Friday, February 23, 2018

Second quilt finish this year! #HappiestWhenScrappiest

Yay! Christmas In Australia is quilted and bound! 

I love the fact that this quilt used up some bits and pieces I found when I did a major clean-out of the fabric in my sewing room. I also love the way that the "playing patience" block we were shown at the WAQA January sewing day took on a new look when I used four patches which were found during that clean out. 

I really love scrappy quilts, and of course if you are a quilter you make lots of scraps! 

My  favourite quilt designer is Bonnie Hunter -the scrappy queen! 


Taking pictures in my summer garden showed me just how much this quilt captures an Aussie summer, right down to those blocks with Christmas decorations printed onto yellow and green backgrounds. 

I adapted my usual meandering free motion quilting, to be more angular and block-like. It gives a nice effect, though when I went to the WAQA sewing day this month and looked at other people's quilts, I couldn't help but notice that my quilt has a LOT more quilting than other people do on theirs. I like to make sure every seam is going to stay put! 

This quilt came together very quickly. 

Now, what quilt will I make next, I wonder? 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Summer days in green and gold

Just pinned the "Christmas in Oz" quilt together. Don't know why it has taken so long to get to this stage, but there you have it. Partly it was because I was in full magazine production mode for WAQA, but still, it took a while to get this far. Not sure how to quilt it yet -it might even work with diagonal straight lines. 

The Eureka lemons are going well at the moment. I have a new citrus juicer that I bought second hand, which will help me cope with our citrus harvests. My hands struggle with some things -like opening cans and squeezing lemons. I am thinking we might make lemon passionfruit butter! 

Glorious summer days in the park behind our house. The sheoak nuts are ready to eat, and the pink and grey galahs are enjoying them very much.

DH's leg is so much better! He walked with me around Carine Open Space this week- just look at this lovely colour! Extra points for finding the coot in among the reeds. 

Our Kalamata olives are getting so big! No sign of them ripening as yet, but I am keeping my eye on them.  We have had to be a bit wary because we think there might be rats around again! We have heard some noises on the roof (in the roof?) at night. This is their hungry time of the year, and when the fruit is ripening they come for a feed! I am watching the pomegranates in particular. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Making the best of things

This post was going to be full of pictures of our trip to the South Coast. We were looking forward to long white sand beaches, granite outcrops and cool weather.  Last Sunday we packed up the house, got a neighbour to feed the cat, hitched up the trailer and we were far as Williams before we had to turn around! DH managed to twist his knee so badly he couldn't walk on it, and the medical centre at Williams was not open on the weekend. What to do? We could go on -to another town with no emergency weekend clinic...we could go all the way to Albany  (another 200 kms) and then go to the hospital there... with DH either admitted for treatment during our holiday or released to a bed for some days to recover.....

We decided to come home. We got home, unhitched the trailer with some neighbour assistance, and I drove DH to the Joondalup Emergency department. We were given every consideration and care, and by 9 pm we were driving away with painkillers and crutches. We both have words of praise for the Australian free medical system, which is world class.

For about a minute we considered getting take away food on the way home -but realized it would be quicker and nicer to eat with what we had, even if we had been running down supplies before leaving for a week.  Supper consisted of cheese and crackers and home made mango chutney, followed by home made bread from the freezer toasted and served with home made cherry jam and cream! Not too shabby at all.

At least the cat was glad we were home!

So DH spent the week on crutches, gradually improving. He is a volunteer treasurer for a small community group, so being immobilized actually worked out quite well, as he spent the week preparing the books for the auditor. 

This is not the south coast, but it is still a beautiful morning at Mullaloo. 
What have I got to complain about really? 

In the UK it is traditional to  take grapes to the sick, so every day I have been out to the Rubio grapevine to get DH some grapes. They were tied into stockings to keep the birds off them, and it has been quite successful in producing beautiful ripe fruit. A bunch a day for a whole week! 

DD and I decided to try to have fun this week, anyway. We did a tour of our favourite Op Shop haunts -and had coffee and lunches out just as we would have done on holiday.

This was my favourite op shop buy -just $3 for two pristine condition useful quilting books, and the French dictionary thrown in for free! Thanks to St Martin's Bookshop in Kensington. 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

My scrappy quilt has a name!

The quilt top is done and on the design wall. I added a bright yellow stop border.

I like to name my quilts -but nothing had emerged whilst I was sewing this one. I can't keep calling it left overs! 

As I mentioned last time, there are some strange Christmas squares in lime green and yellow among this lot. DD came home, saw the yellow border and commented that the quilt was 'very green and gold'- the colours of our Australian sporting team uniforms, our wattles and more.

Then she had a brainwave: "This is a Summer Christmas in Australia quilt!"

Yep, it sure is!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Love your leftovers!

When I mean leftovers, sometimes I mean food...of course. Using up our leftovers is a big project here, and we come up with lots of ideas to make less food waste.

Food is not the only thing that can be valued, even when a 'leftover'. Take my quilting scraps, for example. I LOVE making scrappy quilts. Fabric scraps were once paid for and so they cost the same as the whole fabric. With some creative ideas, scraps can make fabulous quilts.  Take this example below. 

This picture is of the lesson in the Block of the Month which took place at the West Australian Quilters' Association this month. It is a simple bordered square, but when cut into 4 you turn two of the resulting squares and get a new pattern.

I have a block to make for the Association, but I got inspired to see what I could make using the same layout. I had found some random 4.5 inch squares in a tidy up in my sewing room, and -wonder of wonders -some 4 patches I had made but done nothing with! What would happen if I put these together, and recreated that BOM layout? I already had some leftover green strips from my last finish here-

Here is the result -above. I am enjoying this process very much -especially because it is simply using left over pieces which have sat in the sewing room for years, and now they get to shine! I have got about half the blocks made already. 

I have started my regular morning walks, and really am taken by flowers and trees around my suburb in the early morning light. I can't always get to my beloved beach, but this is almost as good. 

The quince, olive and pomegranate are in my garden, colouring nicely.  We are scoffing black grapes from our vines at the moment! 

There is so much beauty here. 

One thing which was NOT a leftover  was that DH and I went to a lovely little country wedding in the Swan Valley last weekend. It was extremely hot but the family had cold water and paper fans for us all! Then we had dinner in  a winery nearby. Such fun to be with young people starting their married life together.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A little laundry room update

The old bulky top loader needed to be replaced. 

We bought a front loader which is much more compact.  We did our research on the Choice magazine site, and decided on this model, which was luckily more than $300 cheaper on sale at the moment.

At the same time we removed the old country-style wallpaper freeze. The shelves above the sink were removed too, and now we needed to fill the holes where they were fixed to the wall. 

DH made some drawers to go on the other side of the washing machine.

After several days of sealing the surface, DH today installed this gorgeous jarrah wood bench top. 
He has done a great job of making the bench fit and have the right holes for the power cord and hose outlet. 

The laundry now is much more useful and attractive, but we recognise we need to paint the walls after filling in some of the rough patches.

I am thinking the wood panels could be navy blue, with white above. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Water Play -my first finish of 2018

Water Play is now finished, apart from the binding sleeve and sewing on the label. This is my first finish for 2018! Here it is with my long-suffering DH holding it up in our front garden. The sea breeze was pretty strong, so we had to try to get a quick shot before it sailed away! The quilt is actually hard to photograph in artificial light, so I wanted a daylight picture to bring out all those pretty blues and purples and greens. 

You can see behind the quilt, the netted grapevine on the pergola at the front of the house. Our black grapes are just about ready for picking, if we can keep the birds away long enough! 

I chose a red binding to pick out the colour of the koi in the panel. I really like the way it frames the quilt. The panel was bought on a trip to Melbourne. The bargallo style borders around the panel were inspired by the idea of a pond with reeds and sun splashes on the water. 

Nina, my 306K did all the work on this quilt, even though I did have a few tension problems during the free motion quilting. I may have to find out how to adjust the tension, or take it for a spa at the local repairer's shop! 

I am glad I have finished this -as I will gradually have more work to do for the Quilters' magazine I edit, over the next few months, it is good to have a finish under my belt.