Floribunda 13: Block #17

Well, hello again. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

I’ve been furiously making masks; Queensland had a few cases appear suddenly, initially without any idea how. They’re on top of that now, but we’re still required to wear masks in public places, inside and ideally outside too. Everyone who’d put their masks away, got rid of them or had no more stock of disposable ones because of relaxed restrictions was suddenly in a bit of a pickle. I’ve made 10 in the past 3 days, so that’s the family sorted, but I’m keeping the supplies handy.

Now that the rush is over, I’ve had a chance to get on with Floribunda. I’m worried I’ll get lazy about it, let it migrate to the back burner, and then discover that I don’t have enough time to finish it before the Mackay Show admissions date. So I got another green block done. I have a pink block laid out ready to go, maybe tomorrow, or if I’m feeling energetic, perhaps tonight.

I still have to ration my sewing time; although the ankle is much improved and I’ve graduated from crutches to a cane, if I have to stand for more than a few minutes, walk too far, or let my leg dangle (as in sitting on a regular chair) the ankle balloons and throbs. So far, it’s good for an hour of sewing (or a seated tai chi class, as I discovered this morning), and then I have to elevate it. Do-able, but dull…

I got my anniversary present fabrics. The gold one is potentially for the back of Floribunda and the grey one is potentially for my most recent F2F blocks, either as backing or as filler blocks. They’re both Jocelyn Proust designs for Spotlight, and by luck they were both 40% off 🙂 The gold background fabric shows zebra finches, and the grey leaf fabric shows rose-crowned fruit doves. I really love her designs, combining simplicity and innocence with sophisticated colour choices and design. As bolt-ends in both cases, I could only get 3m of the gold and 2m of the grey, but I’ll work around that.

I hope you all had a great Easter and are ready for the seasonal change: winter for us and spring for the northern hemisphere. I’m really looking forward to cooler days and nights and fresh, crisp mornings for dog walking.

Once I’m walking again, that is.

Floribunda #12: starting the second half

And here we go, tipping over into the downhill slope.

This is Block 16. Blocks 13, 14 and 15 were shown in the previous Floribunda post as part of the total halfway layout. Each of these blocks takes about an hour. I could easily do them faster, but I’m being meticulous and tidy and measuring and trimming at every stage. It’s paying off in terms of ease when fitting things together. Alternatively, I could chain piece, or cut all the remaining blocks and start a production line, but I don’t find that enjoyable. Besides, I find that sometimes I want to change things once I take a second look, or something doesn’t work in the space I’d planned for it. You lose that flexibility if you work too fast and without stops to squint and contemplate.

I don’t have quite enough of the batik I bought for sashing since the quilt is now larger than before. That’s OK. I just need to come up with Plan B. Quite often, in my experience, B stands for Better anyway!

I’ll just keep plugging away at a gentle pace. Works for me….

Blue skies

 Good news this morning.

The MRI shows things haven’t got any worse in the last 6 months. The Little Bugger is still very little, is stable and – hurray! – I don’t need surgery, chemo or radiotherapy. Next MRI is in a year’s time unless I observe any changes.

I can’t tell you how much this has lightened my outlook 😀  I’ve been singing a whole new earworm ever since 10am.

I’m going to sleep very well tonight. Relief, the great sedative. Also, I want to look halfway decent tomorrow; the Husband and I are going out to a rather posh lunch to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary.  Apparently 8 years is bronze or pottery, linen or lace.

I wonder if that means I can wangle a trip to the fabric shop….?

Gimme shelter

Mouse Dog does NOT like thunderstorms.

He’d strongly resent my saying so, but he shakes and paces and pants and drools, his heart races and he’s up and down while the flashing and banging is going on. Afterwards, he likes to pretend nothing has happened, and where’s my meaty treat?

His favourite storm shelter is in our shower cubicle. The bathroom is a small room, central in the house. It has no external window any more, ever since some previous owner built the large extension (now my sewing room) on the back of the house, but it has a sun tube for daylight. It feels… snug, despite being full of cool, hard surfaces. Perhaps it’s this very centralness and lack of windows that appeals to him, but at the first sign of atmospherics, he’s in there, slinking into the shower and lying down, curled up into a sort of angular furry bagel. Not desperately convenient if you happen to want a shower, but I can’t see us evicting him when he’s so scared.

I’ve tried putting down his blankies and towels and so on in there, but the ceramic tray remains unfailingly hard on his poor bony limbs. I have therefore constructed a custom Doggo Storm Bed™ for him, designed to fit the space exactly, and backed with some of that tacky mesh you put in drawers to stop stuff sliding about, so no matter how much he scrabbles about in there trying to get comfy, it’ll stay put.

My friend Lyn gave me a large piece of this wonderful doggy print drill fabric, from which she made a bag she has also given to me (which is why I needed to patch in some fabric on one missing corner). It’s padded with several layers of the thick spill-kit felt batting I’ve mentioned before, which the Husband rescued from being dumped at work. It’s backed with small black & white gingham and bound with large red and white gingham, both scraps. I was not especially precious about either the quilting (minimal) or the binding (workmanlike). Mouse isn’t critical that way. Now His Lordship can be comfy while he’s taking shelter from the storm, whilst at the same time ensuring that his style standards are maintained… One less thing to irritate his already wobbly nerves, poor sausage.

Sorry about both the gloomy lighting and blurry photos. I’m rather wobbly myself at the moment, having no good feet to stand on while I take photos, and being rather distracted by the prospect of MRI results tomorrow morning.

I leave you with an ear-worm which has been running though my head during the entire construction process. And the lyrics that set it off?

Ooh, a storm is threatening
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Ooh yeah I’m gonna fade away…

They’ve done it again

I am serious cheesed off.

I have somehow managed to get back to the Classic Block Editor after waking up to another “Surprise!” overnight change to WordPress and how my blog presents to me, its user.. Don’t ask me how I did it; I was convinced I would have to change to a paying site and install the plug-in that lets you use Classic. And I’ll probably finish and publish this post to discover that it’s all disappeared again!

In case you’re interested, here’s a screen shot of something I found, which I did. At first it didn’t seem to have done anything, but after that I clicked out of WP and then back in shortly after, and here was Classic Editor again. I dunno… Maybe it worked, and maybe this is just temporary. Hope it works long term, for me and for you! If not, I will have to learn how to use the Block Editor, and new posts are going to clunky and considerably further apart. Apologies in advance…**

Now, I do appreciate that many, if not most, WordPress users have monetised blogs or use them as selling tools. They’re interested in all that stuff that the new Block Editor offers, the ‘fresh, new, dynamic reader experience’, the analytics, blah blah. Me? I enjoy the wavy line of my statistics, the occasional surprise of discovering that someone in the UK has apparently taken to binge-reading my old posts or surprise that another reader in Uzbekistan has found 5 things to interest them. For the rest, I enjoy showing what I’ve made with a few pictures and a lot of words, having nice cosy chats with reader-friends, and the occasional rant at the state of the world. So I’m not happy when my security blankie is pulled for reasons I find irrelevant, without notice and with an ever-so-faintly patronising tone to the explanation I eventually dig up.

Initially, they left us the Classic Editor option within WP Admin for post-writing that looked and felt as we expected and with which we were reasonably competent. They’ve taken that away. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not totally change-averse, and I like the way the new front end looks, with the dashboard down the side of the My Site/ Reader page. It’s just the whole “we’re doing this for your own good” tone of the explanations – when you can find them…

I know I should probably buckle down and learn to use the Block Editor. I know that WP is not run for my benefit and others like me. I know that Happiness Engineers are there for the paying customers and not to deal with a not-especially tech-savvy 60 year old quilter who is putting off getting a paid plan as long as feasibly possible. But dammit, why can’t they leave us oldies with the simple, clunky, un-slick, un-dynamic, amateurish system we’ve had since they first introduced the Block Editor so many of us hate in 2018?

Seriously, WordPress, does it stuff up your business plan so radically to leave that little Classic dropdown button there for us?

PS: I promise the next post will be less ranty, and if less aesthetic in layout, it will also be of something a bit prettier, too.

** Edit: Some people have said they can’t find this button. To clarify: it’s within your personal WP account settings. You need to click on the little round avatar photo that’s at top right of the WP screen (next to the Notifications bell). Account Settings is listed on the left, under your photo.

From little things, big things grow

I have the results of today’s raffle of the Days for Girls items I made.

Bear in mind these were all made from scraps, those for the backings and batting donated by me and the rest as a by-product of Days for Girls’ production of sanitary kits.

The sales of the raffle tickets for the quilt, the table runner and the cushion cover raised over AU$3,000.

I don’t have an exact figure yet, as they were still selling tickets as we took our seats. But it’s a stunning example of the power of recycling.

I’m afraid none of you won anything. The winners were:

T McClymont – cushion
J Bristow – table runner
L Eales – quilt

All locals or known to other team members. I’m so sorry. But I’m already working on the next quilt and have lots of ideas for the next batch of prizes, so there’s always same time next year.

Thank you all for your encouragement and support, whether in words or dollars. The money raised will make a fantastic difference to the work we are able to do. I’m rapt, as they say here – I even got a nice shiny certificate of appreciation, which will hang in the sewing room next to my prized Best In Show ribbon!

Here’s to next year’s effort.

Floribunda #11: halfway there

I have 50% of the blocks made. 

And now you can see how it’s going to look. Just mirror what’s in the photo. This is one of those quilts which will not photograph nicely unless it’s outside, which tends to be a bit of a thing with batiks. The patterns and colour play are subtle, and the camera tends to flatten everything out rather. It’s so much nicer in real life!

At this rate, it’ll definitely be ready in time for the Mackay Show.

I’d better start thinking about backing fabric and whether I have enough sashing fabric. No great rush, but I want to be ready when the last block is done. And the quilting?  Wavy lines, of course! Normally, I’d do vertical, but this quilt seems to be asking for horizontal. Stars under water, as it were.

Tomorrow’s the Days for Girls raffle draw. I’ll see if I can get a decent photo of the winner with her/his quilt if they’re there in person, to post here. Or, who knows, it maybe someone who’s family or a friend. That would be very special too.

My feet are telling me it’s time to stop, both the broken pedal foot and the other one in the brace that ought to be up instead of dangling under the sewing machine.

This time, just for a change, I’ll listen.

An aside from Mouse

Hello people, Mouse here.

I thought I’d better interject as the Staff are being pretty slack about posting just now (possibly, but at least we’re not being slack about your feeding and walkies and bones and strokies – Mum). Mum keeps lounging about with her foot up on a cushion, and I’m not at all keen on those big sticks she’s using to help her get about… they make me rather nervous.

Dad thought it would be good for us all to get out of the house yesterday, and as you know, I like a nice drive in the car. So, anyway, the Staff got their errands done and then it was lunchtime. Now, normally, I don’t do lunch, I have a figure to maintain, but the Staff need feeding to keep their strength up to look after Me. Mum put in a request for sushi and Dad wanted the Noodle Hot Box, so Hot Wok it was… I have to say, the whole thing smelled wonderful. They picked it up, and we went to the beach to eat it, which is the Staff’s ‘thing’. I had not realised they had bought me a snack, until Mum served me up an unrolled Beef Teryaki nori roll, and it smelled so good I wolfed down the lot, nori, rice and all. I mean, seaweed! Yuck, right? Not at all! I shall look at green stuff with different eyes in future. Mum says she’s happy to report that there were no, ahem, unfortunate side effects, either….

While they were noshing, Mum spotted a cloud which she said was me chasing a bone she’d thrown for me. I don’t see it myself…. I was more interested in whether she was going to eat that California roll she was waving about, or whether I’d get to try it. You’ll be happy to know that the Starving Greyhound impression paid off once again, and I got the end of it. Also extremely tasty!

Mum does seem a bit more cheerful, although she’s still seriously lame, and her paw is all sorts of strange colours. Her knee is also not right, smells like it needs a good lick clean, but she says she can manage that herself, thank you very much. I ask you, gratitude… She’s going to her vet later this morning, poor thing. I hope hers is less keen than mine – it seems like the first thing that always happens is a thermometer stuffed you-know-where. (So how is that different from your nose up my bum, steering me towards the frozen chicken neck department? – Mum) (Enough of your cheek – Mouse).

Anyway, that’s it. Thought I’d just bring you up to date. I don’t have any travel plans coming up, so I’m afraid I’ll be leaving you to the tender mercies of the Staff for news and entertainment.

Nose boops,






ScrapHappy March

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps. The raffle for the Days Gone By quilt is in 5 days, so I’ll be excited to let you know what it raised next time. This month, I’m starting a new scrappy quilt for Days for Girls. It’s going to be called Hopscotch. I can’t tell you why, the quilt just told me that’s what it wanted to be called!

This is the first block, and I have 6 more blocks’ worth of squares cut, so things should move quite fast.  As you can see, it’s a simple 25-patch, machine-pieced, and I’ll assemble it using the QAYG method so I can quilt it myself. Should come together a lot faster than the last one! I’m thinking I might also use scrappy sashing between the blocks. I still have rolls and rolls of thermal till receipt paper for foundation piecing skinny scrappy strips, and it’s a great way of using the scraps which are just too narrow for the 3½ inch squares I’m using for this quilt.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). This month, Nancy is returning to the group, and we have two more new participants: welcome, Carol and Bear!

Kate (me!)Gun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, NancyDawn 2, Noreen,
Bear and Carol

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.



Dignity shredded….

Oh no. Not again….

Yup. Crutches. Ankle brace. Surgical dressings. RICE. 5 days of it.

Picture this. Me and doggo out for morning walkies. Half a km from home. Rather bumpy but nevertheless tarmac side road. Foot down on potholed area, major ankle roll, crunching noises, pitching helplessly forwards to smack down on the remaining three points of opposite knee and both hands.

Getting myself home was as much fun as you might imagine. Picking out the gravel was fun too. Things got better once I had an ice pack on the ankle and the leg up, and a dressing on my very mangled knee. The hands are just scraped and bruised.

Got an x-ray. “Oooh, you’ve done a number on that one! Spectacular!” Yes, thank you, doctor, most reassuring. “Ligaments torn, no breaks, RICE for 5 days, stay off it, crutches if you have to move”. Also, come back after 5 days if it doesn’t feel like it’s improving and the joint is getting more stable, I may need an MRI to see what the soft tissue damage is. I’ve busted this ankle so many times I can virtually recite what they’re going to say. I know the drill….  But the fact that the bone on the other, ‘good’ foot isn’t healing very fast and is still mostly broken and still quite painful makes getting around heaps of fun. Crutches help, but I’m hirpling around very slowly. Don’t ask me to carry anything, either.

Look on the bright side. At least it’s not a plaster cast for 6 weeks.