Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Exhibition week

Last week was insane. Whatever made me do my father's quilt, dubbed "Persian Tiles", in 2 weeks?? I had very little sleep and my neck is still recovering but I did manage to get it finished. I have to say though that I would not have finished in time for the exhibition without help on Friday from Elizabeth and Trudi from my Friday Friends group. Thankyou girls. It was well received at the exhibition and apparently several people wanted to buy Persian Tiles. I am told one lady was very upset that it really was not for sale but already had a home to go to. The first photo shows me presenting the quilt with my son in the foreground. In the second photo I am sitting next to my father catching down the hanging sleeve on the back. I didn't have time to hand stitch it for the exhibition so the bottom of the sleeve was pinned on and I stitched it after I had presented the quilt. You can see the red paisley backing in the second photo. It is difficult to photograph the quilt to show off the fact that all the fabrics except the backing are overprinted in gold. You can see some of the sheen on the border in the second photo but the sheen fades out the red and green striped print. I will try to get some better photos in the next few days.

I also finished "Stasia's Jungle" for the exhibition. It is the attic windows quilt in my last entry. I am thankful for having posted the photo here last week because I discovered an error in the piecing of the main border. Were you able to pick it? Compare the last photo with this one. Fortunately it did not take to long to fix. It would have bugged me forever if I had not changed it. I free motion quilted the main border to give the feeling of a jungle - leaves, puddles, trails... - picking up on the parrots in the windows. It was fun doodling. No-one else may see what I was trying to do but I enjoyed doing it. I will be giving this quilt to my surrogate granddaughter Stasia for Christmas. I will have to add a photo later - I haven't taken a photo of the finished quilt yet.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Quilts under construction

These are the quilts I am working on for the Bungendore quilt exhibition this coming weekend.

The first one is an H quilt for my father. He will be 91 on Sunday. I still have to add the borders which I cut out this morning. The fabrics are
 almost all William Morris style or paisley. I have been doing it in a big rush and using it as therapy to keep my mind off losing my darling Ann. All the fabrics are top printed in gold so it has a sheen to it. Very rich looking. I love the fabrics very much and am quite pleased with the way it is turning out. All the top fabrics are from my stash, with the addition of a few from my sister's stash. I actually made several more blocks but didn't like them in the quilt so I will make a lap quilt for my sister with the left over blocks - after the exhibition. I have managed to find a red paisley print for the backing - no gold!

The second quilt I am going to give to our surrogate granddaughter Stasia for Christmas. The "window panes" are folded and the fabric is brightly coloured parrots. I added the yellow spot border yesterday. I finished the top other than the final border early in the year after starting it in a workshop. The fabrics in this quilt have also all come from my stash. The technique was fun and created little pockets. Unfortunately the pockets are upside down to the parrots - a little lesson to remember for positioning a directional print another time. Ooops thank goodness for this photo. I just realised I made a mistake - just in time to fix it thank goodness. Do you see it?

The third one I made last year for my friend Raeline's 40th birthday. Unfortunately she had the bad manners to upgrade to a king size bed a couple of days before her birthday LOL. I am now adding more side panels to make it big enough for them to sleep under. I think this is the only quilt I have made from a pattern other than those I have started in workshops! Even then I have deviated with the borders.

I will post more photos when I have finished the quilts, including some closeups.

My cousin Ann

I have not been posting because my darling cousin Ann died recently. I am devastated. We have always been very close and shared many common interests. This is the last photo I took of Ann on 23rd June 2008 while she was having dialysis. That visit to Gosford was the last time I saw her. 

One of my first memories is of Ann, her friend Libby and myself playing "ring a ring of roses". I couldn't have been more than 6 at the time, Ann 15 months younger. We always got on exceptionally well and neither of us could remember having argued or falling out with each other. Ann has always been one of my best friends and we shared many wonderful and heartbreaking moments together. We shared ill health as children and the joy of our children as adults. Before her husband left her we shared 2 holidays lasting a month each, the 2 couples sharing accommodation and expenses. The first one was in Tasmania and the second in the goldfields and the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. Our last holiday away together Ann, Max and I spent a wonderful week on Norfolk Island. We had a wonderful time together. Ann and I were plotting how the 3 of us could manage a holiday in New Zealand and we also wanted to revisit Tasmania. We had also hoped to have a holiday in Queensland some time.

Travelling was always interesting with Ann. She had many, many things wrong with her but was almost unfailingly cheerful. We would take a wheelchair with us after the Tasmanian trip as her body deteriorated. We always knew where every toilet in cooee could be found. We made lots of pit stops to cater to Ann's fluid tablets LOL.

When, on the very few occasions that things got her down and she would have a little weep with me, she always worried about me and apologised for upsetting me. Whingeing just was not in her. Earlier this year her heart specialist told her that he didn't think he would have had the stamina to live as she did. I don't think I would either. Ann was a loving, giving, caring, patient creative lady whom I admired greatly.

I will continue to add photos and memories of Ann as I feel able and have time.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tegan, Tim and Anastasia

Tegan and Anastasia
Originally uploaded by Mister Tim
These are my beautiful first daughter Tegan, her husband Tim and my gorgeous first grandchild. I am so proud of them and more than a little besotted. This photo was taken on 9th October 2008. Anastasia is about 7 weeks here and as you can see is smiling. It is so exciting to see each new step in a baby's development and to watch them grow and develop their own distinctive personality. When Anastasia was born she was the image of  Tegan and her siblings as babies. For me it was a case of deja vu. Several relatives and friends who knew my children as babies have commented how like she is. Anastasia does have her father's mouth and ears though :) I am very grateful to you both Tegan and Tim for producing this gorgeous grandchild for me and sometimes allowing me to cuddle her! Clever Tim for taking such a beautiful photograph too. Thankyou.

Friday, October 17, 2008

More of the tulip gardens

Here are some more photos from that beautiful day at the tulip gardens.
 The first photo shows the native backdrop to part of the gardens. I love the 

texture and colours in the bark of the eucalypt (gum) tree, its flowers and trailing leaves. The colours of the gums are more muted than the bright colours of the bulbs but beautiful nonetheless.

The daffodil was exquisite and the pansies just one of many bedding plants used in the gardens. They looked so cheerful and again I was attracted by the variation in the colours. So many....... I will probably use some of these photos as inspiration for my quilting or crocheting at some stage. 
How many colours can be found in these pink/red/burgundy/salmon pansies?The fallen petals of the forsythia made a beautiful carpet under the bushes.
The bees were very busy that day. Here is another bee in the blossoms, this time on a glorious crabapple. 
My apologies for the poor layout of these photos. I have yet to work out how best to import and add text to give a pleasing appearance. Any tips would be gratefully received :)

The Tulip Gardens

On 5th October we went to the nearby tulip gardens with a friend. It was a glorious day and we spent several hours pottering around, taking lots of photos and sitting under the blossom trees enjoying a concert by an Irish folk band.  What better way to while away a beautiful spring afternoon? We enjoyed poffertjes (Dutch pancakes) and coffee while listening to the band. We were amused and pleased to hear an American expat couple at an adjacent table reading "The Man From Snowy River". They too were enjoying a leisurely afternoon. Do you see the bee hovering over my head in the blossoms?
We spent some minutes watching this little girl collecting blossom petals from the trees - it was such a joy to see her 
so happy and absorbed in what she was doing, like watching a fairy at the bottom of the garden :) Her family was picnicking nearby. 
This tulip is a rogue - it must have sown itself right next to the trunk of a blossom tree. Not in
 the garden beds but very pretty nevertheless.
This is one of the many varieties of tulips planted in the gardens. I particularly like the dark tulips. They have interested me since studying a story called "The Black Tulip" while I was at school. We were told the statistics but I am not sure
 of them now. I believe there were something like a million bulbs and a thousand blossom trees. 
It certainly seemed like it even if my memory fails me. The display was magnificent. The gardens are developed more every year. 
Our last visit was a few years ago. 
Somehow spring seems to bring on all sorts of happenings in our family and we don't get there every year. We really must go to Floriade next year - it is even longer since we have been there.

 There never seems to be enough time to do all the things we would like. How can we get more hours in the day do you think? Finally here are some distance shots to give you some idea of the scale of the gardens.

Afterwards we took Elizabeth
 home and Max fed the poddy lambs Elizabeth was babysitting. They were very glad to see us. We were rather late for their 4 o'clock feed because we had enjoyed the gardens so much and then spent some time choosing plants to bring home.
 We chose a beautiful rich red rhododendron called "Gibraltar". That seemed appropriate as the big hill behind Bungendore is called Mount Gibraltar. We also bought some rosemary plants in tubestock while Elizabeth bought some rhododendrons and bulbs. A fitting end to a wonderful day.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I have a spring cold but fortunately it is not too bad and has improved a lot. We had to miss out on going to my cousin's house in Gosford for a visit last weekend because I would have been infectious. Fortunately I was past that by Tuesday when we had to go to a funeral in Sydney. We buried my mother-in-law's younger brother, the last of her siblings. He died on the 1st October aged 88 years.Here is a photo of Rita waiting to go to Sydney, rather sad under the circumstances. Would you believe she is 92? What an amazing woman she is. It is such a privilege to have her with us still.

Rita is very active for her age. She walks more than a kilometre to and from our place and the shops at least 2 or 3 times a week, further to the post office or library. She also goes to a weekly craft group, a weekly exercise class and a weekly outing group. Once a fortnight Rita takes herself and her walker on the bus to Queanbeyan to go shopping there. In addition she likes to do most of our washing up and brings in and folds the washing. Oh and she still does the puzzle magazines and has won some prizes, reads, does crosswords, watches news and interest programs as well as movies, Antiques Roadshow, whodunnits etc, crochets handtowels and sachets and makes her own birthday, Christmas and other special occasion cards. Not to mention waiting hand and foot on a very demanding 9 yr old cat we adopted for her a year or so ago.  Midnight certainly fell on her feet when she came here. Poor Midnight had a traumatic year before being surrendered to the RSPCA. She is now being well and truly pampered!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Beautiful Bungendore

These photos illustrate how different the weather can be here. The first 2 photos are rather blurry because the batteries were low. They show the aftermath of a hailstorm we had on 14th August this year. Our back verandah was coated and the remnants of it were still there the following morning. The second photo is even more blurry but you can see what happened to the quilt cover on the washing line! I had to unpeg one side of it the next morning and tip out a large quantity of ice, by now looking more like snow as it had melded together. The weather was lovely when I hung it out! The storm came on suddenly and lasted about 20 minutes.

By contrast, here is a photo of the same verandah after it rained mud on 26th September 2008 - taken the next day when the mud had dried to dust.  The dust coated the table, the boards, the plants and everything else in sight. I was out in car in the "rain" so the car, too, was coated in mud. The dust comes from out west of the State - pity the poor farmers losing such good topsoil, carried away on the winds and dumped on poor unsuspecting cities and towns. We don't need it but the farmers certainly do. Unfortunately we have been getting this a few times a year since the drought began several years ago. Rain like this does not help anyone. We had a wind storm only last week which also deposited lots of dust - inside as well as out. The weather had been glorious in the 20s C on the day so the front and back doors and some windows were open. I am still trying to get rid of the dust. The TV screen was completely coated.

We do have beautiful weather here too....  More photos next time.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

New beginnings

This is my first post on this blog. I don't know how it will go but I thought I would try it out. I have a miserable cold and this was something I could do sitting with my laptop in front of Midsomer Murders on the television. Perhaps not the best reason for starting a blog but my reason nevertheless.

Quilting is my passion after my family and friends. I first learnt in about 1982 or 1983 - I do not now remember whether I attended Pam Tawton's beginner classes before or after the birth of our 4th child and only son; probably after. I made my first quilt earlier than that though - before the birth of our first daughter in 1986. It is a simple 9 patch with eye spy seersucker. It was bagged and turned through then quilted by adding ric rac braid to the seams with a zig zag stitch. Very basic but actually quite effective. My second quilt was also made about this time - a whole cloth pram quilt using a printed heavy cotton curtain fabric. Both quilts would have been made with remnants I picked up cheaply and sewn while I was at home waiting for our first child to be born. I was very pleased to find both of these quilts recently while clearing out, along with quite a few baby clothes I had put away from when my babies were little. My youngest is now 26. I have just realised I don't have photos so will have to get the camera out when I am feeling better.

Enough babbling for now. I hope I haven't bored you all out there in blogland :)