Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My week In Sewing-15 Minutes with Kate-

I don't know what's going on over here. I spent another week practising quilt avoidance and with about 5 weeks until the end of the year multiple quilt finishes are looking less and less likely. I'm still hopeful of knocking off a couple of quilts, but beyond that I think I'm stuffed. So my question is: Do I admit defeat here and now or go for the big stressful effort as I dash to the end of the year ?

It's not all doom and gloom . I have finished stuff. Just not the stuff I need to finish, which makes me feel like a slacker.

Miss P 's Pyjamas got a waistband.

Little P's Christmas stocking  got finished. All it needed was a loop and a button's been sitting there for months ...

I started  a cushion to match my Dresden quilt

And I made a table runner for my Christmas breakfast table...

I did manage to stitch in the ditch this week in the centre of my Blue and Brown quilt (that quilt still needs a snappy name ) But I also spent some considerable time un-sewing all the previous scallopy quilting I had done because I decided I hated it. And with the quilting I'm now doing I'm going to have to bury about a billion thread ends which I've never done before and the thought is making me slightly sick. 

I'm still studiously avoiding this 

And this 

And this 

And the octopus  monkey is firmly ensconced in a plastic bag where I am hoping it will suffocate. 

To see people that have actually achieved their goals and have not sat round twiddling their thumbs and practising quilt avoidance  go on over to Kate's for a looky loo. 

If I don't find some quilting mojo soon I make take up ceramics. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lazy Weekend (Honestly!)

After the torture that was Friday (5 and a half hours of Christmas shopping during which I bought three whole presents, although spending time with Miss P and Little P totally rocked ) I treated myself to a very laid back rest of the weekend.  Occasionally I forget I am a classic over achiever and let my ADD take a back seat to doing nothing. 

Yesterday I managed drag my sorry behind out of my pyjamas at 4.40pm and that was only because I had to go grocery shopping.  Let me tell you when you have 20 minutes before the shops shut it's amazing how fast you can chuck random shit that looks like food in a trolley.

I had a lovely lazy Sunday today stitching and gossiping with Loz and her sister, Marilyn,(you need to get a blog Marilyn) Val and Claire at my house. It was the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Thank you ladies for gracing me with your wonderful company. And thank you Ms. Loz for my hostess gift. I'm sitting here stuffing my face with rum and raisin clusters as I type (and the little decoration was so cute !) 

I threw some vittels on a plate and we all helped ourselves because I'm a lazy hostess. (honestly it was this or a Kentucky Fried bucket !)

I made an apple galette( as recommended by Kirsten) and it was easy and delicious and I even made the pastry from scratch . That's two baking type successes  in one week without a stuff up . Pinch me! You really have to try this recipe.

This is Claire modelling an upcoming group project. A bunch of us have decided to do a Farmer's Wife Quiltalong next year. I'm equal parts excited and wanna throw up. Hopefully I won't be the quiltalong dunce ( or get stuck in the naughty corner again)  

For all my blathering about promising to do some quilting on lurking and neglected quilts this weekend (like that was going to happen for real?) , I started and finished a Christmas table topper/runner this weekend. 

I'm especially loving that binding.

In the end , I did drag the blue and brown quilt out and stared at it for a while as if I could telepathically make it quilt itself. 

It's still sitting on the floor of the sewing room but if I just think hard enough I'm pretty sure I can bend it to my will. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Favourite Things Friday

I'm doing the Happy Dance because it's Friday and I'm hitting the shops with Miss P and Little P today to knock off most of my Christmas shopping. Time is a ticking on the Christmas Countdown clock people!

A special occasion prompted me to put my big girl panties on this week and get out my baking tins. We had a celebration at work and it's not the same if you roll up with a hunk of char grilled beef unless it's a barbecue.

I started with vanilla cupcakes and decided to make them ultra special in celebration of the arrival of a grand daughter for my friend D.

No matter how careful I am I usually end up picking up fairy dust for the rest of the week from places it shouldn't be like the bathroom and in my bed. 

I could have stopped there but where would the fun be in that? These cupcakes have to scream "Look at me , Look at me " 

I just realised my goth/emo nail polish needs a touch up....and that I could stand to lose some weight off my hands. 

Honestly can you ever have enough marshmallows? Especially pink and white ones? 

And for the finishing touch (because there isnt anywhere near enough sugar in this recipe already?) I melted some white chocolate and drizzled that over the marshmallows. Voila. Cupcakes fit for a Princess. 

Instant sugar rush and my favourite thing this week. (We were all pinging off walls for the rest of the afternoon ) 

I've been the lone grandmother at work for over two years. It's been kind of stinky not being able to gush and rave on with someone who understands what it's like to have the smartest , most adorable grandchild in the universe. Welcome to the world Isabel. Your Nanna and I are going to have so much fun swapping Grandma stories!

Time to share your favourite thing for this week. Feel free to link on up and tell us all about it. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

15 Minutes with Kate

I kept a list this week of my progress so I could give an accurate accounting of my craftiness for Kate's 15 minute challenge linky party. I can't find that list now so I think I threw it out with the rubbish. That's what happens when you do a frenzied tidy up on a Sunday morning so your breakfast guests don't think you live like wild pigs. However,  I'm happy to report I managed to spend at least 15 minutes a day doing something crafty every single day this week. I just cant remember what I did when and as I write this post I'm amazed by how little it seems I actually did. 

Three more hexie flowers were completed this week. My mother in law saw me doing these on Sunday and has decided to start her own project after Christmas. 

5 more selvage blocks were completed and I am about halfway through another 5. Still no squaring up so this looks like a big pile of mess. I swear there are completed blocks in there somewhere.

I finished another sunglasses case for a birthday gift.

Miss Pyjamas pyjamas are just waiting for me to finish the waistband. 

And I started this very "simple" sock monkey for Little P which has been a complete pain in the arse. If it's so simple why does mine currently look like a demented 2 legged octopus? 

One of the tragedies to befall this poor little monkey-to-be was that I accidentally cut him a butthole and had to perform an emergency butt-hole-ectomy. There's nothing scarier than a monkey with stuffing leaking out of his bum.  

I also spent some time this week sorting my stash and coming to the realisation that I don't have as much fabric as I thought I did. Does that sound like a justification to run out and buy some more fabric? 

For more 15 minutes of creativity , pop on over to Kate's. I'm thinking I've pushed my "not working on my quilts" phase just about as far as I possibly can and am really going to have to focus on them this week. Eek!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends. Enjoy your day and have some turkey for me. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Post for Patty

My Mum called me yesterday to comment about my lack of quality posts of late. Apparently I've been boring the pants off my own Mum with my repetitive sewing posts. So this newsy post is especially for Mother of Pyjamas so she can see I do things other than sew. 

On Friday night I dragged my sorry bum home from a week at work around 5.30pm and had my pyjamas on by 5.35 pm. When Mr.  P arrived home I told him I had no intention of cooking dinner in 95 degree heat and sent him out on an important mission to bring me back a triple cheeseburger. He also had strict instructions to check the burger before he left Macca's because they already ripped me off once this week by giving me a double instead of a triple. I was too lazy to go back the first time because 1 patty of mystery meat really isn't worth my time. Yeah- I ate McDonald's twice this week. We also got chicken takeaway for tea another night, and I was out for dinner Tuesday. I'm planning to snatch the crown of Queen of Not Cooking from my sister. 

Mr. P came back with the last instalment of Harry Potter on DVD and my maccas and I subsequently discovered that the Hamburgler had stolen one of my three meat patties again. Either that or Ronald McDonald has decided four bits of pickle  (which I don't eat ) = 1 meat patty. Seriously you can count to three using your fingers. You don't have to have a maths degree. How hard can it be to get it right?

Saturday morning I woke at sparrow fart (that's Aussie for before dawn)  and full of good intentions. By the time my Mum called  at 2.30 pm I was still in my pyjamas and I hadn't achieved a damn thing for the day besides commenting on 30 blog posts,  harassing Indy and Lola , and  laying in bed playing with my I pad. I kidded myself that I was productive by putting on two loads of washing while I listened to Mr. P scrub the bathroom and deciding my help would hinder his progress. 

By 3.30 I was sick of myself and dragged myself out shopping. I saw these cute glass birds in the window of this shop  when I was out for dinner on Tuesday and had to go back and get them. The lady looked quite taken aback when I said I'd take every single one they had. For a moment I thought she was going to refuse but she must have seen the murderous glint in my eye because she went and wrapped them up in tissue paper without further comment. FYI - I bought 7.

And while I was there I spied this felted handmade chicken basket from Nepal and had to buy that too. 

I did some Christmas shopping for Little P. Every little boy wants a pirate puppet and who doesn't love Shaun the Sheep?

Then I came home with the brilliant idea of making a quilt cover for our bed which meant I had to drag my fabric out and throw it all over the floor to see what it might look like if I ever find the time (and motivation) to work on something for longer than 10 minutes again.  I'm still thinking about it. And the fabric is still on the floor. 

Last night  Mr. P and I went to see a movie (In Time with Justin Timberlake - very good actually!) and then when we got home I started some pyjamas for Miss P . I lost interest after one leg. I think pressing in those pleats took it out of me.  So she's either going to have to wait until I feel like doing the other leg or walk round with half her bits hanging out. 

We had some of the family round for Sunday breakfast this morning so that meant running round for 30 frenzied minutes from 8.10 - 8.40am  trying to make our house look habitable before everyone arrived. It's amazing what you can achieve in a short time span and how you can make a filthy floor look good with a chux wipe. While everyone was here I sewed some more on my hexie flowers, promised my sister in law a pair of pyjama bottoms and waxed lyrical about how fabulous my I pad is. 

After everyone left we went and did some more Christmas shopping...which I cant show you because Miss P and my sister and other nameless people do sneak in  here every so often to see if they're being mentioned.  So I'll just show you what I bought for myself. 

I had three spare inches of hanging space in my wardrobe that is now filled and I feel complete.

I spent the afternoon wrestling with socks while watching a DVD but since this post is already way too long and I have visions of everyone falling asleep while reading , I'm going to thrill you with that  story in my Tuesday post. I do hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend. Did you know it's only 35 sleeps until Christmas?  Time to panic! 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Favourite Things Friday

Hellooooooooo Friday. It's so nice to see you again. 

My Favourite Thing this week includes this mush alert disclaimer- so you may want to wait until your breakfast/lunch/dinner digests before you proceed.  

I'm sure some of you wonder what it is I do all week given the deliberately vague description of my job in my profile. The reason it's vague is that I don't want to be recognised in my real life from my blog posts. You can imagine that I don't wander round in my professional life dropping words like crap and bugger and letting it all hang out like I do here. I'm very much into keeping my work life and home life separate. 

A bit of context: My job is all about advice, and trouble shooting and sorting problems and dealing with the highs and lows of having a child with a disability or significant developmental delay. It's a roller coaster of emotion. It's about being able to juggle 30 balls in the air all at once and to make each person feel like they're the only person I work for.  It's about thinking you've sorted something on Tuesday only to have something new crop up on Thursday.  I have to give the appearance that I'm completely in control  because families  look to me for answers.  And like with any job, some days are diamonds , and some aren't. 

I work pretty much full time. And when you're spending 34 hours a week at work it helps to actually like the people you work with. I work with a very small team of amazing people. People who are incredibly gifted in their respective professional fields. People who are very experienced and committed to the work they do. And when you stick 8 or 9 people with strong personalities in one place and get them to work together 8 hours a day sometimes you get fireworks. I'm probably the one that sets off those fireworks most often  because I'm not always very tactful and sometimes I engage my mouth before my brain. (Is anyone surprised by that little news flash ?) 

But in amongst all of that - not only are these ladies great at what they do , they are incredible people to work with. When you're having a great day and something big has happened they'll celebrate with you. When your butt is dragging on the ground they'll pick you up and commiserate with you. Just before Little P was born these gals took me out to lunch and gave me a "grandma to be" bag which included reading glasses, laxatives  and a shower hat because that's what every grandma needs. They wrote me a book about being a grandma that still cracks me up every time I read it. 

During Miss P's teen years my work buddies kept me from completely melting down over the tragedy of having a teenager who wouldn't do a bloody thing she was told and everything we didn't want her to do.  One person in particular managed to convince me I wasn't the worlds worst. parent. ever.  She has no idea of how wonderful she is because she is one of the most humble people I know. Another person I work with is the calmest most unflappable person I've ever met and she doesn't see herself that way at all. Everyone brings their own unique personality to our team and adds something fabulous. 

For their never ending patience, for their unfailing optimism, for their ability to make me laugh when the last thing I feel like doing is laughing and for all the support they give me personally and professionally , for making it OK to be me (warts and all ) it's time I said thank you. 

If I have to spend 8 hours a day not sewing I can't think of a better way to spend it than with you guys. You're awesome and I appreciate each and every one of you. 

You all know the drill- now it's your turn to tell me about one of your favourite things this week. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The 15 minute Challenge with Kate

I mentioned I've been in a bit of a quilting funk lately. I've been ignoring the fact I made a public declaration to have 6 quilts finished before the end of the year. My uber cool quilting guru is going to do a custom job on the Dresden quilt and informed me last week that she can't do that until January so the number has been down graded to 5. At this point it could be one and I'd still be doubtful of a finish!

Sadly my quilting mojo seems to have been lost under a pile of quick to finish projects over the last month. And the trend continued this week. I keep telling myself I'll get those quilts. Plenty of time . 45 days to finish 5 quilts is eminently do-able. Right? Stop rolling round on the floor laughing please - it hurts my feelings . True blog buddies would buy into my fantasy and pretend that my dreams are possible.  

This week I played with a handbag 

I finished 5 selvage blocks (I haven't squared three of them up yet but lets not spilt hairs )

I made a  sunglasses case for my friend , Nat. 

And I did two more hand stitched hexie flowers for a quilt that doesn't have a time frame for a finish attached to it (But it was quilt related so I was kinda proud of myself !)

By Saturday I was sick of my own procrastination so I loudly announced to Mr. P I was going to work on the Merry Go Round quilt. And then a friend called with her own quilting emergency so my afternoon was taken up with helping her sort that out. Epic fail on getting any MGR done!

Sunday dawned bringing new resolve. I unplugged the phone, turned my front door "Welcome" sign to "Go Away " and planned to get busy. 

You know those moments we all have where you think you calculated your yardage wrong and you don't have enough to get what you need out of what you have? I had a moment like that making the final 7 blocks for this quilt. Thankfully as so often happens- since I am a maths idiot - I was wrong. 

Finished! I was hearing trumpets and angels at this point. Until I realised all those blocks had to be sewn into 14 individual rows . But I slogged on and got 10 of them done. 

The challenge for this week will be to sew them into a quilt top where the seams actually match up. Pop on over to Kate's for a look at other 15 minutes of fame