Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas

From my mum's computer in Melbourne, I wanted to wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2010. We head to Tasmania on Christmas night for a week of soul-replenishing relaxation before I return to work (four days a week) on 11 Jan. See you on the flip side!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Definitely the last authentically!

Even though I love this fabric range, I think I've seen enough of it for a while. My blog has been taken over with black, grey, white and pistacchio for long enough! So here it is, the second table runner, which we gifted to Rom's Wednesday playschool teacher this morning. She loved it, so that made staying up to midnight last night finishing it all the better! Here's a close-up of the quilting.I was lucky enough to recently win a giveaway of a vintage tablecloth and some dotty fabric over at Beckyetal - it's arrived and I look forward to making it into a skirt for me some time in the New Year :)And last, and by no means least, my Christmas present to myself also arrived! It's a mini art quilt by Victoria aka The Silly Boodilly. This quilt was the inspiration behind Tequila Sunhouse. When I discovered it was for sale in Victoria's Etsy store (and on sale!) I knew I had to have it! It'll go up on my inspiration wall when I finally claim my sewing nook in the spare bedroom in January :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My daughter the quilt designer

The quilting bug is biting early with Romily. Here's a picture she brought home from playschool last week, after having watched me draft up some quilt designs.
She's asked if we can make it :) Might just have to do that in the new year!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Authentically twisted

Two more quilty items finished. Woohoo. And in the nick of time too. Table runner #1 is for Romily's Friday playschool teacher Carol. We gifted it to her this afternoon - it was finished just before midnight last night! You can't see from the below photo, but the rail fence blocks are bound in a solid black fabric. As you can see, I used up some more of the Authentic jelly roll I used in the quilt I've been making. You can also see that I used some of the stone colourway, which I omitted from the quilt palette.
Here's a close-up of the quilting. I quilted triangles on one side only, all the way along. Carol was pleased as punch!And today I sewed the lable onto 'Authentic Twist'. It's now on its way to my sister-in-law's dad in Melbourne. I'm really happy with the way this quilt turned out. I am loving the combination of pistachio, black and white. I even like the green border now that it's bound with black. The quilt measures 43" x 55". (Design is from Bonnie Hunter's Strip Twist design)I am also pleased with the backing - it's a repurposed doona cover that had met its use-by date. It goes really well with the quilt. (I also used it to back the table runner - its final use for now will be the second TR, which is also using the Authentic strips.)
Here's a close-up of the loopy quilting I did up and down and across the quilt in a semi-random pattern.Next up is the second table runner, which will go to Romily's Wednesday playschool teacher next week. I can't believe after three years Romily is finishing up at Noah's Ark and heading off to pre-school. Our association with the centre will continue though, as Tristan starts Playgroup there in February :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Picnic by the lake

We've been so busy (and tired) this year that we haven't had much time to catch up with friends. So we invited several groups of friends to a picnic in Weston Park last Sunday. It was a perfect late afternoon, hot but with a beautiful cooling breeze coming up off the lake. Romily and Tristan had a great time grooving around, with Romily taking great delight in physically stopping Tristan from wandering into the ablutions block! She loves that she can pick him up and move him and he seems to find it amusing, so we don't intervene too much. We know we're fortunate that she's only recently started doing this!
Rom buddied up with Charlie and they spent an hour or so climbing on the rope climbing rig in the park. Let's just say that both Romily and Tristan slept very well on Sunday night (Tristan still woke up several times, of course, but what's new?)
I actually baked some yummy treats for our picnic, which we complemented with some lovely Croser bubbly. You'll find the recipes for the muffins and zucchini slice below. They are perfect picnic fare.

Banana-Choc-Coconut Muffins

This is my own recipe and it’s pretty much failproof. It’s also very flexible. You can chuck in whatever you like!

60g butter, melted
2 eggs
½ cup of milk
1 small tub of vanilla yoghurt (I use Vaalia toddler but you can use anything on hand)
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups SR flour
½ cup of shredded coconut
½ cup of caster sugar
½ to 1 cup of choc bits (milk, white or dark, or a combination)

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cases.

Sift the flour into a large bowl. Stir in sugar and coconut. In a small jug, combine butter, eggs, milk and yoghurt. Make a well in the dry ingredients and tip in the milk mixture. Combine with a wooden spoon. Do not beat or over-mix – this will make for tough muffins. Once just combined, tip in choc bits and stir in gently.

Spoon mixture into cases – fill to ¾ full. Sprinkle with extra shredded coconut. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the muffins are starting to go brown on top. Do not overcook!

Zucchini Slice

This recipe is from the Homemade recipe book that I have blogged about several times.

1 grated zucchini
½ cup frozen or fresh corn kernels
1 onion, finely diced
Sprinkle of fresh thyme
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped finely
3 rashers bacon, finely diced
1 cup grated cheese
½ cup olive oil
3-4 eggs, beaten together
Salt and pepper
1 cup of SR flour

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place all ingredients, in the above order, in a large bowl and combine well. Pour into a greased slice tray and bake for 30-40 minutes. Cool in tin, turn out when cold and cut into slices. Serve with a garden salad, if desired. Yum.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

A big day out

The Christmas rush is well and truly here, although none of the things we did today actually qualify as Christmas-related!

Carl took Rom to her swimming lesson this morning, brought her home for lunch and a nap before heading out with her again to a fifth birthday party. The theme was 'princess or pirate' and, despite my best persuasive efforts, Romily decided that she'd like to go as a princess (naturally). She was happy to wear her new skirt, as well as the applique tee I finished last night. And the tiara we bought for her at Angelina Ballerina. She looked very sweet. Like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth!The birthday girl was very pleased to receive the matching set, as was her mum, who told Carl that if I ever open a shop she'll be my best customer! If only :)

Meanwhile, Tristan and I headed out this morning for a family fun day in Queanbeyan, ostensibly to meet up with Xena and her family, who made the long trip down from the Blue Mountains for a fun day out in the sun. The venue, Queanbeyan Park, was perfect for that - there were kids rides, face painting, a petting zoo and lots of other things - all for free. It was lovely in the park, the grass was lush and green and some beautiful big trees provided lots of shade for the kids. Tristan had a wonderful time wandering around here and there. He even got to have a look inside the cabin of the fire truck that was there. He's into trucks and cars already!I even let him 'drive' my car when I'm unpacking it at the end of an outing. He loves it. Such a boy.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Romilina Ballerina

I took my little gorgeous to her first ballet performance late this afternoon - the English National Ballet's Angelina Ballerina's Star Performance. I managed to get seats in the middle of the second row (it's a miracle - this never happens!) and we had a lovely time, Romily mesmerised by the dancers and me entranced by Romily. She ended up sitting in the front row directly in front of me, as the lady who was sitting in front of us had to hold her too-young daughter on her lap for the entire performance. Romily reseated herself in the spare chair without so much as a by your leave :) I loved watching her. She was clapping in the right places and just itching to get up and dance. And despite some other mothers letting their little girls go crazy up the front near the stage, Rom remained in her seat until interval and then until the end before she did some of her own dancing. Bless her.
And what better to wear to the ballet than your brand new skirt? I am making two of these: one for Rom and one for her friend Rhiannon who's turning 5. The prototype is Rom's. I'm glad I made a trial one first, as there are a couple of things I'll tweak on the second one. I also didn't make the elastic tight enough, so know how much more I need to reduce it by. Fortunately I haven't yet sewn up the opening in the waistband casing, so I can easily adjust Rom's. The skirt will get a second outing on Saturday at Rhiannon's 'princess and pirates' party :)

The skirt, with a few mods, is from a tutorial I found over at Everyday Chaos. The fabric is from Patty Young's Mezzanine collection.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Airing of the quilts

We had an almost lovely family outing over the weekend - I say almost, as Tristan had two meltdowns in the car. The poor kid has bronchiolitis again and was a bit sad. We took a drive into the countryside to visit Braidwood and Bungendore, two lovely old towns each having a quilt festival. I try to make the Airing of the Quilts in Braidwood each year, as well as checking out the quilt exhibition at the Bungendore hall. I'm yet to make it into the hall at Braidwood - there are only so many quilts you can see in one day :)This year I found a lot of the quilts to be a bit ho-hum, very traditional designs in traditional fabrics (not that there's anything wrong with that - it just doesn't float my boat). Not a lot of inspiration, but a stark reminder that contrast is KING when designing quilts. There were a couple that did catch my eye.I did, however, find a lot of inspiration in a different medium. We were very fortunate to stumble across an exhibition of painted leather masks at the Bungendore Wood Works Gallery. The artist, Michael Taylor, is an ex-Californian who now lives in Queensland - very much Australia's gain. His masks were simply exquisite. I wish I had the $4500 needed to buy one of his masterpieces. Photos from the website will have to do.
In other quilty news, I finally forced myself to get back to work on Authentic Twist! I had to unpick one of the wide border panels, as it did not match the new stuff I bought locally. The strip was from a dessert roll I purchased online. I've never had the same fabric from different bolts before, so now I've learnt my lesson - make sure you order enough of what you'll need or be prepared to buy twice! I'm not too sure about the green border, but it's on now, so it will have to do. (I'm planning on binding in solid black - the same as the inner border.) So the top is finished, and, since I took the below photo, the quilt is sandwiched and awaiting quilting. I have two twirly skirts to make and tees to applique before I can do any quilting though - one of Rom's friends is having her fifth birthday party on the weekend and of course I have to make a matching set for Romily :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thank goodness

With everything that's been going on this year, it's a minor miracle that I managed to scrape in with a High Distinction this semester! I managed to get 85%, which is the base grade for an HD. Phew! Now on to my research project, which will take the next eighteen months to two years. I am so relieved to not have to do any more group assignments or exams! My research project doesn't start until late February and I start fulltime work again on 11 Jan, so I have a couple of weeks left to get crafty.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I know I won't get any comments on this post

Because you will have all clicked away when I tell you that Corrie is giving away fabric!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Authentic Twist - WIP update

Getting there! Here are the blocks finished, assembled and stitched. I wish now that my greens had a bit more contrast - there are a couple of 'dead' spots, but I'll have to live with them...or, rather, Michael will. Two borders to go tonight and it'll be ready for piecing. Anyone looking for Bonnie's strip twist tutorial should look for the link two posts back.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Next please!

I've made a start on the next comfort quilt - this one I think I'm going to call Authentic Twist. I've made half of the quarter blocks I'll need for the size I'm after. The others are ready to go - these blocks assemble fast when you're using pre-cut strips. (I personally LOVE quilt designs that look really complicated but in reality are easy and quick to piece - with the little time I have available for crafting, these designs are a godsend!)

I'll piece the rest tonight and hopefully finish the top. I'm planning on two borders - one dark and skinny, the other lighter and wider - it just depends how big the top looks once all the blocks are pieced and joined. This quilt is for a man, so it might need to be a smidgin bigger than the previous one I made.And you can see you've got to be fast around here when you want to take photos during daylight hours - Tristan thinks it's hilarious to stomp all over whatever it is I'm photographing. Then his big sister joined in on the act (after she had carried him off twice already!)

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Prints Charming

Here's another tee and shorts set for Tristan, this time in dark colours - shows the dirt less apparently! The fabric for the shorts and applique comes from the Prints Charming Rainbow Garden range. I cut the pieces ages ago, when I made the wee little shorts for AJ's baby Aden. I finally got around to sewing Tristan's up and as well as detailing a matching tee. I'm going to do a singlet too, as it's been soooo hot here this past week. We are having 38 degrees again today - that's 100.4F for those of you not doing metric. The pants are from a Burda pattern (9639).
Look mum, no hands!
Oops, sat in something already!
Pocket detail
Mmmm, tea party, yummy!
Next up is comfort quilt number three, this time in Sweetwater Authentic fabrics. I'm going to use Bonnie's 'Strip Twist' pattern - I think it will really suit the greens, blacks and whites in the fabrics. Let's hope so!