31 July 2014

New garden Facebook page

Are you a garden lover, like me? Do you want to find out more about growing flowers, trees, shrubs, and vegetables and be inspired by photos of gorgeous gardens? You do? 

I have started a new Facebook page for people just like us: Garden Magic. There are links to interesting sites you may like to explore (and share with your friends). Pop over there now and say hello!

Let's nurture our gardens and make our little patches of earth greener places.

30 July 2014

This is the magic

This is why I create a garden: to focus on the positives of life. Last week, I planted borage seeds in small peat pots. Overnight, the first seed showed its head to the light.

This is the magic.

28 July 2014

Public libraries are important!

Before you read the rest of my post, please note this disclaimer: I am a librarian who has worked in NSW public libraries for nearly 30 years. 

I love words - reading and writing them. Enticing people to enjoy these same things is the reason I became a librarian. Along the way, I have developed skills (too many to list here) that I use in different ways, including writing for magazines, and editing magazines and books.

Did you know that library funding in NSW was once split 50:50 between the state government and local government? Aah, those were the days.

At present, the NSW state government contributes only seven cents out of every dollar and local councils now have to fund 93% of the cost of providing public libraries. The NSW state government contribution to libraries is the lowest of all states in Australia.*

How can you help change this? I'm glad you asked!

* For more information about how you can influence the NSW state government to pay its share of public library funding, visit the NSW Public Libraries Association website

Remember, 2015 is an election year in NSW so make your local representative know that public libraries are important to you and that you want them properly funded.

22 July 2014

Yes, I had too many books

Do you remember this post where I talked about how I was prepared for reading during my break from my day job? 

I confess I was a little, well, over-prepared. I'm back at work tomorrow, so let's see how many of these titles I finished - nine. Not too bad?

Three faves from these piles are:

The Book of You by Claire Kendal

Dancing on Knives by Kate Forsyth

You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz 

I still have ten piled up to read but that's ok - I hate not to have a choice when I start a new novel. Happy, happy.

20 July 2014

Being an optimist

It's difficult to be positive when we see so much unhappiness and misery in our world. Why do so many men seem intent to murder? You don't see women firing missile launchers at passenger planes; you don't see women shooting classmates with guns. What is it about being a man that creates this violence?

I don't have any answers - I wish I did. All I can do is try to see the good in life instead of being overwhelmed by the bad.

19 July 2014

Five favourite quilt sightings in movies

Watching movies on DVDs is my preferred way of viewing - no advertisements, no interruptions, and all the home comforts. Movie makers could easily increase their audiences, though, by adding quilts. 

Don’t we all appreciate spotting a quilt in one of the scenes as the high point of any film? That’s why we love those bedroom scenes: not for the steamy sex (oh no, that might damage the quilt) but for the game of 'name the quilt block' we all play. (Well, maybe the steamy sex might be an attraction - quilts do wash well!)

Anne of Green Gables - aah, who doesn't love this series of movies, based on the books by L M Montgomery? Along with many other afficionados, I've often dreamed of visiting Prince Edward Island.

 You've Got Mail - a romance that includes another of my favourite things: bookshops. Beautiful quilt on Kathleen Kelly's (played by Meg Ryan) bed!

 Baby Boom - Diane Keaton how I love you pl
aying the role of businesswoman, J.C. Wiatt. After inheriting a baby, she escapes to the country (as you do).

The Descendants - apart from featuring George Clooney, this movie also includes
exquisite Hawaiian quilts. Swoon.

How to Make an American Quilt - this is the movie most mentioned in the same sentence as the word 'quilts'. Members of a quilting group share memories while stitching a wedding quilt. 

So, over to you. What are your favourite movies that include quilts as props? There is quite a long list on Quilt Views if you need to refresh your memory of some old favourites.

I look forward to reading your suggestions!

17 July 2014

Speaking in code

A friend and I were in a coffee shop some years ago, discussing the blocks we'd recently received in a block swap. The waitress kept glancing at us and we couldn't work out why. It wasn't as if we were taking up a table for hours on the strength of a drink each. We were enjoying the lunch the waitress had delivered.

Then I realised: she had overheard me say, 'the geese fly clockwise'. No context, just 'the geese fly clockwise'.

Were we plotting to overthrow the government? Were we undercover agents, planning our next move?

No, I was just telling my friend how the colours in our Dutchman’s Puzzle swap blocks were to be arranged. We were speaking in code!

16 July 2014

Little Quilts

I do love a pretty quilt book and Little Quilts: 15 step-by-step projects for adorably small quilts by Sarah Fielke and Amy Lobsiger certainly deserves that description. It includes seven patterns by Sarah, seven by Amy and one joint project. They are all perfect for learning new skills and for swapping with friends. The difficulty may be deciding which project to start first!

I worked as one of the copy editors on this book last year and early this year. Books take a long time to create and my copy has just arrived. When you work as an editor with text, diagrams and the actual quilts, it helps to have an undertanding for how all those parts, plus the photographs, will come together as a published book under the eye of an experienced designer and publisher, working with the authors. Otherwise, juggling all those different pieces can overwhelm.

Do I have a favourite quilt from the book? I couldn't possibly say! You might fall in love with one special quilt from the selection, though, or you may fall for them all. Let me know.

15 July 2014

Textiles Tuesday

Hello! It's a gloomy Tuesday here, so what better way to brighten it than exploring these TWELVE links?

* Are you in Brisbane and want to learn how to screen-print? Prints Charming will be running workshops in September. Details here.

* Want to win the first ever subscription of Make Modern magazine? Details here.

* Exhibition by Meredith Woolnough: Bowral, NSW.

* For all things woolly: 18 - 20 July: The Australian Sheep and Wool Show, Bendigo, VIC.

* 4 - 27 July: The Art of Cleaning, an exhibition of textiles by Joy Harvey, Marion, SA.


* See photos of the winning quilts from the Sydney Quilt Show. Janet Treen won Best of Show (and several other awards) for Coxcomb and Currants. Congratulations to Janet and all the other winners!

*  1 - 20 August: The Fabric Trail - the journey of five textile artists, Wayville, SA.

* Do you organise or take part in quilting bee swaps? This Quilt Bee, Swap and Project Planner app could help you get organised. (iPad and iPhone only)  

* Angie at Gnome Angel has launched a Sea Breeze Mini Quilt-along on her blog. Cute! 

* The Australasian Quilt Convention presents the 2015 Challenge theme - True Blue. Entries close 27 February 2015. 
* Here's a great how-to article from Textile Artist.org about Facebook basics for artists.

* From Quilting Arts magazine, August-September 2014 issue.

13 July 2014

Sunday painting

Today I painted some background layers for printed fabric, using the divine Derwent Inktense Blocks, water, a brush and some stencils.

For these two, I used the Artistcellar Pari stencil. I love the intricacy of the interlocking lines on this stencil and was happy to blur the colour in sections.

Since the background fabrics will be overlaid with some of my handwriting, I wanted to have text shapes on the first layer of a couple of pieces as well. For these two pieces, I used  stencils from the TEXTures 2 series by Jill K. Berry.

Now I need to create a couple of Gocco screens to use on the next layer, but that's a job for another day.

09 July 2014

Look what I won!

I was fortunate to win these hand-printed fabric squares from The Printed Fabric Bee!

Do you know about this group? Carol R. Eaton, Gerrie Congdon, Jackie Lams, Julie Booth, Lesley Riley, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Lisa Chin, Lynda Heines, Lynn Krawczyk and Susan Purney Mark have combined to print fabric with a different theme each month.

Thank you all for my unique fabrics! I love them all.

The theme for June was 'industrial' and you still have a chance to win these squares. Visit here to see the fabrics and quickly leave a comment because the winner will be announced on 10 July. You might be a winner, too! 

08 July 2014

See you at the show?

Are you going to the Craft & Quilt Fair in Sydney this week? Don't forget it has moved to Glebe Island (since the Exhibition Centre has been demolished). The show is on 9-13 July.
I'll be wandering around there on Wednsday. Maybe I'll see you, too?

07 July 2014

What's your favourite quilt-making technique: poll results

Thanks to everyone who voted in my last poll. The results don't surprise me - machine piecing is so much quicker than any of the other techniques. As I mostly hand piece, I rediscovered this fact for myself last week when I started work on a machine-pieced project. Those pieces really flew together!

Rachael commented that she really couldn't choose her favourite technique. How wonderful to love them all! I wonder what the 'other' technique is? Please let us know, if that was your vote.

05 July 2014

Too many books?

Hooray! I'm now on two weeks' leave from my day job. That means more time for reading.

Do you think the number of books I have from the library will be enough? 

01 July 2014

Textiles Tuesday

Here is your fix of fun for Textiles Tuesday - TEN links this week!

* Allison Harris from Cluck Cluck Sew shows how to make the cutest Bow Tie blocks. They are not your normal Bow Ties, but are tiny; perfect for a baby's quilt.

* The winner of Best of Show at the Victorian Quilters Quilt Showcase last week is Linda White, for her quilt Elenor Jean. Congratulations Linda - it is stunning!

* I know a lot of you love to visit Quilts in the Barn each year, so here's advance notice.

* Bargain alert! Do you like Australian Homespun magazine? Zinio has a special price on the digital edition - 12 issues for A$39.40.  

5 July - 10 August: stitched and bound 2014, Perth WA.

* Do you know about Aussie Hero Quilts? From their blog:
"This blog is dedicated to encouraging people to make quilts and laundry bags to send to Aussie service men and women currently serving overseas and to express our gratitude for their service. We care about the people - not the politics or the mission. Our quilts are not works of art, but works of the heart."

* Here's a great promotion for quilt making on TheToday Show by Molli Sparkles. Watch the segment - it's fun! 

* Would you like to learn to make beads from fabric? Linda Matthews shows you how. 

* 2014 National Beanie Competition winners have recently been announced at the Alice Springs Beanie Festival.

* 10 July - 17 August: Exposition exhibition, Warwick QLD.

Did you find something of interest here? Let me know what you liked!