Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nearly the end of the year...what happened to the New Year Resolutions??

New Year Resolutions.... to refresh myself...

  • Create a new garden in the wreckage of the one we used to have before my partner decided we needed a pool. [very eco-conscious person!]...still happening...waiting for the new fences to be completed, and that looks like happening this coming week!
  • Go to the gym at least 3 times a week, walk every day – firm up by at least 2 inches everywhere, get flattish belly! - yes, that was happening, but fell backwards down a flight of stairs a few months ago when a door handle came off in my hand...but I'm back to twice weekly at the gym, upping it to 3 next week...and walking most days
  • Finish the Kaffe Fassett inspired quilts [2] - Yay - I've finished one - see above
  • Make a quilt from ever-increasing patchwork squares made as leaders and enders - still working on them - the piles are increasing
  • Make up dresses from the numerous finished pieces of smocking I completed [number...what is the goal here? Maybe 3?] - total so far = 0 :-(    ... maybe one this weekend?
  • Finish quilting old hexagons quilt..still working on it...learnt new quilting method..still trying it out
  • Make new director's chair covers....soon! the pipeline
  • Begin to play a musical instrument - gave that up till next year.
  • Begin to learn to speak Spanish...have a passable vocab by 2010 - also for next year
  • Finish my degree...only a few subjects to go...must get this done! - by the end of 2010..
  • Have completed a majority of my hand-pieced hexagonal jewel squares - still working on them
  • Complete double wedding ring quilt.. ummm, now where is that stuff?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hmm, I'm not very good at blogging on a regular basis!

Things seem to get busy and I forget.

I went to Adelaide last week with three friends (some of the friends mentioned in an earlier blog) for a week of sewing and fun (and just a bit of wine and chocolate..) while we attended Country Bumpkin's Beating Around the Bush event. My friends and I spent the week at workshops run by Michele Hill, who has studied and adapted William Morris designs to applique. Her quilts are really beautiful, and she is a superb teacher. Funny, generous to the extreme, and really accomplished, even though she keeps on saying, 'but if I can do it, anyone can!'.... and we all wish we could! :-) One of the nicer memories of the week is of us sewing away, while Michele read to us from a book by William Morris...another great memory...Michele coming round the class and giving us all massages with a little hand massage gadget...bliss....

On our first day of "Afternoon Tea with William Morris", where we appliqued and made tea cosies, Michele gave us all three of her favourite afternoon tea recipes, one of which was lemonade scones. Well, later during the week, my friends and I decided that we would make the lemonade scones for our last morning of class. The night before, with the help of a little white wine and champagne we began making the scones. Libby, who hasn't made scones before, decided that if the scones were as easy as Michele ("..crikey! if I can make them, anyone can!") said they were, then she would do them... needless to say, it wasn't quite that easy, as Libby literally poured all the ingredients into the pot we were mixing them in...we didn't have any of the usual accoutrements that we are used to in our home kitchens...and we discovered that she had poured in soda instead of lemonade, and possibly a little too much the mix was just a tad too wet, but we managed to get them into the oven pan...too much laughter was rather hindering us... and we baked them and, well, they looked like scones. The next day came, we took them to class, along with lots of jam and cream. They weren't quite as buoyant as we hoped, nor quite as sweet as they should have been, but there weren't any left after morning tea, so they weren't quite the flop we thought they could have been! I will forever remember being completely paralysed with laughter while we were making them though. Poor Professor Pythagorus on sabbatical in the next apartment...when we left we left him a bottle of red to say sorry for all the noise we'd made that week!

We went to the SA Art Gallery on our first day in Adelaide, and loved lots of the art works on display...particularly enjoyed the "William Morris room". It isn't exclusively all works by WM, but by others who were also known in the Arts & Crafts Movement of the time. It's well worth a visit if you are in Adelaide. There was also a lovely modern art installation of a ring of crows on the floor, all in different postures. I loved that one. I think Libby took a photo of it - we discovered later that we weren't supposed to take photos! I will ask her for a copy of it, and post it if I get one.

True to my form lately , I didn't take any photos while I was away, except some of a beautiful hedge at I think it was Henschke wines in the Barossa... see above. So much for my photo a day resolution... [Note to self: I will have to review my new years wish list and see what I have accomplished. Another post another day.]

We had a great week in Adelaide. I don't think I have laughed so much since I don't remember when. And came home with some good new techniques to use. Particularly on a quilt that I had started for my sister-in-law...for her birthday a couple of weeks she might just get it before Christmas. :-)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Now that I’ve remembered who I am....

...and read back through my blog, I find that I have actually made a few inroads on the things I'd like to accomplish this year! And added a couple of other things.

  • I go to the gym at least three times a week, and am up to 330 abs exercises, comprising various crunches, and the various weights I try to lift have increased by a few kilos each, and I can see the beginnings of some muscle tone!!
  • I have enrolled in guitar lessons and Spanish lessons.
  • I am in the throes of starting a new online business, (an addition!)
  • I have lost 2 kilos.
  • I have sewn most days, not as much as I would like, but at least I am sewing. I have begun to go through my stash of fabrics, and have begun to make a quilt for victims of the Victorian bushfires. It would be fun to use up at least one third of these fabrics this way! I'll have to try and keep a tally!
  • I have started climbing at the indoor rock climbing centre again, (and that wasn't on the list either, but it is great fun).

I try to remember every day that life is an adventure, and that it should be as much fun as we can make it every day, because we don't know that we have a tomorrow. I try to remember at least four things that I'm grateful for in my life every day. And that I should try to make someone happier every day in some way, because I don't know if I will have the opportunity again.

So saying, I am going to go and get some grilled fish from the local fish and chip shop and go to see my mother.

Take care out there, and make someone happy today if you can.

Monday, March 23, 2009

It’s so long since I posted I’ve forgotten who I am!'s true! It's so long since I've posted I'd forgotten my identity and had to do a search for it! But I had to post and upload a photo my son sent me of his dog – SUPERTIGGER!! My friend Wendy quipped:

"Disguised as a mild mannered dog around the home,

she slips into the shed and emerges …Tiggerwoman,

faster than a speeding frisbee,

more powerful than a fluffy toy…! "

Isn't she just great ! She is the best dog, and nicest of all, I get to babysit her most days while my son is at work. She is a little ray of sunshine and lights up my life.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Leaders & Enders...

Tigger the Wonder Dog asking me to play instead of sew

...not George Bush and Obama kind.

I have been digging through all my boxes of stashed fabrics and cutting strips from all of the fabrics that I know I am never likely to actually go, "ooh I must go and dig out that particular fabric as the basis for a quilt.." to start making triangles and squares from, for leaders and enders projects. It is actually rather inspiring to have five smallish baskets full of squares: lightish squares and one of darkish to v. dark for the possible 9-patches, and 3 baskets for bigger squares of lights, mediums and darks, for scrappy triangles. There are increasing piles of triangles and 9-patches, but with the increased strip cutting...more increasing piles of squares in the baskets too. And now that I have a biggish pile of finished triangles and 9-patches I find that I am becoming more discriminatory in my strip cutting, beginning to envision single colour or themed quilts rather than just straight-out scrap quilts, and also a vision of a log cabin quilt because of all those strips...and the more I sew, the more ideas begin to come. And the year of actually finishing things rather than starting things is not getting off to a good start!

Fiddling with some of the scrappy triangles

One of my scrappy triangles & 9-patch quilts

On the finishing things angle though, I Have finished a few things already...board shorts from Amy Butler fabric for my grandson, some dresses, again in gorgeous Amy Butler fabric for my granddaughter, a new tablecloth for the back verandah table, and I am nearly finished hand-quilting a quilt I began years ago, and keep putting aside. Today the binding goes on. But there is a big list of the to-be-finisheds that has to be got through this year!

Nic's Boardies, courtesy Amy Butler & me

[postscript re Nic's boardies, they arrived in NZ,
and he didn't take them off for 4 days! - I think he liked them!]

This is bit is totally NQR...I think... at least I know I didn't find any quilts on the site yet....

But check out this url.... There is some amazing artwork and writing on the site. ..maybe it could inspire a quilt or two...some of the colours of some of the photography really made me think, wow, look at those colour combinations!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Year Quilts...

I have kind of fallen by the wayside with my year quilt and my daily blog, but dreamt a marvellous bowl of flowers the other night that I will use as the basis for my monthly blocks, and will now get busy again.  I have kind of kept up my blog occasionally as a means of keeping a diary, but again that hasn't been constant.  I have decided that I will have to make an appointment time with myself to get each day down for the quilt and the blog.  I seem to write a lot of emails for both business and personal reasons, and I have decided that when I don't have time for my blog that I should just lift some of the stuff I write in my emails for my this will probably get transferred there later today.  Today's fabric choice will have to have a dog in it, as I am about to take our Tigger to the vet for her vaccinations.

And a quick question for you all....what fabric do I use to represent the day before yesterday, when I found out why the contractors haven't been back to finish a sandstone wall prior to our pool being put in.....

....they have been on the run, after committing a double murder!!!!  I thought that would at least deserve a flower on the yearquilt block, lying dead and prone beneath the bowl!  I have been alternatively amused and horrified since finding out.  My brother has asked if I'm sure that after all the excavations that have gone on that our yard shouldn't be checked for unwanted deposits!! I thumped him.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Material musing...



Someone posted the url for the Spoonflower fabric design site yesterday (, and I have been blown away by the fabrics that people design just for themselves! My mind has been bubbling away, and I began toying with the idea of trying to make an Australian design themed fabric. One would have to make it fit a fat quarter, and work out the pattern repeat based on that I imagine. As I am not an artist I would probably have to do a bit of colouring-in-book-copying of things that I want, and maybe do a quick art class on drawing.... And then I would need to get up to speed on converting it all into a photo-shop image, and then....I realised that I am rapidly heading for 60 and instead of finding that my days have begun to stretch, and the hours to need filling...I am frequently falling into bed at the end of the day and wishing we had 48 hour days!... so my brief flight of fantasy about becoming a fabric designer met reality head on, and I backed off!! And then this morning I got an email from Spoonflower with their weekly 'vote for the best fabric this week' competition, and the fabrics were fantastic...and my mind began bubbling again....sigh.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Spring summer

Tigger, trying to look ferocious

Today I cleaned out my wardrobes and dresser drawers. I have three large garbage bags to take to the charity shop! I feel guilty that I have so much to let go of. And there is still so much more there that it almost doesn't signify that I have taken so much out.

I also had to go to the optometrist for a check. I thought my eyes had deteriorated as I find it hard to see thing at night now and don't sew as much at night now as it is too dificult...but no, apparently not, according the the optometrist. I left my brand new (from last year) glasses to see if a new arm could be fitted. Tigger decided that she liked me so much that she ate them after I'd had them two days! They have been too spiky to wear since, with great pieces chewed by those very sharp little teeth! I really hope they can replace the arm!! I don't want to have to outlay money for a new set.

On the way back to the car I stop at Ewan Gardam's Fabrics, to get a pattern to make some boardies for Nic, from some gorgeous Amy Butler fabric. And they are shifting to the suburbs...very sad face. Little side trips into Gardams for fabric fixes was what made going into the city to my dentist and optometrist bearable.

Now it's time for bed...and it's raining! The grass is saved again...for a while. Maybe it will cool down too. It has been hot and muggy all day. I've been wishing I was at the beach non-stop.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Nearly ten years ago I went to Patches in Brisbane to do a Double Wedding Ring quilt class with Pam Hill...I'm still working on that quilt...I don't remember if I put into my NYRs that I want to finish that quilt this year, but it's there, at the back of my mind.

At that class I met some women who suggested that we meet up after we'd finished doing the class to see how each of us was going and to help each other to get our quilts finished. We duly started meeting up, and now, all this time later, we still meet up. After Christmas it has been weekly, as it has been school holidays and other commitments haven't been there. But it will revert to twice monthly from now on. We all got together yesterday, well most of us got together yesterday. One of us was recovering from having had a houseful of guests for some weeks, another two of us were away at various beach venues - huge envy in this heat!

We always laugh, sometimes we cry, but most of all, what the women in this group do is support each other. I have been the most absent of the group, having been overseas a lot when my husband was working away from Australia, and still away a bit as he now works in Melbourne, and like last week, I take opportunities to go there where I can - but it was a real toss-up last week...go to Melbourne and see DH, my darling DIL, and the Dickens quilt and also try to meet up with a scquilter friend, or stay in Brisbane, because that was our group sewing day and those days mean so much to me.

I don't know if the other women in the group know it, but they mean as much to me as my family does. They are there with a caring shoulder when any of us needs it, they are there with advice for both sewing and life problems, they cook great cakes and biscuits, they are fun and witty, they are adventurous. They are all intelligent and they have given me great lessons in commitment over the years. Commitment to their families, to each other, to projects, to helping others.

I don't know that my life would be so very different without them, but it would be so very, very much poorer without them.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Week That Was...& Why I LOVE Tiger Airways!

I have had a lovely week, flying down to Melbourne on Tuesday, to be picked up by my son's partner, Allana, and straight to lunch, at Sydney Rd, Brunswick. I love that area with it's wonderful quirky shops and some nice eateries. We had a great lunch at one little cafe...whose name now escapes me...but it had a big red and white Illy sign that I first had in Vietnam...and no, it's not the weasel shit coffee...

The weather was awful...39 degrees C...but we soldiered on and managed to browse almost all of the shops on one side of the road...inlcuding my favourite...Kinki Gerlinki...I bought some gorgeously weird little dolls there last year, and use one for a keyfob now...the other two went to NZ to the DGS and DGD.

Then I rang my husband to tell him I was in Melbourne...I'd omitted that little detail when I'd spoken to him in the morning...rang him (he works in Melbourne) and asked where he was taking me for dinner that night! :-) I don't think he was overly pleased...however, what is one to do, when faced with a $21 airfare when browsing the net and seeing what airfares were available...!!! Even with the drive to the Gold Coast from Brisbane it's still a damned cheap airfare!!! I hope Tiger Airways continues, but one has to wonder how they can give away seats like was literally one of their free seats...the $21 was the airport taxes and charges.

The next day Allana took me to see the block of land she and my son have is on a hill and looks out over all of Melbourne...absolutely stunning!! You can't really see that the spires of Melbourne CBD can be seen in the photo, but they're there. Then we did what most females do when they have some time to spare...we went shopping again! Or, in my case, looking...I was on the search for white footless tights, but every shop said the same thing..., I should have been there yesterday, or the week before, etc...

The following day we went to visit the new(ish) National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), at Federation Square. In my case, to see the E Dickens quilts. It was spectacular. I'd love to make something like it, but the idea of the work in it is daunting. The buttonhole stitch on the broderie perse is single thread and so fine! There are really beautiful fabrics in the quilt. If you love quilts and making them, and think you can get to see this quilt I'd really recommend it.
The next day I'd hoped to have to myself before flying home again with DH in the afternoon, but he decided to spend the morning working from home, so it was a quiet morning reading the papers. Then back on the lovely cheap Tiger Airways flight home.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weekend stuff...

A kind of busy weekend...but now that I sit down to write about it I can't really think what we did! Slept in a bit...slopped round a bit...friends came over for some drinks yesterday afternoon...but I forgot to take photos... partner did some major polishing work on his 4WD after the salt and sand attacks of driving on Moreton Island...didn't take photos of that either...but did take photos of going to see/listen to John Cleary...what a great singer and pianist he is. We first saw him playing piano and singing with Maria Muldaur years ago. We loved them so much that we flew to Sydney to see them invited into Maria's dressing room for some drinks with her when she recognised us from the front row of the Brisbane concert..."hey, didn't I see you two just back up there in BrisBANE last week?!"...she really had some amazing stories to that one of those 15 minutes of fame things??

I added a row of snowball squares to my growing snowballs only quilt. I started making the snowballs to go between scrappy 9-patches but like the look of all the snowballs together instead...I think I'll finish at that row now - it has become a square - add the scrappy 9-patches around it, or maybe some scrappy flying-geese...not of those unplanned, just-growing-like-Topsy quilts...I'll post a photo after I have re-charged the battery and can download it.

We've had a friend of my son's staying with us for a month, while he is studying and converting onto another aircraft type (yes, he's a young pilot). Have to admire him, he studies non-stop every day and when he isn't studying he's in the simulator learning. His application is a great lesson in paying attention to one thing and that one thing only in order to get good results. He will be one tired person at the end of the month, when he will have to go to another city and settle into a new life there in a new job...and with a new baby due any day as well. His wife is doing the move on her own...and working, ...and with the baby due in only a few weeks. Been there...don't want to do anything like it again. I feel as though I should be looking after her, not her husband! They don't want to know what sex the baby I'm trying to find baby neutral fabrics that I like in my stash to make a quick quilt for them. Wish I knew what it is going to be...but, wow, don't we all take for granted that we can find out the sex of a new baby before it's born now and don't really understand the desire not to know!?!

Friday, January 9, 2009

A really nice day...

On Wednesday two close friends and I went to the Queensland State Art Gallery to revisit an exhibition we hadn't had time to see properly last year. The artist is a Brisbane-based artist, Eugene Carchesio. It took us a couple of hours to really look at all his amazing work. There are several works there that I would love to have – actually most of them! Most particularly his watercolours of dead leaves - some from Brisbane, some of leaves he picked up at various locations in Tokyo. I will try and upload an image of one of these beautiful paintings.

Vern, Me & Wendy at the Qld State Library

Before going in to see the exhibition we fortified ourselves with a great lunch at Tognini's at the Qld State Library. The food was delicious, and they have a really good wine selection too. Being school holidays there were people everywhere, children galore. It is nice to see so many families enjoying the amazing facilities we have here in the heart of Brisbane. The State Library is a wonderful facility, recently rebuilt, on the backs of the Brisbane River. Behind it is the new Gallery of Modern Art, and in front of it the State Art Gallery. In this same precinct is the State Museum, and over the road are the Queensland Performing Arts Centre and the Queensland Conservatorium. Set on the Brisbane River and surrounded by beautiful gardens, these facilities are world class and I am always proud to be able to bring visitors here.

Back to our nice the forecourt near us was a big tent, where children were being taught to be clowns and performance artists. We were finishing lunch when there was a parade of costumed children through the courtyard, performing and having masses of fun.

A really nice day.

Children learning to be street performance artists

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Year Resolutions 2...

I forgot to add a resolution that I am trying very hard to accomplish....manage to put my contact lenses in, on my own.... my son and husband used to coach me into them,...'up a bit, down a bit, straight in, now!' but they're either not here, or too busy, or just plain sick of me most of the time!

All those of you who wear contacts and have no trouble putting them in, well... :-P.... I have always had great great difficulty, and have more times than not just given up and persisted with my glasses. I decided that enough was enough, and this year, come what may I was going to get those @^%$#!!! lenses in, come what may. Well, I'm into day 8 and now getting them in almost first thing each morning!!! Yay for me! It is so great not to have to go and find my glasses all the time. I'm still not sure how I am managing to get them in, but
I decided that no matter how many times I had to try and get them in, no matter how many appointments I might be late for or miss, I was not going to leave the house without getting them in! On day 1 just didn't go out. After an hour and a bit of trying to put the damned things in I gave in, had a good cry, and sat and sewed, cancelled all appointments!! Day two, took 45 minutes, and I was only a bit late for what I had on that day...Day 3, about the same, Day 4...I was amazed...4th try!! Day 5...2nd try!! Day 6...1st try...Day 7...1st try...Day 8...1st try, but I had an eyelash stuck under one...what pain! So here I am... a happier, long-sighted, short-sighted astigmatic...I have to have different kinds of contact lenses in each eye, one for the long-sightedness, one for the short-sightedness, and of course, each one has different astigmatism correction as well. But wow, it's much better than hunting for my glasses all the time!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A list of what I want to complete this year.......

Since starting up the blog I have been thinking about what I want to be able to tick off the list when I close the shutters on here goes:

  • Create a new garden in the wreckage of the one we used to have before my partner decided we needed a pool. [very eco-conscious person!]
  • Go to the gym at least 3 times a week, walk every day – firm up by at least 2 inches everywhere, get flattish belly!
  • Finish the Kaffe Fassett inspired quilts [2]
  • Make a quilt from ever-increasing patchwork squares made as leaders and enders
  • Make up dresses from the numerous finished pieces of smocking I completed [number...what is the goal here? Maybe 3?]
  • Finish quilting old hexagons quilt
  • Make new director's chair covers....soon!
  • Begin to play a musical instrument
  • Begin to learn to speak Spanish...have a passable vocab by 2010
  • Finish my degree...only a few subjects to go...must get this done!
  • Have completed a majority of my hand-pieced hexagonal jewel squares
  • Complete double wedding ring quilt....

That will be enough to go on with, except I have left out lots of stuff I really have to do...tidy the office, file everything, get a job, do the tax, ...sleep!! And of course, there are all the really fun things, like going to concerts, and picnics, and dinners with friends, travelling, and digging up interesting Neandertals...48 hour days would be really nice...

What is this blogger's life?

Hmm, why blog I wonder?

To say how good it was on Moreton Island the other day? To reinforce New Year's Resolutions? To record the daily hohum? Probably all of it. But for now I will try to record some of the daily happynings so that I can get my proposed YearQuilt done in print if not in fabric! One person has decided to record her year with a daily photo that reflects that day for her...the Yearquilters do it with fabric...I'll try for either at present, never having been a good journal keeper of either the bound diary sort or any other sort. I have lots of diaries with snippets of life in to find when I'm tidying up...but I do kind of wonder what happened the next day, or the day before!!

Back to NYRs...get fit, keep the yearquilt diary, if not the quilt, up to date; finish a bunch of quilts already underway; get the officework up to date; dwell only on the happy things; meditate; do fun stuff; do something scary; do something adventurous, (the previous two probably being one and the same!); learn a language; learn to play an instrument; go the art gallery more; finish my that enough?