Thursday, April 28, 2011

More Pieces of Last Week


One morning's harvest, we have just one cucumber vine.

We have many tiny tomato plants,
growing free amongst the bushes.

Our male papaya/pawpaw tree bearing small fruit.

21 years - must speak to "teacher" about their spelling ;)
The children served us breakfast in bed, a first!

This week is nearly finished already, I trust yours has been pleasant.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mother's Day Quilt on Father's Day

About 12 months ago I received my first order of fabric from the US. As soon as I saw the American Retro blue floral I thought of my Mother-in-love. For weeks I considered how to make the most of the beautiful floral which I then ordered in the other two colour-ways as well. I eventually decided on an Ohio Star design with fussy cutting the centre squares to make the most of the print.

Work on the blocks became easier once I knew exactly what I was doing. I had planned on completing the quilt in time for Mother's Day and her birthday (also May) this year, giving me plenty of time to work on the details. However I completed my blocks by early July and thought I would keep working on bringing it together (using my faithful 26 year old Janome on the dining table as usual).

I stippled the surrounding fabric (Kona Snow).

Then hand quilted around the interior of the blocks.

I machine quilted the outer border with widely spaced diagonal lines.

I had intended to add various details of applique and stitching to the large ares of snow between the blocks but decided "less is more" and left it as is.

By early August I had completed the quilt and I didn't want it to sit in my cupboard when I knew it could be in use. In Australia we celebrate Father's Day on the first Sunday of September. After all the fanfare of Father's Day at home, we headed off to my parents-in-love, as we usually do. Gifts, as expected, were given to my Father-in-love, then the unexpected happened......I presented a parcel to my Mother-in-love. She was surprised and a little overwhelmed and thoroughly delighted! I made a matching card with one of the imperfect trial pieces. She loves using her quilt and I am so glad I gave it to her early.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Seeing as how my Mum doesn't have a computer, I figure I'm safe enough showing you this now. My Mum is a most lovely lady in so many ways and as much as she doesn't seem that interesting in quilting, she really does appreciate the work and effort of something handmade. She had also seen this quilt in progress sometime last year and exclaimed, unsolicited, about the beautiful colours.

As I pondered this early last month I thought it would make a perfect gift for her and with a milestone birthday coming up, I had a deadline to encourage me to work consistently on it as it was barely half done. It feels so good to have it finished and not sitting around waiting for "one day".

I wanted to make a nice label for the quilt and this is what I ended up making, all hand-stitched. I am pleased with how it looks on the quilt back.

Just today I found a lovely quilt label on Ruth's new-to-me blog. She has used this book (which includes a CD-ROM) for her design. I have now ordered myself a copy as I think the designs will be great for future quilt labels as well as other projects. Now I need to find a suitable pen (permanent, acid free thinline-any suggestions?) for the writing on a label, then I can enjoy embroidering a nice design to make it pretty!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


"I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn't here!
 He has been raised from the dead, just as he said would happen."
                                                                  Matthew 28:5-6

Friday, April 22, 2011


And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry
 and saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!"
                                                                                           Mark 15:39 NIV

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Some "remnants" from our Passover Seder

This evening as a family we celebrated a short, imperfect Christian Passover Seder. So much symbolism and meaning as we relive and retell some of the Greatest Story.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It Is Finished!

How good it feels good to have my hexies lap quilt finished, ahead of time for that special gift as mentioned. It is just the right size and I'm very happy with how it has all come together.

 For the "top"edge and both sides I cut the quilt straight across ready for binding, wanting a strong, neat finish. However I couldn't bring myself to trim the bottom or "skirt" off straight.....those cute points needed to remain to keep a certain handmade beauty about the quilt. I had already extended the quilt top past the full width of the backing fabric so I had to be a little creative to back those points. As you can see I used a strip of the binding fabric and I love how it turned out, adding an unexpected feature. The points have been carefully hand hemmed to give the effect I was after.

The only thing left to do now is the label. Something new to think through.......

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Quote

"Our greatest  weariness comes from work not done."
                                                                Eric Hoffer

Sometimes the finished job isn't "pretty" but in the overall plan, change and pruning are an all important part. This week we tackled several yard jobs which need regular attention and the relief of having these complete is wonderful. 

Today we bought a high pressure water cleaner, no motivation/reward was required to clean our stairs and path, unlike every other time when scrubbing brushes and buckets of water have been the tools!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fun and Games

A little look at some of this morning's child-initiated school holidays happenings at our place......never a dull moment!

Some dress-ups

and play-acting

Lots of kitchen activity

and playing "school"!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Organic Wheat Pack

When I last ordered fabric I included a half yard each of four prints in the new certified organic range "Nature Walk" by Cloud 9. I love the colours and prints. As well as the cloth being certified organic, Cloud 9 uses no chemical brighteners and "use low-impact organic dye-stuff"  for their prints and solids.  Having not bought organic fabric before I was keen to see how it washed and ironed. There was some dye/fluff loss from the dark floral (the cloth the folded ones are sitting on) and the cloth is little lighter-weight than many other quilting fabrics, however overall I am very pleased with it. I love that it is organic and so like looking at these fabrics together that I left them sitting out in their nice little pile for weeks so I could look at them during my days and think of how I might best use them.

My wonderful husband hurt his back a few days ago and it's still quite sore today. A wheat pack was suggested to soothe the pain. This print was about the least "girlie" in my stash and being organic is a bonus for something to be heated and held against the skin. Using a quarter of this half yard and some batting off-cuts, today I quilted them together in wavy lines around the rows of tree. After it was sewn and turned out the right way I filled it with some organic wheat (which I had on hand for our wheat grinder) and stitched the opening closed.

Given a minute in the microwave it is pleasantly warm and has been in constant use since! It is a winner.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Quote

Improvised go-cart, made and "powered" by Master T,  aged 9 in 2009

"To be upset over what you don't have
is to waste what you do have."
                                                                        Ken Keyes, Jr

Friday, April 8, 2011

Beautiful Beach

We are spoilt with multitudes of beautiful beaches in Australia. This is the "Main Beach" of the village where my "parents-in-love" live. Late yesterday afternoon the weather was fine enough to enjoy a visit to the main beach, and as is often the case, it was almost deserted.

Plenty of open space for sand play, kite flying, beach walking or just sitting and letting your senses soak it all in.

Our 16 year old son has long been passionate about flying, as have his father and Grandfather. Remote control planes, particularly gliders have become his chosen outlet for this passion in recent years. The late afternoon on-shore breeze is perfect for this type of flying from the dune tops.

A very pleasant way to pass the last hour or so of sunshine.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hexies - Quilting Underway

Last week I finished stitching the hexies together for the lap quilt which has been in progress for a while. On the weekend I basted it, hoping to make a start on the quilting while away from home this week.

As the colours are rather rich and busy in this quilt I didn't want to chop the hexies up any more visually with the quilting. However I didn't want to detract from the neat top stitching by quilting in the ditch, either by machine or hand. I had a look around the internet but wasn't happy with any of the quilting options I could find so I had an idea of my own to try out (which no doubt others have used too). My idea seems to be working well. Can you see the quilting in the photo below? No??? Good!

Now if you have a look at this close up below you will be able to see the quilting at the intersection of the blocks.

Using a dark green Gutermann quilting thread I am making a little "Y" of stitches at each intersection, beginning and ending with an embedded knot. It is rather fiddly but it is producing the effect I was after. It is a little similar in effect to "tie quilting" yet a bit more secure and without any visible threads or knots. I would be interested to know if you have used or seen this technique before. If so, were you happy with the end result?
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