Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A little progress

on the scrappy quilt for my son's partner's birthday.

I posted about this in my ScrapHappy Day post last month and so far I've made around 18 blocks, all at different stages.

The largest are around 8 inches, and that's what I'll aim for with the others, then it'll be time to step back and play with layouts.  The plan then is to add some more rounds or extra blocks to connect the colours....I have some scraps in pinky-orange and orangey-red that I'm hoping will work nicely......to end up with 10 inch blocks.

After I tossed aside all the yellow/gold scraps, and any of the others with white in them, I didn't have as much fabric to play with as I thought.  I didn't want to go buy any more fabric, so after a bit of thought, and a lucky find of some rose coloured dye powder......while looking for something else.......some of the not-quite-right pieces ended up in the dye pot.

Pinks aren't this bright, there's a lot of light coming in from the open door 

Initially I'd planned  to dip just the pinks, but then thought 'why not' and threw some of the reds and oranges in to see what I'd get.........and surprisingly it worked.......not pinky as I'd expected, but richer shades of the original colours.  Using the other side of some fabrics as well has given me a lot more options.

I've also been given a reprieve on the time frame to finish this, initially I thought L and R were going to India for Christmas, but that's happening in the new year now, so instead of rushing to get it finished and in the mail before they went,  I can take my time a bit and gift the quilt in person, as they're coming here. Much better!

that's it till next time, back to cutting and sewing.....

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

ScrapHappy November

..........and all I have to show for it is a pile of scraps!  At least I got that far.  

I want to make my son's partner a lap quilt for her birthday next month.  It'll be scrappy in these bright and hot colours of pink, orange and red, and maybe some yellow, which I think she'll like as she loves bright colours. She's an Indian lass, so it might be The Bollywood Quilt. Although I pulled all the scraps out earlier today, I couldn't decide how I wanted to do it, so the afternoon was spent 'researching'

I finally decided it'll be something like this but with only the 3 colours, maybe a bit of darker yellow in it too.

Pizzazz" is a dazzling half-rainbow quilt.  There are NO curved pieces - only straight lines

We shall see, I'm sure I'll change my mind before I start to sew!

As usual, I'm linking with ScrapHappy Day hosted by Kate and Gun, have a look at their blogs and see what they and others are doing with their scraps this month. Maybe join in if you feel your scraps are out of control.

That's it, it's late and I'm off to bed now, so see you next time.

Sunday, November 12, 2017


or rather.....*should be painting*

When I bought this house 18 months ago, one of the decorating details that I was keen to be rid of was the wallpaper throughout the house.  I had imagined days or weeksof steaming and scraping it off the walls, but when it came time to remove it, I discovered it was attached to plywood panelling and came off  very easily.  Sadly I have no 'before' photos, they were all lost when I left my camera outside and it rained that night!!

There were lots of surprises under that horrible old wallpaper.....beautiful original teakwood tongue and groove boards were the best, but also gaps above the doorways where transom windows had been.  These were a feature of houses built in the tropics and sub tropics, as they could be adjusted to let breezes through, and to let extra light in, as the wide verandahs, while cool shady places to retreat to, left the interiors rather dark.

Transoms above the bedrooms.
Here's some photos I found online of original transom windows.......the one on the left had been painted over ....I have one like that..........and that's it cleaned up on the right.

Transom Lifter.png

 Here's another original,propped open to catch a breeze.

Transom Window with a Hinge

Most transoms were panes of glass, but some were made of wood, carved into fancy fretwork patterns, like this one, below.

transom detail- great idea for fretwork, frieze or overlay

So.....the urgency to paint?  Well I have the glazier coming tomorrow to replace the transoms, and before he does that, the frames need to be painted.....that's my job.  There's 4 frames to be done.....the two in the picture above, over the bedroom doors, one above my sewing room, which was originally a verandah, back in the mists of time, and at some point in this house's life, it was enclosed and makes a fine sewing room now.

The other one is in the front hallway. This doorway would've been the original front door, off the verandah, also closed in at some point.

As you can see, not much to do, but I've been putting it off for a while for a few reasons......those frames are fairly high, and I have to stand on a table to reach, then stretch up a bit......this never feels safe.......I've  had sinus/hayfever for a few weeks and the thought of being up close to paint fumes, even though it is low voc,  is not a thrilling idea.  Thirdly, the sun's out, there's a light breeze and it's quite pleasant outside, which is where I'd much rather be.  Someone else thinks that's a much better idea too.

But there's no use putting it off any longer, I have everything ready to go, so it's time to get started.  I know I'll be pleased I did when the glazier comes in the morning. 


Sunday, October 15, 2017

ScrapHappy October

......... with two projects this month.

It's time again.......where did the month go?.......to join Kate, Gun and other scrappers and join in the scrappy fun.  I had promised to make a bendy gnome for a friend's granddaughter and thought it was time to get onto it, especially since it's a very wet and stormy day, a good one for being indoors stitching.

This is what a bendy gnome......actually a doll base that can be dressed however you like.......looks like before being dressed.
Bendy Doll Tutorial -  Make your own bendy doll base for cheap (in fact you can make several for what you would pay for purchasing one pre-made one)
Arms and legs are poseable
So after rummaging through the felt box for the right size scraps.....these doll bases are only around 11cm (4.5 inches) tall so don't need  a lot......

....... I came up with this girl, decked out in aqua, crimson and golden yellow.  

A lovely bright addition to a grey day.
 The other project I've been working on is this little stitchery, using scraps of  linen cut from opshop finds, stained table linens or old shirts and dresses, some dyed with plants, others left their original colour for the background squares, and little pieces left from other projects for the hearts, the biggest of which is 3cm.   I went to Sydney recently to spend a week with my son, and this was the perfect project to take along.  It measures around 18cm (7 ") square and was perfect to tuck in my bag to work on when I had....or needed..... a quiet moment.

A close-up...lots of kantha stitching.
Here's  the link to Kate's blog or Gun's......they host ScrapHappy day each month and there's a list of other blogger who usually join in.  Even if they don't have a scrappy post, their blog's are well worth a look.

....till next time.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Beating the heat

Spring has skipped on by and it feels like summer is well and truly here, with temps in the low 30s C(80s F), so I've been walking Mirrhi very early, heading out as the sun lifts over the rim, and then working in the courtyard garden until the sun moves up higher and eats away the shade and it's too hot to stay out there.

I've been working on this patch of dirt next to the newly paved area, and under a very old, tatty pine tree.  I've since removed the little fence, it made the garden look like a cemetery plot!

Edged with stones instead....much better.

I found that nice old piece of wood on a vacant lot while walking Mirrhi, so lugged it home,  I like how it looks here, with an agave and a pretty nemesia tucked behind it.
Up close....rocks, wood chips and seedlings.
From the top of the driveway side

I've started to plant it up with heat loving colour.......this area gets sun all day from the north and then the west.......so there's cineraria, pig face and verbena here.  I'll continue this combination around to the other side as well.   Bromeliads will get some shade tucked against the tree trunk.  It's all heavily mulched with bark chips to keep moisture in and the roots cool.  I picked up a pair of big cement pots at the tip shop for $5, one is painted that soft orange, and the other's waiting to be painted. It'll go on the other side of the path, and they'll be planted up with blue/petunias and blue lobelia.

I have a day of sewing planned now, so until next time.............

Saturday, September 16, 2017

ScrapHappy September

...........with two lots of scrappiness this month

Firstly, red and blue scraps, lots of handstitching and buttons to finish.........

  You might remember back in June I posted about the quiltlet I made with scraps I found after the flood, here.  I had put the quilt in the Murwillumbah Art Trail "Big Flood" Exhibition and a friend who saw it wanted to buy it, but I wasn't keen to sell.  She was setting up a new studio for her paper and print making as hers had all been washed away, and so she asked me if I'd make her something 'nice and bright' to go in it.  She said she loved reds and blues, but would leave the rest to me.

And this is the result, cheery red and blue bunting.

And secondly, woolly scraps

Ooh what a mess
 I turned some of those tangled bits into these tiny Christmas stockings. They'll be going to Knitting for Brisbane's Needy, who are asked for thousands of these every year by charity organisations around Queensland.  They're given out at Christmas lunches, with a few sweets inside, to homeless people and those doing it tough.  For some, it might be the only gift they receive.
Waiting to be sewn up

Check out the links on Kate's blog  to see what others have done with their scraps this month.

......till next time

Update to add these links in case anyone wants to knit little stockings.  It's a free Jean Greenhow pattern here.  Scroll down past about 8 other patterns.
And here's some info about Knitting for Brisbane's Needy.  I'm doing these stockings for a  Knit4Charities charity of the month, but you could make them and send directly to K4BN, the address is on the contacts page of their website.  Or you could find a local group to make them for. 
Happy knitting. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

New beginnings

..............in the garden

I've been absent from here, mainly due to illness,but also spending a lot of time reclaiming my garden.  The flood waters left soil behind that's contaminated very badly with e coli, heavy metals and chemicals, and although I've been scrupulously careful, I've ended up with nasty bugs and infections that linger on for ages.  It's taken me ages to write this post, it was harder than I realised to go back and look at the photos from the flood.

So, there's lots of *then* and *now* pics, and they pretty much speak for themselves.

This is what greeted me the next day when the water had started to go down .....fences gone, debris and mud piled up everywhere...... 

That black and white splodge is a magpie, flying low, not stuck there.  My roses are under there somewhere!

They haven't suffered from being drowned under water, mud and debris though and are looking beautiful.

And now,  with the debris and mud cleared away, new fences up and the beginnings of a garden it's looking much better .... 

Still a way to go replacing all the garden but bit by bit it's happening

The side of the house has gone from looking like this

To this 

Looking a lot better

New paving put down, using bricks that surfaced all over the yard when the water was gone.  No idea if they were already  buried in the yard, or were washed in from elsewhere.
I've put woodchips right along here, not wanting to do a lot of in-ground planting, but also to give Mirrhi her own place to sleep in the garden, and so she can see what's going on through the fence and talk to passers-by, without getting into trouble for being on the garden

A work in progress......photo is dark, I took it at 5.30 this morning

This is looking back towards the new courtyard, it ended up looking worse than this, as it's where all the mud that was cleared from the paths and under the house was shovelled to.  That tangled mess of green to the left was my greenhouse, full of seed trays and seedlings ready to be planted. 


The mud set like cement and was impossible to dig and 60cm to1 mtr (2-3ft) deep in places
A man driving past one day saw me struggling to move it, went home and got his shovel and pick, and came back and dug it all out for me.  

He came back the next day with these snapdragons his wife had bought for me.  The generosity of strangers after the flood was heartwarming and their acts of kindness just wonderful.

A strangers kindness brought the beginnings of colour and life back to my garden
And here's that 'mud heap" today

So that's it, the beginnings of the tale of reclamation and growth.

I'll be back tomorrow to join  Kate and others for ScrapHappy Day.

See you then.........

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Days away and back again

The 4 days away in Caloundra were wonderful. What a busy town, and such a lot going on,   particularly on a Sunday, when the main street was blocked off, and a great variety market stalls were set up, mainly food and arts and crafts, and all manner of interesting passers-by.

We were staying quite close to the beach, so escaped there as much as we could, either enjoying the boardwalk, the rocks and the sand, or having a coffee close by at one of the little cafes and eateries off the boardwalk.  We watched people braver than us swimming and fishing......although the weather was quite warm, the water was freezing. I ventured in just once, paddling my feet, and that was quite enough.

Away from the beach,  we found this pretty garden area to wander through on our way to the art gallery, which had already closed and we missed visiting by about 5 minutes.  It was worth the walk though, with it's sculptures with coloured lights embedded, and the tactile old tree trunks.  We spent ages looking at this amazing wall mural, with it's many interesting and intriguing details. 

There were cloudy sulky sunrises, not like the ones I'm used to, where the sun rises up from the rim, hot and fiery and ready to go.

and then the vibrant glow as the clouds cleared a little and the taller buildings across the way were painted gold

This balcony looking out to sea was a favourite place to sit and drink tea, and while there, I managed to cast on and knit about three quarters of a premmie beanie.

The sunsets were worth watching too.......clouds away to the south, choofing along towards The Glasshouse Mountains..........

and a fiery glow to the west

We had a few stops on the way back.......Woodford for breakfast, Somerset Dam for lunch...where we'd planned to have lunch on the way there, but as we got lost coming out of Ipswich  there was no time to stop.  

This is Peak Crossing, between Ipswich and Beaudesert, where we had afternoon tea.  This dry countryside was such a contrast to our vibrant and green sub-tropics.

 And that's it, home again........and no prizes for guessing what I've been doing since I came home!

We have a neighbourhood picnic today, one of the initiatives that has sprung up following the flood.  There was such a strong sense of community then, with people helping out in any way they could, with cleaning up, making meals and donating freely to those who'd lost everything, that many have been keen to keep that spirit going and get to know our neighbours better.  I burnt the eggs I was boiling to make sandwiches to share for lunch while I was writing this, so I'd better get away and organise something else.

......till next time.