Monday, October 28, 2013

Seven crowded days make one weak


Hear that? It's the sound of this weary Mumma, and Chester the Wonderlab, catching up on some much-needed sleep after the frenetic pace of Sarah's final week here.

After 2 and a half weeks filled with retail therapy, attending to travel-related admin, catching up with friends (hers and mine), enjoying plenty of niece and nephew cuddles with The Princess and Mr J, embarrassing Chester by entering him in a Dogtober fancy dress competition dressed as a fairy followed by a late night mercy dash to the emergency vet with our precious pup very sick with Kennel Cough, and savouring the all-too-few moments of just hanging out together, the pace was ramped up a notch (if that's possible) with the arrival, on my birthday, of Nolan, Sarah's …um… Significant Other.

For seven days we lurched from one sumptuous meal to another, as we tried to give Nolan, a first-time visitor to Australia, the ultimate Sydney experience.

Lunch with Sarah's godmother, Liccy, at the Tea Rooms at Watsons Bay
Breakfast at The Grounds at Alexandria

Dinner at the Night Noodle Markets in Hyde Park
Nolan even cooked us a candlelight dinner at home one evening. Yummmmm.
We kept on the move too, with the young ones taking part in the Spring Bike Ride across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and around the sights of Sydney, and outings to Centennial Park and Bondi Beach..

On their final day, along with Lachy and Merry and Mr J, we took the ferry across the harbour to Taronga Park Zoo where I momentarily lost them among the meerkats :-)

 It was a delight to share Mr J's excitement and sense of wonder at the tall giraffes,

The elephants,

And the performing seals.

Chester's recovered from his Kennel Cough, though the poor boy is finding it had to understand why he has to be quarantined and can't play with his friends in the park yet. (Three days to go!)

These two have gone home to the States.

 And I've {almost} recovered from a tumultuous roller coaster of a month during which my blog posting and reading has been far more hit-and-miss than I would have liked.

My apologies. Normal transmission will be resumed very soon, dear reader.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lindi made my day, and a scarf

Recently Lindi sent me a special gift in the mail, a strippy patchwork scarf that she had made for me in my very favourite colours! It’s about 8 inches wide and 6 feet long, and backed with snuggly flannelette. I can’t wait to wear it next winter because it will match simply everything in my wardrobeBe right back and make me feel very loved.


She also included some of my favourite chocolates (for ‘medicinal’ purposes, of course) and a little something for young Chester. How thoughtful! Lindi’s just that kind of gal.


Thank you, dear Lindi!

It wasn’t my birthday (though it is today Winking smile), and I had done nothing to deserve my presents.

It was a Pay it Forward gift, and came with certain conditions.

So here’s how Pay it Forward works……

In gratitude for Lindi’s kindness I’m passing on the goodness and offering to make 5 people a handmade gift.

I’m allowed a year in which to make these gifts.

If you’d like to be on the receiving end all you need to do is leave me a comment here on my blog letting me know.

Please include your email address if you’re a “No reply” blogger as I must have some way of getting back to you to confirm if you’re one of the lucky five. Don’t worry, your comments will go directly to my inbox and I won’t be publishing comments for this post, so your private details will remain with me.

However… you must be prepared to Pay it Forward once you receive your gift.

You should, in turn, offer (through your blog or on Facebook) to make 5 people a handmade gift over the next year. Please don’t put your hand up unless you are prepared to make the time to do this.

I am happy to post overseas too.

So, wave your hand if you’re up for it Rolling on the floor laughing

Red roseDi

Laurel’s Stars - One quilt, so many different approaches

As you know already, my friends and I are working away on several quilt patterns by delightful Blue Mountains quilt teacher and designer, Lynne Alchin.

IMG_1623We fell in love with Lynne’s Laurel’s Stars pattern when we saw Anne’s interpretation (above) of this exquisite applique quilt, and I can’t tell you how excited we were when Lynne agreed to travel down to us at Paddington Patchworkers to teach us this and another pattern, Princess Plenty.

It never ceases to fascinate me how a single quilt pattern can inspire so many amazing variations, and I’m loving every one of these.

This is Lynne’s own softly interpreted Laurel’s Stars quilt.


Di B has machine appliqueed  her leaves in a stronger green, and done something sneaky (of course!). She has fussy cut her star shapes in a single piece instead of paper piecing them, as in the pattern instructions. This meant she could preserve the charming floral posies in the centre of each one. Good thinking Smile


Sue has added even more drama with strongly contrasting swags around a meticulously fussy cut star inside the inner circle.


Janet’s is gentler and more muted, with lots of interest from fussy cutting too. Just look at those swags!


A variety of greens adds liveliness and interest to Rae’s leafy wreath, and that warm red in the star and swags is one of her signature colours.


You’ve seen this one previously, but I couldn’t resist adding Desley’s vintage-look scrappy version to the gallery.


It’s going to be fun watching – and sharing – their progress.

Red roseDi

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sharing the love

With Margie Flint, from ‘The Marcia’, due to pop in at lunchtime yesterday to collect the latest batch of kindy quilts by St Mark’s Quilters there were plenty of heads down as busy fingers stitched bindings, sewed labels on, and even planned and started new quilts.

St Mark's Quilters October 20131

I’m delighted to tell you that we sent off a total of 45 cot-sized quilts with Margie and her husband, Terry, leaving them just enough room to squeeze into their carBe right back.


Every little boy or girl who enrols at the KU Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre (aka ‘The Marcia’) receives a quilt made by a St Mark’s Quilter. This is a quilt for keeps, to be loved and used in whatever way they choose.

It’s like a big hug from us.

We don’t expect thanks, but yesterday Margie brought us two special surprises.


A touching Thank You card from the staff, with accompanying photos (which, for privacy reasons I can’t share with you) of some of the children with their quilts and even smiling shyly. Yes, smiling!




To see these beautiful autistic children looking so happy is incredibly heartwarming, and we’ll keep and treasure this card.

The other gift - an impressively boxed carrot cake! - was equally appreciated, but quickly disappeared as everyone enjoyed a slice.  Margie even brought pretty plates, and paper napkins resembling pieced nine-patch blocks.IMG_6764


Thank you very much, Margie and the KU ladies. We’ll work for cake any timeWinking smile.

Red roseDi

Hands up if you love quilting!

It’s a bit of a no-brainer for St Mark’s Quilters who turned up for our monthly workshop laden, as usual, with colourful finished quilts as well as exciting works-in-progress.


Perdita brought along these two gorgeous Blankets of Love to add to our collection for sick bubs in RPA Newborn Care, or for the grieving parents of those who bub passes away during or soon after birth.


They show that a quilt doesn’t have to be complex to be beautiful. Half square triangles in rainbow colours (above) are just … happy! And the strippy quilt-as-you-go squares in her other quilt (below) created from scraps within a single colour family, have instant appeal.


Gillian made the most of a great find – dinosaur fabric! – for the quilts she made for little ones at the KU Marcia Burgess kindy for autistic children.


So many colours in the dinosaurs meant she could create two quite different  quilts. I like the way she’s picked up the reds, limes, oranges and blues for the quilt above, and then created a completely different look for the quilt below by choosing to emphasize the aqua and lime.


Just by using large strips from a Maisie Mouse panel, each with a pieced square at the end, and then reversing and staggering the strips, Barb has made a kindy quilt that a little person will treasure.


Even easier was this train panel that Barb’s finished off with overall stippling. For the border she sewed strips of blue, red and gold together then cross-cut to create the pieced border. It really zips up the quilt, doesn’t it.


Cath’s lucky enough to have a longarm quilting machine at home, so she used it to quilt this kindy quilt with a pattern resembling the wind blowing, just perfect for the sailing boats in the feature squares.


Margaret finished off the binding on this Blanket of Love, made from a pastel bunny panel, that someone had abandoned and left in the box. But that’s OK, we encourage tag-team quiltmaking here at St Mark’s Quilters.


Gail had a deep sea theme going on in this one.


Helen carried the seaside theme with her today too. Look at her sparkly earrings, necklaces and rings.

St Mark's Quilters October 2013 Helen

Helen doesn’t own a sewing machine so she makes her quilts by hand. Today she started a sweet Blanket of Love where she’s hand appliqueeing, in a freeform fashion,  some hexagon flowers that she’s made, onto soft white waffle weave fabric.


Amanda showed us her finished kindy quilt top that she was working on last time. The next step will be sandwiching and quilting it, once our order of batting arrives. That pink outer border looks delicious – a real gelato quilt!


You might also recognise this slow-burner that Sue’s been working on for some time now, a hand English paper pieced Baby’s Blocks Blanket of Love in pale blue and the softest buttery yellow. It’s been a real labour of love and today Sue finally sandwiched it ready for quilting.


So much creativity and fun!

…and a special visitor who I’ll tell you about next time Smile

Red roseDi