Friday, December 30, 2016

SSCS 2016

Christmas and the  delights of the annual SSCS, hosted by the awesome Chooky, are over for another year, leaving behind happy memories, special gifts and the thrill of connecting with a friendly stranger in another country.

This is what I sent to Carole in the US - a woolly warmer for around her neck, a little brooch, a mini-quilt/table topper and a hexie Christmas decoration. I received a lovely "thank you" email from Carole, who has been unwell, which shouldn't be allowed at Christmas!



And I received these - and more besides -  from Martine in Arras, France


I love everything - especially the clever wall pocket (which included a little glass tube for a few fresh or dried flowers)  and those cute little bears.. and that quirky Christmas angel. As for the mug  - it's a souvenir mug  from Martine's town, which she had specially decorated with "No kangaroos in Arras" on the front and our names on the back. It makes me smile. Martine also included a tea cosy, pretty fabric and buttons and a book about the Battle of Arras, which I'm looking forward to reading once my brain is out of holiday mode. We've been in touch, so Martine already knows how pleased and thankful  I am to have had her as my partner this year.

Here's to you, Chooky, and to all my wonderful SSCS partners over the years and to all of you lovely people out there in blogland. Here's to a healthy, happy, crafty year for us all.

Monday, December 12, 2016

It's nearly Christmas...

... and the tree is up and the house is decorated at last. It's usually  all sorted earlier in December but some major housework was needed. Bah! Humbug!

So anyway, we're looking good (and trying to keep things tidy and not drop anything on the tiled floors my husband spent so long cleaning). A few cards have arrived and there are presents under the tree already, thanks to Martine in France, my partner in this year's Secret Santa Christmas Swap.  Thanks  so much for your generosity, Martine - and thanks too to Chooky for organising the swap for the umpteenth year in a row.  It's such a lovely way to end the year and we all appreciate  and look forward to it.




Monday, November 7, 2016

FNFW again

Had a quiet night at home stitching away at one of Gail Pan's gorgeous designs. It's probably a bit hard to see but I'm using a variegated thread in muted blue tones. When finished off with a fabric border and a bit of quilting, it will hang on my sewing room wall.I'm taking my time with this one and really enjoying the slow, relaxing pace.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The spring has sprung (finally!)

Spring has come late to Ballarat. We've had so many cold days, with lots of rain and some hail at times, and I'm sure all of us who live here have wondered if the season that follows our long, cold winters would ever come.

But we've had a run of fine days at last, hooray.  While the over-supply of rain means our local lake is full to overflowing, and the walkways to the boatsheds are mostly underwater so the boatsheds look as though they're floating, the birdlife is very happy, thanks. Especially the swans - they've been breeding like mad and it's such a delight to see the stately black adult birds and their little grey puffball babies grazing on the banks or forming a happy little flotilla in the water. It's also delightful when they cross the road, which can be quite busy at times. Drivers stop at once, and never seem to mind the delay. It's a magical moment.

A stroll around our back garden was just the thing after a busy day. The birds are chirping (we are visited by magpies, wattlebirds, doves, occasional spinebills and blue wrens, which are all beautiful, but would happily do without the starlings nesting just under the roof and all those pesty sparrows making a dust bowl in one of our garden beds). Everything including the weeds is growing like Topsy and our first potato crop, planted in a grow bag, is promising - judging by the leaves, at least.  The quince blossoms are looking a bit raggedy as they prepare to turn into fruit and one of our two olive trees has teeny tiny buds. The roses also have buds galore - for once I had them professionally pruned instead of my usual hack job and they seem pretty happy about that.

I'll leave you with a few images from my little world. I hope everyone's having a lovely weekend.






Friday, October 7, 2016

FNWF

I'm joining in Friday Night With Friends tonight, stitching along with everyone from everywhere.

Tonight's project is the Jingle Softie by my friend Jodie at Ric Rac. It's one of my favourite patterns for a little person - a softie and a rattle all in one. This one is for my husband's great-niece, born two days ago in Canberra. He'll take it to her, along with the teeny tiny Mary Janes I knitted this afternoon, when he's there for work next week.

Must hippity hop  back to my stitching. Hope everyone's having an enjoyably crafty night.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

All ready to travel

I'm  all ready for a trip - but I'm  not going anywhere yet. Sigh. But the next time I travel, there'll be a smart new tag on my suitcase and my dirties will go in my nice new laundry bag instead of an old plastic bag.

These new goodies,  plus a fat quarter and a pretty handmade card, were from Sandi  in Queensland and sent as part of the No Fuss Swappers travel swap. The laundry bag fabric features the Eiffel Tower and other wonderful buildings in Paris, including the type of apartments I admired so much when visiting my favourite  city earlier this year.

Thanks so much, Sandi. Everything  will be very handy, although I can't promise to save the sweets for the next time I travel!


Monday, August 8, 2016

The urge to create   has been getting a workout in the last little while.  These are a few of the things I've  been making.




This year I'm taking part in a trans-Tasman birthday swap and have received lots of lovely gifts, including these.


I've done some Christmas  shopping

- these are from my dear clever Pommy friend Mrs Moog's recent destash - and I need to get cracking  on some Christmas  crafting .

And as usual there's  been a lot of cooking and baking (and eating  too, of course). My favourites have been Ottolenghi's roast chicken  - absolutely delicious  and it got rid of some of the preserved lemons I'd made previously then had no idea what to do with - and Belinda Jeffery's divine buttery almond cake.

It's  been a great month so far. Hope yours has been the same.