Sunday, 18 December 2011

The Building that Brought me to Tears

Bonython Hall - part of the University of Adelaide.
As we approached this building, when on holiday there last month, I became excited at its Gothic style, my favourite style of architecture. I began snapping away with my new camera. We came to the steps and the great doors were open, inviting us in. There was no hesitation as I entered the building and lifted my head to take in the magnificence of the ceiling, the decoration, the flying arches, the heraldry and all the space about me. My eyes welled with tears of joy at its beauty.
A small group of people were gathered at the far end of the hall. They began to disperse. A woman headed towards us and said she would have to lock the door now. I asked if we were not supposed to be in there, and she kindly said it was okay (one of those times when having grey hair and looking like a little old lady when you're not, actually works to my advantage). She allowed us to take whatever photos we wanted before leaving.
That was a day in which we were truly blessed, to have come to that building, the one building on North Terrace I really wanted to see inside, and the door was open for us.
(And if I cry at an Australian Gothic building of the 19th century, I'll need more than a box of tissues when I go to England!!)

Monday, 12 December 2011

Beautiful Hahndorf

Hahndorf in South Australia is one of the most beautiful man-made spots I have been to. My husband and I fell in love with the place. While there I took some more 'artistic' photos with my new camera. Mind you, I took over 650 photos in 10 days, so here are just a few taken around Hahndorf -

Friday, 9 December 2011

South Australian talks

I haven't felt much like sharing with the world lately, plus I am busy writing, so my head is immersed in a very particular place at the moment. Still, it's high time I blogged and shared some photos. Above is me giving a talk to the lovely ladies of the Murray Bridge Library Group in South Australia last month. While holidaying there, I also spoke to Salisbury Stitchers (below), a group that meets in suburban Adelaide, and who specifically invited me along to their meeting.
Both groups were very warm and welcoming. I found South Australian to generally be friendlier and more relaxed than Melburnians. There is a lot to see and do in Adelaide and I look forward to going back again some day.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Next Amelia Challenge

I've been agonising over what to do with my "Etchings" (by 3 Sisters for Moda) layer cake for most of the day. Have finally worked it out. Now to do the maths.
(pre-approved by the cat though)

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Cupboard Cat

Kitty in the Expedit

Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Amelia Challenge Quilt sneak peak

I have been on my annual holiday, returning last Tuesday, and the last five days have flown past quicker than when I was away, yet I don't seem to have done as much. However, I have been working on my Amelia Challenge Quilt, pictured here, finished five minutes ago. Of course it still needs to be quilted and then I think it will be even more beautiful. It has a special name but you will have to wait until the book The Amelia Challenge Quilt comes out to find out what that is, and why. Meanwhile, I thought you might like a sneak peak.

Friday, 28 October 2011

And the Winner is ...

 In honour of remembrance day coming up on 11 November I put everyone's names into the hat - a genuine Aussie slouch hat.

 Hubby swished them around a bit and drew out the luck winner who is ...
Please email me with your snail mail address and I will get these in the post to you. []
Hopefully they will make good Xmas reading for you.
Thank you to all the lovely ladies who entered my little competition - even from the US! It was terrific to meet you and I hope we keep crossing each other's paths.
Happy Blogtoberfest

P.S. I finished the last redwork block today - phew!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Redwork Comic Relief ???

I forgot to blog yesterday. I was drowning in redwork!! As mentioned previously, I am on a deadline now, to finish my Amelia Challenge by the end of Saturday. So far I am on track, with most of my time spent stitching. ONE TO GO! Wahoo!!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

My own Amelia Challenge

The Amelia Challenge Quilt will be the 4th book in the Australian Challenge Quilt Series and I now have to admit to myself that I am struggling with my own Amelia challenge quilt. The design had 13 blocks with the redwork pattern you see in the photo and I have just finished number 10. I thought I was up to number 11 but alas, there are 3 still to do. Yesterday I decided I would have this quilt finished by the weekend in readiness for my trip to Adelaide to talk to some quilt groups there. Now I know my challenge will be mightier than originally thought. The blocks each take about 7 hours to do.
Deep breath. Here goes ...!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Australian Challenge Quilt books giveaway

Now it is my turn to give. To finish Blogtoberfest with a bang I am giving away a complete set of my Australian Challenge Quilt books. If you are a quiltmaker, you'll love these Australian flavoured novellas about friends who take up challenges set by their Patchwork and Quilting Guild. Woven into the storylines are different pieces of Australian patchwork history.
To win the set, please leave a comment on my blog. To get two entries into my giveaway, become a follower (or let me know that you already are). I will draw the winner on Friday 28 October.
Good luck.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Friday, 21 October 2011

Sewing Therapy

The rain has been falling gently, gently today, making it a perfect day for some sewing therapy. I finished covering a coat hanger, cut out a whole pile of hexagons from scraps from recent projects, made the binding for my Laura Ashley quilt from leftover charm squares, then finished off by playing with scraps from my newly begun New York Beauty. I even cleaned my sewing bench!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Rollercoaster of Life

Sometimes you just want the rollercoaster of life to stop and let you get off for a while.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

New York Beauty class

Spent most of today at Michelle's Sewing Basket doing my New York Beauty class with Lessa Siegele. She is a terrific tutor who is very helpful, and shares so much. I am learning anew the foundation piecing technique, but am specifically doing this workshop to learn how to better sew my curves. It is quite obvious in the photo that my curves are not smooth. Spent the evening cutting out in readiness for tomorrow.

Friday, 14 October 2011

A little rough patch

The last couple of days have been a little rough with news of my Uncle passing away, and less than 12 hours later learning that my friend in England lost her mother. Then a moron ran into the back of my car at the local shops, and to top it off my daughter had a car accident. She's fine but her little car looks rather sad. Darling hubby may, just may, be able to save it.
Meanwhile I've put up a cloudy photo that's as grey as we feel today. It is the Information Centre at Bendigo, once the General Post Office.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Farewell Uncle Doug

Margaret and Doug, 1972
my Uncle Doug, 1923 - 2011

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Stars and Sprigs

I'm afraid I couldn't help myself. I began a new project today, cutting out the white background fabric for my Stars and Sprigs quilt by Kim Mclean. The browns are to be turned into bias for stems and vines, and I decided to use my Moda Charisma charm squares for the centres of the star blocks. I bought the pattern at the Australasian Quilt Convention earlier in the year after admiring it for a while on Quiltsalott's blog. Check out her blog and her work - it will blow you away!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Preparing for a class

Today I spent a bit of time preparing for a class I am attending this coming weekend at Michelle's Sewing Basket. I am going to make a New York Beauty quilt under the guidance of Lessa Siegele using blue and white fabrics. I pulled out all these blues from my stash that were originally used in my Giant Dahlia (Michelle Yeo pattern) and purchased the white for the background. My plan: as I will be making a quilt purely to learn the technique, I may as well make it in colours my Mum likes and give it to her for Xmas. She loves my quilts =)
If you would like to see a photo of my blue Giant Dahlia go to my post in October 2009.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Vignettes from the Reign of Vickie

This is the book I have been reading recently, loaned by a friend who found it amongst her family's treasures. It was published in 1886 and reads like a newspaper of the time, telling stories many and varied. It describes the coronation of Queen Victoria, fighting in Afghanistan (yes, it was happening back then too), riots by the Chartists, and the death of Charles Dickens. A fascinating look at another time - another world.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Baby Jackets

The Registrar in Melbourne will shortly be required to register the addition of two new Australians, with those anticipated events expected by month's end. (Heehee - can you tell I'm reading a nineteenth century book!) Here is the result of the crochet I have been doing lately, with the yellow appearing in a previous post. I still have one more to make, which will be yellow with blue trim.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Tidying up the scraps - and a poor magpie

After finishing my quilt yesterday it was time to do a bit of tidying up in my sewing area. I had these little triangles left over from a previous quilt that have been sitting beside the sewing machine waiting to be turned into half square triangles.
Once sewn together they had to be trimmed to a uniform size - 1.5"  While I was doing this there was a huge hullabaloo outside. Some bird was making an incessant call that I took to be a young bird trying to get attention.  That last part was quite true but to my horror, upon investigation, I saw 4 magpies beating up on 1 young magpie. I do understand that magpies have a very strict order to their lives, and young ones must always be obedient to the parent, even in adulthood (why doesn't that work for humans??), but these birds were trying to kill the poor thing and no matter how hard he called, his mother nearby could do nothing but coo out to him. Even when he tried to fly away they chased him. They ended up in the backyard 2 doors away, and his screeching became muffled as they sat on his throat. My daughter went and split them up and eventually he found his way to a tree in our back yard where he licked his wounds - and he was quite beaten up. But he could fly.
After ensuring the young magpie was okay (for now at least) I returned to my half square triangles. There were 44 in total, now added to my stash of little squares to turn into an art quilt one day.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Laura Ashley windmill side 2

Hot off the sewing machine. This is the windmill side of my Laura Ashley quilt, completed a few minutes ago. Not all my windmills travel the same way - have you noticed? I like to put the unexpected into my quilts. Unfortunately I'll have to wait for my machine quilter to return from holiday and then fit my Laura Ashley quilt into her schedule, which means I won't have it truly completed for a while yet. But I'll show you when I do :)

Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Dreaded 'Unsewing'

The plan was to show you the completed second side of my Laura Ashley quilt. Unfortunately the best made plans do go awry, as you can see. I ended up displeased with my work and felt compelled to do some 'unsewing' to fix it. Hopefully tomorrow you will see the finished work. But now I have to go to my 'paid' job.

More of Bendigo

I forgot to post yesterday because my daughter was ill. She's not well today either but hopefully on the mend. Meanwhile, enjoy this photo of Sacred Heart Cathedral juxtaposed behind the old post box. I love the contrast. Interestingly, the post box may very well be older than the cathedral, which was not completed until the 1970s.
I'll post something crafty later today.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Church Architecture

St Johns Presbyterian Church, Bendigo
My husband and I love church architecture. It is so interesting. Steeples point to heaven and I find they are a clever design element in church architecture as they never fail to make me lift my chin to the sky and admire their loftiness.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Beautiful Bendigo

This weekend past we went to Bendigo specifically to see the White Wedding Dress exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery. The exhibition covers the past 200 years of white wedding gowns from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. If you get the chance to see this before it finishes on 6 November then DO. It is remarkable how well all the textiles have survived, some for nearly 2 centuries. The workmanship, by hand on most, is inspiring.
While walking about town I wanted to begin my newest hobby - photography. All I had with me was a little Kodak 'aim and shoot' digital. Nothing fancy about that. So I aimed well, and accepted what I shot. I was very pleased with all my photos, and will share more over the coming days. This photo above was taken outside what was the General Post Office but is now the Information Centre. These half horse half dragon bases to the lamps were fascinating and whilst it wasn't my intention to take a silhouette, I'm very glad it turned out that way. I love it.
I need to P.S. my post on the 4 bags I made recently. I should have mentioned another blogger who has posted the instructions for these, making them accessible for everyone. See and look for the origami pouch in her tutorials. I also guarantee that you will be hooked by her blog - what a quilter!!

Friday, 30 September 2011

Laura Ashley side one

What a difference 2 days makes. Whilst I probably should be attending to my writing, I chose to spend my time with this Laura Ashley quilt. From earlier posts you may recall that a friend gave me a double stack of genuine 1970s Laura Ashley charm squares. I decided, after a couple of false starts, that I would make a double sided quilt. This is the square in a square side now completed. I am very happy with the floating effect.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Sashing for my Laura Ashey quilt

I managed to grab an hour this afternoon to cut some sashing for my Laura Ashley quilt and sew on the cornerstones. The rest of the day was spent phoning all the patchwork shops in Adelaide to chat with them about my impending visit to that City of Churches. Everyone was so nice. I am really looking forward to my break. Seeing Adelaide will be one of my goals marked off my bucket list.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Christmas Presents made

Four little bags were finished by the end of the weekend in readiness for Christmas. I had so much fun going through my stash looking for fabrics that were appropriate for each of the intended recipients and extra fun going through all my button jars searching for the perfect finishing touch. I have my own button jars, Mum's buttons and my Nanna's buttons in the original jar and tin. They are so much fun. Unfortunately my daughter was horrified at the thought of inheriting them all. Hopefully she'll change her mind one day.
 This was the first bag. The tiny spots of yellow in the fabric led to the addition of the yellow teapot. A yellow heart adorns the other side.
 This was the last one I made and I chose touchy-feely black velvet buttons that add a nice element of texture.
 The paisley actually has metallic gold in it which has not shown up in the photo. The buttons were wooden ones, in the raw!
I wasn't sure how this one would turn out because the pattern repeats on the fabric were a large distance apart but the result was very pleasing with most of the pattern on this side and all blue background on the other, giving the bag a front and a back.