Thursday, 29 October 2015

Be Careful What You Wish For

Just ten days ago I was bemoaning the fact that I was missing quality stitching time whilst enjoying our travel adventures. Not that I wished for more time to stitch, just a more comfortable place to sit.

Me and Louise just relaxing
Well, it happened -- another darn MS episode -- hardly able to walk for the past five days the only thing to do was stay in bed or sit in the comfy chair and STITCH. As it happens, the weather turned nasty on the weekend, very wet and very windy, so that was some consolation in that we would not have been out exploring much anyway.

Today it is still raining, but I am a lot more mobile thank goodness, as we only have three more days here in Albany before we start on our travels again. In the meantime, I shall make the most of this 'episode' and continue to slowly work on some of the PiPs in my little box of goodies. So far I have managed to complete two projects.

Exchange Bookmark
Working on that bookmark
The first was a bookmark that I started ten days ago and finished on Sunday. This was part of an "exchange" with a small group of cross-stitchers that I have been stitching with for some time now.  The organiser, the lovely Julie, lives in Scotland and has been organising Round Robins for a long time. Whilst I no longer take part in the RRs because we are away travelling so much, I did sign up for the exchange bookmark, thinking I would be able to complete that whilst travelling. Yeah, that worked --- NOT! But it is now finished and on its way to ???? -- well, I can't say who because she might be reading this, but you can probably glimpse her name in the photo!!

Reverse side bookmark
When I was looking for a design, I wanted to find something that had a special meaning, so when I found some owl fabric in Kojonup on our way to Perth, I knew exactly what I would do. The Owl and the Pussycat was one of my favourite "tall tales" as a child, so it was a delight to stitch that memory into this special bookmark exchange. And Heather, I still have some of the lovely owl fabric left to take home! Any suggestions for a future project my owl-loving friend?

Deerfield Sampler


How neat is the reverse of my sampler?
The second project completed is a Deerfield Sampler that was started in a workshop held by the Toowoomba Embroiderer's Guild earlier in the year. I really loved this style of embroidery and I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop with our tutor Flo Longmore. Look how neat the reverse is - the OWO said he couldn't tell the difference between front and back but I know he was just being kind because I was in so much suffering this week!


Saturday, 17 October 2015

Wildflower Westerly Wanderings

What an amazing six weeks this has been. We left our beautiful home on the 4th of September- just as Spring flowers began to bloom - to begin an incredible journey to the shores of Albany in Western Australia.

What?? No shopping!!!
After five weeks travelling we have finally arrived at our destination where we will reside for the next three weeks. I am not going to give you a "travelogue" here but if you are interested in following our adventures then you are invited to read our travel blog at theramblingretirees.blogspot.com.au 
With a couple of weeks access to the internet, although intermittent, I will update our travel blog, so please check out the site regularly for the updates on our adventures.

After so many days in the 'wilderness' it is lovely to be able to sit and stitch in the comfort of an armchair. Don't get me wrong here, I have absolutely loved travelling this wonderful country but there are two things I missed more than anything else --- a HOT shower, and somewhere to sit and stitch away from the dust and flies!!!
Desert stitching - Montecollinor  Bore

Whilst making that latter remark I do have to quantify that I did get some stitching times whilst travelling, sitting in some of the most beautiful spots imaginable. Of course the OGO (who has now become the OWO - the Old WHITE One) just had to immortalise his Stitching Queen on film.

Strezlecki Track

'The Breakaways' Campground - inspiration plus


Whilst I was very selective on what projects I packed for this adventure, it never occurred to me that I would not be able to stitch for long periods because of the dust and flies.

At the end of five weeks travel I managed to complete two hand stitched projects. So no doubt there will still be a number of PIPs going home at the end of November.
With Hearts, Love Grows

'And Angels Sing'

In the meantime I shall enjoy the comfort of an armchair until the end of October with projects in hand , a cat by my side, and a glass, or two, of Margaret River wine.


Thursday, 20 August 2015

"One Very Happy Camper"

Many of my regular readers will recall the lovely bright quilt top I put together in February, called "Cabin Beneath the Stars" - photo of the finished top in the March post.  The top was made using some left over jelly roll strips used in the "Bugs in a Rug" floor quilt made for Master K. I added a few more fabrics from my stash and made the top large enough to fit the queen size mattress in our camper trailer. Of course, I didn't give any thought as to HOW I was going to quilt it on my home machine, OR what to use for the backing! So it was put away with the other PIPs in my "must-do" work basket.

We are now only two weeks away from the start of our three month adventure to Western Australia, so I thought it was time to put aside all other projects and try to finish our "camping" quilt - not withstanding a few "dilemmas" of course!

Dilemma One:  What to back it with? And do I want to add batting? My first thoughts were to use one of my microfibre blankets - you know the ones - they are fluffy and very warm. Nope, not big enough. Search the stash - nothing that fit the idea I had in mind. Oh, but wait - what about those few winter fabrics in the laundry cupboard? Ah, herein lies the beauty of the saying - "I'll buy that fabric on special - might come in handy for a project one day". And there I discovered a long forgotten "end-of-bolt" warm corduroy - metres of it -- certainly more than I needed for this project. And NO, there would be no batting used.

Dilemma Two:  Fabric not wide enough but lots of length.  So I measured, and measured again (always remember - Measure twice, Cut once). Cut the desired lengths (which was really the width of the quilt and not the length), and stitched together to give me the desired width and length. Now with the two pieces joined there was more length than the size of the quilt (and it was slightly wider - about 2.5").

Stitching the self-binding bottom
Dilemma Three:  Yep. What to do with the extra length. Do I cut it to size? Nope. I decided to make it longer, to fit under or over the pillows. Process:  As there was to be no batting I decided to join the top and backing fabric together like a sack, so it became more of a warm coverlet rather than a thick quilt. First I joined the top and bottom of the top to the top and bottom of the backing. Not a good move as the backing was slightly wider than the top - only by 2.5" each side, but enough to make it all out of shape. Unpick the bottom seam and have a rethink. Presented Dilemma Four - of course.

Dilemma Four:  Where to from here? Isn't it a great feeling when you suddenly have a creative thought and things start to come together. Laying the conjoined top and backing out on the guest double bed I discovered there was enough backing fabric along the bottom and sides to create a "self-binding". So I set to with pins and binding clips to fold and pin the bottom binding first. Took it to the machine - and voila - an open sided "sack".
Stretchy sides?

Bottom and side self-binding complete
I was a little hesitant about stitching the sides. As I mentioned, the backing fabric is a warm corduroy (more like velveteen actually), but the only thing I was concerned about was that it is a STRETCH cord. A little more difficult to sew but what the heck. I had successfully managed to deal with the other Dilemmas and was determined there would be no more. So I decreased the pressure on the machine foot and slowly stitched the sides a small section at a time (stitch, stop, remove pins/clips, adjust) and in no time at all there was one finished coverlet ready for the camper trailer bed.

Yay - Finished Coverlet!
The OGO was a little disappointed that it was not actually a "quilt" per-se, with no warm batting. But he was still impressed with the finished coverlet (more impressed that I had ACTUALLY FINISHED another project from my PIPs basket!!!!).

So I am One Happy Camper looking forward to our three month adventure to Western Australia starting on 3rd September.  If you would like to follow our adventure you are more than welcome to go on over to our travel blog - www.theramblingretirees.blogspot.com.au

We'll be posting photos and a little summary of the different areas we will be travelling through.

A very Happy Camper!!!


But before then I think I may have time to put up one more post here as I hope to finish a couple of more things before we leave home. So now I'm off to the Woman's Cave to see what other creative things I can work on.

Hugs and Happy Stitching 

Lallee 


Saturday, 15 August 2015

Mid Year Crisis is Over

Wow - it's August! And I have to admit that I am delighted that the first half of this year has gone and the OGO and I can look forward to the second half of 2015 with great expectations. Yes, it has been some time since my last entry shared with you and I wish that I could say it was because I was far too busy in the Woman's Cave or travelling around the country.  Some of that is true (the travelling bit anyway) but mostly it has been more because of the OGO's health issues - which I am delighted to say have now been dealt with and the crisis is over.  Time to move on to more positive things methinks!

There were two very wonderful events, or moments in time, in the first half of 2015.  One in March when a beautiful new addition to our family arrived in the shape of a baby boy for Mrs K. This little one is a delight and a joy to us all - but especially the OGO who seemed to form a bond with the little one since day one. So we have now been blessed with FOURTEEN beautiful grandchildren. All strong and healthy - for which we are very blessed.
"Ya-Whoo" - Owls for Heather - July 2015
The other wonderful moment in time was to hear the news from the lovely Heather in Tasmania that she was clear of all cancer following months of chemo treatment. Such wonderful news and I wish her continued good health for a long time yet.

After the OGO's op in July I managed to re-ignite my passion for my craft work and set about making gifts for Christmas. I know, I know - such a nasty word so early in the year. But getting things started now means less rush and stress in December - especially as the OGO and I are off on another adventure from early September until the end of November.  Anyway, despite being mid-year, I have managed to start ticking off my list of goodies for family and friends.
Large Arrowhead Cushion cover

Drink bottle carriers
 
Matching cushion covers - Ooh La La

My 2015 goal was to finish some of my PiPs before starting any new projects. Yeah..... well that didn't last long. I did manage to finish some of the small PiPs.   The Aussie floral placemats, French General fabric cushion covers, and the bottle carriers were all small PiPs started in 2014. Christmas gifts do you think??

 I still have a large number of PiPs to work on (maybe whilst travelling for three months do you think?), but I have also started (and finished in some cases) a number of new projects, as I felt the need for more challenging projects.

Cozy Afternoon BOM Block 1 close-up
Cozy Afternoon BOM Block 1
One of the new projects is a BOM by Jacquelynne Steves called "Cozy Afternoon". This is a FREE online project offered over five months - I only signed up for it two weeks ago and I have completed two blocks (photos below and on Pinterest). A great project for using up some of my stash, which seems to be growing faster than rabbits can breed!!!  This is the first "online" project I have taken part in and it's quite good fun being able to share the end project with others.  If you would like to see the full project, you can just click on the link above and it should open in another page.


Of course, there are other "new" projects happening in the Woman's Cave. Things like the beautiful "Gift of the Month" projects from Faeries in My Garden - quite a challenging project the last one which arrived in two parts (photos next time I hope). Not yet completed but well on the way. And the Hexies Storage Bag that I showed you part of last post, is now finished and full of things to work on whilst travelling.
Hexi bag front - embroidered

Inside Hexi bag - all ready to travel

Hexi bag back - zippered close

And so the next two weeks will be busy getting everything ready for our travels to WA with the camper trailer.  Of course, there will still be time to work on projects in the Woman's Cave - and I do have to prepare some "hand" projects to take with me - how would I survive for three months without a challenging project or two!!!
Placemats for travelling

FiMG Picnic Placemat

FiMG Placemat ready for travelling

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Confined Again!

Confined to bed rest once AGAIN!  After a necessary root canal operation at the Day Hospital I am restricted to two days "rest" , which under the OGO's interpretation of instructions from the dentist, means either time in bed or time in my lounge chair!

Thank goodness for a thoughtful son who provided his father with the gift of an iPad 18 months ago. Time to surf the web and time looking through Pinterest without that feeling of guilt I usually have. Also time to work on all my new hand stitching projects that I wasn't going to start.

At the moment I have four "new" projects and three older PIPs (Projects in Progress) hand stitching projects sitting on my work table. There are also two quilts in progress that I will return to once over my "confinement". Two days of hand stitching might just get one project finished and ready to piece together on the machine.

Recently spent time going over my blog posts and realised there are a few projects that I finished last year before Christmas that I had not shared on my blog. As the original idea for setting up this blog was a journal of projects I had been working on during the year I decided to add a page with photos of completed projects for 2014. If you would like to view that page it is on the menu bar below the blog title.

Cabin Beneath the Stars - Jelly Roll Log Cabin
Work in the Woman's Cave has been slow this past ten days as I have been spending time 'training' the OGO in setting up his own blog. After seeing the EXCELLENT job I have done with our travel blog (and this blog), and a little encouragement from me, he decided he needed a personal blog to show off his photographic talents. So 'RoCs World in Photos' was created for public sharing. We think his blog will complement our travel blog with more photos of the wildlife and landscapes we see on our adventures. Now that I have promoted the OGO's blog, back to my own.

Last month I decided to try and start on my Christmas gift list. So far I have spent more time getting ideas from library books and Pinterest than I have making the items. But I have managed to finish a lovely cushion cover this week using the disappearing nine patch technique. As I haven't yet decided who to give it to, I thought I could share it with you.

Do you know what this little house holds?
Bugs in a Rug floor mat - finished & delivered
Thought I would also share the other small projects that I have started, despite vowing no more until I had completed the older PIPs. My excuse is that I need lots of hand stitching projects to take with us when we leave for the NP in May --- oh, and for our train adventure in April!!! Haha.

Until next time, happy stitching.

Reverse Bugs in Rug
Disappearing 9 patch cushion cover finished
Ellies in progress 1
Progress on Ellies Wall hanging for Women's Cave
Embroidered Hexies Bag - Faeries project
Mountmellick project - My Welsh Heritage
Hexie bag embroidery

My Welsh Heritage project - Mountmellick work

More designs for My Welsh Heritage project

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Relaxing Time









After a very busy, and quite stressful, few days last week, this Crafty Miss is enjoying some time out with the OGO.



Chilling out at the Mouses House

As a birthday gift the OGO booked us into the Mouses House in Springbrook. My favourite place to celebrate special occasions. This time it was to celebrate my birthday, but as it turns out we are also celebrating the birth of our grandson.

This is a beautiful location with purpose built chalets in the rainforest. Nine of the original chalets were named after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, plus the Wicked Witch. There have been three other chalets added - Prince Charming, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. The latter is the newest luxury chalet and is where we are enjoying some quality time out.
The chalet has luxury appointments, including a spa bath and a private hot tub, overlooking the rainforest stream.
Lounge & kitchen area
Of course, the OGO's quality time out revolves around his bird photography, for which there is plenty of opportunity here. Naturally my quality time revolves around......... Yep, you guessed it....... Stitching!!!!!! What a beautiful spot for inspiration and motivation to work on my beautiful embroidery pieces .......

 Of course all that is between relaxing in the hot tub after some short walks in the forest, glasses of bubbly, and simply sumptuous delicacies of seafood, cheese, local fudge, and fresh fruit ... Oh, and must not forget that lovely massage!!!!

Stitching as always!





Well, that's it folks. Guess you are all feeling a little envious by now, so I'm off for another soak in the hot tub and another glass of bubbly.
Cheers!!

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Oh My Gosh ---- It's actually 2015!

Hello at last from a very slack Creative Miss.
No excuses for my long time absence ---  just far too many "life" issues happened in the past four months that took precedence over my blogging time. Health issues have been at their peak during that period, with three relapses for me in a five week period and the OGO undergoing a number of tests that have shown cancer of the prostate.  The latter issue will be resolved when the OGO has the necessary op to remove the prostate. The former may have a short term result if I am prescribed stronger medication.  That's all the dull stuff out of the way.

Now the exciting stuff - grandchild number fourteen is due any day and we are just waiting for the anticipated telephone call before we head off to Mackay to welcome Baby K. Thank goodness he didn't decide it was time to enter this world at the same time as Cyclone Marcia appeared!  Speaking of which - my heart goes out to all those affected by the destruction of Cyclone Marcia.  I know that many will have lost many precious things in the wake of the cyclone but I am sure that, in true Australian spirit, the people in those areas affected will receive comfort from the support they are given by people far and wide.

Despite my slack blog entries I have actually kept quite busy in the Woman's Cave, especially after the OGO and I decided not to sell our lovely home in Toowoomba, and opted for a bit of "updating and rearranging" instead.  With new carpets being chosen for all four bedrooms  -- one of which has been used as the Woman's Cave for some time now - we moved furniture, emptied cupboards, rearranged rooms, and did a general 'clear-out'.  Result --- the Woman's Cave is now roomier and much easier to work in! Still working on a few more changes - such as a more "permanent" display wall -- but it really does make a difference to the working mojo.

Some Xmas work.
In my last post I was starting work on my Christmas cards.  I actually made and sent out almost 40 cards before Christmas - some of which can be seen on my Pinterest site.  Cardmaking in the Woman's Cave became my priority at that time as I was unable to work on my sewing machine. So glad that I have a second option to work the hand/brain coordination when nothing else works.


For some years now I have managed to give handmade gifts to family members for Christmas, and sometimes special birthdays.  Unfortunately my list of handmades last year was very minimal. However, the gifts I did make and give were greatly appreciated by my three neices in Brisbane - making things earlier in the year was certainly a bonus this time. Perhaps a lesson for me to learn and continue to work with.

Meg's Strippy
This strippy lap quilt was my first strippy project. It is based on a design called Liberated Log Cabin which I found in a library book last year. It is a Quilt As You Go technique. I used scraps from other projects and used fabric from the stash of dress fabrics I have from years gone by. It was fun to make. Completed in October 2014 it made a lovely Christmas gift for my neice who is currently living in Tasmania and will appreciate a little extra warmth this Winter.


Made for Arwen.

Knitted for Arwen

There was another new arrival in December - another great-neice for me, with a beautiful Welsh name - Arwen Joy.  Another opportunity to finish a couple of IPs (incomplete projects) - a dress and bonnet that my own mother had started before she died in 2007. I also knitted a jacket and bootees from an old pattern book that I had kept since the early 70s.  Wow, can't believe I wrote that!

Owls have found a Home
In my preious posts you will have seen photos of completed, or almost completed, projects. One of those completed projects was an owl banner, made for the Toowoomba Quilters challenge in 2014.  I am delighted to say that those owls are now happily hanging in the home of a special friend in Tasmania. Heather was diagnosed with lymphoma in January and has adopted the owl as her symbol of strength. So I felt it was a perfect gift to send to that special lady.

Close up of Country Romance for Miss H.
One of the "almost completed" projects was the Country Romance quilt that I had been working on for quite some time (my first BOM from 2007 I believe). Although my enthusiasm to complete the quilt had grown immensely in 2014, I really had no idea who I would give it to.  Well, it has been "claimed" by my daughter in the UK. Miss H was the only immediate family member in the UK who had not received one of my quilts, so I am delighted that she has chosen one that I have worked so tirelessly on for so long.  It's still not finished as I am hand quilting and not machine quilting the top, but it should be on its way to the UK later this year.

There are more projects to show, but I think I have stretched my friendship with all of you with such a long post, so I will save the rest for another day.
Country Romance top ready to hand quilt