Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bonnie's baby blanket

I recieved some great mail this week, but my husband is currently asleep and I can't get to the camera without waking him (see what happens when you work from home? sleeping in!), so I thought I'd share the blanket I made in 2007 for the birth of my cousin's first child - Bonnie Blossom!
At the time, I was attending classes in Mill Park in Melbourne with my Mum, her friend and her friends daughter and on the walls of our classroom were lots of embroidered woolen blankets. One of the other women in the class and myself asked if we could make one too - and our wonderful teacher Pene agreed.

I used a soft flannel for the back and satin ribbon for the edge

From my photocopy of the pattern pieces, I can see that this was called "The Duckling" and was designed by Libby Vater of South Australia, however, unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the book the pattern came from.

the page for this blanket in my quilting journal

As I was making this blanket, I discovered my cousin was pregnant - phew! I refuse to keep any of the baby or kids quilts, toys or blankets I make so as to not jinx ourselves for the future! One of my favourite things about this blanket is the butterfly wings which I stitched in a sparkly thread and I have been told Bonnie loves to play with them too. Bonnie turns 2 in April - I'd better start thinking about her birthday present!

Thankyou all for you lovely comments on my pincushion/wallhanging. Hopefully I will get it finished this week to show you. And just because I thought it was cute - here's Sampson enjoying some wadding!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

finally, some sewing to share

I have been a little slack of late with my sewing for the pincushion of the month club. However, when Leanne's design arrived in my mailbox I was thrilled. I love Leanne's designs and I think the fabrics she chose were just gorgeous.

I made the plain pincushion first to have a go at the ric rac, and discovered I was terrible at it! Thankfully Leanne put a tutorial on her blog since then and I was able to make sure the rest were a bit better!

After stitching two of the other designs, I realised just how big the pincushions were going to be. That, combined with the fact that I have many pincushions already, led me to change things up a bit. So I decided to make them into a wall hanging instead.

Today I put it all together and started on the quilting.

Hopefully it will be my finish for February.

Has anyone else been watching this show? I love it!

Hope you all had a good weekend!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Swaps and friends

When I started this blog, I intended it to be a place to show off my projects (heaven knows my husband is probably sick of hearing all about them!), a place to get ideas, comments and inspiration from others, and a little something to help keep me motivated to finish things. I guess it's like having a sewing group, without having a sewing group!

I'd watched with envy as you all joined swaps and sent and recieved beautiful handmade presents and gorgeous notions to and from one another - often giving and recieving from people you had never even met. I was astonished at the kindness and generosity of you all. When I saw the call out for the scrap mini swap held by Itching 2 B Stitching, I thought it would be a nice easy swap for me to join in the fun.

Terry was my swap partner - she's from the US. We exchanged a couple of emails before sending off our packages and she seemed lovely. Ter and I are quite different - she's a grandmother while I am still classed a newlywed and have only finished studying in the past 2 years. We live on opposite sides of the world and would never have met or known each other in any other circumstance.

When my package arrived from Ter I was so thrilled, overwhelmed and excited by what she had sent. She was so generous! I love that two like-minded people each put together a pack of goodies to send accross to the other side of the world, just to put a smile on the face of a complete stranger!

I recieved a beautiful email from Ter last night saying that her swap package had arrived. And she sounded equally as happy as I am! Participating in this swap really made me feel like part of the online craft community and I think I have made a wonderful email buddy in Ter.

Since Ter doesn't have a blog, here's a few pics of what I sent her:
I thought I would include some 'Australian' things: a copy of Australian Patchwork and Quilting, a copy of Delicious magazine, and a packet of Tim Tams! The nesting doll was made from Rachel's pattern here

A close-up of the woven ribbon

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Scrap Mini Swap Received!

How excited was I when I got home from work last night and saw the mail – 2 magazines (Delicious and AP&Q) and a package from Ter – my swap partner in the We The People Scrap Mini Swap.

I first noticed that customs had already been into the bag and was a little worried, but my fears were lost when I opened up the envelope to find this gorgeous bag – stuffed with all sorts of treasures, including the most perfect card!

My bag of goodies!

Ter sent me heaps of material – more than the 15 specified scraps, some of which were pieced blocks from her previous projects, and one of which matches my (WISP) Angel’s story quilt – how perfect is that?

Some of my favourites!

A gorgeous, bright pieced block - I can't believe she parted with this!

One to match my Angel's story quilt

Ter also included a lovely stitchery that she had done which was very appropriate for this swap, a small bag of treats (including the cutest packet of tissues with the Peanuts gang on it!) and chocolate and other sweets too.

And Ter also put together a gorgeous little kit for making fabric gift tags, with instructions, fabric ready to be cut into tags, ribbon and reinforcements. Isn't it great?

I am so blown away by Ter's generosity and kindness - I was so lucky to have such a great swap partner Thankyou so much Ter! I hope you package arrives soon!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Comfort food - Mum's chicken noodle soup

The weather in Sydney has been erratic for the past few weeks – from hot and humid for weeks on end, to cold and very wet for the past 5 or so days. Thankfully our home has cooled down over the past week as it was getting very tiring being in such a warm house and not sleeping very well. The warmer weather is also hard as I don’t really feel like standing over the stove or turning on the oven, so we tend to have a lot of salads or BBQs. But lately, I have really been craving a roast dinner, or a plate of lasagne, or a stew or something similarly wintery. So with the turn of the weather on the weekend, I decided to make a soup.

Mum’s chicken noodle soup was a favourite meal of mine as a kid. The egg pasta noodles we use come in little twirled nests of dried noodles and I loved crushing them in my hand and letting them fall into the soup. Actually, I am such a kid – I still love crushing them! I only started making this soup myself a few years ago and was thrilled when my husband told me he loved it too. Now it is a staple in our house.

The addition of egg and lemon to thicken a soup is of Mediterranean origin and soups made using this method are known as Avgolemono. To me, this is what makes this soup so good.

Mum’s Chicken Noodle SoupLink
2 chicken marylands, skin removed
1 brown onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
Extra virgin olive oil
1.5L water or pre-made light flavoured chicken stock
1-2 teaspoons chicken stock powder (to taste, if using water)
100 - 125g egg pasta noodles
pinch of thyme
2 eggs
juice of 1 lemon

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Brown maryland pieces on both sides then remove from pot. Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pot and cook on medium heat for 5-10 mins. Return the maryland pieces to the pot, add the water or stock and a pinch of thyme and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Remove marylands from the pot and (carefully) using a fork and some tongs, pull the meat from the bones. Return the meat to the pot and discard the bones. Check flavour of stock and add stock powder if needed.

Crush noodles and add to stock – boil for 8-10 mins. Add more water/stock afterwards if necessary. Beat together 2 eggs and the juice of 1 lemon. Remove the soup from the heat and while stirring (so as not to allow the egg to cook immediately and form solid pieces), slowly add the egg/lemon mix to the soup. I usually add around ¾ of the mix and then taste it, before stopping or adding the rest.

Enjoy with some crusty buttered bread.

And, because I haven't shown much sewing lately, here's a 'Dilbert' I made last year for my sister and her boyfriend to give to his new nephew. He was made out of flannelette which meant he was lovely and cuddly, but he frayed so badly when I tried to stuff him, that he ended up needing a patch on his bum... oops!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Victorian Bushfires - A great way to help

Many of us are feeling helpless when watching the evening news or reading the papers about the devastating fires in Victoria at the moment. However there are some gorgeous women in blogland who are helping in their own way...

Melly and Rosie from Melly & Me are holding an auction on their blog of handmade toys from their own designs to help raise money for the Victorian Bushfire Appeal. There are also 2 packs of patterns to win, although my favorite items would have to be the custom made Melly & Me design and custom made Rosalie Quinlan design of your choice - how great would that be?

Go here to check out the prizes and bid for your favorite. The auctions finish this Saturday, Feb 14th.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


What an awful weekend. Victoria has endured the most fatal bushfires in its history, even worse than the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires. I was only 3 at the time of the Ash Wednesday fires so it's always been one of those things I have been told about, rather than something I remember. The devastation caused by the fires of the past weekend is just horrific. Too many homes have been lost and too many lives are gone. Watching the footage and seeing the photos is hard enough; I can't even begin to imagine what the victims of these fires are going through. My thoughts and my heart are with them all.

I haven't done a lot of sewing over the past week, but today I did put together a package for Ter - my swap partner for the We the people, scrap mini swap. Here's a peek at a non-fabric item I have included in the package. I'm sure the Aussies reading this know what it is, but SHHHHHH! Ter might be reading!!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Don't forget the photo

I have been umm-ing and ahh-ing about whether or not to show this quilt here. I made it for my husband's twin brother and his wife for their wedding, however when we went to give it to them, I realised I had not yet taken any photos of it. So while they were having a drink in our lounge room, my husband and I were clumsily trying to get a photo of the quilt in our bedroom (can you see my feet at the bottom of the quilt? I was standing on our bed!). Of course, the lighting was terrible and we didn't want to take too long, so the photos are awful - but they are all I have.

Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the designer or which magazine I got the pattern from. The original was done with pink borders and had embroidered blooms coming from each of the hearts. This photo does not show the colours of the quilt as they truly were, they were not so dark. They definitely matched better in real life - they look like they clash horribly here, but they really don't! I promise! Most of the fabrics were scraps from my Leanne's house quilt and a sunbonnet sue wallhanging - this picture and this picture show just how pretty the colours really were (have I convinced you yet?!).

I chose purple for the border and binding as this is my sister-in-laws favourite colour - as you can tell from her bridesmaids' bouquet.

I hope everyone has a good weekend!

Monday, February 2, 2009

the battle begins...

I am so proud of my husband. He has got himself a new job. A job where he gets to do things he loves (watch sport and get paid for it mainly!). And he gets to work from home (Sampson can't wait for the company).


We only have one desk in our house. And it is my sewing desk. I guess his full time job which will pay our bills should get preference over my sewing...

Perhaps I will have to start looking for a second desk