Sunday, March 29, 2009

Big Day Out

I had my big day out yesterday; graduation! After 4 years of hard work, and lots of thesis writing, I finally got to wear the gown and boofy hat. I had to be up at 6.30, which I don't really like doing on the weekend, but I had to be at the University early enough to be gowned up, get my photos done, and gather to be included in the academic procession.

While all the undergraduates are seated in the hall, PhDs enter the hall with all the academics and people conducting the ceremony, and are seated on the stage. And having my surname at the end of the alphabet, I was at the front of the procession! When it comes to the PhDs, you are guided to the centre of the stage, you doff your hat to the Chancellor, and wait while the Dean reads a citation of your work. That seemed to go on forever! Then you shake hands with the Chancellor, he hands over the certificate, you doff your hat to the Dean, and exit the stage. At the bottom of the steps we were all handed a university pin, only given to graduates. Then you go up the side steps of the stage, and return to your seat. And throughout the whole thing, you are referred to properly as Doctor, rather than by your first name.

And this is me!

All dressed up before the ceremony:

With my dad:

With the "piece of paper":
Dressed to party
I had a ball celebrating with friends and family last is all about chilling out, and hopefully doing a bit of sewing; haven't been near the machine since Wednesday!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Stash Building

I'm generally not much of a stash-builder; I prefer to shop for specific projects. The added advantage is a reduction in the amount of fabric taking up space in the lounge room (yep, thats where it lives), and it's kinder to my bank account.

Lately I've had a bit of a blip, and started buying any bit of fabric that takes my fancy. It all started with the quilt show, and those lovely fat quarters. And yesterday I found a fantastic quilt shop right near I'm in trouble! It's called "GJ's Discount Fabrics", and mostly stocks fabric for clothes etc, but upstairs they have an entire room full of quilting fabrics. Right inside the door was the entire range of "Sweet"...I had to stand there and admire them for a while before I could continue around the room.

It's often hard to find a shop here in Australia that stocks a good range of Moda, but this is one of the few. Plus, lots of other cute/modern of course I came home with a bundle of goodies. A piece of Kokka fabric, with butterflies and lady birds; another butterfly piece, Wonderland by MoMo for Moda. A Heather Bailey piece, and finally Prints Charming!
While I was waiting for the fabric to be cut, I discovered the end-of-bolt bin...and a lovely piece also by Heather Bailey.

While the quilt fabrics weren't really discounted, the prices were reasonable, and they did have a whole table of $2 fat quarters. I wouldn't buy jelly rolls there though, way too pricey, but thats pretty normal for Australia.
I've already used most of the Wonderland piece; I needed a new cushion for my bed, and I'm absolutely obsessed with butterflies, so it suits me perfectly.

Now just to work out what to do with the rest of them!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Baby Bibs

Today's experiment was to make baby bibs; everyone else seems to be able to make them, so I figure I could too. And it was easy! I downloaded a pattern, bought some nappy flannel ($2.50 a meter at spotlight, $5 for printed flanned), some velcro, and got to work! An hour later, 4 lovely little bibs.
The cute animal flannel used on the back can be seen on the left.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

New Arrival

The first of the new babies arrived yesterday; my boss Belinda had a baby girl in the early hours of morning, named Sophie Grace. She was a rather large bub, 9 pounds 4oz, and a week late. Now I can label up the quilt ready for when I get to go and see them.

Bought myself some wool this morning; I'm a wanna-be knitter. I've been working on a knitted wrap for the last two years (it takes a back seat to quilting...), but it shouldn't take too much longer. It's made with alpaca wool which varies between a deep pinkish colour, and a light pink, and is so soft.
The wool I bought today is a "prism" wool; it's pink, purple, red, and brown. Unfortunately the colours don't show up well in the photo, but its nice in person. It's 30% soybean which I find interesting too.

Not much else to report; quilting of 4OT is coming along well. I've almost finished 5 of the 25 blocks. Pics will come soon.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

So Long, Summer...

I couldn't possibly have picked a worse weekend to go to the beach...I haven't been that cold in a long time, nor that wet! It started out ok on Friday, 30 degrees, and I arrived early enough to get a swim. But then the fog rolled in, and that was it. Friday night, and all of Saturday was pretty much consumed with rain, wind, and even hail. But I still managed to have a lot of fun.

At my work, we all go to the beach for a retreat weekend every year; it's a good chance to get to know the new students, and have a bit of fun. It usually involves a reasonable amount of drinking, and a lot of fun and silly activities, such as a table-tennis compeition, then team games with crazy skits (usually involving a lot of cross-dressing on the part of the guys), the limbo (in pairs!) and the like. We also had one guy shave his head for the "Shave for a Cure" fundraiser. The big thing I learnt this weekend it that summer is pretty much gone...

This poor guy had to BBQ in the rain last night...

I also think I've eaten several months worth of chocolate and chips in the last 24 hours...I made my way home around lunch time today; I needed to get warm, go to the gym to burn off all that choccie, plus wash away all traces of smoke from the bonfire we had in the early hours of this morning (yep, I only made it to bed at 4am, and was up again at 9...). I had to fit some sewing in now that the weather is finally "quilting weather". And I solved the problem of the quilting pattern:

One block down, 24 to go!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I need a few expert opinions, please. I've started to quilt 4OT (and already wondering what I was thinking; it's so big!), but I still haven't decided what to do in some parts of the block. The block I'm working on at the moment is the star block (the quilt is made of star blocks and "alternate" blocks). My plan is to cross-hatch the 9-piece blocks in the middle, then echo around the inside of each of the star points. The corner blocks are getting a flower (shown below) in them.

But I just don't know what to do in the triangle part of they flying geese. Any suggestions? Something simple/easy preferred. The larger star points (which you can just see in the red) are going to have a feather pattern in them.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Madness and Mayhem

It's been a crazy 24 hours here in Melbourne. I got home from work yesterday to find one of my two dogs, Jack, missing. Poor Millie was sitting by the back door wimpering. A frantic dash outside and a bit of yelling for Jack, and my neighbour stuck his head over the fence to say that Jack was with them. He'd dug three holes, got out of the backyard, and was found wandering around the street by the neighbour, so they'd taken him in for the day. This is the third escape this year! At least he is home safe, and I spent some time today filling and and blocking up a lot of holes!

After that was all sorted, I headed to my physio appointment...and got taped up again! I've been forced into good posture, so I can't slump at the moment. It's not going to stop me doing any sewing though. It does stop me from sleeping on my side though, which I'm not too happy about.

Then last night I decided to end the week with a bit of a girls night in; some TV, pizza, a bottle of wine, and the company of a Canadian friend. So, we'd finished eating, and were chilling on the couches, when my chair moved and the door behind be banged. I figured it was just Bella being silly, until the couch continued to shake, then the cabinet next to me (and the glass lamp on top) began to rattle like crazy. My friend and I just looked at each other, both clinging to the arms of our couches, thinking "It's not just me, is it?". It stopped after about 10 seconds, after which we dashed next door to find out if it was something, rather than just a glass of wine too many.

Turns out that it was a proper earthquake (my first), measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale, and was felt about 100km from the epicentre down in Gippsland (yep, near where they've had fires). No damage here, just a minor fright, followed by a bit of excitement. There have apparently been a few after-shocks, but minor (I think I noticed the one during the night...).

And...I finished piecing "Catch a Falling Star" this afternoon. It's too big to hang on the line for a photo, so I've had to drape is across the front lawn. The dappled sunlight makes it a bit hard to see, but you get the idea.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Baby Shower

Today was C's baby shower, four weeks out from when the bub is due to arrive. Her next-door neighbour was nice enough to organise the party, and some fun games as well. The invite stated "light lunch provided", but that was a bit of an understatement! We had all the usual chips and dips, followed by mini pies and other hot party foods, then some yummy desserts. It doesn't hurt that both C and her husband are both qualified pastry chefs.

There was a lovely cake as the centrepiece, all made by C, with gorgeous horses on every cake, and on the top. I'm told they are 100% not sure if I'll be eating looks too cute anyway!

C got lots of lovely pressies. I can finally show off the hamper I put together! I figure she would get a lot of little onesies, so I went for a range of practical and fun stuff; cotton wraps, socks, singlets, teething ring and gel, bath products and moisturiser, and a couple of cute toys including a little dog that makes funny noises whenever its nudged. I put it all in a basket that can be used to store baby stuff.

We also got to play some fun baby-related games, including dressing a baby, blindfolded! I actually did alright, despite not having much (any?) experience with was funny watching my mum trying to dress one, its been a while!

With all the activity this weekend, there hasn't been a heap of sewing...but just two more rows to go on the Falling Star quilt!