Thursday, December 30, 2010

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas break and didn't get too stressed out by all the hype. The best part of my Christmas was finally getting to know dear little Logan- I could hardly wait to get my hands on him. He is fifteen different kinds of cute, and even when I wasn't holding him it was fun just watching his face and generally doting on him. It's hard to believe he's only seven weeks old, he's going to be pretty big by all predictions.

It was so lovely to see how Logan responded to Elisa and Rob, he obviously knows he's adored and he's one happy little baby. I miss him already.
I'll have to content myself with my puppy, who's growing up very quickly.
I wanted to draw her quite often, and I haven't done as much as I could, being caught up in the Christmas rush and all, but these are some of my sketches.
Perhaps my New Year's resolutions could include doing a drawing of her every day- I could document her growing up.


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

To clear up the confusion about the dogs, Jessie is Matt's first dog, a miniature Fox Terrier. She's nearly nine years old, but still has tremendous energy and is incredibly Busy, despite the number of white hairs around her muzzle. She's a fantastic mouser and during the winter when we had a mouse plague she dispatched dozens of them with great efficiency. The staffies didn't want to know, and Dolly used to look the other way and pretend she couldn't see anything- What mouse?When we lived out the farm she used to disappear down rabbit holes and once was missing for four hours. Eventually she came back, dirty and triumphant, no doubt having finished off a few bunnies as well.
This is the view we usually see of her, hunting in every likely looking nook and cranny for something to chase.
She's a dog of very little brain, but she's fun to watch, and very loyal. My mum loved her, and when she was living with us just before she got so sick, Jessie was her constant companion. Even though she's such a quick little thing, darting here and there in a white blur, she would keep pace with Mum, one painful step at a time. Mum was very touched by this, and even though it sometimes took ten minutes to go from one room to the other with her walker, Jessie was right there beside her. You've got to love a faithful heart like that.

When Mum died she left her grandchildren a few hundred dollars each, and Matt used his money to buy Macca. No money could have been better spent, because this dog has changed Matt's life for the better, and they are totally bonded to each other. It's lovely to see. And now Keryn has Dolly, who is Macca's daughter, and I have Pippi.

Bonnie belongs to the friend that Matt shares a house with, and is the mother of the puppies. So that's the family history of the dogs so far.


Friday, December 03, 2010

You asked for puppy pictures and here they are. This little girl is "V", named because she had a v-shaped white blaze when she was born. It's sort of disappeared but the name stuck.
This is Buggles, unkindly named because she was 'bloody ugly' when she was born, but now she has her own charm and is pretty cute. The name stuck.
"Kitty" who was black with a white stripe on her face and rather small. She looked more like a kitten than a puppy but now she's filled out and is the friendliest, cuddliest little thing.
"Boofa", the only male puppy and he's always been the fattest and sookiest one. He's going to be a beautiful dog when he grows up."Mirra" who is the smallest puppy, but the most active and playful. She's going to need lots of attention but she's so funny and mischievious that I was tempted to keep her. There would never be a dull moment with her around.

But right from the start I knew I wanted to keep "Pippi".
She's very much like my Panda from the last litter and as soon as she was born I fell in love with the white stockings on her front legs. I said she was Pippi Longstocking and Pippi she's remained.
I wondered if her personality would let her down, if I'd fall in love with one of the others but I'm still adamant that she's the one for me.
She seems placid and sensible and adores her big sister Dolly

How cute is she? Expect to see lots more when she finally comes to live with me, in a couple of weeks time....


Friday, November 12, 2010

More puppy pics. Macca is desperate to get in and wash the puppies, but they need to be a bit more robust. Bonnie did let him lie next to her and have a good look at them. He's been super interested since the day they were born, but Jessie's hair went up on her back and she crept out as quickly as she could, no doubt remembering the liberties taken by the last lot of puppies. Dolly just pretends there's nothing there- what puppies?
Their eyes have opened since these pictures were taken , and the cuteness factor has tripled. This was supposed to be Bonnies last litter, but it's so much fun to watch them develop; the novelty hasn't worn off yet. Two of these puppies have found homes already, which is good.
The moving of the big things, in particular Millhouse, went well, but the removalists were two hours late which didn't help the stress levels. When they were leaving they thanked us for being so organised, apparently the people who they shifted before us weren't, hence the delay. So this week has been spent on clean-up, and the brilliant-at-the-time idea of a garage sale. Once that's out of the way this weekend, we should be free to wander aimlessly around muttering "Where the hell did we put (insert any item)...."

I don't know how Keryn got Millhouse up and stitching all by herself, but she did. I'm full of admiration; I looked at the tangle of cords and leads, the nuts and bolts and heaven knows what and limited myself to fetching tools, holding bits together and generally just doing what I was told. This is the practice quilt being stitched out, and so far so good. Phew, what a relief.


Thursday, November 04, 2010

Meet Logan Jack, born on November third. Beautiful baby,
happy Mum,
very proud and relieved Dad. My little boy has a baby boy, I just can't get over it!
I'm so proud of Elisa and Rob, they're going to be great parents.They've provided a wonderful spot of happiness in the stress of the last few weeks and I can hardly wait to see them all in person.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Just some quick puppy photos, we're still busy dismantling the workshop. Today I want to take down the thread racks and box the spools, but the ones with already wound bobbins will have to be put in ziplock bags to keep them together, and then all the pegboard hooks taken out and put somewhere safe. I still have about four days of quilting left before the Statler is taken apart, so I probably won't be able to find the thread I want, sigh, but I don't want to leave it till the last minute either.
I hate to think of the dust we'll find when we shift the workshop furniture, because some of it hasn't been moved for years but we'll just deal with that too.

And I've been jumping every time the phone rings, because that little bump in this post is now three days overdue, and I'm expecting an exciting announcement! And in other news, first-born son John and his lovely partner Liz have announced their engagement, so we'll have to celebrate with them as soon as the move is over. My head's spinning a bit, but as John says, "It's all good!"
Isn't this so stinkin'cute? One little girl is the current leader for favourite puppy,look at those little paws....


Monday, October 25, 2010

I've got my new design wall up and some blocks on it for inspiration, a few of my "gorgeous things" spread around and I'm ready to start a new project as soon as the huffing and puffing are over. The movers won't come for another ten days or so, which will give me time to concentrate on more customer tops and I may be able to fit in a bit of mindless sewing for myself. I just want it all over and done with.

There was a little break from quilting and packing last weekend when Keryn and I got to sit down and relax for a few hours. Bonnie and Macca (Dolly's parents) were expecting puppies again, and I had vowed I was going to drop everything the minute she went into labour so that I could sit with her. She conveniently started on Sunday afternoon and only took about four hours to have six puppies, so it was an exciting little interlude in between our other chores.
I don't know if our coaching helped her in any way, but she loved being the centre of attention and looked so pleased with herself afterwards. The pups are gorgeous, and as Dolly will be going to live with Keryn at the hall, I might be in the market for a dog. If one of them stands out as much as dear Panda did (I really would have loved to keep her...) then I think I'll be owning it.

Expect puppy updates in the future, they are always good blog fodder.....


Thursday, October 21, 2010

I feel so bad about neglecting the blog, but life has dealt us another surprise that has taken up whatever spare time there was. Our workshop is located in a rented building and the owners are coming back, so that means we have to move. And as Keryn lives in the house attatched to the workroom, she has to move too! Boy, I thought my relocation was upheaval, but Keryn has to shift all her printing and office stuff- paper, files, pattern stockpile, computers, printers and paraphanalia, the many bolts of fabric we have for sale and all her teaching stuff as well as the household, and I have to worry about the things related to the quilting side of things, boxes of customer quilts, rolls of batting and backings, threads etc, and most concerning of all, Millhouse. We're leaving that to the professional movers, and I'm pretty sure they've never seen a longarm before. They seemed puzzled that we actually mentioned moving a 'sewing machine' specifically so they might get a shock when they see it.

I've been trying to finish as many quilts as I can so that they can be picked up and out of here; the less customer tops I have to keep track of the better. I feel torn between quilting and packing, but they're both getting done in a frenzied sort of way.

So there has been much lugging of stuff and packing and an unnatural interest in cardboard boxes lately. It's much harder now to find a good cardboard box because a lot of them are broken down for recycling and we never see them. But the little supermarket next to Keryn puts some out the front and they are eagerly snapped up so we've taken to haunting the place lately. I know from moves in the past that this interest persists long after the need has passed, and it feels wrong to leave a particularly 'nice' box in the pile.

We've uncovered a few items that have been missing since Keryn moved into the place three years ago ("So that's where we put it!") and we're trying to downsize at the same time. I was feeding bags into the Goodwill bin the other day, and was quite embarrassed to find I'd filled it up and nothing more would go in.

One of the things we found was perhaps our oldest UFO, a Double Wedding Ring started in about 1979 or 80. Keryn drafted the pieces from a picture in an American Country Living magazine, and not knowing any better we thought it was made in square blocks, hence the seam through the centre piece. We chose the colours to make this graduated effect in the rings, and I'm still quite happy with that. But the horrible calico background and the seams in it put us off and it has lain untouched for all these years.
In our memory it was mostly in pieces, so we were surprised to find that the blocks were all sewn together except for the last row, which is missing two blocks. All it would take would be a blank label block or two, a few seams and a quick border. Not gonna happen this year, but now that I see how little work would be involved in finishing it, I will have a go when we're settled in.
I felt very sad when middle son Rob remarked the other day "Mum, your blog's Dead !!" and decided I have to resurrect it. I've loved having this record of the years, and months have gone by without a word. Internet problems will occur with the next move too, but we'll try to work round them and get back to regular posts. Stay with us, we'll get there in the end....


Sunday, September 26, 2010

I've nearly got my sewing room set up in the new place, which is actually the old place that I was living in before I moved to look after my mum. So it feels like coming home in lots of ways and I'm enjoying myself getting everything in order. But I haven't had any time for sewing and it's driving me nuts. And I don't count customer quilts as my sewing fix, that's work!!
This top was huge, and even though the backing was extra wide I still had to piece another bit onto the side to make it big enough. It was quite a job wrestling a 118" square bit of fabric around, and not good for the temper. But the quilt turned out lovely; done with my Featherme panto, and Keryn trimmed out the centre so that I could freehand some feathers in the white centre borders. The piece of fabric they surrounded was beautifully embroidered, so it was nice to be able to highlight that.
A friend dropped off this huge bag of scraps the other day, and Keryn and I had great fun sorting through it. Everyone was happy, our friend because she cleaned up her sewing room and got rid of the bits she wouldn't use, and we got to play around while we divvied up the spoils. I think we got the better end of the bargain though, I do love a good scap bag....
I don't have the internet connected at the other place yet, so posting will be sparse for a while.I'll do my best, and hopefully I'll be back in the habit of blogging regularly very soon.


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

My backing squares are piling up nicely, and I think I have enough now but I have very little time to sew at the moment. I have to move house very soon and most of my spare moments are taken up with packing and sorting and throwing things out. After our Mum died four years ago I didn't have to get rid of her things as we were living in the same house, something I was very glad of at the time. It's much less painful to let some of those objects go now, but it does mean I have more work to do. But Keryn is helping, and it feels good to declutter and streamline possessions sometimes.
This is the orphan top I'm working on; it will probably have a few more borders around this centre part but I haven't decided yet. I don't want it to be too big so I don't think there's too much left to do here.

Yesterday we drove into the neighbouring town and were amused by these cloud formations on the way. The little blobby ones kept forming into bird shapes, splitting up and then becoming birds again.

Kept us entertained for at least ten minutes!


Friday, August 13, 2010

Keryn has been chopping up piles of fabric like a woman possessed, and it's inspired me to attack my stash too. I've been trying to whittle down the brown section, but I've made at least four sets of blocks already and have barely made a dent. I'm never going to get anywhere just cutting out a block here and a block there. Time to get drastic.
I went through the fat quarter drawers (three of them) and tried to be ruthless. Everything that was nibbled at, was thin quality or just plain old got piled on the table. I ended up with 14 metres of bits and pieces, and the drawers slid in a little easier.
I had fun pressing all the bits, some of them were still precious and others I was glad to see the back of. The telly in the sewing room came in useful again.

I am cutting for two sets of blocks, one a Duck's Foot in the Mud,
and the other a Yankee Puzzle so I quickly used up some of the smaller pieces. The Yankee Puzzle will be blue and brown and red)
But the pile wasn't diminishing fast enough to suit me, so I cast around for another idea. Then I remembered something I'd seen on this blog, (Kathleen Tracy) scroll down to see the antique quilt.
The front is gorgeous but the back was just the ticket for my pile of browns. Of course mine aren't beautiful madders like this antique, but they'll do. I have a top made from brown orphan blocks which will look great with this. The trouble is I think I've got enough for two backings, but an extra one won't go astray!
I've cut out dozens of 5 1/2" squares (bigger than the antique one but I want this to go quickly) and I've sewed up about 50 of them so far.Blindingly fast and almost instant progress, a four patch is 10 1/2" and covers a lot of ground.
I think I'll try to make a few four patches a day, and I'll be done before you know it.


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