Log Cabin Quilt: 6

29 11 2008

As promised, here are some photos of the Disappearing Nine Patch I’m doing for the back of the log cabin quilt. Basic instructions are in the photo captions.

9-patch of 6.5 inch squares

9-patch of 6.5 inch squares

Cut the 9-patch across the middle both ways

Cut the 9-patch across the middle both ways

Turn two diagonally opposite patches 180 degrees

Turn two diagonally opposite patches 180 degrees

Sew back together again

Sew back together again

Join the big blocks together

Join the big blocks together

Yes, my mother also wonders why I would take perfectly good pieces of fabric, cut them up, join them together, then cut them and join them again! 😉

See also:





Crazy weather!

27 11 2008

We’ve been having some really unusual weather the past week or so. Here, it’s rained heavily—we’ve had twice our annual rainfall for November and most has fallen in the past week. Huge drops, and big heavy gushing downpours. Good for the dams as we come into summer… not so good for the farmers who are in the middle of the grain harvest right now.

Yesterday, over near Salmon Gums, they got massive hail and ice and it flattened the crops. Now to put this into perspective, it’s late November here. It’s getting hot (usually). Salmon Gums’ average maximum temperature from 1932 to 2008 throughout November is 26C (about 75F), and their average minimum is around 10C (http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_012071.shtml)

So, here’s what happened near Salmon Gums yesterday (photos courtesy of my friend Bobbie’s chiropractor!):

Highway, Coolgardie to Esperance, 26 Nov 2008

Highway, Coolgardie to Esperance, 26 Nov 2008

Highway, Coolgardie to Esperance, 26 Nov 2008

Highway, Coolgardie to Esperance, 26 Nov 2008

So we opened the gate...

So we opened the gate...

I guess if you don't laugh, you'd cry — drought, now this

I guess if you don't laugh, you'd cry — drought, now this...

Hailstones the size of small eggs

Hailstones the size of small eggs





Amazon’s Black Friday Sale!

27 11 2008

For some amazing Amazon deals, check out Amazon’s Black Friday Sale—it’s only on for a VERY short time (Friday 28 November 2008 in the US)





Advance Australia… puddle!

27 11 2008

Kathy D—an Aussie friend now living in the US—sent me this classic photo of a puddle.

I don’t know who took it, where it was taken (though it looks a bit like the landscape around Kalgoorlie), but I assume it was taken through a car windscreen (see the white-ish smear or reflection back from the windscreen on the left?).

Puddle in the shape of Australia

Puddle in the shape of Australia

Classic!





Log Cabin Quilt: 5

26 11 2008

I’ve now joined all the strips together but before I did so, I decided to save some heartache and add the border pieces to the ends of each strip, then the top and bottom border strips to the top and bottom 4-block wide widths (got that?!). Initially, I thought I might do some blocks with similar colours in the border, but it looked too much, so I went with plain black. A lot less work!

Here’s the finished top, all joined together and pinned to my friend Bobbie’s design wall (thanks, Bobbie!). I should have taken a picture without the flash too, as the pink blocks look very much the same even though there’s quite a bit of contrast in them.

Finished Queen bed top

Finished Queen bed top

Next step is to remove every piece of paper from the back of 144 blocks! That’s 13 largish pieces of paper for every block, plus the 1/4″ narrow pieces for the seam joins… over 2000 pieces altogether. Each strip of paper has to be torn away from the stitching, without damaging or ripping out the stitches, so you can’t just rush this job. A great job to do—with tweezers—in front of the TV!

Removing foundation paper pieces

Removing foundation paper pieces

And being a masochist (!), I’ve decided to piece the back of this quilt too! I’m using ‘coffee and cream’ colours (in total contrast to the log cabin top, making a nice reversible quilt when it’s finished). I’ve cut out and started to join the 144 x 6.5 inch blocks for a quick Disappearing Nine Patch quilt. Unlike the log cabin, this will come together very quickly. Photos to come in another post…

See also:





Feeling chuffed

22 11 2008

I entered five completed quilts into this year’s Bridgetown Agricultural Show (like a town fair for my American friends), and every one won a prize! I got three first prizes and two seconds. And I got two of the four ‘special prizes’ for the overall ‘Handcrafts’ category, which means I was up against entries in nearly 80 categories ranging from crocheting, knitting, sewing, doll and bear making, tapestry, cross stitch, embroidery, and everything in between. To get two out of the four possible special prizes was pretty good — I was chuffed!

The two special prizes ($25 cash each) were for my dragonfly quilt and the Japanese meshwork table mat; they also won first prizes ($4 cash each). The other first prize was for the convergence quilt, and the two seconds ($1 cash each) were for the ‘blanket of love’ and the ‘scrappy’ cushion cover.

As it only cost $1 to enter each item, a $64 return is not too bad! 😉 Better than the stock market is paying these days… (though, of course, the cost in fabric, thinking and creating time, workshops, is not factored in at all in calculating this ‘return’).





Out and about with the girls

20 11 2008

Our friends, Bron and Lee, were down last weekend. They arrived late Thursday afternoon, but as it’s daylight saving time now, we were able to sit out on the back verandah in the spring sunshine, enjoying a bottle of white wine and cheese in the quiet of the early evening, watching the blue wrens, and talking and laughing — a lot!

Dinner was at the Bridgetown Hotel on Thursday night, and the rack of lamb I had was cooked to perfection! My husband said his steak was also perfect. The girls had creamy coconut garlic prawns and rice, and said they’d have preferred more garlic but understood that general restaurants can’t cater for particularly strong tastes (which is why I rarely eat a curry anywhere except a Thai, Malay or Indian restaurant).

Friday

Bron, Lee and I headed out late Friday morning — it was going to be a girly day out, so my husband declined the invitation to join us… (I wonder why?!) It took us 4 hours just to get to Balingup, which is typically only a 15-20 minute drive away, so you can see we had lots of stops on the way. First stop was to show them the estate where we have our land. That involved some driving then walking over our acre, then stopping at Lynda’s to meet her alpacas, then at Bobbie’s. Next, we drove the 14% grade road (roller coaster in a car!), and then did the Peninsula Rd drive. When we finally got to Balingup, we wandered through some of the little shops (Tinderbox herb shop, Alpaca wool shop, stone and crystal shop, etc.) , then had a lovely lunch at the Balingup Bronze Gallery (all organic foods). Last stop before leaving Balingup was the Old Cheese Factory, which is a HUGE arts and crafts store with lots of local arts and crafts for sale.

We meandered along the Balingup to Nannup road, one of the most picturesque drives in this huge state of ours, stopping at a cheese factory (real cheese this time!) and just enjoying the gorgeous spring day and each other’s company. A funny highlight was surprising a tractor driver having a leak in the field — he thought we’d gone past, but we’d actually turned around to check out the beautiful grounds where he was. As we drove back, he got the biggest fright! Gales of laughter from us, and no doubt a soaked foot or leg for him!

From Nannup it was back home on the other part of that loop along the Blackwood River, the Brockman Highway. We stopped at Karri Gully and walked the trail to the Bibbulmum Track, then back along the highway to the car park at the forest conservation area.

I made dinner on Friday evening as I knew we’d be eating well and often on Saturday. We taught the girls “Jokers and Marbles”, and between the four of us we knocked off two bottles of wine and a bottle of Knight’s 37% alcohol ‘Regal Knight’ (lemoncello). Bron was not a well girl when they left (I drove them back to the hotel after 1:00am — I’d only had about 3 glasses of wine all evening, promise!).

Saturday

After a good night’s sleep and a big cooked breakfast at the hotel, the girls got here close to noon on Saturday. They were both in good spirits, but Bron wasn’t having any more alcohol for the day! First stop on Saturday was the Wine and Truffle Company at Manjimup. I only tasted one wine (nice); neither Bron nor Lee wanted to taste wines… I was disappointed that there was no way to taste truffles without either eating in their restaurant for lunch or buying some of their (expensive) truffle products. Maybe you can get a taste when truffles are in season (July). As someone who has never tried truffles, I didn’t want to spend money on something I may not like. I would have thought they’d have had some truffle oil to taste with small snippets of crusty bread — tempt me into buying!

By this stage we were hungry, so it was on to Pemberton to have a nice lunch at Jarrah Jack’s boutique brewery. Lee and my husband shared a tasting rack of beers, while Bron and I stuck to water. Lunch for me an Lee was a delicious steak sandwich each; Bron just had the pumpkin soup and hunk of crusty bread; my husband also had the soup as well as a beef and stout pie. After Jarrah Jack’s we went on the Karri Explorer Drive around Big Brook Dam (we missed the turn off to the beach!), and in through the Big Brook Arboretum. We came out on Channybearup Rd near some of the avocado farms, then headed to Knights Winery and Distillery for Bron and Lee to purchase some more Regal Knight lemoncello… including a replacement bottle for us!

We had a leisurely drive back to town, then had dinner at the pub that night. I had the squid and it was the worst meal I’ve ever had there. The squid was rubbery, massed in this huge grey pile, and it tasted pretty awful. The accompaniment was a red cabbage slaw thing with a wasabi mayo. An interesting and pretty horrid combination of flavours to my palate — I won’t have it again. My husband had the steak again (‘When you’re on a good thing, stick to it’, is his motto!), Lee had the rack of lamb, and I can’t recall what Bron had… We shared one bottle of wine, but really, none of us felt like much alcohol at all. After dinner we said our goodbyes as they were heading back to Perth first thing Sunday morning.

Thanks Bronny and Lee for a lovely weekend — we haven’t laughed so loud and so often in a long time! And my voice was hoarse from all that talking. It’s nice to know that ten years on from when we all worked together (yes, it was 1998/1999!) the bonds of friendship are still as strong as ever.