Switched

 

Switched - the squares on the second ring

So I have switched the squares in the second ring on my quilt – replacing the yellow ones with the pale-peachy ones.  I am really happy with the result.

Wheel of Fortune - 7 rings

It is getting much harder to photograph this quilt in it’s entirety, as it grows.  I am not quite finished with the 7th ring, of green diamonds, but I am itching to get started on the next ring, which will most likely be lavender squares (a bit more blueish than the third ring).

A segment of the Wheel of Fortune Quilt

You have to go around quite a way before you can see the effect each ring has on the whole of the quilt.  In a few more rings I will need to have another very dark brown one, I think, for balance.  I have some pretty hot-coral pinks waiting to make an appearance too, and I think they will be as punchy as the orange ring.

Six segments of fabric meet at the seams

The back of the quilt poses quite a pressing challenge.  When I say pressing, I don’t mean urgent, I mean pressing with an iron!  There are many intersections that are made up on 6 seams.

six seam intersection - pressed

I have pressed all the intersections like this in a circular direction, but not the ones on the edge of the quilt, because I still need the stitching lines, which disappear with the heat of the iron.  These lines are marked with a “frixion pen”, which I picked up at Officeworks.

You may not find talking about pressing seams very interesting.  Well for you I have an interesting article, titled “The secret to success is failure” from the New York Times.  The title is much more simplistic than the article, (as titles tend to be).  It is 9 pages long, but well worth a read – make a cuppa first.  It discusses how people that tend to achieve things in life often have particular character traits that are quite separate from their intelligence, and it ponders how to teach or encourage these traits in children.  Can you teach kids optimism, persistence, self control?

It will get you thinking.  Enjoy.

 

Meet Monster Chef

Monster Chef’s loves to bake cakes, slices and desserts, usually while listening to the soundtrack from Monsters Inc.  Hmmmmm, chocolate and big band jazz, what could be better.

When dancing, Monster Chef prefers the “eight step” to the “two step”.  Since I have had Monster Chef with me, all my cooking endeavors have been extremely successful – must be all that happy dancing around the kitchen and fantastic cooking advice.

When we came back from our disastrous holiday, amongst all the bills that my neighbour collected was a mystery package.  Inside was a lovely surprise from my talented (and ludicrously busy) friend, Melly.  Fat quarters from her entire range of new Australian fabric.  The range is called “Where the Wind Blows” and is the debut line for her distributor, “Creative Abundance“.

It didn’t take me long to work out that the fabric really wanted to be a softie (after all, it was designed by a softie expert).  With my chef set in Homespun, hitting the news-agencies, I knew that I wanted to create a chef of some kind.  While I was tossing around a few ideas with the kids, Michaela suggested a monster and so Monster Chef was conceived.

Speaking of Monsters, see a furry blue monster’s take on the Old Spice commercials.  Grover (Sesame Street) talks about the word “on” in “Smell Like a Monster“.

Now look back to Monster Chef 😉 – all he or she needs now is a name,  “………. the Monster Chef”.  Can you help?

Happy Birthday Mum

Today is my Mum’s birthday.  Instead of taking the time to write about how amazing my Mum is here, I made her the pink scarf, baked her a chocolate cake, and had her over for afternoon tea.  Take my word for it though – she is amazing.

While she was over, we had a laugh at the new “Old Spice Guy’s” responses to viewer comments.  You can see them here.

If I was really technically proficient, I would use this response as the phone message on my mobile – after altering it appropriately for my phone number etc.  “If I was” being the operative part of that sentence- I am not quite sure if Mr Matching Pegs would like to help me.

If you don’t know what I am waffling about (and have not seen the Old Spice ad) pop over here, where you can see what all the fuss is about (Mia has a post about it on Mamamia.

While you are over there on Mamamia, have a look at this post about the printer competition and send me some love (ok – not love – but a chance to win a competition) by giving my photo of the cups a thumbs up :-).  Please.

Thanks.

Which Old Spice response made you snort coffee through your nose?  Was it all the ones between Alyssa Milano and the Old Spice Man?

Inspiration

I have been obsessed with this image since I saw it on Design Sponge back in February.  More specifically, I am in love with the multi-coloured, multi-petal flower, on the cushion on the right.  For a while I tried to find out more about it from my stitchy friends…”Is this a traditional pattern?”….”Have you seen this before?”…to no avail.  About a month later, Anna Maria Horner had one peeking out, in one of her photos, and I emailed and asked if it was one of her patterns.

“Purchased at Anthropologie last year”, was the reply.  I have been thinking of a way to do something different, with a similar feel and multicoloured effect ever since.

I am working on a concept involving my art-deco-inspired, swirly flowers,

that pop up all over my work.

Other exciting news, that will no doubt result in inspiration, is that I won a giveaway over at murtle and eunice, which means I have a golden green ticket to go to The Stitches and Craft Show in Melbourne.  Thanks so much Tania! As an aside, I just wanted to point out that I was the first commenter on that giveaway, so contrary to popular opinion, the first person to comment does occasionally win!

I am currently studying the timetable for this and that at the show, and consulting the husband on the best day for me to go.  Are you going?

Therapy

20091117-lillies

It has been a while since I posted.

Long term, things in my family (see last post) are looking more positive than they were, but the current situation has changed very little.  In general, the sadness I feel is taking it’s toll, particularly creatively.  I have been taking my time to set up my new sewing area, and have been feeding off the creativity of others, spending lots of time blog surfing.

Overall this “therapy” has been slowing working its magic, and I am started to get ideas again – starting to get that urge to make something.

20091117-familyroom

I have been really enjoying our new house, the space is such a luxury.  At the almost-a-month-mark, we are almost all unpacked, (3.5 boxes left I think).  As I type this, I can hear Kookaburras laughing, which is magic, a real balm for the soul.  The older I get, the more I believe that it is the little things that make life worth living.  Sitting in the sunshine with a good friend, and a lovely cup of tea is a wonderful dose of healing, far better than buying stuff, even red shoes.

This week I have been enjoying the beautiful flowers (above) from a lovely friend (They opened Carolyn, and they are beautiful) and every time I look at them I am reminded of her visit.  I wish I could share the fragrance.

20091117-nocoatlotta

Due to the hot weather, I have had our puppy Lotta clipped.  I asked the groomer (would that be he right word?) to clip her close all over, because there are a lot of nasty little weeds in the garden, that we are gradually tackling, but they have been getting caught in Lotta’s fur, especially her tail.  I think she looks like a completely different breed of dog now (the most recent view of her with her hair is here at the bottom of the post).  She reminds me of the fox terrier crosses I had growing up, especially my lovely “Silky”.

Lastly I thought I would share a site (The Visual Aid Shop) I found last night via Print and Pattern, it has a whole library of excellent posters designed by graphic designers on all sorts of things.  If you look at the Print and Pattern post here, you can see a pretty good selection.  I think they would make cool Christmas presents for the graphically discerning.

What simple pleasure is your therapy?

Lucite Handbags and Delayed Gratification

20080117-handbagjewels

Way back in January 2008, when I started this blog, one of my first posts was about this handbag that belonged to my Great Aunt Rita.  It is one of my most treasured possessions, and I always wished that I knew more about it.

Thanks to a recent episode of Collectors, I now know that it is a Lucite Handbag, probably from the 50’s.  “Lucite is a type of plastic which was used in aeroplane manufacturing during the World War II. After the war, it was allowed for use in the production of luxury goods including Lucite handbags.  These glamorous bags were made in America and almost entirely in New York”.

There are no trademarks on the bag so I am not sure which manufacturer made it, but it sounds like it is highly collect-able.   As mine is in very good condition, it could be worth a bit, but of course it is worth far more than money to me.

On another note, here is a really interesting (long) article about measuring childrens’ ability to delay gratification, and what that indicates about their ability to achieve in life.  It starts off describing “The marshmallow experiment” from the 1960’s where pre-school kids were given a marshmallow, and told they could eat it, but if they could wait until the researcher returned, without eating it, they could have two, instead of just one.  Only about 30% of kids could wait, and some kids ate the first one almost immediately.  The article is about the ability to master self control, and I found it via Unclutterer, another interesting website about taking control of the stuff in your life.  The people at Unclutterer mention the article in the context of training yourself into “having routines in place that keep the clutter out of your home and office and the self control and diligence to systematically complete the routines that keep your life in order.  Doing these not-so-fun tasks everyday ultimately pay off because you have more time and less stress in your life overall”.

It all sounds so good – I read Unclutterer because I wish I was a little better at dealing with all the “stuff” in my life (school notices, bills especially) but it all makes me wonder – as a 4 year old, would I have eaten that Marshmallow – would my kids?

What about you?  mmmmmm, marshmallow………

Old photography

Something seems to have happened with the last WordPress (or Firefox) update, and I am having trouble uploading images.  I have several lovely ones to share with you, thanks to our weekend in the country with family for Easter.  Alas, you will have to make do with an old one, which seems to upload just fine.

The kids had a lovely time over Easter catching up with cousins and eating chocolate, as well as enjoying the huge box of Lego that lives at Nanna and Poppa’s house.  There are a few more days left of the school holiday before they head on back to school.

The weather has turned cooler here in the evenings in Melbourne, and last night we had the first casserole of the season – Kangaroo Stew – followed by delicious Bread and Butter Pudding.  Yummy!

I have not cooked much with Kangaroo, but I have to say it is just fantastic meat.  Not only is it a very lean, healthy red meat, (which is easy to overcook but lovely if you get it right) but it is wonderful for the environment.  Kangaroos are of course perfectly suited to our dry climate, and don’t damage the environment in the way that introduced farm animals do with their hooves.  They do not require any clearing of land, nor maintaining of fences.  They need no drenching nor vaccinations.  Best of all, in comparison to cows and sheep, they do not produce much methane – a greenhouse gas (read all about it here and here).  Kangaroo meat is readily available in supermarkets here and apparently it tastes like venison, slightly gamey – I couldn’t vouch for it, as I have never tasted venison.  In my limited experience, it makes a great hearty meal, cooked with things you would traditionally pair with beef.

More random and unrelated news, Kirsten of Tollipop is having an amazing giveaway of some of her beautiful paintings, to mark her one year blogging anniversary.  If you have not seen the beautiful people that she creates, pop on over and have a look.

Hopefully I will get the image thing sorted out soon, (with a lot of help from the in house technical support, otherwise known as Mr Matching Pegs, Luke) so that I can show you progress on my painting which I have worked on a little more lately.

New Toy and Lots of Links

20090402-imacarrival

There has been very little going on here in the Matching Pegs household, since my new toy arrived.

I am spending lots of time admiring it, and learning about the cool things it can do.  I have also been catching up on my blog surfing, as they all look so lovely on the beautiful screen – have I mentioned that the screen (which was the smaller size on offer when we ordered it) is as big as our TV!

So, in honour of my blog surfing, here are some links for you to enjoy.

Firstly the lovely Daily Paintworks – a collection of 12 artists who post a painting a day.  Each artist has their own blog, and many of the paintings are for sale.

Another fantastic find (via True Up ) are these basic Illustrator tutorials – just what I was after.  They are created by a fashion Professor, Elaine Polvinen, and the more complex ones go on to explain making fabric repeats and texture for use in Second Life.  I have only read the basic ones, but have learnt a few things I didn’t know already.

Now for some pretty funny links, which have given the MP family minutes of entertainment.

Your Logo Makes Me Barf.

and the hilariously bizarre, Creative Grooming, because the world needs more dogs groomed to look like Chickens, Camels or Ninja Turtles.

Enjoy!

Oh, if you want to share a link or two you love in the comments, I will check them out on my beautiful crisp screen.

A Dolly and some exciting mail

Cloth Dolly for \

Last night the finishing touches were added to the farewell present for “Ms Superteacher*”.

I dressed the little dolly, and added her hair.  Amelia did a fair bit of the Thank-you embroidery on the apron.  We are both pretty pleased with how she turned out.  Her dress is made of the same fabric as Amelia’s reader bag that she uses daily at school, so hopefully she will remind Ms Superteacher* of Amelia.

Yesterday morning, after returning from the school drop off, I heard a knock at the door.  A package! I won a giveaway from the lovely Lily at “Block A Day“.  Here is a look at the contents.

Fabric from Lily

This fabric was a special find of Lily’s, in a funny little shop, and she calls the print “Our Lady of the Many Talents” because of what the Lovely Mexican “Our Ladys” are doing.  On the selvage it is called Tree of Life by Kathy Hall, (Museum of new Mexico, Museum of International Folk Art, under licence to Andover Fabrics).  It is amazing fabric and Lily has very generously sent me a whole metre of it.  Also in the package was a few photo/cards of Lily’s work, if you have not seen her site “Block a Day” then you really must.

Not only is Lily super talented, but she is extremely prolific, her sewing output is amazing.  She is also so warm and positive, and when we discovered each others sites, I quickly found I had made a new friend, (of course I suspect Lily has that talent of making everyone she corresponds with online feel like they are her instant friend – pretty tricky to accomplish when you have not met in “Real Life”).  As Amelia put it yesterday afternoon, “If you comment on her blog, and she comments on yours, she is like a pen-friend Mum”.   Anyhow, my favourite of the little cards is her Easter Table Runner, which Amelia loved as well, “Look Mum, Yo-Yo’s!”.   Michaela loves them all, and they keep disappearing with her.

So back to the Tree of Life Fabric.  Because Lily has been so generous, I think I have enough to make a new apron.  I’m a one apron kind of gal, I always wear the same one, unless it is in the wash.  My current apron is a canvas one with botanical illustrations on it, that I gave my Grandmother.  I was given it back when she passed away.  Because I wear an apron every time I cook the evening meal, it is getting grubby and worn in an unwashable type of way.  I think it is time for a new one.  Now all I have to do is find a co-ordinating fabric or two, and this project can join the queue :-).

What is in your project queue?

*not her real name 😉

A Real Butterfly (A Ruse)

A Real Butterfly

I was getting so carried away sewing my butterflies that I overdid it yesterday, and needed to give my arm a rest tonight. So here is a real butterfly to enjoy. Now you may think that this is one of those cheesy happy photos that come with your computer as wall paper, but no – you need to be very impressed. This is a photo that I took last year in the gardens of Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA – Enjoy! However this photo has no relevance to the rest of the post – I just can’t bear to write anything and dish it up without a photo.

So instead of sewing, here is a great, new sew, fabric decorating idea that I found on ohdeedoh (Apartment Therapy’s Kid and Baby Site) – Fabric Wall silhouettes (using liquid starch). This is a great idea, another one to add to the giant list of stuff I want to try.

While I was there I also followed a link to this great mini article about how to raise kids with an attitude of gratitude. This is something I think about quite a lot. The generation of kids that my generation is raising has a lot of challenges. I particularly liked this line: “The piece that seems to be missing in the gratitude story is the longing. Children don’t long for things anymore. And longing is tremendously powerful stuff. It motivates.”

Food for thought.