Thursday, October 30, 2008

Just had to share!

I bought my pet rabbit, Jindi, a rabbit harness today!! And he loves it! I have just spent about 20 minutes following this little rabbit around everywhere. He is so bold and loves to explore, and he got so excited he lept in the air about half a metre!
Was just too cute not to share!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

'tis the season!

Whilst I sit here, I am congratulating myself on being super organised and efficient. Christmas is about 9 weeks away (crikey!) and I have just been making my christmas cards for the year. With the exception of about another 5 or so to make, they are all done! So here I have been sitting, making these simple little cards, and humming away to myself...."It's beginning to look alot like christmas...." la la laaa....

I find these cute little stockings and christmas tree embelishments at my local $2 shop the other week...aren't they just gorgeous! The minute I saw them I knew they would be perfect for some cards.

And I have decided on the presents I am making this year, and have bought all my supplies. Just need to find a quiet week to complete them!

I found this awesome and wonderful blog a few days ago, Crazy Mom Quilts, and I have officially decided..... I LOVE SIMPLE QUILTS!! Have a look at some of these delicious and delightful items she has made - aren't they just wonderful! Here are a few of my favourites, Raspberry Lemonade, Strawberry Trifle, Candy Corn and Pink. I love them! I really appreciate and enjoy the simplicity of them, the use of colours, and the overall effect, plus the wonderful quilting. I am very much by nature a simple sort of girl. I don't like alot of fuss and bother, and like to keep things plain and sweet. So these quilts are just such eye candy for me!! I have now felt inspired to make some simple quilts, and as soon as I jumped off the computer after looking at Amandas site, I went and raided my fabric stash. I made a 'strawberry trifle,' but in some of my favourite blue and apricot fabrics. An interesting colour combination I know- but it looks great! And it's nearly done too, so photos coming soon!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Piggy in the Middle

Nothing of great interest to report lately. I haven't been doing much sewing (have been in an awful rut this last week, and have dug myself into a hole. Am only just deciding that I might want to come out of that hole today...)

However I went to spotlight last week, and treated myself to some fabric. I swear I went to spotlight for something else entirely, and I ended up coming out with alot of other things.

But I couldn't resist this utterly cute piggy fabric. It was marked at $9 a metre, and when I got to the counter, it was down to $5 a metre. So that brightened my somewhat dim day and I ended up getting more of it than I intended. What to do with it? No idea. I think I'll just hold onto it for a little while till some inspiration bursts forth.

Whilst at the church ladies group this morning, I took along a little project to work on. Its an australian stitchery thing I have designed. It's a very simple, rustic sort of thing, with different aussie scenes, called Wombat Station. This is the first one, that is nearly finished.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bags of Jelly!

My mum hasn't been well lately, so I made her this bag to cheer her up- and it worked. She loves it and can't wait to use it. The bag was a Jan Knight design from an old Handmade magazine. Was very simple to do, and I just love the fabrics. Mum loves blue, so she adores it.

Jelly Slice

100-150g Butter or Margarine
250g packet of plain biscuts (milk coffee/marie)
395g can of Sweetened condensed milk
A Packet of jelly
A sachet of gelatin
Lemon juice

Make the jelly as per usual according to the instructions on the box. However, use a little less water. Do not put it in the fridge, but leave it to sit on the benchtop.
Crush the biscuts in a blender (or a paper bag or two with a rolling pin will work if you don't have a blender!) Melt butter in microwave, and mix through the biscuts till mixture is firm and will hold together if pressed by the back of a spoon. I find it is always best to use too much butter than not enough. If you don't have enough butter you will end up with biscut floaties in your slice. Put biscut mixture into a slice container (roughly 22cmx33cm. Tupperware ones are great, but even a cooking tray will still work. ) And press down firmly. Set aside.
Pour the sweetened condensced milk and juice of a lemon into a bowl. Bowl water in a kettle and using 3/4 Cup of hot water, mix in the sachet of gelatin (roughly 2 rounded teaspoons.) Stir thoroughly, then add to the sweetened condescend milk. Beat for about 1-2 minutes, until the gelatin is mixed through. Pour this mixture onto the biscut base, and then put into the fridge. Leave it to set for about 30-60 minutes. Just keep checking back, and until the white mixture is not runny or wobbly, and is set and cold

Using the back of a spoon, and a ladel, gently scoop the jelly onto the white surface, letting it run over the back of the spoon. This way it will not wreck your top white layer, and you won't get floaty white bits in your jelly.
Put back in fridge and leave to set for a couple of hours, and then cut into squares using a sharp knife. And voila!
It's a very easy recipe, and one that is always a firm favourite with kids, and adults alike. My brother and younger cousin LOVE jelly slice, particularly green jelly slice. Have fun! :)

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble."

Psalm 46:1

Friday, October 10, 2008

The newest member of the family....


Yes, I'm aware how un-original the name is, but it suits him! :P I made darling little Bluey snail this morning (only took me about half an hour) after seeing this wonderful tutorial on Ric Rac.
Isn't he just so cute? I gave him to mum and she thinks he is wonderful! I shall now have to make him a friend, (perhaps a pink one, named Pinkie? Or maybe Barbie would be more appropriate....)

Go make yourself a cute snail! They are super easy, and I'm sure kids will love them!
I can even imagine making a caterpillar now.....

Oh, and you have no idea how excited I was to recieve this big box in the mail yesterday!! (well, after my two dogs nearly were successful in ripping it from my wonderful postie's hands!)

So, what's in it? I don't know. Well, I do know roughly what's in it, but not really. Am I making sense? Probably not. You see, I'm apart of a Christmas Advent swap on the Handmade craft forum. We have to collect 24 small goodies (could be bought or handmade....crafty or non crafty...) and then make a last handmade item. Then we wrap up each of the goodies individually and label them, 1...2...3...4...etc etc... Finally, put them all in a big box, and mail to your swap partner before December, so they can open each package one day at a time in the lead up to Christmas.

So, the lovely lady who was sending to me, Kerron, was quite amazing and super organised and already sent me my box of goodies! So I haven't looked inside (although the temptation is imense!!) and I have quickly whisked away into a cupboard so it is out of sight, out of mind....(except that I keep thinking about it and wondering what's inside!) I was going to give the box straight to my mum to mind, but I think she would somehow more eager than I was to open it up!! Which I don't know how that is possible!! Bring on December I say!!

Oh, and I had a request for the jelly slice recipe from Clair. So I will be making some today (hopefully...if I can get myself organised....I still haven't had a shower...been too busy making Bluey...)

Anyway, the sun is shining and all the animals are outside and basking in the sun. Have a lovely day everyone!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Just some ramblings...

Is it a worry that I am starting another new project, when I have countless other projects on the go already? I told myself, "Sam, why don't you finish a project instead of starting another one..." But I just couldn't resist. I often need a break from my 'work in progress' projects otherwise I get a bit bored and frustrated with them. And then I make mistakes. So I need to let them sit for a bit so the creative juices can start flowing and my interest spark again. Well, at least this is what I tell myself.

Maybe I should actually go through all my collection and write a list of all the projects that are "in progress." I think I would be a bit mortified at how many there are. I know there are alot of them, but putting an exact number on scares me then. Makes me feel like I never accomplish anything but UFO's. No, I think I shall stay in my state of blissful unawarness and start some more projects. :)

And besides, I'm always making things for other people, so it's about time I make something for myself (I say that in the nicest possible way, without trying to sound selfish.) I just hope this new project doesn't end up in my UFO box, resigned to being an unfinished idea that makes me feel even more guilty.
And what is this new project? Well, I haven't been able to take any photos as yet, but I will soon. :)

I am actually feeling very 'reminiscent' (is that even a word?) lately. This time last year I was over in Indonesia doing missionary work for two months. We primarily went to Kalimantan (Borneo) and Papua (what used to be known as Irian Jaya.) We lived in some hostile places and very remote villages, but it was the best time of my life.

In most places we would bathe in the river, wash our clothes in the river, and even wash our dishes in the river. Yes, all in the same river. And goodness knows what people upstream were doing in that river... well, it was a lovely shade of brown.

It was my first time going overseas, and what a culture shock! The weather, the humidity, the food, the smell, the mess, etc....but I loved it, and I grew to love the Indonesian people- especially the kids! Such beautiful kids who were so happy, even in the face of extreme poverty and hopelessness. It really puts things into perspective and makes you realise how blessed we are to live in such a wonderful country. We often take things for granted, and it's not till you go to these remote places in Indonesia, or other countries, that you realise that fully.

Actually, this time last year, we went to a Leprosy hospital in Kalimantan. I have never seen anyone with leprosy and at first I was shocked. To see these beautiful people with such deformities in their hands and feet, most missing toes and fingers. One man didn't even have any hands or legs, but he still managed to crawl around. And we found out he was a brilliant chess player!

I met a beautiful young girl called Anna, who was 17. She adored me! She sat next to me the whole time and we played a game of chess, and tried to talk (Even with the language gap.) She was beautiful.
Even with all the harshness and tough times that we went through (lots of injuries and sickness, extreme third dregree sundburn, living conditions etc etc), I would go back and do it all again in an instant. I was able to do so many things I never thought possible, like hold a wild python snake, go swimming in rivers with crocidiles and water snakes, see a mans leg healed, ride in the back of dump trucks, go swimming at beautiful tropical beaches, plant cocoa plants in a field full of tarantula spiders, thrash grass in a field for rice to be planted, teach english to kids and play games with them, and make people happy just be our prescence. 'Twas awesome. :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bits and pieces

Well, I haven't been doing much sewing lately, apart from doing the quilting on my 'chook' quilt. I'm really enjoying the free motion quilting, and after a few hiccups with threads, and the tension on my machine, it's now coming together quite well. I'm still quite the novice at it, and there are a few mistakes, but other than that it is looking good.

Below is a picture of a beautiful crocheted blanket that my Aunty made for me just this last week. It's an early christmas present and I just love it. The colours are so pretty, and it's so heavy and warm, which will be ideal for our cold winters.

I'm apart of a Sampler block swap on the Handmade Craft forum, so here are the three blocks I have recieved so far, thanks to Trish, Elly and Sonia.

I feel like baking lately, but sadly our oven has died (and has been dead for about 6 months now. My dad is planning on fixing it, but just hasn't got around to it yet.) So, I have been unable to bake yummy cakes and biscuts (which is probably a good thing in hindsight...saves me from eating them.) I quite miss my baking actually. I find it amusing to think that this time last year I was making well over 6 cakes a week, every week, and other slices and biscuts.

But I'm hoping the oven will be fixed shortly so I can get around to Christmas baking. I'm planning on making some fabric baskets as gifts and filling them with baked goods, and other bits and pieces. If the oven isn't fixed by then I will have to branch out and think of other unbaked foodie items. I've already got a couple of fantastic recipes for truffles (I made them for my SIL's kitchen tea and they were all gone within minutes,) and fudge and white christmas.

I made my jelly slice last week (all gone already,) so I might do that again this week. It's such a quick and easy recipe and looks and tastes wonderful. Always recieves compliments. If anyone wants the recipe for it, just leave a comment. :)

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil and cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritial fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality."

Romans 12:9-13.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

...beyond the garden gate

Well today was the 'draw day' for the Be Creative challenge. It was quite nerve wracking drawing every ladies name out and seeing which picture would go where. I was quite amazed when my name was drawn out for one of my favourite pictures, a wrought iron gate.

Excuse the bad photo. It's alot brighter and nicer in real life. So, what am I going to create using a wrought iron gate as my inspiration? Well, you will just have to wait and see! I already have a few ideas forming in my mind, so will have to jot them down on paper soon. Oh, I also got drawn the colour gold. So I have to incorporate that somewhere in my end product. Should be interesting! I hope the girls all like their pictures!

The picture above is myself, 2 years ago on the morning of my 21st birthday with my brand new sewing machine. Dad took this photo without my knowing!
Hmmm... how do I make it work??
'Twas definately one of the greatest birthday presents I have ever recieved, and definately the most well used!!

My mum and I visited my Grans grave today. I can't believe it's been nearly 5 months since she passed away. I bought some lovely fake flowers, and stuck them in the ground, and also bought some pretty daisys from our bushes at home. She always loved flowers. :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Country Chooks

I thought I would share two projects that I am working on at the moment (amongst my countless other ones!)

The first one came about from a friendship block swap on the Handmade Magazine craft forum about 4 years ago! I was involved in the swap and asked for 'chook' blocks. And now, four years on, I am finally finishing it! The blocks I recieved each month were just incredible and the work and detail involved was amazing. I have my particular favourites, but I really do love them all.

So I am now at the quilting stage on the quilt, and I am doing something completely new to me- free motion quilting. For someone who always quilts in the ditch on all my quilts, this is really 'out there!' But I am really enjoying it too, though it is going to take alot of time.

I will take a better photo of the quilt, and close ups of the blocks when the quilt is complete. From this distance, the photo does not do the quilt justice at all!

Another project I am working on is my "Linen and Lace" quilt. Whilst in one of my local Op-shops, I cam across a huge basketful of linen napkins, hankies and tablecloths. Some of them looked brand new, and most of them had gorgeous embroideries stitched on them, mostly by hand.

And I thought, "These can't just go to waste! Someone has put alot of time and effort into these." So I bought them all ($15 all up I think for basketful!) and slowly went about cutting them up and sewing them together. I raided my stash and came up with some 'olde world' type of fabrics to tie in, and some bits of lace. Some of the blocks were quite plain, so I added some embroidery of my own in various places.

I still plan on adding a border (the same fabric used in the square in the center,) but this is basically the finished quilt top. It's quilt simple, and not overly fancy. But I just love that there is a history to this quilt. The below photo is not a great photo. It was a bit breezy outside today and the bottom of the quilt is missing in the picture. But you get the idea! I'll be sure to post photos of it when it's complete.

Last week, whilst my two cousins were visiting from Adelaide, my mum and I took them for a picnic up to Marysville. It was beautiful weather, and we found a lovely park next to the creek that had really clean barbeques. Of course, we had forgotten to bring any oil to cook our sausages in, so the snags looked a bit 'hacked' by the end of it. But we had fun and it tasted good, so that was all that mattered! And at least we will always remember to bring the oil with us next time!

We had two gorgeous kookaburras come and keep us company, or rather, they were waiting for some sausage! I was able to get pretty close to them too.

We also drove up to Steavensons Falls, a short drive from Marysvilles town center. The last time I had been there hadn't been much water, but due to the good snow season, and recent rain, there was a lot of water.

Well, the "Be creative" challenge I am running on the Handmade craft forum will be starting tomorrow. All the ladies involed are excited (or a bit scared...or both!) and looking forward to starting. I can't wait to see what these talented ladies come up with!