Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I'm an Aussie and I'm okay

Romily's second sandwich. A vegemite sandwich at that. She only choked once. That's pretty good going for her. She certainly is a fine exponent of that expresssion 'to bite off more than one can chew'! She'll learn one day to chew and to take small bites :)

(Note the cardigan - lovingly knitted for her only granddaughter by my clever mum!)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

How very friendly

Talk about cutting it fine (to use a pun)! I finally found some time last night and today to work on my friendship stars for tonight's patchwork class. I am really happy with them! I did a practice set in calico at last week's class and they didn't work out very well.

However, I learnt a lot through that exercise, and got everything right this time around. The sparkly fabric works really well with the background fabric (in my humble opinion), which is a relief, as it's pretty busy fabric!! And it's not even my feature fabric :)

Thanks ladies for your kind words of encouragement to a complete newbie!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

10 things I love about my Romy bear

I haven't written about Romily for a little while. She is just so gorgeous at nearly 10 months that I just have to share with you 10 things that make my heart go pitter pat.

1. When she says Mumumumum Mum Mum!
2. When she gives me those huge opened mouth sloppy baby kisses. I just love 'em.
3. The way she bop bop bops along on her bum. No crawling for this little go go go girl. Why be on your belly when you can reach everything you need and almost pull up onto your feet from sitting?
4. The peaceful expression on her little face when she's sound asleep.
5. The way she strokes my nipple mid-feed. (Okay so this is pretty funny. She is just fascinated by where the milk comes from LOL)
6. The way she 'sings' back to me when I hit a high note.
7. The way she sits under her highchair and wheels it back and forth, back and forth.
8. The way she bops up and down up and down when you hold her standing on your lap.
9. The way she smiles at me when I'm pulling silly faces.
10. The sound of her laughter when she is being tickled (she's not very ticklish so it's rare and all the more precious for it.)

I'm smitten and totally in love with my crazy little Romy bear. She has brought a lot of joy into our lives.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Slack poster

Wow I can't believe it's Saturday night already and I haven't posted since Wednesday. I have just been so busy. I haven't been able to get any cutting or sewing done, so it's tomorrow or bust. In the meantime, I thought I'd share with you my plan for the sampler quilt we're doing as part of my beginner's patchwork course. (Bear in mind this is just for the blocks - sashing and borders will be up for discussion later!)

Okay, okay, so I'm hardly what you'd call Maverick! But, it is my first one, it's for Romily, and I am using some pretty out there colour combinations in my fabrics, so I wanted to make sure it would all 'work' before I started cutting. So I made a key! Very anal retentive of me, but I enjoyed doing it and it gave me a greater appreciation for what I'm going to be doing to what fabric!

I possibly shouldn't show this, as you'll be able to compare the end product with this diagram. Oh well, it's a creative process, so it shouldn't turn out exactly like this!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The courtyard is finished!!

Hooray! Our courtyard is finally finished. Just in time for winter, which starts next week :)

No seriously, it looks fantastic. I am so happy with it. It's come together beautifully. I have been planning and imagining the courtyard for three years now, so it's just so exciting to have it done. The boys did such a good job on it and took great care to ensure it was finished to a very high standard. And so it should be considering the cost. My goodness it's expensive to have landscaping done. But, we now have a garden room on the house and it will be lovely in summer and also on sunny winter days. Can't wait to get out there with a gin and tonic in hand.

Here are some before and after photos:

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Bob's on top of the world

A big congratulations to Bob who this week made it to the top of Mt Everest! Bob was a member of our successful expedition to Everest in 2001. He didn't make it then (due to a combination of bad weather and bad health on the mountain), but he is a determined bugger and has now set foot on top of the world's largest mountain.

He has some frostbite to his toes, but it doesn't sound too serious. If you want to read about it, go here.

Well done Bob!

(and I haven't forgotten Laura's request to tell the story about how I met my darling husband on that expedition!)

Drum roll please

I did some cutting and sewing today and made my first blocks! Hoorah!

Well, I did a lot of cutting and sewing - on advice from our teacher, I decided to do the blocks in calico first, before cutting into my 'good' fabric. I am soooo glad I did. I am hopeless at measuring multiples. And as for the rotary cutter...hmmm...I definitely need more practice! So I cut my good fabric with scissors after marking it up with a mechanical pencil. Thank goodness I did, as I nearly cut sixteen squares instead of the four I needed. I go so confused trying to follow the pattern!

However, I hung in there and finally worked it all out. I also worked out that my Janome 1/4" foot is not actually 1/4". What the? It measured wider than 1/4". So I took Judy's suggestion and put tape on my machine - works much better and my blocks actually measure the size they're supposed to!

I played around with the fabric a bit before I committed to cutting. I ended up changing some of the feature fabric around to match the four-patch and nine-patch fabrics (ah, the jargon, I am sounding like a pro already!!). With a little help from DH. He has a very good eye for colour.

Here are a couple of photos of the blocks. I'm not very good at photographing them yet. Rest assured, they are pretty much square! They just don't look it in these photos. There is one wonky point, which I tried to fix, to no avail, but I'm not going to worry about it. Once the quilt top is finished you won't even be able to notice it (I hope!).

I am so pleased I finished my 'homework' in time for Tuesday night's class. Top of the class for me!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Good day sunshine

We are having some gorgeous mornings in Canberra. Mist in the valley, the sun a golden orb in the sky and the bluest of blues above the distant hills. It makes getting up at 6.30am almost worth it. Almost!

I am planning on doing a bit of practice cutting and piecing today on some calico to get me in the mood for cutting into my fabric for the sampler quilt. I'm a bit nervous about that, as I have been known to accidentally cut off the line. We are supposed to do a couple of four-patch blocks for next week's class. I'm going to be very careful, cross my fingers (metaphorically of course) and hope for the best :)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

9-patch block

Woohoo. Machine piecing. Chain piecing. Woohoo.

Okay, so it's a lot faster!! And not a little scary. I am not very good at sewing slowly on my machine. Maybe it's not me - maybe my machine just likes going fast :)

As you can see from the photo - not too bad. One point is a little wonky, but our instructor said we can blame that on the cutter (her), as she couldn't guarantee our squares were perfectly square! I thought that was very generous of her. But seriously, it was a good lesson in how important it is to make sure your seams are lined up exactly when you're piecing and to ensure you stick to your 1/4" seam. Especially when you're planning to join your 9-patch block to another one! I don't think I'll go for a geometric quilt just yet!

Also last night we starting collecting fabrics for our quilts. I'm going for an oriental theme and picked some luscious fabrics. I got home last night and looked at them and realised I had too many patterns and not enough 'plains' for the contrast needed to make this quilt look good. So I headed back to the shop today and bought some more! The fabrics I picked last night are in the photo - the cream fabric is backing for some of the blocks, including the applique blocks. I like them, but it's going to be interesting to see how it turns out!! I'll post regular updates on how it's coming along. I hope that the top will be finished by the end of the course. I don't know how much time I'll have once I go back to work (oh my god that's coming up too quickly). Hopefully I'll be able to find a little bit of time for all the projects I have in mind...

In fact, my next project after I finish the sampler quilt for our couse is going to be Tonya's lettered quilt. I'm thinking of doing a quilt big enough to fit a single bed, for when Romily graduates to a 'big girl's bed' some time in the future (no doubt sooner than we think!).

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

To brighten up your day

Not feeling much like posting today. So here's a photo of one of the lillies on my kitchen counter to brighten up your day. My husband bought them for me for mother's day. They are a lovely lemon colour and just opening up. This is the first one to open fully.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

How's this for inspiration?

I bought another quilting magazine today (my mother's day treat - well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!), and in it is another stunning quilt by Canberra couple Beth & Trevor Reid. They were my original inspiration for wanting to quilt. You just cannot go past their amazing contemporary quilts if you want to see craft (or art, as I prefer) that says 'Australia'.

You can see some of Beth & Trevor's work here. I recommend you click on this link - they are just gorgeous. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find any other online photos of their work. You'll just have to trust me when I say how amazing they are!

Happy Mothers' Day!

To all the mums out there a Happy Mothers' Day to each and every one of you. We're spending the day together after a cooked breakfast made by my darling husband. It's another beautiful day in Canberra and we'll head out for a mooch about later on. Romily's asleep in bed (snoring her way through a head cold) and life is good.

I hope you all are treated by your children today. Happy Mothers' Day!

Here's a photo of me with my little cherub.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Life does not get better than this...

Today was a perfect autumn's day in Canberra. At times like this I just love living here and never want to leave. We had a beautiful walk around the lake today in the sunshine, which made it feel warmer out than it actually was. Just a gorgeous, gorgeous day.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Can a voice glow?

My friend Steph is a singer. Well she's a whole lot of things, but one of them is a singer (she sings with the South Australian State Opera). I had never heard Steph sing (we used to work very closely and it just wasn't that kind of work where you could break out in song!). Steph is moving to Dubai soon, so she plucked up the courage to put on two concerts, called Another Sad Song. Unfortunately they were in Adelaide (half-way across the country) so I couldn't make it. However, she did have the first night recorded and has made the recording available via her blog.

I would highly recommend you download and listen to the two files. The music is a mix of 'big' numbers, jazzy songs, Jewish schtik and a bit of opera thrown in. I'm not an opera fan, but I got shivers down my spine when I listened. Steph has the most amazing voice - it just glows. So please listen to my incandescent friend.

You can find part one here. And part two here.

Patchwork practice

The first class of my beginner patchwork course was last night and it was definitely for beginners! The teacher, a former US citizen and now long-time resident of Australia, took things very slowly, which was good. But I just wanted to get to the stitching!

Eventually we did. Our first class focused on handstitching, so we pieced four patches together. I'm so glad we did, as Sue paid particular attention to how to stitch the 'points', which was something I was not clear on.

You can see from the photos that we didn't press the seams and I haven't bothered either! This was just a sample after all.

Next week is machine piecing - I think we are piecing nine patches to add to the level of difficulty! I found this week a doddle, so I hope I get a bit more out of next week's class.

I am sure I will - some of our teacher's quilts were on display and were just amazing!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Who you callin a dummy?

Sorry! For those of you in the US, in Australia we call a pacifier a dummy. Don't ask me why! Perhaps the name is derived from the fact that the babies often go 'dumb' when it's in :)

Not this bubba - she still manages to talk and squeal around it.

Here's a photo - she was around 3 months old here and was still being wrapped for sleep. Hmm, maybe I should try that now since she's entered a phase where she just won't go down to sleep without a real fight...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

What's up doc?

Romily has had a dummy since she was three days old. This is despite me being brought up to believe that dummies weren't a good idea! However, we bought a dummy for Romily on the advice of one of the midwives at the hospital where Romily was born. Romy was having trouble working out how to 'attach' and, as a first-time mum, I had no idea how to help her! Anyway the midwife suggested a dummy, as the right shaped dummy (cherry pip) can help them work out where to put their tongue when trying to latch onto the boob.

It worked and it also worked a treat as a pacifier. She was and still is a very sucky baby. However, lately Romily has been turfing the dummy out of her cot and going off to sleep without it. She won't take one during the day anymore, but she is still having trouble getting off to sleep. So I decided that she might need something special to cuddle to help send her off to the land of nod.

You can buy snuglies, but they cost a lot and I thought it might be nice if I made one. I bought a pattern for a soft toy rabbit and with a few alterations (a really long overskirt), have hand-stitched a bunny snugly. I hope that we'll be able to introduce the bunny (as yet unnamed) soon and then get rid of the dummies. We are also hoping to get rid of the pillows we've had in her cot as bolsters - she went through a phase of continually rolling onto her tummy and then not being able to get back so the pillows were used to stop her from rolling. Of course now she can't seem to do without the pillows - she loves snuggling into them before she goes to sleep. I hope the bunny provides a similar snugly place for her and that we can take the pillows out of the cot too.

So I'm pleased - I have finished all of the sewing projects I had planned to do before starting my beginner's patchwork course on Tuesday night. I've ironed out all of my sewing bugs and am raring to go. I'll post regular updates on the sampler quilt I'll be making as the course progresses. I just can't wait!

In the meantime, check out Jan's March project all in pinks and reds. It's just beautiful and I love the way the blocks all work together. I hope I can make something like this too one day!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Happy 9 months to Romily

I know it's my computer-free day, but I couldn't let today pass without wishing my darling daughter happy nine months!

She's been out as long as she was 'in'. It's hard to believe that nearly a whole year has passed since she entered our lives. She's an angel (most of the time) and we are enjoying being her parents very much.

I love you Romily

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Romily's room

A few other blogsters (Claire, Fiona) have been doing their babies' and kids' rooms. I thought I'd show you Romily's room. My husband and I painted it when I was five months pregnant, not knowing whether we were having a boy or a girl.

We went for a lemon tang, which turned out beautifully (after we toned down our original choice on the advice of my expert painter and decorator father!) and now provides a nice, bright sunny haven for Romily, even on those wintery days.

We chose a bear theme, which you can see in decals on the walls and it's also on the change mat on top of the chest of drawers, which cleverly doubles as a change table. Once we no longer need the change table, it's a simple matter of taking out the drawers, inverting the unit, and replacing the drawers - hey presto, a chest of drawers! No wonder it's called the Houdini!

I love Romily's room and it's hard to recall that it used to be our office!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Wow you know winter's coming when you wake up to this

And this

And it's cooooold today. Of course we have the landscapers here, so the front and back doors are wide open. Romy and I are rugged up but my hands are still freezing. Poor Romy when I change her nappy - my fingers against her very warm little body. Brrr!