Tuesday, December 31, 2013

 Another stinker of a day here, it's 39 C (103 F) on the back porch and it's 4 pm. Tomorrow  it's going to be even hotter, but at least it's a holiday for New Years day and we can stay inside and keep cool.

The heat means I'm picking any tomato that's ripening, because they seem to cook on the vine otherwise. There are three large trays on my windowsill with about ten kilos of fruit getting nice and red. I've already cooked and frozen ten kilos and there's at least twice that amount left on the bushes. I'm well pleased with the crop this year, and now I'm picking eggplant, and soon zuchinni as well. I'm glad I've got a veggie garden, even if it's not as big as I'd like.

I'm trying to finish piecing a border for a new top, and I seem to have made a mountain of red HST and it's still not enough. It just needs more and more and More! I can see the end in sight though, and then I can sew them to the main part of the quilt and then sew hundreds more pieces for the final border..... I might be seeing the new year in at the sewing machine I think.

 I've also been sewing my tiny diamonds, and finished this little top the other day. I'm having so much fun playing with these scraps and have ideas for lots more.

 Son John, who lives in a town 25k away said that he saw shedloads of fireworks being set up today  in the local park, and that means their dogs will end up going beserk from the noise and the flashes.   I really can't see the sense in it myself, especially when the council has much better things to spend our money on......
We usually don't stay up till midnight, and we certainly don't do more than have a solitary drink of something innocuous. We intend to make some plans for next year and reflect on 2013, which was not a particularly good year for our family. I'm looking forward to a visit from Rob and family soon and the birth of two new babies in 2014, and hopefully a lot of exciting things on the quilting front. Hope everyone has a Happy New Year and tell us your goals and what you want to achieve- it's always inspiring to read about other people's plans.


Friday, December 27, 2013

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and had good times with their loved ones. We spent the day with number one son and wife, third son and Keryn's DD. It was very laid back, which is what I needed after all our hectic running around. Now we have a few days off, and we can calm down and think about the new year coming up. We never do anything to celebrate, but I do like to contemplate the old year and try to make plans for the new.

The new owners of Bear, now named 'Chief', sent me this photo on Christmas day along with the message that he was having fun in his new life at the beach. The other puppies seem to have settled in well too, and they must be bringing entertainment to a whole host of other people judging by the reactions of their new families. That's nice to know, and softens the fact that our own Christmas was puppyless. I do miss those little guys.

But in the meantime I have to start dealing with my tomatoes which have ripened by the kilo, and I foresee batches of sauce and salsa and chili sauce and whatever else I can cook up until the supply runs out.
And I still have a few four patches to make for Bonnie's mystery, and the borders to get on those tops, so I'd better go and get busy.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

 I've been so busy I haven't had time to post about the puppies much, and now they're going to their new homes and it will all be over. I have had so much fun with this little crew, I can't believe how much I'm going to miss them. Especially Sari, who has turned out to be the prettiest little thing, full of personality and energy.
 She and Bear are going this weekend, Tansy and Titch left earlier this week, and then it will be only Dozer for another week, and they'll all be gone. Pippi will miss them too, she's been the best mum to them. Must stop thinking about it, because I get all maudlin, sigh....

Keryn and I are sharing Bonnie's mystery and I've done all the steps except for the first one. I wasn't well that week, so I've got a bit of catching up to do. We decided to do Pensylvania Dutch colours because I barely have any orange in my stash, and I didn't want to buy any.

 Once the pieces are cut out the sewing goes quickly, but because I'm using scraps there's a lot of hunting through containers, pressing and trimming of little pieces.
 Strips would be easier, but the chance to find a home for some odd pieces of fabric is too good to pass up.
And then there's a stack of tops that I want to put borders on. Once I've done the hard part of choosing the fabric I'm itching to get the borders sewn together. Now that I feel better I'm going to attack this pile that's cluttering up my table.

So much to do, better keep busy so I don't think too much about this dear little face, sniff.


Saturday, December 07, 2013

I've picked the sashing material for a set of blocks, and I'm cutting those pieces out now. I don't like to cut width of fabric strips for the setting pieces because it isn't usually an efficient use of fabric .  In most cases you can only get three or so pieces out of the strip, leaving odd little bits at the end, and I don't like wrestling large pieces of fabric around, nor do I want to press a big length of fabric.

I fold the large piece of fabric over again so that I have four layers (selvedges and fold aligned),   then I rough cut the lengthwise size of the sash I need,plus about an inch.  In this case I cut a piece 13 1/2" for a 12 1/2" sash, so that I could square it up as I went.  This means I can also press a relatively small piece of fabric with ease and really try to get that horrid centre crease out. Sometimes if you cut from either end the waste bit ends up in the middle and you don't have to use the fold at all.

I cut 3 1/2" strips from the piece and ended up with no leftovers at all.

 Then I trimmed each of these to the size I needed. There may be a slight bit of waste with the extra inch I've cut, but this is worth it to me for the convenience. And if you square up the width of fabric cuts you can lose a few inches anyway. This method suits me fine.

I'm cutting background blocks for a small applique top as well, and I do the same thing here. I have a four metre piece of fabric and I really don't want to press it all at once,
 so I chop off a piece big enough to work with.
  In this case the end was very unstraight, so I left a lot extra.
 I need 9 1/2" blocks, and I like to leave extra background fabric with applique anyway, so I cut this at 10 1/2" at the shortest point.
 I use one ruler to measure the length, and then square another one up to it so I can cut across the fabric.  Then I press really well and rough cut these blocks at least 10 1/2".

It feels good to be making decisions about these projects and getting fabric cut ready for sewing.


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