Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Stash Report

I got a parcel in the mail this week. It contained 15 fat quarters from a bundle I had bought on Massdrop. I had totally forgotten that I had ordered it. Its from a fabric line called Pearl Bracelets by Lizzy House for Andover fabrics. Its the first time I have bought a complete fabric line bundle of any sort. Its a lovely lot of fabric and I have no idea what I am going to do with it. They are all tone on tone but in a range of colours. Not sure what I will do with them but it will be fun working it out.

I love Massdrop. They have recently started a craft department and have some really great deals. I just bought a gingher seam ripper. I like the fact that they post to Australia and that their postage rates are reasonable. They have had patterns, kits, gadgets as well as fabric as well as all sorts of technological gear. Check it out here

No finishes although my Oprhan block quilt top is ALMOST put together. I am just trying to get the borders on... had a few ISHEWS with it but its so close to done now. That has been the only project I have worked on this week as we were away camping and no sewing got done.

Used this week:                                0m

Added this week                               3.43m

Year to Date Used                      122.28m
Year to Date added                      90.82m
Net Used                                          31.46m

Linking up with Sunday Stash Report @Patchwork Times

Thursday, September 11, 2014

WIP Wednesday on Thursday

I can tell you now that at the moment there is no working going on. Fixit Guy and I are camping at a place where we have to rely on solar power so not enough power to run my sewing machine so I didn't bring it. For some reason he thinks that the fridge and the lights are a priority for the power we generate! The hide of the man! There is also no mobile phone (cell phone) reception so I can’t connect to the net out here either. A time for hand sewing – yeah only I didn't leave myself enough time to prepare any to bring with me. Arghh. We shall see how stir crazy I go over the next few days. (so far so good)

My current WIPs are
Vanishing Hours (Disappearing Hour Glass)
No progress from last week. All the blocks have been cut up and 8 have been put back together. I am loving the way the pattern is working out. My blocks aren’t all uniform but I will be able to fudge them and make them work I hope. Have been wondering about whether I will sash the blocks or not. Will get them put together and then put them up on my design wall and think about it some more. Because I am camping I won’t get to sew them this week at patchwork but I might break my self imposed rule and work on them  a bit at home.

Jean’s Jeans. (Denim jeans quilt)
No more progress from last week. All the circles are made and marked, the 5” squares are selected. All ready to sew. I will make sure I pack a denim needle to help my little machine cope with the fabric. I still have more jeans I could cut up. I nearly put them in to bring with me as my hand project. I could have drawn the circles cut and marked them but since I am not convinced I want to make a second one thought that I would leave it till I was sure. This is the method I am using. Its the Blue Jean Quilt by Penny Halgren 

Orphan Block Quilt (need to come up with a proper name for this one)
I have really enjoyed playing about with this quilt. The centre is together and I have been working on the borders. I made one that is checker board pattern from 4 patches. I haven’t attached it because I have decided that I will make a second border from flying geese units and sew the two borders together first. Then I will make one corner stone block for both quilts together. I am thinking of doing a pinwheel or a square in a square. Will see when I get there. I am still making the flying geese units.  Some of them I am making in pairs so that I will be able to put them together to make square in a square units. I am thinking of having 5 of these per side so have made 20 sets of pairs. Still need to make the other 64 flying geese for the single units that will go in as flying geese. 

The 5 designs. Favouring the far right one or 2nd left one. Not keen on the 2nd right one

Sorry no photos yet of fling geese border cause its not made. LOL.
I was doodling border designs in church and have come up with 5 different ones and will choose the one that I want to use when I go to put them together. I have ruled out one but like the other 4… maybe I will do a different one on each side. That would work.

Spring Organising Challenge.
Yeah – this hasn't really happened although I did clean out the freezer and the cupboard in the laundry on Saturday. It was good to get them both done. As a result of having every thing out of the freezer I decided to cook up a few of the things that had been there a while. I made Spinach and Feta rolls to use up some filo pastry and frozen spinach. They worked out quite well even though the feta cheese was just ordinary grated cheese. I also made up a quiche to use up more of the pastry and some ham. That worked well too. We had a lunch at church on Sunday and I took both with me as our contribution (spread the love and the danger… no one got sick so they were all okay obviously) It was good I had done the cheese substitution as one of the women who stayed for lunch can’t eat feta but can eat ordinary cheese.

Linking up with 
WIPs on Wednesdays  

Fitness Friday - - Woe is me

I’m having problems with my Fitbit. It seems my Fixit Guy getting his own has jinxed mine. I got him one for Fathers’ Day (I found one 2nd hand on a local facebook site and it was too good to pass up) He charged it and connected up and at that point we realised that the step counter on my phone dashboard has disappeared. It doesn't come up when we hit the edit button… its gone from there too. At first we couldn't get it to sync with the computer either but then we got that working but still no steps on the phone. 

We deleted the ap from my phone and reinstalled it but still no steps.  I emailed Fitbit but haven’t heard back from them yet. (5 days later... not impressed)  It was very frustrating as I like checking on my steps through out the day to get an idea of how many more I need to get done to make my minimum. When I logged in after we got  back from our camping trip it said that there was no device paired with my account. What? Somehow it had been deleted. So I reinstalled it... as a new device and low and behold my step counter has reappeared on my phone. It has counted todays steps but I have lost my steps for the days we were away. Then Fixit Guy checked his phone and he had lost his step counter. He checked on the computer and now he had no device paired with his phone. We realised that what had happened is that my fitbit got paired with Fixit Guy's account so all the steps that was registering on his account were actually my steps, which accounts for why his pedometer (which he continues to wear) and his fitbit step count were so out of whack at times. He has tried again to install his fit bit and for the moment at least we both have steps appearing on our ap. Will see if it continues to do the right things. Meanwhile my status on the fitbit rankings has slid down to about 19th!

This has been going pretty well although there was one day we didn't get our steps. Fathers’ Day. Sundays are often a challenge for us to get out for 2 walks and without 2 walks I generally find it hard to get to 10 000 steps. Plus Sunday mornings are usually pretty sedentary with our church service and after service morning tea which stretches out till  lunchtime. This week we had lunch after church as well. Then we had to pick up Fangirl from the plane at 3.30 and we had a meeting at church at 5 which was followed by soup and bread for a shared dinner. And then Doctor Who in the evening. Not much time for exercise. We did squeeze in a quick walk around the block so the dog didn't get too annoyed with us. So apart from Sunday we have made sure we have got out 10 000 steps in.

We have a new team member for our Steptember Team. I asked Fangirl’s friend Sam if she would join us. She is my friend on Fitbit (and real life too) and is usually ahead of me in steps… well and truly… sometimes I pass her but that’s usually cause she’s at school teaching and I am getting my steps in early. She goes to the gym after work and runs and blasts me out of the water (or off the track…)So she was a good person to have on board. Trouble is now I am coming third out of 4. Fixit Guy has shorter legs than me so even when we walk the same distance he ends up with more steps. He’s also a busy beaver around the house and so gets up more there too. Just as well I have Fangirl on the team to make me not look so bad!! Mind you….I have the highest fundraising for our team, well and truly. I set a goal of $500 for our team for the month. We still haven’t made it yet but there’s still time. (if you want to donate to us click on this link)

We camped for a few days this week at Theresa Creek Dam, which is only 1.5 hours from where we live but it is the first time we have been here despite living in the area for over 31 years. There is plenty of nice flat ground for camping on and trees for shade. There are no powered sites but we have gas for cooking and some light and solar panels to run the fridge and run more lights. We can also have wood fires which we have enjoyed.

As well as  having no powered sites, mobile (cell) reception at the camping area was very limited. Mostly it was no reception but occasionally there would be a little. No mobile meant no internet. That played havoc with my plans to assuage my sewing desires by watching a few of my Craftsy Classes.

One of the things we enjoy about camping is the cooking and eating we do. Being able to have camp fires meant that we could use our camp oven a little. We made a desert in it which was yummy. Our camp oven is rather large - hangover from when we camped with all our kids. I think we need to invest in a smaller one. The desert I made was enough for 3 nights!

The other cooking experiment we had this trip was with The Dream Pot that I gave  Fixit Guy “Dream Pot” for Fathers’ Day. 

Step 1: Start itStep 2: Transfer itStep 3: Leave itStep 4: Eat it!
Put ingredients into the supplied DreamPot inner saucepan.  Then place saucepan on any heat source to start the cooking process.  Boil/heat/partially cook for a short time with lid on (times are stated for each DreamPot recipe). Stir occasionally.Once timings are complete, transfer the inner saucepan into the DreamPot and close the lid.The DreamPot will continue to cook your meal until ready. (It’s time for time, just like your kitchen oven). No further energy consumption will be used, thanks to the DreamPot’s insulation, which maintains the cooking temperature of the saucepans! No stirring or checking is necessary. Enjoy cooking one or two course meals!After the minimum required cooking time your meal is ready to serve.  Enjoy now or later; if the meal is ready before you are, it will keep safely hot in the DreamPot.
We cooked rice in it the first night (cook for 1 min and then rest in the insulated container for 20 mins) and it worked really really well. The next day we cooked chicken and bacon stew and it was so good.

We kept fairly active whilst camping. We went on a couple of walks each day in order to get up our 10 000 steps. There wasn't any walking tracks although we did walk along the foreshore of the dam for us much as we could, enjoying the birdlife that was prolific there. 

We also walked along the road into town, up the incline to where the water tower was. We found that there was better phone reception there and so our daily walk was our chance to check emails and phone messages.
My brother posted the photo below on facebook

Photo: Sounds about right...

We pretty much did all this. Just to prove we did the sunset bit, my last photo

 So how has your fitness challenges been this week. I haven't weighed myself since we got home. Don't want to know!! I can't report my daily or weekly steps because of my fitbit hassles. Hopefully they are all resolved now and this will be a better week.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday – Blue and Yellow Quilt

When I first started quilting I joined an online quilting group called Southern Cross Quilters, a group especially set up for Australian and New Zealand quilters. To be a member of these groups you had be either living in one of those countries or an expat from one of those countries currently living abroad.

I enthusiastically joined in lots of swaps and joined various groups. One was a birthday swap group. People who signed up for this swap were put into a number of different groups with the aim being to have a spread of months of the year.  The sign up included not only your name address and date of birth (month and day only. We didn’t have to confess the year LOL) but also your colour preferences. Everyone in the swap received this information and we posted off two fat quarters in the person’s colour choices to arrive around their birthday. 

My colour choices were yellow and blue. We had recently redecorated our rumpus room in these colours and I thought I would make a nice quilt to go in the room.
In due course my swaps arrived and eventually I chose a pattern that I thought would make a nice quilt in these colours. The pattern was in a magazine (or was it a book… hmmmm) I had to make a template (just one) and all the fabric had to be cut up according to this template which was what I call a picket fence shape… a rectangular shaped block at the bottom with a right angled triangle on top. I cut up all the suitable fabric from my birthday stash.

 Life got busy, someone asked to borrow some magazines and books, I lent them, got them back eventually but by this time I had forgotten where the pattern was and even WHAT the pattern was. The cut up shapes were packed away in a plastic ziplock bag and basically forgotten about.

Fast forward to 2011 or 12 when I started my UFO challenge. These pieces were part of my UFO list. I couldn’t find the pattern… not knowing what it was like didn’t help at all. So I designed a new pattern all by my self and set about making a quilt. Back then I didn’t have a design wall – I had a design floor.

 My cats didn't always help the process.

 Eventually I got the quilt made. I had to cut some more yellow fabric as for some reason I had way more blue. I had cut some of the blue ones the wrong way around. These were ones that got trimmed up for some of the shorter shapes I needed for the design.

 I was very happy with how it turned out. At some point when going through my magazines  ripping out the patterns that I liked and thought I would use I came across the original pattern. I liked the original a lot and thought that I might try to make it again… although once again I have lost the pattern. It should be in my saved patterns so I should be able to find it without much difficulty… one day perhaps.

Quiltin Jenny

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Stash Report - Zippo

Another week with no finishes and no purchases so its all things staying the same.

Used this week:                                0m

Added this week                               0m

Year to Date Used                      122.28m
Year to Date added                      76.39m
Net Used                                        45.89m

I have been working on 3 projects this week. The denim jeans quilt which I have almost definitely decided to call Jean's Jeans Quilt is ready to take away with me. All the circles are cut out with the square drawn in them. The 5" squares to go in them are selected and sitting with the circles. I need to buy thread and machine needles to take with me to work on them. I think I will buy a slightly larger box to carry them with me as they don't fit in the one work box. Or I can put them in two boxes I guess.

Vanishing Hours - Disappearing Hour Glass Quilt. 8 blocks made. 22 cut up and ready to sew together.

Orphan Block Quilt. This is the one with the most progress made since my WIP Wednesday report. I am working away on the border for this. I have made one border from 4 patches - a checker board border I call it. All 1.5" finished squares. I am now working on a flying geese border which is 2"x4" finished. Some of the units I will leave as flying geese and others I will pair up to make squares on point. The border will have 26 units per side and I am putting 5 of the square units on each side. At the moment though I am still making flying geese. I've made about 40 of the 108 I need to make. I would love to sit up late tonight and sew a heap more but need to get a few more jobs done before I go to bed. Have a walking appointment at 6AM tomorrow.

Tomorrow Fixit Guy and I are going camping for a few days. That is the plan. Its started raining today although really its just a bit of drizzle. We will see how the weather looks tomorrow. No great rush to get away and we can play it by ear. The place we are going doesn't have powered sites so there will be no machine sewing. I haven't got my applique project set up so can't start on it which is frustrating. I will have to hunt about and see if I can find some hand stitching to take with me or I just might go stir crazy

Today was Fathers' Day here in Australia. As it turned out none of our kids were home. The 3 boys all live away from home in Melbourne and Brisbane. And Fangirl was in Brisbane for a Comi Con Convention getting her geek on. She took Boyo with her as his birthday present and by the photos and FB status up dates they had a ball together. She flew in this afternoon and so we spent some time this evening together. We had a church meeting on at 5 and it was followed by soup to share. She came home afterwards and we watched Dr Who together on her iPad since we were too late to watch it on tv and the website was playing up and we couldn't watch it via the website but could watch it on the Ap. 3 of us watching it on her iPad. It was cosy!!

I changed my profile picture on Facebook to one of my dad with my daughter. Over the course of the day Fangirl, Massage Man, and Boyo all changed their profile pictures to one of them with their dad. 

Fangirl with her Grandpa

Fixit Guy with his 3 sons 2012

Fangirl with her biggest fan 2012

Boyo and Fixit Guy ready for his school formal

I gave Fixit Guy a fitbit for father's day. So now we both have one. Mine is playing up though... I've lost the step counter off my iphone. I have re synced it. I have uninstalled it and then reinstalled it but the steps still aren't coming up. Not sure what the problem is. I have gone to the edit function on the ap and tried to do it there but the step counter is not showing up at all. Tonight... technology is not my friend.

Linking up with Stash Report@ Patchwork Times

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fitness Friday

Have had a slightly better week this week with diet and exercise. Although I have by no means stinted myself I have tried to make better choices. I have also bought a pile of salad things and have been having a salad for lunch instead of toasted cheese and tuna sandwiches that my husband usually makes for me. I did have a major blow out yesterday at Patchwork. One of the women there made Lattice Slice and I had 2 pieces of it for morning tea and was eyeing off another one for lunch but I resisted. Came home and ate 2 rock cakes instead! Fixit Guy had been baking whilst I was out and they were fresh out of the oven and sitting on the bench daring me to eat one. For my non Australian readers you might be wondering what Lattice Slice is here are 2 versions of it. The one we had yesterday was the recipe on the right but she had a lemon glaze icing not passionfruit.

 No bake vanilla slice

As for Rock Cakes. They are an old fashioned cross between a biscuit and a cake. They have been around for many many years. I take some up with me most weeks to share with the residents when I help with the service in the Aged Care Hostel here in town. Fixit Guy bakes them using a recipe my Dad used to use. I will post a fuller blog on them one day when I have some photos of what we do but here is one off the net
Rock cakes

Despite that day I have managed to lose some weight over the week and this morning I am down to 88.1kgs. Only 8.1kgs to go

My walking has been good all week. I even managed to run one day when my walking buddy wasn't able to walk with me and Fixit Guy was nursing a sore ankle. Actually my walking buddy had eye surgery and was out all week but FG walked with me the rest of the week. We walked twice most days and I met my 10 000 step goal each day. As I write (2.15PM Friday) my 7 days Steps are sitting on 85 741 and I am sitting 2nd behind Terje. I am ahead of Sam but as she is a teacher she is more active in the evenings when she goes to the gym. Having said that though I have been a head of her a good bit this week, finishing the day ahead on some occassions or not too far behind so I have been pleased with that. My weekly walking stats are

Friday 29; 14 826
Saturday 30; 10 689
Sunday 31; 10 044 ( I had to do a lot of running on the spot late at night to get to my 10 000 that day)
Monday 1: 16 529
Tuesday 2; 12 757
Wednesday 3; 14 406
Thursday 4; 15 180 

Wednesday was the start of Steptember (I had thought it was starting on Monday but nope we had 2 days grace) The idea is that throughout September we undertake to do 10000 steps each day for 28 days straight (3-30 September) Its raising money for a great cause - Cerbral Palsy. If you want to support me this is my link.

And now for some random photos. Last Sunday Fixit Guy, Fangirl and I went on a bbq out at our local dam. Whilst we were cooking the bbq this fellow came and perched not far from us. My phone was flat so Fangirl took these using Fixit Guy's phone. Aren't they gorgeous

 Please link in your fitness report for this week or else add a comment below. Lets all play along and encourage each other with our desires to get fitter and healthier

Throwback Thursday - Mum and Joes' Quilt

My Father In Law was a great gardener. They lived on a cattle Station (Ranch) that was over 2 hours from town. Only half the road was bitumen. The rest was gravel or dirt. When I first met them, which was just after Fixit Guy and I became engaged, they had no phone connected and the mail was delivered once a week. Their regular contact with the world was via the Flying Doctor Radio. ( Click on the link to find out about this. Its an Outback Australian institution that has been a lifeline for remote families and communities)They could get telegrams over the radio but nothing was private as everyone who tuned into that frequency could hear what was said. The radio operator in Cairns would call out a list of people/stations that they were holding telegrams for. If you heard your name called then you would radio in and let them know that you were there and then they would read out the telegram for you. There was a time set aside on the radio for chat. You could call up your neighbour/friend/family on the radio and they would reply and you could have a bit of a chat back and forth (on the understanding that anyone could hear what you were saying. Nothing was private or confidential)

The road into the Cattle Station

Cattle trucks coming into the station

It was a whole other life for me when I met them. Their nearest neighbour was 20 minutes drive away - dirt road and 6 gates to get to them.

My father in laws garden wasn't just a matter of a hobby, but pretty much necessity, to supply the family with fresh vegetables. He grew all manner of things and grew them well. Not everything would grow because of the heat and initially because of the soil. However he nurtured the soil. With the help of the Department of Primary Industries, he tempered the soil to get the ph right. He had a big compost container and used cattle and horse dung to enrich it.

Our 4 kids back in about 1998 on "Spring Park", their cattle station. This is looking back across from my parent's in laws new house to the quarters where one brother and sister in law lived and back to the original home they  built on the place. Joe's garden was between the two buildings you can see

My darling Mother in Law with our middle son (known as Kombi Boy) on left and cousin on right.

Fangirl at back herding the little ones - 2 cousins and our youngest, Boyo, Various sheds in the background. 

View from my Parent's in Laws verandah

As is the way with gardens, the harvest time for the various vegetables would come at one time and there would be an inundation of a particular vegetable be it carrot, pumpkin, tomato, cabbage, beans, spinach, beetroot, kohlrabi etc. So just as my FIL (whom we called Joe) was a great gardener so was my Mother In Law (whom we called Mum) a great preserver. Some vegies were cut up and frozen, some were preserved in vacola jars and some were made into chutney or relish.

Not long after I started quilting I decided that I wanted to make them a quilt for their bed and I reckoned that the pattern with the bottle block on it was perfect for them. I would fill each bottle with things that reflected their passions and their interests -not just the things that you would normally find in bottles. My MIL and my mum were both born in the same year -1922. In 2002 I had already started making my mum a quilt for her 80th birthday in September (you can read about it here) and I wasn't going to have time to make Mum C one for her birthday which was only a few months later in December. I decided I would make one in time to give it to Joe for his 80th birthday which was about 15 months later in February 2004. Sadly he was killed 8 months before his birthday in June 2003. I was so sad that I hadn't made it in time for him to enjoy however I decided to go ahead and make it anyway to give to Mum. I would still make it to reflect both their interests. And so I did. I enjoyed collecting up the different picture fabrics. I only have one photo of the quilt and it isn't in great. I gave it to my mother in law for Christmas the year he died. She used it on her bed for the rest of her life. After she died, aged 83 in February 2006 I let my brother in law and his wife have the quilt as they had admired it and said they would cherish it.

The quilt
Sorry that I only have the one rather dodgey photo. I've tried to enlarge it so you can see the rows better

Things have changed mightily since those days in 1982. They now have the telephone on. The mail comes twice a week. Whilst the nearest town is still 2 hours away, there is a smidgen more bitumen and the gates have gone. My brothers in law installed cattle grids to replace all the gates along the road. Now both my in laws have died. My brothers in law now run the station and another one near by. (well as near as it gets out there... about an hour's drive away )

My In Laws home is now used for visitors when they come to the property

The tower that enables the family to have more reliable contact with the outside world

Satellite TV

Some things remain the same - cattle yards

Horses are still used to muster the cattle

windmills to pump water for the cattle

Vast distances to neighbours and friends
Linking up to Throwback Thursday with Quiltin Jenny

Quiltin Jenny