Thursday, August 30, 2007

Recycled batteries.

I am still here, apologies for the break. I had to work on Monday, teaching DD's class which was fun. Have also given two talks promoting literacy, taken the kids to the dentist in another town, continued weeding and sewn for a few hours. The weather here is more late Spring than late winter, makes you want to be outside, right out of the box.

Today is Meals on Wheels. It is Church's turn to pick up meals from the hospital at lunchtime and deliver them around to the elderly who order them in our local town. I would love a lengthy period in the sewing room but it will come when everything else is everything else ever done?

On the day we travelled to the dentist I picked these up.

If you are thinking they don't fit in with my beautiful, spoilt chooks you would be correst.

They are end of year layers from an egg farm. I want to inject a little more egg laying ability into my girls so effectively purchased these from the end of season bargain bin!!

The kids were with me and quite excited to see another chook farm. I half prepared them for the reality but nothing could really have fully prepared them for 150,000 birds in little cages , who poked their heads out when they heard a real entreaty! I was only going to get 8, the kids wanted to recue 20! We settled for 12. They came home and just sat on the ground of their new shed and were still there in the same position the next morning, but with eggs laid around them!
We have never eaten battery hen eggs, number one they have pale yolks that aren't a beautiful rich orange like our free ranges but mainly number two, because we can't bear the chook's lifestyle, so I'm not sure what will happen to these first few eggs.
We are giving them the royal treatment, the weeds from the garden, the house scraps, but they just don't understand, and are mainly just standing in the corner, looking dazed about the sunlight. Tomorrow I will introduce a few of my chooks in to teach them what to do and where to lay.

Found this great apron in the $1 bin at the Op shop when searching for the kids concert costumes. I am presently working out what to turn it into.
Here is a peek at my stitchery swap. I have cut the name off to protect the innocent. Hope to have it made up and in the mail by Monday. Oh, the big red stitches around the outside are the basting to the wadding, that's how I hide my knots and the back of my work when stitching, it also gives you a slightly quilted look that I like.

I have also finally picked my fabrics for the 4 seasons quilt swap. Decidedly un-maverick choices, they are from the Sonnet range. I am thinking of making my parents a quilt in this for Christmas, so it will be good to have a look at how they turn out for this as well. Do you have a favourite Sonnet? Mine is 116, "Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments." .....Though plastic surgery is actually working hard to overcome the efforts of time on rosy lips and cheeks. I wonder what Shakespeare would think of that.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A very quiet day.

Had to teach Sunday School and cook the extended family Sunday lunch today. (Yummy savoury chops and creamy garlic baked potatoes for those of you who care about the food! It looks after itself beautifully while I am at Church)

DH had to travel about 300 kms to look at a trailer and at the last minute the kids packed up the complete works of Roald Dahl on CD and the portable DVD player and went off with him, so I am family free for at least another 3 and a half hours. The house is screaming for attention, the garden is calling and the sewing room is just playing a haunting, siren like tune. I wonder which I will answer on another perfect, should-be-spring day?

Crazy crumb blocks are well and truly the flavour after Patti's fabulous tutorial. Andrea at Welsh quilter and fiona in England have both posted their progress, I thought I would give you a snippet of mine.

These are all from the shirt scraps that appeared as i made the quilt tops I've been showing you since retreat. I love making them, they only require any precision when you are trimming them to your preferred size at the finish-my kind of blocks! I am thinking a red sashing between them all, they look a little too busy stacked against each other, but i am open to opinions.

I have another lot a size bigger, I can see how Patti has managed to make over 500, they seem to breed!

A few farm pics for you in this beautiful sunshine.

The other side of the "rock feature". Archie trying to access the foxes. I love the old machinery, I wonder if DH would notice some of this come back to my slowly improving garden?

Keeping a close eye on my "accidentally" calving cows at present, I think the bull jumped the electric fence about 9 months ago-men!!!

I haven't been quite happy with this one's mothering, the baby looks hunched up, but I think she is getting the gist.

She should perhaps attend classes with these three, who look like someone to the left has just suggested that there is something wrong with public feeding!

Yeah, that's quite the staredown!

Now, when your kids are this big and still showing up for a feed, then you have something to worry about! (Murray Grey breed)

And here is the proud, "I'll jump an electric fence for the right woman" father! (Angus breed) I actually bought him when my husband was away harvesting once, I'm quite proud of him, doesn't he look noble? And, unlike his predecessor, he never chases me, blows hot steam down my neck as he charges me on the motorbike or injures us in the yards!
Time to go and answer one of those three calls, Tracey

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mother Nature knows.
After a very wet winter our days have changed overnight. Paddocks that were sodden a week ago have now dried out enough so that the shiny new red tractor yesterday sowed it's first crop of wheat. This is months later than optimum but hopefully should still work out. There is a light sense of trepidation about this sunshine though, last year it stopped raining on the 8th September and never rained again until January, we certainly aren't locking in any forward contracts!

And with the change in weather I have noticed something else happening as well.

My hands, that have really only wanted to sew for months are turning a distinct shade of green. My poor garden is calling to me. That is the same garden that I abandoned about last November when it had forgotten to rain here and sharing the tank water really wasn't an option. So I just turned my back and tried not to think about it. Well, apparently it is not holding that against me because calling it is.

And I think the main call is "Help!

-as evidenced in this picture.

....and this picture.

...and this picture.

And this, of course, is my rock garden.......just kidding, this is really a pile of stones DH made when he rescued this paddock for cropping. Archie and I visited there on our walk this morning. (1 kg down in the week, 4-8 to go!) It stinks of foxes, Archie loved it!

The sad thing is that in 2000 BQ (that's Before Quilting -for the uninitiated) I actually fancied myself as a future gardener. The garden was getting bigger instead of smaller, I had put all of this in pregnant with my boy and a gardening farming wife I was going to be!
Then I heard about this quilting group and dug out the eyespy pack I had bought in the first flush of nesting after having my girl...... and the rest, as they say, is history
.....the garden did not get bigger, water loving plants passed on to be replaced by their overgrown neighbor or another rosemary bush (because I can really grow them...and they only involve breaking off a bit and pushing it in the ground!) and weeding became an activity that occurred when I was planning entertaining in the garden rather than a regular occurence.

Well, in the last few days those weeds have pulled at me and I have started pulling at them. These photos of my recent lack of interest are posted as evidence that will hopefully motivate me to post the tidy versions very shortly. The thing is that I have a slight suspicion that I may not be the only one who has this confession to make about their garden!!!!

I actually took time to smell the flowers when I took these photos, so I thought I would share what I found.....

This little fellow and his large array of mates decided that I was better ignored. I can, of course, be stung any day but I think they realise that when I start tidying up, these rosemary bushes are usually the first to get the trim, so they were madly making the most of the sunshine and the flowers.

They are not the only ones finally getting to work........

Now you would think when a chook has 2000 acres in which to lay and a multitude of nests, she wouldn't choose the round bale feeder that frequently enters and exits the shed? Well, you would be wrong! I am just pleased though, that they have remembered to lay, the eggs appeared with the sunshine!

And finally, while still on the gardening theme, I need some advice. As well as being able to prune a rose in the time it takes blogger to upload a photo today, this rose is also asking for some attention, picture isn't great but you've seen the roses before. The bias binding is done and ready to be stitched down, the roses are "in the ditched" around the 4, but it needs something in the white, to make it sit properly and to take away the crazy quilt look from the free piecing. Comments most appreciated, tracey

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Time just flies by here.

A funeral and a letter both bought a tear to my eye today, but for entirely different reasons.

The funeral should have been of the happier kind, I know he was 83, with lots of cancer and his passing was peaceful, but it still makes me sad when you see the family upset and hear the tributes and think about their loss-it really doesn't matter if they were close to me or not, it's still sad.

The letter was actually also in a parcel, and you know how I love those! It was from my lovely friend Suse, for my birthday...and yes, I will share!!!

Suse and I have such similar taste-I absolutely love these, sweet girl!!
The letter was the tear jerker, but in the nicest possible way! Hope you come back soon Suse!

Suse's gifts are Nancy Halvorsten designs. To the Manor Born was an ebay buy that also came today...along with a few episodes of the Lone ranger for DS!- a few hours of sewing pleasure there!

I found another photo when uploading Suse's.These are some more gifts I received at my quilter's birthday and from Sweet P for pay it Forward. I know you are always looking for good stitchery/gift ideas so I thought i had better share.

Sweet p's is the needle case, Kath was the chook stitchery,(click for close-up) Robyn the card (she says I'm going to end up the blonde!!!!) and the chook cannister and Chris was the gorgeous fabric!
Enough of that, here is some more work done at retreat. Recognize those blades anyone? (Oh, sorry about the foot!)
I am keeping this at about this size (single bed width) ready for just the right little person whose name I can add to the top for a big bed quilt.
Ada became a little wall hanging, well I gave them instructions on where to unpick if they fancied more of a bolster look as well.
I made another little name banner at retreat, this is for Kath's grand-daughter...until Ada I have made nothing but Millie's for months it seems! A pink button will be the dot for the i.
This one needs a trim up and a border and will look quite cute..I hope.
DD managed half days the last 2 days but down again today...busy watching the 10 Commandments! She will end up having to go singing and visiting at the old people's home tomorrow with the Church ladies if she isn't careful...but I think she actually likes that so I had better not make that a threat! I hope the poor people don't have their hearing aids on if I am singing! I will be quiet at the back! Cheers, tracey

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hey, he mustn't be dead.........
Found the new duet of "in the Ghetto" with Elvis and Lisa Marie and couldn't resist posting the link.( Click on the song name.) The video is a bit stop starty on my computer but it's still well worth a look and listen. Scary thing is their similar eyes...and I am not sure I would want my eyes looking quite that similar to Elvis' in his Las Vegas phase!

Friday, August 17, 2007

The continuing story ........
Now, who have we left???

Kerrin, another of our newer quilters, working on her version of post and rail.

This is Sue's. Made entirely from stash, it is for her soon to arrive potential step grandchild!!!(Yes, that is a mouthful!) It is mainly hand quilted. Well worth a click to look at more closely.

Christine was finishing a few things for her sister who is struggling a little with arthritis. Chris didn't think she would have any problem with sharing this beautiful quilt with you. It has been long arm quilted at a town about an hour from here.

Christine also had another finish to share........
I love the simple pattern and colours here. It is beautiful in real life.

On the day before I left I received some fabric from Jenni at Fairybread. The transit looked perfect for a single bed quilt for my Godson who turns 4 next month so I combined it with the shirt fabrics and went to work. He is one of 7 so I enjoy going to some extra trouble for him at birthdays and Christmas. His entire family(all 9) have the flu at present so are being fed by the neighborhood, lucky they like my soup!

Here it is in the wind at the beach, and with a few additions, here it is now.

Yes, I know everything I stuffed in bags at the end of the retreat needs a good iron and this also needs a red strip above the "Tracey version of Tonya's lettering" but I am not feeling that energetic, I will only have to iron it again in a week or two to baste anyway. It is a generous single bed size.

Need your advice on the next one. This pink and green baby quilt is from 2 scrap bags (i am going to get so many projects out of each scrapbag!) I like it without the ADA lettering and I like the ADA lettering by itself but I am not sure about them together. ADA could just become a name wall-hanging and the quilt could be separate


It is for the baby of one of the 3 sisters whom I spent a good few years babysitting in my teens. Megan gave birth to Ada 10 weeks early as a result of pre-eclampsia but she is going very well now.

Have another couple of my quilt tops still to show you from the weekend but Blogger is getting antsy so I will keep them for next time.


I am a little hazy on my earliest memories. A lot of times have morphed together and actual memories have become confused with photos of events.

I can remember sitting in the car on a stinking hot day watching my aunt drop my cousins off at the pool and being told I couldn't go because I had to see my baby sister...not a good way to encourage affection, I think it took a decade for me to really like her after that! That would be a 6 yo memory.
I can also remember being dropped off at my grandmother's and sat up on a stool to help her make hedgehog slice. I remember that specifically as a watershed moment because she said, "I like having these little helpers because they tell me which ingredients I have already put in." It wasn't long enough after that full Alzheimer's and Parkinson's took my chook and garden loving grandma away to a world where she was just there and no longer a real part.

But the memory that is quite early and embarrassingly distinctive is of walking up the passage at home and hearing the news of a death on the radio. Now, who's death was memorable enough to spark my memory? Yes, got it in one I imagine, because it was 30 years ago this week, Elvis.

I ran back down the passage and told Mum, who was devastated. She had loved him so long and always thought she would meet him and the Elvis records have been on continuous loop there ever since!

So, not quite 30 years later and not realising there was any anniversary on the horizon, what do you think I made my daughter on retreat for her "I feel guilty because I left you" present?
This fine little Elvis bag, with material tonya lead me to at equilter. It has another picture of him in Blue Hawaii on the back. I put a book in it and she walked around hugging it for the rest of the day after I returned. She had even taped Viva Las Vegas while I was away-how is that for perpetuating the sins of the previous generations!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A range of quilts ...or "shaggy" is the new black!

Hi, after tenaciously holding off the full chest cold, sore throat and general miserableness over my sewing weekend, I have finally given up today and cancelled the day's engagements.

We are up to a showcase of progress from the retreat, always great to get to see other's work.

Shaggy quilts seem to be the flavour. We have some new quilters and the design especially appealed to them. It is also a great project to complete in a weekend, though the cutting of all the seams seemed to be a big process. I have never made one myself...I suppose it is somewhere on the list but everyone's good work and ideas on the net keeps relocating its list position!

Jane and her shaggy quilt, I think it would be queen sized. Jane's only been quilting in the past year and already managing to be very prolific, while fitting in teaching as well.

A close up of her fabric choices, actually, I probably don't need to do that, I think everyone knows to click on the photos to make them larger? This quilt now needs to be washed and probably dried in the drier to achieve the shaggy, almost chenille look, in those open seams.

This is Kath's. It is for her grandaughter, another Milly!

Now we have Anne's shaggy. Anne is another very new quilter and I think this is her first quilt finish, after practising on some cushions.

The next is one of Sue's long term project, her colourwash-in progress. She has spent a lot of time sourcing just the right fabrics. I am not sure that one of these would suit my personality!!I would go crazy with this amount of fussiness, but I like them.

Christine's shaggy, which she got together with a minute to spare! Just needs its clipping done.

This is Robyn's kit from the Fat quarter shop. She completely got it together over the weekend, other than attaching that pinned row and I think one more. She may have finished if she hadn't stopped for cocktails........she also got a lot more hand quilting done on the quilt I showed you a few weeks ago after our group met.
Blogger has now decided to go on picture strike so I will post the last few girl's with mine tomorrow, Tracey

And the winner is........Dawn, at Quilts and Pieces.
Dawn was a commenter during birthday week. She now gets to scroll back a few posts and choose which address book she would prefer. I laughed when Dawn's name came out the hat (well, container!)-hers was the blog I stumbled upon one day that got me intrigued and therefore blogging.
Blogger refuses to upload any photos for me today so the prepeared retreat blog is saved and waiting for its photos. I am full of the chesty cold and sore throat so I am crawling back to bed, I had thought I might escape it as I only had a husky voice at retreat...but no such luck! Tracey

Monday, August 13, 2007

An early Happy Birthday...or two.

The 15th is the day for celebrations for Chooky Blue (returning the favour!!!) Feel free to go over and say hello. Watch the mail Chooky! she also has a secret santa swap in progress, a few weeks left to sign up.
....and to Kath, who fortunately also likes wishes for your birthday Wed. and the week in NZ-hope you like the quilt and God Bless, Tracey

Yes, the sign says it all!
This greeted me when I came home late yesterday afternoon from retreat. (Good to see that she has inherited her mother's love for exclamation marks!)
I had a number of updates during the weekend that she was feeling much better so that made the sewing even more enjoyable.
I did get the retreat gifts finished, Roman Holiday bags full of Roman Holiday fabric strips.

The weather was very ordinary until Sunday which only made it more fun to be holed away sewing madly. I worked until after midnight each night, and still managed to catch this Sunday sunrise from my tower room! Much easier to get out of bed when you only have to stagger a few metres to your machine and start piecing rather than houseworking!

I have loads of photos of everyone's progress over the weekend, but I thought I would make my fellow retreaters happy and post the round of friendship reveals today, next post will be the other girl's work and I'll have a turn after that.

There was a bit of wind happening for the photos but who could resist a setting with the sea in the background.

The first is Kerrin's. She still can't get over the fact that she started with a pink floral cente block and ended up with this in maroons and blacks. We all took a lot of creative licence.

Next we have Helen's, loved the Thimbleberries in the last round flying geese.
Next is mine, I went well outside my usual colours for this, just for a change and I really like it.
Now we have Robyn's. She worked out with a round to go that she put the wrong centre in, she had wanted more contrast. I owe it applique (hence the little note) as nothing came to mind at the time and I was organising the school market.
Now we have Sue's, even though she has shifted away she still wanted to be involved.
Here is Christine's, she used a square she had had for years, I battled to find stash for that flying geese border on the day before retreat.
Unfortunately I don't have Kath's, she had to go home early after hearing she had lost her brother in NZ. Hugs to Kath.
School has just rung and DD needs picking up! Back with more tomorrow, Tracey