Thursday, December 29, 2011

Yesterday in the post I received the pattern for the Doll by Country Keepsakes "Wishes Do Come True".  Today I received my Dear Jane, books, CD and rulers.  Santa has been good to me, hasn't he?

Can't wait to get started.  They are packed and ready to go.

Keeper Swap

These are the gifts I made to send to Elizabeth for the Keeper Swap organised by Sandi from Cookies and Cream.  I had lots of fun putting them together - first time I had every made a scissors keeper.  Thanks Sandi for organising this.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S Swap

About September, 2011 I joined in the F.R.I.E.N.D.S Swap organised by Khris.  My partner was Irene from Texas.  I received the most beautiful gifts from Irene.  Had great fun unwrapping them and looking through each one.  Carefully put them all away so that I could photograph them before they were used.  Then, of course, there was the rush of last minute costumes for Sound of Music and then the costumes for the dance concert and then the Christmas rush.  Every day in my sewing room I would gaze at the box of lovely gifts and say "today I'm photographing those so I can use them".  Well, today has come!  I've wanted to wear the beads and use the diary and put the table centre out and use the beads.

Here they are:

This was the table centre - just beautiful and in my colours!

Here are all the gifts laid out - don't know if you can pick up enough detail - but there are some beautiful wooden beads, scrap booking pages, a fat quarter, the cutest little book of sayings, some gorgeous red beads and a covered diary.

scrap booking pages and the little tea pots are coasters with the words: "sereni-tea:  N. the absence of stress while drinking tea.  Almost makes me want to make myself a cup right now!!

This is the little book of sayings.  It is so cute.  Perfect to keep in my bag for when I need reminders!!

The red beads.  I'm hoping to make a bracelet out of these over the holidays.  Notice the beautiful labels - each gift was wrapped with the larger "Friends" label attached and the "R" is for label was used inside each gift.  So beautifully done by Irene.

Just another photo of the lovely table centre.  So pretty

This was one of the gift bags included.  So cute all by itself.

Couldn't resist a photo of this by itself.  Nothing like a cup of green tea to help the day along - and adding in flavourings like peppermint or jasmine - depending on my mood.  
So, apologies to Irene for taking so long to display her beautiful gifts.  They have been appreciated - and I've been keen to use them.  I'm going to use her diary to make notes for my Dear Jane quilt that I've just started.  Just in case you think I am impossibly rude - I have exchanged emails with Irene - several in fact.  So my personal thank yous were immediate - just slack in getting it done publicly.

One more item off my to do list for the holidays. So now that it's done - where can DH take me so that I can wear those beautiful beads??

A new blogger and lots of wisdom

Fiona just introduced me to Helen who is new to Blogland.  Pop across and say Hi.  Helen shared this fantastic poem (author unknown) but as Helen says, clearly a very wise woman.  I thought I would spread the word as well as it really hit home after the business of the Christmas season and all the work involved in getting ready for the big day.

Dust if you must

Dust if you must, but wouldn't it be better To paint a picture or write a letter, Bake a cake or plant a seed. Ponder the difference between want and need. Dust if you must, but there's not much time, With rivers to swim and mountains to climb, Music to hear and books to read, Friends to cherish and life to lead. Dust if you must, but the world's out there With the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair, A flutter of snow, a shower of rain. This day will not come around again. Dust if you must, but bear in mind, Old age will come and it's not kind. And when you go and go you must, You, yourself, will make more dust.

Thank you Helen for sharing these words of wisdom - you've made my day!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Beautiful Gifts From SSCS

I received the most beautiful gifts from Denice.  Denice comes from Michigan in USA.

Here are the gifts she sent:

The little bird was the Christmas ornament.  So cute.  It was the only ornament allowed on our tree that was not blue and silver - so took pride of place.  The larger brightly coloured one was part of the main gift.  It is beautiful, too.  I have rainbow lorrikeets, scaly breasted lorrikeets, conures and an alexandrine.  So, I just love brightly coloured birds.  The little one has been packed up with my "special" ornaments for next Christmas.  The larger one is going to live in the kitchen on my old sewing machine table - my mother's first sewing machine base.

This was the main gift.  A beautiful wall hanging.  Desden Plate is one of my favourite quilting patterns.  Blue is my favourite colour.  Denice - thank you so much - all the gifts were so beautiful and such a delight to open on Christmas Day.  So love the bright colours.  Proudly hanging on my wall now.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas is Over

As we're heading on holidays in a day or two, I've started the pack up of all things Christmasy.  It's over for another year.  I thought I would take some photos to share before I put everything away.
This is the quilt I won in the Quilt Give Away by Sandra Kaye.  It is just beautiful.  Lovely and Christmasy but in very different colours to what I normally use.  

Tis the Season Quilt took pride of place in our lounge room this year.

Joe Jingles and Faerie Noelle.  Both Designs by Country Keepsakes - always beautiful to make.  Joe looks a little sad in this photo, but I'm sure he was happy throughout Christmas - probably knows he's about to be packed away for another year!

This is a little quilt I made in 2010 with our Sewing Group - it was lots of fun to make and each block uses a different applique technique.

This is the beautiful wall hanging I received from Denice in the SSCS swap.  Just gorgeous - it's staying up all year.  Dresden Plate is one of my favourite quilting designs.  There was also a gorgeous bird - I'll do a separate posts on Denice's package.  A beautiful surprise for Christmas morning.

My Santas.  All designed by Always Stitching.  Once again, lovely designs to work with.

This was a wall hanging quilt I appliqued and quilted by hand when our children were very small.  Took me quite a few months to complete, but I still enjoy putting it up each year.  Always reminds me of the years when I thought I'd never get to sew again!

Celebrate the Season was a BOM designed by Chook Shed Company some years ago now.  Still love it.

Just a few of our Santas.  All the others are packed away now, but these were sitting and waiting while I photographed the quilts.

Anni Downes - 12 Days of Christmas.  This was a fun project to do and just loved putting it together.

Another Chook Shed pattern.  I made this as a gift for my children's teachers - but there's were machine quilted.  I hand quilted mine with lots and lots of hearts.

Well that is Christmas for 2011.  We're well on the way to having it disappear completely - until 2012.  Hope everyone had a good one.



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas is here.

Merry Christmas everyone. Best wishes for a wonderful 2012. I hope Santa is kind to all. And here's to a beautiful festive season spent with family and just a little bit of sewing.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Check List

Christmas presents bought and wrapped - done
Christmas letter written and cards posted - done
Cleaning of house - done (mostly - but with 7 kids that's an on going battle that I never win!)
Christmas menu planned
Food shopping list prepared
Christmas sewing - almost complete!

We're getting there.  Another Christmas party tomorrow, then a day or so of cooking and we can tick it all off.

Amazing how it all comes together.

Monday, December 19, 2011

4.24am. Wide awake

Here I am. Wide awake. 4.24am. I know I'll pay later! Is it too early to be sewing? May try to sleep just a little longer. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A busy week in the lead up to Christmas

DH and DS are away at the moment, so it's a busy time here getting ready for Christmas.  Plans are going ok with the preparations.  Shopping almost complete.  Tomorrow (hopefully) all shopping will be done.  Just a few more sewing items and we're just about there.  Luckily, DD is a whizz at wrapping, so she's been busy doing that for me.  DH and DS are arriving back at 5.15am on Christmas Day.  Nice!!  So pleased to be able to see dawn on Christmas day at the airport, but that's how it is.  Eldest son is going to play Santa for me, so that I can get the littlies to bed (and me, too) so that we can be up at 3 to get going.  DD suggested that we go to Midnight Mass and keep going to the airport - I wasn't taken with the idea.  Maybe twenty or so years ago I would have been quite keen.  They're having a great time - DS is meeting two siblings and two of his other siblings are joining them.  They've never had a Christmas together before so it will be special.  His birth mother will hopefully meet up with them as well.  And, what's more they're having a great time exploring a new city.  DH has never been there before.  More details after the trip - there are some security issues with saying too much now.  But when they're home safe and sound........



FNSI - a finishing time!

This wasn't something I made Friday night, but I made it today.  It's for Miss 3 who will be starting ballet classes in the New Year.  So cute.  I just have to find some braid to put around the top of the tulle.  Of course, it's going underneath the Christmas Tree after that.  It was very easy to make.  My great niece has also started dancing, so I'm thinking about whipping up another of these for her.
There was a little bit of quilting left to do on this table runner.  At our holiday place we have a very long table - I now have a very long table runner to go on it!!
Not a great photo, but this is the first block of the Stitch-a-long of Anni Downes' quilt "Some Kind of Wonderful".  Have some stitching to do, but the applique is finished.
Here are the projects I finished - and started for FNSI.

Very pleased with how much I accomplished!

This quilt is keen to have it's photo up first, so I'll oblige.  This quilt was made as a Christmas present for the son of a friend of mine.  Not normally the colours I would choose, but pleased with the results.  I completed the binding on this one, too.

Firstly, binding a quilt.  I finished the top in sewing classes with Wendy about 3 months ago.

The block is machine embroidered using a Sue Box Design.  I then used the Create a Tilt Ruler from Sewing Revolution.
The finished quilt.  Second time I've attempted stippling - happy enough with the result.

All up, I'm pleased with progress.  Mind you, it's 7 sleeps nights (not much in the way of sleep forecast!!) to go and still quite a few projects not quite finished.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

My First Dear Jane Block

With all the end of year "stuff" - costumes for musicals, dance concerts, end of year parties, etc plus the Christmas sewing - and no matter how good my New Year Resolution starts out to be, it's still a rush at this time of year - so I've just been looking longingly at my little pile of fabric and my downloaded Dear Jane blocks - from the BOM done a little while ago.

Finally last night when I finished off yet another Christmas gift, I decided that it was Dear Jane night.  I picked a fairly simple applique pattern and off I went organising.  All went smoothly until I went to get my hand applique thread.  I searched and searched - you know how it is, you start off looking in all the logical places and then it's the not so logical and it finally becomes the totally ridiculous.  Still no where to be found.  Finally in desperation I went downstairs to mull over what to do next.  Where was my box of thread?  On my sewing stand in the lounge room where I keep all my hand sewing - mainly my hexie quilt-in-progress, but some stitcheries as well.  Duhh!!

So at 10.15pm my Dear Jane journey began.  I love hand applique - particularly needle turn, but don't get to do enough of it.  I'm pleased with the result.  And soooooo pleased to be able to say the journey has begun.

I believe that Santa may be delivering a parcel all the way from USA with a Dear Jane book and some other goodies.  Yeh, Santa!!  Can't wait.  Maybe it won't get here for the big day, but it will get here.  Meanwhile I have the 24 blocks from the BOM to go on with.

However, it's now back to more Christmas sewing - two quilts to be quilted before the BIG day!!



Friday, December 2, 2011

End of school year

This time of year is always one of extreme mixed emotions. Another year over but Christmas and a New Year awaits. It's the end of a very busy school term. Reviewing the highs and lows of the year just gone.

Two of my boys are moving to High School - which finally tips the balance with 4 in high school, 2 in primary and one in kindy. And, of course, one entering the world of work!

We know who our primary school teachers will be in 2012 and they are excellent choices!

Dance concert is on Saturday night. 2 girls in that. So it's a quick coffee and home to sew on sequins! We've had a growth spurt so it's off to buy new tap shoes this afternoon.

My Secret Santa swap gift arrived this week. Just gorgeous - the bit I've opened. Haven't had a chance to photograph it yet.

Next week will be getting the house - particularly my sewing room - in order to get back into some serious Christmas sewing. Can't wait.

Big sigh of relief - got through another school year. Yeh!! No more routine for 7 weeks. Double yeh!! No more school lunches. Biggest yeh ever!!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Catching Up

Just realised I have not posted since October.  How busy life has become.  We're almost through November!  "Sound of Music" has come and is almost over - last performance tonight.  Chris' cast finished last night - but will come back for a final bow tonight.  Esther is in the closing cast.  DH has been in all of them.  I've really enjoyed being involved in the amateur theatre world again - albeit as always - back stage.  I met DH in this theatre company - 22 or so years ago.  I got involved in costume making towards the end.  Always intended to, but they seemed to be going to so well.  When I finally caught up with the Wardrobe Co-ordinator I found out that they weren't!  So the last week of the rehearsal period was spent sewing madly - lucky I love it - making about 20 costumes.  Finally it all came together - although there were still a few pins holding things together on opening night (safety pins that is!)

This is the Von Trapp children meeting Maria and learning "Do Ray Me"

I was responsible for all the sailor costumes - either making from scratch or "renovating" from our production of 20 years ago.  The children were dual cast - except for the boy who played Kurt - so there were 13 costumes in that.

This is the second cast:
Chris (DS) is the tallest boy.

All the kids have had a fantastic experience.  The time commitment has been huge - rehearsing three times a week.  As well as tracking down costumes and props and the sewing.  But the experience is worth every minute of it.  Seeing the kids growing in confidence has been unbelievable.  Haven't regretted it for a moment!

Of course, once the production was in full swing, we had the task of maintaining the costumes - keeping everything washed and ironed.  There have been 7 performances (plus tonight).

Just to make life interesting, my eldest son has just finished High School.  So we had his graduation and formal.  The organisation for that was progressing well, I thought, until he told me that he had agreed to partner one of the girls in his class.  Our high school has always limited attendance at the senior formal to school students only and graduating students only.  They all go to the formal on the hired buses and come home on them.  I couldn't really see the need for a partner, but this girl felt unable to attend if she didn't have a partner and her partner was unable to attend.  So, Peter stepped in.  That was all cool until he announced that he needed to "match" her outfit with his tie and waistcoat.  Still good - until we couldn't find out what colour that was.  Peter looked at me strangely asking why he would need to know details like what colour his partner was wearing.  I explained the difficulty of matching him to her without this knowledge.  He came back to me about 4 hours later, triumphantly announcing that all had been sorted the colour was "blue".  He was amazed that this was really no help at all - "What blue?" I asked.  How was he supposed to know that - "Just get blue" was the answer.  Anyway, we ran out of time to get it through the hire company with his suit.  We eventually established what colour blue was required - but it was then a sewing job!  So I added it to the list of things to do.

This was how it turned out:
He doesn't scrub up too badly??  And I thought the tie and waistcoat came up quite well for the time it took to make them!

This is the car they made their "entrance" in.  There is a big ceremony where they are picked up by the bus to travel to the venue.  Each student is announced on their arrival and it has become a bit of a theme to try to arrive in something special.  Another last minute request from the girl to find something for them.  I thought this was just too hard, but was telling a sewing friend and she said she had contacts and within about 5 minutes we had the car organised.  Sewers are such versatile people!!

Overall, it was a very emotional day.  Peter had his graduation in the morning.  Formal in the evening.  Spent some time mulling over the last 17 years and wondering where they had gone and why they had gone soooooo fast.  It does seem like yesterday that we were carrying a little unknown bundle to the car from the Maternity Unit and wondering.  Now, he is preparing to fly the nest and school is over for the very last time.  Just reinforces how much we should treasure every moment as it comes - all over so quickly.  I know we do treasure each moment, but some seem so rushed.  Need a replay button!!

We have his 18th birthday party coming up in January - another milestone - officially an adult!  Still a few weeks away yet.

The next two milestones we are facing are our two boys are graduating from Primary school - so that involves an evening out to celebrate.  And two outfits to organise - luckily, these two are not boys that are overly interested in what they wear!  

And then there's the yearly dance concert.  Luckily, this year they are doing the story of Peter Pan.  Esther is playing Michael - so costumes are fairly limited - really it's just pyjamas.  With an occasional addition.  Very lucky - not sure where I'd find the time to make 20 or so costumes as I did last year.  Tahlia is also involved, but one of the newer Mums has volunteered to try her hand at costume making, so that is taken care of as well.

Then, of course, there was the school Christmas concert.  That was last night.  Once again, costumes on the agenda.  My daughter had to be a Rock'n'roller - easy - circular skirt.  Younger daughter had to be an angel.  Planned a sparkly white dress, but when I knew time was running out, I renovated an older white dress and added lots of sparkles - sometimes it is easy to love tinsel.  

I haven't downloaded those photos yet.  That will have to be a future post.  It all worked out and we finished in time to rush back to "Sound of Music" to see Chris' final performance.

Today I'm in Brisbane for Peter to do his final assessment on his abseiling course.  Hoping to get that finished to be home for Esther's final "Sound of Music" performance.  And, of course, the BIG party afterwards.  (I'll be the one in the corner snoring!)

As a result, there has not been much sewing done - well, sewing that I love to do - like quilting, doll making, etc.  Nearly finished my Secret Santa gift.  Have to get that done in the next day or two.  Still have a few teacher's gifts to finalise, but they are going ok.  I went through my UFO's and found a Santa that was mostly made but put away when second son had emergency surgery for appendicitis a week before Christmas last year.  I have this Santa nearly finished.  May get time to put the trim on today while I wait. 

I have been browsing other people's blogs every chance I've had.  Feeling very envious of all the starts to Some Kind of Wonderful.  Hoping to get mine underway in the next few weeks.  

Summer has hit here.  After a very mild start to the warmer weather, we have really copped it over the last week.  Lucky we have access to air conditioners.  Don't know how I'd be if not.  

Looking forward to things quietening down over the next few weeks.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Janiac's Unite

Wow!  Thanks to Vicki and Dawn we have a great new blog to stitch-a-long on our Dear Jane quilts.  Every time I have seen one of these I've wanted to start making them - so here goes.  One a month is the minimum.  It's going to be great to be part and to watch others as their little pile of blocks grows.

Come and have a look at  It's going to be so much fun.



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

One Flower Wednesday

GeoTagged, [S27.98978, W153.00576]

Two weeks in a row I've managed to contribute to OFW! And this week there are 2 flowers - double last week!! Does this mean 4 for next week?



Friday, October 14, 2011

The fire

This is Andy standing in the blackened country that was our land after the fire.  You can just see the new green shoots coming through.



Embroidered towel

Tahlia has started school swimming - so my clever idea is to have a towel and matching swimming bag made out of hand towels with names on.  Hoping that this will make losing her possessions just a little bit harder.  I know it won't be impossible.  Best thing about both of them is that they get thrown into the washing machine and come out looking like new.



Cushion cover

This is a chenille cushion cover - with applique.  I made at Sewing with Wendy.  Has to be washed and then put in the dryer to "fluff up" the chenille.  Haven't used colours like this before, but I was happy with the result.



Our "old" baby

This is our baby of a few weeks ago!  He/she has grown so much.  Here dinner was just over - wish they made bibs for birds.  Still very messy!  Now eating a variety of food - fruit and vegies, seed, millet sprays, pellets.  Loves to play with toys and is starting to climb.  Sits in the cage and flaps madly - but hasn't got to take off stage yet!  Likes to cuddle after his feed.

Nearly all the feathers are there now - just a few on his front to go.


Firstly - new life!

A baby budgie just born this afternoon.  The eggs are about the size of my ring finger nail.  This little bird is so tiny and fragile.  If it survives - and survival isn't easy for baby birds - we will hand raise!  So more photo opportunities.  By tomorrow more babies may be born.  Such an exciting time.  Our cockatiels have also laid eggs and there is a crack in one of them - unsure if this is cause for excitement or not.  Will know more tomorrow.



Keeper Swap

I received the most beautiful gifts from Elizabeth for the Keeper Swap.  I will be photographing them to show you all, but just had to say they are soooooooo lovely.  Can't wait to show them off!

Thank you so much, Elizabeth.  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Another try for the flower

GeoTagged, [S27.83250, W153.02749]

Hopefully this is my flower for this week's OFW! Can't believe a flower can be this camera shy!

My disappearing Flower for OFW

I had a picture of my latest flower - honest!!  I can even access it on my blog writer but it won't come across.  I guess I just have to do it again.  The wonders of technology and how toddler like it can be!!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

One Flower Wednesday

At last! I have a new flower. I'm afraid my garden hasn't been blooming of late. At least this is one more!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday's Treasure

GeoTagged, [S25.21787, W152.15514]

Not sure how easy this photo will be to see the detail but this is a new plant growing back out of the ashes of the fire that went through our place. Just one week later! Amazed at the resilience of our land. In all that black, to see those fresh green shoots was wonderful.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Almost burnt out!

We arrived at our block of land near Bundaberg to find most if the block burnt out. Luckily all the buildings and our caravan have been saved. I'd say some very kind people have been here fighting the fire and saving our property. It's a scary feeling to see just one circle of green and everything else is black.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What's in a Name?

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet!

This has been a lot of fun and it's been great hearing how everyone has come up with their blog names.  My story isn't either exciting or creative - My quilting style and colours is often in the country way and I love being in the country.  I love making quilts and dolls.  Very simple and straightforward.  Need I mention that my creativity doesn't extend to titles..........



It Arrived Today.

Wow!  Some Kind of Wonderful came in the post today - along with patterns for two dolls from Country Keepsakes.  What beautiful projects.  Can't wait to get started.  It's been some months since I made a doll and I'd really like to get started on one of those, too, but ............ I have to do some other things first - some finishing.



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tuesday's Treasure

I haven't played along for many weeks.  I still enjoy catching up with everyone else's and saying "next week I'll be more organised".

I think at the moment my treasure is enjoying spring - enjoying the flowers in my garden (not really that many!) and the birds coming to visit.  As you'd have seen from this blog, I enjoy birds and the more bright and colourful the better.  The weather is warming (mostly) but the nights are still cool and very good for sleeping.  We haven't quite got into the frantic rush of November (although it's close!) and we're heading off for a lovely weekend at our block near Bundaberg.  We're only taking 4 kids, so it will be a quiet weekend.  So, life is good and worth treasuring!!

And just to make things really great - Some Kind of Wonderful Book by Anni Downs is on its way to me along with two doll patterns from Country Keepsakes.  And my gifts from my F.R.I.E.N.D.S. swap partner, Irene arrived today - so I'm spoilt with treasures at the moment!!