Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April Photo a Day Digest 3

Day 16 - Your favourite colour

Day 16 – Your favourite colour

No surprises here! Cyclamen-colored cyclamens.

Day 17 - Busy

Day 17 – Busy

The builders have been busy in this room today.

Day 18 - Hello!

Day 18 – Hello!

I found this 16 year old issue of “Hello!” magazine with an illustrated article on Michael Hutchence’s funeral at St Andrew’s Cathedral here in Sydney. As Dean of Sydney at the time, Boak took the service and preached the sermon. He was criticised by some, but countered by stating that nobody was perfect and he only ever buried sinners. Shades of “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”.

Day 19 - Button

Day 19 – Button

Pressing this button beside my fireplace formerly summoned a servant, but they always seem to be off duty whenever I try.

Day 20 - On your mind

Day 20 – On your mind

For the whole weekend I relaxed and had nothing more on my mind than sewing and enjoying the company of these good quilting friends.

Day 21 - Fire

Day 21 – Fire

Does fire prevention count?

Day 22 - Blurry

Day 22 – Blurry

A Manly ferry struggling to stay upright in the weekend’s high seas and stiff winds. I took the photo from the other side of Sydney Harbour, and I think the blurriness actually suggests the rough weather conditions.

Red rose Di

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Weekend Making a Stable Bag = A recipe for restoring one’s equilibrium

Take nine delightful quilters (Sue’s missing from the photo).IMG_3588

A gracious hostess, Margaret, content to sit and sew hexagons and keep Matilda and Chester happy.


Two whole days at Di B’s cosy harbourside home, taking over her sitting room.


A little bit of silliness (of course!)


And the opportunity to sew a Stable Bag - a project that’s been on all our Bucket Lists for ages – while having our hands held by a friend who’s already made several herself.IMG_1813

It was too good to pass up!  It’s been ages since I’ve had a needle and thread in my hands and I tend to get a little twitchy if I go too long without stitching. Do you?


You’ll see versions of this nifty bag everywhere on the internet, including this jazzy one here, but while everybody loves the design it’s had the (deserved) reputation of being a notoriously challenging pattern to make up.

Daphne showed us how to make a version with outside pockets using a Cathedral Window-type fold-down edging, something I haven’t seen elsewhere.


Our feature panels couldn’t have been more varied, but every single one was such a beauty. Janet’s panel (above) has been in her cupboard for many years just waiting for that special project to come along.


Don’t you agree, Pam’s golden oriental fabric looks fabulous edged in bright red?


Here’s Desley’s, teamed with a rich burgundy co-ordinating fabric.


Glenda was our first finisher.


Then Gillian (above). And then Di B (below).


Mine was just a little different because I chose to use strips from my selvage box to create my feature panel. I really like it Be right back.


By the afternoon of day two we were able to line up our bags for this photo, and feel mighty pleased with our results.


After two days by Sydney Harbour in the company of cheerful ladies, stitching my selvage-style Stable Bag, I confess I’m feeling much more stable myself Winking smile.

Thank you, Di, Margaret (and Matilda) for hosting this wonderful weekend.

Red rose Di

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Among my souvenirs {A Year Quilt}


Moving house is always hard work, but doing it during the first year after losing a loved one is heartbreaking, something my husband always counseled grieving widows never to do. Most painful of all, though, has been packing up my possessions with renovations happening all around, filling every inch of the house with dust, din and fumes.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not complaining. I had a choice, and consenting to this necessary work was a way for me to show my gratitude to St Mark’s for the extra time I’ve been allowed to stay on in a house where I’ve felt hugged and secure, and still so close to Boak.IMG_3477

With every spare moment I slowly sift through four decades of married life, eleven years in this beautiful stone house, and generations of family history, childhood memorabilia and photos. I have wonderful friends who have offered to help but I’m doing this part on my own because, well, I’m basically the only one who can decide what to keep and what to donate, toss or sell on eBay. Only when I’ve culled can I wrap and pack the rest in the waiting boxes.

I won’t pretend. Some days I host my own pity party for one and wonder how I’m ever going to keep trudging up this mountain. Other days I look at the removal boxes I’ve filled and feel encouraged at what I’ve managed to achieve with those small, staggering steps.

Occasionally I come across a treasure, not a real treasure but something special to me, like a quilt, and I want to turn to someone and say “Look at this!” Chester always tries to look interested, the dear boy, but sometimes I get the feeling he’s thinking “Not another quilt!”


So I thought I’d share a few of these with you, my readers, beginning today with my 2003 Year Quilt.

A year quilt, in case the concept is new to you, is basically a record, in fabrics, of any particular year in your life. You add a piece a day, or a week, to your chosen design, and over the course of the year it grows, often in a gloriously random and colourful manner, into a lasting collage of the good, bad, and sometimes downright ugly things that have happened.

At the beginning of 2003 I joined an online group, a spin-off of Southern Cross Quilters, co-ordinated by Blue Mountains quilter Ruth Buchanan, and decided that my quilt would be a bookshelf to which I would applique a book a day.

At the end of each month I simply added an upright divider to my bookshelf, then started again on the other side of the divider with the first day of the following month.


My books were placed in stacks, upright, sloped, or leaning against others in higgledy piggledy fashion, and just for fun I added pieces of china and even a cat sitting on the shelf. Each book only needed a tiny scrap of fabric and Ruth organised swaps of 6 inch squares among the quilters so It wasn’t too difficult to have the right fabric on hand for each day.

Here are just a few of the events, and the “books” I added to my shelf. Some were of national importance, like our first troop ships leaving to fight in Iraq.


Others were cause for celebration within our own family, such as Boak being awarded the Order of Australia in June. We celebrated with lunch at our local sailing club, thus the sailing boat.


The Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir, has been a wonderful support to us, both at St Andrew’s Cathedral when Boak was the Dean of Sydney, and here at St Mark’s. Choosing a fabric to go with this the evening she and her husband, Sir Nicholas Shehadie came to dinner was easy. He’s a former international rugby player for Australia. Thus the football.


This elephant was perfect for the dinner my animal geneticist daughter Sarah attended where she was introduced to Sir David Attenborough.


My sister-in-law Sheridan married the love of her life in a hot air balloon over Alice Springs, and we were there in the basket for the ceremony. Lucky I had some balloon fabric!


I was particularly pleased with myself the day I had my ‘flu vaccination and found this scrap in my stash. Ouch!


Even on a very ordinary day I took the view that nothing was too mundane to be included – even the weather Umbrella


Using the quilt-as-you-go method meant that once I had added by final book on 31st December 2003 I was almost finished, and not long after Boak hung it in our entrance hall where it’s been ever since. I took it down a few weeks ago, gave it a good wash and now it’s safely packed away in its box, along with many more memories.


Memories are so precious, aren’t they.

Red rose Di

Monday, April 22, 2013

April Photo a Day Digest 2


Day 9 – Tiny


Day 10 – A place

The wondrously carved façade of the Treasury at Petra.

I’ve been there three times and I never fail to gasp at the first sight of it through a jagged opening in the gorge as I approach down the ancient Siq.

Ah, the memories!


Day 11 – Detail

The detail of a small part of my temporary plumbing arrangements while the renovations are taking place.


Day 12 – In the Middle

Photo taken on Easter Day of my beautiful mother between her two daughters.

Look who has the most grey hairSurprised smile


Day 13 – The view from your bed

Chester sleeps on his bed (with his own quilt) right across the room from me.

Sometimes I think he sleeps with one eye open because he always comes over to check on me if I wake.


Day 14 – Water

By the Sea of Galilee last year, with rain clouds brewing.


Day 15 – Alone

Dinner for one.

Red rose Di

Friday, April 19, 2013

April Photo a Day Digest 1


Day 2 – Blue

Torrential rain this morning for my walk with Chester left my blue jeans soaked through, and a demarcation below where my rain jacket finished.


Day 3 – Something beginning with A

My very favourite photo of the Princess in her school uniform.


Day 4 – This happened today

The tilers started to work on one of the bathrooms.


Day 5 – Something good

Chester was endlessly patient when Mr J wanted to take him for a walk in the garden.


Day 6 - Air


Day 7 – Dreamy

On our wedding day in 1972 I thought my dress was simply “dreamy”. On another level, we had so many hopes and dreams as we began our married life together.


Day 8 – On my plate

Delicious pasta dish made by a kind and generous friend who dropped it in to me as a lovely surprise.