Saturday, December 16, 2017

ScrapHappy December

It's late and I was heading to bed when I remembered I hadn't done a post for Scraphappy Day.  It's been non-stop and full on all day, starting with making green Holi powder .... a messy and time consuming business.........for a fun day tomorrow, called the Other Big Wet........after the water fights the coloured powder will be thrown around....lots of fun for all and a gift to the community from a local mum to say thank you for all the help she received after she lost her house and all her belongings, and very nearly her own and her children's lives in the March floods.

I've not long farewelled friends who will be away at  Christmas, and so came for an early Christmas dinner.  We had good gourmet pizza, salads from my garden and delicious seasonal mangoes, cherries and peaches. It's been quite a hot day, so a blessing to sit by the river enjoying a lovely cool breeze, a pretty sunset and  good company.
Mirrhi was very excited to find this snake skin hanging in a tree right by where we were sitting.  We were a little nervous then, wondering where the now larger owner might be. There was another skin in the tree as well, but it was getting dark and no-one was game to just stick their hand in to get it......I don't know if it's part of the same snake or another one that's shed......I'll find out tomorrow.  This one's about 65 cms (26 inches) long, and has beautiful markings which don't show up too well in the photo.  It feels nice but creepy! The cats all growled and hissed at it, with fur raised and tails all fat...despite being indoor cats all their lives, and never having seen a snake, they know!

So onto fabric scraps. In between making blocks for the quilt, I made this EPP Death Star from Star Wars Return of the Jedi.  I'm so pleased with how it turned out, there were so many tiny, tiny scraps involved.  I found the pattern here, hers turned out beautifully symmetrical, unlike mine which is a little bumpy around the edges. The actual piece is only 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter, so not very big at all.

In case you're not a Star wars fan, or don't remember, here's how it looked in the movie.

Here's a couple of blurry close-ups taken very early this morning.

And finally, I finished the little kantha stitched mini heart quilt that I posted about in October Scraphappy. 

After adding some stars to it and calling it finished, I blanket stitched a soft muslin backing to it, and added a hanging sleeve.

I called it 'Oh my Stars and Hearts'.......very original, I know.   I'll find a wall somewhere for it to hang.

Linking with Kate and Gun for ScrapHappy Day, pop along and check out what others are doing with their scraps this month and be inspired.

till next time.

Edit :  I was going to link my Death Star EPP  to Anthea of Hibiscus Stitches who has a twice monthly link up called Piece Yourself Together, but I just missed it for this time, but here's a link to her blog anyway, she does lots of lovely quilting and EPP and is well +worth a visit.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Early morning

in my sewing room

C'mon, It might be dark out still, but where's my breakfast

I spend a lot of time in my sewing room, so I thought you might like a peek into it. This room was once part of the back verandah ,but some time in the past, it was enclosed to make a room.  I know it used to be the previous owner's sewing room too, and after she died, her husband slept out here......sometimes I still smell cigarette smoke in here.There are windows facing  north and west, which provide lovely light to work by, but now that summer's here i gets quite hot in here by mid morning, even with a fan on.  So I've started coming in here to work on the birthday quilt as soon as I get up, usually around 5, work for an hour, take Mirrhi out for a walk, then back in here until around 10. 

It's a long but narrow room, about 1.5 metres wide ( 6ft) and not sure how long, so I had to plan carefully where everything went.  Last year when I had a friend staying, we painted it, the colour is Weekend Escape and is a lovely yellowy-green, which captures the colours outside.  There're french doors leading out of  the spare room, where I stood to take the photo below.

Looking into the room from the spare room, which is my overflow storage and ironing room until visitors come.

Standing at my sewing table, looking back into the room, there's a door to an outside landing and stairs on the right, and on the left hidden by the cupboard, is the doorway to the hall and the rest of the house.

From the other end looking towards my sewing constant companion is always in here with me, I'm forever stepping over her, or dragging her away from behind me as she sleeps, she doesn't care, sighs a bit and goes right back to sleep.  It looks long, but is only about 8 steps from sewing table to design wall, so a largish dog sprawled in the middle can be a little inconvenient at times.

Quilt in progress 
I have a lovely view of the river and the levee bank from this window, facing west and once the sun's up, there's a variety of wildlife to see.......water dragons cavorting and fighting over territory and females, the odd snake, and plenty of bird life.

 And looking north, across the park, with the clothes line perched on it's own little platform.

Up to date pictures of the quilt.  Top photo I just put the blocks up randomly to see how they looked, and decided I quite liked the colours scattered about, rather than putting them in colour blocks "somehow", which was my original plan.  The bottom picture I set them out in a kind of round the world pattern, which I quite like.  If I put it together like this, I need to make 2 more blocks, a red and an orange. Some of the blocks still need a couple of rounds to bring them up to 10 inches, so I might've changed my mind about how to set them all out once I've done that. 

So that's it for today, back to work now, until next time.

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 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? 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, 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 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 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 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.........