26 December 2011

Christmas 2011

Michael's best mate (and best man) Brook joined us for Christmas Day - Jenni made a stocking for him.
Elizabeth cooked our breakfast.
The new tablecloth and serviettes.
Black beer gingerbread with prehistoric decorations (made by Jenni)
Matt carving the Chrismtas ham
Enjoying a laugh between courses:  Elizabeth, Michael, Brook, Jenni, Mum and Patti (Matt's Mum)
Trife and Orange Gateau
Jenni and Elizabeth organised a "guess the number of nativities in the house" competition - Patti won - there are 13 full and part nativities (including wallhangings)
Gingerbread house made by Jenni
Brook and Patti
Flaming the Christmas Pudding - always the Best Pudding ever made by Patti

Great day! Family at home and friends dropping in - what more could we want?

Today we had some very special visitors.  My nephew, his wife and their two children popped in.

Our great niece 12 months old Charlise
And our friends, Phil and Louise, came by with their daughter, son-in-law and 8 weeks old grandson.

8 weeks old Axel with "Great Uncle" John
It's been a lovely couple of days.  More friends came over for dinner tonight - good thing as there were lots of leftovers from yesterday in the fridge.

Christmas Swap

Those who guessed got it right - my partner in our on-line group's swap was Peg.  This year we had a mini-Advent swap - 5 presents to be opened from 20 to 24 December and a main present for Christmas Day.  Here are the rest of the beautiful presents Peg sent to me:

Christmas Day:  a very pretty sewing machine cover that looks beautiful in my sewing room and fits the sewing machine so well.

The back is so pretty too.

Thank you so very much Peg - I am thrilled to bits with my presents.

21 December 2011

Christmas Party

The Tuesday stitching girls came over last night for our final get together this year.  We had such a lovely night.  First bit of excitement was Paula showing us her finished Floral Bouquet quilt top.

The colours are so pretty against the white background.  We all started this quilt earlier this year and the quilt had to be made out of stash fabric.  Six of us started and six have finished the quilt tops before the end of the year which is fantastic.

Paula has been especially busy in the lead up to Christmas.  She made aprons for all of us from Janelle Wind's pattern in Homespun Vol 12 No 11 - they are absolutely beautiful and each girl's favourite colours were chosen for her apron.

Sharon, Rhonda, Kerryn, Me, Paula and Karen modelling our new aprons.
I made the girls a sewing bag using a simplified version of a new-ish pattern from Natalie Bird.

Can anyone guess who my partner is in our on-line group's Secret Santa?

Day 1 present:

Day 2 present:

Beautiful presents from a dear friend.

PS  I love my new mixing bowls, sugar bowl and milk jug.  I also bought the 1 litre jug to use for juice on Christmas Day.  Christmas presents from me to me.

19 December 2011

Christmas Baking

Yesterday was the Christmas Party at the retirement village where Mum lives and Mum being Mum, organised all the food.  Saturday was Christmas cake baking day along with some cooking for the Village's Christmas Party:  2 Tiramisus, mince pies and Corrie's delicious fancy rocky road (further down in the post and I add pistachios).

Last night I finished some other Christmas "cooking".  These went off in the post this morning and I hope to finish another couple this week - I'd love to have a few in a vase.  All my other Christmas sewing/craft plans have gone out the window.

John and I finished off the present shopping yesterday.  A bit more cooking this afternoon and tomorrow then a visit to the hairdresser and grocery shopping later in the week and I should be on the way to being organised for the family to arrive on Christmas Eve.  It's the best time of the year!

 Santa's little elves are working overtime at the North Pole and in lots of homes everywhere.

15 December 2011

The Tale of a Dumb Bunny

 Earlier this year I finished stitching The Wish Quilt, put the blocks away safely and completely forgot about the quilt until Monday night - I walked into the sewing room and it suddenly hit me, where is The Wish Quilt?  Couldn't find it anywhere.  I was convinced that I'd sewn the quilt top together but it wasn't amongst the tops waiting to be quilted.  I searched through every cupboard, shelf, drawer and eventually found the blocks in the block keeper.  The plan was to have the quilt finished for this Christmas but that won't happen now - the top is together

and looks nice on the dining room table even unfinished.  There is still a bit of stitching to be done - antlers on the reindeer, "heart" to be stitched over the applique heart in "home is where the heart is" and button to be attached when the quilting is finished.

The fabrics in The Wish Quilt are "Yuletide Blessing", an older Fig Tree range.  I had a small f/q pack of the fabrics in my cupboard and Peg sent me a f/q bundle as a surprise birthday present a few years ago and they were different to my fabrics, so they all went together beautifully. 

I've been having all sorts of issues with my machine embroidery.  Last year I started a Christmas tablecloth but only got halfway.  Decided to finish it off for this Christmas as everyone will be home and it's been a nightmare.  Thankfully it's now finished and I'll be able to put a salad bowl or something over the trouble spot.

These lace ornaments have been much more fun to stitch out.

Last Saturday we went to the Garden Restaurant at the Sydney Botanic Gardens for lunch with Michael, Peta and Peta's Mum and Dad.  This is where the wedding reception will be held next April - a beautiful restaurant, delicious food and wonderful setting for a wedding.

The Band Lawn where the ceremony will take place.

07 December 2011

For Elizabeth


Family Room

The embroidey machine has been cranked up and is doing its thing.

06 December 2011

Swell Swoon or Swoon Swell

A few weeks ago I enjoyed watching Kate's Swoon quilt come together so I order the pattern from her shop.  I had a hunt through my fabrics and found some Swell fat quarters I'd bought from Bec earlier this year but I needed two more for this quilt top.  After thinking about it for a while I decided to make the blocks smaller thinking that with more blocks I could repeat more of the fabrics.  Sunday night I drafted up a 12" block, cut out the fabrics yesterday afternoon and sewed it up.

The stripes are a bit all over the shop but, on the whole, I think it looks ok.  I might cut out the rest of the blocks then put them away to take with me if I go to a quilting retreat next year - this would make a great quilt to sew at a retreat.

I made the flying geese using the no waste method and also used this method for the striped flying geese with the two different "sky" pieces as I was trying to reduce the number of seams.  As there are a few stripes in my f/q bundle, I think I might have a go at trying to have all the small striped triangles running in the same direction as the pieces they join next time.

05 December 2011

More Preparations

I had to move Snow White and her Dwarfs - the vase was too unstable, so the branches are now in a different vase in a safer (I hope) spot.

The tree is now up but not yet decorated.  John chose very well - the tree is a great shape and smells beautiful.

The rest of the inside decorating is finished and we've been putting up the outside lights.  The fruit is soaking for the Christmas cakes - I'm running late this year.

I finished the binding on a cot quilt on Saturday night - not much other sewing happening that I can show.  I love the fresh, bright colours and the Dick and Jane backing fabric.

Last night I spent 4 hours wrapping presents.  My present-wrapper moved out of home a few months ago and I'm working on suitable bribes for her to come over and do some present wrapping.

03 December 2011

My New Favourite Decoration

Well, for today at least ... I love coming across Christmas decorations that I've forgotten about.  When Mum, Elizabeth, Jenni and I went to Melbourne in January I saw the very cute Dopey decoration from Jim Shore's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Ornament Set.  Had to buy the whole set and I'd forgotten about it until Thursday when I was bringing out all the decorations.  I knew I didn't want to put them on the Christmas Tree and thought they'd look nice on their own white branch tree.  After trips to the garden for branches and to the hardware shop for white paint plus one vase from the cupboard, we have:

The apple decoration has a scene showing the cottage in the woods - it's too heavy to hang from one of the branches.  I'm hoping the vase will look lovely on the table when all of the decorating is finished.

Looks like white branch trees are very popular this Christmas - the guy in the hardware shop said he's lost count of the tins of white gloss spray paint he's sold this week.

Almost finished the secret hand-sewing and I'm hoping to crank up the embroidery machine next week.

Beautiful weather the last couple of days - so lovely after all the rain.  Michael, Peta and Jenni are at HomeBake today - their summer of festivals has started.

Back to the decorating - "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas".


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