Sunday, December 19, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Most of my Christmas shopping/making is complete, apart from those small 'stocking fillers', and it is those small items that have kept my mind alert these past few days. One day was spent flicking through magazines. I knew I had a pattern for a small tissue pack, and another of luggage tags. Of course looking through magazines is a task that sends the mind into a spin. All those wonderful patterns of items I must make. If only the days were longer and our time on this planet was not restricted to under one century.
I found the tissue pack holders. After cutting and sewing it became clear the tissues in the magazine picture must be a different brand to what I have. The holders were too wide and a tad too short. Two tissue pack holders later I had the correct measurements. I even managed to write the measurements down for future reference!
I slept on it.
I admit here ... I am not mechanically minded. Once before I read the instructions of how to clean the sewing machine, and gave up. Today I once again found the instruction book, and handed it to Dave. I instructed him to read the steps out to me ... while I tackled the business end of cleaning a sewing machine. Screws needed to be undone. A lint brush was brought into use. Dave read out that the vacuum cleaner could be used. He hauled out the vacuum cleaner, switched it on, and I manipulated the nozzle end. What a lot of fluff! No wonder the machine made such a strange noise.
Putting everything together was not as difficult as I imagined!
Soon I had the second luggage tag completed ... it was a delight to work a quiet machine! We forget how they should sound, and as the fluff clogs up slowly, it is unnoticeable.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
It didn't take long for inspiration to kick in. First I made a table mat; then a table runner. They are similar in appearance as the table mat didn't turn out how I imagined. I made a mess up of the centre ... it should have been set into the middle like the table centre. Never mind! I simply turned it around, and had I not told you, I doubt if you would have known.
In actual fact what better undertaking on a hot day [temperature is 40 degrees inside ... whew!], than to get into the spirit of Christmas.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Christmas is fast approaching. Some people keep tabs on the number of days. Me? Suffice to know November is half-way through already! Once the calendar page is turned to December serious gift sewing is definitely late.
This year I have decided to send 'hand made' presents. The colours are chosen to suit the recipients. As hexagons hold great attraction one apron has three hexagons along the border ... below is a close up look at these delightful flowers.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Table runners, place mats, and cushions are my idea of a small project. Even if one busy with household chores; washing, ironing, etc; it isn't difficult to begin a small project and complete it within a week.
On Monday, wash day [I even ironed the same day!] I completed a cushion for a friend who has undergone a double mastectomy and is recover from breast reconstruction, a major operation in anyone's book. I think she is incredibly brave and courageous and to honour that courage I felt the urge to make a 'small thing' to mark that bravery. Recently one of the Forum members recommended a site, that of course I had to have a peek at. A BOM captured my attention, and immediately I knew one of those blocks was simply the best for this cushion. The Contented Quilter's 'Take Time to ...' series includes one 'Smell the Roses'. As this friend lives in a male dominated household I decided to make a 'girlie' cushion.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
What better than to make a gift for the sender of the fabric. I chose the holly fabric ... lovely crisp white, green and red ... the colours of Christmas. I had a small selection of other festive fabrics that I purchased some months ago, just in case an idea sprung into mind. Sorting them out took moments. I cut and sewed. It was when I was at the almost final stage that I realised the pattern in the book just didn't look complete enough for what I had in mind. Another look through magazines ... prairie points! Aha, a border of prairie points on the short ends. More cutting and folding before pinning them in place.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
One would think I had little to do when a few hours were spent creating a little bear. He was to be. After sewing the body, attaching arms, those large ears, eyes, and making a nose, this little bear seemed strangely unfinished. He needed clothes! Trousers and a scarf were considered suitable for Large Ears ... his ears, had they been sewn on his feet would have made wonderful skis.
Several days later it dawned that no bear would go skiing dressed in shorts and a scarf. The wind chill factor would have made any snow sport extreme [ly cold]. This morning, after hanging the washing on the line I sorted out some wool, large needles, and cast on. Twelve stitches looked enough! Not having a pattern, I knitted, increasing and decreasing as the mood dictated. After lunch I sewed the jacket up. Mmmm ... mmmm ... something didn't look right! It was dull.
An idea sprung to mind ... perhaps Shakespeare wrote in a similar way? Ideas springing into mind; ideas that he transposed onto paper until a play was born? Anyway, my idea was simpler. A crochet border on the jacket; maybe in a colour to highlight Large Ear's eyes? Contrasting, almost matching, buttons completed the outfit. Now Large Ears is ready for anything life may bring.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
I have been busy, and regretfully, haven't found time to take photos of my latest efforts; until today. Once again the apron bug has bit, and while I only show one apron here, there are three others packed away in my 'gift box'. Somehow I think aprons may well be the Christmas gift for 2010, for the girls anyway.
Recently I tidied my box of fabrics, only a plastic container full, and as such I don't yet consider it a stash. To me a stash implies many [100's?] of lengths of fabrics in glorious mix and not match colours. I don't think I have reached 100 items yet, though who is counting? I may be surprised!
Not only have I been sewing, but I have also been knitting. Spring has arrived giving us days already in the 30's. Almost too hot to knit, but I have a reason ... I am to become a grandmother once again. I love knitting baby clothes! To date two jackets with matching bootees are completed; I have a small pile of patterns I hope to make before the welcome arrival of the latest addition to the family.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
To me the most important is the fact that today, after showing great fortitude in not peeking, of opening my apron from my swap partner. When it arrived I carefully stored it in a bottom shelf of the hutch ... I hate bending down that far; the temptation was thus reduced.
It is soooo me! I have always preferred black as my base colour, and since my hair has faded to gold and silver, have taken to wearing red as a contrast. The apron has a black background, is covered with red cherries [scrummy looking!], and white cherry blossom, and edged with white ric rac. It has a sleek black lining. I love this apron!
P.S. I was about to bin the posting packet when I felt something else inside. A sweet little purse lay hidden in the depths of the bag!!!
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I hummed and hawed about colour, and pattern. A magazine article demonstrated crazy patchwork, and as I had several lovely blue fabrics, all crying out, "Use me!" I decided to oblige.
Not wishing to have a bag without a defined back and front it was an easy matter to find a design to put on the front. This up and coming nurse loves her garden ... hence my choice of design.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
For some obscure reason I caught the 'apron bug'. Perhaps it was because in sorting through my stash I found [hiding under lots of other stuff] some reasonably sized pieces of fabric. Looking and wondering an idea emerged. These were just the size for an apron providing I supplemented them with contrasts.
The Craft Forum runs several swaps, and while I haven't taken the opportunity to join many [I don't wish to find I have run out of time to complete a swap project], I have opted into the Flower Hexagon Swap. This entails the making of a flower hexagon and forwarding it on ... a flower hexagon doesn't take too much time, and is rather fun.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Yesterday we went for a drive, what once could have been classed as a Sunday Drive. You remember the Sunday Drive? After a huge roast lunch [a roast of beef, perhaps served with Yorkshire Pudding, roast potatoes all brown and crunchy, roast parsnip, roast onions, carrots and green peas, followed by jelly and fruit, and sometimes icecream. Does your waistline expand with the thought?
While winter has not completely left us, spring is knocking on the door. The weather is supposed to turn cold later in the week, and it was this promise of a few more days of winter, that sent us in the search for fire wood.
Recently the roadside trees were lopped mainly to improve visibility for motor vehicles, and the increasing number of trucks carting iron ore from a mine to ships. These trucks rumble past our place night and day, but as is the case with any noise that is repetitious, the mind learns to close them out.
Our main purpose was to locate suitable fallen trees that can be collected later. At the moment the verges are wet, small lakes have formed in depressions, their muddy waters providing a swimming pool for birds and a bath for creatures. Many trees had fallen; there is an abundance of wood suitable for firewood once sawn into sizes that will fit easily into the pot-belly stove.
We drove along the tar-sealed road turning onto a gravel road that would take us back in a loop to home.
Hardly had we hit the gravel than a wonderful 'picture postcard' presented itself. For once I had taken the camera! We stopped and I clicked. High on the top of the rise grain silos stood, like sentrys on guard; the brilliant yellow of the canola flowers making a golden carpet in the foreground. Australia is yellow and green ... I always thought these colours represent the wattle flowers, which are coming into bloom at this time of year, and the green, perhaps the green of the countryside in winter and spring. After capturing this photo I now wonder if perhaps the yellow is not canola!? I know it isn't, but sometimes it should be.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
The other win ... Fremantle Dockers won the AFL Western Derby, hugely, over The West Coast Eagles. Least said about the score the better ... I felt sorry for Eagles' supporters.
I dislike sitting listening to football and not keeping my hands busy. Today I decided to combine Australia and New Zealand in a project. My 'pot holder' that we use to pour hot water from the kettle [boiling on the pot belly stove] into a cup of coffee needs washing. For some time I concluded I needed another holder for that express purpose, and today I sorted through my stash for suitable fabric.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
My daughter arrived from the southern city. As My Man has had several visits to the regional hospital, finally being admitted [again] today for an undefined period] he collected the mail before making one of his 'wasted' trips to hospital, thus my envelope with details of the mystery challenge didn't arrive until late.
This evening I carefully read the instructions. I could visualise how the article should look upon completion, but, not wishing to waste the lovely fabric included with the pattern and instructions, I have begun a 'trial article'. It is an interesting exercise making something one has no idea of how it should finally look ... though my visualisation is usually reasonably correct. And no, I am not going to post a photo of this mystery article, nor divulge what it is! Some things are best kept secret!
So ... as I haven't sewn for a few days, but instead have gone galavanting to the northern city; almost doing the 'tourist thing'. My usual visit to the city entails grocery shopping [essential to maintain life], or shopping at my favourite fabric shop [essential to maintain mental health ... boredom is boring, and doing nothing creative is boring], this trip allowed us to make a close encounter with a spectacular memorial that is extremely relevant to Geraldton.
The memorial is situated high on a Geraldton hill, and consists of a dome that has a seabird for each of the 645 crew lost. A sculpture of a wife looking out to sea searching for any sign of her man is a poignant work of art; one cannot help but feel completely engaged with her obvious signs of anxiety ... a furrowed brow, her eyes are clearly pained, she wears around her neck a chain with an anchor and has a wedding ring on her finger ... her clothing is reminiscent of the 1940's. This memorial brings home the agony, and the utter futility of war.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
The year is fast running through the hourglass of time; Christmas and 2011 are around the corner. The old saying, A Stitch in Time Saves Nine, has worn well over the years, though in today's modern, and too fast society, few make the initial stitch, and many profess to not have the time.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Two weeks without a posting! I do have an excuse; correction ~ a reason, because a reason is more acceptable than an excuse.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
They say good things come in three's. Perhaps the rain that has fallen making the place clean and green to view is number two.
Certainly the third is the parcel that arrived in the post earlier in the week. Just before Christmas Handmade featured some lovely designs, ones that I determined were 'up my alley'. I stictched felt hearts, on a festive theme, and made a hexagon table centre, which turned out good enough to take a photo and send it to the magazine. Imagine my delight when that letter, with photo, gained the status of 'Star Letter"! That a gift was the prize made the win even better.
I waited, heady with anticipation, for my parcel to arrive. Days went by; weeks went by; and slowly my excitment changed to anxiety. Maybe gifts were only a carrot? Surely not. Handmade is a reputable magazine, and I had read letters from others who had received their gift.
Surely this is proof things do come in threes?
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
This particular Square dance does not take place in a barn. It is more of a sedentary occupation, but challenging to the mind and patience.
A posting appeared; was a challenge issued? Some proclaimed, loud and long, that those who had not tackled this particular Square Dance would be better staying in the dark. A challenge, whether it be imagined or real, is a challenge, and it is sadly not in my nature to dodge a new activity. How could Square Dancing bring grown women to their knees, metaphorically of course?
Not wishing to waste good materials I hunted out fabrics that combined well enough for the dance. If I failed ... yes I did contemplate failure ... the main waste would be my time. I downloaded the pattern, transferred the template pattern to an old Christmas card, one that was solid enough to take the main stage, and reading instructions as I went, proceeded on. So far so good!
I had forgotten that binding should start half-way along a row, some of the points were cut off. Ah well, there was only one solution ... make another. In the process of constructing the Square Dance, which by now you will have guessed is a patchwork block, I used the walking foot. My sewing machine skills need practice; I am now the possessor of two table mats, which will allow another change in the decor of the table.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Yesterday we visited My Man in hospital. He is making progress, and with an additional 'procedure' it is hoped he will be able to come home. That he is beginning to champ at the bit shows, I am sure, that he is feeling better.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
I started last evening and stuffed it this morning; the result is satisfactory. As I did achieve a lot yesterday physically I am contemplating making another, and maybe another after that? One could almost mistake it for a cup cake topped with 100's and 1000's.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
While raking leaves screamed for attention I diverted my exploration for a while and went weed hunting. Only three melons! Dug out and deposited in the bin! One 3-corner jack ... dug out with his feet exposed to the weather.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
At a recent book sale I purchased almost thirty books, novels, biographies; all books that I thought I would enjoy, or would give me food for thought ... one, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, a small volume in size, but huge in all other ways. The cover was drab, the scrip disturbing. A discussion appeared regarding this book. My comment ... "found it different. I won't say I enjoyed it, as it was such a sad tale. But extremely well written and very readable" ... Another commented that they loved the book, and it was that comment that sent me to search my mind.
I didn't love The Boy in Striped Pyjamas. The story was excellent, the writing impeccable; it built up to a climax, one that we expected, but hoped to be incorrect in our expectations. I would recommend that book to anyone, with the rider not to expect to laugh, or even smile.
In saying that I had to explore my reason for not loving the book. It was the sadness.
Today the media concentrates on calamity. Sadness permeates our very lives and if we are caring folk at all, it makes it extremely easy to drift into a pit of despair. While I agree that we must realise that there is sadness, there is uncontrolled anger, it is my considered opinion that a high diet of sad reading material has a similar effect on our soul as obesity does to heart attack. Oh, I do read sad books such as The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, and I do not dislike such books. I simply do not love them. Love is a word filled with kindness and gratitude and caring; and while there was indeed a wonderful display of such emotions in The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, the over-riding sadness and certainty of that sadness simply cancelled that emotion out. Read The Boy in Striped Pyjamas yourself ... do you love it, or simply enjoy the book for telling a tale overflowing with sadness?
Of course the above begs the question, "What type of book do I prefer?" Once upon a time, when my hair was golden, not silver brushed with gold, I read widely, though upon reflection the choice was narrow. I preferred books that told real tales, biographies of people who discovered marvellous things, be that thing be land, or a discovery of the personal nature, or an invention. I read books about places; places I would have loved to visit, but never did; places that I desired to learn more about for obscure unknown reasons.
Why do some places attract one more than others?
Why does one book jump off the library shelf and not its neighbours?
Questions and more questions that may or may not have answers in books; but do we not search for books that add to our knowledge of how we personally desire the world to be?
Saturday, May 22, 2010
A few kilometres from home we had to scoot to the other side of the highway as a huge gum-tree branch had fallen, blocking one lane rendering the road dangerous. For the final leg of our morning trip to town we had to avoid numerous small branches lying on the roadway. I wondered how many trees, or branches, had broken at home as it was obvious the wind was as violent there and the rain as torrential as in town.
The corner of our road was slippery, a common predicament for this country road. No trees appeared broken. We were lucky!
Hurriedly grabbing our shopping we hurried indoors, entering via the front door as the path was under water to the back door, our normal entry. The house was in darkness. No microwave clock showing its yellow time. The electricity was off. I walked down The Avenue checking that a branch hadn't fallen over our power line, but all was well. We telephoned the electricity company to be informed that electricity was off in our wider area; the estimation time of reconnection 2.30pm. Not a problem; we are used to electricity outages in the country. We have gas for cooking, and the lovely stove that burns wood for heating on these cooler days always has two kettles simmering; hot water for coffees. All is well.
There is one major downfall to power outages. We forget how much we rely on electricity. Thankfully there was no accumulation of clothes awaiting washing; the ironing was done. The activities one can undertake without electricity, on a wet and windy showering day diminish. Sewing on the machine was out; doing some hand appliqué was out, as I hadn't ironed the pellon onto the fabric. I couldn't vacuum, not that I needed to as that chore was undertaken yesterday, but the thought was there, mainly because I knew it was out. I couldn't listen to the radio for the football as I had planned.
The electricity came on around 4.00pm.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Today, Sunday, is National Motoring Heritage Day. An exhibition of cars of yester-year was held in brilliant sunshine on the Spalding Cricket Oval in Geraldton. We attended.
There were kerosene refrigerators, washing machines that while saving the housewife a few hours and hard work on wash day are a far cry to the pristine white models that grace our laundries today.
Two steps inside this particular tent stood a circular display of sewing machines; vintage sewing machines. Not a treadle machine in sight! All were hand wheeled models, some almost 150 years old. They would have been innovative for the housewife towards the end of the 19th century when a needle and thread was the norm. I can imagine the enthusiasm these machines were greeted with by those charged with the task of sewing for the family.
I look at my modern Janome and marvel ... the difference between those elderly sewing machines painted black, with gold embossing, a shuttle in the place of our modern-day bobbins, is as striking as is the difference between an early model Massey Ferguson and a modern bright green and yellow John Deere of today guiding the giant sprayers that look like a praying mantis with arms outstretched.
Beyond the sewing machine display a collection of household items were protected from curious poking hands in a large wooden open-topped box sealed across the top with chicken wiring. Heirloom china and Grandma's doilies had pride of place. I tried to take a photo of just one of the doilies; it proved difficult as the closer I tried to reach the more precarious the box was, moving [it seemed] with me. I contented myself with the above photo. I pictured the maker sitting by a kerosene lamp stitching after the household chores were completed.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Determined to not let a Suffolk Puff come between me and success I tried again. But this time I had back-up. I used Google! There were several postings on how to. One proved to be my saviour. One set of directions included the phrase, pull and twiggle it into the correct shape. Aha!! I had never attempted that! Before I had simply sewn, tried to tighten the cotton only to end up with a shapeless shape. This time it worked! Because? I pulled and twiggled it into shape. I made four Suffolk Puffs to represent flowers, and concocted eight leaves as colour and to accentuate the flower corners. The photo shows the partially completed cushion cover top, that I will get back to in the later part of next week.
While I have attached all the leaves, and one flower, I have been taken off that path for a couple of days, as I am making more hearts.