Monday, 30 May 2011

H2H May Update

Living in Australia has made receiving the fabrics from my gorgeous partner Ann, a little longer than all the other lovely participants for the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge, however no matter - they are here now, arriving two or three weeks ago (my memory escapes me atm).  And they are BEAUTIFUL!!  One of my favourite colours is purple - crazy, eh?!  *giggle* 

Unfortunately, the last few weeks have been kind of crazy in regards to 'things that must be done', with my last drawings for my uni course to be finished in the next few days (aren't extensions great when you are really having a major meltdown about your own inabilities?!!), so I haven't been able to get onto this quilt yet - Thank-you Lord that I have another 6 weeks to get this finished (taking into consideration enough postage time to get to Judi in America).  

I have another three drawings to do as of 'right now', plus a finish of another and a 500-word written assignment detailing how I feel my drawing has developed over the course of the unit; so I am hoping to get onto this in the next week-or-so in amongst making a whole bunch of stuff for my daughter (turns 3 in 2.5weeks!) and a number of quilt blocks I need to make for swaps (priority #1 after these drawings).

Anyway, I'm a little unsure yet of what exactly I'm going to do with this quilt.  I'm thinking maybe either 

a) a sudoku-style top with 5in blocks of colours with 1in strips between each square and a border;

b) a top made up of 4 x 4 'prickly pear' blocks; or

c) some kind of star-blocks.

Any ideas or suggestions?

**I am linking this post up with Sarah's linky-post for this months' update.  Pop over to check out what the other participants have been up to - quite a few have finished either the quilt tops or the entire quilt - a few are even on a second or third!  Amazing women!!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Friday Night (not so much) sew in ...

**Warning: No pictures ... and I babble!**

Sunday night here ... and I am posting this knowing I have put this post off for too long.  Despite my enthusiasm to spend an entire evening doing nothing but sewing ... my plans were unfortunately ultimately derailed.  I have a feeling I was trying to pack too much in my day and didn't plan well enough through the course of the week to get myself ready for it.  Oh well, there is always next month!

So, what happened?  Well, to begin, over the last few months I have been going through my mountains of stuff - and that of my daughter - and trying to purge.  For a (would like to say "reformed" ... but not so much) hoarder, I have far too much stuff that I really don't need to keep when I am truely honest with myself.  Well, about a month ago I heard about a Kids' Bazaar which was being held at a local church on Saturday, to help them raise some funds for their chosen charities and missionary work.  Great idea.  Good cause to 'donate' towards.  Just one thing ... this would mean I would need to go through 3+ years of kids clothes & toys and my maternity clothes.  Something I've been putting off for, well, that many years, lol.  I really hadn't gotten rid of much at all!

This was all while I am (still!) trying to get my drawings finished for uni ... due end of this coming week.

Disorganised me basically left the bulk of the sorting of clothes until Friday, didn't I?!!  Most of it was washed over the days previous, but actually working out what I wanted to keep and what I was willing to part with ... Friday!  And it needing to be delivered to the church between 4 and 7pm that night!  I did pretty well - considering I also got most of one drawing done ... and my daughter recognised who the model was just from the drawing so I'm happy so say it is finished *grin* - though I was hoping to deliver the goodies closer to 4pm, I didn't end up getting there until 6.30pm.

A whole trunk load of goodies (though, admittedly I have a 'small' hatchback so not so much really), plus both sides of the car seat on the back-seat.  Who would'a guessed?  Not me!!!

Anyway, after dropping that off I then needed to drop by my cousin's place to deliver a copy of Disney's hardback 'Cinderella' book.  I realised I doubled-up on this story (and on Alice in Wonderland and The Lion King but she had these and another friend will be happily taking them off my hands next week!) when I pulled down the box of Disney books from the cupboard (purchased pre-daughter in anticipation).

This would have been a quick trip ... but then her son was given his dinner and my daughter was offered some.  Okay, I think, that way we can just have a bath and go to bed when we get home.  Good intentions - yes.  Also gave me more time to catch up - since she's gone back to work (son started Preschool this year) our weekly catch ups have gone from about 2-4 per week down to maybe once or twice - once being at the kids' gymnastics class.

All was going good.  Dinner was eaten and we were headed home to bed - and it was almost 9pm.  Okay, definitely time to go home. Then ... all hell broke loose!!

Well, that's what it felt like!

I couldn't find my keys!!  They weren't in my pocket - where I still would swear I'd put them!!  They weren't inside the house.  Weren't in my bag (checked twice!)  Weren't outside anywhere!  In the end we (myself, my cousin, the kids and my auntie) were looking for a good 45 mins by the time I consented and rang my father asking for him to find the spare to come get us.  This was while my cousin was going through my bag for the third time - just in case I missed them.

Well, what do you know.... the moment I hung up from my dad I realised I hadn't checked the outside pocket of my bag.  Why would I?!  I never put them in there! LOL!  Thankfully my cousin and her mum just laughed it off as one of those things that just happen.

So, we didn't get home until 10pm.  Then the little rascal had to join Granny for a shower - well, at least I didn't have to run around after her in there to get her washed! lol.  Then, she had to have Grandad read Beauty and the Beast to her -- and not just a portion of it ... the entire story!!  In the end, we didn't get into bed until 10.30pm and she wasn't asleep until 11pm!

No brain power at that time to get any justifiable amount of sewing done .... especially since we needed to be up early in the morning for gymnastics,  and the floors needed to be cleaned (normally Friday job) before I went into the city to do some scrap-booking at the (pre-paid for) mass-scrapping event.  At least I got 3 pages almost scrapped, and got to spend time with my sister.

I did, however get two granny squares (for my daughter's dolly blanket) made last night, and another larger one & 1/2 made today (this for a scarf for another cousin), so I have gotten a little craft-work in this weekend.

Next month - I promise myself I will be more organised!! (I may even try to forgo my daughter's nap as this generally means she is ready for bed around sunset - instead of 8 or 9 at night ... sometimes 10 or 11 if I haven't stayed with her!)

Here's hoping for a more craftier week a-coming!  I have 5.2 drawings to complete and send off, then that unit will be finished.  I need to make at least one 12 inch block for a swap tomorrow (basic, as it will be my first ever pieced block, lol).  And I will try to commit to a good 4-5 hours of sewing/hexi-prep over the weekend.

**This post is linked with Heidi's May FNSI post if you are interested in checking out what the others have gotten up to - many of them so much more than I, lol**

Thursday, 19 May 2011

A Quick Check-In...

Hi y'all.

I thought I might pop in and say 'hello', lol.  I have been rather busy over the last few weeks trying to complete my portfolio for the remainder of my drawing unit @ uni.  Actually, to be fair, I've been procrastinating and putting this off to the side, but not doing much else.  Why?  Well, these last few weeks I've been supposed to draw -- the human image.  Now, don't get me wrong - there are some very good artists who can draw exceptionally good images of people ... I'm just not one of them.  I never have and never will be able to draw a picture of a person which looks closer to reality than the average primary school child.  A little better than a stick figure ... but nothing close to accurate.   And getting those proportions right??  - Forget about it!!!  Lol.

Unfortunately this means that I have another six drawings (I did one very rough, gestural drawing last night), three more of which need to be of people - one of a head - and then another three of varying things, needing to arrive next Friday down south.  I am seriously considering sending my lecturer a request for an extension - or at the very least an email letting her know that while I may be able to get it in the post by next Friday, I don't believe they will be arriving by that date.  At least I only have this assessment task left - then on to so writing subjects!  Yay!  Much better in those!

Anyway, craft wise I don't have a lot going on.  I bought three template patterns today at the local patchwork & quilting shop: the drunkard's path, flower templates and a Hanabi (fireworks) templates set.  I am thinking the drunkard's path might work for the H2H quilt, but not quite sure yet.

I've also been working on some granny squares for a little blanket my daughter can use for her dolly's - she will be 3 in 5 weeks (Yikes!).  I only just learnt how to make this block the other weekend, so it has been interesting, though I seem to be able to pick up fairly easy patterns and just run with them without having to check the pattern every so often.  I am using a mix of three variegated yarns by Carnival.  Just something bright and cheery.  Nothing fancy, lol.  I have 10 made - 6 to go.

For FNSI tomorrow night I am thinking I will work on my 12 inch block swap for this month (yes, a little behind, but if I can get this made tomorrow it will be in the post on Monday), and cut out some hexi's for the Vignette Hexagon Quilt.  Either that or I will get started on a couple of flannelette long pyjamas  for my daughter and my cousin's son.  The weather is getting chilly here and I think the kids will be needing them soon!

Toodiloo for now - will update on the weekend how my FNSI went!  How's your week been?

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

5 Books a Day: week 4

To say last week's selection was a wash ... is an understatement!  My daughter either wasn't interested in the selection of books or I forgot them in amongst all the others we did read.  She instead discovered my hard-cover Disney books - and has now decided she is old enough to sit through, and listen to, an entire long story!  *Bliss*  So far we've read Alice in Wonderland and Cinderella with Beauty and the Beast next in line - she loves the movie and when she saw it she was all "Beast!  Beast!  Read Beast Book!"  Lol!

So, without further ado, bring on this week's selection of books...
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell.
A favourite since she was little, my daughter can now name each animal, and almost all the characteristics that send them back to the zoo (too tall, too grumpy, too naughty etc).  Fun and loveable imagery, with repeated phrases throughout, and best of all ... flaps!!
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.
When my daughter was born, we were given a copy of Peter Rabbit's Bedtime Stories which I read to her when she was little.  About a month ago, 'we' discovered Mummy's little copy of The Tale of Peter Rabbit - which she adores!  She will either sit there silently while I read, or look through it by herself telling herself a little story based on the pictures.  I really want to develop her knowledge of this delightful little tale!

Dewdrop Babies: Viola's Secret by Patricia MacCarthy.
A little book I picked up at QBD last week which talks about Viola [who] is very brave because of the daring things she does.  But at bed-time they discover that she's got a secret and she's not so brave after all... (back cover)  Viola is afraid of the night-time ... and especially the DARK!
A beautiful way of talking about fear and being scared of the dark.  Hopefully it will help my daughter who seems to have developed this fear - the last couple of months she's been requesting that I stay with her at night until she goes to bed - with the lamp on as well!!
The Little Red Hen (Little Golden Book version).
Rhythm, repeated text ... and baking fresh bread - what's not to love about this age-old story?!!  And so many off-shoot activities I could do with this one if I had the time!!
The Three Billy Goats Gruff (First Readers version).
Rhythm, repeated text and beautiful pictures.  A really cute version of the well known fairy tale (?!), fantastic for just reading to your child, but also promotes your child's reading learning.
My daughter already loves this one - and will shout out "I eat you" (= "I'm going to eat you") when we get to those lines.


Linking up with Ann's linky party this week.  Click HERE

**Edit: we have decided to read these books again this week (beginning 23rd May) due to time  commitments.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

5 Books a Day: week 3

Last week was incredibly successful in teaching my daughter her nursery rhymes - while she loved all the other books, she seemed to respond best to Play-school's version of all those traditional nursery rhymes from 'back in our day'. She's even decided that Humpty Dumpty is her favourite subject to draw - and is repeatedly singing BOTH versions of Jack and Jill!!

Lately we've talked her through drawing the basic features of people - eyes, nose, mouth, arms, legs, hair etc. She took this 'knowledge' and drew the above picture of Humpty Dumpty ALL BY HERSELF - WITHOUT guidance or 'help' - and then brought it over to me with a simple "Look Mum!" SOOO clever! Note: Those circles at the top of his head are ears - and the single line up coming out of the top of his head ... hair!!

So for this week's selection of books, I have decided that we will repeat three books from last week (Play Schools' Nursery Rhymes, Clifford grows up, and There was an Old Woman who Swallowed a Fly), and just add two 'new' books:

Clifford's Manners by Norman Bridwell.
A second 'Clifford' book - this time discussing good manners in an easy-to-understand format for little ones.
I remember loving this series when I was little - and actually, these Clifford books are from my childhood!  I loved the stories of the little puppy that grew to be a very BIG dog, and my daughter is loving them just as much.  I thought it might be fun to include this one to encourage some of the other manners she's still to learn.  She is already saying "please", "thankyou", "excuse me" (!!) and "bless you" (!) We'll see how effective a tool this one is *grin*.

The last is a Where Do Kisses Come From? by Maria Fleming for Little Golden Books.
A fun and imaginative story about all the many reasons to kiss one's child. The images all depict the parent and child/ren relationship in animal pictures which makes it fun for children.  And I love the last page:
"But no matter what kind of kiss it is, ALL kisses come from love!"

Hopefully we have a good week with this and successfully read each book each day, but if not I'm not totally worried.  We read a lot of books every day, so I'm just happy about that.

I am linking this post back to Ann's host post again on The Imagination Tree.  If you have little children around you at all I recommend you visit this site - SO many good ideas of creative things to do with your little one!  I love it!!


Also, if you are a sew-er of any kind and looking for an 'excuse' to have a sewing night in, I encourage you to join in with the fun of the next Friday Night Sew In hosted by the lovely Heidi @ Handmade by Heidi on Friday 20th May.  This will be my first 'Sew-in', followed by a day of scrap-booking fun!  I'm looking forward to my creative 'weekend'!!  

Fun, Fun, Fun....!!

Yay!  I can finally post again!!!  (I've been having a few problems composing and then posting this last week, which is why I haven't written anything since last tuesday.)

Well, this last week has been wonderful for me!  Can you guess I'm a happy, happy girl? LOL
Why's that? you ask...  Well.... I got my car back!!!!  I have been car-less for 10 weeks - yes, TEN LOOOOG weeks!  Yes, it was my fault - I was the idiot who shouldn't have been driving as my mind was not really there, worrying about my little one on her first day at childcare, but I was on the road and I was the one who ran into the woman in front.  So, then it was my fault, and mine alone.  And yet, however hard it has been, I know God has used this time to teach me that I don't always have to do this by myself - I don't always have to be independent, I can lean on others' shoulders, especially His, when times get tough. That I can count on Him when I feel I'm not coping, lean on his strength and his patience when I need to.I need to learn that.  I needed to remember that.

So, yes, I am with car now - Whoopee!!

Lol, but that isn't all!  I got F.A.B.R.I.C!!!  [Okay, a little insane too!]

A few weeks ago I ordered some fabric from Patchwork Plus and by Friday it had finally arrived - Yippee!!!  

So, what did I get?  Well, I am loving florals, for some reason, these days, so in this package arrived: Dilly Dally by Me & My Sister Designs for Moda (charm pack), Fresh Flowers by Deb Strain for Moda (cp), Dragonfly Summer by Holly Taylor for Moda (cp), some Bella Solids in white by Moda (cp), and a jelly roll of Bliss by Bonnie and Camille for Moda.

So, okay, I know it's only fabric - but this is the first charm packs and jelly roll I have purchased - ever!  I normally get normal dressmakers fabric, fabric cut to size, or fat quarters.  This is big [yes, that insanity is really showing now!]

I am planning to use the jelly roll for the Vignette Hexagon Quilt by Leanne Beasley - a favourite designer of mine.  I am also keen to join in on her BOM Mystery Quilt which is looking gorgeous, but I need to find the money for the fabrics yet, so that will be a future thing probably!  I'm not sure yet what I am going to use the charm packs for, but more likely experimenting.

But then, there's more, lol!

I received my 'Pay it Forward' gift from Jan-Maree of Cherry Red Quilter.  As she quoted of Kim who sent her a gift 
"Some in the blogging world are starting to pay it forward thru their blogs.  The theory is if you do something good for three people, and those people each do something for three more people, and this keeps on going, hundreds and hundreds will be touched.
Fellow bloggers I encourage you to join me and continue this thru your blog."
I LOVE Jan-Maree's work, eagerly wondering what delightful creation she has to show her followers next, so of course I got rather excited when I realised I would be the first to comment.  I've loved the idea of Pay It Forward since seeing the film all those years ago, and seeing it 'play out' in 'blogland' is crazy fantastic in my book!  This week my little gift from Jan-Maree arrived and I love it!  It is a pink and purple shoulder bag that is just the right size to put all that paraphernalia I inevitably find I need to carry with me for a day out with my daughter!  She also included four very cute buttons to use for something for little L, and some (yes, already eaten) Ferrero Rocher chocolates (Yum!!).  And that card & envelope set is just delightful - just like a pieced quilt!!! *heart*

  And in Jan-Maree's words:

Now it is my turn to Pay it Forward - the first three little birdies who leave me a comment below will receive a small handmade gift from me.
Please make sure I can contact you through your blog or via email to get mailing/contact information and PLEASE tell me your favourite colour(s)!!
Even if you don't continue to do pass on the Pay it Forward on your blog (and maybe you don't have one and that is okay!) I hope I at least brighten your day with my gift and you in turn pass on at least a cheery smile or a kind deed to someone in your world!
While I realise I only have nine followers, I would really love to brighten your day in a small way if you are wanting a fun little gift - for no reason, but for just being you!  If I receive no comments - or not all three, I will then pass it on to someone in 'my world' who won't be expecting it.

So that's it then.  My exciting week.  A fixed car, a package of fabrics I purchased and a gorgeous, secret gift from Jan-Maree.  Fantastic!  Hoping for more goodness this week, lol.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

5 Books a Day: week 2

We ended up deciding to read the books from the last 5BaD post again for a second week.  There were days when we ended up forgetting these in amongst  the plethora of other books we read, so I wasn't really worried.  Late Sunday afternoon, my father took my daughter along to the beach for some Grandad:Grandaughter one to one time which she thoroughly LOVED - especially since one of our books from last week was "Grandpa and Thomas", during which she enjoyed joining in with the "swish, swash, swoosh, sings the sea" phrase repeated each double-page spread.

So, this week we are going to attempt to read the following books at least once each day, in amongst all the others...

Five titles from the Learn about God series, published by Christian Focus Publications and Illustrated by Derek Matthews.
I know there are five books here already, but when we sit down to read one we inevitably end up reading the lot - so I'm kinda counting this as two, lol.  The titles we have are God knows everything, God is everywhere, God is faithful, God has power, and God is kind.  My daughter brings them over to me regularly and just loves hearing about God, and learning of just how much he loves us!  **Bless!!**

Play School: Come and Play: Nursery Rhyme Favourites
We got this one at Christmas last year as my daughter has become a very avid viewer of Playschool - she's regularly requesting one of her dvd's, participating, singing and dancing along with each segment!
Though this book is more of a 'introduction' to nursery rhymes (not all verses are included in many of the rhymes), it does provide delight in little ones, especially when they can recognise their favourite characters 'acting' out the rhymes.
My daughter is even singing the rhymes by herself now - and this makes this book even more delightful in her eyes!
Clifford Grows Up by Norman Bridwell.
A recent favourite, this book discusses 'growing up' through the compilation of 'past photos' of Emily Elizabeth and her special dog Clifford.  She is telling the story of her pet, from getting him as a puppy through the fun of puppyhood all the way to when he grew so big they needed to move from the city to the country so they could keep him.
The last few days this book has been pulled out almost every evening by an eager almost-3yo wanting to hear about the dog that grew soooo big!  A fun look at the past and growing up.

There was an Old Woman who swallowed a fly! illustrated by Wendy Straw.
Who hasn't heard this 'all-time favourite children's verse' of an old woman who swallowed a fly, spider, bird, cat, dog, goat, cow ... and horse?!!  Each subsequent animal was swallowed in order to 'catch the' previous inhabitant of her belly!  Such fun!  Such delight ... especially when you emphasise the spider wriggling, jiggling and tickling inside her with bouncy-ness and tickles of your own!
Since buying this one, it has regularly been pulled out when we wanted something fun to read.

So, what are you reading this week?  Whether for yourself or with your children?

Once again I am linking up with Anna’s 5-a-day books” challenge" on her blog The Imagination Tree.  Though she is on her third week, we are only on our second.

Monday, 2 May 2011

For a girl who 'can't' draw ...

While I would love to say I enjoyed a blissful LONG Easter/Anzac Day weekend and the beginning of last week spending time with my daughter and getting lots of sewing done … I would be lying if I said that was true.  In actuality I spent most of the time either reading the awesome blog posts everyone has been writing (hehe), and working on finishing off my second assignment for my “Making Your Mark in Drawing” unit for uni ready to be sent today.  [Postage wise, it wasn’t really going to matter whether I put it in the mailbox on Thursday or today … wouldn’t be picked up until this afternoon, what with all those public holidays – Friday = Good Friday; Monday = Easter Monday holiday/Anzac Day; Tuesday = Anzac Day holiday!!]

The primary project I needed to work on was a collage with or without fromage (basically texture rubbings) / montage (think photoes, or those montages in movies) / [and/or] texture; possibly using 'found' items, paper items/scraps, and our own personal drawings to create a collage that explored a particular topic or idea.  

I went with the beauty of God's [floral] creation which surrounds me every day here at home (including, of course a couple of other favorites I'd previously taken photos of for an earlier photography course).  I was thinking basically Gen 1:11 (in which God creates every type of vegetation to grow on the earth) and Matt 6:30 (in which Jesus asks "If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you - you of little faith?).  The last verse is one that has been throwing itself around at me on and off every-so-often over the last little while, or at least there-abouts.

Anyway, I won't bore you with the details, except that I spent between 2 and 5 hours working on getting each (individual) flower looking 'just right', while having 4-5 photos (of differing angles) up on the computer screen in front of me to give me a good idea of tone and highlights/low-lights at one particular moment rather than the time lapse over the course of the drawing.  

The full A2 size piece.  Four hand-drawn flowers, one with separately-drawn leaves; three flower photos, two with stitching added to accentuate and give texture; two quotes, three scriptural passages and one hand-written line of "All Things Bright and Beautiful" music score, all crinkled and distressed; rubbings from large fan palm leaf (background) and palm-tree bark ('frame').  All drawings hand-drawn (in graphite pencil) and rubbings (in willow charcoal), and collage design created by Larissa Hart, April 2011.
Below (close-up): If you look closely, the ends of each long 'hair' (?!), coming out from the centre of the pink flower on the top left, has been embellished with a french knot.  At least 85% of them are done!  This only took .... between 2 - 3 hours to complete, lol.

The flower to the far right, with the leaves below, is stuck on only in the centre of the flower so it almost 'rides' up, giving suggestion to the fact that the flower comes out from the leaves.

This other flower photo is embellished with stitching as well, though this time I added stem-stitching around about 60% of the petals, most of which were around the 'outside' petals.  After about 3hrs I was thinking this is going to take me FOREVER!, however not long after I felt a voice tell me that's enough.  Not all were done - and though this was hard for me to get over, I did.  I think it even looks better this way.

God was good to me during the length of this project.  

I was only able to dedicate this amount of time to this project as I am blessed with two Amazing parents who relished the opportunity to take my little one outside in the garden with them over the loooong weekend, while they collected the many palm fronds that collect at the base of the 3000+ palms we have here, and de-weeding two of the lime trees covered in blue pea vine and much extra growth below.  They also collected a good bucket-and-a-half of limes...with another two trees to attack this weekend!!!  I am looking to make a heap of lemon spread from scratch with some of these limes over the next week.

Also, much of the stitching and finishing off of the drawings were done during the wee hours of Wednesday morning.  About 12.30am I was feeling the tiredness creep in and I felt a prompt to watch a portion of Louie Giglio's dvd "How Great is Our God" which I have on my ipod.  I watched about 10 mins, right in the middle and was reminded that all I needed to do was ask, and I shall receive.  Well, I did.  I asked for the strength and clarity of mind to continue working on this as long as was needed to get this ready for postage that day.  My merciful God obliged.  Despite physically feeling like I could have gone to bed there and then, I felt clear headed and able to concentrate until I got that 'that's enough' message.  It was.

I went to bed at 5am that morning.  Was woken at 6.20am when my daughter woke, who thankfully then went out to the grandparents for breakfast, before having to get up at 7am when they left for work.  I was able to function that day - and get this finished and posted by noon-ish - until I went to bed at roughly 8pm that night, with a 1hr nap while my little one slept.

God is good.  And, for a girl who 'can't draw', he certainly has the ability to show me that I can (with time), and help where and when needed!
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