Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Two books and a birthday

Books have always played a big part in the life of our family.  From youngest to oldest, we all enjoy turning the pages. Some of us also listen to audiobooks, one edits bestsellers, another is the head book buyer for a national chain.

And now we have not one, but two published authors! 


A couple of weeks ago I attended the Sydney launch of Wish You Were Here, a seriously entertaining memoir by my talented sister-in-law, Sheridan Jobbins

Sheri has been writing for many years, first as a journalist and then as a filmmaker and scriptwriter, but with this book she's turned the spotlight on herself, taken a period when life threw some hefty lemons her way, and made delicious lemonade. 

Basically, after her first husband broke her heart, she broke some china before running off to America to find herself, on a road trip across the country in a red Chevy Camaro. Of course I know the ending, but I'm still enjoying being taken along for the ride as I read this positive, life-affirming and insightful 'rom-com'.

A few days later we celebrated my mother-in-law Joy Jobbins' 90th birthday with another book launch - Life at the Palace.


On her 80th birthday Joy, Sheridan's mother, had published Shoestring, a memoir of her experiences as a working mother of five, 'tycooning' as an advertising executive in the male-dominated fashion and wool industry of the 1950s, while living 'on a shoestring' in the rural bohemia of Eltham, Victoria.  

Life at the Palace, A Necklace of Anecdotes, is the second of a trilogy she has planned, this time set in Sydney's Elizabeth Bay in the 60s and 70s, where the family found themselves living (for a peppercorn rent) in Berthong, an enormous harbour-side mansion that could not have been more different from Shoestring. 

The cast of colourful characters who lived there, or visited (I was one!), along with Joy's wider professional encounters with the likes of Prince Phillip, Pierre Cardin and Patrick, Earl of Lichfield, makes for an entertaining romp with a touch of the bittersweet, periodically 'interrupted' by other members of the family for a tiny reality check.

 Along with the book launch it was a wonderful afternoon of celebration and dancing, which of course included Joy's theme song "Fly me to the Moon".

Joy's another positive woman who knows exactly what to do with the lemons life gives her. Margaritas, anyone?

* * * * * * * *

Wish You Were Here, by Sheridan Jobbins, is available at all good bookshops in Australia, as well as online through Amazon and Book Depository if you are overseas.

Life at the Palace (A Necklace of Anecdotes), by Joy Jobbins, is available in Australia here

Friday, September 15, 2017

Let's get blogging again!

I'm truly sorry for the "radio silence" here over recent months. If you follow me on Instagram (@darlingdi) you'll know I'm still alive and quilting, taking photos, working and spending time with family, friends and my gorgeous labrador, Chester (@chesterthewonderlab). 

If not, I hope I can fill in the gaps for you soon, as I break into a rather breathless and ungainly run in an effort to catch up.

If there's one thing guaranteed to spur me into blogging, it's the opportunity to praise my friends, in this case all the wonderful quilters, past and present, who have been part of St Mark's Quilters. 

Last week marked a rather special anniversary for us. 

It was eight years since the Sunday when did something very unusual for me! I stood up in our church (eek!) and announced to a full congregation, consisting of exactly two quilters (myself and Di B), that we were about to hold a Stitchin' Mission, five weeks of beginner quilt making classes, to be taught by my friend Linda Hungerford

You can read the background here . 

Di B and I (Team Di) had each made sample quilts in the weeks leading up to that Sunday reveal, and had them on display, with a clip board on hand to sign up those keen to be part of our venture.

Something amazing happened!

Two dozen eager beginner quilt makers came forward to learn to make a quilt for the children enrolling at the brand new KU Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre (these days known as "The Marcia"), many experienced quilters offered to be helpers in the classes, and several other friends made quilts to the specifications required, to add to the number.

Heatwave conditions on the last day of class did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of these generous-hearted ladies, seen here with the results of their work. 

Linda's infectious enthusiasm had made the 5 week course so much fun that quite a few wanted to continue, and so St Mark's Quilters was born.

Over the intervening years a few quilters have come and gone, but we've retained a core bunch of around 12 to 15 ladies who come from near and far to stitch and share friendships on the second Saturday of the month from Feb to November.

We've broadened our vision and now also make tiny Blankets of Love and humidicrib covers for Royal Prince Alfred Hospital's Newborn Intensive Care Unit.

If you have a little time, you might be interested in clicking on the Pages tabs to see some of the creations of our little group, an estimated 800+ quilts (not all photographed). Not bad for a group that grew from almost nothing!

Di B and I are thankful for Linda's initial boost and teaching, and proud to be part of this diverse but passionate group, whose ages from youngest to oldest range over 60 years.

Before I leave you (but not for long!) I'd like to show you my latest quilt finish for The Marcia. 

I can't claim to have pieced the quilt top, having found it as an "orphan" languishing in our SMQ stash, but it made me smile with the clever fabric choices someone made, and deserved to be finally finished.
I quilted it (in the ditch) and bound it, and here it is, proving that a quilt doesn't have to be complicated to become a potential treasure for a little child.
We don't usually give our community quilts a name, but I thought I'd make an exception this time and call it "Frogs Just Want to Have Fun". 

(Apologies for the Cyndi Lauper ear worm that will probably stay with you all day!)