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, November 27, 2011

No Photos Mum - I Look Wonky!

My poor little old furboy Brutus had a trip to the vet yesterday. Hence, his not wanting to pose for photos due to his wonky look. The left side of his nose has swollen up, squashing his eye slighting & giving him a decidely lion look from the left hand profile. Hopefully after an injection & a course of antibiotics he may be back to normal.

There is the chance it will be a tooth absess which would mean anesthetc & surgery that at nearly 20 the vets said 'he is unlikely to survive' (inset tears here!).  Being such an old timer it is also common to get tumors too but the vet thinks if that's the case, he won't recover his symmetrical good looks but old age may take him before the tumor does (inset tears here!). Precious little man is looking a little worst for wear & although he has always been a small cat, he is now the grand weight of 3.1 kgs, less than half what his 5 year old brother (the minature donkey) weighs.

Of course, I had kept myself awake half the night before wondering what was wrong with mum's 'little man' & expecting the vet to say, your being unkind, time to let him go (insert tears & shaking here!). However, what the gorgeous young women did say was 'there's still life in him yet!' (inserts lots of tears here!). He's eating & drinking, walking OK with his athritis & has a good purr with his mum most days. So fingers crossed the tablets work & old Brun gets to see his 19th Christmas & hopefully his 20th birthday in April.

The vet asked about getting Brutus as a kitten & then said, 'come this way, I have something to show you'. Bless her heart, she took us in to one of the kennel rooms that currently houses 6 tiny kittens of about 5 weeks old (insert copious tears here!). That was like Christmas for me, having cuddles with all of them & little kittens trying to climb on me while I cried & laughed & told all the furbabies how beautiful they are. They had been dumped at about four weeks old & found in a bin. They were scared & trying to defend themselves when first brought in but after only a week of great care were gentle & sweet already. Hopefully in a few weeks when ready, they will all find a wonderful forever home. After being so scared & sad about little Brun's fate, what a lovely time that was. It was also a gentle reminder that although there will be no replacing my little man when the time comes, there will also be other furbabies in the future needing a good home & in return bringing great joy & love.

So today little Brun is having a lovely day. The vet also cut his claws so no more 'wheelies' on the tiles when he tries to get to a fast trot. No more, click, click, click in the middle of the night either as he decides time for a biccy or two at his favourite snacking time of 3am.

Today I have had a lovely day too. I have done some sewing for my last gift in the Santa Sack Swap, caught up on some work for tomorrow as I have Jury Duty (fingers crossed no long trial for me), did the minimum housework, read blogs, played Words With Friends on Facebook & done some baking.

I have found another benefit that we no longer need a loan or have to go without fabric in order to buy bananas - making banana cake out of the mushy ones. So the night is ending with a big cup of tea, banana cake & watching those poor lost souls on Brideshead Revisited.

I hope your Sunday has been as sweet!

Happy stitching
Tracee xx (& little Brun & big Hun-bun)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Book Club Kitty Style

Does anyone read Marie Bostwick's Cobbled Court quilting series of books? I have just finished the latest, Threading The Needle. My local library still only gets this sort of book in large print as surely it's only nanas that will read it! If that's the case, I'm happy to be in the nana classification.

 They are entetaining books (especially for fellow quilters) based on the goings on in a small town called New Bern in Connecticut. The characters are all in some way involved in the Cobbled Court Quilt shop & it's daily routine, quilting, working, getting through the economic downturn as best they can & helping each other out.

It's the fourth book in this series & you can see them all at Marie Bostwick's web site. I really enjoy them. They are quick to read, even more so in BIG print & of course, full of quilty goodness & the kindness of quilters that we know & experience all the time.

Today I am doing some sewing on my swap gift for Chooky's Santa Swap, so it gets in the mail before the 25th November deadline.

What do you think these two are conspiring between them.....?

I think they may be thinking it will be fun to stow away in a parcel going overseas soon.....

Happy stitching (& reading)
Tracee xx

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

One Swap Down, Two To Go....

I joined in a swap with SewHappyGeek in the UK to do a table runner or wall hanging. I thought, no problem, do them all the time, lets go. It is a blind swap so no one knows who is making for who & who you make for is not the same person who makes for you so all very sneaky. Lots of blog lurking!

When I got given the details of my swap partner & checked out her blog, they included lots of strange words like 'modern' 'bright' 'geometrics'! So there was my comfort zone, last seen moving fast away from Perth, across the Nullabor & on to who knows where. If it's hiding in your sewing room, send it on it's way & tell it, it's all safe to come home now.

Shez & I compared notes & she was in a similar situation. Of course, she overcome it beautifully & if you haven't seen it already, check out the table runner Shez made for her partner. You can also see what Shez received in the swap. Obviously our tastes are similar because when I saw her gift on the Flickr page for this group I was thinking, that would be very nice for me - lol. You had to nominate 3 colors so we must have said similar ones. I'm sure when I get mine it will be awesome too.

So I pondered what to make while away in Tassie, it moved up to worrying about it while I was in bed with the flu (with too much time to think!) & finally I had a plan to make a quilt as you go star in yellow & blues. That was the plan for last Saturday. So Friday night I flicked through a few new US magazines & changed my mind completely.

Saturday say me cutting out lime green, black & white circles to raw edge applique on to a white background. Never done anything like that before.

I added a nice lime green spot border & the another border made from all the different fabrics used. Today it was time for binding & adding the hanger sleeve. On the Flickr group a link was posted for Triangle Quilt Sleeves. I hadn't seen this before & loved this method, especially as I could put one in each corner so my partner can hang it up the way she thinks is best. Check it out, it is so easy.

So here's my finished product, which with a few other little treats will be winging it's way to the USA tomorrow.

I am loving the finished result so just hope my swap partner feels the same when she receives it.

Fingers crossed!
Tracee xx

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tassie Tales by Tracee...... Final Part

Now we get to the end of my travels, 2 nights in Franklin in the Huon Valley. I have been wanting my own little patch of grassy goodness in the Huon Valley for many years but there has always been other priorities holding me in Perth. After lots of internet study many years ago I decided on somewhere around either Cygnet or Geeveston & a trip where we stayed in those towns in 2009 made me even more sure I was on to a good thing when the time was right.

(beautiful Cygnet Bay)

At work some of our gorgeous girls were talking about a friend Janet, who used to work with them years ago and who with her husband Tony has brought a stunning property in Franklin in the Huon Valley. They intend to offer B&B accommodation too, so after an intro by the girls I was ready to be their number one customer in their new venture.

Now let me introduce to you my little partner in crime in my trip, my mighty hire car the Nissan Micra. Don't you love the colour, kind of a pinky bronze. He is only little & the hills between Launceston & Hobart and Hobart & Huonville did make him grunt a bit but the big test was Tony & Janets driveway.

You can't have the best views in the Huon without a driveway that goes up. So after extra instruction on the phone from Janet (out of automatic, 1st low range, keep moving) we were off on our first climb to the heavens.

And heaven it was.... Little car & I handled the climb no problem, even the next day after a bit of rain overnight, nothing to worry about. By then little Micra was feeling like a V8 & I am now officially an off road driver! Check out the view as you go back down.

With views like that you can imagine the ones from the house are pretty spectacular. Every room except the guest toilet has a view. This was from my bedroom window.

Of course the inside offers style, luxury & great comfort. It was nice to have a proper lounge room to sit & sew in after being in hotel rooms for 8 nights.

And breakfast cooked for you & served with a view each morning was a real relaxing way to start the day. That's the table I used over in the right corner, next to the windows & currently covered in my sewing stuff.

Of course, a highlight for me was chickens & roosters, little chicks hatched from eggs, sheep in the paddocks & gardens and wild areas to roam and take photos.

(self shedding sheep - this is Bobby (I think, or maybe Shaun) and baby) 

As hard as it was to leave my awesome accommodation, I did go for a drive around the next day, Friday, to check out if everything was as gorgeous in the Huon as I remembered. It was sad to see the dragon & crystal shop in Cygnet had gone but it has been replaced with chocolate manufacturers. I went especially to Geeveston to stop at the sushi shop (as seen on the latest Gourmet Farmer series) but it was 2.30pm by the time I got there & he was all sold out. Janet tells me his sushi is second to none, every piece a work of art & not your run of the mill takeaway sushi. Never mind,another excuse to go back soon & next time I'll be there earlier.

So I followed the water all day, went off roading again (expert in off roading in a 2 wheel drive micra!), saw where all the houses with the great views were and generally had a fantastic day.

The Huon is tranquil & vibrant at the same time & from what Janet told me Franklin is a lovely, welcoming community. So more information to ponder in my yearn for a cool, country life.....

I will get more info from Janet regarding their accommodation & if it is now officially open for business. I can't imagine anyone finding it not top class & the prices are very reasonable. There are two bedrooms, 1 queen & 1 with 2 king singles so great for a family too & like me, the kids will love the animals. I will post more info as I get it. Needless to say I highly recommend it!

Saturday I couldn't get a park to go to the salamanca markets, talked too long before leaving Franklin so went to the needlecraft store in Sandy Bay. To think I stayed there for 3 nights & never saw it until I saw an ad on Tv for it while down the Huon.

Next it was on a plane back to Melbourne. While sitting waiting for my Perth flight Melborne put on a great electrical storm that closed the airport & had everyone waiting for our flight very nervous. The lightning was hitting the ground & still planes were landing. It was quite a show & filled in time in a riveting way. Only 45 minutes late & Qantas had us all on our way back to Perth. Lucky it wasn't a week later....

So that's my travels in Tassie... Loved every minute of it.... Can't wait to go back......

Those of you who live their permanently, whether in the towns or country are very blessed.

Happy stitching (& travels)
Tracee xx

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tassie Tales by Tracee...... (Part 2)

Wednesday in Launceston was the day to go visiting & see some quilty goodness.

First stop was to see the lovely Leanne from Lizzie The Quilter Blog. If you haven't checked out Leanne's blog do so. She is prolific & a lover of gorgeous happy fabrics like Flower Sugar, florals & white etc. Every quilt she makes gives me a case of the ahhhhssssss. As an added bonus, I popped in to see Leanne at Esmes where Leanne is the resident machine quilter. Believe me, she is as lovely as her quilts too.

Her latest quilting job was the new Quiltaid quilt that starts this month & is in the irresistable Ruby by Moda. The quilt has applique & stitchery blocks by 12 of our cleverest Aussie designers then a choice of 6 finishing kits. Quiltaid supports the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital dedicated to the treatment and care of women who suffer horrendous childbirth injuries, known as obstetric fistula. A worthy cause & another great reason to join in this BOM. The quilt looks even more spectacular when you see it made up. This is all organised by the very caring & hard working Helen Stubbings of Hugs & Kisses so make sure you visit the website or the Facebook page. This is Helen's block below.

Next it was a drive out of the city North-East to Lilydale to see Deb at The Village Sampler. I hadn't met Deb before but like all quilters she was friendly, with lots of quilts to share so we spent a great hour together. Her little wooden shop is gorgeous & a trip upstairs (by special invite) leads to a cosy workroom filled with many delights. Deb offers a lot of Mckenna Ryan's BOMs & has some great samples to show. These are gorgeous & as I have the patterns & fabric kit for Faith, Hope, Love in my 'to do' pile I was excited to see some of Mckenna's quilts & blocks made up.

At every quilt shop I stopped at I brought background fabrics for the next Stitch A Long, Some Kind of Wonderful by Anni Downs. I was being optimistic as I hadn't finished Tis the season, the last SAL yet & wasn't allowed to join the new one until I did. (Yah, I have now!) Below is those fabrics & a set of fat quarters I brought from Deb. I have a passion for yellow at the moment so this yellowy, greeny, creamy, pinky goodness was too good to pass up. I also got a couple of patterns that I just had to have.

After a futher romp through the country & drive across the impressive Batman bridge I was in Exeter to see the infamous Pauline from Calico Crossroads & to see how she was travelling after all that fame she & Ray fell in to in the USA. Unfortunately I didn't get there until about 4pm & Pauline was just closing up the shop to go to the hairdressers. So what can you do - go too! The hairdresser didn't mind a spectator & we had an hour to catch up. Three colours later & it was back to the shop for more catch up & look at the latest goodies. Alas, the till was bear so my buying power was kaput but I will make up for it next time Pauline.

The above pic of Pauline's shop is stolen from Pauline's blog. I seemed to forget my camera existed while in Launie. So if you ever get up Exeter way make a visit to Pauline a must do. She is most welcoming, lets us travellers join in on her usual groups & has a shop that's like a fabricy candy store. If like me, you are usually many miles away then check out the website & online shop.

After a walk around the city that night and a good nights sleep it was back in the little car & a drive back down the island to Hobart again. No, I didn't stop for scallop pie. I did check out Evandale as Pauline told me it is beautiful. A gorgeous village, something you would expect a Midsummer Murder to occur in at any moment. Karen was being bossy again & said 'Go Straight' so about an hour later & a few dirt roads I ended up back on the highway again. She is not a good travel buddy! Next was a stop at the wool shop in Ross - can't resist that one. Those lovely fibres just make me want to purr & knit like my furboys do.

In Hobart later that afternoon I caught up with Helen Stubbing from Hugs & Kisses & her girls at Mures on the wharf. It was lovely to finally meet Helen after years of following her blog & Facebook pages. Thanks for taking the time Helen. Young Tess has the most glorious smile, she could get around me for anything.

I am also in Helen's Snugglybug group that makes blocks for quilts for all kids that go into hospital for terminal or long term treatment in Tasmania. The kids or parents say what colour or subject they like & we makes blocks to make a snuggle quilt especially for that child. See one of my blocks below. As you can see, an easy block & a worthwhile cause. Check it out & join up.

From there it was off down the Huon Valley, but that's a story for another day....

Happy stitching
Tracee xx

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Tassie Tales by Tracee.... (Part 1)

Well first a group of us from work went to Melbourne for 4 days for our biannual Playgroup Conference. We stayed in the Punthill Manhatten Apartments, nice & central, a walk each day to & from the Hyatt through Treasury Park & handy to get to lots of restaurants.

Megs & I shared an apartment on the 8th floor so had a great view of the MCG, Rod Laver Arena & lots of railway tracks. Nice apartment & a comfortable place to stay. Not being able to aclimatise to the time zone was a bit of a worry, seeing we went to bed about 1.30am every night - it's only 10.30pm in Perth!

Saturday it was bye bye girls & I flew to Hobart to stay a few days in Sandy Bay at the quaint Wrest Point Casino. Great view from the window. Went for an evening stroll around Sandy Bay, loving the daylight saving and ended up with scallops & chips, sitting on a bench by the boats in the twilight. Scallops are my favorite seafood & you do not get 7 fresh cooked scallops (with the roe on) & chips in Perth for $5.95. More like $15.95! Needless to say, after the last few nights, this was an early one.

Sunday I ventured to the suburbs around Seven Mile Beach. Karen (my borowed GPS) & I had words about the round about way she liked to take me places so after a phone call relied on directions given to me by real humans. That night Jaime, Lisa & I tried out Pier One Restuarant at the Casino. Great views & nice menu. Thanks to Jaime, I tried something new - Butternut Pumpkin pesto & King Island Roaring 40s Blue Cheese on flatbreads. Delicious & I felt all grown up having eaten blue cheese!

Of course, had to have a look through the casino itself. It's just a tiny one but with everything a gambler would need. Not being much of one myself I joined a few older patrons on the 1c poker machines. An hour later I was the only one groaning as I won, as I had had enough, handed over $4 & wanted to go to bed. So it was high stakes, 10c a time but unfortunately bet big & you win big so it took another 40 minutes to get rid of all the money.

Monday I started the quilt shop visits & revisiting the city itself;

* Frangipani Fabrics in Sandy Bay - lovely old shop with great fabrics
* The Quilted Crow in New Town - Wow, that church setting is gorgeous
* Salamanca Place - Great coffee & brought lovely fruit, cheese & supplies at Salamanca Fresh Fruit Market cheaper than we get in Perth at the supermarket

Then I fulfilled a dream & visited Petes Patch, the vege garden from Gardening Australia at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical gardens. Peter Cundall is my kind of bloke! Pleased to see even he & his replacement Tino have veges that bolt to seed too.

 The whole park was just beautiful, with views over the water & the flowers inside & out were magnificent. I loved the Antartic House where they pump in freezing air & it is planted to suit. The mural was great. Inside here was the coldest I ever got in Tassie too. Great weather.

Tuesday it was time for a big drive to Launceston. I'm not much for big drives but Karen kept me company & she did behave though it wasn't difficult - 'drive straight for 168 kms'. Naturally I played with her mind & did a few detours. The signs on the side of the road for Scallop Pies in Oatlands got to me so it was a quick turn right (Do a U-turn yelled Karen). I was soon happily parked by the Lake Dulverton Conservation Area with curry scallop pie in hand, feeling very happy with myself, not believing how many scallops you can put in flakey pastry & sell for $5.80.

It was a great drive & Karen came into her own once we got to Launie. After settling in, it was off out to check out a few of the suburbs that have houses I like. South Launceston - Trevallyn - Riverside. I had forggotten what hills were living in Perth for 25 years but now I am reminded.

Tuesday it's quilt shop tour but I will leave that for the next post....

Happy stitching (wish I had a scallop pie...)
Tracee xx

Friday, November 4, 2011

Long Time No Type.....

I feel like I have been away for ages & can see from the blogs I have missed much.

There was 4 days in Melbourne for our conference (love the city! for a visit) & then 7 days in Tassie soaking up the beauty of that unspoilt island & visiting some gorgeous bloggy quilty friends.

Then unexpectedly there has been 11 (yes 11!) days in bed with the mega flu. Perth has been it's usual erratic self, 31 degrees one day, 21 the next so I didn't know if my fever was coming or going, whether to wrap up or strip off. Nearly all behind me now & I have managed to stay up all day today except for a small afternoon nap and even spend some time with my neglected sewing machine.

YES Chooky! I have spent time quilting my Tis The Season SAL quilt. I have discovered the joy of quilting gloves & while my parallel lines are not always so parallel I now have a little more experience in machine quilt world. Tonight it's binding & labelling while watching Midsummer Murders - yippeee!

I didn't get a lot of time to sew while away or fluy but did take some nice little prepacks of stitching in case the urge hit. My last couple of nights in Tassie staying in luxury in the Huon (more on that later) I put together most of these little fellas. Melody from The House on The Side of The Hill did a tutorial for these little guys in early October so go check it out & download a copy if you haven't already. Now to buy a couple of pairs of small scissors, a few needles & a couple of cute gifts are ready to go.

I've done some of a swap project too but wonder who it if for?????

So I will be back with tales of Tassie & all the lovely people I said hi too. I will end today with a photo of the gorgeous flowers my friend & work-mate Lisa brought around today to cheer me up. She is a sweetie!

Happy stitching
Tracee xx