Tuesday, 30 December 2008

our new fancy...... Nancy

Little Possum made a new literary friend today - "Fancy Nancy" has found her way to our bookshelf complete with glitter. We love Nancy and her fancy ways.... there's a girl who knows how to accessorise and to add a little sparkle to her day! I am reminded of the little adage "There will always be something in life for the person who can bring her sandwich outside and call it a picnic".

As soon as we finished reading the book, LP created "The Fancy Club" and I was invited to the inaugural meeting.

LP was chairperson and was giving a little lecture on what it means to be fancy. It is an exhaustive list covering everything from clothes to manners..... e.g. being kind, being honest, not poking people while at the table and (this is my favourite) not picking snot out of your nose and eating it (ok - do I need to point out that I meant this was my favourite item on the list, and not my favourite pastime?..........)

even Horsey the hobby-horse dressed up and looked very fancy indeed wearing LP's silk flower girl dress.

We read this book as a literary dip in the water, but we will definately read more of Fancy Nancy!


Photos - not enough taken
Food - far too much taken :)
Family - just the right amount!

We had a lovely Christmas, I was very good and stuck to handmade presents - with the exception of books..... I haven't quite mastered the art of printing yet :) Ironically, most of my presents were electronic. Notable exceptions being a lovely basket full of cookies from Maryanne, a cinnamonroll wreath from the Rigbys, and my lovely teacup candle from Carli (thank you!!!).

The best present this Christmas was the opportunity to spend a little time with auntie Beres (MOTH's aunt) who had travelled down from Brisbane. She's witty and sharp as a tack. The children have only met her once, but they got on like a house on fire. On Boxing Day Beres celebrated her 80th birthday, and what better way to spend your birthday than with a game of tennis? Sadly the photo of Beres and Turtle on the tennis court is not in my camera...

Friday, 26 December 2008

Thoughtful Friday

"Love came down at Christmas;
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Stars and angels gave the sign"
- Christina Rosetti

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Handmade Christmas - pencil rolls

In my quest for handmade presents this year, I decided that pencil rolls would make a perfect present for nieces and nephew. I searched for patterns and found one at Pink Chalk Fabrics. Pencil rolls must have been an inspired choice, because the following week Toni had her pencil roll pattern published in the Handmade magazine and Homespun magazine's Kids Issue has a pencil roll made using the wonderful "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" fabrics. All of a sudden I had an abundance of ideas.

I decided to combine elements from all three patterns and made a strippy lining in rainbow colours to match the colouring pencils I had bought while using Hungry Caterpillar fabrics for the outside layer and pocket. Instead of using a third layer of muslin or flannellette in the middle, I substituted interfacing with iron-on pellon for the outside layer.

Selecting fabrics from the stash was a whole lot of fun!

At the end of it all my work table out on the deck was a bit of a mess.

I made one 24 pencil roll and two 12 pencil rolls (ran out of interfacing, otherwise I think I would have made some more!). The 24 pencil roll is for our oldest niece and I thought she might feel a little too grown up for the hungry caterpillar so for the pocket I used a fabric bought at IKEA last year.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Thoughtful Friday

"Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony"

- Thomas Merton

Thursday, 18 December 2008

a word on weather..........

I love summer, but I must admit that I a get a little cranky on days when temperatures go above 30C .... my polar genes are not comfortable in the heat. I feel a little like my tomato plants, limp leaves and a bit on the droopy side. Then I found this little verse and it cheered me up, so here it is!

Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot,
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

just a WHIMM

One of the best thing about quilting is planning the next project (usually while still trying complete anywhere between 1-5 others). The quilt in the photo above (i.e. the quilt on the left) has caught my eye. It is a quilt designed by those clever women at Material Obsession and the pattern will be published in their second book in May next year. I think it will make a great stashbusting quilt, and would probably help clear out some of my scrap bin as well.

PS! For non-quilters:
WHIMM= Work Hidden In My Mind - a planned project which progresses to a
PIG (Project In Grocery sack) once I have gathered/bought fabrics for it and then to a
WIP (Work In Progress), but hopefully not a
UFO (Unfinished Object) and definately never a
WOMBAT (Waste Of Money, Batting And Time)....

summer.....sea, sand, sun.... Christmas

On my trips around BlogLand, I have wistfully read about first snowfalls and seen picture- postcard-beautiful photos of wintery landscapes and Aurora Borealis. Just by looking at the photos of fir trees, branches laden with snow I can feel the cold air and remember the sensation of the little hairs in my nostrils freezing and of the chill of snow falling down your neck from one of those branches. I have suffered snow envy.

But, then I remember that at the moment the grass is actually greener on this side of the fence, quite literally.... and then we have a day at the beach like yesterday, and I am happy to be walking around barefoot in summer clothes and not rugged up for a polar expedition!

Just in case

patterns in the rock

Life is good

Monday, 15 December 2008

yes..... I do quilt!

I suppose you could be forgiven for wondering since I haven't actually posted about quilting for aeons. Quite unforgivable for someone who has called her blog Carpe Quiltem. Incidentally there is another blog by the same name in Holland now, so I am suffering from an identity crisis.

But, I digress.... and now it's back to quilting:

This quilt pattern is called "I Spy" and was designed by Trish Harper. I completely fell in love with the bright colours and decided that I absolutely had to make it. It's been a UFO for awhile as I took a little break finishing the pieced blocks. But, I should have the appliqued blocks finished by the end of this week, and then I will be able to assemble and quilt next week. Hand quilting in bright cotton perle, my favourite!

The quilt top below is called "Checks and Planes" by Jenelle Kent. This is a stashbusting project, and was so quick and easy to assemble. At least the 'checks' were..... As I was cutting strips and squares with my rotary cutter and then chain-piecing on the sewing machine, I pondered how superefficient quilt making has become. I'm sure a time-travelling pioneer woman would marvel!
are you wondering about the 'planes' part? There will be appliqued aeroplanes around the border, all in check fabrics. Another handquilting project, and I also decided to use up all the leftover strips to make the binding. Am quite looking forward to the end result!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Higgledy-piggledy garden part 2

Back in October you may remember I started our higgledy-piggledy garden.I am happy to report that the experimental gardening seems to be working out quite well with the exception of my capsicum plant where the leaves closely resemble mesh, obviously proved a temptation too far for some little insect.

The herbs are thriving, and the strawberry patch off to the far left is growing so well.... we're going to have a great harvest of strawberries next year! My vegetable garden is so happy. I had to give the cucumbers and zucchini a bit of help with pollination which involved a soft paint brush and the identification of male and female flowers. Thanks to Suzi for helping me along that particular part of the gardening learning curve!!
I have so many pumpkin plants of different varieties that I see a lot of soup in our future... I may have to gather pumpkin recipes so I am open to hearing your suggestions! :)

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Handmade Christmas - wrapping paper

One sunny Saturday morning:
2 eager children in charge of a roll of paper + 4 trays of paint + stamps, brushes and hands=
homemade wrapping paper for Christmas!
Fascinating, isn't it, how craft projects seem to take up so much more time in planning, setting up and cleaning up than the actual crafting itself?
But, it was worth it for a lovely time together out on the deck, painting and using our stamps that we had made:
The sponge stamps were made cutting up kitchen sponges, and for the other stamps we glued string/twine into a shape.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Thoughtful Friday

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes"
- Marcel Proust

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Starry, starry night

I love the Starry Night painting by Vincent van Gogh, the swirls in the sky remind me of the Northern lights.

Enjoy this musical tribute to his art.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Handmade and recycled for Christmas

We bought a new cover for the ironing board the other day.... about time since all our clothes had lattice print after ironing. What do you do with an old ironing board cover? The fabric was not much good with all the stains, but the lining...... that nice fluffy heat resistant lining? Although it was too compressed for ironing, it still has a lot of mileage in it. Couldn't bring myself to throw it out, so thinking cap went on.......

/light bulbs go off in brain/ Oven mitts and potholders!! What better material to use for lining oven mitts?

I got 2 long rectangles and some squares out of the lining, and made the first one yesterday in a nice Christmas print. Forgot to sew a little hoop in the binding for hanging the thing up.... but I'll unpick the seam and sneak one in.

I am now pondering embellishment of the pockets..... I am thinking some applique holly leaves and suffolk puff berries to match the print, but I may settle for glued on green felt leaves.... I'll see how I feel later. But, now I have to go back to the sewing machine and quilt the other rectangle and squares! I am feeling quite Christmas'y making all these presents.... much more than when I go shopping for presents. It must be that making the gift is a gift itself...... double giving, double soft mushy feeling!!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Handmade Christmas - pebbles and pegs to fridge magnets

The kids painted pebbles with acrylic paint.... hot glue a magnet on the back for a lovely fridge magnet. Perfect grandparent present!
Meanwhile I made clothes peg magnets. I saw this idea in a magazine..... think it might have been Better Homes and Gardens...

It's a little fiddly, but the wooden clothes pegs can be taken apart for painting and then reassembled.

A few strips of scrapbooking paper, some scrapbooking buckles and a coating of ModPodge (wonderful stuff)
I've just got to glue the magnets on and Voila! memo pegs for the fridge....

Sunday, 7 December 2008

a heritage to treasure

Our lesson in RS today was based on the article "Happiness, Your Heritage" by Dieter Uchtdorf. Here is one of my favourite excerpts:

"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before. Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty. Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mould it into something of beauty."
Elder Uchtdorf points out that creativity is not limited to arts and crafts, but it's that aspect that I am pondering this afternoon. I love making things although my creations are usually made with more love and enthusiasm than actual skill.
This urge to/enjoyment of making and creating is part of my heritage. A heritage that comes from this line of women:
This is my great grandmother Marie in a photo that was in the local newspaper as she was interviewed on the occasion of her 97th birthday. The tapestry she is holding is the last one she made - in her 97th year. Her eyesight was failing and her fingers were no longer nimble enough to work on the tiny stitches of earlier years. Marie used to paint as well - not on stretched canvases, because they were not easily available. She painted on muslin using watercolours or on felt in oils:This was painted during the Great Depression. (photo taken at a funny angle because it's framed under glass to preserve it). Marie was a woman who found fulfillment although she lived through very hard times. She was compassionate and wise. She died a month short of 100 yrs but by then she had been around for my childhood giving me a strong sense of roots and belonging.

Here is my grandmother Ragnhild and my mother. "Mommo" Ragnhild was a midwife and she was widowed when my mother was 3, so as a single, working mother she may not have had much time to indulge her creative urges. But, create she did. In the photo above she and my mother are wearing the traditional costumes of the region. Ragnhild sewed the costumes and did all the embroideries on the dresses and the shirts. In an upstairs room of her house there was an enormous loom where she made rugs. The rugs were made out of strips of clothing that were past repair and use. She was ever thrifty. Outgrown handknitted jumpers were unravelled and the wool used again for another jumper or socks/mittens. I don't get much use out of them here in our current climate, but I still have mittens she knitted me....

My mother embroidered, knitted and crocheted. Her last creation before she passed away was a crocheted bedspread she made us. I feel her love when I wrap myself in it. Some days she would only have been able to do a single row, but I know she wanted to finish it and leave it behind.
LP is the next in line.... as the 5th generation of needlewomen. Well, it might be too early to say whether she develops a passion for sewing, but I know she loves creating her own little works of art. She wanted to learn how to sew, and so yesterday we started by making felt ornaments:

This will warm a grandma's heart at Christmas!