31 December 2012

Looking forward

I don't worry about what has been, although I take careful note of what I can learn from past events. I prefer to enjoy each day as it comes and look forward to the next. So hello to 2013 - I love to see a whole new year stretched out ahead of me.

28 December 2012

City sun print

I started a new project today, with a stencil I'd been coveting for ages. It's a map of Paris, but I chose it simply because of the lines. Parts of them look straight and logical, while others are a bit squiggly - a favourite look of mine.

To start, I painted my fabric with violet sun dye fabric paint. I didn't want colour variation, although I was tempted to mix in some other shades (grevillea, I'm looking at you!).

Once that was done, I placed the stencil on the fabric and laid it in the sun.

Of course, I could have done this earlier today, but no. I waited until the afternoon when, as soon as I painted the fabric, a strong wind started. I had to weigh the fabric down and stand around to quickly remove every leaf that fell on the fabric. (Curse you eucalyptus tree!)

Once the fabric had dried, I removed the stencil and ironed the fabric.

This is to be a background, so I don't really need crisp lines, although I can see how beautifully clear they would be if I weighed the fabric and stencil down on a perfectly flat surface instead of the ground. In this case, I like the more subtle ghost effect in a lot of the piece. 

24 December 2012

Reflections on: making lists

After I’ve finished a major project, I lose focus. Pottering around, flitting from one task to another, I procrastinate the days away. I dabble here and there, not doing much of anything. Please tell me I’m not the only person to do this?

Long ago, I acknowledged that having to-do lists is the best way for me to operate. 

In order to achieve anything, all my tasks are written down on a great long paper list, with food shopping mixed up with deadlines for articles and reminders to plant garden seeds or cut out fabrics.

I prefer paper lists to electronic ones. There's something about writing it down with a pen that facilitates the flow of information from my brain to paper. Typing just doesn't have the same impact for me.

Having admired how some people can compartmentalise their different life roles into mental boxes, though, I thought I’d try a different technique. Perhaps it would be an easier way to organise myself and eliminate low-level anxieties about deadlines.

In an effort to separate work from the rest of my life, I started a work diary and a separate home diary. While the theory was logical, it didn’t last long because it hindered me rather than helped me.
So I reverted to my mega-list method of managing all my tasks. When a project appears totally overwhelming, I like to break it down into myriad smaller, more achievable items. It is fun to cross them off as they are done, even if it’s a one-line task as trivial as ‘buy white thread’. Perhaps it seems a little like micro-management, but the act of writing each task down makes them seem real, doable parts of my life.

Flexibility is still important, though. For 2013, I'm trying a book of lists plus a diary. Welcome to Vanessa, who will be my constant companion in 2013.

I understand that my extensive list may bring on an attack of the vapours in some people, so the technique isn’t for everyone. It doesn’t daunt me to have such a long list because it makes me feel as if I have some purpose. 

The single list works for me and putting a thick line through each item after I complete it is immensely satisfying. It proves that I don’t always drift around without focus; I actually do achieve some things after all.

We'll just have to wait to see how Vanessa copes with it all.

19 December 2012

Liberty circles

Preparing circles of my fave Liberty fabrics for applique. So excited to start a new project!

13 December 2012


The colours of my crochet rug are perfect against my new couch. Meant to be, I think.

07 December 2012

Gwen Marston in Australia!

In 2009, I posted this about Gwen Marston. I started by saying:

"I first read about Gwen Marston's quilts back in the mid 1990s, through a series of articles she wrote in Lady's Circle Patchwork Quilts. Actually, it was two series - one called 'Quilting it Your Way' and the other called 'Folk Art Applique'. Both were equally interesting to me."

Over the years, I have avidly collected Gwen's books and followed everything about her quilts. I longed to take a class with her.

Now she's coming to teach in Australia in 2013!

Of course, I will be there and you can, too.

Gwen will be teaching at the following quilt stores:

103A Gardenvale Road
Gardenvale Victoria

Phone: 03 9596 7225

29 David Street
Toowoomba Queensland
Phone: 07 4633 4748

Building 4, Quattro Corporate
4 Daydream Street
Warriewood NSW
Phone: 02 9997 4661

75 Nelson Street
Annandale, NSW
Phone: 02 9550 4947

 And as if that wouldn't be enough, Gwen will also be presenting a lecture
in Sydney in the evening of 11 July,
 sponsored by The Cottage Quiltworks and Quiltsmith.

Don't miss this opportunity to take a class with Gwen - contact one of the shops for class details. Gwen's never been to Australia before and I'm hyperventilating with excitement here!

05 December 2012

Yay - it's finished!

I'm so happy to show you my finished blanket. Would you like me to unroll it?

Ta-da! My hydrangea wanted to be in the photo, too. 
I couldn't deny another beautiful object sharing this auspicious occasion.

Here's another view - flipped over to the other side. Still gorgeous!

A lovely close-up picture, full of colour and texture.

So now I'm ready to snuggle under it in the cooler months. 
Only six months to wait until winter's here!

04 December 2012

Just awesome

I am so lucky to have friends who think of me while they are travelling, and bring me gifts from their adventures. Just look at the stunning cover of this calendar from Japan.

Lisa visited the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum in Japan, where she was totally blown away by the textiles she saw. Looking at the cover of this calendar she bought me, I can certainly see why. Thanks Lisa! Maybe I'll see them myself one day.

This is the website of the museum. This is a link to a pdf (in English) about the museum. If you want more of a visual treat, do a Google image search on "Itchiku Kubota" - the images you will see are so intricate that you'll be entranced for hours.