Welcome to my blog about my quilting journey! I started quilting in 2006 with a quilt of my own design which started as a cushion cover and ended up as a single bed sized quilt! Now I'm totally hooked....maybe obsessed is a better word for it.

Friday, 4 December 2015

A Little Sewing is Better Than None at All!

Well yet again my UFOs go unfinished - surprise, surprise!  I did at least get one set of my placemats quilted. What that taught me was that I am quite rusty so clearly haven't been doing enough quilting!
I started the second set but I really am not thrilled with the design I'm quilting. Can't be helped though as I can't unpick as the white fabric has a zig zag pattern which is ever so slightly rubbery and leaves holes if you have to unpick. So onward I go with it and it will have to do.

I've always been a reasonably organised person and I don't know whether its a hangover from moving house or something else but I'm really finding it hard to keep myself focussed and on track with just about everything since we moved. I do feel like we've been very busy, with something on every week and that may be adding to my problem. I am a person who likes a routine and I think I'm having trouble getting back into my old routine. I'm spending way too much time at night on the computer instead of sewing.  I haven't even finished doing all the necessary address changes 4+ months after our move! Normally I'm the queen of admin-type stuff (which is what I do for a living) but not at the moment. Don't even get me started on Christmas shopping, as in I haven't started!

As if we haven't had enough changes this year, here is one more! We have another fur baby, a little brother for Livvie. His name is Justin and he's a lovely 12 month old golden retriever who was unfortunately a wee bit short for showing. Luckily we're not fussy about height! Isn't he lovely?

The other reason for bringing Justin into our home was that while Livvie is a wonderful, sweet natured darling, she is extremely fearful of people she doesn't know - unless they happen to be walking a dog and then they're old friends. She also doesn't get as much doggy playtime at our new house as there doesn't seem to be the same close knit community of dog lovers nearby.

Livvie was so excited to meet Justin and just over a week later she still thinks he's great. They get along so well and he is very outgoing so hopefully he will bring her out of herself with people.  Either way she is loving having a little brother to play with.  Justin is a more traditional golden colour while Livvie is a beautiful cream with slight highlights on her ears and tail - and don't ask about babies because Livvie is desexed!
One of the things that makes me smile about Justin is the way he lies in the froggy position! Nice and cool on the tiles (and a sign of great hips!).
We had a housewarming a couple of weeks ago and one lovely gift I got was a couple of mug rugs from my sister-in-law for my sewing room!

I'm not sure what she's saying!

In my continuing story of garden surprises here are my recent finds. I had an inkling these plants near our front door were agapanthus and I was right. I had always planned to put some in the garden at our other house but here they are already in and blooming in a couple of places! They're not quite open fully but I couldn't resist taking a snap.

This plant is one that we are planning to remove once a couple of others we have planted get a bit larger. You might think its odd to remove a plant which is happily flowering but this plant is covered with the webby nests of a moth larvae which is apparently specific to this type of plant. We've come across it before at our other house and there's not really a very effective way to get rid of it other than get rid of the plant itself.  It has decided to flower so here it is while it lasts!  These are quite small so I am in quite close so you can see it.
I had to leave my lovely liriope behind but it turns out I have quite a few in this garden too which are just sending up buds. Whether they make it to open up is yet to be seen as they frequently get trodden on by two playful dogs at the moment!
Not really a flower but interesting I think. This is some sort of seed pod opening up on one of the palms in the garden (it has quite nasty spikes around the base). It looks like lots of little flowers! The second photo shows you its relative size to the plant.

Last time I shared a photo of a variegated canna lilly. Here is the same flower once the petals had all dried up and fallen away. Isn't it interesting? Its covered in little stubbly spikes and must be its seed pods.
Well that's it for now, hopefully I can get myself back into gear and get on with things by next time I post!

Thursday, 19 November 2015

What I've been Up To - Not Much!

I really thought that when I had a sewing room I would do so much more sewing but really we've been so busy lately that hasn't been the case.

Nevertheless I managed to find some time a week or so ago to start on a couple of Christmas presents. You know how you find some projects that you like but you don't have time when you see it and you keep a copy of it for later on? Well I had a few of those put aside as potential Christmas present projects and I pulled this one out to start with.

Only problem is I don't know where I got it from! I'm sure it was from a book I borrowed from the library and I assumed it had the book name on the top or bottom but it doesn't so I can't give the credit for the pattern.

Its nice to make something small and simple sometimes. It was fun to pull out a pile of 2.5" strips I had and pick out colours. I haven't really decided for sure who will get these but I think one set will go to my niece who has just come back to Adelaide after living in London for six years.

I started with a combination of pink, yellow and orange and found some offcuts from fabric I used on the back of another quilt which were just the right size to cut the background pieces from. It is white chevrons on white.
Then in no time I had my strips together:
and then they were done!
I had enough background fabric to make at least one more set but possibly two. So I came up with another set of fabrics in blues and greens.

In no time at all I had another set of 4 done!
Sorry I just realised I forgot to take a photo of the finished blue ones! Oh well! Now all I need to do is quilt them - and take a photo of them when they're finished of course.

I thought you might like this photo too. Does anyone else get themselves in such a mess as me? I guess usually I would tidy it up as I used to be cutting in the kitchen at our old house. Here I can make a mess if I want to so I do!
I must get in there and tidy it up, we're having a housewarming this weekend!

Before I go, a couple more photos of my garden's developments. These popped up hidden behind some other plants in the garden. Its a shame they're not at the front!
 A one and only flower on these - I think its a canna lily (not sure if that's right!).
 I never knew these palms had flowers. They almost look like a small wattle flower.
We had these at our other house too but they were more hidden away. This one opened up and then closed up again!
I shared a photo of a native iris previously but this is a lemon version of native iris. Its not a great example unfortunately as a bug had chewed its way through the petals before I found it but you get the idea! This photo doesn't show its true colour which is a lovely pale lemony yellow.
Who knows when I'll get back to the sewing room as I foresee some a major distraction over the coming weeks. More on that next time!

Friday, 30 October 2015

A UFO Update

Well despite moving in July and getting my new sewing space all organised I don't seem to have any time for any actual sewing! My UFO for this month was to make something with my string blocks - no wait a minute I think that was last month's UFO.  Never mind, I did at least manage to finish a quilt top with the blocks I started on my recent sewing weekend but that's about it this month.

Not the best shot but due to a mischievous golden retriever

who manages to plant herself on a quilt the minute I put it down to photograph it, I had to put it on our bed to take a snap of it.

This one will be a donation quilt and now I just need to get around to sandwiching and quilting it but somehow I don't like my chances anytime soon as I don't think we've got much free time between now and Christmas. However time will tell. I'm not getting worked up about it, this year has really been all about the move and it was definitely worth it.

I keep finding new things to love about our house. Here are a couple of recent finds.  Firstly even though I knew what this plant would look like when it flowered it still caught me by surprise at how pretty it looks where it is. I should have taken a close up photo but its a native iris and all the buds opened overnight on the same night.
This is another discovery, sitting on the garden bench looking up through the branches of our tree. Just lovely!
On the family line, my younger son had his graduation from his horticultural course.
The ceremony was held at Adelaide Oval. We had been there for an AFL game (sitting right up near the top of the stand in the background - nice and dry in the winter) but it was great to see it from a different viewpoint.  Here's a proud Mum with her baby boy (he just loves it when I call him that!). Not a great photo but it was the best my hubby could manage!

Well that's another month gone, not sure where they're going but they're sure going fast!

Thanks for reading my blog today,

Friday, 9 October 2015

Sewing Weekend Wrap Up

This time two weeks ago I was on a sewing retreat at my usual lovely seaside sewing location. Since that time I've been too busy with my mother in law staying to post about it but she went home yesterday and so its time to get caught up!

The weather was spectacular as you can see!
The retreat this time was with my husband's family and we had a bit of a hiccup as my sister in law ended up bringing one of her grandchildren at the last minute. Not quite the same thing being away with a 6 year old in the group and I don't think it will be happening again as Gaye didn't get much done with her along!

The nice thing about this getaway was that Michelle, my hubby's niece, did all the catering for us as she loves to cook and doesn't often get free rein to make whatever she likes.  She had also finished her teaching degree two days before we left so it was a lovely way to relax after all her hard work! She and her ThermoMix looked after us all weekend with lots of lovely goodies including a delicious butter chicken for tea on Saturday night.
Shortly after our arrival there was a quick trip to the nearest electrical store as Kerrie had left the cord for her machine home!  Even in that short time Michelle had a batch of muffins in the oven before they left, leaving me in charge of making sure they came out in time. Mmmmmm, yum!
I got stuck into some string blocks and would have finished my quilt top but for a lack of pink strings!

Here is where I got up to:
There's nothing like being on a retreat and sewing in your pj's! Here are my two sisters in law and our little visitor who you can see was getting a bit weary by this time after having been at a sports day at her school all day!
The next day was another spectacular day and we all took the opportunity at different times to have a walk along the gorgeous beach, and spent some time watching all the dogs having a ball on the beach, the fishing boats heading out to catch a big one and this ship heading back out to sea.
I was working on some more tea cup blocks (from a Missouri Star tutorial here) which I started making last month on my previous sewing retreat.  They are for quilts for a hospice and I let our helper see if she could find a layout she liked with the ones I had already finished (which let her grandmother get on with what she was doing for a little while at least).
By the time I had finished I had enough for two quilts (although I forgot to take a photo of the second one after I had it all together!).
The curtains served as an impromptu display board! I do have a photo of the second quilt before I joined the blocks together.
I also made some blocks for another cause but after coming home I think I've misread the guidelines about the fabrics. Never mind I'll still send them and hopefully they can make use of them in some way, perhaps on the quilt back! 
Well I think that's a wrap! I love going away sewing but I'm glad to be home for a while now. I've unpacked everything again and got my sewing room back to normal after my mum in law's visit. It was lovely having her to stay and I think she enjoyed the visit too. Apparently our new sofa bed is very comfy so that's good news too! 

Our dog Livvie is a bit sad today as she loved having her country cousin dog visiting, although I think Kip was probably glad for a rest from a super enthusiastic golden retriever who insisted on making him play whether he wanted to or not. They did get along well although they couldn't quite decide who had the rights to this dog bed!
Thanks for reading my blog today!

Monday, 21 September 2015

Sewing Room Lighting Upgrade

Not much sewing got done this week as we had the electrician in and also have my mother-in-law staying with us.  Its her first stay with us since we moved and now we have a nice new sofa bed for her in the sewing room.  Apparently its quite comfy and she's enjoying her stay with us.  We're having a family sewing weekend away next weekend so Mum has her machine with her and I was able to set her up to sew on my cutting table so that will give her something to do on the days when we're at work.

I was happy to see the electrician as his most important job (as far as I was concerned) was to put in some lovely bright LED downlights in the sewing room, so now I'm all set to sew!

Here is the lighting before - just a central light with not so bright globes. They were some sort of energy saving fluoro globe.  I had to turn them on 15 minutes before I went into the room as they took ages to get to full brightness (which wasn't that bright!).
Here is the new and improved lighting (along with newly installed hard wired smoke alarm) and ceiling fan for when I get too hot when I'm quilting.
The photo above is taken with a flash and the one below without one. These are super bright LED downlights. I've also had a dimmer installed for the days when I don't want the lights quite so bright!
My only sewing done this week was to make some more yo-yo's for my hand stitched quilt.  I'm getting there - 57 out of 132 done.  Now I just need to get back to doing some more on putting the quilt together!

To finish I thought I'd share some photos of some of the lovely garden in our new house. We came back after being away for a week in our caravan to find lots of flowers had come out. They are tucked away in the garden everywhere and add a splash of colour amongst the green.

Most of them are this colour:
but there is one which is a much brighter shade of orange.
Its an even nicer colour in real life!

The other reason I haven't got much sewing done is that I've been helping my hubby and his friend Craig to rebuild his aviary. We had a really large aviary and this smaller one at our old place and my husband had to compromise and downsize to just this one. In the end we kept the covered section and rebuilt the front part using all new steel to fit the shape of the garden bed.
Its mostly finished but needs a bit of fine tuning including painting the wire black so you can actually see the birds but I think it fits the space very well. We've designed it so that we can build a second smaller one next to it in the future if necessary, using the small garden shed to the left of this photo for a covered section.
Once its been painted and we get it planted out with some grasses and a shrub or two I think it will look really nice (nicer than the old one at the other house in any case!).  Brian's just itching to get his birds back from his friend Tony who's been babysitting them for the last 2 1/2 months. I'll be glad too because then he'll be busy with them and I can get more quilting done!  A big thanks to Craig for all his work building it and Tony for looking after the birds for us for so long - you're both lovely guys.

Thanks for visiting my blog today,