Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Counting Down...

Annoyingly, Blogger doesn't support animated gifs. Pity. Click on the image to see what is was supposed to look like.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Chistmas To All!

When I was in primary school, the end of year concert was dominated by some wonderful Australian Christmas songs. Here's three of my favourites.

Christmas Day
The North Wind is tossing the leaves,
The red dust is over the town,
The sparrows are under the eaves,
And the grass in the paddock is brown;
As we lift up our voices and sing
To the Christ-Child the Heavenly King.

The tree-ferns in green gullies sway;
The cool stream flows silently by;
The joy bells are greeting the day,
And the chimes are adrift in the sky,
As we lift up our voices and sing
To the Christ-Child the Heavenly King.

Carol of The Birds

Out on the plains the brolgas are dancing,
Lifting their feet like war horses prancing,
Up to the sun the woodlarks go winging,
Faint in the dawn light echoes their singing,
Orana! Orana!Orana! To Christmas Day.

Down where the tree-ferns grow by the river,
There where the waters sparkle and quiver,
Deep in the gullies Bell-birds are chiming,
Softly and sweetly their lyric notes rhyming
Orana! Orana!Orana! To Christmas Day.

Friar-birds sip the nectar of flowers,
Currawongs chant in wattle-tree bowers,
In the blue ranges Lorikeets calling,
Carols of bushlands rising and falling,
Orana! Orana!Orana! To Christmas Day.

Christmas Bush for His Adorning

All the bells are gaily ringing,
Birds in every tree are singing;
Let us in the golden weather,
Gather Christmas Bush together.
Christ is born! The angels thunder,
Thru’ the Heavens their tale of wonder,
While we pluck for His adorning
Christmas Bush this hallowed morning.

Christ has conquered Evil’s power
Hear the bells rock every tower
Birds and beasts lift up their voices,
Freed at last the world rejoices.
Onward with triumphant chorus,
Following the road before us,
Singing thru’ the golden weather,
Gath’ring Christmas Bush together.

My sincere thanks to A Growing Delight who posted these and more on her site, bringing back some wonderful memories.

Wishing you a peaceful Christmas and a New Year filled with hope and joy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

'Tis the Silly Season

If you've got nothing better to do today, why not take...

The Wrapping Paper Test

You are Considerate and Mature

You approach the holidays with responsibility and co-operation.
You'll do your part to make sure that everyone else has a happy holiday.

You aren't particularly picky or high maintenance during the holidays.
You're happy to be in the company of people you love, and you're willing to "go with the flow."

Of all the types, you are the most likely to give someone exactly what they want.
You're also the most likely to wrap all your presents well - to prevent peeking!

Well...I did say it was the silly season!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Photo

This is Australian folk singer John Williamson's version of this terrific song...definitely my favourite Chrsitmas song.

I have included the words for those of you who may have trouble understanding his *accent*.

Click here or on the picture below to listen to the song. Be warned it's a big file...3.5Mb.

Merry Christmas!

It's December in Australia
Time to remember all the family
Christmas tree, native pine
Lights and tinsel, all entwined
Put a fairy on the top
There's Gran and Pa and Joan and Pop
Ham and turkey's organised
Won't the grandkids be surprised?
When Santa comes in big black boots
In the back of Jacko's Ute

Hey Santa’s really Uncle Peter!

It's December in Australia
Time to remember all the family
Gather around for a photo
Hang on Dad, where did Sam go?
I gotta get everyone in the picture

Oh here he is, come on Sam
Now say Cheese,
Wait a minute, Bubbles is missing!

Oh yum, yum pig's bum, Christmas pudding
All the ladies do the cooking
All the men are really slack
Slappin' each other on the back
How ya been Tangles, how was your year?
Might rain tomorrow, have a cold beer.
I hear young Greg’ is playin' fullback,
Guess he gets it all from you Jack,
Blah, blah, blah, blah.

Who’s for a game of cricket?

Oh it's December in Australia
Time to remember all the family
Gather around for a photo
Hang on Dad, where did Sher go?
Gotta get everyone in the picture

Oh here she is, c’mon Sher
Say Cheese,
Wait a minute, Annie’s not here!

Oh me not out, oh yes you are Nick
It's your ball, Max don't bowl too quick
Oh Nick has run off with the bat
After him across the flat
C'mon Cub you've had a bowl
Give the ball to Christie
Tom Tit, Pee-Wee, Brookie, Side Kick
You're on my side, grab the bat quick
Now he's run off with the stump
Better give that Nick a thump

Think I'll have another beer, hun

Oh it's December in Australia
Time to remember all the family
Gather around for a photo
Oh hang on Dad, where did Amy go?
Gotta get everyone in the picture

Oh here she is, c’mon Amy
Everybody now say cheese,
Wait a minute – Hettie’s not here

Oh see the goanna up the gum tree
He's gonna get a feed today free
When the campers leave the lake
Bits of chook and chocolate cake
It's Christmas time for him as well
See his big long belly swell

Oh it's December in Australia
Time to remember all the family
Gather around for a photo
Hang on Dad, where did Fox go?
I gotta get everyone in the picture

Oh here she is. C’mon on out Fox
Everybody say cheese

Hold it there now…

Got It!

Oh it's December in Australia

This beaut cartoon from Nicholson is a pretty accurate representation of my memories of childhood backyard cricket! Click on the image to see a larger version.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

7 Things I Like...

About Christmas!

The lovely Dzintra *tagged* me earlier in the week. She shared seven favourite things. I thought I would run with a Christmas theme.

Before I forget... here are the rules:

Post a link to the blog that challenged you and add these rules to your post: Share 7 things about yourself. Challenge 7 other blogs at the end of your post through naming their blog and post a link to it. Let them know they've been challenged by leaving a comment in their blog.

Fruit Mince Pies

Each year I try different sorts from cafes and bakers but homemade are the best. I prefer a full pastry top on mine.

The Christmas Tree

It doesn't really feel like Christmas until the tree is up and decorated. It's always a shame we we have to take it down again.

Handmade Crafts

I just love giving and receiving handmade things.

Vintage Christmas Cards

I'm a sucker for a good Christmas card and especially like the vintage postcards.

Christmas Bush

Christmas in Australia means summer and heat and this wonderfully vibrant plant.

Christmas Carols

Especially the ones about snow and cold weather!

Christmas Pudding

Even when it's in the high 30s, low 40s I still like Christmas Pudding. I enjoy making it and everyone has to stir the mixture for good luck.

Well, that's some of my Christmas favourites.

Thanks Dzintra, that was fun!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Bag Tutorial - Part 3

Making the Lining and Finishing the Bag

Click on the image to see a larger version. All seams are 1/4 inch unless otherwise stated.

For the lining take two pieces of fabric 20 inches by 22 inches and pin with right sides together. On one long side measure down six inches from the top and mark with tailors chalk, pencil or a flower head pin. Measure a further four inches and mark/pin again.

Stitch around the sides leaving the opening and top free. Backstitch well at the side opening to give it strength. Pin the lining to the bag right sides together. Stitch a half inch seam all the way around the top edge.

Carerfully pull the bag through the opening.

Push the lining inside the bag and gently press the top. Topstitch 3/8 inch from the top edge to stop the lining from rolling out.

Sew a decorative button to the opposite side of the loop for the closure.

All finished!

Happy Stitching.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas Bag Tutorial - Part 2

Making the Handles and Button Loop

Click on each image to see a larger version. All seams are 1/4 inch unless otherwise stated.

Cut a piece of fabric 3 1/2 inches wide by 44 inches long then cut it in half lengthwise. This will give you two pieces 22 inches long by 3 1/2 inches wide.

Cut a piece of batting to exactly fit each handle piece.

Fold the fabric with the fabric right sides together and the batting on the outside. Pin to hold everything in place then stitch a 1/4 inch seam.

Turn the handles inside out and press with the seam along the centre.

Quilt the handles - this helps to make them stronger and stops the batting from breaking up - 1/4 inch apart. I followed the pattern of my fabric. You could also stitch 1/4 inch in from each edge and then down the centre.

To make the button loop, cut a piece of fabric 1 1/2inches wide and 6 inches long. Fold in half lengthwise with right sides together. Stitch a 1/4 inch seam and turn right side out. Press.

To attach the handles to the bag, measure in 4 inches from the each side of the bag and pin the handle in place matching raw edges and making sure the seam is facing towards you. Click on the [icture below to see a close up.

Mark the centre point of the bag and pin the button loop on either side of this mark. Baste in place using a slighter larger stitch about 1/4 inch away from the seam line.

Be careful to keep the other side of the bag clear of the needle.

You are now ready to make and attach the lining!

Happy Stitching


Christmas Bag Tutorial - Part 1

There must be a thousand tutorials for making bags on the internet. Here's one more...

I'd rate this project as easy/beginner and some basic sewing and quilting skills are recommended. Click on each image to see a larger version. All seams are 1/4 inch unless otherwise stated.

I'm making this bag from two pieces of fabric 20 inches wide by 22 inches long. I kept the walking foot on to do all the sewing as it helps when making the handles and to stop the bag panels from slipping out of alignment.

This is a Debbie Mumm print that I bought at the post-Christmas sales years ago. It saves piecing but you could make up each side from strips of different width fabric.

Pin each panel to a piece of batting (I used a wool/polyester) about two inches wider all round.

Quilt your panel as desired. I used clear monofilament thread and stitched along a selection of the printed lines on the fabric. If you were using a pieced panel you could stitch in the ditch.

Start each row of quilting with the smallest stitch on your machine. Make four or five stitches then increase the stitch length (I used 3.5 on a Janome QC6260). Just before you reach the end reduce the stitch length to the smallest stitch and finish stitching.

Remember to turn the work and stitch each row in alternating direction left to right; right to left to stop the panel bunching up.

When you have finished the quilting, remove all the pins and trim the batting back to the same size as the fabric.

Place the bag panels right sides together matching the pattern or seams. Pin to hold in place. Using a smaller stitch (I used 2.2 on the Janome QC6260) and a half inch seam allowance, stitch around the three sides of the bag leaving the top edges open.

Now for the tricky part...boxing the corners.

Finger press the seams open either side of the corners for about three inches. Fold the corner into a triangle aligning the side and bottom seams. This is easier to do if you place your hand inside the bag.

Measure in two inches from the corner and pin across the triangle. Mark a chalk line half an inch beyond the pins. This is the stitching line.

Repeat for the other corner.

At this point many patterns tell you cut off the corners. I don't like to do this because I think it weakens the seams. It's up to you but I leave them in place.

Turn the bag right side out.

Next time, making and attaching the handles and button loop.

Happy Stitching,


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Wonderful Gift

I received a parcel today from the lovely Christine (StitchNiche from APQ).

I felt so special as Christine had obvioulsy gone to a lot of trouble to chose lovely things as well as sharing some of her favourite recipes for yummy treats. Here's what was in the parcel.

Isn't the Snowman just adorable! I wish you could smell the Pumpkin Pie candle - it's delicious and so was the chocolate turkey.

Now I have to find just the right project for that delightful bundle of fabric. I think this will require tea and cake and a pile of magazines...

Thank you very much Christine.

Ann :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Symphony in Blue

All around my neighbourhood the jacarandas are in bloom. Everywhere a carpet of purple petals. My tree is dressed in its finery too.

I visited Craft Depot on the weekend as they are having a sale for the month of November. There were some terrific reductions. I was specifically looking for fabrics to make this quilt...

The pattern is called Paisley Parade and featured in American Patchwork & Quilting's Quilt Sampler Spring/Summer 2008.

This is what I have purchased so far...

I have ordered some more fabric from Country Pickin's at the Corner and will pop into Patchwork Products as they are also having a sale.

As the quilt is for my brother I am looking to substitute the florals.

Happy Stitching...Ann :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Surprise Package

Well, for a few weeks there I was busy making gifts for some of my APQ blog friends in the US and Canada with whom I had participated in various swaps.

They were great fun indeed, so I decided to surprise them with a small gift of either a table mat or wallhanging.

Each was *wrapped* in a paper bag with a rustic bow and included a calendar, a Christmas card and some chocolates.

Here's what I made...

A wallhanging for Kelli...

A table mat for Merritt...

A wallhanging for BCQuilter...

and a table mat for StitchNiche...

The parcels have all arrived safely and I'm delighted to say were a surprise to all.

I love being *Santa's Helper*


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sewing Caddy for a Friend

I decided to make a sewing caddy for a friend's birthday. This lovely lady makes beautiful quilts and her fabric choices are impeccable. She is particularly fond of traditional American prints.

Christine Book's delightful design was just the ticket. Here's Christine's version...

I chose a red, white and blue theme to acknowledge her American heritage and dyed the osnaburg with Parisienne essence to *age* the fabric. Unfortunately, I lost the pattern sheet for this project and had to draft it myself (after the intial panic subsided).

Sadly, I wont be able to include all the sewing accesories when I post it as it may trouble the post office. I'm sure my friend will delight in adding her own personal touches. I would love to see her face when she opens the parcel. I do hope she likes it.

Happy Stitching...Ann :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pink Ribbon Day

Monday 27 August is Pink Ribbon Day for breast cancer awareness. At my work place we will be holding an afternoon tea to raise donations for the important research work being done in this area.

Many people support this worthy cause - including quilters.

Thank you.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Magazine Swap

I recently participated in a magazine swap with the talented Christine (StitchNiche) from APQ.

Christine kindly sent me Quilts and More, Quilt Sampler and McCalls Quilting. I added the October issue of APQ and spent a delightful afternoon reading through them all. So many wonderful projects - I want to make them all! Well almost.

Along with these I also had Country Living, Victoria and Martha Stewart - what an indulgence!

Sigh. Such a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

What about you? What magazines do you enjoy?


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Spring Blossom

Although it rained almost all summer last year, prior to that we had experienced a rather prolonged drought. I lost so many plants in the garden. I don't yet have a rainwater tank and couldn't justify keeping decorative plants alive.

One of the few plants to survive was my dwarf Indian Hawthorn (raphiolepsis indica). It's planted in a hot, dry corner and doesn't receive much attention.

Despite that, it seems to have thrived. I certainly delight in it's pretty pink blossom.