Saturday, December 27, 2014

SSCS 2014

So there has been lots of eating and drinking and phone calls to faraway relatives and generally feeling in a holiday mood. Ah, Christmas - so nice.

And Chookyblue's ( annual SSCS swap was, as usual,  part of all the feel-good stuff. My gifts went to Anne Heidi (lappemor. in Norway. I made her some gifts with an Aussie touch and she loves them. I used Ballarat girl Emma Jean Jansen's Terra Australis fabrics for the pouch and the little drawstring bag. Patterns for both were by Aussie designers, as was the pattern for the stocking. The kangaroo buttons in the parcel are by Barb Smith in Bendigo ( and so is the button on the Christmas decoration I made, which was designed by Marg Low ( another Australian.

My swap parcel for this year was from Clare in NZ, who blogs at As well as the lovely cross-stitched ornament shown in a previous post, and a yummy marshmallow star, Clare sent this lovely wall hanging which looks right at home with all my other handmade Christmas things. The holly branch she added makes it extra-special. It's not a great photo -sorry.

Thanks so much, Anne Heidi and Clare, for being part of my Christmas and special thanks to Chooky for making it happen again.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Fun with fabric and felt

Me again. Just after deciding yesterday that I was over all this handmade-for-Christmas malarkey, along came Amy from Nana Company with a delightful tutorial she wrote for EHow. Are these  Christmas stockings cute or what (Amy's are gorgeous but I'm pretty happy with mine.) The very very pink one is for my daughter, the blue one for her boyfriend and I'm keeping the one with the star button.
I'm off to raid my big bag of felt - I feel another stocking waiting to be made. And you're heading over to Amy's blog to admire hers and find out how she made them, aren't you? Run, don't walk. Have fun.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Lucky me

The postie delivered a huge box of goodies today from Emma, my secret partner in the Instagram swap I mentioned in yesterday's post. I opened it straight away ( and yes, I was allowed to, so there!) and was amazed by Emma's generosity.  How could I not be - just look at what she sent.

I am looking forward to a cup of that fancy tea later and am dreaming of a fish pie made in my new Jamie Oliver pie dish. There's a needlebook and pincushion, chocolates, pins and two tissue holders.  That was all in one package, wrapped in a tea towel. The other parcel contained this wonderful cushion and I love everything about it - those happy scraps (especially the owl and typewriter key prints) the grey background the border and backing prints and the artfully concealed zip.   I'm feeling very lucky - and very thankful.  I  shared some chocolate with Mr LRH because I'm nice like that and because the poor bloke is a bit limpy after straining a calf muscle this morning while collecting food hampers for his church group to deliver tomorrow. I'm not nice enough to share that cushion though! Like Chooky's, this was a happy swap to be involved in - fun to give and receive, and that's what these swaps are all about.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Hello again

I'm way behind on the blogging front. Since my last post, there's been some good stuff and a little not-so-good stuff. C'est la vie.  Anyway, here I am again, enjoying life and making stuff.

I'm in two Christmas swaps this year; one on Instagram and Chooky's Secret Santa Christmas Swap, which I am doing for the 5th? year. The sewing mojo disappeared for a while - coincidentally with the appearance of a bad cold and hay fever for me and a bad cold and hay fever AND shingles for Mr LRH following a few days in Canberra - but luckily came back in plenty of time for crafting for Christmas.

Santa delivered my SSCS parcel nice and early - it was from Clare, who blogs at craftladyinkiwiland and contains this gorgeous ornament which will be displayed in my sewing room all year round. It's meticulously (and patiently) stitched on fine linen. And look at the instruction on the parcel's label  "Do not open until 25th December" - do you think she really means it? (I can almost hear Clare and Chooky in chorus : "Yes, she does!" Thank you so much, Clare, I can't wait to open the parcel - but I will, I promise! It's nice to have stitching connections across the ditch; as I've mentioned in a previous post, I was brought up in NZ after moving from Scotland with my mum and dad when I was two years old.

And I enjoyed making for my SSCS partner, who lives somewhere overseas. The parcel I sent was really light but was pretty pricy to send nevertheless; postal charges just seem to go up and up constantly. No doubt I'll be moaning to myself about this again in the next few days when I post parcels to my two brothers in NZ and cards to family and friends overseas.

The Instagram swap was also fun; I made gifts from brightly coloured fabrics (which took me out of my colour comfort zone - not  a bad thing at all) as these seemed to be my secret partner's preference.

Now I'm off to the sewing room to make a drawstring bag for brother number 3 - my brothers are all getting drawstring bags (it's okay, they don't read my blog) and a special coaster each. Choosing the fabrics has been fun - my youngest brother in Auckland enjoys painting, so his bag features paintbrushes; I'm using Melody Miller's wonderful arrow fabric from her Cotton and Steel range for  brother number 3 in Wellington (which doesn't mean he likes archery; I just loved the fabric and I hope he does too) and my brother in Townsville enjoys fishing, so his bag is patterned with - guess what?

But before I go, here's a little stitching-related extra. I live in Ballarat and today is the 160th anniversary of the Eureka Stockade Rebellion. The battle lasted 15 minutes, many of the rebels and several soldiers and police were killed and while the battle didn't go the miners' way, it's regarded as the foundation of Australia's democracy. Representatives of several stitching groups plus community members including little old me painstakingly handstitched a replica of the original flag with its stars of the Southern Cross. It was a very proud moment when I saw  'my' flag flying from a rustic flagpole early this morning at a ceremony at the site of the battle. It was a wonderful thing to be involved in.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Friday felty fun

My husband arrived back home on Friday afternoon after a road trip to attend his uncle's funeral in NSW.  I knew  we'd have lots to talk about so this little project was just the thing for FNSI. Cut with my favourite  Baby Go die, it's the fourth such brooch I've made recently.  Felt is lovely to work with and I have a collection of gorgeous colours so I'm sure there will be more.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Friday night with friends etc

I signed up for FNFW but in between making and eating vege soup, beer bread and Karen Martini's lucious lemon and poppyseed cake and watching a movie all I ended up doing was cutting some hexies for the drawstring bag I'm planning to make. The pattern is Judy's Dilly Bag, designed by Judy Newman from a very fine house. It's hand pieced - hmmm, not sure about that - and will use up lots of  the accumulated bits and pieces of fabric that I can't bear to throw away. This will be a long-term project so don't hold your breath.

Friday was a cold, snowy, indoorsy sort of day; this is only the second time I've seen snow in Ballarat in the 10 years we've lived here and it was beautiful to watch. Yesterday and today began with a bumper frost (-2 this morning)  that brought clear blue skies.

Yesterday afternoon we headed up to Daylesford for a concert featuring the Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Orchestra and two travelling musicians from Scotland, Chris Stout (fiddle) and Catriona McKay (harp). We'd last seen Chris and Catriona featuring in a fabulous group from the Shetland Islands, Fiddlers Bid, when they played at the inaugural 10 Days on the Island Festival in Tasmania years ago, so we knew it would be a great concert - and it was. And at the end of the concert, the musicians left the stage, still playing their instruments as they left the hall,  farewelling the audience in such an unexpected, happy way.

Friday, August 1, 2014

CIJ swap and other stuff

So - the Christmas in July swap has been and gone and I am just wondering if the rest of the year will gallop along at the same pace as the first seven months. I'm not sure if it's just that I'm getting older but it seems that some years vanish faster than others.

Anyway, it was a fun swap and I want to show what I made for Sue in Dunedin. With overseas swaps (and yes, NZ DOES count as overseas!) I like to add a bit of Aussie-ness. The cushion cover I made has more than a hint of this - it was designed by Anorina at Samelia's Mum in NSW and the border fabric just screams Australia (or maybe that was the noisy cockies).  I used the same fun fabric to cover the front of a card and fussy cut a little piece as a "stamp" envelope. The other Aussie components were the pattern for the clutch purse (from the book Meet Me at Mike's by Pip Lincolne in Melbourne), a Santa button by Barb Smith (Theodora Cleave - I love the quirkiness of her button designs) and a little pattern by Lynette Anderson.

All the fabrics used were from my stash (gotta love that) and were purchased locally or from quilt shows in Melbourne. I love the reindeer fabric on the flap of the clutch purse and the lining fabric, which also featured reindeer,  was a lucky find at the bottom of one of my fabric tubs.  Aneela Hoey's
quirky fabric was just begging to be made into a Christmas stocking.

And now it's the end of the month and OPAM is upon us once again. Our weather has been dreadful for most of this week - so cold and wet - and yesterday's crafting efforts consisted of felty fun. So now I have a little scissor ornament (designed by Marg Low, who is one of my favourite designers, from a kit purchased from her at the recent quilt show in Melbourne) for myself  and a brightly coloured flower brooch for my young niece.And I've signed up for Friday Night With Friends  tonight so must be off and sort out a hand stitching project.

PS: I've just looked out of the window and it's SNOWING - hooray!

PS2: I was the lucky winner of this adorable pincushion made by clever Susan who makes gorgeous things; her blog, Thimblestitch, is lovely to read and having been lucky enough to meet her last year I know she is lovely too! Needless to say, no pins will ever be stuck into this little beauty. Sorry to have been so remiss in posting about this, Susan, you know I love it.