Cats & Quilts - a match made in heaven... (except maybe those stubborn little clouds of fur that latch on to the fabric!)

Kitty Quote of the Day

I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul. - Jean Cocteau

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Op Shops & Soap Making

Saturday I spent an hour going to three of the local op shops in & around Joondalup, North of Perth. I was looking for a stick blender for soap making, but more about that later.

I also wanted a frame to put my mum's family photo in that I showed on my last Tuesday Treasures. No longer will it wallow face down in my desk drawer. Naturally I took no measurements but found something I thought might work. I found this poor abandoned craft work in a 3 dimensional frame for the bargain price of $5.99.

So Friday night I attacked it with a paring knife, cut the box piece off the back, remounted it flat, cleaned glass & frame and as luck would have it, the photo fitted perfectly. Now it's not exactly what I wanted so I will keep an eye out for a more antique frame befitting a 1938 family photograph but it is now safe & able to be be proudly displayed. A bit of new tape on the back & on to the shelf in the lounge where I will see & admire it most days.

My second purchase is a huge BARGAIN! 800 grams of 8 ply wool in it's original balls for $9.50 in a lovely cream colour.

But not just any wool - 800g of 100% wool from the Bendigo Woolen Mills - ahhh bliss!!!

So I didn't end up with a stick blender from the op shops but am very happy with my two purchases. I then stopped at Crazy Clarkes & got a stick blender for $10. So that is the start of my soap making kit.

Last Saturday week I attended a soap making class. I love this style of learning in someones home where you also socialise, eat yummy food and learn a new sustainable option to avoid chemicals & other nasties.

Previously I have done 2 cheese making classes with The Cheesemaker. They no longer run these from home - too popular - but a day out with Pam & Tanya and hands on cheese making is fun no matter where the venue.

So we met at Lee's lovely home and first made a soap using supermarket ingredients, so not expensive or hard to source. Mine looks rather like a banana choc pie don't you think??? The base is coloured with cocoa, the centre with red palm oil & the top with coffee grounds. A few drops of your favourite essential oils & I have soap pie!

We then made a bottle of liquid soap. Mine is a totally addictive lime, coconut & avocado blend that I can't stop sniffing. After a gorgeous lunch we made a batch of olive oil cupcake soaps. I choose to use a peppermint essense for fragrance. The olive oil gave the mix a great lemon colour but then I split my mix in two and used red clay to give my cupcakes pink/red icing.

So I can say there is nothing difficult to soap making at all. No, wait a minute, yes there is! The difficult part is - now I have to wait at least four weeks for the soap to cure otherwise they are soft & will just wash away on use. So the soaps are up high, away from my line of sight (as they look too much like food & get my hopes up) & away from furry toungues that might just like a lick too.

So next Saturday it is back to Lee's place to do her Skincare Class. Lee does not currently have a web site but if you are in Perth & would like details of the course, email me & I will send you her flyers.

Happy stitching
Tracee xx

Happy Birthday Shell!

Today is the birthday of dear Michelle May of The Raspberry Rabbits. If you want to join in in wishing Shell a wonderful day, go to Brynwood Needleworks and link up then go find your best ever bunny pic so we surround Shell with every bunny who loves her on her special day.

Big & fluffy birthday wishes to you on your special day Shell. Harrington & Sugie must be so excited it is mum's big day (not so excited that there are messes I hope!). Thank you for such a warm & friendly welcome to blogger world last month. I love reading your blog & seeing someone as besotted with their furry babies as I am. So myself, Brutus & Honey send you lots of love today from every bunny here! xx xx xx

Happy Birthday!
Tracee xx

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday Treasures

I wasn't sure what I was going to post this week for my Tuesday Treasure & then I came across one while I was cleaning out my desk drawer. It should be looked after a lot more carefully than that & now will be.

My treasure this week is a picture taken some time in early 1938 of my mum's family. It is the only photo I have of the whole family, and the only one my mum had too. While a photo this old of family now all passed is always a treasure, this one just tickles me because of the picture of my mum.

Yes, that's her, the youngest daughter in the middle with her finger up her nose at one of the few family photos ever taken. I imagine they weren't cheap to do at that time & there are few others except for special occasions like weddings etc & none altogether.

Mum told me she had just turned five at this time. Obviously there was something much more engaging going on with her nose rather than posing nicely like Aunty Ella & Aunty Audrey did. Even baby Uncle Charlie looks like he is trying to follow mum's lead. My Grandmother Lillian must have been very dismayed when she saw the result.

My mum & my Aunty Audrey to her right are the two women who shaped my life so lovingly. It's a photo that always makes me smile & I love it. If I am going to have one photo of my mum's family, well thank goodness it is not a boring one!

For more treasures hop along to Melody's blog.

Happy stitching
Tracee xx

Monday, March 21, 2011

More Great Giveaways!

It must be Giveaway season & there are some scrumptious prizes out there at the moment.

On Fiona's blog Designs by Fee is a giveaway of a charm pack & a metre of one of the fabircs - Fresh Cotton by Fig Tree Quilts - yum!!!

On Gail Pan's blog she is giving away her four new Petite Projects patterns. Cute & quick projects great for gifts for others or for yourself!

Be in to win crafty ones!

Happy stitching
Tracee xx

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Golden Quilters Awards + 30 Giveaways

Join in the fun in voting for quilt industry icons in 10 categories In the Golden Quilters Awards on SewCalGal's Blog. It's all the Northerners & unfortunately nominations closed on the 15th March otherwise we could have nominated all our Aussie greats too. I'm sure there will be plenty of names you recognise & you only need to vote in the categories you want to. I'd be very happy to be able to give an informed vote in the Best Quilt Retreats category. My vote for Designer goes to Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill as I love her designs & as a big thank you for her annual free BOMs she gives away so generously.

While your there don't forget to go to an earlier post (click here), to leave comments to win one of 30 giveaways. I have dreams of $100 voucher from the Fat Quarter Shop so I can buy my yet to be commenced Vignette fabric....  Good Luck!

Happy stitching
Tracee xx

Friday, March 18, 2011

Free Project from RED BROLLY

Bronwyn Hayes from Red Brolly designs has a free Easter Bag pattern on her blog all ready to make & fill with choccie eggs for the little & not so little ones for Easter.

You have to download page by page (right click on the text / Save Image As) otherwise it can print at a smaller size which is no good as a template. I know in the past crafters have had problems downloading from Bronwyn's blog. I have downloaded my copy so if you have a problem, email me & I will send it to you.

I'm doing a soap making course tomorrow so will let you knowhow that goes.

Happy stitching
Tracee xx

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Here's A Great Giveaway From Susan

Susan from Susan's Texas Quilting Adventures is having a BIG blogoversary giveaway of lucious fabrics. She has been blogging for three years and the past weekend at the Dallas Quilt Celebration hunted down three beautiful fabric gifts to offer as prizes on her blog. Very generous & too good to resist!

Postage to us Aussies is not a problem either - Yahh!! Check out Susan's squash blossum necklace in the earlier post too - gorgeous.

Happy stitching
Tracee xx

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tuesday's Treasures

It was impossible for a gal like me to share any other treasure for today after Fee's recent post about the loss of her dear Monty. What a heartbreak but what a lovely little companion the family shared for 12.5 years.

Any one who knows me knows that my most treasured possessions are my two fur-boys Brutus & Honey.

Honey - alias Hun, Hun-bun, Hunis-bunis, Big Boy

Honey was a Mothers Day present for my mum in 2007 in the hope that having a cat after being without one for a few months would help give her an interest & slow her dementia. About 14 months later I was greatly saddened by mum's having to go in to residential care & greatly blessed by becoming the proud owner (read servant) to little Honey-bun. He's a funny boy, big, creamy & loves to flop himself on to the floor at any given instant. He doesn't sit, he flops down, no gentle positioning for Hun, just an all out collapse as if his bones have suddenly disappeared. He is very vocal too so always up for a conversation on any subject. He likes big cuddles in winter only, imagine his signature flop but now across my arms or on my nicely cushioned chest. There is never a dull moment with Hun-bun in the house! He turned 4 on Saturday but is still a kitten at heart.

Brutus - alias Brun, Little Brun, Boom-boom

Little Brutus has been my constant companion for over 18 years. He knocked on the screen door aged about 6 weeks (my mum was sure he had human help with that!) & within minutes my heart was stolen. He is 19 years old next month & I can't remember life without him. He is small, silky and no matter what, by my side. He's not a lap cat but loves to be carried around but only by me. He loves his home comforts, a nice knitted rug, a pretty quilt that makes him look even more beautiful and especially now in his elder years, a nice toasty electric blanket in winter on mum's bed. He is like a sweet, gentle old man who has slowed down and enjoying the simple things in life like a nap in the sun, sitting on the couch with mum stitching or watching the world go by out the window.  I realise every day now is a blessing & we are making the most of it.

Little Brun wasn't too impressed when Hun came to live with us & there was a tense six months while they got used to each other. Now while they don't curl up with each other they seem to be happy with each others presence though Hun's active ways can still turn Brutus in to a bit of a grumpy old man! At least Hun is wise enough to know Brutus is boss & he gets the top perch in all situations.

Go check out all the other Tuesday Treasure bloggers links at Melody's 'The House On The Hill'.

Happy stitching & purrs from the boys

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Feelgood Freebies from Generous Bloggers...

On my web travels I have found a few freebies I just love;

From Sew4Home a sweet softies cuddly cat pattern to download. A furchild who doesn't meow for meals, to go out, to come in, or because they want you to move the fabric so they can sit on your knee.... and comes in any colour you want to make him or her in - big purrs for that one!

From Lynette Anderson Designs a free download for 'to do' lists featuring her own cute designs as the header. Thoughtfully these can be downloaded in both A4 her here in Aussie or Letter format for overseas. I love a good list & can't get through the day without one so this is purrfect for me.

From Simple As That a rainbow printable to put in a frame on the wall or a shelf in pretty colours and with an uplifting saying. Check out Rebecca's blog too, pretty , creative & great photos & photography tips.

Happy stitching
Tracee xx

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tracee's Treasures

Again my treasure is a find from the op shop, in this instance Good Sammy's in Subiaco. They seem to get a lot of the more vintage linen, older china etc.

I love this old dressing table set, suitable enough for me, a kitty trio & it takes pride of place on a little old wooden shelf unit at the front door filled with kitty things.

It's in perfect condition & fairly neat on the back. Just what any quiltkitty needs.

I thought I would share the following that came in by email to me last week. It applies greatly in my household especially Rule 9 when you have an elderly furchild. Rule 10 scares the hell out of me but I'll be there sobbing my heart out when the time comes. How could you not after 19+ years of love, loyalty & great times.


1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful. 
2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.
3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.
4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.
5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.
6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.
7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.
8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.
9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.
10 On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.

~Take a moment today to thank GOD for your pets. Enjoy and take good care of them. Life would be a much duller, less joyful experience without God's critters. 

Happy stitching
Tracee xx

Friday, March 4, 2011

Stitch A Long Month 1

Today is one of those days when I feel there is a lot to be grateful for. No big reason for it today, it's just one of those days when you know how lucky you are.

In particular today I am thankful for the following;

1. That I have a fulfilling job, working directly with a person I adore & with workmates that are great, that also allows me to work only three days a week.

2. For the lovely girls I quilt with on a Thursday each week. Like most quilting groups, we are all that & so much more to each other.

3 For joining the 2011 Stitich-A-Long making Natalie Bird's Tis The Season Christmas stitchery quilt. It forced me start a blog something I have been procrastinating over for ages, meet new people online and spend a lot more time on my quilting. All positives!

So we are doing 2 blocks a month in the SAL starting this month & I am finding it very hard to believe that on the 4th of the month I have finished my 2 blocks & not just the stitcheries which is my usual habit. I have also done the piecing so the blocks are completely finished.  Loving the results!

One thing I learnt is when you trim your stitchery blocks back to 4.5 inches, you have to be very accurate with the cutting. A couple of millimetres one way or the other & the stitched outline can disappear into your 1/4 inch seam. I'm not sure I am happy with the top block for this reason so the quick unpick may have a job to do soon.

Happy stitching
Tracee xx

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

An Extra Special Giveaway...

If you haven't already, rush over the the Vignette in Stitches blog as they are having a fantastic giveaway to celebrate the 2nd edition of Leanne Beasley's Vignette hitting the shops any day now.

It features a quilt & cushions in Melanie Hurlston's When The Wind Blows fabrics and the giveaway is a bundle of 15 fat quarters of that gorgeous fabric.

If you haven't ordered your next copy of Vignette yet, Sarah of Patchwork Plus has a great offer on the next four issues.

Happy stitching
Tracee xx