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Had the most gorgeous afternoon today – it was the long anticipated FROCK UP High Tea to celebrate darling Chriss’s birthday.  She claims it was her 50th – but truly, that can’t be right!  No way this sweetie looks fifty, don’t you agree?

Happy Birthday, Chriss!!

Happy Birthday, Chriss!!

We were treated to a scrumptious high tea.  Chriss assures us that any food consumed at a birthday party contains ZERO calories, so we all enjoyed ourselves.

High Tea - Calorie Free!

High Tea - Calorie Free!

Here we are saying “KIWI!!” in honour of Chriss’s home country, Noo Zillund.

The party was at Platform Nine – which is the Toowoomba Railway Station’s dining room!  They had display cabinets of artefacts from when we had a true passenger service to Toowoomba…(mutter mutter grumble, that’s a post for another time…)

It was the best birthday party ever – and the sweetest pressie from Chriss’s Darling DH.  (altogether now – awwwwwwww!!) She’s also getting A SEWING ROOM!!

Rock on in your 50s, sweetie – the best is yet to come!

MUCH excitement here at Chez TeaBot – I’ve just booked flights to go to Adelaide at Christmas to be with my family!!  WOOOOHOOOOO!!

But the Beloved TeaBot5000™ isn’t coming 🙁 He’s staying to look after the wee beasties and other things here. I will be away for EIGHTEEN sleeps – I don’t think we’ve EVER been apart for that long!  Oh NOES!

Dad, as always, told me not to stint – “Pay extra and get a seat on the INSIDE of the plane, dear!” – yup.

Get tickets on the INSIDE of the plane, he said!

The new baggage rules are sucky though – you have to pay for baggage on the cheap tickets (yep, $8 extra per flight) and have only a checked allowance of 23 kilos. Plus a carry on of 7 kilos, with very restricted dimensions, plus a handbag or laptop.  So by the time I take my CPAP machine in its bag, that’s it – no other carry on gear!  SHOOT!  So much for taking my featherweight and doing some sewing…

Such style!
Such style!

Back to bed for me now.  I was doing really well with recovering until the dog accidentally landed right in the middle of my tummy this afternoon. (She was chasing a ball.  Tends to get a bit oblivious to anything but BALL!)  Nice cuppa tea and a good lie down, that’s the ticket.

… was HOT!  Today was the warmest day we’ve had this Spring – misty this morning, burnt off to a sunny blue sky, and is now darkening into this:

Stop just sitting there and RAIN!

Stop just sitting there and RAIN!

so far for all the darkening clouds, we’ve had about six drops of rain.

The Stitcher’s Dream Day Out was held (as usual) under (in?) a marquee on the lawns outside The Quilters Angel.  There were about 140 women in the tent – and not a whisper of a breeze.  Mostly that was ok – just with my wonky thermostat, I had to lie down on the cool grass a few times.

The projects were gorgeous – remembering that I am NOT a “girly-girl”, and pink really isn’t usually my thing!  Everyone gets a kit with the materials to make one of the projects, and all the patterns so you can make the rest later if you want to. The theme was “Vintage”.

Samples plus more by designers

Samples plus more by designers

I was quite happy with the my kit: the design was shown mounted as a wall hanging, but I think it will probably be a cushion: (please note – my photo is wonky, the actually piece does have even borders!) This is “Butterfly Dreams” by Leanne May of Candlelight Creations.

So far, this is where I’m up to:

Um yeah, Chriss and I may have spent more time chatting with each other and the other ladies on our table than actually stitching!

Today I also got to meet up with someone I’ve known online for AAAAAGES but never met face to face before – Carmel!  When she’s had a chance to get home and on her computer, there will be photos.

I’m off for my “nana nap” – you know, the little lie down you have to have after going out? (or just because it’s the afternoon…)

I am happy because… TONIGHT I GET TO WATCH TWO HOURS OF (U.S.) SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE!!  (don’t look at that link unless you are happy to be spoilerised, since here in Aus we haven’t made it though all the audtion shows yet, ok?)

I KNOW I can’t dance.  in fact, I suck so baaaaaaaaad at dance that I even have trouble with the moves on my “Dance Workout for Dummies” Fitness DVD – in the slowed down TUTORIAL section!  However, I adore watching dance, and have huge admiration for dancers’ discipline and hard work.

*sigh* apart from that, I’ve dived right into the deep end of the Pity Pool, and am currently lazily floating.

It does my heart (and  mind) a lot of good when my very sweet readers (you know who you are, kisses to you, MWAH! MWAH!) share their hysterectomy stories and/or send good wishes.  I’m hoping the post-operative pain will be far less than what I’m going through right now (and for many of you, that seems to have been the case.)

That’s about all my sitting up time for today… I may even have to invoke the “too sick to move” rule and *gasp* watch tv from BED tonight!!  I’m missing out on most of your blogs, but hope to catch up once the lovely Mr Beloved has brought Teh Interwebs to my bedside.

Whine whine whine.

Had a lovely night out with the girls on Saturday night – dinner at a Thai place (Thanks, Sue, for bringing wine – yum!) and then off we went with several THOUSAND other women and a few intrepid blokes to see Menopause the Musical. Fun, but LOUD!

I have spent the last two days entirely in bed – Mr Beloved wakes me up and makes me eat stuff, and feeds me cups of tea, but that’s all the energy I’ve had. Pathetic.

Simplicity 3678Tried to sew a dress to wear for the big night out and it was even more DISASTROUS than the last attempt!! At least now I know that long full sleeves with elastic at the bottom make me look older than my grandmother…. and that the weight of knit fabrics makes a HUGE difference to the alterations I need to do- which I spent AGES on – and which were then TOO BLOODY BIG.

BTW: I HATE THE F****KING CONTRACEPTIVE PILL. It was supposed to suppress ovulation and therefore the pain – NOPE. after some research, did you know that every kilogram heavier you are than 70kg makes the pill less effective? Great. I’ve had 4 migraines and feel like I’ve had PMT all month and THEN been run over by a garbage truck. And the diet? That’s just a loss right now – I think if I even walk PAST food I’m putting on weight, I don’t even have to eat it. I am NOT looking forward to seeing the dietician tomorrow.

Right, that’s about enough whinging from me – I’m off to make a last cuppa tea for the evening and watch CSI:NY.

Yes, we went and saw Sex and the City: The Movie. Yes, the dresses were fabboo – and yes, we cried – even the one of us who claims to be QUITE hardhearted shed a tear, didn’t she, Chriss??

Best dress? Ooooh, such a choice! The rose dress. DEFINITELY the rose dress! Not the shape so much (cos bubble dresses on bigger bodies= CIRCUS TENT!) but the print – I am sw0ooooooooning for the print!

Also? Tomorrow, I’m getting my hair cut. OFF.

Yep, you heard me – OFF!!

See, there’s this dyed LINE in my hair (from when I gave up getting it dyed) that looks totally BOGANish, and since I refuse to start smoking Winnie blues and wearing flannie shirts, the only other option is to REMOVE IT. WITH SCISSORS.

My hairdresser doesn’t know yet – except that I changed my appointment from “Trim” to “Style Cut”….

In other news – tonight I decide whether to attempt to pull apart the Domino fabric dress and re-sew it smaller. Cos – this “sack of unsmiling potatoes” look? BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD!

I can’t believe I just blogged that picture. Have I NO SHAME at all?

Well, since I have…. should I attempt to unpick it? Or just give up??

My very dear friend in Canberra, Mr. R, recently went to Japan for the sakura (cherry blossoms). I had asked him to keep an eye out for Patchwork Quilts Tsushin or Quilts Japan – but he said when he got to the newsagents it was just about impossible to tell at a quick glance what the magazines on sale were about (“Coulda been patchwork, coulda been p0rn – who knows?”)

I’ve just ordered an issue of Patchwork Quilt Tsushin for myself. $32, from New Zealand, which worked out the cheapest way to do it. “Couldn’t charge your mates to look, couldja?” says the (comedic Scotch) voice from the corner. “It worked when I was young!”

4 little books packed full of Japanese designs

ANYWAY, Mr R. found these treasures for me “In a tiny little arcade full of shrines” . He said they worked out to about $12 Australian each (!!) and they are AWESOME! (oops, two are upside down here. Never mind!)

They are full of line drawings of traditional Japanese designs. Like this:

Japanese design line drawingsTraditional butterfly line drawingsembroidery designs for inner kimono collars

Combine that with Laura Wasilowki’s reminder of how easy it is to carve your own stamps for printing onto fabric in this months Quilting Arts Magazine? I could be kept out of mischief for a very long time.

*sigh* back to these Minutes…. committees, arrrgggggh!

So what have I been doing?

Mystery bag…

Well, I’ve made another Miranda bag – here’s a sneak peek. (dontcha hate that you never see those stray threads until photography? Arrgh!)

Got to post two on Monday, and I was hoping to get a third done but – it’s too HOT.

And today was the first race of the V8 Supercars season – wooohooooo! Because it’s a 500km total race, the second 250kms will be run tomorrow. Can’t wait!

Tuesday I overdid things and it’s taken me until Saturday arvo to really get back on top 🙁 Was going to go to the movies (and possibly see the delicious Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd) but all three of us were way too tired – so we had tea and chatter at Vicki’s instead. Chriss and Vicki are both newish Toowoomba quilters, and lots of fun.  But coming on top of spending 10- 3ish at Quilters, I probably should have slept in between, not gone racing round on errands…

Wednesday I went to the doctors – still haven’t gone and got the bloodwork done, oops – and I’m coming round to the idea of at least finding out more about this new medically managed weight loss program. Problem could be the $$- it’s not cheap.

Today is the hottest day of Summer so far (35 inside the house – although the Bureau claim 31. Nope! Yesterday wasn’t far behind at 34/ 30…)

We have Western facing windows in the bedroom, bathroom and sewing room- which means on hot days, those rooms get hotter and hotter – it’s just not bearable to go into them from about 11am until around 9pm. I’m hoping we’ll be able to get some sort of blinds/awnings to help with that….

It’s finally cooled down enough to go to the sewing room – I’m off to cut some sheet acrylic.

I truly do (heart) my readers – HAPPY VALENTINES DAY, you sweeties! Especially to my lovelies who have saved content from my old blog for me. *sniff* a gal couldn’t have nicer friends.

IN CASE YOU’RE WORRIED about nuking your own blog – let me just re-state that it is actually much more difficult to do than you’d think! My problems happened when I was working too tired, doing behind the scenes stuff on my domain – and on most blogs you just don’t have access to the code to do it.

And if you’re smart (ha!) you’ll BACK UP your blog (and indeed, your whole computer) regularly, using one of the many handy dandy back up programs around. A quick search of will give you a few options to choose from in free and shareware. (Just scroll down past the paid ads first, ok? The free stuff is down below.)

And in the worst case, you’ll often find that your blog posts have been cached on google – that is, they are stored from being looked up, and you might be able to grab some back. Tanya the Art Butcher and Susan in Stitches even went so far as to retrieve some for me – awww!Front cover of my visual diary

And now for the something new – I have finished one of the things on my to-do list! Heeeeeeeeere’s my brand spanking new journal cover. It’s made from mostly the Chez Moi for Moda “Fresh Air” fabric that I wish I’d bought more of – but at least now I get to look at it every day, rather than leave it in my stash.

I started by piecing nine of the 5″ charm squares into a nine patch., which I then cut into quarters and stitched back together. (When inspiration is TOTALLY lacking, start simple!)

Then I realised that wasn’t quite big enough so I added some strips left over from another project I’m in the middle of. (I sure hope they’re left over and I haven’t mis-cut anything for that project, or I am going to have to get VERY creative!)

Next, I quilted it with lots of pebblycircles. I used dense free motion quilting because a journal cover has to stand up to a lot of abuse – and also because I really love the thread and wanted to see it.Inside of journal

Once that was done I trimmed the edges, then cut a heap of 2″ squares. Inspired by a long ago article in Threads magazine by Bird Ross, (The Incredible, Reversible, One-Technique Jacket” by Bird Ross (No. 40, pp. 30-35 – oh my gosh, that was published in April/May 1992!*) I finger pressed the squares (with the right sides out) on the diagonal to make triangles. These make the binding – start stitching with free motion stitch, stop and add a triangle wrapped over the edge (the diagonal is on the raw edge of the quilt) and stitch over it. Then you go back and stitch over it another few times if you want to.

Oh, somewhere in all this I decided that some torn strips should be zig-zagged on top of the quilting, too. And I really wasn’t kidding about “ruining” a new journal by scribbling on the first page – now I’m free to mess up the rest of the book with ANYTHING. How liberating!Outside of my new journal cover

Then I grabbed the journal and folded in the short edges of the now edge-finished “quilt”, and sewed along the top and bottom edges. Not only does that hold the book in the cover, it’s a really useful place to put loose bits and pieces of things… so long as you don’t forget you stashed them there….

Once the cover was on the journal, I decided it needed something more on the spine – so I free motion zig-zag quilted some more of the binding squares over the top.

I’m pretty happy with it!

I did use up most of a reel of King Tut thread, though. But using pretty (and easy to quilt with) thread makes me happy, so that’s ok.

I also got the free motion quilting done on the other project -so I can now start cutting *that* up – pics soon!

* If anyone still has issue #40 of Threads and is willing to send it to me, I will MAKE YOU A JOURNAL COVER in whatever colours you want.

I now don’t lend my Threads magazines out, ever…

And guess what? One of my FAVOURITE tv shows in back on tonight – Grand Designs! WOOOOOOOT!

Later edited to add – the buggers showed us a 1998 episode. WTF? 

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