Sunday, March 29, 2009

On the Shelf ~ March 29

I was foolish enough to sign up for a challenge to read 100 books this year. I have no hope of getting to 100. At this stage I will call myself happy if I should reach a total of 75. I am obviously feeling optimistic as last time I updated I stated I would be happy to reach a total of 50 books!

The original post, with a full list of books read in 2009 can be seen here.

I will just mention the most recent below:

15. Hamish meets Bumpy McKenzie ~ ?
16. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland ~ Lewis Caroll
17. The Choice ~ Nicholas Sparks
18. The first Casualty ~ Ben Elton
19. Promises in Death ~ J.D.Robb
20. East of the Mountains ~ David Guterson

Slowly slowly, progress is made! It is exciting to have reached 20 books as a milestone :)

Editing to add: I did try to read 'The Quest' by Wilbur Smith but I could not make headway into it at all. I was looking forward to it as I have read the whole Egyptian series but this seemed too unbelievable, even for Taita...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Remnant Rescue

I am not sure what to do with these as yet... I found them in the remnant bin and got the lot for a very small amount of money. I am sure they will come in very useful sooner or later. I hope so anyway, there is almost 20m of fabric there!

The green spotty poplin on top I can picture as a dress for Miss Possum.
The pink stripe, dark and mid blue fabric are a stretch material. Will have to put my brave hat on before trying to do anything with those!
The light blue and red on bottom are both polar fleece so will become a winter outfit of some description soon I hope. Just need to find a good pattern.

I have also been cutting up sheets for Chaletgirls vintage sheet FQ swap. I think I will make a quilt for those cooler nights of camping. I can picture my tent looking very homely with the queen size blow up bed topped with a pretty quilt :) Sign ups are happening as we speak if anyone is interested!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

WIP Wednesday ~ March 25th

I love WIP Wednesday, it is when I get to make myself feel better as while I may not have anything to add the the tick list, I am still productive!

I am knitting a pair of longies for our due in August Bub. I had made slightly more progress on this but a lost stitch bought me undone and I lost a few rows in trying to make a recovery... Still, it is going ahead so I can't complain too much!

I have also done my recipe swap cards for March. I have the cards from the last two months here as I don't think I ever blogged February's efforts.

They are shown below, front and then back.
February's theme was Cocktails and March is Party Cakes/Food

Monday, March 23, 2009

Vintage Sheet FQ Swap

Sheridan of Chaletgirl fame was disappointed at having missed the Oh Fransson Vintage Sheet FQ swap so decided to see if she could organise her own as blogged about here.

I am not sure of the logistics as yet but I didn't want to miss out so I went Vintage Sheet shopping this morning and was very happy with what I found.

I LOVE the green prints especially the first one pictured, I almost want to keep them as sheets... Almost!

I am looking forward to finding out what will happen with these, and what I can swap them for as well. What a wonderful concept and another great way to be a part of a swap, an affordable swap at that!

Now to wash, and turn them into FQ ready to swap!

A Survival Guide to Camping

Make a list.
I have a spreadsheet on my computer with different sections for different types of camping: General, Rock climbing, Baby, Horses, Sporting etc. I make sure everything relevant to the type of camping we are doing is marked off before we leave. Nothing worse than 'roughing' it harder than you need to because you forgot your pillows or port-a-cot...

Accept the fact that no camp site will be perfect.
You will drive for three hours to discover that you have to pitch your tent on the edge of the Pacific Highway. Rest assured that while you might not sleep on the first night, you will get more rest on the second night...

Delight in the small things.
Kookaburras at dawn, catching up with friends and family, swapping camp cooking recipes over the fire in the evening, time out from the usual run of the mill stuff.

Be flexible.
Your dog may end up sleeping in the tent with you, but not to worry, it is a big tent and she is well behaved...

Take photos.
The competition finished early on both days so DH and I took the chance to duck down to the beach so Miss Possum could have her first sandy experience. She seemed to enjoy it even though she was unsure of the feeling of wet sand shifting underfoot, a problem easily rectified by sitting down.

I think the next camping/sporting event is in two weeks in Glen Innes (Celtic Country) so we get to do it all over again very soon sans beach.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Margaret Bag ~ Take 2

The EB Beginner Sewers had an unofficial challenge to make a Margaret Bag in March. I dashed one off in a black and white print which I decided was too busy with the small print of that fabric.
When I discovered how easy a bag it was to make I decided to make another one in my favourite fabric of the month Floral Kitties.

I had Tea Dyed some White drill to use as the lining but I decided the colour was not quite right so I used the same Kitties fabric as the lining as well as the outer.

I still have about 3 yards of this Kitties fabric left (did I mention I loved it) I got excited when I found it reduced at Spotlight to $4/m down from $18/m so I bought a lot!

I used the drill as the interlining, waste not want not! The button is a matching one to the first bag from my stash.

DH looked at this bag and said I was getting handy now, apparently I was a bit slap happy in some of my 'early' projects... He may be right as I did receive plenty of positive feedback and a request for a link to the pattern at the Book Club Meeting yesterday!

They do say practise makes perfect and with the sewing machine a permanent fixture on my kitchen table I am getting plenty of practise...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Book Club

This is our first Book Group book which I handed out today at our first meeting, which was quite enjoyable.

I can't wait to get started on it, and should have a good chance this weekend while we are camping. Review
Maps for Lost Lovers is a stunningly brave and searingly brutal novel charting a year in the life of a working class community from the subcontinent.

As the seasons change, from the first crystal flakes of snow that melt into "a monsoon raindrop", we slowly learn the fate of Jugnu and Chanda, a couple whose disappearance is rumoured to have been a result of their fatal decision to live in sin in a community where the phrase holds true meaning.

This uncompromisingly honest--and often uncomfortable to read--story is told through the eyes of Jugnu's brother's family who live next door. Shamas is director of the local Community Relations Council; a liberal, educated man he still mourns the passing of communism and yearns for passion in his later years. His wife Kaukub, daughter of a Pakistani cleric, is also in mourning for the passing of her devout Muslim upbringing and is forced to watch her three children turn "native". She tries increasingly desperate measures to turn them back to Islam. Pakistani-born Nadeem Aslam skilfully intertwines myths and legends with a harsh, modern reality.
--Carey Green

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

20 weeks ~ Bump


There is a photo of me below, and I'm not wearing much.
There, don't say I didn't warn you!
Read on and scroll down if you dare...

20 weeks, that's half way to meeting the little Sea Monkey! Very exciting stuff really. I can't decide if it has been fast, or slow. It seems to depend on how I am feeling at the time...

Being 20 weeks means that I have another scan coming up which is VERY exciting, I love these brief glimpses into the murky beyond to see the little one.

Sleeping in a comfy position is getting harder, but I love feeling the little kicks, ticks and flutters that are frequent in the evenings when I first lay down in bed.

I am now 58.2kg so have only put on 1.2kg since the start. Remarkable when I look at the size of me!

So there you have it, all the info you didn't really need, but had to have anyway :)

On the Shelf ~ March 18

I signed up for a 100 books reading challenge for 2009. See the original post here.

I am traveling along well with the reading but I have a funny feeling I won't make it to 100 books by December's end. Perhaps i should aim for 75...

I have finished 18 books for the year so far. The latest few are listed below.

15. Hamish meets Bumpy McKenzie ~
16. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland ~ Lewis Caroll
17. The Choice ~ Nicholas Sparks
18. The first Casualty ~ Ben Elton

As a brief rundown:
Don't read Bumpy Mckenzie, a children's book that might delight children, but not the parents reading it, not me anyway.
Nicolas Sparks made me cry, as per usual, I did enjoy this one more than some of his others that I have read.
The First Casualty was the best Ben Elton I have read to date, it took me a few pages to get into it but once I did I really enjoyed it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Block Swap Progress

When I signed up for Sheridan's Block swap I got all excited and enthusiastic and raced into town to pick my fabric. That enthusiasm carried over until I chopped, prepared and posted my fabric well in advance of the first postage deadline.

It would seem that Sheridan also got quite excited to see material arrive on her doorstep, peek here to see what she did!

What a great start to the week to see my quilt start to take shape :)

I hope everyone has an equally good Monday story to cheer them!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I {heart} ....

Slow Cookers!

Now that it is Autumn, my Slow Cooker has been getting it's fortnightly workout, actually, sometimes it's a weekly workout. We use it all year with the exception of high Summer.

DH and I bought it after Bonnie bought us a slow cooker cook book one Christmas. It was a great gift as even though we did not have a slow cooker at the time, it did start a love affair with a whole new style of cooking! We bought the BIG 5.5 litre Sunbeam as we knew that we would not be a two person household for ever.

Below are two of my favourite Slow Cooker recipes, I am sharing these so you can rekindle the romance in your kitchen as well :)

Sweet Chilli Chicken serves 4
4 bone in thighs or legs
2 Tbsp apricot jam
2 Tbsp tomato sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce

Stir wet ingredients together in the bottom of the slow cooker, pat chicken dry then roll them in the sauce and sit skin side up.
With the lid on cook 4 hours on high, or 7-8 hours on low.

Pork and Kiwifruit Casserole serves 4
4 pork chops
1 sliced onion
1 sliced apple
1 Tbsp lemon juice
4 Kiwifruit peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp chopped rosemary
Salt and pepper

Add onion, apple, lemon juice salt and pepper, brown sugar and rosemary to pot and mix.
Place pork chops on top.
Cover and cook 6-8 hours on Low or 3-4 hours on High.
Thrity minutes before serving thicken sauce with flour and place Kiwifruit on top of chops to finish cooking.
Serve with creamy mash and veg.

Enjoy :)
Click here to read what Pip at Meet Me At Mikes had to say recently on the subject of Crock Pots.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Introducing baby...

My cousin Dannii and her husband had a baby girl on Tuesday! She had told us that it was a girl in advance so I was able to sew a present in a suitable theme but I just found out yesterday the little one's name.
I will now be able to write on the card and send off the above parcel with a Black Apple doll and a little Ribbon blanket. The photo above shows two Ribbon blankets but that was just to show front and back in one shot, one is a spare (organised aren't I!).

I hope Jayla likes her little gifts and I can't wait to meet her, I have it on good authority that she is beautiful!

Is anyone else starting to think I need to find a new doll pattern...?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fabric Mobile

I made Miss Possum a Fabric Mobile using this tutorial from the Sew, Mama, Sew! FQ project of the day series they were recently running.

Miss Possum loves these fabric pinwheels. I also used fishing line rather than the ric rac to secure them to the hoop. My hot glue gun made the assembly very quick and I got all of it together while watching TV one evening.

It is funny watching Possum stand under the mobile while puffing tiny puffs of breath in it's general direction to see if she can get it to move. Truly beautiful to watch :)

A great use for spare fabric and your button collection.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Book Club Reading List

I have just been sent the book pack reading list from the library for my new book club and there are oh so many!! The books in bold I have already read but there are so many others I can see the new book club will be spoilt for choice...

A lesson before dying :Gaines, Ernest J
A short history of Tractors in the ukranian: Lewyca, Marina
A thousand splendid suns: Hosseini, Khaled
A thread of Grace: Russell, Mary Doria
A town like Paris: Corbett, Bryce
Alice's adventures in wonderland: Carol, Lewis
Australia Street: Whitehead, Ann
Breath: Winton, Tim
Conviction: Patterson, Richard North
Cooee: Kelly, Vivienne
Curious Incident of the dog in the night-time: Haddon, Mark
Digging to America: Tyler, Anne
Disgrace: Coetzee, J. M
Kill the possum: Moloney, James
Landscape of Farewell: Miller, Alex
Let me sing you gentle songs: Olsson, Linda
Maps for lost Lovers: Nadeem, Aslam
March: Brooks, Geraldine
Mister Pip: Jones, Lloyd

Never go back: Goddard, Robert
On, Off: McCullough, Colleen
People of the book: Brooks, Geraldine
Red dress walking: Jones, Sarah
Rules for old men waiting: Pouncey, Peter
Salmon fishing in the Yemen: Torday, Paul
Salvation Creek -an unexpected life: Duncan, Susan
Sonata for Miriam: Olsson, Linda
Staring at the light: Fyfield, Frances
Suite Francaise: Nemirovsky, Irene
The art of mending: Berg, Elizabeth
The Boat: Nam, Le
The bonesetters daughter: Tan, Amy
The Book Theif: Zusak, Markus
The boy in the striped pyjamas: Boyne, John
The brief history of the dead: Brockmeier, Kevin
The brief wonderous life of Oscar Wao: Junot, Diaz
The broken shore: Temple, Peter
The Children: Wood, Charlotte
The dive from Clausens Pier: Packer, Ann
The Gathering: Enright, Ann
The God of small things: Roy, Arundhati
The house at Salvation creek: Duncan, Susan
The household guide to dying: Adelaide, Debra
The interpretation of murder: Ruebenfeld, Jed
The kite runner: Hosseini, Khaled
The meaning of night: Cox, Michael
The memory keeper's daughter: Edwards, Kim
The pages: Bail, Murray
The Polished Hoe: Clarke, Austin
The secret scripture: Barry, Sebastian
The shifting fog: Morton, Kate
The Slap: Tsiolkas, Christos
The spare room: Garner, Helen,
The tenderness of wolves: Penney, Stef
The thirteenth Tale: Setterford, Dianne
The time traveler's wife: Niffenegger, Audrey
The time we have taken: Carroll, Steven
The twin: Bakker, Gerbrand
The two pearls of wisdom: Goodman, Alison
The unprofessionals: Hecht, Julie
The white tiger: Adiga, Aravind
The zookeeper's war: Conte, Steven
Vertigo-a pastoral: Lohrey, Amanda
Wanting: Flanagan, Richard
Water for elephants: Gruen, Sara
We need to talk about Kevin: Shriver, Lionel

Can you recommend any from the list?
I can't believe there is only a week to go until our first meeting. I am a bit nervous!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Doll Quilt

Sew, Mama, Sew! was having a doll quilt Sew-Along. True to form I did not do it at the time but as I have signed up for Chaletgirl's block swap I thought the doll quilt would be a good start so I went back and found the tutorials as follows:

Somehow, despite the binding tutorial, I managed to completely ruin the corners of my binding/quilt. It was just all wrong. I really need to sit down and think about it and try to work out why it did not work before having a go on something more exciting than a dolls quilt for Miss Possum...

On the plus side, I did have a go at Free Motion Quilting which was fun once I almost got the hang of it. Good thing I have my sewing machine manual as I didn't know what a darning foot was and feed dogs were but a distant memory.

Miss Possums Black Apple Doll does not seem to mind the funny corners so I will put them from my mind and congratulate myself on a job mostly well done.

Monday, March 9, 2009

14 weeks ~ Ultrasound

I thought I had better get around to uploading this little picture, I am a bit behind... This was taken at 14 weeks and I am now nearing the halfway point for this preganancy.

This is a terrible quality shot as it was a photo taken of an X-ray style film which does tend to lose a bit in quality, specially when it is stuck on my window!

DH and I have both felt the kicking, the first time was a very strong kick the day this ultrasound was taken. I now look pregnant which is great, I am much bigger of tummy this time round than I was with Miss Possum but I hope I finish at the same end point.

I have had no cravings, but the smell of fish makes me icky which is awful as I used to love cooking fresh fish. I hope it is temporary!

Things will start to happen faster now that we are at this point so I will update a little more often on the Little Sea Monkey's progress.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

On the Needles

It was mentioned (thanks Kate) that I have not been knitting much of late, so I thought I would dedicate today's post to all things plain and purl.

I have in fact been knitting away here and there! I made a little pair of baby bootees (seen back right of photo) for my Due in August arrival and I am most of the way through a little cardigan as well. Although, if I am honest Mum knitted most of it. I asked her to show me something and she went from there.... You can see in the above photo that I (Mum has left so I can say 'I') am up to the last sleeve and only have 7cm to go before I can join it all and block it. It is the same pattern as shown on the front cover of the book. I will also be knitting the little beanie so I have the set.

I have been busy with the New England branch of the NSW Knitters Guild and have become their branch newsletter editor.

My new knitting related love is spinning. I had a go at one of our recent guild meetings and now i 'must' have a wheel of my very own. There was something very soothing about the peddle moving up and down and the glob of wool in my hands being turned into a usable product. My hands felt soft when I had finished and I proudly came home to show DH my sample which had been wound onto a bit of card for me. Shame it is not big enough to do anything!

Thanks to Beryl who let me use her wheel, wool and knowledge to get me hooked :)

Thanks also to Joan who gave me so many pattern books for baby knits shown below, the hard part is picking just one project from these, but think I have decided on a pair of knitted pants (longies) from the Modern knits baby book on the far left.

So there you have it, I have, and do knit in amongst all my other projects :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Two blogs I read yesterday, Helen's and Chaletgirl's both had 'unfortunately' posts where you type into google "unfortunately yourname" and see what it comes up with. As both ladies gave me a chuckle I thought I would give it a go myself.

Unfortunately, Rebecca's private life mirrored her almost-there success on film...

Unfortunately, Rebecca also forgets the troubles she's had over the years ...

Unfortunately Rebecca may well charge us for the wasted stage time ...

Unfortunately, Rebecca, a 17-month-old baby, suffered significant injuries from being swept out to sea, but was rescued by a local and taken to a cave ...

Unfortunately, Rebecca passed away on the morning of July 21. We later found out that she had contracted a common enteroviral infection. ...

And my favourite:
Unfortunately Rebecca suffered kidding difficulties and had an abnormal onset of lactation....

Go on, give it a go!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Bookish Business

When we moved north 6 months ago I left behind my book club. This was the main thing I was sorry to have to say goodbye to. Even now I still miss it, the company, the reading, the child free meeting night *sigh*.

I said I would start a new book club here as a way to meet people and get out of the house. I didn't do anything about it for awhile but I can now proudly say that, with the help of my local branch librarian, I have done it!

We are having our first meeting at the end of this month and I really hope the ladies are half as good in this group as the ones I left behind. I can't wait to pick up the first book box and see what it is, there is a great selection for the local clubs and it is all free courtesy of the Library.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Miss Possum

My last 8 posts have all been about sewing so I thought that I had better post about life's other joys, mainly Miss Possum. She is now 14 months old and so much fun!

The bottom photo is out of focus but I love it anyway, she would not stand still for a shot. Miss Possum loves talking on the 'phone'. She must have learnt this from her work at home Dad because I don't spend much time on the phone :)

She has an old mobile phone of mine but is just as happy chatting into a calculator or TV remote, as she has never been on a real phone she does not yet realise that conversations should be two sided so she just walks about chatting non stop with the phone of choice to her ear.

Isn't she perfect! We are so lucky :)

While I am posting I had better mention something a bit 'crafty'. I did this morning, sew another two taggie/ribbon blankets ready to be gifted. One will be going to my cousin along with a Black Apple doll as she is due to have a baby girl any time now. The other is a spare so if I need a last minute gift I have something to hand. I will post photos of those when I have news on the arrival.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

WIP Wednesday ~ March 4th

Strictly speaking, these are not works in progress, as I finished them last night! It is always fun getting jobs ticked off the 'Projects Pending' list :)

While reading Aimee's blog I saw her Taggie/Ribbon Blanket that she had made which made me think of the one Little Miss used to play with. I decided that with the amount of ribbon and material I had I would make one.

The solid blue material is left over curtain fabric from our old house, The patterned stuff has been in my stash for that long I can't remember where I got it, or what I used it for...

Little Miss also had fun reminiscing as she played with it, until she saw my knitting at which point she 'thought' she had found a better toy... I will put this taggie away for our August bub.

The other exciting project I completed was the 'Margaret Bag' As seen on the Oh Fransson Website. This bag was for the March Challenge in the EB sewing groups.

While I was cutting it out, which was the hardest (longest) part, I thought it was going to be tricky. I was surprised by how easily it all came together! It is a great bag and I think I will end up making another one, or two.

I should mention that the outer cotton is $4/m stuff from Spotlight, the lining is plain white drill and the interlining was a couple of Miss Pumpkins old flannel nappies. The button was from my stash so all in all I felt like I had done well, although I am not sure i like this print for a bag, a bit small and busy perhaps?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Another job for the 'Projects Pending' list

OK Mum, hope you have your glasses on as this is not the easiest picture to see, but this is the quilt I was telling you about! I had better photocopy and send you the instructions so you can help me via the phone if I need advice...

It might take me awhile to work out how to do this, and pick the fabric but this is what I want to make Miss Possum to help commemorate her moving into a big bed late in the year.

Should I stick with pastels, or go for something a bit bolder? Hmmm, so many options....

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Swap with a Difference

As I managed to get my first quilting project out of the way without any dramas I have decided that I am ready for my first swap.

Chaletgirl is hosting a block swap where all the participants select their main fabric of choice which gets sent out to other swap members to be turned into blocks using fabric from their stash.

The result will be interesting to say the least and I think it is great to be a part of a swap that has participants from Canada, USA, and of course Australia. Won't my quilt be well travelled by the time I get all the blocks back for assembly!

I can't wait to get further details so I can get started :)

I have this Moda Fabric 'Gypsy Rose' which I will use as my feature fabric in each block. It will be great to see what everyone puts with it.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

EB Pincushion Swap

I enthusiastically signed up for the EB Pincushion swap which was organised by Cylie, then spent the next little while wondering what I had let myself in for. I decided it would be an act of cowardice to pull out so I started researching and practising my pincushion sewing.

I did not get a photo of the pincushion I sent off but as soon as it is blogged by it's recipient I will link it back.

Edited to add: Anna has blogged the parcel I sent so it is safe to add the link.

Today is opening day, and the first day of Autumn, both very exciting! This neatly wrapped bundle fell out of my parcel and I contained my excitement long enough to snap a picture before undoing the ribbon :)

And look what was inside!! A very cute chicken pincushion! I love the fabric and I can't believe how clever the design is, I love that it is so lifelike.

A point worthy of mention is how cleverly one wing is stitched to allow somewhere for your embroidery scissors to sit. I even received a pair along with my pincushion to demonstrate

I have not mentioned who my parcel was from, as my swap partner did not formally 'out' themselves. As soon as I can confirm I will happily point you in their direction :)

Edited again: Yup, I was right! This creation was made by the very talented Dani, who is well worth a blog visit :)