Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A New William Morris Year

It was wonderful to wake up to my Kelmscott Manor Newsletter this morning full of exciting new ideas for 2014 and beyond. Seemed timely to arrive on the last day of 2013 as I reflected on the past year. I am excited for the Manor but sad that we don't live closer…..have a look at this video and you will see why!!
Next year will be full of adventures and one highlight of course will be the next William Morris tour in just over 7 months where of course we will spend time at Kelmscott….

While I was viewing the Kelmscott video I came across many more in particular one about Red House which is in two parts. Not sure I can embed a second video on the blog but while you are in You Tube just type in Red House and it will appear along with many more….
And of course 2014 brings our first May Morris Tour and I am particularly excited about visiting the Royal Needlework School at Hampton Court. So 2014 will be a busy one - a little less teaching but much more planning for a special event here in South Australia all to do with William Morris of course (so keep your fingers crossed for me - it will be towards the end of 2016 all being well!). 

2014 also sees us moving into a new home and in fact we take over in less than 10 days (still no sale on ours but we are hopeful it will happen soon!). I have also been stitching every night on the new AQC mystery quilt inspired by this………..
So lots to look forward to in 2014 including some new May and William Morris inspired work (and a new grand baby!!) So I wish all of you a very Happy New Year and may it be full of good health, happy times and everything you want it to be xx

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Another Christmas Day is here and another time of family and reflecting. This time of year we think of those who aren't with us anymore and those who we used to share many Christmases with. 
(missing you so much Debbie and Gary! xx)
No longer are there parents to drive and visit, so today we are having a chill out day really doing nothing! Last night was perfect weather for dinner outside (and as I write this our Canadian friends are enjoying Christmas Eve by the cosy fire where it is minus 25C outside!). Larry and I can't even imagine being that cold but I kind of would like to experience one white Christmas in my lifetime! I seemed to spend two days preparing and have to admit I did go a bit overboard with the silver/aqua theme!! 

This year I found colour themed kitchen accessories that the family could take home……(can be seen in the wine glasses with birds atop)

I forgot to photograph the food but believe me it was good! Leftovers for a few days including prawns, ham, turkey and salads…..

Emily did the most amazing potato bake and Sophie a delicious pavlova that Beau sampled…….

 So after all the excitement it was time to just sit back and do a bit of chilling out…….
Sometimes I wonder why I take personal pictures of all this family time and put it on a blog??!! Well I guess I am keeping these memories for future generations as Larry has me turn them into hard back diary books from time to time. So for now - thanks for listening to me 'rave on' - and for those "up North" you get to see how we did it "down South"! So from our family to yours…...a very Merry Christmas and hope it is a day filled with all you want it to be xx 
(And yes the tripod and camera timer worked!)

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Pre-Christmas Show and Tell

As many of you know writing books is not for the faint hearted. There are many, many long hours and added stress on the family…..but the end result is heart-warming especially when you receive emails from all over the world telling you how much pleasure they have received from the patterns. I am afraid that sometimes life gets so busy that I file away emails to share and then forget to go back to them. This is one such email from Ineke all the way from the Netherlands. 

This is in her words: "Today we gave our dear friend Ria a quilt wallhanging from one of your patterns. We are a little bee of three women quilting in the south of the Netherlands. Ria is a great lover of William Morris' prints, so this was the ideal gift for her. We want to thank you for the lovely pattern from your second book. It was a great joy working on it.

Hope the picture from the quilt gives you an idea. The quilt was given for Ria's 65th special birthday. Ria has made many quilts and given 18 of them away, this was the first one she received. We are quilting together for some 5 years, meet each week, and laugh, talk, share and of course quilt a lot. We all have our special styles, Jeanette likes to use reproduction fabrics, Ria is working on a big quilt with chintz fabrics and I am a Kaffe Fassett lover. In 'your' quilt we only used William Morris pattern fabrics. Added little sparkling eyes for the rabbits. We enjoyed working on it as much as Ria is loving her present. So thank you again for your book, keep making these patterns!"

When I received this email some months back it brought me to tears. Not only those very kind words but to hear of this close friendship of three girls who love quilting. And to think that Ria has given so many away and finally one was made especially for her. I just loved the image of the three friends sitting together with such joy on their faces - quilting friendship is indeed very special. Thanks so much Ineke, Jeanette and Ria for allowing me to share your story and images. 

Closer to home (well for those overseas it is still 1,500 kilometres from home - 932 miles!!), anyway Judy from Tamworth in New South Wales also sent me a delightful photo of several projects she has done. She took an image of the wallhanging and then discovered that the mirror reflected another wallhanging and table runner all from my books! Thanks Judy…...they look stunning in your home. 
I met Angela at a workshop in Toowoomba last year (and that is 1,892 kilometers from home - 1,175 miles - we are a VERY BIG country!!). Anyway Angela had emailed me prior to the workshop and asked if I could somehow redesign some of the William Morris Garden blocks so that they could be square instead of a rectangle - to make cushions of course! Not one to let anyone down I set to and her wish was my command! And look at the reward……..

Angela is away with her family on a 7 week journey to the UK and South Africa at the moment and the cushion below is from the table cover centre in the second book. It has been made as a Christmas gift for her mother-in-law in the UK….hope she loves it! Thanks Angela for all the photos!
Maureen is a quilter from the UK who surprised me with a visit while on one of the William Morris tours last year. These are her stunning cushions and wallhanging. The wallhanging was inspired by the work of Deborah Kemball - a quilter who I admire as well. The cushions are a combination of Deborah's work and mine….wow and thanks so much Maureen for sharing.

Thanks so much to you all for taking the time to share your story and photos. It is lovely to know that others enjoy stitching my designs and I know people love to see them finished as well. So if you have sent me a photo and it is somewhere lurking on my computer do let me know if you would like me to share it. 
We are all ready for Christmas Eve dinner tonight and as we have a quiet day tomorrow I will share the excitement  then. So for now I would like to wish you the reader a very Merry Christmas to you and your families and a safe and Happy New Year with much more quilting in 2014! XX