Monday, December 28, 2009

Secret Santa gifts

These are the gifts I received in the Secret Santa swap for the online group I belong to. We're spread around the place, from Tassie to Queensland, and most of us have never met, but when it comes to making pressies for each other, we are the best! These are my gifts from Peg - aren't they beautiful. Peg does lovely work and I was so lucky to be her partner.
And this is what I made for my partner Bec:
a pocket tissues case, two covered coathangers and the vintage clutch purse from Pip Lincolne's wonderful Meet Me at Mikes craft book. I enjoyed making these for her (memo to self: must make them for me too!) and I love the fabrics.
For home and gifts, I whipped up one of Anni Downs' fabric bonbons which I filled with constantly-disappearing party sweets, and some Nancy Halvorsen cones. Two feature appliqued angels (I sent one to my daughter Rosy in China as part of a parcel of goodies ages ago but sadly she has not received it) and I made one from some gorgeous Christmas fabric that has been in my stash for ages. I didn't put sweets or chocolates in these as they are hanging from doorhandles in easy reach of our two food-obsessed Cavalier King Charles spaniels, Katie and Gus.
Happy New Year, everyone, I do hope we all have lots of good times, happiness and laughter in 2010 - oh, and lots of lovely stitching too!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ho ho ho

Good wishes and Christmas greetings, bloggy friends. Hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow, wherever you are and whatever you're doing.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Win fabric!

Head over to the twiddletales blog and comment for your chance to win some of the collection of her Wild Thyme fabric Anina is giving away. The colours and designs are so fresh and lively - you'll love them!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Oops, forgot to show off what I received from Sandy in the swap organised by Jenny of Elefantz and Vicki of Tozz's Corner. We were all required to send 2 fat quarters, trim and a button to our partner - nothing to make, no stress except wondering if our partner would like what we had chosen. It was a great swap for this busy time of year and I hope they do it again.
Here's what Sandy sent me - 3 fat quarters (isn't she so generous - the one at the front is from the Figgy Pudding range; it's the first piece of this range I have ever seen and I'm smitten!) a gorgeous little Christmas stocking button and a blue and silver drawstring bag containing Christmas bells and silver ric-rac. I'm so lucky! Thank you so much, Sandy.

In my haste to post Sandy's parcel, I forgot to take a pic of what I sent her - fortunately, I've been able to 'borrow' the photo she put on her blog. Nice, eh? love that little dove button; hope there's another one left in the shop just for me!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

One swap after another

Last night was the opening night of my online craft group's latest swap, a journal/diary cover. Lots of variety, lots of oohs and aahs over the internet during our chat (we are spread out from Tasmania to Queensland and many of us have never met).
This is what I made for Teresa:

and this is what Tereasa no, not a mis-spelling - different person) made for me:
It was so gorgeously wrapped up I couldn't resist taking a piccie:

And this is the parcel I sent to Simona in Italy for the Stitchers' Angel swap - sent late because I was sick for a while, and now received with thanks. As you can see, orange is her favourite colour - but she also told me she likes yellow and green and didn't mind surprises. Thought I'd play it safe, just in case. I'd made the diary for her before I got sick, and already had a spare stitcher's pouch I'd made a while back (phew!). I've made lots of these; they're handy little homes for some pins and needles, a few skeins of threads, little scissors and maybe a thimble. Jenny of Elefantz (love her designs) designed the bookmark - a freebie pattern - which was a last-minute whip-up, as was the magnet (fittings from Spotlight, fabric from my messy stash).
One more swap to go this year for our online craft group - a Secret Santa pressies swap - and after being non-stitchy for a while, I got the itch to stitch and just have a few finishing touches to go. Yay! Now if only I was smart enough to get posts with multiple pics looking tidy, as everyone else's does...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Swaps - and sew on

After being stricken (yep, I think the word is appropriate and not overly dramatic, given I really was laid low for a while) with pneumonia, I'm back in the real world and nearly as good as new. Back enjoying life, reading, sunny days, my garden, good company. Back to work (and glad to be there - I'm sure that will wear off!) and back to simple sewing - which is great, given I have a few projects to complete. Nothing to show and tell right now (my Stitcher's Angel partner has probably not received her parcel yet and my partner and I in the Christmas fat quarter swap organised by Jenny from Elefantz and Vicki from Tozz's Corner have also swapped blog addresses, so better not show what I'm sending her. Hi, Sandy!
But because a picture is worth a thousand words (and pretties up a post very nicely), I do have a few to share.

This is my Stitchers' Angel gift from Dolores in Canada - an apron, thread basket, shopping list pad, magnets, threads and a lovely handmade card. There was also a gorgeous hand-made bookmark cross-stitched with a rosebud and my initials. Unfortunately, after spending ages this morning transferring photos I accidentally deleted that pic - twit!

And this is the first Oriental poppy bloom of the season in my garden. The plant looked quite dejected last year and no wonder - the dogs kept lying on it. Now it's all lush green leaves and big red flowers.

And this iris makes me feel so cool on our hot days. I have blue and yellow irises too, along with masses of roses, dianthus and all sorts of other goodies; it's a lovely (and fragrant) time in the garden.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The quiet life

Life's been a bit too eventful in the past few weeks. The holiday was good, spending time with our daughter in China was so special, but it was all a bit tiring for poor old me - thought it was just the heat. Turned out to be pneumonia; never had it before and it has all been a bit alarming. I'm back home after a week in hospital here in Ballarat - we are so lucky here with our health care. Still very tired and a bit feeble and spending most of my time in bed but am so much better than I was. I have another week or so off work yet; will have to practice standing up and talking to people! Not ready to get back to sewing yet, but I am enjoying catching up on what everyone else in blogland is doing. Hope everyone's well and happy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Up up and away

Barring disasters (car breaking down on the way to the airport, forgetting the tickets and passports and other unmentionable things happening), DH and I are up hideously early and flying into the blue on Saturday morning.
The aforementioned early rising will be worth it - we're leaving behind coldish weather, work and our gorgeous pooches for the warmth of Singapore, Hong Kong and China. Just for a few weeks, mind. House sitter is organised, shopping completed, packing not even thought of. Oh yes, and I've been making stuff. We'll be spending 5 days in Shenzhen, China, with our daughter, who teaches English at a kindergarten. And a mum can't go empty-handed. My Rosy isn't at all crafty - I tried but failed - but loves it when I make stuff for her. So here 'tis:

The drawstring bag and the platypus stitchery are from Natalie Bird's little book that I bought at the quilt show in Melbourne recently. The diary cover is May Britt's gorgeous design for the Stitchers Angel swap and in the background are two scarves and a cosmetic bag made from a bloggy free pattern. Nice, eh?Here's a better view of the diary cover - oops, forgot to rotate. I'm sure you'll cope.
Can't wait to see my girl, and catch up with Malaysian friends, and enjoy the sunshine, the different sights, smells and sounds and indulge in some crafty shopping. If you're on holidays too - or if you're not - have fun.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Another great giveaway

Jan at Sewjourn is having a great giveaway to a place I'd love to go to. Visit her blog for the details - and visit again just 'cos it's a good read.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fabulous giveaway

Head over to Mama Spark's World for a fabulous giveaway of Robyn Pandolph fabrics in honour of her four hundredth post. Now that's what I call a celebration!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sheep, swap, shopping and sipping

Okay, okay, so I just couldn't resist the alliteration!
I've had some fun these past two weekends.
Sunday last week we went over to Bendigo (a hundred and some ks away from home here in Ballarat; for those who don't know, Bendigo is another lovely old town in the Victorian goldfields) to the big sheep show there.
Not our usual thing , and for us the attraction wasn't the sheep but the chance to catch up with our old friend Merrilyn from Tassie.
The divine Ms M was there with her partner, who breeds sheep, so it was nice to meet him and to wander round the show with Merrilyn pointing out the different breeds (she's a farmer's daughter, so she just couldn't help herself). Many years ago I did a stint as a rouseabout in shearing sheds on the south island of NZ but I'd forgotten how HUGE some of these beasties can be.
It was all very impressive, and a lovely catch-up with an old friend (who incidentally does beautiful ribbon embroidery and tapestry.)
Friday was chat night for my online friendship group and the opening of our latest swap, a Christmas ornament. Here's what Leanne made for me - isn't it lovely! Thank you so much, Leanne.

And this is what I bought at the quilt fair in Melbourne yesterday.
A great day out as always - met my non-bloggy friend Margot there and we wandered around happily, doing more looking than shopping (at first - that changed!) Iwas so pleased to get the pack of Moda strips, which contains enough fabric to make two toiletry/makeup bags - the pattern was included. I love my Marg Low pattern; she designs such pretty things and have lots of plans for the animal stitcheries in Natalie Bird's little book.
As for the sipping - today was the Glenlyon Food and Wine Fayre, an unmissable event. Glenlynon is a small settlement about 50? k from Ballarat. It has a great community spirit and every year packs local winemakers and food producers into big marquees that quickly become filled with people from many parts of Victoria who appreciate when they're on a good thing.
The entry fee includes a wine glass inscribed with the name of the event. It's such a nice souvenir to have when only the memory of the delicious things you've eaten and drunk that day (mulled wine, yabby puffs and a trout roll for me) remains. We came home with 2 bottles of red wine, blue cheese and jars of lemon curd, spiced quince jelly and pear chutney - yum!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I heart swaps!

Don't you just love swaps! You know how it goes - you join up, you're given a partner's name and a list of likes and dislikes, you make and send some great stuff, you receive some great stuff. Brilliant!
It's been like Christmas this month - I've received three swap packages , with another one to come at the end of the month.
The first opening was a huge parcel from Glenys, my partner in the Christmas in July swap organised by Karen from Mrs Martin's Quilt Shop at Monbulk (Victoria). This is what I received (minus the huge box of Maltesers, which were scoffed quickly!)
Next to be opened was my parcel from Pat in Narromine. We took part in Maree's (On my verandah) paper bag swap. What a great idea - each participant put together 2 fat quarters of favourite fabric, plus embellishments, plus chocolate to help the creative process along, and sent them to her partner. Back came the raw materials fashioned into beautiful keepsakes. My gift to Pat was a bag with her initial stitched on the front, and a pincushion. The next two photos are of what she sent me - isn't it lovely!
I don't have any pics of what I sent to Glenys or Pat as my camera was missing (found it last week under a quilt and things on the chair in my sewing room, don't ask!
That parcel was closely followed by gifts from Doris in Iowa. Doris and I were partnered in the FRIENDS swap organised by Sew Prim Khris, and let me tell you, we are pretty pleased with ourselves.
This is what I sent:
F: for the fat quarter Buttercup Bag, plus fabrics
R: for reading - bookmarks and a bag from the library corporation I work for
I: Chocolate for indulgence and a lovely bird motif from Prints Charming for inspiration
E: Easy peasy stitching purse - I've made lots of these - they're great
N: for nose - a tissue cover in the same fabric as the bag, and a lace-trimmed hanky
D: for drinking (tea or coffee or whatever) - coasters made with fabric featuring thongs/flip-flops or, as they are called in NZ where this fabric and footwear comes from, jandals
S: A cosy scarf
And here's what Doris sent me:
A wall quilt featuring gorgeous dresses, a slice of pincushion cake that looks good enough to eat, novelty fabric, Mary Engelbreit charm squares, quilt pins and a fabulous quilt mag in which I've already earmarked at least 3 projects.
Oh, and I've signed up for Helen's Stitcher's Angel swap again. I think I'm addicted. Thanks so much to the makers and the organisers of these swaps - it has been fun.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Drumroll please!

And now for something completely different - I'd like to introduce you to Katie and Gus, our adorable mum-and-pup Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
Cavvies are the best breed in the world - we're not biased (much - these two are our fourth and fifth of the breed).
Pros: Loving, loveable, cuddly, think everything you do is great and love your company.
Cons: They think it's food time ALL the time, they haven't read the bits in the dog books that describes them as rather regal so they have earned a collective nickname as "the scruffhounds", they love getting wet and muddy then wonder why you don't want them to come inside, they pinch teatowels off the front of the oven and take them to their basket, they chew their mattress, their long fur collects peastraw from the garden then drops it all over the dining room floor...
Better stop now, there are too many "cons". But we love 'em to bits anyway.
BTW, that's Gus at the top - this pic was probably taken just after he'd pinched his umpteenth teatowel of the day, while Katie has that long-suffering look all us mums wear at some time.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Christmas in July giveaway

There's a gorgeous Christmas in July giveaway at Barb's Creations ( I'd like to think all the lovely things in this generous giveaway have my name on them, but I suspect I will have to stand in line...Good luck!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Stitching, swaps and songs

As I mentioned in my last post (oh so long ago - time is flying!) I've been doing some swapping lately. I arrived home a few days ago to find an ENORMOUS parcel from Glenys in Melbourne, my partner in Mrs Martin's Quilt Shop Christmas in July swap. In it were a handmade fabric card, a dear little bag to fill with munchies and hang on a door handle, 2 Anni Downs stitcheries, a fat quarter of rose-patterned fabric and a matching button and a big notebook with a fabric cover featuring more roses and the initial J surrounded by flowers and a scalloped border. All this - plus the biggest box of Maltesers I have ever seen were wrapped up in a bag designed to hold Christmas wrapping paper and gift cards. Thank you, Glenys, for all these lovely things - and to Karen for organising the swap.
My gifts to Glenys included a bag made from Jodie Ric-Rac's tutorial, a glasses case, fat quarter and two simple stitcheries.
Now to finish off the paper bag swap, and a few last-minute things for the FRIENDS swap, and I'm done. I don't have pics of anything, alas, as the camera is still AWOL. Time for a new one - or a big house clean-up to see if it surfaces? Which would you choose?
As for the "songs" part of the title of this post, it's been a week now and I still can't believe I was there - at one of Simon and Garfunkel's 2 Melbourne concerts. What a thrill it was to be there to see and hear these legends whose music my husband and I have loved since we first heard it. They sang all the old favourites and although they must have sung them a thousand times it was as if they were singing them anew. It was such a treat and judging by the audience reaction (loud applause for each song and two encores) we all left the stadium with a song in our hearts.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Swap and giveaway

I'm a sucker for a good swap, and this one sounds like fun. I've just signed up for Maree's paper bag swap - there's still time to join. Check it out on Maree's blog -
She does come up with some great ideas!
And I've entered Robyn's giveaway; lots of lovely things (hopefully with my name on them!) at
Not handmade - although having swapped with Robyn for Christmas last year I know she's a generous soul whose work is beautiful - just delightful to have.
Good luck!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Time flies

I can't believe how quickly the year is disappearing, or how long it has been since my last post. What have I been up to? Mainly busy at work and home, the usual stuff. Mind you, although I haven't posted, I have done a lot of lurking, so have kept up with all the happenings in bloggersville.
And I have been crafting, although most of it is for others. Despite my resolution (well, aren't they made to be broken??) not to do much swapping this year, I am doing Mrs Martins Christmas in July swap and just couldn't resist the FRIENDS swap organised by sewprimkhris. And although I haven't yet got my teeth into any of the table runners, bags, wall hangings or cushion covers on my long list of things I want to make, or indeed any of the patterns I bought at the 2 quilt shows I have been to this year, I have at least done some stitchery just for me.
One of my projects is a gorgeous bird and heart design stitched on the front of a little drawstring bag I will use for hankies. The pattern is from Rosalie Quinlan's book Gift; the design is stitched in variegated thread in coffee and cream shades on a background of rose-patterned damask fabric. It will be gorgeous when it's finished (she says modestly).
Last year I was lucky enough to win a redwork stitchery pattern called "Amalie Rouge", by Catherine Baynes of Willow Valley Store. The pattern comes with an iron-on transfer - yay! I used the same fabric as for the bag in these two little stitcheries and I am so pleased with them. No pics, though; the camera is lost somewhere in the house and if we ever see it again I will make a very colourful bag for it as the current one is pale grey and not easy to see among all the stuff on our shelves.
Our two dogs, Katie and Gus (mum and pup Cavalier King Charles Spaniels) are no doubt happy not to have their photos taken right now as they are recovering from what was to have been just a little tidy-up pre-winter clip at the pet shop and turned out to be an all-over (apart from head, ears and tail) shave. I don't know who was most horrified at the result, them or DH and me; they definitely looked rather embarrassed for a while, although to compensate they did get more cuddles than usual and spent several nights inside. Now their fur is growing back and they don't look quite so silly, thank goodness.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A tuneful weekend

We've had a long weekend here in Victoria to celebrate Labour Day (?); DH Peter and I celebrated the extra day off work by taking off to the little coastal town of Port Fairy for its very big annual folk festival.
What a fabulous time it was; people everywhere, all smiling and happy and enjoying the music; good food to eat, only short queues for the loos...
Singers we heard and loved: Eliza Gilkyson (an American singer, new to us and now a favourite with her rich, mellow voice and sparky lyrics); Poms Chris While and Julie Matthews (beautiful harmonies); Aussie group The Audreys; Seamus Begley and Jim Murray from Ireland (Seamus has been around forever; plays accordion and has a beautiful voice; Jim plays guitar and sings harmonies and they share a rather naughty sense of humour); the April Verch band from Canada; April is a gorgeous little thing, a great fiddler, lovely voice and she does step-dancing while she plays; you have to see it to believe it (great to watch but it must be exhausting; don't know how she manages to do it and still continue to be so perky).
Anyway, no pics, because the ones I took were rather dire and dark. If you can, go next year - you'll love it!
And that, folks, is why I've done no sewing this weekend, despite a sewing room to clean up and new challenge projects to start. Since arriving home I've been catching up with the washing, getting ready for the working week and reading blogs (no prizes for which I've enjoyed most!) And I can't stop singing...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Let's go shopping!

I missed out on meeting the Tassie blogging girls, who were there on Saturday, but Sunday was a great shopping day at AQC. My non-bloggy friend Margot and I caught the train from Ballarat just after 9 am, and the train back from Melbourne around 5 o'clock , and had a great time in between. There were so many tempting things to buy - and we did - interesting classes and lectures (we are now sold on the idea of jelly rolls and 10 inch squares) great things to see and friendly stallholders and fellow crafters to talk to. I was so pleased to meet the Quilted Crow girls from Hobart; I won one of their lovely felted wool patterns just before Christmas and it was nice to be able to thank them in person; their stand was lovely and so are they. It was great to catch up briefly with the Selvedge Queen herself (Ms Jodie Ric Rac) and to see so many fabulous quilts. Forgot to take the camera, so I'm posting pictures of my haul and wondering when I will ever get time to use it or where I will put it (storage in my sewing room is chocablock and I have only recently rediscovered the floor, which gives you some idea of how messy it was) -but I love everything I bought and don't regret any of it. And despite the fact that I really don't need to buy any more patterns or fabric, I AM going to the Stitches and Craft show in Melbourne a couple of weekends hence. No sewing next weekend - DH and I are off to Port Fairy Folk Festival over the long weekend to sit in the sun and listen to great music - can't wait!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

....but not so great for so many

While my year has been humming along quite merrily, if rather haphazardly, so many have had a terrible few weeks. So many lives lost in Victoria's terrible fires, so many homes destroyed, so many communities shattered or burned out of existence.
What has not been lost is the great spirit demonstrated by those affected by the fires - many are keen to rebuild their homes and their communities as soon as possible - by the generous public all around the world and by emergency services crews and all other helpers.
In company with so many others, I've donated to the Red Cross - have you? Please do! - and bid on crafty online auctions.
Feeling the need to do something other than pressing buttons on the computer, I've made some little carry bags which are now filled with textas, a colouring book and scribble pad; a little effort which I hope will bring some cheer into a few little girls' lives.
I've made these in response to an online plea from Monica at Check it out - and check out Nikki's post to see the heap of colourful bags made at the sewing bee she organised yesterday (
Inspired by the gorgeous pics Annie posts on her blog, I've posted this shot of my favourite rose (taken BEFORE all the petals dried in the horrible hot weather) because it's so pretty, and also because its name - Best Friend - is so appropriate. There is such a need of good friends right now, and so many of us are being just that to people we may never meet, because we should, and because we can.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A great new year so far!

Belated New Year greetings, everyone; do hope your year so far is progressing happily. Mine is; I am still half on holiday (still a few weeks to go before my second job at a primary school recommences for the year) so am enjoying the residual feelings of well-being and relaxation from my Christmas holiday break. My husband and I (sorry, sounding like the Queen here; I could do the white-glove wave if you insist...) spent the first week or so travelling around - a night in a cottage in Coonawarra, South Australia - 3 nights by the beach in Robe, SA - 2 nights in boiling-hot-but-good-anyway Mildura and 2 nights in Melbourne. The latter was a bit of an extravagance as we live only just over an hour away from the city, but it was so nice to walk about and mooch and catch trams and just do whatever. Yesterday we went to a festival at a very picturesque lavender farm, but the Big Ballarat Blog Meet to meet UK blogger Trashalou has been the highlight so far. Jodie (vintage Ric-Rac) arranged the get-together with bloggers from near and far coming together to meet each other and swap stories and ideas and food and sit under the big trees in Eureka Park and generally have a great time. Jodie is so brave; she invited us back to her place for hot drinks and cake and more chat and it was all great. If you want to see pics, you'll have to try other blogs; not only did I forget to take the camera out, but I still haven't got the hang of posting pics yet. We met first at Ballarat Patchwork; apart from door prizes and bits from Emma's grandmother's stash, we all came away with new bits and pieces. I am trying to be braver with colour this year and bought 2 nice bright fat quarters, Heather Bailey's new fruit pincushion pattern and the shop's own pattern for a pot mitt and pot holder. I'm happy to say the pear pincushion from the pattern is progressing nicely and is NOT doomed to become a UFO.
Happy stitching!