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!!