Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Thank you!

My QLD Flood Appeal Auction for little Stella the sock monkey ended at 9 o’clock last night, and I’m very happy to say the winner is …. Bec!IMG_8818 She was very keen to own Stella, and bid an amazing $65.

Thank you, Bec – and thank you to everyone who bid for this great cause.

All the blog auctions have ended, but if you missed out – or can’t afford to bid high amounts - there are dozens of crafty raffles at $5 an entry still running until tomorrow. All you need to do is donate $5 to the official Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal to earn an entry in a raffle.

You can go here to see the Master List, and to read the guidelines.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Stella has her bags packed and is ready to go!

This morning she’s just hanging around, making the most of Sydney’s sunshine.IMG_8815

She’s so excited to see how much people are willing to donate to the Queensland Flood Relief Appeal to own her!


Toni from Make it Perfect has recommended a change in the finish time for our Queensland Flood Appeal auctions, so instead of ending at midnight (Australian Eastern Standard Daylight Time) Monday 24th January we’ll finish at 9.00pm (AESDT).

So we can all be in bed at a sensible hour (ahem… some of us, anyway!)

IMG_8814 So if you’d like to have Stella come and live with you, please go here to see the guidelines for this auction, and leave a comment to place a bid. 

She can’t wait to go to her new home. Will it be yours?

[This link will take you to the Master List of auctions where you can see all the fabulous items crafty bloggers are offering for this great cause.]

Sunday, January 16, 2011

It’s only a little thing…

But then, every little bit counts :-))

Not having any new quilts or other large crafty items at hand to auction, but feeling compelled to get on board the Make It Perfect QLD Flood Appeal Auctions, I’ve spent the last couple of days creating this little lady.

Meet Stella the sock monkey.
She hasn’t been around for long but already it’s plain to see she has star quality!

Stella is made from a pair of brand new socks (acrylic, nylon and elastane) and stuffed with new polyester toy stuffing.

In case she ends up travelling to somewhere where it’s a little chilly at the moment I’ve made her a little felt jacket (with a felt star on the front, so she won’t forget her name).


Her eyes are made of felt so there are no buttons to be a danger to a baby, and Stella loves an occasional beauty bath (obviously without her jacket!).


Stella’s vital statistics?  From the top of her head to the tip of her starry-covered tail she measures 15 inches, and from the top of her head to her twinkle-toes she measures 11 inches.

* * * * *
Here’s how this auction works: 

1.  Bidding will start at $10 (Australian).
2.  You can place a bid by leaving a comment on this blog post with your bid amount and email address.  Please make sure that your bid is higher than the previous bidder.  
3.  Your bid must be in whole dollar increments.
4.  This auction is open to everyone, however International winners will be asked to pay half the cost of postage to their part of the world (I'll pay the other half).  Postage is FREE for Australian residents.
5.  The auction begins NOW and will END at 9.00pm (Australian Eastern Summer Time) on Monday 24th January 2011.
6.  At the close of the auction, I will contact the winner (please make sure your bid comment or your blog profile includes your email address).  The winner will pay the winning amount directly into the Premier's Flood Relief Appeal and send me proof of payment via email (they will email your receipt to you).  Once proof of payment has been received, I will post Stella to you.
7.  Thank you for participating - and happy bidding!
* * * * *

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Queensland floods – A first-hand account of the clean-up

Like so many this week I’ve found the continuous streaming of flood updates and video footage on our TV stations absolutely compelling viewing. The aerial shots of roofs of houses punctuating a sea of brown water stretching on forever are numbing, almost overwhelming in their impact.

imageAAP photo

In Queensland alone the flooding has affected an area the size of France and Germany combined, and other states of Australia are experiencing devastating floods as well.

16 people are confirmed dead in the wake of this week’s floodwater that swept from Toowoomba to Brisbane, with dozens more unaccounted for.

And now the hardest job begins – cleaning up after that stinking, muddy inundation has coated everything with its filth and slime.

This morning my friend Susan, who lives in Brisbane, wrote a very honest and moving account of just what it’s like to roll your sleeves up and begin to help salvage people’s lives.

She’s graciously given me permission to share it with you.

Each time I think about trying to put my thoughts into words the tears well up.  I have seen such a miniscule portion of the devastation this flood has wrought and I struggle to comprehend even that much.

I feel incredibly blessed to be basically unscathed.  We have lost nothing, except a little sleep; we have food in the fridge and pantry; we have electricity to run the fridge and the radio and the internet; we have water - all of it clean and mud free.  I also feel guilty because I have all those things and so many, including people I know, have lost everything.  I feel guilty because, quite frankly, I hate getting dirty and I don't want to help clean up, but I know I have to.  Not because someone says I have to, not even because it's the right thing to do, but because it's the only thing to do.

Thankfully, today, I found a way, a meaningful way, to help without getting too ikky.  A friend of ours was caught by floods while visiting his kids up north.  He lives in a caravan park not far from us, at the bottom of the hill. If you saw footage of a caravan park in Goodna on TV - that was, was, his home.  It is now a junk yard of, well, junk.  Junk covered in flood mud.

If you've never experienced flood mud, let me see if I can describe it, which I doubt.  It's exceptionally fine. It's incredibly slippery under foot. I almost went over a couple of times.  Places you expect to have traction, like grass, don't have any, 'cause they're coated with this stuff.   It's in and on everything.  I've washed it off the backs of photos, which were in an album, in a case, in a cupboard. But the worst thing? It stinks.  If you've ever walked through mangroves, with bad water circulation, it's that sort of rotten vegetation, rotten flesh, rotten water smell.  The smell permeates everything.  I'm pretty sure when you finally manage to wash all the mud off, the smell stay behind.  Just horrid.

So, back to our friend's former caravan.  Daniel went down to see what he could salvage.  Several other friends turned up and lent a hand.  A couple of hours later I went down to pick up what they'd found. A bucket of clothes, a couple of tubs of mainly photos. A really, precious little else.  Another friend took the hard drive from his computer so see if he could salvage that.

The clothes went in the washing machine.  That was pretty easy.  The Girl and I then put all the rest of the stuff in the bathtub.  I read somewhere that you can save wet books by freezing them in plastic bags. I don't know if it works, but heck, what do we have to lose?  The bottom 1/4 of my freezer is now full of books.  I can always say I ran out of bookshelves :-)

The photos are pretty easy.  I read that the trick is to keep them wet until they're clean, hence the bathtub.  The Girl and I both found that our backs didn't appreciate the tub though, and we quickly moved to the kitchen sink.

Paper is a little tricky. Requires a delicate touch, but I managed to save numerous mementos – kids’ report cards, his own report cards, programmes from band performances he was involved in.  In the light of eternity, probably not the most important things in the world, but when it's all you've got, I'm hoping it helps.  Just about every floor in the house is covered with doona covers and towels, in turn covered with photos and papers.  I have another bucket of photo albums in a tub waiting for tomorrow, when we will have room and hopefully new spines.

All afternoon I have been thinking of an episode of MASH, Morale Victory.  Charles is quite pleased with himself for saving a chap's leg against the odds.  When the man wakes up he is far more concerned about his hand, because he is a concert pianist.  As a lover of classical music Charles is particularly devastated that he made the wrong choice, although, how was he to know?  As I've made the decision this afternoon to carefully salvage certain bits of paper and discard other bits I wonder if I'm saving the right things.  I just don't know what's important.

I do know that I'm knackered. I still smell of off mangroves; my hands are more water logged than a fish; and spine feels like someone walked on it. My plan is to have a shower, maybe have a bit of a cry and then tomorrow morning I will get up and do it all over again.  Not because I have to; not because I particularly want to; but because how can I not do it?


If you’d like to donate directly to the Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal you’ll find all the details in that link.

The crafting community is getting behind the recovery effort too. If you’d like to help by having an auction of a craft-related item or two on your blog, or simply bidding on others quilters’ auctions, go to Toni’s Sew it Perfect blog or click on the button with the pink brolly in the top right corner of my blog for details.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The floods here in Australia - astonishing footage

For my overseas readers.

This amateur video will give you some idea of the severity of yesterday’s flash flood that swept through the town of Toowoomba taking cars in its path. Watch to the end - you won’t believe how these vehicles ended up.

The flooding is incredibly widespread across southern Queensland and into New South Wales, with towns and properties isolated by flood water and the city of Brisbane bracing itself for the biggest flood ever tomorrow.

9 People have died so far, and 66 are missing.

If you’re able to do so, please support Toni’s auction on Monday.

That just tops it off!

Very clever quilt designer and teacher, Chris Jurd of Patchwork Fundamentals, has sent me an award – and it’s PINK!
Her blog is full of simply beautiful quilts created by her and by the quilters she nurtures and encourages in her classes, so I’m humbled (and happy) that she sees my blog as a beautiful one with ‘that little bit extra’.
The rules of the Cherry on Top Award are that I must tell you three things I like, and then share the love by awarding this badge to three blogs i like.
Just to be different (did you say ‘difficult’?) I’ll nominate the blogs first.
Linda’s Flourishing Palms blog is chock full of quilty inspiration, clever tutorials and family updates. Even if you don’t know her as well as I do you’ll be firm friends in no time. Linda just loves to share her talents, and her enthusiasm for Stitchin’ Mission, the quiltmaking course she teaches to church groups, is infectious . I caught the bug!
Rita’s Red Pepper Quilts blog is always one of the first I open. She designs and makes quilts that are fresh, crisp and zingy, using lots of white backgrounds to make her simple designs just POP! Just quietly, I don’t think she sleeps - she seems to have a new quilt to share on her blog almost every week, most  of them destined for her Etsy shop.
Then there’s retromummy Corrie, a quilter whose total honesty, sense of humor and heartfelt faith make her blog about bringing up four little children (including twins and the cutest newborn you’ve ever seen) a joy to read.
[Rita and Corrie are both taking part in a very special auction to raise funds to help victims of the disastrous floods in Australia right now. The Queensland Flood Appeal Auction is being organised by Toni of Make it Perfect (see my button). Currently 9 dead and 66 folk missing. To think that this time 2 years ago we were praying for the victims of fierce bushfires that ravaged central Victoria. Floods or fires, summer in Australia can often bring natural disasters on a huge scale, and again we are united in our efforts to help as best we can.]
What else do I like?
I like hand quilting, watching the pattern and texture appear as I make my stitches, and I’m finding enormous satisfaction and relaxation when I have time to work on my latest quilt, Whirligig.IMG_8787
I like love cuddles with the Princess! (my little granddaughter)IMG_8551  
Lastly I like blogging (can’t you just tell?). When I see something beautiful that one of my friends has made, or get the giggles about something a bit silly, find myself in awe of God’s wonderful creation, or even surprise myself when a project turns out just the way I imagined it – I’m never without someone to whom I can say “Hey, take a look at this!”
But that’s just the beginning. Opening my Inbox and seeing comments from dear friends  around the world (most of whom I’ve never met face to face) gives me such a thrill!  It’s the ‘icing on the cake’.
So that makes Chris’s  generously bestowed award the ‘cherry on top’!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Di + Di + Linda + Linda = The Bowtie Quilt

[We didn’t plan it this way. Really!]

Just as there were two Di’s involved in the making of Ian’s ‘hands across the Pacific’ Bowtie Quilt, there were two Linda’s as well – Linda Hungerford in Des Moines, Iowa, and another Linda closer to home here at West Pennant Hills in Sydney.


Every quiltmaker knows ‘it’s not a quilt until it’s quilted’ – and here’s Di B with our very talented friend Linda Billett of Artisan Quilting, in whose hands our humble quilt top became a work of art.

She machine quilted it beautifully with a deep blue thread which became a jaunty feature against the white-on-white background.


Since Ian is a musician, choosing a quilting design was super-simple once we spotted this music pattern in Linda’s catalogue.


  I can almost hear the tune these notes are playing – and it’s definitely a light and bouncy one!




Thanks a million, Linda B.

I think we have a winning formula here!

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Bowtie Quilt ~ all wrapped up!


Regular readers will remember that last year our friend Alicia asked Di B and me if we would make a quilt for her partner (and our friend)Ian who is currently separated from us all working in another city.

She chose scrappy bowties after seeing this photo, on my blog, of a quilt I had made for my father.


But Ian’s were to be totally different!


Alicia, Di and I were like kids in a candy store as we went shopping for FQs that illustrated Ian’s hobbies, his professional life, travels and loves.

We raided our stashes for bright, fun “just because” fabrics as well, and Linda was even in on the fun. Once we’d sent her the white-on-white background fabric she wasted no time in whipping up 18 blocks for us. Clever girl that she is, she even found fabric with a map of North Carolina (where Ian spent time as an exchange student) and Des Moines (where she lives).

Four months and 150 bowtie blocks later we gave the quilt to Ian.


I think he liked loved it, don’t you?


IMG_8518  It was a joy to make, from start to finish!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year from Sydney!

In its time zone, Sydney, Australia is always the first major city of the world to celebrate New year’s Eve. Thousands flock to vantage points all round Sydney Harbour which acts as a natural amphitheatre for our fireworks display.

From our position tonight we looked down on a bay full of moored sailing boats  and lots of families sitting on the grass in a park on the water’s edge waiting for the show to begin.


The Sydney Harbour Bridge was the centrepiece for the action.IMG_8749



IMG_8752 This year’s theme was “Make your mark”, and the bridge sported a giant X for much of the evening, later changing to a peace sign, an exclamation mark, an asterisk and finally a hand with an open palm.IMG_8753 Unfortunately by the finale the smoke was so thick I wasn’t able to capture a shot of the hand, but it’ll remain on the bridge, lit up nightly throughout January, so I’ll show you in a few days.

IMG_8757 Happy New Year to all my blog friends around the world!

Thank you for your support and encouragement in 2010 - and your nice comments -  and I look forward to sharing friendship and creative ideas in 2011.