14 January, 2015

A daily breeze, in which time is suspended for a few brief moments

I'd like to share with you about a person who is an inspiration and role-model for me ...

For a few years now I have been receiving daily (usually) blog postings via email from a dear sweet friend, Jennifer Reynolds of Jenny of Elefantz.  Jenny's daily thoughts and musings have been a source of comfort and happiness to me - something that I often sorely need.  And her friendship over the years, even though we have not seen each other since the first time she and her beautiful family spent time with us over Christmas about 7 years ago, has been a precious 'presence' in my consciousness.


Despite initially having a truly very hard life, Jenny has never surrendered her integrity or gentleness of spirit.  Life is good for Jenny now, and she richly deserves it.


Jenny is also a gifted and outstanding sewer, specialising in quilting and embroidery - she has been published many, many times over the years in the Australian crafting magazine, Patchwork and Stitching (as well as other magazines):


And she has a successful business selling her beautiful stitcheries, too:


01 January, 2015

Farewell to 2014, Hello 2015

2014 has been a hard year, with a week-long hospital stay early on and then weeks of serious illness in June, difficulties with the boys (teens and menopause are an insane mix), and continued financial difficulties.

Good points have been the prospect of improving interpersonal difficulties through outside help we started accessing a couple of months ago, quilting retreats (always a good way to re-energise) and, as a result of my illnesses, discovering who our 'friends in action' are - those who stepped up and put their good wishes into actions when we needed help.  Made new friends, and discovered old ones.

The boys enjoyed St John's Cadets (David, now 16, and his Division winning the State Drill Team award), Scouts (James, now 15, will be moving up to Venturers beginning this year) and archery, and Blake (now 11) enjoyed soccer, inline skating, wave-boarding, scooters, parkour and fishing.  John became active with the CFS, working on their Incident Command Vehicle, and he's done a great job (finally) in getting our small yard planted into a producing vegetable patch.


2015 is off to a rocky start, but plans are to fight against fatigue and pain and get the boys to as many Catholic events as possible (unfortunately most are down town so it will be an ongoing strain on health and finances).  The idea is to connect the boys with people their own ages who are fired up about their faith so that the boys don't see it as boring or irrelevant.

David will be going away for 10 days in January for a Summer School of Evangelisation in Melbourne - his first big trip away!  Will have to offload some excess jewellery to find the money but I know it will be well worth it.


I'll be off on a 3 1/2 day quilting retreat around the same time - it's a 'charity quilts' retreat at which we'll only be working on quilts that will be donating to charitable causes, e.g. heart kids, fire/flood victims, etc.  Sooooo looking forward to it.  I'm also planning to make a serious dent in my PhDs during the holidays and through the year.


I've lots of ideas to do with the family this year - scheduled 'friends for dinner' days so the boys get to have friends over and include them in our family dinners, more structured outdoor activities like archery, cooking demonstrations & classes, parkour, fishing and beach days, etc (booked into my diary so they actually happen!).

Also plan to get more involved in community activities - might even take up the ukulele!

12 October, 2014

AMQF 2014 (Australian Machine Quilting Festival)

This year I attended the AMQF for the first time because my most favourite quilter, Jenny Doan or the Missouri Star Quilt Company, was one of the key Teachers/Presenters.  I've been watching Jenny via YouTube for at least 4 years and, in the middle of the night, and when I'm feeling down, she has lifted my spirits and made me smile ... and she wasn't any less a 'ray of sunshine' in person!

Here is their website:


And here is the quilt we made in the 'mystery' workshop I attended with my good friend Eve and a bunch of the lovely ladies from the Gawler Quilting Circle:


The AMQF is convened and facilitated by the tireless work of the amazing Sharon and Shontelle of Patchwork on Parade:


And here is more about the AMQF - hopefully there will be more photos soon!



It was an absolutely amazing experience - thoroughly professional in every aspect, yet relaxed and friendly.  Am already saving for the next one in 2016!

09 October, 2014

Article: "Why The Hell Did Somebody Make Me A Quilt?!?"

This article is so spot on ... Dana Jo Forseth has put it forward very eloquently:

"So, this piece of art before you …you don’t have to put it on your bed, or display it proudly in a prominent place if you really aren’t fond of how it looks. This isn’t about what it looks like. "


11 September, 2014

Gawler Show, 2014

Two weeks ago was the Gawler Show for 2014 - one of the larger country shows for South Australia.  I entered two hand-woven items ( a jacket and a king-size shawl) but neither won anything - I think they were placed in the wrong category as well because they were on a completely different trestle to the other woven items.  And I entered 7 quilted items, scoring 1 first (and a gorgeous blue/white rosette), 2 seconds and 2 thirds - pretty good going!

I really should re-photograph some of my quilts as I'm using old photographs here.  One of the 2nd place winners isn't even photographed yet, and the vivid blue/watery one below is shown only partially completed.

Quilting Progress and Update on Life

Well, I certainly won't win any blogging prizes as I seriously neglect my blog!

It's been a very eventful few months since my last posting, not least of which have been an extended hospital stay and also an extended illness.  More recently we've just had our first driving holiday in 5 years - we had to "rob Peter to pay Paul" but felt it was more important for the family to destress and reconnect.

As to quilting progress, I was able to lay out the finished rows from the "This Goes With That" English-paper-pieced quilt pattern (and my friend's cat promptly, of course, sat upon it!).  All the hexagon shapes have been sewn together, the triangular points that will create the 'star' effect sewn on, and all that connected together into rows - now I can start sewing the rows together! ... and then I can start the whole process again with the dark hexagons, of which there is an equal amount to the light hexagons shown in the photo.

07 April, 2014

A New Quilting Project: Sylvia's Bridal Sampler Quilt

My local quilting shop (Kornacraft in Gawler, SA (http://www.kornacraft.com.au/home/) is offering it as a series of classes through 2014 so, as an avid fan of Jennifer Chiaverini’s ‘Elm Creek Quilts’ series of books (https://www.goodreads.com/series/40596-elm-creek-quilts), I decided to bite the bullet and do the Sylvia’s Bridal Sampler Quilt in order to learn foundation piecing.

I do like the blues and pinks of the original version as per the book, but found the overall effect with the creams and tans was a little washed out for my liking.  I had a lot of trouble trying to work out what colour theme I wanted – the batik one from the book really caught my eye, but the blue on blue ones did nothing for me:

In the end I decided to go with mid-range colours (not pastels and not bolds) and have chosen the ‘Under the Australian Sun’ range by Leesa Chandler, in particular the ‘Gum Flower’ design.  Unfortunately this is a discontinued range so I’m having to scrabble to get enough of the colours , but will still have to supplement from other fabric ranges to fill in the gaps

So, since buying the book and sitting in on some classes starting a couple of months ago, I’ve only manage to trace the patterns because I’ve only managed to obtain about ¾ of the fabrics just the other week – hopefully I will actually begin to cut and sew at the next class!

As I progress through all 140 6" blocks that make up the quilt (yes, I know, it's a lot of blocks!) I've decided to do an idea I heard another quilter from the Southern Cross Quilters online quilting group come up with - as I complete each block I will be putting a gold coin into a box so that by the end of it I will have a nice little stash of money toward fabric for another quilt!