Monday, 31 August 2009

My Four Beautiful Girls

Hardly a day goes past without me thinking how lucky I am to have four little girls. I never dreamed that I would have even one of them. Everyone I knew seemed to be having boys and I only had brothers. It just seemed to me that I would have boys too. That would have been just fine too.

But now that I actually have four girls I think I am sooo lucky. I had no idea how lucky girls with sisters were. Our girls mostly love each other dearly, even though they sometimes fight and say grotty things to each other. They are very good at giving each other encouraging words,a hug, or a special treat, saved especially for their sisters, from an outing.

They all have sweet things that they do for us. Just the other day No. 3 picked five daisies on the way home and later that day she placed one on each of our beds as a little present. How sweet is that? I think Daddy and I might just have shed a little tear at that gift.

And this morning No. 1 popped a chocolate gift, from a party she attended yesterday, under the pillow of each sister. Well No. 4 received a balloon, which was a more appropriate present for her at that hour. They were gratefully received.
Last week No. 2 made the beds of her sisters as a surprise for them. What a lovely thought and quite a lot of work for her too. She received a special certificate for that gift of kindness.
And what has No. 4 been up to? Well she is just the most fantastic little poppet out! She is huggy, kissy, and never short of a few loving words. Oh I could just eat her up she is so lovely. She smells good too, soft and warm. Mmmm.

And now on to a different note. I decided a while ago, when my 'countries visited' list arrived at 50, I would have my first blog giveaway. It will be relevant to the name of the list and I will be busy preparing a parcel of goodies for the winner this week. Stay tuned for more details later on in the week!

Monday, 24 August 2009

A New Dress

On the spur of the moment last night, I decided to use a lovely piece of fabric I bought at the beginning of winter. It was going to be a dress for No. 3 and a skirt for No. 4. Well the dress is done and currently being fashioned by a very pleased little girl.

Not an original idea I'm afraid, copied from a dress she already has. We call it an apron dress as that's just what it looks like from the front. Only difference is that it has a back skirt too. So easy and cute.

The only two matching buttons I could find were light pink which looks quite nice really. Oh the buttonholes on my fancy new machine are just a breeze to do. And they all come out exactly the same size too which is a huge bonus!

Now I have been meaning to do this little job for a few days now. Denise from A Bun Can Dance has given me a lovely award, which I must add to my side bar. Thank you so much! But now I have to tell the world about my five greatest obsessions. Goodness only five?!! OK I do obsess now and then but they usually only stay around for a short while (unless you have to live with me and then they seem so very much longer).

An ongoing obsession I do have, and I am reminded of it most days but especially after supermarket shopping day, is the amount of unnecessary packaging we have around our food. This is the worst in my opinion, biscuits in a tray with a wrapping around them. Now you are probably saying I shouldn't buy them in that case, but with allergies in the house, beggars can't be choosers and I am so not a baking chef. We do also recycle very well, it's a big thing over here in NZ.
A current obsession is my laundry. I have always wanted a separate laundry but it seems as though it is not supposed to be. In NZ it is quite normal for your washing to share the garage with the cars. How ridiculous is that? This is how it currently looks, so embarrassing isn't it?

Anyway, big news, I am about to give it a makeover!!! Nothing too flash mind you, but way better than this I'm hoping. Storage baskets, shelf, blind, overall tidiness and a new washing basket too. Stay tuned for updates!

OK onto obsession number 3. Storage solutions!! I just love them all! I always have. I love plastic shops that have baskets, containers, drawers etc. They give me such excitement all over, tingly at times.
This is our toy cupboard and I love it. I have ice cream containers with different bits in each one. Bigger containers for sets of toys to keep them all together. Board games and puzzles on the shelves. Nice and easy to find everything and quite easy to keep tidy.
Fabric had to come into it now didn't it? I am currently obsessing over the lovely designer fabrics for quilting projects. I have bought a lovely new piece which I must show you soon too. I try and keep them looking nice and tidy by hiding them in my wardrobe. The jars of buttons are on the top shelf so I can see them everyday. Ohhh they look lovely!

You must all be thinking I am a tidy freak! I think the laundry photo sums up what our house actually looks like most of the time, no kidding! I have realised though that the very organised parts of the house really do stay that way for a long time so I would really like the rest of the house to catch up sometime soon. Maybe spring cleaning will kick in soon? The house really could do with it.
Right the last obsession of mine showed it ugly head this morning. Snails in my newly planted vegetable garden!! I hate them! Luckily I was ahead of them and put bait out straight after the baby plants going in. I found four of them today. There are hundreds of snails in our garden and boy can they sniff out new plants.
Daughter No. 2 helped me plant the veggies yesterday evening. She announced that she mostly loves gardening, cooking and sewing. I told her that she will be the perfect wife and mother some day. She was very pleased! That's all she wants in life.
I know that I've already done five things but I'm getting a little obsessed with finding obsessions! I also obsess about our 2.1/2 year old not knowing any of her colours! Don't you just love this canvas painting done by No. 2 when she was about four? Such bright colours.

I also love many things too, like pigtails, sleeping children, two year olds, Mamma Mia played loudly, happiness in the house, clean faces, tidy rooms, a full night's sleep, romantic movies, sunny days, picnics, yummy food, impromptu outings, our girls getting on with each other, school holidays, ribbons, clean white sheets, good magazines, craft books, my silly husband who obsesses way more than me, friends to spend time with, taking photos, seeing a newly planted garden, probably the computer too... and on and on it goes...
And right now I am going to play with my little sweeties. They have been patient while I've done this - mostly. First I must pick on a few people to play along with me. I'm going to pick a few new blogs to me this time. Lets see...
I will tag these people later when I have time. Please take your "A Fabulous Blog" award with you, it's in the side bar.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Pretty Exciting Stuff!

The little girls and I have been out to Spotlight this morning. I had to do that boring bit of shopping. The one that actually costs quite a bit of money but you end up with stuff that's not so exciting. I purchased backing fabric and the border fabric for my Nostalgic Quilt and bought 3m of quilters muslin, in a very wide width of 170cm. Wish I'd known about that before! This will be the backing for the nine patch quilt I made weeks ago. Will be nice to see that one quilted.

I dangerously stopped by at The Crafty Needle to look for a suitable binding fabric for the latest quilt and threads. My girls go silly there for some reason, which is very naughty of them. Also dangerous because I am easily tempted to buy something rather stunning whilst there. I resisted, gosh aren't I a good girl?

Nothing says 'Spring is here' better than a blossom tree, does it?
Look at what I also picked up at the quilting shop. There is to be a craft fair in Hamilton next month! It's meant to be fantastic according to Ngaire, shop owner and occasional reader of my blog. Someone else put her up to that one!! I'd better behave myself!!

And look who has moved into the reserve next door. There were a pair of them after school yesterday. We took some bread over for them but they were a bit timid. It's nice to see at least one of them around today.
Well we have kindy soon so I'd better get cracking and eat my lunch. It was Grandparents Day there yesterday, so I got let off the hook. They sang some songs and showed the Nana's and Papa's and Great Gran's around. Quite lovely I'm sure.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Nostalgic Quilt

Look what a busy bee I've been! It's amazing where you can pinch a few minutes here and there to quilt, and of course there are the evening hours, and the before breakfast hour, oh and the after shower session. Yes OK, I've been a little preoccupied with this little quilt. I haven't had any complaints yet, so I'll just keep going I guess.

Sometimes do you really impress yourself? I don't mean when you know you've done a great job, no, I mean when you have done such an awesome job at something rather tricky and it's turned out absolutely perfect? Well anyway I just inverted eight triangles into the sides of the quilt and got every single one of them spot on!!!
See the second photo up there if you have no idea what I mean - the one with five triangles meeting. I was flippin' gobsmacked to say the least!
OK enough trumpet blowing, back to business.
I do get into a bit of a pickle at times when joining so many shapes together, so I have worked out a method where I pin a number at the beginning of each row. It seems to work rather well as long as you don't sew it into the seam by mistake. Well I only did it once!

Look who got tangled up in the quilt! She sits next to me at the machine on the buffet and I didn't notice her getting dragged into the folds of the quilt. Luckily I heard her little teeth chattering away in shock. Doesn't she co-ordinate well?

Now as we have been blessed with a fabulous day outside today, I took it upon myself to lay the other quilt top out in the sun to photograph for you. Nice of me wasn't it? Well you are worth it, especially after hearing me rabbit on about my intersections. I've come to the conclusion that the quilt is just too big to get a decent photo.
Gosh my heart is racing! I just got a phone call from school and you always expect the worst don't you? Turned out they are just looking for volunteers to help with a fundraiser. Deep breaths!! Having two little people is a bit of a problem with this one, but I've promised full input when the little ones are at school. I do love to help out at school as it's nice to be involved, but two year olds are not the most helpful are they?

Oh, I forgot to confess that I stitched the top and bottom borders on by mistake. How stupid is that??? Guess I'll be unpicking those. Then I just have to purchase some plain border fabric and backing fabric and I am actually going to quilt it then. Not too sure exactly when this will take place. Maybe tomorrow morning.

Monday, 17 August 2009

A Quilt Top Completed And Another One Started

Well I got stuck in over the weekend and finally stitched all the borders strips into place on No. 2's quilt. It took quite a while to put together as I had laid it out at the other end of the room. It doubled as a keep-fit class too.

Oh gosh, what a rubbish photo of it! You can hardly see the edges at all. It's kind of wet outside so had to make to with a shady spot indoors. Never mind I know it's done and I'll take a better photo when it's quilted.

Actually dear husband is starting to ask questions about when this activity might take place. He commented yesterday, that I keep making these tops but never get to the quilting stage. Well that's because I don't have the backing fabric yet! Goodness me, I can't shop and sew at the same time now can I?

They are so addictive too! But better to have an addiction of fabric and quilting than some of the really unhealthy ones isn't it?

Now the Layer Cake was getting rather jumpy on the bench, so I thought I'd better get stuck in and start designing the next quilt. Oh I do love these fabrics! I had a play with them last night and listened to advice and suggestions from the dear husband. This was my first idea...

and the second is actually one of my all time favs even though it is so simple. I think I want to do something new and a bit more of a challenge at this stage though. I also think I might start collecting some favourite fabrics to make myself one in the future. It is perfect for fabrics that are beautiful on their own.
Oh I can just see it stippled already!

And a variation on this one, but with a white square in the middle. Quite like this effect too, but not good use of the fabric squares as they would have to be cut into strips.

So... moving right along. We decided to go with the triangles. As the squares weren't perfectly square (talk about a right bummer that was!!!) I had to trim a few mm's off each one and then cut them into four triangles. Didn't take too long, but after packing up for bed, I discovered five more under some fabric on the floor!!! I cut those this morning.

Well, let the fun begin! After joining a few triangles I decided that really, I should spend some time planning how they should go. So I lined them all up in their pattern groups and colour groups too. That was time consuming as I had got them all muddled up. Typical of me really!
In between visiting Gran for an hour and sorting lunch out, I managed to lay them all out on the floor in a pretty respectable fashion. This really is my favourite part I think. It's a bit like doing a puzzle. Actually I'm finding quilt making very mathematical as well. Quite good for the brain which is always good when you are full-time mum. Brain seems to seize up after a while!

Oh yeeeesss! I do think I love this one!!! The soft colours are heavenly and so restful. This is one that I will enjoy snuggling up to on the couch next winter. It's not going to big enough for all of us, so I'd better get quilting like mad.
I plan to make some to sell as well. Have to earn a bit of money to pay for the fabrics somehow. Damn it! I'm really not sure if there is much of a market for quilts over in NZ. They would be too expensive to sell overseas with postage costs. I suppose I can but try.

I guess if you are looking for me, I will be at the sewing machine for the rest of the afternoon. I will be seeing triangles everywhere now!
I can see a few that I need to fiddle with. Oh, there is going to be a border one triangle out from the edge. So it will be large square, border, strip of triangles, then another border and binding. Should make it a bit bigger too.

Right, toodle pip, I'm off!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

A Layered Cake

Want to take a peek at what I bought yesterday? Hey? Yeah I thought so. My very first Layer Cake. Only problem with these is you don't really know what you are getting as they are all wrapped in cellophane. I knew that the top fabric was pretty jolly wonderful though so guessed that the others would have the same wonderfulness about them. I was right. They are all so pretty, and don't they look fab on our sofas?
Well come on then, open it up and have a look! Help yourself to all the gloriousness which comes from new fabric. Every piece is exactly the same size, and take a look at that ribbon tie! Won't that look great on a selvage project? Can't you just smell the roses?

Oh wow! Look at those fabrics. Loving the spotted ones too. The flowers are so pretty and goodness, each piece coordinates with all the other ones. What a treat!

Oh, yes. These are probably my favourites. Love cherries!! Love paisley too. Little No. 4 recognised the paisley from her bed cover and got rather excited. I was rather excited too as she isn't the brightest when it comes to colours etc.

I am thinking since they look so great on the sofas, that these little delights will be perfect as a lap rug for the winter months. For those who are interested, this pack is call Nostalgia and put out by Moda Fabrics. I purchased it at my favourite quilting shop in Manukau - The Crafty Needle.
I think I will refer to this 'quilt to be' as The Nostalgic Quilt. I quite like that name.

Now I really must thank everyone for their very kind, supportive, wonderful comments yesterday. I hope no one felt pressured to leave a comment just because I mentioned it! I was just curious to see who was out there. And I did meet a couple of new people because of it which was very nice. Always nice to have new friends.

I've been busy with kindy three afternoons a week lately. No. 3 is starting to settle in now and I have left her for half an hour each session. Not a great deal of time for me to do anything constructive, but a small step. She is getting there slowly, but there are always tears. Poor little thing!

Now I guess I should go back to the lounge and see how many biscuits are left in the container. Probably should have another quick look at my new fabrics too! Well then, I guess it's bye for now. Bye!!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

A Quilt, A Party And Some Digging

OK I might be getting a little ahead of myself by putting the unfinished quilt on No. 2's bed. But I tend to get a bit excited at this stage of things. Please forgive me!

I still have to sew the borders around the whole quilt. Come to think of it, I haven't actually cut them either. But there will be three strips of the different fabrics making up the border.

I'm not sure if I got the whole cool/warm colour thing quite right at times, but I think it will be just fine. I had to make a quick trip back to the fabric shop this morning to buy more of the spotted fabric for two more squares!!! OK, I actually need 51 more squares, but to finish this part of the quilt I only need two more squares. How annoying is that???
Well I could hardly go all that way and not buy anything else now could I? Only thing is I forgot to photograph it for you to see. Will have to correct that next posting won't I? It will be worth the wait though, I promise.

We were celebrating Gran's 80 something birthday on Sunday. Lots of yummy party food was had. I made her a pink hottie cover but forgot to take a photo of it, silly me. She really wanted one after seeing the one I made for my mother's birthday. It was the first thing I made on the new machine.
And boy does that machine sew like a dream! It's so smooth and lovely to use. Just glides over the thicknesses. No clunking and grinding either.

With the warmer weather we tend to notice outdoor situations a little more. The vegetable garden was rather overrun with weeds. But now I have two lovely beds waiting for me to visit the garden centre. Two other beds are still waiting for their makeover. I hope the weather continues to put out lovely sunny days.
Now I must go and sort out two hungry children so we are ready for kindy. Hope all this makes sense as it was done at great speed. Not so much time for blogging these days sadly.
Hope you are having a good week. Catch up with you all later on. Would love to hear from some of my frequent visitors. I am very curious to know who you all are? Go on, leave me a message - please!!!

Friday, 7 August 2009

What's Cool?

Well, did I enjoy my first school outing yesterday? Did I ever!!! It was such a lot of fun. The kids were so good but oh so excited. Don't blame them really. All I had to do was walk in the middle of the line to make sure they all kept up with the group. Really hard work aye?

The show itself was really well done and it was put on by the national youth drama group or something similar. Apparently 90 bus loads of students filed in yesterday at various times!!! Imagine that many kids all highly excited! Quite a fabulous day was had by all, well except the mother behind us who fell asleep half way through! The noise level in the building was immense, how she managed to fall asleep was beyond me.

Look what the lovely boy bought home for me! Aren't I lucky? A three pack of magazines all about quilting and patchwork. Should be a good read when I get the time to go through them. He always buys me these three packs for my birthday and Christmas, he's so very thoughtful when it comes to presents and puts so much effort into it. Yes I realise it's not my birthday, and it's certainly not Christmas, but he was buying himself a mag and thought of me too. Sweet, sweet boy.

I have been cracking on with the flowers for the quilt. This is No. 2's favourite colour combination. I've managed to finish four and a half now. I pinned the others all at the same time so I don't have to muck around with each one. The jolly pins sure get in the way though. I end up with about 30 odd on each flower so you can imagine the pickly I get myself into sometimes.

Here are four of them. Only two to go! Dreadful photos of them I'm afraid. The sun is out again today, wohoo, but the inside of the house really doesn't get the benefit of it for a while, except in the kitchen.

The background fabric is actually lemonish. Not that you would know, looking at these.

Now I have a huge favour to ask of you. Kathy, bless her cotton socks, co-author of Material Obsession, kindly let me know that I just need to alternate cool and warm coloured strips for the other squares. Now I have no idea which fabrics are cool and which are not. I do know which are pretty and what colours I like best, but clearly that's not going to help? Please Heeelp!!!

Oh look what I've just worked out! Bold and italics. I'm getting so fancy!!!

Well these are my fabrics. Hopefully when blown up, the photo I mean, not actually blown away if you please, you will be able to see them better. The colours look pretty true to me.
Actually if you look here you will see them in full glory. Yes that's much better. Oh it is so nice to see them all again, in one piece before being cut up.

I'm all excited again. I'm taking the big girls to see Mamma Mia at the movies tomorrow evening. I've not see it and they are having a replay of it for a week. How great is that? I have had the ABBA music up loud this morning and it's so energising. We were all dancing and singing and having a lovely time getting ready for school. The little one was so cute joining in. Awe, they are too cute at two aren't they?

Right off to make a shopping list. It's that dreaded time of week again when all the food has run out! Have a great weekend and listen to ABBA for me.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Spring is Coming!!!

I am so completely not supposed to be doing this!!! Spending time on a blog I mean. I should be getting organised as I am spending the whole day out. I, am going on, my very first, ever, school trip! I've not even been on a kindy trip. Oh it's soooo exciting!!! We are travelling by bus, into the big smoke to experience High School Musical 2 on stage. Wow! Not a boring trip to the museum either, but the real thing. Fun, fun, fun! An excuse for a day out I'd say.

Spring is in the air!!! Yay! See, we have legs up top. A couple of cute chubby ones (squish, squish!) and a pair of slim ones.
Now I have to say I was shocked after yesterday's comments. Yes, deeply shocked. I was expecting to see some lovely comments on my stitched flowers, which I did get thank you. But what I was not expecting was to hear how many people do not hang their washing out anymore. I mean they see it as an archaic tradition!!!

I mean what is the world coming to??? I'm hoping they live in a apartment where they have no option but to use the dryer. Please tell me so! Why wouldn't you dry them on the line? I love it. I couldn't use the dryer unless the weather was really crap. I use inside lines in the winter in the garage, and in the lounge by the heater at night.
Look who missed out on a wash again! Naughty little pussy cat. He is so loved by No. 4 but after being run over by the pram, thrown on the road, slept with and given messy cuddles, he really could do with an extreme makeover.

Now some promised bulbs in flower. Not much I'm afraid but it's a start. Pretty anyway.
The geraniums are still doing well. They flowered all through the winter, bless them. The caterpillars are having a good feed on them as well. Naughty, naughty.
Now look at the youngest one! Really!! She changed to go out to play. Pj's, big sister's crocs, scarf! Why??? She loves to stand out from the crowd this girl. She's going to have a fun life I think!

OK I really should go now as I have ten mins before the babysitter arrives. Nana actually, she's a love. Then off on my trip. See you all tomorrow!!!