Thursday 24 December 2009

My internet is down

Can you believe it......our internet service has decided to go down 2 days before Christmas - damn it!! If any of you know our famous Telstra........service can be appalling. I tried to get my late Mum's phone reconnected last year when she took 10 days and numerous phone calls totalling 5 1/2 hours on hold!!
We are not sure why our internet cable has 'deceased'  and no-one can come and look at until until Dec 28th. (was going to be January 8th until I went berserk on the phone!!)
We are a little suspicious as there seem to be a lot of Telstra Big Pond vans in the area today!!

Well I have made about 8 phone calls...........been on hold for a total of nearly 2 hours in the last day to sort it out. I can't even access my emails using my daughter's computer (where I am doing this).......normally I would be able to access my emails at the Telstra website but some twit has made my whole account inactive!! Goodness know how long before it is fixed. So to all of you trying to email me.............Sorry but I can't get your messages.
I am so, so sorry and please know I would have answered you if I could.

So in the meantime enjoy greetings from our "grand-doggies"!!

Kahlua with a Christmas kiss

Kahlau and Malibu bestest buddies

Saturday 19 December 2009

A friend and Christmas

A friend transforms her home for Christmas every year and I just had to share some of these delightful images of her dresser. Take note of the detail........the red robin with matching card and little Christmas pudding also with matching card!!

I had a birthday yesterday............I still don't like having it so close to Christmas so those of you who do I commiserate with you!! I had a lovely lunch on Thursday and what a scrummy cake this was to clebrate my 53 years! (made by the same friend with the decorated Christmas dresser)
And I have set up another blog for another dear friend......the blog explains it all:

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Brer rabbit

I have so many favourite William Morris designs. Brer Rabbit is just one of them.......I have used this image as the centre of a recent quilt and also as a cushion panel. Morris produced this as a discharge cotton around 1882. It is sometimes know as Brother Rabbit and as I was doing my research I discovered I can purchase it today as a wallpaper or for drapes. I am afraid I will need a lotto win for that dream but for now I just drool at these sites.......have a look at this exquisite collection at a shop in Victoria, Canada;
Just divine!!

The pattern above is called Mary Isobel and it has a striking similarity to a screen embroidered here in my home town Adelaide in the 1890's. The Art Gallery of South Australia has this in their collection and their publication "Morris & Co. - Designs and Patterns"states that this was designed by J.H.Dearle and embroidered by Mary Isobel Barr Smith who resided here in South Australia. My book also states that William Morris advocated that his favourite embroidery stitches were darning, running, long and short, satin and stem stitches. I have just completed a wallhanging inspired by this design which in the gallery is just simply called 'Portiere'.

Monday 14 December 2009

The Christmas tree

I don't seem to be the only one who is struggling with the fact that Christmas is only about 10 days away!! (I have a birthday at the end of this week so I always try and enjoy that first!) But the last few days I have found I am not the only one who hasn't had the time or inclination to put up the Christmas tree!!

Sophie always puts the tree up in our house and now she isn't living home I thought I would forget about it (waiting for the grandchildren and then it will be up in style though!) Anyway I thought I had better make an effort and put the sewing on hold for a few hours yesterday I finally put the tree up! It was worth the effort and it was lovely to hang all the ornaments that meant something. Gifts from friends, souvenirs from travels and some of Mum's very old glass birds. So that brought sad thoughts as it is nearly one year since Mum died........then thoughts of others who won't be sharing family time with us. Not just Mum but my Dad, my brother, friends and in laws who are no longer here.
So with that I send thoughts to you and yours for a joyous festive season and may 2010 be a peaceful and healthy year full of great times and most importantly lots of stitching and pleasure!

Monday 30 November 2009

Talent from the UK

Thought I would share some talent from the UK.......It is just wonderful to receive emails from all around the world since the release of the book. Maureen in England sent me these photos.....such a wonderful way to use blocks from the 'Morris & Friends' quilt - an 80" table runner and a beautiful cushion.

Thankyou Maureen for sending me the pictures of your stunning work and also for allowing me to share your photos with the rest of the world. Good luck with the exhibition coming up!

Friday 20 November 2009

I haven't been idle

Busy times have been a plenty...........we have had our quilt exhibition 2 weeks ago and what a show it was! Congratulations to Best of Show winner Beth Roberts for her incredible mosaic quilt which took her 4-5 years to complete. It consists of thousands of 1/8 inch silk pieces!! And congratulations to Rachelle Denneny as runner-up to Best of Show.....her quilting is exquisite. You can see the winners at the Quilters Guild of SA's website;
Speaking of machine quilting.....I am definitely not an expert - in fact I don't enjoy the quilting part at all. I can machine applique all day long but the quilting.......not for me. Anyway I was thrilled to be asked to make a block for Heather Bartsch (of the Barossa Quilt and Craft cottage) to be made for her 60th birthday. Well wouldn't you know came forward to quilt the quilt.....and me being me..........sucked in again!! SO I have had some more free motion feather practice!! Heather's reaction when she opened the quilt made it all worthwhile.
This past week we have been in Robe in the southeast..........
It is the most charming place and we have been visiting every year for 25 years..........I love the old whitewashed cottages and galleries and cafes and shops etc!
I was working though and it was good place to be so I could focus without the phone and the computer!

Tuesday 27 October 2009

New acquisition at the Art Gallery of South Austrslia

Christopher Menz, the Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia is giving a lunchtime lecture on November 3 to discuss a new acquisition of a Morris carpet. The image above is a watercolour version of William Morris' Redcar Carpet. (1881-1885)
The Gallery's Redcar Carpet (252cm x 376cm), is a modified version with a red background and was donated by Tony, Philip and Julian in memory of their parents Fayette and Jock Gosse who are descendants of Robert & Joanna Barr Smith. Robert & Joanna were one of the biggest international clients of Morris & Co. The couple had several homes in Adelaide which they decorated extensively with Morris furnishings. The carpet is thought to have been commissioned in about 1890.

Toowoomba girls

I have been emailing Judy Carrow from Queensland for some time now as we share our passion for William Morris. Judy has been teaching a group of 'kindred spirits' and this is the result of one of their sessions. Go girls - your work is beautiful and I love hearing how you are going via Judy. I feel like I am there with you - isn't it wonderful to keep William Morris alive?!!
Thankyou for allowing me to share your work and photo with the world X

Saturday 17 October 2009


Aren't we blessed with friends in our lives? I have a 1953 copy of "When We Were Young" written by AA Milne. In it are many poems - this is a favourite written in 1940:


Ernest was an elephant, a great big fellow,
Leonard was a lion with a six foot tail,
George was a goat, and his beard was yellow,
And James was a very small snail.

Leonard had a stall, and a great big strong one,
Earnest had a manger, and its walls were thick,
George found a pen, but I think it was the wrong one,
And James sat down on a brick.

Earnest started trumpeting, and cracked his manger,
Leonard started roaring, and shivered his stall,
James gave a huffle of a snail in danger
And nobody heard him at all.

Earnest started trumpeting and raised such a rumpus,
Leonard started roaring and trying to kick,
James went on a journey with the goats new compass
And he reached the end of his brick.

Ernest was an elephant and very well intentioned,
Leonard was a lion with a brave new tail,
George was a goat, as I think I have mentioned,
but James was only a snail.

I have several friends that are making projects for me - I am so grateful for their unconditional support. Here are three of five girls who are working away with minimal instruction. To watch them select fabrics with their own ideas and interpretation is just wonderful. We are all obsessed with William Morris and it brings us together as we share in his amazing designs.

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Thankyou Country Bumpkin students

I have just completed day 3 of 5 days of teaching at Beating around the Bush.
It is amazing to think students have travelled so far.....from Ireland, England, The Netherlands, Poland, Dubai, South Africa, USA, New Zealand and all around Australia (and maybe others I can't recall.)

Today I was presented with this incredible bouquet of flowers from the students in my class..........something I will always remember. Thanks were a treat to teach!

Monday 28 September 2009

Working hard

I have been busy designing new work and preparing for Beating around the Bush which starts this weekend -
I found these luscious furnishing prints and I am making ????? for those in the 2 day classes!! All will be revealed later!

And yesterday I had a wonderful email with this photo. It came from Judy Carrow, a quilter from Queensland who has been teaching machine applique using designs from the book. This is Judy's quilt and cushions - just beautiful. It is lovely to see designs reworked............I only usually ever see my own so if you are reading this and have ever done one of my patterns please send me a photo. This is the first time I have seen the 'Morris & Friends' quilt re-made, apart from my own.
Have a good week
Thankyou Judy for keeping the genius of Morris alive and for allowing me to share your stunning work.

Northern Lights is coming back!

The picture for this blog entry is of the black & white room at home - it is finished!

But the main reason for my blog................During Feb/March 2008 and as a part of the Festival of Arts here in Adelaide, we had the sensational Northern Lights (from Electric Canvas -
I am so excited to read in the paper this morning that it is coming back next year.....oh shouts of joy! Have a look at it on this wonderful link on you tube:
and another.............
It is simply stunning and one building even had a William Morris image. So if you can come I will escourt you personally!

Monday 21 September 2009

My William Morris rose is blooming

My first William Morris rose has bloomed..........(this was a gift 2 years ago from a very special friend in Melbourne - thankyou Maree x). I have been told this rose is no longer available but there is still much information on the Internet about it;

We have also been doing up the bedrooms in our house - painting and new carpet this gosh that is no mean feat - it is like moving house having to pack and move everything out of 3 bedrooms - Aaaagh!!
I have had a dream to have a black & white room for some time which is why I originally made the black & white brocade style quilt. I recently found a beautiful chair for the room....thought I would show it off!!

And last week Betty and I had the 1st trading table for the aged care we are with all the bears and coat-hangers!!! All bears but one were sold before the day!

Monday 31 August 2009

William Morris on You Tube

Jane Morris with May
A 'young' Morris

There are several interesting video's on You Tube you might like to have a look at. This one comes with some narration from the Morris Society (15 minutes):

And this one is in Japanese but still worth a look (9 minutes);

Sunday 30 August 2009

Quilting practice

A very dear friend offered to make a sample of one of my patterns and this is the result. I was thrilled with her efforts and all the applique was done by hand. I did ask if I could borrow it for teaching as I loved the way she spread the border design out around each block. (a little different to mine)
Of course she allowed me this honour so in return I offered to quilt her quilt for her.............I actually don't usually enjoy machine quilting..... I always find it so hard deciding what design to do. I love a 1"grid behind applique but because of the time this takes I usually resort to free-motion.

So I have had a wonderful time practicing feathers and this is the result. I found that the feathers surrounded the applique quite fast - most satisfying to me as I am so impatient! So today I returned the completed quilt only to find I had missed a little section!
Well it was tears all round as her dear husband had made this beautiful chest of drawers for me in return. It was just so exciting and I was so touched by this gesture as it was not expected and I was the one who wanted to return a favour for borrowing the quilt top. So I have had fun filling the drawers with all my embroidery threads tonight - YUM and I feel so lucky.

Wednesday 26 August 2009

When I am not quilting

In my spare time (!!) I continue to volunteer at the local aged care facility once a week. I get immense satisfaction from doing this and it fills a void with the loss of my Mum.

Well the quilting never really took off........instead I was shown how to knit coathanger is a basket full - Betty knits the covers and then I have to cover them using leftover batting and then stitch the cover to the hanger. Now we have moved onto teddy bears knitted from squares........Betty is great at the knitting BUT I have to stuff and stitch them, each one taking over 2 hours!! Thought you might like to have a little look :-)

Thursday 20 August 2009

William Morris and the Muslims

Photo courtesy of 'Travel";

A few days ago I received a wonderful email from a fellow Morris devotee telling me about an interesting BBC radio program. (Thankyou Jane)
It is very interesting if you have about 25 minutes to listen.....Fiona MacCarthy is a guest and it was a thrill to hear her in person as I have enjoyed her books and writings on Morris. If you go to this link you can have a listen;

Clever Ballarat Quilters

I can't wait for this BBC series "Desperate Romantics" to come to Australia...........looking forward to getting a glimpse of Morris!!

Spectacular results from the students at the Ballarat quilters
weekend who say they can't draw!

Thankyou all so very much for all your get well wishes. I am getting back on track - 3 weeks since the angiogram and in typical 'nurse style' had a bit of a complication. I ripped the stitch holding the angioseal and had a bleed into the abdomen. This resulted in a very painful internal haematoma around the iliac artery!! But it hasn't stopped me. After clearance 2 days before the event I did get to go to the quilting weekend in Ballarat...........I forgot my camera of course but did manage to get this shot on my mobile phone!
It was a well organised weekend held in amazing accommodation:
Thanks to the grils for asking me - an honour to be amongst the likes of Gloria Loughman, Lessa Siegele, Michelle Yeo and Margaret McDonald.

Tuesday 4 August 2009

William Morris quilt top finished

Close-up of centre
I have had a few days at home recovering from a coronary angiogram...............a result of 25 years of high blood pressure. And we know...........stitching soothes the soul. So after much contemplation I chose Brer Rabbit for the centre. Drawings done Saturday and put together tonight. I used nearly all of Barbara Brackman's new 'Morris Workshop' range of fabrics for the applique and centre backgound, with the Iris pattern as borders.
I thought that an appliqued sashing and/or border would be just too much. Now I have to quilt it!!

According to the Art Gallery of South Australia 'Brer Rabbit' or Brother Rabbit as it is also known, was designed by Morris in 1882 as an indigo discharge and block printed Cotton. I have used the oak leaves and birds from the orginal design and of course the rabbits. The rabbit fabric I chose was a little pale on the cream background so I had to do some heavy stitching around the edge so it would stand out. The best laid plans still trick the eye!! here is a link to the orginal design:
And Ruth....your package is on its way!

Friday 24 July 2009

Black & White quilt

Forgot to mention that the pattern and instructions are in the magazine and on the DVD as well

Quilters Companion & DVD

I have just received my copy of the latest Quilters Companion (Vol 8.4 No 38) with the DVD that Clare Mooney the Editor talked me into doing!! It is so surreal watching yourself on I really look like I really talk like that??!!! Amazing how it turned out with all the giggling and 'stuff-ups' that happened on the day - the make-up and hair was fun too!

But what an honour and a privilege to be asked to do it. The DVD is like being in a design and machine applique class with me, so pick it up from your favourite quilt shop or newsagent and say Hi!

And check out these amazing cupcakes......I have been trying to fill my stand for months and came across a shop in Wagga when we travelling that makes them out of soap......they look like you could eat them!!

And thanks for your comments regarding the new sampler.....Ruth B I love your idea. I was thinking along those lines already so when I have your address a pattern of your choice is on its way!

Tuesday 21 July 2009

Morris Floral Sampler No 2

Here are the blocks for Floral Sampler No 2. I made my first William Morris Floral Sampler (now No 1) in 2004 and it is still popular today - in fact 'Stitchin' Heaven' from Texas in the USA have just ordered 110 patterns as it is going to be a block of the month; that was a heavy load - $360 in postage - phew!) How exciting though!!

I have run out of the background fabric for the Sampler so not sure where to go from here :-(
I still need to design the large centre and I might sash the blocks or use the centre fabric for an outside swag border. Let me know what you would like to see.......the best suggestion wins a pattern so please leave a message.

I have used the new Morris Workshop range from Barbara Brackman........(see previous blog for more images and info.....
It does take a while to download the PDF but it is well worth it! Do drop by on Barbara Brackman's blog too - she has some very interesting articles on her speciality of historical quilts and textiles;
The image of the fabrics was taken in the excitement at Patchwork by Sea on Saturday on my mobile phone (so not very clear);
we all bought metres of it - once it is gone we will no longer be able to get it.
But Barbara tells me there will be another Morris range coming in 2010/2011. I do love the teal blues and browns and the fabric is very soft and lovely to work with.

Waterhouse natural history art prize

This years winner is "Fish" by Matilda Michell. (Photo from the South Australian Museum website)

This amazing exhibition is something I look forward to every year. There are entries from all around the world and it is such a wonderful thing that it is in our own city..see website:
If you are in Adelaide do go and check it out. All mediums are represented including glass, wood and even textiles - not just paintings.
I am back at the sewing machine trying to complete the new sampler. I will get pictures up tonight. I am using the new William Morris range of fabric from Barbara Brackman (for Moda), and it has just arrived in the shops. Have a look at the beautiful range;

It does take a while to download the PDF but it is well worth it! The fabrics are a lovely quality and I am enjoying appliqueing them. .......more later! Do drop by on Barbara Brackman's blog too - she has some very interesting articles on her speciality of historical quilts and textiles;
This entry is a lovely way to 'showcase' the fabrics and I do love blocks on point even if they are all pieced!!

Wednesday 15 July 2009

Cohuna workshop

Here are a couple of photos that Lisa Walton kindly took from the 'Applique design' workshop. It is such a thrill to see what people can produce when they think they can't draw!! Hope you girls don't mind your picture here.......thanks so much for coming

Back to the computer

I can't believe it has been 6 weeks since I recorded anything! Now that I have met some of you that visit I had better make it more interesting for you!!

We have been away for over 3 weeks, travelling 3300kms and spending wonderful times with quilters in Cohuna and Jamberoo. My thanks to Lee and Marilyn for asking me - what a privilege and thanks so much to those of you who bravely came on the designing journey!! It was also lovely in Cohuna to meet Brenda Ryan; and Lisa Walton;

Lisa kindly sent me some photos of student achievements for me which I will put up shortly. I was under the weather that weekend and didn't even have my camera handy!!......thanks Lisa.

Then we headed to Bright for a few days, then Canberra and finally Jamberoo. 17 students in the Jamberoo workshop and I was teaching with Lee Cleland;, Judy Turner;, Beth Miller and Lessa Siegele. What amazing tutors we have here in Australia and it was an honour to be sharing the classrooms with talent of this calibre.

I did finish some quilting and applique while I was away as well. I have enclosed a couple of shots from our travels (Mt Buffalo views) and the Morris Garden quilt that I finally finished.

Till next time........Hi to those visiting - I promise to write more often!

Friday 5 June 2009

I think I've retired from nursing?!!

Today was just another day - but was it? I have just worked my last day as a registered nurse. I have given 35 years to nursing - tried to 'retire' before but we won airfares to London in a raffle and I had to go back and earn my keep so we could afford to go!! So 12 years later I am trying again.! So what is retirement? For me it is a serious change in my career............quilting I hope and who knows where it might go? Mind you the book has not been my reason for my final nursing days- far from it as I have found out in reality how little authors earn. Much worse that I thought so for those of you thinking of publishing....please, please get your contracts checked by legal writing services before you sign it.

But with all of that it is still an exciting future and I thank my dear husband for allowing it to happen.

So today I received some wonderful flowers, some Pandora from my workmates and the doctors have given me a holiday voucher - WOW! And I also received this fascinating book yesterday from a very dear friend - full of snippets and memorabilia from Beatrix Potter's diary.

Have a great long "Queens Birthday weekend"