Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas rush

Where has December gone? The last two weeks have disappeared in a rush of shopping, babysitting, cooking, cleaning and Christmas parties. It's not my favourite time of the year. I much prefer a slower pace!

I have been able to do more stitching on my Traveller's Blanket though and nearly have all 63 squares stitched down. I am looking forward to starting some embroidery on each one. 

 Don't you love the fabric with the thongs? Thongs are an iconic symbol of Australian life. Long hot summers and very casual clothes! I think they are call flip-flops in America and jandals in New Zealand.

On the beach this morning somebody had made a window out of stones!

 And these seagulls are doing what a lot of us are feeling at this time of the year - appearing calm and relaxed on the surface and paddling like crazy underneath!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011


I am making some progress on my Travellers Blanket. I have pinned the three layers of the quilt together and started to applique squares of fabric on top. I had great fun auditioning lots of fabrics from my stash and coming up with 63 squares that somehow relate to the beach and the area around here, and that also fit my colour scheme. (I can't believe I had that many different fabrics - well, yes I can!  But it was nice not to have to buy anything new.) Once all the squares are attached I will start adding some embroidery.

 I have also finished and added another little bird to my collection. 

Nothing very exciting has happened at the beach lately apart from a man falling off his horse and being carted off in an ambulance. I didn't think you'd want to see pictures of that! (I can report that both man and horse are OK.)  Anyway here is a lovely reflection photo taken a few weeks ago.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Round and round and round........

'Round' was the theme for our 12' x 9" challenge this time. It was quite hard to come up with an idea. I was inspired by a quilt in this year's Quilt National by Judy Kirpich, but I constructed mine in a completely different way. (Also her quilt was a lot larger!) I used 1/8 inch strips of fabric cut on the bias and applied to the background fabric using Vliesofix. I then stitched it down with a narrow zigzag. I was going round and round by the time I finished!  More 'Round' quilts here.

 And another little bird stitchery!  No bird, but a little nest with eggs and tiny french knots in the background.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Travellers Blanket

I have joined Dianne Cevaal's Travellers' Blanket online workshop. I have dyed my fabrics and made up the 'blanket'.  I am now choosing lots of different fabrics that relate to the beach and the environment where I live. These pieces will be appliqued onto the blanket and lots of embroidery stitches added. The whole piece is to tell a story of my travels (not necessarily long distance travel but my daily walks in this area). I think it will be a slow process and something to work on over the hot summer. Not a very interesting photo but this is the top fabric which we folded and then dyed to get the lines. Small pieces of fabric will be appliqued in the squares.

The weather has been cold and windy, the only person on the beach this morning was this horse rider braving a walk in the sea.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lots of birds and a fish.....again!

The swans' nest is no longer in the middle of the the lagoon! The wetlands are drying out as we approach summer. I guess the babies are almost big enough to look after themselves. You can make out two or three young still sitting on the nest.

This salmon was on the beach this morning. Something, maybe a small shark, has taken a big chunk out of his side!  A bit gruesome!

Something far more cheerful - I have finished three little birds. These are all only 4" square and as I said before they are a mixture of hand stitching, embroidery and machine applique on onion skin dyed fabric. I have a couple more on the go.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Another feather for Jude. This one is made with a blue batik fabric appliqued onto some recycled shirt fabric and stitched in circles with variegated thread. I had fun finding lots of different objects around the house to make all the different size circles. I've now made some templates so I can repeat this again. The smallest one is a tiny button!

Two swans on the beach this morning, possibly two of the young ones that were hatched in the wetlands. They were quite happy for me to take lots of photos.

Lucky I had shoes on this morning because I nearly trod on this!  He was about 4 inches long!! They give a nasty bite.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mice and hair rollers!!

I have been experimenting with some pincushion patterns (to make for gifts). There are a lot of patterns on the internet.  I have fallen in love with these little fellows!!  They were very easy to make. The ears, eyes and whiskers are a little bit fiddly, and I put a big metal washer in the bottom so they stand up!
The pattern is here. Click on tutorials.

This cheeky boy was watching me closely from the pine tree out the back today - a yellow-tailed black cockatoo. There are lots of them eating the new pine cones. You can hear them crunching!!

I am always amazed at what you find on the beach. Where did this hair roller come from?  Did the owner come to the beach in rollers and drop one? or was she on a boat out in the ocean?  Who wears rollers any more??  Sitting on the sand it actually looks quite beautiful!  It might make some sea creature a neat little home!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lots of birds and a fish!

Where is October disappearing to?
I've been stitching a little bird. After doing several feathers for Jude's project I decided I wanted to try a small bird. It's a strange mixture of hand stitching and machine applique.  I have used Bali batik fabrics for the bird and the background is onion skin dyed shirt fabric 'invisibly' basted. The piece is only 4" square and is not finished yet!

 There are a pair of blue wrens in the back yard. I'm sure they have a nest but I haven't worked out where yet. They take turns to look for food and have a quick little dip in the bird bath.

A pair of swans have nested on a swan-made island in the middle of the wetlands. There are three or four babies. The photos are a bit fuzzy as they are a long way off.

And this fearsome creature was on the beach this morning!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Two more feathers

Two more feathers for Jude's Magic Feather project.  Recycled shirt fabric dyed with tea, and feathers dyed with passionfruit skins and appliqued. I have added some embroidery on top of the feathers.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Story Time

'Time' was the theme for our latest 12 x 9 challenge. I had various ideas including clocks, an hourglass, Old Man Time, etc. and then an image for story time appeared. I remember as a young mum struggling to find the 'time' to read that all important story and then nearly falling asleep as I read it. Now I am a grandma I have a lot more 'time' to read the stories but I still nearly fall asleep (especially after reading the same story five times!)  See more 'Time' quilts here.
I used commercial fabrics for the applique, a yellow shot cotton for the background, machine appliqued the picture and added some hand quilting on the background. I love that bug fabric!

On the beach this morning the remains of a magnificent sand castle with an impressive entrance bridge, and a nice piece of rusty chain that should make a good addition to the dye pot!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Home at last

Back to my own bed and a lovely shower! (The caravan is comfortable but there's nothing like being home.)
Also back to our beautiful beach and my morning walks. A few treasures this morning - the white thing looks like a bone but is soft like cartilage. From a shark or a stingray perhaps?
After doing loads of washing and sorting and tidying I am ready to get back into the sewing room. Our next 12 x 9 inch challenge "Time" is due at the end of this week! I have an idea but haven't started yet!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Blown away!

Lovely sunshine but the wind is blowing a gale, so no fishing or sitting outdoors. The seagulls seem quite happy.

I have finished another two feathers - one for Jude and one for a friend who is going through a very hard time at the moment. I hope she likes it. The white feather is made from the pin tucked shirt front I bought at the op shop, on fabric I dyed with passionfruit skins. It reminds me of a seagull feather. The other one is cotton threads leftover from a project I brought with me on this trip, on some of the recycled shirt fabric.

I am finding these feathers quite addictive!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Six days on the road......

We've been six days on the road, virtually driving from the top of Australia to the bottom! We are now in Port Vincent for a few days catching up with friends before driving the rest of the way home. This is certainly an amazing country with diverse scenery all the way. And it's cold!! Have had to dig out the socks and woolly slippers.

This is what we saw after we backed our van into a site in one country town!

(Don't worry he's just asleep!)

Should have time for a bit of stitching tomorrow. Would love to stitch in the car but most of the roads are far too bumpy.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Another shirt and some more dyeing

I've bought another white cotton shirt from the op shop. This one has some fine pin tucks on the front which should make a nice striped feather. I have cut the shirt up and now have another lovely stash of good quality fine white cotton.
I cut up the skin of a passion fruit, popped it in my dye pot (coffee mug!), poured boiling water over it and put in a piece of my new shirt fabric. After leaving to soak over night it produced a wonderful purple!

A couple of nasty creatures who live in the waters up here - saltwater and freshwater crocodiles! These were photographed from behind a fence at the bird sanctuary, not in the wild!!

We have to leave this wonderful tropical place and head home - back to the cold weather! Hopefully we will return again next year.