Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Domestic Goddess

 There hasn't been a lot of stitching happening here at the moment due to various family commitments but I have made time to try some new recipes. I bought a pie maker and tried my hand at making pies which will be a useful thing to have in the freezer and better than ready-made as I can control the ingredients and prevent unhealthy additives being consumed. I made 8 so far and took half of them to one of my DDs as she works long hours and they will provide some sustenance when she finishes work.
I also tried my hand at making liquid laundry detergent. I made 10 litres for less than $2 whereas buying 10 litres of liquid detergent can cost up to $82. It was easy to make and I used the recipe and instructions on the Down to Earth blog. I'm sharing these with both DDs as another way to save them some money.
 Apart from this, working night shifts has taken up my time, along with recovery from lack of sleep. I have been prepping for some hand stitching too and will show some results later.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Day in the Country

 It's been a busy week with family commitments and we've had lots of rain which is always good to fill our rainwater tanks for the house. We must get another tank as it seems like such a waste to not be able to use all that free water. We needed to cut more firewood and the rain was holding off for a bit so we took the time to get enough to last us for the rest of winter. On the way we checked out our new boundary fence we share with a neighbour.
 Looking towards one of the many lagoons in the bushland part of our property.
 I love the resilience of Mother Nature. We have a few tress that blew over in a severe wind strom but as not all of the roots were disrupted the trees send of new shoots to form branches even though the tree is horizontal now.
 We only cut up tress that have been felled naturally by storms or age and we have enough of them to keep us in fire wood with plenty to spare.
 The grass is very lush at this time of year due to all our winter rain. It looks it's best at this time and in spring but it will usually die off in the summer heat.
 If you look closely you can see our home and shed through the trees in the background.
 We like to cut the trees within a year of being toppled so we get to use them before the ants take them over for housing. This tree gave us beautiful and solid wood which will burn well. It's best to leave them for at least a year so they dry out and burn better.
It took us less than an hour to cut and stack all of this wood and we regard it as purposeful exercise. I worked night duty after it, so yesterday was a big day and there's not much happening here while I recover from my lack of sleep.
 Thanks for stopping by and I hope to have some more sewing progress to share very soon.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Finish For Me

 I have completely finished repairing this quilt and have also added a new label. I bought it as a "cutter quilt" which meant that it was considered only fit to be cut up and re-purposed. The top of the quilt was ragged and there were some dark ink stains and a scorch mark. The batting was thin although most of the hand-quilting was still intact and done in the Baptist Fan design. I took it apart and trimmed the blocks down from 12" x 15" to 9" x 12".
I also trimmed the sashing down which allowed me to remove the stained pieces.
The embroidery was still in good condition and the quilt is now in much better condition with new batting and fresh borders. The original quilt didn't have borders but I thought it looked better with one. I wasn't able to find reproduction fabric from that era which matched so I chose some which has a mix of blues and yellows to match the sashing. I machine quilted it in a cross hatch design so that it didn't place too much strain on the older fabrics which are a bit thin  from wear.
As you can see, it has given this old quilt new life and I enjoyed re-purposing it. It's also good to have one of my UFOs completed and I have more to go. I started a list of those I needed to focus on so I don't get distracted by too many projects at once. I think I need to get back to some cross stitching too as I have too many of those as UFOs as well.
 Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, August 19, 2013

Puddling Along

 Working nights shifts again has meant not much sewing has taken place but I did get some time to puddle along with making some more String X blocks.
 I also made more Broken Dishes blocks in greens and browns and have made 30 now.
I also knitted a small teddy bear to donate. I have almost finished hand stitching the binding down on a quilt for me so hope to show that one tomorrow. In the meantime I'm still trying to catch up on my sleep.
Thanks for stopping by again.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Bits and Pieces

 Today was finally a day where I didn't have to go anywhere so after the household chores it was time to work on some bits and pieces and make some progress on finishes. I quilted a 1940s quilt top and just have to finish the binding. I'll share a photo of that when it's completed.
 I made another border and a half for my Elizabeth replica quilt.
 I finished off a pair of premmie baby booties. The 20 cent coin will give you some idea of size.
I also sewed up 4 more pairs of premmie booties. All of the booties will be donated and they are very quick to make up. It was a good day of finishes and I hope to make some more progress before I'm back working night shift again.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, August 12, 2013

It's Time To Stitch

 There's been no stitching occurring here while I deal with helping my Dad recover from his heart attack. Instead life has been very busy with family commitments and moving furniture to a nursing home for him, then moving it back again two days later as he hated it there. His doctor said he would be better back in his unit and so we moved him back again. He's recovered enough to manage for the moment and today is the first day I haven't been visiting him in hospital.
I did manage to hand piece a couple of blocks for a new project- The Patchwork of the Crosses. The first one I pieced over papers and the second one I hand pieced. I've decided to hand piece it as it's easy enough to do and a change from pieing over papers as I have a star piecing project already in the works.
 I also have started another new project for my Melbourne quilting group's next exhibition in March next year. It is a replica of a very old quilt and my quilting group has permission to reproduce it so I started today.
 The central block consists of 4 Broken Dishes blocks measuring 2.5",
 In stead of using reproduction fabrics I decided to use my Leesa Chandler's Australian flora fabrics and I have completed the first border and the central blocks. It's a medallion quilt with lots of Broken Dishes for the first 8 rows. I hope the Australian flowers will make a pretty and modern quilt.
 I did manage to knit two cardigans for babies while I was hospital visiting.
 I also finished crocheted blankets while we were away and I've enjoyed a change from them with the knitting. I couldn't seem to get back into sewing mode but hopefully things will settle down here for a while and I can get busy finishing off some of my tops that need quilting as well as finishing off some more I'm piecing. At least the weather is ideal to encourage me to stitch by the fire and stay warm. At this stage it doesn't look like we are going to be able to finish off our trip to Cape York but we're continuing to get things ready in case. I was going to visit the Qld Art Museum on our way to see the V& A exhibition and the Rajah Quilt but now I'm thinking of flying up to see them or time will pass too quickly and I may miss them altogether.
I'm hoping that things will revert to normal again here and I'll be posting more often.
Thanks for stopping by. Love, Jan Mac

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

An Iconic Australian Event

 The highlight of our trip was attending a John Williamson concert on the top of Big Red. An iconic singer and writer of songs about our country and on top of an iconic site for 4 WD'ers. There were about 700 or 800 people there and we had a beautiful view over the lake at the foot of the sand hills. The lake formed a few years ago from flood water. Dick Smith a well-known Australian entrepreneur, flew his family in for the event.
 We had a lovely view of the sun setting over our makeshift campsite as most people who attended camped at the foot of the sand hills and they provided portable toilets for campers.
 Our camp was at the base of Big Red.
 The audience gathering. The concert started at 5.30pm before the sun went down and we could see lots of kids playing in the sand hill and rolling down its slopes while John sang.

 earlier that week we had spent a few days out at Big Red watching the 4 WD's making their way across from the Simpson Desert. Big Red is the last, and largest, sandhill before you reach Birdsville. Many attempst are made by most drivers while they battle soft sand. Tyre pressure is the key to reaching the top and we have made it successfully every time so far.

 Corellas adorn the bare trees at the foot of Big Red. They look like blossoms and John W. has written a song about them which was inspired by a previous visit.

 We had some fun on the dunes before the crowds arrived.
It was a wonderful concert and a priviledge to be there, under the stars, listening to songs written about our beautiful country. We love Birdsville and we'll be back for sure. Attneding the Birdsville Races is on my bucket list so that is a must.
Hugs and thanks for stopping by. I hope to resiume normal transmission soon.
Jan Mac

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Change of Plans

We're home again! We should be at Cape York but while we were having a break in Qld, my 88 yr old father had a heart attack. We decided to come straight home and drove back from Cairns in 3 days which is 2,800 kms (1,740 miles) away. Driving from dawn to just before dark, to avoid wandering stock on the road, we hoped to get back in time to see Dad. In the meantime I arranged for him to have a specialist see him and he was transferred to Melbourne. We missed seeing him by one and a half hours so we drove to Melbourne (another 2 1/2 hrs) the next morning. Luckily he was stabilized and was to have an angio. Unfortunately the cardiologist thought it would be too risky so after more non-invasive tests and a blood transfusion he has been transferred back to hospital here.
  It is hard to remember that he was living independently and walking for 30 minutes a day until this happened. He is now frail but cognitively still very good and we are hopeful he will regain some of his strength but also aware that he won't be able to live independently now. My days are now fully occupied with speaking with Drs, hospital visits, washing PJs etc but we are grateful that we got back in time to see him and he is starting to accept that he will need to be in an assisted-living facility. He wants us to finish our trip and the window of opportunity to travel to Cape York closes at the end of August, so we may go back to finish it, depending on how he recovers from his illness. My siblings live locally and they are also supportive of us completing our trip while they are around to help Dad. We will take it in turns to take holidays and short breaks so there is always at least one of us available to visit and support him.
   We did have a fantastic trip and I'll post more photos soon. The photo is of a lovely place in Qld, called Lawn Hill Gorge. Would love to return there as it was very restful.
Hugs, Jan Mac