Baby Quilt: signed, sealed and almost delivered…

 

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I sewed leaves on the back with important details. The leaf with her name I have not shown

I have finished the baby quilt and I am quite pleased with it. I have sent it by registered mail and it should arrive tomorrow! I’m excited to see what they think and I’m wanting to see her wrapped in the quilt. I bought a Gumnut Baby hat through Etsy and it matches perfectly. I have also purchased a Gumnut Baby Book to go with it too. I’m so excited…

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The photo doesn’t do justice to the colours in the quilt.

My nephew’s dad is my brother. Both his parents have passed away and I feel like it is part of my family duty to make up for the loss of these grandparents for the baby. I hope they would have been pleased with my efforts.

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The close up picture is a little better… but it is brighter than this

My nephew has a twin sister, so I have plenty of material left over for her first born too. Being twins I think it is fitting to have a matching quilt. I will put green material with hers so there will be a point of difference, but also that connection.

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This is the cute little Gumnut Babies hat. I have left the plastic on so it remains pristine for bub…

So now I’m itching to make another one. I just might get the “twin” quilt made. you never know when you might receive happy news…

🙂

China on my mind..

Ok so I had so many photos I thought I might post some more in a blog. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did being there.

A beautiful display and more stairs

A beautiful display and more stairs

The more animals on your roof the more important the building. This one was very important

The more animals on your roof the more important the building. This one was very important.

I loved the big red doors in China.

I loved the big red doors in China.

The South Gate at night in Xi'an.

The South Gate at night in Xi’an.

You can see the state of the warriors when they are unearthed. A lot of work goes into reconstructing them.

You can see the state of the warriors when they are unearthed. A lot of work goes into reconstructing them.

The Warriors had colour painted on them but after a short time of being exposed to the air it all faded. They are trying to work out a way of preserving the colours on the ones that haven’t been dug up yet.

Two of these were also unearthed. Made out of bronze it is quite spectacular up close.

Two of these were also unearthed. Made out of bronze it is quite spectacular up close.

This was one of 8 poles either side of a memorial. They changed colours and had many different looks, from bricks to flowers.

This was one of 8 poles either side of a memorial. They changed colours and had many different looks, from bricks (as above) to flowers.

The moat around the Xi'an Wall. You can see how smoggy it is.

The moat around the Xi’an Wall. You can see how smoggy it is.

This ladies job is to do the outlines on the lacquer pieces.

This ladies job is to do the outlines on the lacquer pieces.

This guy adds the colour.

This guy adds the colour.

I would have loved to bring this beautiful piece home, but it was over $1000....

I would have loved to bring this beautiful piece home, but it was over $1000….

Old buildings mixed with new.

Old buildings mixed with new.

Camels also feature in their artwork as they were vital to the Silk Road trade.

Camels also feature in their artwork as they were vital to the Silk Road trade.

The Pagoda at the Summer Palace. This is perched on a man made mountain.

The Pagoda at the Summer Palace. This is perched on a man made mountain.

When the Emperor decided to build the Summer Palace he wanted this Pagoda to sit on a mountain, beside a lake. He got his people to dig out a vast lake and used the soil to build the mountain.

Tea anyone?

Tea anyone?

This is a marble boat that the Emperor had built so he could sit and have tea with his concubines and admire the lake. It was also a symbol of his power.

The walkway at the Summer Palace.

The walkway at the Summer Palace.

This walkway connects one side of the palace to the other and is about 175 metres long… it is the Guinness Book of Records as the longest in the world.

There are paintings, by famous painters of the period, along the entire length.

There are paintings, by famous painters of the period, along the entire length.

This is the inside of one of the many little pagodas inserted into the walk along the way.

This is the inside of one of the many little pagodas inserted into the walk along the way.

Th Forbidden City

Th Forbidden City

You walk through the red wall into the Forbidden City. If you squint your eyes you can see the large picture of Chairman Mao. You walk in the front and come out the back. It is a vast area. I could have spent hours just wandering around looking.

The first courtyard.

The first courtyard.

This is the concubines area.  There are passage ways off to the left that led to living quarters.

This is the concubines area. There are passage ways off to the left that led to living quarters.

China's version of Hollywood :)

China’s version of Hollywood 🙂

The Yangtze Gold 7, our cruise ship.

The Yangtze Gold 7, our cruise ship.

Stairwell in the cruise ship

Stairwell in the cruise ship

One of the doors in the Locks.

One of the doors in the Locks.

We thought we would have a look at one of the lock doors opening, but it was so fascinating that we stayed for 3 of them. Once the doors are shut behind the boat it only took a few minutes to rapidly rise up 22 metres.

Our ship would end up at the top of that wall.

Our ship would end up at the top of that wall.

It was lovely to sit on the balcony and watch some beautiful scenery go by.

It was lovely to sit on the balcony and watch some beautiful scenery go by.

More scenery...

More scenery…

I love their architecture. Even a walkway is pretty

I love their architecture. Even a walkway is pretty

Building in Chongqing, where 33 million people call home.

Building in Chongqing, where 33 million people call home.

This is the outskirts of Chongqing. We photographed this the night before we birthed.

This is the outskirts of Chongqing. We photographed this the night before we birthed.

We thought this was a different city to Chongqing, but when we asked what it was called our tour guide said it was the outskirts of Chongqing. We sailed all night and birthed in the morning, so you can get an idea of just how huge that city is…

Oh no, not more bloody stairs!

Oh no, not more bloody stairs!

I would gladly go back and climb more stairs, just to see more of this amazing country.

 

 

 

Lady Bugs, Plastic Bottles and China!

Hello to the blog sphere!

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Bruce and I being introduced to the Warrior Clan

 

I am sitting inside, cowering from a 39 degree day. I’ve cleaned the house, washed the clothes and potted in the garden, so now I think it is the perfect time to sit on my derriere and put some photos and words into a new blog post.

The South Gate of the Xi'an City Wall.

The South Gate of the Xi’an City Wall.

On the 6th of October my husband and I boarded a plane to fly to Hong Kong. This was our stop over on the way to Xi’an, China. I have always had a fascination with China. I love to watch the movies, eat the food and admire the art of calligraphy. I have also read some wonderful fiction books based in China, back in the days of Emperors.

On the top of the Xi'an Wall

On the top of the Xi’an Wall

Anyway I digress, sorry. So we arrived in Xi’an in the afternoon of the 7th and were soon ferried to our hotel. We had 36 people in our group, and over the 14 days we got to know them very well, and what a lovely bunch they were.  The accommodation was great, like a junior suite, with separate lounge, bathroom and powder room. Plus a bar area in the lounge room. My husband is tall, 6’4 in the old measure, (for aussies), and was relieved to have a shower head high enough for him to get under.

The only way to get around the wall, bugger the bikes lol

The only way to get around the wall, bugger the bikes lol

In Xi’an they still have the wall and gates that protected the old city from attack. We got to walk on the top of this wall and it was great to see how huge it was and imagine what it was like back 1000 years or so… that’s the thing with China, they talk in thousands of years, mind blowing to an Aussie who only has barely 250 yrs of settlement history. At least we do have Aboriginal history, but it’s not as easy to see like in  China. Everywhere you look there are historic buildings mixing with modern.

Inside Pit No 1 of the Terracotta Warriors

Inside Pit No 1 of the Terracotta Warriors

Side view of the same pit

Side view of the same pit. Those little black clusters on the other side are people walking down the sides

We also got to see the Terracotta Warriors, one of the things on the top of my to do list. You can’t imagine the scale of the area until you are actually standing in there looking at this vast building, full of ditches revealing what lay beneath the ground for 100’s of years. Was a highlight of my trip 🙂

Some horses in Pit No 3. These are full size horses too

Some horses in Pit No 3. These are full size horses too

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An Archer, fully restored

After Xi’an it was an overnight sleeper train to Beijing. We were in Beijing for 5 days and could have stayed longer! So much to see. The place is enormous, 22 million people live here. That is all of Australia in one city, just mind boggling. We went on the Wall, number 2 on my to do list, tick.  OMG the stairs… need I say more lol. In fact China is full of bloody stairs. By the end of our trip we were all saying on no not more stairs… no wonder they are all so fit.

This was on the ceiling of a shopping centre in Xi'an. It changed several times and was very popular with the kids and adults

This was on the ceiling of a shopping centre in Xi’an. It changed several times and was very popular with both tourists and locals

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Another change of scenery on the ceiling

We went to the Summer Palace, just beautiful, the Forbidden City, enormous, The Temple of Heaven, where we participated in a Thai Chi lesson, and went to the Olympic Park with the Bird’s Nest and Ice Cube buildings. So much to see….

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These were the first steps we encountered on the Wall, easy…

Then we went around the corner and this is what met us.. lots of stairs, disappearing up into the fog...

Then we went around the corner and this is what met us.. lots of stairs, disappearing up into the fog/smog…

After Beijing we then flew to Yichang to board a cruise ship and spend 5 days on the Yangtze River. We went through 5 locks that took us up 122 feet, that was quite an amazing thing to experience, very clever. Just think of Jurassic Park when you imagine the ginormous doors that opened at the end of each lock.  Anyone who knows me will know that I am not a water baby. I get sick in a spa, I know you can stop laughing now… anyway this part of the tour was a bit nerve wracking for me as I was petrified of being ill the whole way. I used some pressure point bands on my wrists and took a quell morning and night. I am relieved to say that I didn’t get sick! Not once, not even a little 😀

We got into some period dress, that headpiece got bloody heavy

We got into some period dress, that headpiece got bloody heavy

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I don’t know what that concubine is up to but she is about to feel the wrath of my fan… lol

Our trip finished in the city of Chongqing, where 32 million people reside… yes not a typo, 32 million. It was mind boggling to see row upon row of 30 story high buildings as far as the eye could see, in all directions. An amazing experience and one I could do again just so I could linger a little longer to see more …. Some of the group went on to Shanghai and we have had emails from them to say it is well worth a visit. So this is still on my to do list…

We purchased this trip through Scoupons at an amazing price. The travel agency was SNA and we were a little worried it would be cheap and not so cheerful but it wasn’t. The whole trip was excellent and, apart from the smog which can’t be controlled, was well worth the trip.

Some beautiful gardens in China

Some beautiful gardens in China

Another garden. As you can see, they love red and yellow

Another garden. As you can see, they love red and yellow

Trying to look like I'm holding this large basket of flowers

Trying to look like I’m holding this large basket of flowers

Now it’s back to sleepy little old (Ha! only 150 years) Norseman, population now 803.  Just how I like it 🙂

 

The Thai Basil in it's bottle

The Thai Basil in it’s bottle

Mint in a bottle

Mint in a bottle

I could have done a separate blog on my plastic bottle recycling but I don’t think it would come out before 2015 (yikes that’s too soon already) so I’m throwing it in with China.

So what do we call a group of lady bugs?

So what do we call a group of lady bugs?

Passionfruit futures

Passionfruit futures

 

Unfortunately Norseman doesn’t do recycling. When I first got here it was the most disappointing thing about the town. It hurts me throw, what I know is recyclable, away. So in an effort to salvage some of our recyclable goods, I have been trying to use what I can for my little garden. I saw a terrific tip about cutting out a piece in the side of drink bottles and using them for plants. I like to drink sparkling water and as a result have some bottles… the first one I made has some Thai Basil in, I have had recipes with this in, so now I can happily go and pick some. Norseman is fairly remote and doesn’t always have what you need for recipes. The second one I have put some mint in. These popped up in my grass so I have repurposed them into a bottle garden. I also use egg cartons to grow seeds in. Once they get to a good size you can rip each little cell apart and bury it in the ground with the seedling.

Well hello there Mr Bug

Well hello there Mr Bug

When I was taking pictures of my bottles I spotted some little lady bugs and thought I would throw them in with the blog too. I am fortunate enough to have heaps of these crawling over our passionfruit vines. Hopefully munching naughty bugs for breakfast, lunch and tea 🙂 Wish they ate mozzies… and flies for that matter. They are in mega abundant supply this year.

Hmm time for the garlic and cayenne pepper spray. Something is munching my rose leaves

Hmm time for the garlic and cayenne pepper spray. Something is munching my rose leaves

I hope you enjoy my ramble through China and some gardening shares as well.

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Spring Fever

So all this talk about Spring has got me feeling like getting down and dirty… in the garden of course.

Not that I have an awful lot to do. Where I live is a bit remote so trying to build vege gardens is an expensive task. I also have the added problem of not knowing if we will still be here next year. So I have to weigh up if it’s worth the effort if I have to leave it behind for someone else’s enjoyment.

A happy collection surrounding one of the patio piers

A happy collection surrounding one of the patio piers

The nasturtium love this spot

The nasturtium love this spot

I have a lovely little patio, under the main roof. It is outside my dining area and is accessed through a sliding door. It is protected from the strong winds but gets the sun most of the day. This is great in winter but for summer I have to rethink how to arrange my pot plants.

The other pier with a collection of plants

The other pier with a collection of plants

I have two piers on the east side of the rectangular shaped patio. Between these my clever husband has put  4 rows of nylon clothesline wire for the passionfruit vine to grow across. This helps to soften the harsh morning sun and my husband loves passionfruit.  The rows go around the corner and along the north easterly side, again giving us some shade from the sun. It gives the patio a nice feeling of containment, without feeling boxed in. When we move on, someone else will be able to enjoy the passionfruit too.

This passionfruit vine is on the left pier as you look towards the patio from the back lawn.

This passionfruit vine is on the left pier as you look towards the patio from the back lawn.

We planted two vines and they are currently growing toward each other. We should get flowers soon 🙂

Along the edge of the patio I dug out a narrow garden bed and put in some citronella daisies (sorry Fran I lost the botanical name…) This was an attempt to stave off the mossies ( Mosquitos), but not sure it is working as we are still swarmed by them 😦 . I have never known a place for so many mossies! The nasturtiums popped up when I watered so are a gift from a previous tenant.

The other vine growing from the side of the house to meet at the corner pier.

The other vine growing from the side of the house to meet at the corner pier.

Most of my plants are in pots. I can then move them around, depending on the sun, and they can come with me when we move.

I have an eclectic assortment, from a rose bush to succulents, but they all make me smile. I recently purchased a little greenhouse from Bunnings, on one of our trips to Kalgoorlie, 2 hours away. I have put my little bonsai in there. I used to have two, but one died so now just one precious one left. I have a couple of little succulents and a variegated syngonium. This syngonium is a piece from my garden in Perth. I have had pieces of the original plant for many years and it has travelled with me and managed to survive. This always makes me feel at home. They are so easy to grow and propagate.

My lovely hybrid tea rose "Holtermann's Gold." I received this as a gift from my work mates when my mum passed away. It has gorgeous yellow roses and a lovely scent.

My lovely hybrid tea rose “Holtermann’s Gold.” I received this as a gift from my work mates when my mum passed away. It has gorgeous yellow roses and a lovely scent.

I grow herbs for my cooking: parsley, garlic chives, spring onions, basil, rosemary and other bits and bobs that come and go.

The spring onions love growing with the garlic chives

The spring onions love growing with the garlic chives

I have saved some seeds from my spring onions and have bought some seed raising mix, so that is my next job. I have an old wheelbarrow that I will use once the seeds are seedlings.

The old wheelbarrow for seedlings and an Aloe Vera.

The old wheelbarrow for seedlings and an Aloe Vera.

I have some egg cartons that I will use for the seed raising mix. I try to recycle things if I can.

The other wheelbarrow that has parsley, chives and some oregano that I thought was dead, but has revived

The other wheelbarrow that has parsley, chives and some oregano that I thought was dead, but has revived

The beauty of wheelbarrows is you can move them around too. I have managed to nurse these herbs through the frosts of winter. Hopefully they will flourish now.

I salvaged the wrought iron chairs from a friend. She was going to throw them out, but they are great for my pot plants

I salvaged the wrought iron chairs from a friend. She was going to throw them out, but they are great for my pot plants

The Ficus has also been with me on all my moves. The little green wheelie bin I use for storing all my gardening stuff. It’s very handy to use when weeding too.

My rosemary, always handy

My rosemary, always handy

It’s a beautiful day here. I have been reading the paper and doing the crossword puzzles. Such bliss on a Sunday. I hope you have had a lovely Sunday too. Better get those seeds sorted 🙂

Another Tea Cosy!

Ok so I’ve been bitten by the tea cosy bug!

But I have to say they are useful.  There is so much yummy material to choose from too. Do I go pretty or maybe funky or do I try this with that… sigh so many choices.

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Ok so this time I thought I would do some patchwork teacups. I have a terrific book that has patterns for lots of different 4 inch squares and found a pattern I liked. It took me a while to choose which pieces of material to use with each other. I put bits together and ummed and erred, then walked out of the room and came back again later to see what I thought. Anyway finally made a decision and made the teacup squares first.

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The teacup has a napkin under it so I dug out some broglais englais. It was white, which I thought was a little too stark. I cut out two pieces and then dyed them. One in tea and one in coffee. I liked both of the effects so used both, one on each side.

 

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I used vlisofix to attach it to the piece of material in the block. I then used satin stitch around the edge of the napkin to finish it off. I also embroidered a handle onto the edge of the cup. 

I used some 5 1/2 inch squares that I already had cut out from a previous project. Love using up left overs 🙂  I sewed two squares together for each side of the teacup block.

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Once the teacup block was finished, I lined it up to the side blocks and added a piece to the bottom of the teacup block to make it fit the size of the side blocks.

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I made sure I had sewn enough material together to be large enough for the template, I then pinned this to the wadding. Again I used the wool wadding. It’s nice to sew and has proven to be great for keeping the teapot hot.

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I quilted in the ditch of the teapot block then did a basic 1 inch wide stitch from top to bottom. I used grey as it was pretty neutral with the materials I used. I thought about using green but decided to go with the grey.

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When I was happy that I had enough quilting I then cut out the shape. I folded the template in half both ways so that I ended up with a cross in the middle. This helped me to make sure the teacup block was more or less in the middle of the template.

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I usually pin the template to the material and then cut it out with scissors, but this time I just winged it by pressing down with my hand and cutting with my cutter. Very slowly and carefully I might add and luckily it went okay.

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Once I had both sides cut out I sewed them together and then I had to decide on the inside lining. Seems easy but it took me a day or two to decide!

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I decided to embelish the teacosy with some suffolk puffs, also known as yoyos. I had these made already (excellent, another repurpose). Chose 4, 2 for each side. Then went through all my buttons to put on top.

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Once these were done I then attached the lining. Not forgetting to pin the heart for the top of the teacosy.

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So true confession time. The teacosy is a little short for my pot, but I will see if it still works… or I might send it to Fran. I measured it and I think it will fit hers.

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Also the lining was a little tricky and it took me a couple of goes to make it sit properly.

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Anyway here is my finished teacosy. Hope you enjoyed my journey 🙂

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My Tea Cosy

 

 

 

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I have a little teapot that I use on a Sunday. I sit and read the paper on Sundays, so I have time for more than one cup of tea. I have been thinking it would be nice to have a tea cosy to cover it, keeping it hotter for longer.

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From left to right: wool wadding, lining material, main material

I had a look online for a tea cosy pattern, just to see what ideas were out there. I settled on one of the patterns and set about making the paper pattern via the instructions. I followed the instructions: measured my pot and divided measurements by 2 then added 1 and 1/2 inches, as instructed. I drew it up and felt it looked too big, so I got my husband to check my math, not my strong point but is his. I had followed the instructions correctly but… it was just was too big. I think it would have fitted my head in the end!

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Height

 

 So I decided to do my own pattern. I remeasured the width of my wee little pot, and the height. Then I added 1 and 1/2 inches for room to move and a 1/4 inch seam allowance. I marked the width of the pot on the edge of a piece of paper. I cut the paper to this width. Then I folded it in half and where the fold line was I marked the height of the pot. I then folded it in half again and drew an arc from the height mark to the edge of the width mark. When I was happy with the shape I used my paper scissors to cut it out. When I opened it up I put it behind my teapot just to see if it looked like the right shape and size.

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Widest part

Then I cut out my main material x 2 and the lining material x 2, using my paper template. I cut the wadding larger than the shape to allow for when I quilted the main material. I decided to have a heart shape at the top of the tea cosy so I drew a heart shape, hoping it was big enough when finished. I cut two heart shapes from the lining material and some wool wadding to give it some substance. You could also stuff it if you wanted it more 3D ish.

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This ended up about 2 inchs long when sewn

 

I sewed my heart first. With right sides together and the wadding on the bottom I slowly sewed around the edge of the heart. I left an inch on the side to turn it through but it was too small so had to unpick it to about an inch and a half size. Big enough to get your thumb in anyway. I trimmed the edge to within an 1/8th of an inch from the sewing line, except where the hole to turn was. Then I turned it through to the right sides. I pinned the hole edge and ironed it then sewed around the edge of the whole heart. This gives it a nice finish and closes the hole at the same time.

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Then I sewed the linings together, leaving the straight edge open. I used a 1/4 inch seam. Once that was sewn I again trimmed the edge and carefully clipped the curves. Oh and yes I forgot to leave a 3 inch gap in the top curve of the lining, so I unpicked the required length. This is for turning when you join it to the main piece of fabric.

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Make the batting/wadding larger

Okay so now I had the main material left to do. I placed one of the pieces ontop of one of the pieces of wadding, pinned them together and then quilted it. I decided on a very simple straight stitch with white cotton, about an inch apart. I was going to cross hatch but liked the effect of just one line so left it at that. Then I trimmed the wadding to the same size as the material.

 

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The main material cosy pinned inside the lining

Once both main pieces of material were quilted I pinned them together, making sure to line up the edges and sewn lines too. I also put the heart shape at the top of the curve, inside the two pieces of material, with just enough of the bottom of the heart poking out so the sewing would catch it in there. I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance around the curve, leaving the long straight side open. Again I trimmed the edges, but not the heart tip, and carefully clipped the curves.

 

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This is after the main material is turned through the hole in the lining. Then the hole in the lining is sewn up.

Okay so now I put the main material cosy inside the lining of the cosy. Do check that you have turned your main material to the right side, unlike my first attempt! I had to unpick it and I hate unpicking ahhh. Anyway so main material is right side out and tucks into the lining which is the wrong side out. The right sides of the main and the lining will be facing each other. The heart will be showing through the 3 inch hole in the lining. Pinned them together and sewed around the edge. I used a 1/4 inch seam.

 

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Sewing around the edge of the main material where it joins the lining.

 

I turned the tea cosy through the hole in the lining. Pinned the hole shut and ironed, then I sewed the hole shut. It is on the inside so I just sewed as close to the edge as I could. Once that was done I pushed the lining back up into the main material of the tea cosy. I gave it an iron. The lining ends up showing on the bottom of the tea cosy, a bit like piping, so I sewed around the edge of the tea cosy where the materials joined. It finishes it of nicely.

Ok so then it was the moment of truth, would it fit! Yes! It was a perfect fit, yay. The heart at the top probably could have been a little smaller but I am happy with the result. Now my tea will stay nice and hot.

 

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Not too bad for an afternoon

 

I can’t wait for next Sunday to use it 🙂  

 

 

 

Valentines Day

My husband and I usually do something to celebrate this romantic day. Nothing too sensational, just something we will both enjoy. This year my husband brought home a beautiful bunch of roses. I love flowers and these were sensational. He had been out of town for work. Before he left I hinted that flowers might be lovely. Not my usual style, he has always managed to surprise me with something nice, but I just felt like some flowers and they are not available where we live.
I guess I was feeling a bit sad and thought the flowers would be a nice way to brighten up my day. A year ago we got a phone call from my son to say my husband’s dad, Brian, had passed away. We were devastated. He was such a part of our lives. We miss him, plain and simple.
We like to think that he wanted to see his beloved Phyllis in time for Valentines Day.
We can’t believe how fast the year has gone.
So life goes on and we carry those lost in our hearts and they bubble to the surface in our thoughts.
At 8.30pm my phone laughed at me (that’s my text notification) and I went to see if Bruce was texting me goodnight, but there was nothing on my phone. No text, no download, no facebook message…
So it seems that Brian has us in his thoughts too.

Another one bites the dust, well turns 50 anyway…

  I have another school friend who turns 50 in December so I have been making her a wall hanging also. This one is made up of tiny little squares, and when sewn together, make an interesting pattern. It reminds me of the Amish style of quilting. This one was also in a kit that I purchased a while ago now. After washing the fabrics I started to cut the pieces as instructed. The pattern requires several different colours cut into strips and sewn together, then recut.

I used pins to wedge the layers

I used pins to wedge the layers

The kit came with an instruction book but it also contains a couple of different projects in it, so I might have to look at tackling them in the future.
I had forgotten how fiddly those little pieces were and how careful you have to be when joining them together. A few millimetres over the project can really add up. Fortunately most of it lined up, a couple didn’t quite match but overall it isn’t too bad.
I had started learning patchwork over 16 years ago with a wonderful patchwork club in Dongara. The club had experienced ladies and some complete novices like me. Over the years we were able to attend some terrific workshops, with visiting guests from all over Australia. We learnt different techniques for sewing, and even learnt how to dye our own materials. I used that knowledge to make a baby quilt for my niece. It’s great fun and was so easy because you did it in the microwave. It is an Australian business too.

I use tape to get a straight line

I use tape to get a straight line

About 11 years ago we lost my mother-in-law to cancer and then barely a year later I lost my own mum. That sure took the wind out of my sails. We had moved to Perth and I guess without the wonderfully inspiring patchwork ladies to get me going again I just stopped sewing. I just didn’t feel inspired anymore. Then about 5 years ago my darling father-in-law, who passed away this February, dobbed me in to sew a QUEEN sized quilt for a family friend! He thought I needed something to do…

You can just see the stitches on the quilt

You can just see the stitches on the quilt

The family friend had a picture of what she wanted, oh dear not even a pattern. Oh well I got out some graph paper and started to draw what the photo looked like. After we were happy with the look we went off to buy some material. I loved this part of the process! We spent the morning deciding on patterns and colours. The graph paper pattern helped me to work out how much to buy, well fingers crossed lol.
So after a couple of months I had finished the quilting and handed it over to a lady who uses a large machine to quilt your work. We decided on a pattern and then I waited for it to be finished. Once that was done all I had to do was bind it. I was very nervous when it was time to hand over the quilt. It is hard to make a quilt for someone who has a pattern in mind. You just don’t know if they will like it until they see it. It turned out to be quite an emotional hand over. There were tears all round and she loved it! Phew!

A closer look at those stitches. If you squint they look terrific lol

A closer look at those stitches. If you squint they look terrific lol

Well back to this project. I decided to hand quilt this wall hanging. I had some lovely multicoloured thread in my stash and thought it would look great. Which it does but the thread is a nightmare to work with! It is constantly breaking and always right in the middle of a run, grrrr. I like to use wool wadding in my projects, it sits nicely and is easy to sew. When I started to put the sashing on I realized that the measurements they had given were a bit out. I had to use the longer pieces for the shorter sides. Fortunately the backing material is the same as the sashing, so I used that to get the longer lengths. It meant I have to use something else on the back but that was not so bad, at least I have the right sashings. I learnt a valuable lesson. From now on if I am using a kit I won’t be cutting the sashings until it is time to use them. That way I will know that they are the correct length.

After much swearing, tutting and sighing I have finally finished the wall hanging. I will be seeing my friend next week so the big handover will happen then.

The finished product

The finished product

Fran’s wall hanging

I made a wall hanging for my friend who, like me, was reaching a respectable age of 50. I remembered a kit I had bought many years ago called “Psycho Chickens” and decided that it was perfect. If you follow my friends blog you will know the trials and tribulations she has gone through with her chooks :).

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The pattern for the two types of chickens

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Sorry it’s sideways?? Thanks Donna Warren for your excellent design

     

I was feeling a bit excited to be using more than the straight stitch on my shiny new sewing machine, as the wall hanging required some applique.

After washing and cutting the necessary bits into the necessary sizes I began my new project.

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Material’s washed

50th birthday projects 002  Putting the background together was the easy bit. Yikes it turned out to be quite large in the end. 

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I love this chook wire material

Next was to sort out which bits to put with the chook material. The feet and wings were pretty obvious, but the giblets and coxcombs were not so easy. The down side to a kit is you don’t necessarily like all the choices, but I think, in the end, it turned out ok.

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One of the chook combos. this is when it had been vlisofixed on but not embellished

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Version number 2 of the chooks

Then came the fun part! What stitch to use on the chooks. I spent a bit of time using a rectangular piece of material that had the wadding and backing on too. I use it to do samples of the stitches, taking note of which one and if I adjusted the size etc. Once I had picked the stitches I wanted to use, it was then time to get going.

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These are the 4 chooks ready to be appliqued

I had a great time doing the applique stitches on my machine. It purred along nicely and I learnt alot about some of the functions on it. I love the button that does a few stitches at the start and end of your work, also the scissor button that pulls the threads to the back and cuts them. I was not sure what to do in the borders but decided on a stitch that looked like chickens walking. Well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! I decided to cross hatch the outer boarders, and that is when I discovered how rusty my sewing skills had become… after unpicking one of the borders, I hate unpicking :(, I was happy with the results and put the binding on.

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Another chooky version

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Last of the chooky versions

Finially it was ready to wrap. Only one day before I flew out, phwew! I’m glad to say that Fran seemed to like it and it looks wonderful on her loungeroom wall. I’m a little biased but hey it’s my blog lol

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The wall hanging in situ 🙂

Happy birthday Fran, it was a labour of love x