Friday, November 27, 2009

Almost recovered and quilt finished

I went to the doctor on Monday and had blood tests and had to give a poo sample. Went back on Thursday (I was still suffering from diarrhoea). Verdict: I had somehow acquired a dose of campylobacter, so antibiotics were in order. I was prescribed a superdooper one which had to be OKed by the Health Department and it has worked! Still have the occasional cramp and I am very tired still, but I am not running to the loo any more. Yay!

Also on Monday I picked up THE QUILT from the longarm quilter. I trimmed the edges and had the binding sewn on by Wednesday afternoon. Here are some pics - I had to use the clothesline because it is so big.

This quilt has been promised for at least 10 years, so it had to have a label, but I didn't want it to be too conspicuous. I digitised it, used some of the backing fabric and stitched in an almost matching colour.

Tomorrow is Helen's birthday - we plan to deliver it in the early evening.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I hate being sick

Wasn't well enough to go to the family gathering. Lost my lunch. Had an afternoon nap. Have eaten again and it's holding.

I'm off to bed. Going to try to get into the GP in the morning.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Getting better

I think. Not so much nausea, still have diarrhea. Stayed up all day today, but am heading to bed soon. Actually ate a bit too.

I tried to make macarons today - not a wonderful result because my oven is not very reliable. They are still edible and should be passable sandwiched with some buttercream. I will do that tomorrow morning and take along to a family gathering at Crawley. Not sure if I will make more for the big party next weekend.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Flowers

The jacarandas are in full bloom.

So are the Illawarra flame trees.

Next will be the WA Christmas tree (Nuytsia Floribunda)

Blue, red, yellow

Thursday, November 19, 2009

From my sickbed

I have been unwell (nasty tummy bug) for the last 2 days so haven't felt like blogging. Still don't if it comes to the point.

However I wanted to write about the fabulous guest speakers that were at the WAFTA meeting on Tuesday night.

Susan Hayes is a final year PhD student who specialises in facial imaging for forensics. However, in an earlier life she made heads from chicken wire and op-shop fabrics. They are just fabulous.

Judith Forrest has been collecting West African dress fabrics for over 30 years. She gave a fascinating talk on their background and the makers and sellers of the cloth. I recalled the exhibition I visited at the MCA in January of the work of Yinka Shonibare.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More stuff done

As promised here is a pic of the textured bag with a length of the original fabric next to it. This is a silk velvet devore that I bought at Liz Davenport's fabric sale last year. I still have 2 metres - must find something to make with it that I can use the bag with.

After Husqvarna Club this morning I came home and sewed together and ironed the binding for the quilt. Here it is, all neatly wound up, ready to be attached next Monday.

I was worried I didn't have enough - needlessly. There is heaps.

Tonight I am going to WAFTA for the last formal meeting of the year. The next meeting is a Xmas party, but I won't be going since it is the same day as Kevin's party.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A productive day

I cooked the chicken wings - I had to sample one and they are yummy. They are now in the freezer.

I cut lots of bias strips for the quilt binding and pinned them together. I plan to sew them tomorrow - I think that I have probably only got enough to go maybe half way round. I need nearly 10 metres and even after they are joined I still have to press the finished strip in half lengthwise. It's a big job.

I made a bag from the textured fabric I did a while ago.

No photo of the bag because I forgot and then it was too dark. The flash on my camera washes out lots of colour.

I went shopping and bought some more chicken wings which are now marinating in the fridge.

I deadheaded all the roses and filled up the green bin for collection tomorrow morning. I plan to fertilise them tomorrow evening so it will be watered in on Wednesday morning when the reticulation goes on.

I am now going to have a glass of wine and start a new book - the latest in the "in Death" series by JD Robb.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Milestone, printing downloads and frogstitching

I didn't even notice that yesterday's post was my 600th. I may get to 1000 yet!

I spent some time today printing off Workshop on the Web articles that I have downloaded into a WoW file. I delete each one I print, so I don't do it twice. I have been a bit slack in printing off so there is quite a backlog. I know, I know - you can always refer to a downloaded version, but I far prefer a printed one to pore over in the sewing room or at the family room table in the evening. I have been a subscriber since it started and I am now on my 4th large binder. It is a fabulous reference that I don't use as often as I should.

There is also a downloaded lesson from Maggie Grey's new book that I haven't even looked at, plus one from Stitching the Textured Surface (can't remember the authors' names). I think these additional lessons for purchasers of the books are a super idea. Well done, Maggie. The printer ran out of ink, so I haven't printed them yet. Kevin has refilled the cartridges so that might be a job for tomorrow.

Frogstitching? Rippit, rippit. I think I need a new unpicker - the point seems a bit blunt. But I unpicked 30 embroidered butterflies from a bag that I have never liked, as well as salvaging the silk lining to use on a new one - which was the point of the whole exercise. Maybe some pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What Grabs You

What do I enjoy most in my textile adventures?

We had a brainstorming session at the Designing Women meeting today. I agreed with all the suggestions (though not always with the spelling!) It was difficult to pinpoint the techniques I most enjoy. Though I contributed "texture" and "image transfer", I don't think that I could restrict myself to those alone.

Here are our suggestions. And isn't it interesting that colour is not mentioned?

What grabs YOU in relation to textile techniques?

Friday, November 13, 2009

More ATCs in the pipeline

At Contemporary Quilt Group today we had a big Show and Tell of ATCs in anticipation of a swap in December.

I went through my ATC stash last night (when I counted them I have 156, and this doesn't include the ones I have made that I have never swapped because I like them too much!) and took along about 50. I selected some as Horrible Examples - illegible names, wrong size, no name, dark backing so information can't easily be seen - but the much greater portion were examples of clever ways to put information on the back, interesting ways to finish the edges and stunning techniques.

Stephanie and Hilary showed the group various approaches to base fabrics. We were asked to bring a bag of various bits and pieces to swap so we could use the bits we got, plus other stuff from our stashes to produce ATCs for the swap in December. The photo is of the selection I took along.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Yesterday I wrote about macaroons - today they are on the front cover of the Fresh liftout in the daily paper. The article says they are difficult to make - not the impression I got from Googling. Also, apparently the name is macarons - macaroons contain coconut.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What I did today

Delivered the quilt. I can pick it up on Monday 23rd. Gives me a few days to do the binding before THE birthday - I have already started cutting strips. I am going to use the scraps from the top to make a pieced binding - I only need 9 metres! A good idea since I cut a couple of strips too narrow for the quilt, but they will be fine for the binding. And, thank goodness, the pieced backing was quite acceptable.

Decided to work on one of the outstanding UFOs: the sea urchin from the Innovative Stitches workshop last month. Not too much to do, but got lazy and decided to freemotion without a presser foot. BIG mistake - needle in left thumb, lots of blood and a very bent needle.

Went to my friendship sewing group. We have been meeting since 1988 and decided today that it was too late in the year to celebrate our 21st anniversary. Shame, but we can look forward to our 25th.

Two of the group have just returned from sojourns in France (not together, in different areas) and, while raving about food in general, concurred that macaroons were one of the most enjoyed sweets. Came home and googled. I will try a batch tomorrow - I have all the ingredients, and they seem like they will be a good sweet nibble for the party. If the experiments are edible I can use them at the two meetings this week where I am supposed to supply sustenance.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


The quilt is all ready to deliver to the professional long-arm quilter tomorrow morning.

Yesterday morning I sat down with a copy of Quilters' Quarterly (the WAQA newsletter) and the phone, and started to ring people who had advertised. On the second call I found Sharon who has promised to finish the quilt by the end of the month. It helps that I don't want anything more than an allover pattern (maybe something like this)

I finished piecing the top Monday. Lots of frogstitching I am afraid. Today I did a computer workshop, then went to Textile Traders to buy the wadding. Unfortunately the "buy two, get one free" promotion had finished, but the Senior's discount applied, so I got a little bit off.

This afternoon I pieced the backing. I had some leftover 4-patch blocks so I have used them, plus 2 Klimt looking fabrics, neither of which were sufficient without the blocks. I hope it won't be a problem - I have always liked interesting backs that reference the front piecing. No pics - I don't have anywhere I can hang or lay out a quilt of this size

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fiddling with food

Not much fibre today, even of the dietary kind. I spent most of the morning making finger food for Kevin's 70th birthday party at the end of the month.

Today's achievement - all mini-quiches: 36 crab, coconut and lime, 21 sundried tomato and feta, 12 cheese and prosciutto. We HAD to eat 3 of the crab ones - they browned too much on the bottom and would not reheat successfully. It's true!

Helen delivered three bags as her contribution - two lots of Thai chicken pies and some pork spare ribs. I plan to make some marinated chicken wings and possibly more sausage rolls (I have already made 8 dozen, but they are only bite size). Along with some commercial party pies and cocktail frankfurts I think we have the savoury aspect covered. The freezer is filling up.

Since it is an afternoon event (afternoon tea?) I probably need to consider some sweet bits and possibly some sandwiches. We went shopping at a big barn liquor outlet last week and the drinks are under control.

I need to revise my lists.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A marathon effort

I finished sewing all the squares into the large blocks of 16. Lots of pressing and the odd bit of frogstitching.

I laid it all out on our bed and decided it wasn't big enough - needed another 4 blocks to make it long enough. So I cut and stitched strips and cut out squares. They're not pressed yet, but they are ready to go. I have put the whole lot away because the intended recipient is coming to visit tomorrow.

I plan to make crab and coconut tarts and mini quiches tomorrow. More stuff to be frozen for the birthday party. And I just realised I need more distilled water for the iron.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Flower

A native iris - what a pity the bloom dies after a day. This one, however, will last for ever.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Finished off the top (handsewing - buttons). Made a base for my sea urchin piece and collected up the bits to finish the top.

Sewed the blocks that will be a quarter of the quilt. I have decided to make all the units the same (20" square) so I can play with them before the final assembly, so I now have 4 finished blocks. Pieced another pile of squares and they are now laid out for final adjustments. Sorted another 64 squares into piles ready for chain piecing - I am on a roll here.

Still haven't done the party organisation I need to do, but my cleanup yesterday inspired Kevin to tidy away piles of video tapes. One immaculate room - won't count how many more to go.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Avoidance tactics

I feel I am approaching a deadline - Kevin and Helen both have VERY significant birthdays at the end of the month and I need to organise food etc for Kevin's party, plus a long promised gift for Helen.

So what did I do today? As always when a deadline looms I went into avoidance mode.

Ring caterers? Cook stuff to freeze? Ring hire places? Sew some more quilt blocks? Ring a long arm quilter to finish the quilt? NO to all of these.

I started by tidying the sideboard in the eating area. This led to filing of magazines and moving some of them to the storeroom. A full on cleaning and organising of the store room followed. It looks really good now.

Back to the sideboard. Half the pile of books were moved to a bookcase in another room. More tidying there and a carton of books for a secondhand bookshop eventuated, tucked in the corner for now.

More books moved from temporary locations to hidden locations - this house needs to be tidy! Piles of paper moved to the bin or the filing cabinet. Printouts from Workshop on the Web placed in their folder. Other printouts filed in their appropriate folders.

Then I went into the sewing room. Darned Kevin's pants which have been sitting there for at least a month. Made two new buttons and some rouleaux for a top.

Accomplished lots today. And the best bit is that I would have faced all this cleaning and tidying up as a deadline later in the month.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Another Project

I really can't help myself!

I went to Textile Traders today to buy some sewing thread for the quilt and I spotted this beaded dangle braid.

Just the thing to embellish the textured fabric I did a couple of weeks ago.

I feel a bag coming on. But I did buy the thread for the quilt.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Quilt Underway

Today I finished cutting the squares - more than I actually need but I hope it will give me a little leeway to fiddle. The design uses a a four patch block which is then mirrored and rotated to make diamonds.

I have stitched 16 of the 4 patch blocks and laid them out on the spare bed. The colour is not true because I had to use the flash and I can see where I will need to move blocks around, but I'm pretty pleased with it over all. This represents one quarter of the planned quilt and I think I will quilt it in quarters and then join it together.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

We went to swapmeet today and I bought some new herb plants. My Italian (flat leaf) parsley has been wonderfully lush, but it is now bolting to seed.

I bought one to replace it, plus a small curly leaf parsley. I also bought some sage - I don't use it as often as I could because I never have any growing, and it is not readily available in local outlets. I hope this survives. NO, I hope that it flourishes. Then I can make sage and onion stuffing for the Christmas turkey.

No need for rosemary. I have two very vigorous plants outside the study door which need another chop back.

Thyme is also planted in a pot and seems to be doing well.

My favourite herbs, apart from parsley, are basil and coriander. I bought some basil seedlings yesterday and hope they will grow quickly. I have never had much luck with coriander. As soon as it is big enough to pick it goes to seed. Not a problem though, since it is readily available in local outlets. A packet of each goes into the shopping bag whenever I buy the weekly vegetables.