Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Return of The 6 Million Dollar Cat

We had a mini emergency here at the tail end of the weekend  with His Royal Orangeness deciding to have another bout of kidney-itis. Naturally this happened at 10.30pm Sunday night which necessitated a trip to the 24 hour vet (think huge bills and the vet rubbing his hands in glee because he gets to go Bora Bora on my dime for a holiday this year).

All’s well that ends well. We got to it early this time so he just needed some medication to ensure he could take a leak and some more medication to reduce anxiety and stress and he was home by early Monday afternoon. 5 minutes after arrival back home he was doing this so I figure he must have felt a lot better. 

Naturally I had to take the afternoon off work to cat sit post discharge.This presented a perfectly legitimate opportunity to get some week day sewing  done.  And did I take this golden opportunity to sew my little heart out? No I didn’t – both the cat and I (appropriately) cat napped for three hours instead.

That meant that  I was padding around the house until 3 am that night . The cat did what cats do and slept the night away. I wonder what it would be like to sleep 20 hours out of every 24. At the moment he's drugged up to the eyeballs so that probably helps. 

Anyhoo-in the wee small hours I put the binding on Superheroes 1 and Briar Rose so I have plenty of hand sewing to do when the mood strikes.  

And in the spirit of putting myself out there I'm donating Briar Rose to the Royal Society for the Blind for a silent auction to raise money for training guide dogs. I'm equal parts terrified and thrilled. What if nobody bids? 

I finished the back for Superheros 2 and I really like the simplicity of it. I have plans to de-simplify it  somewhat by adding some appliqué and if I’m feeling REALLY brave maybe some trapunto.  Hey – you have to cram in the creative thoughts as they occur. Even if it is all in the same quilt.

And I found the perfect thread for quilting Superheroes 2 yesterday in my lunch break while I was shopping for heat bond for the applique. I love variegated thread. 

And on top of all of that I still have a baby quilt to make , and my goal list for March reminds me I shot my stupid big mouth off about having that finished by the end of March ...hmnnnnnnn. I sort of have a loose plan. We'll see how if that pans out. 

Happy Hump Day people. May Wednesday be kind to you all. 

Monday, March 25, 2013


I had a rather drastic haircut on Saturday as well as a new colour (I was starting to look like Cruella de Vil or a skunk or both)  I decided to go all trendy at the suggestion of my 21 year old hairdresser and had an asymmetrical bob done which means one side of my hair is noticeably longer than the other.  I'm not sure yet whether I look hip and trendy or whether it looks like I did my own haircut with a knife and fork. 

As usual the weekend seemed to be over far too quickly. Often Sunday night appears and I think "What? almost Monday already?" like it's somehow a shock that Monday follows Sunday and that I didn't get half the things done that I'd planned. But this weekend was packed full of sewing and a couple of almost finishes in the quilting department. That's what I call a good weekend!

I put on my big girl panties and finished the quilting on Superheroes 1. I still don't think it's one of my best quilting efforts in terms of execution but the silver lining here is that it helped me decide what not to do for Superheroes 2. I'm pretty sure this is what a real spider web would look like if the spider had just dropped acid. 

I was doing the happy dance at the idea of being that close to a finish though and maybe if I wash the crap out of it all those cruddy bits I don't like will dissolve in the wash?

I'm half way through making the back for Superheroes 2 and having learned my lesson I'm keeping it simple. 

Little Miss Sunshine gave me the heads up a while back about a different method to basting a quilt and I gave that a crack this weekend. Instead of basting all three layers at once, I spray basted the front to the batting first and then spray basted the top two layers to the backing. Mind you I still pinned it to within an inch of it's life. Just to be sure.  I got great results using this method with my backing looking almost perfect when I pulled it off my basting table.

Some simple in the ditch stitching in the main body of the quilt 

And I did such an awesome job of matching the backing thread that you cant see I  did a single argyle pattern in the borders. I was originally going to use red top thread on the front in the borders but chickened out at the last minute. I'm kicking myself now because that would have looked fabulous. And I'm seriously happy with the quilting on this one. Now I just have to make the binding for both of these and spend some time hand sewing. I can sniff an imminent finish or two! It's about bloody time . I think I'm the only person in the entire quilting fraternity that hasn't had a 2013 finish!

And finally I've been the lucky recipient of some beautiful goodies the last week or so that I want to show off and say a big thank you for. 

At our sewing day last weekend Quiltygal gifted me these gorgeous babushka fabrics. Sewing friends are the best friends ever! Thank you Claire. 

And recently I've won not one , but two blog giveaways!

First up from the beautiful Elizabeth at Such a Sew and Sew I got this parcel of yumminess. I'll be sticking babushka stickers on everything I own from here on in. Too cute ! 

And from Terri at QuiltNcards  I got these awesome fabrics, some licorice (I've heard about Good and Plenty but never had any)  and since Terri is the official Queen of Paper Piecing she sent me this lovely example of her work. I was truly spoiled. 

Thank you so much ladies. Your generosity has brightened my days. 

It's off to work for me , although I'd much rather be tackling those binding jobs! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Favourite Things Friday

I have a very different kind of favourite for you today. I've debated about writing this particular post because I rarely talk about my Monday to Friday persona on my blog. There has been a ton of revision and editing because I'm always conscious that at some point a parent I work with may stumble across my blog and see the "real" me. But what happened to me yesterday was such an epiphany and has been my favourite thing by far this week so I'm taking the leap and sharing it this week. 

I've had a whinge or two (or possibly three ) lately about how busy I've been at work. Like "crazy busy". "Don't get to eat lunch most days" busy. Like "if my phone rings one more time with something else I need to do right bloody now I'm going to explode" busy.

I work at a pretty high level of busy most of the time and I think I'm pretty good at juggling and responding to individual situations.  But since I went back to work post holidays it's been insane. Usually I have a balance between the tricky stuff and the other stuff. But lately work has been all about intense situations that can't be resolved in a day or week or month. To be dramatic about it (and we all know I do love me some drama) I feel like I'm running but I'm not sure what I'm running towards or whether I'll ever catch it. And I've tried all the things I know that would usually decrease my stress levels and help me put things in perspective and I'm coming up with a big fat zero. 

Back track to yesterday morning. I had an appointment for the whole morning at a kindergarten to see one of the little munchkins I work with. I'm thinking of the two other appointments I have crammed into my afternoon as well, and wondering when I'm going to have time to return phone calls, and emails and do all the other things I need to get done before I go home. And since I have about 30 hours of work racked up behind me and I know I'm going to generate another 10 hours worth today I'm feeling beyond overwhelmed. 

It's a well known joke among some kindergarten directors that when I walk into a kindergarten where I know multiple children instant chaos ensues for at least 5 minutes post arrival because of the level of excitement that my appearance tends to generate. It's very cool to be the "Flavour of the Moment " for that 5 minutes.   I get pulled around by the hand while Child A , B or C drags me round to see their art work , tries to pull me into playing with trains/in the sandpit , or brings me a book so we can read together.  

So yesterday I walked into the kindergarten and dropped my bag and was immediately surrounded.  I had one child recount with excitement the last time we saw one another which happened to be outside of work when I was buying Christmas decorations with Little P in mid December , three months ago. 

Another little person that I normally see at home, looked at me quizzically trying  to place me because he knew he knew me but my appearance at kindy was completely out of context. It took him about 15 seconds to work it out and then I got the biggest smile ever before he flung himself at my legs for a huge squeezy hug and then dragged me off to a corner to do puzzles. 

Another child legged it the length of the playground to come and say hello yelling my name the whole way. You know what's awesome? Having someone that excited to see you. 

I had a rainbow painted in my honour, I was spontaneously offered a half eaten cracker and a bite of banana to share at eating time because I'd totally forgotten to bring my snack, and I played in the sandpit without my shoes on. I became a one woman cheer squad for two kids going up and down the slide, helped make a cubby house out of old sheets and helped someone choose a library book  to take home (Russell the Sheep in case you're interested in what the 4 year olds are reading at the moment)  

Kids have a way of putting things in perspective without even doing it on a conscious level.   Kids tend to live in the moment and take great delight and joy in most of the things they do. Disclaimer: Vegetable eating may not be on that list. Kids tend to be excited about things that we as adults would barely notice. Three hours at kindy yesterday was all it took for me to gain the gift of perspective again. I walked out of there feeling lighter and calmer than I have in a very long time because a bunch of 3 and 4 year olds showed me how it should be done. 

In my profile I make mention of working with the pre-school crowd. What I don't make mention of is that all of the children I work with have disabilities or significant delays. Every day things for some of those children can be really difficult. Sharing can be hard, waiting can be tricky, and sometimes social exchanges and interaction can be a bit of a minefield. Yesterday I was reminded that even though I may feel that I'm running round in a circle like a headless chook that the things I do really can make a difference in the long run. And that I can still be an honorary kid when I want to. I just have to seize the moment. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Originally this post was going to be about how I'm the Aussie Jack Bauer (minus the willy and American accent , and CIA affiliation and the cheating imminent death to save the world thing) because I wanted to show you the true unedited version of what happens in my life in an average 24 hours.  Sadly, in reflecting back on the list I made of every single thing I did in the last 24 hours so that I could write a rollicking blog post full of humour, and excitement and death defying stunts I've realised I am one of the most boring  people on earth. I wasn't called upon once to save the world from a nuclear attack, to unravel a conspiracy or to save the Prime Minister from an assassination attempt.

So while I was waiting for something EXCITING to happen I got on with my actual life.

Aside from reading blog posts and trying (unsuccessfully) to clear my email inbox I washed a mountain of dirty laundry. For a girl who spends a lot of time in her pyjamas there seems to be a lot of actual clothing in there...

I watered my plants. 

And I tidied my house which is not very secret agent like is it? 

I finished two more mini tote bags. The very colourful one is for Little P and the other one is a surprise for someone special. I bet Jack Bauer doesn't have time to make tote bags in between saving the world. 

I made some Oreo cupcakes for a cake stall we have going on at work today to raise funds for Guide Dog training. I don't think I've mentioned before that we have a trainee guide dog in our office because I work in the same complex where all the guide dog training happens. It's the coolest thing ever to have a dog in your office (even if you cant touch him until 5.00 pm because he's working ) 

Gotta say I loved the idea of these cakes when I saw them on Pinterest but they look like cupcake wrappers full of dirt and the addition of crushed up Oreos to the icing was a big miss because it feels like you're eating dirt too. Epic fail. If I was a CIA operative I could use these as a torture tool. 

And I ask you- how can frosting a dozen cupcakes make this much mess ?

I've been steadily working on quilting Superheroes 1 and I don't like the way it's turning out but conversely I'm too lazy to unpick it. At this point I'm hoping that a very hot wash will antique it up to the point where you can't see all the cruddy mistakes. 

My back up plan is to quilt Superheroes 2 differently to see if I like it any better.   All the rows on No 2  got sewn together yesterday because I was sorely tempted to chuck Number 1 in a corner and ignore it for a while. 

And I'm still waiting for that phone call asking for my help to save the world from imminent danger. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Favourite Things Friday

It's been a long work week despite the fact that Monday was a public holiday here. Yep- we South Australians had the day off for a horse race that most of us couldn't give a rats about. Consequently, I tried to cram 4 days worth of work into the remaining three days I was supposed to work this week but didn't quite pull it off so I'm off to work today. Before you all feel so sorry for me that you start planning a party to cheer me up -I'm planning to take Monday off instead,  which will seem silly to some of you , but for the obsessive types out there (like me !) you'll completely understand why I need to get some (hopefully most) of my outstanding work done today and not in three days time. Wow! Talk about run on sentences. I didn't breathe either as I typed that and now I'm feeling a little dizzy. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to knock off time later today.  

I've been  hearing some of my friends in the US still commenting (rather vocally) about how cold it still is there. Ummmm guys... didn't you send the weather a memo about it being 5 days off Spring? That being said, the start of the week here was a scorcher and I guess the sun can't be in two places at once. And the fact that it's still cold over there makes what I'm about to do potentially evil. 

As some of you know Mr. P and I are a planning a road trip through the US in the second half of next year.  But as I was reflecting on how awesome that is going to be, I realised that 18 months until that holiday is a looooong time to maintain my excitement so I decided to plan something "little" for this year as well. So in my not so spare time this week I've been researching flights and hotels, and things to do to escape the Aussie winter. When Sister of Pyjamas lived in the tropics I used to go there for 2- 3 weeks in the winter but since she moved here I've lost my bolt hole for winter escapes. So I've had to create my own warm weather getaway. 

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Thinking of staying here ... doesn't it look gorgeous?  

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It's been 24 years since I was last in Fiji and Mr. P has never been so since its only a hop, skip and a jump from Australia it seemed like the perfect place to land for a week or so of R & R. 

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Hoping for more than a few of these views (and cocktails.) I get ridiculously excited by pretty cocktails. 

Planning a tropical mini break is my fave this week. It's kept me going through excessively long work days and the thought that the sun is about go and hide for the next 6 months on the other side of the world. 

What about you? Any favourites to share? 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Eating humble pie

You'll notice I'm woefully late in putting up my "look what I did in February" post. I had a plan for February. An ambitious plan. A plan that somewhere along the line went dreadfully awry. 

Since I don't want to accept personal responsibility for my own shortcomings I'm blaming February for only having 28 days, the bag that got stuck in my head and wouldn't leave until I made it and the fact I wandered off and cut out a bajillion triangles when I should have been quilting for my lack of progress on  my list last month.  

And since I'm all about focussing on the positive I'm not going to re-cap what I didn't get done because the "didn't get finished" list is longer than the "Nailed it" list and that's just too embarrassing. Thanks goodness the girls helped me pull all the bits of paper out of those damn hexies because left to my own devices I'd still be pulling frigging papers out at Christmas.  

So let's just say I had a 50% success rate for February finishes and move on to March shall we? Here's what I'm hoping to get done. 

1)Re-do that blasted lounge chair. The fabric finally arrived yesterday.  I went to buy a tack remover from the hardware store last weekend and they looked at me as if I was a crazy lady but that may have had something to do with the fact that I had a tack hammer in the other hand. Or perhaps I looked like I was going to batter them to death with the tack hammer when they said they didn't have a tack remover? Whatever . The chair needs to be finished and it's going to be a bitch of a job. Maybe I'll save that for Easter weekend. It might stop me from swearing so much given the significance of the holiday and all.  

Auditioning the fabric. It would have been too bad if I wasn't happy with it because Mr. P almost died when I told him how much I spent on this lot.  
2) Finish the last 10 shirt blocks. Words cannot convey how utterly sick I am of those blocks at the moment. 

3) Make a baby quilt. I dobbed myself in to make this for one of Sister of Pyjamas friends who is expecting. I figure a baby quilt wont take all that long to put together...famous last words?

4) Finish Superheroes 1 quilt. Yep -I've spent a month procrastinating on the quilting. I'm so ashamed I'm not even going to show a picture. 

5)Put together superheroes 2  top for Little P . All the blocks are done, and I've bought border fabric so that should be an easy job.  And again Im tempting fate with over confidence!

I've learned my lesson about over ambitious lists so this months has far less on it . Maybe I'll be able to get everything crossed off that way. The big list thing doesn't seem to have been wildly successful for me so far this year. And ummm- yeah ...I've yet to finish a quilt for 2013. 

We've got an impromptu family brunch here this morning so I'm off to make coffee cake and cut fruit for fruit salad. You're welcome to drop in if you like . I always over cater. This afternoon's plan is to tackle that long avoided quilting!

Friday, March 08, 2013

Favourite Things Friday

I can't believe it's been a week since I last wrote a post! I started one on Tuesday that I haven't finished yet (does that happen to anyone else ?) and before I knew it ...BOOM...Friday had rolled around again. 

I've been looking at my house lately and thinking about updating some of the decor. So last weekend I hit Ikea and Spotlight and a few other places to see if I could find anything that tickled my decor  gene. Judging by the sizeable dent in my bank balance I was massively inspired by pretty much everything I saw. 

This is my lounge room. You'll have to excuse the picture quality . I was using my Ipad. Ipads are great for game playing and surfing the net but not so great for taking pictures and I confess I was too lazy to go find my camera. 

I love the neutral tones in my house.  But for over a year now I've been thinking some pops of colour in this room might not be a bad thing. The dilemma has been which colour should I use? I think I have that sorted out now. 

Pops of turquoise , aqua and blue. 

A new end table for the other side of the sofa.

A new print for the large wall.

Pretty cushions and new pillow forms for the old cushions. (What a difference it makes having cushions that don't resemble pancakes)

A second end table meant I had to buy another lamp. I love lamps. 

And I moved this floor lamp to behind the chair that still needs to be recovered. I'm waiting for that fabric to make an appearance at my post office...

I'm amazed at what a difference just a few sploshes of colour can make to a room. This room is my favourite thing this week. Stay tuned as I work my way through the house. Mr. P is doing a lot of eye rolling as I incessantly talk about art work , mirrors , and more cushions.  

You can link up one of your favourites from this week too. You know the drill!  Write your own post and don't forget to visit anyone else who links up to show off a favourite.