Friday, July 25, 2014

Christmas in July

Today all of us who signed up for Cheryll's Christmas in July swap were officially allowed to open the parcels that we have been trying not to open since they arrived (oh how tempting!)

When the postie delivered my big parcel,  I was chuffed to bits to discover that Peg was my partner. Peg and I have been partners in other swaps so I know of old how lovely her work is.

Just look at this
which turned into these.

There's a big table runner, a cute little gift bag, a wall hanging, the cutest mug rug and a teatowel decorated with Christmas fabric.  Peg also sent a mug full of coffee sticks , gorgeous chocolates and a notebook. Thank you so much, Peg, I couldn't have wished for a more generous partner. And thanks to Cheryll for another fun swap.

A parcel from me made its way across the ditch to Sue in Dunedin.  I was so pleased to have a partner in NZ - despite my 40+ years in Australia I am still a Kiwi at heart. I won't show what I sent to Sue until she blogs about the swap but I know she has opened and likes her gifts - she sent me a lovely email this morning.

Happy Friday, lovely people!

Monday, June 2, 2014

The party's over...

I didn't get to Chooky's party after all - I was sick on Saturday so couldn't attend my FMQ class and just hung around the house feeling sorry for myself.  I really wanted to join the celebrations because the Chookshed and I almost share a birthday (well, our birthdays are around the same date, just  60 years apart .... )

Not a stitch was stitched on Sunday either because I was feeling better but mojo-less so kept busy with other things.

But today, although the party's over, was a happy, productive day. I made an oat and quince jam slice (yummy, I taste-tested, well you have to, don't you?) and an apple and cinnamon loaf which also looks good. Oh, and there was a bit of crafty stuff - I finished this Christmas tree cushion cover for Cheryll's Christmas in July swap (love the scrappy look and those cheeky cockatoos) and found some pretty blue fabric to wrap around a little embroidery hoop to frame this  little stitchery. It's a Lynette Anderson design; so sweet.

I've been checking out a few blogs to see what the party-goers got up too - looks like lots of fun was had as well as lots of lovely things made.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Party, party

I'm not much of a party girl - but I'm very happy to be one of the  guests at  Chookyblue's celebrations  this weekend to mark the second year of her sewing space, the Chookshed. There will be lots of us joining in from all over Australia and from many other countries too, so it might get a bit crowded (and a bit noisy!) If you'd like to take part , whether on your own or with friends, just go and visit Chooky's blog and sign up. You'll be in great company!

My project for tomorrow will be  a smallish linen sampler quilt using nine different FMQ patterns in marked areas. It's a class, and I'm not confident with the stitching so I'm going to practise more this afternoon in an effort to not embarrass myself too much. It's something I'd like to be at least competent at - fingers crossed. And on Sunday I'll be going to a handmade market then choosing something from my UFO collection to work on.

So - will I see you stitching in cyberspace?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Friday night stitching

I signed up for Friday Night Stitch-In  for the first time for the first time and as I buttonhole stitched, watched some telly, enjoyed a cuppa and chatted to my husband it was lovely to think of others doing much the same. Many of us will never meet but all of us are linked by our love of creating.

This is the project I'm working on - it's a cushion design by Anorina of Samelia's Mum. (Oops, knew I should have ironed it before taking the pic!)  I always mean to start crafting for Christmas around this time of year but this is the first year it has actually happened!

What did you all get up to? Thanks to Wendy for running the show and making things happen.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Happy holiday

The Mister and I are  back from a very happy holiday in Queensland, still pretty relaxed from our time away but missing blue sea, blue skies and warmth (although today's temperatures in Ballarat aren't too bad, unlike the 10 degree days here while we were away enjoying balmy 28s and feeling warm and rather smug).

My niece Nicola's wedding in Townsville was lovely - informal and friendly and celebrated outdoors against  the most beautiful backdrop of sea and sky.  It was great to see her and her brother Andrew again and so special to spend time with her dad (my brother Alistair) and his twin Gary, who lives in Wellington, NZ.  Gary brought his daughter Olivia, who is nearly 7 and lots of fun. I had books for her and her young brother Tom and for my three little great-nephews (golly, those last two words make me feel so old!) I'd made her a skirt, too - the first bit of clothing I'd sewn since I can't remember when. It fitted her (phew!) and she likes it (double phew!).

We hadn't been to Townsville before and it will always be memorable for the wedding plus the fact that it was our 38th wedding anniversary the night we arrived and we were able to celebrate sitting outdoors overlooking the sea (unthinkable in Ballarat at this time of year, let me tell you).

Just because we could, we continued driving up to Port Douglas, where we stayed in a small complex a short walk away from everything. We were really impressed by the friendly, laid-back attitude of everyone we met (but not by the fruit bats across the road which woke us early each morning with their loud screeching!)

We enjoyed mooching around town on foot and spending some time in the bush at Mossman Gorge and in the Daintree, where we were very glad not to meet a cassowary (according to all the warning signs on the pathways at the Daintree Discovery  Centre, they're very fearsome birds indeed!)

Seeing another fearsome beastie, the crocodile, turned out not to be that much of a goer either. We enjoyed a  river cruise, all of us on board the dear little paddleboat hoping for a promised sighting, only to see two quick appearances in the middle of the river turn into two quick disappearances, thanks to an idiot speedboat driver. Apparently crocs are scared of speedboats. Can't say I was disappointed as I probably would have had crocodile nightmares. Our trip was in the late afternoon and the sunset over Mossman Gorge was spectacular.

We splurged on a trip to the Great Barrier Reef - I don't have a bucket list, but if I did, seeing the reef would have been pretty high up. The photos we took from the semi-submersible boat we went on are pretty crappy but being so close to those wonderful underwater coral forests and their fishy inhabitants is unforgettable. The Mister had a fabulous view from a helicopter while I sat on the deck of the big pontoon our boat was moored to, gazing at all that blue water interrupted by the white caps of the waves breaking over the various reefs. It is such a fabulous, precious place and so deserving of protection at all costs.

We drove back to Townsville for our last night via the Atherton Tableland, which would be worth a trip in its own right. The countryside is beautiful and there are lots of waterfalls which unfortunately we had to miss for lack of time, along with tea plantations and other attractions.

The warm weather, the crops (sugarcane, macadamias and all sorts of others which to us were quite exotic) the mountain ranges and the signs at beaches warning of crocodiles and stingers made it all seem like another world. We were away for just over a week but it seemed longer - in a very good way.

Can't wait for the next little adventure - whenever and wherever it is.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


I have no idea how to post pics to blogger from my tablet but I would love to be able to share my view of palm trees and ocean with you - and send some warmth to my friends in Ballarat and Melbourne too. The Mr and I are in Townsville for my niece's wedding this afternoon,  the ceremony is in the beachside park over the road from our hotel.
Lucky us!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April so far ...

 Yikes, it's the middle of April already - where has the time gone? This month has been a bit of a mixed bag so far - mostly good, I'm very glad to say.

The bad - my SIL died early in the month after losing her battle with stomach cancer. So sad. She was in her early 70s, the eldest of a family of four in which my husband is the youngest. Their younger sister died almost a year previously of brain and lung cancer. Life can be so cruel.

Daily (retired) life is good - long chats with the Mr, having fun with our dogs, pottering in the house and garden, coffee dates together or with friends; generally nothing remarkable but very pleasant. Uneventful life is often under-rated.

And last weekend was lots of fun. On Saturday I attended the first class offered at Cotton Factory, a gorgeous little patchwork shop recently opened in Ballarat. Claire Gee from Matching Pegs was the tutor and let me tell you there is nothing she doesn't know about needleturn applique. She showed us her method, we discussed other methods, we did a practice piece then set to work on the project, a cushion cover appliqued with 5 gorgeous butterflies (Claire's pattern). I achieved embarrassingly little (we all did) but learned such a lot so I was very satisfied (that feeling of satisfaction might also have had something to do with the good coffee and lovely lunch laid on by Alison, the owner).

After class I raced in to Melbourne by train, walked for what seemed like miles, hopped on a tram, worried about where to get off  (can't you tell I don't often venture into the big city) then found the hotel where I was staying the night with a group of lovely ladies from Launceston and Adelaide. It was great to catch up with Cathy and Leanne and Loz again and to meet Claire, Alex, Meredith and Kate. We all enjoyed our dinner in Lygon St and the icecreams afterwards were delicious. Being a bit of a mucky pup, I ended up dripping chocolate icecream all down the front of my cardigan. Next time I'll colour-match my clothing and chosen flavour (although I don't know if any flavour of icecream comes in a mustard shade!)  At home in Ballarat the Mr and I are real homebodies and hardly ever go out at night and to be walking around in Melbourne where the pavements and restaurants were crowded and everyone was friendly was refreshing and enjoyable.

We went our separate ways next morning, after a chatty breakfast - I headed off to AQS and the others were going shopping before catching their planes for home. And yes, there was lots to see at the quilt show and I did make a few purchases - more than I intended to, but at least I bought the applique paper I was interested in; the other things are for various projects and the table topper kit was a bonus (and a bargain). As for the quilts on display - colourful, quirky, inspiring and just plain wonderful. There is huge talent in the quilting community.
The exhibition building is beautiful inside and out and I spent quite a bit of time admiring it and the surrounding gardens.
Now back to stitching and sewing - I haven't finished anything this month so I'd better get my skates on (and learn how to place pictures properly in blog posts!)