90% fit and 100% sewing

After a week under the weather, I was SO ready to sew this morning that I started about 7am!  I did get a bit of head start yesterday, when I managed to sew these four Christmas decorations together.  I brought these as individual kits from Hatched and Patched - it was a long time ago, so nice to finally finish them.  Goes to show having a clean up is a good idea, as you find half finished projects, that a quick to finish - which feels good when your sick and not achieved anything!
 I then tackled this Christmas stocking "Stitched Blessings" by Marg Low which I had completed the stitchery but it still needed sewing together.  Then I realised that I had not stitched all of the design and but had a light bulb moment, as I found some Christmas buttons when I put my sewing room back together after the painter finished.  The red check is what I lined and backed it with. 
 So while I am not 100% sure I love the red Christmas trees, I really like the stars and I have more of those, so can always swap them at a later date.  I have made heaps of these stockings previously, but all string pieced, so it will be nice to have some red work stitchery this Christmas.
 So having sorted a few minor UFOs I got down to the big guns and finished off what I had intended to do last Sunday, before I got sick.
 I pieced all the star blocks together - didn't take me long at all.  The best thing was I didn't have to worry about placement as the alternate blocks provide that buffer - so you don't get same fabrics bumping  up against each other.  After lunch I went and brought a pretty purple for the first border.  Still deciding on a fabric for the second border.  
So then I finished the borders on the Dinosaurs Galore quilt!  Yippee a completed flimsy!  Bit hard to see the top border, it is so big that it wont fit nicely on the clothes line and I am not quite tall enough to show it off properly!  I have made the binding and been to the shop to buy a bit of extra fabric to finish piecing the back.  The back is a bit of a jigsaw, so that might take me the rest of the day.    Sigh, tomorrow I have to do some real work e.g. groceries and housework!  After two weeks of the kids and then me being sick the house looks like a bomb hit it ... although my sewing room still looks smick!
Happy quilting, Sue SA.

On Saturday LAST weekend I had 12 hours of child free sewing time with my good friends the After Dark Quilters. We start at 10 am and usually sew/talk/eat and laugh until 10 pm. People come and go during the day due to work, child, sport and other social commitments. This time we had a slightly smaller group then usual, but just as much fun. I usually try to take just one or two projects, this time I took FIVE! Not in the hope that I would finish them all or even work on them all, just because I couldn't decide...was tired from a week of sick children interrupted sleep AND variety is the spice of life!

So I started by pinning the pink Ohio Star n 4 patch quilt, made from a Moda Papillon charm pack...my first Schnibbles quilt. I quilted a few anchoring lines and then put it aside to ponder how to quilt it and also which thread colour to use.

Then I added the side lime green sashing and the big blue side borders on the Dinosaurs Galore quilt. At which point I ran out of fabric. Some of the group had gone to the shop, but I had been determined to just sew and it was now closed. So that project got put aside. *sorry no up to date picture.

Hmmm...what to do next? Well I was sitting next to Heather (who taught the class for this pattern) AND I did have the Kwik Krazy Star blocks with me, and I just needed to pieced the last 12 blocks. So I knuckled down and pieced those. It was after 9 pm, we were all waning a bit when the decision was made to pack up early, so I left with just the last six to be trimmed back to 10" square. I was delighted with this effort, because the poor blocks carefully placed in the right order had been moved around the house several times while the painter and electrician were here. All the time I was hoping like crazy that the order hadn't been mucked up - but I think they look pretty good.

So just a bit more work and I will have two single bed quilt tops finished and ready for the long arm quilter. But in the meantime I need to do some machine quilting myself...plus lots of binding to make!
Happy quilting, Sue.

NOTE: it has taken a week to finish this post as Blogger has been playing up and I couldn't add the photos.  I have been jumping back and forth from Internet Explorer to Google Chrome, before I could finally get the draft post to allow me to copy its content and start a new one.  Most of this week I have had trouble reading other peoples blogs, they will open OK but wouldn't let me scroll down, so could only read the opening few sentences, all very frustrating!  

Winters Garden

I love gardens.  I would love to go on one of those overseas tours of famous gardens one day.  I am a very ordinary gardener, certainly no green thumbs, plants that come to our house have to survive on neglect.
 Which is why succulents work so well under my care.  I just love the pink edge of these....hmm no idea what they are called!   I can tell you that some of the green "weeds" coming up underneath them is actually the herb oregano - which has been growing in the next pot.  I only discovered that after I had pulled half of it out and I could smell it - such a lovely aroma...but I nearly cried!
 This agave was purchased in the Sydney Botanical Gardens in about 2005 and survived lots of moving and neglect, before I planted it in this sunny spot.  It now has "babies" which I feel very proud of!
 There were a large number of Iris corms in the garden when we brought the house, but they did not flower as the leaf litter from the large deciduous tree nearby would cover the corms, preventing the sun hitting them.   I divided and moved them, they have multiplied to fill the space (and more) and now flower profusely, I have no idea where the nasturtiums came from!
 The last couple of years I have grown a hyacinth bulb in a bulb vase in my kitchen.  I then plant them out in a pot.  They flower again the next year, this one is just coming out.  I don't know what you call that small green creeper in the pot, but it grows in a few pots each year, dying out in the extreme Adelaide summer heat and comes back again in the winter months.  Anything plant that does that is welcome in my garden!
 This is a native creeper called Brachycome, I planted this myself when we did the backyard blitz 18 months ago.  This is one of my favourite garden plants, because it gives that cottage look to your garden, but it can survive the Adelaide summers.
This is not a great photo, you need a close up to appreciate the small flowers.  This is another native I planted called Mini Ha Ha, a dwarf hardenbergia. They are creepers really and I think I should have left more space between them as they have quickly grown and taken up all the area allocated to them and some more!
Happy quilting, Sue.

Chocolate Cherry Slice

I made this new slice for our August All Day Quilting and it was a big hit.  I left some at home with DH and he had eaten several pieces when I got home ...unheard of as DH isn't a big sweet tooth.  So thought I might share the recipe with you all.  I have adapted this from Recipes+ latest magazine...they have a layer of fudge, which I didn't add, due to time constraints and a sneaking suspicion that less calories would be better!

Chocolate Cherry Slice

250 g packet chocolate ripple biscuits (plain chocolate flavoured biscuits NOT chocolate coated)
100g butter, melted
2 cups desiccated coconut
100 g red glacĂ© cherries, cut into quarters
400 g can sweetened condensed milk (I use the low fat version to make myself feel slightly healthier!)
150 g dark cooking chocolate + extra butter, approx 50 g

Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan forced.  Grease and line a 30 x 20 cm slice pan (e.g. lamington tin) with baking paper extending over the sides.  Crush the biscuits to a fine crumb in the food processor, add melted butter, mix and press into lined tin.  The recipe says to chill for 30 minutes...I just did it for as long as the next step took.
Combine the coconut, condensed milk and cherries in a bowl, mix well.  At this point they added red food colouring (8 drops) but I didn't bother.  Spread the filling over the biscuit base and cook for 15 minutes or until the filling is firm to touch.  Allow to cool.  Melt chocolate and butter in a double saucepan or heat proof bowl in a saucepan over simmering water - don't let the bowl touch the water or it will spoil the mixture.  Once melted spread over the cooled slice, chill in fridge until set.  Cut and serve with coffee...delish!

Enjoy this sweet delight at your next quilting bee...be warned - lots of calories so best shared with friends!

August All Day Quilting - After Dark Quilters

After seeing my Bug in a Bottle quilt, fellow ADQ Bronwyn decided to start collecting bug fabric to make a quilt for her grandchildren.  Heather generously turned up with a stash of insect prints for Bronwyn and this quilt, which she had made.  I love the fact that the bottles are bigger AND the black background really makes the bright colours pop!
 Heather spent the day making drawstring bags for toiletries - which go to Girls on Track program, run by Girl Guides and Smith Family.  
 Therese popped in and out with sporting commitments for her daughter, but when she was sewing she quilted this charity quilt donated to the charity arm of the South Australian Quilters Guild.
 Elaine sewed large and small pieces of wadding together ready for some big quilts, and the scraps went to making humbug bags - also for the Girls on Track program.  She also used her left over flannel strips to make this lap quilt in an interesting improvised log cabin design.
 Shez was busy making humbug bags most of the day, but also took some time out to quilt her pirate quilt.  Well its not for her but a special small person, who I am positive is going to be thrilled to sleep under it!
 Stacy proudly brought out her new pink sewing machine for its first outing and continued to quilt this gorgeous quilt.
 Debbie worked on her Bonnie Hunter nine patch set in a zig zag pattern.  I love this (not the best picture to see the design) layout and the fact you don't need lots of light scraps to make the 9 patch. This is a true scrap quilt and I hope to make one someday with my growing pile of strip scraps.
 Brenda worked on her blue foundation pieced log cabin which is slowly but surely growing.  I love log cabins and would like to make one...another design for my wish list!
I have just missed a picture of Jonnelle's sewing, unfortunately she was having sewing machine issues and had to leave early for choir practise, so no pictures, but she made herself a new black skirt for wearing at choir performances.  
Back later with my efforts, I am full of a cold this morning and haven't got around to taking pictures of what I completed.   Happy quilting, Sue.

Two Top Toppers

 This is the photo I wanted to show you before DH disappeared with the camera (obviously he came home again) for the week.  I put the border on Monday - when I had just one sick child.  I am really happy with this quilt, it just needs a name....any suggestions?
This top would have still been waiting for a border if my friend Ann hadn't sold me the pretty pink floral fabric over the phone and posted it to me - such is my fear of buying fabric (cos I know I will become addicted) over the Internet.  Ann's shop is called Periwinkle Patchwork and you can find her HERE because I know you don't have a fear of buying on the Internet!  Please note the shop recently outgrew their house so she has recently moved into Shop 2 Bayside City Plaza, 24-36 Fairy St, Warrnambool.   Or follow her blog HERE!
This week Dinosaurs Galore (thought I had better pick one name myself) has grown into a nearly finished top.  Just need two long sides of lime green sashing and then a big blue border.  Blue is Dylan's favourite colour...sure hope he also likes orange!  I think this would be the third time at least that I have used that shade of blue from  the Shadow Play range...but in my defence it does match the big dinosaur!  I am really pleased with how this quilt is turning out.  I always find it hard to buy kids prints with a black background, but this pattern really distracts your eye with all the colour!  I only had 1 metre of this dinosaur pint in the cupboard, which was just enough, but would have preferred another column, to make it wider - I prefer it when single bed quilts drape generously over the bed edge.  Any ideas?
Got to go, all day quilting today and I have to decide which project(s) to take! Happy quilting Sue.

Two sick kids and a Mum

 DS2 has been sick since last Friday.  DS1 ended up in the sick bay at school yesterday and DH had to go and pick him up.  Today I had to miss work to stay home with the still sick kids.  But rather then whining about my real life I thought I would take some photos and post a blog.  *$#*&^#(! DH has left the state with our only camera...and all the photos I had taken but not yet downloaded of my sewing achievements from the weekend.
What's a girl to do?  Dig around and find another project that has reappeared now my newly painted sewing room is nearly fully functional again.  So...
 ...using this book I have been cutting...
  ...these fabrics.
...to make this block - Easy Attic Windows.
The most impressive thing about all this is not that I can sew when my kids are sick, but the fact that I think I have worked out how to a) take photos using my digital phone AND how to b) download them onto my computer ALL c) without reading the instruction manual...which I cannot find anyhow!  
Happy quilting, Sue.

Kim Diehl star in a churn dash blocks

I was just popping in to read some of my favorite bloggers, after a six month absence!  Then I saw that there was this draft post, so figure...