Monday, June 04, 2007

Post 99 will be my last one ever

on this blog. Please come and find me at MY NEW BLOG.

There'll be cake and balloons, games and giveaways, lollies and chocolates.

Well, I'll have all of the other things...but there will be a giveaway.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Opinions sought

The beautiful Flo and I have been hand-dying our own quilting fabric. It is good fun, we do it for the pure pleasure of creating colour with our own hands. It is not particularly cheap though. We need to create an income from this process in order to sustain it. If we want to dye more fabric - and we do - then we need to get some money from the stuff we have already dyed.

We had go at selling our fabrics at a market last year, but it was not at all successful. We decided that we would need to create quilts with our fabrics in order to make any sales. Being the smart people that we are, we have realised that our best bet for sales was to make something for children. Here is our first (almost) completed creation.

You can see that I haven't put the binding on it yet. The quilts are about 1m (40in) by 1.1m (44in). The background is a whole piece and then our original drawings (this one is Flo's) have been raw edge appliqued onto it. I have then quilted it quite heavily and added detail to the applique shapes. We have used a brushed cotton or flannel on the back to make it snuggly for a little one.

I have quilted ferns in the background because it seems appropriate for dinosaurs.

So this is what I would like to know, dear readers. How much should we charge for these? We are thinking to charge $85 - $95 Australian. This is our logic:

1. We are selling them at a craft market, we think that $100 is a psychological barrier at that venue. They may be worth that, but if no one buys them then it is pointless.
2. We will cover our purchase costs, but not really pay ourselves much for our time. That is the bane of the craft sales world. You are making one off items, you can't really pay yourself for that until you have a designer name.
3. Selling them (we have made 18) at that price will give us enough funds to buy PLENTY of materials to make more.
4. We enjoy making them and are happy for this to be a self-sustaining cycle - sell them to make more - rather than an earth-shattering business to put us onto the rich list.
5. We want each one that we make to be unique. We don't want to take orders to re-make these ones. We want to design quilts that match the fabrics we dye because we love the serendipitous nature of hand-dying fabric. This is pure fun for us and we would like it to remain so.

Given all of that information, would you buy one of these for your son, daughter, granddaughter or grandson. Would you think that paying $85 to $95 would be a reasonable price for a hand-crafted original item purchased at a craft market. Please give me your honest feedback. (See that email address up there? Use it if you feel you have a lot to say.)

Oh and by the way, if you see one that you love, but can't come to the craft market in Townsville at the end of July...make me an offer!

Monday, May 28, 2007


Today we pulled out some winter clothes so that my son could wear them to the movies. Twelve months ago we were turning a cuff on his jeans because they were too long for him. Look at them now...

I guess we'll be going shopping this week. The problem is that he is so skinny that even these very short jeans are too big around the waist - he cannot jump without holding tightly to his waistband.

I hope that he slows down soon or that three-quarter length denims suddenly become this season's must-have item.

A teaser - look over to your left and you will see that this is my 97th post. Pretty good! You will want to be here for my 100th post. I have some exciting stuff planned.

Friday, May 25, 2007


One of the first things that I bought with my own hard earned cash was a sewing machine. A little Janome that cost me around $350 in 1984. At the time I was at uni and my car was worth less. I clothed myself for many a year with that machine.

Five years later I was married and living in Brisbane while my Pete was at uni. I was teaching, so I had an income. We had no debt and no children. I went to the Brisbane Ekka with my mum and on an impulse I upgraded to the top of the line Janome. Instead of spending $20 for the day on show bags, I spent $1700 on a sewing machine. My Pete was a little surprised when I came home to tell him.
The machine was computerised and did lots of fancy stitches. I had just begun quilting, so I played with all of its features.
I just loved it. So much so that when I bought a new machine about nine years ago I couldn't trade it. Instead I gave it to my mum. She loved it as much as I did. She has made clothes and quilts and bags and curtains with it.
Today my mum and I met to make a quilt for my cousin's wedding. We turned on the sewing machine and it didn't work. This message appeared on it screen...
I rang the lady at the local Janome shop and she gave us very bad news. This means that the board has gone and it cannot be repaired or replaced. The machine is no more, it is an ex-machine.
Good bye faithful machine, we have stitched many, many kilometres together.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Jen tagged me to answer a four quiz. I feel a little exposed doing this because I am essentially a very boring person. This doesn't really bother me, it rather delights me to be so. I am the sort of person who will order the same meal at a restaurant each time that I visit. If it was good last time, then it must be good this time. I don't need to get something different because maybe it won't be good. I eat the same food for lunch each day - a ham and lettuce sandwich when I'm working, and the same thing for afternoon tea - a small box of sultanas, dried pineapple and dried pawpaw. I liked it yesterday, so I'll surely enjoy today and again tomorrow. If it isn't broken then don't mess around with it!

So I have to say four different things each time, hey...are you sure that one won't's my favourite one....I've always loved it...OK here goes

1. Four favourite jobs - OK I've failed already. I haven't had four different jobs that I could call favourites. I have been a primary school teacher for a long time. I studied for it, I earned it, I never have felt the need to let it go. I am a quilter. I started my own business as a machine quilter. I enjoy this, but it can be a bit lonely, though I do love to see a quilt when it is finished. I teach quilting to ladies at the local quilt store. I enjoy this and have quite a few regulars that I look forward to seeing each week.

2. Four of my favourite local places - my house, specifically my studio. This is my space and I love to create in here. The Strand, just beautiful. It made the whole world of difference to this town. The walking path around the Ross River. A fantastically restful place to exercise. Balgal Beach, it used to be unknown, but it is starting to be quite popular.

3. Four of my favourite foods - sushi (especially tofu and satay chicken (lunch every Tuesday)). Turkey, cranberry, lettuce and avocado sandwiches on multi-grain bread. Lean pork chops with roasted pumpkin and onion. Duck, once I had a duck salad at a local restaurant that was damn fine! (Sussanah will mock my bland selection, but I could eat this menu each day and be the happiest girl alive)

4. Four international places I have been or would like to visit - I went to the US on 21st of September 2001. We had tickets to stand at the top of the twin towers and would have been there one month to the day that they fell. It was a very stressful trip for a person who is as anxious as I am. I did love Washington DC because of the Smithsonians. I loved Hawaii because the sun was warm and that always picks up my spirits. I loved Rotarua in New Zealand. It was so different to every thing that I know and was so fascinating. I was there without my Pete though and I would like to take him back there. Of course next year I intend to go to Paris, if only to get time to be with my girl. But I have wanted to go there for so long, I want to stand at the Eiffel Tower and be in the presence of a Renoir, Van Gough and Da Vinci.

I tried and tried to think of a song about four to go with this. I already used Four Winds a few posts ago, damn! So I went with a song about forty. (Stomper be brave and look at it! It is a little bit naughty.) I'm sure that everyone will be able to tell me fabulous 'four' songs and I will kick myself for not thinking hard enough.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Road Trip

I have been on away for a long weekend with my sister and her two children. We went to Yeppoon to visit my grandmother for her 86th birthday. It is an eight hour drive from here to Yeppoon. We had a one year old and a five year old in the back seat, so I am certain that you can appreciate that the trip had some difficult moments! Thankfully they were brief and both of the children were remarkably patient.

Grandma didn't know that we were coming to see her, so she was thrilled!

She had been waiting to meet my nephew. My sister adopted him last year and he has our much loved grandfather's name. Needless to say he was the star of the weekend. He was charming to all he met and left a lasting impression.

That face is pure cheekiness!

We were able to spend about an hour each day on the beach.


jumping waves,

searching rock pools and

finding hermit crabs.

It was a lovely weekend, but as always, it is good to be home.

A song from our road trip.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Matilda Station and Self Congratulaions

I have just finished quilting a Matilda Station quilt for a client. I was quite excited to get the opportunity to quit this quilt. I haven't done a large applique quilt since I got my new machine. I found it a breeze to stitch around the animal shapes with accuracy, although it was time consuming to do so many stops and starts. I filled the backgrounds with lots of curly shapes because it had a quirkiness to it.
Curly wool around the sheep.
Little bugs flying amongst the chickens

Cows amongst the flowers
A few posts ago I mentioned that I had sent a quilt away to the Down Under Quilts calendar challenge. I am pleased to say that my quilt was selected to be included in the 2008 calendar. I received a letter yesterday congratulating me and giving me the good news. I had begun to think that I had missed out this year because they had 54 entries.

Once again, life is good.