20 March 2017

Life observation: 1

I watched the woman from my window. She was carefully picking small flowers from a shrub in the park and I wondered; why? What was she planning to do with the large bag of blooms? I crossed the road to ask her.

I'm giving them to Buddha, she said. Do you know Buddha?

I nodded, of course.

I like to offer flowers regularly but the flowers you can buy in Australia are so large. Small ones are better; there are many small flowers in Burma, my native country. But here, they are too big so I pick these tiny ones for Buddha.

I thought you might be going to cook with them, I said.

She laughed. I've been asked that before; one man thought I would cook them into a soup. 

We laughed together and then I walked home, pondering her patience and the simple ritual she included in her life.



Curious, I wanted to find out why she might make this offering. I found ten reasons here. Rituals can be powerful, can't they?

13 March 2017

My book of the month: March

I enjoy books with happy endings. They make me appreciate that life is not all gloom and doom and that people can live fulfilling lives and enjoy nurturing relationships. Why wouldn't you want that?

Josephine Moon writes great stories with food-related themes and I've recommended another book by her before (here). I was fully committed to this story by the end of the first chapter. Great characters, interesting settings and a relationship that was meant to be - what more could I want from a story? Excellent read.


Read more about this novel on Goodreads.

06 March 2017

Three things I like this week

Recognising the positive things in my life opens my eyes to the good all around. They're not always big things; the small moments can light up my days.


1. Rain

We've enjoyed so much rain over the past week and there's more forecast for the coming days. My parched garden has soaked it up and everything is so green! Thank you to all the clouds that released their loads of water around my suburb.

2. Walking

I'm endeavouring to move more. Sitting at a computer or sitting with my sewing encourages the hours to fly past without me walking around. Conscious movement is the key for me, I've found, and alerts from my Fitbit remind me to walk. I'm becoming competitve with myself!

3. Stitching

Oh how I love hand stitching! My current project is a BOM pattern designed by my friend Sarah. It's gorgeous and I'm enjoying selecting my own fabrics and colours to make my version unique. 



What are you enjoying this week? 

27 February 2017

Exploding quilt block diagrams

When I've been writing patterns for my quilts, I've often thought it would be useful to include diagrams that show how the pieces of a block join. I have low-level skills with graphics programs and I don't have expensive software. I use EQ7 for my diagrams but never knew a way to explode those diagrams.

Until now.

Those clever people at EQ have provided tutorials for using two different programs to explode EQ blocks. The first tutorial is for use with Adobe Illustrator, a software program available for purchase.

The second tutorial is for use with Inkscape, a free software program. This is the option I'll be using and I'll download Inkscape to play with its possibilities.

What do you use to explode block diagrams? Do you have a different method?

13 February 2017

In the studio with Ali George

It's always a privilege to write about quilters' studios. I think we can learn from the ways other creative people set up their work spaces; we can see how they organise their materials and consider whether some of their ideas may suit our own studios.


For issue 83 of Quilters Companion magazine, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ali George, who lives on a five-acre property in Queensland. Her descriptions of her two studios (yes, two! How jealous does that make me?) and the surrounding landscape tempted me to move there immediately.

This is part of the joy of writing about creative studios and their owners - it allows me (and eventually you, the readers) to learn about places we may never visit in real life.

Last week I discovered that Ali and her husband are selling their property in Tarome so, if you are tempted, you can move there and allow the stunning scenery inform your textile work, too!

30 January 2017

Three things I like this week

I haven't written one of these posts for a while but it's a regular subject I want to revive. Staying positive and looking for the good things in our lives can be challenging sometimes, can't it? 


1. Being Australian

Australia's not a perfect place but I'm thankful I was born here. With all the scary things going on around the world, I'm so glad to live here in our small part of the planet.

2.  Technology

It allows me to stay in touch with you all; to have electricity and all the benefits that brings with it; and to learn from the collective wisdom of others. For that, I am thankful.

3. My garden

It's nothing special, just my own little patch of earth. Currently struggling in the summer heat, it needs a lot of tidying and maintenance but every time I potter around in it I am happy.

What do you like this week?

23 January 2017

My book of the month: January

My favourite novel this month is The Woman Next Door. I cherish Liz Byrski's novels because she shows the rich lives of older women. There's so much to learn about how to live a fulfilling life from her characters and I can imagine them living next door to me. That's a sign of a good writer - creating believable and likeable characters - isn't it?

It's not all beautiful sunsets and happy days, either. That's another aspect of Byrski's novels that draws me in - these could be real people. The characters are so well-drawn and the author's empathy is evident as she portrays their feelings, frustrations, disappointments and loves.

Read more about The Woman Next Door on Goodreads.