Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The last day of winter and the last day of August

I have been very busy trying to finish the month on a high note, as I have had far too many non crafty days.

The last 24 hours I have been without the internet and it's amazing how much I achieve if I'm not surfing blogs and flickr.  Hmmmmm, but how do I reduce the number of blogs I read because they are all so good!

I had an unforeseen trip to the emergency room at the hospital on Sunday night with bitchypoo. She spent the evening on an antibiotic drip because of an infection. Fortunately we got to the hospital before it became really serious.  She is fine now, (after two lots of antibiotics via drip and now on oral antibiotics for the next few days), although she still has some residual pain.  Every cloud has a silver lining, I grabbed my crochet on the way to the car, and was able to spend some considerable waiting time, finishing some blocks for  this project.
I now have 25 finished, only 5 more to go, and then I can sew it together.

My Provence Picnic quilt came back from the quilters, yippee, and I have been madly finishing the binding, so this is going to be my only finish for the month.

You can just see the fleur de lis quilting design in the bottom of the red piece.

Folded with the blue binding showing at the bottom.

Part of the pieced back.

The front and back.

The photos are not great as I took them this evening, and the lighting was really poor. I will take a full frontal photo, he he, when I have a helper to hold it and it's daylight.

Tuesday tidbits (and tails)

Now to destroy that belief you have that I am mature and sensible.

In our household (thanks to me) we have theme songs for our furry four legged members. Now when I say song, I use it very loosely and of course I am far too busy to serenade the animals with an entire song so they only get a line or two.

Starting with Bailey, as he is special, and he was the first to have a song dedicated to him.
This came about as every time he went outside he would sit on a rock or run to a tree, climb/run up it, climb down it and run to the next tree, climb/run up it and down it and then go and sit on a rock. We also had a flip top rubbish bin/trash can in the kitchen which he used to sit on, all the time, grrrr.

This is sung to The SpiderMan theme song.

Bailey boy, Bailey boy
Friendly neighbourhood Bailey boy
On a rock, up a tree, on the rubbish bin annoying me

(and then a bit of dah dahing to go with the rest of the tune)

Of course if Bailey has a song Lulu has to have one too, she doesn't do anything particularly annoying so hers is just to the tune of Scooby Doo

Loopy loopy Lu where are you.................

And last but not least, my cutie boy Karma, and that was easy

Culture Club's Karma Chameleon
so we I sing

Karma karma karma karma karma chameleon,
you come and go, you come and go.

Too easy

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Sewing Party For Two

After my complete lack of craftiness during the week, in which I found every excuse in the universe not to sew, I felt quite bad.

Fortunately for me I have a Sergeant Major at my disposal who whipped me into line and forced me to sew something on Friday night. She's a bit frightening though, threatened me with all sorts of unspeakable things if i didn't join her in a sew in.  I am glad she did though as I had a ball, although my stamina is not as good as  Mrs P's, as after a couple of hours I found myself fading very fast. It wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that we talked for three hours on the phone on Thursday night - until midnight, yes midnight, way past my bedtime. However it was great talking to Mrs P and confirm, yet again, we are twins separated at birth. Even though I am a few days months, maybe a year or two older.

Mrs P is a legend and raced through cutting and piecing a coin quilt, which looks absolutely fabulous and had me drooling at her photos, while I took my time and finished two more of the wonky log cabin blocks.

Fortunately earlier in the day I had tidied up my pile of strips for the wonky blocks so I was able to jump straight in.
See, nice neat piles ready to go, and look at that stash of fabric at the back. Now that I am too pathetic to attempt a queen size quilt I am never going to use all that in this quilt, so I may have to organise a fabric swap after I have finished this quilt.

I did finish the second one, but I was just too tired to take any more photos and load them.

The mess after I finished.

I also tried out a final round on one of the blocks, but I'm not as over the moon with my fabric choice as I thought I would be, so back to the drawing board for that. I nearly cried last night after I had tried it, and then looked at the alternative which I thought was much better. But I kept a stiff upper lip and decided I should go to bed and think about it another day, after all I haven't even finished the blocks yet.

Today Renata and I went up to Mapleton to see a quilt show which was very nice. There were a couple of stalls there from some quilting shops around the area including my local one  Cooroy Patchwork, Patchwork Angel and Quiltopia!Design from Maleny. We met Ann from Quiltopia who was lovely and very helpful and as she was so nice I purchased some fabric from her.  No jelly rolls this time, however these two layer cakes asked me to take them home.

After seeing Mrs P's Christmas quilt, I loved the colours, and although not the same fabric I have been eying this for quite some time.  Today because of the quilt show, it was discounted, I gave in and bought it.

I love this Sugar Pop, it is a new range by Liz Scott which apparently won't be in the States until December. I love how we have all the latest Moda pre-cuts here before they appear in the U.S. - strange, weird but oh so good.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I've got nothing

I have had a week of procrastination. I keep on looking at my sewing and crochet, both of which need projects to be either worked on or finished, but I just can't muster up the enthusiasm to do anything.  Instead I have whiled away the hours sitting at the computer googling stuff, drooling over flickr photos and blogs and generally just looking at anything, rather than doing something.

My creative space
insert sounds of crickets chirping

I have also had a bit of a clean out of the study so I can eventually move my sewing stuff into it, then it will become my sewing room. I have to wait for bitchypoo to finish school before I can move in permanently,  she is coming up to her final exams in the next couple of months. and at the moment she uses it to study,  research, go on facebook, you tube etc.

On another note, what is the past tense of - to text?

Is it texted, as it just looks and sounds wrong, eg.

I texted Shay.

I text Shay.

Ahhhhhhh they both look and sound wrong.

I think I will just use text/ed,  that way I cover both bases.

A random gratuitous photo from my trip last year taken on the Isle of Capri, Italy, as I haven't any photos of anything crafty to show.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The joys of dating when you are not 17

Hope your sitting down with a cuppa as this is longer than normal.

The joys of dating when you are not 17, or should I call it the joys of dating when you are not 20 30 40, ok lets just say when you are not 40
you are

5' 10"
blonde with extensions
enhanced with plastic surgery
a sex goddess

and you don't like
men who think they are god's gift to women / the universe
large stomachs
hairy backs
lots of facial hair

I have been divorced for awhile now, and have dated a few men over the years. I genuinely enjoy my own company and have lots of great friends, but sometimes I think it would be nice to find someone to share life experiences.

It started with

Mr Boring

I had known him for many years before we started dating, although I hadn't seen him for quite a few years.  He seemed like he would be the perfect partner for me. We had lots in common, we knew each other well, but he treated me like a wife, not a girlfriend. There was no romance, he was pleasant, but not an ounce of zing in the relationship........nothing.
I was very comfortable with him, but I didn't want to be comfortable, I needed romance, attention, consideration, all the things I had been missing for years from my marriage.
He eventually moved to the States for work and was soon married within a few months of arriving.

I was hoping that one of my friends would be able to introduce me to one of their friends, but not one had a friend who they thought was suitable.

Next step was to try internet dating, I am sure there are many successes but I could write a book on the many failures, but I won't as I don't want to put off anybody who is thinking of trying internet dating. Here are a few of the more memorable ones that I can't forget, boy I wish I could.

Mr Ice Cream Man

Not quite as bad as it sounds, he owned an ice cream franchise.
We went out on our first date, a nice meal, pleasant conversation. Afterwards we went for a walk along the water front. He kept on trying to squeeze my breasts while we were walking, it didn't matter whether there was anyone else nearby, I would like to say he tried to fondle my breasts, but no, he squeezed them. He didn't last long!

Mr Rum

Another nice chap. We got on well, I enjoyed his company for the first couple of dates, until I found out he was an alcoholic, and would have work "lunch" meetings that would involve copious amounts of alcohol and last all afternoon. He would ring me all day and evening, telling me how much he liked me in a slurred booze addled voice, leaving messages on the answering machine. Not good for a long lasting relationship and quite frankly a bit scary.

There were quite a few other dates over the years, none too bad, none really good, until 

Mr Superior

I thought I had become well versed in weeding out the "duds".  Mr Superior and I emailed a lot, we had quite a few phone calls. I asked lots of questions.  There was one thing that was not quite perfect with this guy. He had told me that sometimes he initially came across as arrogant, but he was adamant that he was not arrogant. I was rather concerned as my ex had been somewhat arrogant, and that is one trait I do not like. 
I agreed to meet in Brisbane for lunch.  I met up with him, he was well dressed, he actually looked exactly like his photo, pleasant, polite,  until he started asking questions, well one question.
What did I find erotic? Now, hmmm, first date, who asks someone what they find erotic on a first date?  I was polite stupid and kept changing the subject by asking questions. He then started asking me when I was going to move down to be with him, and how we would have to rent a larger apartment as his was too small.  At one stage during the "date" he leant back in his chair, crossed his arms, looked down at me and told me that he would not support me financially. I bit my tongue and replied only, that I was devastated that he had ruined my plans for the future. I should have got up and walked away, but I was trying to be polite, so instead of walking away I was able to witness Mr Superior writing on the bill how much my coffee cost and how much I owed.

Mr Hook Up Man aka The Octopus

After Mr Superior I thought it was a waste of time emailing, talking on the phone first, because it didn't seem to make it easier to weed out the crap. I agreed to have a coffee with Mr Hook Up Man after only a couple of emails and one phone call.  We had a pleasant time, got on well, he was polite, interesting and   I agreed to go out for another coffee  the following day. Again, nice conversation, not possibly the man of my dreams, but a nice enough guy that I thought I might possibly like to get to know, until we were walking back to my car, when he grabbed me, pulled me to him and proceeded to try and kiss me madly in the car park. Now I'm no prude, but I don't think it entirely appropriate for two people to be grinding and kissing etc in a public place. I like holding hands, hugs, but overt public displays of affection are just not my thing. I pulled away from him, mumbled something about public displays of affection and got out of there fast.
He later apologised and said he wouldn't do that again,  I accepted and I thought as we had got on so well before he tried the stunt in the car park, I would go out with him again.
We went to a movie together, yeah I know, a risky business going to a movie - dark room, confined space, with a possible groper. However he had apologised for his previous infringement and we were seeing Inception, not a movie conducive to romance.  WELL, he tried every trick in the book. The movie is one that needs concentration to watch, and all through the movie he tried to grab my hand, rub it, rub my arm. It was so annoying, I wanted to pull my arm away and punch him in the face. I leant forward at one stage to stretch and he took the opportunity to slip his arm behind me and pull me towards him.  I should have punched him and walked out but it was just annoying as opposed to downright gross. There I was being hugged close to him with my neck at about a 45 deg angle away from him so he couldn't get close to my face. Eventually I pulled my arm away, he started rubbing my leg. I figured having my arm rubbed was better than having my thigh rubbed so I grabbed his hand. Occasionally he would turn to me and I think he was trying to see if he could get a kiss in, unfortunately for him my head was about as far away from his as possible while I was still sitting in the chair next to him. I was seriously contemplating getting up to go to the toilet and not going back to the movie. I don't know why I didn't.
The other thing that annoyed me, was his dress code. I know some guys are not exactly clothes horses and don't have a clue, but you would think he would have made an effort to wear something decent.  Shorts and flip flops are not my idea of a way to make a good impression when you are trying to "woo" someone. Unless you are at the beach.

I just don't get it.

"Why do men in their 40's and 50's revert to being 15 again." 

I'm starting to think that men believe that if a woman is over 40 and not a sex goddess the woman should feel grateful that they will go out with her, even more so if they actually want to have sex with her.
For me, it's back to the drawing board. I also need to walk out earlier instead of staying, although then I miss out on being able to tell my friends how bad these guys are, which makes for great conversation, and then they realize how lucky they are because they don't have to go through this crap.

I'm giving up on internet dating dating for the time being and going back to enjoying my life without the complications of beating off men who just want me for my body!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekend away

I've just spent the weekend away with some lovely friends who live on the Gold Coast.  I originally met them when I lived in Singapore. They are from New Zealand but have lived in Australia for the last 10 years. It's a 2 hour drive on the freeway to their house from here. 
I would love to say that the weekend was spent enjoying the sights, the sand, surf and the atmosphere. 

I'd also love to show you lots and lots of photos of the weekend.

I took my camera and didn't take a single photo. You will see why if you read on.

I arrived late Friday afternoon and we sat and had a welcome drink, maybe two!  In the evening we saw The Ghost Writer - a great movie, and then back to the house to whip up a dinner/supper and open another bottle of champagne. We sat up talking until way after midnight.
Saturday was spent lounging around in our pyjamas, it was a lovely sunny day but not overly warm, and we just couldn't be bothered to change. Another bottle was opened at 11.30 am which is pretty early for me, but it was very pleasant, lounging around in pyjamas, soaking up some winter sun and sipping champagne. Great, but not great for photos!!!! Late afternoon we changed into something more appropriate for mingling with people, and walked across the garden, to slip through the fence and have drinks and an early dinner with the next door neighbours, and I forgot to take my camera.  By 6.30 I was so tired, I ran away and went back to my friends house.  The election aftermath and count was on TV. With every intention of going to bed very early, I stayed up until late to watch the unfolding events of what was looking like a hung parliament, where there is no clear winner. There is still no clear decision and we may not know until later in the week who will be able to form a government.
Sunday morning I was woken up early by the  *#@* rooster across the road, and we lounged around in our pyjamas again, until it was time for me to drive home.

I had such a great realaxing time, and although it sounds like I drank buckets of alcohol, I didn't actually drink that much (yes Mrs P and the other doubters) I didn't drink too much,............................. not really.  However I think the lack of sleep, the more than usual amount of champagne on Friday and Saturday, plus the two hour drive back home on Sunday afternoon conspired to make me feel very very ordinary last night. I am pleased to say after a reasonable nights sleep I feel much better today.

I was going to throw myself into being crafty today, as I didn't get much done last week, but it's now early late afternoon, and I haven't touched a thing. Maybe I could open another bottle...............

PS. Absolutely no drink driving was involved.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

WIP's and UFO's

Yesterday I was fiddling with my Flickr account and sorting out photographs. I created a set for WIP's. As I was placing the photos in the set it was apparent that I had way too many things that I hadn't finished, instead of just having one or two photos I had eight projects to be completed. One of those was this table runner. I had sewn the binding to the front and pinned it to the back ready to hand sew, then left it sitting on the table, slowly being buried under patterns, fabrics and other projects.

I have just finished it, and as the table has disappeared under the wonky log cabin blocks and fabric I have nowhere to photograph it. So I'm cheating and using my previous photos, but it is well and truly finished. One down, seven WIP's or possibly UFO's to go.

Which brings up the question when does a WIP become a UFO? 
Is there a statutory time limit?

I've been having quite a productive week, not necessarily of craftiness, but I have succeeded in doing a few things that I've been putting off for a while most of the year. Yesterday I changed my name on my frequent flyers rewards program. I was supposed to have done it months ago, but being lazy, didn't. We are going away for a holiday soon, so I have to do it before then, otherwise I won't get the points. I also changed my name at the telephone company. It was so easy, but I just hate having to take all the paperwork and explain why I'm changing my name.  
Today was the day that some filing needed to be done. When I started putting it away, I was embarrassed to see that the last time I filed was in December. Hmmmmmmmm.  Filing is not high on my list of fun things to do, but 8 months, that's bad.
Are you that bad, do you put things off if there is no deadline?

A lovely surprise

The wonderful Michelle from The Desert Quilter had given me this great award, the Versatile Blogger Award. It was a lovely surprise and I am chuffed that Michelle felt me worthy of it.

There are a few rules that come with this award.

1. Thank the person who gave you this award. Done in an email to Michelle and now here in this post.
2. Tell 7 things about yourself. Now that's relatively easy.
3. Award 15 other bloggers that you enjoy reading.  I am going to have to think about it as trying to pick 15 bloggers is so darn difficult.

While I am deliberating, here are

Seven things about me that you probably don't know

1. I have lived in three different countries, seven different cities and now live just outside a sleepy little country town which is inland from one of the best holiday spots in the world. (Australia, New Zealand and Singapore)
2. I used to love wearing high heels all the time, and I mean all the time, think the girls in Sex and the City. The higher and 80's pointier the better, and now I have bunions, so you will probably never see photos of my feet on my blog.
3. I learnt to SCUBA dive and became fully qualified when we lived in Singapore, and didn't enjoy it at all, I much prefer to snorkel.
4. My favourite drink a) alcoholic- Caipirinha  b) non alcoholic - Pink Grapefruit Tiro - a soft drink/soda
5. My favourite food CHOCOLATE
6. I love to drive, which is good as I live miles from anywhere.
7. I really want to visit the States and see as much of it as possible, so far I've only seen L.A.

How do I pick 15 bloggers, I can't there are so many out there that I love.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday tidbits (and tails)

Slowly, slowly. The blocks are not in any order as mini me so kindly pointed out. I was quite thrilled that she took enough notice to see that they were not in a random layout, she was quite worried that I had laid them out incorrectly. Awwww she cares!!
I have 13 1/2 made now, at this rate I should be finished in 2035. At least the blocks should be finished, don't know about the sashing, the backing, the quilting and the binding.

This is my favourite block so far. I love the owl. Under artificial lighting the charcoal is looking a little purple.

Karma aka Doodles


 A great cut and blow dry makes all the difference!!!!

With his flea! 
He always has his tongue out.

Guess who!

He squeezed himself through the cut outs under the stool.

This has to be burnt soon, as we are coming into the dry season.  I have been waiting on my neighbour to help as he is a member of the local fire brigade, he has offered but I'm still waiting. 

It doesn't look very big, but unfortunately it is huge. To give you an idea of the size, the stumps are  from full grown pine trees that were cut down a few years ago. It is at least 2 metres high ( 6.5 feet). 
It's going to be one mighty huge bonfire.

Friday, August 13, 2010

This week

Some gorgeous colours in Bella solids arrived this week, Magenta, Pistachio, Peony and Green. To go with the Plume fat quarters and charms below. 
I am getting ready to start on Bitchypoo's quilt. Probably when I start to get bored with the wonky log cabins, which is likely to be sooner than later.
 Look at all these yummy lovely colours.
 I have been finding it difficult to decide on a quilt pattern to use, as there is such a diverse range of colours and patterns in Plume.  Bitchypoo also kept on choosing quilt patterns that were too busy for the fabric. I wanted to find something that highlighted the large patterns. I think we have agreed on one now, at least I hope we have.

I've completed two more blocks and half way through the next. I think these are a bit more wonky than the previous ones.

Don't worry I won't give you a blow by blow description of every block.

Here's my boy. In great need of a haircut. His face is in there somewhere.

He is booked in for a cut and blow dry on Monday, so can't wait to show you what he looks like under that fur coat and hoodie.
I have been wanting to have him clipped for a few weeks now, but I don't want him to freeze as it is still very cold here at night.  Yesterday I was giving him a scratch and felt a lump on his head.  I took him out into the sunshine (I can't see a thing these days without my glasses and adequate lighting) and I found a paralysis tick.  He was very lucky I found it so early, it was still very tiny. 
He doesn't seem to have any adverse affects from it, other than a lump on the head, pretty much where his hair is parted on the top of his head in the above photo.

Of course Lulu had to get in on the photo. I swear she has telepathy when it comes to the camera. As soon as I start to take photos, she is pushing her way in.

Noisy Kookaburras in the gum tree, early morning, boy are they loud.

 Early morning shadows as the sun comes up.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Meatballs in Mushroom Sauce

I haven't posted a recipe in forever, so here's one that's nice and easy you can cook in the microwave oven or in a regular oven BUT you have to like mushrooms if you are going to try this.

Meatballs In Mushroom Sauce

25g (1oz) butter
1 onion, finely chopped
675g (1.5lb) minced (ground) beef or lamb
50g (2oz) breadcumbs
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp worcestershire sauce - I always add a bit more
1 tsp tomato puree, tonight I added a tsp and a bit of some marinara sauce that I had left over in the fridge
pinch of dry mustard, or 1 tspn mustard
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 tblspn plain flour
2 tblspn oil
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
5 tblspn water
100g (4oz) button mushrooms, sliced

1. Melt the butter in a large bowl for 1min on 100% setting, add the onion, cover and cook for 2-3 mins or until tender.
2. Add the meat, breadcrumbs, oregano, worcestershire sauce, tomato puree, mustard and seasoning. Mix well together and then stir in the egg until combined.
3. Shape the mixture into 18 balls and toss in the flour. Place the oil in a large shallow dish and heat for 1 min on high.  Carefully add the meatballs in a single layer and turn in the hot oil. Cook uncovered on high for 4-5 mins until brown, turning half way through.
4. Place the meatballs into a casserole dish. Place soup, water and mushrooms into the first dish and mix together. Heat for 2-3 mins and stir well. Pour over the meatballs.
5. Reduce to 50% setting and cook for 35-40 mins. Stir or turn the meatballs half way through.

Serve with pasta or crusty bread.

Now if you want to cook it without the microwave.

Heat butter in pan, sweat onions.
Combine the ingredients as above.
Heat oil in frypan/skillet add meatballs and brown, turning to brown other side. I usually flatten mine slightly and just brown top and bottom.
Remove meatballs from the pan and add them to the casserole dish in one layer.
Add soup, water and mushrooms to the frypan, heat until simmering.
Pour over meatballs and cook uncovered in moderate oven for 35-40 mins.

Edited to add: Bitchypoo says the photo above looks like one of the cats crapped on the plate......nice and now I have put you off making it,  I love her so much.................

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Just for the record

It is winter here. 
I do live in paradise so the weather is pretty good most of the year, and it really doesn't get cold, well what everyone else in the world would call cold.  

We normally don't get much rain in August. 

Outside right now it is 20.5 deg C that's about 70 F and it is pouring.  
At 10 pm, yes that's 10pm, 
in winter 

Seriously weird weather.

Tuesday tidbits (and tails)

Well, pretty much zip, nada to show for the last few days. I have been working on the wonky blocks, which I have to admit are not  overly wonky, which is what I was aiming for................subtle.    BUT
I think a couple of them need a bit of tweeking to just give them a little bit more wonkiness, otherwise they are just going to look like I am totally crap at cutting and sewing accurately. ( Which is pretty much true, and that's the reason I started doing these because there is a huge margin of error in these little babies, and I love that.)

The photo is not the best as I forgot to take it today, and had to take a quick one tonight  and also the lighting is a bit dodgy.

Eight and a half down and if I decide to make a queen size quilt I only need to make another 63, (giggling hysterically).   I think  someone should start taking bets on when I am going to give up.  I don't think I am going to get frustrated with them like the infamous snowball blocks BUT I also have the attention span of a gnat and 63 more just may take way too much time. 

I have slowly been making progress on the crochet cushion, and almost finished the back. Drat my wrist,   I need to scroll the mouse with my left hand as that is what is making my wrist worse.

The colour is not very accurate, as I took it in artificial light. 

Yeah I know, another excuse for a crap photo, how about we just go with........................ I need to practice more with my camera and take a bit more time taking a photo, and be thankful that occasionally I can produce something that actually looks good.

Lucky last.......................some of what the cats have been up to this week. 

Bailey has been showing his feminine side and taken a shine to this bag.

 He wouldn't let it go when I picked him up, he's holding it by the handle.

He loves lemongrass.

and boxes

So does Lulu and now she is covered in Bailey's fur too.