Thursday, December 15, 2016

December Scraphappy

........kindly hosted each month, on the 15th, by Kate and Gun 

I haven't done very much sewing this month, being mainly pre-occupied with painting.....not the artistic kind, but walls and furniture.   To prove it, I have multi-coloured splotches on my feet, my hands and up my arms......pretty green from my sewing room walls, lovely turquoise from sprucing up an old armoire-type cupboard, also for the sewing room and dollops of navy from transforming a stained timber tv cabinet from the op-shop into an eye-catching piece for my lounge room.

I did manage some scrappy stitching though.  I wanted to make a gift to send to the US as part of a Christmas swap, so I played with various size patches in shades of blue, and laid them out 'boro-style' to make the background for some bunting.

A start 

I added some green, cream and some of my sun-prints for contrast and interest, and after cutting the triangles, and backing them, settled to the task of kantha stitching  the layers together.  I find this easy rhythm of the in and out of the needle calming and peaceful, almost a meditation.

  After binding and joining, I added buttons.

Then deciding it needed a bit of sparkle, I stitched a bead trail in a snaky pattern the length of each piece.

Yes. that's better 

And here it is, all finished. For the binding I used a scrap of green I had left over from cutting up an op-shop (thrift store) cotton shirt I'd used for something else.

My swap partner was delighted with her gift, and has it hanging on her apartment balcony. She said it reminds her of Van Gogh's painting 'Starry Night' as it sways in the breeze.

As always, you can visit Kate or Gun to see who has joined them this month in the battle of the scraps.  We even have a yarny scrap post this time, with The Snail of Happiness showing her stripy granny squares.

The day has cooled, there's a good breeze blowing in from the east, so it's time to let the hound loose.

.....until next time

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Notes from November

I had good intentions of popping in here a few more times this ...oops... last month than I actually did, and I know a lot of bloggers are asking the same question.....where are the days and weeks going, they're flying by so fast.

So then I thought a bit of a round-up was probably a good way to go, so you...and I...can see what I've done.  Because sometimes it feels like not very much at all. So let's see, in no particular order.....

There was boro -style bunting, which went off to the States for a gift in a Christmas swap.  My partner had requested a non-Christmassy gift, and as I knew she has a little plant filled balcony, I though what better gift than fabric, beads and buttons to flutter in the breeze.

Gifts received in return....very sweet felt Christmas ornaments......

I indulged in some charity sewing and serious stash busting .....these three toys have gone off  to Western Australia, to join hundreds of other dolls and toys being sent to Uthando, where they'll bring a smile to the faces of children affected by AIDS.

Soft and cosy pouches and liners for a wildlife rescue group in Queensland.......

And bags to make carrying drains easier for patients after breast cancer surgery ....these went to Tasmania to a group called The Simple Gift of a Bag

A local group put out a call for donations of quilt blocks, which would then be assembled into a quilt to bring some cheer to a young girl diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer.  I dug into my stash again, quickly made these two and sent them off.

I think that was all the sewing, apart from the scrappy quilts I showed in my last post.

Then there was the day out with a friend, where we played tourist and visited the Numinbah Natural Arch, halfway between both our places, but just over the border in Queensland.  We hiked the rainforest trail up to the arch then enjoyed a picnic afterward by the river.

The gathering heat as the month raced toward summer brought vibrant sunrises

and fog shrouded mornings, that turned into hot sticky days as the sun burned through.

And just as quickly were replaced by sudden storms with hail and strong jacaranda tree was knocked over by one of these ...... and as I write this another thunderstorm is rolling in from the south-west, cooling the day down, and bringing lots of very welcome rain!

Breakfast was enjoyed with friends.....

The cats are having their second egg!

So...November was a pretty full month after all, and a bit of well-earned resting was done on the verandah in the cool.

I hope your November was full to the brim too.

Till next time...........

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Stitching in the heat

Summer has arrived with a vengeance here, after a couple of months of mild spring weather,suddenly the days  are in the mid 30s (90s) with climbing humidity.  My sewing room has windows facing north and west and it gets very hot.  It's been the last room to have any attention in this house of renovations, so there's no blinds or curtains up yet, only an old sheet tacked up which falls down with annoying regularity, and doesn't really keep the space cool.

So my sewing machine and I have migrated to the dining table.  The sun is away from here by mid morning and there's usually a cooling breeze from the east.  And I can keep an eye on the building progress across the road, as another out-of-character -for -the -neighbourhood house goes up!

Today's the 15th of the month, and that means Kate and Gun are hosting ScrapHappy Day today.  I haven't been here since last month's SHD, but it's been one of those kinds of months!

I'm pleased to say I've accomplished a couple of projects to show you today.  This cot size quilt went off to Tasmania last month to an organisation that supports teen mums.  It had been finished for a while, just the binding needing sewing down, and for some reason I'd put it away and forgotten about it.  So a quick finish and away it went, I bet it already has a little some-one spitting up on it!

Next is a quilt top only at this stage, which is also destined for a Young Parent's Program in SE Queensland.  More scrappy log cabins

Sweet pastels this time
And remember the orange and blue number from here .... it's still being quilted.  I was just getting so bored quilting around those squares, so I put it away and started on the pastel blocks.  Much easier and way more satisfying!  It was a pain too, to have to keep taking the walking foot on and off to work on other projects.....i know, life's hard! I'm thinking I need another sewing machine, this one ready to quilt with all the time and another to do regular sewing on.  

There's no rush for this, if it's ready I'll send it off with the pastel one at the end of the month, if not, there'll be somewhere else to send it.

I'm joining with Kate and Gun who kindly host ScrapHappy Day every month.  They both have a list of Happy Scrappers who join in, so go check out what everyone's doing.  Or if you have your own scrappy project, you might like to join in.  Here's what Kate has to say about it.........
ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps – no new fabrics. It can be a random or formal quilt block, a pillow or pincushion, a bag or hat, a collage or rag rug. Anything made of scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address shown on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. You don’t have to worry about a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link."

Eastern Water Dragon

Must go,  time to let the chooks out and walk Mirrhi while it's still relatively cool  out there.  I'll leave you with this fellow who spends his day surveying his world from atop Buddha's head.

Till next time...........

Sunday, October 16, 2016

ScrapHappy Day in October

.......although I'm a little late!

Gun and Kate host Scraphappy Day and encourage us to use our scraps in some way, and then show off our creations on the 15th of every month.  It's the 16th here, but I'm sure it's still the 15th somewhere in the world.

This is a portable little project that I've been picking up and putting down over the last couple of weeks, taking it to appointments and making a stitch or two when I've needed a break from weeding,painting and mowing.

I'm making a journal cover, boro style.  This type of stitching is typically used for mending, but here I've layered large scraps onto a muslin backing, and then added smaller patches over them and used a running or kantha  stitch to hold it all together.  I might add some more patches on top as well, this will make the " fabric" that results nice and strong.
I've used some of my hand-dyed fabrics, silk and indigo scraps from fabric bought in India and re-purposed scraps from op-shop buys, some over-dyed.  It's taken me a while to get used to stitching raw edges, but I'm enjoying it now and finding quite a sense of freedom and relaxation in it.

Next is a finished quilt that's not entirely scraps, but since a lot is, although larger scraps,  I'm including it as a scrappy project.  I bought the backing and that teal batik that's in the second border. 

I made this for my son's 40th birthday, which has been and gone, and we had planned I'd go to Sydney to give it to him, but his work commitments meant this kept getting put off.  This weekend he was free, so yesterday I hopped on the first flight out of Coolangatta to Sydney, and was able to present his quilt to him.  We spent the day eating good food, lots of chatting and catching up, and then mid afternoon he dropped me back at the airport.  I was home in time for tea.......pretty darn exhausted but feeling very satisfied!

Closeup  ...... color's not true here, it looks more navy then black

Oh and I sent it out to be quilted, Tina at the local quilt shop Moo Moo Stitches, did a lovely job, and saved me from hauling all that fabric through my machine and killing my back.

I'm linking up with Kate and Gun and other scrappy stitchers who're playing ScrapHappy Day this month.  Go and have a look and be inspired to delve into your scraps and make something wonderful.

I have other sewing projects to show, but will save them for another time....someone's waiting with admirable patience for her morning walk.  Hard to resist that face!

Till next time.....

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Round and round the squares


I made these orange scrappy log cabin blocks earlier in the year as part of the rainbow scrap challenge on Angela's blog,  put them together into a quilt top and then put it away to finish for another day.   I thought it'd be good to finish recently as one of the charities that Knit4Charities is supporting was asking for blankets, rugs, or quilts to be given to their Young Parent's Program.  This seemed like a good use for this quilt, as they want quilts or blankets for floor play, or over a car seat, so I pinned it up and have been slowly quilting it.

It's very simple quilting, just straight lines following the logs, around and around.   It's a little bit boring, but also a little bit painful, as I hurt my back being a little too enthusiastic pulling weeds, and this makes it hard to sit for long periods.  So I've been quilting at least one square every day, and trying for two.  It needs to be in the mail on Friday, so I'll just keep going round and round until it's finished. Not much left to do now, two squares I think! And then the binding.

Here's the back....a cheery orange and grey I picked up at Spotlight on sale.

So back to it, time to get today's square done.  Till next time......

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Fennel Jungle

........and other surprises.... as I take you on a walk through my garden

Although I had access to this house and yard prior to settlement, I really just spent time up on the riverbank, or watering and harvesting the vegetables the Executor of the property had kindly planted for me.

So it's been wonderful to discover pretty things popping up in the garden, this, my first spring  here. These orchids were a huge surprise, I knew there was a lot of greenery in the trees, but had no idea it was all going to burst into bloom, almost overnight. The plant circles the whole tree and is up high in the canopy as well.
Dendrobium orchid in a bottle brush tree

A close-up of that beautiful flower

Masses of rich red hippeastrums everywhere

Citrus trees full of blossoms, and an overpowering perfume, setting fruit for next year
A dozen or more heirloom roses, just starting to flower - the perfume is a delight

And my additions to the garden......


Poppies and cosmos

Pansies tucked in amongst rocket and coriander
Lola - hiding in the "jungle"
Stocks. - the lovely spicey smells wafts up to the veradah at night
More violas amongst the lettuce
 And that fennel jungle, here it is......taking over my vegetable patch.

 All mixed up with the Queen Anne's Lace I planted.  The fennel is self sown, and with the compost I added to the soil, some good rain a few weeks ago, plus hot sunny days, it's sprouted uninvited but is thriving.  It's pretty with it's feathery flowers and subtle, spicy  perfume, and I'll leave it now until it dies off, but I'll be keeping an eye on it next year and removing any plants I don't want.  Buried somewhere under those golden fronds are my silver beet, bok choi and more lettuce!

Just because she's so pretty !

To finish, the view from my new lounge room window,  looking across the river towards Mt Warning. I took this late in the afternoon, just before the sun disappeared behind the rim, from my sofa,  it's a calming and peaceful vista, and the perfect place to sit and relax with a cuppa. I cropped this a little, as the closer view including the yard was already dark, but from inside during the day I see a constant parade of birds, water dragons creeping out to sun themselves, and families of ducks wandering along the riverbank....lovely!

that's it, till next time.....