Monday, December 26, 2011

Crafty Christmas goodies

Look at the lovely gifts I received in Christmas swaps - lucky me!

This gorgeous quilt was looking so great on the back of my couch yesterday (it's stretched out for the photo) and was lovely to snuggle under earlier this afternoon on a much cooler daythan yesterday while I was reading and watching the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
The top is cotton and the colours are fresh and summery; the back is minky, I think, in lime green. It looks so nice against the green walls in this room.

The quilt is my gift in Chookyblue's Secret Santa Christmas swap and was made for me by Melinda in Marietta, Georgia. She knows I love it.
  For the past I-don't-know-how-many years, I've been a member of an online group of lovely women from various Australian states, who love crafting and make beautiful things. I won't be rejoining the group next year, but plan to make more things for my home (new cushions are urgently needed!) so this year's Christmas swap is doubly special.
Dawnie made me these lovely things  - the sweet little Christmas pudding needlecase, the pretty journal cover with lovely Barb Smith buttons, the handy zipped pouch, the sweet little pincushion and that gorgeous "Love to sew" bag.

Thank you again, Dawnie - I appreciate every stitch.
 I wasn't idle, I promise - I won't show what I made for one swap partner, who hasn't posted yet, but these are the gifts I sent to May Kristin in Norway, my partner in the SSCS - the Christmas ornament, which she was allowed to open as soon as she received the parcel, and this table runner, in summery colours to send a bit of sunshine her way.
We swapped Christmas email messages this morning; it's so nice to know that these gifts are a link between strangers across the world, and to learn a little about each other's lives.
I've had a very happy crafty Christmas! (and it was nice in lots of other ways, too - helping prepare for a big community Christmas lunch at my DH's church, a barbecue lunch  in our sunny backyard, a lovely chat on the phone with our daughter in China, gorgeous gifts from family and friends and just relaxing - so special.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Going west

The Mister and I are flying to WA on Thursday morning for a wee holiday; can't wait.  We will be travelling between Perth and Albany - any suggestions on what to see and do will be appreciated! I've not been to WA before and Mr LRH hasn't been there for years.
It's been quite a week here, with storms, some work-related issues, the nail-biting, nerve-wracking Rugby World Cup win by my favourite team, the All Blacks (despite so many years in Australia I am still a Kiwi at heart) and showing off Ballarat to our lovely young visitors from France. It was cold and wet again today, so most of our sightseeing was from the car, but we managed a walk through the Botanical Gardens without being blown off our feet and they were so impressed by all the beautiful buildings in the city and with our visit to the Art Gallery.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Gorgeous giveaway

My lovely friend Jo in Tassie is having a gorgeous giveaway. It closes today, so get your skates on and rush over to her blog to find out all about it. Anything involving Lynette Anderson's fabrics, Marg Low's patterns and Theodora Cleave's buttons has to be good, right?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Purse swap

The online group I belong to had a framed purse as our latest swap challenge.

And it proved to be more of a challenge than I had bargained for. I ordered a purse frame kit from the wonderful Nikki   in Melbourne and set to work.

The instructions were impeccable and all went well until it came to crimping the frame after the glue had set.

I got a little carried away with the hammer and the frame wouldn't shut - oops. I emailed Nikki for advice and she was so encouraging - she even offered to try and fix it if I couldn't. Wasn't that lovely - thanks so much, Nikki.

Normally if I stuff up I give up, but because I had committed to the swap that wasn't an option, so I ordered another frame and had another go - and this time everything was fine (maybe because this time I used pliers to crimp the frame, with cardboard in between to prevent scratches. )

The purse was for Kerry in Nundle, and the one she received (pictured bottom left) is in the same fabric as the bag I made her for Christmas.

And she made me the one at the top - it's in soft green wool with a pretty bowl of roses on the front - so gorgeous. Kerry's much smarter than I am - she chose a sew-in frame. She also sent a cute tape measure and little scissors and wrapped everything in pretty pink fabric.

Thanks heaps, Kerry. And thanks, Sarah, for organising another fun swap.

And speaking of swaps - I've signed up for Fiona-Marie's Great Global Christmas Swap and have a partner in the US, and for Chookyblue's Christmas swap (not telling you where my partner is from). Which means I will have to make more stuff, but before I do, I will have to clear up my sewing room. I started a tidy last week and just made a worse mess. At least I found some stuff I was glad to see again... Better get to it. Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011


This afternoon I have  had the chance of using two new machines.

One is a steam mop, which I had at home to try out. The other was Accuquilt's Go Baby  cutter.

No prizes for guessing which one I most enjoyed using.

The steam mop gave me clean floors and a sore back; my adventures with the  cutter (ever so kindly lent to me by my friend Jeni, who bought it on Wednesday) has resulted in a pile of tumblers in '30s fabric; sets of circles in three sizes and four-inch squares for a potholder.

Now to start putting them together...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What I did on my holidays

I go back to work on Wednesday after two weeks off .

As Mr LRH didn't have holidays, I took off  to NZ to visit two of my lovely brothers for the first 10 days or so of my break - and it was great. Not the best weather for a visit (cold, wet, a bit dreary) but nice and relaxing after lots of changes and stresses at work. And good, too, to have a visit unrelated to sad times - previous trips over the past five years or so have been when my mum was ill and for her funeral.

One brother and his partner live in Wellington with their two littlies; it was such fun to get to know my niece and nephew (4 and 1 respectively later this month) and enjoy family outings and simple things like reading stories to my niece (who loves books and libraries and was so impressed to be told that her auntie works in a library). She and I had a fun outing on the cable car to the superb children's playground in the Botanical Gardens. If you're in Wellington, make sure you visit the Minerva Bookshop in Cuba St - it specialises in textile books and magazines; be warned, you'll be there for ages!
I made a quilt for my niece when she was born so I just had to make one for her baby brother. I had a lot of fun choosing 'boy' fabrics and not so much fun putting it together (blame my terrible spray basting technique). With some unsticking and restitching (and nervously machine quilting with the walking foot on my new machine for the first time) it turned out well - phew! I used a free Two Little Banshees tutorial; what a great pattern . I'll definitely do that one again.

I travelled by bus to Auckland - where my youngest brother and his wife live - because I wanted to see more of the countryside. The land was so lush and green and despite the grey, gloomy weather, the scenery was beautiful and I really enjoyed the trip, although it was a long one - 11 hours or so.

We had some lovely outings - to Devonport, a pretty suburb across the harbour, where we had a delicious lunch (zucchini and mussel fritters for me, yum!) and mooched in bookshops, galleries and craft shops; and to Matakana, about an hour north of Auckland, where there was more yummy food and a fabulous pottery. Some gorgeous pieces made their way home (intact, I'm glad to say) in my hand luggage.

At the weekend I took a bus to Paihia in the Bay of Islands (four hours each way) just because I could. The weather was wonderful, the sea views divine and it was just so relaxing. I stayed in a so-so motel on the waterfront and enjoyed mooching around in the sunshine. 

On the Sunday morning I took the ferry over to Russell, a little town that was briefly the capital of New Zealand in the early days. Russell is a lovely little place that wasn't always so peaceful - think Maori Wars and a rough, tough frontier atmosphere and you'll get the picture.

Then it was back to Auckland and back home the next day after a very boring flight and horrible food. It was a short trip, but a merry one.

Add to that a couple of enjoyable catch-ups with crafty friends, lots of reading and general mooching, getting up late... well, you know what holidays are like.

Back to reality tomorrow, alas.

PS: Sorry about the red background; I just can't seem to get rid of it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Christmas in July swap

I've mentioned before that I'm part of an online stitching group called
Friends in Stitching. And yes, we all think of each other as friends although many of us have not met (although we are planning a get-together next year; fingers crossed).
We do regular swaps for each other and the latest was a Christmas in July stocking swap. I don'tknow about Queensland, where some of the girls in the group live, but in Ballarat, where I live, it has certainly been cold enough to feel properly Christmassy.
Anyway - I received my stocking from Tracy in Narromine on Friday and have been admiring it ever since. I love the choice of fabrics and that quirky reindeer stitchery.
Maree was my swap partner - I raided my stash and coincidentally used the same pattern (by Anni Downs of Hatched and Patched) as Tracy. Aren't the results so different!
And I was lucky enough to be able to hand over Maree's stocking in person. Maree and her family live on a farm in NSW and have been travelling around for a few weeks. They'd arranged to get together with fellow bloggy friends Jodie (Vintage Ric Rac) and Rachel(Four Wise Monkeys) and we had a lovely afternoon tea and lots of laughs at Jodie's house - thanks, Jod! It was great to meet Maree and her lovely family.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Swaps and autumn colour

Being part of two birthday swap groups meant lots of lovely extra pressies for my birthday last week.

In my online group, Friends in Stitching, the rule is to make for/give your partner gifts beginning with the initial of the town you come from. Being very literal was optional. So from Kerri in Echuca I received this elegant stitching tote, plus extras (pins, a tape measure, a notebook - sorry if I've forgotten anything, Kerri!) and an easy pattern for making fruit-themed pincushions. Excellent choices - thanks so much.

The girls in the birthday fat quarter swap group Maree organises every year came up with inspired, eclectic choices in keeping with my wish list - fresh and modern, reproductions and 1930s. And the extras - giant emery boards (so cute!) embroidery threads, little scissors, a gorgeous mug mat/mini quilt and a softie pattern. So generous - thank you all very much.

I had a lovely birthday - I usually work on a Friday but had arranged to take the day off and had a relaxing time at home. There was reading, and music, and stitching, and fabric patting , and lots of Facebook messages during the day, and phone calls and a lovely meal out at night. So nice.

Autumn is on its last gasp (sigh - it's my favourite season, love the colours ) and as well as taking some garden shots I roamed around the house with the camera, and here's what I found.

Edited to add: Blogger isn't playing nicely and all my pics have ended up at the top of this post; I can't move them around as everything is in HTML code - but I'm sure you will work it out!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Friends in Stitching, the online group I belong to, had a swap of Anni Downs' projects and Friday was our opening night, during a rather manic chat session.

Tereasa in Queensland made me this stitching folder, pincushion and scissor case; aren't they gorgeous
. All wrapped up in pretty fabric, too. Thanks heaps, Tereasa!

And this is what I made for Chookyblue in NSW; she's a country girl so I couldn't resist this Farm Girl stitchery.

I love swaps!

I went to the Australiasian Quilt Convention in Melbou
rne on Thursday and came home with shockingly sore feet and some new goodies.

Some lovely fabrics.
Natalie Bird's "Tis the Season book - lovely little Christmas stitcheries - tape and a kit for a mug bag, designed by Lisa Chandler. I love her fabric; I'm making this project for my daughter. A coaster is included in the kit but it will be too heavy to post so I'm keeping it - ssh, don't tell her!

Pretty felts, some wool and a couple of little patterns. I made the little key fob at Marg Low's Make and Take class. I love Marg's designs and was so happy to meet her; she's my nice neighbour's SIL .

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

OPAM finish for April

I don't usually do anything special for Easter, apart from sleep in and stuff my face with hot cross buns and chocolate.
But when I saw this freebie Easter design on Bronwyn Hayes' blog, it was irresistible. I finished this gorgeous little bag this morning; it will be filled with bags of little Easter eggs and sent to my daughter Rosy in China as a special treat. Lucky she doesn't read my blog, isn't it...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My wonderful weekend

What fun I had last weekend attending a stitching gathering in Hobart, meeting new friends, catching up with old friends, laughing, chatting, eating - oh, and not doing much in the way of stitching.
The occasion was the Quilted Crow's annual gathering - my first but definitely not my last. Leonie and Deirdre's lovely shop is in an old church with magnificent stained glass windows.
Our tutors, Leanne Beasley and Rosalie Quinlan, are just gorgeous - talented, funny, sharing; they each spent a lot of time at individual tables admiring our work or helping out. Leanne demonstrated satin stitch on my project after I confessed that I'm crap at it - Thanks, Leanne. She's a champion ironer too - she offered to iron the iron-on tranfers to the background fabrics for our chosen projects - what a star. Oh, and she signed my copies of Vignette - I love these mags and they will be even more treasured now.
I sat at a Tassie bloggers table - it was lovely to see my old friend Vicki again, to meet Fee and to finally meet face to face some of the Tassie girls in the Friends in Stitching online group I belong to. What a nice bunch they are!
The fun didn't end when the gathering was over - I stayed the night with lovely Jo and enjoyed checking out her huge - and well-stocked - craft room. Thanks to Jo and her family for their hospitality and to Jo for saying yes, we could make time for a quick visit to Salamanca Market. She scored a gorgeous little felted purse and I bought a wire bird for my birdie collection and some handmade wooden buttons. Not to mention the bits and pieces I couldn't resist at the Quilted Crow...
Next day it was a catch-up and coffee with a friend and her gorgeous little girls, then on to another friend's place for lunch and to stay the night. We used to be neighbours years ago in the country south of Hobart when our kids were young; it was lovely to see her and our other friend and former neighbour who came to lunch. Lots of laughter and reminiscing.
Next day my friend and I wandered through the city, ducking into a few shops including the Needlewoman, where I could have spent the rest of the day (and a vast amount of money). Wandering along the docks in the sunshine is a special memory; Hobart is such a pretty place but I lived there for some years and let me tell you it can be cold; we were so blessed with good weather. All too soon it was time for us to catch a plane to Melbourne. What a great weekend it was!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Help wanted...

It's not just because it's late, because I tried the same thing earlier and it didn't work. I thought maybe if I let Mr/Mrs/Ms Blogger have a rest, held my mouth right and had another go it would work, but no...

I wanted to do a post with pics about my wonderful weekend at the Quilted Crow's stitchery gathering in Hobart last weekend. I can usually transfer pics from Picasa to Blogger but not today, although strangely a screed of HTML stuff about the pics was in the template above the text I wrote. They didn't appear in the preview, though, and when I published there was a big blank space where they should have been.

HELP! Is it me? Is it Blogger? Anyone else having problems?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

In the mail

Look what the postie has delivered in the past week or so - lots of lovely stuff to play with.

Bec in country NSW was having a clean-out at her place, and the bargains were irresistible. Lovely pinks and greens, along with yardage of Fandango by Kate Spain plus a jelly roll of the same line. I love Fandango - can you tell? The designs remind me of the beautiful, ornate tiles I saw in my travels in Portugal last year and in India - particularly on the Taj Mahal - many years ago.

And from Hatched and Patched in Bathurst, also in NSW - bags of crushed walnut shells (wonderful for filling pincushions; here's a hint - use a funnel when filling or be prepared to spend an hour or so trying to gather up every last little bit of grittiness you've dropped everywhere) and some gorgeous felted wool. And because my order was delayed a little, I also received one of Anni's early patterns - what a nice gesture!

Monday, March 21, 2011


Look at this lovely giveaway from Fee at Designs by Fee - two Fresh Cotton charm packs from Fig Tree Quilts plus a length of gorgeous rose-patterned fabric from the same line. It could be your lucky day - but only if you visit Fee's blog, which has lots of other lovely things to read about. Good luck! Fee is one of the Tassie bloggers I'll get to meet at the Quilted Crow's gathering in Hobart on Saturday; can't wait.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


A wee while ago I took part in a colour swap organised by Maree of On My Verandah. She's a genius organiser, that woman. In no time at all, threads, fat quarters, something nice to eat and something pretty (purchased or handmade) in chosen colours were making their way to recipients in Australia and NZ.
The photo above shows what I sent to Christine in NSW, who requested cream. Must say I was a bit daunted at first, but I think it turned out just fine.

And below is what my partner in Victoria, another Christine, sent me. Isn't that bag the prettiest thing! I've never seen watermelon rock before. The lovely fabric is earmarked for something special for me - don't know what yet. Christine knows I'm thrilled to bits with what she sent me.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Another earthquake

My heart goes out to everyone in Christchurch affected by today's earthquake. The images on TV remind me of a city in wartime - crushed or badly damaged buildings, people being rescued, people wandering around in a daze, emergency accommodation set up in parks... I was brought up in NZ and have fond memories of holiday visits to this beautiful city as a child and later as an adult. My family lived in the Wellington area, and as there is an earthquake fault line through the centre of the north island earthquake drill was a regular part of my schooldays. An earthquake like the one that devastated Napier in the 1930s (hence all that city's fabulous Art Deco buildings) would have been expected in Wellington, not Christchurch - and certainly not twice in six months. So sad. This afternoon I logged onto the Google NZ site, which has an area where people can search for names, or post information that they're okay; fortunately the names of my Christchurch friends weren't listed. Fingers crossed for them, and for everyone who is missing or injured.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Monday morning so far...

It's just after 10 am and I'm exhausted already.

Around 9.45 I raced out of the shower to answer a phone call from the guy who is going to cut down the huge alder tree in our back yard. He said he'd be there in 15 minutes - yikes! Definitely not enough notice, so I rearranged for 10 am then rushed round getting Gus and Katie, our two daft but delightful Cavaliers into the garage and opening the side gate; went inside to a phone message saying the appointment would now be at 1.30, so I reversed the process but forgot to shut the gates.

Of course Gus and Katie took full advantage of the situation and zoomed off (they run really really fast and are serial runaways whenever they get the chance). Lucky me, they hadn't gone far and actually came when I called them - phew! And yes, this time I remembered to shut the gates. Definitely time for a cuppa and a bikky.

Monday, January 31, 2011

First finish for 2011

I have lots of ideas and inspiration for all sorts of things to make, but so far have only managed one finish. This Perfect Pear pincushion was designed by the Quilted Crow girls in Tassie and was so easy to make (which is why it appealed to me so much!) I've used a combination of gorgeous felted wools purchased online from Hatched Patched in Bathurst,NSW and from Kerry at Cottage on the Hill at Nundle, NSW. It's filled with crushed walnut shells, also from Hatched and Patched. I've not used this filling before and will be ordering more; so much easier than stuffing. Make sure you use a little funnel to transfer the shell grit into the pincushion, otherwise those teeny tiny little bits travel all over the place. Can you tell who had to do a big cleanup afterwards? Hope you are all having a fun year so far. Happy stitching!
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