Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding and raise your glasses!

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is blissfully unaware of it, but this weekend "my husband and I" have celebrated her 81st birthday (on Saturday, 21 April) and drunk a toast to her at no less than two very happy gatherings.

On Friday evening the Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir, hosted a reception to celebrate the Queen’s birthday at Government House, where an unusually balmy evening meant the proceedings could take place outside in the beautiful gardens. A naval band played for us beneath a huge fig tree that has probably been growing on this site since Queen Victoria was a tot.

Coincidentally you can see a fabulous photo of one of these Sydney beauties by Rooruu on her blog today.

Then today we reasonably unsuccessfully dodged the torrential rain (but who cares – it’s good to see the wet stuff) to attend the annual luncheon of the Australian branch of the Society of the Friends of St George's Chapel and Descendants of the Knights of the Garter at Parliament House here in Sydney.

Wasn't it rather clever of Her Majesty, as future Queen (though nobody knew it at the time) to have been born just 2 days before St George’s Day, the patron saint of England?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Is this a smile?

Our little granddaughter, Alexanne, is only three weeks old, but I'd swear a tiny little smile played across her face as she slept yesterday afternoon. And check out the "spike" hairdo!

What a lovely surprise

As I’ve told you previously, I’m a technology tragic. I don’t claim to understand it all, but I love to dabble! So when I find a new widget for my blog, I pop it in.

My latest widget enables me to see by what route many of you, my dear readers, stumbled upon my blog. Were you perhaps Googling a keyword? or browsing the Scquilters' web ring? How did you find me, I wonder.

It was in following up one of these statistics that I discovered a link to my blog on Lindi's blog. It’s my very first link, as far as I know, and I’m excited. I know it's probably not cool to do a happy dance when these things happen in the blogosphere, but forgive me, please? I'm new to this.

Lindi is a fellow Scquilter and I would definitely recommend that you check out her blog for photos of her beautiful creations. Thank you for being so kind, Lindi!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Spring is here....surely?

Phooey to the Bureau of Meteorology, the weather pundits, Mike Bailey et al, who would have us believe winter is quietly creeping up on us!

Prematurely bursting into traffic-stopping pink flower heads, my rhododendron has officially declared that spring is here!

There might be several dark, chilly months ahead here in Sydney, but this little shrub by my back door looks set to brazen it out and brighten my day every time I pass.

My nephew's nuptials

Mid-Saturday we met for the momentous marriage of Matt and Michelle.

The mellifluous music moved me, melting my mascara, and their marvellous mothers were much moved too. The minister's message was meaningful, and Matt and Michelle looked magnificent!

Then with map we motored off past Manly to the meeting-place for major merriment to mark their marriage - a majestic setting, a masterpiece of marine motifs.

Here many mates and manicured maidens made merry with a mammoth meal of miscellaneous meats and mouth-watering munchies.

A magic night of music maximised the memories, misbehaviour was minimal, and by midnight Matt and Michelle had moved off to their marital mansion.


From scruffy backpackers, when we met up with them in Europe 18 months earlier, to a beautiful bride and groom - the Mighty "M and M's"!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The paparazzi have been busy again

Our tiny princess, Alexanne, brought her Mummy and Daddy to visit us yesterday afternoon.

Why do those bright lights flash whenever I open my eyes?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Roebuck Quilt progress

A stitching day today with the ABCs gave me the opportunity to stitch on yet another border to my reproduction Roebuck quilt. I'm loving the process! There are still many borders to be added, as well as applique hexagon flowers (onto the creamy triangles in the photo below).

Scrappy quilts are such a joy to make, and a fabulous chance to use up the scraps in one's stash. So why, I wonder, does my basket of Roebuck fabrics become fuller by the week?????

My friend Wendi (just out of the photo below, wearing white) is just too clever for words. Not only is she making a Roebuck quilt with the rest of us in the monthly class, but she has redesigned it and whipped up her own larger and more intricate version, at the same time! So she will end up with two of these beauties, one for each lucky daughter. Isn't her version just a triumph? It only awaits its applique hexagon flowers to make it complete.

More "Show and Tell" - this time from Robbie. We've watched her hand stitching the applique Hawaiian motifs and hand quilting this deliciously fresh beauty over the months when we've met, and today - Viola! - it is finished.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Confession time #2

I confess too that I’m fascinated by the latest gadgets – it’s not that I own many, but I just love to read about the possibilities.

Sometimes I love what the item can do, but often it's just its cool appearance that has me entranced. When I saw this pink Samsung mobile phone when I was looking for a new one last Christmas I just had to have it. And my adult children just roll their eyes at me because I seem to download more songs, podcasts and audiobooks to my pink leather-covered iPod than they do to theirs!

I already love browsing the quirky shopping site Think Geek but now I can go “window shopping” in an even bigger way with the help of my latest discoveries - two blogs that showcase the latest in tekky stuff gathered from a multitude of sites, and especially for female geeks - Gadget Candy and Popgadget: Personal Tech for Women

Most of the items temptingly dangled before the reader's eyes are only available overseas (and therefore a tad pricey) but it’s only a matter of time before I’ll give in, I know, and send away for the latest toy. Sigh…….I’m such a technology tragic…

Confession time #1

Almost as much as I love quilting, I have a passion for creating "pretty" things on my computer and have been known to spend too many hours of the day and night working out how the latest widgets will work on my blog, how to edit my photos, and how to make stationery.

Here is the result of my latest computer dabbling (with Microsoft Digital Image Suite 10) ....

Sunday, April 8, 2007

A bee-utiful outfit for Alexanne

Winter has suddenly arrived in Sydney, with blustery winds and rain, and I thought I'd embroider a little jumpsuit and beanie, from the collection I've been making, to keep Alexanne cosy. Do you like my bullion-stitched buzzy bees?

Celebrating Alexanne

Very special gifts for Sarah and me from Sunny's parents - beautiful hanboks from Korea!
The gift to Grampa was a very special bottle of ginseng wine, which apparently has excellent health benefits!

We've finally met Sunny's parents - and celebrated Alexanne's homecoming with French champagne. They are as thrilled with their new little granddaughter as we are, and though they speak very little English the language of pride and joy in our families is universal.
Sunny's mother cooked us a spectacular Korean meal too.

Alexanne (Xan to her parents) is such a settled bub, sleeping and feeding so well (just count those chins - three!), and Ben and Sunny are handling parenthood with patience and good humour.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Our darling is home

Why are we surprised that our little Alexanne has not been in a hurry to wake up and engage with her new world? After all, the ability to sleep soundly and long is in her genes! She has inherited it from her Daddy, her Grandi and Aunty Sare, for a start.

Grampa is totally entranced with our little princess.
After spending a day in the Bilibed to correct jaundice, Alexanne went home yesterday afternoon, to the great delight of her parents.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Grandi Bragging Zone # 2

With a very proud Grandi
With a doting Grampa

With a very happy Great-Grandmother (Nana)

With Uncle Lachy and Aunty Merry

Our perfect little princess!

Warning: Grandi Bragging Zone

Here are the first photos I've taken of our darling little poppet.

Alexanne asleep after a busy day yesterday.

With her Mummy and Daddy.
I just love this photo of Ben - I've tried to edit it into something dreamier to capture the tender moment of father-daughter bonding.

With Aunty Sare.

It's a Girl!

Well, we've officially earnt our titles, and can take out these towels that Ben and Sunny gave us for Christmas and start using them!

We're over the moon to announce that at 10.50pm last night (1st April) Sunny and Ben's baby daughter, out little granddaughter, Alexanne Lee, was born safely weighing 3.5kg.

She is almost 2 weeks early, a girl in a hurry to get life started, but fortunately she waited until the exact day Sunny's parents arrived from Korea before deciding to make her entrance.

This is the cot quilt that I had made her, comprising hand appliqueed 1/4 inch hexagon flowers, all fussy cut to show off the pretty scrap fabrics I used, stitched onto nine-patch blocks. There's a tiny piece of cherry blossom fabric in each of the corner fans, a token of her Korean heritage.

I had a blooming great time!

On a grey afternoon, under leaden Melbourne skies threatening rain, I spent several hours savouring the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Festival. Fantastic!

The dull day only served to highlight the vivid colours of the flowers, and the welcome deluge held off until right on 5 o'clock, as the gates were closing.

My Melbourne Mini-Break

How many Melbourne experiences can you cram into a 3 day mini-break? Plenty!

Apart from my day with the Scquilters, I visited the newly restored St Paul's Anglican Cathedral where I snapped these photos of some of the beautiful wall and floor tiles.

Photographed these exquisite mosaic floor tile designs in "The Block" Arcade.

I rode the tram to St Kilda Beach and experienced the buzz of Acland Street. Some of the finest European style cake shops display creations like these in their windows. Just looking at them adds kilos!

Looked out along the St Kilda Pier. Went to see the Bridge Road factory outlet shops, dined al fresco in Lygon Street on a balmy evening, visited GJ's Fabric Shop and picked up a couple more pieces, browsed the Collins Street boutiques, ate Italian at Toorak and inspected the famous portrait of "Chloe" in Young and Jacksons' city pub, went to Federation Square, and rode the City Circle tram.

But wait, there's more.....

A Get-together with Melbourne quilters

Today was one of those heart-warming days that you remember for a long time after.

When I knew I was coming to Melbourne this week and would have my days free while my husband was in meetings, I put out the call for any Southern Cross quilters who might be free to meet me for coffee.

To my great delight, Annie, a warm-hearted Scquilter who I’d never met, invited me and several other quilters, none of whom she had met, to her home. She even offered to drive into the city to collect me – but I enjoyed seeing Melbourne's suburbs from the train.

We had a ball, and it was a special treat to at last meet Sue, to whom I'd been a Secret Sister in a Christmas gift swap last year. After a lunch of the most spectacular not-your-average-sandwiches we got down to some serious quilty show and tell.

The day was topped off with a visit to Somerset Patchwork and Quilting on the way back to the station. In an act of extraordinary self-sacrifice Shirley, who had already visited this gorgeous shop on her way to Annie’s in the morning, made a detour just so I could pick up a couple of souvenir fat quarters. Can you believe that?

Baby Shower

With 3 only weeks until Ben and Sunny’s bub is due we had a Baby Shower this afternoon, and their young friends gave them some beautiful and very thoughtful gifts.

It was another occasion for lots of laughs as we played “Pin the Nappy on the Baby”, Guess Sunny’s Girth, and a game with buttons that broke the ice and had the guests mixing in no time.

Everyone was given 5 buttons at the beginning of the afternoon, and had to hand one over if caught by another guest saying the word “baby”. I lost mine early. The winner was the one with the most buttons at the end of the afternoon - and was Sunny herself!


When I was telling a friend today all about our wonderful evening celebrating Ian’s birthday she remarked, almost with surprise, “You really get a lot of joy out of life, don’t you?”

Nobody’s ever actually said that to me, and it got me thinking.

Yes, I suppose I do find a huge amount of joy in life. I feel so blessed that I have a wonderful family of very individual and independent personalities, a husband who loves me, friends who are a constant delight to be with and to know, good health, and a comfortable home to live in.

I like to have fun, and consequently I sometimes do some pretty silly things – in fact I think I’m getting sillier as I get older. You know what they say : Growing older is unavoidable, but growing up is optional.

However my definition of joy goes deeper. For me it's a deep assurance that God loves me – whatever – and will never let anything happen to me that He and I can’t handle together.

My joy isn't dependent on what I have , and it doesn't mean I can always expect to be happy, just that God will be with me whatever happens.

Birthday Bash with Panache

Our good friend Ian has had a “significant” birthday – and we celebrated him in style on Friday!

Eight of us gathered for an intimate black tie dinner, oh-so-elegantly hosted by Robyn who was ably assisted by the lovely furry Mia who was specially glammed up for the occasion in her very own bow tie (see below).

We had our instructions – at an appointed moment during each course each of us would speak for 3 minutes about what Ian means to us. However, as I’m always daunted by public speaking, and feel very inept at it, I decided to do something a little different to round off my spot.

Ian is famous – or infamous – for disappearing during the day on weekends. He enjoys his time alone, shopping, painting, reading, whatever, and we all accept that. However it doesn't stop us constantly take digs at him for not being around when we want to organize a lunch.

So I bought a “Where’s Wally?” book and transformed it into “Where’s Ian?”, pasting minute head shots of Ian onto a single figure on every page so that the quest became to find Ian, not Wally, in the crowd.

It didn’t make for the most eloquent spot in the evening’s proceedings, but we all enjoyed a laugh - and he'll have hours of entertainment finding himself on every page!

Here I am in full flight, getting ready for the surprise presentation.

Mia observed the evening's festivities from a distance with a bemused expression.