Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Just a couple of wonky squares

I recently came accross a ravelry pattern that sparked my interest. So when I found Cleckheaton Jet on sale, I thought I would give it a go. I now it's not exactly in season, but I can see it also done in cotton for the warmer months.
The basic shape seems a bit clumsy while working.

But when you fold it in half, the end shape is quite obvious.

I'm really happy with the nipped in waist, as I need structure in a garment to give me shape. Next time I will use a slightly bigger needle, to give the fabric a softer drape (and improve my modeling  technique).

Photo a day challenge

29.02.2012 - "Something you are listening to"

I've recently discovered the joy of streaming on line. While I'm working on the computer I listen to ABC 774. I know it makes me sound old and boring, but I can't stand the rot they go on with on commercial stations.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Photo a day challenge

28.02.2012 - "Money"

Who ever designed the modern day men's wallet needed to go back to the drawing board. I'm sure my Mr is not the only one that hates carrying coins in his wallet or pocket. Every night when he gets home, the coins end up in this bowl. With Australia having $1 and $2 coins, this can add up.

 A couple of years ago, my niece Lauren was staying with us on her birthday. Mr told her she could have the contents of his coin bowl as a birthday present. Once she counted it, he was rethinking his offer. $70 or so was a bit above the standard birthday present budget!

Photo a day challenge

27.02.2012 - "Something you ate"

I've been working for a food trading company for quite a few years now, and have learnt heaps about nuts in this time. Did you know that when you are buying roasted nuts, you should look for the ones that are dry roasted? Dry roasted nuts are not cooked in oil, but rather use the nuts natural oils in the roasting process. Other roasted nuts are basically cooked in oil like chips.

I'm lucky enough to have a ready supply of nuts, and eat a handful most days.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Photo a day challenge

26.02.2012 - "Night"

We spent Saturday night at Mt Buller, but not for you normal ski weekend though. We were there to see Tex Perkins. Not with The Cruel Sea, but in his Johnny Cash show. I wasn't sure how much I would like it, but the show was really really good. He tells the story of Johnny Cash's life through his music. There was a real mix of ages in the crowd. Those who were Johnny Cash fans, those that were Tex Perkins fans, and those that were just music fans. But all seemed to have a great time.

The support act was Dan Sultan, who I hadn't heard before. I'm now a fan, and have been listening to his CD on the way home.

The venue was fantastic too. Sitting on the Bourke Street ski slope at Mt Buller, all rugged up with the chair lift overhead was a little odd, but perfect.

Photo a day challenge

25.02.2012 - "Green"

Driving across the Wabonga-Plateau on the way to Mt Buller this weekend, we drove through some unseasonal wet weather. The dampness of the bush really highlighted the incredible variations of green. It is not until I "really" looked rather than just wizzing buy, that I appreciated the bush colour.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Photo a day challenge

24.02.2012 - "Your shoes"

I love beautiful shoes, but now that I work from home I find that I don't need them. Instead I find myself wearing shoes like these most days.

When I look at the beautiful shoes that the girls wore to  Melissa's birthday  last week,  I'm not sure I could handle those heels, but I do miss beautiful shoes (sigh).

Thursday, 23 February 2012

A not so granny washcloth

I've been reluctant to give making a crochet wash cloth a go. It seemed so daggy. Well I'm daggy now.

They are so quick to run up, and I'm in love with the simple stitch combination I've used (of course I've misplaced the notes I made, but it is a double triple triple combination). I've taken my inspiration from the garn studio site. I love their designs, and the patterns are so easy to follow.

I've used a 50/50 cotton & acrylic blend for the solid colour cloth, with the idea that they may be quicker to dry out after use. While I've used a 100% organic cotton for the multi colour cloth, as a bit of an experiment. I'm keen to see if there is really any difference on the practical side.


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Photo a day challenge

22.02.2012 - "Where you work"

I normally work from home, but today I've been at the warehouse. It's incredible clean, but the smell of onion and garlic hits you when you walk in the door. They have had to zone product so the nuts etc don't take on the odour, which works suprisingly well.

Working with food on an idustrial scale has taken the love out of food for me, and has doubled the time it takes to do the shopping. I stop and read the labels.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Photo a day challenge

21.02.2012 - "A fave photo of you"

I normally hate photos of myself, but I have always liked this one taken at the Giants Causeway in Ireland. This must have been taken way back in 1996, when I spent 2 years working and travelling in Europe and North Africa. Those were the days!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Photo a day challenge

20.02.2012 - "Handwriting"

On face value this looks like a simple birthday message, but it is so much more. My sister Sue passed away from Breast Cancer just over 10 years ago, and this simple message means so very much to me!

Photo a day challenge

19.02.2012 - "Something you hate to do"

I hate trying to get clothes dry, especially when it is 93% humidity like today. The sheets and towels have been on the line since Friday and are still not dry. So I've resorted to having to use the dryer (which I hate having to do).

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Photo a day challenge

18.02.12 - "Drink"

I had a smile to myself when I read the topic for 18.02.12. This happened to be the date for my niece's 18th birthday party and drink would play a part, with the legal age to drink in Australia at 18. Melissa asked for my help to arrange the party, and we settled on a room at the local turf club. It's away from the main entertainment area of town, which I hoped would help to reduce the possibility of gate crashers.

With the amazing help of her 2 6ft+ cousins, 2 uncles and grandfather as security, we kept an eye on what was happening. As is the way with mobile phones, it doesn't take long for word to get around that there is a party on, and this was a real concern to me. There were those that tried to get in, but with a wrist band system of identifying who was invited, this was managed well by Chris & Ben. Those that were turned away were in general OK about it. Although one guy did try 4 times to get in, so I have to give him "A" for effort. There was a bit of banter towards our "security team", but in general the 100 or so who turned up were respectful. I'm sure that setting up the security level early in the evening set the tone, and stopped the phone calls to friends to "just come to a party".

Even though the venue holds the liquor licence, so were responsible for the serving of alcohol, there were those underage who were desperate to drink. The young guys who went into the dark of night to find the esky they had stashed earlier was now empty, were not happy. We found quite a bit of stashed alcohol and dumped it. They seem to forget that we were young once too, and actually have an idea of what was going on.

I have to say that I never went through the binge drinking stage that so many young people seem to be hell bent on now. It seems like drinking beer or wine isn't enough. I'm sure the variety of mixed spirit drinks now is a big part of the problem, and does concern me with regards to the long term effects of addiction.

Melissa & Chris

Chris & Ben "Security"

Friday, 17 February 2012

Photo a day challenge

17.02.12 - "Time"

Don't you hate it when the power goes out and you have to reset all the electronic clocks in the house?

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Photo a day challenge

16.02.2012 - "Something new"

I've finished something new today. This is another pram blanket for the makers market next month. I'm not a fan of pink, so I've challenged my self to use it here. By mixing it with a couple of shades of teal, brown, cream, green, and purple, I've tried to not to make it too "baby". I guess the proof will be if it sells.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Photo a day challenge

15.02.2012 - "Phone"

I've spent a few too many hours at the Melbourne Airport this afternoon, but it did give me the chance to take a close look at the the public phones. It's obviously been a long time since I needed to use a pay phone. Tthese were far more techi than I've used.

Perhaps I've watched too much Doctor Who in my youth, but to me they look like 2 soldiers standing to attention. Just waiting for me to turn my back, and they will pounce!

Photo a day challenge
14.02.2012 - "Heart"

I'm not really into the whole Valentines Day thing. In fact I'm not really a romantic. I'm more sentimental. But when I read this sign, I though YES! That's what the day should be about.

Celebrate the people in your life that you love.

Celebrate the places you love to be.

Celebrate the little pleasures in life that you love.

Celebrate the things you love to do.

Celebrate love in what ever form it takes.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Making the most of a mistake.

When I first came back to crochet a couple of years ago, my first project was to crochet a bag that I would felt. Big mistake. On a road trip to Canberra I grabbed some yarn and got busy. What I hadn't checked was that the yarn was actually a treated wool that would not felt. So after many attempts to felt, I gave up in discussed and left it in the cupboard.

Fast forward about 18 months, and I pulled out the failed bag with the hope of doing something with it. I spotted a cheap ottoman in Spotlight and the idea formed to use the "bag" to cover the ottoman. I think it has worked well. So glad I didn't just throw it out.

Photo a day challenge

13.02.2012 - "Blue"

There isn't a lot of blue in the plant world, but the bloom on the Cabernet grapes in my Dad's vineyard have a hint of blue. I love the way that as soon as the bloom is disturbed, it disappears.

 Over the past few years the vintage has been ruined by smoke from the bushfire or damaged by the weather. He is now at a stage of life where he doesn't want the stress involved, or the physical labour of caring for the vineyard. Unfortunately the market for grapes as dropped off in Australia, and my father is faced with the prospect of ripping out the vines. It is not an easy decision to make.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Necessity is the mother of invention

You know how they say "necessity is the mother of invention", well I've seen it in action recently. A family friend was having a clearing sale (generally when a farm is sold up, and they then have a sale to sell the equipment etc), and I spotted this tractor which made me smile. The retro fitted window louvres probably worked quite well at keeping the weather out, while letting the air in.

Photo a day challenge

12.02.2012 - "Inside your closet"

I've mentioned before that our house is a work in progress. Well the closet is part of that progress. We have been in the house for 2 years and I've had enough of no wardrobes, so I've  bumped them up the priority list. This week I've arranged for a wardrobe specialist to come and quote on floor to ceiling wardrobes. The room is relatively small and dark, as it is on the south side of the house, so we are opting for mirrored sliding doors. This should help the room to look larger and bounce the light around the room more. Can't wait!

Friday, 10 February 2012

This week in the garden...

The heat continues to stress the garden (and me), but there has been some action.
  • The lawns have been mowed.
  • The vegie patch has been weeded.
  • The forest pansy has dropped about 70% of its leaves due to stress.
  • The re potted orchids are putting out new growth.
  • The second crop of beans are coming through.
  • The failed corn has been ripped out of the vegie patch.
  • The self sewn pansies have been potted up.
  • The new garden path has been measured out ready for the gravel to be added.
  • The snapdragons suffering from rust have been sprayed with pest oil and trimmed back.
  • The watermelon flowers are forming.
  • The lime is in flower.
  • The blood orange fruit are plumping up.
  • The passion fruit vines are creeping along the wire fence.

Photo a day challenge

10.02.2012 - "Self portrait"

While this may not be a self portrait in the true sense, it is a portrait of self. This photo was taken by my Uncle in 1967. He was the owner of a regional paper and took portraits of my sisters and I with his work camera.  All three portraits are on display in my parents family room.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Photo a day challenge

09.02.2012 - "Front door"

I'm not in love with my front door. I want a front door with an entrance, and not just walk straight into the living room. The house is a work in progress, and I'll need to give some thought to how to get around my need for a view as well as have a proper entrance. At the moment they seem to be at odds.

Photo a day challenge

08.02.2012 - "Sun"

I really enjoy working on the garden in the early morning. The sun peeping through the trees, bouncing off the neighbours roof, and casting cool shadows, all add it my enjoyment. This garden bed is a real work in progress. It's a half circle that is enclosed by the arched gravel drive, and was grassed when we bought the house. I'm always on the look out for ways to create garden beds on a sloping site, so the grass is gone. As we look down on the bed from the veranda, I want it to be interesting from above as well as on the ground. Hence it has taken me ages to settle on what I'm going to do. Finally I have laid out the design for the path, so I now have no excuses.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Photo a day challenge

07.02.2012 - "Button"

I'm spending a couple of days in Melbourne for work, so the most important button at the moment is the one on the lift to the apartment I'm staying in.  If you are ever looking for a place to stay in Melbourne, give Tribeca a go. I've been staying here on and off for over a year, and I can highly recommend the apartments.

And as for the view from the 13th floor ....

Photo a day challenge

06.02.2012 - "Dinner"

I went out to dinner with my very dear friend Lizzie, and forgot to take a photo. This is what I should have had for dinner. So instead this is what I had on 07.02.12.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Photo a day challenge

05.02.2012 - "10am"

At 10am today I was just finishing up watering the garden. No surprise really. I have to say it was not just my glasses that were wet.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Photo a day challenge
04.02.2012 - "A stranger"

One of the reasons we made the move to the country, was due to the lack of community I felt living in Melbourne. I would go down to the local shopping strip, and everyone was a stranger. I missed being part of community that cared about each other and took the time to stop and chat. Growing up on a farm with my grand parents in one house, uncle and his family in another, and a small school of only 40 children, I was surrounded by community. I missed it.

After 24 years I now have that again. I live in a fantastically community minded town. There are all sorts of ways to join in and meet people. Just a few - cricket club, football club, tennis club, pony club, CFA, SES, CWA, folk festival committee, arts society, garden club, historical society, lawn bowls club, land care, fishing club, book group, craft group. It isn't a big town. Only around 2,000 people, but there is always lots happening.

I've joined the Lions Club and our group isn't as stiff and boring as you may think. There is always lots of laughing and joking. This photo is taken at the market we hold the 3rd Sunday of the month. With so much great produce grown in the area, and talented arts people there is something for everyone. Even though we work hard, we play hard too and finish market day with a "debrief" at the pub.

I don't feel like a stranger anymore.

A quilt for Allison.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a picture of a quilt I made years ago, and Allison commented that she wanted to learn to do patchwork but was put off by the math involved. So I promised her that I would do a little instruction on an easy way to start patchwork by Paper Piecing. There are heaps of traditional designs that can be adapted to this method, but I'm using a simple line design.

So here we go....

The great thing about paper piecing is that you don't need any special tools. Just a good pair of scissors, a ruler, and your sewing machine.

The basic idea with making a patchwork block this way, is that you sew the fabric pieces to a paper design. There is no need to cut the fabric to an exact size, as they are trimmed to size once sewn to the paper. I've just used a basic design of wobbly lines, with a mix of red fabrics with various patterns for visual texture.

This is a design that is based on a simple 4 x 4 inch square, with the end of each line finishing in 1 inch intervals. This will make it much easier to join the blocks together and match up the individual colour bands. 

You will notice that I have labelled each band 1 through to 7. This is the order I will add the fabric strips.

Cut a piece of fabric for band 1. Each strip of fabric needs to be more than 1/4 inch bigger than the band of pattern, on all sides. You will see this makes your seam allowance later in the process.

On the wrong side of the paper design lay the fabric for band 1 & band 2 right sides together. Position the fabric so that it covers the design line between band 1 and 2.

Stitch along the design line, including at least 1/4 on both end of the design line. I've used a #2 stitch on my machine.

Trim the excess fabric from the seam, leaving about 1/4 inch allowance. Open the fabric and press flat.

Continue until all bands are complete. If you are working with a design that has curves like these, you may find the need to snip the seams to allow the fabric to spread open on the curves.

Trim the block to remove the excess fabric, and allowing the 1/4 inch seam allowance.

As the fabric hasn't all been cut on the straight grain, it's important to leave the paper in place until the blocks are sewn together. This gives the block stability, and is less likely to move out of shape.

Once you have sewn the blocks together, and have pressed the seams flat (not separate as in dressmaking), you can pull the paper away from the block. You will see that the needle has perforated the paper, and it will come away fairly easily.

Don't stress if a little of the paper remains, as it won't make any impact to your finished quilt

I'm still working on my blocks, but I'm liking the way it looks so far. I'll show you when I've finished the piecing.  (By the way, the photos have come out far more raspberry than the red it actually is.)



Friday, 3 February 2012

Photo a day challenge
03.02.2012 - "Hands"

Today's topic was easy. I live with an "interesting" hand. Mr is a woodwork teacher, and the day this happened in class was the best lesson in saw safety EVER!

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