Thursday, December 31, 2009

Realisation Dawns...

It's my wedding anniversary today and for the first time we are going to spend it alone. In past years we've thrown several  parties, gone to a ball, got married, gone away, done nothing, but this year we decided to go out to dinner. Just the two of us.

Off to the hairdresser this morning. I do that a lot...go to the hairdresser.  It's sacrilege but my hairdresser, Megan is the god of hair. That girl can make a silk purse out of a sows ear each and every time. I have nice hair that I don't really take care of. I'm a pony tail and 5 minute blow dry kind of girl. Megan makes me look gorgeous once a month. Sometimes twice. Or even three times.  I'm also putting one of her future children through private school with the financial renumeration I give her.

So sitting there today looking at myself in the mirror and I realised ..I am middle aged. Except for special occasions I don't wear makeup. I really do wear a pony tail about 5 days out of 7. I have bags, and wrinkles and dark circles under my eyes. When the frig did that happen? I wear comfortable shoes over heels. No way am I squeezing myself into something uncomfortable clothes wise. I go for comfort not fashion. I squint when I read labels, but I'm  too vain to wear my glasses. I have mild jowls! OMFG!!!! Everything is dropping. I have several grey hairs. When I stand - I make sounds like rice bubbles. Snap. Crackle. Pop.

I computer the night away instead of dancing it away. Sometimes my leg hair is long enough to plait. I stopped getting bikini waxes about the same time I stopped wearing bathers altogether. Everyone looks younger than me. I keep discovering and pulling out a chin hair that grows overnight to three inches long.

When did all this stuff happen? I'm only 43. Actually I'm probably past middle age. Now I'm panicking. I think since this is New Years Eve I should be making a resolution to think young and get funky again. Anyone else feel like lamenting their lost youth?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

De-cluttering Tuesday

Every year in late December and early January I go through our house and de-clutter. I started early this year and have managed to get our bedroom, loungeroom, bathroom computer room and dining room done so far. Anything we haven't used for the last year gets tossed, donated, freecycled or re-homed somehow. Sometimes I throw stuff on ebay as well.

I love the process. I feel great about giving things away I don't use anymore. I also take stock of some of the things we have and decide whether we need new stuff. When it's all done I feel so much more organised.

I always find the kitchen the hardest. This year is harder than previous years. We need new stuff but with the kitchen being renovated mid 2010 I want pretty new things then not now. However I caved in today and bought a new dinner set because we have been using pieces of  two mismatched dinner sets for months and it's annoying me daily. It's a safe bet that it's time to buy new when even your husband complains about the state of your every day dinner set.  Ditto your drinking glasses. I realised today the last time we bought new drinking glasses was about six years ago. I'm a make do kind of gal.

I'm about 3/4 of the way through the kitchen and feeling groovy. My grooviness comes from knowing that this kitchen will be gone in 6 months and I will never have to clean these ugly old cupboards again!

Happy Tuesday!

Update: From the kitchen cupboard cleanout I tossed two manky aluminium saucepans, a mini chopper that wasn't working properly and it's box which has been taking up mountains of space and an old cane hold all.All our old glassware and dinner set bits went to DD and I'm giving away a second stick mixer on freecycle. I'm amazed we dont have more junk in the kitchen. I must have done an awesome job of culling last year and bought very little since.    

Monday, December 28, 2009

Quilting Inspiration

Since I'm on holidays and I'm drowning in fabric I decided to plan some quilting projects for next year.

I'm pretty new to the quilting world so I'm constantly inspired by the wonderful quilts and ideas of others. It's a good way for me to learn new techniques, and to get excited about new projects. Some people just make it look so easy and inspire confidence  and on line tutorials are a great way to see how things are done.

Here are a few ideas I love and might try in the New Year.

Film Strip Quilt by Crazy Mom Quilts

Zig Zag Quilt by Crazy Mom Quilts. You can find the easy to follow tutorial here

I got some scrap bags sent over from the US and have two Gobble Gobble packs by Sandy Gervais for Moda. This was my introduction to Moda fabrics.  I headed on over to Diva Buzz for some inspiration in the form of this coin quilt. I'm about a third of the way through making my own.

I'm a square quilting kind of girl , and have only just managed to move on to rectangles. I never thought I'd want to try triangles but this amazingly simple tutorial at Cluck.Cluck. Sew. has given me the confidence to want to try this out. How utterly gorgeous is this quilt?

My husband bought me this unfinished vintage shoo fly quilt top for Christmas and I need to come up with an awesome quilting idea to finish it and do it justice. I'm open to ideas.

I'm  planning a couple of Christmas quilts for next year and I love the idea of  Christmas tree shapes for one of them, possibly scrappy trees.  I've  noticed I tend to do two designs of every quilt pattern with variations and then move onto something else.

I love the simplicity of the windmill quilt pattern and will maybe give one of those a try as well.

That's probably enough inspiration for one day. I wonder if my husband will agree to me giving up work so I can concentrate on quilting for the year?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Post Christmas Madness

Our last house guests have just departed and I'm sitting here in relative silence amongst the trashed remains of my house. It has been so good to spend the last few days with family and friends and we have another social event  to go to this afternoon, but I will also be sooooo glad when I can just flop and do my own thing.

I have never done the post Christmas sale thing, so this morning I went out with my daughter and went on a spending frenzy for my home. It was certainly an experience.

Spotlight had 75% off Christmas fabric. The words "Fabric" and "Discount" in the same sentence are like waving a red flag in front of a bull.  (Like I'm ever coming home without some if it's on sale)  I got 13 metres of fabric for around $50.00 which would have cost $210.00 before the sales. Add that to all the 50% off stuff I bought in the fortnight before Christmas and  now I'm totally set for next year's Christmas quilt making. (And probably the year after....and possibly 2012 as well) They also had batting for 1/2 price, so I walked out with some of that too.

My christmas fabric stash

I spent up big on new bed linen for our bedroom. I scored a $329.00 sheet set for 70%  off, ( I have never owned 1000 thread count sheets before- luxury !) and another for about 90% off. I bought two new complete sets of quilt covers and pillowcases and saved another $260.00 on that lot.   We hadn't bought any new bed linen for about 2 years and I needed a change. These are totally different to each other and to what we currently have.

Mercer and Reid Bali Hai Bed Linen

Mercer and Reid Mia Bed linen

The bathroom also got a makeover with 8 new towels in stone and avocado. I'll put those away until we renovate the bathroom.

And I've been dying to show you pictures of my daughters finished quilt (there is nothing quite like putting binding on at 3 am Christmas Eve to get something done in time) especially when you've never done binding before.

Front of Chloe's quilt

Back of Chloe's quilt

I had this professionally quilted because I simply didn't have time to do it myself and I need so much more practice before I attempt something that isn't straight lines.  I really wanted this to be special. The gorgeous Sharon from Patchwork on Parade went out of her way to squeeze my quilt in two weeks before Christmas when I know she was already working  at least 12 hour days. I highly recommend her work - she is also a lovely person. Thank you Sharon!

So, Christmas is done, the house needs a complete clean, and I've spent all our slush fund on new stuff for the house. I better start planning to spend some time being frugal and making some quilts!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Booty

The day has come and gone for another year. Yesterday was a whirlwind of activity , eating, drinking and spending time with friends and family.

The two quilts I made for gifts were loved by their recipients . DD got all teary when she opened hers. My mum was thrilled with her Moda scrap bags, and husband loved his mouse sander and IPOD. Everyone was happy.

I ended up with some perfume, my parents bought me a subscription to a website that sells patterns for making bags , DD bought me an iron chicken for my new kitchen, I got some moo goo, my sister sent me fabric, a friend gave me a digital photo frame and my husband bought me Moda Charm Squares and a vintage unfinished quilt top in a shoo fly pattern. The fabrics look like 1930's/40's to me and I love it.

I'm on holidays now for a couple of weeks so I'm planning to do some quilting, reading and a lot of relaxing. I've started a list of all the quilts I want to get done in 2010 and it looks like I'm going to be very busy next year!

I hope your day was merry and bright.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Three days until I go on holidays and four days until Christmas! 9 days until my wedding anniversary. (That's right folks we got married New Years Eve)

Final preparations for Christmas are in full swing (along with me working four days this week). I have but one thing left to do, but it's a big thing, which I cannot talk about here until after Christmas.

During my holidays I'm planning to make at least one quilt, relax , and spend some time with my husband. 17 glorious days off and then I go back to work for two weeks then have another week and a half off. This second wave of holidays is going to be serious quilting time!

I may not get back here for a while since we have relatives arriving in the next couple of days. I hope you all enjoy Christmas and I'll see you back here soon. Eat , drink and be Merry!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Random Bits

Not much craftiness or quilting going on here this week. Lots of last minute Christmas related stuff happening though.  

A big house clean is happening today. Relatives arrive in about 4 days. My husband's work christmas dinner is tonight, which means I have to go looking gorgeous and behave myself.  I bought a little black dress to wear and am off later today to have my hair done. (Any excuse to get prettified is a good one)

All the Christmas present shopping is done. The house is decorated and looking fabulous. I worked all week. Ran around like a hairy goat after work , doing "secret stuff" that I can't openly talk about.

My Meadowsweet Fabric arrived yesterday -a big thankyou to the postal services in the US and Australia who managed to make sure even with all the Christmas mail that got here in under 9 days- wow! I wish I had time to sit and make something out of it , but with less than a week till the big day I haven't got a moment to scratch myself.  I don't even really have time to dream about what I'm going to do with it.

Off to do some of that house cleaning. Have a great day!

Monday, December 14, 2009

'Twas the Week Before Christmas

I'm finally done present buying, gift wrapping, house and tree decorating, menu planning and pre- preparing food. I can't do much more now till the weekend when the house cleaning and outdoor spruce up will start in earnest, and then next week final minute shopping will be done and food preparation will commence for the big day itself.

My parents are arriving next week. My sister is staying in Darwin but one of her sons will be joining us.This is our first Christmas as grandparents so that's new. We have friends coming for lunch too, so it's a completely different kind of Christmas for us. Low key , casual and spent with many of  those we love.

Whatever you are doing I hope you enjoy your day and the season.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Finished Quilt and a Tip

I've finished Sandra's String quilt.  Whoooooooooo hooooooooo

My number one tip for future projects and quilters everywhere is don't use wool batting made from a 100% wool vintage blanket. This quilt is sooooooooooo heavy. It's likely to suffocate the users like a boa constrictor. It'll certainly give  the quilter shoulder and back ache trying to manouver it round the machine.

Last night I vowed I was never going to attempt to quilt anything ever again and that hereforth all tops were going to the Longarm Lady for quilting. Today I'm little Miss Sunshine again and realised it's my batting that's the problem. Due to the weight in this quilt I couldn't face quilting it in squares so Sandra has a quilt with only vertical quilting lines down the back. Slack but .....meh .....

This quilt is a reasonably large one measuring about 80 by 100 inches. I wont be doing another string quilt for a while and I wont be using wool blanket  batting for  a large quilt again in the future.

As usual I can see all the mistakes and I'm stessing about how well this will hold up with actual use but I'm sure she'll love it and it'll be fine. On to the next project. Another stacked coin quilt using Gobble Gobble by Moda (and lightweight batting)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Darling Husband Saves the Day

I dont talk about Mr. Pyjamas  a lot in blogland. He's a shy guy and would prefer I didn't. But today he's done something so kind and considerate that he deserves his own blog post and I wanted the chance to trumpet his wonderful-ness for a change.

I'm up to my eye balls trying to finish a quilt for a Christmas present for my friend, Sandra. With everything else thats been going on round here it's been a slight challenge. Too many WIP's , family drama, long working hours, and babysitting on top of everything else.  I vowed yesterday it would be finished this weekend because I still have a lot of other things to do before Christmas and I want to be free to concentrate on just those things.

Quilt top is together and all seams are pressed ( I cannot tell you how much I hate pressing seams) Backing has been pressed and I'm onto the 100% wool batting I'm planning to use when bingo the iron craps itself, shuts off all the power in the house and it's 40 minutes till the shops shut for 18 hours.....and I'm still in my pyjamas.

Just as an aside here can you truthfully say you've never spent the day in your pyjamas quilting- seriously I should have called this blog "Quilting in My Pyjamas"

DH to the rescue. He drops what he's doing (which is paving and cutting pavers ) and races off to the shops to buy me a  new iron ....he's back within 30 minutes with the right sort of iron and my batting is now pressed. He's gone back to paving.

My husband does things like that ALL the time. Yes I'm bragging. It's just that over the years I've just gotten used to how wonderful he is, and how almost everything he does is to make sure I'm happy and stress free. And that's why I married him. It was such a contrast from my first marriage.

OK, I'm going to lay this quilt out now in preparation for quilting. Just wanted EVERYONE to know how awesome my husband is.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Dropped in to Spotlight today to get some new blades for my rotary cutters.


They were having a 50% off sale on Christmas fabric. I swear I tried to resist but the fabric was just calling me. And it was 50% off.  Say it with me . 50% off. And it was fabric I was looking at last night and just wishing I could have (Chloe's Christmas by Amy Barickman for  Red Rooster -so cute  ) so now I'm all prepared for next year because I already have material to make a Christmas quilt. Aren't I organised? Just add this to the fabric I bought two days ago and the stuff I bought yesterday....

I started a new quilt today using Gobble Gobble by Sandy Gervais for Moda.  I still have to finish that string quilt but I'm getting there slowly. I did a fair bit today. Hopefully it'll be done by the end of the weekend. I have a couple of UFO's that I want to finish by the end of the year so I can start 2010 all fresh. And Im already planning projects for the new year. I certainly have enough fabric.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Meadowsweet and Flower Bucket

I finally caved in and bought a fat quarter pack of the Peach darn excited I'm almost dancing for joy and can't wait for it to arrive.

While I was browsing I also happened upon this other gorgeous collection Flower Bucket by Genevieve Gail so I figured with 30% off international shipping why not? Crazy bargains compared to buying at home.

What will take my fancy next ?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Christmas Stuff...

I'm almost done with shopping. I know I blogged a week or so ago that I only had two people to buy for and I've actually done that since then but I've revised my list and still have three gifts to buy. Our goal was to have a frugal gift shopping Christmas without it looking cheap and I think we've done that quite well. I think I'll make a bigger effort next year to buy gifts as I see them through the year or even take a pledge to give mainly homemade gifts wherever I can. That's harder with presents for guys though.

My Christmas Day menu is done. Ham is ordered. The beef is currently marinating in the fridge ready to go into the freezer when that's finished doing it's thing ( have you ever tried to marinate a 12 pound beef - I have no idea how to wrap it for the freezer)   My chicken tikka is already done and in the freezer ready to go onto the BBQ. The Chocolate tree is done. (let's hope we dont have any really hot weather in the next three weeks or we might be having chocolate sludge)

Our tree went up yesterday. I'm loving our new tree. It took hours to decorate but I had so much fun.

I still have presents to wrap. The house needs a mini makeover. I still have to finish that quilt for my friend Sandra. (That's today's major project!) But otherwise I'm feeling mainly on top of stuff and hoping to enjoy the leadup to the big day.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

I have never read Maurice Sendak's book of the same name and so when a friend and I decided to catch a movie last night I suggested this one.  If I had to impart one piece of wisdom to sum up this movie it would be "Don't bother".

This is not a children's movie in any sense . (Take note dude who arrived about 30 minutes into the film with two children in tow under the age of 7, check the rating guide occasionally) It is a disturbing dark movie with not much to like or be uplifted about.

I wasn't expecting whimsical , fluffy little creatures or a sugary story but the film has an edgy underlying tone almost like domestic violence. Carol manipulates the other "things" by using fear and unpredictable responses to keep everyone in line. He shows no insight into the way his behaviour affects others. None of the characters in the film do. Everyone has a major issue and should be in psychoanalysis on a therapists couch at least 3 sessions a week.  So many things led nowhere. I'm not sure what the introduction of Bob and Terry were meant to do for the film besides stir up more bad feeling and controversy. Being a massive fan of The Soprano's TV series I had to wonder whether I was being influenced by the voice of James Gandolfini as Carol. I expected him to whack one of the other "things" at any moment, such was the undercurrent of violence.

There was no resolution, no lessons learned, the ending was abrupt and completely unsatisfying.  I would say I missed the finer points and messages of the film  but I'm not sure there were any.

This will never be making it's way into my DVD collection.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas Madness

18 yo Miss Fairy Bread and I are heading out today to do ALL our Christmas shopping in one hit. It's only 27 sleeps until Christmas. Eeek !

I hate the shops in December and  I have two quilts to finish so I'm doing this now in the hope that I can devote my time elsewhere for all of December.  So off we go- armed with a list. Hopefully by tonight I'll be feeling virtuously organised and smug.

Have a beautiful day.

Update: 4 and a half hours, and many dollars lighter, (but not too many because I'm trying to have a frugal Christmas ) I am home and I am exhausted. I am also happy to report we did get almost everything, (only two presents to get)  so I am one happy shopper. I caved in finally and bought a new Christmas tree (50% off- 7 foot Californian Pine)  and a mini Christmas tree for the table as well. I bought my last Christmas tree in 1992 so it was time for a new one. Now to wrap everything !

Friday, November 27, 2009

Crazy Bargains

We renovated our lounge room a year ago and I've been looking for the perfect table lamp ever since. Mr. Fairy Bread doesnt like the lights on when he watches TV and I hate sitting in the dark. A lamp is a compromise on both our parts.

I finally  found  it last weekend - at a garage sale.

Brought it home, washed some grubby marks off it, added it to a base I already had that I wasn't using and I have a  gorgeous lamp for the side table.

It cost me one dollar. I love it when that happens.

Friendship Bag -Done

I'm going to confess that somewhere during sewing the handles on and flipping right side out  my handles ended up inside the bag never to be seen again..... They were stunningly beautiful handles too. Bummer!

I once made a stuffed bunny rabbit for my then infant daughter and managed to sew it's head on backwards AND inside out so today's faux pas comes as no shock. The bunny looked like something out of a horror movie. I was all for leaving it as it was because by that stage I was fed up with sewing it but my Mum kept muttering comments  about my child needing "years of therapy" if I didn't fix it. Pfffttttt...

I'm going to try to work out what the heck I did to make disappearing handles and then  make one of these in a bigger size for a knitting bag for a Christmas present. Or I could just post a tutorial about how to make disappearing handles and become famous.

AWOL handles aside I'm pretty happy with the finished item. It'll make cute "wrapping" for a Christmas present, and my Mum can use it later to collect clipped threads when she is sewing.

Now I'm going to get on with what I was supposed to be doing all along- quilting.


I should be sewing string squares together or laying out and basting my coin quilt but this little project caught my eye this morning and I thought "What a wonderful way to "wrap"  Mum's Christmas present"....

Sigh...I have the attention span of a goldfish.

Watch this space for the results.(hopefully later today)

And then I really am going to get cracking on those other two projects.  I promise. Honest ...


My Dad sent me a load of old scanned photo's this week . It's made me  nostalgic about my childhood.   Was I ever that young? I had attitude even back then (I think they used to call it fiesty.)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Jumping up and down with excitement

My Moda Scrap Bags have arrived !  I feel like it's Christmas already.

I ended up with 4 Gobble Gobble Packs by Sandy Gervais and 2 Vine Creek bags by Kansas Troubles Quilters. Now, seriously I would never have actively sought to buy this collection of  prints, but my Mum will love 2 of the Gobble Packs for Christmas and I'm already scheming ways to use the other two packs for a quilt for my loungeroom.

The Vine Creek may present me with more of a challenge but I'm sure I'll use it all eventually....

I'm itching to buy some more of these now just for the surprise factor!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas Bauble Wreath

This is nothing new...people are blogging about this all over the internet, but it's a new idea to me , and probably quite new to most people in my corner of the world.

I've noticed that our northern hemisphere friends seem to do a lot more "decorating" than we do. For example, I keep reading blog posts about "Fall Decor" "Halloween Decorating" "Thanksgiving Decorating" and the like. Do people seriously tart up or change their homes for a season? I'm not criticising, it's just that it's not really done here and the idea is alien to most Aussies I think.  I feel all cosmopolitan if I change my throw rug in winter. My point is we dont really do that much Christmas decorating. And dammit I feel left out. Curse you internet for showing me what I'm missing!

Anyway back to the project ...I got the idea from Thrifty Decor Chick, who mentioned that it was originally done by Eddie Ross so I wandered over there for a look as well. I have to tell you I was so darn taken with this idea, that with 55 minutes before the shops closed tonight I was yelling at my daughter and mother to get in the car so I could go and buy baubles.  

People are blogging that this costs about ten bucks to make. Maybe baubles are cheaper in other parts of the world- or maybe we have bigger coathangers or something because all up it cost me about $20.00 bucks to make this but I love the effect and nobody else I know has one, so I'm pretty pleased with the overall result. I'll try to hit the post Christmas sales to see if I can get cheap baubles in green, gold and red to make one for next year for another part of the house.

Tres Gorgeous

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Sunday Obsessed

I seem to be unable to stop myself from buying fabric at the moment. Everywhere I turn I find lovely new things I simply must have.

They're calling me....

The lovelies above were on sale for around 60% off.  I'm seeing these in a Dresden Plate quilt or something inspired by the 1940's.

I figure I can never have enough fat quarters for my stash. I think these would look beautiful in a coin quilt.

Christmas fat quarters . Not sure yet what I'm going to do with these, but I just liked them so much, I had to buy them.

How gorgeous are these ? I have no idea what to do with them, but I completely fell in love with the colours and patterns.

I'm dangerously close to being classified as obsessed.

30 Days of Frugal Christmas Gifts- Mini Christmas Puddings

I can't take credit for this idea. At work some of us swap gifts at Christmas time - trinkets, trifles, small tokens, and this one came from my friend Nerida (who by the way is one of the sweetest people I know)

Nerida was kind enough to share her secret recipe with me last year and I made these for our family Christmas show. What I like about these is that they are so cute and so easy to do. Nerida wrapped four of these in cellophane for each of us last year and gave them as gifts (mine didnt even make it home -YUM) They look pretty darn impressive.

Nerida's Mini Christmas Pudding Recipe

You will need
1 store bought dark fruit cake (around 500 grams)
300 grams white chocolate melts
1 pack of glace cherries (cut into halves )
1 pack of spearmint leaves (lollies) or green jellies or jubes cut to resemble small leaves
1/4 cup brandy, Kahlua or Tia Maria

Cut the fruit cake into large slices and then crumble it into a large bowl.
Gradually add the alcohol mixing it well with the crumbled cake and then pop in the fridge for around 30 minutes
Roll the cake into small balls (about walnut sized) and place on baking paper to slightly dry out (this will also give them a flat bottom so they'll sit better )

Melt the white chocolate , and drop a small amount onto the top of the "pudding ". Let it slide a little down the sides so it looks like custard.

Pop half a glace cherry on top of the slightly warm chocolate and gently press in two leaves on either side.

Try not to eat every single one of these as you make them ... They look very classy in a white box  tied with red ribbon if you get them that far ....

30 Days of Frugal Christmas Gifts- Peppermint Candy Cane Bark

This is one that should be in everyone's "quick, easy and dirt cheap christmas gifts " repertoire.

Perfect for a pot luck, shared lunch, individual gifts, or just for the table as a pretty colourful addition to the festivities.

You will need
1 pack (around 12 ) peppermint candy canes
250 grams white chocolate

If you prefer you can make this with milk or dark chocolate as well, or substitute the candy canes for smarties or something similar. Candy canes are nice because they are so christmassy.

Break the candy canes into pieces and then put them into a bag and run a rolling pin over it. You dont want candy cane dust you want discernable but small pieces.

Melt the chocolate,  and pour onto a large lightly greased baking tray until it's around 2 mm thick. Evenly sprinkle the candy canes on top. Set aside until set or even pop it in the fridge.
When set break it into pieces and pop it on a serving tray, or into individual cellophane bags. Go here for  a picture of the finished result.  Gorgeous!
Total cost - $1.99 for the canes , and about $4.00 for the chocolate
You can check out a candy cane cake as well here. I love candy canes.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Busy Weekend

We have  a busy weekend planned.

Tonight we are babysitting our 4 month old grandson overnight for the first time without other responsible adults present!  Sure...he lives with us, but so far we haven't had him overnight without his Mum here. Hopefully he will sleep through the night. I wonder if I can get some housework done tonight ( see how exciting life gets in your 40's...instead of going out raging you do housework on Friday nights)

Busy. Have to clean the house, iron, wash and do all those other end of week things.  Have to go to the hardware store for supplies, do the grocery shop , come home , do lunch with our daughter and her boyfriend, and then clean up the patio ,  and back and front yards.

Out tomorrow night for my husband's uncle's 60th birthday.

Sunday, my parents will arrive early. Mr. Fairy Bread has had  a social club 20th anniversary outing thingy arranged for the last 6 months , so he's off to that . (And will no doubt arrive home late Sunday much the worse for wear ) Dad wants to go to the hardware stores. Mum wants to go to all the quilting shops because they live in the Boonies and don't get to the big smoke all that often. Then we're having a family dinner here that night.

Somewhere in there I want to get some quilting done.

Sir Edmund Hilary called and asked if he could come over and scale my ironing pile because it's almost as challenging as Mt. Everest.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Advice I would give my 20 year old self

If my mother had tried to tell me any of this stuff when I was 20 the thoughts in my head would have run a little like that episode from The Simpson’s where they’re showing everything from the dog’s perspective. It goes something like this “Blah...Blah...Blah sit, Blah...Blah...Blah...walk, Blah...Blah" …well you get the idea. The dog just hears the words that interest it , not the whole message.

At age 20 according to me my mother had been living since dinosaurs roamed the earth but still knew Nothing, while in my infinite wisdom I knew Everything. At 15 I was truly surprised when I saw her wedding pictures and she was wearing a bridal gown and tiara and not a loin cloth with a bone through her hair.

23 years later I realise she did know Everything. She knew all of this stuff then because she had experienced a fair whack of it. (Well some of it- not the divorce or break up bits because she’s been married to my Dad for almost 48 years ) On reflection it maybe was disappointing to her that both her kids were divorced by their late 20’s. Not that she adored either of our first husbands but that’s a whole new blog post.

If only I hadn’t rolled my eyes every time she spoke to me between ages 13 and 25 she might have felt safe enough to have shared her experiences and wisdom and saved me over 20 years of self learning and hard knocks.  Or maybe she felt that part of lifes journey is finding this stuff out for yourself. Whatever .

And in a similar fashion I wont share this with my daughter because she is really good at rolling her eyes (sometimes I’m truly worried they might roll right out of her head when I’m talking) and acting like I’ve been roaming the earth since just after dinosaurs became extinct. Apparently I'm so old I fart dust.

So these are all the things I wish I’d known at 20 …that I know now in my 40’s…

The guy you think broke your heart when you were 19 was a selfish pig, who will end up divorced, lonely and pathetic (he was at least two of those things when you were together anyway) In a few years he’ll look you up, trying to re-kindle the flame because you were always so forgiving and dependable and you’ll walk away wondering what you ever saw in him. Living a great life is always the best revenge.

Continue to use moisturizer every day whether you think you need it or not ( By the time your former best friend who isn’t using it enters her mid 30’s her face is going to look like a desiccated apple) Ditto with drinking lots of water.

Don’t be in a hurry to get married. Wait until you know who you are before you try to be half of a couple. Then make sure he knows who he is because you can waste a lot of time trying to glue someone back together that you had nothing to do with breaking. Marry someone you like and can be friends with. As horrifying as that sounds to you now in your romantic 20’s , by your mid thirties you’ll realise friends is better than bonk buddies since if you have any kids at all, you probably wont be having sex until they move out of home anyway. By the way - when they do move out of home they will be back-probably multiple times, and everytime they do they'll bring more mouths to feed.

Put away as much as you can afford from your pay packet every week for the next 5 years. It’ll save you years of paying off a mortgage in the long run and offer you so many more choices when you’re in your 40’s. And when you’re ready to settle down find a man who has done the same. Trust me on this.

Know when something is finished. That includes friendships, marriages, relationships, and jobs that are no longer fulfilling. You don’t have to get mad to walk away from something that isn’t working you just have to know when it’s time to leave. You can mourn the loss and still move on with your life.

You’re going to spend a lot of time at work over the next 40 or so years. Make sure you pick something you enjoy, at least most of the time. The corporate ladder is highly over rated. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a surgeon or a check out operator – so long as you’re happy doing it. Generally you should think of your job as something you do to earn money so you can have a life when you aren’t working.

Don’t over think things. Learn to relax and go with the flow. You can waste a lot of life over thinking stuff that doesn’t require a lot of thought. If you worry about looking silly, you’re going to miss a lot of fun and opportunities in life. Don’t say No too often. Saying Yes is the best way to experience life.

Stuff  that is important when you’re 20 wont matter at all when you’re 30. Stuff that mattered when you’re 30 probably wont have a lot of relevance when you’re 40 either. That's called growth.

Despite what people tell you there are some things in life that can’t be undone. Try not to do too many of them. You know what these things are because I've brought you up right.

There are so many things that don’t matter – a clean house, other people’s opinions of you, doing things because other people expect you to. Try to live a life that will be a tribute to you when you aren’t here any more, but most importantly will make you happy most of the time you are here .  When you finally go, nobody is going to etch “she kept a clean house and did everything to please others ” on your headstone. I've never seen it in a cemetery - not once.

"Someday" is not a word that should really be in your vocabulary. Someday is NOW because there may not be a someday. I have spent many somedays planning a trip to Europe. By the time I get there the leaning tower of Pisa will probably be horizontal .

Learn not to regret - if it's done there isn't much you an do about it. Learn from the mistake - don't repeat it and move on.

Above all live well, live a life you can be proud of and make sure you surround yourself with those you love.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

30 Days of frugal Christmas Gifts -Cookies in a Jar

"Things" in a jar are among my favourite gifts to give.

Last year I did cookies in a jar and they were a massive hit. I wish I'd thought to take some pictures but I didn't, and since Im not doing cookies in a jar this year you're just going to have to use your imagination.

These are fast to make even if you're doing a lot of them. I did three different types and everyone asked me for the recipes afterwards. You're going to need jars, basic cooking ingredients, some fancy ones if you decide to go that way , fabric and pretty ribbon.

Recipes are here , here and all the ones I made last year are here

I searched EVERYWHERE for cranberries here and couldn't find them , and we also dont have butterscotch chips here either which was kinda disappointing because I couldn't make those delicious cranberry hootycreeks or any of the butterscotch ones.

Donations of butterscotch chips will be gratefully received since I've found tons of recipes that use them. Just like that marshmallow creme fluff stuff I keep reading about. How come other countries have all the good food I want to try?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A very weird day

Today has been quite odd.  A couple of things happened at work which I'm now stressing out over, completely out of proportion with the circumstances. Perhaps I'm out of touch with my own reality. Maybe I need a holiday. Maybe I'm getting  -it's -almost-holidays-and I'm completely-overwhelmed-disease.

On another topic (distraction is good for us crazy people) my sister called late last night to tell me that she and her husband have decided to put their house up for sale and move here. "Here" is about a  3 day drive from where they live now so for the first time in 12 years I'll be 15 minutes way from my sister. Very exciting!

I've done no sewing since Sunday and I really need to do a burst of my string quilt for Sandra if I'm going to get it finished by Christmas. I PROMISE I'll do some tomorrow...just so tired lately !

Monday, November 16, 2009

30 Days of Frugal Christmas Gifts - Let them eat cake

Or at least bathe in it.....

These soaps DO look good enough to eat !

Cute and kitsch. The size of a real slice of cake. And they smell like the actual cake they're made to represent. These are lemon meringue pie and coffee cake.

I got these ones from Darwin at a market stall called Dragonfly Lane, and they cost about $8.00 each. 

I can't bring myself to use them!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

30 Days of Frugal Christmas Gifts-Sweets for the Sweet

I'm the first to admit I am no photographer. My second confession is that I'm not great at cooking. Thirdly I'll own up presentation aint my thing either. That being said I'm going to post this anyway!

Sweet treats are so easy to make at home and I don't know anyone who doesn't love confectionary. So this makes them perfect for Christmas gifts!

I did some experimenting today and came up with black treacle toffees , chocolate fudge squares and home made honeycomb. All from internet recipes.

You could try  coconut ice, rocky road, a fudge selection or hand made chocolates.

Go forth and make sweets !

Stacked Coin Quilt Progress

I think I'm in love with stacked coin quilts.

I still need to add a top and a bottom border, but I wanted to get a picture up of my progress so far.

This one is made from the fat quarters I bought at last Sunday's quilt show and this is the "other"project I'm hoping to get finished in time for Christmas.

I just love how easy these are to put together, and can feel another one in the works after this one is done. I've got some Moda Charm squares that would look darling in a quilt like this.

All in all , it's been a productive (but scorchingly hot) weekend!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tres Cosmopolitan

I've long been intrigued by the idea of Moda Scrap Bags.

I'm sure you can get them here in Australia but they arent prolific, so I wandered off to eBay to have a look. Not much there and not much in online quilt stores either. And what I could find was expensive.

So I started looking online in America. Oh Happy Day! They're everywhere!

I ordered 6 of these little suckers from Hancocks of Paducah. (Even the name sounds thrilling)  That makes me very cosmopolitan because I'm ordering fabric from overseas. And even with currency conversion and postage it worked out to be really reasonable. More reasonable than buying them here -if I could find them ...I hope my sisters in America realise how wonderfully lucky they are to have access to fabrics so cheaply.

They're on back order so who knows when they'll arrive. It's like a lucky dip.  I'm so excited!

Just had to share! Off to do some quilting now.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Great Expectations

With the weather so hot here, I'm planning an entire blissful weekend of quilting. Inside. Out of the Sun. With the airconditioner going. Full Blast.

I have one quilt well under way and have just started another one that I would love to finish before Christmas, so I'm going to be one very busy chickadee. Naturally I have to go out in the morning to make sure I have plenty of supplies to get me through the weekend.

I'll do a post and let you know whether I get much done or just turn into a total slacker!

30 Days of Frugal Christmas Gifts- Cheating Apron

I missed a post yesterday ...but I have a good excuse. We are experiencing the first ever recorded November heatwave in my state this week and it's damn hot. People are cranky , my blog posts are completely uninspired and I really dont want to go outside to set up and photograph anything because I'm not into being burnt to a crisp...

I had planned some chocolate and other food posts this week but with the weather chocolate is melting within seconds, and with cooking pretty much out of the question this post isn't very exciting either. Hopefully with more time over the weekend I'll get my gift blogging mojo back.

This is a "cheating" apron. The cheating part is it's not made from scratch. It's made from the front of a skirt that I unpicked at the seams and with side seams sewn back in. Then you just unpick the waist band , add ties (ummm those ties are made out of an old pillowcase) sew the waist band back down and voila ! All Done.  I made this one for around 3 bucks. I hear aprons are making a come back.....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

30 Days of Frugal Christmas Gifts- Crafty Chic!

Day 9 of frugal christmas gifts already!

The perfect gift for someone who sews! Quick and cheap to make up but oh so cute!

I whipped up these chenille pincushions earlier this year and gave them as gifts. I had eveything I needed on hand , and they're made from chenille scraps . (The more I look at scraps and what you can do with them the more I fall in love with them ) These are stuffed with the guts of an old dacron pillow I had laying around, so essentially they cost me nothing but time.

You could use any type of material you had on hand , and they'd look terrific.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

30 Days of Frugal Christmas Gifts -Spice it up!

A couple of years ago, while cooking a lamb roast in fact, I decided that buying lamb roast rub was getting too expensive and decided to make my own. The internet is a wonderful amazing place because you can type in almost anything and get an answer.

This was the year that EVERYONE we knew got lamb, beef , pork and other rubs in large jars for Christmas and such has been  my legend ever since that people are still asking me for more spicy goodness or the recipes.  Here they are:

Mix up multiple servings at once and toss them into jars , pretty them up with handmade tags saying what type of rub they are and what type of meat to use them with and people will love you practically forever.

P.S. Spices are bought much more cheaply in bulk from Asian or Indian Grocery stores than from your local supermarket (unless that happens to be a multi cultural grocery store!)


How cute are these fabric pinwheels? Sandi Henderson has the free download-able pattern on her website here . So darn easy too! I managed to do these three without hot glue gunning my hand to anything permanently.

 I'm still scheming how to get me some of that gorgeous Meadowsweet fabric. Nobody at the quilting show on Sunday has pre-ordered any into my home town yet and I can't find any Australian stockists doing pre-orders either. (Insert massive sigh here )

P.S. These pinwheels would also look so pretty in christmas fabric, but with so many other things on the go at the moment thats not going to be an option here!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Because I am insane.......

With 45 days until Christmas (eeeekkkkkkkk) 31 of which I have to work I have decided I am going to attempt to not only finish Sandra's quilt but also start another major project.


30 Days of Christmas Gifts - Quilt It Up

This is a really fast and cheap quilt to make . Made from chenille, old jeans and cotton material, with no batting, you can bang one of these up in a day or two.

And the cuteness factor with the exposed rag seams which just get softer and fluffier with each wash is sure to make it a hit with the recipient.

These also make great dog blankets made from all denim and are virtually indestructable. You can get really creative with cutouts, fabrics and appliques. I've done stars , reverse windows and frog appliques with gorgeous multi coloured fabric. I've even done camo fabric for a boys quilt.

Old jeans : Free - start saving your old pairs!
1 x vintage chenille blanket - $3.00 from the op shop
Cotton Material - $8.00 on sale

Total cost of blanket - about $11.00 plus cotton and a rainy weekend.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Today I learned .....

You cannot go to a quilting and craft show and buy nothing ....even if it is Frugal November.

30 Days of Frugal Christmas Gifts- Savvy Shopping

You know how you sometimes see something in the shops in June and think "That would be PERFECT for Aunt Gladys / Mum /The Neighbours / The Cat for Christmas"  

Naturally when December rolls around you find:
a) You can't remember what your brilliant idea in June was
b) They don't make them/stock them anymore
c) They stock them alright but they cost three times the price they did in June

Now you can go down the socks, chocs and jocks road, or you can get savvy and Christmas shop all year. Sounds simple doesn't it?  But how many of us actually do it?

I've managed to snag some really crazy bargains by shopping for Christmas through the year and stashing those gifts away. Some of those gifts are unusual , some were too good a price to pass up and some were perfect for the recipient. As an added bonus in December I can sit home feeling smug and virtuous as everyone else battles the Christmas shopping crowds (if they can find a car park. )

Here are some of the things I've purchased through this year waiting to be wrapped and tagged.

Baby Toys - brand name -  a few dollars each

Recycled Paper notebook / Cute Journal $8.00 for the pair

Purses. Purchased at last year's Christmas sale. Retail $60.00. I paid $19.95 for both.

Fun jewellery. Great stocking fillers! $5.00 each.

I also scored ( but am too lazy today to photograph )
Vintage Bunnykins Trio from late 1960's. Mint condition never used still in original box - purchased from a second hand store that was closing down. It was tagged $110.00 . They said make us an offer. $20.00 later I walked out of the shop with it.

A Vintage Staffordshire Tiered Cake Plate -for 8 dollars. Will look great with fairy cakes on it as a gift.

Happy Shopping!