26 May 2009

Mental image of the day

Just imagine this. One woman and one queen-sized mattress in a room together. The woman wants to turn the mattress over on the bed. The mattress has other ideas and flops every time it is tugged. The woman fights back and finally has the mattress standing on its side. She takes a deep breath and prepares for the next step. The mattress has other ideas and suddenly the woman finds herself pinned in the room's corner by the mattress. She is trapped, or so the mattress thinks.

The woman stretches and pushes and finally the mattress falls on the bed frame, correct side up. She pulls it one way and then another and the mattress submits. The woman triumphs.

So how was your day?

25 May 2009

Monday snapshot

Feeling - at a loose end because I have so many tasks I could be doing, but none I actually feel like starting.

Reliving - yesterday's amazingly great game of fooball. I know I was watching the Swans play at the SCG, so I know I saw the game live, but really! Who was that team wearing red and white and what had they done with our normal players? If they could only play like that every week.

Arranging - to fly to Brisbane for the weekend to help Cecile at the Textile Arts Festival. Early morning start on Saturday! Come and say hi if you are there.

Reading - A darker domain by Val McDermid. Love her stories.

Forgetting - to recharge my camera's batteries. Where does all that electricity go?

Finding out - information about places we'll be visiting on the Down Under Quilts tour to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham. Why don't you come with us?

23 May 2009

Fresh air

All yesterday afternoon, I was keen to escape from the library into the fresh air. It's been raining, on and off, most of this week and the library was full of sniffling, sneezing and coughing people who were sharing their germs with the rest of us. Why don't sick people stay at home and out of public spaces?

Eventually I escaped into the outside air, which was damp and windy but not too cold. Lovely. Bracing and refreshing. Hopefully, all those germs were blown away and killed off.

This morning, in between some heavy rain periods, I ventured into my garden to see what damage falling pieces of gum tree had done. (I hate gum trees in suburbia. They do nothing except shed leaves every single day of the year, and small branches every second day. They have a habit of dropping branches for no apparent reason, so don't ever park your car under a gum tree!) While I was picking up the branches, I saw this, nestled at the base of the tree.

Aren't the colours of the fungi gorgous? I uprooted one and flipped it over to reveal this fantastic texture. Such lovely patterns and subtle colour variations.

It's started to rain quite heavily now, so I've raced inside to write this post. Who knows what interesting colours I'll find in the garden tomorrow?

20 May 2009

Lovely labels

When I started making my selvedge pincushions and some other small projects last year, I wanted to label them - to take ownership of my work. I wanted woven labels, so after checking out the businesses available on the net, I chose to buy these from Woven Labels Direct. Aren't they cute?

I've been very happy with these, but they are not inexpensive. Obviously, the more you order, the cheaper each label is, but I ordered the minimum in case I didn't like them. I will need to acquire some more labels soon, so it was very timely that I read this tutorial on Sandra's Pepperberry & Co blog. Sandra has explained, very clearly, how you can print your own iron-on labels. Thanks for the tutorial, Sandra. I suspect I may give this a go!

19 May 2009

Sometimes I need something sweet

I don't usually 'do pretty' in my quilts, but I have been eyeing this fabric off for weeks. It's not a brand new one (Flower Sugar from Lecien), but the freshness of the colour appeals to me, so I now have a metre of it.

Even more strangely for me, I am imagining it combined with big red spots on a white background. No way do I have such a colour in my stash.

Where are all these peculiar thoughts coming from?

17 May 2009

On a stitching high

As much as I love hand piecing, I sometimes enjoy the faster pace of machine stitching. I've been making quite a few of these selvedge pincushions during the past week.

Not only am I having a giveaway but, thanks to the lovely Kathy, my pincushions are now available for purchase from Material Obsession. So, if you miss out winning one, you know where to shop!

13 May 2009

We're off to the UK!

Finally I can share the full details of our trip to the Festival of Quilts. Deborah and I are so excited to be travelling to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, as well as all the other fascinating places we will visit. You can find all the information you need here. Think of the fun we will have! There are limited places, so give yourself a treat and book your place now. It would be so excellent if you could join us.

12 May 2009

Simple pleasures

As I write this post, I am distracted by the brown, dried-up leaves that are falling from trees in my garden. Yes, Stephanie, yesterday's photo is of your Japanese Maple tree, which has made its home in my garden. The sky has clouded over and it seems that autumn is well and truly here, with winter not too far away. Indeed, the shortest day of the year will occur next month!

Today is full of simple pleasures. Sewing with Deborah this morning (as well as drinking coffee and eating muffins straight out of the oven - yum), creating some degree of order in my garden this afternoon (long way to go yet). Now I'm about to start some hand quilting on my latest selvedge quilt and looking forward to the simple rhythms of the needle. Here's hoping that your day is as satisfying as mine.

11 May 2009

Kindness

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about kindness. I interact with many people during my day-to-day work; some more frequently than others. It always astonishes me how often a very simple act of kindness - a welcoming smile, making idle chitchat, or opening a door for a person whose arms are full of parcels - can change a day or even a life.

Being kind to ourselves is important, too. Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves; forcing ourselves to do things we really don't want to do. Be gentle on yourself, nurture yourself and we will all be richer. My wish for this week is that we all practise acts of kindness, not for recognition nor reward, but simply because it will enrich us all.

09 May 2009

Slow Burners on fire

We resumed our Slow Burners class today, eager to see what everyone had made since last lesson. First on the design wall were Lyn's blocks. Lyn has stitched 15 Grandma's Hexagon Star blocks in sophisticated greens, browns, caramels and touches of blue. She joined them into three strips of five and auditioned a striped fabric for a strippy sashing. Lovely!


After the oohs and aahs had subsided, Kate showed us some of her stunning Queen of the May blocks. Each has a centre of the glorious Kaffe Fassett print shown in the alternating squares.


Here's a close-up of one of Kate's block. See the lovely ric-rac braid around the block. Delicious.

Then we were treated to Trish's Rose Star blocks. She plans to make two more before joining them with wonderful diamond shapes. Look at that great fussy cutting!


Susan was new to the group today and, although initially overwhelmed by these gorgeous blocks, eventually chose to start with Rose Star blocks. Let's see where they lead her (and us) next month.
Hand piecing these blocks is so easy! We use wonderful perspex templates to cut our fabric pieces and simple sewing to join them. Intricate blocks come together so well, which allows us to focus on the colour choices. I'm so excited by the possibilities of our monthly Slow Burners class at Material Obsession.

07 May 2009

UK tour

The itinerary for the Down Under Quilts tour to the UK arrived in my email inbox today and I have been eagerly poring over it. The tour leaves Australia for London on 13 August and returns from Edinburgh on 27 August. In between, we visit all sorts of textile museums and collections, wonderful castles, quilt shops and, of course The Festival of Quilts!

I'm hoping the itinerary will be on the Down Under Quilts webpage really soon, so you can all decide to come too. In the meantime, if you are interested in the tour, I can send you a copy of the itinerary. Just email me. It would be great if you could come along too.

05 May 2009

Yay, the block is finished

It was actually finished a week ago, but it has taken me this long to press and photograph it. I do love Feathered Stars - these blocks are perfect for hand piecing and I'm looking forward to showing it in my Slow Burners hand piecing class on Saturday. Maybe one of my students will want to make one too?
Today I have finished stitching a pile of selvedge pincushions. They'll be for sale at Material Obsession, or you could be lucky enough to win one from me. See yesterday's post for the details.

04 May 2009

Join the party!

To celebrate the launch of SEWN, a new Australian website chockful of information for sewers, Sarah has organised a Blog party and you're invited. The site launches on 8 June and we'll all be clicking madly to see what fabulous treats she has in store for us. Signup for the wonderful giveaways Sarah has for some lucky readers here.

Since I'm in the party spirit, I'm having a giveaway too!

This is a photo of some selvedge pincushions I made last year - you can't have these because I've already given them to friends, but I promise they'll be just as cute! I have two selvedge pincushions to give away, so leave a comment on this post and you'll go into the draw. I'll announce the lucky winners on 8 June, the day that SEWN launches, so what are you waiting for?

02 May 2009

It's here!

Exactly seven days after I placed my order online with The Book Depository in the UK, this wonderful book was delivered to my door in Sydney. Brilliant service. Just as well really, because I have been panting with anticipation all week.

I was not let down. It's a brilliant book and has so many ideas to study. I want to start cutting up fabric right now, but need to slow down so that I can absorb what's on offer. Highly recommended.

The Eastwood Quilt show was very enjoyable. Many hand-quilted quilts and lots of glorious colour. There was even a postcard-sized quilt with the Sydney Swans logo! What more could a Swans-loving quilter like me want?

Vikki Pignatelli gave an interesting talk this afternoon about her quilts and the stories behind them. I often find that knowing the stories makes it more rewarding when I view the quilts, because I can then see deeper layers of meaning. Most enjoyable.

01 May 2009

Vikki Pignatelli in Sydney

If you are in Sydney (sorry to the rest of you), you are invited to a special lecture by Vikki Pignatelli, who is visiting from the USA. Vikki will be talking tomorrow about '10 attributes that make a good quilter better' and will also be showing some of her quilts. For those of you aren't familar with Vikki's quilts, you can see some of them on her website.

Price: $15 at the door.
Venue: Epping Creative Leisure Centre, Dence Park, Stanley Road, Epping.
Time: 1.30pm for 2pm

See you there!

PS Don't forget the Eastwood Quilt Show is also on this weekend at Brush Farm House, Eastwood. I'll be popping in there in the morning to see the great quilts.