Sunday, December 19, 2010


Do you have difficulty working your backstitch so that it is even and with smooth curves? This is how I do mine. From the front of your work (see above), put the needle through the hole made by the previous stitch (see below).
Bring the needle back up through the fabric, keeping to the line of the design and having the stitches even lengths.
When working the eyes I use the same technique, but with much smaller stitches. The pen I use to trace the designs is a brown Zig Millennium, with a very fine tip. It's acid free, and permanent (your stitches will cover all the lines) and will not bleed into your fabric. I love this pen!
The extension is coming along nicely now - above with wall still in place, looking towards workroom. The insulation looks like a great big quilt!
Below you are looking from the workroom towards the kitchen.
And here you can see the result with the wall taken out!
Sean visited on Sunday morning and did little two-year old happy dances, and ran around like a mad thing! He couldn't believe all the space!
Then he spent the rest of his visit re-arranging all my bears - a favourite past-time.
Only five sleeps to Christmas!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Let's Play Ladies, U2, and Not Much Room Inside

Jenny from Lily Lane Patchwork in Rosedale, Victoria, sent me this photo of "Let's Play Ladies". It's in her shop, so if you are in the area, drop in and say hello and have a look at the quilt.
My U2 ticket. Must remember to wear cotton gloves whilst handling. Will be kept in a suitably secure (secret) spot.
Remember on Thursday I told you that "Us Girls" were going to the U2 concert? Can a mature lady such as Moi say "awsome!!!"? Because if it's allowable, I'm saying "awsome!"
We had dinner first, at The Spaghetti Tree, then caught the tram to Spencer Street Station (now Southern Cross - but to old Melbournians it will always be Spencer Street!).
My program. Must remember to wear cotton gloves whilst reading. Will be kept in a suitably secure (secret) spot.
A beautiful balmy evening - we were expecting thunderstorms and the Etihad Stadium roof had to remain open, so we were prepared with rain jackets, etc. And, you guessed it - NO RAIN!!!! The gods were smiling down on us!
The stage. Unbelievable!
However, when I got home in the wee hours of Saturday morning I was informed by a very sleepy Himself that Mount Evelyn had suffered ANOTHER torrential downpour - sheets of water gushing down the garden, around the house and through the carport!
We are absolutely over all the rain - and there's still more to come. The prediction for tomorrow is 100ml. The blue you can see below is not the sky. It's the tarp covering the open roof over the kitchen. We are praying that it will hold up a bit longer - the roof plumber has been here nearly every day, but has been defeated by the rain - he's hoping to get a bit more done tomorrow. We only have half a roof at the moment!
This is the other side of the extension - if the buckets were not there the water would be a steady stream running into the house!
On a lighter note, yes - we made room for the Christmas tree! Mind you, what you see is the only spare space in the lounge! We shuffle sideways around the furniture - very Charlie Chaplin-ish!
A sense of humour is essential.
P.S. Anyway, it's a good excuse not to dust!
P.P.S. Next time I blog, I'll be giving you some applique tips.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Harvey but not Norman

Don't you just love Christmas? We always get a real tree - love the smell of pine through the house. However, this year we are pushed for room, but we'll still squash one in somewhere! I found this fabulous Christmas print yesterday - don't know what I'm going to do with it yet, but something will come to mind when I least suspect it!
Here's another piece with little Christmas lights all over it - cute!
I took them to show Sue this morning, at our usual Thursday sewing circle (we call it "Running away from Painting" for reasons known only to a select few). I had them in a box of bits and pieces, put the box on the floor and it was like a magnet to Harvey! A box is for sitting in, apparently! Especially with lovely new patchwork fabrics!
He's such a human being!
More rain this morning. I sound like an old record, going on and on and on ......
I'm off to the U2 concert tomorrow night (yaaaaaay! Only one sleep to go ....), at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne. There's a group of girls going, including my friend Detty, and her daughter Susanne (also my daughter-in-law & mother of Sean). The problem is that the roof of the stadium will not close if there is rain, because the set is too tall! So we think it will be jeans and trainers, plus rain jackets or ponchos! Anyway, who cares!
Keep your fingers crossed!
P.S. Harvey was sat sitting in the box. But where was Norman? Doing what he does best, of course! Lurking somewhere ready to pounce! Harvey and Norman? I wonder where those names came from .......

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Felt Very Silly Today

I felt very silly today! You'll see why in a minute!
Would you believe it? I heard from Gail that three of the girls had finished their "Prancer and Me", and were proudly showing them off in the shop on Monday! The day after the workshop!!! Wow! Some speedy sewing must have taken place on Sunday night!
The photo above shows it in different fabrics, and different bells.
We love our bricks. Rudy and the boys did a fabulous job - and they were quick! Two tarps were put up to keep it all dry, especially as water was flowing across the slab straight under the walls into the kitchen. David is responsible for the extra strip of clear plastic across the gap, because the rain was so heavy that we had to do something!
Problem solved!
However ..... now for a grumble .....
#*!#**# (rude words) weather! Surely we've had enough for now? Today the plumber arrived to put on the roof. Iron and fascia all there ready. By lunch time most of the fascia was on, but down came the rain! It bucketed down! Couldn't hear ourselves think! His little dog remained firmly entrenched under my car for most of the time. Needed coaxing out!
Floods at back of house - lovely weather for ducks! Plumber went home - what hope did he have! Still raining as I write this!
On the plus side - all this rain and warm weather has been marvelous for my bird of paradise. They love sun, but this one is in full shade. But have a look at it!
Now why did I feel very silly today?
I had to go out in the torrential rain to water my hanging basket because it is under the eaves and dries out quickly.
Oh dear .....

Prancer's Sunday Out

Here's Prancer. He features on my new little Christmas hanging, "Prancer and Me". In my last blog I said I'd tell you all about my day with Gail B and the girls (and Russell, of course, but he kept disappearing - we think he was napping!).
So what does Prancer have to do with Gail and the girls (and Russell, of course, when he was not plying us with food!)?
Gail and Russell asked me to their staff Christmas lunch. The treat they had in store for the girls was a surprise workshop, where they began to stitch "Prancer and Me".
Here's Russell doing a stirling job - his scones were to die for! Melt in the mouth! And the little caramel thingies in gingernut biscuit bases were VERY "more-ish". Jenny must be addicted to them - she kept going back for more!
As you can see, each place was set with a gift bag of goodies. A "Prancer and Me" pattern, fabrics, bells, embroidery thread, stabiliser, etc. And the table! It's HUGE! Russell and Gail found it on ebay, but had to drive to Sydney to pick it up. Fortunately they could dismantle it! Why such a big table? Because they have a big family and Christmas is coming, plus all those other family get-togethers that happen. (I can see the grandchildren having fun with sheets and blankets, making that table into a cubby house! A long, long, long cubby house!)
Here are the girls pretending to get ready to sew. But scones were more important.
Having ironed the stabiliser on the back of the stitchery with few mishaps (except someone who shall remain nameless ironed hers to the right side. But it wasn't a problem because the stitchery could still be seen, even though it was the reverse to everyone else's.) the stitching commenced.
If David had been there he would have demolished these lollies quick smart! His favourites!
I'm a nut girl. I much prefer macadamias and cashews.
Someone had been busy baking little treats for the girls.
How sweet they look - butter wouldn't melt in their mouths! But if only you'd heard what they had just been talking about - all sweetness and innocence now!
And again! Is that a cheeky grin from Gail?
Rebecca (in green) brought her triplets with her, but big sister Myra stayed at home with her Dad. The triplets were so good - Bec is a lovely mum.
The first stitches on the way!
Russell was in charge of food - and have a look at it!
It was perfect for a lunchtime workshop.
The sort of nibbly food that I love.
We really didn't know where to start!
It's what we girls are good at. Multi-tasking. Eat and sew at the same time.
Did the eating cause a lapse of concentration?
Oh oh. Next week's work roster.
Gail has issued a challenge. She wants as many of the finished hangings as possible well before Christmas to show her customers! (Do you think she has a chance?)
More shots of the girls at work (or is it play?).

Here are a few of the stitcheries in progress.

Mary taking a photo of me taking a photo of Mary.

The stitcher of the one above does not hand sew. She does all of her work by machine. But today she had no choice! And what a lovely job she's done!

Gail is holding up a finished stitchery. I couldn't believe how much work the girls achieved! They were talking nineteen to the dozen and it was difficult to get a word in! And on top of that they found time to eat! Yet they all completed, or nearly completed, their stitchery block!
It was a great day - I learnt a lot about what to do, and what not to do, at a workshop such as this one.
Thanks Gail!