Monday, October 29, 2007

How quickly they grow up.......

Remember these times, only a few short months ago?

One minute they are one day old and being lead around on a ribbon

...then vying for a feeding position,

...then racing from backdoor to frontdoor in an effort to get inside

....and all of a sudden time for the first shearing.

he was quite excited, not many get to walk up the stairs to the shearing board, they normally come in through the gates.

...after watching the customer before him, he did have some hesitation-and ran for the hills....

But, like anything, a moral boosting chat from your mother can overcome all fears...

and off he went. Only to immediately regret it when he had to suffer the indignity of this pose.

...he did sit still, contemplating life.....and the chance for a free cut and blow dry...

..apparently not the style he was hoping for...

As he closes his eyes to avoid the mirror.

But his mother, as all good mothers do, has a plan, she lets him wear her Canteen National cancer fundraising bandanna. It looks good on him as well, and then he throws it off and gets back about the business of pretending he is the dog!

Shearing sheep is a very physical job, our shearers generally do between 150 and 200 per day. Most of the sheep are a lot bigger than this pet. I think I will stick to quilting!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Some sewing, designing and gardening.

With a Church Ladies morning coffee here next week, I am trying to get some more tidying done in the garden. We are also planning a trading table to replace worn Church carpeting so I jave a legitimate reason to sew...if I needed one! I have been playing around with some of this weeks' Op Shop finds and come up with this.....

I took the tab top curtains and i have made 2 large tote bags, here is one. One end of the curtains had gingham and the tab top didn't so the shoulder straps are from the end that did, half the top stitching work was done, I love that!

I had enough fabric left for 2 tea towels, they were a little plain until I added the embellished herringbone tape...recognize it anyone?

I figure I can sew that to something that I am keeping, I like recycling...though I am well aware that the fabric did not come from that company!

There was another Op Shop purchase that I missed the other day as blogger refused to upload it, it was this cot sized teddy panel. It has a good amount of hand quilting done to it and batting was attached. But the machine quilting around the outside border was all puckered and the batting was ripped and uneven around the edges. It was 50 cents so once again i had to rescue it.

I snipped off the border at the puckered quilting and evened up the wadding, added a pre-quilted part of bedspread to the back, used the border as the binding and here is is.

Should be good for the trading table, and easily worth $10 or $15 finished.

I made a few more blocks form my Judy challenge. I think these will pull it up and I like the on point idea, but what do we think of black between them, any better plans I could try?

And, to finish, we have this little helper that flew in to investigate the fuss, I love ladybeetles, we usually leave something floating in our pool so they have an out if they accidentally fall in.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Beautiful day today, the birds are singing, the flowers are out...and more importantly DD went to School!!! Yay, like a weight is lifted.

( pointless question for the day......I wonder why beautiful flowers like these would be called 'Pigface'?)

DD had another QXCI treatment yesterday and it improved her overnight, last week she only got 4 good days after the treatment, this time we are hoping for longer.

The words, "Mum, Mum, I'm better, get me to School" are music to any ears!

I even got time to have a back appointment for me and can now move my neck and shoulders without it hurting, double YAY! They all tell me that not sewing would help my dodgy back...but I wouldn't need my back if I couldn't sew...... I would be a crumpled sad thing hunched in my bed all day, moaning! So may as well keep sewing and happy!

My stitchery partner, the lovely Susan @ desertsky, finally received my parcel, a combination of tardiness on my behalf and mail catching up to her "on the road again" lifestyle.

So, I can post the full bag that I made her, rather than just the initial sneaky peak I gave you ages ago.

...the back

...and the front. many know, Susan makes a huge amount of charity quilts, especially Amhero ones, so i thought this adaption of a Nancy Halvorsten stitchery would suit her.

I played in the sewing room for a while today, will show you those results tomorrow, Tracey

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Winners and Op Shop finds.

Thank you to the many people who commented in Blogiversary week. I will get the minutes to personally return each email....but until I do, thanks again!

The winning quilt ended up being Joshua's. I don't need to give it a prize as the love it is getting is enough! I am not sure if it was the quilt or the happy boy next to it, but it won anyway. Narrowly edged out Gratitudes. But nearly everything got a vote, which just goes to show that we all have out own preferences.

The winning commenters were just drawn by my girl, who is home as she unfortunately only got 4 days between bouts this time, rather than the usual 6-8 weeks.
Drum roll please, here are the results...........

So I will be getting in contact with loulee and Laurie Ann and something special just to suit them will be on it's way....this year!!
As they say, when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping...well, real retail therapy could get a trifle pricey if I hit the shops every time my daughter wasn't well, but op shops, well that's another story-and all going to charity of course!
Do you always round up at Op Shop/Thrift shops, even to the next $10.... especially if you know you have a bargain? It is a easy thing you can do that makes a big difference to charities.

I have picked up a few good bargains of late, so I had better share, I wont burden you with all the books, just the more interesting stuff.
Great blue check flanelette dressing gown, pink chenille bedspread, yellow chenille bedspread and big piece of vinyl that just didn't want to stay there, preferred being stored in my shelves for "just" when I need vinyl!!
The pink chenille was in the dog blanket section for $1.50 as it has a little stain-we'll soon cut around that.

Cute little expanding wine rack that will be perfect to hang up for strips. ($1)
Spotted a little zip lock bag in the remnant box, took this home and unpacked these blocks and fabric to match, all ideas welcome! (50 c)
At the last one I visited, I found this heavy cotton tab curtain, love the gingham edge. I am thinking about cutting it up into tea towels for the Church trading table in such a way that each has one gingham edge, but open to good ideas on that one too, over a 2 metre drop. The basket was a pick up there as well, girl can never have too many of them!
A few more shirts to top up the stock that has hardly depleted after 3 quilt tops, and a cute floral skirt that will cut up well for some shabby chic.
Have a great day, hope none of you Californians are getting too hot with all those fires on our TV, Tracey

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Judy's design challenge

Oops, apologies to Judy L. if she checked my blog on the 20th October, when we should have been showing design ideas for her challenge...and she found nothing.

Better a few hours late US time..(and a lot of hours late Australian time).....than never.

Judy initiated this idea to help people get confident with designing their own quilts, I jumped on board, after the fact, because I like a challenge with a new block...and I LOVE the fun of designing.

Other than Judy's Gratitudes, I have never really followed a pattern. I just make what turns up.

Judy's block to work with is here.

I started how I always start, by drawing up a grid, I even used the ruler today!!!

Here are a few other plans I found on the drawing board, the quilts they turned into are all on my archives, probably shown in the first month or two. There is 'Star Harvest', the plaid chook quilt from shirts and a baby quilt I did. They are just to prove that this is how I have always started off....and I am not just making this up and that I don't always use a ruler!

So I have a good play with the kids' pencils then I make the block to see how it looks. These are about 4 and a half inch blocks. And here is how they look next to the plan.

But, you know what comes next don't you-I start to play with my base blocks and that is when I find they could do this.......
and this........

and then this.....

And that is often the time I take pictures of the options and ask you consider the alternatives while I sleep.......quilting fairies I call you.... then I end up taking in all the ideas and working from there and hey presto, quilt is designed. Works like a charm and it is fuuuuunn, have a great day, Tracey

All done!!!

The shearing is done, the wool is baled,
(the kids are hidden on top of these wool bales somewhere, they love it up there!!)
and some is even loaded onto the truck ready for an early morning highway trip to the woolstores tomorrow. It is 31 degrees celcius here today, and very humid, pleased I am not cooking a roast again. Hoping to get a shower of rain out of it but the radar looks unsure. The kids want to get the pool clean! Last night was one of those beautiful clear, spring evenings, the mountains looked great-

I only had the fairly unwilling model with me, he did get enthusiatic straight after this though, he found a heap of small animal skeletons and evidence of a fox living in the the next 10 photos are of the skeletons!! I will not add to your day by posting those!!

Farewelled out Minister and his family today, the two bigger daughters got cross-stitched towels with their names on them-made by some enthusiatic cross stitchers; the 5 year old and her one year old brother received these cuddle blankets- my first shaggy or rag quilts.

The blue and red is fully reversible with the opposite squares on the back. All the chenille piece came from vintage bedspreads and I was pretty happy with the results, the little girl kept hers very close.

The Minister's wife received this wall-hanging, it is the Nancy Halvorsten Nativity panel. I just added the gold border and binding, it didn't need anything else. These panels are great, I am going to do one for myself I think.

I am organising Spring's shearing photos, there was one rather traumatic develpoment, promise you wont tell DD but 'Spring' will not be having the babies she had hoped for, turns out "she" must actually be Thistle or Brad Pitt, it all got a little confusing when the three were escaping from every paddock they were put in after weaning!
Now, I am resisting the temptation to forward plan, but it looks like one of those rare, "time for me" weeks ahead...whoo hooo!!! Lots of sewing, returning emails to my lovely commenters and catching up on blogs....I will start making the coffee now!!!
Remember, you have about 9 hours from now to comment and maybe win a prize that will be made especially to suit the winner's tastes!! Have a great day, Tracey

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The countdown is on.

-and not just the countdown to Sunday to comment for the Blogiversary pr!ze draw. The vote is a close thing I may add. Which quilt will be adjudged Miss 06/07?

Oh, and this one was very upset it didn't get in the Top 12, no thanks to Blogger!

It has a better photo that you are welcome to search for in the first half of the year archives...and is my version of a string quilt.

One day of shearing to go, life will return to something resembling normal. "Spring", the lamb in the above Jim Shore pic is to be shorn in the morning as the kids are home from School. I will make sure I get you some photos of that, as many of you met Spring the day she was born, she is the one who likes to come in the house and shake hands!

The sheer volume of food always blows my mind, believe me, you can really put away some food when you are shearing around 200 sheep a day. I devised a new addition to the hot morning teas this year, and since it was such a success and is relatively good for you, as hot morning teas go, I thought I would share.

Tracey's ham and egg recipe.

I used about half a dozen eggs for almost 2 muffin trays of these quiche type things.
Great when you have too many eggs or day old/er bread.

Mixed the egg up with the whisk added curry powder to taste.

Lightly sprayed my muffin pans, as a little egg inevitably slips through and this saves on sticking.

Then I take this circle thing that came with a pie maker I once owned, you could come up with something around the house or I am sure you can pick these up as a slightly larger scone cutter around the shops. I then cut a circle from nice healthy wholegrain bread as it is better for the whole family. I keep the waste bits and put them through the food processor and back into the freezer for healthy breadcrumbs in recipes.
I cut a slit about the radius of the bread-see the knife is in the above picture.where

I then press the bread into the muffin trays, folding it over at the slit. so it all fits perfectly, with just a slight overlap.

You could put in anything you like here, I break up some ham and perhaps a taste of home made chutney, then go along and pour in the egg mix, doesn't need too much, that's why 6 eggs makes almost 2 dozen.

After the egg mix is in, I add some tasty cheese, I use the low fat one, you could get some really great flavour with livelier cheeses, I would get kicked out!

After they have cooked in a medium oven for around 15 minites, or until the egg is set and they are browned, they look like this and taste yummy. Lift out perfectly easy and nicely shaped, taste just as good cold.
Recommended by my shearer's and kids...and too easy.
Here is how they looked mixed in with home made sausage rolls and pinwheels (not the sewing kind!)

And, just in case I have given you the impression I am a good cook, here is what happens when you are lazy and use your spatula to quickly stir a double batch of hot ANZAC mix. Then, you think it will be fine and add it to the dry mix, only to taste a distinctly plastic flavour in the biscuits, which you naturally use your guinea pig family to double check for as well...and end up allowing the chooks to eat 100 ANZAC biscuits!!

And finally, after a week of being too busy cooking to eat myself...I think I will soon be able to work on my reverse fabric diet and open another one of these packs. They are the ones that I am blackmailing myself with as reward for not eating all these yummy things I bake!!!Do you know how much willpower it takes to have unopened FQS and Quilt Patch Lane packages in the house???

The girls at Quilters suggested I just open them, I said if we don't have standards the whole World goes to the I ate another piece of the de rigeur chocolate supper!!
Have a great day, and Thank you so much for all of the lovely comments on my quilts, tracey

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blog-i-versary day!!

One year ago today I had just finished shearing and was at a slight loose end.

I found Dawn's blog and loved that there was someone else "out there" who didn't really use patterns and sewed whatever and however they wanted. Then, of course, I wanted to comment and tell people how great their work was and the next thing I had a blog!

I remember I had as much trouble uploading photos that day as i have had today! The blog began with my kids in the the chooks that is always a preferred prop.

It would definitely be the only journal I have regularly kept, and who wouldn't when you get such lovely feedback- The only feedback I have ever had on a diary before was when Mum read what I had written once when I was a teenager...but we wont go there!

To commemorate this momentous occasion I packed the shearer's afternoon tea early and have pulled up 12 of my quilts from the past 12 months. I set a limitation that I had to have predominantly made them during the year. I suppose 12 isn't too bad, especially with it being the most horrendous health year we have ever had but I am not going there either.

For commenting on which of these "Top 12" (all blogger would allow!) is your favourite for the year, you will do in the pr!ze draw. Drawn next Sunday, Australian time, emailers welcome as well. (I'll enter you in the comments myself.)
All comments on all posts for the week will be entered.

#1 Joshua's birthday.

#2 George's birthday Chenille.

#3 Millie's doll quilt.

#4 Shirt quilt. (That my sister wants, so will get for Christmas.)

#5 The floral pink skirt from the Op Shop.

#6 Free pieced roses

#7 Zara's tractor quilt.

#8 Millie's birth.

#9 Gratitudes.

#10 Pink and green florals-yes, it still just needs that last border!

#11 DD's wall hanging/cuddle quilt.

#12 Four Season's swap

BYE! Tracey