Friday, February 28, 2014

 I've been mulling over what to tackle next, an old project, or start a new one.  Much as I love that idea, and there are several blocks that I'm itching to try out, I feel that I should continue to deal with a few more old projects before I let myself add another one to the pile.

I was reading Diane from Dyed Quilting the other day, and she showed some photos from a book she'd bought,  "Quilts of Virginia". I recognised one of them, and dug out a project box from a couple of years ago.
I'd already done 49 blocks and they were just sitting there waiting to be set together. I think I got stuck on finding the 'perfect' cream to set them with and although I've bought two or three suitable lengths I'd never got back to these blocks.
 I call them a Framed Star, I don't know if they have a proper name, but that will do for me.
In the book it's called a Nine Patch quilt, but it's not, only the centre is a nine patch. It's based on a grid of 5x5 squares, and is very easy to put together.

 I love them, I had so much fun picking the fabrics and now I'm looking forward to getting them onto the design wall. I'm glad Diane's post jogged my memory!


Friday, February 21, 2014

 I decided to add a pretty floral border to the album blocks, and I love how this turned out. It seems to pull all the other colours together and make them  sing in a very quiet subdued way.

 It's not the same range (I think it's Stone Cottage) but it still suits these other fabrics very well.
I just wanted to finish this project very quickly, but now I'm surprised by how much I like the final result.

 I should take this down so I can put the next project up on the design wall, but I've enjoyed looking at the top so much I'm  reluctant to fold it up and put it  in the cupboard.

 I might see if I can find another place where I can continue to admire it while I sew the next lot of blocks together....


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

 The next set of blocks to be tackled were these album blocks made from a jelly roll of Garden Party, by Blackbird Designs. I had a plan for them, based on an antique quilt, but I changed my mind and decided to just get them finished as soon as I could. I also ignored my feeling that I had to set these blocks with something from the same range, and used instead a beautiful Daiwabu taupe that seemed to complement  the other fabrics nicely.

 I wrote about my feelings towards jelly rolls here and I must say, nothing has changed my mind in the last four years. I've bought a few charm packs since then, but in general I'm happy to leave the precuts alone.

....with the exception of Batik jelly rolls, which don't have pinked edges and come in some glorious colours and patterns.
  I've addded two to my batik stash, which is pretty small and doesn't even fill one container. I haven't actually made anything with the strips yet, but I'm loving the different fabrics, and I'm really looking forward to cutting them up soon.

 What beautiful intense colours...
but I love the muted greys and greens too.
This is my entire batik stash, bit pitiful, isn't it? I'm letting myself add to it without guilt, and it's such fun choosing what I'll have next.

I've had some odd sewing jobs lately, First born son John made his art class at school paint banners for their sports house, and I got to sew them up, complete with points all along one edge.  Then he and his wife Liz created a circus banner for a local production of  'Chicago' which they're both in, and I got to finish that off too.
The canvas was quite thick and had a plastic back, so I had to go  slowly, but it got done in the end. It looks pretty good hanging up, they're both very talented and have made some wonderful props.

I can hardly wait to see the show in two weeks, they've put a lot of time and effort into this.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

 The gentle soaking rain yesterday turned into an absolute downpour that flooded the yard for a while. It was wonderful standing on the back verandah watching it come bucketing down. Both my water tanks are overflowing, indeed this jet of water dug a hole 12" deep it was coming out with such force.

Keryn and I always have tea at our brother and SIL's place on Friday night, and it was so lovely and cool we left the dogs outside at my place. We got home in the dark, and I thought the dogs seemed a bit hysterical, but put it down to their joy at seeing us. However this morning I took a little tour around the garden and their deeds were writ plain in the mud. Huge sweeping skid marks where they chased each other back and forth, overturned pots and buckets and trampled patches like wildebeest wallows.
 The pansies in this pot were dead anyway, but someone decided they had better be turfed out,

and  Mr gnome got short shrift and was partially buried.....

 And the holes! Digging was on the agenda and they had made splendid progress in quite a few areas.

Not the lawn!!

Playing chasey around the wheelie bin should be a canine Olympic event, culminating in a serious attempt to dig under said object.

And this hole puzzles me completely. It's about 18" deep and that rock was under the tree the last time I saw it. I'm sure Pippi did all the digging, but how did she get this rock into the hole, and more importantly, why?
I might be cross if they'd actually done any damage, but oh! I would pay good money to have puppy cam and see the shenanigans that went on last night while we were out. It would have been incredible to watch them whirling around like deverishes, playing with each other.

This is the look I get when I point at the lawn excavation and say sternly "Who did That?!!!!"
"Not me mum, my paws are clean....."


Friday, February 14, 2014

 It's wonderful weather here at the moment, cool and a soaking rain falling quietly. There has been rain on the fire ground too, and the official announcement is that the fire has been 'contained'. This is great news, and everyone is hoping  that the rain  predicted in the next few days will finally put out all the hot spots and end this nightmare. The fire started from a lightning strike four weeks ago, a  natural event, and now another natural event can finish it.

Of course that won't really be the end of it- then comes the clean up and the danger from all the falling trees will make this hazardous too. And we will be looking at these poor scorched hills for years until they recover. Fortunately some of the wildlife has evaded the fires, but now there will be nothing left for them to eat, or cover from the elements. Over 34,000 hectares were burnt out, Sigh.
And to add insult to injury there has been a severe weather warning issued and some parts of the state, including here,  are being warned of flooding and huge winds; it's all slightly crazy. Flooding in the UK, snow and ice storms in the US , bushfires and flooding here, the world's gone mad!

To celebrate the wonderful coolness I'm making a batch of tomatoe sauce, from 9kg of tomatoes that I froze earlier this year. Now that the over 40C weather has gone (for at least a week anyway) I'm heating up the kitchen with delicious smells of spices and onions, garlic and tomatoes. It usually takes all day to cook down and the whole kitchen ends up a sticky mess, but the end result is worth it.

Once it's set to bubble  away for a few hours I intend to go in the sewing room and set together some blocks that I've been finishing off. I'm going to try to choose a border straight away instead of letting it stall at that point.

 I recently went through my projects and there were far too many that 'just needed a border'. Some have sat like that for years and years, so I'm making a conscious effort to deal with them.
 This little top needed the the triangle border sewn to it and the wider cream border.
 It only took me half a day when I finally got to work on it and did the maths for the little spacer border in between. I let the smallest things put me off, and I'm going to try and get over that particular  failing of mine.


Sunday, February 09, 2014

Yesterday Keryn came around at about two pm, so that she and Dolly could sit in the AC and cool down a bit. She said there was a huge column of smoke to the north, which looked very worrying. We checked the CFS page on the net, but there was no information there yet, so we went for a drive.

 It was obviously the same fire that has been burning for over three weeks, which had been contained at Napperby, and now had got away again. They have been working for weeks to put this out, and I'm thinking only a huge downpour could finally extinguish this.

We used to go bushwalking along the fire trails in these hills when we were younger, so we can visualise the terrain up there very well. It's steep and rough, and some places are quite inaccessible. I imagine  the fire trails we walked could be deathtraps in a situation like this.

We weren't just being gawpers either, because the fire was travelling towards Hughs Gap, which is only 4k away from Matt at Bowmans Park. I wanted to know if he might have to evacuate later, so we could make plans.( During the night the wind changed and now there seems to be no threat to the Park, so he's alright)
We weren't in any danger, but later that evening we went for another drive, and the roads we'd gone down earlier were blocked off.

This last photo is of these same hills, the fire had now burnt over the crests and was flowing  down the slopes in horrible waves.
I am so full of admiration for the CFS crews, and the farmers that are out fighting this thing, it really does look like the fires of Mordor, come to life.


Saturday, February 08, 2014

 I decided that my Devils Claws needed a border, even though the original antique quilt didn't have one. I never make hurried decisions about important things like this, so it took a few months of auditioning fabrics before I settled on this one.
 It's Antique Fair by Blackbird Designs, in a sort of tan colourway.  I chose the same fabric design in red to set my sq in sq blocks, and I think it must have been brewing in the back of my mind...why not use the tan fabric on this top? I quite often buy large florals like this on spec, hoping they'll suit some top waiting for borders, and most times it all works out very well. Perhaps my subconcious is one step ahead of me all the time and I buy these fabrics already half knowing where they'll end up.

Whatever the case, I'm very happy to be able to just pull out a stack of big florals and try a few until I get an  idea of what the top wants. It's a wonderful feeling to finally decide where I'm going with a particular top, the end really is in sight then.
 Because of the large repeat I had to cut twelve strips ( three for each side )and then I matched the pattern as best I could. The motifs didn't exactly line up but at least the joins aren't all that noticeable

One of the reasons I put off sewing the blocks together all those years ago was the realisation that this was going to be a Big quilt. It's nearly 100" square, with the addition of a small spacer border and then the floral fabric.Putting the borders on made it so much  bigger that  I couldn't get a decent photo of it anywhere. Keryn and I are working on an area to hang large quilts up and take well-lit photos, but the heat has put an end to those efforts at the moment. The workshop is far too hot on days like this (another 43 C scorcher, yuk) but we have our plans to get decent photos of all our quilts. As soon as it's cool again....


Sunday, February 02, 2014

Do you like my little wooden snake next to the Christmas decorations I haven't put away yet? I saw my first real snake for the summer the other day but in a quite unexpected place. I could hear something in the bathroom, and thought it was Pippi, but when I looked in I saw a tail disappearing behind a cupboard. I think it was after a cool spot on the tiles, but it couldn't be allowed to stay there. Hmm, not what I wanted to deal with, but there was no-one else around!

Fortuneatly I'm not afraid of snakes, just wary of the danger they present, so I didn't have to deal with panic or the revulsion if it had been a big spider. I locked Pippi in the lounge so she couldn't pounce on it or get in the way, and then I blocked the hall off with a piece of board so that it couldn't get into the rest of the house. I put my work boots on and got my shovel and pulled the cupboard out from the wall. It took off like a shot, and happily it headed for the open back door. I hit it with the shovel when it was outside but the surface was too loose and soft and it managed to get away. I'm satisfied that I gave it the fright of it's life and hopefully it won't come back. I've been careful to keep the  screen door closed since then; I usually leave it open for Pippi to come in when she's been out. It was a brown snake about two foot long, so just a baby really, but they can still kill. One of Pippi's littermates was killed by a snake last year and I'd hate for anything to happen to her or Dolly.

Today is going to be another 42C stinker, so I got up at 4.30 and opened up the house to let as much cool air in as possible. I watered the garden as soon as it was light enough to see what I was doing and hung out three loads of washing by 7 am. I wanted to get as much done as I could before I have to retire to the air conditioning and hunker down for the rest of the day. However there's supposed
to be a cooler spell for the next three days, so there's a bit of relief in sight, thank goodness.

Some people are saying this weather is unusual, but this is what I remember summer being when we were children. Horrible gasping hot days when your bare skin  stuck to all the furniture- a vinyl chair could practically draw blood if you didn't peel yourself slowly and carefully off it. The nights were horrible, without even a fan and the pillow became saturated as you tossed and turned trying to get to sleep. We had an antiquated evaporative cooler that was a huge box on spindly legs and it made so much noise we could hardly hear the telly. It had to have buckets of water poured into it at intervals and after a while the room smelled faintly swamp-like and was only cooler if you sat directly in front of it.

Lots of people that we knew would move their mattresses out onto the verandah or even the lawn, so that they could take advantage of every cool breeze, but Mum wouldn't let us do that. Sometimes we were able to sleep in the hall with the front door open, and then we were awakened at dawn by the milkman, clinking the empty bottles and leaving full ones in their place. And then the whole ghastly heat went on again for another day.

There were no school closures, except for a couple of times when it got over 110F and then we were turfed out at lunchtime and had to walk two miles home anyway. I don't get nostalgic for those days, give me ac and internet and automatic washing machines and DVD's and all those things that make life a bit easier and more enjoyable now.


About This Blog

Lorem Ipsum

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP