Monday, December 20, 2010

The Wedding

Helen and James tied the knot on Saturday. It was a lovely day. Here is is a pic of the park where the ceremony took place and of a couple of onlookers.

This is the happy couple at the ceremony and at the reception.

Another picture of the bridal couple and one of both lots of their parents. It was great that Gail and Dave were able to come over from Queensland.

The reception was lunch at a riverside restaurant, the Red Herring. The food was excellent and the wine waiter efficient. I managed to eat a fair bit - particularly of the vegetables in the antipasto. I fail as a food blogger - no pictures. If you want more pics, there are others on the family blog and my other blog

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Another Christmas Party

This one was Secret Drawer, my friendship sewing group that was started 22 years ago. Members have come and gone, but there are still two originals - Mary and me.

Unfortunately Mary could not come yesterday. She had heart stents inserted last week and thought she should wait for an all-clear from her doctor before venturing out.

The gathering was at Jenny's house. As usual there was ample food, and I surprised myself by how much I ate. The desserts were great. There was a pavlova and a strawberry custard tart, as well as mincepies. I took one of those home and Kevin ate it later.

I had a lovely time - pity the photo is out of focus.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Designing Women Christmas Lunch

Saturday was the Designing Women Christmas lunch which I was really looking forward to. I was sick in the morning and Kevin thought I really should not go, but Juliet had offered to take me and I knew I could just sit. I am glad I went. There was an impressive array of food (I didn't eat much, but I managed some savoury food as well as some of Pauline's to-die-for icecream cake) and Delys made a wonderful non-alcoholic fruit punch of which I drank at least 5 glasses.

We always exchange a handmade Christmas decoration and I received two lovely baubles from Jan.

In addition, Jaslyn gave me a lovely angel.

It was a very pleasant afternoon. Delys has a wonderful house, full of the beautiful dolls she makes and lots and lots of vintage china. We had lunch outside in the alfresco area which is really lovely. Thank you Delys - it was great.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A birthday

Today was Kevin's birthday - as one of our friends said "you have exceeded your biblical allowance of three score and ten" - he is 71. We had a little gathering with friends yesterday to celebrate. It was also Helen's birthday so she and James came as well.

Today Kevin and I went to Garden City to buy the iphone that is my present to him (I also bought him a cover and a car phone charger) We got a beginner salesperson who was firstly a bit taken aback that we didn't want/need a sales pitch and then proceeded to take such an excruciatingly long time to complete the paperwork that we both almost lost interest and walked out. We were a bit too tired of the whole bit that we didn't check our invoices/receipts and found when we got home after 4pm that we had someone else's. The phone wasn't in action by then either - activation was supposed to be within an hour. We plan another visit to another salesperson tomorrow.

We then went to have lunch while we were at the shopping centre and decided the Asian food train looked worth a try. You select what you want, and pay according to the colour of the plate the food is on and the number of dishes you consume. As usual these days, I wasn't very hungry, but some rice paper rolls appealed (two to a plate for $4.50). I enjoyed mine and so did Kevin and he could have eaten more. Unfortunately, it seemed that there were no more available and so we paid up and moved on. A couple of prawn dumplings from another stall and an iced coffee from another and we had had enough.

When we got home I Googled rice paper rolls and found several recipes. All the necessary ingredients (except peanuts) were in the pantry or fridge/freezer so I made some for dinner tonight. They were very nice, though Kevin wasn't too keen on the coriander I included. I/we will make them again.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Rich in Stitch

This exhibition celebrates the tenth year of the Designing Women textile group and is the sixth exhibition the group has mounted. We went to the opening last Friday night. This is Thelma Cluning who did the honours. She is a textile artist herself.

This is some of the audience.

There were 76 pieces on display. I don't have photos of many, because though I took my camera I didn't pull it out of my bag, and Kevin, as official photographer, was concentrating on the opening crowd. I loved these two nuno felted and stitched pieces by Juliet.

This lovely piece is by my sister Dorothy. It was made in response to the challenge "10" and has several tens included. One you can't see is a ten-cent piece hiding in the undergrowth.

I will take more pictures of the works when I do my turn of exhibition sitting next week.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

UFO finished

I have been very lax in updating this blog, though I must confess that I have not been fiddling much. I have been reading lots and I may blog about that later.

I wrote about the quilt top I made from nine-patch blocks which I swapped way back in 1996. I finished off the top recently by adding a couple of borders and sent it off to be quilted. A couple of weeks ago I bound it by machine, so it is finally finished. My only problem now is what to do with it. Here is a photo.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

More ATCS and some other stuff

I finished some ATCs yesterday. These are for the Metal theme of the bimonthly (is that the right term for every second month?) swap for the Aus-NZ Art Quilters list on the internet. I am running a bit late because they were due at the end of September, but I was assured that it would still be OK. I forgot to take any photos, so I will have to wait until I get my swapped cards.

I have been unpicking some trouser waistbands to try and shorten the elastic so I can still wear them. Having lost close to 25 kilograms and approximately 20 cm from my waist since November, everything literally falls off me. I have donated a couple of bags of clothes to the Good Sammies, but I am hesitant to pass on some, because I like the fabric so much. I will see how it goes on one pair before tackling any more. I have fabric to make some more, but I lack the energy to cut them out as yet.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Australia Wide II exhibition

I am really chuffed - I have had one of my quilts selected for the second Australia Wide exhibition (I had two selected for the first one - but who cares! Just one is a great ego boost.)

Here is a tiny peek of a bit of the detail, since I am not sure whether it is acceptable to show the whole quilt before it it is put up on the Ozquilt Network Inc site.

I posted it off today so it should get to Sydney by the end of the month. It needed a hanging sleeve and a label as well as the facing to be stitched down and I was a bit concerned that I mightn't make the deadline because of my stint in hospital. However I felt energetic yesterday, so the necessary bits were finished.

Today Juliet drove me around. We went to a framer - I want the piece I did for the Melville Art Awards properly framed for the Designing Women exhibition, then to the Post Office to mail off the quilt and then to Heathcote to see the Stitched and Bound exhibition. I loved some of the pieces, especially the triptych by Lisa R, but I felt that the overall exhibition did not address the cutting edge of contemporary quilting. There were several pieces that were immediately recognisable by the maker's style. Lovely pieces, but hardly avant garde. Maybe I got it wrong, and the aim of the exhibition is no longer to stretch the boundaries.

I am pleasantly tired after today's excursion, but have decided not to take a nap. I plan to go to bed immediately after the "Collectors" show on TV tonight.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Yesterday I sent off some digital and hard copy prints of photos of one of my textile pieces for possible inclusion in a book to be published at the end of the year. It is the first book to be published by TAFTA (The Australian Forum for Textile Arts) and I am not sanguine about my chances of being selected. However, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I don't think I should show a full photo, but here is a tiny detail.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Flowers

Kevin has planted broad beans in the rose bed in front of the house. I don't mind at all, because I love young broad beans. We have already picked a couple to try and I was able to eat them, so that's a plus too. The main crop is still quite a way off, although there are plenty of flowers.

Another bonus is that the beans hide the pruned rose bushes, which aren't exactly pretty to look at. However, a couple of roses have managed to burst into bloom already, so here they are.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I received my selection of ATCs from the swap co-ordinator, Diana in New Zealand, today. They are fabulous as usual, and cheered me up after a really crappy letter I received.

Thank you to Dorothy Faithfull (from NZ) for the top two on the left, Cherie Hoyle from Adelaide (top right - balloons), Amelia Ruscoe from Wellington (well, they certainly know about wind there!) for the turbine, Marie Bezzant from somewhere in Australia for 'Walpa' (aboriginal sign for 'wind') and Jenni Strachan from Werribee, Victoria for 'Wind Blown Grass'. I love them all.

The next swap theme is 'Metal'. Must get onto it - it's due at the end of September.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Checking in

I have been very lax in updating this blog, both because of lack of energy and the fact that I have done almost no fibre stuff for weeks.

I did manage to finish off a quilt top I started back in 1996 and it is now with a professional quilter. I promise a photo when I get it back. The quilt started as a nine-patch swap between Scquilters - the Australia-New Zealand online quilting group. There was so much interest that we were broken up into groups according to our favoured colours and I ended up with the mid - to - dark green group. I joined my swap bits up pretty quickly after I got them and produced a top and that is where it has remained for the last 14 years. I decided it needed two more borders and finally finished it off last week. Phew - only 3 more quilt UFOs left. Let's not mention other kinds!

And here's a photo of some fibre related stuff: Amber posing on a cushion next to a stuffed needlepoint tabby.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A good day out

I went to have my blood test this morning, then Juliet and I set off to the Holmes aCourt gallery in East Perth to look at the Stringmakers exhibition with indigenous artists from Warburton in the North West and three others from Perth: Nalda Searles, Holly Story and Bronwyn Goss.

We had omitted to check the address, but eventually found it - largely due to my hazy memories of a previous visit. Then there was the problem of access. The official entrance is down a flight of steps to the boardwalk which I was reluctant to negotiate (no handrail), so we entered the building at street level and found a lift that went to the lower level, but opened into a small hallway with several closed doors. We investigated one (labelled Restaurant Toilets) and found a narrow corridor which led to the restaurant which is next door to the gallery. Boldly we marched in and a helpful young waitress told us where to go next. Unfortunately we were there an hour before opening time.

We decided to fill in the hour with a visit to another gallery (the Old Bakery on 8th) in a neighbouring suburb, and enjoyed ourselves looking at the exhibition there, browsing through the gift shop which has some wonderful objects, including some spectacular knitted and felted scarves, and having a coffee at the attached cafe. Then back to East Perth.

After we negotiated our way through the toilets again we finally got to see the exhibition. It was well worth our effort. Most of the exhibition is huge felted pieces, called "blankets", but not intended for use on beds or as rugs.

There is a most moving paper scroll about 25 feet long which was a collaborative effort by all the artists. Nalda had written about how the paper piece had come about and then screen printed the words on to long silk scarves dyed with native vegetation. They were exquisite, but definitely out of my price range!

Nalda also had a blanket dyed with natural dyes on which she had couched tufts of human hair, then embroidered the words "mangko warntu" on one side and their translation "hair blanket" on the other. It was hung so you could see both sides.

I liked it, and the installations by Bronwyn Goss, but I LOVED Holly Story's pieces. There was a set of four tiny framed scrolls, dyed with plant dyes and imprinted with various leaves from the Warburton region - fabulous. However my favourite was a diptych where she had imprinted tree branches on to woollen blankets, one branch from Warburton and the other from the South West where she lives. This technique is one she was taught by India Flint and she gives credit for it to her. The dyed pieces were then emboidered with red and white silk threads in a design derived from Indian symbolism. Absolutely stunning.
I also loved the string hanging. A piece of string travelled backwards and forwards from Perth to Warburton several times, with every artist adding in bits. The finished length was looped to hang on a wall. You can read more about the process of putting the exhibition together on the Stringmakers blog site.

I had a lovely day. Thank you to my chauffeur Juliet and to the artists whose work I so enjoyed.
Also thank you to the photographer whose images from the catalogue I have used. I cannot find a name to credit.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sunday at the Craft Fair

Designing Women had a display at the Craft Fair that was held on the weekend - and for once I remembered to take a photo. This is Jan on Sunday morning and the display which was beautifully set up by Liz and Stephanie.

We had an excellent position - right opposite the entry to the display of Jenny Bowker's quilts and in full sight of one of her beautiful quilts. I looked after the stall in the afternoon with Dorothy and then we pulled it all down with Juliet's help - in much less time than I am sure it took to set up!

I spent the morning looking at the stalls, with a break to listen to Jenny Bowker's talk about her quilt journey, which was absolutely fascinating. I met and talked to lots of people, but was extremely restrained about buying, because I need to downsize, rather than accumulate. I did buy some wool to nuno felt a silk shawl that Helen gave me because it has some holes in it. That won't affect the felting, and I will give it back to her when I am done. I also bought an ingenious dish and holder to use for grating garlic - I hate garlic crushers because they are so hard to clean, and chopping with a knife makes your hands so smelly. I haven't used it yet - I still have no appetite.

My favourite part of the Fair is always the Art to Wear section. There were some great creations this year, but the piece I liked best in the Adult section was a felted jacket by Carole Redlich.

The student section was absolutely fabulous - especially the garments from Penrhos College. The girls had to use nothing but plain calico with a theme of geometric and there were some wonderful interpretations and some superb fabric manipulation. I loved this one, but I failed to take photos of some of the other spectacular creations. What a dill!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Australia Wide

The Australia Wide exhibition travels throughout Australia for two years. The quilts are a uniform size (40 cm square) and are supposed to be representative of contemporary art quilting in Australia. I was fortunate enough to have two quilts accepted for the first exhibition which travelled from late 2007 to early this year. The quilts are still to be seen on the Ozquilt Network site. Click on Quilt Exhibitions, then the Australia Wide Online Exhibition.

I had been toying with the idea of entering the second competition and had collected some bits of fabric together. It took me a long time to get going, but last week I completed two pieces and sent off my entries (digital photos, not the actual quilts). They got to Sydney by yesterday's deadline, so now I just have to wait until the selectors' decisions are announced in September. I hope I get in again.

I can't show any part of the quilts yet, but I promise I will show them in full later.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A mushroom harvest

Some weeks ago I decided that I would like to try growing mushrooms again. My first effort (years ago) was notably unsuccessful - something to do with not watering the compost regularly, I think.

So I bought a mushroom farm from Bunnings. I chose the Portobello one because I believe that variety of mushrooms has more flavour than the white buttons. I followed the instructions carefully and a week ago discovered some itsy bitsy buttons coming up.

Today we harvested three enormous ones and I actually ate almost all of one - quite a feat in view of my present aversion to food. Kevin ate the other one and enjoyed it, which is another plus. He is not really a mushroom fan.

Here is a photo of what is growing today. The big one at the back is actually one that we had already picked - it just got put back to show how big they are. Looks like a pretty good harvest tomorrow, too.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Recycling Workshop

I went to Jody Pearl's first Open Studio yesterday. It is a great studio and just down the road for me. Jody's "filing system" is to die for! You can read all about it here, and see lots more pictures. After a demonstration of some of Jody's more popular refashioned garments we moved outside for morning tea under the jacaranda.

We did have to fish the odd fallen leaf out of our tea mugs, but it was a lovely setting and will be fabulous in November when the tree is in bloom. Then we had a workshop on fashioning men's ties from the op shop and recycled zips into accessories. These are the two I made - there were several more exciting ones.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Friday Flowers

I have wanted a new car for awhile, and was determined that it should be red - which my first car was. We looked at several makes and models and eventually decided the Ford Fiesta was the most attractive option. The salesman told us there was a red one (I insisted on an automatic) on its way from Germany, and it would be here in six weeks. Very good. But then it was discovered that the red one had been sold, and the wait time for a red automatic would probably be six months. This is not a viable option for me, so I opted for a silver one, on which there was immediate delivery.

We picked it up yesterday, and to my surprise I was presented with this red flower arrangement as a small consolation.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

700th Post

Who would have thought it? I know lots of people do giveaways at major milestones, but I haven't got anything, so I won't. Maybe at 750?

I have just finished my ATCs for the latest Aus-NZ Art Quilters swap. This is a theme swap every two months and this time the theme is AIR. Once I remembered (and finally found) the balloon fabric I have had for years, they were really quick to make. I also found some sky fabric (blue with little bits of white) while I was looking, so it all went together very well.

I will post them off to Diana in NZ tomorrow.

I am progressing well with the art quilts I plan to enter in Australia Wide 2. I was fortunate to have both my entries accepted last time, so I will keep my fingers crossed. No pictures yet, of course. The deadline is July 30, but because the entry form and images need to be in Sydney by then, the actual deadline for me is Monday 26th. I think I will make it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A new book

I preordered this from the Book Depository and it arrived this morning. I haven't even flipped through it yet, I am waiting till I have a bit of uninterrupted time (diarrhea today, yuck!).

I was fortunate to do a 5 day workshop with Jane at FibresWest at Bunbury in 2008 and learned so much about surface design. I have had her first book, Complex Cloth, since 1997 and it has been probably the most used textile book I own - and I own lots.

So I am looking forward to this one.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Flowers

No fibre again this week, but my roses are putting on their final flush. Soon be pruning time.

This was last week.

This is this week.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I have been neglecting this blog - sorry! I have been making more regular entries on the cancer blog, so you can catch up there.

Yesterday we went to visit our daughter Helen and her partner James. As usual, Kevin had to do some sort of maintenance. This time it was the cord to the heater which their Staffy puppy, Ruby, had chewed and destroyed.

You wouldn't think it of her, would you? She looks so sweet and innocent!

Amber has settled in well. She has been exploring outside for a week now. We did take the precaution of blocking the gates with shade cloth, so she is confined to the back yard. I am hoping she is too heavy (and relaxed) to jump fences.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fire ATCs

I have just received my batch of ATCs from the "Fire" swap. This is organised by Diana in New Zealand and members of the Aus-NZ Art Quilters Yahoo group send four to six ATCs every two months. In January the theme was Water, March's theme was Earth and May's theme was Fire. The theme for July is Wind, and I need to put my thinking cap on.

Here are the cards I received this month.

From left to right, top row first the artists were:
Evie, Marie (countries of origin unknown), Carolyn, Dorothy, Sharon (all from NZ) and Nia from Australia.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bag finished

Today I finished the bag I made from the kit I bought at the Craft Fair. I am a bit disappointed in the size - if I ever made it again I would make it longer - but it looks quite good. Now I will have to use it!

Here are two pics - front and back.

Yesterday we collected my entry for the Melville Art Awards. Now we have it home I have decided that I will have it framed properly and then I will have a piece for the Designing Women exhibition in November. I quite like it as it is, but I think framing will improve it.

Here is the whole piece

and a closeup.

I have not been very well for the last three days (see the cancer blog). I am hoping for better days to come.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

More frogstitching

I have been neglecting my sewing room in favour of the computer (I am the editor of the newsletter for one of my groups and the June issue was due out on the first of the month). I made the deadline, and so today I ventured into the room (the door has been securely closed to limit Amber's exposure).

I thought I might be able to complete this bag I had started, so that I could start to whittle down my huge TO Do list. I sewed for a while, following the instructions carefully. Then I realised - chemo brain had struck almost back at the beginning and I had sewn the outside panels together wrongly. Fortunately there were some bits unaffected by the error - the lining and the zipper insert - so about 45 minutes of unpicking saw the outside bits back to the point of error. After careful pressing and LOTS of thread removal, I have now joined them correctly, but haven't made any further progress. I plan to do some more tomorrow in the morning before my appointment with the eye specialist.

BTW - Amber is settling in well, but is a guts. I am giving her only as much food as the Cat Haven recommended, but she is very demanding. She even came into our bedroom in the early hours of this morning. I didn't hear her, but Kevin succumbed.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Amber Arrives

My sister Dorothy gave me a cat (to be adopted from the Cat Haven) for my birthday back in April, but I delayed the selection till we got back from Queensland. Yesterday was the day.

We met at the Haven and inspected some of the range of available cats. I had already decided I wanted a cat rather than a kitten because of toilet training. I also wanted a female because there are two males that come and fight in our yard and I thought a male might want to get involved - even if neutered.

It took a long time but I eventually chose Amber. She had been the pet of an elderly couple who had had to give her up when then they moved into a retirement home, so I thought she would be used to sitting on laps and people who don't look where they are walking.

Amber is 5 years old and has the most wonderful bushy tail. I had always thought that all ginger cats were male, but the girl at the Cat Haven assured us that ginger females were becoming more common.

She tolerated the long trip home in the car very well - not a peep out of her, for which I was very grateful. Our last cats hated the car and started yowling the instant they were put in which was very stressful on the driver. She has not settled in yet, and has spent most of today hiding under and behind couches, but she is eating and drinking well and using her litter tray. Last night she even jumped onto Kevin's lap, but she is less friendly today.

Friday, May 28, 2010

New machine

I have had my overlocker for possibly 20 years. It was the second one I ever had and it has served me well. Recently there have been a number of new overlockers released by the various sewing machine companies and I began to think a new one would be good - especially if it did a cover stitch which my old one doesn't.

Some weeks ago I gave in to temptation and ordered a five thread Pfaff overlocker. It arrived the week of the Craft Fair, and the seller was really too busy to give lessons, so I waited till this week to pick it up.

Yesterday was the big day. I had a long lesson and I have set it up ready to go. Now I just need to sell my old one. There is nothing wrong with it and it has some extra feet, so I shouldn't have much difficulty, I hope.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A new bag

I don't usually buy kits - I would rather put my own spin on a design - but I couldn't resist this one when I saw in at one of the demonstrations at the Craft and Quilt Fair last week. It is called a Bac-Pac and uses some Japanese style fabric and shashiko stitching. It also has the zipper neatly concealed, so that it it is pretty safe from unwanted fiddling.

Today I cut out everything and even fused the iron-on pellon to the main pieces. I thought I might have to make a quick trip to Spotlight for the pellon, which was the only thing not supplied in the kit, but I discovered a couple of metres in the bottom of a cupboard. There are definite advantages to having a stash - though I rather wish mine was better organised!

No photos - I will take some as I progress.

Monday, May 24, 2010


I did much better than I expected - the ATCs are now on their way to New Zealand!

I am not sure what happened to some of the tree images in this photo.