Monarto Zoo

A happy belated Australia Day to my fellow Aussies!  We took the opportunity of a long weekend to have a family outing at the Monarto Zoo.  Don't you just love digital cameras, you can take hundreds of pictures and don't waste any film, trying to get that perfect shot, especially of wildlife.....
like Tasmanian Devils who are desperately trying to break the Ostrich egg the keeper had given him as a special treat.  After he rolled it back and forth the glass enough times to delight the crowd, the keeper kindly broke it for him - what a snack, certainly a one egg omelet that's for sure!
 The giraffe's are my favorite.
 A baby Zebra (a filly) was born last spring.  Excuse her mothers hind quarters, but apparently Zebra's have unique butt markings, so their offspring can recognise them..yikes glad that doesn't happen with people!
The Lioness are magnificent and they kindly arranged to have their nap in front of the viewing platform, for up close and personal photo shots.
 The Rhino's also had a baby back in the spring, but at his current weigh in I don't think this cutie could be classified as little! 
Monarto Zoo also have a new baby chimp, but he was tucked up in his mothers lap and not visible enough for a picture.
I forgot to show you this completed top, a Bug in the bottle, child's quilt for my charity group Quilts from the Heart.  I cut out two bug blocks from my collection nearly a year ago, and kept one aside for a charity quilt.  However I only started this top in November and  just put the border on it this month. 
I started making this I Spy boys quilt top for Heart Kids on Saturday.  I went back through my novelty scraps and cut out cornerstones from the really little scraps.  I decided to make all the sashings blue, as the novelties were all animals and I wanted a "boys" quilt.  However I think the blue sashing with blue blocks is a bit much and I will avoid that combination again. I need to add another row to make it the right length.  I only stopped because I ran out of sashings - they all came out of my 2.5" strip collection, so will have to cut some from my stash.  I think I am going to use the bright blue (RH side of photo) as a small border - or it could just end up being binding!   
After we got home from Monarto Zoo I found time to pin, quilt and bind the Kindy Dolls Bed Quilt!  Yeah finally a finish!  Oops just realised I need a label yet.  Oh well, 95% a finish, not bad given all the new projects I have started this month...just in time as the kids go back to kindy/school tomorrow!  Sigh, back to the organised bedlam of weekly routine! ;-)
Happy quilting, Sue SA.

Fabric fling

I have been on a roll this week.  I started all fired up because of a meeting I went to on Wednesday night for a up and coming charity quilting day (Sat 2 and 16 Feb at Tricia's Discount Fabrics, Edwardstown).  I had helped out a little last year with making humbug bags for Girls on Track, but had not realised that Peg also contributed (in a major way) to the HeartKids South Australia  fundraising - by making quilts of course!  So when she told use that 2-3 kids go to Melbourne for heart surgery A WEEK from Adelaide I knew I had to jump on board.  Not only that but of all the fabric Peg had accumulated (given and purchased out of her own pocket) , she had an abundance of novelties suitable for girls, but not as much for boys....he he he, well I can certainly help out there!!!
This quilt is approx 41 x 48 and just made of 8.5" squares, as that made the best use of SOME the wonderful cowboy fabric that friend and blogger Karen sent me.  As you can see the "backing" fabric (blue print) that I brought at the Boxing Day sales, made the perfect accent fabric! 
This quilt is only 32" x 40" so I am thinking a 6" border of the blue "backing" fabric will make it a decent size - that is today's job!  The cute horseshoe fabric and what looks like check fabric (and is but the checks are made of rope!) were only small pieces, so they got cut into four patches.  I do have a bit more fabric from this collection, plus my own cowboy stash, so I hope to get at least one more top made from them.

After I had finished these flimsies yesterday I didn't want to stop.  I had been eyeing off the little 12" quilt that Lori has been giving instructions to on her blog Humble Quilts.  Ironically I had the same issues the original quilter probably had, a lack of fabric choice, but only because my reproduction collection is small.  I am regretting a the use of the cream fabric with pink stars a bit, but not enough to unpick.....yet! 
Please forgive me but now I am going to go backwards in time, to prove that I didn't waste time last weekend either!
I had a major clean up in my sewing room, which took time, but was worth it!  I now have my stash down to two of the four draws, but they are full!  There is also a box missing here, that contains all my pre cut novelties, which I will be sewing with today...plenty of boys fabrics to play with!
 I had explored the jungle that is our veggie garden and picked our first corn, more zucchini's, tomatoes and a few snow peas - I haven't had much luck with the snow pea's due to the heat.  This overgrown zucchini had already been cut into, as I have been taking out the seed centre part and grating the rest and freezing it for winter, when hot Zucchini Slice will be yummy!
Most importantly I pieced the 3 orange blocks and one purple required to make up this UFO and then the Rainbow String Wagga was joined into rows. 
About the time I started on this project I was joined by two small helpers.  So we had some fun identifying colours, finding suitable strings to making into sashing and counting the appropriate strips I cut.  But I didn't get to join them on the back (its a Quilt As You Go project), so some more work to be done here....perhaps when holidays are over and I don't have so many "helpers" wanting to use the machine, or drive their car's on my cutting mat!  DS1 has claimed this quilt, he likes rainbows ;-) !
Happy quilting, Sue SA. 

Vintage Sewing Machines Galore

While I was in Victoria we took a day trip to Maryborough in Central Victoria, to visit the Flour Mill Gallery, which has a permanent display of a private collection of vintage and antique sewing machines.
 I don't know anything much about old sewing machines, but there were over 300 machines, from different eras,
all sorts of different colours,
 
and made in different countries by different manufacturers.
 
 Some were antique and just gorgeous with special shapes,
 and others just captured my heart.
 There were rare machines, like these pocket (!) sized sewing machines,
 and more common children's toy sewing machines,
 which I adore for their colours,
 cuteness and size!
There was so much to see and if you are a real machine devotee you can visit the Sew What website for the facts and more photos HERE.
Happy quilting Sue SA.

AWOL do you forgive me?

I have been MIA, this last week as I have been hiding out in Western Victoria with the kids visiting my family.  While its nice to catch up with loads of old friends, the best friends are quilters, right!  Look what Lisa brought me for my birthday....she generously brought me a book and the lovely fat bundle of modern fabrics to make a quilt.  Hmmm she said she is challenging me, but I don't think it will be a challenge, more like FUN!
 The cute little red spool of 'thread' is actually a USB stick my friend Clare brought me - very appropriate don't you think?  After the Black Saturday fires our household insurance came up for renewal and I rang them to beat them down on the price (I save $ every year doing this - just by answering a few extra questions!) and asked the guy...how do you make a claim when you have nothing left...no pictures or paperwork to prove what you owned?  He advised me to go around the house, taking photos of every room and its contents and then load them onto a USB and give that to someone else for safe keeping (or email them to yourself).  I thought that was a good idea, and did it but it is probably time to update the photos.  OR I could just photograph my quilts and keep them on this stick! 
 I actually made these I Spy bags months ago and carefully hid them for the marathon journey at Christmas time - to entertain the kids in the car.  Well I hid them so carefully I couldn't find them the morning we were leaving.  So I dug them out and took them last week, ideal as I was driving alone and my sanity in the last hour of our journey was being tested. 
I made this quilt flimsy last week before my trip.  It was a last minute project, prompted by my decision to cut up the bulk of my novelty stash into different sized squares - so I could make some quick kids quilts in the future.  Anyway that was the same day I remembered that I promised DS2 kindy teacher I would make a quilt for their dolls bed.  So here it is, ready to be pinned and quilted with only one week to go before school and kindy goes back!  Yikes better go and get that machine purring!
Happy quilting Sue SA.

My beach house

Linking up with Shays Favorite Things Friday I am going to show you what I got for my birthday in December...a Lego beach house!  I have always wanted a Lego house, but didn't think DH would buy me one - in Lego or an actual bricks and mortar. However he is obviously a wonderful indulgent man or perhaps he just wanted to keep me entertained for hours with the kids so he could watch the cricket in peace and quiet!! The house can be made into three different designs, I like this one as it comes with a snack shack...because in Lego land milkshakes and hamburgers with the lot are calorie free!
 
Yesterday we woke up to a complete lack of running water.  Hanging out in my PJ's with the kids for the morning seemed like a good plan, given that I couldn't wash floors, clean bathrooms, run the dishwasher, complete the two loads of washing or even wash the dishes!  We have a water tank so I carted a couple of full watering cans in to fill cisterns and hand basins and then I went and hid in the sewing room...until the water came back on at 3pm, when I had to play grown ups and do my chores!

This is the progress I have made on my Scrappy Trips Around the World.  I have now completed 16 blocks (12.5" in size) and just got to decide on the lay out and IF I want to make some more?
I was in such a hurry to start sewing these blocks, because I already had a large box of pre cut 2.5" strips.  But on the downside I didn't have any pre cut pieces to make my leaders and enders spool blocks...hmmm what to do?

I just started ANOTHER new leaders and enders project! Rummaging through my 2.5" strip box I discovered I had also cut 2.5" squares.  So I used those to make 4 patch leaders and enders.  There are a couple of pictures of quilt ideas in the box, one that has four patches (all mediums or darks) set in a zig zag design, using a solid sashing.  Please note my Clover forked pins, perfect for getting perfect seams meeting, especially when making four patches and Scrappy Trips Around the world!

So we are three weeks into the new year and I have started two new projects...I think the chances of me finishing anything old this year is remote...I have already enrolled for two workshops in March and April! 
OK I am off now to make a Tim Tam cake, as per link on Shay's blog...after a few weeks of wining and dining at Christmas surely we all need an extra chocolaty treat?!  Happy quilting, Sue SA.

2013 welcome to the new year

This is the wish list I had come up with for 2013 - it incorporates the projects I didn't make last year;
- Red and White Dresden Plate large wall hanging (for our bedroom)
- Seasonal table runners -  Autumn and Spring.  .
- House block quilt, as a miniature or dolls quilt (will attempt more of the first house blocks)
- Log cabin, as a miniature or dolls quilt
- Quilt for my father - blue blocks, blue sashing and white star cornerstones (need to find out what the name for this is, but this is the look I am after)
- Quilt for my brother - Delectable mountains, perhaps in flannel if I can find the right colours
- Zig Zag quilt

I thought that would keep me sufficiently busy, as I also have to;
- complete the Basket quilt (summer quilt for us)
- continue making the spool leader n enders blocks until I have enough for a lap quilt (300 more needed!)
- quilt the Blue and white Big Twister flimsy
- finish the purple and green Scnibbles McGuffrey flimsy
- finish the Winter table runner
- finish the All Aussie creatures great and small wall hanging (a large old UFO)
- get some help on my Eastwood challenge quilt, (the math does my head in, very old UFO)
- remaster needle turn to complete an applique cushion and the applique blocks in basket quilt

BUT because I started this post in November, I now have to confess that I got home from holidays and jumped straight on the bandwagon of...

Bonnie Hunters Scrappy Trip Around the World! 
 Truly this was on going to be on my wish list for 2013, as the box of 2.5" strips has been looking at me in the cupboard all year.  Last summer in the heat I cut a heap of partial fat quarters or scraps into strips and squares in an effort to clear "unloved" fabrics (aka been in my stash for ever) out of my draws.  Plus as a Bonnie Hunter fan I had been wanting to make one of her quilts for a long time.  I had attempted to find a pattern that used 2.5" strips a few months ago, but there are SO MANY free patterns on her website, I gave up as I kept getting distracted by other fab patterns that used a different measurement, eg 8.5" squares for Delectable mountains - which has also made its way onto 2013 wish list!

Right got to go, DH is painting in my sewing room (window trim) and I am working (paid) today!
Happy quilting, Sue SA.

Holiday happenings

Well we are finally back from holidays, after tripping around Victoria seeing family and friends.  I had best intentions to blog the day we departed...obviously that didn't happen!  The blue n white twister flimsy got a final border before Christmas and my BIL and his wife were offered and accepted it...on the understanding that it will be finished sometime this year!
Before we left home I received two lovely Christmas gifts, the first from my friend Karen (Sewing Tales) which arrived in the post - and was a lovely surprise!  I have been using the note book and book mark (lots of reading achieved) while away.  Unfortunately I got home to find that Karen didn't even get my Christmas card as I had incorrectly addressed it, so apologies Karen, your gift was much appreciated and your Christmas card is on its way!
 
The second surprise gift was from our neighbour, who knits, cooks and sews, but does not quilt. She loved the quilt I gifted to her during 2012, but I was equally delighted to receive these hand knitted socks!  I do not knit and so look forward to wearing them in the cooler months...which are unfortunately a long way away yet.
 The other surprise, well anticipated event was the dead pot plants when we got home.  It happens every year but by the time autumn rolls around I have forgotten and go full steam head potting up again!  This year will be no exception as DH built me a special potting bench in 2012 and my Mum brought me three delightful new pots for Christmas!  This is one of the cute wheelbarrows that my Dad made our boys (for Christmas), which will no doubt be handy for wheeling my pots around in!  Luckily DH brought himself a trailer for Christmas, cos between two wheelbarrows, my three pots and various other gifts the trailer was required to get everything back to Adelaide! 
The veggie garden was a bit wilted when we arrived home, but not unexpected due to the record temperature of 45 degrees C in Adelaide yesterday.  However DH's talents at automatic watering systems meant that regular watering while we were away ensured my corn was sky high and the pumpkins are growing nicely.  This pumpkin is quite a good weight and hanging in there, still about five inches off the ground, but the stem is fine, so I left it hanging!
 Its really handy having a mother who is also a quilter, as she brought me this great book!  I am looking forward to making some of the projects from it. 
 A few days after Christmas we headed off to my in laws, via Warrnambool  to see my friends Ann and Barbara who run Periwinkle Patchwork.  I cannot believe I forgot to take photos of their shop!
 I had a lovely spend up with my birthday and Christmas money at Periwinkle Patchwork.  I am booked into a SA Guild workshop in April to make a quilt from a jelly roll and layer cake.  The top bright stripe and dot fabrics will be used to make that quilt, plus the grey strip (sashing) in the next photo.  I also brought some fat 1/8's in reproductions to add to my collection for the Seven Sisters quilt.  The only stitching I did while I was away was add a few diamonds to a "sister", very slack indeed!  I have part of an excuse, as DS1 who is 6 decided he needed to help me stitch, very hard to try and teach someone else to hand stitch, but he did manage to baste one diamond for me without coming to grief, although I had to re thread the needle several times for him!
On Boxing Day I did some sale shopping and happened to end up in Spotlight - not my fave store here in Adelaide, but in my home town the fabric selection is smaller but superior!  So I couldn't resist a Dino print to make floor cushions for my boys, (red and blue backings to match) and then the cowboy print is a backing for a cowboy quilt...yes I AM going to make a cowboy quilt in 2013 - Karen sent me the fabric last year, so no excuses now I have the backing!
 Other special holiday treats were a ride in the header for the last paddock of my farming brothers wheat.  DS 1 and 2 really enjoyed seeing the header gobble up the heads of wheat and then seeing the grain pile up in the back of the header.  It was quite a scenic ride as the view of the Grampians and Mt Arapiles are fantastic from this paddock.  Plus we disturbed the quail and several foxes who had been hiding, so I like to think that we probably saved the quail from being the foxes lunch!
 Finally while in Geelong we enjoyed some time down at Eastern Beach with the kids, their cousins and some sunshine....last year I brought a jumper at the Boxing Day sales in Geelong... because I was so cold!  This year I made do with the 3/4 sleeve cardigans I brought pre Christmas ....and of course its now far too hot to wear them in Adelaide's January heat!! 
Happy quilting, Sue SA.

New bag - for all occasions!

Good quilty friend Lisa gifted me with the Noodlehead pattern, Makers Tote.  We had been shopping together in and purchased the fabric, all...