Sunday, December 31, 2006

One fish, two fish, Purple fish, blue fish

Well kind of green actually, but that didn't rhyme!

These fish are on the same quilt as the purple ones. These are the positive shapes cut from the fabric around the purple fish. I hadn't actually planned to use them on this quilt, but they seemed to fit. I had to go and buy more shimmery paint for these! I also bought beads, but they won't be added until after quilting. (Once I added them first, then found that they got in the way of the quilting foot - lesson learnt!)

For Christmas my daughter bought me an electric rice cooker and a beautiful sushi recipe book. This is a very thoughtful gift. I love sushi, she really put herself into my place when considering a gift for me. I love this girl!! She is turning into a wonderful adult.

SO here is my first sushi...

I am having tofu and avocado with my sushi. My daughter made hers with bacon. Mmmm bacon, that well known Japanese ingredient. We have been making some every day. Delicious!

Hope everyone has a happy new year!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Something Fishy

Yesterday was a day spent drawing, cutting, fusing, painting and stitching. Just fabulous! Here is a sneak peek.

The fish are reverse appliqued, then the body is painted with shimmer paint. I have only applied it lightly as I didn't want to create a strong colour difference, just to add some shine. The white dots are shimmer paint too. They break up the strong purple.

Usually I would add the stitching details as a part of the quilting. This time I stitched over the fish first so that they won't flatten when they are quilted.

I think that today I will head for the bead shop. These fish need beads! Don't you think so?

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Yesterday it rained, but only in our suburb. When we went driving all other roads were completely dry. Very odd.

Can you tell that I got a new camera for Christmas. Isn't this a quality photo? The leaves of the swamp bloodwood are so oily that the water just beads there. This has to be one of my all time favourite trees. They are beautiful in flower, and they have beautifully shaped leaves.

I finally put my hands onto fabric yesterday. It has only been a week since I did some sewing, but in the life of an obsessive that is a long time. These are some hand-dyed pieces.

It's not much to look at yet, but it's a start.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Frenzy

Our Christmas frenzy has ended.

We spent an entire day baking.

I made shortbread. We have a Scottish heritage, so this is a Christmas essential. The recipe is a family one which was told to me by my great-aunt. It can only be told and not written down. She also said that to do it properly I had to do it all by hand. What! Cream butter and sugar without an electric beater? I do not follow this rule, however quaint it may be.

My daughter made pavlova and we made vanilla cakes in Christmas tree molds and iced them with green icing. By the end of the day sugar was oozing from my very pores.

Christmas Day was calm, but we didn't stay still for long. Breakfast here, lunch with my husband's family, dinner at my sister's. Yesterday was the first chance my children had to really look at their gifts.

I spent the entire day yesterday reading a book, from start to finish. It was a blissful way to spend my time. You can imagine the state of my house today! Oh well, mess always waits for us. We'll get to it!

I hope that everyone had a restful and peaceful few days. Thanks goodness it only happens once each year!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

World Premiere!

This afternoon was the premiere of the movie that my son made this week with his cousins (aged six, five, one and ten months). The premiere was held at the Christmas afternoon tea and attended by all members of my family and all of the movie's stars. The script, about a princess who would not wash and a dragon who squirted water instead of breathing fire, was written by my son. All members of the audience enjoyed the lively wit and the performances of the young stars.

This project has kept my son busy all week; writing, filming and editing. The script involved the princess seeking advice from a mage. The mage provided her with some water defending hounds (our dogs will chase water), a water repelling shield on a stick (an umbrella) and a magic water coat (a raincoat). Each of these had its own problems. Finally the mage gave her a magical bar of soap and she had a shower. The final part of the movie was a blooper reel....absolutely hilarious! This was much better than any Christmas gift that we could buy. Do you think that this is how Baz Luhrman started?

A backyard script conference. Note the costumes - just fabric held together with a safety pin.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I have been noticing that neat little chew marks are appearing on the edges of the ginger leaves near the front door. As I walked past this week I noticed these little guys sitting on the leaf.

I am wondering whether they are responsible for the damage. I thought it brave of them to show themselves as our garden is full of birds. These look like they would make a tasty morsel. Unfortunatley they grow into these monsters. Enormous brown, prickly grasshoppers. I stopped to photograph when they were little, but when they're grown up I'll just be running away!

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Valuable, if embarrassing, Service

Yesterday my husband and I went on a five hour shopping frenzy. We completed all of our Christmas shopping in one go. This does not make us procrastinators. It makes us efficient! We have only had to listen to those carols over the PA system once. We only had to face the holiday carpark once. We only had to listen to that one screaming child and their very angry parents once.

We were three hours into our consuming when my mobile phone rang. A call from the bank. They had noticed an unusual amount of activity on our credit card and wanted to confirm that it was us spending recklessly, that our cards had not been stolen.

This is a good service. It would be greatly appreciated, if indeed our cards had been stolen. BUT...I just felt naughty! I imagined a large red light flashing, with a sounding alarm, alerting the bank to our over-indulgent behaviour. I thought that we should immediately stop spending and go home. We perservered though, and finished our shopping.

It is all wrapped and under the tree - I love having teenage children who find wrapping to be fun.

All work is done!

I have finished all of the client quilts which I had to complete before Christmas. This frees me to do a few of my own things in a rush before Monday!

I decided that my feathers were client ready and completed a beautiful, enormous quilt with free-form feathers and McTavishing. I was really delighted by her reaction when she saw the completed quilt.

I bought these two reference book recently to assist me.

I have to confess, however, that I haven't read them. All that I have done is look at the pictures. I am beginning to be concerned that my brain is becoming cottage cheese. I have always been a visual learner. I get a better understanding by looking at a picture, diagram or an actual finished object. This year I have done nothing but quilt all year. I think that I may have surrendered completely to my right brain and given up reading instructions altogether. It should be interesting when I return to the classroom next year for two days a week!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


My daughter's quilt is moving along nicely. She has been working hard to finish the piecing.

Won't it be a delight to have another quilter in the house. We can share quilting conversation, design ideas, fabrics and materials, books and magazines (once I'm finished reading them).


Do I have to share my scissors??

Three times I have wondered how I could have been so neglectful as to misplace my thread snipping scissors only to discover that they weren't lost but stolen!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Growing up and Moving on

Last night was my son's graduation from primary school. This ritual is a fairly new phenomenon in Australia, there was a time when you just went to the covered area for assembly and were wished well five minutes before you left for the summer holidays. This was an elaborate production where every child was presented with a graduation certificate and photos of all of their class members, bands played, choirs sang, invited guests were admired. Awards were presented in various categories. My son was nominated for four awards in academic categories. He won none. His teacher said to me that he deserved one, but just doesn't work hard enough. Sounds like every report card that I ever got, and that his father ever got. It wasn't very responsible of us to breed! Any way, lucky my son is charming and pretty...he'll get by in this life without working himself into a stupor!

Yesterday I finished a little quilt as a gift for his teacher (see I work hard enough now, finsihed with three days to spare). I started it earlier this year in a workshop with Marlene King. The leaf spikes of the grass tree have been stitched with upholstery thread. It was done in a bobbin work style.

Caitlin has a photo of a real grass tree on her blog today if you want to have a look.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I Need a Design Wall!

Look what was on my kitchen table when I woke up this morning.

My daughter has decided to make a quilt. This is the amazing result of her efforts so far. Nine-patches and a feature square of Hello Kitty fabric.

All of this has been done without any input from me. In fact just the opposite - she is a contrary little thing. If I were to be too enthusiastic about her work she would stop. She's a bit like a wild creature in that way - don't let her smell your fear! Any way the last time I saw this quilt she was only using four fabrics in the nine-patches and they were arranged in a typical dark and light arrangement with five patches of one colour and four of the other. Since then she has raided my stash cupboard and rearranged her design into a wonderful scrappy quilt! We have had no discussion about colour, values or design; this has been a purely intuitve process for her....I love that! We can all do that when we don't over think our designs.

I'm not sure where I am going to sew today now. I don't want to move her quilt. Maybe I could squeeze in at the other end of the table???

On another note, yesterday I met with Kirsty. It was supposed to be brunch, but it became lunch as well. It was nice to meet as strangers, enjoy conversation which was alternatley very intellectual and terribly low-brow, and walk away feeling that I had met with a very similar spirit to mine.

The world is a wonderful place!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Kim's Quilt

Last week I was shocked to learn that a friend had been diagnosed with cancer. She is just one year older than I am and her children are a similar age to our children. So, naturally, when faced with a sad situation, I made a quilt for her. It had to be bold and bright and give off lots of positive energy. It had to be a size that she could take to hospital with her if she feels the need. It had to show that we care.

Here is the result...

Inititally I stitched the horizontal bands of colour together. The colour combination was inspired by the bold Amy Butler fabric. My colour selection drew a few odd looks. The horizontal bands did not look particularly good by themselves! It drew comments of 'that's.....nice'. The whole composition did not come together until I slashed the stripes and added the vertical green strips and appliqued fern fronds.

I quilted it with feathers and swirly shapes. I take any opportunity to practice freehand feathers. They seem to be coming along well. I must be feeling more confident than I realised beacause the thread that I chose contrasted with the fabrics and is quite visible. This fact only dawned on me five minutes into quilting, but by then I was committed to my choice.

I hope that this gift will provide the love and warmth that my friend need to heal. I hope that the colours and design brighten her days. I hope that her spirit and the wonders of medical science work together to restore her health. And I hope that Australia's recent decision to allow stem cell research to continue will contribute to a world free of disease!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Oh Christmas Tree...

Look at my Christmas tree!

It has been beautifully decorated by the very clever Kirsty. Not only is Kirsty obviously talented, but she is very efficient! This arrived in my mail today...I only gave her my address yesterday!

Thanks for your kindness Kirsty. My daughter and I made a dash to the scrapbooking shop this afternoon, so something beautiful will be in your hands soon.

Today my daughter did her first quilting. She is making a cushion and wanted to applique a flower onto it. She did her first ever sewing with feed dogs down to raw edge applique. I love that she went straight into that and did a very good job too! Sometimes when I am tutoring people in free motion work they are terrified and nervous. But no one had ever told her that this was difficult, so she had no fear. It's amazing what a difference your mindset will make!