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.