Friday, April 29, 2011

New Books

After five days of no mail, my new books finally turned up.  I bought them at the Book Depository; I do like this website. 
I will be honest; of the two books i bought, one I am really happy with, the other; not so much.  That is the chance you take when you buy things online, and I am generally happy to take that chance.
I will start with the book I didn't like.

I am very happy to follow other people's patterns and do what they tell me to do, unless I am smocking and then I usually just do my own design these days.  But i have been looking at this book online for a while now and thought it would get me out of my rut and make me more original. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad book but from the cover, and the title, i was expecting something that would encourage the design process, talk about the art of doodling and the process of designing from a doodle.  Instead this is barely mentioned.  Instead, it concentrates on following her designs.  I am not sure of the sense in this. It isn't going to encourage me to design my own. i thought it would be more about the process of forming a design.
There is nothing wrong with the designs as such, it just wasnt what i was looking for.

The other book is this one, which I do like very much;
It is separated into three sections: Breaking out of the box- trying new patterns and techniques; Feeling scrappy- using all your scraps; and Embracing tradition (speaks for itself really!!).  This has 15 projects in it which are all different. I like most of them and have already bookmarked a couple that I would like to make.  (After i finish some UFOs first!!).  I only bought this book on a whim and am glad I did.

Now I am off to finish some UFOs so I can start on one of these!!LOL!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Strawberry bags

I am not sure if anyone out there has seen these; they seem to be all the rage at the moment.  While I was surfing the 'web the other day I found someone who was good enough to put a pattern up for them. Lorraine from ikatbag, I thank you for your generosity in sharing such things.
  As i had pretty much everything I needed (except the cord and the cord stopper) I decided to have a go at one.  So yesterday morning was spent making two of these (I can only show you one as I had to leave the second one almost finished to go and attend to other things.
Lorraine has lined hers as she doesn't like exposed seams. I agree with her on that but wasn't sure my material was light enough to scrunch up so small with a lining so it is just one layer.
I am really really pleased with the way it turned out. It was easy, looks pretty and hopefully will save the planet; unlike the green bags we were all convinced to buy and then we were told they dont (EVER) break down.  Not so environmentally friendly after all.
OK, off the soapbox and to some photos.

This was Lorraine's little strawberry bag; cute huh?
Mine looks like this opened out:
And this all folded in:
As well as leaving out the lining, I added a clip; saves you having to carry it; it can be clipped to the handle of your handbag.
I do like the cord stopper that she used better than mine; it is more compact and neater.  But I had to make do with what i could find when i dashed out yesterday morning to get one.
This is what mine looks like inside; I did French seams to make it neater; I do like doing French seams; they are like piping; I will use them on anything and everything.  To finish off the top edge I just made a facing. Easy.
I am not sure if I will keep these or give them as gifts; they are so cute they would make perfect gifts; but I think I like them too much to give away!  I think I will be making more of them in the future!

Before I go, a quick update on the status of the bridge. Bridge is done and is now in the garden where it belongs. It looks really good and will save us from having to walk through what looks like being a permanent wet spot in winter.  Good job Sean. (Hubby too!!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Holiday Happenings

Well, after almost two and a half weeks the kids go back to school tomorrow.  We have had a good holiday; doing bits here and there. 
I have managed to get my second little embroidered square done. I am very happy with the way these are going; they are pretty and are nice and quick.  This one will get a couple of little pearl beads on it but I have decided to wait until they all are done and do the beads all at the same time.
Thanks for all the suggestions of what to make with these, I have some ideas buzzing around in my head, we will have to see what will become of them in the end.

Last week I took the boys to the Melbourne Museum. Unfortunately, that was the day my ears decided to have a major relapse so I was very dizzy and had awful blurred vision. So we were there for a couple of hours, I would have liked to have stayed longer. ( The good thing about my ears is that they are slowly getting better and the last few days have only seen me dizzy in the evenings after being busy through the day.)
What we did manage to see at the Museum were some great examples of some Year 12 students' work. Incredible what these kids are capable of. No photos though; it is not allowed in that section.  I assume it is to stop the next group of students from copying. 
We also saw some very big tapestries; here are two of them; I have no idea how long they would have taken to be made.

And we had a wander around through the section with the dinosaur bones.  Here is a little guy for you, only small but i would not have liked to have bumped into him.

We had a really nice day.  We must do it again. And I found out yesterday that there is a free tourist bus that operates around the city, taking you to different places and attractions around the city, and it is FREE!  What a great idea. A friend took it with her three kids, and had a great time so that might be something to investigate for the next holidays.
My eldest son through the holidays has been building a little footbridge to go out in the front garden. Since having our driveway concreted at the end of the year we have had drainage problems every time we have heavy rain so DH and son no 1 have been building some little waterways for the runoff through one of our gardens.  This bridge is to go across this little runoff, where it crosses our path (well, the path that was dug out yeeeears ago and then left as it was, unfinished).  It should look very good, and he seems pleased with it.  Next job will be to finish the path I suppose.

Besides all that i have nearly finished the blue check table cloth.  Sadly, I realised yesterday that one of my leaves needs unpicking as it is in the wrong spot. I knew something was wrong with it but it waited until it was done before revealing the problem!  I was tempted to leave it as it but I dont want to look at it year after year and have it annoy me.  So i will unpick it now while I am on a roll. I was hoping to have it done by today; for no real reason, i just thought the start of the school term would be a good deadline.  It will wait. Wont take too long now.

The other thing I am waiting for is two craft books I ordered online.  But with Friday, Monday and today all public holidays, it has taken longer than usual.  I will have to exercise some patience (not my strongest virtue LOL!!!) and continue to wait.

I hope everyone has had a good holiday.  I will enjoy the peace and quiet tomorrow when the kids are back at school and DH is back at work.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter

I wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and Happy Easter.  However you choose to spend this weekend, I hope it is happy.
We will be home, spending time together as a family.  I am looking forward to it before the school term begins again with all the frantic running around that accompanies it, especially when children go to school in another town.
Wherever you are, whatever you do, I wish you all well.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Finally; some sewing

Yes, thankfully my ears have begun to slowly improve so I have been able to pick up a needle again without too many problems.
So, instead of working on a UFO (or WIP as the case may be!!), I decided to have a play with some little stitcheries i bought from Jenny of Elefantz.  These work into a four inch square block. I have not decided exactly what to do with them; a needlecase, or two, was one idea but that is the easy answer, and how many do we really need?  I may piece them together and do somethng else, a table runner, maybe a cover for my sewing machine.  These are only little so it wont want to be anything too big or they will get lost in the size.
This is the first one finished; cute huh?
The rest are here, although I took this photo yesterday and one of these is now almost finished.
So any ideas of what to do with these would be GREAT!!!!  They are so cute.

The other stitching I did last night, until the light got too bad, was to work on the blue tablecloth.  After trying to decide about what to add to it, if anything, I did decide to do some leaves, which I think will set it off beautifully.  It finishes it off. I have only done a couple so here is a sneak peek.
I will need to get more green thread when i am next out but I am very happy with it so far.  A new blue washout pen wouldn't go astray either; I have three which are all in various degrees of decline!
This is my only other embroidered tablecloth which gets brought out for visitors (it is not for everyday use with my kids!LOL!!!!). I like this one, it is pretty; smaller than the blue one. This was a kit. I thoroughly enjoyed making it. Although I was happier with my satin stitch more toward the end than at the start; seems to take me a bit to get into the rythm of it.  My goal is to have a houseful of lovely linen, like my grandmother had.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Waste canvas

I was telling a friend the other day about waste canvas and how handy it can be, and while I am not achieving much sewing at the minute, i thought I would share it with you all.
Waste canvas is a type of mesh that you can use to cross stitch onto material that doesn't have any sort of grid on it.  The waste canvas which looks like this....
is tacked onto the front of your material, and then you work your cross-stitch design through both it and the material.  When you are done, all you need to do is wet it and the waste canvas pulls out from under the stitching quite easily (one thread at a  time).  And then you are left with your cross stich design on normal material. it is so versatile. I have used it to monogramme some towels for a gift and I have used it to personalise my boys' christmas stockings.

Turns out quite well don't you think?  And yes, i did have a reason for their stockings to be facing different ways; it worked for where we were hanging them at the time. And now they are in their own rooms, coincidentally, it works as they hang on their doors which face each other.

And now, just for something different, i had to mention this; we are on school holidays at the minute.  I took my two boys out grocery shopping yesterday - not the most exciting outing, i know.  But after seeing some of the appalling behaviour by other teenagers while we were out, I had to acknowledge how good my kids are.  We had such a fun day.  My boys are quiet, courteous (mostly!!!) and helpful.  So a public thanks to my kids for being such wonderful people. I am really enjoying watching them grow into the adults they will become. (And thanks Josh for the milky kiss i just received on my nose!!!)

Friday, April 8, 2011

So tired of resting!!!!!

Yes, I have been ordered by my doctor to rest so my inner ear infections heal.  I told her I had rested for one day and was tired of it!  She laughed and told me to continue.  Sadly, sewing is proving to be difficult as along with my ears making me dizzy and headachy, it is playing up with my eyes too that just will not focus.  So resting really means just that.
My 12yo son yesterday before he went to school pulled out a pile of DVDs for me to watch through the day; awww how sweet!  Then he turns around and offered to stay home from school so he could change them for me and I wouldn't have to get up; somehow I dont think it was such a noble sacrifice as he made it out to be!!!!  I thanked him for the movies and sent him on his way!! Cheeky monkey!

So, while not much sewing is happening (although I pick up my new reading glasses today, hopefully they will help somewhat), I did manage to bake  a batch of muffins yesterday.  They are called donut muffins and I found the recipe here.  I must say, they turned out more like tea cakes than donuts but they are still yummy. I made 17 yesterday (the recipe says 12 but I got 17 out of it) and I have seven left in the container.  Some have gone to school today, the rest were eaten last night.  Dont they look yummy?
You should have smelt them. yummmmmm.  Not good for the diet, or for the 2.5 kgs I have just lost.  I think I may be able to find them again by the time these are gone!!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

cross stitch and other stuff

No photos today, sadly I have nothing to show you!  I was hoping to have our deck finished by now but while last week we had beautiful weather when they forecasted rain, yesterday was going to be the day to get it finished and it rained all day.  Not fair I say LOL!!  Today looks like being a stunning day so hopefully this afternoon more of it will be done and then by tomorrow; we will be enjoying our new outdoor area.  it is too nice here in Australia to spend warm days inside.
As for sewing, sadly to go along with my chesty cough I now have two ear infections; viral so there is no treatment.  I am dizzy so I haven't been doing much. I spent the weekend puddling along on my bears cross-stitch. I can see a difference and I now have high hopes that this is the year it will be finished (it is only ten years old so there is no hurry really!). Karen on Ozstitcher had a great idea to mount cross-stitches like a quilt, so I am thinking of doing something like that.  The possibilities are endless, and the framer I have used in the past has closed down so this may be the answer. (thanks for the idea Karen!!!!) 
My blue tablecloth is also pretty much finished but I have been sitting contemplating the options about doing a little row of flowers down either end, and maybe sewing some leaves weaving through the circle of flowers. Poor hubby can't work out why i dont just leave it as it; it is certainly presentable enough.  Why give yourself more work? What he is losing sight of is his bank balance; while I am playing with this I am not buying more stuff!!LOL!!! So this is what it looks like today... (excuse the colour; the sun is out and i couldn't get a good photo)
So i just need to finish the few centres that aren't yet done and then continue on with it, or not.  I probably will: I have enough thread now to do more.
And look; a photo after all!  So I will add to it and show you the deck in it's sad state:
Hopefully by tomorrow night it will look much better; keep your fingers crossed.
Enjoy the sun if it is out wherever you are. Today is going to be a lovely Autumn day.