Saturday, February 6, 2016

FNWF

I hope you all had a good time last night, stitching or knitting  or whatever else you got up to.

I signed up for last night's FNWF before realising that I 'd be out. Ballarat's city council had the first in this year's series of Backyard Taster events  promoting multi-culturalism and community. It was a lovely evening to be outside enjoying music, dancing (we saw a performance by young Aboriginal girls and a Maori haka), a display of rare trades and chatting  with  friends. Earlier in the day I'd responded to a last-minute appeal for cakes for a fund-raising stall at the event so spent a hot afternoon in the kitchen. There was a long queue for food at the event so we ate dumplings at a nearby restaurant  instead,  (yum!) then came home to watch the first episode in the new series of the Dr Blake Mysteries. Have you seen this show? Are you a fan? We love it - good plots plus it's set in beautiful Ballarat, so how could we not?

So - my FNWF was really a solo knitting session  during the day, finishing a teeny weeny beanie and beginning another. Isn't  it ridiculously  small! Of course it is - it's  for a premmie baby. Earlier this week I came across an appeal from  Li'l Aussie Prems Foundation for little green beanies for its  6th annual Wear Green for Premmies event and these are the results so far. I'm  looking forward to more craftiness today.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Hello again

Here I am again - just sneaking in for a January post - better late than never. I hope everyone had an enjoyable festive season and that 2016 will be kind to us all.

This first month has been to my liking, apart from the hot weather, which always makes me tired and cranky. Still, it's the perfect excuse for staying  indoors and reading or stitching (or having a nanna nap - you don't have to be a nanna to enjoy a nanna nap!)
Little projects make me happy and there have been a few of those so far - a wool pincushion, a linen and Liberty pouch, a mini featuring a little red hen (no surprises there) and a few other bits and pieces. The pouch was a gift for Anorina of sameliasmum, who designs and makes lovely things and is very generous in sharing her tutorials.  I'm in a year-long trans-Tasman birthday swap this year and she was our first birthday girl. I must admit to having been a little daunted to be making for her but it turned out well and there was such a lovely response from her and others. You can't beat the combination of linen and lovely Liberty.



Gail Pan is one of my favourite designers and when she announced late last year that she was having a summer school in January there was no way I was going to miss out. Apart from plentiful food and drink, it was a BYO sort of day for whatever project you wanted to work on. I took the wool applique pear design that became the pincushion, as well as some simple embroidery. There were stitchy treats in a bag and the potential for  lots of shopping to be done - Gail's latest Stitch It For Christmas came home with me, as well as other goodies. It was such a pleasant, friendly, chatty,stitchy day and I enjoyed it so much.



Each year ace blogger and all-round good person chookyblue hosts her Secret Santa Christmas Swap which is looked forward to by crafters all over the world. My partner to make for this year was Josie at dillydimple, whose blog is always fun to read. I was really chuffed to have Josie as my partner because she's in Scotland, where I was born. Nice one, Chooky! If you want to see what I made for Josie, visit her in blogland.
And making for me was Marion in Germany
(kunzfrau.blogspot.de). I received a cute cardboard Christmas tree ornament with gold lacework in the middle - so unusual and lovely - and these fabulous oven gloves. I've never had handmade oven gloves before, and certainly not two of a kind of shop-bought ones.  They're so practical and I use them a lot - and they look good hanging up in my kitchen too.
So - the year has started well and there's lots more fun, crafty and otherwise, to be had. Bring it on!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

SSCS and FNFW

We've put up our Christmas  tree and my SSCS gift from Marion in Germany  is the first gift to go under it. Hooray! I love this time of year and the gifts  like these that are such a lovely expression of kindness and friendship around the world.

Of course I haven't  opened the parcel yet because I'm  a  good  girl but the lovely little ornament  is hanging  on the tree now. Thank you so much, Marion. And thanks too, as always, Chooky for again hosting  this swap that's a highlight of the year for so many of us.

Cheryll hosted FNFW  last night and my little contribution to the stitchy crafty get-together  was this cute stocking. It's  from a tutorial  on Amy Sinibaldi's blog and is a quick little make that can be embellished however you like. This one will house a gift card to be sent to my SIL. Thanks for your company, everyone! 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

December

No post last month = another fail on the blogging front.  I shall try very hard to do better next year.

That's  not to say I haven't  been busy-ish, at least some of the time.

 First up was Quiltessentially  Clunes,  a delightful stitching weekend in the equally delightful little town of Clunes, about 20 minutes away from my place. So nice to sit around stitching and chatting and eating. Organised by three talented women - local textile artist Christine  Lethlean,  Rae Telfer and Judy Newman - and attended by lots of lovely people, including my good friend Loz.

Loz had to dash back home to the Barossa - a small matter of being involved  in arrangements for a Royal visit - then drove to my house in Ballarat for a couple of days of fun and frolics. Gail Pan came for a visit with  her visiting American friend Debbie and we went out for tea  in town with Jodie and  Annie and some other friends. Good company, good food, lots of laughs - an unbeatable combination that was repeated next day when we all descended on Gail's Patchwork  Emporium,  Cotton Factory and The Crafty Squirrel. We are so lucky in Ballarat to have such gorgeous places to visit.

I travelled back to the Barossa with  Loz early the following day and enjoyed a couple of days of eating (oh Maggie Beer and Barossa farmers' market, how I love your products) sightseeing and admiring Loz's company and beautiful  handiwork. The Barossa is such a beautiful  region and I look forward to another  longer visit. Next up was a drive down to Port Elliot on the coast, where I stayed with a mutual friend, Leanne and her husband Tony and their cute little dog Bella. Port Elliot is a delightful little town on the coast, with the most beautiful  sea view. I fell in love with it and so did my husband Peter when he came to pick  me up a few days later.  There were chats and laughs and seaside walks,  drives to the mouth of the Murray and a cheese factory and down to Victor Harbor,  where I had the unexpected delight of a ride in a horse-drawn  tram to Granite Island.  I'm so grateful to my friends  ( who, by the way, I got to know through blogging) for my lovely little holiday.

Pete and I had a night in Robe, another place we love for its picturesque seaside ambience, then it was back home to  our gorgeous  dogs, home and garden - and stitching; I had work to do for two swaps and got everything  finished and away on time. Despite the busyness and challenges of the  season, I do love Christmas  swaps, especially  Chooky's Secret Santa  Christmas  Swap.





Here are a few travel snaps and a photo  of a bundle of lovely Liberty scraps that floated into my letterbox a few days ago. Who doesn't  love good times and happy mail, especially  at this time of  year.

Monday, November 2, 2015

OPAM October

Seven finishes this month - mind you, most of them are quite small so I really can't  crow too loudly. But a finish is a finish and I'm pretty pleased.

Thanks again to Peg and Kris for keeping us all motivated to keep calm  and carry on crafting.





Sunday, November 1, 2015

What's been happening

I'm now able to blog with photos - hooray! A visit to the Telstra shop yesterday confirmed my tablet was outmoded and the cord was stuffed, which was why it wouldn't charge. Boo hiss. We came away with a new, cheaper plan and a little tablet  which is  light and fits into my handbag - so convenient.
The Aussie husband and I got up at ridiculously early o'clock this morning to watch my team, the All Blacks, defeat the Wallabies 34 -17. Well, that wasn't my husband's intention but that's what happened. It was an absolutely excellent game, and I don't just mean because the Kiwis won. Now that the World Cup is over, this Little Red Hen can look forward to staying in bed all night, every night.



 Around lunchtime, we staggered out into the daylight and went to an exhibition by Ballaarat Quilters. So much colour, so much variety. I love the one above, which is based on Jane Austen's quilt. The quilt top left was viewer's choice for us both - it would look lovely on our bed. The one next to it reminds me of gift packages and I photographed the wall hanging because I have a kit for the 3 panels and hadn't  considered  putting it together that way.

 I'm in a couple of Christmas swaps again this year and have other handmade gifts to make. Above are two of the first - a stitcher's pouch, designed by Sarah from Patchworks Plus, and a purse for little scissors, some needles and pins and other accessories.  The pins fabric is by Aneela Hoey and Heather Ross, whose quirky fabrics I just love, designed the butterflies print. The other fabric is a floral cross-stitch print by Aussie Shannon Lamden. Using lovely fabrics is always such a pleasure.
We've been married 40 years next year and are hoping that our retirees' budget will fund a trip to Europe. Brochures have been collected and there's planning (and probably some arguments) to look forward to. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Photos!

This morning I finally remembered how to transfer photos from the gallery on my tablet to the PC so I could download them to a blog post - because posts are so much more interesting with photos, don't you think? Then I took some more photos later and it didn't work no matter what. Foiled again. It would be much more convenient if I could upload to a blog post on the device but I can't. The Blogger upload photos thingy comes up but nothing happens. Oh technology, I really really love you until you do something annoying...

So - when it worked ever so briefly this morning I decided it was time for a new header photo. The old one - masses of colourful begonias - was taken at Ballarat's annual Begonia Festival a couple of years ago. The new one is of the crab apple tree in our back garden. It's no longer blossoming but when it was, just a week or so ago, it was eye-catchingly pretty.

Apart from the usual household stuff, reading and wandering in the garden, I may have purchased some fabric from time to time (too much of it, I have to admit ... but I'm sure it will all be very handy ... someday). I now have a small collection of Heather Ross fabrics - her designs are so quirky and appealing. These latest purchases are from her Tiger Lily range - aren't they sweet! I particularly like the cat fabric, which I bought especially for my daughter, who adores cats in general and her own ginger cat particularly.



A few months ago, as mentioned in a previous post,  I took part in a needlebook swap organised by Jenny at elefantz.blogspot.com. The brief was to use one of the designs from her monthly stitchery club. I sent the one with the pear on the front and received the other. What a nice swap it was.
 With Christmas getting frighteningly close, I've made a few little festive ornaments. Felt is so great to work with and the handstitching is so relaxing. The embroidered tree is one of Marg Low's gorgeous designs.


 
I'm taking part in Chooky's Secret Santa Christmas Swap again this year (thank you very much for your ace organising, Chooky, and for my allocated partner; I'm thrilled to bits) and have gifts to make for family and friends too, so I'd better stop messing around  and get on with it.
Bye for now - hope you're having a great day, whatever you're doing.