Friday 31 December 2010

A look at my place and more

It is way past midnight and soon to be New Year's Eve. It is too hot to sleep and currently 32 degrees (89 degrees Fahrenheit). We are expecting a 'stinker' today - 41 degrees (106 Fahrenheit!), but we must not complain as our thoughts go out to everyone in Queensland who has been affected by the worst floods in 150 years. And also to those overseas who are affected by the bitter cold and snow - it is certainly a time of stressful weather extremes. You can read and see more about the floods here;

For now a glimpse of what we did over the last couple of days. Our daughter Emily and her husband Brett hosted Christmas this year and this is how they greeted us! Even the dogs were dressed for the occasion! It was a wonderful day - thanks guys XX
We have had our house on the market for the past few weeks - after 25 years it is time to downsize. It is not an easy time to sell and because we need a long settlement we have initially advertised on the Internet only. A few people have passed through but no offers yet. These are the images taken several weeks ago by our agent for the internet:
So it does get you thinking - why doesn't it sell? We only have one bathroom and people want two but maybe it is this neglected room...... Some years ago the old master bedroom became a sewing, office and general clutter room. The agent didn't know what to make of it so he called it the 'utility room'. He took no photos of that room so you must try to imagine there are awful green walls, a few tables, cupboards, ironing board, fabric etc, etc! So two days ago we started the makeover of that 'utility room'. Some 'stuff' went out to the rubbish and some to charity and some to storage! So we mixed up a concoction of leftover paint, bought some new curtains and even a couple of bargain prints of what look like peonies! So now it is a romantic master bedroom again........
Our first 'proper' open for inspection is in 2 weeks so we hope it sells!
So Happy New Year to you all and stay safe and well.

Friday 24 December 2010

Love at Christmas

It is sometimes hard to say 'Merry Christmas' when I know some of you will be having a very sad or lonely one. Recently some of you have lost loved ones, some are very sick and some of us are missing those that are gone. But it is a time to share with family and friends. So to all of you - 'my friends through this blog'.........I hope it is a special day doing what you like to do. Hugs from me as I send you all a bit of joy, love and warmth from Australia (especially for those in the freezing snow)
 I am so enjoying the peonies and so envious of those of you who can grow them!

 And late yesterday this beautiful bouquet of flowers arrived from Tim and Jim at Lloyd Curzon's - the amazing duo who distribute the Adelaide Collection of fabrics. Thanks guys for all your support and encouragement. It has been phenomenal these past few weeks;

 And above - this one off piece of stunning jewellery was whipped up by me! I continue to volunteer one morning a week in the local aged care facility and we were given a thankyou Christmas lunch on Monday....BUT we did have to "wear something shiny"
And I managed to score the 'most creative prize'!!
Not many decorations in our house this year as it has to be kept neat and tidy while we try to sell it! But this tree with candles inside it is a reminder of the season.
I will leave you with this little bit of an Australian Christmas.
Click on the link below and it says it all!
Merry Christmas X

Tuesday 21 December 2010

William Morris flowers

Today I visited our city market for some Christmas goodies. Our 'Adelaide Central Market' has been going for 140 years and it is a wonderful place of visual delight and full of the most amazing aromas. Their website is worth a look;
Fresh flowers are abundant and I bought myself a rare treat - a bunch of peonies.

I have never seen them grown in my home state - this bunch comes from Tasmania where I am sure the climate is better than home. Peonies feature in many Morris designs including Cray:

I've appliqued peonies in a wall hanging which is a project in my new book. This is the original embroidery and then below is my wall hanging version:
 Above Photo "Portiere" is courtesy of the Art Gallery of South Australia;

I know little of peonies but our ABC television garden show has a wonderful fact sheet:
I have recently received another wonderful 'William Morris' plant. This is a rare specimen given to me by my friend Valerie last week- it is 'Fritillaria'. Valerie took a photo of it flowering but of course now it is dormant. Her photo was carefully displayed with Jane and William in the background!

 I have found the most common Fritillaria meleagris is known as 'Snakeshead' as seen below:
The above photo is courtesy of wikimedia;

And below is William Morris' design of the same name. The mystery is unravelling and I always wondered why this design had such an odd name - I can now see those flowers! Thankyou Valerie.
Snakeshead 1876
So I am looking forward to next winter when my bulb hopefully produces flowers. For now I will get great pleasure watching the peonies open.

Friday 17 December 2010

William Morris fabrics for quilts

I see life about me a hive of activity with preparations for the Christmas holiday. I don't think about it until after the 18th - my birthday (!!)....then maybe I'll make plans! Part of these plans are for the William Morris tour in 2012. You will notice a new link on the left of this blog. If you click on the photo of Kelmscott Manor on this new link (which I am proud to say I took), you will go direct to the tour site. News from Helen will be posted in the coming weeks. The tour will be limited to 25 participants - very exciting!
This quilt is in the new book about to hit our shores!
It is done in batiks and called 'Floral Fantasy'

I have received several emails from quilters wondering about purchasing fabrics for quilts from my new book. If you want to know requirements before you receive your book just drop me an email.

"Morning Glory"
In the 'Morning Glory' quilt I used fabrics from the Morris Workshop  but supplies are low so look at Barbara Brackman's new range from Moda - A Morris Tapestry. This would be perfect for this quilt. Barbara gives some great history on the designs here; and you can see the whole collection in this PDF;
I especially love this print for a border based on Morris' Strawberry Thief pattern:
And I've come across another range of Morris prints from David textiles but I can only find them at shop sites and not on the David textile site;

And I MUST mention the wonderful "Adelaide collection" fabrics for quilts! If I'd had the fabrics in my stash when I made the quilt this would have made a perfect border too:
And don't forget the tonals for the flowers and leaves which Jason especially pre-dyed so that they are the solid colour on the back - perfect for raw edge applique. And now that I have used them I can assure you they are of a very high thread count so they hardly fray:

Have a great week X

Thursday 9 December 2010

I've seen the book!

It is real and I just had to share with you the joyous news! This afternoon the doorbell rang and there was Anna my Editor delivering me my very own copy of 'More William Morris in Applique'. The bulk of orders will soon be on their way - sadly most of you will have to wait until after Christmas - but it will be worth it - a cheer up after the post Christmas blues! Thought you might like to see it in the flesh..............

Loads more photos and 144 pages!
Ten complete projects - more than Book 1
Two large bed quilts, a baby quilt, child's quilt, a wall hanging, bellpull, cushion,
tablerunner, book covers and even a tablecloth. But you do have to
love applique........ oh and William Morris of course! 

Lots more step by step images with each project

I hope you enjoy it when it arrives