Thursday, December 31, 2009

Realisation Dawns...

It's my wedding anniversary today and for the first time we are going to spend it alone. In past years we've thrown several  parties, gone to a ball, got married, gone away, done nothing, but this year we decided to go out to dinner. Just the two of us.

Off to the hairdresser this morning. I do that a lot...go to the hairdresser.  It's sacrilege but my hairdresser, Megan is the god of hair. That girl can make a silk purse out of a sows ear each and every time. I have nice hair that I don't really take care of. I'm a pony tail and 5 minute blow dry kind of girl. Megan makes me look gorgeous once a month. Sometimes twice. Or even three times.  I'm also putting one of her future children through private school with the financial renumeration I give her.

So sitting there today looking at myself in the mirror and I realised ..I am middle aged. Except for special occasions I don't wear makeup. I really do wear a pony tail about 5 days out of 7. I have bags, and wrinkles and dark circles under my eyes. When the frig did that happen? I wear comfortable shoes over heels. No way am I squeezing myself into something uncomfortable clothes wise. I go for comfort not fashion. I squint when I read labels, but I'm  too vain to wear my glasses. I have mild jowls! OMFG!!!! Everything is dropping. I have several grey hairs. When I stand - I make sounds like rice bubbles. Snap. Crackle. Pop.

I computer the night away instead of dancing it away. Sometimes my leg hair is long enough to plait. I stopped getting bikini waxes about the same time I stopped wearing bathers altogether. Everyone looks younger than me. I keep discovering and pulling out a chin hair that grows overnight to three inches long.

When did all this stuff happen? I'm only 43. Actually I'm probably past middle age. Now I'm panicking. I think since this is New Years Eve I should be making a resolution to think young and get funky again. Anyone else feel like lamenting their lost youth?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

De-cluttering Tuesday

Every year in late December and early January I go through our house and de-clutter. I started early this year and have managed to get our bedroom, loungeroom, bathroom computer room and dining room done so far. Anything we haven't used for the last year gets tossed, donated, freecycled or re-homed somehow. Sometimes I throw stuff on ebay as well.

I love the process. I feel great about giving things away I don't use anymore. I also take stock of some of the things we have and decide whether we need new stuff. When it's all done I feel so much more organised.

I always find the kitchen the hardest. This year is harder than previous years. We need new stuff but with the kitchen being renovated mid 2010 I want pretty new things then not now. However I caved in today and bought a new dinner set because we have been using pieces of  two mismatched dinner sets for months and it's annoying me daily. It's a safe bet that it's time to buy new when even your husband complains about the state of your every day dinner set.  Ditto your drinking glasses. I realised today the last time we bought new drinking glasses was about six years ago. I'm a make do kind of gal.

I'm about 3/4 of the way through the kitchen and feeling groovy. My grooviness comes from knowing that this kitchen will be gone in 6 months and I will never have to clean these ugly old cupboards again!

Happy Tuesday!

Update: From the kitchen cupboard cleanout I tossed two manky aluminium saucepans, a mini chopper that wasn't working properly and it's box which has been taking up mountains of space and an old cane hold all.All our old glassware and dinner set bits went to DD and I'm giving away a second stick mixer on freecycle. I'm amazed we dont have more junk in the kitchen. I must have done an awesome job of culling last year and bought very little since.    

Monday, December 28, 2009

Quilting Inspiration

Since I'm on holidays and I'm drowning in fabric I decided to plan some quilting projects for next year.

I'm pretty new to the quilting world so I'm constantly inspired by the wonderful quilts and ideas of others. It's a good way for me to learn new techniques, and to get excited about new projects. Some people just make it look so easy and inspire confidence  and on line tutorials are a great way to see how things are done.

Here are a few ideas I love and might try in the New Year.

Film Strip Quilt by Crazy Mom Quilts

Zig Zag Quilt by Crazy Mom Quilts. You can find the easy to follow tutorial here

I got some scrap bags sent over from the US and have two Gobble Gobble packs by Sandy Gervais for Moda. This was my introduction to Moda fabrics.  I headed on over to Diva Buzz for some inspiration in the form of this coin quilt. I'm about a third of the way through making my own.

I'm a square quilting kind of girl , and have only just managed to move on to rectangles. I never thought I'd want to try triangles but this amazingly simple tutorial at Cluck.Cluck. Sew. has given me the confidence to want to try this out. How utterly gorgeous is this quilt?

My husband bought me this unfinished vintage shoo fly quilt top for Christmas and I need to come up with an awesome quilting idea to finish it and do it justice. I'm open to ideas.

I'm  planning a couple of Christmas quilts for next year and I love the idea of  Christmas tree shapes for one of them, possibly scrappy trees.  I've  noticed I tend to do two designs of every quilt pattern with variations and then move onto something else.

I love the simplicity of the windmill quilt pattern and will maybe give one of those a try as well.

That's probably enough inspiration for one day. I wonder if my husband will agree to me giving up work so I can concentrate on quilting for the year?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Post Christmas Madness

Our last house guests have just departed and I'm sitting here in relative silence amongst the trashed remains of my house. It has been so good to spend the last few days with family and friends and we have another social event  to go to this afternoon, but I will also be sooooo glad when I can just flop and do my own thing.

I have never done the post Christmas sale thing, so this morning I went out with my daughter and went on a spending frenzy for my home. It was certainly an experience.

Spotlight had 75% off Christmas fabric. The words "Fabric" and "Discount" in the same sentence are like waving a red flag in front of a bull.  (Like I'm ever coming home without some if it's on sale)  I got 13 metres of fabric for around $50.00 which would have cost $210.00 before the sales. Add that to all the 50% off stuff I bought in the fortnight before Christmas and  now I'm totally set for next year's Christmas quilt making. (And probably the year after....and possibly 2012 as well) They also had batting for 1/2 price, so I walked out with some of that too.

My christmas fabric stash

I spent up big on new bed linen for our bedroom. I scored a $329.00 sheet set for 70%  off, ( I have never owned 1000 thread count sheets before- luxury !) and another for about 90% off. I bought two new complete sets of quilt covers and pillowcases and saved another $260.00 on that lot.   We hadn't bought any new bed linen for about 2 years and I needed a change. These are totally different to each other and to what we currently have.

Mercer and Reid Bali Hai Bed Linen

Mercer and Reid Mia Bed linen

The bathroom also got a makeover with 8 new towels in stone and avocado. I'll put those away until we renovate the bathroom.

And I've been dying to show you pictures of my daughters finished quilt (there is nothing quite like putting binding on at 3 am Christmas Eve to get something done in time) especially when you've never done binding before.

Front of Chloe's quilt

Back of Chloe's quilt

I had this professionally quilted because I simply didn't have time to do it myself and I need so much more practice before I attempt something that isn't straight lines.  I really wanted this to be special. The gorgeous Sharon from Patchwork on Parade went out of her way to squeeze my quilt in two weeks before Christmas when I know she was already working  at least 12 hour days. I highly recommend her work - she is also a lovely person. Thank you Sharon!

So, Christmas is done, the house needs a complete clean, and I've spent all our slush fund on new stuff for the house. I better start planning to spend some time being frugal and making some quilts!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Booty

The day has come and gone for another year. Yesterday was a whirlwind of activity , eating, drinking and spending time with friends and family.

The two quilts I made for gifts were loved by their recipients . DD got all teary when she opened hers. My mum was thrilled with her Moda scrap bags, and husband loved his mouse sander and IPOD. Everyone was happy.

I ended up with some perfume, my parents bought me a subscription to a website that sells patterns for making bags , DD bought me an iron chicken for my new kitchen, I got some moo goo, my sister sent me fabric, a friend gave me a digital photo frame and my husband bought me Moda Charm Squares and a vintage unfinished quilt top in a shoo fly pattern. The fabrics look like 1930's/40's to me and I love it.

I'm on holidays now for a couple of weeks so I'm planning to do some quilting, reading and a lot of relaxing. I've started a list of all the quilts I want to get done in 2010 and it looks like I'm going to be very busy next year!

I hope your day was merry and bright.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Three days until I go on holidays and four days until Christmas! 9 days until my wedding anniversary. (That's right folks we got married New Years Eve)

Final preparations for Christmas are in full swing (along with me working four days this week). I have but one thing left to do, but it's a big thing, which I cannot talk about here until after Christmas.

During my holidays I'm planning to make at least one quilt, relax , and spend some time with my husband. 17 glorious days off and then I go back to work for two weeks then have another week and a half off. This second wave of holidays is going to be serious quilting time!

I may not get back here for a while since we have relatives arriving in the next couple of days. I hope you all enjoy Christmas and I'll see you back here soon. Eat , drink and be Merry!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Random Bits

Not much craftiness or quilting going on here this week. Lots of last minute Christmas related stuff happening though.  

A big house clean is happening today. Relatives arrive in about 4 days. My husband's work christmas dinner is tonight, which means I have to go looking gorgeous and behave myself.  I bought a little black dress to wear and am off later today to have my hair done. (Any excuse to get prettified is a good one)

All the Christmas present shopping is done. The house is decorated and looking fabulous. I worked all week. Ran around like a hairy goat after work , doing "secret stuff" that I can't openly talk about.

My Meadowsweet Fabric arrived yesterday -a big thankyou to the postal services in the US and Australia who managed to make sure even with all the Christmas mail that got here in under 9 days- wow! I wish I had time to sit and make something out of it , but with less than a week till the big day I haven't got a moment to scratch myself.  I don't even really have time to dream about what I'm going to do with it.

Off to do some of that house cleaning. Have a great day!

Monday, December 14, 2009

'Twas the Week Before Christmas

I'm finally done present buying, gift wrapping, house and tree decorating, menu planning and pre- preparing food. I can't do much more now till the weekend when the house cleaning and outdoor spruce up will start in earnest, and then next week final minute shopping will be done and food preparation will commence for the big day itself.

My parents are arriving next week. My sister is staying in Darwin but one of her sons will be joining us.This is our first Christmas as grandparents so that's new. We have friends coming for lunch too, so it's a completely different kind of Christmas for us. Low key , casual and spent with many of  those we love.

Whatever you are doing I hope you enjoy your day and the season.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Finished Quilt and a Tip

I've finished Sandra's String quilt.  Whoooooooooo hooooooooo

My number one tip for future projects and quilters everywhere is don't use wool batting made from a 100% wool vintage blanket. This quilt is sooooooooooo heavy. It's likely to suffocate the users like a boa constrictor. It'll certainly give  the quilter shoulder and back ache trying to manouver it round the machine.

Last night I vowed I was never going to attempt to quilt anything ever again and that hereforth all tops were going to the Longarm Lady for quilting. Today I'm little Miss Sunshine again and realised it's my batting that's the problem. Due to the weight in this quilt I couldn't face quilting it in squares so Sandra has a quilt with only vertical quilting lines down the back. Slack but .....meh .....

This quilt is a reasonably large one measuring about 80 by 100 inches. I wont be doing another string quilt for a while and I wont be using wool blanket  batting for  a large quilt again in the future.

As usual I can see all the mistakes and I'm stessing about how well this will hold up with actual use but I'm sure she'll love it and it'll be fine. On to the next project. Another stacked coin quilt using Gobble Gobble by Moda (and lightweight batting)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Darling Husband Saves the Day

I dont talk about Mr. Pyjamas  a lot in blogland. He's a shy guy and would prefer I didn't. But today he's done something so kind and considerate that he deserves his own blog post and I wanted the chance to trumpet his wonderful-ness for a change.

I'm up to my eye balls trying to finish a quilt for a Christmas present for my friend, Sandra. With everything else thats been going on round here it's been a slight challenge. Too many WIP's , family drama, long working hours, and babysitting on top of everything else.  I vowed yesterday it would be finished this weekend because I still have a lot of other things to do before Christmas and I want to be free to concentrate on just those things.

Quilt top is together and all seams are pressed ( I cannot tell you how much I hate pressing seams) Backing has been pressed and I'm onto the 100% wool batting I'm planning to use when bingo the iron craps itself, shuts off all the power in the house and it's 40 minutes till the shops shut for 18 hours.....and I'm still in my pyjamas.

Just as an aside here can you truthfully say you've never spent the day in your pyjamas quilting- seriously I should have called this blog "Quilting in My Pyjamas"

DH to the rescue. He drops what he's doing (which is paving and cutting pavers ) and races off to the shops to buy me a  new iron ....he's back within 30 minutes with the right sort of iron and my batting is now pressed. He's gone back to paving.

My husband does things like that ALL the time. Yes I'm bragging. It's just that over the years I've just gotten used to how wonderful he is, and how almost everything he does is to make sure I'm happy and stress free. And that's why I married him. It was such a contrast from my first marriage.

OK, I'm going to lay this quilt out now in preparation for quilting. Just wanted EVERYONE to know how awesome my husband is.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Dropped in to Spotlight today to get some new blades for my rotary cutters.


They were having a 50% off sale on Christmas fabric. I swear I tried to resist but the fabric was just calling me. And it was 50% off.  Say it with me . 50% off. And it was fabric I was looking at last night and just wishing I could have (Chloe's Christmas by Amy Barickman for  Red Rooster -so cute  ) so now I'm all prepared for next year because I already have material to make a Christmas quilt. Aren't I organised? Just add this to the fabric I bought two days ago and the stuff I bought yesterday....

I started a new quilt today using Gobble Gobble by Sandy Gervais for Moda.  I still have to finish that string quilt but I'm getting there slowly. I did a fair bit today. Hopefully it'll be done by the end of the weekend. I have a couple of UFO's that I want to finish by the end of the year so I can start 2010 all fresh. And Im already planning projects for the new year. I certainly have enough fabric.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Meadowsweet and Flower Bucket

I finally caved in and bought a fat quarter pack of the Peach darn excited I'm almost dancing for joy and can't wait for it to arrive.

While I was browsing I also happened upon this other gorgeous collection Flower Bucket by Genevieve Gail so I figured with 30% off international shipping why not? Crazy bargains compared to buying at home.

What will take my fancy next ?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Christmas Stuff...

I'm almost done with shopping. I know I blogged a week or so ago that I only had two people to buy for and I've actually done that since then but I've revised my list and still have three gifts to buy. Our goal was to have a frugal gift shopping Christmas without it looking cheap and I think we've done that quite well. I think I'll make a bigger effort next year to buy gifts as I see them through the year or even take a pledge to give mainly homemade gifts wherever I can. That's harder with presents for guys though.

My Christmas Day menu is done. Ham is ordered. The beef is currently marinating in the fridge ready to go into the freezer when that's finished doing it's thing ( have you ever tried to marinate a 12 pound beef - I have no idea how to wrap it for the freezer)   My chicken tikka is already done and in the freezer ready to go onto the BBQ. The Chocolate tree is done. (let's hope we dont have any really hot weather in the next three weeks or we might be having chocolate sludge)

Our tree went up yesterday. I'm loving our new tree. It took hours to decorate but I had so much fun.

I still have presents to wrap. The house needs a mini makeover. I still have to finish that quilt for my friend Sandra. (That's today's major project!) But otherwise I'm feeling mainly on top of stuff and hoping to enjoy the leadup to the big day.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

I have never read Maurice Sendak's book of the same name and so when a friend and I decided to catch a movie last night I suggested this one.  If I had to impart one piece of wisdom to sum up this movie it would be "Don't bother".

This is not a children's movie in any sense . (Take note dude who arrived about 30 minutes into the film with two children in tow under the age of 7, check the rating guide occasionally) It is a disturbing dark movie with not much to like or be uplifted about.

I wasn't expecting whimsical , fluffy little creatures or a sugary story but the film has an edgy underlying tone almost like domestic violence. Carol manipulates the other "things" by using fear and unpredictable responses to keep everyone in line. He shows no insight into the way his behaviour affects others. None of the characters in the film do. Everyone has a major issue and should be in psychoanalysis on a therapists couch at least 3 sessions a week.  So many things led nowhere. I'm not sure what the introduction of Bob and Terry were meant to do for the film besides stir up more bad feeling and controversy. Being a massive fan of The Soprano's TV series I had to wonder whether I was being influenced by the voice of James Gandolfini as Carol. I expected him to whack one of the other "things" at any moment, such was the undercurrent of violence.

There was no resolution, no lessons learned, the ending was abrupt and completely unsatisfying.  I would say I missed the finer points and messages of the film  but I'm not sure there were any.

This will never be making it's way into my DVD collection.