Monday 31 December 2007

Teeny weeny mini muffins

Thankfully the 'sous-chef' (aka daughter #1) is home on school holidays and afternoon teas are well catered for!

Time to smell the roses

Life is a bit busy right now & it would be sensible to sign off from blogging for a bit. But on the other hand, to post every now and then may be just the distraction I need! There will definitely be no time for stitching in the next month or so, but I am hoping to manage just a little bit of time each day to 'smell the roses'. Hope you can smell them with me!This is one of my newly planted roses, a little ground cover rose called 'Grannie's Bonnet'. A very happy New Year to you all. I wish you good health & every happiness in 2008.

Wednesday 26 December 2007

Making Christmas memories

One of the most special things about our family Christmas is receiving gifts from my children. A few years ago, we came up with a means of helping our kids to think about giving as well as receiving at Christmas time. They each have $5 to spend on each of the other members of our immediate family and are encouraged to make a handmade gift for everyone. These are my wonderful gifts from my children this year, all of which they bought & made without my knowledge:My littlest blossie (age 6) made me this handmade box, painted gold, filled with sand & planted with artificial hibiscus! She also drew me a picture with lift up flaps, beneath which were more drawings of special things. Her $5 was spent on a length of very beautiful ribbon & a paper punch. The youngest man in my life (age 9) busily set about making me some origami animals & flowers. He has picked up on my fetish for ric rac and also bought me a very cute Christmas tree stamp. Biggest blossie (age 12) presented me with homemade rum balls (one of my Christmas favourites) in a handmade box, and a Donna Hay magazine for holiday reading. I love that they have each been so thoughtful about their gifts, and know exactly the things that make me happy! They are so precious.

Monday 24 December 2007

'Hark the herald, angels sing ... glory to the new born King'

My best wishes for a wonderful & joyous Christmas to each and every one of you as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Thank you for the most amazingly warm welcome you have all given me to blogland. I feel truly blessed by these new friendships. The last few days have seen some life-changing decisions made in my household, which have meant all of my Christmas preparations have gone awry. But amongst the chaos, this arrived today from a lovely, generous member of our extended family. So I at least have a centrepiece for our family's Christmas table tomorrow! It is just the sweetest idea - a tree made entirely from tiny parcels of jaffa lollies, Freddo frogs & candy canes! Won't this be a hit with the kids? And with others of us who remain 'young at heart'! Happy Christmas everyone.

Friday 21 December 2007

Maiden commercial quilting experience!

My Mum recently sent off her beautiful 1930's single Irish chain quilt to a commercial long arm quilter. We have always quilted our own quilts with simple straight lines. Nervously awaiting it's return, we picked it up yesterday & were delighted with the result. It is stippled all over which accentuates the coloured chains ...and has beautiful feathers on the border. I will post some better photos when it is bound. The fabrics left over from this quilt are being used by Mum to do her Quilt-a-long blocks.

Half way there ...

This is Mum's sixth block of twelve in Amandajean's Quilt-a-long. And here are all six blocks so far. Looking good Mum - keep up the pace!

Wednesday 19 December 2007

Baking biscuits

It seems half the world is baking biscuits at the moment, so it seemed only right to join them! Almond & white chocolate shortbreads are a favourite for me at Christmas, and with a little ribbon, cellophane bags and some hastily stamped tags, they are quite presentable.
almond & white chocolate shortbreads

125g butter 
80g (½ cup) icing sugar 
½ teaspoon almond essence 
130g plain flour, sifted 
30g (¼ cup) ground almonds 
1 tablespoon cornflour 
pinch of salt 
100g white chocolate 

Beat butter, icing sugar & almond essence until pale & creamy. Mix in the flour, ground almonds, cornflour & salt until just combined. Cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate for 30 minutes or until the mixture is firm. Roll teaspoonsful of the mixture into balls & place on trays lined with baking paper. Press biscuits flat with a fork. Place the trays in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to chill. Bake at 130°C (fan-forced) for 17 minutes or until shortbreads are a light golden colour. When cool, drizzle the biscuits with melted white chocolate. Makes approximately 20.

Monday 17 December 2007

An old-fashioned beauty

Our snail creeper (Vigna caracalla) is flowering profusely. I have this planted on an entrance arbour to our house. It is highly fragrant & delicious to walk beneath. It is an old fashioned plant, not common in gardens these days. It is easy to grow from seed if you can find some. The flowers are a wondrous shape, curling about like snail shells, in beautiful pearly cream & stunning purple shades. As the flowers age, they become a golden colour. The only disadvantage of this stunning plant it that it attracts millions of ants. Walking beneath it comes with the peril of ants dropping on your head! Aaaah, it's worth a few ants in your hair!

Thursday 13 December 2007

Christmas treasures

The Club Quilt Christmas party was wonderful as always. I received these gorgeous cushions from my lovely friend Leanne. These cushions are very special as Leanne is the mother of lots of young children, and has very little time to stitch. Thank you Leanne - I love them both & appreciate every one of your meticulous stitches! Leanne cleverly selected parts of this little Nancy Halverson print to embellish with stitching. She has backstitched over the wording, emphasised the the angel's dress & wings with running stitch & added three very sweet heart shaped buttons. This cushion is also a Nancy Halverson design, and I will know when this little ewe is lost because her rusty bell jingles. Too cute! My gift was received by Dale, and she was either pleased, or a very good actress! No doubt, Peg will have the details of the night & all the wonderful gifts on the Club Quilt blog over the next few days.

Happy 'Club Quilt' Christmas

Finished just in time, here is my swap gift for our Christmas party tonight. It is a Bronwyn Hayes Christmas design (Australian Homespun No.32). I was trying to achieve something Christmassy without using fire-engine red & bottle green. I have used some favourite Robyn Pandolph fabrics. I'm not completely happy with the inner border - not enough contrast? But the 'candy-cane' piping makes up for it I think. The piping was a nightmare to do, but it was worth it. In an attempt to avoid zippers and buttonholes (!) I decided to close the back of the cushion with fabric ties. I will do that again. Really easy & so much more interesting than a zip. I've now only to wait nervously to see if the recipient likes it!

School is out ... almost

Three teacher presents, done and dusted! Decided to keep things simple (for once!) and make them identical. I love how the 'Dick & Jane' fabrics have worked for these. Also really love the dotty Faber-Castell pencils. The inspiration for the pencil rolls is entirely from Pink Chalk Studio. My children are a little uncertain about giving their teachers coloured pencils as a gift, but I have pulled rank (a mother's privilege!) and hope they will be well received. They will be delivered on the last day of school tomorrow. I am busy completing my Club Quilt gift for our Christmas Party tonight. Not at all happy with how it is progressing. You know how you have a picture in your head of how you want something, but can't seem to translate it to fabric? Have to push on with it now though as I'm out of time. I will post about it later tonight, after the big event!

Wednesday 12 December 2007

Quilt-a-long block 5

My Mum is really enjoying being involved in Crazy Mom Quilt's quilt-a-long. Here is her latest block. I am madly stitching in every spare moment of time, trying to meet my teacher gift & Club Quilt Christmas party deadlines for Thursday. Hopefully, there will be more to show later in the day. I thought this clever idea would be great as a re-usable gift bag rather than using wrapping paper ... too many ideas, too little time! If anyone has any idea why Blogger sometimes formats my text as single-spaced, other times double-spaced, please enlighten me. Pedantic I know, but it is driving me mad!

Sunday 9 December 2007

December bedlum

The craziness that is December has hit with a vengeance. Very busy with end of school activities, Christmas parties etc. Lots of fun, but not much time for stitching! I try to create something handmade for my three children each Christmas. These were last year's gifts.

They are 'A Little Bit of Christmas' by Anni Downs of Hatched & Patched. I have been well informed already by the munchkins as to their preferred content for their stockings. There are new, handwritten & carefully considered lists delivered to me each day it seems. Actually, the lists are not new, just updated and getting progressively longer!

Thursday 6 December 2007

What a sweetie

This is a Delbard rose called Paris 2000. So delicate & pretty. I planted it this spring having purchased it at 'the best rose sale ever'! Evidently, it was selected as the floral emblem for Paris' millennium celebrations, then planted throughout France in public and private gardens.

Deadlines looming

I have been waiting on this very cute fabric to arrive in the post.

'Dick & Jane' fabric PLUS

these EQUALS ?

School is almost over for the year and I need to get a move on with teacher gifts. The Club Quilt Christmas party is only a week away, so the deadline for my gift is looming for that also. Had better get busy!

Wednesday 5 December 2007

Has Christmas come early?

The lovely Marg at Marg Low Designs recently ran a most generous giveaway on her blog, and guess who was lucky enough to have won?! I am very partial to silver jewellery & it hasn't left my wrist since it arrived in the post on Monday. Thank you Marg and thanks also to Roz who designs this lovely jewellery under her Charli-Rose label and who offered this beautiful bracelet as a prize. You are both exceedingly generous. I confess I did take the opportunity to purchase two of Marg's wonderful patterns, Sew Pretty and For You Pillow. Her patterns are meticulously written (I love that!) & I look forward to making them up.

Mum's Quilt-a-long block 4

Crazy Mom Quilts is gradually increasing the difficulty of her quilt-a-long blocks. Wonder what else she has in mind for us - perhaps we'll be doing hand pieced hexagons by the end!!

Summer is here

The day lilies are in their early summer glory. As the name suggests, each flower lasts only for a day, but there are many blooms on each plant, ensuring weeks of colour. I love the splash of hot red at the base of each petal.

Tuesday 4 December 2007

Weigela Design originals

Sue, the owner of Weigela Design, has her own range of original stitchery & quilting designs. These are just a few of them:

Stitching heaven at Weigela

More eye candy from Weigela Design today. These are some of the shop samples:
'Love Notes, #64' by Bareroots
'Basket Quilt & Pillows, #57' by Bareroots; 'Cherry Pop Tote' by Anni Downs of Hatched & Patched
'Angel Kisses', design by Helen Stubbings of 'Hugs 'n' Kisses'
You can see why this shop is such a delight to visit!

Monday 3 December 2007

Ooooh, I've been to that shop again!

Had a fun day with friends visiting that shop again, having only been there a month ago. I gave myself a good talking to before we left, insisting with myself that I should not buy ANY MORE FABRIC! Bought lovely Christmas gifts for family instead! Here is just a glimpse of the loveliness that is Weigela Design, in the little country town of Warren in New South Wales:
fragrance & flowers,
lovely linens,
gorgeous garments,
black & white beauty.
I have lots more patchwork & stitchery photos from today's trip to show you, but they will have to wait until tomorrow. All that strenuous shopping has taken its toll, & I need a little rest. PS I only bought three weeny bits of fabric - such restraint!
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