Monday 31 March 2008

Oh, the serenity ...

Went for a peaceful walk in the beautiful local botanic gardens on the weekend. Well, peaceful except for 9-year-old son racing around & yelling like a wild thing! We keep reminding him we live in town now & must be quieter but he still uses his 100 decibel farm voice! The first autumn chill has hit our district & nature is responding:
the last of the roses for the season, a valiant final bloom ...beautiful Japanese windflowers ...
... true to their name, swaying gently in the breeze ...
tiny crocus bravely popping their heads up into the chilly autumn air
the glossy, sumptuous red of autumn berries ...and a shock of brilliant yellow, radiant in the face of impending winter gloom!

Friday 28 March 2008

Late summer in the city

I finished the bag I vowed to myself I would make over the Easter break:My new bag is being modelled by my daughter who is young, slim & beautiful (a leap of logic would surely make you wonder if perhaps I am old, fat & ugly?! Don't you love the mystery & anonymity of the Internet!). The pattern is 'Ready for an Outing' by Melanie Hurlston of Melly & Me fame. It was published in Australian Country Threads Volume 7 No 9. The fabric is mostly 'Summer in the City' by Urban Chiks (Moda). I wasn't able to find the linen webbing required by the pattern for the handles, so I had to improvise & make my own. I added some hand stitching just to jazz them up a little! Great pattern - I love the shape & size of this bag. And I reckon anything made with these fabrics would be cute!

Wednesday 26 March 2008

Giveaway winner

Continuing the childhood stitching theme, I decided to use a little bag stitched by my 12 year old daughter to draw the giveaway winner from ...The kids have been having fun with some simple blackwork designs.And the winner is ...... Pipany who commented on March 19. Congratulations Pipany. Please email your address details to me and I will post your gift very soon. Thank you to all the lovely girls from all over the world who left comments and wonderful stories from their childhood. It has been very special to share in your memories. And to everyone who has supported my blog in it's first 100 posts, a heartfelt thanks - you make every day a happy day as your comments come in on my email.

Tuesday 25 March 2008

'Antique' stitching?

Over the break, I managed to find my very earliest piece of embroidery. This was started at school when I was in kindergarten. We were given a piece of huckaback cloth & instructed to weave patterns of our own design through the little loops on the cloth.
If you look carefully, you'll see that the first few rows are standard public school issue perle thread. Being a bit enthusiastic, even at that age, about embroidery, I took the piece home and raided Mum's stash of stranded embroidery flosses to complete the stitching. So stylish!
I am stalling for just a little bit of time with this post as I am still finishing the prize for my giveaway - no, it won't be a bit of huckaback with gaudy patterns on it! So this is the last chance to enter the draw by leaving a comment. Hoping to announce the winner in my next post.

Wednesday 19 March 2008

Chocolate or fabric - a tough choice!

Instead of spending money on chocolate eggs for Easter, I thought I would buy fabric instead - won't the kids be pleased? No, I'm not that cruel - I only spent MY Easter egg ration, on this:I am hoping to use this fabric to make one of these over Easter:I found the little ten commandment charm bracelet I posted about yesterday - tiny, tiny writing that only a child's eyes could read: Don't forget to leave a comment on my 100th post for your chance in the giveaway. Thank you for all the wonderful comments so far. I am really enjoying your great stories. I will sign off over the break to spend time with my family. Wishing you all a very special Easter ... Bloom.

Tuesday 18 March 2008

100 blooming posts!

Thank you to all the girls who commented yesterday on the 'indulgence' of stitching time. The general consensus was: "Forget the housework & stitch without guilt"! I knew I was asking the right audience for feedback! I can happily sew today without justification. It seems this post is my 100th - how did that happen? To mark the occasion, I was hoping to find my very first piece of stitching to show you, done in kindergarten. Unfortunately, it has gone missing in the move - I am hoping it is back at the farm. However, these photos are of little embroidered doilies I did in primary school. Don't you love the gaudy seventies colours?! I do have a soft spot for the little bluebirds all these years later. Do you remember the little bluebird signet rings & lockets we all used to wear?As you know, any blogger worth her bandwidth should have a giveaway to celebrate 100 posts of rabbiting on. Please leave me a message on this post, perhaps even with an early stitching memory or a childhood jewellery story. I remember having a charm bracelet with ten tiny scrolls inscribed with the ten commandments! Think I still have it somewhere ... Please feel free to leave a message even if it's your first - I would love to hear from you. I will do a random draw after Easter sometime for a little something handmade from me. Don't get too excited - after my last post, it will indeed be something small & quick, but lovingly crafted nonetheless!

Monday 17 March 2008

The indulgence of stitching?

I am finding very little time to stitch at the moment - very frustrating. I keep falling into the trap of thinking the house must be tidy & life 'under control' before I can indulge in some stitching. Since the housework is never ending and our life is far from 'under control', it is little wonder I'm not getting to the sewing machine! I'd be happy to hear your best 'excuses' for finding time to sew - surely life has not reached such a frenetic pace that stitching time cannot be justified?

Thursday 13 March 2008

Pins & needles

There are a lot of pincushions being revealed all over the world in response to Blueberry Lane's pincushion giveaway. Some of them are just too sweet to ever consider sticking pins into. This is my everyday pincushion on the left & my well used needle book on the right. These were an experiment in foundation piecing & were made years ago. They are looking a bit dated, really should make some new ones!My absolute favourite pincushion though is this one, made for me by my precious boy when he was in kindergarten. He was so excited to give me this, because "I know you'll just love it Mum"! And I did. He even insisted that I take it to my quilting group & show all my friends, he was so proud of it. And I did! It's wonky stitching & googly eyes will be treasured forever. I have lots of pincushions on my 'to do' list, but I particularly love this one (nice & quick), and also this especially gorgeous one (not so quick, but surely an heirloom in the making). I have just discovered two Aussie girls new to blogland tonight so please be sure to visit & say a big 'gidday' to Vintage Lane Stitches and Ohsewbusy.

Tuesday 11 March 2008

Ain't they sweet?

Some cute new Heidi Grace stamps & papers motivated some cardmaking creativity in my 12 year old blossie on the weekend.

Monday 10 March 2008

Bloomin' lucky, that Bloom!

My first 'pleasure' parcel in the post at our new house arrived today (up until now it has been all bank statements & legal correspondence). The lovely Annie from Flower Garden sent me a surprise parcel in celebration of her 100th post - very exciting! She sent a gorgeous bag, made with a lovely soft red, floral fabric & it even has a pocket inside (high on the priority list amongst the girls in our household)! And the bag was filled with special treats: an Australian quilting magazine, some cute little pansy napkins & two cards made from photos of Annie's beautiful garden. I am bloomin' lucky aren't I?! Thank you Annie for your generosity & willingness to send a parcel off to a virtual stranger - you made my day.

Friday 7 March 2008

A question of weed control

One of my three brothers dared me to share what I was doing today, just so that you don't think my life is all roses! Here is a clue:I know all you Aussie farm girls will recognise the scene immediately! Here is a closer view of the task at hand:I have been back to our little farm to assess the Bathurst burr population. Bathurst burr is a common weed on Australian farms, causing contamination of wool & crops. We have had a wet summer, which is wonderful, but with it comes Bathurst burr infestation. When we were kids, Dad paid my brothers & I one dollar an hour to hoe these spiny plants out by hand - we thought we were so 'in the money', potentially able to make $10 a day! This summer, the population is so thick, we resort to chemical means of control, either using a quad bike, or boom spray. So no gardening or stitching today!

Thursday 6 March 2008

Late summer lusciousness

I made this for the kids' lunch boxes today, but I think if it were cooked in a flan tin & dusted with some icing sugar, it would easily pass for a late summer dessert at a dinner party. It reminds me of the jam & coconut slice my grandma used to make, but with fresh fruit - yum!
summer fruit slice
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Place 2 cups plain flour, 1 cup desiccated coconut, 1 cup caster sugar & 200g melted butter in a bowl & mix to combine. Press mixture into a lined 20x30cm tin. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Set aside to cool. Top the slice base with 2 sliced peaches, 2 sliced nectarines & 150g frozen raspberries. To make the topping, combine 1 and 1/2 cups desiccated coconut, 1/2 cup caster sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla & 3 egg whites in a bowl. Spoon topping over the fruit. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.

Monday 3 March 2008

Linen treasures

I mentioned I did a little op shopping with friends yesterday & happened across a 'Linen & Lace' sale. I asked my friends before we entered the shop to hold me accountable & stop (I say, STOP) me from buying any more stuff for my home. Having just moved house, "I do not need more stuff", I said, emphatically! Yeah, yeah, you know where we're heading ... here are my treasures:Beautiful handstitched guest towels, six crisp, white, linen napkins with hand crocheted edges & metres of vintage braid, all purchased for next to nothing. I ease the guilt I feel in paying so little for things so painstakingly crafted by women of yesteryear by telling myself that they will be lovingly cared for & appreciated in my hands.All in all, I think I was quite restrained in my purchasing considering, but it will be all I can do not to visit the shop again today & see what other treasure I can unearth!

Don't like Mondays? ... Tell me why!

The Boomtown Rats got it wrong surely?! I have had a great Monday. A visit from lovely friends who came bearing house-warming gifts... and who share my love of fabric & quilting, so what else was there to do but to do a little shopping...... and a little eating, more than one coffee & lots of talking! Our day culminated in finding a 'linen & lace' sale at one of the local op shops - what treasures there were to be found! (I will post about my purchases tomorrow when they are washed & pressed). And to cap off a wonderful start to the week, I came home to find these waiting for me, on loan from a new quilting friend I met on the weekend: Quilting blogs have been raving about the Elm Creek Quilt series by Jennifer Chiaverini & I am very excited to have befriended someone who has the entire collection! Bob Geldof obviously didn't have lovely friends to make his day when he wrote 'I Don't Like Mondays' (way back in 1979, can you believe that?!) - perhaps he needs to take up quilting!
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