Thursday, May 31, 2012

Quilting as therapy

They say taking ginkgo brahmi tablets, tackling cryptic crosswords and playing bridge are three of the best ways to preserve your memory and keep your intellect nice and sharp, but my quilting buddy Di B has come up with another, and I really like this one – Quilting!

This week she made this pretty mug bag for her lovely mum, Margaret to take to quilting.

Look what that cheeky Di’s printed on the side of Margaret’s bag!

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Mug Bag 05.12 003

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Margaret never misses a St Mark’s Quilters day or a morning with Paddington Quilters.


She creates the prettiest Blankets of Love out of tiny scraps.



I think Di B’s mug bag message is definitely working for Margaret - she has truckloads more marbles than I have!

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Footnote: Here’s the mug bag I made Di B a while ago.


Don’t worry, you’ll come to no harm around our Di - she’s much more likely to give you a ‘killer hug’!   Angel



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Who’s that woman with the silly grin?

That would be me!

This morning I received an email from Amy of Amy’s Creative Side telling me that Alhambra Romance has been nominated,along with 4 others, as a finalist in the Favourite Applique Quilt category of her Bloggers’ Quilt Festival!

If you were one of my generous readers whose nomination put me there, thank you so much.




May I ask one more favour of you? The voting is open now, for only a couple of days, and I’d love you to keep the love coming and vote just one more time for Alhambra Romance. The Favourite Applique Quilt category is the 7th category as you scroll down on this page.

It’s much easier now that there are only 5 or 6 finalists in each category.

You can also vote here for Viewer’s Choice, and have the chance to win a prize yourself. Nothing wrong with that Be right back.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bear with me

It’s that time of year again, and over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing with you some of the goodies I’ve been making for our craft stall at the St Luke’s Care fundraiser.

As usual, the ever-generous Di B has been stitchin’ up a storm too, and if I can twist her arm I might also tantalise you with some of her gorgeous handmade items.


And while I have your attention, I’d like to tell you about the prettiest little giveaway I’ve seen for a long time. Jenny of Elefantz is giving away an original stitched and coloured framed design called “Flowers for Sale”. Pop on over to her blog and enter the draw.

Jenny’s designs are so simple, sweet and inviting, and I enjoyed stitching some of them last year.


Now here’s a chance for you one of us to own a Jenny of Elefantz original!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bloggers’ Quilt Festival–now it’s nomination time!

What a flurry of fabulous flaunts!

Pop on over to Amy’s Creative Side (you know you want to!) and take a look at the almost 600 quilts that quiltmaking bloggers the world over have entered in the Bloggers’ Spring Quilt Festival.  Make sure you’ve made yourself a nice cuppa, and a chocky bikkie or two, because you’re going to be there quite some time clicking on all those Mr Linky links.

Even if you haven’t entered a quilt you can still win a prize in Amy’s Random Giveaway just by leaving a comment at the end of her blog post. You’ll be in with a chance for one of the HUGE array of prizes any quilter would love! What generous sponsors!


The Bloggers’ Quilt Festival has now entered stage 2.

It’s Nomination time, so if you feel like nominating my quilt in the hand quilted or hand applique category (or any other category you think it qualifies for) I promise I won’t stand in your way Be right back . You can read more about “Alhambra Romance” here, and it’s entry #313 in the festival.

Here’s the Nomination form .

I love how Amy has created lots and lots of categories. She’s really trying hard to give everyone a chance.

Or perhaps I could just borrow my beautiful daughter-in-law’s red shoes (in the photo above), close my eyes, click my heels together and make a wish…? Winking smile


Monday, May 21, 2012

I spy…

When I arrived at Lyn’s house for the English Quilt girls’ May stitching day last week I spied Lyn, Robbie, Jill, and …… no-one else!

Rae, Gail, Anne and Wendi were elsewhere, all of them up to exciting life adventures, some of which I might be allowed to share with you down the track. For now, though, I’m afraid my lips are (reluctantly) sealed.

Instead let me cheer you up with a few bright and beautiful I Spy quilts from Lyn’s huge collection.


With Jill’s first grandbaby expected later this year she’s doing what every card-carrying quilter/nanna does. She’s planning a quilt, in her case an “I Spy” quilt.


Jill asked Lyn for some ideas, and these were just a few.


This Jan Mullens airplanes pattern is lots of fun!


What a treat! Which is your favourite?


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Why not!

That’s exactly what I said, to no-one in particular, when I read that Amy (of Amy’s Creative Side) was once again holding her Bloggers’ Quilt Festival.

So, inspired by my dear friend Linda’s win – but in no way placing myself in her league! – I’m entering “Alhambra Romance”.


Please excuse me if you’ve seen it before, but since I tend to take the scenic route when I make a quilt I don’t have a huge pile of finished works to choose from, and this one is definitely one of my favourites.

When I offered to make my son and soon-to-be-daughter-in-law a wedding quilt I expected them to ask for a nice, simple modern quilt, not something along the lines of this tiled wall they had seen at the Alhambra in Spain. Gulp!


It’s amazing what a Mum will do out of love for her offspring, and with little more than a deep breath (but with a sinking feeling inside) this mathematically challenged Mum tackled the geometry involved in drawing up a grid for the tile placement on this over-all design that had inspired Escher’s art!

Over a period of around 5 months I hand appliqued each tile onto the single quilt-sized piece of background fabric, leaving narrow spaces in between to look like grouting, and the quilt travelled with me as my handwork on an extended holiday to Greece, Egypt, Jordan, Italy, France and England. Some of those tiles were stitched in places as romantic as a café beside the Grand Canal in Venice, and as unromantic as a hospital in Cairo (don’t ask)!

Finally, I hand quilted around each tile and finished the quilt just in time for their wedding.


I think they liked it!

Now I’m off to check out all the other fantastic quilts in the Bloggers’ Spring Quilt Festival – are you coming too?




Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Plenty - “a full or abundant supply or amount”. 

Thinking back to last Saturday’s St Mark’s Quilters sewing day this is the word that most comes into my mind.

Having forgone our April get-together (through circumstances beyond our control), some of us were getting mighty twitchy and feeling in great need of a day of quilt-creating, news-sharing and fun.

Susie arrived with a huge armful of aromatic herbs - basil, parsley and thyme - freshly harvested from her garden, for all of us to help ourselves.

Susie with herbs

There were fresh new baby quilts in abundance too.


Too many, in fact, to squeeze into one photograph.


And there was a sense of achievement in abundance as our newbies reached the final stage in their quiltmaking journey, with a lesson on applying the binding. Suddenly their baby quilts started to look almost finished. Susan’s finished two quilts already, and Sophie’s bright pink starry binding is looking fabulous!


Sarah and Judy finished machining theirs too, and went home feeling mighty pleased with themselves, as they ought, to hand sew the final seam. Unfortunately they escaped my camera lens – though they’re probably pleased about that too!

Margaret worked away creating quilt-as-you-go strippy quilts from the pretty, too-good-to-waste fabrics in our overflowing scrap tubs.


There were plenty of cheers all around when Perdita held up her finished Star quilt top.


Helen’s pile of cosy knitted squares continues to grow. One day these chenille softies will be sewn together into a rug for someone battling life’s challenges and in need of a big, warm hug (don’t we all need one sometimes?)


There was concentration aplenty too, as pieces of fabric became beautiful quilts in the hands of imaginative quilters such as Michelle and Gillian.




Most of all, in our hall on Saturday there was plenty of love and caring, both for each other as we talked of our families, friends, the good times and the bad since we were last together, and for the (as yet unborn) little ones and their families who will one day receive our tiny Blankets of Love.


Amanda and Gail

Click here to see the latest Blankets of Love created by St Mark’s Quilters (scroll down to the last 28 quilts).


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Checking in

Enjoying the delicious aroma of roast chicken (cooked by my darling husband!) wafting up from the kitchen as I snatch a few minutes to update my blog.


Appreciating the huge bunch of long-stemmed roses my mother sent us a week ago to say “Happy 40th Wedding Anniversary”, and which are still looking wonderful in their vase.


Watching “For the Love of Books” on Studio (Foxtel channel 132 in Australia)) every Monday night at 8.30pm for the insightful and entertaining banter between three very opinionated (but oh, so likeable) book reviewers – Cheryl Akle, Michael Campbell and Lachlan Jobbins (who I know quite well).

Wrapping up one of the books reviewed on the show, The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman, to give to my mother for her birthday this week. (It’s OK, she doesn’t read my blog).light_between_oceans

Click here to buy it from Book Depository.

Praying this precious little man is feeling better after a week of being unwell, and hoping his Mummy and Daddy are getting more sleep.


Thinking of my dear quilting friend, Linda, currently ‘of no fixed abode’ (as they say in the classics), and feeling more than a little envious that she and her husband have managed to pare down their possessions to the number of boxes that will fit in a U-Haul truck.  How liberating, and quite a feat for a quilter! My fabrics and sewing tools are currently threatening to  edge me out the door of my study/sewing room!

Working on goodies for the annual St Luke’s Care fundraiser next month, and trying to put some of those fabrics and yarn to good use. Sneak peeks to come soon.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Once upon a time…

…there was a little girl who had two grandmas, an Australian grandma (“Goddie”) and a Korean grandma (“Halmoni”). She was very precious to them both and Goddie sometimes called her “The Princess”.

One day The Princess brought home a note from her school inviting Goddie and Halmoni to Grandparents’ Day.

Her Daddy, who was not very good at passing these things on, only let Goddie know the night before.

But that was OK because she loved The Princess so much that even though she was a little nervous she was happy prepared to hop into her little car, brave the morning rush-hour traffic, drive through the long tunnel under the harbour, and dodge the great big trucks and buses on the highway, in order to get to the school on time.


First Goddie and Halmoni and all the other grandparents went to the big school hall and watched all the children on the stage sing songs. Some of the children held up colourful cardboard squares with big letters spelling out -


The Princess only expected to see Halmoni, so her little face lit up when she saw Goddie as well, waving like a silly clown in the audience.


Then the nice headmaster thanked the grandparents for coming and invited them to visit the classrooms. The Princess showed Goddie and Halmoni her science workbook.IMG_8065

Then she very carefully drew a picture, using her favourite colours.


There were three people in the picture. Can you guess their names?


That’s right - Goddie, The Princess and Halmoni!




The Princess took Goddie’s hand and took her to see the school’s library where they read a book together. Then all the children and their grandparents had sandwiches and cupcakes for morning tea in the playground.

When the bell rang it was time for the grandparents to leave. Halmoni walked home and Goddie hopped into her little car and drove back down the busy highway dodging the great big trucks and buses, and through the long tunnel under the harbour.

This time, though, she was wearing a great big smile!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

…far more than rubies?


A wife of noble character who can find?

She is worth far more than rubies.

[Proverbs 31:10]

Comparisons are odious, and I would never presume to compare myself to the surprisingly modern model of a wife described in the final verses of the book of Proverbs.

It’s true I make quilts and ‘she makes coverings for her bed’ [Verse 22].

I enjoy knitting and ‘she selects wood and flax and works with eager hands’ [Verse 13].

She even ‘sees that her trading is profitable and her lamp does not go out at night’ [Verse 18]. Does staying up late playing on eBay count? No? Didn’t think so.

Even worse, while Solomon’s paragon of virtue ‘gets up while it is still dark’ [Verse 15], I usually have to be dug out from beneath the covers once the sky lightens, and I’m an epic failure when it comes to not eating ‘the bread of idleness’. Give me a mug of coffee and a Google Reader full of blog posts and I can waste time with the best of ‘em.

Worth far more than rubies? Not this little black duck Eye rolling smile 

Yet look what my darling husband gave me to mark our 40th (Ruby) wedding anniversary today – a golden Pandora bead with three rubies.




After a small dinner with good friends at Di B’s home last night we’re enjoying a home-cooked lamb roast-for-two tonight, cooked by aforesaid hubby, and contemplating God’s amazing grace in keeping us together for 40 years.


For my part I’m also grateful to my wonderful husband for his amazing grace in loving me over all these years.