Moving on…

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A beautiful wattle near us

So ok it’s been “a while” since I posted anything… My life has been full and I haven’t A: had time and B: felt like I had anything very exciting to contribute to the blogging world. I was reading some other blogs and admiring their art, craft and produce. I thought I might add a few things I’ve been doing and some thoughts I’ve had.

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I love this bridge. We walk the dogs to this spot along the river

We have moved from the red dirt, salt lakes, blue,blue skies and salmon gums to a farming area. We moved in August when the fields were green and splashed here and there with that beautiful bright yellow of Canola crops. At first we didn’t have a house to move to, but I put out the “please find us something” vibe to the universe and my good old Aunty Bev found us a place. I know it was her because it’s in Beverley and she was named after the town… The house is a little small and we have had to cram our abundance of stuff into it. Perhaps the universe is telling me to downsize lady! I had been slowly ferreting out the unused, unnecessary and anything unwanted before our move, but it seems I have more work to do.

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The baby quilt, unfinished but not far from being ready. The colour is brighter in the flesh.

Before our move we had a week off work and took our “new” van up the coast with some friends of ours. Along the way we stopped overnight to visit a friend who we hadn’t seen in over 16 years. It was a lovely catch up, plenty to tell each other of the interceding years. The van worked fantastically! Our dogs loved it, they have their own lounge in the van. She’s an old girl but well built and has been looked after. It was nice to just pull up and wind the legs down, pull out the awning and sort out a couple of things inside. Only took us 10 minutes, me inside and my husband outside. Our old van was the wind up type with the pull out end. We had it down to a good half hour but now it’s so much quicker and we get to have a coldy sooner. Bonus! After this happy holiday we got the news that we were moving.

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Close up of some of the characters

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The photos are a bit blurry, still getting use to a new phone camera

I have finally set up my sewing room, just in time to make a baby quilt for my nephew’s first baby, a little girl. So beautiful… I bought some May Gibbs material a while ago, being a big fan of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, and I have used this to make the quilt. I went with a simple 4 patch, 2 squares of the May Gibbs material and 2 plain: yellow and cream. When I started the quilt my little great niece hadn’t been born so these colours suited either sex. I am currently contemplating the quilting pattern for the edge. Once I have that sorted then it just needs binding. I think I will make some leaves for the back of the quilt to write her name etc on…

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The “darker pattern”

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I love making baby quilts. There is something whimsical and fun about them. They don’t take long either. It’s been about 3 weeks from selecting the materials, choosing a pattern to use, cutting, sewing and quilting. I’ve been going to work on and off as well. It’s nice to see a quilt come together and show it’s character. I found a Gumnut Baby beanie, online, to go with the quilt. I can’t wait see photos of her wrapped in the quilt with her little beanie on.

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The quilt squares in sets of 4

I have also been setting up a vege and herb garden. Some of my plants died in the move so I needed to replenish them, and some were in the ground so we left them for the next people to enjoy. I have a deck area in the new house and the plants seem to enjoy the aspect. My clever hubby has set up a watering system for me too, salvaged from our last garden. We put up a blind at one end to minimise some of the wind and create a bit of shade for the hot summer. I bought some self watering pots on a stand and they seem to be working well. Nothing beats cutting your own lettuce and herbs for a salad or to put in your sandwiches. I’m waiting on the strawberries and some tom thumb tomatoes.. yum! My husband had to leave the passionfruit vine behind so I’ve got one of those on the go too. Might be a while before he can pick some fruit, just as well the vine in Perth is producing some fruit for him.

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The self watering pots in a stand

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One bonus of our move is being closer to our family. We only have a 1 1/2 hour trip now, which is much better than the 8 hours we had before. Our eldest son has had some medical issues this year and being so far away was very stressful. I still lay awake at night worrying about him, but at least now I can jump in the car and see him and return home again if I wish to. We count our blessings when we can.

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Tomato and Basil

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Lime in the foreground, Rosemary behind

Well that about sums up our last few months.

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Snoopy taking time to smell the flowers

Annette’s Tea Cosy

The teapot

The teapot

The teacup, saucer and matching plate

The teacup, saucer and matching plate

While we were back in the big smoke we visited a friend of mine. We met Annette and Trevor when our boys played basketball together. That was over 10yrs ago now and we have all remained friends long after the glory days of basketball. While we were there we got chatting about her tea set. She showed me a gorgeous little teapot with red and white roses. The teacup that matches has a lovely shade of yellow inside, which makes it look like it is aglow with sunshine. Anyway in the course of the conversation I mentioned that I had been making tea cosies and would she like one? So here I go again, (as John English once sang..). I took a photo of the little teapot and set, as I wanted to match the red colour on the lid. There are many shades of red so, fingers crossed, I have managed to get a colour that compliments, rather than clashes. The proof will be in the pudding.

Three pieces of material soon to be a teacosy

Three pieces of material soon to be a teacosy

After washing and ironing the materials it was time to fish out my trusty Simplicity pattern. This has a variety of  kitcheny type products you can sew to spruce up your home.

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I cut out the pieces using the pattern. The fiddly bit is pencilling in the lines and dots, but makes it easier once you begin to sew.  You have to add buttonholes to thread through the ribbon and leave a channel for the elastic so it pays to mark these out clearly.

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I added a splash of yellow to match in with the teacup and saucer. In the above photo you can see the main material with the band material on. To the right is the inside material which has had the padding added and quilted. I like to use wool wadding as it keeps the teapot toasty warm and is easy to sew on, but any padding would do. The inside material is sewn to the yellow band and, once sewn down the sides and turned through, allows some of the inside material to show at the top of the tea cosy.

Two halves ready to be joined by elastic and ribbon to make a teacosy

Two halves ready to be joined by elastic and ribbon to make a tea cosy

One of the “tricky” parts to the tea cosy is sewing in the buttonholes on both sides of the cosy. I used the buttonhole function on my machine, doing a practise one first. They turned out great, the more I do the better it gets 🙂   (Don’t look too closely at yours Fran..)

The buttonholes

The buttonholes

Once you have the halves together you stitch in the channel for the elastic and a channel for the ribbon.  Then you are ready to put the elastic through. I used a safety pin to thread it through, pinning the end of the elastic in place so as not to lose it when it’s pulled through.

Elastic being threaded through the bottom

Elastic being threaded through the bottom

Once both sides of the teacosy are threaded with the elastic you sew the ends together, another tricky bit. Trying to keep the tiny ends together while sewing on the machine was a bit of a trial, in hindsight I could have handsewn them with less fiddling about. Once they were sewn you conveniently hide the sewn together ends in the channel.Thank goodness because mine looked woeful!

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I was now ready to thread some ribbon through the top but only problem is I forgot to buy some while near some shops. Nothing here so I had to think of something alternative…. I remembered I had bought a lovely book from BH&G which had knitting and crochet patterns in. Plus the bonus was you also got a set of knitting needles, 2 crochet hooks and a large needle for threading wool, all for $12.95 delivered to your door. Bargain! So I fished out some red wool I had and crocheted a “ribbon”. It has been many years since I have crocheted so it was good to have the book to remind me of the stitches.

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So I chained a length that I thought would be long enough to fit through and be tied, then did a simple double crochet to make the “ribbon.”  I toyed with putting tassels on the end but decided against it. Instead I curled the ends up to form a sort of flowery ball thing… Anyway I was happy with the results and hope my friend is too. She can always replace it with some pretty ribbon if she’d rather that look. Now I just hope it will look okay with the little teapot.

The finished teacosy

The finished tea cosy