27 June 2015

Who counts the kindness?

Several of my friends are interested enough in their exercise programs to count the distances they walk. Technology has aided them; I see regular updates, direct from their Fitbit activity trackers, on Facebook or Twitter.

We all love aids that assist us to reach our goals, keep track of our progress, or record our productivity. They are handy and help us measure various aspects of our day-to-day lives. I'm keen on lists - those in my head and those written on paper. There's immense satisfaction to be had from crossing out items, once accomplished.

I've been thinking, though. Maybe it's not enough to measure our busyness. Surely there are other, more important, parts of our lives that should be counted?

It's the small moments and simple gestures that make our lives shine. Who counts the kind words that are spoken to a friend? Does anyone measure the simple smiles and hellos given to strangers in a shop or on a bus? The number of times we say 'thank you' to people with whom we work? Or the comforts, given freely, offered by a quick hug?

Do we even observe these actions in our lives? I wonder if the act of counting makes us notice them more. If that's the case, let's start tallying all these things. I'm guessing we'll realise that there simply aren't enough of these actions in our lives. Don't you agree there's always room for more kindness in our world?

25 June 2015

Three things

Three things I like this week: celebrating the small things that make life lovely!

1. New Liberty fabric. Last week, at the Sydney Craft & Quilt Show, I was thrilled to shop from The Strawberry Thief. What a stunning display of Liberty fabrics it was! One of the pieces I purchased was this Alice in Wonderland print. Such fun.

2. Writing. I have several writing projects on the go and it's so satisfying! One of them involves creating characters and an imaginary location - I can't tell you how weird that feels, to simply make up stuff! I can have my characters do whatever I want, wherever I want. It's very liberating.

3. Sprouting broccoli. I was excited to spot an edible head of broccoli forming in the centre of one of my plants today. I wonder if it knows I plan to devour it once it grows larger?

What do you like this week?

23 June 2015

Textiles Tuesday

Hello! Welcome to my collation of interesting textile-related bits and bobs I've found this month.

* Last week I visited the Sydney Quilt Show. Wow! What a treat it was to see so many stunning quilts in a single exhibition. If you couldn't be at the show, The Quilters' Guild of NSW has kindly shared photos of the prize-winning quilts. You can see photos of the members' exhibition here and the red-and-white challenge here. Be inspired by this wonderful resource.

* Are you considering setting up a website for your creative endeavours but don't know where to start? TextileArtist has a useful series of articles that can guide you. 

*  I've heard rave reviews about this exhibition. Have you been? Until 12 July: Exquisite Threads, English Embroidery 1600s–1900s, Melbourne VIC.

* If you, like me, forgot to plant daffodil bulbs in your garden this year, you can still have the pleasure of these cheery flowers in your home. Just follow Georgina Giles' free tutorial to make felt blooms instead! 

* Some sad news: Japanese company Patchwork Tsushin has declared bankruptcy with a 7.7 million yen debt. This company not only publishes Patchwork Tsushin and Quilts Japan magazines but also is associated with the Yokohama and Osaka Quilt Fairs.

* Call for entries: textile artists are invited to submit an entry for a travelling textile art exhibition, curated by Brenda Gael Smith. Closing date 15 January 2016.

* Would you like to make fabric beads? In her free tutorial, Linda Matthews shows you how.

* Have you ever considered creating your own online course? Blacksburg Belle has started a free series of posts that explain how to get started.

* Call for entries: 15th Brother International Quilting Contest. Entries close 31 October 2015.

* The fabulously talented Michele Hill has a new website and a new book! Michele is well-known for her love of the designs of William Morris and has published books and patterns for her Morris-inspired quilt designs. In 2014, she was awarded the Rajah Award, in recognition of services to Australia through quilting.

*  British artist Louise Gardiner created a commemorative quilt for Liberty of London's 140th birthday. Read the story here.

* Jumpers and Jazz - what a great combination! 16-26 July, Warwick QLD.

* Here's an interesting online exhibition from the International Quilt Study Center & Museum: Quilts in Common, that includes audio. 

From the website:
"Quilts in Common was one of two inaugural exhibitions in the new galleries of the International Quilt Study Center Museum. This exhibit curated by Carolyn Ducey, curator of collections, and Marin F. Hanson, curator of exhibitions, not only showcased many of the Center's masterpiece quilts, but was organized in a novel and thought provoking way: unique commonalities bring together quilts from around the world and across the centuries rather than isolating them in geographical or historical groupings." 

I hope you have found something of interest here. If you want more frequent information about creative goings-on, you are welcome to like my Creative Dabbling Facebook page where I post most days. See you over there!

15 June 2015

Three things

Three things I like this week: celebrating the small things that make life lovely!

1. Where I Write. These are interesting videos of writers showing their writing places. I discovered them a few weeks ago and have been watching a couple each day. You know how we quilters like peeks into other people's sewing studios? This has the same voyeur appeal for me, as I marvel at writers' happy spaces. (They are only short so you won't feel guilty if you use them for procrastination purposes - trust me!).

2. Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair. This is a once-a-year treat for me. It starts on Wednesday and I'm looking forward to spending the day there with my friend Sarah. We'll look at the Sydney Quilt Show - 400+ quilts! I suspect there may be purchasing involved (there usually is) and plenty of chatting to friends. If you see me on Wednesday, please say hi!

3. Tim Tam Chocolicious. Seriously delicious bites. If you become addicted, it's not my fault, right?

What do you like this week? 

11 June 2015

Being yourself

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go..." - Dr Seuss.

Geez it's difficult to be ourselves in today's world. There are so many trivial distractions - we read about one person climbing a mountain, another one winning a quilt show, another publishing book after book, and a different one managing a demanding job, six children and a relationship with her husband. We compare, we envy, we feel inadequate and, sadly, we often feel like failures.

Yet we're not failures. Failure is merely a label we put on ourselves. It means nothing unless you want it to. Why allow a single word to define you?

You don't need anyone's permission to make decisions about your own life. 

It's taken me many years to accept this. I've always been able to make decisions but still felt as if someone else should sanction them. Weird, right? There isn't anyone else in the world who is as good as being me as I am. I don't need anyone to give me permission to be myself, and neither do you. Be proud of your uniqueness, develop a strong sense of self-worth and, most importantly, be responsible for making your own decisions. 

We each have a single life to live, you know.  We are the leaders of the way we live it. 

Dr Seuss sure knew a thing or two, didn't he?

08 June 2015

Three things I like this week

It's important to take notice and appreciate each moment in your life. Here are three things I like this week.
1.  Jonquils. I usually forget to plant bulbs but I love the sight of these frilly petals when they bloom in winter. These ones are from the local florist and I pretend they are grown just for me. And the perfume - so delicious! 

2. This article in The Guardian by Richard Flanagan: Triggs was attacked for defending the powerless – and one day another PM will apologise for it

Let's get serious here. We have to stop being facilitators of this appalling treatment by the Australian government. We all know it's happening so why do we let it continue? These are real, live people we are talking about - try to imagine yourself in their situation. Wouldn't you want to be treated with decency? 

To quote from Flanagan: 
"One day, many years from now, another prime minister will stand up and to a teary gallery apologise for the damage done to refugees in detention. We will be told that we didn’t know then what we know now. We will hear testimony of destroyed lives. But we did know. We always knew. We just chose not to hear and to silence those who tried to remind us of the truth." 

Never forget this quote from Edmund Burke: All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Do you want to be one of those people who knew but did nothing to stop it? 
3. My home-grown sweet potatoes. Yes, this is the complete crop (don't laugh!). I'm a long way from self sufficiency (ha!) but we all have to start somewhere, I guess. I plan to roast these with onions and carrots and then eat them with enthusiasm. Yum.


  What things do you like this week? 

06 June 2015

My book of the month: June

We all need a light treat regularly and Carole Matthews has supplied one with The Cake Shop in the Garden

Fay Merryweather runs her cake shop, looks after her bedridden mother, and regularly financially supports her sister. Oh, and she has a long-term partner who takes her for granted. Basically, Fay is overly conscientious and exploited by everyone important in her life.

Needless to say, all that changes and we (and Fay) enjoy a happy ending (but I won't tell you how). You can read more about this novel on Goodreads.

01 June 2015

Hello June

Wow! Here we are, in the sixth month of 2015 already. There's lot to enjoy this month.

Although it's starting to get chilly, there's lots happening in my garden. The zygocactus plants are all flowering and they provide bright patches among the greens. My mandarin and blood orange trees are loaded with fruit (the lemon has a much more modest crop - only four fruit so far).

It's time to put the flannelette sheets on the bed so that when I come home late at night after sitting outside at Swans' games I can get cosy. Luckily I jump up and down a lot at the games so it's not too bad in the night air (not like it will be in August - brr!).

June is when the Sydney Quilt Show is held. I'm hoping the day I attend will be a classic Sydney winter's day, sunny and crisp. After arriving by ferry at the show last year, I'm looking forward to doing so again this time. It will be a day of chatting, admiring quilts, and probably shopping. Yay!

So hello June, it's lovely to greet you.