Friday, 30 October 2009

Day 59

It has been a bad week for computers. We've had Optus out three times for the Internet, as mentioned before, then last night the computer programme that runs the switchboard at work wouldn't function and I spent two and a half hours logging back on every sixty seconds. It was like Chinese water torture. Now I've had trouble logging onto my blog because hubby had changed the pasword without knowing he'd affected my blog. All sorted now. Phew.

Beautiful pussy cat. Has to go to the vet again tomorrow morning for the third visit in a week. She's had a rough time of it - and has a few teeth less than this time last week. Eating must be horrible for her. We love her SO much.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Day 58

Another rant at Optus! I haven't been able to get onto the internet for two days, not because of my computer, but because the Optus equipment wasn't working. Hopefully it is all fixed now - we have had 6 visits from Optus in the last two weeks, and I'm over it!
How do you like my fabrics? These were purchased on Tuesday morning when I had a lot of fun picking out my rainbow. In my mind the Korowa quilt was always going to be in Jinny Beyer fabrics and that's exactly what I bought. I love the colours in her palette and feel compelled to run my hand across the bolts when I'm looking at them all on the shelf. Bliss.
Now to start cutting them. Oooh, the anticipation.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Day 56

A new project! Doesn't every crafter love a new project?
I attended Korowa Church of England Girls' Grammar School (now Korowa Anglican Girls' School) in Melbourne. I loved my seven years there. Next year the school will be celebrating its 120th anniversary and as part of the celebrations they are having a quilt challenge. The challenge part is to include a piece of summer unform fabric in the quilt - from any era. Naturally I chose the fabric from my era, the 1970s. The quilt also needs to be pertinent to the school in some way.

For several days I deliberated over the design before coming up with a perfect solution. In 1980 when I was in Form 6 (Year 12) we were all prefects and we were given the privilege of a common room where we could chill out, study, drink coffee (and some illicit activities as well I suppose). Every year level would contribute something to the improvement of the common room. We felt the room was drab and needed brightening so as true children of the '70s we decided to paint a mural on the large blank grey wall at one end. A competition was devised to find a design. Naturally I entered. My design was chosen to go on the wall. A friend of mine had a father who worked for Dulux and he generously donated the paints we needed and with a lot of hard work by a few good people the wall was painted. It looked great. Sadly, a few years later the building was extended to provide more facilities for the students and the mural was knocked down.
So what better idea than to recreate the mural as a quilt in memory of the short time it was there as part of the school. From a small 10cm square photo of the incomplete mural I drew up the pattern. First I had to stick several large pieces of paper together to create my blank canvas, about 57" square. My husband and daughter held string across the diagonal so that I could follow it with my ruler and draw in the straight lines to form the rainbow. Then it was simple to fill in the rest of the pattern. After the drawing was completed I cut it all into the various pattern pieces. Using these pieces I calculated how much fabric I needed and wrote up my shopping list. Don't you love fabric shopping lists!?
Shopping tomorrow. Wahoo.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Day 55

Need to have a rant at Optus!!! We have had technicians out 4 times in the last two weeks to fix Foxtel and the internet and they still do not work properly. My computer monitor now has an annoying hum and the screen flickers so badly I can't stand looking at it. So today's blog will be short (for me). Technology can be such a time waster.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Day 54

Have decided to go to Daylesford for a week in November to research my next novel. Some of you may be sorry to hear that the 'next novel' is not going to be for the Australian Challenge Quilt Series. This one is completely different and aimed more at the young adult sector. It will be much longer than the quilt novels. I am very excited about it but I'm not giving anything away about the plot just yet - other than it is obviously going to be set in Daylesford.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Day 53

Part of a special project I spent the day handsewing. I enjoy needleturn applique but I'm not fussed about embroidery. However, embroidery really does enhance the applique. Several more hours still required to finish the 6' strip. Perhaps I can reveal more next month.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Day 52

I'm joining the Blogtoberfest giveaway bonanza by offering one lucky winner a copy of each of my self published books - The Maria Challenge Quilt and The Elizabeth Challenge Quilt. To win the books you will need to leave a comment on my blog - that will earn you a ticket in the draw. To earn two more tickets, become a follower. If you are already a follower, tell me in your comment and you will also receive the extra two tickets. I will choose the winner out of a hat, the old fashioned way, on 31st October. Good luck and thanks for participating.
Here are the blurbs for the books:
The Maria Challenge Quilt
Patchwork and quilting is the common link between friends, Amelia, Catherine, Isabel and Ann. They meet fortnightly to sew, talk, share stories and ultimately support one another. Outwardly they lead balanced, happy lives, but some of them have secrets! At the first guild meeting for the year a guest speaker enthralls her audience with the poignant story of her convict ancestor, Mary Lewisham who was transported to Australia in 1818. This is an intriguing novel weaving threads of fact and fiction taking the reader on a fascinating journey from England in the nineteenth century to the present.

The Elizabeth Challenge Quilt
This is the second novel in the Australian Challenge Quilt Series. Four friends who share a love of patchwork and quilting continue the wonderful journey of life, challenged again by their Guild Committee to create a quilt following certain rules. This time their challenge comes out of the story of Australia's first lady, Elizabeth Macarthur and the birth of the wool industry. One of the women feels a deep connection with Elizabeth Macarthur, another is less involved and a new person is welcomed into their group, changing the dynamics forever. But Amelia is not happy about the newcomer.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Day 51

Yesterday I promised to share a few things from my bucket list. Here they are:
To live in England for a few years (to soak up the history)
Learn to fly a helicopter (wouldn't that be a hoot)
Drive in a drag race (wouldn't that be a rush)
Do a patchwork tour of the U.S.
Own a Mercedes
Learn to read faster (that would be very handy)
Improve my patchwork skills

What things are on your bucket list? If you haven't got a list, write one today; it is very inspiring. And once you have your list you can add to it any time you like. Then, after some time has passed, you can revisit your list and see what you have achieved. Today I've revisited my list so that I could share some of the above things with you, and I have noticed there are quite a few things I have already achieved. What a great feeling.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Half Way Through Counting

Day 50 has now passed and after 8 weeks of blogging every week day I hit a wall and stopped writing. Initially I tried to work out why but have now decided that it doesn't matter why I stopped writing then, it matters that I am writing now. It is time to remind myself why I was doing this in the first place.
I heard that new CEOs can do a 'course' of sorts whereby they learn how to best do their high-flying job. One of the ideas is to count the first 100 days in the job with the theory being that if you are going to achieve anything you'll begin it in those first 100 days. Taking that idea I thought it would be useful to do that myself in regards to my writing career. By writing every week day I become accountable. It works on the principle that I am always prepared to do things for others and less inclinded to do things for myself. By making this commitment online I feel unwilling to let readers down after having made a promise, so it compels me to blog. Furthermore, it spurs me to action instead of inaction, meaning that every day I do something towards my goal of being published by mainstream publishing and becoming a bestselling author.

This all started when I wrote my bucket list a few years ago. One of the things on the list was to write a bestselling novel. Well, I've written the novel (I've written 3) - now I need to make it a bestseller. Perhaps the next one I write will be a bestseller.

Tomorrow I'll tell you some more things that are on my bucket list. Perhaps you might like to write one of your own.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Day 47

I thought I'd work on some family history by going through old paperwork. From the filing cabinet I pulled out a couple of wills I had researched and copied way back in the very early days of my genealogy career, when I was about 20 years old. I painstakingly transcribed the shortest one, half a page long, and upon completion went to my genealogy program to make a note on that person's entry that I had a transcript of the will. He wasn't to be found. Half an hour of intense research later, using the Digger indexes, I determined that this particular bloke wasn't a relative at all !!! Joke's on me. ~ The upside - I can shred that piece of paper now.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Day 46

Am going through a real phase of 'cleaning out'. It's not simply because it is spring - and in spring I do tend to want to spring clean. This time it's different somehow. I feel a real change of directon in life and cleaning out old stuff that has been hanging around for a long time - years in fact - is proving very cathartic. Hopefully when the job is done I will be better able to focus on what I am doing. Already I've noticed that when I have completed something that has been hanging over my head for a while a weight seems to be lifted from me. For example, completing the Dahlia quilt. I had pieced the top 2 years ago and it had sat in the drawer waiting to be quilted all this time. Finally I took it to a machne quilter, paid $87 and got it done. Now I feel good about it. I am surprised at how weighty some things can be, and strangely you don't always notice it until it is resolved. Unfortunately, when I look around me I see dozens of incomplete projects or things that truly need to be discarded. Why am I hanging on to them? It will be interesting to see how ruthless I can be in the coming weeks.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Blue Giant Dahlia

Finished a UFO! What a great feeling. This giant dahlia pattern is by Michelle Yeo. Back in October/November 2007 I attended a class she taught for this quilt where I learned a number of things. It was the first patchwork class I have ever undertaken since taking up quiltmaking in 1995. Michelle is a lovely teacher and very caring and patient. She is also an amazing quilt designer and prolific quiltmaker. Her work can be seen on her website at where you can also buy the templates and pattern for the giant dahlia. I have made two dahlia's to date - the other one is a black dahlia, still to be quilted. Meanwhile I am going to enjoy my blue dahlia. Hope you do too.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Day 45

Stamps, stamps and more stamps. We took a large bag full of used stamps to the phillatelic shop and got $5 for them. Oh well - better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick. So we bought the latest stamp catalogue to help us with our sorting - it cost $20. Ha. Easy come, easy go.
I haven't done any sewing for a couple of days and really need to get to a particular piece I'm working on. Maybe at the weekend. I did manage some reading time to research the next book. The days go so quickly.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Day 44

It felt really good today to take 20 copies of The Elizabeth Challenge Quilt to Michelle's Sewing Basket in Ringwood. What a great order! Thanks Michelle. If anyone is after a copy of the second novel in the Australia Challenge Quilt series, then get yourself down to Michelle's Sewing Basket.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Day 43

DD and I thought we would continue our cleaning out and rationalising process by going through all the used stamps that had been sent our way by an aunt who has been collecting for many, many years. The pile turend into a modern-day version of the basket of loaves and fishes. No matter how long we sat there sorting through the stamps the bag continued to contain a mountain of stamps. The task was not finished before I had to head off to work so tomorrow will be spent finishing it off ... I hope.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Day 42

A day off. Lovely.

The temperature was low, the air crisp, the showers frequent, even hail a couple of times during the day. At one point I would swear it snowed momentarily before the hail came down. It was the perfect day for staying inside and that's what I did. Daughter and I spring cleaned our sewing baskets with plenty of moving along of unwanted items that are now ready to find new homes. Sometimes you just have to admit that you are never going to have time to try that 'other' craft that lookd so appealing a decade ago.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Day 41

I can't wait to write in my new handmade book. It was made specially by my daughter. She has made it from scratch - folded the paper into signatures, sewed the signatures together, made the cover and put end papers in. Actually it is not quite as simple as that sentence makes it but it gives you an idea. The cover is cotton fabric from my patchwork stash. I love the florentine scrolls. The cover is also slightly padded with some wadding.

I intend to use the book to record my patchwork quilts as I make them. The inside of the book is all blank pages which means I have the freedom to draw pictures and diagrams and write as I please. The plan is that this book will keep me from developing a pile of UFOs. How? I will write about the work in progress from beginning to end. A second work in progress can be written about by turning the book over and starting at the back - a double sided book. I will be unable to write about a third project until at least one of the first two have been completed. Good idea?

My daughter sells the books she makes. This is the first fabric covered one she has made (mum should always get the first of anything !) so I am encouraging her to consider the market available to her in patchworkers, or any other crafters who want to record their works. If you're interested then email me at

Monday, 5 October 2009


Yesterday was really a very big day for me. In the morning my family and I were running around picking up glassware, food, platters and doing last minute preparations for the book launch. In the afternoon the AGM was scheduled for the Genealogical Society of Victoria, of which I am a member. It had been suggested to me that I should go. But being in the middle of a very important day for me in regards to the book launch, I wasn't sure I'd be able to.

However, prompted by the President to make the effort, my gorgeous husband drove me into the city and dropped me off at Collins Street. The meeting was not very long, as it turned out. The highlight for me was the surprise I received on being awarded a Medal from the GSV for services to the society. This has been in recognition of the work I have done for the past ten years as sub-editor of Ancestor, the official magazine of the society. The editor, Lesle and I are both retiring at the end of the year, completing a full decade of dedication to the magazine and allowing someone else the opportunity to move the publication forward to even bigger and better things.

I have enjoyed working on the magazine and being a quiet, unseen volunteer to the society. Along the way I have also contributed articles to it. To be recognised by the society with this award has been more than I expected and I am truly grateful for it. Thank you, GSV.

Sunday, 4 October 2009


The Elizabeth Challenge Quilt, second title in the Australian Challenge Quilt series, was launched this evening. I was very happy to meet a number of other patchworkers with varying interests who came to support and help me launch my latest title. There was plenty of food, bright balloons filling the hall and happy chatter about all sorts of things.

A big thank you to Michelle Aitken and all her friends from Michelle's Sewing Basket who supported the event. There were other ladies I had met recently, or who were new to me on the night, my friend who encouraged me in the first place, and a couple of very dear friends from school. I am grateful for all of them. Thank you.

My talk was well received and questions were asked, indicating some interest. For that I am also grateful. The ladies showed interest in my small demonstration on how to cut striped fabric for hexagons and piece them together ensuring the stripes match, just like Elizabeth Macarthur did in her quilt. They took away a specially produced Glenvale Patchwork and Quilting Guild letterhead with the Elizabeth Challenge quilt rules.

Thanks also to all those who purchased a copy of the book. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Day 40

Figured I needed to relax the nerves as I worry about tomorrow being problem free, but in my heart I feel it is more likely to be stressful. Murphy has been such a constant companion these past three weeks - anything I touch has gone pear-shaped in one way or another. I'm really quite over it. So I thought I would try some sewing therapy and bind a quilt to have on display at the launch. It was the first time I had sat at my sewing machine for a long, long time. I cut out the fabric for the binding (picture - isn't it pretty) and sewed it into one long bias strip then pressed it in half. Pinning the binding on is recommended to ensure there are no joins at the corners where they would create too much bulk. I pinned around to corner #3 and had a join. This meant redoing it which I did by working backwards. I moved the fabric along a little to keep the join away from the corner, repinned all the way back to corner #1 - there was now a join at this corner! Third time lucky - I finally got it all pinned on and sewn all the way around. I needed to check a reference book to remind me how to join the ends with a mitre. This took three attempt as I kept getting it twisted around the wrong way. I finally got it right and with a sigh of relief I thought I was on the home stretch only to discover I had now pulled it too tight and the binding was not long enough for the final section. Sigh. It won't be on display. It has been put aside to come back to when I feel able to fix the mistake.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Day 39 + Blogtoberfest

What have I got myself into?

I've signed up for Blogtoberfest through Tinniegirl, who is a friend from my recent past, now gone off to find her creative self that was always there, and from what I read, doing a good job of it. The fest is about blogging every day during the month of October. I figured I had already committed to blogging every weekday anyway, hence the numbered days (see post Day 7 for a further explanation on why I'm counting days). Blogging at the weekends as well will not be much harder - or will it?

From a quick look around the sites of other participants they all seem to be the creative, sewing, arty types. Whilst I am a quiltmaker, and I do have creative ability, albeit supressed, my blogging is about the creative side of me as an author. I have been relating my journey as I write novels and self publish them, self-market and handle every aspect myself. At the same time I am attempting to have a children's novel published in mainstream. It is an interesting journey.

Today I was flat out driving here there and everywhere doing errands in preparation for my BOOK LAUNCH on Saturday night. Stay tuned for the results.

Day 38

I avoided contact with human beings as much as possible today. My 'happy' contacts yesterday had concluded with a code red at work (fire) and I was glad to reach the time for my cup of tea before going to bed. Actually the code red was quite funny in the end. Apparently someone was chasing a blow fly with a can of fly spray and gave the fire sensor a big blast of Mortein, enough to set off the fire alarm. Two fire trucks attended so the dead fly cost a couple of grand.

So today I had a quiet day at home attending to paperwork, processed orders for a couple more books, drew up a checklist for the book launch on Saturday and fitted in some sewing. I also managed some research reading. And it was a great day for a couple of loads of washing. It dried in no time.

There is nearly always something positive to find in the day.