Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

Well hello!
Do you remember me?
It's been a long time between drinks. I half heartedly tried to write a couple of posts after coming back from holidays, however my impressively slack personality took over and nothing eventuated.

This is the post where I SHOULD be doing an impressive mosaic of all the things I've made during the year.  I'm not even going to bother, it would be embarrassingly small and would just remind me of how little sewing I was able to do during the Year of Change. I'm not going to beat myself up about it but I am well and truly determined to make amends in 2013. I did however, really enjoy participating in the swaps, despite my complete and utter terror before I joined.   I loved stalking my partners and hope I made things that they liked. I made some really great new friends and was incredibly lucky to receive some awesome swap items in return, thanks so much.

The best thing about 2012 was that I finally made the move and after 13 years had a massive change of scenery.  I love the new house. I haven't regretted the move for one second. I have a proper sewing room, a still very messy sewing room but nevertheless a proper sewing room that is all mine and I don't have to share with guests, office stuff or anything else. I promise to take photos asap. I keep on misplacing my camera, and trying to download photos from my phone is proving to be a real PITA.

I have a new swimming pool, even though I liked my old pool I love the new one even more.  I think I've been in this pool more in the last few weeks than I had in the last three years at the old house.
 Old pool
New pool
(Both photos taken from the real estate listings as I still haven't taken any photos of the house since I've moved in, 3 months ago...slack....slack....slack)

I had a fabulous holiday in Hawaii with BP (BitchyPoo). It was so nice to relax and not have to worry about cleaning, cooking or moving furniture.

I'm back, I'm ready and looking forward to sewing. Only one slight teeny tiny problem, I have no freaking idea of what to sew, other than I want to make a hexie quilt. I can not for the life of me make up my mind on anything else.  I don't even have a list of things I'd like to make in 2013. I have a million ideas spinning around in my head and I've pinned a squillion ideas on Pinterest, favourited lots on flickr, printed out free patterns, and bought lots of patterns.  Maybe that's my problem, too many choices.

I want to get those creative juices flowing. I think starting something new will start me off on the right track and then I'll possibly tackle a couple of UFO's during the year. Maybe a Dresden quilt this year, maybe something with Drunkard's path blocks. I need to dust off the Baby Go cutter and utilise that a bit more. I'm  also thinking about joining a couple of sew alongs, but then my track records for those is appalling.
In the meantime I'm cutting squares for hexies. Fingers crossed

I'm not making any NY resolutions this year, a waste of time for me, as I never keep them. I am determined to enjoy 2013, it's going to be my Year of Rest and Relaxation.  That for me, is doing the things I like doing, sewing, holidays, spending time with friends and BP, and dining out occasionally. Thank you so much to all who have hung in there for the ride and lent support when I needed it.

I hope everyone has a fabulously enjoyable year, do what you love doing and spend time with friends and family you love. Happy 2013!!!!!!!


Monday, December 3, 2012

Lots of clues

The photos are not the best as I haven't been able to download all mine or any of BP's yet and also can't edit them at this stage.


















Hawaii. The closest state of the USA to Australia, and a mecca for Aussie shopaholics.

Not admitting to being a shopaholic at this stage.

We have just spent a relaxing week cruising around the islands. A well needed break. I didn't realize how "dishausted" I was until I got on that ship. It didn't help, flying overnight and managing to only sleep for approx 45 minutes on a ten hour flight, and that wasn't all in one 45 min block. I think this year had really taken its toll on me. Six months of decluttering 13 years of accumulated crap and finally ending a chapter in my life. Trying to find a new home to move to and also dealing with the move to the city for BP (Bitchypoo). We hit that ship and promptly slept at every available opportunity. Not quite what I was expecting to do. I had multiple nanna naps during the afternoons we weren't sightseeing, and slept for over 8 hours most nights. Brilliant, as at home I'd have been lucky to sleep 4 hours a night.

We survived hiring a car and driving on the other side of the road. Good news - no accidents and I didn't kill any one. It was a great way to "practice" driving. So now I'll be all set to drive on mainland USA as long as I don't have to tackle any freeways.

We are now in Waikiki for some more R and R and S (shopping), and I'm looking forward to eating all the stuff we can't get at home, and hoping I don't have a heart attack in the process. Yogurtland is high on my list. Followed by the Cheesecake Factory, I hope it lives up to expectations. Any other suggestions will be gratefully received.

BP is due to start a shopping frenzy, Victoria's Secret is on her list along with an awful lot of designer stuff, yikes! I'm hoping to find some pants to replace my favourite white linen pants that I bought with me and the ships laundry service tried its hardest to destroy them but still make them look like they were ok. I put them on only to find that there were multiple tears on the seams and the fabric looked like they had resorted to washing them the old fashioned way by using the rocks on the banks of a stream. They were clean and beautifully pressed. Unfortunately I only realized the morning we were disembarking. Fortunately I realized before I got off the ship to do an all day tour, and just had time to change out to another pair of pants, that by some miracle I had packed in my overnight bag and not packed in my suitcase, as our suitcases had to be packed and ready outside our cabin the night before. Imagine my horror, and everyone else's for that matter, if i had been walking around Pearl Harbor whilst my pants disintegrated around me. Situation averted, phew.

The fur babies are having fun at home and being spoilt rotten. I don't think they miss me at all. It's nice to know my house is being looked after while I'm away. I'll have to do this vacation thing more often!


Friday, November 30, 2012

Another clue








?






Secret Squirrel

Internet time is limited at the moment so I'm sorry that I'm not able to respond to comments. However, I can say that the previous photo was sunrise from a plane.  If I remembered to take photos with my phone I could add one here as the next clue.  Let's just say I'm not in MY paradise.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Survivor: Kitchen

The second week of Survivor: Kitchen and the recipe called for lamb.  I was going to cook this earlier in the week but had already had lamb twice in the previous few days. I like lamb, but sometimes I suffer unpleasant side effects - don't ask. After already eating it twice I thought it prudent to leave it for a couple of days.


This is the original
Lamb Stacks With Mint Relish


I used this capsicum instead of a jar.

I stuck to the recipe except when it came to the salsa. I couldn't be bothered cutting into an onion just for a few bits for the salsa, so I just cut up some mint and drizzled a little lemon juice over.  I also added the feta and diced roasted capsicum to the top of the lamb while it was still in the pan, to heat it up a little. Oh and I used lamb sirloin as it worked out cheaper for one than buying a pack of lamb leg steaks.

I was a bit more generous with the feta, I love feta.


Served with some spinach and coleslaw.

I agree this is a keeper, it was quick, easy and very tasty.




Friday, November 16, 2012

Back on the bike again!

I feel like I'm starting to make headway with some sewing. This week has seen the finish of the Hopscotch quilt top.
Hopscotch quilt top finished.

There are some good points
Good points

 and not so good points,
Bad points

but overall I'm really happy with the way this has turned out. Next I need to make the backing.

I also needed a quick finish and to play with some fabric.
Needlebook
the front



















Needlebook back
the back

P1070224

Handstitching
That stitching is not as wonky as it looks here.

Detail




































Sorry about the huge gaps between photos, blogger is not playing nice today.

There's a little fishy courtesy of Susan. A scrap of fabric I received in a swap, and I used a couple of scraps that I had on hand, including Anna Maria Horner, Aneela Hooey, and Sweetwater.
Needlebook


















Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Survivor: Kitchen

Pinterest is one of my biggest time suckers, that and my incredibly amazing ability to procrastinate. I've been pinning on Pinterest for ages now. There's so much inspiration and I have a squillion and one pins, BUT I pretty much never do anything with them. Occasionaly I have a look through them to see what I've pinned.  I mentioned this to Shay last week. We quite often pin each others pins, especially the food ones. More often than not, the "totally bad for you but god they look good" recipes. Shay came up with the brilliant somewhat insane idea that each week we are going to pick a recipe and both of us are going to cook it. Now I'm sure you know by now that cooking/baking is not really either of our strong points. This is going to be a very interesting exercise. I'm going to apologise in advance to the very nice people that have produced these recipes, for all the disasters etc that are going to arise from this experiment.

This inaugural recipe is from Simply Delicious and is Creamy Dijon Chicken.

The original


My version of Creamy Dijon Chicken


Rather than retype the recipe here, you can go over to the actual recipe by clicking on the link above. You'll notice that my attempt doesn't look much like that one. I think that will be a recurring theme over the coming weeks. I didn't let the sauce reduce enough, I was in a hurry and hungry!

My changes to the recipe, that's official changes as opposed to "stuffed it up" changes -
I halved it as I was making it for one, so one for now and one for later, or possibly a late night snack "a la Nigella" when I get the munchies before I go to bed!
I didn't have any leeks, I only had a Spanish onion, I forgot to buy them at the supermarket, because I was completely shocked when I walked into the supermarket which was in the middle of renovations and everything was not where it should be.

Despite the differences, it was ok, I had it with a crisp salad, using whatever I had in the fridge, which wasn't much as most of my salad vegetables had succumbed to my scientific experiment of how long they could survive in the fridge, and had finally died.  (Side note, they don't last as long as you hope they will.)  I concur with Shay that maybe American dijon mustard is not the same as the French dijon mustard we get here, it was very mild.  I stress, this may not necessarily be the fault of the original recipe but I found that the mustard did not shine through and the lemon took over.  As it is, it is an easy,  quick recipe, especially if you flatten the breasts or cut them into bite size pieces so that they cook quickly, great for a mid week meal.  In my mind that's always a winner. I'm forever looking for quick easy meals.  If you're not a huge fan of strong mustard flavour, and I'm one of those people, it's mild enough that the kids should like it.   I'd probably tweak it next time, and either reduce or leave out the lemon.

This one didn't make the cut.

Jeff Shay has spoken. Creamy Dijon Chicken it's time for you to go.

Pop on over to Shay's Kitchen Survivor post at Quilting In My Pyjamas and stay tuned for next week's  burnt exciting offering.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I hit the jackpot, the Mouthy Stitches jackpot

Recently I joined in the Mouthy Stitches swap. It was the second time for me in this swap, and I loved it. It's full of really nice, positive people. I love the rules for these swaps, as it stops people trying to outdo each other. You don't feel bad because you've sent what was stipulated, when others make a bigger, better item or number of items and add a couple of hundred dollars worth of extras for their partner. This swap was for a tote and a key fob.

I tried to find as much time as possible to comment on all the photos appearing on flickr, although sometimes it was difficult as I was in the middle of moving. There were lots and lots of amazing totes showing up.  I had a couple of favourites that I was secretly hoping would come my way.  I didn't want to get my hopes up too much but imagine my absolute delight and surprise when I opened the parcel and found this absolutely gorgeous tote inside. I was so excited.  It's for me. All for me.
Kelly from Jelliquilts did an amazing job, it's perfect. I love every bit of it. The text fabric, the rainbow wonky stars and stripe on the back,  the hand stitching, and the gorgeous lining fabric, that will just have to be reversed so I can parade that side too.
I love the key fob, it's hot pink and has text fabric to match the tote, fabulous.

A big thank you to the swap mamas for pairing me with two very lovely partners.

I really did hit the jackpot with this one, thank you so much Kelly for being the best stalker ever.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Harlequin

Amy is hosting the Bloggers Quilt Festival again. I really love finding new to me blogs and seeing so many beautiful quilts.

I wasn't going to join in this time as I've hardly made anything in the last 6 months due to renovations, sale of my house and moving to a new house, but thanks to Suz at PatchworknPlay who reminded me that there are different categories and if I finished my mini quilt I would be able to enter it. So here it is.

I started this way back in March, when I was in the middle of renovations and de-cluttering so that I could sell my house. It was so bright and cheerful after working on more muted projects.
Untitled

It began with a charm pack of A Stitch In Color and a Kona solids charm pack.  I used Elizabeth from Oh Fransson's  stamp collection tutorial.
mosaic block
It grew from there. I added some borders and decided to play with some wonky triangles.
Playing
The triangles were only ever so slightly wonky, not really wonky enough, which kind of made it look like I was really crap at piecing, not, oh wow those are fabulous wonky triangles. So to give them a little more character and make them look a whole lot better, I added yo yos to the points. The yo yos are made from both solids and A Stitch In Color scraps. I really like that they have added a touch of whimsy and fun to the quilt.
Untitled

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A little hand stitching using co-ordinating perle thread. Another thank you to Susan at Canadian Abroad who helped with suggestions on hand quilting.
Untitled

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I pieced the scrappy binding using solids and one piece of the A Stitch In Colour charm pack.

Untitled

HARLEQUIN
Untitled

Fabric -  A Stitch In Colour charm pack, various Kona and Bella solids including Bella snow.
Hand quilted using perle thread
Embellishments - yo yos
Sewn and hand quilted by me
Best Category - Mini Quilt, Wall Hanging



So pop on over to Amy's and check out all the wonderful talented people who have joined the festival.



Amy's Creative Side



Thursday, October 18, 2012

Finished


The tote for Mouthy Stitches 2 swap.

Mouthy Stitches swap 2 tote


Close up of front of tote.

Back of tote for Mouthy Stitches 2 swap

Lining of tote

Key fob for Mouthy Stitches 2 swap

Back of tote and matching key fob

I can't say much as I don't want to give away who this is going to,  but I'm hoping my partner will love it.  I really enjoyed making it. I had a hard time finding some contrasting lining fabric but I think the Tilda print works well.

Meanwhile back to the never ending grind of unpacking boxes and trying to find a place for everything.