Tuesday, January 29, 2008

One day of holidays (sleep-ins!) left-and 2 prize winners.

Waiting on my sister this morning, so it will be a quick post.

She is coming up to spend the kids last day of Summer freedom...back to School tomorrow, where did that 7 weeks go?
My daughter told me I had been a good summer mother...hardly went to the sewing room at all!! Well, as long as she stays well and actually goes to school, that will sure change in the coming weeks but I am not making plans or everything will go haywire again!
Thanks for the comments about the Carpal tunnel and the gloves. Obviously I am not alone in this...at this stage just wearing them at night is doing the trick.
I can see there are a few other alternatives, I like the additional Vitamin B,(orally!)the best...now to just remember to add that to the calcium I take so I don't have similar bone density to that of my mother and grandmother-their's resembles more your jellyfish....the 30 plus I take so i don't have a monthly meltdown and the skin clear that attempts to make me look less like an acne ridden teenager-hope I don't shake when I walk!

My calendar came this week, and some more of my cards-i am still waiting on the calf ones. My neighbor called over and bought $25 worth, last week she bought some excess fabric from my stash, she has 7 kids so says it is a lot easier to shop here than go to town. Who could argue that!!
Here are a couple of calendar pics i thought you may like, it is all my favourite photos from the year and I am going to hang it in my sewing room.

Here are some of my cards, there is a range of proper cards, postcards and gift cards, I love the little gift cards. They are all available if anyone ever wants any, very cheap and I am open to all kinds of negotiation! Click for a closer look. Kristie and Libby were lucky commenters from when i asked you to taste test, so you will receive some of these in the mail-drop me a line. Everyone else I owe mail things to will be getting their surprises mailed in the next week as well....finally!

The winter swap is coming along, here was the last progress photo, it's due tomorrow, it will get done-in between batches of plum sauce, plum jam and pickles! I love these hexagons, the backing is thimbleberries. Have a great day, Tracey

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Not a white glove moment
Tonight's post is proudly bought to you by the following product....
No, I have not been taken over by big business...well not unless big business desperately want to take me over!! These are, in fact, my new secret weapons.
Not sure anyone has noticed but there has been a distinct lack of handsewing done around here for the last 6 months, the only piece was a labour of love for Susan's stitchery swap piece, and even that ended up late!
Well, there's been a reason, my hands have been really giving me a hard time, pain, but mainly pins and needles and numbness all night. The little worrying part of me googled MS and of course these are some symptoms but when i finally mentioned it to a few people, the general consensus seemed to be carpal tunnel. The chiropractor has been working on the wrists with limited results and then, just when I was contemplating something more radical my lovely friend Robyn suggested these gloves. After a few nights, no day time troubles and straight away no constant night time waking to then shake my hand back to life. So I thought that may be worth sharing with all of you, as sewers.
Seeing I can sew again, I have been working on my Winter swap quilt...in 35 degree temperatures! Couldn't quite get into winter tree or snow flake mode, but these dark reds and creams speak Winter to me, hopefully they will to my partner.

Have I shown you photos of Fluffy General's 2 fluffy babies? That's the last time I believe a cat giver-awayer about the cat being a male! Males don't normally have 2 kittens, and just when the others have homes!
Anyway, this one is not excited by my progress on the hexagons for my Winter swap,

-Hands up all those who think I should be further ahead.

Yes, you are probably right unnamed kitty...but you know, the heat, the hands, the kids on holidays, the cricket and tennis on TV, the heat.......
Speaking of heat, the last of the other 3 kittens, Gilly, did something to his hip so hasn't yet gone to his new home, his mother decided when the others left that her feeding days were over.....Gilly aint so sure-

Now general Fluff is asking, didn't I only give birth to 2 kittens...and I'm sure there were none with white!! Now for some reason that really amuses me, because it kind of reminds me of Pepe le Pew...only Gilly hasn't needed to paint over the white!
If you can get away with it on hot day....

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A new day.

Okay, I think I am over it....especially thanks to all my counsellors!! Pat yourselves on the back and we will get on with the nature of this blog, which is to find the good things in daily life....and look at quilts!!

With that in mind we will have a look at my sister's quilt,

I was late leaving for her birthday after staying up far too late, and didn't have time to wrangle calves or sheep or kangaroos or anything really as a photo backdrop-so I went for the old reliable poultry who will do anything for a tub of scattered wheat!

For those of you who remember, this was from my op shop shirt binge a few months ago. The blades were a design idea that I thought may look alright and were added to each block before turning it into the 4 block units. The red sashing seems to have broken it up a little and I think I am happy with it, I put flannel on the back and light wool wadding in the centre so it should be nice and cosy for cuddling toddlers and feeding babies in the middle of the night.

And because I dared grumble last post I thought I had better show you my WIP wall, well okay, it isn't actually a work in progress wall, more WIP sheep. (yes, it's Spring!)..and much cuter than my boring wall!

This houndstooth quilt needs to stop being a flimsy...I wonder if I could get away with it for winter 4 seasons quilt swap quilt??? No, bit big and even though houndstooth should really only be worn in winter I am not sure that makes it a wintery quilt! I do have some ideas for the swap, and so i should as I need to mail next week,- make me share them next post!! Have a great day...and a big thanks!! (I even got a call from Western Australia in consolation! Thanks Suse!) Tracey

Monday, January 21, 2008

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

Saw this on Beth's blog and thought it looked like fun. Have always been a Pride and Prejudice girl myself, the sensibilities of Sense and Sensibility couldn't compete with Laurence Olivier...or Colin Firth's Darcy either for that matter! But I have been told I actually occasionally look like Emma thompson, perhaps it is fitting!

But today 'Sensibility' is what I am fighting, so Beth's link was apt!

I wonder if Jane Austen was a quilter? I think I recall she was, there is a florally charm type diamond quilt with thin pale sashings appearing in my head that I seem to have seen somewhere.

I wonder if she ever had her confidence shaken by being taken to task over NOT having yet given a family member a quilt??!!!

That is why it has taken me a few days to get back to you after my sister's birthday, my heart really hasn't been in it.

My sister loved her quilt, THAT was not the problem. She also got teary about the calendar so all required responses were achieved! It was just that someone else in the family went a little off...in front of everyone, about the fact that has not yet been one for them.
Note: Blogger wont upload tonight so the quilt pic will have to wait for the next post.

Now, aside from the fact that, 1. I am only 38 and not yet on my deathbed, and 2. There are 5 metres of the perfect fabric picked just for that person just waiting to made up over in the sewing room, who out there in quiltmaker cyberworld likes to make quilts because they are told to?

I like to think my people kind of earn theirs....because life has dealt them a blow, because they have been very special to me, maybe even because they happened to compliment it just the right way when it was still homeless and therefore ended up with it. They are in fact MY quilts, my 10-100+ hours of work,my tens and hundreds of dollars and, just like the quiltmaker in The Quiltmaker's gift, they will be given where I see fit. (See, I told you I was having a little case of sensibility-don't worry, surely it will pass!)

Would being told in no uncertain terms that others have received them out of turn and then what should be on it(!!!) upset anyone else's sensibilities? Tell me what you think....and don't worry, I am being forced to learn resilience so I can cope with whatever you say.......maybe!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lucky I only have one sister!

It is 11.32 pm. I have to leave for my sister's by 9 am, to celebrate her birthday, so why am I up?
Am I madly doing pilates so that I look skinnier than her.....a long running joke, as she once did it for 2 hours before I arrived during one of our little competitive weightloss periods.

No, not much point there, I have skinniest wrapped up at least until a few weeks after she has baby number 3!

Am I madly packing and organizing?

No, of course not, I am a quilter!- what else would I be doing than finishing her birthday present???!!!

This is the kind of joyful bit, the binding.

How do you bind? I cut about a 3 or 3 1/2 inch strip depending on my mood ...and the quilt.Then I iron it in half, iron it in half again and hey presto...ready to attach. Lots of people think this is too thick to work with but I like it, especially if I am doing that horrible thing ...and sewing it down with the machine!!!

I do my fair share of hand stitching down on bindings but sometimes the straight sewing road is the road best travelled, especially if it is a utilitarian quilt that your sister eyed off and intends using in the lounge room on the kids as a cosy wrap. And as she battles to tell which way her sewing machine should sit on the table, she isn't going to notice if I don't stay up until dawn hand sewing her binding!

She is especially not going to notice as this is not her only present....I really love giving presents (as well as getting them.).......and I made her up a photo calendar with all the good pics I have taken of her kids, it arrived today (from Belgium!!) and I am so happy with it that I keep sneaking up to the bedroom to look at it again. I am so excited to see what she thinks I will hardly sleep!

Here are a few sample photos for you.....photos are a little smaller than A4.

My DD got in one with her cousin.

You could add whatever you liked to the pages, I am not sure if you can see but I added , "favourite sister's birthday" to the 7th of August...never hurts to remind!!

The beach tomorrow will be a scenic change for us...this is our present scenic view...this is out my kitchen window where the men are harvesting the barley-2 tonne to the acre for those husbands who care!! Harvest is getting close to finished, we may see the darling husband and father...just in time for the kids to go back to school!

Have a great day....and thanks, I decided to go bloglines and can't believe the time it saves! If only they would invent something so I could comment from there as well! Tracey

Saturday, January 12, 2008

In order to get anything done, I have to make lists ...and enthusiatically cross off as I achieve them. The important thing to do if you make lists....... is not to lose them!!!!

After industriously writing mine for the Make my Day award, I then misplaced and had to wing it and the result is that you need to pop over and say hello to Pins and Needles Carol today.(oops!!)

As well as digitally scrapbooking...remember the kids in the Canola, she is also a knitter and quilter...but at the moment she is still getting over her dad passing away on Christmas day.

Speaking of quilting friends, my friend Susan who lives over the other side of Australia, has been sewing up some of her Roman Holiday fabric. She has hit a snag with sashing, she forgot to get some. I have the red and green sashing type here, do you think the roman holiday red would be the go for this or will it be too bright for her Dad? All input appreciated by Suse, who reads my blog.

She has also finished this shaggy for her daughter, cute isn't it!

Had a good catch up with my friend L yesterday,her Mum and one sister were there as well, they had a great time picking out their clothes from the string blocks. Her Mum definitely wants it!

The night before I left I tipped out the second bag of scraps from the family, the really old ones. I almost tossed them all in the bin, they were very dull and unexciting-also a lot of poly/satin type bits.

But I persisted and this was what was able to show yesterday.

The few left over reds from the other bag really lifted the dull tones, this is going to be a 16 block wall hanging for the family.

I am becoming a big fan of this foundation piecing business-there would be no other way to use these mixed quality fabrics.

And finally, as I go off to spend a hard day supervising the pool- a beach kid pic....'cos I can!
Have a great day, Tracey

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Makes my day

Okay, I can do this, I really can-it's just like pulling a band aid off, or pulling teeth or doing the farm paperwork ...do it quick, do it straight away...and it'll be painless!

Don't get me wrong, I will be including in my next Christmas card that I was nominated for the "make my day award", it's just the, "Yeah right...I am flat out picking a fabric, let alone only 10 blogs that "make my Day!" You all do, or I wouldn't read you, and comment to you and reply to your emails. So, on that score I will attempt to respond...oh wait, if you have received 3 nominations do you have to pick 30? Until someone speaks I will do 10.........Waiting, waiting, speak now or forever hold your piece..too late you running up the aisle waving, it's 10.

Susan, Lou-Lee and Christine, my nominators, are a given.

Atet. feels like a friend around the corner.

Dawn. Ditto.

More Dawn. So many projects!

Ruth. Double ditto who has slotted a baby into crafting life effortlessly.

Patti. Paraphrasing Jack Nicholson in As good as it gets, her work and high level of organisation, "makes me want to be a better person."

Kim's big quilting adventure. Makes me spill my coffee.

Donna. Enthusiastic and gets things done.

Joyce. Great attitude and wows me with her work.

Tonya. Makes wonky work.

Libby. Just 'cos she is simply libby.

Finn.'Cos I want to be her when i grow up!
There, I am done! Now down to some other business, do you subscribe through bloglines, or use some other way? I just have everyone in my favourites and go through them, but it is a waste when people haven't posted...should I have a better plan?
Now, finally, a story about a kitten; a kitten that lived a fairly quiet life with a 7 and 9 year old and could still sleep, even if carted around in a pram, here is the vision of restfulness......

And here he is now......
Yes, he is now "Dizzy pusscat" and the proud owner of my gorgeous almost 3 year old niece....life, as he knows it, will never be the same!
Have a great day...and if you click on the coloured blog owners names you will be magically transported to their domains, enjoy..and thanks! Tracey

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The 70's have called and they want their fabric back ...


being a "friend's mother" reaps it's own rewards-eventually.

Great news here, my longest serving friend, L is home from Switzerland for a week before starting her next stage of life with her husband's new job, in Kuala Lumpur. I am going down to see her at her Mum's on Friday.
This is exciting, but entails some work. L was home with her boys in April and when i visited her at her Mum's I came home with 2 garbage bags of fabric scraps....as you do! L, one of 5 daughters, was joining forces with her sisters to make her Mum do a clean out. I have a very sneaky suspicion that mine is the only stuff that would have left the building.
I offered to make her Mum a quilt with the scraps; there are 2 sorts, one bag of REALLY old, that were from my friend's grandma and great grandma dressmaking stashes and the 70's clothes-making efforts- though with 5 daughters 1-2 years apart don't ask me how she sewed!
I was more than willing to do this for my friend's mum because as soon as I was out of my teens I appreciated her SO much.
Well, I think I appreciated her in my teens, I always said my "thanks for having me " and offered to help and do dishes but I didn't realise then what all those extra friends bring to the workload-which is why I always send my kids with food for a play.
We lived a decent way from town so ours was not the hangout home, my Mum got it So easy in that department. It was either at L's home or my town friend's that we ended up.
They say that it is important for boys to have mentors to grow up on the straight and narrow, but I think friend's Mums are important as well. I was reading Dawn in Korea's blog about how her daughter's friend's mum let boys come for a sleepover at 11 pm and when the daughter rang Dawn to say she was coming home at once, the friend's Mum told the daughter to lie and say they weren't there.
That's not the friend's mum mentoring that gets a girl safely through her teens, but the guidance,advice and supervision I got was pretty darn good while letting us be teens.
Now my town friend was lost at sea a few years ago, but we tried to repay her Mum's teenage efforts with support and a photo journal when my friend died and cards and visits since.
I had never seen an opportunity with L's mum until the fabric thing. So here is how I went with some of the 70's fabric today.....with associated props of course!

I used a good quality bedspread as the foundation piece, that worked very well, you get a glimpse of it here in the wind, with Sigmund deciding whether he should eat it or not.

So it is essentially already quilted, i could add a backing and tie it and it would be done. This is just a 4 blocks, I have done 6 but thought I would show her before going further.

There are some great fabrics here.

This grown pet hereford, whose brother topped last Friday's sale , remembered about being fed and came for a visit...she seemed less than impressed with the sewing but hopefully L's mum will have a higher opinion!

Make my day awards tomorrow, as I am being called to bowl for cricket before it gets too dark, have a great day, Tracey.

Monday, January 07, 2008

While we are in the pool...

So, you know that I have been running around the countryside with the kids on Summer holidays, and tormenting pets with quilts but I have neglected to give you a real working farm update, so l'm partially fixing that today.
I can't help a whole lot with harvest, other than dragging around the odd bin and auger or dropping the men from one paddock to another...big machinery is not in my job description.

Now usually my husband NEVER rings me to come and take pictures; he considers this photography a bit of a nuisance that slows down the jobs by distracting his #1 worker, the photographer! Well, let's say he did think that until the photo book of his farm he got for Christmas....now he wants me and the camera!

Here is the reason, a 7 1/2 tonne to the hectare wheat crop.

Whoa, sorry,back up there.-If, like me, when I married into a cropping operation from a strictly sheep and cattle upbringing, you don't know whether that is good or not, read the tone it is said in, here, I'll help you with that....

"this is a 7 1/2 tonne to the hectare wheat crop!!!!!"

And then, just smile and say 'wow', so you don't show your ignorance....that worked for me for years! I was only then caught out when he came in exhausted at one am after a 20 hour harvest day and I couldn't pick the tone...and it hurts to have to whisper..."is that good?"

Here is the gold pouring into the truck.

Here it is being temporarily stored in a field bin as the truck couldn't keep up.

And here it is being poured in as the sun goes down...and harvesters around here really get going. They harvest until it gets too damp or cool and as it is often the afternoon before they can get started they have to go all night if the conditions are right.

Rain now would cause serious problems to the grain and stop the harvest in it's tracks, so it is a race to get it off. DS loves sitting watching the Header front "eat" the grain... and keeps a sharp eye out for the foxes that run from the last sections.

In between the harvest there are still the normal jobs. We had to get steers in to sell at last Friday's cattle sale, this is DH cutting out a few others we wanted from the herd. I am nobly assisting...and trying to hide the fact that I am taking photos! All done while the kids are sitting in the back of the ute in their bathers, waiting to leave for the beach- a very good lesson in work comes before play.

Now, 2 absolutely lovely ladies, Lou-Lee and Susan, have made my day, week and perhaps year by giving me the "You make my day" award. I need to get over the fact that I cannot pick favourites ....even from amongst photos, let alone blogs....and come up with 10 blogs to pass this award onto. I am off now to chew my nails, drink coffee and maybe even something stronger and make lists in order to be able to post this tomorrow. Have a great day...and you are welcome to keep commenting on the chooks and calf pics, I wont draw for a few days, lol Tracey

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Cows want commission

Back from the beach again, spent a bit too much time on the beautiful shore and the sun found a few undercovered spots on my legs so I am a little warm and pink today. My sister thought it was a great joke as I spend half an hour sunscreening everyone and making sure everyone has hats, sunnies, sun tops....and I get burnt!

High 30's again so we are having a very quiet time catching up and tipping out sand today.

Loved all the feedback for my chook and quilt photos, it is funny how everyone has such difference preferences but I think I have the general idea, also a few more things to try.
The Jim Shore angel is the Angel of faithfulness...and she is holding chooks, and I love her, so that may explain why she gets in some photos.

Today you get some more calves; if I thought the chickens were hard to wrangle, I really got an education with the calves....people who do this for a living must drink a lot because no-one wanted to stand still....or keep their quilts on for that matter (I wont even mention the disrespect shown by one...or the fact that that quilt is out of the wash and in my ironing basket now.)
Here are the boys, modelling this season's latest bovine looks....and not that happy about it!

#1 Doesn't she realise it is 35 degrees in the shade-and we are wearing quilts?
#2, No, and she has definitely forgotten that my contract says "no pink!"
#3, well, I hear those striking Hollywood writers got good results from picketing Letterman-are you in?
#4 Next plane out of here, we're on it.
#5, well....perhaps after we check it has a free mini-bar.
I'll leave the boys to themselves there, any favourites or is the pink and white quilt from the last post the winner here? Same deal, all comments most appreciated and there will be cards, etc involved for a lucky commenter. Have a great day, Tracey

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Taste testing

Second day of the new Year already......in no time we will be saying, "where has 2008 gone?'...why do the years seem to fly once you aren't a kid anymore?

So did we all end up making New year's resolutions? New Year's resolutions are a little like storage containers-a sometimes vain attempt to bring organisation to our lives-but we still persist in searching for the perfect one that will improve our life.

It did get to 42 degrees here for New Year's eve and only cooled off to the 20's during the night. There were still people braving the bugs and in the pool well past midnight...and I had a swim with my boy (who had cleverly put himself to bed for 3 hours the previous afternoon so he would see midnight) at 2 am after cleaning up. A great New year always bodes well for the year ahead.

I have been far busier socialising and tidying in the last week than producing anything to share, but I have taken a few pictures that I require some "taste testing" of.

I struggle to look at my pictures and decide what appeals to others but I want to make up a few more sets of cards so here are today's contenders.

#1, chooks and quilts.

#2, a light basket of chickens

#3, chickens on a quilt

#4, darker basket of chickens

#5 , chickens in the straw

All comments on which of these, particularly which angel and chicken photo, you prefer as a card.There may even be a lucky draw that could involve cards! And if you feel inventive and want to name your favourite pic so that it is no longer boringly referred to as "darker basket of chickens", then you are more than welcome!

Oh, and a sneak pick on what you will have to decide on for next post.....
Have a great day, Tracey