Monthly Archives: November 2012

Yippee!! my first award


The Liebster award

I am very honoured to have been nominated for the Liebster Award by my friend and fellow blogger at Sowninpeace. Please check out the wonderful work she does for a great cause. This award is given to ‘up and coming’ bloggers (with 200 or less followers) to give recognition and encouragement for their blogging efforts. I think the award originated in Germany and the word “liebster” means “dearest” in English. So here goes, I hope I manage this correctly. First I have to give 11 random facts about myself:

. When I was a little girl I wanted to be an ice skater or ride a horse in the circus – neither of these came true!
. Growing up, I always wanted to have two little boys one day – this wish did come true!
. I love an afternoon nap – I think its highly under-rated!
. I would love to learn Spanish one day.
. I love Thai and Indian curries
. People think I’m very calm and in control (they don’t know the half of it)!
. People generally think I know what I’m doing …. I don’t!
. I used to love ski-ing but my knees can’t take it any more unfortunately.
. I love the smell of newly cut privet hedge and freshly ground coffee.
. I love a really gooey chocolate cake
. I love random acts of kindness.

Now to answer the 11 questions set by my nominator sowninpeace:

1. what colour is you hair naturally
Brownish/greyish but probably more greyish now than brownish.

2. what is the one appliance you NEVER use but still own
A pasta maker – I got it for a wedding present 19 years ago and I am going to get round to using it one day, I promise!

3. what cd is in your player
I haven’t checked but its bound to be a Neil Young because thats all my husband listens to!

4. Snow or no snow….
Snow but a bit unlikely in Melbourne!

5. What is the one appliance you couldnt do without
My hairdryer

6. What your fav beverage other than coffee/tea
Well if champagne counts as a beverage….

7. do you have a Disney item other in your house now name it
A stuffed Piglet from Winnie the Pooh

8. What book are you reading e books count
Sister by Rosamund Lupton

9. What is on your fridge door
A whole lot of stuff and about 3000 words for making up silly lines like: “explode the funk fish” and “memories flood toilet” well there are teenage boys in the house what do you expect?

10. Name five items that are in the junk drawer – everyones got one some place….
A glass bead, giant paper clip, felt furniture pad, piece of k’nex and a kids’ book bonus card from 2003!

11. What holiday tradtion are you looking forward to this year….
Christmas with our friends who are also from Uk and don’t have family in Australia. We take it in turns to cook dinner and celebrate together and our children have grown up together. We have turkey, Christmas pudding and then all collapse to watch a movie and later play a few games.

Now its my turn to nominate 11 blogs for the Liebster Award and here they are:

Oh Sew Tempting
Occasional Crafter
Purple Sprouting
My Home Makes
Nice Piece of Work
Blogging in the Slowlane
Winter Owls
A Quilter’s Journey

Should you choose to accept the award please do as I have and mention who nominated you with a link to this blog, give 11 facts about yourself followed by answering the 11 questions I will give you, then nominate 11 bloggers you admire (with 200 or less followers) and ask them 11 questions of your own. Here are my 11 questions to you:

1. Who would you most like to meet (living or dead)?
2. Do you have a craft that you would like to tackle one day?
3. What did you last see at the movies?
4. Favourite book?
5. Early bird or night owl?
6. Three words that best describe you
7. What do you most like about blogging?
8. What makes you laugh?
9. If you could come back as an animal, what would it be?
10. Your most embarrassing fashion statement
11. Where in the world would you most like to visit?

Well its been fun – I hope my nominees accept the challenge and don’t find it too arduous!

In Praise of Disasters


I’ve decided to share something with you all and let me tell you it has taken more than a little courage. I much prefer to show those nice little things I can feel at least a modicum of pride over. But here it is (in all its ugly glory) my first ever attempt at patchwork!!

Probably some time around 2002, I had taken an interest in my friend Carol’s foray into the world of quilting and as she would bring around her newly acquired fabric and waft it under my nose, I had the overwhelming urge to rush out and buy some for myself. So off I went to the local Lincraft Store and bought a very un-thought out bundle of fat quarters and whisked them back home as fast as I could.

Of course the sensible thing would have been to receive some form of instruction and buy some basic equipment such as: ruler, rotary cutter and cutting mat and choose a nice simple project such as squares. Possibly also get some advice on tonal balance, scale of pattern etc. but pffffft to all that preparation malarky. I had seen a picture I liked of an attic-window quilt and that was enough for me. So off I set with a pair of scissors, an old crappy sewing machine and no idea that a 1/4 inch seam, actually means that the seam has to be 1/4 inch (not just there-abouts!) and here is the marvellous result:

First effort!

I keep it well out of sight but can’t quite bring myself to get rid of it. If anything its quite good to be able to look back and say “well at least i’ve made progress!” and there is something about the memory of the unbridled enthusiasm I felt at the outset of going out to choose fabrics for my first ever patchwork project that comes back to me every time I look at it so I think it will stay tucked away at the bottom of the drawer and I’ll just take a fond (if slightly cringing) peek at it every now and then.

I was reminded of this ‘unbridled enthusiasm’ thing recently when I read a post on the happy zombie’s blog. She shared a story of the gingerbread man she made out of felt when she was in brownies as a child and how the end result just didn’t live up to expectations!! I have put a link to it here and would urge you to take a look because it just makes me smile every time I think of it!

So here’s to all our little disasters and lets try to keep some fondness for them and not beat ourselves up too much!

Up the garden path (with a dog)!


Well actually I don’t know whether this is a garden path quilt but I do know that I started it on a retreat about 3 years ago and I’m mighty relieved that I finished stitching on the binding last night at our monthly get together. Wow what a good feeling (must remember to do the lable though).

I started it after finishing a quilt for my mum’s 80th which was a mixture of pink, cream and green florals and thought I had better use the left-overs up, so having seen a friend make a similar pattern I made the triangle blocks up and in between placed a nine-patch and this was what I got.

I machine quilted it myself using the diagonal lines as a guide.

Finished at last – garden path quilt

I can’t say that these are my usual colours I would choose and I had some serious reservations about the dark green but still it has a bit of old fashioned charm and will still be nice to wrap around on a cool night!

Photographer’s assistant just helping out!

By the way if anyone does know the name of this pattern, feel free to let me know but I won’t be changing the title as it took me long enough to think of this one!

Origami flowers


This has to be one of the most successful first attempts I’ve ever had with learning a new craft! and I suppose what I mean by that is, the finished object actually resembled what I was aiming for – that doesn’t happen very often for me.

I was so impressed with the result that I just had to share it and have a go at my very first tutorial…. so here goes and I hope you like it.

You will need a sheet of decorative paper such as scrapbooking paper which is easy to fold and holds its shape well.

Cut 5 x 4″ squares

Take one 4″ square

Fold it diagonally

Then fold each outer point up to the middle point to get this shape

Fold one side out

and then the other side

Pick one side up to a point

Squash the crease down to open it up

and then the same to the other side

Fold down the two triangles so you are left with this shape

Fold the outer triangle in to the centre

and the same to the other side

Glue the two outer triangles

and curl it round sticking both sides together…..Now make 4 more like this.

Gently squash each petal down

Glue down each length

Glue them together, one at a time

and you should end up with this

You will then need: one piece of floristry wire, one header pin and a suitable bead

Run the floristry wire through the centre and the header pin through the bead and into the top of the flower. (if it is too loose, a drop of hot glue under the bead should hold it in).

Finally – done and hopefully looks something like this!

Then its time to get carried away and make a whole bunch!

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial and I would love to see your versions – I’m thinking they will make nice Christmas decorations. Good luck!

The Red House – Home of William Morris


Another place I should have known about – it was on my doorstep for so many years but has taken me until now as a returning tourist to finally see. The Red House was commissioned and lived in by William Morris in the 1860’s. He was founder of the Arts & Crafts movement in Victorian England and well known for the wonderful designs that we are so familiar with today (particularly fabric and wallpaper). He and his fellow artists were very fond of all things medieval and helped to bring about a gothic revival in architecture. As you can see by the photo of his house it has a very gothic look to it:

The Red House – half an hour from the centre of London

Part of the garden

Morris married the young artists model Jane Burden who caused more than a bit of a stir in Victorian England by not wearing corsets! Jane was from very humble beginnings, her father being a groomsman but she was a great beauty and a favourite muse for the group of artists Morris associated with and Jane was seen as the perfect example of pre-Raphaelite beauty. Once she was married to Morris she re-invented herself, learning french and italian and learning to play the piano. Jane was also responsible for the beautiful embroidery hanging in the dining room:

One of the embroideries from the dining room

Detail of embroidery

Window seat in the bedroom

Front door designed by William Morris

Front door detail showing painted glass