I’ve been a baaaad Blogger


So this week I have:

enjoyed the company of quilting & knitting friends

played hostess to assorted friends and rellies over the weekend

finished a babyquilt

started a new quilt

finished a shawl

knitted most of a cowl

converted a too-small onsie into a cute little ruffled t-shirt

made several yummy healthy nourishing meals

got to quilting for the first time all year

lit the first bonfire of the season

had several walks-in-the-park-with-Bear

and basically photographed none of it

so in lieu of all the mental posts I wrote this week that didn’t make it onto the keyboard

I give you some fairly gratuitous Abby cuteness on the quilt that her ‘auntie’ Nat made for her:

066 (3)


and the Christmas House Tour of 2012 rambles on …

SO here we are on day 6

and this time we’re not – strictly speaking – doing one of the rooms. Are you up for a quick sprint down the hallway?

I’ve put the A/C on just for you because it’s still ‘orrible outside [ 39C/102F earlier ] and I wouldn’t want any of my North Hemispherian friends getting dehydrated.

At one end David’s door is decorated with a bright and cheerful 3’ long decal of Santa’s sleigh


that I found at the local Chickenfeed [ cheap variety store ] for $5 .

In theory I can peel it off carefully after Christmas and re-use it in years to come. Basically, at that price, if I only get the one year out of it, it was money well spent. It’s a bit bold and a bit glitzy but it’s Dave’s room and he seems to enjoy it.

the next thing to greet the eye is a Wild Goose Chase quilt that I made in the early 90s, folded over an antique [weaver’s] loom heddle most probably from Thailand.091

Then we have a collection of mini quilts and redwork stitcheries swagged down the hall.

some stitched on preprinted panels 008 (3)

and some that I adapted from applique patterns, themselves based on vintage images of Saint Nick




and none of the photos of the miniature quilts turned out spectacularly well, new camera notwithstanding, so if you want to see them, I would refer you to this post from so many years past that it’s actually off the old blog.

another decal … this time on the Linen Press


and moving on past my Log Cabin Christmas Tree quilt from the early 90s


We’re in the spare bedroom [ okay, yes. I lied. We are doing one room ]

with a Stack & Slash quilt in red Japanese prints,

a hug of Christmas bears, 0721980s Irish Chain quilt on the blanket box 071AND … ta-da …069 the glorious ox-blood red silk kimono that I was given just yesterday by lovely Toni, the former arch-nemesis and now buddy of his Beariness. Usually there’s a child sized one over the bed  – kimono that is, not arch nemesis – but it’s on the opposite wall for now.


If I haven’t Christmassed you into drivelling submission yet, meet me back here tomorrow for the [probably] final post in this year’s Tour.

Christmas House Tour 2012 Day 3

We’re still in the same room as the big tree I showed you in the last post.

This is the space you step into when you come in the front door. No entryway, no hall, you just step straight into what [ and yes I say this every year ] the architect mistakenly thought was a lounge [living] room / dining room. Of course all right-minded people know that it is, in point of fact, my studio. The three large work tables are a bit of a giveaway, as are the ever-present sewing machine[s] and the huge piece of gridded quilt batting pinned to caneite that serves as a design wall. Next year’s Christmas quilt-that-is-to-be is a bit of a giveaway too.017

So for Christmas it gets, obviously, the tree

and a modest collection of turn-of-the-last-century Christmas postcards.



Most are American or British, one or two from Scandinavia, and not a one of them is Australian. That, as I seem to recall saying last year, would be my holy grail


There’s a fair bit of holly, poinsettia, snow scenes, but also some that seem decidedly non-Christmassy to a 21st century eye: violets, kittens, roses, Gibson girls , and did you notice?




Not one single solitary Saint Nick! Oh, they’re out there, and so is the asking price. Totally out there. So I don’t have any.

This is also the space for my collection of nativities


009 (4)



027 (4)


029 (4)





and a few other bits and pieces.

this Saint Nicholas triptych


The primitive Saint Nick spool knitter painted by my good buddy, Maz [ Crazy Haberdasher ]


and some other stuff I forgot to photograph.

so I guess that’s it for now

and in case it has escaped your attention:

2 weeks to go

Christmas House Tour 2012

Sorry about the delay in starting the house tour but having a new bubby in the family has played havoc with my ability to wax lyrical about all things Christmassy.

It’s not enough for me to have the more public parts of my house all decorated for the season. I have a profound need to surround myself with Christmas reminders, so without further ado, Bear would like to welcome you to his my room.044

As you can see decades of Christmas quilting scraps have been turned into this deep, lush strippy quilt.

016 You really can’t see it in this photo but that burgundy I’ve used for the sashing is printed with detailed delicate old gold snowflakes which lends a slightly Victorian feel to the quilt, and I used up every single inch that I had of that print.


I have my own wee tree in here all decorated in crystal, silver and glass [ and acrylic pretending to be one of the above] with vintage knitting and sewing implements as well. There are knitting needle gauges in the shape of bells, an ivory awl, a vegetable ivory needle case from Nepal, tiny vintage silver scissors, and a thimble holder made out of mother of pearl.

and here I have to apologise for the crappy quality of some of the photos. Apparently I’m jinxed.  December 1 last year, I had a bad fall that mortally wounded the then camera. It valiantly held on for nearly a year, becoming more and more idiosyncratic, and a month or so ago, I finally caved and bought myself a new Nikon Coolpix. Which suffered a cat related fall onto the carpet on … you guessed it … December 1, 2012. As said carpet is laid on a concrete slab, the camera came off second best, and such things are not covered by warranties. I just can’t have nice things.

Next year on Dec 1, will somebody remind me to lock the camera in a drawer?

Anyway, so here’s my fuzzily out of focus tree


wearing a silk angel embroidered many years ago by an elderly South African quilting friend. Sadly Peggy Howell is no longer with us, but I remember her fondly every time I look at her exquisite handwork.


In lieu of a suitable tree skirt, I have a piece of slightly shredded Victorian or Edwardian silk-and-velvet crazy quilt that I bought at the local Historical Society Yard Sale for $1.


The tree is perched on a tower of Christmas boxes which normally hold the decorations for this room [ rule 312: buy storage boxes cheap after Christmas and press them into use as decoration  ]

Most of my santas are elsewhere and you’ll get to see them later but a few of the cream Saint Nicks live in here. I made this guy from a kit …018 mmm … about six years ago

This is my great grannie’s tallboy with crystal swags, bells, a victorian angel, antique crochet wedding gloves, another small tree, my baby doll and

the mirrored peace sign

which I grant you is not precisely subtle

but it works013

Oh and then there’s this cat sculpture/ figurine / thingummy

which leads us to Rule 213 : if it sits there for more than 30 seconds, tie a Christmas bow on it



17 days 2 hours and 53 minutes

One Year Finishes

okay so:

my tally for 2011:

  • 95 finished knitting or crochet projects and this is NOT counting the 30 or so snowflakes /stars made for Christmas decorating and gift giving

[ because I totally forgot – again – to keep an accurate count ]

These cute little baby boleros

only just scooted in under the wire in the week between Christmas and New Years. They were a test knit that I was doing for Madeleine  on Ravelry,

and I finished #3 – the grey one – at 11.54 pm on New years Eve.

  • finished 109 novels*
  • 1 [9 foot square ] finished quilt that I have mostly failed to blog about. My quilting friends can attest that it took me all flipping year to get the binding hand sewn onto this one.
  • and I produced about 600 metres of handspun [ and almost all of that has been knitted up ]


* If you can be bothered plowing through the list, I’d welcome new author suggestions:

I Shall Wear Midnight – Terry Pratchett
Changes – Jim Butcher
A Kiss of Shadows – Laurell K Hamilton
A Caress of Twighlight – LKH
Seduced By Moonlight – LKH
A Stroke of Midnight – LKH
Mistral’s Kiss – LKH
A Lick of Frost – LKH
Swallowing Darkness – LKH
Divine Misdemeanor – LKH
Oryx and Crake – Margaret Attwood
Dead Over Heels – Charlaine Harris
Guilty Pleasures – Laurell K Hamilton
The Laughing Corpse – LKH
Circus of the Damned – LKH
The Lunatic Cafe – LKH
Bloody Bones – LKH
The Killing Dance – LKH
Burnt Offerings – LKH
Blue Moon – LKH
Obsidian Butterfly – LKH
Narcissus In Chains – LKH
Cerulean Sins – LKH
Incubus Dreams – LKH

The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Played With Fire – SL
Many Bloody Returns – Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher et al
The Harlequin – LKH
Dark Lover – JR Ward
A Touch Of Dead – CH Book 30
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest – SL
Merlin – Stephen Lawhead

Murder By The Slice – Livia Washburn
Goodies Rule OK
Wild Sheep Chase – Haruki Murakami
Dance Dance dance – HM

Clockwork Angel – Cassandra Clare
City Of Bones – CC
City of Ashes – CC
Side Jobs – Jim Butcher Book 40
Keep The Aspidistra Flying – George Orwell
Deja Dead – Kathy Reichs
City Of Glass – CC
The Devil You Know – Mike Carey
Death Du Jour – KR
Deadly Decisions – KR
Dark Side – Belinda Bauer
Rite – Tad Williams

Fatal Voyage – KR
Grave Secrets – KR Book 50
Bare Bones – KR
Devil Bones – KR
Blacklands – BB
Mint Juleps, Mayhem and Murder -Sara Rosett
A Cottswold Killing – Rebecca Tope
Bones To Ashes – KR
Indigo Dying – Susan Wittig Albert
Fever Of The Bone – Val McDermid
Vicious Circle – Mike Carey
Dead Man’s Boots – MC Book 60
Monday Mourning – KR
Legacy Of Lies – Elizabeth Chandler ( had to push myself to finish )
Don’t Tell – Karen Rose
206 Bones – KR
Under The Dragon’s tail – Maureen Jennings
Mistletoe Man – SWA

Thicker Than Water – MC
The Naming Of The Beasts – MC
Giants Dance – Robert Carter
Break No Bones – KR book 70

Dark and Stormy Knight – Jim Butcher et al (short story anthology)
Cross Bones – KR
Dead Reckoning – CH
Thief of Time – Terry Pratchett

Johannes Cabal Necromancer – Jonathon Howard
Johannes Cabal Detective – JH
Blood Of Angels – Michael Marshall
Spider Bones – KR
Flirt – LKH actual zombie raising and minimal raunch – a return to the form of the early books

Bullet – LKH Book 80
Hit List – LKH
Unholy Ghosts – Stacia Kane
American Gods – Neil Gaiman
Unholy Magic – SK
City Of Ghosts – SK
Ghost story – JB
Night Watch – Sergei Lutkenyenko
Day Watch – SL
Twighlight Watch – SL
Last Watch – SL Book 90
The Folklore of Discworld – Terry Pratchett & Jacqueline Simpson
Three Bags Full: a sheep detective story – Leonie Swann (as good as everyone says it is)

Wee Free Men – TP
Hat Full Of sky – TP
Wintersmith – TP
Sunshine – Robin McKinley
The Osiris Ritual – George Mann.
Real Murders – CH
A Bone To Pick – CH
Three Bedrooms One Corpse – CH BOOK 100
The Julius House – CH
Dead Over Heels – CH
A Fool & His Honey – CH
Last Scene Alive – CH
Poppy Done To Death – CH

The Affinity Bridge – GM
The Elegance Of The Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery
The Man With The Golden Torc – Simon Green
Carpe Jugulum – TP   total  109 books

and the 2011 christmas House Tour ambles on

It has become something of a tradition that David’s social group have their Christmas party here Chez Catsmum.

the barbie gets fired up

the Christmas CDs get an airing

everyone gets the ‘in-real-life’ version of the Christmas House Tour

and then, when everyone is replete with the most excellent feast

Father Christmas and his helpers pop by with the presents

and the next hour or so just whizzes by

Once it finally gets dark around 9pm, fond farewells are said, everyone piles back into the cars and buses, and heads off in convoy to see the local Christmas lights, while Nadie and I head back inside to discover that the elves have been hard at work and all the dishes are already done.

Gotta love those elves!

and as I don’t have to do those dishes, that leaves me with just enough energy to take the camera on a quick run through the hallway:

Starting with a Wild Goose Christmas quilt hanging on an antique Thai loom heddle [ or so I was told today by the owner of the new Thai Restaurant in Castlemaine ]

a string of mini quilts and stitcheries [ red work ] – the one nearest the camera was made by Jackie of Jackie’s Jam Session as a Christmas blog decorating prize, and the rest are mine.

If this Saint Nick seems a little more ‘aged’ than the others …

it’s because I left the ‘in-progress’ work in too accessible a spot, and a certain Staffy pup named Rocky decided to see how it tasted. The holes in the batting could be fixed but the cream fabric bore the marks of the trauma it had suffered, ergo, a heavy hand with the tea bag was employed to hide the evidence. Tea dye and a fast run through the tumble dryer to crinkle the batting = instant antique!

Maybe one day I’ll get around to stitching the intended fourth Saint Nick in the set … or not.

I made this teeny one in an afternoon many years ago – each of the little houses and trees are all of an inch and a half square.

A machine quilted Log Cabin Tree wallhanging – from the early 90s.

and as we’ve now reached the other end of the hallway, that’s your lot for today.

So rest up tonight.

Tomorrow things really start getting serious as we begin to tackle the snow country.

Christmas House Tour Day 5:


The Big Room again:

Yesterday I showed you that bee-ooo-ti-full blue patchwork design Jim Shore nativity set … which seems to be at the heart of this space’s  slightly split Christmas personality.

For example:

The swag over the door through to the kitchen is in the same spirit as the big Christmas tree [ usually in this space but currently at the other end of the room ] which is to say silver, crystal and glass. I was aiming for subtle and elegant here.

then there’s the quilt on the couch – a stack-and-whack in fairly traditional Christmas colours from the late 1990s. Strong. Bold. Not at all subtle.

Not content with one Christmas quilt in here, there’s last year’s three piece wallhanging [ or wallhanging-and-two-tablerunners ] which I made in blues to go with the Jim Shore  nativity set … except that, with the advent of Nadie & Chris’ television, the sideboard housing the nativity has been moved a metre or so down the wall and  the Arctic Santa doesn’t quite look right so he’s been moved to a different wall and nearer to that red and green and black one.

which is fine… sort of

He fits there too

but it means I’m still short a Christmas quilt for the wall behind the tellie.

These reindeer, and their larger friend who is out of shot, are keeping the Arctic animals company.


and then there’s the tapestry table runner that friend Beryl gave me, which has to go in here because it’s the only coffee table long enough.

It sort of has a foot in both camps. There’s the bold red-and-green that goes with that kaleidoscope quilt, and the touch of blue that I’d like to think ties it together with the Santa quilt [ although I’m not exactly sure how the cute santa kitties fit in ]

and here’s my other Jim Shore piece:  blue … angel … patchwork … and a cat. Can’t think why my friend Raelene thought of me when she saw this 🙂

Perhaps this opulent blue, burgundy and silver panel made from recycled Indian salwar kameez and saris goes some way towards tying all those diverse colour palettes together.

and maybe I should stop trying to rationalise it all and just enjoy it, eh ?

11 days 1 hour 25 minutes