Friday, 30 October 2009

Seven Shirts - Seven Steps Quilt

This is a wonderful plan for a wonderful quilt from The Thrifty Quilter:

I have been collecting shirts from the Op Shop - some of them were too good to slice up (the RM Williams and Rivers ones that don't look as tho they have been worn. Washed and hung in The Sweetheart's wardrobe!) and also so very difficult to find nice ones that don't have a slash or more of polyester in them.

I will add a photo of the shirts I got later on, but here is what it will look like very soon!

(I just dragged this photo from Thrifty Quilter's blog so it is prob far too large. I will resize it if so, but not from this laptop but when I get back to my place and on the Mac (which is so much easier to use...).

Not having any luck with dragging a small photo so just go to the link and check it out - is 9 patches and snowballs and looks very clever!

A Give-away to die for!!!

Pumpkin Patch is giving away a wonderful bunch of FQs - I would love to win this, have been too broke for so long to lash out on any new ranges, and these look so yummy!!!
Check out her blog for a chance to win:

Aren't these just fabulous?


Thursday, 29 October 2009

When I crack the shits...

Yeah, sometimes I really crack it and burn a bridge or two.
Not very often, however.

Nearly three weeks ago I cracked it and deleted my Facebook account.

AND NOBODY HAS MISSED ME. Well, one person did, but ten days later.

I started on Facebook years ago, maybe when it was only six months old.
There were only small thousands of people on, and no Scrabble, or Wordscraper, nor any of the stupid applications, viz who are you going to marry/how many children/what famous person were you last time around/will be/what wild animal are you (will be eaten by), blah blah.
Not to mention all the other foolish farms, fairies, sheep, fuck knows. All sorts of stupidity.

I had hundreds of friends (most of whom I know in real life too) and it was taking me half an hour every morning just to 'hide' all the idiot applications that other people had taken on in the previous 24 hours.
And then I had to see what everyone was up to, and check photos, and comment on both, answer mail...
It began to take up far too much time.

So, one evening I had one martini too many and scrubbed me from the face of Facebook. I am still alive however!

I miss everyone's photos.
Nothing else, though.

And that is an inspiration for me to start adding photos to my gallery again. Not that I have yet - but I shall start with photos of Maldon Folk Festival this weekend.

And if you do miss me on Facebook then just email me and we will be REAL internet friends again!!!!

Today I won my second thing on eBay. A handful of ten Barbie dolls. I have been making Barbie doll clothes from my Enid Gilchrist book and having so much fun I reckon I shall make a wardrobe and dollies for all the great nieces I have, and for Moo too for their Christmas presents.
Never had a Barbie when I was growing up, no dolls at all actually.

Ooroo - maybe my Friday Flaunt will be the clothes I have made so far.
Or what I did this week.
Or something else...

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Regrets, Etsy...


Run your little fingers over to this wonderfully funny site:

I am still laughing. Sadly, I got to page 8 before I realised that it wasn't actually an Etsy spoof but was a truly ruly. This site has stuff that people actually have put on Etsy.
And often sold...

And special thank you to the 'rantings of the fabric crazed graphic artist' at for posting it on her site for me to find! She has a vintage fabric sale on at Camberwell Market next month - might have to drag that Axe Murderer who is coming to visit from Canberra to it.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Happy Birthday Gerrard!

It isn't such a happy birthday actually. After I had Just The Four Boys I had two stillborn babies. Hannah was born in May, 1989 (I wrote about her here ) and then Gerrard was born October 27, 1990.

I was a Science Experiment when I was pregnant with both these babies.

When I was formerly married it was to a immuno-geneticist (Dr Ex). One of the co-productions we developed was for a non-invasive foetal diagnostic test - unlike Chorionic Villus Biopsy or Amniocentesis tests which have a risk of miscarriage etc.
And it was a co-production because he was working on some AIDS diagnostic testing stuff using mass spectrometry and I knew some foetal cells always cross the placenta and said "Why can't you use the same technique to flick out the baby's cells from the maternal blood and then test them?".
And he smacked his forehead in amazement and astonishment, and did the science.

So when I was pregnant with Hannah my blood was sent to University of Michigan at Detroit where they were able to do the tricky mass spectrometry and amplification of the cells, etc.
However much of the samples denatured and although some cells were able to be isolated it wasn't a great success. BUT - enough of a success for us to believe that we were onto a reasonable thing.
About the same time Dr Ex became involved with a company that took over the funding and ultimately the glory of what was really my little idea...
Because there was more money around I went to Detroit myself when I was pregnant with Gerrard. Was away from Australia for almost two months.


Much better and quicker than the invasive tests, and at 10 weeks gestation we knew he was a boy, that on the genes that were tested he was AOK, and in fact was genetically identical to S3.

Sadly, at 22 weeks gestation he too died.
No reason.
One perfect tiny baby the same as Hannah. And so identical to S3 that his left ear also had the same little crumple (and the same as my Youngest Baby Brother Alpal!)...

A few months later I found out Dr Ex had been Having A Relationship with the neighbour's wife since I was pregnant with Hannah and I threw all his clothes out in the middle of the road and rang him to come and pick them up before they were too run over.

Detroit was really interesting. Like living in a war zone, with burnt out buildings and underground carparks with mega security and nobody on the streets. I went to Canada, and lived in Ann Arbour for a few weeks (bought a tonne of books, including a massive Websters, that I brought home with me) and lived through a tornado.
Oh, and lots of OshKosh (by gosh) clothes for boys, and hit a craft shop so successfully I am STILL using some of the embroidery threads and linen!

Here is where you can learn more about the non-invasive foetal diagnostic test. It is still apparently 'in development' (WTF????).

Anyway, happy birthday my little son, the last year of being a least in my memories.

Monday, 26 October 2009



This past weekend was Mt Tarrengower Hill Climb at Maldon.
It is run by the VSCC (Vintage Sports Car Club of Victoria) and Bendigo Car Club and I have been involved in it for maybe 15 years.
For a few years I helped with the timing - lovely to find that the new timing bloke has a team of EIGHT people doing what two of us did. I was pretty savage about timing complaints ("All complaints to be written on a $50 note and posted under the timing caravan door". Didn't get too many complaints after I posted that notice!!!!).
This year The Sweetheart and I were (again) Flag Marshalls. Last year a car ran out of fuel right in front of us.
Even more excitement this year when one of the first vehicles up The Hill threw a clutch in front of us (but the owner was able to twitch it back together and do another three runs), and we then had to halt a run to chase a wallaby from the track.

There are all sorts of cars at the Hill Climb...
This 1920s Dodge with it's wooden wheels and wonderful trailer is from Bendigo:
It has lots of authentic decorations - some rubber chooks dangling, rabbit traps and rabbit skins on wires, horse-shoes, stirrups and lengths of chain clanging as it putters along. The owners have a wonderfully warm bed in the trailer and the car has had a few trips to Adelaide and Sydney as well as all over Vic. It is fabulous! It didn't do the run up The Hill, was purely spectator!

This is Yandoit Andy's Crossley. He is a blacksmith and he got this (as a 'kit car') in payment for a smithed balustrade he made for a staircase (I have seen it - a wonderful work of art):
He beat out the body over his anvil...

Liam Sales roars this up The Hill as well:

Lots of the older Lancias, Alfas, Bugattis, Alvises that used to come 10 years ago are not there now - instead, there is a veritable buzz of MGs and Minis in their places. I rather miss the old cars.

* And the photo at the top is John Lawson in his Amilcar, heading in to the Pits. He has been racign for many eyars, also has a lovely old Alpha Romeo race car...

By contrast, just on the side of the track was some ancient local plantage. A gorgeous delicate native orchid, and a great swathe of Chocolate Lilies (and yes they DO smell like chocolate!). I don't know what sort of orchid it is - maybe some sort of Spider Orchid. Mum will know. It was about 1 foot tall with three flower stems, very pretty with it's Granny Smith apple green and deep purple-red on cream.

And this coming weekend Maldon Folk Festival will be held at the same place and there will be the sounds of all sorts of wonderful music rather than the roar of engines, and the smell of Guinness and dust where last week it was ethanol and hot exhaust.

Love them all!!!

PS You can see a Youtube video of the Hill Climb here and lots of photos here if you are a bit of a petrol head or just want to look at lovely old cars!

Friday, 23 October 2009


I really love upcycling stuff.

Today's Friday Flaunt isn't about me but for a bloke called Brian Dettmer. I think he is an American tho this gallery with his art made from found stuff is in Barcelona:

Isn't this a wonderful use of all those old cassettes you no longer use? Check out the photos of his clever pieces. I want a skull!

You can find out more about upcycling just by having a Google or by looking here, here or here.

Look at what you can do with your old credit cards (or even your new ones to stop them getting fatter...):
I know quite a few performers who would love picks like these ones!

Oh dear, now I shall be here for hours looking at one of those links above (

I have been spending lots of time recently looking at home improvement type sites, and for building stuff, and creating treasures from junk (which is what upcycling is all about really).

Sites such as and it's associated sites on technology and green stuff; a Better Homes & Gardens site for budget decorating; and the DIY and green pages here.
Casa Sugar has great Before and After pics, and Junk Market Style is pretty inspiring too!

We went to a Clearing Sale last Sunday in Campbell's Creek - a couple of deceased estates. So very tempted to buy boxes of china, and crappy chairs to reupholster, and tins of nails and screws.
But I didn't.

BUT - I did buy two small chests of drawers for $10.

And a mighty fine Singer sewing machine also for $10.

The machine is in a desk-cabinet with delicate pencil legs, and a little flip down drawer at the front, it came with it's box of attachments and instruction manuals. The electricals need a bit of TLC - the bakelite power plug has some bare wires hanging at the south end for example...

Have yet to clean it up. It was made on November 17, 1950 in Clyde (Scotland). It is very small - 12" from the top of the plate on the LHS to the top of the wheel. Is it a Featherweight? It is a 99K model.

I am sanding down an old door to put between the two chests to make a desk. And thento build two storage cabinets to go on top of that on either side of the window in my studio.
The next step in the plan is to put a shelf across the top of the window, and then add shutters on the window - it faces West and gets very hot in summer. Usually I cover it with wool batting to insulate it when the weather warms up.

And look at Trevor flat out soaking up the sun!
He is settling in really well. He was so timid for the first week or so. I put my hand up to scratch my head and he fell over with terror. I think he has been belted a bit in his life.
He is a very sweet little dog. Now, when he thinks it is time for his dinner he comes and sits by his bowl and waits for me to notice him. He wakes me in the morning so I can let him out for a little run and then (only then) does he hop up on my bed and go back to sleep with me. Otherwise he is on his own bed downstairs.
Mum said he wasn't a Jack Russell but a Tenterfield Terrier which suits me fine! I am so glad I rescued him. He and Jake continue to get on so well together, wrestling and playing chasies whenever The Sweetheart brings him up.

Smellie 4 came up last week and did some fencing to stop Trevor bolting off, but now he knows this is his home so he doesn't wander at all any more. He did run away a couple of times at the beginning, scaring me totally!
Anyway, the fencing will keep the kangaroos out of the garden. I have LOTS of seeds turning into seedlings, and it is all very encouraging. That can be next posting...

I just realised that this is really all about upcycling for me too.
The lovely sewing machine, and the chests of drawers, and Trevor the Upcycled Dog.
Not to mention me and The Sweetheart. We are Upcycled Loves!!!!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Friday Flaunt

Some Friday I may even flaunt something quilt related...

Yesterday I wandered in to the R.S.P.C.A. Op Shop in Castlemaine. Fortuitously, as it turned out.

Everything was 50% off...


I bought a lot of EPNS flatware.
For 50¢ a piece.
Altogether 50 pieces.
Maybe a few more with the teaspoons...

This was After I polished them, you can see two spoons at the front showing the Before...

And the easiest way to clean them?

Cover the base of a china or glass dish with a sheet of aluminium foil. I used a large lasagna dish for all my treasures.

Then layer the cutlery with each piece touching the foil. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda over, and then cover the lot with boiling water.
It will gently fizz away. When it stops fizzling, hook each piece out and polish on a clean cotton cloth. I went through about 10 tea towels, and some of the soup spoons particularly had to be redone.

The piece of foil looked like it had been through a fire by the end. Some sort of osmosis thing happens. I don't know what the chemical reaction is but I do remember seeing this on Mr Rogers when we lived in San Francisco 22 years ago...

There are a few ornate ones to send off to Missie Krissie to make into her clever jewellery stands, but the rest will go to add to the collection I have from my grandmother Morton and her mum, Grandma Bayliss. I like that my boys used cutlery that their great great grandparents once used back in the 1880's.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Trevor has come home to us!!!

Trevor is my new dog.

There was an ad in last week's local rag - "Jack Russell, de-sexed, chipped, vacc - FREE TO A GOOD HOME".
I didn't find the ad until Friday evening - and the paper came out on Tuesday so I wasn't too hopeful when I rang.

BUT - he was waiting for me!!!

He apparently belonged to a 97 year old lady in Bendigo who died (as you would do if you were that age) and there wasn't any one else who could take him.
Except me...

He is very timid, but has settled in really well with Jake. Jake is a boof-headed Jack Russell Corgi X, Trevor looks like he is Jack Russell Foxy X. He is very slender, and rather skinny. His little ribs are hanging out, and his toenails are very long. He isn't a dog who has been walked very much...

He is very sweet natured, and he and Jake have been rollicking around all week, exhausting each other. Jake is delighted to have another dog to play with even tho he is 9 years old and really should be acting like a grownup now!

The photo of them together on Jake's blanket was the first afternoon, so they were still a tad tentative with each other. Now they often curl up together.

Yesterday I was unwell and went back to bed. Jake lay on one side facing out making sure nobody attacked me through the window, Trevor on the other side protecting the door side of the bed. Both with their ears pricked and alert.
Made me feel much better. Except when they both got so concerned they sat on my chest and licked my face and then settled down to keep watch on me - still lying on my chest with their two whiskery faces 3" from mine...

Trevor has white whiskers on the right side of his nose, black on the left side. And the blackest eyes, and wettest blackest nose. A very endearing flop to his left ear. He is supposedly 4 years old. Who knows. At least he has all his teeth unlike Jake who has worn his to stumps chasing balls and rocks (which he pretends are balls...).
Trevor doesn't know about balls and cringed and cowered when I threw one for him. I wish he could tell us what has happened in his little life - he is still so timid yet now so grateful for a scratch and a chat.

Incidentally, he wasn't named Trevor when I got him. He had a stupid name that didn't suit him at all. He was answering to Trevor within a few hours so he obviously wasn't too keen on his former name either...
He is kind of named for Trevor Chappell who often keeps me amused on sleepless nights...

Lucky me.

Friday, 2 October 2009

FF mark 2:

I will try again with the Youtube embedding and see if I can't get it right this time!
This is Smellie 4's delightful girlfriend singing - at only her second ever public performance! She wrote the second song that she sings, too.

And here is a top I made for Clancye. Another one of those clever bias tops, using that polyester/spandex mix. Similar 1960s swirly print to the one I made from my SIL. It is lovely to work with.