Wednesday, December 29, 2010

January Log Cabin - 3. Cutting and Giveaway!

The next job is cutting the 1.5" strips.  The key here is to cut accurately.  Ironing is a must!!  Use a hot iron with steam and your life will be much easier.
A ruler and rotary cutter makes a big difference with strips, but you can definitely do it with scissors and a pencil.
There are very few straight edges on scraps, but if you have a selvedge, or its been cut well at the shop, you can be on a winner.
Use your straight edge as a guide, and cut from there.
Try to cut with the grain.  Being slightly off grain is not a big deal as with patchwork its all locked into place.  But you must never cut on the bias unless you are told to!!!  This will completely stuff your whole block up.

If you have a geometric print (like stripes)you need to cut with the pattern rather than the grain of the fabric.

So now cut strips.  You need 1.5" strips.  Not too many of them, only about 2m in total length of each colour.

Here is my scrappy block all laid out with the strips.  Doesn't it already look nicer?

And here is my coordinating block laid out the same way.
Pretty right?  The different length of strips is due to the way I cut it off the piece of fabric.  Some came from scraps, some from fat quarters, some leftovers, and some from 20cm full pieces.

Ok - now you need to follow the cutting instructions on the tutorial found here
Essentially you need one 2.5" square for the hearth, then Fabric A has 2.5" up to 11"5" strips, and Fabric B has 3.5" up to 12.5" strips.

When its all cut out it will look like this.

And then you can rearrange to make it look all organised like this....

And if you are feeling game, you can now lay your blocks out - overlapping each piece slightly so you see what the finished product will look like!
Scrap block:

 Coordinated block:

And because I had too much time on my hands today, I decided to do an extra 3 blocks with the leftovers.  These will be giveaways!  If you would like me to send you an already cut out set, please leave a comment below, maybe telling me why you are keen to give this a whirl, and I will draw on New Years Day.  You will save the time of cutting for now, and can concentrate on sewing perfectly.....  Or maybe you can work on finding a 1/4" quilters foot for your machine?

Next post:
Sewing, and the magic 1/4" seam allowance.

January Log Cabin - 2. Fabric choice (Coordinating)

So you can't handle the idea of a scrap quilt.  Thats really OK.  Honest it is!!
What you need to do is pick out a central theme.  Walk into a fabric shop and find something you like.  Find something cheap that you like.  Find an old cotton dress you want to use and base it all around that!

Whatever you do - find a theme fabric and get at least 1m of it.

A couple of years ago (actually more like 4-5 years now....) I found this fabric at Spotters on sale.  It was only $8/m and I really liked it, so I bought about 5m of it.  I bought that much so I could use it for borders for a quilt.  Borders chew up the fabric, so when you find something you like for a good price, allow 3-4m for borders.

From the central fabric you want to look through your stash first, and find what you have that works with it.  Then go to a shop and buy 20cm pieces or some fat quarters that also match.  This photo shows you some of what I have in my stash I could use with this fabric.
Sometimes with fabrics there are the matching prints that go in the series.  Its a good idea to buy these, but if you make your whole quilt from them, someone else out there is likely going to have the same quilt as you!  So its good to be brave and splash out a little.

When you have decided on your central fabric, and the block you wish to make, its time to select the fabrics for that block.  Edit essentially.  You need to think about what sort of balance you are going for, and how you will fit it in with the rest of your quilt.  I decided for this block to go green and background prints, with a yellow hearth.
So I whittled down to get this selection.
The red is not going to feature in this block at all.  I could have used it for the hearth I suppose, but I'm still leaving it while selecting my fabric to ensure that it all works.  I need 5 darks and 5 lights for the arrangement I'm using.
I like it, but I know already that it is going to be hard to get into the quilt as it will be quite contrasty, quite light, with no red.  Ah well........

January Log Cabin - 1. Fabric choice (Scrap)

For January we are going to work on a Log Cabin 12" block.  The strips will all be precut which means you are going to know straight away if your 1/4" seam allowance is off. 
Rather than posting the whole instructions, we are going to work off this tutorial:

Its well layed out with all the instructions, so those that are able to can zoom ahead.

First job - select your fabrics.  I've raided my fabric stash and decided to do a scrap block in blues and light backgrounds.  So I've picked everything out in the palette, ironed them, and cast a discerning eye over them.

You can see there are a range of blues here.  Not all the same colour, but the only one that stands out to me as being "wrong" is the light blue, 3rd from the left.  I'm concerned that if I put that one in the mix, it will detract from the blue side of the cabin.  The other ones are OK, but I will have to be careful cutting the pieces as with large prints you can interrupt the effect by putting in a huge chunk of green island!

After rejigging, this is my fabric line up - ironed and ready to cut.  There is a strong contrast between both sides without anything standing out too much.

Now if I was going to do this quilt as a properly coordinated print, I would choose a central theme or fabric.  If you look at my Northern Stars Quilt you can see that there is a theme through the blocks.  Its hard to tell until you put the border on in this case, but the central fabric is a large blue/green/cream rose floral.  Everything in the quilt is chosen around that.

So if you wanted to coordinate this, find a fabric that you like, and choose maybe 10-12 coordinating fabrics.
Next post: Fabric Choice (coordinated)

Patchwork Essentials

Over on TNN (The Nappy Network) we are doing a monthly craft focus.
There was a small but reasonable amount of interest in a Patchwork project, and given I have a bit of exposure to the said craft, I have decided to help things along.

Patchwork has been a part of my whole life.  My mother is a prominent quilter and has impeccable taste in the said craft.  I don't have much contact with her anymore, but I figure I have picked up a few tips along the way.

Firstly - lets talk about patchwork essentials.  Your hardware.  Keep in mind these are tools that make life easier and more accurate, but you can do patchwork with a needle and thread and a pair of scissors!  Think Amish - they don't have electricity right?

But I like to have things a little more comfortable, and so these are my must haves.

1.  Pins.  You must pin the pieces together.  Accuracy is critical, and if you don't pin your pieces together, you will never get points to match!  I have a pincushion that site beside my machine.  I admit to leaving pins in while I'm sewing, and hoping that my machine won't hit them.  Its only happened once, and that broke the needle and stuffed up my timing.  Expensive!!  If you don't want to chance it, leave the pin in until your needle reaches it, then pull it out before sewing.  That way the pressure from the foot holds the piece in place.
2. Quick Unpick.  You will make mistakes.  Its totally normal.  The good patchworker undoes their mistakes and resews, rather than regretting the inaccuracy down the track.  I have this one - the one that came with my Bernina - handy beside my machine.
3. A patchwork foot.  This foot allows you to get an accurate 1/4" seam allowance.  Most, if not all patchwork patterns come from USA which works on the imperial system (not metric)  So all the designs and templates are specified with a quarter inch seam allowance.  If you don't work within this limit, your final product will be so far out, it can be unusable.
4. A cutting mat, rotary cutter and ruler.  Rotary cutting is so much more accurate and time saving than scissors and tracing around templates.  You can start with small everything, and as you get more confident scale up on ruler, mat and cutter.  I do find that a larger blade is nicer for cutting strips, but the smaller blade is nicer for around tricky templates.
5.  Sharp needles.  Little pieces of fabric, blunt needles, jamming threads.  Nuff said.

Thats about it - the essentials of patchwork.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Final sum up of 12 Days....

OK - so the best laid plans and all that.......

I meant to post daily with the swap I sent and the swap I received.  But my camera is on the fritz, and life has gotten in the way, and well, here we are at Day 12, and I have a couple of photos to share.

Odette sent me all these goodies.  Just a gorgeous swap - thanks ever so much.  (Stitch markers are missing as they are already in my SM pouch and I can't find them at the moment...)  I've loved the deccies, the gardening stuff is lovely, and the book is really good!  I've not seen the series or read any of the books, and I'm really enjoying it!  I actually would love to be reading now rather than cooking the Christmas lunch, but the big guy is in bed sleeping, so thems the breaks.

This is the final swap that Hannah should have amassed.  Its so strange when you participate in swaps to look at the final product.  I put alot of time into Hannah's swap at a pretty tricky old time.  To me it looks bitzy, but I know each thing in there was thought about and considered.  There are 6 handmade things, a few bought things, and a few things that were jokey.

So another Christmas Day is over as far as the kids are concerned.   I am more excited about about the roast chicken in the oven, and the pav and brandy snaps awaiting us!  I did get a pretty special present (apart from the much needed Clarins products and some new knit picks and addi's needles).  I told Shane he owed me diamond earrings after the grief he has put me through.
I helped out by using an old 1/4 carat diamond pendant of mine as one of the earrings, and traded in all my unwanted or broken 9ct gold jewellery, so I now have a lovely pair of sparklies at a much cheaper price than buying new.  The camera is really on the fritz (hopefully a second hand Nikon SLR D200 coming to me in the new year!!!)  so here is a fritzy shot to show the size.  Perfect I would say :) 

I hope all your Christmasses are lovely too.  I just have to go and deal with the nearly 6yo who has her first digital camera, and the 4yo who has a noisy digger truck that is driving us all mad!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

12 Days of Christmas - Day 3 and 4

Oops - its a double post today.  Yesterday was just one of those days.  I forgot appointments and just ran around like a chook all day.

The mugginess has lifted slightly, but now we have that damp feeling that comes with the rain on a warm day.  Still - the gardens are watered by nature, which is great since sprinkler bans kicked in Waipa last night.  Hand held watering still find, but no more sprinklers.  Still - if its hot, not much is going to stop me putting the sprinkler on for the kids to play in!

So - Day 3 received from Odette was a wonderful partner for Mr Claus.  She's pretty happy on the tree near her mate, but I have noticed all the decorations keep changing spots.  At least the decs aren't falling on the ground - not like all the needles.  Hmmmm.
Day 4 from Odette were these great little stitch markers. 

I never have enough stitch markers.  With all the seamless knits I do, I find that lots and lots of these things is an absolute must.

Day 3 sent was this tin.

It was filled with Days 4,5,6 and luckily Hannah has already said what she opened for Day 4, because I had forgotten to write them down before sealing them into Day 3!
Day 4 was a small, densely knitted cloth.  2 ends, and really thick.  Will probably be a great little kitchen scrubber.

Jenna is really beginning to get into this swap.  This morning she quietly came to ask me if she could open day 4.  I allowed her to, since she showed such restraint!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

12 Days of Christmas - Day 2

Today is Wednesday.  It was a hard day....  Schools are finishing up.  I had to go to my workplace to empty out my desk for my maternity leave replacement, and there was a concert, a Pippins party and of course nibbles to prepare.

So - hard day for me, I'm tired, its hot, I'm over it.

It's nice therefore to have a wee pick-me-up!
Today I received this lovely little santa decoration from Odette in my Day 2 parcel.  I'm not sure if she made it, but its incredibly well finished, so if she did she's a smartie!!!

Hannah would have opened her day 2 parcel to find this:  Something for the kiddlies :)

In addition to the swap festivities, I got the teacher's gifts together this evening too (x 6 - 4 kindy teachers and 2 school teachers)  6 nice teatowels each filled with about 1kg of freshly dug new potatoes from our vege garden. 

Seems a weird present to give, but with all the wonderful things teachers receive at this time of year - especially new entrants teachers - I like giving a practical easy present that people don't feel bad about receiving or cooking and using!!

On with tomorrow - phew!  This heat is killing me so with the promise of rain tomorrow, I'm already loving the idea of a good night's sleep.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12 Days of Christmas - Day 1

Odette sent me my lovely parcels, wrapped carefully and they look quite exciting!
Today is day one of the swap.

 I'm pleased to reveal what I  sent over to Hannah

Christmas toilet paper.  A must have!

And the lovely gift received, chocolate fig and ginger fruit mince.  Yum!!!!  Not sure what I'm going to use this for, but I do have some shortcrust pastry in the freezer, so maybe I'll get that out and make some tarts!  Yum.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mental as anything

I have this weird habit.
I hand knit blanks and then dye them into gradients.

This is 2 ends of yarnundyed dk merino knitted, and dyed into a rainbow gradient.

The red is a bit pink, but other than that I am reasonably happy with it.
We will see what this next baby is, and if its not a girl, I will sell this gradient on as I think its a bit feminine for a wee boy.

I have another gradient all ready to dye up - I'll probably attack that tomorrow if the inclination takes me that way.

See - I can do a happy post!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Trying not to do a depressing post....

Due to the last 6-7 weeks, much of what I have written here has been tainted with misfortune.  And I don't mean it to be, truly!  BUt I guess when the focus of your world becomes someone else's health, well you can't really help it.
The day after Shane was diagnosed with the Tumour, I had to make phone calls to ask for help.  As we were in the middle of reno's and the lino had been laid on the Friday, I was really stuck as I had no oven, washing machine, shower, bath, vanity, fridge, laundry tub in place.  Luckily we had the toilet, the kitchen sink and the dishwasher.
And the next problem I faced is that Shane is exactly the sort of person I needed to call!  Handy, capable and able to tackle most jobs.  Luckily we have a friend who is a plumber, and he came over on the Sunday to do all sorts of things for us, while his wife watched the kids.  Another friend came over on the Saturday and put back the fridge and washing machine.  But the oven was still tricky.  Shane had unwired it, and I really couldn't trust his wiring, so I knew I had to get a sparky in.

The person I called was Paul McLeod - the head of technology at Cambridge High School.  I did a practicum at CHS when I did my teacher training 2 years ago, and really enjoyed being in the tech department.  Such a lovely group of men, and had I not got the job where I did, I would have worked as a relief teacher at CHS until I was able to be squeezed in somewhere.  Such a lovely team.  After my prac finished, I saw an advertisement for a workshop technician for 2 hrs per week, and Shane approached them for the job.  He's been there since, and has really enjoyed his 2 hours in the man cave each week - fixing lathes and sharpening chisels, and he is able to use the facilities whenever he needs to out of hours for small welding jobs etc.  They love him too as it frees up the teachers time as they can leave the repair jobs for him in the weekend.

Paul was a great help when I called.  He gave me numbers to call, and over the next few weeks called a few times to check on progress.  He was understanding when Shane couldn't get in there, and even more understanding when Shane and I started doing his 2 hrs a week together over the last few weeks as I can't trust him to be in a workshop alone with his seizures and the like.

Sadly Paul took his own life on Sunday after what sounds like a long battle with depression.  He is survived by his wife of 42 years and his 3 daughters.  Today was the funeral, and I was holding it together pretty well until the daughters took the stage and the grief poured through them.

I'll miss him.  He was a bloody good colleague, a mentor, and an all round funny nice bloke.  I don't understand why it happened, why he all of a sudden didn't feel like he could reach out and ask for help.  I mean - I asked him for help 6-7 weeks ago, and he delivered.  Didn't he realise there were people who would do the same for him?

So - trying not to be a depressing post, but there it is.

On the lighter side of things, I have done some dyeing today, and I am getting my giveaway together!  Hopefully it will be ready in a week or so in time for Christmas!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bolero testing

Lately I have been doing a lot of testing.  Not sure why.  I think I like to knit under pressure - makes something get done.
Could be the excitement of knitting a pattern that is limited edition so to speak.
Might be the fact that for some of the patterns people can't wait to see the projects coming out so they get lots of "love".

Whatever it is that attracts me to them, I do too many.  Usually I am pretty good and get them out on time.  Lately there have been a couple of exceptions to this rule (mostly as a result of life throwing weird stuff at me, and having to reorganise my life on a daily basis!!)

When Kath produced images of her little blossum bolero, I fell in love!  Could be the fact that everyone has a soft spot for matching flower girls, but I just knew that this was a knitted item that my crazy daughter might wear!  I put my name down for testing it, and a couple of weeks ago the pattern came up for testing.

I've knitted it in purewool, a uruguayan 3 ply wool that is lovely and soft, not badly priced, but pills like a MF and stretches terribly out of shape if you don't knit it tight!

I'm very happy with the result.  It wouldn't be the combination I would choose, but there is something nice about pandering to your child's wishes, and actually making something they want to wear, not what you would like them to wear.  She wanted the ruffle, she got the ruffle.  I wanted to do the lovely picot edging or perhaps the lace ruffle, but J won.

So there are several combos of sleeve and edging in this pattern, its a lovely fit and a reasonably easy and quick knit.  Well worth it I'd say!
To be released on December 1st I believe.  Go for it :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Nitrogen Purge

I had restless dreams last night.  Mostly about the poor miners and their families.

All night I kept yelling out "purge the mine with nitrogen!!".  I was thinking about this a couple of days ago when it was still a rescue operation, but later I realised if they purged the mine with nitrogen, it would take away the breathable air too, and if anyone was alive, they would suffocate.

For those that are unaware, the air around us is approx 79% nitrogen gas, and 21% oxygen (with a few other bits in there as well).  The nitrogen is inert - meaning it doesn't react with our bodies or easily take part in chemical reactions.  So we breathe it in and out, and it doesn't take part in respiration.

If the rescuers flooded the mine with nitrogen gas (instead of normal air which has oxygen in it), it could displace all the toxic gases, possibly put out any remaining fires and push out all the wastes through a vent.  Meaning that for a short amount of time the explosive combos inside would be eliminated and the recovery of the bodies could go ahead.

I see from several articles this morning they are already considering purging the mines with carbon dioxide or nitrogen, so I think its just a matter of getting the generator in, and starting the process.

My gut feel is that the poor men in there probably suffocated very quickly after the first explosion.  While there was a compressed air line going into the mine, chances are the first explosion knocked many of them out, and then the carbon monoxide gases generated from the incomplete combustion of the coal and methane just kept them unconscious until their bodies shut down.  Probably a very peaceful way to go.  Hopefully the search and recovery reveals this was the case.

My heart goes out to the whole community.  We watched all the faces and realised that they could have all been men we have both worked with in various industrial environments.  So, so sad.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

12 days of Christmas swap

Over on Ravelry (my haunt for knitting related guff), the NZ and Aussie knitters organised a small swap for the 12 days of Christmas.
The idea was - 12 gifts, one to be opened each day, max $30-40 spend, and the last day is to be something substantial.

My swap partner is the lovely Hannah aka Rainbowchild, and I have had alot of fun getting it all together, but its done and ready to be posted!

Its all a bit out there, and I think on some days she will think I'm a bit odd, but on other days I think I've hit it on the head.

I've photographed everything individually, so I plan to do a daily reveal of the gift I have received, and the gift I sent.  I'm really looking forward to this!  Except that gifts 4,5,6 are inside gift 3, which is wrapped, and I can't remember the order.....  And gift 3 is actually quite nicely wrapped, so I dont want to pull it apart just to check my numbers.  So 4,5,6 will be on the day 6 all together.

To whet Hannah's appetite, here is the total package ready to be sent out.  Wrapped of course!

Fun fun fun!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wow - wierd.....

So I checked this blog today to see if there were any comments (and thanks for your lovely comments from the other day, they mean alot to me) and I see there are a stack of hits from somewhere called

So I went to the site to see what it was, and its a forum you can't access.....  So what were they looking at on my little old blog?

The last couple of days have been scary in little old NZ.  The miners in the South Island dominate the news, and its really terrible.  I have never worked in mining, but I have been in industrial environments for much of my professional career as an engineer, and an operator in petrochemical.

I don't think people realise how hard it is to mount a rescue campaign.  Having trained in rescue, hot fire training, first aid, ammonia suits and BA gear, I know what its like to wear the gear and have to carry people out...  I know what its like to be blinded by smoke and have to crawl through a hot-house with all the gear on.

It sucks, and the thought of the poor rescuers having to tramp through a dark mine, in an explosive, toxic environment and not know if they will have enough O2 to make it out again - belies belief. 

I really feel for all the community down there. Greymouth is such a small community, everyone will be affected by it.

Puts a brain tumour in perspective really.

Friday, November 19, 2010


At the moment lots of people are telling me how strong I am.

I guess for many people, what I am dealing with right now is a total nightmare.  I mean who really imagines their life partner is going to have brain surgery when you are due to have a baby in 3months.

I didn't expect it.  Nothing like this has happened in my family.  Bad things have happened in Shane's family, and they have a bit more practise with it all, but for me this is all new.

So I guess I am just muddling through it.  I put on the brave front when dealing with the doctor's and the kids, and when noone is listening I let out a big sob and kick something.  Driving by myself is when I really get the tears flowing, but the problem with that is I get a bright red rudolph nose when I cry that takes about 30mins to settle down.

Life isn't fair.  And good people put up with fucking horrible shit.  This is hard, and its the uncertainty that is the hardest.  Just when we think we have got over another hurdle, we got 2 steps back.

Today Shane started having seizures.  They were like skipping CD's, but they lasted about 2-5mins each.  His head sort of flicks, and he can't get the words out - like a tic or a bad stutter.  I sent him by ambulance to hospital, and he was discharged 3 hrs later with a new script.
Now I can't look at him in case he has another.

I really want to just curl up in a little ball most days and close my eyes, and rock quietly, but unfortunately there is just noone else around to do all the jobs.  So I keep doing it all, hoping that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

I know that bad things happened, and while our situation is bad, it could be a lot worse.  So while it looks like I'm strong, I'm not sure I am.  Maybe I'm a bit of a Prince William and Kate - ducks calm on the surface while their little legs are scrambling under the surface.

Some respite would be good.  Just a few days of how life used to be, and then I can do another month of this.  But I guess thats what strength is.  Knowing that unfortunately when you get up in the morning, its going to be the same as it was today.  And still getting up anyway.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pterodactyl Poo

This was on my car when I came out of Jenna's ballet exam this morning.
Hamish and I examined it closely.

Given we were not parked under a tree, I decided it must have been a very large bird to fly and launch it because there is a large amount of matter in this baby.  (pictured with a AA battery for size comparison....)

The only thing we could come up with is, it had to have been a Pterodactyl.  Granted they haven't been sighted in a few million years, but what other flying creature could have done this.  It wasn't a sparrow, we don't live anywhere near the coast, ducks aren't flying around at the mo, and it wasn't in the country.

Hamish likes the idea of it being a pterodactyl too.....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I've always been a massive reader.  It started in childhood with books about Ramona, magical trees, fairies and witches, princesses, detectives called Nancy and many, many more.
There have been classics I haven't read - like Tolkien, just cause I never really got into them.  I didn't love CS Lewis either, but I made up for it through my early teens reading Fiona Kidman, Tessa Duder, Janet Frame, Maurice Gee, Alex Haley and even attempting Tolstoy when I was about 14.....

So give me a book and I will read it.  I'm not fussy about genre.  I do romance to horror, mystery to fantasy, tear jerkers to war stories, but generally prefer fiction (or escapism as I like to call it....)

Recently a family friend had a pile of books to give away from her neighbour who was moving. Beauty I thought, and I went through the pile able to take what I wanted!  There were loads of books in my reading list, and I took a chance on a couple.

The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall was a pleasant surprise, and I plan to hunt out more of her books next time I am at the library.  There is a sequel, called the Concubine's Secret, and I think that will be top of the holiday reading.

I also adore Jeffrey Archer, but I find the books follow a similar recipe, so the three I got will have to be spaced out over the next few months otherwise they are just too predictable.  The latest I read was Son's of Fortune, a good bit of escapism, but very, very predictable.

There was Four fires by Bryce Courtenay, who I have struggled with since April Fools Day depressed me terribly.  Although he does have a few brownie points from The Power of One, so I'll give him another crack.

Several years ago a friend put me onto the Jean M Auel books, and I read the first 3.  I was told mistakenly that the author had died, so I put the end to reading the series cos thats just frustrating... (Think Stephen King and the Dark Tower series - give me a break, over 20 years before the first and last books????)

But surprisingly this stash had the first 5 books of the series!  I snapped them up, and I am looking forward to the days when I can sit down and read them all, one after the other (And I have just read there is another one being released in 2011).

I do like a good series.  I loved the twilight books, trashy as they were.  I can re-read books a number of times, and the second time I read the whole series, it was within 48hrs.  I'm not sure how many pages that is, but its alot.......  I didn't sleep much that weekend!

So here is my stash of books.

Many are packed away, and some are in other homes.  My childhood books (until I went to uni) are all still with my parents, and one day all the grandkids will hopefully get as much pleasure from them as I did.  The books are double in each of the shelves, and even then they don't fit in, and many of these travelled around NZ, over to Oz, from Brisbane to Melbourne to Geelong, and back over to NZ again.  I have trouble getting rid of them...... There are probably only one or two I haven't read (not for lack of trying) and most I have read more than once.

I just love books.  Reading is good for the soul, and I hope I pass on my love of books to my kids.  So far it seems to be working as both are often found asleep in their beds with books around them.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

No new crafty stuff....

Nope.  Nothing.  Shane went back into hospital again this week, and so the week went a bit topsy turvy.  I suspect life is going to be like that alot over the next year or so.
He has found out that he is profoundly deaf in his RH side at higher frequencies, and moderately deaf at the lower frequencies.  This is OK.  Its not ideal, but its OK.
The interesting thing is the ear works fine, but the nerves seem to be damaged from the surgery removing the tumour.  It might work again one day, but likely not.

I have a birthday party this morning with Miss 5.  Fun times.  Such lovely kids and parents, but I just don't love parties.  And everyone will ask how he is.  And I'll have to explain things 10 times over.

Sigh - at least this baby inside seems to be doing all the right things - especially growing.  Hard to believe I still have 9 or so weeks to go!

Monday, November 1, 2010

A bit of a redesign.

Lets see how long it lasts.
I like red, but I'm not sure its calming.

Lots of sewing this afternoon, I was getting somewhere quickly until the bobbin ran out in a particularly tricky seam, and I flagged it all.
Hoping to get my giveaway photographed tomorrow so that I can start collecting names.

Pretty easy to give something away when only a couple of people read the blog - hahahaha!

I'm also working on a fabulous swap that I am really enjoyingto be sent to the lovely Hannah (Rainbowchild) in about 3 weeks time.  Only 6 items to finish!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Its the little things...

So with the huge upheaval that happened in our life over the last couple of weeks, and being faced with the uncertainty that comes after these events, I'm finding time to enjoy the little things.

Today these are the things I am thankful for:

1) Having kickass taste in sewing equipment. 
This is my stunning sewing machine. 

Its a special edition Bernina I bought around 2002, and it was terribly expensive for someone who wasn't sewing at the time.
I've been brought up around sewing - my mother owns a very large patchwork and quilting shop, and we have lived around fabric crafts for our whole lives (cross-stitch, knitting, sewing, etc etc etc)
So when I decided to buy, I bought the best.  It was $2200AUD 8y ago, and came with extras like a free walking foot (val. $125), a stainless, full sized arm, knee lift, programmable stitches, a two way pedal so that you use your heel and the needle goes up or down.  All of these things are no longer available on the comparable model.
Its an amazing piece of equipment, and has only missed a beat once - when I hit a pin and whacked out the timing.  I expect it will last me another 20y at least.

2) Shane being able to sleep wherever, whenever!
This is my DP 3 weeks after finding out he had a large brain tumour that has since been removed and diagnosed as Grade I benign.  It will be a long road to recovery, and he sleeps more than a newborn baby!  I have had to give up work to look after the household, and I'm very thankful for his naps because it means he will get better.  Slowly.  With infinite patience from me and the kids.

3) My vege garden coming up to summer.

These are all seeds I planted in the last 2-4 weeks.  We have beans, corn, beetroot, radish, peas, spinach, cabbage etc.  We have 3 other vege patches too, and the 20kg of seed potatoes we planted in the community garden, so our vege garden is pretty important to us.  I tend it like its a child, weeding, watering and de-bugging in an organic manner.

So - what are you thankful for?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


So I have many nieces and no nephews!
In fact, H is the only Grandson on both sides of the family (excluding the ex-communicated ones......)

Nieces are fun to make gifts for.  They like dresses that I can knit, and shawls, and I can sew them things too.  All good outlets for my creative flair.

S is 11 (I think???) this weekend, so I decided to try out a new design for her gift, a lined bag and a lined zippered purse in some super pretty colours.
I think these will make excellent project bags for knitters (with the matching purse for all your odds and sods) and I am planning on making them to sell when life gets a little more gentle (and I have done all the pricing).

One of these sets will be in my giveaway bonanza next week.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The resurrection......

So I'm back.

And this time I promise to be good.
Unexpectedly I have become a SAHM again about 2 months earlier than I planned.  Shane recently faced some horrific health issues we have had to battle through, and as a consequence, I have given up work early, with my maternity leave actually due to start in January 2011.

Over the next few months I plan to blog far more frequently, and I will be offering a few goodies on the side.  I plan on keeping myself busy next year by offering both custom knits, and one-off specials with an extra special dye job!  Also plan on selling some other bits and pieces to keep my craft budget funded.

Come along for the ride!  Expect a few things over the next week:
  • Maybe a redesign and rename (not sure here)
  • A giveaway (still working out exactly what to give away.....)
  • A sneak peak of whats to come
  • More news about family and our lifestyle
  • And perhaps more......
Thanks for popping back!  Lets see if I can get this blog back up and running with a nice clean start.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Keeping the vampires away

I am so damned proud of our little garden. While we are getting a few problems at the moment in terms of white fly (possibly has something to do with the fact we are still growing brassica's in summer......) our garlic has gone so well this year.

Can I recommend you plant your garlic this year in a raised bed? This stuff is kick ass.

Other points of interest.

Corn - doing very well, but I think it might be a bit small.

Basil looking pretty good as well. We are getting a nice feed of beans every couple of days which is nice too. Courgettes OK (but a few brown leaves which is worrying....), lettuce performing well, beetroot growing, cucumbers starting to come along.

Tomatoes aren't going brilliantly, and I think this comes from our reluctance to use sprays in the garden. I am feeding them a little more now, so hopefully it will give them they boost they need.

So - we now have our best raised bed space free again - we just have to decide what to put in the garlic's place for a few months......

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sock Yarn Swapsies - TNN

It swap time again in the TNN halls of residence!

I received this today - its just lovely! I am going to cast on with it immediately:

Not sure who it is from, I am OK with these things staying a secret usually. I'm not sure why, I guess I just used to get so excited about finding out what things were, I sort of wore myself out.

So there is 100g of sock wool (we specified a good quality mix this time around), a lovely little felted ball which I can't decide what to do with - definitely not for the kids.... and a pattern for socks - Peacock Tail Socks.

My swapper has done a lovely job, the colours are rich and vibrant, and with it being her first semi solid, I think she has done a cracker job.

So - to my Sock fairy in Christchurch (if your return address is genuine....) - THANKS!!!