30 August 2008

Taking action

I need lots of comments on this please. I spend lots of my creative time thinking about quilts I want to make, but not actually taking action to make them. I look at the pieces on my design wall, but take weeks before I stitch another piece on. I have piles of fabric sorted into projects, but they just sit there while I design quilts in my head.

What I want to know is this - how do you jolt yourself into actually sewing rather than just thinking about it? Deadlines don't make me focus (it's too much like work then), but I wonder if you have some tips? Maybe a system of rewards would work? Please leave a comment and let me know what works for you.

28 August 2008

Art quilt challenge

Remember last year I entered a quilt in the Unique Stitching Art Quilt Challenge? The quilts were on display at various quilt shows around Australia last year and it was great fun to be part of such an exciting exhibition.

Cecile Whatman, who organised the challenge, has announced that she is doing it again this year. The 2008 theme is: A Self Portrait or an Abstract Self Expression. It's open to Australian quilters and you can download the entry form here.

I'm not attracted to making realistic or pictorial quilts, so mine will have to be abstract. So far I have no ideas, so on goes my thinking cap!

27 August 2008

Not happy

The leaves and flowers on the strawberry plants I planted yesterday were eaten overnight by some **!!%$!! animal. Not happy. Now each plant has a cut-down plastic bottle around it as a guard. Not a good look, but if it protects the plants, I'll overlook the aesthetics.

Remember this lovely piece of fabric? Well, I had plans to make a journal quilt from it, but after I pressed it today the colour from the oil pastels simply disappeared. Not happy. I think I probably had the iron set too high.

I moved on to plan B and started to work with this piece of fabric instead. Cut into small squares, along with some of my hand-dyed pieces, this will form the background of my C
itrus quilt.

26 August 2008

Spring fever

I know it's only August, but I am having a serious attack of spring fever. My focus is my garden, where I am tidying up and planning the goodies to come. The Japanese maple has swollen nodes, which means the leaves are forming and will soon be unfurling. I planted some more strawberry plants and replanted the lemon grass into a large pot. I suspect I can keep it under control this way, unlike when it was in the ground and grew into an enormous clump. New growth is starting on my bougainvillea, which was butchered from my neighbour's side of the fence. The promise of growth is everywhere and, to celebrate, I enjoyed a long walk in the mild weather today. Spring is on its way!

25 August 2008

I know spring is on its way

when the new-season IKEA catalogue arrives in my letterbox! First I read it from cover to cover, just to absorb the furniture arrangements and to see the new products. Then I re-read it through, marking items that appeal. They are usually only available in the wrong colour for me - I love the new HEMNES linen cabinet, but it's only available in IKEA yellow; not my colour at all. Wish they'd made it in this colour, like other products in that particular series. (Actually, it's probably good that they didn't, otherwise I'd have to buy it.)

The catalogue is one of my most enjoyable sources of reference material. I confess to having a pile of past catalogues, which I regularly consult if I want to indulge in decorating fantasies. Such innocent pleasure.

24 August 2008

My Place

If, like me, you can't travel to all the quilt shows you'd like, the internet is a boon. I know that seeing photographs of quilts is not the same as getting close and personal to the actual pieces, but it certainly opens our eyes to quilts we may never otherwise see.

My Place is a travelling exhibition of contemporary art quilts from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. There are 30 quilts from each country. Thanks to the skills of Brenda, there is a website where photographs of the quilts can be seen. The quilts from Australia and New Zealand are shown now, and the South African photographs will be there as well.

I encourage you all to linger on this site, because there are some stunning quilts shown. Congratulations to the quilt makers who entered their work for consideration in this wonderful exhibition.

23 August 2008

Mmm, mmm

Farmers bringing their products to market is an age-old practice and was a regular occurrence in my suburb during the early colonial days. This practice has been recently reinstated here and, every Saturday morning, fresh produce and other foodstuffs are offered for sale in the mall outside the town hall.

I wandered down there this morning for a look and came away with an organically-grown lettuce (not a type seen in supermarkets), a punnet of the most delicious strawberries I've tasted since the plants in my garden fruited, and a freshly-baked loaf of walnut soughdough bread, which I imagine will be delicious toasted. I suspect this may be a regular Saturday visit.

20 August 2008

The Sydney Stitches & Craft Show

Too much stimulation this week! Today I went to the first day of the Stitches & Craft Show and learned many things.

I made a felted ball. Surprisingly easy to make, this type of wet-felting could be handy to make small pieces to embellish brooches.

I received a free apron. Perfect for those dyeing days.

I saw a demonstration of paper patchwork - small squares of decorative papers stitched together with zigzag stitch and then cut into larger shapes. Interesting demonstration that triggered some ideas.

I saw a couple of quilt exhibitions - The Australian Quilt Show (some interesting quilts), Machine Embroidered Quilts (I'm not into ornate flowery machine embroidery) and the quilts in the 2009 Down Under Quilts Calendar (I really like the winning cover quilt).

I enjoyed a fashion parade of clothes made from Perpetual Patterns, although I thought some of the clothing shapes were oddly proportioned.

I saw the Living Creatively area, where independent crafters gave demonstrations of their crafts and talked about how they made their products. This was a new area, that has potential to become a major part of the show, I think.

I met and chatted to some friends and basically had a fun day. Back to work tomorrow while I let all these creative stimulations work their way through my subconscious.

19 August 2008

Today's excursions

Some time ago, I noted that an exhibition of Aboriginal paintings from Papunya in remote Northern Territory, Papunya Painting: Out of the Desert, was opening at the Australian Museum. Today Brenda and I finally visited the exhibition. Oh joy!

Thirty three artists are represented in the exhibition and the sizes of the pieces vary from small to enormous. I was particularly taken with a dot painting reminiscent of a Log Cabin-style design. It is called Possum Men of Yirtjurunya by Anatjari (Yanyatjam) Tjakamarra. I highly recommend the exhibition - it is open until 2 November.

Since we were nearby to the Botanic Gardens, we took the opportunity to visit the ATASDA exhibition in the Palm House. Called Out of the Blue, the textile exhibition is by members of the group and also features a collaborative charm swap. The exhibition is open until 26 August.

So I'm home, inspired by today's sights and happy that such interesting exhibitions are easily accessible in wonderful Sydney. Walking around the city streets on such a glorious winter's day was a tonic for my creative soul. Thanks Brenda!

18 August 2008

Today's moments

I really am pleased my simple things. Today's include:
* finishing writing my last article for this month
* admiring the growth on my iris plants
* keeping warm in a snuggly jumper
* enjoying a new magazine (today's is the July issue of the British edition of Country Living)
Life is good.

17 August 2008

Currently enjoying

this wonderful book - Masters: Art Quilts. Edited by Martha Sielman, this book is full of photos of luscious art quilts; some by names already known to me and others by textile artists who are new to me. Not a pleasure to be rushed, but to be savoured.

13 August 2008

Improvements are made

I am recovering from the bug that has kept me indoors over the past week. I know this because today I have finished writing two articles, planted two blueberry plants and one bougainvillea plant, cut back the tree dahlia, sowed seeds of parsley and lettuce and tutted over the neglected piece of earth that is called my garden. This is more than I achieved in the whole past week - and it's only two o'clock. Some gentle sewing on the machine will round off the day and I will sleep soundly tonight.

12 August 2008

How to boost your blog hits

A couple of years ago, I wrote about buying pantyhose in a sale. Ever since then, hopeful blog searchers using the term 'pantyhose' in conjunction with other terms have been led to my blog. I know I have disappointed these readers by not providing what they were anticipating, but hey! That just shows how the internet often lets you down, doesn't it?

11 August 2008

Well here I am

although I haven't got much to show for the past week. I feel so out of sorts, I could qualify as one of those grumpy old women who complain about everything. Is it the bitterly cold weather? Was it my stuffed-up head (now thankfully unstuffed)? Is it just that I want to go to sleep all the time? Who knows, but all I have to show you is this block - yep, one block. I can't even get enthusiastic about sewing right now.

04 August 2008

What a waste

Last night I went to bed at 7.30pm and managed to crawl out at 9.30am this morning. In between violently sneezing and coughing, I nodded off in the sun. Normal blog posting should resume again one day in the future, assuming my brain hasn't turned to mush in the meantime. Aargh.

02 August 2008

Let the hyperbole begin

For those of you who are, like me, totally uninterested in the Olympic Games and all the palaver that surrounds it, be assured that this blog will ignore the whole event.

01 August 2008

stitched and bound 2008

Thanks to Stephanie, I received a copy of the catalogue for the stitched and bound 2008 exhibition, which is organised by the West Australian Quilter's Association (WAQA). Sadly, I am on the other side of the country, but if you are in Perth this weekend you can visit the exhibition at the Mundaring Arts Centre. It closes on Sunday.

Stephanie is one of the 17 artists who have quilts in the exhibition. Congratulations!