SAL 43: Time for something different

Here we are again, time to show what I’ve been stitching away at.

I took my embroidery away with me when I went on holiday recently, but due to have far too much of a good time, I got none at all done while I was away!  Since my return, I’ve managed to get the right hand border filled in down to the design either side of the Z. After this, there’ll be another decorative band, and then it’s time for the Big Stuff.

Here’s where I was before:

And here’s progress to date:

Do hop on over to everyone else’s posts and see what they’ve been up to; we’re all working on something different, and in different time zones, so if you don’t see anything new, try again later.

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnJessSueConstanzeDebbierose,
ChristinaSusan, Kathy MargaretCindyHelenStephLinda,
Catherine, Wendy

The next SAL post is due on 2 April. See you then 🙂

I just can’t help myself

I think it must be a character defect. I just can’t seem to control it these days.

I’m talking about doing fabric pulls and starting new projects with three already on the go and nowhere near complete. I have the Secret Sewing job, the TWX Ovarian Cancer quilt to get done by the start of May, and Sea Glass. And that doesn’t even take into account the Hat-box BM&I quilt, the Anemone ScrapHappy quilt, my embroidery, and two entire sets of F²F quilt blocks waiting to be assembled. I have never in my entire life had such a log-jam.

So I’m knuckling down to get at least the Secret Sewing quilt top completed. Not too much left to do still, but it’s meticulous work and I want to get it right. Quilting will be very straightforward and simple, so I hope to have it done in a week or two. Then I’ll have to get cracking on TWX. There are a couple of blocks still to come in, but I can certainly start sandwiching and quilting the ones I have. My lovely SIL is, she promises, happy to wait for Sea Glass, which is perhaps just as well…

Anyway, no prizes for guessing what the fabric pull is for. Yup, a pair of bunk quilts for Lizzie. Simple pieced squares, some small, some larger; dark and light blues, taupes, greys and creams and pale brownish pinks. Nice.

Now, let’s see how long I can hold out before I succumb to the urge to start pressing and cutting.

Bickies for Miz Lizzie

… or if you’re one of my transatlantic friends, Cookies.

lizzie-bickies-1I was standing in the post office queue today, waiting to send a parcel off to a friend, and my wandering eye caught sight of some-thing. Australia Post sells post-related gift items at certain times of the year, and those that don’t sell at the right time are usually greatly marked down. And so it was with this. A wonderful old-fashioned biscuit tin, with embossed replica stamps on the lid, featuring that subject currently very close to my heart, caravans! It was even in a suitable colour scheme to go with Miz Lizzie’s planned interior. Talk about serendipity…

lizzie-bickies-2The four stamps feature Australian caravanning in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, with iconic ‘vans and cars of the era. Sadly, I’m unable to test the contents, but the Husband tells me he’ll be able to deliver a verdict on the chocolate chip cookies inside in, say, a week or so. He’s such a hero! Once the bickies have been abolished, I will use it for something in Miz Lizzie’s kitchen, elegantly displayed on the counter.

Perhaps even bickies that I can eat too… :-/

TWX 9: dark and gorgeous, and a gift

When we got home yesterday, there was a squishy waiting!

I’d been hoping it would arrive before we left, but the joint actions of France’s La Poste and Australia Post meant I had to wait and see what was coming. Anticipation is supposed to sharpen enjoyment, and in this case my enjoyment was acute! Lynn of Tialys had come up trumps in more ways than one 🙂

miz-lizzie-key-fobFirst there was this completely gorgeous key fob, which you see already adorning Miz Lizzie’s bunch of keys. She’d gone with the camper theme, and I so love that ribbon… The clip that holds it is nice and sturdy too; I think the key bunch is going to get a good workout over the next few years and I’m sure it won’t fall apart.

Then there were these two beauties, ‘dark’ blocks for the TWX quilt, to help form the central dark X of the quilt motif. Don’t you love the bee and dragonfly fabric she’s used on the one on the left? And the postage stamp X on the right has scraps of all kinds of beautiful teal fabrics; I especially love the tiny flashes of red and gold.

lynn3 lynn4

 

 

 

 

 

I have a bit of sewing to do before I can clear the design wall and start putting the TWX blocks up, but today’s clear-up day. If the rain ever stops, I’ll be going out to Miz Lizzie to clean, sweep, wash up, strip the bunks, clean the windows and shoo out the ants that have been attracted by the contents of the now empty fridge. Of course, if it carries on raining, some of that will have to wait.

I think the Bureau of Meteorology has soggy news; cleanup will have to be a pleasure deferred…

Miz Lizzie Adventures: Wagons roll…

Our time on the Tablelands has drawn to a close, sadly.

It was a wet night, and we rejoiced at being warm and dry, and most of all, at not having a huge bundle of wet tent to take down, clean off, fold, roll and pack – and then air out at the other end. Coffee, showers, breakfast, and then stowing everything securely, taking down the pop-top, detaching all the lines, hooking her up to the car, and away we go. We’re learning to work together at the process, so it goes more quickly each time we have to do it. Rain all the way down (but it IS the Wet season, so to be expected), and because it’s mid-week, traffic not too heavy. We are in Townsville tonight.

sea-eagle-nestThe trip was remarkable only for being very, very wet, and one other thing. We saw a sea-eagle’s nest right beside the road, and were fortunately able to stop in time to take a photo without causing a pile-up. The nest is about a metre across, a dense but fairly informal construction, more of a platform, really. You can see more about the Australian White-Bellied Sea Eagle here. They’re big, impressive birds; sadly we weren’t quick enough to capture that with the camera too….

We’re waiting to hear from some friends about the possibility of getting together for a meal tonight. Keeping one eye on the skies, I might add, which are interestingly half blue and half black. And then tomorrow, it’s packing up again, and on the road for home.

This short break has gone fast, too fast. Something I rarely say about wet camping trips in a tent!

Curtain down: Foot²Freestyle draws to a close

For the past 21 months, an unusual swap bee has been quietly unfolding.

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 7.32.54 pmIt hasn’t been well known or publicised at all, but it has produced some extraordinary creativity, exciting use of colour, and inspiration to try our hands at something a bit different. Foot²Freestyle, or F²F as it has been familiarly known, required its members to produce three foot² (12×12 inch) blocks each month, in the recipient’s designated colours, but in any design, hence the Freestyle. Each member took it in turn to receive the month’s blocks, and while the rest of us could see and enjoy the blocks we were making in the F²F and then the F²F² galleries, the recipient stayed away, to enjoy the surprise when opening her envelopes. After the first 12 months, there was sufficient interest in the process to go again, with some new and some existing members from the first round.

The result is a pair of block galleries of great beauty and variety, a source of inspiration and ideas for future quilts for all of us. If you haven’t been following F²F up to this point, I encourage you to go and take a look, using the links in the previous paragraph and scrolling down month by month to see what everyone made. The galleries also show some finished quilts, demonstrating the amazing results a collaboration of creativity can produce. I also hope that members who complete their quilts at some future stage will let me have photos so that they can be added to the roll of honour.

To all those who have participated in either or both sessions, Sue and I as the originators of this block swap would like to extend our thanks and very best wishes for the future. We have greatly enjoyed working with you all, and hope that we will have an opportunity to renew that pleasure at some future stage.

Until we meet again around the F²F campfire, happy sewing, may your creative juices never run low, and see you on the other side of several fun new projects!

 

Please note that I am on the road most of 2 and 3 March, and may not be able to respond promptly to your comments or messages. I will do my best to catch up quickly!

Miz Lizzie Adventures: Cheeses and Chocolates

And now for the drier half of yesterday’s activities.

The Atherton Tableland is famous for its dairy farming. The climate is cooler than down by the sea, the grass is thick and lush thanks to the plentiful rainfall, and the rolling hills are full of Friesians and Holsteins. I’ve mentioned the Mungalli Creek dairy in a previous post, but this time we went to Gallo’s, drawn irresistibly by the lure of fresh cheese – and chocolate!

gallo-cheesesIt’s a family business, and rather than jumping on the same bandwagon as other local farmers, and selling their milk through supermarket chains, they’ve gone the other way. Their milk is channelled into cheese and yoghurt production, and the added value products seem to be paying off for them, as their large shop and café were bustling, even mid-week. You get offered tastings before you buy, of both cheese and chocolate (oh, the hardship!), the prices are reasonable, and we came away with modest quantities of both. The Husband went for Gallo Volcano, a wax covered block of hard cheese with sun-dried tomato and chilli, and I bought some lactose-free Gallobert, a Camembert-style soft cheese, wonderfully lactic and complex.

gallo-chocolateAfter a bit of chocolate sampling, we also bought a bag of assorted chilli, salt caramel, ginger, hazelnut and orange chocolates. The only difficulty was in restricting ourselves to three of the bonbons each – I’d happily have bought one of everything!

gallo-cheese-factoryOne of the entertaining things there is that you can watch the cheese and chocolate factories at work: there are large viewing windows. The cheese is all about huge vats of steaming curds and whey in gleaming stainless steel, with a large crane gantry for lifting the vats and pouring the contents into cheese baskets or trays. The chocolate factory is a much more hands on and peaceful process, with trays and trays of different chocolate bonbons being hand poured and unmoulded.

Today’s Adventure is still along the gastro-tour lines, as we shall be going to the Nerada Tea Plantation, which produces a significant proportion of Australia’s home grown tea, and very nice it is too. I’m hoping to come away with samples… And our morning tea will be at an old favourite, the café at the Tolga Woodworks gallery, where not only do they do a mean flourless chocolate cake, but also some very beautiful hand crafted wooden art and craft gifts.

Sadly, tomorrow it’s time to pack up and leave Atherton. We’ll be heading home via a night in Townsville again. I need to do a little shopping and laundry before we leave… almost like being at home.

Oh… We ARE at home, thanks to Miz Lizzie 🙂

Right, on with the day. More tonight!