Saturday, February 28, 2009

AQC Wrap-Up

My mum and I went to the Australasian Quilt Convention/Expo this morning, and shopped up a storm! It's been the perfect day for the end of summer; warm but no too hot, and not a cloud in sight. We arrived about 15min before the expo opened, and there were people everywhere! This year it's being held at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, which is a beautiful old building. While it advertised as having more room and therefore more stalls, I'm not sure that was the case. It was still quite a struggle to get up close to each stall, and the noise in there was amazing. I also found the seminar rooms to be a bit small; I had to sit on the floor! But anyway, pictures! I didn't take too many there, just too many people.

The building, viewed from the surrounding gardens:

I took photos of two quilts that caught my eye; one more traditional, one more bright and funky:

I set my self a bit of a budget for the day, and I think I did pretty well.

Two Honey Buns, "Sweet" and "Hello Betty". I was suprised by the price range for honey buns, anywhere from $29 to $45...

Five fat quarters, I think they are Moda's Summer in the City:

A cute piece of Mushroom patterned fabric, which I've seen on a few blogs. Not sure about the designer. Spotted it early on, and luckily it was still there when I went back later:

A couple of magazines I'd missed out on during the last couple of months, just $5 per copy (plus the table had big bowls of lollies!):

A bundle of jumbo ric-rac, because I can never find what I want, when I need it:

A pair of embroidery scissors, to use instead of my manicure scissors:

A Jelly Roll Quilts book, which I've been eyeing off for ages. They'd sold out, so it will get posted to me when they get more stock next month (and at no extra cost):

My mum bought me this quilt book, which I've admired on more than one occassion:

And I also bought a huge cutting mat (about 22 x 34 inches) which will make life a little easier.

All in all, a good day out. I don't think there was as much there this year; no one really had yardage, and there wasn't the huge amounts of charm square packs that I saw last year. There also weren't really that many jelly rolls, though there were a few of the Sweet rolls and Turnovers. One of the best bits is finding out about shops you weren't aware of...though that's not so good for the bank account...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Falling Star Sneak Peek

I've been slowly plodding away on these blocks for the past couple of days, and I've got three of the eight rows assembled. Below is a bit of a peak at a few of the blocks.

I've just finished a session at the physio, so I won't be doing much more, if any, today...but hopefully over the next few days I can get a couple more rows together. I've also almost finished the Sheep quilt; just two borders left to stipple!

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I haven't done any more sewing this week; my physio has been working me hard, and I've been too sore up till now. I'm hoping to get back into it a bit this afternoon, but will see how it goes. In the meantime, is anyone planning to go to the Australasian Quilt Convention (AQC) this week?

For those that don't know, it's being held from Thursday until Sunday, at the Royal Exhibition Building in the Carlton Gardens, Melbourne. I'm excited that it's moving to a larger venue this year; I really enjoyed it last year but there just wasn't enough room! I'm looking forward to doing a bit of shopping; the Aussie dollar makes it a bit more reasonable to buy stuff here rather than over the net at the moment, and there are a few seminars I'm considering, particularly the one on using jelly rolls. I've got a pile of those building up that I should use!

I had planned to go on Sunday, but I've got C's baby shower, so I'll be there on Saturday instead. I did my baby shower shopping this morning; it's so much fun buying cute baby stuff! I've put together a bit of a hamper, but I'll wait till next week to show photos just in case C is lurking on here... I also treated myself to a book I've been wanting: 500 Cocktails.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Work-Free Wednesdays

I love Wednesdays; I get a whole, uninterrupted day to do just what I want. Normally that means heading to the gym, as it's usually quiet on a weekday morning. But not today; the physio said no exercise for a week, and I'm secretly quite pleased!

The verdict is that I've bruised the muscles around my shoulder blades, which is why I get sore the more I use my arms. So I got a bit of massage, some acupuncture, and now I'm taped up like you wouldn't believe. So much so that I can't look over my own shoulder!

Today's mission was to quilt the centre panels of the sheep quilt, and I made it, bit-by-bit. I've found that if I do little bits at a time, its not too bad. And to be honest, driving my car causes more pain than quilting... as does reading Homespun apparently. Anyway, I've free-motion quilted each of the four centre panels, and in amongst the fence posts. All that's left is to quilt in the ditch along the coloured blocks, then stipple the outer border.

Bella also assumed her normal position on my bed; though when I'm at the sewing machine, she spreads out along the back of the machine.

I also usually cook something a little different for dinner on my day off. Last week I was given a goody bag of Italian cheese products; Parmesan, Romano, and lots of tubs of ricotta. So tonight I made a risotto. I prefer a less traditional oven-baked risotto, I find the result much more satisfying. Plus I don't have to stand at the stove and stir for 40 minutes. I can use the same basic recipe, and add in whatever I want at the end. Tonight I stirred through roasted pumpkin cubes and spinach, and a pile of grated Romano cheese.

Monday, February 16, 2009


I spent the weekend working on the blocks for the falling star quilt, and by last night had all 68 economy blocks pieced and trimmed. Now they just need to be sashed, and they will be ready to assemble, though 12 will be turned into stars.

My whoops was a bit of an accident I had on Thursday; I misjudged my entry into my car, slipped and slammed my back into the door frame. Ive got a lovely bruise on my leg, and a very sore back, to the point where using my arms too much is very painful; mostly through the shouldblade area.
So it took me four days to put all those blocks together, working a little bit at a time. I'm off to the physio tomorrow, so hopefully they can get that sorted, as I use my arms alot for my job. I work in a lab, and there is a lot of repetitive hand work. I'm also hoping to get the Sheep quilt fully quilted Wednesday, so I'll need to be able to use my arms!

Till next time!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


926...the number of pieces in "Catch a Falling Star"/"Simple City". I've learnt my lesson from 4OT and am now doing my cutting at the kitchen bench; it's higher, thereby reducing the strain on my back when I lean over to check the markings on the quilting ruler. But all the pieces are cut out now, and hopefully I can start sewing this afternoon/evening.

I've also got to get the sheep quilt basted up, as I'm quickly running out of time! C is having her baby shower in two weeks, though I wont be giving the quilt to her then. I'd rather by able to put the bub's name and DOB on it. So I've got to do a bit of shopping before then!

I also have some good news for a change; I've had my thesis bound up properly, and my title of Doctor is now completely official. It's nice to see my thesis sitting in the department alongside all those who have gone before me. I'm very happy with the binding; I found an old Hungarian gentleman who has been book binding for around 40 years, and does it all by hand.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Fire Update

I'm sure most people outside of Australia are now aware that Victoria has had its worst bushfires on record, with the highest peace-time death toll. Over 100 people are now confirmed dead, with many more likely to be found over the coming days and weeks. Over 700 homes have also been lost.

My sister works in the Yarra Valley, one of the regions hit by fire. She went to work yesterday for a short while, to help clean up from the previous day when the winery was evacuated, but fortunately returned home quickly. This photo shows her workplace, and just how close the fire got.

Her aunt and uncle, who lost their home, took all proper precautions, including water tanks, pumps, and fire shutters, but the heat was so intense the tanks melted, and the steel beams which support their house buckled. Another family I know in Kinglake left their home with their children, and were lucky to find their house had survived.

For those that want to help people affected, there are numerous ways to get involved. Several banks have opened accounts for donations; contact the Red Cross for details. Several bloggers are also organising donations of clothes, toys etc. Please visit Grandy and Baa or CurlyPops for details.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


As I'm sure many people are away, Victoria is currently suffering one of its worst bushfires, following the hottest day on record yesterday (a tad over 46C). Despite it being cool today, the fires are still burning, many out of control. So far 35 people have lost their lives, and many homes have been destroyed. Several towns have been almost completely obliterated. I live in the suburbs just outside the city which is perfectly safe, but I visited my friend C yesterday to catch up, and the fires were a little too close for comfort. At one point her husband got up on the roof to see just how close they were. I later found out it was only two suburbs away, and several homes were destroyed. I have also heard this morning that my sister's aunt has lost her home, but is safe.

(photo from

While bushfires are a part of living in this country, it is still devastating. I hope everyone will keep those affected by the fires in their thoughts.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bossed an iron?

Does anyone else own a bossy iron? Or is everyone reading this thinking I must be crazy? We bought a new iron recently, and if I leave it alone for too long, it beeps at me. And beeps some more, and some more. It beeps until I come and do my ironing. Bossy thing.

Anyway, I've finished off all the Winter blocks for the Boxed In quilt. The pic is of a handful of the blocks; I need to play around with them to work out how to arrange them before I sew them all together.

I want to thank everyone for their thoughts regarding the backing/binding of 4OT. I finally made a decision, blue for the backing, red for the binding.

I've started on my next big project. "Catch a Falling Star", which is a kit put together by The Fat Quarter Shop using Moda's Peace on Earth and Miss Rosie's Simple City pattern. I've had the kit since about April last year, and have been hanging out to work on it, but keep getting distracted by other (smaller) quilts. This afternoon (my day off), I've been cutting out the background fabric...I think I'm up to about 200 squares so far!

I always wonder if Bella gets bored when she is home alone....and I figure she would make the most of me being home for a day, but apparently not, as this is where she spent today, on my bed....

And something that might creep out the non-Aussies....I had a visitor in my room the other night; I was getting ready for bed, and had pulled my doona back as it was a warm night. I went to the kitchen for a glass of water, and when I came back there was a huge huntsman spider sitting right in the middle of my bed, enjoying the breeze from my fan. He was promptly liberated into the front yard.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The cool after the heat?

Following our record-breaking heat wave, we've now settled into a more respectable 32C today, with the rest of the week hovering around the 30 degree mark. It's so nice to be able to sit in front of the TV without sliding out of your seat! And I've finally been able to do some sewing, and some baking.

I'm very pleased to say that my vegie patch made it through the week. We mulched, and rigged a piece of shade cloth over it on Monday, and the only thing that disappeared over the course of the week was the lettuce. The spinach, bok choy and silverbeet are all still leafy and green.
(looks like some of the ivy died off)
My potatoe plants had all died off, so I did a bit of digging....and came up with a whole heap of them!

This lot got a bit more water than the last lot, so they grew a bit more. I've got a third tub still growing.

I baked choc-chip cookies was cool enough to turn the oven on for once.

And I finished the sheep quilt top. I've been procrastinating a bit on this one; it's not much fun working on something you've made before... I've still got a few weeks till C's bub arrives (about 5 I think), and this should only take a day or two to quilt. Sorry it looks a bit rumpled, its windy out, and I'm over the iron already...

My boss, B, has her last official day at work tomorrow; her bub is only a few weeks away too, but that quilt is finished and ready for a label with the yet-unknown name.

A few people asked how Bella coped with the heat last week....does this answer your question?