31 December 2008

I got distracted

I was going to write one of those isn't-it-great-that-there-is-a-new year-starting type of posts, but I got distracted by a handful of back-to-school catalogues in my letter box.

The whole of Australia is on school holidays at present. The new school year starts at the end of January or early February, depending where you live, so there's at least a month's worth of holidays left. But that's not good enough for our retail industry. Oh no, now that the Christmas shopping is over, back to school is the next big thing.

I have to confess I love it. There is nothing more appealing than a stationery catalogue (except maybe an IKEA catalogue). All those pens and pencils to investigate and a multitude of notebooks with interesting covers. Do I like an A4 sized one better than an A3? Or what about a tiny pad with a spiral at the top? Do I like a rigid plastic cover or a paper-covered one? Too many decisions to make, but what a great time I have pondering.

The stock will be in stores later in the week. I know what I will be doing then, carefully considering the options and then buying notebooks I will probably not use. What a great time I'll have and how much pleasure it will give me - and the prices will be great!

30 December 2008

There would have been photos

except my camera's batteries are flat. And so are the spare ones. And the second spare ones.

Obviously I'm not meant to show you my blue and yellow curved star hexagons yet. You have to just trust me that there are three so far, they are gorgeous and I'm very happy (and easily pleased).

In the meantime, hand piecing continues...

28 December 2008

A favourite combination

Blue and yellow - one of my favourites.

I've been cutting pieces for more curved star hexagon blocks, this time with a particular colour layout in mind. This is the perfect activity in conjunction with an afternoon's cricket on the TV.

27 December 2008

Discount shopping

I took advantage of Spotlight's one-day 20% off sale today to restock my sewing supplies with such standards as fusible webbing, interfacing and thread. Of course, a few extra purchases found their way into my basket, including these two white-and-black fabrics.

I thought that, at $8.99 per metre less 20%, they would be handy additions to my stash. Amazingly, when the barcodes were scanned, the price turned out to be $3.00 less 20%, or $2.40 per metre. Made my day really.

26 December 2008

Grateful

Thankfully, I have made it through another Christmas season (which seems to have started in October, if you believe all the hype perpetrated by the retail industry) without going around screaming "bah, humbug!". For this I am relieved and grateful.

I am also grateful to all of you for reading my blog since it started in 2006, and especially grateful to those of you who leave comments or send me email. It is a much appreciated way you let me know that the tidbits I share with you aren't ending up in a big black hole. May it continue into 2009!

The heat has arrived with a vengeance. Today it was 35 degrees here (sorry to all you northern hemisphere readers who may be snowed in, but can you please send some cool air to my place?) and it looks as if the rest of the week will be similar. To cool down, I am just about to eat a chilled mango, which has to be one of life's great pleasures. See, another thing for which I am grateful!

24 December 2008

Tulip 2


Another little tulip quilt; this time with selvedges for binding. I like the light and summery effect this adds to the tulip.

Thank you to all my friends who donated their selvedges to me this year, especially Brenda and Kate, who gave colour coordinated ranges. (Brenda gave Kaffe Fassett and Kate gave Heather Bailey.) I have enough selvedges to last for a very long time!

23 December 2008

Tulips

I'm still interested in flower shapes, especially this simple tulip. This week, I've made a few into postcard-sized quilts. This size interests me at present, so I will experiment some more.

Sometimes I have to work an idea out of my system. I seem to have stopped my compulsion to make ATCs, but I am still fascinated by small textile pieces, rather than bed-sized quilts (although I do have a few on the go). I'm happy to see where that leads me.

22 December 2008

In the garden

I was shattered this morning to discover that last night the possum ate every single leaf and most of the flowers on my pumpkin vine. If you read this blog regularly, you will know that I am a tad obsessed with this !!%%***!! possum, since it seems to consider that my vegetable garden exists simply for its dinner. I had the plant in a cage while it was small, but the cage was removed two weeks ago so that the vine could spread out. It survived, untouched, until last night. This is war.

One of my successes is shown below. I planted two varieties of
Streptocarpus in a single hanging basket earlier this year and they are both flowering beautifully. The light pink is variety 'Laura', but I can't recall the name of the dark-flowered one. Aren't they gorgeous?

I spent today in the company of creative women, all of whom I met through Material Obsession. Sarah hosted a most wonderful meal at her home and we ate, talked and laughed all afternoon. Thank you Sarah - it was a stimulating day and good for the soul.

21 December 2008

Jewellery challenge

Deryn Mentock has created stunning jewellery, based on the techniques in the book I mentioned last week. I have drooled over what Deryn has created - you may want to pop over to see her photographs. Thanks to Erica, who referred me to this site!

20 December 2008

Blink

and half a week slips past! Aside from work and watching the cricket, I've spent time talking to friends, mostly bragging about my nephew. He received the results of his final high school exams this week and did extremely well, achieving first place in the state for one subject and second place in the state for three subjects. He was also included in the distinguished achievers list. Well deserved!

Work is finished for the year and Sydney is starting its slide into holiday mode. Summer holidays here mean most small businesses close down and everyone relaxes. Laid-back mode is the way to go!

16 December 2008

My list

is looking less imposing because I have completed another two items. Crossing out finished tasks is immensely satisfying, don't you think? One article written and submitted - tick! One quilt measured and layout diagram drawn - tick!

I think it probably shows me in a tangible way that I am making progress. It is easy to roam aimlessly around the house without my list to keep me focused. Even if I can achieve a couple of the items on my list each day, I feel positive. Tomorrow's tasks: return some quilts and start sorting through my stash for fabrics for a workshop next month. My personal challenge is to find 200, 4 1/2-inch squares in two colourways without buying any extra fabric. Hmm.

Lindi - I tried my new toy with corn fritters tonight. Excellent.

15 December 2008

Incidental shopping

I finished the Christmas shopping this morning. As is usually the way, I came across something so cute and unnecessary that I bought it. Here is my silicon heart-shaped egg ring. It has a handy lift up handle, just to make it easy to remove from the pan. I'll be trying it out very soon!

14 December 2008

Coming together

I've sewn some of my Curved Star Hexagon blocks together in a strippy layout, with diamonds to join them. This will form the centre of a small quilt, so I need to decide on the borders next. Hmmm.

11 December 2008

Accidental discovery

I came across this book at the library today. I think I am in love.

Many, many years ago, I had the most wonderful bracelet. It was made from hammered copper sections, joined with links. I loved that bracelet to death and I have adored copper jewellery ever since.

This book, Wrap, Stitch, Fold & Rivet: Making Designer Metal Jewelry by Mary Hettmansperger, has instructions to make stunning jewellery with copper and silver sheeting and wire. That's all I can tell you about the book now. I'm going to drool in private now.

Reminder: don't forget Material Obsession's swap day on Saturday. I'll be looking for you!

10 December 2008

Lifelong learning

I'm a committed believer of lifelong learning. There is so much to explore in this world and it always fascinates me how one thing leads to another (if you let it). The way we use technology has changed so much in my lifetime and it can be a challenge to find answers to our questions so we can keep the information that is relevant to us and throw out the rest.

My copy of Gloria Hansen's book, Digital Essentials, arrived today. I ordered it from The Craft Mailbox last Sunday - I think that's spectacular service during this busy period of the year.

Written specifically for quiltmakers, this book has plenty to teach me and I am looking forward to acquiring more
digital image skills.

09 December 2008

Three things that pleased me today

1. I've accomplished several items on my to-do list. It sure feels great crossing them out.
2. The plumber installed two new toilet cisterns in my house. No more ugly yellowing plastic and no more water wastage. (You may not share my pleasure about this event, but trust me on this.)

3. My hydrangea in the dappled shade (well, I don't think you'd want a photo of the toilet cisterns!).

08 December 2008

Next Saturday

is a big day at Material Obsession, 144 Pittwater Road Gladesville, between 9.30am-4.30pm. You can swap fabrics, see Kathy's and Sarah's new quilts, enjoy a quilt show in the garden, and enrol in 2009 classes. Oh, of course, you can SHOP!

So now that you know where to be on Saturday, I can tell you my exciting news. Remember these blocks I've been working on over the past few months? Well, starting next February I will offer Saturday classes, showing how to use the perspex templates to cut accurate pieces and how to hand piece them together. Come along and make a series of blocks, or make a quilt - it's your choice!

Hand piecing is so soothing - it is the perfect antidote to our busy lives. You know you need quiet me-time every so often. Why not join me for these classes?

But you need to enrol next Saturday at the shop. So, make a day of it - come early, enjoy the atmosphere, buy fabulous fabric and sign up to join me in 2009. All the shop's classes will fill quickly (they always do), so don't miss out. I'll be there on Saturday, so come and have a chat.




07 December 2008

I know I'm procrastinating when I

... spend an hour creating folders and organising my bookmarked websites into categories.
... wander aimlessly around in my garden, picking things up and putting them down.
... write lists.
... look at a pile of magazines that need to be shelved, but start reading them (again) instead.
... sit, gazing into the distance.

Obviously my subconscious is working through some ideas and requires extra brain processing power. I'm sure it will be revealed in due course. In the meantime, I think I'll go back into the garden where I'm sure my zucchini plants have grown since I looked at them this morning.

04 December 2008

French brocade

Nola travelled to Europe and look what she bought back for me! Simply stunning French brocade. This is one side...

and this is the other. How totally gorgeous is this piece of fabric?

03 December 2008

Prints Charming

How gorgeous are these fabrics? Designed by my friends Cath and Kirsten at Prints Charming, these fabrics practically jumped off the table and begged me to buy them this morning when I visited their shop. Since I don't like to see fabrics feel unwanted, I obliged by purchasing a piece of each print.

I have been collecting lime green, blue, white and aqua fabrics for a couple of months now. I don't have a firm design worked out for them yet, but I know that when I see them altogether, it will all become clear. The colours remind me of the sea, and since it is now officially summer (and it's well over 30 degrees here today) I know the quilt will cheer me.

While I was in the shop, Kirsten told me about their Market Day on 13 December. If you are in Sydney then, treat yourself and pop into the shop. If you're not in the market for fabric, there are many handmade items for sale as well. Don't forget to say you read about it here!

02 December 2008

Finished!

All finished, packed and ready to mail - my quilt, Enjoy Every Day, 12 inches x 12 inches, for the Unique Stitching Art Quilt Challenge.

Don't forget to visit the Twelve by Twelve blog where quilts on the theme 'Maths' have been revealed. I think these make most interesting collection yet.

01 December 2008

Erica goes to IKEA

and comes home exhausted. As is usual, I went to buy a particular item and came home with more, including this Fira small drawer unit. I want this to sit handy to my sewing machine, so I can store some of my threads.

I have assembled it already (note to self: a rechargable screwdriver needs to be charged after use so it is ready to be used next time) and painted it with primer. Unsurprisingly, I will paint my thread box in gorgeous blue.