see how I go!

Now, as a last farewell to cake, here are the previous 2 birthday cakes for my girl and they, as with the recent number 9, were made and decorated by me using the general guidelines of the kids' favourite book, the Women's Weekly birthday cake book. She was having a little Peter Pan fetish with the ship one, she wanted it, so I girled it up with sails printed with her photos, the pink icing, flowers and Polly pocket pirates. It was a hit.

Seeing I began deleting all my photos from the hard-drive the boys' cakes have disappeared, but were John Deere tractors and spooky castles. They are now on disc somewhere, yell out if anyone wants to see.

Final picture is the Lone star I have made the big leap with (for me) and been working on by hand, it just has the 3 last colours to go on now and they are the points of the star. I am indebted to a site I found that showed me the tips on basting these diamonds, they then only took 2 good nights of TV to prepare. We went away, just DH and me, last weekend to car racing in Adelaide, had a fabulous 4 days away without children's tummy pains or drought issues to concern us and I managed to get all the black diamonds on during the 12 or so hours of car travel. A great weekend, it's just a pity it takes you 2 weeks of 1 am nights to get organized enough to go away! Kids had fun here with my parents and stand-up comedian, St*ar wars loving brother.
The fabric is some of my internet purchases, bought especially as if I was going to spend months of my life on something I'd never done before I wasn't prepared for it to not match!! (Kathy Schmitz' Blackbird village.)-I'll have to do the next pic in daylight as it looks nicer than this. Cheers, tracey

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Another year we'll never have again.

People ask me why I go for the full birthday party every year. Well it is a fair amount of work and afterwards I feel exactly as worn out as I do right now but when I look at my little growing up-too-quickly-girl it all seems so worth it, the years are flying and great birthday memories seem the least I can do. And she loves a party-just like her mother. Her brother's only lament is that it wasn't his, but I don't think he could have improved on his day even if it was.

It was 32 degrees celcius here today so after the games, treasure hunt and birthday lunch the pool did most of the entertaining for the 24 children who were here. It pays for itself at times like these, I just wish I had the forethought to have my boy in the swimming season as well, we often feel the house is not big enough in mid-winter. Thought you may like to see the cake.

It had nice smartie flowers on all the sides and even tasted good. It's the first one that has been completely eaten by the time the last guest left. Here is the only thing that she wanted for her birthday, a stitchery of her animals with the splish splash fabric. It has pockets and I'm going to sew little pegs to it as she wants it for a spot next to her bed. It is back apart while I alter the stitchery slightly, the cat wasn't enough like Tabitha, so now I have a completely unmatching cat with it's arm around her leg and she is happy with that. (Sticker is to cover her name.)

The original picture was out of an old magazine I have somewhere. The sheep is a light pink, so he doesn't come up well in the photo but it is a standing joke because the Pet Shop borrowed one of the pets and dyed it for it's window display last year. He took months to fade when back in the paddock and even rated a news crew!

I managed to access the computer enough to get enough instructions to send in my blocks for the Siggy swap that Cynthia is mothering at Aussie quilter. These are my blocks when I was checking out the general idea of what the eventual quilt will look like. I just had to sit down and write on them all after this. I can't wait to get them back in the mail. 3 Cheers for Cynthia's organisation.

As I am now about had it, I'll say good night. I wonder if I have enough energy to sneak around and visit some of you for a cyberspace coffee!? Tracey