Thursday, 28 February 2013

February Round Up

New to me - Chickens


I guess it was a slow month after all.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A Retro Fit

A few Wednesdays back I was thinking about the back of my dresser runner which was just a plain French General textured solid. I wrote how I wished I had made it double sided. I wondered how on earth I could retro-fit my runner with a couple of nine patch squares.

Well the lovely Sheila, from Blue Patch Quilter, came up with a suggestion. This is what she wrote in my comments section.

Try this technique - Cut squares of iron-on lightweight Vilene/interfacing. Place your blocks right side down onto the gluey side of a square and sew together all the way round using a 1/4" seam. Now make a slit in the interfacing and turn through - poke corners and smooth without pressing with an iron.The gluey side will now be on the back of your block. Place on to the back of your runner and when happy with position, press with a warm to hot iron. You now have the look of needle turn applique and could reinforce with some slip stitching.

So I tried it. And it worked! Hooray.

I still need to reinforce it with some invisible hand stitching.

Thank you Sheila.

This Week's  Sewing  Stats

Completed projects  -  1 - Winter Solstice lap quilt gift 

Currently in progress -  Dresser Runner (back)
Yet to start  - "You Little Ripper!" paper pieced block for Feb
On Hold projects   Tall Boy Runner (top complete)
Gifting the Winter Solstice Quilt

Tomorrow I am driving Goldie, her parents and nephew to the International Airport in Brisbane. I gave Lao Lao her special lap quilt on Sunday when we had them over for a lamb barbeque. She was very touched to receive something handmade. Goldie and I wrote the dedication in English and Mandarin on the back of the quilt.                                    

After a year of living with her and her family, Goldie will be rather sad to see them fly home to China and so we are stopping off at IKEA on the way home to cheer her spirits...(oh and buy some much needed cutlery as most of my forks have disappeared!)

Linking up with WiP Wednesday early if I can.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

A Privacy Matter

No not for me. For the hens.

Since the big storm nearly a month ago the hens have been funny about laying. We thought that they had gone 'off lay' until we discovered a stash in the bushes that yielded 18 eggs! Unfortunately they have changed locations for the stash since and we cannot find them again.

I was reading through some chicken blogs (yes they are out there and make for fascinating reading) and Kathy from The Chicken Chick mentioned that she had recently made some curtains for her nesting boxes.

I am a quilter, no problem. I used up the leftover backing from the Winter Solstice quilt and promptly hung them over our two boxes. They hung a little too low so I had to re-jig it.

BEFORE                               AFTER
I am happy to say that Breanna has discovered that they give her the much needed privacy and she has started laying back in there.  I can only hope that the other girls will do the same.

Oh and we had another bad storm on Friday. This time we only lost one gum tree and the wind blew for only 6 hours. You can see in the AFTER photos above that the storm had just hit only about an hour after I took the BEFORE photo.

The wind and rain changed directions are got very intense at midday. The chickens were all out free ranging and I found Silver, Breanna and Washington all huddled on my doorstep. I brought them into the kitchen (never again - the poop mess was shocking!). 

I found the new pullets - Freckles and Roosevelt - safely under the care of Bluey in the branches of the fallen macadamia tree (since last storm these have become a great place to hang out). So I managed to herd them into the chook house and lock them in.

But that left Obama still out there in the storm. In my waterproof pants, oilskin jacket and Blundstones I went out twice and called her name and searched as best as I could. About an hour later (probably after laying an egg in one of the bushes) she turned up in the carport looking like this...

Poor little scruff. A bit worse for wear and sporting gum tree leaves as a new tail.
I brought her inside and toweled her dry.

I am linking up with 'New to Me' February at Celtic Thistle Stitches. A great challenge to try something 'new' in 2013.

and 'Clever Chicks' blog hop #23 with Kathy of The Chicken Chick. (a huge linky party)

The Chicken Chick
 You can find me at #201 #203 and #212 amongst all of the recipes.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

1st Anniversary Sunday Stash

Sunday Stash #52

This week marks one year since I started admitting my fabric addiction and confessing it publicly. It eventually evolved into a linky party a few months later when I wondered if other addicts needed a support group as well.

I want to thank you for 'coming out' with your addictions and making me feel 'normal' and 'in good company'. After all there are worse things I could be addicted to (like cleaning or gambling!). If you make confession along with me this week you will be in the running for a little give-away.

I have a current copy of Australian Quilter's Companion magazine #59. It comes with a special DVD and some great articles (including back grounding artists by our own Jane Kelly of 'Where Jane Creates'). And I am happy to post overseas. So link up way below to be in the running. I will announce the winner next Sunday Stash.

Now for the Fabric

This comes from the second fabric win late last year. I was fortunate to win a Fat Quarter bundle from Freshly Squeezed Fabrics. Of course I chose 'Pearl Bracelets' by Lizzy House

purple, violet, apple green, red, candy pink, orange, yellow and brown

Randi was also happy to make use of the satchel and I added some yardage of Kona Ash and White to the order.

I had no trouble with ordering or receiving all within about 3 weeks from the USA to Australia. 

Thank You 

Hosting Sunday Stash is no small event and Molli Sparkles really stepped up the standards with his great  photography of Nancy Drew fabric last week.

Now it's your turn to confess! Link up below. (ps. please make sure you are a not a no-reply blogger so that I can contact you via email if you are the random winner).

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Meet the Flock

Meet the flock...
A rare shot of all 7 together and following me to the chook pen hoping that I had some food!

We currently have 7 chickens. 2 we inherited. 2 we adopted and 3 we bought.

Crele Leghorn Rooster
also knows as Silves

Adopted from a farm in Wardell with his hen Obama on New Years Eve 2012.

Light Sussex hen -  Head chook
also goes by the name of Fatty and Wash Wash

Inherited when we bought the property in December 2012

Isa Brown hen 
also called Bree Bree

Inherited when we bought the property in December 2012

Not sure of her breed. Australorp? Black Sex-link? Hybrid?
also known as Scruff, Scruffy, Obi, and Obi- Wan

She came with Silver from a farm in Wardell on New Years Eve 2012

Barnevelder hen 
A bit on the outer still but hangs around with the youngest 2 pullets Roosevelt and Freckles.

We bought her with another pullet that turned out to be a rooster so we had to return him.

Ancona hen (here's hoping!)

Bought from Farmer MacGrath Feb 2013

Light Sussex X Lohman Brown hen
also known as Roosey

Bought from Farmer MacGrath Feb 2013

The chicken coop was already built on the property and seems to a very sturdy brick inner (perhaps a converted kid's cubby house) with an L shaped outdoor run, two nesting boxes and room to eat and drink.

They have free range access to our 5 acres from 7 am - sunset each day. They like to play 'hide the eggs' with us. We once found a clutch of 18 eggs under some plants. During the day they often come to my sewing room window and keep me company. They seem to respond to their names when we call them.

They are such a delight and have really added a wonderful dimension to our family. My kids love nothing better than to race in the front door and straight out the back door to play with them after school each day. Needless to say, plans for a puppy or two are now on hold.

For some reason Breanna always looks tired but she is very patient
and the most compliant of our seven chooks

Friday, 22 February 2013

Winter Solstice Finish

In between squally rain showers I nipped out next to our pond to photograph the finished Winter Solstice Quilt.

Our weather is influenced yet again by another East Coast low. I have seen the sun blink out from clouds twice in the past 5 days. It makes for some wet photography.

I used the very clever Quick Binding Quilt method by Quilting in the Rain (cooincidence?) to bind this lap quilt. Lao Lao leaves to go home to China next Thursday and so I am glad to have in done in advance.

This week Sunday Stash celebrates ONE year with a little give-away. For a chance to be in the running, you just need to link up a recent fabric, notion, book etc. purchase. See you back here on Sunday for that.

How did you go this week? Any finishes? I may see you over at TGIFF.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Winter Solstice Progress

Things are tracking along quite nicely with the lap quilt I will gift to Goldie's mum. She returns to China at the end of February so I really don't have time to dawdle.

I have basted - I tried spray but still used pins. 

I pieced a back from a piece of $2 fabric from an op-shop and a scrap strip from another quilt.

And I have straight line quilted by shadowing the ditch. It worked well on the verticals but not so great on the horizontals.

This Week's  Sewing  Stats

Completed projects  -  0

Currently in progress -  
                                            Winter Solstice lap quilt gift 
Yet to start  - "You Little Ripper!" paper pieced block for Feb
On Hold projects   Tall Boy Runner (top complete)
                                     -  Dresser Runner (back)

Hoping to be early to join up with WiP Wednesday as I missed it last week.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Sunday Stash #51

Molli Sparkles

If you are looking for the Sunday Stash linky party, you can find it over with Josh at Molli Sparkles. He promises something very special so I am curious to find out what.

And Something for Me
Feedsack II c.1930 by Sara Morgan for Blue Hill

When I was at my Local Quilt Store,   Rainbow Patchwork recently I was attracted to two retro prints in two different colourways. I bought 2 metres of each to make myself some summer skirts using the Amy Butler Barcelona Skirt pattern I bought last year.

And then on a whim I bought this fabric - maybe to make some cushion covers??? It reminds me of a great Ikea print from a couple of years ago.

Melrose by Anna Fishkin and Monica Zhu for Red Rooster Fabrics
And I resisted the urge to add some Japanese Indigo prints into my stash.

Pretty good of me don't you agree?

See you over at Molli Sparkles for the Link Up. Thanks Josh.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Winter Solstice Quilt

The Winter Solstice in China is called Dongzhi and families get together and typically eat dumplings. Last night, at a Women's gathering, Lao Lao did a cooking demonstration to show us how to make them. The only tools she used were a pair of chopsticks and a cleaver.

Afterwards her daughter Goldie translated the story of how she came to a faith in Jesus after many years of being a Communist Party member. It included two miraculous healings - one from a skin condition and the other from crippling motion sickness.

I finished the quilt top for Lao Lao this afternoon and I hope to get working on a suitable quilt back tomorrow afternoon.

Belatedly linking up to TGIFF

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

A Last Minute Gift

My improvised design wall is the venetian blind with clips!

My closest friend on the Plateau comes from north east China. Her parents have been out here for the past eleven months on a tourist visa. I have a good ear and memory for most languages but when it comes to Asian/tonal languages I have a learning block. After all this time I can still only greet them, say thank you, goodbye, Happy New Year and "My Mandarin is not very good!" Oh yeah and "sit down" (left over from 3 years sitting in on my Year 5 classes learning Mandarin).

Winter Lights Festival in Harbin, China 

Anyway Lao Lao (grandmother) is a lovely lady and I want her to remember her time in Australia with fondness. So I decided this week to make her a lap quilt to take home. I know it will not be warm enough for -40 degree nights in Harbin during the Winter Lights festival but she can throw it over her woollen blanket.

I am using a charm pack that I collected from a Travelling Stash last year. It is called Victoria by Nikki Russell and is a Benartex Sampler of 56 charm squares. I had to supplement the prints with some florals and pastel solids from my stash.

This Week's  Sewing  Stats

Completed projects  -  0

Currently in progress -  Tall Boy Runner (top complete)
                                            Dresser Runner (back)
                                            Victoria lap quilt gift
Yet to start  - "You Little Ripper!" paper pieced block for Feb
On Hold projects   - Sherbert Dreams Quilt
                                     - 4 Liberty Pillowcases 
                                     - Victorian Garden Quilt - to baste

I am belatedly linking up with WiP Wednesday. It is my 44th birthday today and one of my lovely friends made me a chocolate pavlova and brought it over. As well as some of her handmade mango chutney. I felt very special indeed.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Sunday Stash #50

Good morning and sorry for the delay to Sunday Stash this morning but our family celebrated Chinese New Year last night with some good friends. Wonderful dishes. And I ate duck for the first time (just a small snippet). I did NOT make it to midnight but my five year old stayed for a sleepover for the first time too.

Back in December I won two vouchers from online Etsy Stores. One of my orders came in last week and one this week. I have to admit that the vouchers were just a jumping off point for me. I ordered a LOT more to take advantage of the US International postage costs before they hiked up to $24.

Lizzy House - Constellations

Part of my order from Stash Modern Fabrics was some new-to-me Lizzy House. I think that this will compliment the Castle Peeps and 1001 Peeps quite nicely. 

Asterisk in Black
Star Charts in Black
Constellations in Teal
Twinkle Twinkle in Teal
Moon Phases in blue
Twinkle Twinkle in Natural

I am so pleased with the service and help I received from Beth at Stash Modern Fabrics. It was lovely of her to sponsor a voucher for a prize.

NEXT WEEK remember that Sunday Stash is @ Molli Sparkles 

What about you? Got any stash additions that you want to share? Linky is below.