Monday, June 28, 2010

Nothing Much

The countdown to a visit from No. 3 son is on. It has been almost two years since I last saw him ... he is a busy owner/operator of a caravan park in the south west, and after two and a half years without a break, they took a fortnight off, headed east to the Gold Coast for a little R & R. Their visit with us is the end of their break.

My Man had a checkup with the surgeon last Friday ... no amputation! One worry less! The waiting for the antibiotics to do their trick was long, and dragging. We didn't allow ourselves to contemplate the options, which it now appears was correct.

Sewing is always on the go ... at the moment I am hurrying to complete another batch of eight hearts in a yellow theme. I have the cot quilt to back, though did buy some polar fleece last week. Once the 'visit' is over the sewing machine will take precedence again, especially as I have entered an apron swap, which sounds exciting! I have millions of ideas roaming the mind, but will need to bear in mind that my partner might have a particular preference. The draw for this swap is the end of the month ... not long to go!

As well I have undertaken to make some QAYG blocks; this will be a first for me. My box of magazines is extremely handy in my search for ideas, which I should write down as they pop into mind! Instead I turn another page, and what I have seen fades into almost oblivion. In the middle of the night I will wake up, a wonderful idea flashing across the brain, and in the morning that idea has flown out the window with the breaking morning. As for having a pad and pencil on the bedside table ... heavens! Who is that organised?

Perhaps I should be?!

My dear friend, Aunt Alice, has been gardening, and while she spoke highly of the petunias, even publishing a picture of them, she forgot the potted plants growing alongside the petunia bed. Tut, tut, Alice! Basil is useful and aromatic. Petunias are beautiful, but of little culinary use.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


My Man has been home from hospital for over a week now, and while still having to attend Outpatients at the local medical centre, is making progress. Hopefully the massive doses of antibiotics, via the PICC line and Baxter pump will send the infection away ... for good! The diagnosis was osteomyelitis, something a diabetic does not want.

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.

Months later I sent an email, received a gracious reply apologising for the delay. There was a reason ... there had been a change of editors. The gift would be mailed forthwith.

On Thursday there was a small card in the postbox ... inside the Post Office was a parcel! It was my gift! Showing great restraint I waited until we arrived home before opening the parcel. What a delightful array of goodies were inside!

There were scrapbooking papers and embellishments, there was a wonderful wooden set of bag handles, a book on embellished applique printed in the USA and using a dime as one of the measurements [will have to find out the size of a dime!], there was a wonderful Puff Quilting Clip set, and a small embroidery of a rooster including embroidery cottons to complete.

I admired the articles many times, took a photo, and admired again, finally putting them away for future use. Though I must have a try with that puff quilting clip! And in the meantime my brain is ticking over as to the best way of using the bag handles ... maybe something rustic with some flowers [to match the flower decoration on the handles] to bring the bag to life?

Surely this is proof things do come in threes?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Square Dancing

In the beginning I must confess I have never attempted Square Dancing. Once upon a time I flirted with Line Dancing; indeed one winter Line Dancing not only kept me warm, but improved my fitness; that is after I conquered the main steps, which are different to Square Dancing. Both, in my mind, should be performed in a 'country' type location. A shed with hay bales for seats springs to mind. Hay bales often have prickles in their makeup which entices the dancers to keep on the floor.

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!
Keeping in mind the dire warnings about difficulties, I tacked the pieces first. They fitted. I machined them, pressing as I went. Oh! It actually worked! Not particularly liking the chosen fabrics, and not desiring to make too large an item [I was only using scraps], I added an extra border, included a backing and batting, pressed and trimmed before adding the final binding. It wasn't too bad; then again I could see errors.

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.

You haven't tried Square dancing ... look here for the pattern.
You don't need a partner, and there are no promenades involved.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

And Another, Plus Creepy Crawlies

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.

We, [eldest son and his lady, who were my 'taxi service'] sat talking into the night, reminiscing and looking at old photos when their little dog, who was bedded down in her cosy bed, started to act up. I thought she noticed an ant, but no. Instead a rather long centipede, at least 10cms long, with a multitude of hairy legs and a flatish body in a creamy yellow wended its way across the floor. Never had I seen such a creature, and I don't particularly wish to see another, especially inside! Eldest son acted promptly, trodding on it; it was then tossed out the door into the damp night air, as rain had fallen, gently, for a few hours. No doubt it was the damp soil that drove the creature inside. This morning I picked it up [on a shovel] and placed it in the bin. Now I wish I had taken a photo!

To make up for the lack of a photo of Mr Centi Pede I decided to take one of the second pin cushion I constructed. It is larger and at the moment has no pins stuck into it ... nor has it taken on the appearance of a voodoo doll! I may deposit this in the 'Christmas box', as two pin cushions is probably one too many. I love the fabric! But as I only had one fat quarter a pin cushion seemed the obvious way of using some of it ... ideas may spring to mind about the use of the rest of it ... in the meantime it stays in the box of stash.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pin cushion

After grappling with pins incorrectly housed in a needle holder and the 'wheel' thingy that they are purchased in, I bit the bullet and began a large project. A pin cushion!

I do recall owning several in NZ, but never thought to bring them with me when I crossed the Tasman. One can't cart everything; I left the kitchen sink behind, so a pin cushion hardly seemed a relevant necessity. I recall teaching children at primary school how to construct felt pin cushions; some of which were decorated with contrasting tiny birds. I wonder how many of those items are still lurking in the back of cupboards, as several children informed me, proud of their efforts, that the pin cushion was destined to be a gift for Mother.
I looked through a few magazines, but decided to just make one. While some pin cushions are a work of art, this was meant as a practical item ... pretty it up a little, and use it with ease.

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

P's and Q's

As My Man is in hospital with an infected diabetic toe, but thankfully is making good progress with IV antibiotics, I have chores that normally would be shared, to tackle. The chores included surveying the block, checking and disposing of weeds that persist in sharing our environment. Not that I blame them ... this is a rather nice place, especially now that the winter rains have arrived and the 'pasture' is green and ever so easy on the eye.

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.

And several puffballs; the P's. Puffballs are the less attractive relation of mushrooms, puffballs are goblin rings; mushrooms, fairy rings. I am sure there were fewer puffballs last year. Perhaps that was because I didn't bother to remove them from their bed? This year I changed my tactics ... dig the out, and throw them in the bin, making it impossible [I hope] for them to reproduce. They are rather amazing to view though. Rather like, what I imagine, Martian homes resemble! As far as that goes, perhaps Martians are simply spores?

Now onto the Q's. I have caught a very addictive virus, the quilting bug. Though I do recollect way back in the annals of time that I did construct a 'grandmother's garden' quilt; had no idea what I was doing, but carried on regardless. I do remember, vividly, that I couldn't find my thimble and had a volcanic hole in my finger. It did heal, but the memory remains.

I drooled over quilts that I had seen photos of; work of a group of dedicated crafty ladies [crafty in the nicest sense ever], and wondered if I ever would have the nerve to make one myself. With the house empty and no-one to witness a display of temper [just in case it went all wrong] I purchased fabric; standing in the shop for ages trying to find fabrics that would work in with what was in my mind.

I read the pattern, read it again and again, and cautiously cut. I sewed, and amazingly the whole thing came together. Now I need to think on what colour backing I will use, though the foremost thought is pink.

There is a sad ending to this tale ... my mind is already racing ahead to what I might do next ... while my conscience is reminding me I do have U.F.O's ... [perhaps they come from Mars, exploding upon my little space on earth in a giant gust of wind?]