Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Orange you glad I woke up early to take these photos?

Gale force winds, an eerie orange glow and a gritty atmosphere you can touch and taste. Sydney's turned sepia this morning.

We've woken to extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime weather conditions. A fierce dust storm has blown un during the night bringing red dirt from hundreds of kilometres away in the inland.

In an effort to bring you the news as it happens I snapped these photos out of my bedroom windows (through the insect-screens).

Visibility on the roads is reduced to around 500 metres, a mere 2 metres on the harbour they say, and ferries have been cancelled.

The airport is diverting planes to other cities, athletics carnivals are cancelled and medical authorities are advising older folk, asthmatics and children under 5 to stay indoors.

I don't think I'll be hanging out the washing today. Or having my once-white car washed.

To make things even worse bright sparks have been phoning into breakfast radio with every pun imaginable.

Of course I'd never sink so low.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

A Friday Flaunt

I'm making slow progress, but steady, on my version of Emma Jansen's beautiful Snowflake Medallion quilt, and this week has seen the completion of the hand applique on the central medallion, and the addition of a double mitred border.
I've begun work on the next border, saw-tooth stars in shades of yellow. Gosh I'm loving yellow in a quilt!

The striped leaves on the raspberry-coloured buds are actually a stronger shade than they appear here, and I'm very happy with the overall appearance of the quilt which I'm making in parallel with Linda.

We share notes, techniques and tips (though mostly I learn from her, rather than the other way round!) and while she's halfway across the world, the internet and Skype mean that she could be living right next door.

Take a look at Linda's version, using a completely different but gorgeous palette of purples, teals and greens.

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Winners are grinners!

Not even a bad hair day could wipe the smile from my face after I received a phone call today telling me I'd won the Christmas quilting hamper at my local Spotlight store!!!

Since my friend Di had been kind enough to pop my entry in the barrel it was only right that she share the glory, so here we are just an hour ago, grinning like a couple of Cheshire cats with our prize, a padded trolley full of fat quarters and quilting tools, many of which will be mighty useful for our Stitchin' Mission.

Hey, isn't that a Stitchin' Mission notice Di's holding up? Not one to miss an opportunity to promote our free beginner quiltmaking classes, she managed to sign up another class participant on the spot! Love your work, Di.

(You can be part of the fun too, if you live in Sydney. Just leave me a comment and I'll get back to you.)

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Educating Chester

He's only 14 weeks old, but already Chester is learning to become a "courteous canine". He's a bright little guy, as this clip of him with my daughter shows (those liver treats are a powerful motivator for a labrador pup!)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

More Australian spring flora among the fixtures in David Jones

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

David Jones Flower Show

The David Jones Flower Show has marked the beginning of spring in Sydney for as long as I can remember.
For the first two weeks of September the ground floor of our classiest department store is dressed with magnificent floral arrangements, kept fresh by an army of florists working behind the scenes once the shop closes its doors.

This year the theme is "An Australian Perspective" and our native flowers and shrubs share the limelight, sometimes arranged in rather extraordinary displays - just spectacular!

With much of Australia in drought, these dry-climate plants seem to be gaining in popularity.

[I wonder, is it 'un-Australian' to admit that while David Jones looks fabulous dressed to the nines with leucodendrons, bottlebrush, waratahs and gum leaves, I do prefer traditional English garden plants and flowers in my garden?]

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Want to put together a gorgeous quilt in no time?

Try this jigsaw quilt! (You need to click on the link to go to the website)

(and have a great day)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

There's safety in numbers

Or at least that's how some folk feel about becoming involved in something new.

So if you've been thinking about joining us for Stitchin' Mission at St Mark's (Anglican Church) Darling Point in Sydney you'll be as pleased as I am to hear that we have around 17 quiltmakers signed up and ready for our first class with Linda Hungerford on October 25.

We'll be taking baby steps as we learn from scratch to make quilts just like these!

They're for the little children enrolled in the brand new KU (Kindergarten Union) Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre opening up in July next year at Liverpool in Sydney's South West.

If you'd like to be part of the fun please sign up through the online registration form on the Stitchin' Mission website, or leave a comment with a way I can get back to you.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Feel the love

I hope those little children will, along with their parents, when they see these quilts made specially for them.

My enthusiastic quilting buddy, Di, made these fabulous little numbers in time for our Stitchin' Mission launch last Sunday.
If jelly beans and fluoro elephants aren't your style, then how about rainbow butterflies!!!

I hope a little boy will love this train quilt, with railway signs and steam trains, and a cute backing of train tracks!

If you'll be in Sydney, Australia from October 25 to November 22 and want to join the fun of Stitchin' Mission at St Mark's (Anglican Church) Darling Point just leave me a comment so I can get back to you. Better still, go to the Stitchin' Mission website and sign up using the online registration form.
Remember, it's free. And did I say it's going to be FUN making quilts together?!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

All is revealed!

I've been a bit slack in updating my blog of late, and when I have posted I’ve tap-danced around the subject. At the same time I've dropped veiled hints on Facebook, and I've hardly commented at all on my online quilters' groups. Sorry, friends.

However now I can reveal the exciting project that's been taking so much of my time - Stitchin' Mission®!

If you're in Sydney I'd love you to join us at St Mark's (Anglican Church) Darling Point for Stitchin' Mission® - 5 free beginner quiltmaking lessons on Sundays at 3pm on October 25, November 1, 8, 15 and 22, taught by my friend Linda Hungerford, another quilty blogger who will be visiting all the way from Des Moines, Iowa.

We've going to be making around 60-80 child-sized (36" x 48") quilts for the little ones enrolled at the new KU Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre when it opens at Liverpool in Sydney's South-West on 1st July 2010 ( but you are allowed to keep your quilt if you really want to - so why not make two?).

Pictured throughout this blog post are the sample quilts I’ve already made while I was being so quiet on-line. It’s very addictive! In my next post I'll show you the cute and jazzy quilts my friend (blogless) Di has made.

Marcia Burgess was a much-loved member of our church family who died of cancer a couple of years ago. She worked for KU (the Kindergarten Union) for many years in the area of Special Needs children, and now a new kindy is to be named in her honour.

I met Linda earlier this year when she was in Sydney, visiting her daughter, and I was excited when she told me about how she'd been running Stitchin' Missions® at churches all over her hometown for about 5 years now.

The results are impressive - have a look at her Stitchin' Mission® website and see what's been achieved by all those beginner quiltmakers! So when she told me she would be coming back in October I snaffled her up to run a Stitchin' Mission® here at St Mark's – and she very generously agreed to be snaffled!

Skype has been a fabulous way for us to get together and sort things out because Linda could hold up quilts and tools and show me what she was talking about, and we've really enjoyed the process.

Please pass the word around for me. We need beginner quiltmakers to sign up to learn the basics of making a quilt and, hopefully, be prepared to “pay forward” the gift they’ve been given (five FUN! free lessons).

However I’m also looking for Sydney-based ‘Rebekahs’ – helpers (named after the generous Rebekah in the Old Testament) who are experienced quiltmakers.

Finally I would really appreciate offers to lend us any of the following for the 5 weeks of the Stitchin' Mission®

-6 and a half inch square rulers

- 6 and a half inch x 24 inch long rulers

- large cutting boards

- rotary cutters

- sewing machines.

If you'd like more information, please leave me a comment with a way I can contact you. There's a clickable link to register through the Stitchin' Mission website too.

If you've made it this far, thank you for your interest and I'd value your prayers for this rather bold venture!