Monday, December 26, 2016

Another Christmas done

And so this festive season came to an end but apart from being extremely hot, it all went well and I regard myself fortunate to have both my kids living in the same city and being able to have them all over for Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  Needless to say, overeating galore happens during this time.  I left it to the girls to decorate the table with only one request that it shouldn’t be red or green.  Red is just a way too hot colour for the weather we experience this time of the year.  I think they did well.

Dearest granddaughter however came over to stay earlier and still shows no signs of wanting to return home.  In fact, the moment her parents leave, she turns into a totally different person and wraps us around her little finger like crazy.  Swims with her Oupa, who obviously allows her to do things in the pool that would give her parents heart attacks and with total admiration, she’d come up from under the water, looks at Oupa with those angel eyes and say things like:  “Oupa you are so cool, no wait…. You are amazing.”  Now what more motivation does any granddad need?

Having her over and her extreme excitement over every single gift – she opens everybody’s for them – makes Christmas just so much more special.

However cleaning house and quilting will have to wait until this young lady decides to go home eventually.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Secret Circle project

For the last couple of weeks, this was all I did and I am finally done but still can’t show any photos before the end of January, as this is a surprise for someone special.

In fear of this person coming to my house and catching me working on the project I had to either do it early mornings (5 am) or late nights and should I dare to be brave enough to work a little during the day, I would have to take it out from under the machine, hide it in a cupboard whenever I got up for any short amount of time.  No fun working like that and my heart went out to all those crafters without a proper room to work in.  If I had to take stuff out and pack it away whenever done, I would never attempt anything.

My eyes have however not stopped wandering on what other quilters are doing and I saw so many interesting ideas that I’d like to give a try….. Graffiti quilts, gradient quilts (or then made with gradient fabric) and fidget quilts for people with Alzheimer’s.

My mom had Alzheimer’s and I remember she’d only read one magazine and the same one article day after day after day.  So I can imagine that a person with Alzheimer’s might find stimulation in unzipping a zipper or fastening a button over and over.  Something I would really like to do.

 I also downloaded a couple of free and paid for patterns but when I will ever get around to doing these, heaven only knows.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Enjoying our down time

Even though I still go in to the office daily, I don’t mind at all as all the other personnel is on their annual leave therefore I don’t have to open the shop for customers or answer the phone.  I just need to go in to update the little daily admin  and then I can return home.

This is the first year where DH and I are all alone at home when the kids do not come over to visit and strangely enough we’re not bored one bit.  Somehow you still find things you either need to or want to do and so I had a little more time to work on my mystery

While sitting outside trying to be somewhat cooler in the scorching heat I managed to finish the two opposite sides of this table runner which was the mystery I worked on.  Now I just need to add the centre piece.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Alternative sewing

I am still working on my secret circle project and cannot share at this stage but in between I’ve done some alternative sewing.

With the festive season upon us and it being a very hot summer in sunny South Africa, we spend most of our time around the swimming pool with the kids, granddaughter and other family members or friends.  Being the woman of the house, I however still need to attend to the normal household chores and has to get in and out of the swimming pool frequently to return to the inside of the house.

Now, walking around in a swimsuit while working in the kitchen and being a grandmother already, just does not sit well with me.  Especially now, my son is all grown and my future son-in-law also spends his days with us.

Then I saw these beautiful dress-like swimming suits on the internet and I thought these were absolutely perfect for women my age until I saw the price.  Totally outrages, I could care less about exactly how perfect they were.

So I improvised.  Took a bikini I already had, bought a small piece of Bon-bon fabric, measure myself and voila, stitched this to the bikini top and I have the picture perfect swimming suit at a fraction of the price, covering at least my behind.  So I reckon I am all set for this festive season.

Monday, November 28, 2016

New Hillbilly Quilt Shop mystery

Those occasionally reading my blog will know I’ve been working on a Space Journey mystery by Hillbilly Quilt shop and we’ve received the final clue and I am hoping to be able to show my completed quilt soon.

In the mean while a new mystery has been announced.  It can either be a tree skirt or a round table topper and I’ve copied the post on Facebook for all to read.  Click HERE to like on Facebook and even though those making a tree skirt won’t have it done before Christmas, it can become a new project to start this festive season.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Clue 13

I feel great about my attempt to shed some weight as I’ve lost 2,6 kg’s after 5 weeks.  To most it may not seem like much and I recently spoke to a lady who lost 12 kg’s in her first month but I didn’t have that much to lose to begin with.  If I would lose 12 kg’s there would be nothing left.  My goal was to drop 5 kg’s before my daughter’s wedding in February and I am already more than halfway there.

 I am also quite convinced that the scale is not a true reflection of what really happens to my body as I feel so much more comfortable in most of my clothing.  Back to quilting and the Hillbilly Space Journey mystery.

In this clue we had to expand our super nova’s by adding the shooting stars from clue 9 to it.  This mystery really keeps me excited as all these tiny bits and pieces are now being joined and starting to form something bigger.

I however still cannot predict the end result.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Block 25 – Marjorie

I have granddaughter and her nephew over.  We went for dinner last night and then they slept over.  With breakfast prepared and me trying to keep busy without starting anything too strenuous, as it would be interrupted if any one of them wakes up, I discovered a photo of block 25 that was completed but never blogged about.

I don’t really recall when or where I was when I finished this but I guess as long as it is done, who really cares?

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Clue 12

Now these little thingies are called Space Rovers.  So I guess I am now good to travel about in space? 
Proud to say that I am up to date with the Hillbilly SpaceJourney mystery all whilst I had all the kids over for dinner on Friday, granddaughter staying by us for the weekend and then again the big kids for lunch on Sunday afternoon. Getting better at multi-tasking and even made a Ferrero Rocher Cheesecake to have after lunch.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Clue 11

When putting this clue from the Hillbilly Space Journeymystery together I was not all that sure about my fabric choices.  

This was the first time that I didn’t feel really good about the end result but I’ve come this far and I simply can’t give up now.  These are my Super Nova’s (exploding stars).

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Clue 10

I attended our local guild meeting last Saturday, the first time in two years, and while the guild went through their regular points of order, I did some hand sewing as these decisions did not affect me at all.  

Before we got to shop and look around I finished the Space Station and even though I have not used the prescribed fabric, I do think mine looks like a space station too!

Monday, November 07, 2016

Clue 9

After 3 solid weeks of not snacking, no sugar and carbs, it saddens me to say that I’ve only lost 2 kg.  I however refuse to become discouraged as I still have time until February when my youngest gets married BUT there is still a festive season in between!

I am mostly blaming my weight gain on a long term cortisone injection I got a while back and I am hoping as this weans off I might be pleasantly surprised to see that me eating less and healthier might pay off more.

I am one clue away from catching up on this Mystery and still very excited to see what it will look like when finished.  These are my fight buddies.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Night time quilting

I’ve been slightly side-tracked with my EPP work in that I have somewhat more urgent stuff that needs my attention for now.  Stuff is such a neat work when you don’t want to or can’t talk about it right now.  In my case I am busy with a surprise for someone and dare not say too much.  What I can say is that I am kept busy with circles.

Quilting friend Karin and I decided it was time for another ‘quilt through the night’ session to get updated and after Karin cooked us the most wonderful slow roasted pork belly dinner we set off and made amazing progress until almost 5 am the next morning when we simply couldn’t stay awake anymore.

Trust Karin to pack a UFO that she so needed to finish and then decides to rather start a brand new project.  Waiting to see when this will be finished!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Block 24 – Evelyn

Finished this while waiting for my daughter to see a show called The Strip show at a local theatre performed by a Bible and Sex fundi….. so nothing kinky at all (hopefully).  Worst part is that it wasn’t planned to go as a mother/daughter team but with our partners and then life happened and it didn’t work out.  So I suppose we’ll try our hardest to explain to our men afterwards!

Like the colours of Block 24 much more than block 23 but I am sure in the end they will all work together.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Funky Wildlife additions

After making THIS QUILT for our new grandchild expected in January 2017 DIL asked if I had any of the fabric left as she’s like to use some more of the animals as decorations to the room.

So I’ve been playing with these fabric squares.
I backed and batted them and stitched around the edge, then trimmed off all the fabric outside the animal picture.

Finally I stitched a row of zig-zag stitches round these to finish them off.

DIL will now add ribbons in different colours and hang these from the curtain rail with a grey curtain being the background.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Block 23 – Dawn

This one turned out a little too bright and bold for me but it is done and I am not redoing it!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Block 22 - Nancy

Another thing that makes these quiltlets so nice to make is that I can use all the fabric I often wondered what ever made my buy these.  Now I can work out some of that “not so nice” fabric without wasting any.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Clue 8

I have done clue 8 from the Hillbilly Space Journey mystery and finished my Constellations.  I am getting all the more excited to start joining these to see what the end result would look like.

Friday, October 21, 2016

A major hail storm!

We’ve been in serious need of rain for two years now with our dams running dry, municipal fines for watering our gardens and occasionally water cuts with no running water in our houses at all.  Then yesterday the first sounds of thunder could be heard and pretty soon, we got the most welcome rain in years!  It kept falling and by late afternoon it came down hard accompanied by hail….. which became bigger and bigger the longer it came down.  I so enjoyed every moment of the sound, smell and possibility of all old germs being washed away that I never even thought of damage being caused.

Some people really had severe water damage to their cars and houses and this morning at work we were inundated with insurance claims from damaged floors.  Sadly it is not as if we can afford to take on any more work.

This is what our breakfast area just outside the kitchen looked like late yesterday afternoon.

Got home from work, started dinner, put the parrot to bed and then tried to clean some of the mess.  I used my trusty leave blower or reverse vacuum as I call it and pretty soon, it almost looked fine again.
The rest of the garden however is one massive leafy mess and at this stage it seems like it will take forever to clean.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Clue 7

I finished my 12 Tie Fighters for this clue of the Hillbilly Space Journey mystery and if I have it right, we should start piecing all the clues together soon.  Not having used the prescribed fabric I am quite eager to see what my table runner would look like.  It can be a massive flop and not give the desired effect or it might just work.  I am hoping for the latter.
And as I was about to publish this, I saw two on the right hand side were joined incorrectly.  Darn!! Not quite done yet.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Block 21 - Elaine

Not much happened on the quilting front this weekend.  We had our granddaughter for a sleepover on Friday and when she left Saturday morning I prepped and planned my Sunday lunch before we headed off to our friends to watch rugby on television with them.

Sunday morning I went shopping with DIL for the new baby while DH played golf, then had all the kids and MIL over for lunch.

Luckily block 21 was already pieced and halfway quilted or I wouldn’t have had anything to show.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Block 20 - Barb

I have a cupboard full of summer’s clothing and nothing fits.  I simply gained too much weight this winter and it sucks.  So I’ve decided not to go on a diet as these anyway never work but to apply serious “intake control”.  I SHALL constantly think about what I am about to put in my mouth….I simply have to!

On a nicer note I’ve finished block 20 and isn’t she a beauty?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Rosette 2 completed

I am not a social animal but there is nothing like a visit by good friends, eating, drinking, chatting and watching amazing sport on television, we had such an evening yesterday and have every intention of repeating the fun again over the weekend.

In the mean time I am making good progress on my Millefiori and I must say, I like this rosette so much better than my first.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Block 19 – Nicole

Somehow summer is not quite in the mood to come visit us this year and after having packed all my winter’s clothing away, we were hit by yet another freezing cold day.  So a knee-high pants, short sleeved top, sandals and a jersey was my outfit for work.  When I got to the office the heater was turned on – such a contradiction!

Got to finish block 19 and still enjoying these quiltlets.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Rosette 2 – Second round

I am always in awe when completing the following round of a rosette.  When looking at this rosette after round 1, it seemed the rosette would be greenish/blue and here just one round later it almost turned into a pink and yellow rosette.

Worst of all I so wanted it to be a purple rosette.  So much for thinking I can decide what my Millefiori is going to look like.

I’ve taken the last of this course of antibiotics and I am rather fed up with medicine and my body seeming to attract every impossible virus, parasite, bug, germ or infection.  I honestly believe that since 2012 I’ve taken more medication than in the 50 years prior to that.  Then my doctor tells me unless we get seriously good rain most people with an already weak immune system will keep on suffering from these irritating ailments mostly brought on by allergies. So much to look forward to!

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Rosette 2 – First round

I am still struggling with an awful cold, sore throat, irritating cough, runny nose and somewhat of a fever but the ideal excuse to stay in my PJ’s, watch quilt videos and do some hand sewing.  All the while the washing machine was running and even though feeling under the weather,   I had clean bedding, towels and clothing at the end of the day.

DH and the gardener worked outside making a side wall and gate higher seeing that our new Border collie easily jumps this wall and small gate which would allow him to escape from our yard.

When my hands started to act up again, I decided to only do this much quilting and then give myself a break again.  Two of the hexagons in this round were made by my co-workers.

Friday, September 30, 2016

If all else fails

At the office things are dead quiet with us being fully booked for any new jobs until the end of the year.  So although DH and the workers run around like chicken without heads to get everything done in time, we ladies are bored stiff.  We cannot make more appointments for measurements or book jobs thus meaning very few invoices being made.  So we sit and sit and sit and even when the phone rings it turns out to be a short conversation with one of us informing the other party that we are unable to help.

So with my hand problem I got my co-workers going.  First lesson in English paper piecing and even though not done by myself, my Millefiore is getting along nicely and the best part is that they are actually enjoying the process.  Must admit the office is now even quieter as they concentrate so intensely on their sewing that no-one says a word!

How does the saying go:  “If you are not strong, you better be clever!”  Here Zelda and Belinda can be seen in action.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Block 18 Carla

Our local Telkom workers have been rather annoying lately with having to install new optic fibre cables and with my luck the telephone pole would be right in my yard.  Not fun to have strangers come into your space with three huge dogs around and it turns out, our newest Border collie is more viscous than anyone of us ever suspected.

Fortunately DH could sort out the crap as it turned out they wanted to plant a pole in a new spot in our yard not 2 meters away from an existing pole in the neighbour’s yard – empty plot with no dogs.  Really, can these people not think for themselves?

Having been forced to keep the dogs in the entertainment area I got to finish Block 18 from the “Katja Marek’s Quilt with me” project.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Rosette 2: Centre hexagon

Okay I’ve started this one, not much but at least a start and I am rather chuffed about this beginning. 

Now I must just remember not to try and do too much and screw my hands up again.  Had a haircut and I feel light and in the mood for Summer.  A pity the wind blows up terrible dust leaving a layer on every possible surface.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Clue 6

We’ve been somewhat under the weather over here.  First mother-in-law came down with a tummy virus.  DH bought her medicine and took this to her just to find out that he obviously contracted her virus and wasn’t doing too good either and now I am stuck with a cold and a sore throat and I am taking honey as if it will run dry soon but it helps.  The other truth of the matter is that I now feel so much better than the same time last year when I came down with tick bite fever and honestly just wanted to die and get it over with.

In the mean while I got clue 6 to the Hillbilly Space Journey mystery and finished my 24 Wing Fighters.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Slow in quilting

It seems with my hands, stitching is something that will take forever and I am making slow or rather no progress.  So in the mean while I kept myself busy by adopting another dog.  This time it was an old Border collie whose humans simply gave him up because they got a new dog, how convenient.  So he had three teeth extracted to cure his terribly bad breath and a tumour removed from his back and apart from following me every step of the way, he is doing very well.
Then future son-in-law turned 30 and we had a surprise party for him and I am really getting too old to keep secrets.  For some ridiculous reason (o wait he updated his new gift with our internet) he spent most of the day by us and I didn’t know what to talk about to him.  No conversation about food, drinks, entertainment or clothing as it may turn into the events of the evening.  It was good when it was done!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Clue 5

At this stage I would still not regard my hands as 100% up to hand sewing but I hate sitting around while the quilting world runs away from me.  So seeing that this was not a huge finish I decided to take it slow but at least get up to date with the next clue to my Hillbilly Space Journey mystery.

These are my Shooting Stars and although this fabric is not ideal for fussy cutting, I do like the movement the coloured dots add to it.  Looks like shooting stars to me.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Rosette 2, only beginning

With my hands still not willing to work, I put all my Freezer paper hexagons needed for this rosette up against the design wall and I’ve realised, if Rosette 1 didn’t drive me nuts, this one might.
 If you turn one hexagon the wrong way around or have one single fabric in the wrong place, you will have a totally different pattern and even end up with yet another star as in Rosette 6 and I am not even sure that I like the star in Rosette 6.

And as if I wasn’t depressed enough by now (check, first glass of wine going down well already!) I took out some fabric to see how and where this could go.  After staring and starting and staring at these, I decided to go for the second glass of wine.  At least I can pour and drink wine rather successfully.
Why is it that when you find that perfect picture on fabric you'd like to use for your centre piece there would only be 3 on a 3 yard piece of fabric and then not near the sides, top or bottom but right in the centre???  Looking at the photo above, none of these fabrics even seem to go together.  Sigh.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Aches and pains

In my previous post I complained about my hands and fingers in need of a break from hand stitching but by then I think it must have been even worse than I initially thought.  On Thursday it felt as if my hands were about to cramp at any given moment, so instead of quilting we went out with friend Karin and her hubby to watch a local rugby game.
By Friday it seemed as if the aches turned into an inflammation and flared up into my arms, shoulders and back.  So I cooked instead of quilt and tried out a creamy lambs’ liver recipe shared by a co-worker.

Wort of all is that I got my next clue to the HillbillySpace Journey mystery and excited or not, couldn’t do a thing about it.

Decided not to try and be too brave and took anti-inflammatory tablets Friday evening and Saturday morning and used an infra-red massager on myself.

Not to go totally insane from quilt withdrawal I traced the rest of the 52 blocks (32 in total) from Katja Majek's Quilt with me project onto freezer paper, ready for fabric auditioning.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Block 17 completed

With DH away on business for one evening I had the run of the house with no cooking whatsoever.  Always an amazing feeling and it is not as if I totally hate cooking but a change in routine is always welcome.

I finished Brenda, block 17 and still trying to give my hand and fingers a break I decided not to do more actual sewing but instead traced a couple of future blocks onto freezer paper and to cut my batting for these.

Went out to dinner with the kids and grandchild the evening and looking at the little one I often wish I had her ongoing energy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Rosette 1

I did it!!! I know I complained all the way through making Rosette 1 and yes, it was a back breaker but now that it is done, I feel great.  Okay not my wrist, thumb and inner hand; these can feel the strain of constant hand work.

After adding the final round I feel much better about the colours too and even though some participants suggested starting with a smaller rosette first, I am glad I got this monster out of the way.
In the process I have learnt a couple of very valuable lessons to remember in the Millefiore quilt along.

Do not use scraps, you may want to repeat the fabric and/or colour later
Leave large enough seam allowances.  Because I eyeball and use the rotary cutter I’ve really left a couple of skimpy seam allowances on some shapes
Print all your blocks in as many as you need and put these in order on the design wall.  This way you can see how the shapes will flow into each other making the planning on which fabric/colour to use so much easier.

And with all of this said, I can proudly show off Rosette number 1.
DH was just as clever when it came to creating and made this neat car seat for our parrot, Meeko.  Now she looks me in the eye when we travel.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Clue 4

I feel so uncertain about this clue to the Hillbilly SpaceJourney mystery .  I honestly don’t know whether I’ve added the triangles to the correct hexagons.  I have so many, I couldn’t make up my mind but it is done and if not right, it will simply be a matter of unpicking and redoing.

I tried my hand at ostrich neck in a red wine and soup powder sauce and it turned out great but I’ve finally decided that a slow cooker (crock pot) and I will never really be friends.  Seriously with a pressure cooker I could have had this dish cooked and served in an hour and a half but in the slow cooker it took forever.  So my dear crock pot can really find another home, be it daughter or daughter-in-law, I don’t really mind.
I also had a first time visit from my 3 other grandchildren who found exploring our TV room rather exhausting.