Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Year!

Well it only comes around every four years, so it's worth a post don't you think? Haven't posted for a while...have been feeling wrung out this week. Have had a long, hard week at work, so am very pleased the weekend is here.

We had a really busy weekend last weekend. First up was a pirate-themed birthday party for the three-year old daughter of one of my friends. I made Romily's first dress-up outfit - she loved it!
I also made part of Charlotte's birthday present - my take on the pencil roll. But with wind-up crayons instead. I had to rescue it from one of the other party guests - who took quite a liking to it and tucked it under his arm, ready to abscond!
The party was lots of fun and all the kids particularly enjoyed the treasure hunt.

Later that day we took Romily to the Canberra Show, where she enjoyed checking out all the animals, received her first showbag and had her first go on one of the rides!
Many of my blogging buddies have been talking about the change in seasons and the long-awaited arrival of spring. We're just starting to see the opposite down under, with the first leaves starting to turn, signalling the arrival of autumn (fall for you North Americans!). We've had our first cold nights and morning dew and the first hot air balloons of the year are up in the morning sky.

We've been having some amazing weather to go with the seasonal shift - spotting these two amazing sights out of our windows during this past week:

Friday, February 22, 2008

I'm a little teapot part two

I just realised I forgot to post a picture or two of the finished teapot 'trivet' I made for my FIL's companion for Christmas.

She was thrilled to bits to receive it (even though it was a leedle bit late!). Poor thing still hasn't had the operation to remove her gallstones, although she's on the countdown now, as she has a date of mid-March. Fingers crossed she gets the medical attention she needs without any more delay.

Anyway, as you can see, I handquilted the whole thing, and used Perle 8 cotton for the first time. Boy that was a challenge to get through all the layers, seams and try to maintain stitch length. Thankfully the quilt police won't be looking at the back of it!

Didn't remember to measure it either, although it's around 20" by 13". Turns out Robina has a modern, funky white teapot, so the trivet and teapot are in pride of place on her kitchen bar. (That is not her teapot above - it's one of mine!)


Thanks for all the quilt love on my first attempt at abstract. It was lots of fun! I was also finally inspired and motivated to join the Canberra Quilters - my first meeting will be on 6 March. Debating over whether I will take anything for show and tell! Probably not, as I've given all my quilty stuff away apart from the sampler quilt I made for Rom's bed and the unfinished landscape. Doubt it will be finished by then, as I have a disappearing 9-patch cot quilt to start and finish by then! Maybe that will be finished and I can take that! We'll see.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I had a great time on the weekend - I went to a two-day quilting workshop with Beth & Trevor Reid, renowned contemporary and abstract quilters who live in the Canberra region. Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while will have seen some of their work here. Here's some more of their work and more. I just love it!

While it was liberating and thrilling to learn an entirely new technique and a new way of looking to nature for inspiration, the best part for me was finally trying out free motion quilting! I had been a big chicken and not tried it - to be honest it scared me! But, with a bit of expert tutelage from Beth, off I went and I don't think I'll look back.

Each of the 11 workshop participants (all women - no surprise there!) created a wall quilt, although not many of us actually finished - and that included me. BUT, we did all choose the kind of quilt we wanted to make, drew a sketch of what our quilt would become and went for it. All 11 quilts were completely different - I love that about quilting.

For my quilt, I was inspired by a photograph of the Australian outback, which set an electric blue sky against an ochre coloured landscape, with a huge boulder in the middle ground, which had split in two.

I really wanted to challenge myself, so I limited myself to four really bold colours/six fabrics. The result is abstract and pushes the boundaries of landscape quilting. I'm not sure how well it works, but I just love the effect of the heavily quilted sky, as well as the FMQ circles giving texture to the boulder.

We learnt how to paint fabric with fabric paints (the red fabric in the above photo has been painted with a green, to give more depth to the distant mountains), experiment with limited palettes, and learn how to do raw edge appliqué using Viesoflix. We learnt about layering for effect, using fabrics you wouldn't ordinarily think of (like organza) and painting fabric to get different effects.

It was lots of fun!

The quilt still needs quite a bit of work. The trees, tree trunk and shrubs are yet to be quilted. I think I'll also drop a couple of 'rocks' into the foreground to give it a bit more depth. Here's a view of part of the back of the quilt - there's about half a kilometre of thread in here already :o

Once it's finished it'll go into Romily's room - she's already claimed it :) It'll take me a little while to get it done though, as I have some other more pressing deadlines looming!

Hope you're all having fun out there in the land of Blog!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I am Elizabeth Bennett

You are Elizabeth Bennet of Pride & Prejudice! You are intelligent, witty, and tremendously attractive. You have a good head on your shoulders, and oftentimes find yourself the lone beacon of reason in a sea of ridiculousness. You take great pleasure in many things. You are proficient in nearly all of them, though you will never own it. Lest you seem too perfect, you have a tendency toward prejudgement that serves you very ill indeed.

I am Elizabeth Bennet!

Take the Quiz here!

And do you know what, Carl is definitely my Mr Darcy :)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Carl and Happy Anniversary too!

February's a busy month for us: my mum's birthday was last week (I won't embarrass her by telling you she turned 60!) and yesterday was Carl's birthday.

We had a birthday lunch with my mum when we were down in Tassie and yesterday Romily and I sang happy birthday to Carl over a yummy chocolate cake I made for him.

Today also marks four years since we said 'I do' and what a busy four years it's been. Here's to many more!

If you'd like to read the story of how Carl and I met and fell in love on an expedition to Mt Everest, click here, here and here.

Megan Z from Growing Notes has finally received the miniature quilt I made for her as part of the Four Seasons Quilt Swap. She said she really liked it and already has it hanging in her bedroom! It was so much fun being part of the swap that I think I'll sign up for the Spring round.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Thrilled to the back teeth!

Funny expression that, but not so priceless as the look on my face when I got home from work yesterday and discovered a parcel waiting for me - yes, I received the quilt made for me for the Four Seasons Quilt Swap.

I am the luckiest girl in the world, for my swap partner was none other than Quilting Bebbs! I was so thrilled because I had admired the quilt on her blog and she had indicated that her quilt recipient didn't read her blog so I sadly thought it wasn't me! (Click here and here to see how she made it)

I was doing my little happy dance like such a crazy woman when I realised she was pulling my leg and I was indeed lucky enough to receive her beautiful 'dancing snowflakes' quilt.

It is really as beautiful, if not more, in real life than it is in pictures on the web. The piecing, is, of course, perfect, and the quilting is wonderful. I am in awe of Anne's machine quilting prowess - I am such a chicken - I must try free motion quilting one day. Anne, you may have just inspired me to give it a go!

Anne, thank you so much - I am really thrilled to the back teeth!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Woohoo - nausea is GONE!

While I'm still waiting for that famed second trimester burst of energy to hit me, I am VERY pleased to report that the nausea has gone! Thanks for all of you who wished it away for me.

And yes, we've told Romily. Of course, she doesn't quite get it, but understands it quite well for someone who's only two and a half! She came along to the scan and I'm talking to her about what's going on. She knows that 'there's a baby in mummy's tummy - just like Romily was in mummy's tummy'. I reckon that's pretty good. And she just loves babies, so I think she'll be a great little helper to me when bub #2 makes its entrance.

She is still such a little doll. Really interested in books and 'reading' right now. So a big thanks to Doodlebug Gail and her daughter for sending Romily four Dora the Explorer books all the way from Canada! Romily loves the books, and they are learn-to-read books with mini-pictures embedded in the text. Rom is cottoning on to this idea quite well...she has also just about memorised a couple of them already! Thanks Gail :)

I finally downloaded my photos from Christmas and from our holiday. Here's a photo of my sister-in-law with the messenger-style bag I made for her. She really liked it. She loves blues, and she was impressed that I'd made it myself! It's another one from the Flea Market Bag pattern I blogged about here and here.

More holiday and crafty photos to follow soon!