Friday, March 30, 2012

Favourite Things Friday

It's a good thing that Fridays seem to roll around fairly quickly. In fact it's like they happen once a week or something. And I'm posting FTF on Friday (unlike last week) and I'm hoping for brownie points in my own head because I'm doing it early. That hasn't happened in a while. 

I've been practising counting my blessings this week because I've been finding it all too easy to focus on being negative and more than a teeny bit cranky. And I've found that picking a few key highlights of the week as they've occurred has helped me keep things in perspective. It would have been all too easy to think that the whole week was pretty ordinary otherwise.

I visited this gorgeous little muffin last night. This picture was taken earlier in the week and when he saw it he commented to his mother "I'm so pretty Mummy"  I don't think we need to worry too much about his self esteem. I am utterly besotted by my grandson and along with Miss P he is one of the best gifts I have ever been blessed with. 

I found time to work on a couple of sewing projects this week. I'm adopting the slowly slowly catchy monkey approach. And there's that other story about the tortoise and the hare as a back up.

You may recall me mentioning my oven decided to go on strike a week or so ago. After gnashing my teeth about having to pay for repairs on a less than 4 year old oven (Smeg no less !) I remembered that based on past experience with an utter lemon of an oven that require 4 element replacements in 6 years I had planned for such an eventuality when we bought the new oven. Thank goodness for extended warranties. The oven dude is coming to fix it at no cost to us this afternoon.  I'll be back to murdering innocent cupcakes or unsuspecting whoopie pies this weekend.

Exchanging mirth filled emails with several people this week has kept me going. If you think I'm out there when I blog post you should see the emails I send my friends....thank you girls for keeping me sane amongst the madness. Tummy overhangs, porridge baking recipes, and debates about whether I should clean my oven so the oven repair guy didn't talk about me later to his mates were among this weeks topics. 

And finally ...drum roll please. I finalised our flights for the September trip to Hawaii. Two weeks of fun and sun bought and paid for so we're really going. It's never a reality until you have that flight itinerary in your hot little hand...Im starting to make a list of every quilt store in Hawaii in preparation.

So a mish mash of little favourite moments this week. Feel free to link up your own favourites so I can share the things that made your heart sing. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tagged !

Susan over at Canadian Abroad tagged me last week with 11 questions and Im just getting round to answering them ...Sorry Susan. I was patting myself on the back that I was caught up with my blog posting and ended up being a premature congratulator. (I guess that would sound worse if I was a bloke ) 

1. What is your favourite cartoon from childhood?
I used to love The Wacky Races. Peter Perfect was a bit of a drip, but I used to love Mutley. I never could understand why Penelope Pitstop spent so much time making her self gorgeous in the middle of races.  It was the highlight of my week to get up at 7 am and watch Saturday cartoons. My Mum was a real stickler about TV watching but she and Dad were still in bed on Saturdays so we got to do what we liked ! 

Image credit here 
2. What is your favourite restaurant in the world and where is it?

My favourite restaurant is Wicked Walu in Fiji. You walk out over a causeway and it sits on the ocean .It’s a little hut with sand on the floor and the wait staff bring you raw meat on a tray and you pick what you want by pointing.  I cant even remember what the food was like but oh! The view!

3. If you could buy any fabric bundle you wanted right now (someone else was paying) what would it be?
Hmnnnn..I am really in  love with Hawaiian Crazy Daisy at the moment  . You can buy it here ...

4. What is your favourite quilt made by someone else? (Please include a link or photo if that is possible.)
My favourite changes pretty regularly. It’s mean to ask me to pick just one when there is so much creativity and eye candy  out there.

5. I need a day on the beach. Where would you recommend?
Glenelg beach right here in my hometown. Plenty of shopping. Great fish and chips. Staggering distance to the taxi stand so we can get home after drinking our way through the cocktail menu at  The Stamford Grand Hotel.

6. If a sewing retreat could be held in the place of your choice and all your friends would be able to attend where would you have it?
Somewhere in the US. Then I could buy a ton of fabric really cheaply and ship it all home just as cheaply. Plus I hear my Aussie accent is considered very cool over there. 

7. What is the first sign of Spring for you?

Blossom on our Cherry tree. It always thrills my heart to see it in bloom . That usually happens in August and then I know Spring is on the way. After  a wet dreary winter, Spring  is my favourite season and this tree that grew from a stick Mr. P used as a crutch to get him home after a drunken night at the pub is my favourite tree. 

8. Do you have a favourite smell?

Violets – my Mum wore April Violets for years (and  Miss P tracked some down and bought it for her for Christmas )  and it still reminds me of her every time I smell it.  And fresh coffee brewing always makes me want one. 

9. If you drink wine, what do you prefer - red, white or pink? If you don't drink wine, what is your favourite drink?
I'm mainly a spirits gal. Southern Comforts is my poison of choice but I’m rather fond of cocktails. I don't mind a decent Moscato though. I don't drink red wine at all. 

10. What sewing task do your dread the most?
I was going to say mending but I don’t mend anything.
The quilting part of quilting ! (Now I'm waiting for the quilting police to come and take away my machine) 

11. You are making me a desert - what is it, and will you give me the recipe?
Me? Make dessert? I don't think so. Haven't you been reading my baking disaster posts? You’d be eating something I picked up from Assaggio and arranged artfully on a plate!

I'm meant to tag 11 more people with 11 questions but I think I'm the last person in the entire Blogiverse that has done this post. There's nobody left to pass it on to !

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Sometimes you come to a cross roads in your life and big changes loom on the horizon. Some of the time those decisions come easily and other times they're really hard and involve a lot of angst. Soul searching  decisions are the hardest. They're the things you wish you didn't have to do but know somewhere deep inside that ultimately it's going to make you a lot happier. 

For a long time I've been facing one of those type of decisions and have been putting off making it. I kept hoping things would change or get better but on Friday I finally realised that I had two options. I could keep doing what I was doing or I could be the agent of change and move on to a different , and hopefully better, scenario with my life. 

So on Saturday, because I am a girl of action (after debating to and fro about this for 6 months)  I broke up with my supermarket. I have shopped at a regional chain for about 20 years resisting the lure of the two national supermarkets because I didn't like the idea of their duopoly with regard to market share. But when service and range and quality gradually decline where you're shopping and you have a couple of snippy b*****s who are unreasonably rude on a consistent  basis and act like they're doing you a favour by checking out your groceries (when that's what they're paid to do ) and the community feeling of the store changes you have to question your choices. I spend a fortune grocery shopping and I want my hard earned money's worth. Dammit I want to pretend shopping is an adult version of a theme park. I want the total experience. 

I don't like change. And for years I've harped on publicly , all holier than thou , about how I wouldn't shop at one of the majors, about how I was doing my bit to keep my dollars in the state and was supporting local business and about how I loved the service I got at the smaller chain. I thought the prices were as reasonable as they would be anywhere else and that the quality was there.  I knew where everything was and I could do my entire fortnight shop and be home and unpacking it in under 45 minutes. But when Mr. P starts to complain about the taste of the fruit and veg I'm buying I have to give some credence to the idea that considering a change wouldn't be a bad thing because that man never complains about anything. And usually doesn't chew for long enough to register  flavour or texture. So when he told me a peach turned to tasteless dust in his mouth this week the decision was made. 

So yesterday armed with my shopping list and an hour a half to do my shopping, I went to the big national grocery chain store down the road. Just to try it once to see if I liked it but mainly to pick it to bits so I could keep shopping where I have shopped since time began. I'm almost ashamed to admit it was good. Really good. And that the staff there didn't have horns growing out of their heads, and that my head didn't explode from shopping somewhere new. In fact, I was like a kid let loose in a candy store. They sell avocado oil. The other store has never even heard of it.  And they sell peri peri marinade far cheaper than I can make my own. The range of items just blew my mind. And everything was cheaper. The fruit and veg was so delectable Mr. P moonwalked around the whole department in delight.  The deli section is incredible. I would have saved a lot of money if I hadn't been so busy buying things I've never seen before. I feel like I've walked out of the shopping wilderness into a whole new world. 

See how the little things in life excite me? I'm sure it's a hallmark of middle age. And the fact I wrote a whole blog post about it makes me even sadder. But I'm going back again next fortnight because it really was a cheap way to get some thrills. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Favourite Things Friday

It's no longer Friday in my part of the world . In fact it's 9am Saturday so this week Im re-naming this little linky party Slack Shay Saturday. I'm so sorry. In a week where I worked an insane amount of hours, my oven decided to give up the ghost , I've been helping out a friend  , I emergency baby sat Little P overnight (and he thought 2 am to 4 am was playtime so I did my annual senior CPR exam on about three hours sleep -joy! )  and my body grew a pimple on my chin that was the size of a small child , Favourite Things Friday kind of got a little lost. I was going to post last night when I got home but sleep seemed much more imperative. 

Work is over for this week, with a non functioning oven I dont have to torture myself with trying to bake this weekend, I passed the CPR exam , and I finally got up the guts to bust that pimple last night so life is looking up. 

This weeks favourite is that I love to go out for lunch. Normally during the week lunch is something utterly boring like tuna and crackers or a homemade sandwich or even a bag of chips and a chocolate bar eaten at my desk  but occasionally some of the girls at work and I lash out and "do " lunch.  There are a couple of fabulous little cafes near where I work that have a great atmopshere or do fantastic food and that's where we head when our manky sandwiches or reheated leftovers look less appealing than ever or when we have something to celebrate. 

Yesterday Nat talked me into Asian food without much reluctance on my part which left my chicken sammich feeling lonely in the fridge.  Sometimes we head to a fabulous little place called Endue that doubles as a gift/home wares shop. Invariably I spend far more money there than I should buying home wares in my lunch break. Can I help it that they have so many beautiful things?  A third of my knick knacks have come from this place which means I've officially spent enough there to be putting at least one of the owners kids through private high school. 

There is something completely decadent in my mind about playing hooky for an hour and going out for a good nosh up. Lakeside does curly fries with ranch dressing and all day breakfast. Eating breakfast at lunchtime on work day just blows my mind. I always go back to work feeling totally refreshed and ready to tackle the afternoon. I like to bring dessert back and eat that at my desk for a mid afternoon snack....

I get ridiculously excited about the idea of eating lunch out. And it's pretty much  the only time I eat salad. Mmmmmmmm Caesar Salad.....

I hope you'll join me in linking up with a favourite of your own. For my Northern Hemisphere friends, you'll actually be on time (unlike your hostess this week ) because it's still Friday in your neck of the woods. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cue the Rocky Theme Music

This whole weekend has reeked of ground hog day. I've been working on WIPS. The same ones I've been working on since about 1983.

But by this afternoon , I was feeling like this.

Because I can move mountains of unfinished projects when I put my mind to it. 

I whipped up 4 Farmers Wife Blocks which gives me a grand total of 8. I keep reminding myself it's not a race. (and wondering why no matter how carefully I cut and sew I end up with blocks anywhere from 6-7 inches when I'm finished) 

I knocked off  the last 20 Hourglass Blocks. I was doing the happy dance and fist pumping the air. I'm going to be so glad when this quilt is done because I cant wait to see how it looks!

And here's the finished pile. All 64 of them. 

I finished the last of the Rainbow Log cabin Blocks too...

And laid them out so I can sew the top this week ...Scrappy and bright really makes me happy. I LOVE the way this quilt looks. 

My flower garden hexagons got a workout  after being neglected for about two months.  3 more done and another almost finished. I still have 36 to go....Fortunately, I'm not in a hurry.

Chocolate tarts rose like a phoenix from the ashes. This was meant to be chocolate fudge but I screwed it up so badly at the heating condensed milk stage that  I had to improvise so as not to waste 400 grams (that's almost a pound ) of very nice dark chocolate. The tarts taste divine and it just wouldn't be right if I didn't manage to mess it up somehow. Just one question? Why does my pastry always end up looking like it has leprosy? 

So I'm a happy camper ...I can finally see some progress and light at the end of the tunnel with projects that have been lurking forever , and I'm enjoying sucking the chocolate filling out of those tart cases. I'd call that a successful weekend.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Favourite Things Friday

It's still Friday here, although only just. I've been flat out today with Little P related things, which also coincidentally is the subject of my Favourite Things Friday post this week.

One of the cool things about being a Bella is that you get to experience all sorts of kid related activities again. The even better thing is that when you work with kids you get to pick the brains of everyone you work with for all sorts of cheap but fun ideas for play when your own brain goes blank.

I decided a week ago that Little P had outgrown his manky collection of bath toys and needed new ones. Coincidentally two of the therapists I work with had just been shopping for toys for one of their water play groups so I took every great idea they had and went and bought all this for under 12 bucks.

Now I have to pry Little P out of the bath.

The biggest hits ? The spray bottle (cost a whole dollar ) and the noodle box Mr. P drilled holes in (which cost about 40 cents )

I have been promising Little P I would make him some playdough for about two weeks and we did that together this morning. (I am the Playdough Queen )  He insisted on red. Then he spent two hours playing with it. I just chucked half the contents of my kitchen utensil drawer on the table for implements and he was totally happy, proving yet again that kids don't need expensive toys to use their imaginations. We all need to take a lesson from that. Sometimes we grown ups complicate things unnecessarily.

Enjoy your weekend and whatever you decide to do-have fun. Keep it simple. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Breaking The Drought

Like gentle summer rain after weeks of dry and hot weather my mojo poked it's head up for a couple of days this week.  Angels sang and trumpets heralded this rare event.

When I've had anything to show at all over the past few months it's been the  same type of blocks over and over. Don't get excited - it's more of the same for this post. That's the problem with working on WIP's . It's boring for people who read your blog. 

Four more scrappy log cabin blocks. Five more of these and I'll be ready to turn them into a top. 

More work on the hourglass blocks. These seem to be taking FOREVER. I have 20 more of these to finish before it starts to resemble a quilt. I keep waiting for the quilt fairies to finish it while I sleep. So far they haven't made a visit so I keep trudging along block by block.  

I'm at the stage with the hexie cushion that I'm pulling paper templates out. Surely that means at least one finish is imminent? 


Linking up to Kate's 15 minute challenge again this week. If I don't finish something soon I think I'm going to take up ceramics. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Saturday night we officially celebrated Miss P's birthday , after she and I spent three hours at the spa getting primped, pampered and polished. I wish I could do that every week but since I spent the equivalent of the gross national debt getting so shiny and relaxed, I'll be saving that for a "sometimes" treat . And in my world sometimes is about once every four years.

I swear this is my last birthday related shot until July. I just wanted to show you the cake and Miss P all gussied up.  

Birthday celebrations finally done, I turned my attention to doing exactly what I wanted for the rest of the long weekend. Everywhere I looked people were showing off things I loved and just had to make or that reminded me of things I have been meaning to do forever. So I hung on to other peoples coat tails for the weekend and just went with their brilliant ideas. It saved me a ton of brain power. 

I totally stole this idea for speckled eggs from Clare over at Clare's Craftroom. Last year I snaffled her idea for Fabric Carrots for the Easter seems Clare is my go to girl for Easter making - either that or I'm a craft stalker

Linda posted about a lemon slice she made which prompted me to recall I have been meaning to try a ginger and lemon slice for about a month. I finally got round to that this weekend. I accidentally poured in a teaspoon of yellow food colouring thinking it was vanilla and ended up with very vivid icing, but we've come to expect a minor disaster everytime I do something that resembles baking.

Helen posted about breakfast being her  favourite thing on Friday and I stole one of her ideas and made some bacon and egg cups for breakfast on Monday.

And Ulla from Ulla's Quilt World  made the cutest little chicken pouches for Easter and provided a free template so that other people could make some too. I was all over that idea and had visions of making multiples for Easter gifts.

Mine ended up beakless (it's inside somewhere having disappeared in the turning process )and you'll also notice MY chicken has moulting tail feathers and is vision impaired..... 

Other sewing that didn't involve maiming animals has happened over the past few days and I'll share that with you tomorrow. 

Friday, March 09, 2012

Favourite Things Friday


It's been another whirlwind of a week. Crazy busy but a "good" kind of busy. Lots of golden moments full of laughter.  I'm looking forward to 5.00pm tonight though and since Monday is a public holiday here, I'm doing the happy dance at the thought of three days off. Tomorrow, Miss P and I are having a spa date and going out for lunch. Tomorrow night is her 21st party and after that I'm planning on collapsing for the rest of the weekend. 

Miss P introduced me to an app this past week called Draw Something , which is essentially like Pictionary for your I phone or I pad. She and I have been drawing back and forth all week. The ability to draw recognisable objects was left out of our DNA at conception so our attempts to convey things through visual means have been somewhat hilarious. 

I talked Little Miss Sunshine into joining me in this time sucking activity on Wednesday. Frankly her attempts to draw are no better than mine so it's an even match.  Everything was going relatively smoothly until I got home from work last night and was greeted by this email. 

"I apologise in advance. I drew something that was totally innocent. When I finished it I looked at it and saw I had drawn you porn. Sorry."

Frankly after an email like that I couldn't find my I Pad fast enough. 

All I could see was a cannon. Can someone please explain what she was talking about?

The resultant flurry of emails back and forth provided about an hour of almost wet your pants laughter. The kind of snickering laughter 15 year olds engage in. Maybe we're both reverting to our adolescence? Gosh  - I hope so because life is generally a serious business when you're a grown up and if I'd known that 30 years ago I would have refused to participate in this nonsense known as adulthood. 

My favourite thing this week is belly aching laughter and outing one of my best friends who said she was going to deny she ever drew anything resembling a cannon. Oh and the shaky writing ? That's because she was laughing so hard that she could barely write. I was so busy laughing at her drawing I didn't even notice the writing. 

Do you have a favourite thing this week?  Link up your post so we can share something that you loved this week. 

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Kate's 15 minute challenge

My usual modus operandi for sewing malaise is to start something new because that always excites me.  So Saturday morning I wrote a list of all my WIP's to see if I could convince myself to squeeze something else in but all I ended up was horrified. I have eight WIPs in varying stages of not nearly finished . The sensible voice in my head has decreed I cant start anything else until I finish something old. (I hate that chick )  At this rate  I'll probably be finishing up my flower garden hexie quilt in the nursing home.

That didn't stop me from buying fabric last week.I'm counting that as a creative pursuit. 

I  promised myself I could start one new project for any two things I finish and woke Saturday full of good intentions. Then I popped out to help Miss P furniture shop ....which turned into 4 hours of retail therapy where she didn't buy anything furniture wise but we can now both flash our new undies in public without fear of ridicule if necessary.

I also managed to come home with furniture. Can I count that as something sewing related? 

The sleeping fairy sprinkled way too much fairy dust  about Saturday afternoon and sadly I fell asleep at tea time for a 5 hour Nanna nap. Technically I guess that's more of a coma than a nap. 

Despite me mimicking Rip Van Winkle a  dozen hour glass blocks materialised this week. 

And I did a load of prep for the next time motivation finds me

 I spent some time playing with hexies 

Lookeeeee here ...actual progress!

And I got some of my scraps out and threw them round my cutting table to make it look like I'd been incredibly busy and creative. It looks so realistic I almost fooled myself. 

There you have it - the week that was. At least I found my sewing machine this week! Linking up with Kate and the gang over at Life in Pieces . Pop on over and look at all the sewing brilliance.