Sleepy Koalas Quilt (and some native birdlife)

Sleepy Koalas Quilt

I finished making the Quilt that my sister Al, and her hubby Scott commissioned (if you don’t count a label, which requires a little more consultation).  Sewing on the binding, slowly, over a couple of nights was my tentative return to handwork following the flare up with my carpal tunnel syndrome.

Yellow Koala Star

I’m more than happy with how it turned out.  I quilted little curlicues around the inside edges of the stars, and lots of larger loops, with the occasional quilted star for the rest of the quilt.  I used cream, blue, brown and yellow thread in the corresponding places.

I have not seen any Koalas this week, but we have had plenty of bird life popping in, as well as sightings of our resident possum (who lives in a possum box on our property).

Juvenile Eastern Spinebill

This little character flew into our window on Monday, and spent about 10 minutes stunned on our path outside.  We think she/he is a juvenile Eastern Spinebill.  Thankfully he/she recovered, and flew off again.

Eastern Rosella

We also spotted a pair of Eastern Rosellas on the same day, but I wasn’t quick enough to snap them both.  I love looking birds up, and where possible, listening to recordings of their calls (so I can “connect the dots” between the birds I see and hear).  We have a lovely, treed backyard, and I take great delight in all the unusual visitors we get.

Do you keep a camera handy for your unusual visitors?

*If you would like to get some of my Koala fabric to use in a project of your own, you can find it here.

Good Mother, Bad Blogger

During these school holidays, (last week and this week) I have spent lots of time with my kids, and very little time on my computer.  I have not blogged, and my feed reader has filled with posts that I will probably not get around to reading.

Playing "Good Luck, Bad Luck"

In other words, all is as it should be.  I would rather be a bad blogger than a bad mother.

minifigures as game counters

The other afternoon we spent 2 hours playing a game we made abut 4 years ago, with nothing more than some coloured paper and cardboard, and some imagination.  We call it “Good Luck, Bad Luck”.

Long, long ago, we came up with examples of good luck and bad luck to put on the cards, and assigned them moves, eg.”Your read your favourite book, (Tonka) move forward 3 spaces” or “It rained on the way to school go back 2 spaces”, or my personal favourite “Your baby learns to talk, go forward 3 spaces”.

Playing "Good Luck, Bad Luck" with Minifigures for counters

We all enjoyed laughing about who had come up with the different pieces of luck, and how funny some of them were – “Peanut butter for dinner, go forward 2 spaces” was definitely Rory!  We kept telling Michaela that the baby mentioned on the cards was really her (When she was actually a small toddler).  It was wonderful to have that baby reading her own cards (with a little help – my handwriting didn’t make it easy).

Michaela with some Tulips

Yesterday we took off for the hills and visited the Tesselaar Tulip Festival with some friends.  I am so glad I took the camera.

orange tulips

The weather was perfect – overcast, (which kept crowd numbers down) but not cold or wet (until we left).

Pink and Dark Purple Tulips

The tulips were beautiful – these very dark purple ones were Rory’s favourite, (because they were almost black).

Light Purple Tulip

Some of the tulips, that were starting to “turn” and were past their prime, looked almost as interesting as the ones at their peak.

Orange Ranunculus

As much as I enjoyed the Tulips, I was actually much more taken with the mass plantings of the Ranunculus.

Mixed Ranunclus

I just love them in all their colours.  Speaking of colours (not a very skilled segue, I know) if you are anywhere near Eltham this weekend, and would like to see all the lovely colours in many quilts on display, please come to our Biennial Quilt Show.

annenome?

The North of the Yarra Quilt Guild Exhibition is held at the Eltham Community Centre,
801 Main Road, Eltham, (Melways 21 J6) between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th (this weekend).  Admission is $8 – Children under 14 are free.

Come and say hello, I might be a bad blogger lately, but I am always happy to have  chat in person!

 

Strike a Pose

Apron with Cake Applique

I recently made another Apron, which I have since sent North to Canberra, to our friend Madi.  As I am keen to release this as an individual pattern, (It was published in Homespun Vol.11 Number 10) I took some photos of Michaela for a possible pattern cover.

Apron with Cake Applique2

Gah!  What a frustrating time we both had.  I love our current home, especially it’s setting in amongst the gum trees, but at this time of year, it makes it really hard to get enough light to take a decent photo.

Madison's Chef Hat

I got lots of cute photos, but struggled to get one that shows off the aprons features, nicely enough to grace a pattern cover.  The light in our old house was excellent, as you can see from this equally cute photo of Michaela 2 years ago…

Kaitlin's Chef Hat

This was the prototype Apron, (made for our friend Kaitlin) and Michaela was only Three in this shot.

Michaela's Sweet-Treats Apron

This photo was taken a year ago, right before I posted the Apron to Sydney, for the Homespun photography.  Perhaps I need to take a leaf out of their book magazine and find someone who is happy to volunteer the use of their light and bright kitchen.

Apron with Fruit Applique

I already know that I need to find another little boy to model Rory’s apron – he has been very clear that he does not want to appear in it.  He is, however, very happy to wear his apron and hat to cook.  This is a photo I took to show Homespun the project, 2 years ago, with limited co-operation (and a pinned on pocket).  He said I could take the photo, if he didn’t have to smile – a stance he maintains to this day.

Strangely enough, I would like a happy child to model my work.

Do your children willingly model your creations for the camera?  What’s your secret?

 

Applique

Well here is the evidence of progress I made while away on Quilt Retreat with the NOTYQ Guild last weekend.  8 blocks and quite a bit of needle turn applique, not to mention 4 other partially completed blocks (not shown).

Since my return I have done a little applique every evening, but most of my time has been taken up with 2 sick kids – back to motherhood duties!

Here is a little picture of the joy that is a whole weekend of nothing but sewing, eating and chatting.  That is my little station on the table, (there were 6 of us on our table – 3 with machines and 3 hand-sewing).  You can see more of the venue here.

There was a little nature spotting amongst the sewing – this cute little fellow is a Superb Fairy Wren.  He stands out quite a bit more than his female counterpart, who is a much-harder-to-spot brown.

I have moved onto working on the teapot in my applique – here is my handle and here is my spout!  I really love my needle turn applique, and have recently found 2 websites that celebrate the same technique.  Glorious Applique is a blog started recently, dedicated to the work of people making up the applique designs of Kim McLean.  I have never made any of her design (preferring to make up my own) but I love her work, and the skill of the appliquers following her patterns.

Speaking of skill, the other blogger is a designer and appliquer of amazing skill and complexity.  Her name is Sandra Leichner, and her appliques are amazing.  You can see some of her winning quilts here.  I have started following her blog which shows each step of her current work in detail – so many applique pieces, and so much detail.

It gives me hope that one day I will be able to write patterns for some of my more complex designs (like my fairy, above or my shark, below).

The sick child on the couch is calling me, so back to nursing duties.  Have you done any applique lately?

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?

Geranium Love

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Here are my favorite Geraniums – the only thing left on my kitchen window ledge.

You can see the spot in the garden where they come from in the background.  I am taking a pot full of cutting of these to the new house.

5 sleeps to go.

Last Oklahoma Roses

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When Amelia was born (over nine years ago) I planted this beautiful rose to commemorate the occasion.  When later we moved (twice in 9 months) the rose came with us in a large tub.  This time we are leaving it behind, as it will be a little complicated to extricate, and there is no obvious place, in the sun, to plant it at the new house.

Today I cut these, the first roses of the season, to enjoy them in our last days in our little house.  Their scent is divine.  If I end up finding a suitable spot at the new house, I will track down an Oklahoma (A rich, dark, red, hybrid tea) rose to plant again.

If not, I will still be able to enjoy them, we will pass the house daily on school days, I just won’t be able to pick them.

We move in 8 days – I am not sure when I will post again – this moving business is hard!  Perhaps when I next post it will be from our new house.

Sold

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Well we have done it – and it was relatively painless (which is to say, it was pretty stressful and exhausting, but could have been much worse) and we got what we wanted for the place we have called home for 7 1/2 years.  While we polished our home until it shone, I felt quite sentimental and bittersweet.

Our home is clearly too small for us, and the new house is going to be fantastic, but there is so much of our personality stamped on this little house.  We have put lots of love into it, and the garden, and I will be very sad to leave.  I am sure I will find it hard to go past every day on the way to school with the kids – I hope the new owner takes care of the garden.  A man in his late 50’s, or perhaps early 60’s, has bought it.  He wants to live in it, (thank goodness – I know I would have been really sad if it was turned into a rental) but his children are all grown, so the house will be positively large for someone on their own.

Now that it is all sparkly, (the real estate copy said “A Sparkling Family Home”) would you care for a tour?

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I know you have seen it before, but this shot of our bedroom shows the bedside tables that we borrowed from my Mum and Dad, which happen to actually match the bed, unlike the ones we own.  They also make the room look larger as they are much smaller.  How sad is it that we both need a clock radio – I recently bought mine because at night, with my glasses off, I can’t read the one on Luke’s side of the bed.

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This is Michaela’s room.  It usually has a different set of drawers in it, but these match so nicely.  The chest of drawers is mine, and was inherited from my Grandmother – sadly it does not match our bed either.  There is so much more storage in the cupboards in the new house, that I think this will go in our lounge room, and store table linen, place mats and good cutlery – that way everyone will get to enjoy this treasured piece of furniture.

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This is our bathroom, which sits between the second and third bedrooms.

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It was really hard to shoot the kid’s room – it was such a grey old day, but here you can see where Rory and Amelia sleep.  They are both very excited that they will be getting a room of their own.  The beds they sleep on have actually served three generation of my family.  They belonged to my uncles, and then my twin brother and I.  Mine was painted bright apple green by my father when I first went into it.  I repainted it yellow when I was about 19, and I painted my bedroom in the same colour.  Rory’s bed is still the enamel red that my brother Julian had.

You have all seen this shot before….

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…but never the other view – the shelves have been too messy.

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It is amazing what removing 1 1/2 shelves worth of stuff and rearranging can do.

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The lounge leads through to our lovely sunny meals area and kitchen, scene of many a blog photo, and containing the ubiquitous blogging poster.  Usually this area is filled with a much-too-large table that actually accommodates all 5 members of the family.  Currently it is in the garage, and the equally lovely table from the early days is in it’s place.  Both tables were in the family, and were lovingly refinished by Luke and I.  This little round table will probably be going in my sewing area – what a thrill it is to say that!

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Here you can see the kitchen and laundry beyond – that door at the end is the only toilet in the place.  I am really going to enjoy sending guests to a toilet that actually has an adjoining bathroom, so that you don’t have to wash your hands in the laundry trough – and did I mention that after the move there will be 2 toilets – we will have an en-suite!!!!!  I really loved this kitchen – I can see almost the whole backyard from the window above the sink, which is perfect when you have small children.  We hid sundry items like the toaster, kettle, laundry baskets etc every time someone came through.

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So this is also where the magic happens!  That second shelf, with all the red boxes, is actually my current “sewing room” and you can see where my sewing machine has always lived.  Thankfully it has a hard cover – the kids often sit on it to eat a snack, while watching telly – they are not allowed in the lounge with food.  So where do I keep my stash?  back in the lounge at the bottom of the shelves.

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These clear boxes are what I like to think of as my “active” stash (the blue box is full of kid’s puzzles).  My stash is fairly diverse, but mainly made up of fat quarters or smaller pieces, due to the limited space.  There are two of the smaller boxes at the top of the bedroom cupboard which contain fabric for a couple of projects that I am not ready to start – mainly fabric I purchased in the USA in 2007, as well as some upholstery weight pieces.  I don’t dip into these fabrics so they are in a pretty inaccessible place.

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Lastly on our tour – the deck and backyard – scene of many a happy barbie.

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Thanks for indulging me on a nostalgic tour of our home – I can’t wait to show you the new one after we move!

New Faces

We had some new faces around here on Thursday.  I thought they were worthy of some befores and afters…

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Michaela before

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After – a kitty cat.

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Rory before

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After – a Wookie

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Amelia before

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After – A skull with a bow!  All faces created by request.

And now to reveal an “after” that will not be only temporary….

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20090712-ameliaglasses2Amelia’s new glasses!

Turns out that when 2 short sighted people become parents, they might be likely to have a short sighted child.

These lovely glasses are a sort of iridescent rainbow pair – greeny aqua at the front, through to pink and purple on the sides.

They really suit Amelia, don’t you think.

Purple and Pink

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My very clever eldest daughter, Amelia, has made her very own Buttercup bag (with a little help from her Mum).

When we were going through the plastic crate of goodness that is my stash, Amelia kept returning to the purple section.  Her bag just had to be made out of a purple fabric.  The other prerequisite was that there had to be some paisley – it seems some tastes are hereditary.  So the lining is a very pale paisley, (too pale to be the feature fabric) and the outside is paisleyesque.  Once it was completed, we decided that it needed a little more purple, so we made a felty flower brooch (which can be removed and worn separately).

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We took our photos this afternoon in my Mum and Dad’s lovely garden, and it seemed that everywhere there was pink shouting out for attention.

Rory helped Mum water the plants with her grey water.

Then he accidentally watered Michaela and Lotta right after his shot was taken.

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20090407-michaelajacketLuckily I had a jacket to swap for the wet shirt for Michaela – no clothing to offer Lotta though!

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So this was day four of our school holiday break wrapped up, purple and pink.