28 February 2010

Lemon tree

I have either killed or rejuvenated my lemon tree. Time will tell...

27 February 2010

Mystery progress

I've finished step five of the mystery quilt and couldn't resist ripping open the envelope containing the final layout. I need to join my blocks and choose some fabric for borders and then I will have a lovely scrappy lap quilt.

26 February 2010

No photo

In response to several requests, I took some photos of my new wonder bag but, honestly, it just looks like a black rectangle with zippers and a handle, so I won't show it here. A bit shy and not very photogenic, my new bag. It's working out quite nicely, the two of us, so maybe this one might last the distance.

On a totally different subject, I discovered a new applique blog last night - One Piece at a Time. It has a great series of posts about how to make a pieced Feathered Star block and the owner, Erin Russek, is currently sharing free patterns for her applique block of the month quilt, Florabunda. She has lots of terrific applique tips, too.

24 February 2010

The search for the perfect handbag

I have been on a quest for what seems like my whole adult life for the perfect handbag. The problem has always been that I can't define what this elusive bag should be like.

However, there are features that I do not want. I hate a black handbag that has a black lining because I can never see anything when I'm fumbling around inside it. I hate a bag that's too big because everything goes to the bottom. I hate a bag that's too small because I can't squeeze everything into it. I hate a bag that doesn't zip closed. I want a bag that's just right (for me).

Obviously everyone looks for different features in a bag. That's why there are approximately 25 billion different styles and colours out there (okay, that's a slight exaggeration!). Hopefully today I have found the right one for me. I will reserve judgement until I use it for a few weeks.

In the meantime, you may be interested to make your own embellished bag for the Down Under Textiles competition. You can win $500 and all the entries will be displayed at the Textile Arts Festival in Brisbane in June. You can obtain an entry form here.

23 February 2010


There are many things that cheer me up and this plumbago in my garden is one of them. Summer is dragging on and it seems as if the heat will never end. This combination of green foliage and blue flowers reminds me that not everything is blazing.

21 February 2010

Patience and resilience

Nurturing a garden teaches me patience and resilience. Last week, on two consecutive days, the garden at the side of my house was flooded with sewerage from a blocked drain in the property next door. On each occasion, a plumber unblocked the drain and the water authorities came and hosed down, cleaned up and disinfected the area. I haven't ventured near the area since then.

Now, a couple of days later, I have seen the outcome. The grass is flattened and probably dead, the area is slightly smelly (that industrial-strength disinfectant sure is powerful) and the clay area under the clothes line is a bare hollow. Quite uninspiring, really.

I know, though, that this will pass. Once the area dries out completely, I will clean out the dead vegetation and replant. Perhaps I will lay a few paving stones under the clothesline to provide a dry, solid area on which to stand after rainy periods. I will rearrange the pot plants and prune the passion fruit vine. The bareness will pass in time and soon my side garden will rejuvenate.

The power of patience and resilience cannot be underestimated.

18 February 2010

Quilts at the V&A Museum

In conjunction with the Quilts: 1700-2010 exhibition at the V&A Museum in London (which I believe is still going ahead even though I won't be there - hard to believe, really!), there will be a range of merchandise for sale. In addition to a book about the exhibition, there will be fabric!  (which, I believe, has been developed in conjunction with Liberty of London - be still my heart.)

See the range here. I love most of these prints - do have a look and leave a comment if you drool as much as me.

17 February 2010

Being aware

I don't regard myself as a paranoid person; rather, I am cautious and often keep to myself. My conviction is that not everyone needs information about me, but those who do should have it only with my permission.

If you are similarly inclined, I recommend this article by Stephen Wilson about online privacy in today's Sydney Morning Herald. These issues need to be widely discussed so we can ensure we live safely in today's world.

16 February 2010

The homemade revolution

is the title of an article in the March issue of Notebook magazine. It's a thoughtful article by Francesca Newby that draws together the strings that tie craftspeople together and examines the factors that encourage us to hand-make items.

This probably won't be news to any of us, but I was interested to see a mainstream women's magazine devote time to it. Indeed, Notebook is launching a series of workshops this year to "teach you traditional crafts in a modern and stylish way."

This issue also includes a profile of Pip Lincolne, who many of you will know as the owner of Meet Me at Mike's in Melbourne, as well as a couple of her simple craft projects.

I don't have any affiliation with Notebook magazine (sadly!), but always enjoy the interesting mix of content. I especially love the gardening article this month, where Linda Ross describes how to grow ingredients for Thai cooking. Hmm, I have just the spot for a few of those. Back to the magazine....

15 February 2010

Monday snapshot

Noticing that gorgeous yellow tulips that were selling yesterday for $20 a bunch are $8 today. What a St Valentine's day ripoff.
Listening to the overpowering sound of cicadas. Always a sign of horrible hot days.
Reading Belong to me, the sequel to Love walked in, which I raved about here.
Lamenting that I didn't find a lone tissue before it shredded itself through my washing.
Gazing at the flowering plumbago with its soft blue flowers in my garden.
Enjoying dreaming away the day.

14 February 2010

It takes time

Those of you who write for publication know that the lead time can be quite lengthy. For me, that means that I often see my work published in magazines many months after I actually do the writing. I enjoy a sense of surprise when I see the published pieces - not only have I half-forgotten what I've done, but when I submit my work it is only words in a document, maybe with a few photos or diagrams. To see how it has been laid out into a published article - well, that's always exciting.

This leads me to share with you this brand-new magazine, Down Under Textiles. Edited and published by Deborah Segaert (also the editor and publisher of Down Under Quilts magazine). Back in October, I was fortunate to contribute a few pieces to the first issue of this new magazine and here it is! A new Australian title to hit the market - all about everything textile.

In this first issue, you can read all this:
  • Using Shiva paint sticks with Sue Dennis
  • Create a scarf with Sam Pope
  • Make a silk wall hanging with Cecile Whatman
  • Learn a welt felting technique with Gutermann
  • Lino print printing with Dijanne Cevaal
  • Make silk paper with Erica Spinks
  • How to use Lutradur with Dijanne Cevaal
  • How to use an embellisher machine with Fiona Hammond
  • Artist Trading Card gallery
  • Australian fibre artist Felicity Clarke shares her creative journey
  • Comments on colour from leading Australian artisans
  • How and why a journal can inspire the creative life
  • Plus more!
I'm so thrilled to see another interesting Australian magazine in our market. If you want to buy a copy, the details are on this order form. No matter where you live, you can have a copy, too!

Now, I'm off to investigate the tools needed for lino printing. Maybe I'll have to enrol in Dijanne's online lino printing course, too....

10 February 2010


These are today's signs that tell me I should stop trying to sew step three of the mystery quilt:
  1. I stitched 36 squares along the wrong diagonal
  2. I stabbed my finger with the unpicker while removing thread from 36 squares
  3. It's hot
  4. The sewing machine needle broke
  5. The bobbin ran out of thread
  6. And did I mention it's hot (but only 61% humidity - ha!)
  7. I spilled water on the instructions
  8. I dropped my scissors on my foot
I am going to watch a DVD instead. So there!

08 February 2010

Plodding on

I'm not feeling overly inspired today. It hurts me to walk (I could show you my foot x-ray, but you probably have more interesting things to look at) and I can't start physiotherapy on it until Saturday. The humidity is 98% (again) and it is draining. 

It's just as well I have some lovely no-brainer sewing to do. I've finished step one of the Bedford mystery quilt this afternoon. I haven't bought a kit for about 20 years, let alone a kit that contains all the fabric pieces cut to size. All I had to do was sew them together, cut them in quarters and sew them again. Easy peasy. No walking required. I even pressed the blocks sitting down at the ironing board. On to step two tomorrow.

07 February 2010


I joined Facebook a week or so ago, after wondering for some time whether I really wanted another time-wasting reason to play on the internet.

You need to be a member of Facebook to see my profile, so perhaps I'll hear from you. I can't say that I find it totally compelling yet, but maybe you can change my mind?

05 February 2010

Bedford mystery quilt

Remember last month's post when I said I was signing up for a mystery quilt to help raise funds for the Bedford Foundation? Well the kit arrived today.

Each set of fabric is packaged in its own bag, along with the instructions for that step. Those sneaky quilters who organised the kit know that there would be a temptation to take a peek at the picture of the finished quilt, so they sealed the final instructions in an envelope. Guess I'll just have to be patient.

There are some groups planning to get together to make their quilts in May and June, so I won't show you my progress, in case that spoils the mystery for someone else. I'm looking forward to getting started.

03 February 2010

Gee's Bend quilt kits

I discovered yesterday that Keepsake Quilting is selling kits to make Gee's Bend quilt designs. Patricia Cummings has published a very thoughtful post on her blog Quilters Muse about why this disturbs her and I found myself nodding as I read. 

There will always be a market for kits for people who choose to make a quilt exactly as it is shown in a photo. There's nothing wrong with that because the makers will end up with quilts they love. I suppose this is no different, but somehow it is a little disturbing that the very notion of improvisational designing has had the improvisation part removed. Definitely worth pondering.

02 February 2010

A lull

I've reached a challenging stage with my latest quilt. Having finished all the seed stitching on it, I can't decide how to stitch the remaining sections.

So I've been doing two quite different tasks for the past few hours instead. The first is updating and tweaking the software on my netbook so that it suits me, not the people who installed all the software that came on it. Amazing how much time that takes, so in between waiting for downloads, I've been knitting some more of my scarf. A simple rib pattern, made with Cleckheaton Vintage Hues 100% wool, shade 1279. Not that I can imagine the temperature ever being cool enough again for me to wear it...