Sunday, February 19, 2017

Threads of friendship

Of all the amazing experiences I've enjoyed during my first week in The Villages, meeting a whole bunch of Florida quilters at two separate events has to be the highlight.

I was invited to give a presentation to the Central Florida Modern Quilt Guild on Monday evening, and the ladies couldn't have been lovelier to me. At the end of my "Meanderings of a (Moderately) Modern Quilter" their President, Karen, thanked me with this cute Pixie Basket of threads in really useful shades. 

 

Unfortunately the app I'm using to blog on the move on my DiPhone doesn't allow me to embed links, but if you'd like to make one of these for yourself you'll find the free tutorial here -http://fabricmutt.blogspot.com/2016/02/the-pixie-basket-tutorial.html?m=1 

I didn't take many photos on the night, but you can see how talented they are from their special Show and Tell of modern mini quilts.


I'd seen Karen's Metro Area quilt top (from Elizabeth Hartman's book, Patchwork City) on Linda's blog (www.flourishingpalms.blogspot.com) last year, so it was a treat to see it all quilted and finished.

 

You can read a full report of the meeting (with more photos) here - http://centralfloridamqg.blogspot.com/2017/02/feb-meeting-pre-quiltcon.html?m=1

The following day I gave the same PowerPoint presentation and virtual trunk show at Big Cypress Quilters.

Great fun followed, as I showed how to make my favourite cathedral windows style pin cushion, while Linda acted as my 'stunt quilter' doing the machining on her Bernina in between my demonstrating the steps.

 

I loved Mary Lou's enthusiasm!

 

There was Show and Tell here too, and I couldn't help but be amazed at these stunning Quilts of Valor, made for veteran servicemen.

 

You may like to read Linda's latest blog post for her perspective on the same events - http://flourishingpalms.blogspot.com/2017/02/jam-packed-week.html?m=1

I'm so blessed to have met quilters around the world, and to have made firm friendships with some, initially through our common interest in quilting, but often finding we have much more in common, as Linda and I do. 

It's been a huge step for me to travel across the world on my own, and I've been touched by the hours she's spent, leading up to my arrival, making sure my days are jam-packed with incredibly exciting adventures, sights and experiences.

You can imagine how welcome I felt, then, to be greeted with a little group of gifts on my arrival - a Dunkin' Donuts Florida mug, a portable lamp to help my stitching, some quilt patterned pencils, and this beautiful Essential Wristlet (pattern by Dog Under My Desk) and Fabio Zipper Key Fob (by Lazy Girl Designs), the last two, of course, made by Linda.

 

That PINK and yellow fabric will always remind me of my holiday and the Florida sunshine we've been enjoying!  ☀️

Friday, February 17, 2017

The time of my life!

 

Sunrise on Monday found us here, at this beautiful nature reserve, looking to spot an alligator in the wild. The wildlife was plentiful, and noisy. Sandhill cranes, ducks and frogs provided a dawn chorus as Linda and I scanned the glassy lake for tell-tale ripple. In the end a v shaped ripple and a couple of head bumps were all we spotted, but I'm hoping there will be better 'gator sightings elsewhere (at a safe distance!).

I'm told we might even see them in the water at Sumter Landing, where the Villagers gather in the evenings for live bands and line dancing beside a picture-perfect lake with artfully placed row boats that never go anywhere. Such a pretty place!

 
 
 
I've had some delicious meals here, including authentic southern barbecued pork with corn fritters, a delectable strawberry and beets salad with goats cheese and almonds, and Mexican quesadillas. The very best, though has been Linda's husband, Dan's home made pizza on a base he makes from his own recipe. Cheese, sausage, mushrooms, peppers, onions, black olives ... oh my! Accompanied by a cold glass of Arnold Palmer iced tea and Jack Daniels, it's a wickedly indulgent treat.

 
Ive also been introduced to the delights of key lime pie.  
 
In case you think I'm on the slippery slope to carrying home 'excess baggage' ... I've taken up line dancing! Well, at least I survived my one hour Ultra Beginner class.
 

As you can see, I'm doing the 'full emersion' experience here at The Villages. More to come!
 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

It's another beautiful day...

 
... in The Villages, Central Florida, where I'm enjoying the generous hospitality of my friend, Linda Hungerford (http://flourishingpalms.blogspot.com) and her husband, Dan. 

 
This truly is a picture-perfect part of the world, where the artifice of the built environment, combined with the genuine warmth of The Villages residents, has had me pinching myself with excitement since I arrived here on Friday night after a 30 hour journey. 
 
We were out early on Saturday morning shopping for fruit and veggies at the markets in the Wild West themed village square of Brownwood, and saying 'Howdy' to the locals. 
  
 
Stepping into the Sales office for this part of The Villages is like stepping right into a Western movie, with authentic decor including armchairs upholstered in alligator skin, distressed leather couches, steer heads on the wall and Tiffany glass ceilings.
 

 

 
The entrance to Brownwood is guarded by magnificent bronze cattle.
  

 
And look who I found! A bronze pup looking so much like Chester that I had to give him a hug.

 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

In between

This post comes to you from the darkened cabin of a Qantas 380 Airbus high above Western Samoa. Finally I have time to exhale, count my blessings, and catch up on some sleep!

 

I'm one finger typing on my DiPhone, on my way to Savannah, Georgia, and  Quiltcon East, via Florida where I'm excited to be meeting up with Linda Hungerford (Flourishing Palms) for some adventures. 

It's a strange feeling, after dreaming of making this trip for so long, and I can't believe I'll be landing in LA in just a few hours.

 

My Quiltcon entry, Levitation Fascination, wasn't one of the 400 or so modern quilts accepted into the show, but I'm OK with that since the standard was very high. It's already won me a rosette for Viewers' Choice at the Modern Quilt Show Australia last November, and I hope I can enter it in a few more shows yet.

Isn't that the cutest rosette you've ever seen? I'm looking forward to spending my prize, a $50 gift voucher from My Sewing Supplies, when I get back home.
 
 

There will still be thrills ahead for us, and a potential prize winner, since one of Linda's three Quiltcon entries was selected for inclusion. Yay!

Also on our itinerary after Quiltcon is AQS Quilt Week at Daytona Beach, Florida. This time I'm extremely happy to tell you my other rosette winner from last year, Out of the Square, has been juried into the show, along with several others from Aussie quilters. There will certainly be plenty of quilty eye candy for this shutterbug to photograph, so watch this space!

 
Those fabulous rainbow shades are all from Karen Lewis' Blueberry Park range, and I love how they worked together.

 

Out of the Square won the award at the Sydney Quilt Show for Best Modern Interpretation of a Traditional Quilt, sponsored by Melinda Smith of Quiltsmith, and I've already spent some of my $500 worth of gift vouchers on those glorious solids I used in Levitation Fascination. 

As an aside, the wool batting I used in Out of the Square was Nu-Wool,  of my Sydney Quilt Show prizes for Taking Liberties, my 3rd placed wall quilt from the year before. One quilt's rewards contributing to the creation of another - I love that! 

If you're not a follower of my posts on Instagram you'll be reading most of this news of last year's awards for the first time. I certainly had some catching up to do! 

For a litttle fun, here's a computer-generated pattern from www.makelight.com showing the colours I used in the quilts I posted on Instagram throughout the year.
You're probably surprised at the amount of yellow, but I'm finding myself adding a little (or a lot!) of this sunny colour to most of my quilts these days.
 
At the same time I'm looking forward, hoping for a year of creative satisfaction - not necessarily involving awards!

How's this for creative satisfaction: my baby granddaughter, Princess 2, joyfully tossing around some of my pretty fabrics. I hope to make a quilter of her one day.
 
 

Last year I chose JOY as my Word for the Year. It didn't go too well. In my humble opinion, joy is something that has to be sought. It's there to be found, if we only approach what happens to us with the right attitude, and I confess I fell into the trap of negativity far too often last year.

So I'm once again making JOY my Word for the Year. Yes, I'm giving it another go, because it's worth finding.