Friday, December 31, 2010

Farewell to 2010 - the Year of the SNOWMAN - and a Final TUSAL

Looking back at completed works - my list shows that this year I completed 12 snowmen.  A dozen Snowmen!!!!  yay!  This is my last one finished on the 29th.
Today I completed a scissor fob/ornament - taken from Martha's Sampler  Club Blog - the freebie chart I offered on the 1st Dec.

I still havea full WIP list - and will process that tomorrow and add it to the sidebar.

Today, in preparation for 2011 - the year of the SHEEP, I found some more snowmen charts that I wish I could have made the time to stitch.

My rule is that any new chart started in 2011, must be a Sheep Chart. The exception is WIP's, Halloween and Christmas, and any compassionate projects required. 

hmmm.... exceptions to rules...  that works for me.
So this afternoon, while the temperature outside zoomed to 40c, I gathered some aida and some floss and ferreted through the extra snowmen charts to find a few more that I could not live without.  I started:
  • Home Sweet Flaky Home - found in Stoney Creek Dec 07 issue
  • Snow Friends - Diane Arthurs chart - intended to be stitched as a triplet - not as a long strip
  • Winter Blues - a 2005 freebie from Stitchykitty
  • Sampler Winter - a 2008 freebie from Marika Belfiori's website
  • Winter Lineup - a chart from 2006 released by The Trilogy - Twisted Threads/Bent Creek/Heart in Hand
  • The Welcome Home Snowman - a small chart from Curtis Boehringer
  • The Design on the back cover - The End - another chart from Curtis Boehringer
Add those to the carry over WIP's for 2009 and I think I have a good start.
Tomorrow, New Year's Day - I start on my first Sheep Chart. I am infact, starting a Cy-Baaaa stitch-a-long with my friend Karen.  We are stitching something for the EWE Year!!  I'll post a pic tomorrow evening.

TUSAL - Time for me now to empty my decanter of all the threads collected for 2010 - ready to start afresh tomorrow morning - REMEMBER - THE NEXT NEW MOON FOR TUSAL IS JANUARY 4th.
What did/have/will you be doing with your 2010 TUSAL collection?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010, Ornament Exchange, 2011 - Sheepy Stitching, TUSAL

Hello friends.
How wonderful was your Christmas Day?
Ours was a day full of family, food, wine, laughter and music.  My Dad spent a few days with us, visiting from Dimboola (a small country town in the Victorian Wimmera, halfway between Melbourne & Adelaide) and it was so good to have him here to share the day with us all.  I over-catered as usual, didn't have matching glasses, crockery, chairs or cutlery, but that didn't matter.  The weather was pleasant enough so that we didn't swelter or freeze and the wine was cold and the food was tasty!
Christmas Tablecloth motif for 2009 - adapted from the artwork of Peter Emmerich
I did manage to finish the square to symbolise Christmas 2009 - well, enough to fit on the table - I added the names yesterday and some backstitching - just now developing the photos, I see a small portion of her hair that needs fixing.  I'm not sure about the startled look she now has around the eyes, but without some sort of backstitching, her features fade.  I'll fix the hair today, but that will be enough time spent on that square.  (I chose the poor little matchgirl to symbolise the financial strain we were under at the time, having had to list the house on the market on the 15th Dec - the lit match symbolised hope for the future - and it was, as Martin started a job on 15th Jan, which meant the house could come off the market.  I don't ever want to go through another Christmas like that again!)I'll now be on the lookout for a suitable Santa to stitch to symbolise 2010
I must also credit the artist from whose artwork I have adapted for my tablecloth: Peter Emmerich - I thank him for allowing me to use his artwork for inspiration)
Here is also a picture of my Ornament Tree for this year - Harry doesn't want to contaminate the big tree with hand made ornaments (go figure!), so I have a smaller table top tree to hold my ornaments.  There peeking from the bottom, is the lovely snowman ornament received in my exchange from Pokua - wasn't she clever to choose a Snowman theme for me??
Sadly, not all the ladies in my exchange have received ornaments this year in time for Christmas, I suspect the abysmal weather has something to do with it, but also feel that the pixies in the Post Offices, in both the USA and Australia have been making mischief.  If I organise another ornament exchange - I may do it in August!!!!

Since my last post, I've managed to breeze past my 2nd blogaversary - in all the rush of Christmas it was sort of left behind - I just didn't have the time or the inspiration to post.  I will make up for that in the next week and give details of a giveaway - nothing big, but just a token to say 'Thank you' to my followers.

I'm not going to make up big lists of incomplete projects - just add to my WIP list.  I will keep track this year however, of all the patchworky projects and keep them separate from my cross-stitchy projects. I still like to think of myself as a cross-stitcher first.

I will spend the next day or so - lining up all the sheep projects for 2011.  I'm sure at some point in the year, I will acquire a skein of whisper, and use it to fluff up a sheep.  I even have a sheepish quilt in mind for a project.  I found the cuddly sheep last weekend at a market - named him Shawn and nominated him as my muse for 2011

Don't forget T.U.S.A.L. - I'll post a list of dates on the T.U.S.A.L. page - starting on the New Moon - 4th January - but first I would suggest that we all show our TUSAL collections on New Year's Eve, before emptying and starting afresh from January 1st - 4 days worth of orts to show again on the 4th.

I look forward to catching up with all my bestest blogging buddies over the next few days, another addiction that has inspired and challenged me over the past couple of years.   Keep an eye out for my next giveaway to be announced really soon!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Tablerunners finished for workmates today.

Here are the finished tablerunners for my workmates - I kept the pointy ends as I felt that was part of the charm of the original pattern.  It was a bit fiddly, but I managed to get both of them finished today.  They each are the same pieces, but by changing the colour placement changes the design totally.
I also made another teabag wallet this morning in 20 minutes for a friend that I went to meet this morning - I still managed to put the loop for the button on the wrong side, so now 3 of the 4 made open up back to front!!
I now have just a few days to finish stitching the panel on this year's Christmas Heirloom Tablecloth - I just know that I'll be stitching frantically on Christmas Eve (again!!)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Another Christmas Gift Obsession - Teabag Wallet!!

Surfing the blogs late last night - looking for a saying to write on a card to give with a coaster/mug/teabag, I found this neat tutorial for a teabag wallet.  I can start a new project at 10:30pm.  I dragged out a selection of fabrics from my 'slightly bigger than a scrap' collection and followed the directions on this blog.
It was quite easy and importantly of all, the measurements were right.  Now if only I knew who drank more tea than coffee, I could make more of these before Christmas.  They are really quick and easy to make and do not require much in the way of pinning or ironing at all
  I might remember to put the ribbon on the other side, because it opens up backwards!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Why is it that I obsess with making one thing over and over every Christmas???

A couple of years ago, it was Stitchery ornaments, then another year I made 51 cross-stitch ornaments, last year I made little apron ornaments and 42 sand filled doorstops (appreciated by all who received one)  
Earlier in my pre-Christmas frenzy of making small gifts, it was coasters.  All of a sudden, this past week, it appears to be table runners for work colleagues.
I've already shown you the one made in Christmas fabrics for the lovely lady who brings me bread.  This week, my boss (the bestest boss I've ever had) resigns, not only did I locate the most fitting corporate farewell gift (a movie poster about the Sunbury Pop Festival in 1972 - for a guy who's passion is the Australian Music Industry of the 1970's), but I've designed and finished a tablerunner for him.  
I am so stunned that it worked out so well.  I know that a tablerunner is not a great 'guy' present, but I know he'll appreciate the work that has gone into it. 

So therefore, what could I do this afternoon?  Make more dining room chair covers?  Finish stitching my Heirloom Christmas Tablecloth??  Finish a small snowman ornament??
No... Of course not.   I put pen to graph paper and design another tablerunner.  I play with the coloured pencils and come up with two colourways - perfect  - I have 2 other workmates that really deserve a more substantial present than coasters.....

I've put one together, it's a simple matter of chain piecing and stitiching in rows, but I've no idea how to finish off the edges - I've got to look at batting and backing choices.  I don't want to play with bias binding, but that may be the only option.  I'll sleep on it and finish it off during the week.

Anybody have any ideas how to finish the edges off???  Something simple???

Also - keep an eye out in the New Year - I've got a small gift almost ready - If you have a look on the side-bar - you'll see that I'm almost up to my 2nd blogaversary.   Let us all get over the Christmas excitement before I offer up a small stitchers gift.


Monday, December 6, 2010

NEW MOON - TIME FOR TUSAL - last one for 2010

........ or should we call 4th January 2011, the next new moon the last TUSAL???  After all, there are another 4 weeks of fibers to collect....  

I might actually call a New Years Eve TUSAL, with a follow up on 4th January to capture the first days of the New Year stitching.
Here is my December TUSAL in any case - very little added for the past month, as I've been mostly working with patchwork.  I still have my Christmas Tablecloth to finish - of course I can see myself (as in other years) frantically stitching it on Christmas Eve in order to have it finished in time!!

Show your TUSAL for 2010 - what do you do with the contents?  Do you fill Christmas ornaments?  Stuff pillows?  My orts from 2009 are sitting in a crystal bowl and I suspect the 2010 orts will join them.  I may use them to stuff Christmas ornaments with them next year.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Feeling pleased with myself! - Re-upholstering dining room chairs.......

Before and After  : : : : : :

I've replaced the webbing underneath (approx cost $20 for 4 chairs), added some more foam on the side edges, as the seat foam was still in good condition ($18 for 8 pieces cut to size), and 5 metres of the new fabric was in the bargain bin for $4 per metre ($20 for 8 chairs), as I've still to cover some old vinyl chairs, but will be doing that in a different method.
The sides where (ahem) larger folk have their thighs resting over the edge is the bit that needed the extra foam.  It takes approx 3-4hours per chair to remove the 785 original staples PER CHAIR !!! and 20 minutes to put the new fabric on and re-assemble the chairs.
I really shouldn't count the cost of the new air-staple gun to make life a lot easier ($70), mainly because hubby will use it for other projects I decide I want to play with.
So I figure, by Christmas, I will have 8 new dining chairs, looking brand spanking diddly-I-doe new (ish) for a grand total of $68.

I am feeling so pleased with myself.  I just had to show what I'm doing instead of finishing off my Christmas stitching!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christmas gift - and a reminder for the Ornament Exchange

Sorry that it's been so long since the last post - I just did not seem to have much to share with you all.  However, last weekend I did have a finish, and I've packed it away in my Christmas gift box.  A lovely lady at work has been bringing me bread all year.  It's the leftover bread from Brumby's - she has a neighbour who brings it home and gives it to her.  She knows that I have two boys that will demolish it all, and that last year was particularly tight financially.  So this year, I decided to make her a Christmas Table runner to say thank you for all her blessings this year.  I had a go at this pattern (found in one of the 300+ magazines that are still littering my loungeroom)  It was quite simple to follow and I enjoyed making it.  I did change the borders slightly, the original called for two sides to be edged with ric-rac, but I liked this version. 
You can see the fabric I chose for the border and the backing here.  The border fabric came from Denise's prize box, and sets the Christmas fabrics off so nicely. 

On a completely different subject.... did you know Google Reader has a blog limit you can follow????  Oh my, I have to spend some time going through my list, deleting those who have dropped off the blogoverse, just so I can add some new exciting ones I find.  How long will that take me???  

A public reminder for those who have joined in my ornament exchange for 2010 - Please remember to post your ornament to your partner by 1st December!!!  Post a picture of your ornament to your blog after your partner has received their gift!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Our leader has gone, but TUSAL continues on.

I checked my link tonight, and it appears that YoYo and the Dragon My Needle blog have left the blogging world.  I wish her the best, I seem to remember her last post was full of concern about the health and well-being of her husband.
However, this leaves our small remaining band of TUSAL devotees without a leader.  I'm willing to stand up and keep it going.  It is currently 9pm on a Thursday evening and I'm not up to posting a great big explainy post about TUSAL and how it works except to say that TUSAL stands for Totally Useless Stitch A Long, and is all to do about collecting your orts - the little bits of floss that are too short when stitching.  Somewhere between now and the next New Moon, I'll get my act into gear and fire up a TUSAL page - I may or may not keep a list of those who participate.
Any suggestions - ideas ? ? ? ? ? ?
What do you think?
my september 2010 TUSAL jar (and friends)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another Christmas patchworkery finish for me - another gift to cross off the list!

Hot off the needle - another Christmas present crossed off the list.  I have a lot of greens, and although the pattern in the magazine (yes, another one) showed christmas reds, I felt that using all my reds just wouldn't be the right colour for the intended recipient
There is a local curtain and furnishing store, that put all the fabric samples from their sample books and offcuts into a basket out the front and sell them per piece.  I can never resist picking up half a dozen at a time, thinking that I'll make them into 'something'.
This time I did.  I used two pieces from the same range - one is more antique white than ivory and used them for the centre panel.  It's about 12" by 22" and will have to make a cushion insert.  I even sewed a ZIP into the edge.  I've not sewn a zip for over 20 years.          I remember why.  ugh!  Not an easy task when you cannot find your machine's zipper foot!  (mental note - remember to buy a new zipper foot for the machine!)
I'm quite pleased with the result.  I hope the recipient will like it.

Another GO Giveaway

Deeply broken-hearted that I am - I missed out on the last GO giveaway, but my spirits are picking up again - I found another GO giveaway at Lavender Ridge.  I've convinced myself that my quilting life (not that I am a patchworker or quilter) would be greatly assisted by one of these handy-dandy units.
Go along and check it out.

Friday, November 5, 2010

In Time for TUSAL and an early Christmas gift finish

Here is my T.U.S.A.L. for November 2010.  Please note the abundance of fluro yellow thread - that was all unpicked from Halloween stitching.  There is lots of red and black, as well as white, and I hope to have lots of christmas colours next month.  
Are you still filling your TUSAL jar?   
Do you use your orts for something at the end of the year?

Now for something hot off the needle - I saw this little fabric box in the November 2009 issue of Handmade - Special Country Christmas Crafts edition.  Budget Beater it said......use up your scraps it said.
Simple enough - surely I could follow this pattern by Judith Tetley. 
Page from Nov 2009 Homemade Christmas Edition - Judith Tetley's Challenge Piece
I cut up the pieces as required and started making the patchwork panel.  It was fine up to a point, but the directions got all muddy in the book and didn't quite make sense.  I also had to add a 1" strip to the lining to achieve the folded over edge as shown in the magazine.  I also muddled my way through the construction, completing it differently than the instructions.  I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but it was a bit of a challenge, that was not going to get to me.
I've also been working on a tablerunner for a present for a workmate - I've got to get some backing fabric, then I can finish this one off.  I've also been busy making sullfolk puffs for another small Christmas Project, but nothing to show right now.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Another Snowman melts off the needle!!!

Hot off the needle. - SanMan Designs - Frosty.
Stitched on hand-dyed pink/peach aida
Stitched with DMC and Needle Necessities.
I made the buttons yesterday out of Fimo.
I now have a little jar of carrot noses - went for the 3D look rather than the flat look.  I might have to re-do the eyes on the very left snowman - we'll see how it settles when I make this into......into.......well, probably a cushion or a tote.
(My pile of finishes waiting to be made into a cushion/tote/wallhanging is growing!!!)

Now to move onto Christmas - specifically my Christmas Tablecloth and one or 70 ornaments..... 

I just checked - I thinkthis is my 10th snowman finish for 2010 !!!!  Now to find them all

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Hallowee'n - can the rain stop now please?

For once it's not stitching - But we had a Hallowee'n lunch today.
Mummy onna stick!

 I'll post the recipe on my cooking blog - Though fiddly, they are fun to make and very effective when served on a plate.  I made octopus too from the little boys.
I really would love to make the Cheese & Bacon Turtleburgers (go on google it... you know you want to),  but have to work out how to get enough bacon to make an effective shell.  Aussie Bacon looks different to American Bacon, but  gem of the idea is brewing..

Also showing photos from today's walk along the creek - there ARE roos across what is now Kennedy Lake, the creek having filled and burst its banks - this was a fast flowing bit of water.  I know we need the rain, but I'm so over it now.  I need to dry out before I develop webbed feet!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday morning sunrise

I woke a few minutes before the alarm today, and rather than try to capture a few more ounces of snooze, got up and set off for my daily perambulation with the dog.

As I stepped from the front door, it was just light. I acknowledged Lady Moon with a nod. She was demurely covered by a few wisps of cloud, still looking stunning 4 days past her prime.

I turned to the east, towards the creek and noticed the horizon has just a few faint tinges of mauve - the early sunrise catching the thin bank of cloud, changing the colour from it's pre-dawn blue-grey. Second, by second, the glow stretched and changed hue. As if watching a parade of young princes from Siam, each moment surpassing the previous.

I wanted to keep an eye out for wildlife, but my eyes were constantly drawn over my right shoulder as I walked along the creek. The pink glow gave way to a rosier glow, putting on a display for me, and me only. It was almost as if this sunrise wanted to be the best it could - after all, it only has one chance. The glow turned to an orange glow, fiery bright in it's embrace of the sky, deftly enhancing all the patterns in the wispy clouds. "I am the Prince" it shouted from the sky - "See how more colourful and pleasant to the eye I am?"

In an inkling, as if the Prince had heard his father's footsteps around the corner, the bright orange glow, gave way to a bashful, paler, version of itself. The orange lost all it's intensity as the King came closer, stretching his influence with pale golden courtiers.

By this time, I was facing west again, and Lady Moon had covered herself more, but was surrounded by pale pink wisps of cloud, the western sky tinged itself pink as the eastern sky gave way to a pale regal glow, clouds skittering away to announce the rise of this morning's Sun.

The King has arrived! The day may now start.

pakenham 6:45am
Tuesday            26 October 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hot off the needle!!  It's a Lizzie Kate that I was working on this week.  I changed all the colours - used mostly Dinky Dyes.  I did originally stitch the 'O', the spiderweb in fluro DMC green, but changed my mind.  It hasn't shown up well here, but you can see it.  If I feel too thingy about it, I might backstitch part of the web in a mid-grey - we'll see how I feel by next week.  
I didn't stitch the little candy corn, but added a few buttons from my stash.  I won't tell you how many times that plastic spider made me jump while stitching the buttons and hanging cord on the back.
I really don't know if I'll stitch any more Halloween things between now and next sunday.  I'm starting to think more and more about my Christmas stitching.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I'm going to win a GO Cutter...... well maybe

Like yourself, I've been reading oodles of blogs and here and there I see competitions for the Accuquilt GO cutter.  But I'm not a quilter I say, and I don't have a NEED for something like this I say.  Ok.. So I'm not a quilter, but I AM a Textile artist and wouldn't one of these gizmo's be great fun??  I'm not so worried about cutting squares and half square triangles, but working out other angles and getting them accurate is a bother.
What sort of dies would you want?  Circles - yeah..then you could turn them into suffolk puffs, or scraps for english hexagons, or spots... hmmm yes, perhaps circles.  Hexagons? Could we do away with all those bits of paper (I have a memory of cutting up old envelopes into hexagons for my grandmother)  What about Triangles?  I dare not even open the catalogue page for applique templates...  I'm not a quilter after all, and what need to I have for applique shapes???
I am getting ahead of myself....first I have to win a GO, then I can wax lyrical.  Do you want to enter too??  Then I suppose I should share..  Micki from Irish Muses was a recent winner, and she is now hosting her own GO competition.  Check her blog out - she's called her GO, Colleen, would that mean I'd have to call mine Sheila??
Getting ahead of myself again...counting my chickens before they've hatched...  Good Luck!
(If I am not a quilter, then why am I getting all excited about this machine???)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A very busy Sunday Afternoon - a 'weenie finishing frenzy!!

I've had a busy Sunday afternoon at my sewing machine.  
I was determined to get some finishes done - and started on my recent 'weenie finishes. (let's not think about the dozen or so bags/cushions that are in progress and draped over the machine shall we???)
I started with 'weenie Spider - Somebody very recently on their blog (and you know what happens when you see a great idea - you keep track of the name so you can give credit where it's due - right?  Sorry..once again, I forgot where I saw this idea), used a large glass to make a circle on their fabric - what a great idea and just what I needed for 'Weenie Spider...add a touch of ric-rac (thanks Denise)
I also needed to finish two more cushions - now I have 3 out of the 4 in the series from Carosel Creations - I used some of my new halloween fabric (thanks to Kerry) and again one of the notions from Denise - the Skeleton Ribbon.  I also knew I wanted to make prairie points, so experimented with that technique.  
I fussy cut some fabric for my other car is a broom and made a mini pillow.  To finish up the halloween stitching for today, I fussy cut an owl and a pussycat to sit either side of Friday night's Boo stitch.
I had not finished with the machine....yesterday's Schoolhouse patch was transformed into a pot-holder.  I played with the quilting on this one, quilting in the ditch and made a roof and window pattern.

phew!!!  I think I acheived quite a bit today - it's always nice to have a proper finish in a week!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Funky Frankie, an addition to my table - Stash received and a quilt square made

Meet my newest addition to my Hallloween Table....   Frankie.

Isn't he just the cutest??  He waggles his hands and swivels his head to the song 'Monster Mash' - just push the button on his foot.

The boys are already sick of the song.  What is one of the best things is that he's a 'Gund' brand - not a cheapie.  He'll be out on display all year round.

On a completely different topic - I had the urge hit me late this morning, to stitch something with the georgeous fabric that I won from Denise in a giveaway..  Oh yes.. I hadn't shown you my haul.

Are I not the luckiest lady??  All this wonderful fabric to play with.
Late this morning, I decided I wanted to try a schoolhouse quilt block.  Of course, I couldn't find a pattern anywhere, I knew I had seen it in one of my magazines.  Out came the graph paper and this is the result.
Now that I've made this block, I don't know if I'll need to make a quilt out of these blocks.  I've satisfied the urge already.

Now back to stitching for what is left of the afternoon.  Have pity on me.  We are now the proud owners of a pair of bongo drums.    Hubby and eldest son are playing them over and over again.......  Oh well, it will be quiet here again tomorrow...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Smoking needles - a finish in 2hours!!

I picked up this quickie after dinner tonight and was finished within 2hours.
It is/was a freebie from Blackbird Designs - no title - I call it Quaker Boo.  It is stitched on navy Aida, with a random overdyed floss from my stash.  Stef Francis 'Autumn Leaves'.  I added my initials and this year in Roman Numerals.

It's added to the pile for finishes for Sunday!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Incy-'Weenie 'Pider - another finish - hot off the needle - 'Weenie Madness strikes again!

Another really quick finish - although I stitch quicker when not being absorbed by movies..
I'm due back to work tomorrow, after being laid low by the 'flu for over a week, but I knew I had time to finish one small project for my Halloween Tree.
I do not remember who sent me the Dimensions Leaflet #328 - Trick or Treat - but thank you!!
I am going to try to stitch another one or two more quick designs before Oct 31!
There's something really cute about this little guy...and it's hard to tell, but the fabric is a really pale lilac aida.

I have accepted my destiny now to be consumed by 'Weenie Madness, although both my boys just shake their heads. (fingers crossed that I can buy the plush toy I found today - a Frankenstein monster that groves to 'The Monster Mash')

Sunday, October 10, 2010

HOT off the hoop - another Halloweenie design - GHOULS DON'T CRY

Pic taken draped over my feet - I'm about to sleep tonight in my armchair, but wanted to finish the chart first.!!!!
Companion piece to 'Spook when spoken to' and 'Punkin for Candy'.

One thing about being sick is that i'm getting LOTS of stitching done - lol

Friday, October 8, 2010

Another 'Weenie Finish!! - and October TUSAL

This is a companion chart to last year's Spook when Spooken to - as can be seen on the pics of the Halloween Table on the last post.
This one is called 'Punkin for Candy' and is one of the 4 companion pieces...I'm going to try to finish another one before Halloween this year.
As I am off work with a very sore and infected throat - I might just get it done.

Nearly forgot - Tonight is full moon - TIME FOR T.U.S.A.L
First time in months that I've got it on the right date!!!!!!
See the little bit of orange and white and black at the top??  I wonder where that came from?  Oh yes.. the little ort collector bag in front of the jar...
Is anybody else still following TUSAL?