Friday, May 30, 2008

Warning: sunglasses required!

Here is my "quick quilt" I whipped up back here, and actually finished yesterday at craft! The colours are soooo bright, and not my usual thing ... it started as a baby gift quilt, but got bigger and more girly, so it will go to my niece. I will pack it away until her birthday in October. Can you see her name in the quilting?

This was my first attempt at machine quilting, and the loops are super-huge and were super-tricky. I "scribbled" around the border. But it was a good learning experience and I like the way it turned out all puffy with the polyester wadding. This quilt is quilted much more closely, and with 80/20 cotton batting, so it's quite different, and much better to quilt (although it seems to be taking forever!). It was nice to finish this little project, (if for no other reason than to get one quilt-in-progress out of the living room - one down, two to go!)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

One little nose knows

Tonight, feeling energetic after the success of the piano recital, I decided to make our favourite Easy Granola from Laine's Recipes. I began about 9pm and about 9.15 Emily stumbled out of bed, eyes shielded from the light and exclaimed "I smell honey!"

I guess that's what happens if you are foolish enough not to love honey. You can even detect it in your half-asleep state. At least the adults of the family will appreciate it in our breakfast bowls tomorrow morning.

The picture above is a page from my all-time favourite book from my very young childhood, My First Book. I have protected this book from being thrown out for years. I love the illustrations (oh the shine on the honey jar), the rhymes and the predictability of the little girl's day.

Piano Recital

Tonight my friend and I held a Piano Recital at the school where we teach. 35 children played, it was quite a performance! They all played beautifully, only a few were affected by nerves, and we were proud of them all, as were the many parents who attended.

By way of a break from the many renditions of "Fur Elise" and "Lightly Row" etc I (hopefully) entertained the audience with the content of this interesting article which I found interesting. I think I am becoming more confident at ad libbing in front of audiences than I used to be. Just as well.

Today I sent this card to a friend who has had to undergo surgery suddenly. The stamps are Hero Arts clear stamps, and are so cute.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

End of Autumn

We have had such pleasant weather here the last couple of weeks - cool and mostly sunny. I feel so much more energetic in the cooler weather than in summer, more inspired to try new things and even (shock horror!) to exercise. At the moment I have a very modest aim of walking 15 minutes a day. I missed yesterday, but it is not too late today. I have started wearing a pedometer again today, but the total is too woeful to tell you at the moment, even though it is after 4pm!

Today I made card designs for the class I will teach at our Thursday craft group next week. Taught a piano lesson and played some whistle, did a little shopping. Now I have some crafty mess to clean and I will try to make the house shine while the girls are at Irish Dancing, before Steve's bible study guys come over tonight.

On another note, it seems that my "little" battle last week was not all in vain, I heard secondhand that I might have changed things for the better, after all. If so, I am thankful to God and also for all He has taught me through a difficult few days.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A hard lesson out of school

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will ... do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you ... Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good ... Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse ... Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" ...
- Romans 12
In the last day or so I have stood up for something I think is right in an organisation I am involved in. It was hard to do and I was strongly opposed from every other member of the organisation. This was a moral issue involving children and I am saddened by the world's lack of wisdom and its putting ease for adults and momentary pleasure of their children before all else. I should not be surprised - this is the world we live in, but I don't often hear it expressed so strongly in person.

So this morning was not a happy morning for me. The girls had an unexpected day off school and we planned a picnic but at first everything went wrong - tempers flared, instrument practices did not happen, we were all grumpy ... but eventually we packed up and spent a few hours at the national park, and I'm so glad we did. God's amazing creation calmed and revived me, and helped me to see that He is bigger than the people around me.

The girls loved every minute
... and I was struck again by the variety in even a small area of bush.

The scribbly gums reminded me of my free-motion quilting ...

The picnic ended with a walk in the mangroves.
" ... he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. " Ps 23
Then it was back to normal life with a chiropractor appointment and a flute lesson.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lovely Lunch

Both girls at school, all feeling much better, shopping done for the week and fresh veggies to make a delicious stirfry:


Beat 2 eggs and fry in butter to make an omelette, remove from pan.

In 1 tablespoon sesame oil fry the following ingredients:

1 bunch baby bok choy

4 mushrooms

1/4 red capsicum

Slice the omelette thinly. Add a dollop each of oyster sauce and black bean sauce and throw in the omelette strips. Stir for a minute and then serve in a bowl. (serves 1)

Add chrysanthemums and British Country Living magazine for the ultimate mum-alone-at-home dining experience. Yum!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Almost Perfect

Sitting in the warm sunshine by the heater on a wintry day, a pretty quilt on my lap, trying a new knitting stitch (after many vows never to knit again) and seeing a scarf form before my eyes, listening to some Italian Concerti Grossi, drinking a cup of tea from my favourite mug accompanied by some delicious lemon cake - could the morning be any better?

Well ... it's not what I had planned. Laura and I are both a bit sick in the tummy so we are having a sick day. At this moment I should be leading bible study so there is the inevitable guilt and regret and wondering if I should have tried to be there after all. Laura had half a day off yesterday, she felt well around 11.30 to go to school (go figure!) But today we are at home again.

After my brief moment of perfection Laura decided she had had enough reading so the beautiful music went off and ABC Kids went back on ... so the soundtrack is not so relaxing but the scarf is coming along and I'm not up to much else, so I'll get back to it. Although it looks disturbingly different from the scarf in the picture ... I guess I'm not a knitter after all. But I am liking the scarf so I will stick with it.

As for my quilt made at craft group, this is the latest:
I'm not sure why the border looks puckered, I hope it comes out ok in the end. I added a border to the quick girls' quilt I made on Thursday, and started machine quilting it, it's not too bad but not great .. then I ran out of thread ... photos to come when it's finished.

Well back to my sunshine ...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Candy Colours

Yesterday was quite a productive day. At craft I stitched away at the border of the red and yellow quilt ... it's getting closer to finished, I will be so glad when it is! Then I came home and began a new quilt! Yes, I have the strip piecing bug. In one hour I made the middle section of a new quilt for a child ... not sure who yet ... photos of both quilts to come, it is a grey day here. It is just so cool to make something so quickly. Of course there is still plenty to be done, I need some border fabric and then is the backing and quilting and binding ... !

Then last night I was tidying my desk and came across a pile of scraps and stamped images, so I used them to make these cards, I am loving these colours. The cupcake stamp is new.

I embossed this flower ages ago, with the ShapeBoss system, but hadn't used it.

I am particularly happy with how the stamping down the side turned out, it needed something extra.

And this little notecard uses up a stamped image which had not stamped properly in the middle. Covered it up with the "thankyou" and voila a cute card using pieces I could have thrown away!

5 Things that are making me happy now:

(not necessarily in this order!)

1. Quilts

2. Candy colours

3. Hearing the girls practising and improving on flute, sax and piano.

4. Friends

5. Having a somewhat tidyish house (for a change).

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My lovely Mothers Day gifts

As promised, here are pics of my Mothers Day haul - everyone was very kind to me:

From the Mothers Day stall at school the girls selected a mug and a photo frame - they both wanted to give me the mug but then Em had to choose the frame -I'll have to find the perfect pictures of my girls for it. Emily also gave me a large Toblerone (my favourite) which she paid for herself, and Laura helped pay for a pack of Bounty bars (another favourite).

Steve gave me 2 DVDs - Bleak House and the Jane Austen collection, which I am looking forward to watching, I saw Bleak House when it was on ABC the year before last. He gave me some other yummy chocolate and some paper flowers (I picked) for scrapbooking. Then one day in Borders I found this book:

which I asked Steve to give me, and am finding totally inspiring - it is very cool to see how others think about craft, and what inspires them and how they work in their homes. Plus some projects. Am really enjoying it.

On Mothers Day we got together with my family and my Mum and my aunt both gave me MORE chocolates and hand cream, and yes, I have started to eat some of the chocolate!

So as usual I was totally spoilt. Lovely!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Seeing Red

Check out what I found when on the kerb when I pulled up at school this morning!:

Of course scavenging in the local streets at council clean-up time is a bit different from scavenging in front of other school parents, so I casually surveyed the item when I arrived, not displaying too much interest, (especially as I knew the mum parked right next to it) then went and taught recorder for half an hour, convinced that it might not be there later ... but when I arrived, it was there! So I pretended to be folding my shopping bags in the carboot (huh - as if!) and then as a car left the scene I whisked my new vintage sign into the car and jumped in and drove off.

Unfortunately it is a little rusty, so I won't keep it in the house, I think the workshop is the perfect place, so I have left it in there for Steve to discover next time he is in there ... or not. Maybe one day it will hang on the wall, for now it is leaning on a cupboard.

There seems to be a bit of a red theme here, yesterday I bought this cool tote to carry my everyday tapes, pens, punches, tools which I am forever packing and unpacking. I've seen them around for ages in cool colours for around $60, but I wasn't prepared to pay that much. Then yesterday at Spotlight were cheap imitations at half the price, only in red. I like red, although it may not have been my first choice for this item. Then when I got home I noticed (derrr!) that I have a red chair at my desk (which I had completely forgotten - that shows how much I work at the dining table!)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mothers Day Rush

This is what kept me so busy on Saturday - began it about 1pm and finished after 6pm. (With a little help from the girls before they lost interest). A long concertina album for Mum with pictures of all her grandchildren. 22 photos in total (of 7 grandchildren). It was a fun project but all a bit of a rush, including a mad dash through the pre-Mothers Day rush at the shops to get photos printed and buy a large piece of cardstock while on the way to visit the other mother. phew! Anyway, Mum seemed to like it well enough. Dad commented that they would need to build a new room to accommodate it. (it is about 48 inches long when stretched out)
And what did I receive from my lovely family? Well that will have to wait till tomorrow's post.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Crafting Fun

Last night we had 5 girls and their mums over for our card-making night. It was lots of fun and I think they enjoyed making these two cards. Then we feasted on Swedish Chocolate Cake, French Vanilla Cheesecake and Millionaire Cake. Yum!

This afternoon I have been making a concertina album to give to Mum tomorrow for Mothers Day. Nothing like leaving it to the last minute! I'm happy with how it's turned out, but hopefully I'll get to photograph it early tomorrow because the photos I tried to take tonight are hopeless. In fact a lot of my card photos are not turning out so well at the moment, I'm afraid!

Since we will be out all day tomorrow Steve cooked a yummy dinner tonight, I didn't help a bit, which made it extra yummy! And truthfully I was flat out trying to get my craft stuff off the dining table after my album-making afternoon.

Have a Happy Mothers Day!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

More Cards and a little Cleaning

Some more cards from my Hero Arts late-nighter last week:

I'm busy preparing for a Mother-Daughter Craft Night on Friday night with Emily's friends and their mums. Just finished the pre-cutting and will get all the stamps and tools ready to use.

Oh and spent 5 hours cleaning the living room. I swept and washed the floor, and wondered why I don't do it more often. Then I counted the pieces of furniture that have legs ...

1 dining table and 6 chairs

1 girls' desk and 2 chairs

3 stools at the kitchen bench

2 club chairs

5 little chairs or stools for little people and 1 little table

3 sofas

That's 24 items each with four legs. That's NINETY-SIX legs to sweep around. Yikes!

96 feet to remove fluff from ...

96 legs to collect dust!

And that is not counting a rocking chair and 2 beanbags

No wonder I don't wash the floor that much ...

Hmmm maybe it's time to declutter some furniture ..

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Just hangin' round

Did I mention my new Hero Arts stamps? Very cute and versatile - just what I wanted. :-)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

So ... Saturday

Today was ... mixed. A morning spent tidying the accumulation of papers, pens, books, knick-knacks and half-used erasers which the girls have left on their desks over a long period of time - a lot of these we had thrown into a big box one day when visitors were coming - plus moving round some toys and videos - all time-consuming and stressful.
After lunch I just had to get out so I left the girls baking with Daddy supervising and went to buy scrapbooking cardstock, and felt much better. Then I baked a slice before a grown-up niece came to visit.
We had fairy cakes baked by the girls, (I forgot to take a photo but we did serve them on my favourite Meakin plate, above), Anzac Squares, and a new type of tea. Yum. And such cute paper serviettes with fairies and cupcakes on them!
Tonight a delicious dinner of Spiced Apricot Chicken, couscous, mushrooms and beans, but the girls were somewhat tired and difficult, so that too was mixed.
Hoping for a better day tomorrow - church, then dinner of more Apricot Chicken. Tonight or tomorrow I will try out my new quilting foot on my machine and practise quilting before tackling this in the near future. Also for this week - preparing for a Mother-Daughter Craft Night with some friends on Friday night - designing and pre-cutting cards. Busy is good.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Autumn weather

I am loving the autumn weather - cool air and sunshine. Or even without sunshine I am loving the cosiness.

And after just 5 minutes of tidying (!) I found the surface of our dining table and rescued these pears on a secondhand dish from the surrounding papers, placemats, pens etc. and remembered this thrifted chicken scratch cloth. Perfect! (well so long as I held the camera just right to avoid the background mess)

Off to clean up that background mess now. Nothing like some sunshine to make me feel slightly like housework!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Look What I Did Today!

Today our craft group had a quilting workshop with a wonderful quilter called Yan. I pieced this garland quilt top in just 5 hours!
I chose the fabrics weeks ago and I'm so happy the way they turned out. It's for Laura and she wanted pinks and purples.

The border fabric is much more funky than it looks from a distance, I wasn't quite sure if it would all work together, but it has. The photo hasn't turned out so well, on this dark day. The darkest squares and the thin border strip are purple, not navy.

I was so pleased to get it all pieced, hopefully I can get on with the backing and quilting soon, although it might be a while -without a teacher cutting and planning and telling me what to do.

This was so much fun. I've been in an anti-sewing mood since my sewing frenzy a few months back, so I wasn't expecting to enjoy a day of sewing. But I did. We had about 12 machines humming away and lots of chatter, yummy chocolate biscuits, cheese and crackers, and Thai for lunch. A perfect day out!