Saturday, January 30, 2010

My second attempt at quilting

This is the second and only other quilt I have finished. I do have a stash of UFO's hiding in a trunk, where I stuffed them after I decided I was crap at quilting.
The pattern for this quilt came from an Australian published book
 " Spectacular Scraps - A simple approach to stunning quilts" by Judy Hooworth and Margaret Rolfe.  This was the first time I had attempted to separate colors into lights darks etc.  Lulu and Bailey had to test out the quilts as soon as I took them out to photograph them.  This is Lulu's backside as she is testing out the quilt.

Looking at my quilts after having them hiding away in a cupboard, and doing some searching on lots of blogs and the net, I think I will try and resurrect my quilting abilities and try again.

A corner detail

I had never attempted machine quilting before, and was very nervous in trying it. I did think about sending it off to someone to quilt, but I couldn't find anyone who could recommend a quilter, so I practiced a bit on some scraps and then found a geometric pattern for the outside border, which to me at the time seemed a whole lot easier than stippling. I was absolutely petrified of stuffing the stippling up, especially as I had spent that long in putting the quilt together.  It wasn't as bad as I thought, but I still think my next quilt will be sent off for a professional quilting finish. 

Sorry about the shadows, but I couldn't find a wide enough area to place the quilt so that it was all in the sun.

Unfortunately I made this quilt when my house was filled with aubergine and red, it is now neutrals, whites, creams, and duck egg blue so there is nowhere in the house this can or will look good, so I think it will go back to the cupboard.  I also have very little wall space, the walls are filled with windows and doorways which is great for the views, breeze etc, but lousy for hanging anything!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mermaid Quilt

A few years ago I took up quilting.  My daughter went to school near a quilting shop.  After I had dropped her off or before pick up in the afternoon, I would go over there and drool over the beautiful fabrics and wonderful quilts on display.  Many many years ago I used to sew. When I lived in New Zealand I couldn't afford to buy a lot of my clothes, but I could buy the fabric and make my own clothes, not all the time, but I was capable of making some quite nice pieces.  When my daughter was born I made a lot of her baby clothes, I also knitted and crocheted many items for her.  Roll on a few years and we moved to Queensland, where it is way too hot to wear anything knitted or crocheted, even most of winter is too warm to wear handknitted items, maybe the odd cotton cardigan, but that is about it.  Also the cost of wool or cotton became prohibitive and it was much cheaper to buy something that was only going to be worn a couple of times a year than it was to make something.
Then I saw this quilt, I thought it would be perfect for my daughters room.  It was a pattern from Patchwork Angel, at Forest Glen on the Sunshine Coast.
The detail of the starfish in the corners. They were made individually, stuffed with wadding and embellished with french knots before being sewn onto the quilt.

A close up of the mermaid, this was the first time I had attempted painting or drawing onto fabric, and I was very pleased with the result at the time.

Another close up of the blanket stitch used to attach some of the applique, the tails are padded and then sewn on with invisible stitches, I also used a pearl to add interest.

I was too afraid to machine quilt it, so I hand quilted. I quilted underwater shapes such as starfish, fish etc and finished off by adding beads to try and stabilize the quilt as much as possible. It looked alright at the time but now a few years later, it shows the need for quilting properly to make sure your quilt lasts. As you can see by the above photo, the material has moved a bit and it looks a bit wrinkled.  Anyway I am still very happy with it and I think it is very good for a first attempt.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Australia Day 2010

Today, the 26th January, is Australia Day.  Deep in the heart of summer, it is almost always very hot and an excuse to go to the beach and/or light up the BBQ (Barbie). There are a couple of Australian songs that I always love to listen to, especially when I am overseas, they always give me goosebumps, as they are just so quintessentially Australian. What better songs to play on Australia Day 2010

The first one is by Peter Allen, I Still Call Australia Home, and is now used by Qantas in their adds, it would have to rate as THE best Australian song ever.  You will find it HERE

The second one I love is The Sounds of Then, by GANGgajang. The lyrics evoke the sounds, sight, smells of summer in northern Australia.   It is an 80s song and if you click on the link,  you will have to watch the 80s video clip but, and it has some powerful Australian images imbedded in it and, wow the song is a wonderful reminder of hot Aussie summers,  especially good if you need an Aussie fix when overseas. You will find it HERE

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Travelling solo, well sort of!

I was very lucky in 2009, I was able to travel to Europe for almost four weeks.  I had been trying to go to Europe for years, but every time I had sort of organized my trip, after reading travel brochures, internet sites etc, and spending hours and hours working out what I wanted to see and do something would always happen to cause me to cancel the trip. Not that I am bitter and twisted but it usually involved a certain "ex" changing his plans for looking after my "mini me". (A side note here, when my angel is lovely, she is referred to as "mini me" and when she is not an angel she is referred to as "bitchypoo".)

Anyway, back to Europe. So last year, I hatched a cunning plan, with loads of back up in case the "ex" decided to try to put a spanner in the works. I had all my friends lined up to be able to look after "mini me" and had emergency back up, if needed.  He still tried to unravel my plans by accidentally not checking the dates and booked and paid for flights for her for only one week instead of two, aargh, however, thanks to my failsafe planning, my back up came through.  So off to Europe I went.

I travelled by myself, I was and still am, very proud of myself for having the courage to do that.  Unfortunately none of my friends could either have the time off or afford to go when I had the chance, so it was either go alone or cancel once again, and hope that just maybe, next year I could go. I am quite the shy and reserved type and don't really like going outside my lovely and soft comfort zone, so this was going to be quite a difficult time for me.  I was all bravado when I first booked my trip, but then as the time came closer and closer, I started getting very very scared.  A few days before I went I was seriously contemplating pulling out of the trip and forfeiting my flights and trip. I thought what the heck am I doing, going to Europe by myself, even though I would be on an organized tour.   Right up until the day I went I was pretty sure I was NOT going to go, and then to top it off, the day I left I suddenly had massive pangs of guilt for leaving my "baby" to fend for herself. I felt terrible. Unfortunately to make myself feel better for "leaving" her I promised her the earth.  Sheer stupidity in hindsight,but it instantly stopped her from laying the guilt trip on me and made me feel soo much better. (Until I had to start paying for all the things I had promised to bring her back.).... including Louis Vuitton and not a "copy"!!!! Unfortunately my darling is savvy and knows a "copy" when she sees one, so as much as I was tempted to get one of those in Turkey, my insanity prevailed and I forked out a fortune for a real one.  I pity her future partner!!!!!!!!!!

Not what they seem

Don't these look beautiful. I found them in Paris and just had to bring them home with me.  They are the most beautiful shiny olives, except they are not olives they are exquisite chocolates.  Lovely dark chocolate disguised as plump olives. La Cure Gourmande "Olives au Chocolat" you will find photos of the store here. It looks like a film set.

As I am fairly new to blogging, I am going to try posting about my holidays last year, now.  I didn't realize six months ago what a wonderful invention this is. Now I can keep a wonderful reminder and journal of holidays and even daily things that happen in my life.  I have never been one for journalling.  I am not disciplined enough to be constant.  I started a journal on my last holiday and at the beginning I would even stay up late at night, using up precious minutes of sleep time to keep up to date with my journal, in case I forgot anything later.  By the last half of the holiday, I was struggling to remember and then having to write 2 or 3 days at once.  My memory is bad at the best of times, but when trying to remember a jam packed day of sightseeing let alone which city I had been in 2 days before, the journalling became a bit hit and miss.  It will be interesting to see whether I will be more likely to post "stuff" on here, although so far so good.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My babies.

These are my babies.

Excuse the crappy photo, but it is the only one I have, where all 3 are in them same place at the same time. Just ignore the mooshed up seat cushion, and the barbecue cover and bamboo candle holder lying on the deck.
The boys are on the comfortable seat, and my girl, well can you see her? Yes she would prefer not to hang out with the boys, so she has found her own spot to chill out, in amongst the mess.  Karma, the Lhasa Apso is nearly 9yrs old now. He is a cutey, and is great at warning us if someone is here, although he just keeps on barking and barking at them once they are in the house, argh. The cats are from the RSPCA and my boy, Bailey, has become one of the most expensive pets I have ever had.  He has had medical issues right from the beginning and molts like crazy, but you just have to love him,  he is a real character.  He has just spent two nights at the vet hospital recovering from his latest drama.  My girl Lulu, is the most intelligent, sweet/naughty cat you have ever met.  She knows how to suck you in. She is tiny but has worked out how to jump up and open my bedroom door.  Nobody has ever actually seen her do it yet, but when I am lying in bed I hear every attempt she makes until she opens it.  It sounds like she is throwing herself at the door at door handle height and then sliding down to the floor. Unfortunately it takes her a number of attempts before she actually opens it.  Very funny except when it is 2am and you are trying to sleep.

And this is my boy having a drink after Halloween.

He is after the water from the melted ice, not the beer!!!  Well at least I hope that is what he is up to.

He doesn't seem too worried by the blow up skeleton leaning down to get a closer look at him. Just happy chilling, that's my boy.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas Wish ( better late than never)

These are photos of my dam (pond) taken last week, looking very sad, the water has dried up so much that the water lilies are dying around the edge. I have lived here for almost 11 years and it has never been this low.

Well yesterday, we received our Christmas wish.  everyone here has been wishing for rain, and from Christmas Day it has been raining, not much but just enough to green the grass and stop the plants from dying.  Yesterday it was very humid and hot all day and at about 3.30pm it started to rain, and rain, and it just kept raining.  By midnight we had 140mm (5 1/2 inches). I am amazed that it didn't cause any damage.  I think we were lucky that we had some rain before so that the ground wasn't completely bone dry.  Most of that rain has soaked into the ground that had been pretty much dry for 7 months. My dam (pond) is full again, now the water lilies need to grow a bit to come back to the surface, but all is back to normal today.

Now this is what it looks like.

Not quite as pretty, the water is muddy and the water lilies are submerged, but it sure looks a whole lot better than a little sad puddle.  And look how much greener the grass has become.