Saturday, October 31, 2015

Fitness Friday - back to the grind

Back from holidays - got on the scales and they said "One at a Time Please" (sorry... old joke my dad used to tell)

But basically - I was the heaviest I've ever been... well equal heaviest. Back in 2012 when I had Barmah Forrest Virus I couldn't exercise (exhaustion was my main symptom) and my go to solution when I am not feeling good is to eat, I got to this weight too.

See we were on holidays... at my in-laws. (see my last blog post here for a summary of our holidays) Both my husband's brothers live on cattle stations (ranches). They work long hard hours and so eat really well - cooked breakfasts, smokos (morning and afternoon tea) with a variety of yummy foods, and huge evening meals. (the portions sizes were about double what I cook at home). Whilst at the younger brothers house I joined his wife in a glass of wine every night. Added to that I wasn't exercising. Not getting anywhere near my 10 000 steps a day. I had good intentions of going for a walk still each day but...... nah didn't do it. I spent a huge amount of my time sitting at my sewing machine enjoying making various projects... fun but not calorie burning.

So... I came back and got on the scales and they said (besides One at a Time) 99.5kgs. EEEK

Immediately I have clicked into sensible eating mode.

Fruit and low fat yoghurt for breakfast

Salad and tuna for lunch

Regular dinner but watching my portion sizes.

Fruit in between meals or low fat salada with vegemite.

No wine.

We have gotten back into walking. So far its only been in the evening but from Monday it will be mornings as well

 Its working. I have lost 1.5kgs in just a few days. I know some of this is just the settling down after having been away but still its good to see the scales lowering

Of course whilst we are at home its pretty easy but going out is more challenging but am proud to say I have been pretty strong. Went to Patchwork on Wednesday and didn't have any of the yummy treats that others had bought... just had my coffee.

Last night we went to a 60th birthday party. I made a cheesecake and a salad. I admit to licking out the bowl after I made it and when I had cut it up (the cheesecake that is) In the interest of lower calories I had bought the low fat cream... mistake. I was supposed to beat it (low fat cream doesn't thicken on beating) so had to add extra gelatine to thicken the mixture. I also used low fat condensed milk ... but the cream cheese,biscuist and butter  were the full deal... oh well.

Everyone had bought different things for the meal but I was restrained and heaped my plate with my salad and added just a few of the other yummy things on offer. For desert I ate lots of the fruit options. There were 4 pieces of cheese cake left but I left them in the fridge to share at church on Sunday. I have some individual ones left in the fridge here but I am taking them to a party this afternoon.

This morning we had a breakfast up at the church. Again I was pretty restrained... choosing the fruit options and had just one mini quiche. Very proud of me. This afternoon we have an engagement party and tonight we are going to a quiz night. And after church tomorrow we have lunch. Its crazy this weekend but I am determined to stay on track. I am not sure we will have time for a walk this afternoon (Jack says we will but he is always the optimist)

This morning I was 97.8kgs so that was a good start.

Fitbit steps this week
Saturday     4 416
sunday        5 088
Monday      1 049 (fit bit went flat)
Tuesday             0 (fit bit flat)
Wednesday 5 467
Thursday     7 823
Friday          5 778

Friday, October 30, 2015

Summary of our holiday

Fixit Guy and I were away for 18 days. It was somewhat shorter than the 5 weeks we had originally planned a few months ago but things happened that crimped bits of the beginning and the end and then we had something very special in the middle... so instead of going all the way up to Lawn Hills and getting in lots of camping and kayaking ... well we didn't do any camping or kayaking at all. In fact we ditched the camper trailer a few weeks ago and then on the morning of the day we were leaving we ditched the kayak as well.

We headed for Mackay for the first weekend where Fixit Guy attended a lay preachers workshop. I did a little bit of sewing, a little bit of shopping and a lot of catching up with 3 lovely old friends. We were all Australian Breastfeeding Association counsellors together. The 4 of us had first a coffee and then lunch together whilst we chatted and caught up with what each other had been up to over the years.

After church on Sunday FG and I headed for Townsville where we caught up with 3 more of my former ABA counselor friends for dinner (and one husband)

Monday we spent the morning doing some shopping and messages before heading up to the older of FG's 2 younger brothers. We spent a week with them at their property. FG got busy helping with life on the property as well as fixing a variety of things for them. On the property some jobs get left till they have time and when you are into your 4th year of a drought there isn't much spare time. So ... there were a good few jobs for him.

And then on his 2nd day (I think) he managed to scold his leg with boiling water whilst helping them slaughter a couple of pigs. That put a bit of a dampner on things for a few days for him but it didn't really slow him down. He was back on his feet helping where he could.

The next weekend we had our niece's 21st birthday... 80 people aged 4 months to mid 70s celebrated in style over the weekend. Most people slept over night - camping in their cars, tents or stashed all about the house, workers quarters etc.

FG and I didn't know a lot of the people there, or at least didn't know them very well but there were various family members and some old family friends that we enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with them.

The second week of our holiday we spent at the other brother's place. His wife had hurt her shoulder and so I was able to do a bit to help her - hanging out clothes and cutting up vegies etc.

Both properties like much of inland Queensland is incredibly dry. They are in the grip of a 4 year drought. There is no grass left on the place and they are feeding the cattle salt lick, molasses and cotton seed to keep them alive. In the week we were there 6 cattle died as a result of the drought.

I helped out in the house where I could, cooking a few meals, making biscuits and cakes for smokos (morning and afternoon tea) and I spent a day doing the mending.

We were really hopeful when we saw some storm building up but unfortunately they went around us.

Because the property is so isolated our nieces and nephews did school by correspondence till high school and then went to boarding school in Charters Towers (as did my husband and his brothers although they went to boarding school for a couple of years of primary school as well) The kids are weekly boarders coming home on the weekends. There is a bus that brings them to the turnoff from the highway, an hour from the house Each Friday my sister in law drives to the turnoff to pick up our niece K (in year 11) and nephew A (year 9) and they have the weekend at home. Then Monday morning she drives them back to the turnoff where they catch the bus back to town at 7AM.

It was great to have the kids home and be able to spend a bit of time with them. We had seen A at the party the weekend before but K hadn't come to the party as she had prior engagement. 

We came home Tuesday this week getting in rather late. It wasn't really a holiday that we had but it was great to have the time with family and to be able to help out. It was also a change from home and our commitments here.

Now we are back and into the swing of everything already. The dog and cat were glad to have us back, although they had been well cared for in our absence. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

WIP Wednesday

Fixit Guy and I arrived home last night having been away for 2.5 weeks.

I haven't kept up with my blog very well whilst I have been away. I had limited internet access for the first 10 days and then the last week the internet was at the main house on the cattle station and we were staying in the smaller cottage. I was free to use it as much as I liked but the speeds were slower plus I didn't want to impinge too much.

So... only the one blog update whilst I was away.

Now I am home and have lots to tell you... but for today I'll stick to my wips

I continued to work on bibs and aprons whilst away I made a total of

16 bandana bibs

Most of them had plain white lining but one of them got this lining cause as you can see I cut it out upside down..... oops

10 8"x8" bibs

6 of them are Christmas themed, using some of the funky Michael Miller baubles fabric I bought and co-ordinating colours

The cross hatching looked really effective on the bibs. I made the green spotted binding myself... my first attempt at my own bias binding and it worked out really well. I used it all up too.

4 8"x10' bibs

These Christmas bibs were my favourites Hopefully they will be really popular on the upcoming stalls

and 7 aprons.

Now I am home again I've stitched on the Handmade Love labels on most of them - I've run out of labels so I'll have to check if our co-ordinator has any left or if I need to buy some more fabric to print out some more

I had lots of opportunities to do hand stitching whilst away. As well as the long car trips I also had time sitting around talking to family and friends. I had counted them early on in the trip and then just kept adding to the count with each batch I finished... I recounted everything once I got home and the totals didn't tally... I had less than I thought.

 Still I have made 1 117 of them which means I have 418 of them to go... plus there will be half ones and diamonds to fill in sides. I'm going to have to cut some fabric to make the rest of them as I don't have suitable fabrics left in the 3" strips and squares.

I made 2 hanging towels whilst I was at my in laws which I gave to my SIL but didn't take a photo of.  I also hemmed a table cloth for her and did a heap of mending. I spent a while day fixing tears in work shirts, jeans, and shorts. My mending won't win prizes in the show but it put a heap of garments back into the usable piles.

WIP Wednesday  WIPs on Wednesday

Thursday, October 22, 2015

WIP Wednesday

I've been away from home for almost a fortnight (2 weeks) now. I didn't do much in the way of machine work for the first 5 days or so till I arrived at my brother-in-law and his wife's home, a cattle station north of Charters Towers. Having established that I wasn't up to outside farm work (they discovered that long time ago) and that my SIL had things pretty well covered in the house (with the help of her super efficient mother who had arrived the day after us) I happily got out my sewing machine and got busy.  

After I had finished the bibs and aprons that I had bought with me to put the bias on

 I started work on some panels I had bought with me. The panel consisted of 6 different little sayings about love on them. There were varying amounts of each saying - 6 of some, 5 of others and 4 of the rest. I worked out 5 different ways to finish each of the blocks off - mostly variations of log cabin blocks. I enjoyed sewing away for the next two days and getting them all finished. 

The next few days after I finished were pretty busy as we celebrated my nieces 21st birthday. Given that my in-laws live 150kms from town on a cattle property a party is quite an undertaking. Guests can arrive a day or two before and stay for a day or 2 afterwards. Most stayed at least one night so its more than just catering for one meal... they had to cater for several dinners plus lunches and breakfasts. So there was no machine sewing but I did stitch a good few hexies as I sat and talked to family and friends.

A couple of days after the party I accompanied another sister in law into Townsville as she had to attend a medical appointment and needed a driver. We returned at the end of a very long day to the property where she lives with my husbands other brother and we have been here ever since. Fixit Guy is living up to his name and has been fixing various bits and pieces here. I've been a bit more use here with my SIL being a bit incapacitated (She hurt her shoulder) - back on laundry duty.

However I have managed to get back to some sewing today. Today I made 8 bandana bibs. I had seen these cute looking bibs on various websites and decided to have a go at making some for the handmade love stall. I am really pleased with how they turned out. I used velcro for the closings... I can't do studs and don't have any buttons to do button closures... plus they would be harder to do up. So velcro it was.

I want to make some more bibs in Christmas fabrics. once I've done those I might make some more bandana bibs if I have enough fabric left over.

So how has your week been. What are you sewing?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Hey Guys

Been off the radar for a while now. We are currently on holidays visiting my husband's brothers who live on cattle stations (ranches for you American readers) in North Queensland. We had a week with one bil during which time we helped get ready for my niece's 21st birthday which we had on Saturday. Since then we helped clean up and then moved over here to the other bil's place. They have wifi so I have been able to link my computer up hence being able to post this (I couldn't do that at the other property as they don't have wifi and I couldn't remember my password to access it on the net... big oops)

Internet download here though is limited and slow and I don't want to burn it up too much so won't be on here too much.

Just a bit of an update.

I have done some sewing. I got the bias binding on some bibs (5 ) and also on some aprons (again about 5) I had sewn the bibs before we left home and the aprons were all cut out and ready to go. They are a super simple design - apron shaped (the kind with a bib) They have a pocket on the top part (top edge finished with bias, the rest just folded over and stitched down) There was another pocket along the hem line. Again the top of the pocket was finished with bias. Then a piece of bias was stitched from where the ties start  down the sides, all around the bottom of the apron (securing the pocket sides and bottom) and back up to the tie on the other side. The top of the bib was finished with bias. Then another piece of bias was stitched from where the other finished (with enough tail to be the tie) up to the top of the apron then a loop big enough for the head to go through was left (well bias sides sewn together) then stitched down the other side to where the ties start and then a tail long enough to tie was left (again stitched down into ties) Reall easy. I used purchased bias but am trying to learn how to make my own to be able to make them more ecconomically and also be able to use a variety of fabrics.

Aart from that my sewing has been hand stitching hexies. I have made a couple of hundred these holidays... up to 1031 done... whoo hoo. That's 2/3s of the way through it.

Hope to get my sewing machine set up and more sewing done whilst I am  here. I have a cute pattern for Bandana bibs I'd like to try and also make some more bibs using some Christmas fabric I bought in Machay. But we will see how I go.

My Sister in Law has hurt her shoulder and torn ligaments holding her scapula down. She has very limited use of her right arm at the moment so I'm her right hand man this week... literally!! She hurt herself 10 days ago so its not a fresh injury that I caused (in case you were wondering)

This morning as well as laundry duties I've made a double batch of biscuits using a recipe my other sister in law's mother Gail gave me. They look pretty good although not quite as good as her's. Next up I am going to make my dad's rock cakes. Usually my husband Fixit Guy makes them but they have him busy mending other things (living up to his name) so its my turn. First have to locate the recipe... stay tuned.

Hope you have all had a great week. If I manage to get the photos to up load I will add some to this post but will get this up now and see if I get back to edit it.

Hope you are all having a sucessful sewing week

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Stash Report

Despite the fact that I haven't done a stash report for a couple of weeks I have only 2 tiny finishes to report and even those are only the backs. I have managed to get 2 bibs for Handmade Love completed but the fronts of the quilt were supplied by HML so I can only count the backing... a measly 21.5cm square for each. I haven't done a whole lot of sewing at all over the last few weeks. 

Life has gotten in the way.I have finished off a banner (or did I talk about that last report... yeah I think I might have) but the front and back of it were donated so I only got to count the binding and the hanger. I had hoped to get stuck into the POD quilt but I haven't ... I realised that I needed to choose the background fabric for the "Wall" behind the quilt if I wanted to make the extra stuff to go around the bookshelf. I couldn't use the same stuff as I'd used for the background of the bookshelf. I wasn't sure I'd have enough for a start and I really thought that it should be different fabric. So put that on hold till I got to a shop. I do have local quilt shops but didn't really feel like spending $28m that is the usual shelf price. They do have sales and have some fabric that is less expensive but I couldn't be sure that they would have something suitable. I wanted to have a choice.

I have finished off my blocks for the Twilters Swap. We made the wonky hashtag.. or pound signs. I ended up making about 33 but 3 of them were too small to be used so ended up swapping 30. I will use my small ones on the back of the quilt. They will be mine. I can't count them till I get them all back and make up the quilt. 

I had thought about packing up the POD blocks and bringing them with me on our holiday but finding all the fabric that I would need for the paper piecing was going to be way too challenging. So left them all at home. .I had meant to pack my Amy Gibson blocks to finish off and then put together but that was forgotten too. Oops. And then I thought about bringing stuff to make zipper bags for HML but... uh... needed to choose the fabrics and then make sure I bought enough wadding etc so skipped them too.

Instead I have packed my Hexie project. I've bought all my cut and pinned squares, plus all the extra hexies I had cut out ready to pin, extra fabric to cut (all my 3.5" strips) extra hexies printed out to cut and all my premade hexies.. I am going to knock out so many hexies this trip. (lots of time in the car, lots of evenings sitting chatting to the family) I've done over 100 in 2 days so far. 

I'm storing the finishes hexies in this container I bought years ago but have never had a use for. Its perfect. I'm sorting them into colours. Originally I was going to sew them into flowers and have 17 such flowers made. But now I am not sure if I am going to continue with that design. My current plan is to stitch all the fabric I have cut into hexies and to keep cutting up my 3.5" strips into squares and stitching those. When I have about 1500 I will work out what I am going to do. Since doing the Joen Wolfrom colour workshop I am wondering if I can do an interesting design using some of her concepts... and the coloured hexies I have. I'm not sure. Just madly stitching hexies for the moment'

I've also packed a Christmas project. Its a panel and some extra fabrics... not sure what I am going to do with it but will have 2 weeks to work on it so hopefully will get some way with it.

I did  have some time in a fabric shop yesterday. I've bought 2 metres of background fabric for my POD quilt and 5 fat quarters of funky Christmas fabric... well 2 of them are christmas fabric and 3 are co-ordinating plains. I hope to make some great baby bibs for our Christmas stall for Handmade Love. They should appeal to the younger mums out there.

So... That is a total of 3.34 metres in and only .09 of a metre out... not good figures. That's the first negative I've had this year I think... or almost anyway. Can't whine too much. If I get POD finished this year it will be a big outage

Week 41

          Fabric Used                      0.09    
          Fabric Added                    3.34

Year To Date
         Fabric Used                    135.28
         Fabric Added                    56.15        

Net Used/Added                       79.15

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times

Saturday, October 3, 2015

September Goal Review and October goals

Here it is the 3rd day of september and I am yet to do my review of last months goals or put up some for October. 


lets kick off with September Goals

POD Quilt

  •  POD block 10
  • POD block 30 

These are both completed and I have got the 30 weekly 

blocks sewn together into 6 strips and have pulled the papers 

off 3 strips

However I haven't done any of the extra blocks...

  • POD photo frame block
  • POD flying key block
  • POD Sword of Griffindor
  • POD block Dobby
  • POD Nimbus broomstick

Raggy Hearts Quilt
  • Make extra Raggy Hearts- DONE
  • Complete Raggy Hearts quilt

I got the Raggy Hearts quilt completed and sent off to my 

friend Linda who is currently undergoing treatment for 

breast cancer

  • Complete Pink Pizzazz 

This quilt involved putting together blocks made by our quilt

 group. It is done now and is to be given to a group 

fundraising for breast cancer

  • Complete Going Green quilt

This quilt was completed and sent off to a friend who has recently

 undergone surgery and had a number of complications and so had

 a longer than expected recovery. Its now on her bed.

  • Make 30 Hashtag blocks for Twilters Swap 
The Twilters on Facebook are having a block swap using the

 wonky hashtag block (or pound sign as it was called by Amy

 Gibson) I have completed mine... made 33 but 3 of them were

 stuffed up so I kept them and sent the other 30 off. Well actually

 Lindy has them to send off for me. She will keep one of mine and

 will send 2 of mine and 2 of hers to the other Aussie Twilters and

 send the rest overseas for the group swap.

  • work on Christmas Project
Nope - nothing attempted
  • finish one UFO

Nope nothing worked on
  • make 100 hexagons for quilt -
I made over 170 of these so well and truly hit the target

  • mend 2006 hexagon quilt
I have mended the seams that had actually come undone but a lot of 
seams are under threat

  • complete last of Amy Gibson BOM blocks
Deliberately didn't work on this as I figured it was an easy project

 to take away with us when we go travelling this month

October Goals
  • Complete Amy Gibson Blocks  then sew blocks together
  • 200 hexagons for quilt
  • remove paper from POD blocks
  • Christmas project
  • Christmas UFO
  • Finish baby bibs for Handmade Love
  • Make zipper pouches for Handmade Love Stall
  • Finish the children's aprons for Handmade love
I am not putting down any of the POD blocks this month even

 though I would love to work on them because I am very busy the

 next few days and then on Friday we are going away for 3 weeks. I

 can take sewing with me but with the POD blocks I feel I need

 access to all my fabric to sew the blocks and I won't have this

 whilst we are travelling. We will be visiting family but I still hope

 to be able to sew. We are undecided yet as to whether we are

 taking our camper trailer or will stay in the house with family and

 motels at other times.