About Me

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I am a mother of eight and grandmother of four who loves to make and create. Rosemary Hill is the name of our home where we live, work, learn and create together

Tuesday 31 January 2012


Miss 19 dueting with her Dad
I'm packing and dreaming of the time that such musical soirees will be happening again at my house. Packing just makes the house so upside-down. So many harsh words and disagreements! We all must be out of sorts here at the moment. Let's hope we are back to normal by the weekend! (I wonder if our landlord will be bothered by the fact that I. Never. Want. To. Move. Again. Ever.)

Monday 30 January 2012

I guess I must be moving.....

.... because I packed today rather than sewed. It took me a while to get into it. I had to watch the rain first.

It was pouring! After a couple of hot days here in Melbourne it was lovely to see. Then after I had packed one box I had to tweet about it.

Then check twitter. Then my email. Then I had to have lunch. Then find a DVD to put on. You know how it is. Then finally I really started. So the most important rooms are packed. The sewing room and the lounge room. (Where all the hand stitching happens!) Tomorrow more packing awaits. Perhaps if I get stuck into it early tomorrow I might have time to sew a little!

Sunday 29 January 2012

Feeling a bit restless today...

... and wondering whether it is because I haven't really sewn anything for the last couple of days? But sometimes it's like that. Perhaps I am just anxious for our move this week to be over. Anyway, had a huge lie in this morning, then church, and then I couldn't seem to settle to anything. I have looked at a lot of beautiful things on blogs though! Tomorrow the packing begins in earnest! (Or maybe I'll sew?)

my workspace, and it's view

Saturday 28 January 2012

A drive in the country...

 ... was what we started out on this morning. Warburton was our destination. We had heard that the Patchwork Tearooms there were just lovely. And they were. On our way back home we saw a sign pointing to Mt Baw Baw and couldn't resist taking a peek. After all, it wasn't far away.

View from Mt Baw Baw
 I think we are quite used to distances between Melbourne and Adelaide, but this wasn't like that at all. Ninety kilometers on the Western highway are not equal to ninety alpine kilometers. We drove on a narrow windy road until we got to the top. The view was amazing. The bucketing downpour even more amazing! We got drenched, but weren't too worried because it was 35C back home and we knew we would dry off.

It was all so green and pretty

Not sure what I would think about it if it was covered with snow. Especially since I have never seen snow. Perhaps now that we live in Victoria I might even get to see snow, now that I know where to go! Of course, there are other snowcovered places here too. Who knows where I will end up on my next fabric hunting trip?

Friday 27 January 2012

White chocolate and gingerbread slice

A couple of you thought this sounded delicious so I thought I would share the recipe with you.

100g unsalted butter, chopped
3/4 cup golden syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar
2tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup milk
2 cups plain flour
180g white chocolate, chopped
icing sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. Grease & line a 19cm x 29cm slice pan with non-stick baking paper. (You can see I used a disposable pan with no greasing or lining. I saw Nigella do this with a similar slice & figured it would work for this. It does!)

2. Place butter, syrup, sugar, ginger & cinnamon in a saucepan. Stir on medium heat for 2-3 mins, until butter has melted & mixture is well combined and smooth. Remove from heat & cool slightly. Add eggs & milk & mix well.

3. Sift flour into a large bowl. Add chocolate. Fold through egg mixture & mix until combined. Fill pan. Bake for 30-35 mins, until firm. Cool in pan, dust with icing sugar & cut into fingers to serve.

I have made this a few times now & my kids just love it! It was the "tundra" for my Christmassy deer/moose installation you can see here. I use white chocolate melts or choc chips to make it even easier. (I'm all for easy here!) Of course, I always make a double batch. (There were 14 of us for dinner last night) I'm not sure how many you need to have in the household to only make a single batch!

Thursday 26 January 2012

It's Australia Day!

Have you had a great Australia Day? In true Aussie style, it is mostly considered to be a great day off here. I spent most of today baking. White chocolate & gingerbread slice, choc chip cookies, cup cakes and lots and lots of pasties. This was all in aid of Miss 14 and her friends who love to eat yummy things!

The only sewing I did today was the final three seams on this star flower block. (Hope you looked away Shay!!!) I am thinking of basting some quilt tops tomorrow. And packing some stuff. Moving will begin next Thursday I think, but since we are not moving far (two streets) we will probably move over several days rather than packing it all into one day. Hey! We will be moving seven people's stuff. It's not going to be quick!!! Catch ya tomorrow!

Wednesday 25 January 2012

My new system

 When I sew I like to work on more than one project at once. Sometimes people who work this way are thought to be easily bored, or procrastinators, or really just lacking commitment of any kind. (In my case all of those are probably true.) In the big "think about the new year" process I have been indulging in this month I have thought that possibly this could be quite a positive way to work, if only working on several projects at once didn't physically sabotage your work. So I have devised a new system to keep all the stuff from several projects under control.

the star flower project bag on my desk
I am calling it the "snap lock bag system". (Shhhh all of you who thought of this or similar systems a really long time ago! I just thought of it and the system and I are still in the romantic honeymoon phase!)

Some Kind of Wonderful project bag on my stool
 You see, I have done the stuff in the box/container systems before, but they never really worked out for me. My latest system involves big snap lock bags into which you place everything for a particular project. Everything in the bag is visible and the bags themselves can be put on the floor, under your sewing desk or even chucked across the room! (Which has an amazing therapeutic effect!)

the Kate Spain good fortune project bag (clearly this project has outgrown it's project bag) under my desk
And you don't get fabrics mixed up or lost in a mess of stuff on your desk! So far it's working for me. At the moment I am working on three projects. Today I managed to work on all three and my desk is still clear! It's been a good day! Swing by tomorrow to see if the system and I have managed to finish anything!

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Kate Spain Good Fortune top finished!

 Let's just say at the outset, that I love these girls, even though their quilt top holding abilities are not that good! Who am I to complain, they were actually the only two willing to come outside and help me photograph this monster of a quilt top. (It's big for me! 80"x88", I think.) And that's saying something because there are seven of us living here at the moment! Miss 19 and Miss 25 even left the "Project Runway"-athon we are running at the moment at a crucial moment. (Who's in? Who's out?)

Kate Spain good fortune top finished.
And there it is. I love it! I love, love, love this range and I'm pretty happy with this top too even though it just kind of evolved as I went along. Next is to get a back made up and then the WORST BIT of quilting. The basting! One of my goals in 2010 was to get over my unfounded fear of quilting. I had some instruction and practiced a lot and feel pretty good about quilting now. I did think that was my main problem regarding finishing quilts. It wasn't. My goal for 2011 was to get over basting. I didn't. Perhaps I should flag that goal again for this year too! I badly want to finish this quilt. I have a birthday party to get ready for this week. (I'll have a 15 year old next week!) Oh. And a little packing to do for next week's big move. Can't really see anything that might prevent me from finishing this baby, can you?

flowers in my garden

*sigh* I'm trying not to think about everything I have to do tonight. I leave you with a photo of some flowers in my garden. Not sure what they are. (Nicotiana?) The flowers don't open until evening and these babies are self-sown! Gotta love flowers that do all the work for you! Now, if only that quilt would baste itself.....

Sunday 22 January 2012

Record Keeping

I have a lot of ideas. Mostly though they just float around in my head and just remain ideas because I never actually make a plan for them.

In the past I have bought all sorts of wonderful books to record my ideas in. Mostly they are empty. Whenever I plan a quilt I usually do it on a scrap of paper, which promptly gets lost. This year I have decided to use the time I have more wisely, so I got my books out and I'm recording my ideas, my goals, and my progress.

I started out with the scrap pieces of paper for my Kate Spain Good Fortune quilt. I've stuck them in my book now and have further workings out in the book now I have decided how I want to finish it. It's all dated too, which I am hoping will make me more accountable.

I tend not to use patterns very much. I usually design my quilts myself, but with the scrap paper method of design if I ever want to replicate a quilt I have to design it all over again. So I'm hoping my ideas book will make things easier. And keep track of my projects and help me finish more. Here's hoping its a magic book!!!

Saturday 21 January 2012

Star Flower Blocks

I had so much fun with these the other day that I decided to make some for me. That's after I saw a pack of "a stitch in color" charm squares by Malka Dubrawsky.

Charm squares are perfect for the star flower because there's a little less cutting! My 5" charm squares mean a 16.5" finished block, but big is beautiful, right?

This is the first block and it's still fun, so I think this will definitely be a quilt. Of course, I have to get the Good Fortune quilt finished before I do any more.

I know. We'll see!

Friday 20 January 2012

Sewing desk mess

My mess
I took this photo yesterday thinking that today I would clear the sewing desk because I couldn't possibly be creative in this messy space. This morning I had forgotten all about that resolve and my desk still looks like this. Sort of. Since yesterday I have been to the patchwork shop and bought some fabric to finish off the Kate Spain Good Fortune quilt you see so prominently on the desk. (I dreamt about how I would finish it off last night. I guess that's the thoughts my head were full of when I woke up!) So now there is even more fabric on the desk. Oh. And I accidently bought a new project while I was there too and that is sprinkled liberally over the desk now. So liberally in fact that you can see very little of the Kate Spain project. When I bought the fabric for the new project I did think that I wouldn't touch it until I had finished the one on the desk, but I was already planning out the new project on the drive home. Once I got home I did a couple of chores and then looked at my fabric some more and then BAM! I was hit with inspiration and the determination to start my new project. (That particular inspiration did require me to go back to the shop and purchase more fabric, which I did.) So I've started a new project today! (So much for my assessment yesterday that what I really needed was to finish something!) Photos to follow.

Oh. And there really is no such thing as a sewing desk too messy to create on. If you are ever in that situation, what you really need is a new project!

Thursday 19 January 2012

Sewing for do. Good Stitches {a Charity Bee}

Star flower blocks, my first for do. Good Stitches
Some time last year I came across the blog Stitched in Color. I was fascinated with the charity quilting groups that Rachel ran and thought I might like to join one when I heard that there may be an Australian group being formed. I was too late to join that group, but my name was placed on a list and I am now part of an International group. You can read about do. Good Stitches here on flickr. We are in the midst of making our first blocks. I am pretty excited about this endeavour and have just finished stitching these beauties. They have yet to be pressed and have a decent photo taken of them, but I figured you would want to see them anyway! They were fun to make. I really love making half square triangles and this is an interesting block I wouldn't mind making a quilt from. I will put it in my book of quilts to make (it's getting quite full!) and see how I go. I also spent more time sewing my Good Fortune quilt today. I had no plan for that at all and today I worked out that it is big, and possibly too narrow for it's length. (How I know this I don't know. Miss 25 thinks I am crazy, but I feel I need to do something to the quilt top to widen it a little. Right now the top is folded up on a shelf. I will have to think about it a little more.

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Full Circle.

About twelve months ago we were preparing to move to Melbourne from Adelaide. Some 700-odd kilometers away. Today's discussions brought all that back to me. We were discussing Miss 14's upcoming birthday and what the celebrations for that birthday might include. Last year was very different. Both Miss 14's and my birthday were celebrated in a tent, not while we were on holiday, but while we were looking for a home in Melbourne.

Miss 14's birthday cake 2010
Almost twelve months later we are preparing to move again because our landlord wants to sell the house we are renting. My Bradley joked that we would be fine no matter what happened because we could always put the tent up in a caravan park again. (I think he found that thought comforting. I told him it wasn't funny!) Anyway, the tent just won't be happening because we have found a house!!! It is only two streets away and hopefully we will be able to live in it longer than twelve months! We like the area and the kids wanted to stay here. Miss 14 loves her school and is planning to finish her high schooling there(two more years) so we needed to find something close by and we have done it! So now we have to begin packing in earnest. A friend suggested in jest that all we need to move is a wheelbarrow. We are hoping that our trailer will suffice.

Today has been a slow day. I did do a little sewing, some preparation for a scrap quilt that is calling my name, and working out what fabric I will need to back a quilt top that is almost finished. (You'd never know I had done two maths subjects in high school AND passed!) More about the sewing stuff tomorrow. Tonight I am just being happy that I know which roof will be over my head during 2012.

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Jiggety jig

Home again. Another long drive today. This time away from this face. He helped me take this photo. My camera has a display that can be turned to the front so he could tell me when he could see himself and then I "snapped" the photo. I find driving from here to there very tiring. Goodnight!

Monday 16 January 2012

Good Guessing!

Lots of you worked out where I was. We are in Adelaide for a day or two and then we will be going for a long drive home again. My Bradley will be working, but I will be looking at this for a day and a half.

And this

And taking lots of photos too I think.

Sunday 15 January 2012

My Day...

...looked just like this.

We went for a little drive. It wasn't what we were planning when we woke up, but we're flexible. What does this week hold for you? I'm never quite sure at my house.

Saturday 14 January 2012

He's taken an interest in photography.

Photography by Mr 11
Over the past few months photos I haven't taken have been appearing on my camera. Just one or two at first. Now there are a dozen or more at a time. I think Mr 11 has taken an interest in photography. My camera is usually not far from my sewing desk, pretty easy to find! I love digital cameras. They have made it possible to click as many photos as you like without it costing you. They also deliver the image instantly, so you can monitor how you're going. I love seeing what he thinks is photo-worthy.

Friday 13 January 2012

She made covers for her folders.

Miss 14 believes that every folder deserves a fabric cover. So far three of her five folders have one. Some even sport pockets for books. Much sewing happening here!

Thursday 12 January 2012

Fabric and thread.

We went to Spotlight today so Miss 19 could pick up some supplies for the new bag she is making. On the way out Misses 25 and 14 noticed the wheels on Spotlight's trolleys were suitably covered with fabric and thread. Don't you just love fabric and thread?

I have done a little more on my "Good Fortune" quilt today. Honestly, it seems to be taking THE longest time!!!

Here it is right now. I finally have two rows together! Hopefully I can get the others together tomorrow. So tired right now. Goodnight!

It has begun.

Days when I spend most of my day out and don't sew much at all (there are very few actual no-sew days in my world) I don't seem to be able to remember to blog. I am thinking of having dictionaries around the world change the word "blog" to "brag" because it seems that that's what I do here rather than blog. Now I have no record of a day spent at the Caribbean Gardens and Warrandyte.

Then, when we came home, Miss 19 and I began the packing. Yes, it seems as though we have barely unpacked (our stuff did only arrive here six months ago) and now we need to get everything back in those boxes! Well, possibly not everything. Moving is a wonderful opportunity to sort and discard, if nothing else. So we started on the books yesterday afternoon. Eight boxes were packed, and we had two boxes of discards. We are probably half done. (I know! We have a lot of books! My excuse is that we are homeschoolers and need a lot. Perhaps the real reason is that we are hoarders!) Anyway, we have begun packing and still have no idea of our destination. Moving day is less than three weeks away. Today I am hoping to sew my cares away!

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Gingernut Biscuits and Painting.

Gingernut Biscuits
They look much more delicious in real life than in this photo. It's a bit overcast today, perhaps that's why they look so insipid in this photo. I was madly sewing away on my Kate Spain "Good Fortune" quilt today when I felt the need for sustenance of a sweet, crunchy type. (And a hot milo.) So I made gingernut biscuits. A double batch, of course, because there are seven of us living here. The recipe said a double batch would make 100 biscuits. I got 90-odd. I was quite pleased with that. They must be close to the suggested size! They are yummy. (So was the hot milo.)

Miss 19, on a chair, painting.

I am sewing today. Miss 14 is sewing. (Covers for her folders for school. She believes every folder deserves a fabric cover.) Miss 25 is doing the work I should be doing (yay her!) loading items to eBay. My Bradley is busy working. Mr 17 is playing x-box. Mr 11 is alternating between shooting hoops, watching iview, playing xbox, wandering and eating. Miss 19 is painting something mysterious in a corner of the kitchen. I haven't looked because she doesn't want me too. It's a busy day here with lots of creative energy!

Monday 9 January 2012

Managed to sew some more today too.

Lots of 9-patches now
 I have had a busy day. I spent the morning straightening up the house (sometimes it just has to be done), then off to the shops to do some chores. (Post office - that's what happens when you sell something on eBay! Spotlight. Coles - there was no milk for breakfast this morning!) This afternoon I sewed a little, visited a sick friend, wrote a letter to my Mum (it will still be a surprise because she is internetless), packaged up a parcel for my grandchildren, sewed some more, prepared dinner, and then sewed some more. It seemed like I got a lot done today. I was able to finish the 9-patches and am now working on some sashings to go around them. I have no idea whether I have enough fabric to finish this quilt top or not. I also have no idea about what I will use to back it. It seems not to matter right now. I just want to get the top finished! Never mind that I have a box full of tops waiting to be quilted. Well, basted and then quilted. I do plan to work on that box of stuff this year, just not right now obviously! Anyway, right now I am loving this quilt-to-be. Oh. And my Bradley.

Fabric and my Bradley *sigh*

Sunday 8 January 2012

Inspired by Kate

SKoW fabrics sorted and waiting for me to sew them.
I had already begun cutting out my squares and strips for my Some Kind of Wonderful quilt, and then I saw this post by Kate on the stitch-a-long blog. Now I am organised too!

Saturday 7 January 2012

Some sewing

 It has been a week pretty much empty of sewing here. I sometimes wonder where all the hours I have at my disposal go. That's something I want to concentrate on this year. Making the most of the time I have. This week has been devoted to trawling and looking at houses and thinking about how I really don't want to move. A bit self-absorbed and pointless! So today I decided to get stuck into some sewing. I started working on my SKoW (stitch-a-long) but that just wasn't cutting it today, so I got out a fat 1/8 pack that I bought from Hettie's Patch last time I was in Adelaide.

Good Fortune by Kate Spain
I was looking for something fresh and "Good Fortune" by Kate Spain caught my eye. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but when I was tidying my sewing desk one day before Christmas I saw some Moda Bella grey in the fabric cupboard. It reminded me of good fortune immediately. So I put it in the Hettie's bag to wait.

As you can see, I got it out of the bag today. Ironed it. Cut it up and started sewing it into some nine-patches. (I really love nine-patches for some reason. They always come to my mind.) I thought I might get the nine-patches together, but didn't quite get that far. Tomorrow.

Thursday 5 January 2012

Veggie pancakes

Last veggie pancake left.
Had a not terribly productive day today. Well, if you measure it by things. If you measure "productive" by more esoteric measures it wasn't too bad. I hit a bunch of secondhand shops with two of my daughters today. They really enjoy secondhand shopping. Miss 19, who has lived on her own this past year, and survived, loves clothes. She mostly only shops in secondhand shops because they have the prices she wants to pay. So she had a lovely time today. I tried to hit a couple of patchwork shops, but they were closed. I was a bit disappointed because I had checked out the website of one in particular and there was no mention of being closed. Of course, it meant that I saved money which can't be a bad thing!

Whilst out shopping our thoughts turned to dinner and Miss 19 declared a want for veggie pancakes. I hadn't made any for ages. I think all my veggie loving kids have moved out and the others are not usually very receptive to such veggie delights. Anyway, I cooked two large stacks and this was all that was left. Definitely making these again soon! While I am on a cooking/dinner track I must mention Frogdancer's latest post. You can read it here. What a bunch of inspiration she has for eating well, but for less money. The amount of money we spend on food has been on my mind a lot this year. Not that it is wrong to spend money on food, but (as Frogdancer points out) do you really want to pour a lot of money down your throat? Would it be better spent elsewhere? I'll leave you to ponder that...

Wednesday 4 January 2012


I think this posting every day is beginning to form a bit of a rhythm for me. Whilst my "resolution" only started January 1st I have been posting daily since December 12th. I was inspired and intrigued by blogtober, although it took me a little while to begin to post every day. Tonight my words are all jumbled and I am having to use the delete button a lot. Yes, sure sign of a headache for me. Not to worry though. I am off to bed as soon as I have posted this. I did go to bed about half an hour ago, but couldn't settle because I hadn't blogged. Weird, huh? You see what I mean about a rhythm!

Grandson waiting on the stairs for his foph (aunt) last August.
We went to look at the house this morning. It is great. Not the colours I like or anything like that, but it is BIG. I really want BIG just in case anyone wants to pop in and stay for a little while. You know. Anyone like the guy above who we are all missing terribly at the moment. (And his sisters of course!) We have filled in the application forms and now we just have to wait to hear whether we get the house, or not. We shall see I guess. So, the decluttering and destashing has begun. (What else would give me such a headache!) I guess going to look at a house made the whole moving thing seem real. I have made a bit of a start today uploading junk great stuff to eBay. Hopefully tomorrow I will begin to add the destash to etsy. As soon as I do I will let you know.

Tuesday 3 January 2012

Results of today.

 Today I actually used the needle I threaded yesterday. The raw edge applique was done some days ago. So believe it or not, I actually have some of my December SKoW finished. My umbrella is back to front because I didn't remember until too late that I should have reversed the drawing for fusible webbing applique.

And I'm not much of a singer. I prefer to walk in the rain. I have also spent time cutting out teeny tiny squares for the filler patchwork that goes in between my December blocks of applique. Now there's a tedious task! It looks good though so I am happy to do it. I have also spent ages drawing ideas for my own favourite things. Not sure if I have quite enough ideas of my own yet, but there are enough to carry on with. And now, last of all, I will show you the grandchildren block. I hate it! I loved it right up until I did their faces. I'm not sure whether I will be able to salvage it or not. I am posting it here so you can see it, but hope you don't cringe too much. (Or laugh too much!!! It really is terrible!) It may be that I will start again on this block. It's funny, because this block is "blocking" me, so I have decided to post it here AND get over it.

Ugly Block
Tomorrow we go to inspect a house. It is two streets away and a similar size to the one we currently live in. Right now it is the only house that suits us sizewise and suburbwise. Wish me luck! I hope it's great and I hope we get it!

Monday 2 January 2012

Here's Something I Prepared Earlier

This is a bag I made at the end of November last year. It sounds so long ago when I say last year! I made it for my mum for her birthday and was able to hand deliver it to her when I visited Adelaide. The stitchery is a Gail Pan design that I stitched at a Port Pirie stitching weekend at Country Hart. The fabric was some country checks I bought years ago from the Patchwork Apple. They just scream "patchapple" to me. (My nickname for that favourite shop!) Today has been a hot one here in Melbourne. We made it to 39.6 officially I believe. I seem only to be able to do headaches when it gets hot, so that's what I've done today. I did tidy my sewing desk and thread a needle with some red DMC too, then it was all too much and I gave up. Which turned out to be a good decision really because two of my nieces turned up with two friends looking for somewhere to stay tonight. They are on their way home on a road trip and know they're always welcome at our house. (It's kind of a tradition with us. If any of our kid's friends need somewhere to crash they give us a call and show up. The nieces must not really know the tradition part, cause they got their mum to call!) So I mostly just visited with them this afternoon, hearing all about their trip. A fun time!

Sunday 1 January 2012

So hard to post today!

So I make a bunch of goals on December 31, not sure whether I will be able to accomplish them, but I'm hopeful. Then January 1st arrives and I have no internet.
Blogging is so hard without the internet! Luckily I have a smartphone, I've never blogged from it before, so this is an experiment!

Today has been a pretty slow day here. We spent New Year's Eve at a friends house. The plan was to be home just after 10pm, but inertia set in. We were sitting, we were comfortable and suddenly it was midnight. So I have done very little today. Tune in tomorrow for some finished stitching!