Be Patient

I started this quilt 31 months ago in March 2006.  It has been quite a labour of love, and it is very close to completion, as I am now working on the binding.  I hand quilted around these words a few days ago – it could have been the motto for the whole quilt, and, it seems, the entire week.

In the past 24 hours the Matching Pegs household has been hit by a tedious irritating problem that we have all had to deal with, (a member of the family asked me not to be specific).  The problem is not serious, but not dealing with it promptly would make our problem multiply, if you catch my drift.  So I have been practicing my deep breathing and remembering to be patient.

When I was shopping last week for the binding for this quilt, I also picked up some binding and backing for my Chez Moi – Charisma quilt.

The red fabric (which is for the binding) is a perfect colour match, because it is another Chez Moi fabric, but this time it is from the Posh range.  The green fabric is a plain green homespun – it doesn’t match quite as well, but it will be used only for the backing, and it goes well with the binding.  I am toying with the idea of marking a design on the backing, and free motion quilting the quilt from the back, but I am not sure if my skills are up to it.  It might be a good way to learn.

Today Michaela and I were enjoying the afternoon spring sunshine, and blowing bubbles, as well as our cares away.  A little wander around the garden turned up a surprise, a ranunculi from a few years ago, growing where I thought they had been finished.  I thought I would share it with you.  I hope your week is full of happy surprises, but if it is not, I wish you patience.

Teapots and Haircuts

I have a small collection of teapots on my kitchen windowsill.  There are 3 (I said it was small).  I have been drawing them for my mug-bag design, and now I am drawing them up neatly in Illustrator, so much fun, (the pencil part more than the computer part).

The design is most likely to feature this bamboo handled one, as well as one of my butterflies and a cherry blossom.  I think I will start cutting out paper copies of these drawings at different scales to work out where I am going with this.  I just wish I had a super-teacher to teach me how to use the parts of Illustrator that I need to use.  I keep thinking in a tech drawing, auto cad kind of way when I am using it, and it is the wrong way to approach it.

Here are adorable photos of two of my kids.  It’s my blog, and I like to admire my handiwork – I just gave them both a haircut.


Michaela is going through a skirts and dresses phase, hense the skirt and pants look.  I cut her hair to angle in at the back.

I am no hairdresser, but I think I did OK.

Rory told me a minute before I took that shot that he would only pose if he didn’t have to smile.

I love my son so much that I took both he and Amelia to see Star Wars, The Clone Wars this afternoon.  I almost fell asleep.  Next week we are going to see Wall-E, which I am really looking forward to.  Tomorrow I am taking Amelia to have her ears pierced – so I will probably be posting her new look tomorrow.

In my garden

Blushing Bride (Serruria florida)

This, my friends, is a Blushing Bride (Serruria florida).  It was a purely sentimental purchase of mine at the plant nursery a couple of months ago, and this is the first of the blooms to open.

Almost a year ago I had one of these in my hair, and my friend Suzie had several, as we walked through the gardens on the way to meet her groom, for their second wedding ceremony in 2 weeks, but their first on Aussie soil.  It was a magical day, and I felt honoured to be part of it (I had never been in a bridal party other than mine) so I just had to buy one when I saw it.

This flower is a native of South Africa, and has the beautiful form that other Proteas have.  I would love to create a complex form like this out of felt, but that may just be beyond my capabilities or available time, so instead today I made this little bloom.

A friend of mine recently asked me if I might make these for sale, which I have not done before.  I don’t really know how to put a price on one of these.  I use mostly hand dyed, pure wool felt, which is a lovely material, but the main cost to me is time.  They take about 30-40 minutes to make (the cutting out is very fiddly).  The flower is just under 6 cm’s (2 3/8″) in diameter.  It is such a hard thing to do, put a price on your work.  Anyone out there want to suggest what they think is a fair price, or what they would be prepared to pay.  I’ll consider it market research, and it may help me with an awkward conversation ;-).

Here is something else from my garden, a lovely Aussie native this time.

I have been taking lots of photos of flowers and birds lately.  I have been thinking of stitching a simple Aussie native animal or bird, if I can manage to draw one that doesn’t look too kitch.

I have also always dreamed about designing a few modern Australian Motifs that could be used as a range of patchwork fabrics, because I strongly dislike the very kitch range that is available in stores currently.  That one will perhaps remain a dream for a few years more, unless someone gifts me with more hours in the day.  There are a few people on the case though (or improving Australian themed stuff that is available). I find lots of the hand screen printed fabric that is being produced by the Aussie Fabric Mafia very exciting, and particularly love this new one of Lara’s.

Today I almost finished my beautiful “Mexican Ladies” apron.  If I finish it in time in the morning, I will have to take it along to Playgroup to get another adult that can take a picture of me in it, during the daylight hours.  This apron really needs a photo on a body, as it is really flattering.

Stay tuned.

Hhhmmmmmm

Houses Cushion

Our weekend has been very much an “at-home” one.  Since midweek, Rory has had the flu, with all it’s fevers and aches (there have been between 8 and 10 kids away in his class all week).  On Friday he developed a double ear infection, loads of fun.  Thankfully he is well and truly on the mend, and has been well enough to play with his sisters and eat a proper dinner.

Here is a cushion that I made yesterday afternoon (once Rory was starting to feel better).  I made it with Lara’s lovely houses fabric.  I was in love with this fabric back when it was just a sketch, and have had a bundle of co-ordinating fabrics put together for weeks.  It looks almost as good as I imagined, that is, except for the binding.

Now that it is finished, Luke and I both think it would have looked better with dark brown binding, with just that little pop of colour on the front.  Can I be bothered unpicking all the binding to change it?  Perhaps I will wait and see if it grows on me.  The rest of it is exactly as I imagined.

Here is a piccy of one of the Currawongs currently frequenting our backyard.  Perhaps it is even the culprit who targeted my peg basket.

A Currawong in our backyard

Berry Messy and The Friday Archive

Berries and a Brass Wombat

I think I have established that I am a little funny and a little precious about my pegs.  Not only do I like them to match when I am hanging out the washing, but I also house them in style (see banner picture) and I never leave them out in the weather.  Once I have pegged out the washing, I bring the basket of remaining pegs back into the house, so neither the pegs, nor the basket fade (or get wet) anymore than they will through use.  Not yesterday. 

I have a sick little boy at home at the moment, and he called out to me while I was hanging out the washing so I abandoned the peg basket to it’s fate (after all people are more important than pegs you know).  Later I discovered that a large bird (Probably a Pied Currawong – there are lots about at the moment) had been using my basket for target practice.

The mess the bird left may be more than a wash in the machine can fix, as the bird had clearly been enjoying the berries you see at the top of this post.  Redecoration may be in order.

That little guy you see in the picture is a little brass Wombat, who is actually a sprinkler.  I have never used him (we are not allowed to use sprinklers, unless they are watering with tank water) but he makes a nice ornament if you ignore the nozzle fitting coming out his left side.

On Monday, Amelia found out that her class teacher will be taking a position at an exclusive Catholic boys school, and will be finishing up next Friday, on Amelia’s birthday.  We are all very sad about this as she is an excellent teacher and a lovely person.  To show our gratitude for the time she has spent as Amelia’s teacher, the two of us have embarked on a project together.  Here is our WIP.

Cloth Doll Work In Progress

Amelia is going to embroider “Thank You Ms Superteacher*” on the little apron.  I just have to assemble this little lady, and add some hair.  This is a pattern I have making up for years, either as Christmas Angels, or cloth dolls.  I usually make Christmas Angels for the classroom teachers, as the school year in Australia finishes at Christmas time.

So what do you all make for Teacher presents?

* not her real name, but Amelia will be embroidering her real name. 

Friday Archives Banner

While I had my folder of patterns out, I found another that I thought I would show you for The Friday Archive.  These are more Christmas ornaments, in the shape of stars.  One for each member of the family.  We have five, that feature our First and Middle names on one side, and our birth dates on the other. 

Family Christmas Star Ornaments

Several years ago I made 12 for my Mother-in-Law, one for each of her Grandchildren.  I have since added 2 more, and will need to make another this November.  That page on the right hand side is a page of swatches of fabrics that I have used, so that I can choose fabric for new stars, that fit in with the others.

Construction continues

After a few weekends off due to bad weather, construction resumed this weekend on our fort/cubby/space station (Rory is absolutely Lego-Star-Wars Mad, and has decided that we have a space station in our backyard).  First the frame for the roof was completed.

Fort/Cubby under construction

And then, an exciting trip to the hardware store to select a roofing material.  Luke settled on wide fence palings, as the cheapest, aesthetically pleasing option.  He put these up in spite of a rain shower that sent the kids inside.

Fort/Cubby under construction, roof on.

We plan to paint the whole structure when the weather improves.  Meanwhile inside I made yet another Log Cabin cushion – the final one.  Here is the before shot.

Cushion before

and here is the after…

Cushion with new random log cabin cover

And for those that are interested, here is a view of the backs of the cushions, which are all made from fabrics that I purchased at Purl Patchwork in NYC.

Cushion Backs

The Matroyshka fabric backed cushion was the first one I made, and I put the zip where I usually do.  Once I started making the others, I made the decision to use two different fabrics on the back, and because I bought such small amounts in NYC, I had to place the zips lower down, so the backs are all different.

The fabric makes me happy every time I look at it.

Finally here is a link to a site that made me more than happy.  It made me laugh so hard that, (like every cliche), tears streamed down my cheeks, and my stomach was sore.  It is a site about Cake Wrecks, cakes that are just wrong, and it was the post titled “Get Me Holly Hobbie’s Head on a Platter” that really had me in hysterics.

I found this site via a link on, Emmzeegee’s website.  Emmzeegee was a friend that I worked with back when I was childless (and so was she) and I have only reconnected with her recently.  She has triplets who are now 7 years old, who I last saw when they were about 6 months old.  Two of the triplets share first names in common with my twin brother and I, which is kind of cool (but a complete coincidence).  Anyway, check out the cakes, they are great for a laugh!

Blue Skies

Magnolia

Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see………….

OK so it’s not strictly true, the skies are not blue at all, they have been very grey.

This week Winter has been starting to get to me, I have been feeling a bit blah. At the start of the week my washing machine died, in a water flooding out the bottom kind of way. This problem will hopefully be fixed on Monday, but luckily I have had some kind souls who have let me wash in their machines. Thanks Mum and Leigh, this photo is for both of you.

Washing Flapping in the Breeze

So today things were looking up. My skies were blue, because I had two hours to myself while Michaela was at Occasional Care. I sat and sewed (for the first time in ages) while I was serenaded by the divine Ella Fitzgerald, who never fails to lift my spirit, and induces me to lift my voice. So what was she singing?

Blue days
All of them gone
Nothing but blue skies
From now on

Hope you have blue skies where ever you are*

*(Metaphorically speaking, ’cause I don’t mind grey skies, if we get good rain with it)

A little Cloth Cat needs a name

Little Cloth Cat

Look who I found soaking up a little bit of winter sun in my garden yesterday. Like any other cat, this one looks quite comfortable perched in an unusual place – the handle of my rotary clothes line. This little aqua cat just needs a name, any suggestions?

It was quite a busy weekend here, among other things Michaela had her first swimming lesson. She was a star, and was smiling whenever she didn’t have a concentration face on. Some of the other little people in the tiny pool with her cried and cried, which was distressing for everyone, but didn’t seem to get to Michaela. Of course I would love to share how adorable she looked in her new speedos and goggles, but apart from potentially attracting creepies, I didn’t want to take a camera along to a kids’ swimming lesson.

Home made Soap

On Sunday, while I took Rory to a gymnastics birthday party, (what a fabulous idea, Rory loved it) Luke opened up a craft box we have had for a while, and made some soap with the girls. It is still not dry, but the lavender in it smells wonderful.

First Magnolia Bud

Finally, have a look at this, the first of our Magnolia buds is starting to open. In no time the tree will look spectacular.

Don’t forget to leave a comment to help me name the cat, who now has a little heart on his/her chest like the bunny rabbit.

Construction

After Wednesday’s events, we have had lots of school holiday family time – just what the doctor ordered!

Amelia BakingRory and Michaela Baking

On Thursday the kids were busy in the kitchen making dough creations, that we “fired” in the oven and then painted.

Dough Creations

This weekend there was a great deal of construction going on in the back yard.

Construction 1Construction 2

It went from this, which was built last weekend,………………. to this…………

Construction 3

And finally this. So far it is an elevated platform, which will have rails added around the sides, and a nice wide step and eventually half of it will have a roof. The kids are very happy with Luke’s log constructions.

Meanwhile inside I was working on a log construction of my own.

Log Cabin in construction

It went from this, to this below.

Log Cabin Cushion Cover

It is one of several cushion covers in the works that I have finally gotten around to. I just have to finish sewing on the binding. Stay tuned for more construction efforts 🙂

A House Number and some Winter Flowers

My little bottle of Mod Podge is going a long way, and I am loving it.

Here is another really quick project, that has been seen all over the craft blogs thanks to Anna Maria Horner‘s appearance on Martha Stewart (there is a link in Anna’s sidebar to the video tutorial). It’s called Fabric Silhouette Painting, and while I was looking at the video, I had a great idea for what I could make – A decorative house number. Just the right kind of project for a gloomy Melbourne winter day.

House Number

The tutorial starts with a pre-stretched canvas and a piece of fabric, cut to size, that you staple to the back of the canvas. Unfortunately, I only had a domestic stapler, and not a staple gun, so I didn’t really get the fabric tight enough (hence the slightly wrinkled appearance of the finished numbers), but I carried on regardless. I chose to use a great Heather Ross fabric that I got in NYC at Purl, called Matrioshka Dolls (in beige)

Paper Template

Here is the fabric covered, Mod Podged canvas, with a paper stencil that I have made to trace out the numbers. All that was left was to mix up a colour to match the trim on our house, and paint out the background, and then a final coat of Mod Podge. Check Anna Maria’s tutorial for better instructions.

House Number 2

I really like how the nesting dolls are peeking out of the numbers; a detail you can’t see from the street, but will notice as you approach our front door.

While it is under the eaves, it will undoubtably be exposed to some weather, (although, on the south of the house, it will not get direct sunlight) so my husband is sceptical about how long this will last. Nevertheless, Luke kindly drilled in some screws to hang it on.

Luke

This shirt is one I think Luke has had longer than he has known me. He recently rediscovered this to wear for weekend gardening, and the kids told him he looked like a farmer, which certainly didn’t make him unhappy.

So where are these Winter flowers I mentioned in the title? One lot grows right next to the house number, over the boring old grey lattice that surrounds our verandah. It is one of my favourite Aussie natives, Happy Wanderer (Hardenbergia Violacea). We have planted lots of purple flowers because I love they way they look up against the terracotta bricks of our house.

Happy Wanderer or Hardenbergia Violacea

These are just coming into flower, and the flowers will last for months.

Here are the other winter flowers, but they are a little stranger…….

Kids in the tree

It might be a little difficult to see, as it was starting to get dark, but the kids have picked up a whole lot of Camellia blooms that have fallen to the ground, and they have decorated the Magnolia Tree. In a month or so, this tree will have lovely purple blooms of it’s own, but for now, it has bright pink flowers.

kids in tree 2