Potty Training

Sunday, December 23, 2007

J was ready for potty training before we moved but with all the open for inspections and general chaos I put off doing much about it. He'd wear big boy underpants occasionally and had a star chart going but we weren't working very hard to motivate him. Since we've moved our tune has changed because he starts pre-school at the end of Jan and he needs to be trained by then. We've had a few bumps in the road but generally he's doing brilliantly.
I'm still quietly quilting away and have been enjoying doing the fans in the border, it won't be long and I'll be up to the binding!

Long time no post!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What a month! The move went really well but there is still plenty to do around here before we really feel settled in and can turn our thoughts to the big picture. The big picture being drawing up plans for an extension and submitting them to council for approval. The approval process is going to be a long one as our council is notorious for taking a long time to process even the most straight-forward of development applications so we don't want to wait too long to submit our DA. We could faff around for a year or we could knuckle down and sort it all out in a few months and we're hoping to do the latter. The time between Christmas and the baby's arrival in April will hopefully be sufficient to get everything sorted out, down on paper and into council!

Since we've moved there has been very little quilting or crafting going on, unfortunately. Agatha's quilt is still in progress, although I am up to the freehand fans in the border and should be able to wrap that up with just a couple more evenings on the couch. I'd really like to get it to her before the New Year. I just feel so tired by the time I get to the end of the day, I have been opting out of doing anything more intense than watching a movie or getting to bed early. I have plenty of clean folded laundry that hasn't yet been put back in it's place to prove my point!


Thursday, November 15, 2007

I am surrounded by boxes and 'to do' lists at the moment because the movers will be here on Saturday to take all our stuff to the new house. To our house. I can't believe that we've managed to buy ourselves a house but it really started to feel real last night when we picked up the keys and had the family around for take-away pizza on the floor. It's actually better than I remembered it was which was a nice surprise! There's more storage space than I realised and the kitchen, although 30 years old, is in excellent condition and has at least double the cupboards we've currently got. There is even room for a dishwasher. Not that we have a dishwasher but at least now we've got the possibility of getting a dishwasher, LOL.

So, to distract myself from the clutter and the mess surrounding me I have been browsing baby nursery sites and found this stunning linen from Dwell. Oh my, how beautiful and crisp is this?

What to do on windy days

Friday, October 26, 2007

Mr Duyvken bought a kite for the kids during the holidays and they spent hours out in the garden watching it roll and struggle against the gusty wind and trying hard to keep it out of the trees and off the neighbour's roof. They found so much joy in it, and C and I enjoyed sitting on the porch watching the 3 of them taking turns holding the string. The weather has calmed quite a lot these past 2 weeks and there hasn't been much kite flying but hopefully a trip to the beach this weekend will change that.

Agatha's quilt is half quilted and I am looking forward to finshing it off soon so that I can get started on another project. I have an idea for adding an initial to G's quilt using Lazy Gal's letters and I am eager to get started. Patience, patience, Amelia....

Naming Babies

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Current favourite names for girls:
and for boys:
4 months down, 5 to go!


Friday, October 19, 2007

I was reminded of a wonderful quote today that is very relevant to me this week, 'the days are long, but the years are short'. Try as I might I can't find it referenced anywhere specifically although there are plenty of vague links to St Augustine or a father reminiscing on the early years of parenting. Perhaps that makes it more of a truism than a quote but whichever category it falls into I am going to try to reflect on it over the weekend and hopefully integrate its message into each day.

Christmas Projects

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I couldn't resist the Christmas Story pattern book when I was at the quilting store on Sunday, the advent calendar wallhanging pictured on the cover is just delightful and will be a great way to use my beautiful Alexander Henry fabric, Merry Modernica, that I bought last year and didn't get around to using. I've been gathering a few fabrics to go with it through the year as I pack away finished projects and I just need a pink, a blue and I'm there. There is a lovely Christmas quilt in this book as well which, although totally impractical for a summer Christmas does look tempting. Perhaps I will work on that through 2008 and have it grace our new house next year. It will be purely decorative, of course, unless global warming leads us straight into an ice age!

Getting ready for Christmas

I went out on my own on Sunday and bought the backing and binding fabrics for Agatha's quilt. I have started the quilting and hope to have it finished before the end of the month. I am just quilting in the ditch to help reinforce all the seams and I will probably do some freehand fans in the border. It feels wonderful to have a sewing project out again.
The house sold yesterday so we are able to get back to a regular life uninterrupted by open houses and building and pest inspections. We can't believe the price they got for the house, it is no surprise that we couldn't buy into the suburb we're in now. Luckily we were able to find something just a few kms away and G will be able to stay at the same school. We move on the 17th of Nov and have a lot to do between now and then, wish us luck!!


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

This is one of the mobile's that I make. It's just polar fleece, embroidery floss, ribbon and new guinea rosewood and this one hangs over C's cot.

Sharing rooms

Hop Skip & Jump posted about decorating a room for a boy and a girl to share where there is a 4 year age gap between them and I just had to jump in. We have a 4 year age gap between G and J and they have shared a room since J was 2mths old and we moved him out of the bassinet in our room and into the cot. Sharing has worked beautifully for us, and we now have all 3 children sharing a room. G and J are in a bunk bed and C is in the cot.

The biggest challenge with the arrangement is simply storage. We don't have enough space in the wardrobe for their clothes and shoes so we've had to get a little creative. Grace's clothes are stored in a freestanding wire drawer unit in the wardrobe and each child has a plastic tub for their shoes that slides under the bed. We also go through the clothes a couple of times a year and pack away or donate the clothes that no longer fit them so that the drawers are only used for things they can wear now.
Most of the toys live elsewhere in the house so the bedroom is really just a room for sleeping. It means that when one child is napping the other children aren't tempted to wander in and disturb them. The kids don't wake one another if one cries out during the night although they do all tend to get up together at around 7 - 7:30 in the morning.

The house we bought and are moving to in Nov has 3 bedrooms and we plan on having 2 children in each room until we get around to doing a renovation where we will move the kitchen, create a 4th bedroom and build a garage.
My skills as a photographer leave a lot to be desired but I've included some pics of the kid's room. We are renting so the house is 'rental cream' like all the other places we've leased but I'd love to paint the skirtings and doors white and put some colour on the walls. I can't wait to do some decorating when we move into our own place! Here's the spot for changing nappies on the end of J's bed as there isn't space in the room for a change table.

The heat

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The temperature is climbing slowly and steadily to the forecast max of 34 and the kids and I are doing all we can to stay well out of it. The car isn't air-conditioned so we're trying not to go out but a trip later will be inevitable as the house we are renting is on the market and it will be open for inspection at 2. Keeping someone else's house ready for open for inspections is a rather thankless task but I am enough of a neat freak that I just can't bring myself to not make an effort. Hopefully the good karma will keep flowing my way!
We have found a new place to live and will be moving in sometime in mid-Nov which isn't that far away when you think about it. I am not looking forward to packing everything up and moving again but knowing that we'll be able to stay in our new digs for a long time is making a difference. In the 8yrs we've been married we've moved 8 times and frankly, we're over it.
On the upside I am 12wks pregnant and the morning sickness has lifted! This is an odd sensation for me because I haven't had it lift so early before but I am enjoying it and the extra energy that it's affording me.
I still haven't made any quilting progress as my sewing machine has been packed away until this house is auctioned later this month. Then, things can fall back into their regular rhythm and the sewing can recommence. Luckily the cold weather hasn't hit Boston so little Agatha wouldn't be using her quilt yet even if I had finished it.
I've been getting back up to date with some of my favourite blogs in the past few days and thought I would share a few links.
Yarnstorm has delightful pics of her baking and sewing projects as always.
Two Straight Lines whose posts I always enjoy.
The Happiness Project which always has something thought provoking for me to read.

One last time

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Things have been quiet around here but I have a good excuse. I am expecting again! Our fourth, and last, little one will be here next April and I have been struggling with morning sickness once again. Just getting through each day is all I can manage so there hasn't been a single stitch of quilting progress on Agatha's quilt top. Hopefully I will soon start to feel more energetic and less nauseaous and I might start having something crafty to post about!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Agatha's quilt is bound and ready to be sandwiched. I don't have enough fabric to use as backing so I will have to go buy that this coming week. I'll back it and bind it in red and send it off to Boston to be used during those freezing winter months. Hopefully it is an appropriate quilt for a little girl whose daddy just had her name tattoed on his arm and who is pushed around outdoor music festivals in a Rock Star brand pram. They're one very hip inner city family!
Forgive the photo - throwing things on the floor is not the best way to photograph them!

Agatha's Pointless Confetti Quilt

Saturday, August 04, 2007

I've been finshing the piecing on Agatha's stroller quilt over the past 2 days while J hasn't been feeling well and not wanting to stray too far from me. He has loved sitting on my lap and watching the fabric feed through the whirring sewing machine. I cut these blocks a month or so ago from a 5 inch square valentine charm pack with a view to making the confetti quilt from The Fun Quilt Studio's book Modern Quilt Workshop. There are so many quilts in this book that I want to make!
Unfortunately, I misaligned the template when I was cutting and so ended up with pieces that didn't leave enough seam allowance to maintain the tips of the triangles. I put the project aside while I got on with J's single bed quilt and tried to figure a way around the problem. In the end I decided to sew them together using the leftover black and cream toile from J's castle quilt as sashing creating pointless confetti blocks. It is an accidentally liberated quilt, if you will!
I have another black and cream fabric to use the border and I may throw in a few blue and green fabrics as well. However, I don't know if they will read well with the red so that is still just a possibility.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

There's something very special about the sunlight in Sydney during winter. It's hard to capture but it's expansive and bright and as it filters through the trees at the back of the garden and rests on the table things look a lot more summery than they feel.

I'm getting to grips with our new camera so there will be a few photo posts over the coming week. Hopefully, there will be marked improvement in the quality of the photos. I guess that depends on how well I read the manual, right?

Family Photos

Monday, July 16, 2007

We have very few photos of the whole family. Mum or dad is always behind the camera so while there are lot's of lovely portraits of almost all the family I wish we had more photos to look back on that had us all in them. I would love it if we could say to one another 'that's us on The Vaal in South Africa in 2003', or 'there we are celebrating Mr Duyvken's 25th birthday at Bradley's Head', or 'hey, remember when we all dressed up like pirates and played in the cubby in the backyard?' instead of having lovely photos of all those things but not a single picture of any of them that has all 3 or 4 or 5 of us (depending on how many of us there were at that stage) in the frame. There's always the important but unseen someone capturing the memory, stepping briefly out of the fray to freeze the moment forever. I am sure we are not alone in this but it is something I wish we were able to change. I can't go back and take the photos that weren't taken, but I can try to change this going forward.
We had Mr Duyvken's sisters and their families over on the weekend and took some family portraits of all of us. It was a great day and the photos are wonderful, J had a mouthful of cheese, C wouldn't look at Uncle James who was taking the photo in spite of all her cousins jumping up and down behind him, Mr Duyvken's jeans are filthy and I insisted on tucking my chin in and creating a few extra cheek rolls for some unknown reason but it's a pretty true representation of us all as we are right now. I know I'll always treasure this little snapshot and hopefully I'll remember to step back occasionally and ask someone to take a picture of all 5 of us as we grow up together.

School Holidays

G went back to school today after a 2 1/2 week break and after enduring almost constant wet weather today is beautiful and sunny with barely a cloud in the sky. One of those things that is as reliable as a shower of rain at 3pm on a school day.
We did a lot of baking and G did a few needlework projects but I did very little sewing myself. I hope to finish a stroller quilt for my niece and start on G's tulip quilt this week.
My sisters-in-law both delivered beautiful, healthy babies at the end of June just 2 days apart. A little boy named Robert and a little girl named Zara. The babies seem to be getting a lot of use out of their little quilts already so I am a very proud aunty!

Tulips for the lady

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I've selected a pattern for G's quilt. Michelle suggested a block and I think it will be perfect. There's plenty of opportunity to show the lovely fabrics that G picked but it's a very easy block to construct so it shouldn't be too difficult for me to make it all come together. I'll use a light beige fabric for the background and skinny sashing strips between the blocks like in this photo. I have been trying to get back to the blog I got that photo from but I can't find it anywhere, I added the enlarged photo to my favourites a couple of weeks ago, does anyone recognise it? I'd love to get in touch with the person who made it.

J's quilt is coming along nicely, hopefully that will be at the hand quilting stage soon and I can get started on piecing these lovely tulip blocks.

The adventure race on the weekend was fantastic! I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and I am already looking forward to doing it all over again. The weather was against us, as was my very limited mountain biking experience so we finished cold, wet, muddy and at the very back of the pack. Hopefully, next time it will be sunny and warm.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

The sampler quilt is bound and I am thrilled with it. I hit a rough patch with this quilt before the borders were on. The border fabrics made a big difference and, of course, all the quilting made a difference as well.
The house has a number 8 embroidered above the door. We're not living there anymore which will give you an idea of how long this project has taken!
We've had some beautiful crisp, sunny weather this week. G and I are doing our first adventure race tomorrow. Kayaking, moutain biking and trail running through some of the beautiful Royal National Park just south of Sydney. I'm very excited about it but also a little nervous.... fingers crossed it all goes well!

Why I hate borders

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm tempted to name this post 'Why I hate borders, part 1' because I feel certain there will be further installments but I don't want to jinx myself. I cut the strips last night and started sewing the them together but I managed to fold the fabric incorrectly before I started cutting and I ended up with 20 short strips to sew together rather than a few long strips. Why oh why?! So now I'm losing a lot of fabric to seam allowances and I'm not certain I'll have enough to make it all the way around the quilt. I have a few pieces of fabric left from piecing this quilt so I will be able to add some of that to the border if I need to. It's such a novice mistake, clearly I have a lot to learn!

Quiet time

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hasn't it become quiet around here since I've been trying to post strictly about quilting? I'm going to have to browse online to find some fabric, patterns or quilts that I can file away in my inspiration folder so that I have something post about when things are quiet on the quilting front. There's still no border on the sampler quilt, they are a real hurdle for me and I can't fathom why.
All this wet weather has had us stuck indoors for several weekends now and we're fast running out of things to do that amuse the almost 7yo, the 2yo and the 8mo. Here's a pic of J and me during Sunday's marathon indoor t-ball game. It's a little nerve wracking for mum but it's a lot of fun!
While shopping for milk this afternoon I walked past our local art gallery and saw this beautiful piece in the window. It's by an artist named Yosel Bergner (I've also seen it spelled Yosl but I don't know which is correct) and I have admired his work in this gallery before. It's a gorgeous lithograph and it's reduced as part of their June stocktake clearance and I am sorely tempted to buy it. We don't need it of course, but it's beautiful and I am drawn to it so I want it. I'll have to sleep on it and see how I feel about it in the morning.

Freehand fan border

Friday, June 08, 2007

Woohoo! As you can see the sampler quilt is not yet bound but it is already seeing a lot of action. The border wasn't as poorly constructed as I had feared so there isn't too much rippling, I'm certainly much happier with it than I anticipated I would be.

It's been pouring with rain here so we're stuck inside and C has mastered crawling simply so that she can get over to the sliding door hoping to be let out. Here's hoping it's landing in the catchment areas!
I've been trying to get a nice portrait shot of J all week but I'm just getting lot's of this.... It does define being 2 1/2 pretty well though don't you think?


Thursday, May 17, 2007

I've been tagged by Lily to tell you seven things you didn't know about me. That should be pretty easy because I haven't been blogging for long so there's not much that you do know.
1. I have two younger sisters.
2. I love baked cheesecake but I prefer not to have to cook it myself.
3. I always keep an eye out for abandoned babies, just in case.
4. I always return home hoping that the postie will have delivered a parcel even though this almost never happens.
5. A wooden wombat that I got for my 21st birthday and a ceramic bunny that belonged to my grandmother sit under the hall table by the front door and have had that position at every place we've lived since we married in August 1999.
6. I could eat potatoes every night of the week. Roast them, bake them, cook them in their jackets, boil them, casserole them... I adore it all!
7. I don't drink much alcohol but I love a good vodka cocktail.

Half way around

I am half way around the border quilting on my sampler quilt and it isn't as rippled as I was anticipating, much to my relief. It feels great to be finishing this project off and I am excited about getting back to J's single bed quilt and starting on G's throw. G's having a hard time deciding how she wants her quilt to look, I think I'll just have to get started and hope that she likes the end result!

Fear of finishing

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I am trying hard to blinker myself from the new projects I want to tackle. The allure of uncut fabric and big ideas is much stronger than the wobbly border on my sampler quilt I made in 2004 while I was pregnant with J. I hand cut the border fabric and I really didn't do a good job. When I sewed it on I realised just how much ripple there was but I charged on regardless because I didn't know how to fix it. Soon I had a quilt that just needed quilting in the border and binding but I packed it away and have tried concertedly to avoid it ever since. I've had a few successful projects since then and I am really tired of seeing the sampler every time I pull out some sewing so I am determined to finish it. The outer border needs to be quilted in the ditch and then I doing freehand fans before binding it with a soft green fabric.
For most people making that decision and starting on it is probably the end of it but I seem to have some bizarre affliction where I dread the outcome the entire time I am working on it. It was the same all through school, uni, work, etc. I remember coming home almost in tears from work one day telling Greg that my boss had organised to have coffee with me the following day to 'chat about how things have been going'. I was convinced I was going to be fired but it turned out I'd been doing a great job and they wanted to give me more responsibility. LOL. Can you imagine living like this? Ack!
I firmly believe that practice makes perfect and I am hopeful that practice will also shut off this strange response to uncertainty... in quilting and in life.
I found a very interesting article on fear of failure and fear of finishing. If only agreeing with the author would immediately adjust my emotional response.

Picking a Pattern

Saturday, May 05, 2007

G has picked a couple of fabrics with big patterns on them which scared me a little at first but after a few days consideration I am looking forward to finding a way to integrate them into a quilt without diluting their impact. Snowball blocks are a definite possibility, Lady of the Lake blocks are also wonderful and 4 or 9 patch blocks with a few big flowery uncut squares thrown amongst them could also work well.

I only own 1 quilt book and 1 quilting magazine so I don't have much to go on but I'm sure I've already done enough web searches to crash Google!

I'd love to hear some ideas if you've got any. This will only be my 5th quilt and there are so many things I want to try it will be hard to limit myself to 1 or 2 things! I could always do another sampler...

The stroller quilts are bound and ready for the baby's midwinter arrivals. I am so excited about meeting these little bundles. Newborns are just breathtaking!

Expect the unexpected

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Children are amazing little creatures and even though I spend so much time with them I am often surprised at the things that they say or the choices that they make. Yesterday after picking G up from school we went to the quilt shop and she picked out some fabrics for her quilt. I was expecting bright pinks and purples with a few yellows and browns thrown in but this is what she picked.
Really, I didn't know what to say... The first fabric she selected is the pink, cream, brown and yellow stripe at the bottom of the picture and the other fabrics she selected to go with it. She was all about flowers yesterday, as you can see. So, now we just need to settle on a design and then I can get started. That sounds easier than it actually is, I have no idea what I am going to make apart from knowing that there will be a throw size quilt and a dolls size quilt.
The first stroller quilt is almost bound and the second is ready for binding so they should be done shortly. A few more nights on the couch with a good light and I'll be ready to move on to my new projects!

Online Shopping

Monday, April 23, 2007

I got a delightful parcel in the mail today from La Redoute. I ordered a summer outfit for my niece, Agatha a week and a half ago and even though I could have had it sent straight to her I had it sent here so that I could see it first to check out the quality, etc. It is just beautiful! It was reduced so with shipping it ended up being quite a reasonable purchase. My sister has been to France several times and always bought beautiful things for my children so I wanted to return the favour by sending some beautiful for her little girl. Unfortunately, I didn't actually get to travel to Paris myself but this is definitely the next best thing.
I speak french but the website's ordering process is quite intuitive and was very easy to use, I think even a non-french speaker would be able to figure their way through it.

Cool quilting

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The quilting on the cool toned quilt is coming along nicely. I'm probably half finished so I am hoping to have it ready for binding by the end of the weekend and then I'll have to decide what colours to use for the binding. I have quite a lot of solid fabric left over from the single bed quilt I am making for J so I'll choose one of those. J's quilt definitely took a back seat when I started fretting about how it was going to turn out. I'm feeling much more philosophical about it now. I love the fabrics and I really like the pattern so there's a good chance I'll like the end result. Even if I don't, I am sure that Jem will like it and if it is totally trashed after a few years of use I won't be heartbroken about it ;-)
Sewing these stroller quilts for my soon-to-be nieces or nephews makes me think I should also make one for C.I've been thinking about reds and whites for hers but after seeing the beautiful LOVE quilts that Lazy Gal and Quiltville have made I am tempted to add a few LOVE blocks. That's blatantly ripping off someone else's idea so I should be careful how I approach it for fear of doing the wrong thing. I don't know how all this blog etiquette works yet. I won't be starting that project until I have started something for G though so I have some time to figure it all out. (A quick email to Lazy Gal should do the trick.) G has been waiting very patiently for me to get around to doing something for her so she is definitely next on the list!

Cool Quilt Pieced and Sandwiched

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I love some of the quilting jargon, sandwiching is definitely my favourite term so far. It has a very sensible ring to it and describes so succinctly the process putting the 3 components together I can't imagine anyone gets lost at this stage. Even as a novice quilter I knew what to do when asked to sandwich my front, batting and backing fabric.
The cool top is pieced and sandwiched and ready for quilting. I recut all the squares so the corners are much tidier than in the warm quilt. I thought I had 12cm square blocks but on recutting I discovered that I had some 12cm square blocks, some 12cm x 12.3cm blocks and even a few 12cm x 13cm blocks. I definitely need to play more with my rotary cutter!
I am quilting this with the blue glazed cotton and repeating the echo squares I used on the warm top.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

The warm pieced quilt is now quilted! I got the last of it done yesterday while Mr Duyvken, G and J were at the Royal Easter Show. C and I stayed home where it was dry and warm and while she was sleeping I finished quilting the last few rows. I had hoped to quilt it while watching a satisfyingly bad midday movie on Channel 7 but it was some awful film starring Kirstie Alley as a dentist turned tooth fairy. Oh my.
I ironed while watching Partners in Crime earlier in the week and it was a perfect midday movie. It had a predictable plotline, some intense overacting, a bumpy script and enough over-the-top camera work to keep me happy. My favourite example of the latter being the scene that started with a close-up of the protagonists police badge, he then walked backwards out of the shot to reveal a busy airport escalator, the camera closes in on a man who then walks out of the frame to reveal that the FBI field agent we've been waiting for is, in fact, a gorgeous woman. Brilliant! And, she's the protagonist's first wife. Doubly brilliant! I am surprised to read that it was only released in 2000 though, The high waisted pants, shoulder pads and Krispy Kreme cop cliches had me convinced it was earlier than that.
But enough of that, dear reader, let me know show you the quilt.
C enjoyed her half birthday celebrations. She was decidedly non-plussed about us singing at her but when she caught sight of the hot cross bun with the candle in it...

Rocky road to smooth the path

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Mr Duyvken had a rough day at work yesterday and came home feeling drained. It's just the usual frustrations and limitations of corporate life combined with the fact that he hasn't had a break since Christmas but it is hard to see him feeling so unenthused about work. Hopefully the Easter long weekend will recharge his batteries and renew him for the months ahead. We celebrate C's half birthday on Friday, Mr Duyvken's 32nd birthday on Saturday and Easter on Sunday so I am expecting to be worn out and a few kgs heavier on Monday.
A friend shared her rocky road recipe with me on the weekend and it was so fiendishly simple I had to try it out. You only need 3 minutes - seriously.

Start with this -
And you end up with this -

Melt the chocolate in a ceramic bowl in the microwave at 600 watts for 1 minute, stir with a metal spoon and return to the microwave for another minute at 600 watts. Take 125g of marshmallows, cut them in half (I used kitchen scissors), stir through the melted chocolate and pour into a slice tin lined with baking paper. Put it in the fridge to set and then cut into squares. The original recipe calls for jubes (my friend used Gummi snakes) but I prefer the chocolate, marshmallow and nut combination myself.

I've packed it up for Mr Duyvken to take to work tomorrow to share with his team. It wasn't perfectly square so I did have to taste test a little to even it up, we wouldn't want anyone getting an uneven portion now, would we?

Welcome to April

Monday, April 02, 2007

Chargers seem to multiply in my cupboards when I'm not looking, I honestly don't know how it happens. In the past this was a real pain for me because I had to try to remember the individual characteristics of each one, this never worked (a photographic memory not being one of my cerebral qualities) and I would end up going through a lengthy process of trial and error and when that invariably failed, leaving things unpowered until Greg could figure out what went where. It only took me 5yrs but I finally came up with a very simple solution - labels! Now I only need to fuss with cord tangles ;-)

The squares quilting is coming along nicely and I am really pleased with how it's looking. The weather has cooled and I am enjoying spending part of each day engrossed in stitching. Before the end of the week this should be ready for binding and I'll start piecing the cool colours quilt. My new nieces or nephews aren't due til late June and early July so they should be finished in time. I have a feeling there will be one of each so I have the cool colours earmarked for a girl. I wonder what they'll end up with? If my sils (sisters-in-law) know they're not telling!

One step foward two steps back

Friday, March 30, 2007

My unpicker and I are becoming very chummy of late. First I decided that I would ditch the machine quilting in favour of fans and then I decided that I would ditch the fans in favour of sqaures of quilting within each block. The fans are lovely but because this quilt is just a basic block quilt I feel that repeating the block motif within each block will look stronger. That's the idea anyway ;-)

I am all unpicked and about one quarter of the way through the (re)quilting. Hopefully I will have some photos to share over the weekend. I briefly considered the idea of continuing with the fans but tossed it aside pretty quickly. Starting again with the squares isn't going to cost me much time and it should mean that I am much happier with the end result.It's hard to see the bigger picture when I am engrossed in something, not just in craft projects but also in life, and I am trying to make a habit of pulling back regularly, reflecting on where I am at and making sure that I am on the right track.

Writing a sympathy card

Monday, March 26, 2007

One of Mr Duyvken's aunts has passed away and we are faced with the sad task of writing a note to send our condolences to her family. They live in South Africa so we don't see them often but we're family so I want to make sure that we send something personal.

When my darling dad died in 2004 a few days before J's birth we were heartbroken. The cards and notes we received meant more than I had anticipated. The cards where people had taken the time to include memories of him were especially comforting to read. Somehow, knowing that his loss was being felt by others made a difference. It didn't lessen our grief but it did make us smile and give us a chance to learn about the impact this very modest and wonderful man had during his life.

I reflected on the time we had spent with her, the delight she took in playing with G, the funny stories she shared with us about when Mr Duyvken's mum was a child and how warm and welcoming she was despite being so sick even then.

Much to my surprise, there are plenty of online sources for sympathy card etiquette. I shouldn't be surprised of course, there seem to be websites devoted to all manner of esoteric things but who knew there would be a website called http://www.how-to-write-a-sympathy-card.com/ ? They all seem to offer good advice, except perhaps for the comment on the http://www.ehow.com/how_3843_write-sympathy-card.html site saying:
Losing a pet - Remember that pets are just as important as people. A sympathy card would provide a little comfort at a time of loss.
WHAT?! Methinks somebody needs a reality check.... but I digress.
My tips for writing a sympathy card are simple - share some memories of the person who has died and write from the heart. You may never know how much your words will mean...

More freehand fans

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I started machine quilting the warm blocks quilt but decided pretty quickly that even though it is amazingly fast I prefer the look of hand quilting so I have unpicked it and started on fans. It's a nice evening project and because it's just a smallish quilt it shouldn't take too long to do. I'm not going to piece the cool blocks quilt until this one is ready for binding so that's good motivation to get on with the job.

I've been doing quite a few crafty things since I last posted but very few have been quilt-related. G's school is in the middle of 'crazy season' with every Friday being designated a fundraising event. We've had crazy hat day, crazy face day and green day and we've got crazy sock day and rainbow day yet to come. We cut shamrocks out of green construction paper and stitched them on to her uniform for green day and I made a faux leprechaun hat by stitching more construction paper onto her broad-brimmed school hat. Yes, it does look more like a pilgrim's hat, perhaps making it shorter would have been better, but since pilgrims aren't much much of a feature here in Australia I just left it and she declared it to be the best crazy day yet. Kids are irresistible.

What a difference a machine makes!

Friday, March 02, 2007

This is my first machine pieced quilt and I can't believe how quickly it came together. It's not large, just big enough to be comfy as a snuggle quilt in the stroller or the capsule or tucked around baby in the bassinet or cot. The back is even pieced and I got it all done today while J and C were napping.
It is also my first proper rotary cutting project and I am going to need some more practice there. The squares look fine but when I started stitching them together I realised that they are slightly rectangular. Not all the corners meet but I'm not precious about that for this quilt. The fabric is busy so they don't stand out and it's a purely utilitatian baby gift. Do people use templates when they rotary cut or use the measurements laid out on the cutting mat? I went by the cutting mat but obviously didn't line everything up quite right, the squares are out by only a couple of millimetres but once you stitch a row of those together it can make quite a difference.
I've run out of the pins so I'll be stopping by the fabric store on the way home from school pick-up this afternoon and then I'll have a nice hand-quilting project for the weekend.
We're going to a 40th birthday party this evening , a breakfast tomorrow morning and G is going to a birthday party at the Wildflower Gardens tomorrow afternoon so it's going to be a very celebratory and cheery weekend!

I fixed my machine!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Oh my, I can't believe it. It seems that the bobbin housing had jumped from it's mooring and was shuddering about, I just followed the maintenance recommendations in the manual and now it's sewing beautifully again. So, I should have photos of the quilt tops for you soon. I'm going to piece the warm one first because I am very happy with how that has come together. I think I will fiddle with the cool one a little more, perhaps I will add some 4-patch blocks to that one or put a few friendship stars into it. There's certainly no shortage of possibilties!

Maybe just blocks?

Friday, February 23, 2007

I had a lot of fun last night fiddling with layouts for the snuggle quilts and after discarding some fabric from each pile I came up with this:

and this:
I particularly love the warmer colours and am looking forward to stitching this together. I think I'll just leave them as they are and not do the 4-patch blocks for this project. I should have enough fabric for backing and binding in my stash so the only think I will need to buy is thread - how good is that?!

I bought these fabrics as a bundle from Keepsake Quilting and I wasn't sure what to do with it once it arrived in the mail. In retrospect I think the squares were just too big for me to imagine the possbilities, as soon as I cut them into smaller pieces and started playing with them I could see it starting to work. Quilter's eyes, like sea legs must take some time to develop.

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