Monday, 30 January 2012

The Plan

At my age, making New Year's Resolutions is probably pushing my luck.  Besides, they are never easy to keep and I always end up guilt wracked at not achieving my goals.  However, I have a plan.  It's an open-ended plan, so no pressure to complete by a certain deadline.

I visited my local fabric store on Saturday to help formulate my plan.  I always feel so much better when I walk out of a quilt shop with a bag containing some fabric, no matter how modest. These three fabrics are the beginnings of what will eventually be this:

It looks like a wall hanging, doesn't it?  

Wrong.  It's a king size quilt.  Yes, I like a challenge.

 Kim McLean is an Australian quilter and designer and I have long admired her creations.  After discovering this blog I was inspired to dip my toe in the water and get back to what I really love, quilting.  I am waiting on a shipment of Kaffe Fassett Fabrics to arrive, including 7.2 metres of background fabric, and then my plan will be put into action.

I am writing this with the full knowledge that my sewing room contains unfinished quilt tops in the dark reaches of my fabric cupboard.  I have at least one from each decade.  

Who can forget the mad frenzy whipped up with the resurgence of Baltimore Quilts of the early 1990s?  My five completed blocks are too precious to see daylight and/or I am waiting for one of my daughters to take up the challenge.  Not going to happen.  

In the meantime, I am having a lovely time filling in orders for heart garlands on my Etsy and MadeIt shops in time for Valentine's Day.  Or weddings.  And at least they are finished products.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Australians all let us rejoice

It's Australia Day.  It's our favourite sort of day, a public holiday.  It has been raining for days over the eastern seaboard, causing flooding to many areas, only a short twelve months since the devastating floods of 2011.  Despite the unfriendly weather, the nation came together as one to celebrate Australia Day in style.

We spent the day with some good friends, starting with a traditional Aussie lunch of delicious barbecued lamb.

After dessert, it was time to work it all off with a game of backyard cricket.

Hats were thoughtfully provided as the sun started to break through the clouds.  After a drawn match, it was time for that other traditional game ...

Boules.  Boules?  Well, it's traditional in some parts of the world and that's all that matters.

Mr Fudge used his baseball toss, which wasn't quite cricket, but very effective all the same.

The tape measure was called for ...

... and the winner congratulated.

Wherever you are, happy Australia Day!

Monday, 23 January 2012


January is rapidly coming to an end which means that Valentine's Day is not far away.

It's a busy birthday month in the Fudge clan, with three birthdays within four days of each other.

Is there someone in your life who you would love to surprise with a Valentine's Day heart garland?

Are you organising a February birthday party and need something to adorn the walls, windows or doorways?

Then hop over to here or here, or even here and your problems are solved.  They would also make great nursery wall hangings, so they would be ideal as a baby shower gift.

Am I ashamed of the blatant self-promotion?  Only for a nanosecond. 

Friday, 20 January 2012

On the road again

It was time to say goodbye to the cat, as her owners returned from their three week cycling/camping trip around New Zealand.  Their re-appearance brought a frosty feline reception and they were given the odd scratch and bite as a warning to NEVER LEAVER HER ALONE WITH THOSE PEOPLE AGAIN!

There was one last store to visit on our way out of Brisbane and luckily it was only a few blocks away.  How had I missed it all the time we were there?

It looked fairly innocuous from the street, but Mr Fudge was already crying.  He had come so close to leaving the city without having to sit patiently while I browsed.  So he decided to come in with me.

Oh my ... heaven in a shed.

Beautiful linens in every shade called out to be purchased.  I needed a brown paper bag to breathe into but settled for the Fabric Whisperer who had to admit later that he was almost as impressed as I was by the glorious and very tempting bolts of fabric.

Miraculously, I found a brown paper bag.

How the blue floral linen inside the bag found its way into the car is a mystery.  The good news is that there is also a branch of this store in Sydney.  Poor Mr Fudge.

Our journey back to Sydney was broken with two nights spent at the country home of some dear friends, who were the most gracious host and hostess.  We arrived in time for lunch, which was followed by afternoon tea, cocktail hour and dinner.

How fresh do you want your eggs today?

Who needs a market when the produce is at your back door?

Not a sight I am used to seeing when I hang my clothes on the line.

What a fashion statement the earrings make.

I could really be tempted to stay here forever, but it was time to thank our hosts profusely and be on our way again.

We crawled past this barrier at Cunninghams Gap which is laughingly supposed to deter the mountain from collapsing on top of you.  

Here is a video on YouTube which shows what it was like when we drove past the same point twelve months ago.  If you right click your mouse on the lower right-hand corner of the video, you can elect to watch it on YouTube, where you can see it in full screen mode.  I don't think anyone believed it when we described the experience, so I am glad someone was brave enough to stop screaming long enough to film the video.

Now that we are home, I have started on my first project and I must say it is wonderful to feel so enthused about sewing once again.  Three weeks away from the machine worked wonders. 

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Legos and colour schemes

I met up with some of the foundation committee members of BrisStyle today.  It's the first chance I've had to see them since our move to Sydney in July last year and it was an absolutely delightful day.  There were six of us and four brought along their gorgeous and fast-growing children, who at first were a little wary of each other, but by the time we left were Best Friends Forever.

One of the topics discussed was how many of the children present were Lego fanatics, and to this list I could easily add our own grandchildren.  One particular boy even has his own dedicated Lego Room - surely every child's dream.

During the discussion, Bel of Enticing Icing produced this plastic container from her bag.  Yes, they are made of icing and were a commissioned order for a customer.  I can imagine some lucky child is in for a big surprise when the birthday cake is produced.

The week has been filled with colour, as I mentally plan the quilt I will commence on our return to Sydney next week.  My enthusiasm for quilting has returned, and some of the responsibility must go to my quilting friend whose house we are minding.  How wicked of her to combine her sewing studio with the guest room.

Look at these glorious fabrics by Kaffe Fassett - you could almost drown in the rich colours.

I was very good.  I took them out of her stash cupboard, swooned over them, and PUT THEM BACK.  You never know, the house may have concealed CCTV cameras tucked away in the ceiling.

The colour theme continued today when I read about this site - I could spend hours playing with the countless combinations.  What a brilliant colour wheel concept.  It's the perfect tool for quilters, desktop publishers or artists.  But be warned - it's extremely addictive.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

How to live with a cat when you are the house guest

It's not that I have anything against cats, in fact, they can be quite endearing. But when you have lived in a cat free environment for the best part of 50 years, it can be a steep learning curve to have one thrust into your living space.  Not the cat's fault; in this case we are the guests and the cat is our hostess, albeit a very naughty one at times.

Bella, like a lot of Burmese cats, certainly has a will of her own, which sometimes clashes with ours.  We very quickly learned a couple of lessons.

How Not to Leave the House

Bella is a house cat, not allowed to roam wantonly through the neighbourhood, picking off the bird life at will. The responsible owners have organised the house so that she has ready access to outside areas which do not allow her to escape  Of course, Bella's object in life is to escape at every opportunity.

The first time we prepared to go on an outing, Mr Fudge stood by the open front door while I turned on the burglar alarm with the remote attached to a key ring  As the alarm commenced its countdown, I scuttled towards the front door at the same time as Bella, who had been lying in wait under the lounge  She was out in the street like a flash of lightning - straight under a parked car obviously placed there for her convenience.  As I attempted to retrieve her, we suddenly remembered the burglar alarm rapidly ticking down the seconds, as the front door was still open.  Silent screams.  A quick and undignified rush back into the house ensued and the alarm was turned off in the nick of time.  Back out to the parked car where Mr Fudge was standing guard (I think I mentioned that he is not a cat lover and in fact can't bear touching them).  The offending cat was swooped up, much to her annoyance, and the three of us returned to the house to try again.

How to Exit a House with Dignity

This time around, I had Bella firmly held under one arm,  handbag clutched under the other, the alarm remote one hand, and we were ready.  Mr Fudge again stood at the open front door, I turned on the alarm, then before kitty knew what on earth was happening, I moved with considerable grace and speed towards the front door, depositing her onto a lounge chair, making sure she was facing away from the escape route, and moved on without a break in rhythm.  Kitty could be briefly seen looking around in confusion.  The door closed and we were out and about.  If it had been a ballet, it could not have been choreographed more perfectly.

To placate her that evening, we allowed Bella to watch Gone With the Wind, although she feigned boredom. Where's the gratitude?   Methinks she will weep with joy when her owners return from their holiday next week.

Monday, 2 January 2012

It can't be 2012 - I'm not ready yet

 I pulled back the curtains on New Years Day and this glorious view was there waiting to be discovered.  We are back in Brisbane for three weeks, house sitting for friends while they are on an overseas holiday.  Can you feel the early morning subtropical warmth coming through?  We are in the most charming suburb, within easy walking distance of more restaurants than you could dine at in a year, wonderful parks and gardens, and a five minute bus trip to the city.  Bliss.

The only fly in the ointment was Bella, the resident cat who had gone AWOL on Christmas Day, thankfully not on our watch; we were not due to arrive until a couple of days later.  However, we were advised not to worry, as she quite often went walkabout and would probably return in a day or so.  On New Years Eve I texted my friend advising that there had not been any sightings of Puss and we were a wee bit concerned that she may have checked out.

The next morning, after swooning with delight at the view from our guest bedroom window, I came downstairs to see a flash of a cat tail whiz by the dining room window.  I rushed to the back door and there she was.

Well, I sure hope it's her and not some random moggy literally landing on her feet.

Because she's taken over the house.

She even chooses the TV programmes.

And sleeps at the foot of our bed, much to Mr Fudge's distress - not a cat lover, I'm afraid.

My friend is a quilter and the guest bedroom is also her studio.

I've died and gone to Heaven.

I can't show you the other cupboard with all the fabric, because I cry every time I open the doors.  I am hatching a plot to leave our dirty laundry behind, so that there's just enough room in the boot to cram in her Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

The combination of the new year and a relaxed holiday back in Brisbane have fostered a new enthusiasm for quilting.  I had been quite jaded after our move back to Sydney; a major interstate move is not something you would want to do in a hurry.  With the added stress of keeping up with sales on my Etsy and MadeIt shops in the lead-up to Christmas, I was afraid that I had lost the will to create new quilts.  Thank goodness it has returned in abundance and my resolution is to start on two major projects in the coming weeks, one long-term hand applique and the other an art quilt.  The ideas are starting to gel and I am once more excited at the prospect of creating new quilts.

I do hope your Christmas and New Year have been as happy as ours.  We are truly blessed to have wonderful friends and family and we are looking forward to the year ahead.