Saturday 28 February 2009

Glasses Case Tutorial!

I said a few posts back that if there was any interest in a tutorial for the strip-pieced glasses cases I made for our work Bushfire Fundraiser, I'd do a tutorial. Well ... here it is! I may have gone a bit overboard with the photos of steps, but thought it better to be safe than sorry, especially since English isn't the first language for many of you.

I'll start by prefacing this by saying I'm not a traditional quilter or patchworker - I've never attended any classes, just picked up bits and pieces as I've gone along and taught myself to do things to get a result I was after, so those who know the rules - don't stress when I break them! Tee! Hee! Hee! I also tend to develop (as I'm sure most of us do!) little shortcuts that I like to use. So, here we go!!


Step 1. Cut a rectangle of 100% cotton quilt wadding 15"x4 1/2" (38cmx12cm).

Step 2. Raid your small scraps stash to cut 10 strips measuring 4 1/2"x2" (12cmx5cm). You can cut your strips any width you wish, or that your scraps allow - it will just mean you need more or less strips to get the length needed for the case once they're joined. You could even do different widths if you don't mind whether they match at the side seams. Iron all strips.

This is my pile of 4 1/2" strips ready to be ironed.

Step 3. Lay your first strip on one short end of your wadding, face up & lining up with the edge.

Step 4. Lay your next strip face down on the first & pin in place.

Step 5. Using a 1/4" seam stitch through all three layers - two fabric strips & wadding. (had to show this photo for Stina ... lots of good things come from Sweden, including my sewing machine!! OH! And Stina, of course! Tee! Hee! Hee!)

Step 6. Fold the top strip back along the wadding & press flat. Repeat this with further strips until wadding is completely covered. (If you end up with a very small amount of wadding showing at the end, just trim it off in the next step.)

Step 7. Using a cutting mat, rotary cutter & quilter's ruler, trim your strip pieced rectangle back to approximately 14 1/2"x4 1/4" (37cmx11cm). Don't stress too much if yours is a little different, just make sure edges are straight & parallel to their opposite.

Step 8. Fold your pieced rectangle in half, short ends together & pin side seams, matching strips is possible. Stitch both side seams using a 1/4" seam, trim bottom corners being careful not to snip stitching & turn right side out so that it looks like ...

Be sure you push the bottom corners through fully.

Step 9. LINING: Cut a rectangle of lining fabric 14 1/4"x4" (36.5cmx10cm) & press flat.

Step 10. With right sides together, fold lining in half with short ends together. Pin side seams, leaving a 2" (5cm) gap to turn the case through later. If you're like me & sometimes forget, put a pin a different direction in the gap to make you stop stitching. (see above) Leave lining inside-out & trim bottom corners as for the case.

Step 11. STRAP (optional): If you just want to pop your glasses into the case on a desk or in your handbag, you may not need a strap, but it can be handy. I have a similar case hanging just inside the back door & when I come into the house, I slip my sunglasses into it so I don't waste a lot of time searching for them when I need to go out again! It also makes a handy mobile phone or MP3 player pouch if you want to go walking. Cut a length of ribbon (your choice of width) aprox. 50" (128cm) long. Pin one end of the ribbon to each side seam so the cut edge points up & the loop of ribbon hangs down, as in the photo above.

Step 12. Making sure the strap is pushed down out of the way, slip the glasses case inside the inside-out lining, matching side seams & pinning around the rim.

Step 13. Carefully machine stitch around the rim of the case using a 1/4" seam. I found this easiest to do by sewing from the inside & working slowly. This will also stitch the strap ends in place.

Step 14. Using the gap in the lining you left open earlier, turn the glasses case AND lining right-side-out so it looks like the photo above. Make sure the bottom corners of the lining come through properly. Slipstitch turning gap closed.

Step 15. Push the lining inside the glasses case, making sure the strap is out where it needs to be. Work the rim between your fingers to get it to sit flat & straight. Pin & top stitch around the rim with thread to match your strips, being careful to keep the strap stretched out so it doesn't get tucked under & sewn in by accident.

Step 16. Gently press glasses case. The case is ready to use as it is, but if you want, you can sew a press clip on the inside of the case at the top to keep glasses from tipping out & decorate the front with a pretty button, as I've done with this version.

Ta da!! Your finished glasses case! Handy and pretty, this is a quick gift idea that will also help use up some of those little pieces of fabric that aren't big enough to be very useful, but are too pretty to throw away. If you wanted to get creative, you could incorporate lace, rick-rack, embroidery, beads ... whatever embellishments you have on hand ... to make your glasses case even more individual.

I hope you enjoy making your own versions of my strip pieced glasses case and if you do make one ... or some! ... I'd love you to send me a photo to admire! For now ... I'm off to do a bit of Secret Squirrel stitching - in between answering emails from OPAM participants who are sending their End Of Month reports to me. I always try to send little replies back to anyone who emails or leaves a comment on my blog. The only ones who won't hear back from me are the "No Reply" commenters - cos I can't find you!! If you've set your blogging comments as "No Reply" and really don't want to change it, but would like a reply, make sure you include your email address in your comment so I can get back to you. Or if you don't know HOW to change your "No Reply" status, pop over and see Chookyblue, as she has some handy blogging hints including how to deal with this issue. (I usually just yell for my beloved Geek Boy! Tee! Hee! Hee!) Hope you're having a great weekend and sneaking in some stitching - Bear Hugs!


Saturday 21 February 2009

More No-Blog Photos!

I know ... don't fall over in shock because I'm posting two days in a row!! I promised you some more photos from some of our No-bloggers who are taking part in May Britt's and my One Project A Month (OPAM) Challenge and here I am to deliver! But first, I thought I'd skite a bit and show you what I've put together to send off to Karen at Mrs Martin's Quilt Shop for the bushfire quilts of comfort.

Pretty bright, huh!! Tee! Hee! Hee! I purposely went looking through my stash for bright, cheerful colours for blocks that could be a child's quilt. This one, as is, will make a great crawl rug or if Karen has some more bright blocks to add, maybe a cot quilt. I hope it cheers up a little one who doesn't understand what the fires have meant, except that they don't have their favourite dolly or bear, or blankie ... you know what I mean, those little things that comfort children but may not have been important to parents worrying only about getting their family out safely. Karen and her girls are doing a great job of collecting blocks and tops to make into quilts and have been given great support with donations. Pop over and catch up on her updates.

OK, onto the No-Blogger photos. Some of these have been waiting since last month to be shown off and some are February finishes - I'm kind of waiting to gather a few before posting them. It just seems a shame not to share some of the talent amongst our No-Bloggers just cos they don't have a blog. (though a few have started blogging through the Challenge - YAY!)

This is Mary's Bears in the Wood wall hanging - gotta love bears, right!!

Mary's been busy, cos this is another of her finishes - a quilt to be donated to a youth shelter - good on you Mary!

Isn't this AMAZING!! The amount of work and the GORGEOUS colours in this quilt, again made by Mary, make this a very special quilt! Whenever I see wedding ring quilts, I drool a little (OK, a lot!!) and would love to have a try at making one some day, but not sure my very basic patch working skills are up to it! Maybe one day!

Stacia's been at it again, here are three more purse organisers she's made.

This eye-catching rug was another of Stacia's finishes. She made this shaggy rug for her brother who is on active service with one of the armed services (sorry Stacia, can't remember which one you told me!). What a lovely reminder of home for him!

And Stacia also added this button cushion to her lounge room, which now boasts several soft furnishing items in the yummy apricot colour.

Tudy has come up with a clever way to recycle an unworn cardie - make a creative cushion from it! Cool!

Uuni has also been busy - this is a very cool coffee-themed bag she has made, simple but really striking! You can almost feel the caffeine jolt! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And this lovely, warm wall hanging is another of Uuni's finishes.

So ... there you go ... a bit of an update on the photos I've been receiving. And there are HEAPS more WONDERFUL, INSPIRING, GORGEOUS projects appearing on people's blogs, so it's worth your while to make a cuppa and go for a little cyber visit through the list of participants in my sidebar. Just a reminder, too, to make sure you keep your sidebar list up-to-date with your finishes, cos that's where May Britt and I will be checking at the end of the month to put people in the prize draw. And if you're able to email a summary of your February finishes to me or May Britt to update the spreadsheet, that would be a great help.

Just a reminder ... ALL finishes count, whether it's a project you've had in the cupboard for years or if you only thought about making it yesterday. (of course you'd have to think about it then FINISH it to count, but you know what I mean!!!)

And now ... I'm off to work on the second half of the Secret Squirrel project I'll be teaching at Marian's "Girls Getaway Weekend" next month. Overcast weather here today makes for a perfect stitching-in-front-of-DVD's day! Have a great weekend whatever you're up to! Til next time - Bear Hugs!


Friday 20 February 2009

What I Did At Work ...

Some people dread going to work, but I really LOVE my job! For those of you who don't know, I work four mornings a week as an Admin Assistant at a retirement village at Highfields, about 20 minutes drive north of Toowoomba - which is one of the reasons I spend so much time at the Quilter's Angel visiting Marian and Steph ... it's just SOOOOOOOOOO handy on my way home! Tee! Hee! Hee! One of the reasons I love my job is that I feel like I've gained a very large extended family since starting work - OK, so I now have around 70 adopted grandparents!! Tee! Hee! Hee! And one of the things that has just blown me away since becoming a part of this large extended family is the generosity of the residents in our village!! That was reinforced yesterday when we had a "Bring & Buy" morning tea to raise money for the bushfire appeal.

The idea was that everyone who wanted to be involved brought something to put on a stall for sale - it could be something you'd made, something new you'd never used or even 'white elephant' items that may have been someone else's new treasure. I spent some time in my sewing room to make some patchwork glasses pouches.

They were a great, quick way to use some fabric scraps to make little giftie projects. None of them actually sold, but one of the residents pointed out that most of them don't take their glasses off except to sleep, so they don't really need a pretty case! Tee! Hee! Hee! Hadn't thought about that! Ah well, I'm going to keep one for my computer glasses (anti-glare!) and keep the rest in my birthday box cos they make great sunglasses cases to keep in a handbag! (Hmmm ... if there's any interest, I could post a tutorial?!?) However I digress ....!!

We had a lovely morning with about 40 people coming along to enjoy a shared morning tea and see what goodies there were to buy from our stall - most people said they went home with more than they brought! :0) Here are some photos of our morning ...

Here are some people checking out the goodies on the B&B stall.

People enjoyed a cup of tea together ...

And a chat!

You know how in every old western movie they show a bench outside the local saloon with a couple of old blokes sitting there watching the world go by and solving the world's problems? Well we had our own version! Tee! Hee! Hee! Oops! Except for Tony on the left there ... not so old!! He's our groundsman/handyman/general dogsbody!! He loves it when we have morning teas cos he gets home-made goodies!! :0)

Altogether, with donations and sale of items, we raised $380 for the morning, so together with other donations that have come in, our little village has raised around $3,500!! Not bad for somewhere where most of the residents are on a pension, hey!! And the best bit? Organising and being at the morning tea was part of my job! Did I mention I REALLY love my job! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Day off today, but it seems to have disappeared without getting too many jobs crossed off my "To Do" list. However, I reckon I've got an hour or so before I have to go pick my beloved Geek Boy up from work, so I think I'll head for the sewing room to work on those quilt blocks to send down to Karen at Mrs Martin's Quilt Shop! Hope you've all had a great week, whatever you've been up to. Will be back in the next day or so to share some more OPAM Challenge photos that have been emailed from some no-blogger's! Have a great weekend! Bear Hugs!


Monday 16 February 2009

Mail From Milan!

I'd barely got home today from lunch with my dancing buddies Lynda and Deb (none of us actually get to belly dance classes anymore, but that's where we met, so, 'dancing buddies'!) when someone was dinging my doorbell. Oooooohhhh!! A parcel courier!! Well, I'd been expecting a parcel, so you can bet I was pretty excited, and sure enough ... it was the parcel that Cristina from Milan (no blog) had told me to expect!!

Most of you will know that when I took part in Helen's Stitchers' Angel Swap, my parter sent me a stitching giftie on time, but it's currently touring the world courtesy of Hungarian Post (hmmm ... not sure that's what they are really called, but you know what I mean!!) and after Helen posted a list of us who hadn't received a giftie, I had three lovely ladies offer to send me make-up gifties! Joy and Marie-Joze` have already spoilt me with lovely parcels and Cristina was the third generous stitcher to offer a make-up giftie. We've been cyber chatting via email for a while now, getting to know each other (and I've been treated to lovely photos of Cristina's family!!) and last week Cristina said she'd sent my parcel with the courier. She then teased me with an update that it had reached Singapore on the weekend .... ooooooooohhh!! The suspense was nearly killing me!! Tee! Hee! Hee! so now you know why I was so excited to see the courier today! (I did manage to refrain from hugging him, I'm not sure his nerves would have coped with a strange woman launching herself at him! Tee! Hee! Hee!)

I opened up my much-awaited parcel and found ...

WOW!! A wonderful, big stitching folder that has the cutest dolly and teddy bear on the front - and they obviously enjoy stitching too! And there was a sweet little bag for storing buttons, with some wonderful bear-shaped buttons to get me started, a handy little pin cushion and some burgundy rick-rack - all featuring teddy bears somewhere, in the stitcheries or in the buttons on them! How wonderful ... but wait, there's more! Look inside the folder ...

Some very handy pockets to store thread, patterns etc and the felt patches to store needles are also shaped like teddy bears!! Hmmm ... if I pop my needles and pins into these cute shapes, they will look like piercings and I'll have the only punk bears for miles around! Tee! Hee! But wait ... there's MORE!!!

A lovely cross-stitch magazine and a postcard featuring a historic Italian castle. And although I can't READ the magazine (unless I take a crash course in Italian!!) I CAN follow the patterns and there are some super cute patterns in here, too! Uh oh!! There goes my "To Do" list, growing like Pinnocio's nose! Tee! Hee! Hee! Thank you SOOOOOOOOOOOOO much, Cristina!! I feel VERY spoilt - AGAIN!! And another thank you to Joy and Marie-Joze` for the wonderful surprise parcels they sent me, too. When these gals contacted me, I said we'd make it a little mini-swap, so guess who now needs to get stitching!! I think that's enough to keep me busy for a little while! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And of course, I'm still working on blocks to send off to Karen at Mrs Martin's Quilt Shop to be made into quilts of hope for the victims of the recent bushfire disaster. There are a number of different bloggers co-ordinating quilts of hope/quilts of comfort, so if you'd like to be involved, there's lots to choose from. In fact, some people were getting a little confused, so Helen has published a blog page listing many of the appeals/block collections etc, so pop over for a peek if you'd like to contribute, but don't quite know which direction to take. Peg's blogging buddy Lorraine (sorry I don't have the link, but pop in to Peg's blog as she does!) is organising a collection of stitching/craft supplies to make up Sanity Saver packs to go to people affected by the fires. So, I've been rummaging through my craft supplies to find some handy bits and bobs to send off. Man oh man! My mate Raymond at the Post office is going to LOOOOOOOVE me this week! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Hope you all had a lovely Valentine's weekend, whether you got all gooey and sentimental, or like my beloved Geek Boy and I, gave each other a smooch and bought chocolates on special when we did the groceries!! I had a very productive stitching weekend ... but can't show you ANY of it yet, cos they are all Secret Squirrel projects!! Aaaaaarrrghhh!! The Suspense!! :0) So I hope you don't explode before I can show you!! Til next time (provided you don't explode from unsatisfied curiosity! Tee! Hee! Hee!) Bear Hugs!


Saturday 14 February 2009

The People You Meet!

Now, last time I posted, I teased you a little by saying that I'd met up with another of my bloggy buddies, but didn't tell you WHO. What if I told you she lives on a farm in NSW, has two kids, is addicted to fabric (Oh, hang on, that includes MOST of my bloggy buddies! Tee! Hee! Hee!), loooooooooves Christmas, loves chooks and the colour BLUE ... bet those last two clues gave it away!

On Monday afternoon, my mobile rang and it was none other than Chookyblue. She said she was passing through Toowoomba on her way to Brisbane and wondered if I'd like to meet up with her at the Village Green. Well, gee, it would be a REAL hardship to meet for a cuppa and look at fabric!!!! So, we did indeed meet up and even though I'd never seen a photo, I recognised Chookyblue straight away - and she obviously recognised me too - or she'd been waving to every strange woman who wandered up, hoping that eventually someone would wave back!! :0) Just kidding!! I was introduced to Bookworm and the three of us sat down to enjoy a cold drink - it was Toowoomba's hottest day so far this summer, reaching around 38 degrees Celsius! I told Chookyblue she must have brought the hot weather with her! Tee! Hee! Hee! She admired the wonderful valley views down into the Lockyer Valley that you can enjoy from the back verandah of the Chocolate Cottage and said she now sees why I meet my friends there so often!

And no visit to the Village Green would be complete without a visit to Marian and Steph at Quilters Angel. So, it's Chookyblue's fault that some fabric followed me home!! (Funny, my beloved Geek Boy didn't believe that either!!!) Here's what I bought ...

I loooooooooove the "Oh Cherry Oh" fabrics!! The yummy red cherries will go with the layercake from the same range that I bought before Christmas and the green spot is one I use on a lot of projects ... including a Secret Squirrel one .... SHHHHHH!! I was so much fun to meet up with Chookyblue and Bookworm and we had a lovely time chatting - and shopping of course!! And I've decided chatting to Chookyblue in person is just like reading her blog. And now, whenever we're chatting via blogs or emails, we'll each have a mental picture of the other. Hmmm ... that may be scarier for Chookyblue than me! Tee! Hee! Hee! Thanks for coming to visit, Chooky!!!

I also found a little something in my sewing room this week that I'd kind of forgotten about (actually, there's probably a LOT of things in my sewing room I've forgotten exist cos it's been so long since I've seen them! Tee! Hee! Hee!)

This is a knitted blanket my mother-in-law made for me after I saw the pattern in a magazine. See ... I TOLD you I love anything featuring Noah's Ark!! I'll share some close-ups of the blocks.

These cute, cheeky monkeys are my favourite, I think!

Here's the lions ... and it occurs to me that each 'pair' of animals was supposed to be a 'Him' and a 'Her', but unless Mrs Lion has a facial hair problem, I think we've got two 'Him's' here! Oops!!! :0)

Here's one of the giraffes - the other is on another block.

One of the elephants - don't you love the plaited tail? The giraffes have them too.

Are the zebras white with black stripes, or black with white stripes?!? Right up there with 'which came first, the chicken or the egg?' for deep contemplation questions!!

And the earliest form of instant messaging - the doves. It just depends of your definition of 'instant'!!

Of course, none of them would be going anywhere without a big boat - here's the Ark already to set sail. This little blanket isn't very big, so I've had it draped over a chair in the sewing room. But since this is the same chair that you saw in a recent photo where I'd laid my Noah's ark BOM blocks out on my ironing pile ... you can understand how I forgot this little knitted quilt was there - burried under a mountain of wrinkly clothes!! So, I've decided it needs to find a new spot in the house somewhere, but am as yet undecided ... who knows, it may take 40 days and 40 nights until it finds its final resting place! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Well, since it's rainy, overcast and cool here again today (yesterday was similar weather) I think I'm going to park myself on the couch and enjoy some DVD action .... hmmmmm ... Season One of "Supernatural" today, I think! Whatever you're up to, I hope you're having a great start to the weekend! Til next time - Bear Hugs!


Tuesday 10 February 2009

The Worst Brings Out The Best!!

In my last post I shared a little of what's been happening in Victoria with the devastating fires and I'm sure most of you have read or seen more in the media. Thank you SO much to all who've left encouraging and supportive comments. It has really shown me that bloggers may be separated my oceans, language barriers and time zones, but they are connected by the heart - and you've all touched mine! Thank you! Let me assure your all, too, that we live a long way from where the fires are - geographically speaking - because these last few days have shown that physical distance doesn't stop us being involved, touched and caring, but we have a whole state between us and the area affected - but thank you for your concern.

I'd like to tell you all the crisis is over, but I can't. There are still over 20 separate fires burning and the official death toll is still rising as burnt out areas are searched by police. So, the situation is still so grim for all who are affected.

However, in amongst such sad and distressing news, there has also been incredibly positive things happening! Over $60 million (Aust) has been donated by businesses, corporations and the general population towards the relief fund! How amazing is that - already surpassed the government's initial funding!!! Not only that, there are INCREDIBLE collections, auctions, sales etc happening, all to benefit victims of the fires! We've witnessed the worst of human nature in those who deliberately set a number of these fires and we're now seeing some of the BEST of human nature in the response!

Now you just KNOW that bloggers like to be in the thick of things and there have been posts flying all over blogland as people set up auctions, donations and collections! Melly and Rosie are offering items for sale, Cheryl is auctioning off one of her fave quilts as well as donating the quilting of a number of quilt tops to be donated to the fire appeal and Karen at Mrs Martin's Quilt Shop is gathering up quilt tops and stray blocks to make up quilts to be given to families affected by the fires. I've had a few of my overseas blogging buddies ask how THEY can get involved (bless their generous cotton socks!!) and perhaps this is one way. Karen has said if stitchers would like to send quilt tops and blocks of any kind and size to her, she and her trusty assistants will weave their magic and make them up into quilts. Also, if people have fabric that can be used for quilt backs (doesn't matter about amounts, as they'll join lengths together to get the job done!) - most of us have pieces of fabric we've bought ages ago and decided we actually don't like, well it can now be put to great use! Also, if you have any quilt wadding to donate, Karen and the girls will make use of it for these quilts. Now like me, many quilters don't have lots of cash available in their budget to donate, but BOY OH BOY, do stitchers have PILES OF FABRIC in our stashes!!! (Hmmm ... perhaps this is the reason we don't have cash!!! Tee! Hee! Hee!)

While my beloved Geek Boy and I will be making a monetary donation to one of the appeals, I also wanted to DO something physical, practical to help, so making blocks to send to Karen was just the ticket! I dug through my stash this afternoon and then played for a while and came up with ..

Some bright and funky nine patch blocks! I've got some other fabrics ready to make blocks to match in with these and hope to put together a cot quilt top to send off to Karen, but if I don't have enough matching fabrics, I'll send them off and I'm sure Karen will be able to use them somehow!! So you'll understand I'm a bit side-tracked at the moment! Tee! Hee! Hee! If you'd like to know more about any of these fundraisers, pop over to the blogs and chat with the people running them. And of course, there are a lot more fundraisers springing up - bloggers really are a generous lot!! - so keep an eye out and tell us about what you find through your blog. The worst of situations truly can bring out the best in many people!!!

Now still on the subject of blocks, but moving slightly aside ... I've finished my Ark block for Lynette's Noah's Ark BOM! Ready? Ta! Da!

Here it is!! The Ark!! Hmmm ... Mt Ararat seems a little less steep than I'd heard! Tee! Hee! Hee! I actually finished this during a very productive weekend, but the fires took the wind out of my sails and I hadn't got round to showing you til today. While that's all of the OFFICIAL BOM blocks, I'm going to add some of my own to it, I think, partly to make it bigger, partly cos I just want more animals and partly cos I can't measure very well some days and I have to fix a few "Oops's"! :0) I don't feel too bad, though, cos Judy tells me SHE's having issues as well!! We'll both have to nut it out to get it finished to count towards the OPAM Challenge!! Oh! And don't worry, Pennie! I haven't forgotten I need to send you the last few pattern sheets for the BOM - just have to get myself organised!!

And on that note, I think I need to organise myself to have a shower and keep a much-delayed date with my pillow. Stay warm those of you in snowy countries, stay cool those in Australia who are feeling summer's bite, stay safe those in and around the fire areas, stay dry those in the northern floods and stay tuned for more of my ramblings when next I post!! Will give you a preview ... I met another bloggy buddy in person this week and I bet you'll never guess who!!! That'll keep you guessing! Bear Hugs!


Monday 9 February 2009

A Grateful, Thankful Heart!

I'm sitting here tonight in my comfortable home, with my beloved Geek Boy happily tapping away on his laptop in the other room, knowing that my brother is packing for a much-awaited holiday and my parents are arguing about who will put the dog downstairs for the night. And I have a grateful, thankful heart because I know there are so many people in Australia right now who don't have these assurances.

Most of you will be aware by now (through blogland if not the news) that devastating fires have been, and are still, raging through parts of Victoria. Each time I see a new report, an update on what is happening, I'm moved to tears. This more than any other disaster that I can think of has hit me hard. Whole towns have been wiped out as huge and deadly firestorms swept through, often with so little warning that people escaped with only the clothes they were wearing - if that. The death toll is staggering - it stands at 86 as I write this, but is expected to climb much higher once emergency services personnel are able to get into all affected areas. Whole families have been lost, many still don't know whether their loved ones are safe. I think the not knowing would almost be worse than knowing and beginning the grieving. Grown men, tough Aussie blokes, are reduced to tears as they tell of what they've lost and it touches my heart.

Something of this magnitude, this scale, really puts life into perspective. Suddenly, those little irritations, those little inconveniences seem very small indeed and I realise that I have so much to be thankful for. So tonight, my post doesn't have it's usual touches of humour, but as you read it, I hope you'll join with me in praying for those who are affected by this devastating event. I pray for comfort for those who are experiencing loss of loved ones and property, for safekeeping for those who are on the front line (most volunteers) struggling to bring the fires under control, for compassion and generosity from the wider community in assisting the people affected and for wisdom for the decision makers in the clean up and rebuilding once the fires are out.

And I guess this is a reminder that life is uncertain - a T'shirt slogan that makes me smile says "Life is uncertain - eat desert first!" While I'm not sure this is the best nutritional advice, to me it's a reminder to make the most of every day and every opportunity. Embrace new adventures, give compliments and praise when it is due, practice random acts of kindness, let those close to you know how much you care and most important of all - never miss a chance to tell your family that you love them!! Sharing tears and Bear Hugs!


Thursday 5 February 2009

A-Stitching I Will Go ...!

Finally managed to spend some in my sewing room over the last two afternoons and have made some progress on some Secret Squirrel gifties and put the borders around my Lion and Bug blocks for my Noah's Ark BOM from Lynette Anderson. Take a peek ...

Here's Mr and Mrs Lion, with the Pigeons (??) hitching a lift and sticking their beaks (get it? Birds ... beaks .. sticking ... ah never mind!!) into Leo's romantic moment where he's presenting his heart to Cleo. WHAT???? Haven't you heard of poetic license in naming?! Tee! Hee! Hee! And to every picnic, uninvited comes ...

The BUGS!!! Sounds like an Alfred Hitchcock move ... "Coming soon to a cinema near you!" :0) So, my blocks thus far look like ...

Ta da!! Now, unlike a lot of you clever quilters, I don't have a design wall (Hmmm, in fact, don't have a free wall in the sewing room at all!!) so I tend to lay things out on the handiest mostly-flat surface. In this case, it's the ironing pile, so I'd appreciate it if you just close your eyes to the unironed clothes and "ooh" and "ahh" over my BOM blocks instead! Tee! Hee! Hee! You can see I've popped a bit of batting in the spot where the Ark block fits, but you get the idea of how it's coming up.

Mind you, this isn't really what my finished quilt will look like - OH NO!! You see, clever clogs that I am (stop laughing all of you who call yourselves my friends!!!) I decided to enlarge the squares slightly and add the double borders to make the overall quilt a bit bigger so I can turn it into a lap quilt, due to the afore-mentioned lack of wall/hanging space. Yes, well, in THEORY, that was great. In PRACTICE ... I stuffed up my measurements somewhere, so will have to do a bit of reshuffling and I think, pop in a filler block at the top left - those of you who have an eye for detail (or Lynette's mudmap of the quilt layout in front of you!!) may be noticing that I've already shuffled blocks about to get them to sit and fit better. Of course, I may also get a little creative and add some blocks of my own, after all, I DO have a few questions for Lynette. Like ... Where is MRS Noah? And where's the second kitty? (two by two, after all!!) And obviously Felix (Lynette's kitty for the uninitiated!) was supervising the design of this cute BOM, cos ... where are the puppies?!?! So you see, it may still be a little while before my BOM is completed, but I've made progress, so I'm pretty happy. Thanks again to Lynette who has provided months of entertainment for hundreds of stitchers all around the world!!

Judy was wondering what she and I will tackle next (we've been encouraging each other and competing to see who finishes each block first on the Noah's Ark BOM!!). Well ... we didn't' have to wait long to answer that question, as we've both started (without the other realising!!) Gail Pan's Christmas Wish BOM!! Tee! Hee! Hee! And I am now off to stitch a bit more on my block and watch a DVD - day time television sucks!! Hope you're all finding some stitching time ... except for Stina who MUST be a good girl and just sit around drinking tea and reading magazines to give her poor sore finger a chance to heal!! And is she happy about no stitching?? NOOOOOOOOOOO!! She says it's even harder than when she and I promised not to open our SSCS gifties before Christmas!! Tee! Hee! Hee! We're thinking of you Stina and sending warm healing thoughts your way!!! And a cheerio to Kerryanne, who is also chafing a bit under doctors orders to be a good girl. Mind you, she's just started back doing a little bit of painting and you HAVE to visit her blog to catch her sneaky peek - GORGEOUS!! But right now - A-stitchin' I will go!! Til next time - Bear Hugs!


Tuesday 3 February 2009

Someone's Giving A Quilt Away.

Just a quick post (Chookyblue just sighed with relief! Tee! Hee! Hee!) One of our OPAM Challange participants is having a give away for her blogiversary. Daisy B (which she isn't listed on our Challenge list as?!?!) is giving away a small quilt, so pop over and say "Hi" and see what she's been up to.

Off to my sewing room to put some borders on my last two Noah's Ark blocks - since Lynette today posted the final one! EEK! Behind again!! Bear Hugs!


Monday 2 February 2009

And The Winner Is ...

This is me ... after spending quite a few hours in the last couple of days checking lists, checking blogs, reading emails, replying to emails ...!! When May Britt and I first talked about co-hosting our One Project A Month Challenge, we thought we might have 50 to 80 people join us. Well ... the sign up is now CLOSED and we have a total of 277 participants!!! EEEKK!! And altogether, for the month of January, we collectively completed 480 fabric or wool projects!! WOW! Give yourselves a round of applause!! At this rate, we should really have made a dent in those piles of WISP's, UFO's, PHD's (projects half done) and made up kits and patterns that we've had stashed for years!! In fact, it's got to the stage where we are starting to create our own language. If you're working on your WISP's you're "WISPing", if you're working on a project you've had in the cupboard for a loooooooong time, it can either be called "very WISPy" or a "WISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSP"! Tee! Hee! Hee! Congratulations to everyone who has completed one or more projects for January and even if you didn't' actually COMPLETE something, but worked on a WISP or two ... or three ... then you should also be pleased that you've made some progress!! Oh ... just a note! A quilt isn't counted as a finish for the challenge until it's been quilted and bound and BOM's don't count until they're made up into the quilt, quilted and bound. And don't forget that projects have to be fabric/stitching, cross or long stitch, or wool craft like knitting and crochet. I know a lot of you are setting yourselves the goal of finishing BOM blocks each month, which is great, but it doesn't count towards your OPAM Challenge finishes unless it fits with the above criteria.

Now, I know you're all sitting in front of your computers, on the edge of your seats, thinking to yourselves, "Stop rambling on and tell us who won the monthly prize draw!!" After receiving some assistance from my trusty sidekick, my beloved "Geek Boy", who did the random number generator thingy magic, the winner of the January OPAM Challenge prize draw is ...


Congratulations, Lene! Lene actually tried to trick me by sending an email in Danish, but I explained that Australians are a bit lazy and only speak and read English (and some of us seem to struggle with that sometimes! Tee! Hee! Hee!) but she found a handy translator program and we're communicating just fine now! And what does she win, I hear you ask?

Lene gets to play with this cute Angel bag pattern designed by Natalie Bird of The Birdhouse designs, a useful but pretty little note pad with our Aussie kangaroos on, a very handy little sharpie pen, a laser cut timber button in the shape of a kangaroo to match the note pad (button created by Lisa at Button Bliss) and a bag of one of my fave sweet treats, some mini musks. I hope you like your prize pack, Lene! If you'd like to email me with your snail mail address (or to May Britt if it's easier to get her to translate!!) I'll visit my little mail centre man and get this winging it's way to you soon. Each month's prize pack will be a little different and May Britt and I are doing month about, so whoever wins the February draw will get a wonderful giftie from May Britt!

Just a little bit of housekeeping ... A HUGE thank you to all of you who emailed May Britt or I with your monthly project total - this was a WONDERFUL help to me! With so many people now signed up, if I'd had to visit EVERY blog in the short time span I had, my eyes would PERMANENTLY look like the little guy at the top of this post!! Tee! Hee! Hee! So if people would like to do the same at the end of February, that would be GREAT!! Now I realise that life interferes, we lose track of time, have computer glitches or (the lucky ones!!) go away on holidays, so if you can't email your final list in the day or so at the end of the month, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE make sure you have a list of finished projects on your sidebar that is UP-TO-DATE!! That way, May Britt and I can quickly find how many projects to add to the spreadsheet beside your name. If you don't email us and you don't have your list up to date, you miss out on extra prize draw entries. And while I was roaming around blogs in search of finished projects, I also noticed that some of you don't have your finished project lists, some don't have the badge and some have the badge, but no link. If you need help in getting the badge/link/project list onto your sidebar, just drop May Britt or me an email and we'll send some instructions, as I realise some of you are still pretty new to blogging - some of you have even started your blogs just for this Challenge - well done and welcome to Blogland! Tee! Hee! Hee! If May Britt or I can't help you out, I'll consult my beloved "Geek Boy" who translates "Geek Speak" into English for me all the time!! :0)

I think that's all I had to mention ... Oh! Wait, I remember!! If you have a chance, check both my list and May Britt's list of Challenge participants for a couple of things. 1. Make sure you've been added to the list (some may have slipped through the email net when I was having computer issues!) and 2. Check that the link we have to your blog is the right one and works. If it doesn't please drop us an email to tell us and we'll fix it - half the fun of the Challenge is discovering so many new blogs, so we want people to be able to visit you. It may just be a case of typos late at night when we've been updating lists!! OK, that's it for Challenge stuff for today!!

Now ... moving on to other bloggy news ... I need to say a BIG thank you to Marie Joze`!!! When I took part in Helen's Stitchers Angel Swap last year, my partner sent me a giftie, but it got lost somewhere between Budapest and Toowoomba. So ... I've already shared how the wonderful Joy (visit her blog to check out her CUTE panda quilt!!) sent me a little giftie because I'd missed out, well, I also had a couple of other lovely, generous bloggers contact me to see if they could send something. I decided that if they did, we'd make it a little mini-swap and I'll send something back. Well, last week (in the midst of end-of-month challenge stuff!!) a box arrived from Marie Joze` and inside I found ...

Some very special stitching accessories!! Thank you Marie Joze`!!! I now have a pretty, pretty pin cushion with a lovely red flower on it and this cute little needle keeper, which opens out to look like ...

This! Isn't it clever? And look what was inside ... three GORGEOUS pins with roses on the heads!! Not to mention quite a few delicious little bars of chocolate - just to help keep my energy up while I'm stitching! Tee! Hee! Hee! I've promised to share these with GB, as he's the true chocoholic in the family!! Thank you SOOOOOOOO much, Marie Joze`!! I'm feeling VERY spoilt! And there will be a little surprise package coming your way in return ... just as soon as I recover from reading 270 something blogs! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And on that note, I'm off to make a list of projects that I need to tackle for February - we already have a couple of finishes registered!! WOW! Some people are just too quick off the mark, aren't they!! Til next time, happy WISPing and Bear Hugs!

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