Thursday, 31 December 2015

Final Finishes for 2015

Yesterday one of my friends came over for a day of stitching.  I'm currently on our Christmas break from work, but Mick is still hard at it.  The perfect opportunity to play.

Anne arrived with two large embroidery hoops and a plan.

Thinking of my new sewing room, which will become a reality in the next few months, I found a couple of fat quarters in the stash, and before long we had made a very handy pocket to hang on the wall. I'm rather happy with the result. I may just have to add a little something to the top to break it up.  Maybe an origami butterfly, methinks.

As the hoops took less time than we anticipated, we looked for another project and came up with a Goody Goody Binding Kit which has been making several appearances around blogland.  A bit more work in this one, but not difficult at all.  Anne used the same fabrics as for her hoop and I dived into my fabric drawers and came up with some fabric scraps, this time from a quillow I had made way back when - like in 2008.  It is the second bottom photo in the link, one of the first projects I ever blogged about.  The scraps were just the right size for what I needed with a few extra fabrics added.

I'm so pleased with the look of this. However, when I bind a quilt my tools of choice are needle, thread, scissors and one pin.  I don't actually use any clips.

Now, that doesn't mean it won't get used.  Oh no.  I have a plan......

An English Paper Piecing Kit. That WILL be handy.  A nice zippered section for the individual little bits and pieces - yes I do use binding clips here - and the bigger pocket for finished sections.  Maybe I'd better use it and finish the table mat in time for Nundle in only a couple of months time.

The pattern was very easy to follow.  Just a couple of observations - the fabric ties could have been quite a bit longer than the pattern says, as there isn't enough length to tie a bow, and the fabric strip on the inside for holding cotton reels is too thick for a Gutermann reel, which is what I mainly use.  Looking closely at the pattern, they show Aurifil thread, which appears to have a larger hole in the centre of the reel.  I think I will carefully remove the fabric strip and replace it with narrow ribbon to tie in the middle. Also, I changed the shape of the scissor keep.  That was just for speed. I would certainly make it again. It is a great project.

I don't have a photo of Anne's projects, as we didn't finish off the back of our hoops or stitch the bindings on our Binding Kits until last night, after she had gone home.  Anne used bright, bold, large scale prints, while my projects were ditsy.  It is amazing how different the same projects look with different fabrics. They both looked great. A rather interesting exercise.

We were both really pleased with what we achieved on the day.  Now we will have to plan another get together some time.

More Christmas Giving

Over the last few years, Loulee and I have swapped Christmas gifts, firstly while she lived on the Isle of Man and now from New Zealand.

This is the little collection I sent this year.

All the little gifts were made from tutorials I found online.  The Christmas Hexy Coasters were a new one to me and so quick and easy.  Maximum effect for minimum effort - just how I like it.  Now I need to make some more for us. It is also the first time I have made a Cathedral Window Pincushion.  This one was a bit fiddlier, but worth persevering with.  Once again, I need to make one for myself.  The Fabric Basket, Origami Butterfly, Fabric Tray and Origami Ornament for Lou's blue Christmas Tree were all patterns I had made before.

Unfortunately, the post is being a little slow and the giftie that Lou sent in this direction is still in transit - something to look forward to in the New Year.

Secret Santa Christmas Swap Gifts

Now that Christmas  has passed for another year I can reveal the gifts I sent to Carole and those I received from Oddbjorg.

Secret Santa Christmas Swap has become a part of Christmas I really look forward to.  A special thanks to Chooky for going ahead with it this year, considering she had quite a bit going on in the background.

Firstly, this is the little parcel that went winging its way to the USA to Carole.

I had fun making up the pattern for the table runner once I saw the background fabric.

Oddbjorg sent me these gifties all the way from Norway.

What a cute and practical gift.  I’ve never had a bag for my knitting.  It has always just gone wherever it will fit, and the pouch for circular knitting needles is also great.  Another item that never gets properly stored around here.  The sweet pink charm squares will find a use I’m sure.

Thanks for the great presents.

I have always received wonderful gifts in the SSCS.

Monday, 14 December 2015

The SSCS Sleigh Has Landed

I know I have said it before, but Christmas wouldn’t be the same without Chookyblue’s Secret Santa Christmas Swap.

This year I sent my parcel off to the United States.  Carole was the recipient.  She has participated in every Swap.  What a trooper.

I won’t share the decoration until Carole has had a chance to share on her blog.

Now I received my gift all the way from Oddbjorg in Norway.

I have to be very strong and not open the main gift until Christmas Day.

In the meantime, we had to put up our Christmas tree.  Now, our main tree is too large for our current lounge room and we wanted something a bit bigger than our little table topper tree, so we went shopping.  Yes, I said “we”.  Mick even came along.  We looked at quite a few and finally settled on one that was not quite your usual traditional tree, but it is great for showcasing special decorations.  Love those twinkly lights built into the tree - no messy cords.  I also love the way the photo has made them sparkle.

There’s Oddbjorg’s decoration front and centre.

Thanks Oddbjorg.  I can’t wait till Christmas.

Thanks Chooky for organising us all.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

The Sleigh Is On It’s Way

Once again I have joined in Chookyblue’s Secret Santa Christmas Swap.

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Last week a parcel started winging its way to somewhere in the world.

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No peeking, but here is a teaser.

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Thanks as always to Chooky for making this happen.  A very special part of Christmas.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Far Cairn Rally at Tottenham

Back at the beginning of September Mick and I took the Friday off work and headed off for a ride on “Olga”.  We took the old girl out to Tottenham, about 350kms up the road.  Quite a trek for her, but we had all day.

We love getting out and about at this time of year, as the canola looks a picture.

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I have to have the obligatory windmill photo.  This one was looking a bit sad.

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We stopped to stretch the legs at Trundle. Trundle has the widest main street in New South Wales – it is like three streets side by side.  The shop fronts were looking rather nice and tidy.  We found an op shop which had heaps of buttons, zips and sewing machine threads.  Apparently a haberdashery shop in Manly closed and she gave her stock to the Far West Children’s Home to distribute amongst their op shops.  They had been well picked over, but I was still able to bring a few bits and pieces home.  The joys of a side car.

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Back on the road, we were seeing some lovely wheat crops.

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As we went further north the sky seemed to get bigger.

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Next stop was Tullamore to grab some lunch.  The streetscape was not as flash as Trundle, but it was nice to have the time to have a little wobble tour around the few streets to have a look see.

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I love seeing all the different styles of silos as we travel along.


Finally, we made it to the Tottenham Showground to set up camp for the weekend.  We were some of the first to arrive, a but of a change from usual.  You can see our previous trips to the Far Cairn Rally here and here.

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We were treated to a stunning sunset to finish off the day.

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Everyone enjoyed sitting around the bonfire as the evening cooled down. As usual, tall stories abounded.

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On the Saturday, we went for a walk into Tottenham to have  a look around and a coffee.  The coffee took quite a while, due to the town being full of motorcyclists.  Tottenham is a well presented place.  The houses are nice and tidy and there are some lovely gardens, which were much advanced for the time of year compared to ours at home.


As the local pub does not do lunches on a Saturday, we, and a lot of other rally goers, headed down the road about 30kms to The Rabbit Trap Hotel at Albert.  The street was lined with bikes when we arrived.  We enjoyed a rather relaxed long lunch.  This really is the life.

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On Sunday we packed all the camping gear back onto Olga, took the obligatory photo in front of the centre of New South Wales sign, before making the trip back home.

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It was a very pleasant way to spend the weekend.  Olga went well, but Mick decided after riding about 800kms that she needed to be treated to some new shock absorbers, which have now been fitted, ready to take us on more adventures.

By the way, Mick won the “Oldest Bike and Rider Combination” trophy at the rally, which he was a bit chuffed about, with a total of 116 years.  I won’t tell you which was what age.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Nature’s Journey Stitch a Long for September

I made it!  The first time I have been able to keep up with a stitch-a-long all the way through. I'm loving seeing all the other versions.  So many girls have been able to meet the deadline, which is great.

September was the month in which our quilt tops were to come together.  Lots of 2 inch squares to cut – like 400 of the little beggars, as well as another row of pink.

At the beginning of the month I was very good, cutting some each day and then piecing them into two patches and nine patches.  My little fabric baskets came into their own.

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Then I seemed to stagnate. I think I was worried that they wouldn’t fit.  After reading the pattern and realising that I had to trim the quilt after the previous border was attached, everything came together nicely. 

It was fun working out the placement.  Joey was a great help.  He’s not usually allowed anywhere near a quilt that is being worked on, but it was a little hard to do anything about it when the quilt was on the floor.

Joey on quilt

Here we are with the first border attached.

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Next to trim down all the appliqué blocks.  Measure twice, cut once.  All good.  Here they are attached.  I was pleased that no two of the same blue background ended up next to each other.

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Finally, last night I attached the last two borders. So, in what seems to be my usual style, the month’s progress was completed with one day to spare.

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I’m really happy with how it has turned out.  It is much brighter than it thought it would be, as quite a few of the fabrics are fairly dark.

I’m also happy that then entire top is made from scraps and from my stash.  No fabric was bought.  Mind you, it doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference in my fabric piles.

Now I have to give my friendly quilter a call to arrange to have it quilted.  The end is nigh.

Thanks so much to Chooky and Susan.  As I’ve said before, there is no way I would tackle a quilt with this much work without the threat of the whip and the camaraderie of all the other girls working away with me.

And finally, I must mention Anni.  Aren’t her designs just awesome.  We are so lucky to have her in our midst.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Bathurst Blog Meet

Last weekend saw quite about twenty bloggers descend on the little village of Perthville, just out of Bathurst, for a weekend of chatting, laughter, eating, drinking and even a bit of stitching. (Mick wonders what the collective noun for a group of bloggers is.  Is it a Blogalot?)

The hoards descended on Friday morning and left on Sunday.  Seeing as I live locally, I just joined the girls for Friday night and most of the day on Saturday.

I didn’t take all that many photos, but here are a few of the girls flat out, working away.

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Peg and Dale, in the flesh this time, after being unable to join us last year.  Both of them finished quilt tops.  Very  productive.

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Cheryl deserves a medal for travelling down from Brisbane, despite battling a nasty cold. She is doing beautiful needle turn on her quilt.

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Dory was there, being  bright and cheerful as always. Her show and tell was terrific.

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Lea shared some of the gorgeous quilts that she has made recently and was very industrious in working on the little project we were all given…..although it may have helped if she read the instructions first.  I thought that was just a man thing?

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Kate was her usual mad cap self.  She always amazes me how she can be everywhere, chatting away and still, at the end of the day, have been really productive.  Her birdy pincushion came up a treat.  Yes, she did finish it.

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And quite a few of the girls took the opportunity to sit and stitch out in the sun.  We were blessed with the best weather we have had for months.

Me, I did some more on my knitted cowl - it is nearly finished. I made a couple of Christmas decorations and made slight progress on my table mat from Nundle this year.  It was nice just doing a bit of this and a bit of that – nothing that needed too much concentration.

Anni from The Home Patch visited and provided a special project kit for everyone.  It is the most beautiful little sewing set.  I can’t wait to start it, but just have to finish couple of other things first.

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Having Anni there was also a good opportunity for a show and tell of the partially made Nature’s Journey quilts.  It was nice to see them in the flesh, so to speak.  I love the variation of colours used.  Sorry, forgot to take a photo.

As usual, there was a “Make It, Bake It, Fake It” swap.  I took along a coat hanger and camphor sachet, which went to Googy Girl.

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I was lucky to receive from Kylie a Scrap Bag from The Home Patch and some yummy Peanut Brittle – my favourite.  What a terrific gift.

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Last year there were some gifts for all sorts of silly reasons, which were wrapped in alfoil, as nothing else was available at the time.  It seems to have started a tradition, as we all had to take along little gifts roughly wrapped in foil. Mick reckons he could have even managed to wrap these.

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Mine  contained some silly little creations.

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This is what I received.  All very sweet.

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It was lovely catching up with everyone again.  I think everyone really enjoyed themselves.  Well, they all seem to be talking about returning next year, so it must have been good.

Thanks so much to Chooky for making it all a reality.  We do appreciate all the work that goes on behind the scenes.