Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Stay Safe!

I’m not sure how many of my readers come from the storm affected areas in the US, but I just wanted to wish you all good luck through the next few hours!  It could not be a more perfect day here in South Australia, seems unbelievable what you guys are going through.

So stay safe, keep dry and see you on the other side!


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Grandmother’s Choice Block 5 New Jersey

I’ve spend some time lately trying to catch up on my Grandmother’s Choice.  I’ve now made seven of the eight blocks, and block five was the latest one:

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It was all easy peasy really, and it wasn’t till I had the whole thing made that I realised that I didn’t do a brilliant job.  Up close and personal it’s a little too wonky in parts for my liking, but I didn’t really want to unpick it given that it’s all bias triangles.

But when you put it with the rest of them, it looks fine.

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I think once it’s all together and I’ve made all of my blocks, it’'ll look fine.

Tomorrow, perhaps I’ll catch up on that last block.

Till tomorrow,


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Show and Tell


When we closed the shop, there as quite some thought as to the next stage of our lives.  I knew what mine was going to be – I had a five year old about to go to school, and a toddler at home with me.  That part of it was easy.

But I think my mother (hi mum, she reads this now) found it a little more challenging, and so she invested her time (and money) into a long arm machine quilting machine.

Slowly but surely she is building up a clientele, and this is one of her custom jobs. 

I’ve included a few closeups, because the quilting is lovely (as are the blocks).


This pattern is from a local(ish) company called Kids Quilts.  They have lots of lovely things. 


Mum’s done little daisies in the quilt block above, can you see them?


Cross-hatched basketweave quilting.  Apparently v.v. complicated.




How cute is the little doll in the corner?


And some closeups of the back. 


It’s hard to take a photo of the back, because white doesn’t show up well.  But I think I did okay here.

I’d rather pull my teeth than do custom machine quilting for people, but I think she’s very, very clever.  And it means I don’t have to do my quilting any time soon.  Yay.  One of the perks.

Till tomorrow,


Monday, 22 October 2012

Grandmother’s Choice

Hi lovely readers. 

Mental time here right now.  But I did slip in a little sewing.  I present the latest Grandmother’s Choice block for you.


I’m really pleased with this.  I took Barbara’s advice and used the 1/16th measurement on my Blockbase programme, and it worked a treat.  Right on size.  It’s amazing how much of a difference that makes when all is said and done.

I’ve lots of lovely photos to post in the next few days but I find it hard to get them cropped and uploaded in a way that pleases perfectionist me.  So keep an eye out.

Till tomorrow


Saturday, 13 October 2012

Grandmother’s Choice Week Four–Kansas Sunflower

I gave Barbara’s pattern a real go, truly I did.  I ended up throwing my results out because – quite frankly – they were hideous.  I tried very hard but sometimes I just have to cut my losses and admit that I’m not that good a quilter yet.

I did decide to make another block that wasn’t just a walk in the park. I wanted one that challenged me, but one that I could actually do.  I chose another Blockbase sunflower block – this one called, surprisingly enough, Sunflower.


This was the start:


I hand pieced the first and second row using cardboard templates and english paper piecing.

I appliqued it to the background and then added the needleturned flowers.


and I ended up with a finished result like this:


Not the best photo but the block I’m decidedly pleased with.  Compared to my original version, it ticks all the boxes – it’s a sunflower, it’s challenging enough, and it’s finished.

I’ve got two more blocks to do and then I’m up to date.  That’s tomorrow’s goal.

See you soon,


Friday, 12 October 2012

Our excellent adventure part two

After our time spent wandering around Bendigo, we drove the two hours to Melbourne.  I have to tell you, my husband is a star.  Drove us right into the middle of the city with no complaints.  I’d be grey from the worry or bald from the stress of pulling my hair out.  But he was totally unflappable. 

Clever man, he got us there, and we stayed at a very lovely hotel.  The girls loved it, we were on the seventh floor and they thought we were SO HIGH, MUM.  Our days were spent doing the usual tourist thing.  We went to the Museum, the Aquarium and the Zoo.

It’s funny what you find when you don’t seek to find it.  I think that word is serendipity.  We went to the Zoo on the day before we left, and found in the middle of it a small park where the kids can run around like lunatics and eat their lunch.  We also found this.


Ignore the small children popping up in the photos.  I don’t know who they belong to.  This elephant was covered in brightly coloured metals.  It was AMAZING.

After wandering into the small park complete with antique merry go round (I didn’t take a photo of it but the little children had the BEST ride), we found all of these:

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Can you see?  How fantastic.  Too much to look at, every inch is painted.

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Each elephant had a plaque at the bottom that explained why the painter had decided to go the way they did with their designs, but I didn’t get much chance to read them due to those pesky kids.

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With all the luscious painting over so many of these guys, this pure gold one really stood out.  There’s something about the simplicity of it that appealed to me.

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So many wonderfully painted designs.

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I’m sure that each one means something to the designer.  Some are very obvious.  Some, like the one above, not so much.

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Oh look!  A quilted one!  This one seemed a little insipid compared to some of the other ones but appealed to me because – well, I’m a quilter.

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So many people did the beautiful (but obvious) painting of endangered animals.  This one was totally made from reclaimed bits of metal.  Totally, fabulously amazing. 

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Very aztec.  Very arty.  Can you see the bones underneath?

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I took photo after photo.  I still didn’t take all of the photos I could have.

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Very rainforest- inspired.  Bright green was everywhere on this day.

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Fish.  Seahorses.  Random child.

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LOVED this one.  Loved the random jumble of brightly coloured animals and birds.   Loved that despite it's randomness, it worked.

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Pink. Handy. Yep.

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Almost hippy.  I love the way all the artists painted their eyes different.  Some were the eyes of other animals, like this one.

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The rest of the wonderful rusty one.  Can you see the tap for his nose? Bike chains were his nose.  Spanners were his jaw.  Clever, clever people.

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Every inch was painted.  The inside legs, and tummies.

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This one stood out.  I guess when I think of elephants, I think of the sunsets over the Sahara.


Pink!  Again. 

Oh those kids again.  I wish their mother would control them.


A delicately painted black elephant, looking like he’s wearing a gold nightie.


Is this a red panda?  There was a real one at the zoo but he was fast asleep, didn’t want to come out and play.


One side of a lovely one.


The other side of it.  Very clever.  Some people are so very clever.


Butterflies and bamboo.


Can you see the leopard on the ear?  And the cat on the trunk?  Look at that elephant’s eye, looking at you.


Every inch of this one was covered. 


And this little beauty – well he was knitted!  By far the most realistic elephant there.  People kept touching him.  The texture of the fabric used really invited people to touch him. 


This is a very American Indian inspired one.  Lots of dream catchers painted on it.


The Melbourne Trams are famous.  This is the city nightlife, and the trams of Melbourne.  Radically different from the rest. 


Apparently, this child’s favourite.  Or so she kept telling me. 

Oh alright, they are my girls.  Rabbits.  Kept on insisting that I take their photo.

So that was my zoo day.  Yes, there were a thousand animal photos too but I figured this post may well blow up your computer with all the pictures.  Maybe I’ll post the animals tomorrow.

Or it may be back to quilting.  Who knows?

Till tomorrow,


Thursday, 11 October 2012

Our Truly Excellent Adventure Part One.

So, as you know, we have just got back from a lovely holiday in the thriving metropolis that is Melbourne.

I won a raffle a few months ago and first prize was four nights of accommodation (and breakfasts!) at a chain of hotels.  I could have had my pick at any one of them in any of our capital cities, but as you know, Australia is a large place.  Cities are far apart and mostly accessible by plane. 

I don’t like flying much. And it was school holidays, so flight prices were INSANE.  So we decided that it would be a good idea to take the little people on a road trip to Melbourne.

Melbourne is eight hours away by car, which is altogether too long for a seven and a four year old, so we broke our trip into two days travelling.  We chose a point kinda half way and decided to spend the night in Bendigo.  Turns out it wasn’t half way, but no matter.

For those of you unfamiliar with Australia, Bendigo is a town/city founded in the Gold Rush.  The money was pouring in around 1850-1900 (the Victorian Era) and as a result, it is filled to the brim with old buildings, old pubs, old houses and stunning public spaces.

I took loads of photos (of course I did).  Here are some.

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Every street corner has an old building on it.  Mostly they are restuarants now, but in the old days, they were pubs or banks.  LOTS of banks in Bendigo.  Or at least there were once.

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Lots of financial institutions back in the day.  This one is now a restaurant.

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Being a Victorian Era town, there was of course a statute of Queen Victoria.  She gets around, old Queen Vic.  I think there’s one in Adelaide too.

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Just some random old building in the middle of a beautiful park.  I think this was a dedication to returned soldiers. 

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Bendigo has this amazing park right in the middle of the city.  It was a welcome relief to kids who wanted to run and run, and parents who were terrified they’d dart into traffic.  We spent a long time here in this park.  We bought our lunch and ate it in the sun.

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They are very proud of their tulips in Bendigo. 

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As well they should be.

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Oh look.  Quilting inspiration is everywhere!

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I’ve heard of Yarn Bombing but never seen it.  The kids thought it was ‘awesome, mum'!’.

You could stick me in Bendigo for the rest of my life and I would be happy.  I think it’s a magical place.  So filled with history, every house is an old one, antique shops filled every street (oh but was I allowed to look in any of them??? I think not!).

I didn’t get to see any quilt shops there, but no doubt they are there!.

Tomorrow – more from our truly excellent adventure!