Monday, December 25, 2017

It's 12.30 am on Christmas Day and all the visiting grandchildren are asleep and the presents are piled under the tree. I'm waiting for the twins to wake and have their feed and then I'll be off to bed too. The cheesecake is made and the pavlova is cooling in the turned off oven, ready to be filled later on. Everything else is under control ( fingers crossed ) and it's shaping up to be a pretty good day.

I hope everyone has a happy Christmas with the ones they love and those that are travelling arrive safely.
These two little darlings won't have a clue what's going on but they'll be in the middle of the fun anyway. 

Have a blessed  day!


Sunday, July 23, 2017

When the babies were tiny they both fitted together into a single pram and it was very cute wheeling them around like this. People would stop to peer in and exclaim "Oh! There's two of them!" They are too big to do this now, and we have an extra seat to put in the pram so it will hold both safely.

Because of medical issues my DIL can't manage both babies and Isobel on her own, so I've been living with them since the birth and I regularly take one of the babies with me when I go to the workshop.I was wishing that I had one of those dear old fashioned prams to put them to sleep in or wheel them round our little town, when I found this at a garage sale.

It was bought in 1959 and has had six babies in it over the years and was a bargain at $10. The springs are wonderful and perfect for rocking off to sleep, and it can be parked next to my chair or wheeled out of the way without waking a sleeping baby. Astonishingly they will both sleep for hours in this without needing to be held- perhaps the swaying of the springs is a similar feeling.

 It will only fit one blissfully sleeping baby, but if I ever come across another one at a garage sale I'll be buying that too.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

My word, life has taken a different turn this year.The twins Mia Grace and Lily Mae, were born on May 11th, nearly three weeks early and weighing 2.6kg each (5 lb 7oz), a good size for twins. They went down to 5lb 2oz and it took them nearly three weeks to return to their birth weight. They also had trouble maintaining their temperature so we were told not to let them cry as it would use up too much of their energy which was obviously needed for other things. They are still on the small side but were doing well until Isobel brought home a nasty cough and fever and passed it on to both babies and me. We haven't had them weighed since but I imagine it will be a setback as they are feeding much less and throwing up some of that because of the coughing.

Mia on the left, Lily on the right
 Mum is breastfeeding during the day and I do one or two feeds at night of expressed milk or formula so that she can get some rest. I had assumed that twins would mean double the work, but I think it's more complicated than that! They are very sensitive to each other's voices- vacuum cleaner no problem, but sister whimpering across the other side of the room, instant waking. Sometimes it's a constant back and forth of settling one, then the other. And they got so used to being held all the time when they were little (to stop the crying which they weren't allowed to do) that their favourite method of sleeping is to be cuddled, all the time.

But I'm soo happy they are both here and healthy,(cold not withstanding) both adorable but very different. You could tell straight away that they weren't identical and their personalities are very different too. Mia is more relaxed and happy, full of smiles and chuckles but Lily is anxious and gets upset more. If Mia gets water on her face in the bath she laughs, spits it out and splashes, Lily cries and has to be comforted and coaxed back to enjoying herself. Mia tells happy little stories and laughs and crinkles up her eyes good humouredly. Lily's stories are tales of woe in a sad little voice, her hands clutched under her chin and her brow wrinkled with worry. I have to admit I identify with Lily more, and when she does smile it's lovely.

Lily, Isobel, Mia.
Isobel adores her sisters and is a big help running and fetching and patting a crying baby. I imagine things will get easier as the babies mature and become a bit more independent, although life will just  be hectic in a different way then. I'm just glad I've been able to be such a big part of their lives; not every grandparent gets that opportunity.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

 Oh boy, did life get busy after that last post. I can't share all the things that have contributed to the crazy, but my youngest son Matt is now living with me and we've only just managed to fit all his stuff in and return my sewing room to me.

This is the longest I've ever gone in my adult life without access to my sewing room every single day, and it's been quite a lesson. Namely, that having my own creative space is a necessity, not just a whim. I've survived, but not easily!

I've been trying to clear up the custom quilts and now have only two left to do.

I hope they don't take long to finish, and then Keryn can handle the pantos on her own.

 (I can't show photos of the finished quilts, as I think they're all destined for shows)

I'm still doing the postie run, but my replacement is now taking over and learning the ropes, and she should be good to go on her own in a few weeks. Which is important, because soon this little miss will be joined by her two sisters, and life will get busier than ever. I'm so looking forward to meeting them in person and I plan to be helping wherever I can, for as long as I can.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

I started a new quilt on January the first because I wanted to acknowledge that I'm not just going to finish old projects, but begin new ones too. Especially ones that I've been meaning to make for years and years.

I saved this photo in 2012 and every time I see it I think "Oh, that would be so easy, I must make that..." This time I took action and got out my grey scraps and yardage and started cutting.

Then all the madness of life intervened and  I've only managed to sew a few units and one completed block. A couple of days ago I got into the sewing room and decided I would cut out all the blue pieces at once, so that I could make blocks whenever I'd  finished a few square in square units.  That should move things along, alrighty!

Except...after I'd cut out enough pieces for fifteen blocks I suddenly thought  "Wasn't I making them three and a half by TWO inches ?"

I'd cut the whole lot 1 1/2" by mistake. Sigh, tiredness will muddle your thinking like that. So it was back to the fabric shop for more of the blue (luckily I'd got it from our little shop in town) and I cut out another pile. (and now I have to find a use for the miscut pieces!)

I have all the centres cut for thirty blocks and a pile of grey and cream bits, so hopefully I won't need to engage my mind too much when putting these together.(The virulent blue of my cutting mat throws the colour of my photos off so much, these units are actually a nice cream and grey)
I haven't decided on a pink setting fabric yet, but I'm hoping this project doesn't languish too long in the making. I need to get a finish for 2017- it's nearly the end of January already!


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Here's my version of Bonnie's Garden Party, a pattern  I loved piecing. Sometimes I get sick of something half way through and it's a strain to keep working on it. This design was the opposite, I had to stop myself obsessively sewing it, so that I didn't finish it too quickly. I wanted it to be my Leader Ender for as long as possible, but I lost that battle fairly soon. Both blocks were a joy to make and if I had to make another one I wouldn't mind a bit.

The orange inspiration for the alternate blocks came from Gayle at mangofeet and even though I don't normally use much orange in my quilts I was captivated by the effect of it in her quilt. The orange makes it seems so fresh and clean and I found myself looking forward to working with a colour that is quite new to me.

I was a bit short on the orange border fabric and had to piece the last twelve inches to get enough for all sides. I have no memory of where this fabric came from, and neither does Keryn, probably a donation from someone, or an op-shop find. I used every bit, and have another unexplained orangey red length for the binding.

I had thought happily "This will use up whatever oranges I have lying around the stash!" but somehow I still have a box of fabrics, somewhat depleted yet still enough for at least another quilt. My future contains more orange projects, apparently.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

 The last week has been crazy busy, shifting not one but two family members to new homes. I haven't been able to sew or work on any project but I'm hoping that things calm down soon. I haven't taken photos of my Garden Party, which I want to post about, so I'll show this little top I made from string squares.

 These were made years ago from the offcuts of quilt backings and a half metre of blue and white plaid. I was going to throw these blocks out, but I'm glad I didn't after all. I love string piecing but I'm not comfortable with the process, for some reason. Too messy, too random, I don't know what it is, but it stresses me out after a while.
So there might not be too much string piecing in my future, but I love the results when I do try it.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I decided to participate in Judy's UFO challenge, and her first Quiltathon has just finished.I have an enormous number of things to work on, but I want to concentrate on fairly simple projects that would be quickly done, and ones that don't need agonising over. There's no sense choosing something that would need lots of thought and puzzling over decisions, I want to just put in some hours of concentrated sewing and really see some progress. That's the delight of the marathons for me, it's more about the actual sewing than the auditioning and doubting and second guessing that plague so much of what I do.

I chose these modified split nine patch blocks, which have their origin here, and a tutorial here. They are insanely simple to sew, and go together very easily- I finished twenty blocks in one night. I decided to finish the Barn Raising version, and this is how far I got, in between all my other numerous work commitments and chores.

The row at the top isn't sewn yet, and I will probably add another row to complete the pattern. It was a good effort, and I wouldn't have stuck at it if it wasn't for the quiltathon motivation.

These seven blocks were already sewn up before I decided on the Barn Raising set and I will cut out extra strips and get  ready to sew some more for next time. I'm all enthused about this pattern again, it's so easy to do.


Sunday, January 08, 2017

Here's another top I finished and didn't blog about.

I can't seem to get a decent photo of this one, and it looks too boring for words. In actual fact it's very soft and pretty, and would look lovely on a bed.

The border is just a simple frame around the outside, very unassuming and in keeping with the softness of the other fabrics. No stars in this top, no "Look at me!" areas, just a sort of subdued prettiness.

 It was a very easy pattern, and the fabrics were all nice, but I just fell a bit out of love with it in the end. Done now!


Saturday, January 07, 2017

 I have a few tops that I finished late last year and never got around to showing them on the blog. This is a green and blue 25 patch, that was meant to use up the remaining fabrics from my Scrappy Mountains quilt, which is quilted but not bound.

(I have this photo of it on the machine, but failed to take one of the quilted finish. I should get on and bind it...)

Typically, in the way of scraps, there are still some left, and I might piece a strip to go in the backing somewhere. The sashing seems very yellow, but in real life it's much paler.

It's very rare for me to be able to use up a bundle of fabric entirely, there always seems to be enough to form the kernel of yet another project. It's a strange alchemy indeed, that scraps beget more scraps and never completely disappear....


Wednesday, January 04, 2017

 Another year begins! 2016 went out with another very unwelcome storm and resultant power failure, this time for 36 hours. It was stinking hot, and very unpleasant while it lasted, and apparently we can expect more failures.

But we have power now and I can sew and have good lighting and make lists on the computer of all that I'm going to achieve this year.There are a number of UFO finishing schemes, and I'm going to try and make a big difference in my numbers. But I do want to start new projects, so I'm not limiting myself in that area, and on New Year's day I started a new quilt so I could begin as I mean to go on.

I keep track of yardage in and out, even though I don't report it on the blog, and I was a bit miffed to see that I added 44 metres to the stash in 2016. A 23 metre order of backing fabrics from Connecting Threads put paid to any hope of finishing in the black, and the madness of festivities meant I couldn't push through some tops that are so close to being done. That means they will be added to this year's finishes, so I could  see some decent numbers soon, with very little effort.

Alas, a nice gift from Keryn  meant that I was 8.5 metres in the red before the first day of the year was over! These will both be backings too, so they'll be very useful.

In fact I think the coral one will be the backing for Bonnie's Garden Party which is now completely done. I was so pleased with how this turned out and hope to get a good photo of it soon.

2017 will be a big year for us, with John and Liz moving house next week and the twins being born and lots of projects on the go. I'm looking forward to it all!


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