31 December 2017

2017 the year that was

I started this post yesterday it was long and involved it was quite cathartic this isn't that post

Needless to say 2017 will be one year I am glad to see the end of.  We have learnt about the mine field that is aged care and more than enough about dementia, lots and lots about anxiety and OCD  (real OCD not the one everyone jokes about) and its affect on family and most importantly we learnt how amazing strong and determined Mo is.  I am thankful that my kids aren't afraid to talk to us about their struggles as well as the good stuff. I've had conversations that I didn't have any answers for.

The first half of 2017 was scary but the 2nd half we settled into new routines and came to terms with the changes the first half brought.  There were setbacks but we made it to the finish line and we are still smiling.

Mo was awarded a Medal for Excellence again this year at school, and Maestro passed his year 11 exams.  After the upheaval of classes being cancelled at the end of the year he has good opportunities going into Year 12.  Mo is moving into the SHIP Class next year and both of them are on the UAV Project run in conjunction with UNI SA.  Next year promises to be challenging for both of them.

Xmas day was the most relaxed in living memory.  For a change the temperatures was in the 20's instead of high 30s or low 40s.  Mo did most of the food prep the night before and we all visited my MIL in the morning.   Mo and I left early to put the turkey on the webber Q, when the boys came back it was pretty much all done.  At the end of the day we headed to the beach for a walk along the waters edge and Mo gave me her download.   It was a good day.

Quilting has taken a back seat this year but I did finished 3 quilt tops and have nearly finished hand quilting one of those quilts (Jen Kingwell's Spring Fever).  I'm planning on hand quilting one other which will be released as a pattern and the Celtic Tree of Life will be machine quilted some time in 2018.  I have started stitching the new Row of the Month with plans to release in June 2018 .... earlier if I can get it finished before then.  One row is done see below and I have started making templates for one of the first major appliqué block.

The plan is to start pattern writing straight away so that it is all ready on the day of release and I can keep to the month by month schedule with no blowouts.  

My resolution is to find the Joy in the every day next year, and enjoy turning 50.

21 December 2017

Xmas Special 50% off when you purchase $15+

So you can purchase all patterns for any of my BOM programs and get 50% off.  
Offer ends 31/12/2017

19 December 2017

Melbourne Trip and a finished design

On Friday I headed to Melbourne for my work Xmas Lunch.  It was another big one, the food was great,  though walking around looking for a place not overcrowded to have drinks after lunch wasn't all that fun.  We managed to score a table in a pub with the stragglers that were left in the late afternoon to get comfortable for a couple of hours to end the day.  I was back in my hotel fairly early and enjoyed a comfy bed a quiet evening with a book.  I managed a sleep in in the morning before heading to airport for my trip home.  

Mo has been working quite a bit in the lead up to Xmas and we have spent quite a bit of time going to and fro from the local shopping centre.  As a result all the Xmas shopping is done apart from food shopping for Xmas day, as it is easy enough to go a bit earlier to and get a few things done when going to pick her up.

I had my first hiccup with EQ8 yesterday when I opened to find my row by row file corrupted.  Luckily most of the blocks were salvageable it was just the block that I had finished last week that needed to be recreated.  While I was on a roll I finished the final row in the quilt.  All ready to get stitching over the holiday period.  I think I will plan to start the Row of the Month in June anything earlier than that will be a bonus.

09 December 2017

1 More Road to Go and 3 More Days of School for the year ... not that I am counting

I'm gradually filling in the rows for this quilt, there is one more appliqué row to design.  I'll make a start on the stitching during the Xmas break.   I'm looking forward to starting on a big project.  I have a couple of quilts that need quilting so they will be on the agenda as well, might have to see if a can squeeze getting my machine serviced in the next couple of weeks don't like my chances though.

Mo had a big week last week with her final presentation scheduled for last Friday.  I couldn't be there as my boss was on holiday and I don't know if that made a difference but she had a major panic attack just before they were due to head to the school.  My husband was wondering if he should ring  and just say she was too sick to go ahead, but she pulled herself together and managed a flawless presentation.  It amazes me that she can do that, just suck it up and pull herself together like that and put on her poker face and get it done.

The sea and the sky were a beautiful blue today the picture doesn't do it justice. It was a great day for a walk though Coco didn't agree, she was doing the go slow on the way home.

02 December 2017

Annual Girls Xmas Dinner

Last night was the annual xmas dinner with the girls.  We came together through quilting about 22 years ago and we still meet up pretty regularly throughout the year (we try for every 3 weeks dinner but it doesn't always happen) sometimes to sew other times just to have dinner and a brain dump.

Xmas dinner was a bit early this year, but we had a lovely time a 3 hours went too quickly.  Gifts are always exchanged at Xmas and Birthdays, always thoughtful and often involving food of the chocolate variety.

It is also my Wedding Anniversary today which is the reason why I know that it is nearly 22 years because we met just after I got married for a Beginners Quilting Class.  We aren't doing anything to celebrate this year, I thought of organising something last week and went to book a night away only to find on 5 room available in the whole of Adelaide all $500+ and 1 for $89 that looked like it had a 5 cockroach rating.  I then twigged the Ashes are on in Adelaide so those plans went out the window. So I settled on "Happy Anniversary" and the reply was "Is it really?".  We both forget more than we remember.  At least neither of us gets offended by it.

I'm planning some sewing things to do during the holidays and I am thinking of designing some inappropriate Embroidery patterns.  Apparently Judy Dench stitches these on movie sets in her spare time and there have seen some links to some on Etsy in one of my reading groups of naughty cross stitches.   I think I am going to trawl my Pinterest folders for some inappropriate saying and hide them in something pretty like Satin Stitch and flowers I might have to set up an 18+ folder in my etsy shop.  Don't Be Afraid to be Inappropriate might be my motto for turning 50 next year.

I'm also looking for inspiration for the last 3 appliqué rows for my row by row quilt which I think will be another summer project.

Coco loves tinsel every year she rolls around in it while we try and decorate for Xmas.  

25 November 2017

Bowerbird Market and a bit of quilt design

Mo and I went to the Bowerbird Market last night.  She gets more excited about it than I do and then spends the whole time whispering to me... you could make that Mum or I could make that.  Most of the things our out of our price range especially the clothes.  I did pick up some nice Xmas cards and some fabric to back the Celtic Tree of life.

Of course we had tea there.  We have eaten from Let Them Eat a couple of times out and about and the food is quite yummy, mostly vegan and vegetarian so Mo is alway happy if we find them as she knows she will find something to eat without scrutinising the menu.  And we found some yummy deserts to share.

Over the last couple of days I've been fiddling with my next quilt design.  Here is what it looks like so far.

20 November 2017

Busy Weekend and Walk4Brain Cancer

We headed to the beach Saturday afternoon and spotted the shark plane flying overhead.  We don't usually walk on the beach I prefer to walk on the walkway away from the sand but Mo has blisters on her feet (from running think it might be time for new shoes) and she wanted to walk in the sea.

The plane was circling which was a bit strange then the siren started a shark had been spotted.  Luckily it was a coolish day so there weren't many swimmers that the life savers had to call out of the water.  Most people know to head to the shore when the siren sound anyhow.

Apparently the plane started early this year as there has already been sharks spotted in the last couple of weeks and last night's news featured footage of 3.5m menacing a boat off St Kilda.

Sunday we all got up early and headed to another beach down the way for the Walk4Brain Cancer.  We we doing it in honour of the son of a guy my hubby works with.  He is 6 and has been diagnosed with a brain tumour he is having experimental treatment and it is hitting his little body hard, he is currently in hospital with the side effects and wasn't able to make it.  The statistics for brain cancer a pretty scary, with  only 2 in 10 people diagnosed will survive in 5 years and there has been little change in the statistics in the last 30 years.

Hopefully the government focus on this cancer and these types of events can improve the survival rate and help find a cure.  

It was a bit warm but we enjoyed the morning exercise.  The dog was very well behaved especially with the number of people and dogs in the group.

13 November 2017

SACE and all the turmoil

We've had some angst this week with this one. A couple of months ago we all went to the school for subject selection.  We talked about subject selection possible need to pick another subject if he didn't get the appropriate marks etc.  His PE section was discussed and if he was prepared for the work involved and the exam at the end.  All was good he was prepared to put in the effort, it was a good fit for what he thinks  he might do at Uni.  They said there were only 20 places available.  We made sure that he kept PE a priority as he needed to be top of the class if he was going to get selected for those 20 places. As it turns out the marks weren't the problem, the problem was that the class didn't have the required number of student wanting to do it, it turns out the school has only run the class once in the last 7 years (if that had been mentioned we would have looked at other school alternatives or steered him away from the subject in the first place).

We emailed the school as he was not in the least bit happy PE had been on the radar for 2 years.  We all had a sleepless night as there was 3 week of school left, I started researching nearby schools to see if that was an option it was all to hard.  The next day the year 11 councillors recommended Tourism which didn't take into consideration his academic achievements or his interests but that was the only alternative offered, he left the counselling session despondent.  The response from the school was that as no Uni course required PE his tertiary options were not limited by it being dropped.

He then walked into the IT Unit upset and happened upon one of the teacher there that offered him an alternative a project in conjunction with the Uni of Adelaide.  This project is unique to the school, starting next year that can be counted toward Stage 2.  A select number of year 10, 11 and 12 students have been asked to join the project, the only draw back was Mo has been asked to join as a year 10 due to her academic achievements this year (she received a Medal for Excellence again this year).

He came around after a bit of discussion and the fact that I wasn't going to not let Mo miss it just because he thought she would lean on him to much.  Their academic approach is so different I don't think she will be leaning on him at all, I suspect what will end up working well together if they have to but I suspect that they will be separated to a certain extent.

I have spoken to the teacher coordinating the project and it will be a great opportunity for both of them that could lead them into a range of other tertiary studies.  We will have to keep an eye on Mo as she probably should drop some one of her lines of study to keep up but she doesn't want to.  I think we will play it by ear see how she goes, at the moment she thinks there won't be much out of school work for her choice line and she should be able to keep up.

So there is a silver lining, however I am less than impressed with the way the school handled the whole thing.  Maestro was lucky that this project came along he had studied Robotics and IT in the past  with good grades to enable him to slot straight into the project.  There were 10 other kids that have also been displaced and a couple of those were counting on PE even more than Maestro.

29 October 2017

EQ8 and All Things Vegan

Mo and I headed to the city yesterday for the Vegan Festival.  She had spied a flyer at a local cafe months ago and remembered it was on during the weekend.  I wanted to get there early look around before it got to busy, she was keen to have lunch there.

Mo toyed with doing the Vegan thing last Xmas holidays but she just lost too much weight so we ended up making her add meat to her diet to try get her weight back to a healthy range.  She is gradually reducing dependence on meat only eating fish, she still has some diary and eggs and is keeping her weight steady.  It probably helps that due to problems with her knees (to do with a growth spirt) she isn't running as many km as she was and the physio has limited her distance runs and introduced road running to help mix it up.

Mo had a ball checking out all the food, she got a vegan t-shirt and we tasted quite a bit of food both sweets and savoury.  We both had Mac and No Cheese for lunch which was amazing and bought home a couple of sweet potato and lentil pies for lunch today a couple of raw sweets and some yummy baked goods.

Do you EQ?  I decided to update to EQ8 it this week and take advantage of the early special.  I'm really happy with the improvements that I have found so far.  I have started designing my next BOM using the program and I am toying with the idea of a row by row this time round with each alternate row Appliqué.

I have never designed a row by row in Eq7 so I don't know if the same feature were present, but I was amazed at how easy it was to do in EQ8, have different sized rows, add and delete rows.  Insert pieced rows specify size and no of blocks with little effort.  I would have thought I would need to do a custom set but this was all achieved in quilt layout with little fuss.

I can't wait to start appliqué design, there are new shape makers that are going to make designing appliqué easier.  Hoping to get some more time this afternoon to play around.

22 October 2017

Port Clinton and back to the old routine

School went back this week.  I wasn't there to get them going Monday morning as I was still at Port Clinton, where I had spent the weekend at a sewing retreat.

Mo went off on camp to the Coorong.  It was almost the first hot weather for spring and I was expecting her to come back like a lobster, but she was good with the sunscreen and although very tired not much worse for wear.

The weekend retreat was lovely and relaxing, although the beds were a little hard the accomodation was really nice and it was lovely to wind down stitch and talk at night.  The drive was a little nerve  racking as I am not use to driving distances on my own, but I had an audio book going so it wasn't too bad.

Port Clinton really doesn't have much just lots of shacks and its quiet.  When I went walking and everyone just says hello or waves to you as you walk by I'm used to everyone ignoring you when you walk.

The low tide sends the water all the way out leaving mangroves and mud flats it took me back to spending time at a friends shack at Stansbury further down the peninsular.

The retreat was held in the old School House which was fun, we did what I think was described as improve fabric collage and embellished the it with embroidery stitches.  Using cut up Kantha quilts as background.  I used some of my liberty prints as well as some from the scrap basket.  It was all very civilised and relaxing.

It was hot in the city when I returned, it meant waiting till it cooled down and hubby and I went for a twilight walk Tuesday night.  The sea breeze was wonderful down there.  

07 October 2017

OMG Where did September Go

All cheer for the school holidays and we have slowed down finally.

September is THE month at my work.  It is extremely busy and even with the extra hours I now work I did extra hours on top and to add to the stress our system (internet) went down for a week in the last week of September.  Our IT support kept telling us that they would have someone come in so I headed into work everyday only to have to use my personal mobile data to login and no-one turned up.

We had no office phones, my boss was doing seminars with clients for 2 of the days and had to field all the phone calls that were diverted to his mobile.  By the end of the week we were both fed up with our head office IT people and we both ended up blowing up at them.  Our main concern is that something has slipped through the cracks, all the urgent stuff has been caught up .... we think.  I still have a stack of printing and scanning to catch up on.

I had a finish this week Jen Kingwell's Spring Fever is done.  Since taking this photo the skinny blocks with 2 flowers on them have been added to.  They just weren't right and when I looked at Jen's finished quilt there was more detail than were in the pattern instructions.

I am hand quilting this one and started stitching last night if I keep up the pace it shouldn't take too long to quilt.  

Mo went for a job interview on Thursday and got a Christmas Casual job down at the local shopping centre.  She was on a high after the interview, and although she was really nervous she said she did really well.  We went shopping today for work wear... I dread having to find prescribed clothes for her, as she is small and still in kids sizes but we managed to get a black shirt (ladies 6 ... still a bit big but looks ok tucked in)  and black jeans (only her second pair of jeans she has owned) and we were able to get them in girls wear with an adjustable waist ... she has super long legs for her height so the adjustable waist is a must.  

Maestro has been away camping and has coming home this afternoon worn out but having had a great time.  We 3 have been enjoying the quiet of not having him around over the last 4 days because he really is very noisy with a booming voice, gaming and talking on Skype with his friends.  

I'm heading away next weekend for a sewing weekend with the girls and I can't wait. 

03 September 2017

August has been and gone

August has been a really long month.  Sewing wise I've been doing lots of slow stitching working on Spring Fever by Jen Kingwell.  I have 7 main blocks to finish, I'm about 2/3rds of my way through.  This morning I am cutting the 1½" strips to make the checkerboard blocks for in-between I don't think I will start stitching these until I am putting it all together.  The quilt has a scolloped
edge but I think I won't bother with that as I have other designs on that fabric for another project.

Last month I bought the starter kit from Amitie for Bakers Dozen and yesterday I sorted through my stash to find fabrics to go with it.  Each fabric I have chosen to add I have cut down to the same size as the Amitie Kit just to make sure that no one fabric overwhelms the quilt.  I plan to make this quilt for Maestro so I am trying to keep fabric selections as masculine as possible though there are a few small florals but I think the pieces will be small enough that it won't matter.

School has been a main focus this last month Maestro has been picking his subjects for Year 12, thankfully that is done just have to cross fingers that he gets into those classes.  Mo had to pick her subjects for Year 10 which was easier but she did agonise a little over it and worried that her friends had dropped Art, I told her to continue with it as she truly enjoys the subject and she needed to not worry about who was doing what and to follow her own path.  She is coping better with school this term and we haven't had to battle anxiety over workloads as yet and she is just taking it all in her stride.  We know that it is not something that will go away but we know what to look out for and we can get help again if we need it.

My MIL ended up in Emergency a couple of weeks ago and Drs pretty much had written her off, she had unexplained swelling in her neck and a cat scan was inconclusive they decided it was a tumour and she was just fading away.  Turns out she has a stone in the salivary gland which became infected and abscessed.  It ruptured and with IV antibiotics she came good, however the only option is surgery to remove the stone(s) and her sons have decided not to do that as another general anaesthetic would either kill her or reduce her mental capacity further.  I've come to the conclusion that we treat our animal's better than we treat our old and incapacitated.  Her quality of life is slowly being whittled away bit by bit, with each infection she loses a bit more physically and mentally.

We have had changes at work and I have increased my working hours, at least I can do them at home and work a full day on Tuesday, picking up the kids in my lunch hour then continue to work a full day.  So far it has been ok but I don't seem to make anymore headway with the workload.  To be honest I haven't enjoyed my job for a long time, but I like my boss and we make a good team and we need the money... I guess I'll be at it for a bit longer yet.

Mo set up a small fish tank in her room over the last month we just finished stocking it with the maximum no of fish the tank will allow, then on Tuesday she woke up to the fact that her female Molly (she only has one) must have been a bit of a hussy at the fish shop so we have 15 babies in the tank.  I thought natural selection would cut the numbers but they have stayed constant.  We are going to have to do something as they get bigger.

06 August 2017

Finished Quilt Top Celtic Tree of Life.

Last week I finished the top for Celtic Tree of Life.  I will work on the final putting it together instructions this afternoon and have them posted for you to download.  They will be there for 1 month before they come down again as per the usual arrangement.  I will also be working on another document to go up with hints and tips for doing the celtic knot work that I have worked out along the way.  Hope you enjoy the quilt.

I need to get my machine serviced before I can start quilting it.  Once that is done I can take some better photo's of the quilt.  I also have a couple of other quilts in need of quilting so I see a lot of time behind my machine in the next few months and I have to check out the stash to see if I have a voile that will fit the back.

Final instructions have been loaded on Tree of Life Page, do your final download available till 6th September 2017.

25 July 2017

School Holiday's have come to and end 😢

I have loved the change in pace though I have managed to late to work a couple of times.

Mo and I did quite a bit of walking to the beach during the holidays and did a couple of trips all the way to Henley which is about 6km round trip from our house. We have just come home from a bit shorter walk this afternoon after school.

We also saw a few movies, Baby Driver which we loved I'm not usually into car chases but I really enjoyed all the driving choreographed to music, Despicable Me 3 another winner how can you not love minions and The House which we both hated, and nearly walked out halfway through I kept waiting for it to get funny and it just didn't and got more senselessly violent.

We have a new edition to the household.  Mo purchased the cage a few months ago to get a cockateel but she wanted a baby that she could tame.  Her Dad took her to a local bird guy to ask if he was expecting babies in the spring and he told her he had a hand reared one that had had a fall and had injured his leg but expected it to heal in a couple of weeks and she could have him cheap,  and bring him back if he didn't improve.  I think he is staying and it has been quite good for Mo as she is really focusing on the bird and not on all the other stuff that goes on in her head.  He already sits on her hand.

I have updated the Putting it together documents on the Celtic Tree of Life.  There is now a template for the knots for the corner stones  and more instructions for the border.  I have finished stitching two of the knots and I think I will do a post on what I have found the best way to glue the knots in place without wrecking your paper template.

Picture of the 4 knots are below.

15 July 2017

Tree of Life Progress

Mo and I headed out for a walk this afternoon.  We made it to Henley Square which is about a 6km round trip from our house.  The local creek looked pretty spectacular but Mo was more concerned that I would drop my phone off the bridge as I took the photo.  
At least Mo now follows the rule that if you take the lead and the dog does a No 2 you have to pick it up and put it in the bin and not leave it to your mother to do.

The sky was pretty threatening but we made it all the way there and back and didn't get wet.  I think most of the weather action was out to sea.  The view on our walks never get old.

Conversations with Mo are always interesting on these walks nothing seems to be off limits... last week there was discussion about sex ed at school and what the other kids had told her they talk about ... this week we had 2 ladies and an older gent walking towards, us he was wearing lycra .... I only hope he was out of earshot when she said "OMG did you see his bulge that was just gross".  To tell the truth I registered the lycra and made sure to keep my eyes at head level.  She couldn't believe that I had missed it.

Progress Report on Tree of Life: I have been working on borders this week.  The top and bottom border of the Tree of Life is all stitched on and I have put together one of the side borders and have the 2nd side ready to piece.   I have chosen the corner stone design there will be only one template at this stage and i will probably use 4 different fabrics for the knots.  

I am working on the next version of Putting it all together and with any luck will post Version 3 in a few days, so you can get working working on the border if you want to.  Once I have finished the border and have the final Putting it all together version ready to post it will stay there for a month before heading to my Etsy shop. 

11 July 2017

School Holidays and time to just breath

I rarely take extra time off during school holidays as I only work until just after lunch.  Hubby usually takes a couple of days here and there I have my regular Thursday when we usually do the holiday dental checks and other appointments that need to be slotted in.  This holidays, I had today off in lieu of the extra time I worked a couple of weeks ago trying to catch up because our computer rack with all the internet and routers got fried.

We got up early Mo had a physio appointment she has shine splints which are on the mend and physio has given her some exercises to strengthen butt (cause of shine splints) stretches and exercises to help ankles and calves.

Mo and I then checked out a Raw Food Cafe which she had been wanting to try for a couple of weeks... now we are going every weekend according to her.  She had Birchers Muesli with coconut yogurt, she promptly came home and tried to make her own version of the Muesli, she was all for making her own coconut yogurt as well but I put a stop to that until we have thoroughly investigated the mechanics of that.

We then headed out for a walk, we didn't quite get to Henley Square but it was a good distance I've been encouraging Mo to walk when she hasn't been able to run especially when the day is a glorious as it was today.  See the great cloud formations below.

Mo can really use the downtime from school as she puts so much pressure on herself throughout the term.  We are finding ways to help her, she is doing yoga a couple of times a week at the moment and she is going to try some meditation as well and talking to a councillor.  I don't think we are out of the woods yet but we are getting there and taking things one day at a time.

 Some one was building stinky Seaweed Stacks on the beach glad we weren't down on the beach and there was no wind otherwise this section of the walk wouldn't have been too pleasant.

I have finished all the long geese for borders.  I really think they would make a great quilt in themselves when you see them all lined up together (first picture) and I've just thought of a way to change it up and make it a bit more interesting... probably would require more planning but there are possibilities.

01 July 2017

Celtic Tree of Life Putting it together progress

Last week I managed to cut out the strips for the pieced border.

I may start it with a narrow border (still deciding) but so far it looks pretty good without it.  I am stitching the border pieces in pairs so that they look like geese.  The corner stones at this point will be more knots.

This is what I have done this morning lots more stitching to go and we have to fiddle with colour placement but I think it is going to look good when its finished.

Also I need to let you know that the Australian Government have decided to slug downloading of digital content with a tax. I'm not sure if overseas buyers  get charged it or not but we definitely do here which is CRAP and it means all my patterns have increased by 10% and I don't get one cent of it.

A can't wait for the school holidays to come.  I am over of arguing with Maestro about subjects, study habits and exams and Mo really needs a break from school for a couple of weeks just to breath.  We really wonder how they can be so polar opposites (one an overachieving perfectionist and the other expecting it all to happen with the least effort as possible).  If they both were more a mix of each other High School would be a breeze for everyone.  Throw in Maestro's man flu into the mix during exams and it has been a wonderful couple of weeks. The one good thing no body else came down with the bug.

18 June 2017

Finished Top Ready for Borders

Block 8 and 9 are now finished.  The template for both these blocks have been available for a couple of weeks now.  You just haven't had a finished photo.

This morning I finished the centre row
 and put the quilt centre together.  

 I will update the putting it together instructions and start working on the borders next week.