Monday, May 31, 2010

A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum

The Roman forum is breathtaking, especially when you live in a country where the oldest buildings date from the early 1800s.  A country the ancient Romans who walked these streets never dreamed existed.

It tickled me to think that Julius Caesar’s sandaled feet might have shuffled along this very street.IMG_4159 But apart from my fantasies, the Roman forum had plenty to make us smile today.

IMG_4179 As we arrived at the Via dei Fori Imperiali, the sun was shining,  church bells were ringing in the distance (in Rome church-bells are seldom not heard somewhere in the distance) - and the PA system was blasting out John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John singing “Hot Summer Nights”!  IMG_4165 Preparations were in full swing for the upcoming celebrations commemorating the establishment of the Republic of Italy on 2nd June 1948.  Tiered seating was being bolted together, TV cameras were positioned for the best pictures, and I can confirm the PA system sound trials broadcast loud and clear!

Not just an archaeological site, the forum is a popular place for bridal photo shoots, and these were two of the funniest bridal cars we saw waiting nearby.  IMG_4154Take a look at the horns on the front of this one – four! IMG_4154-1 This one wins hands-down for cuteness.IMG_4176 And finally, here’s the Emporer Tiberias, relegated to the back stalls but nevertheless practising his cheering for the big parade.


 IMG_4170 You’ve got to smile :-))

Sunday, May 30, 2010

It’s complicated

Not really.  Anyone can do it.  It just takes a little forward planning and time to compose blog posts and schedule them so Blogger will publish them when you know you’re going to be just too busy to blog as often as you’d like.   

So this morning, while you were looking at photos of my new selvedge bag sitting prettily on a table in my garden, my bag and I (along with Boak) were actually here, more than 10,000 km away, on a plane bound for Dubai.IMG_4101  (and how neat is this view from a camera mounted on the tail!)

After an initial complication when we were told we couldn’t  use a piece of medical equipment on the flight, we settled down to enjoy dinner, a movie,  and a few hours’ sleep before touching down in bright sunshine at 5.30am.IMG_4110

IMG_4105 IMG_4104  It was nearly 35 degrees outside  by re-embarkation time at 9.30am, and a somewhat complicated transfer of several hundred passengers, by a fleet of buses, from terminal to plane,  gave us a chance to experience a Dubai ‘scorcher’. It was a 15 minute journey to our plane – right out in the middle of an expanse of tarmac, and we boarded the old fashioned way – up the stairs.   IMG_4111 The plane’s air conditioning began to struggle and the temperature rose in the cabin as we waited while airline staff dealt with the extra complication of two checked-in passengers apparently vanishing somewhere in the terminal and not making the flight.  Their bags had to be found and taken off the plane before we could get going on the next leg of our journey.  I needed this!IMG_4114By contrast, Rome was wet and drizzly and provided us with our final little complication – one of our suitcases arrived on the baggage carousel with its extendable handle snapped clean off by a baggage handler with a little more testosterone than sense. 

Finding a replacement case was the first job on our list after checking into our favourite little hotel,and gave us a chance to get out and stretch our legs and see beautiful Rome.  I’m glad to say this wasn’t a complicated exercise  and now all is well.

The sun even came out by late afternoon, making the evening passeggiata a delight.

[What in-flight movie did I choose?  ”It’s Complicated”, with Meryl Streep and Alex Baldwin – of course!]

Friday, May 28, 2010

Selvedge (or Selvage) Backpack Bag (1)

Selvedges, selvages…whatever you call them in your corner of the world, an appreciation for these “ugly ducklings” is  growing fast.  Where once they would have been tossed out as scraps, savvy quilters are saving these skinny strips to create “swans” like these by my friend Erica.
Then there’s Jodie from Ric Rac who does amazing work like this, and selvedge queen Karen Griska
It’s taken me a while, but seeing the travelling bag Linda made for her recent visit Downunder gave me just the nudge I needed.IMG_3946 I used the  Chelsea Tote with Acrylic Bag-E-Bottom pattern by Lazy Girl designs because I’ve made it up before and find the step-by-step photographed instructions foolproof. You can choose for yourself whether or not to wear it with the acrylic bag base because it's removable for washing.Selvedge bag 1 Instead of the tiny pocket on the front of the original bag I’ve created a large one that exactly fits my sketchbook/notebook.  And I’ve added a zipped pocket to the back.Selvedge bag 7

Selvedge (or Selvage) Backpack Bag (2)

Selvedge bag 10

Another modification is a zip in the top opening of the bag, just for a little extra security.Selvedge bag 8 

Selvedge bag 9

Selvedge bag 6

Selvedge (or Selvage) Backpack Bag (3)

From the nifty divideable strap that means the Chelsea doubles as a shoulder bag or a backpack… Selvedge bag 11

Selvedge bag 4 To the pretty selvedges from all my favourite fabrics (Kaffe Fassett, Philip Jacobs, Robyn Pandolph…), and the fact that they’re predominantly pink :-))

There’s nothing I don’t love about it!  Wearing my selvedge backpack is like wearing a sign saying “Mad Quilter”, don’t you think?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Clever friends, clever Snap Happy bags!

The idea of using pieces of metal carpenters’ tape to create a snappy bag closure is just ingenious!Linda's Snap Happy bagWhen my friend Di B saw this  cute little Snap Happy bag that Linda had made for Gail she wasted no time getting this pattern and trying it out for herself. Snap Happy bags 001

Di has the largest stash of novelty fabrics in the southern hemisphere, so finding these delicious fabrics was easy!

Snap Happy bags 002

Now we all know where Di keeps her choccies!

I’ve bought the tape measure, and plan to try it out for myself soon. 

One tip I’ve read elsewhere, though, is to be sure not to let go of the cut end of the tape measure once you’ve snipped off your piece, without first binding it with lots of tape to make a new “handle” at the end.  It will zip back inside its casing as quick as a flash and you’ll never see it again!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cupcake Stitchery excitement!

Look what arrived in a box on my doorstep last week -  the latest about-to-be-released issue of Quilters Newsletter with a feature article by Linda Hungerford on how Australian quilters are using stitchery.  It’s beautifully written, warm, and informative (and I’d be saying that even if she weren’t a quilting ‘bestie’).

QNM Cover

 IMG_4081 But why the box? (I hear you asking)

Because the QNM folks were returning this little stitchery creation to me after photographing it for Linda’s article.  Stifled excitement here!Cupcake Stitchery5Watermark

Cupcake Stitchery3 Along with seven other Australian stitchers – Julie Donovan, Cheryl Goss, Gail Pan, Jan Quigley, Jenny Reynolds, Carol Richardson and Vicki Tucek – Linda interviewed me for her article when she was out here last November. 

In addition we were all invited to design and submit a mini-quilt showcasing our work, and Gail’s sweet Little House quilt was chosen to be written up as a project. 

I was certainly in distinguished company with these talented gals, and the whole exercise has been a very exciting one for me.  Gosh, I now have a creation of mine photographed in QNM not once, but twice (one’s in the table of contents).

Let’s not mention that said photos are a mere 5cm across. IMG_4083 Perhaps this might fill 10 seconds of my allotted 15 minutes of fame!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pentecost Sunday at St Mark’s #1

The weather today is wet and chilly, but inside St Mark’s the atmosphere couldn’t be more inviting.  Pentecost quilt display1 At last count St Mark’s Quilters, building on a successful Stitchin’ Mission last November, had made 82 child-sized quilts for the KU Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning & Care Centre, and Pentecost Sunday seemed like the perfect occasion to show them off to all our supporters.

Yesterday a small band of willing hands helped deck the church in glorious colour ready for today’s visitors.

There are quilts on the pew-ends lining the centre aisle.Quilts lining the aisleQuilts on pew ends1Quilts on pew ends2

Pentecost Sunday at St Mark’s #2

Quilts on the columns. Quilts on column 1

 Quilts on column 2

Quilts on column 3  Quilts on the lectern.Quilts on lectern

Pentecost Sunday at St Mark’s #3

Quilts hanging from the gallery.Quilts in Gallery

A quilt on the organ console. Quilt on the organ Even quilts adorning the front of the pulpit.Quilts on Pulpit In St Luke’s account of the Day of Pentecost in AD33 he explains how, on that day, although the people present spoke many different languages, everyone was able to hear the message of God’s love in a language that he (or she) clearly understood. 

It’s the prayer of the St Mark’s Quilters that the tots who come to own and wrap themselves in these quilts will come to understand God’s love for them too. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Yellow makes me smile

It’s just such a happy colour, isn’t it.  I’ve spent most of my life underestimating the colour yellow, but now I try to use it often in my quilts.  Something tells me Di C loves yellow too! I love the way she's used it in these two quilts.IMG_4019
Finally, here’s my own latest finished quilt to add to our collection. I decided to try piecing my binding from scraps, and was quite pleased with the result.IMG_4027

Friday, May 21, 2010

Michaela’s New Life Quilts

Even though she works full-time Michaela has managed to find time to create these gorgeous New Life Quilts from some of the bright scraps saved from the making of our initial Stitchin’ Mission quilts last year. 



IMG_4026 There are so many fragments of novelty fabrics in these quilts that they’ll make super “I Spy” quilts for the little ones.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Stitchin’ Mission quilts - more finishes

Needles are flying here as bindings are stitched down and last minute labels are attached with great satisfaction.  Our approaching Pentecost Sunday display of Stitchin’ Mission quilts in St Mark’s has us energised to finish off our works-in-progress.
Here are Geraldine’s two latest quilts, one so pretty and girly, the other using a colourful jungle print of cheeky monkeys, giraffes and tigers.IMG_4023
Moo’s  developing her “signature” style.  She loves to use fabrics with instantly recognisable characters that children just love.  Here it’s Mickey Mouse.
This one features that cute little “hunny” lover, Winnie the Pooh.
And here's Elmo!
Thank you Geraldine and Moo – Great work!