Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fabulous Taggalaxy site.... and a prize?

Now I have found some cool things on the Internet, but this just about takes the cake!!
It is a site called and when you go there you will be confronted with a black page, with a grey section asking you to "Enter intial tag". If you are there for a few seconds, some suggested tags may appear, could be Australia, cars, etc etc. We, as a species, enter "quilting" in that spot!!
A big orange planet looking thing appears, (like a Star Wars intro!) with quilting as it planet title. You can click on this to make it bigger and to choose actions. The general excitement is that this planet is soon covered with tiles, that become quilt pictures, all via Flickr. You can just look on in awe (and get excited if any of the 42000 are yours!!) Or you can click on them to get more info. about the quilt photo and even where to find it!!!!!
I have only had a brief look but can see it is an absolutely brilliant resource.
I have still 3 prizes i am about to mail out, I may as well make it 4 or 5 going in the post, especially when the blog world is being so generous with the fire blocks SO When you visit it come back and tell me what you thought...and if you found any quilts you knew! Entries close when i next get around to posting, have fun!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

And the mail rolls in....

Life is just a tad more crazy than usual here. My apologies for the almost complete lack of comments around the traps, but there really seem to not be enough hours for all my commitments at present.

As part of that, I am in charge of the school swimming fun day and swimming sports tomorrow,and as a thank you , the Principal found this really cool quilty thing on the internet at a technology inservice today and walked me through it....oh great, needed another website to visit!!! Especially something as unreal as this!! I will go through it again tonight and show the world tomorrow!!

The poor old microwave mailbox positively spills it's contents at the moment( it is kind of like when we first attempted to make popcorn in it...oh the memories!!)
Here's today's update....

Thank you, girls. I was also excited to find out there really is a Springfield. I will be able to share my wisdom with my kids next time the Simpson's are on!
As a big card lover, I am really enjoying the different notecards that are arriving with the parcels as well, more gorgeousness to add to the lovely blocks!
An extra special thanks also to the lovely people at the FAT QUARTER SHOP. I emailed to enquire about backing and they had this Legacy layer cake in the mail to me that night to help with the quilts. Great effort Kimberley and Fat Quarter Shop-and you are always as efficient when I do business with you as well!

A little more internet shopping before I go off to check my swim plans. Missie Krissie is a blog-(the link to the shop is on the top right of her blog page) , she very kindly volunteered to make a necklace for our local quilt-loving fire victim family as she isn't a patchworker. Lise at the Chocolate Cat and myself then visited her site and loved what we saw. She is also wonderfully efficient and my necklace came on Monday.
She has a range of necklaces, keepsakes and bracelets-with the basic premise being she will put your loved ones names on them, nice and small...or anything else you want on.
I can only show you a taste as my family enjoy some privacy, but go over for a proper look, it's great and if you were ordering from the US the prices would exchange even cheaper than the very fair price they are now!!

You can just see a hint of a letter in the bottom right of the disc. That is the size, not overpowering. Any colours, lots of styles.......
I took the pic on the table runner I am working on. It is from the 'fall back in time range', i had some charm squares. I seem to have missed this range in generaland would love some larger pieces, especially the piece in the pic. If you have some and don't need it we may be able to deal!!
Have a great day, Tracey

Sunday, February 22, 2009

More blocks...of chocolate!!

George Clooney....chocolate!!

Harrison Ford....chocolate!!

Past Essendon footballers, Tim Watson and James Hird...chocolate!

All these yummy blocks...of chocolate!!

Well, they may not all be exactly chocolate in colour, but there is a definite glass and a half of cream in there somewhere-and so yummy to look at (and fortunately calorie free!)

The latest blocks came on Friday,

Especially love those stars Libby!! How clever are you!I've just spent 2 years handpiecing one of those! I think Libby had a link on her blog for where she got the instructions for machine piecing those.

Ann j in France sent a block and Lynn sent me lots of plaid blocks.

The "Club Quilt" girls from Narromine have been busy!! Peg at Happy in Quilting is part of that group and they have been very generous.

Here are Peg's .


Jan, Cath, Carolyn, Vaness and Jo's.

A huge thank you to everyone. We have a microwave mail box and it is quite fun watching these all spill out when I open the door! DH just shakes his head-another thing to add to his book of mysterious things women do.

Spotlight had $40 off if you spent $100 yesterday, so I got a fair bit more wadding-nice to feel organized!

Have a good day, Tracey

Thursday, February 19, 2009

First blocks are here!

In a Georgette Heyer novel they would call me "bookish", a label that would then either attract or repulse those people the heroine came in contact with. A great primary school teacher when i was 10 helped me be bookish. I caught scarlet fever..and while it wasn't the disaster it would have been in a regency Heyer novel, it wasn't all that good and I wasn't allowed near school for ages. My teacher sent me home a selection of novels that included such treasure as "A little house on the Prairie" and the rest is history, with no TV choices, it was become a reader or go nuts. In Year 12 I did English Literature and that opened up a whole new world, even if there were only 2 of us and we did it by correspondence, with just a teacher supervising us occasionally. I discovered that literature lead to art and also art to poetry and that poetry did not just mean rhyming words on a page.

The best bit though, was that the teacher took us to Melbourne for a weekend to see 'A Streetcar named Desire', which we were the theatre. We also went to the museum, the Art Gallery, out for greek food...and Yum Cha and stayed at his in-laws!! In short the kind of weekend a country girl dreams about. He would NEVER be allowed to do that in this present teacher student climate...and what a sad pity that is for those students who are missing out.

On Monday, when the mail started to come through, I was reminded of Blanche's famous quote, which bought back this flood of memories, -
"I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."
Well, I am not normally dependent on the kindness of stangers, very much a "get in and do it myself" kind of girl, but I am very much appreciating "the kindness of strangers" with the block offers. But the quilting bloggers really aren't strangers at all, are they!!
Here are some of the first arrivals. Louise's block were mailed from Sweden on Friday and were in country Victoria on Wednesday morning!!

Patricia from Narramine in Oz, sent me her doubles from an online sampler. I can see a whole quilt top...with burgundy sashings (??) there!

Darla and calidore sent blocks. Calidore's 2 metres of wadding a will also be much appreciated. Thanks to Margaret for bags to put donations in and her her contribution towards the vast amounts of backing I am purchasing...enough to back at least 10 all blocks will be matched up into "families" and become quilts exciting!!!!
I will try to acknowledge the contributions in this way, as the emailing is proving quite a paperwork task. I hope that's fine. Thanks to everyone.

Finally, our new ornament, or two!!

Found the cute little country frame at the Op shop, and it's mate arrived a week ago for my daughter. She gets the company at night and I, lucky me, get the company during the day. I have had to start wearing socks as my toes are just too exciting...apparently!! It's name is Tom. But it is really very well behave and my girl just loves it.
Have a great day, Tracey

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A fabulous community!

Feeling very big on community at the moment. You don't often realise just how big a part of your life your community is...until they are needed for something! I am completely amazed by the support of the online quilting community towards the block project for fire victim quilts. we should be able to cover many people with the online love..... Your kindness, support and encouragement is almost overwhelming. Thank you! I will ensure you all get to share the fun of seeing the many blocks that are due to magically appear here shortly and you will be kept a part of the entire operation as we get going.

I have been flat out replying to emails, contact me again if I have perhaps missed you-I wonder if my husband would consider me having a secretary an outlandish suggestion!!! (I somehow think he would!)

The other community groups I am a part of are also busy (or are going to be!) as well. The School community is busy donating for the local fire victims, my local quilting friend community who I have started approaching about a patchwork and quilting bee to put the donated blocks together, and the Church Community, where I have spent a fair bit of the weekend as I was on this year's Harvest Thanks committee. Organizing the bones of the display is done by a different lot of Church families every year, comes around about every 8 years. The committee does the general stuff on the Saturday, then the Church people add all their donations on the Sunday morning.

This year we were generally just giving thanks for things important to our families..not just a harvest as such. I got a few pictures for you...lots of quilts!

Thanks for computers and sewing machines and quilts...looks like quilt blogger heaven!...with blood plums thrown in!

The fire fighter overalls got pride of place! The motorbike took some getting in!

The view from the top....

Very squashy for the children's address....and we have a LOT of children!

And, yes, the blue cage even had a chook and 9 chicks...guess who supplied them!

We then sell all the donations at a trading table on the lawn, made $440 this year to share between charities...a great effort for our little Church in the paddock.

Better get some beauty I need it desperately !!

Have a great day, Tracey

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Australian bushfires-Quilters can help!

Thank you for all the support and concern expressed ...for the Australian public in general and me as well-though everything is quite fine in our area. It has helped at a time when we all feel very flat while witnessing all the tragedy and heartbreak.
This truly is a terrible time, but it is also something that is making us, as a society and community, move our sights away from global economic issues to what is truly important...peoples lives. It is very sad that it often takes a disaster to rethink priorities, but that is unfortunately our human nature.

You will be very pleased to know that the denim and 'love is all around' quilt already has a name embroidered on it and is resting comfortably adjacent to a humidicrib, where a baby girl who perhaps came a little early as a response to her mother finding out their home and street was lost while they were away, sleeps.

I met that lovely mother today, and she was so thankful for the patchwork blanket, she loves patchwork and wistfully spoke of the many items she had in her home...though she is not a sewer.

So, here is my plan. The idea of where to start to help everyone involved seems almost like the memories of being a non quilter and looking at a completed quilt and thinking, "Where do I start? It's too involved, too hard"....but then you learn to break it up into smaller and smaller sections and pieces and realise that you can achieve those building blocks that eventually create the end result.

For this reason, we are going to start by making this specific lady a quilt. And anyone out there in blogger world who wants to help Australian fire victims, here is your first building block.
The Chocolate cat is going to help me put it together, as I am sure, will my quilt groups. The lady in question loves the country style- the plaids, checks and burgundy's. I think you get the picture...cream based rather than white, that type of colouring. We are thinking a sampler quilt, with nice big blocks of twelve and a half (12 1/2) inches with seam allowance (for 12 inches finished.) So you can choose your favourite block, make it in 12 1/2 inch size from your stash and perhaps have it on the way by this weekend...or by next weekend anyway!

Should we get more blocks than for just one quilt we will work with this lady to assess other suitable recipients, we wont be just blindly loading them on blanket trucks to perhaps be overlooked or unappreciated.
Please comment here if you can contribute or email me if you are no reply so i can get the details out to you. Let's get this happening quickly so we can start wrapping people in quilts of love.
Hoping to hear from you, have a great day, Tracey

Monday, February 09, 2009

Fires, prayers and a quilt.

There are no chickens as props in today's quilt picture.

There is one slight chicken who took the picture..and made the quilt.

She is chicken about needles and skin being cut and blood...and once upon a time she was chicken about fire.....

When I was 13 I went off to a Youth beach bbq, stayed out late in the cold night air and scored myself a very nasty chest infection. That chest infection proved life changing. If I had been at School on 16th February, 1983 I would have been kept there for the night, unable to go home because the whole area I lived in was on fire. Instead, I was at home. I was on the roof of our house, filling gutters, I was helping mum get my brother and sister home from their more local primary School, I was packing my most treasured possessions in our car before Mum put it in a a sheltered cutting, and I was waiting, waiting for my Dad to get home...... Mum had called him and told him to leave the woolshed he was working in and come home, fire was heading for us. He got the message where he was 40 kms away, and it probably saved his life. He went running from the woolshed and hopped in his ute to head to us, got 4 kms to the end of his road and was confronted with a different fire front. While we were waiting for him to come to us, he was fighting his way home and saving many houses and elderly on his way. He is how I know that when you have no water pressure you just put an axe through the tank...people find that a hard concept!!

Of course, there were no mobile phones. Mum had rung the elderly gentlemen who we rented the shed and paddock off to get dad home. Several days later he was found near the woolshed with Dad's dog, he'd gone to save it and neither got back.

Mum didn't know why dad wasn't coming, but decided to get out, then looked for us and we were missing, I had caught a heap of my poultry and was releasing them onto the dam (some things don't change!) By the time she found us leaving was uncertain so we stayed. I remember every minute of that night, of Dad showing up and leaving again to join up with the fire crew...and of watching fire get to within a km of us on three sides of the house! I can still see it burning in the darkness so clearly.

The next day we went off to the burnt heart of the devastation to help and to see how all my extended family had fared. My Dad's family home was gone. The Singer sewing cabinet that I loved and hope one day to find another to "rescue" and have in it's place had gone unrescued on this occasion -though for some reason the rely's saved the fridge!

As we sifted through the wreckage we found the teapot that is today's quilt prop. It has a slight crack so holds some dried flowers from my 21st instead of tea, but it is a constant reminder to me of that day.

The main lesson it taught me was not to be a chicken about fires. Or perhaps even not be an ostrich might be more appropriate. Although we are in absolutely no danger from the melbourne ranges fire now, living out here and putting your head in the sand is foolish.We need plans, we need preparations and we need organisation. These preparations may not have been enough to save the people up in the dense bush with a firestorm at their doorstep but are still well worth the effort nonetheless. My husband knows that no matter what, i do not leave in a fire, so he always knows where i am.

My heart goes out to all the people who right now, do not know where their families are.

And I want to remind the Australian girls that it is only early Feb., the ground is tinder dry and we need to be organized in case another front like Saturday's comes.

Here is the quilt/blanket I made on Saturday while waiting, and checking, and waiting some more. It is denim, with a "love is all Around" charm pack. The back is pink polar fleece. I have decided it should be for those affected by the fires. I will donate it to someone in need when this fire is settled down, or perhaps if you like it you may want to make me an offer that i will add to our Red Cross donation.

Lorraine, and others have emailed about their desire to help. At this point the Australian Red Cross is a good place to start, in a few days when it has settled a little we may see if there are more tangible ways we quilters can offer assistance.

Keep all thse poor people in your prayers.


Sunday, February 08, 2009

All fine

Hi, running out the door to my dad's birthday but I have had a few emails and I am just checking in to say we are fine here, the closest big fire was over 100 kms away. We spent a fairly tense day filling the bath and containers and living in trepidation as the temp reached 46 (or over 116 F) and the winds got close to 100 kms an hour in parts. ( I did what all women do in a crisis after battening down the hatches...I made a quilt!) But we were very fortunate.
We can only add our prayers to the families and townships that that are still under threat and have lost some of the 25 dead. Today is cooler and milder, rain is what we all need.

Friday, February 06, 2009

A job for the heat.

I don't know about you, but exreme constant heat is not my thing.( Though my MIL doesn't take her jumper off until it hits 40!) I have noticed that you start to get used to it and what would have had you lying under the air con on Day 1 doesn't stop you as quickly a week or two later. I also think you alter your ways, you are not quite so hurried and work an energy saving manner. I have witnessed this more laconic style among people who live all the time in Northern, tropical Australia and I can see the advantages.

We have been fortunate here, compared to some of the other Southern, normally milder states. we have dropped to mid 30's this week, while others still swelter in the 40's. Tomorrow is to be 40's again here, with some hope of a shower of rain.

But back to the idea of continuing to work in the heat. My Dh has a theory that you don't notice it as much if you are actually working and I must say that when I am in the sewing room working on a quilt I barely notice it at all.

There is another job I could nearly handle in these temps as well.....

Last week, while on holiday, we got up early one morning and stumbled the 100 or so metres that would allow us to watch this....

...and no, I am not talking shirtless rowing.. (though, now you mention it!!))

The district race horses are in training and, in the heat especially, an early morning swim keeps them fresh.

I am not an incredibly horsey girl, violent asthma from as much as a stray horse hair entering our home until I grew out of it in my early teens meant I missed the bonding window, but I still like the look of them...and would happily drape quilts on their backs for photos if I had one!

But, if I weren't a very happy farmer, wife and mother, swimming these around (and rowing them around if I was allowed the odd dip) the ocean would be high on my list of jobs I could cope with in the heat, how about you?

Oh, before I go-the shirtless rower reminded me that I have a question. I watched the Superbowl on Monday as Australia's Ben Graham was a punter.. and I want to know how come our AFL footballers put shorts over their bike pants and the US guys just wear the bikepants??? Is there some kind of petition we Aussie girls could start......

I also want to know what the rules are...but that's a whole different post!!!

(I can say, the half time entertainment i understood...Yay Springsteen!!)

Aussies, stay cool; Northern girls , stay warm!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A finish..and a start.

If you have read Australian blogs in the last few days you will know that we picked just the right days to head to the ocean on holiday. Temperatures of between 41 and 45 degrees here with little or no wind, then hot strong northerly's were enough to fry my garden (what was left of it anyway) but down on the coast we had the sea breeze which made it bearable....and an ocean and pool....

Almost too hot for Dh here so he basically joined us on holiday, only retruning daily to mainly check stock and water. So it was lucky I didn't decide to take the sewing machine!!! I took some hand work and managed to finish this UFO.....

Which was stipple quilted with the quilting machine.

The little pekin silky chickens were fresh from the shell
...and thought the little white dots on the green border were food!

So that will be one item finished for May Britt's challenge. I also worked on my lone star and have about half of the star appliqued to the backing. You will be pleased to know I Really enjoyed my holiday but there were no beach fire bans throughout the state for days!

I will show you some holiday snaps next post, there are too many for now.

Seven weeks of School holidays just flew, I think my babies grew by multiple not-yet -11 year old's feet went up by over 3 women's sizes since her last fitting...a 9 1/2 now! I was that until I had kids, then moved to a size 10...just another one of those joyful things about pregnancy! we both have a good solid hold on the earth.
They were ready for the bus with half an hour to spare so I got a lot of shots, here are two I like...well, we should probably say 2 where my DS is not making some kind of dodgy face...his new favourite way to annoy his mother!

The poor little boy had run around bare foot mainly in bathers all the summer; putting a collar and tie and socks and shoes on tried him sorely!!

Have a great day, off to clean!! Tracey