Monday 27 January 2014

Packing, packing and more packing!

I thought three years ago that we had really downsized and that I had also de-cluttered….but it would appear that side of my life crept back in again….not to mention the hundreds of books that belong to Larry! We have been working solidly for the last week sealing the tile grout, painting some walls and of course packing and shifting boxes of "stuff" to the new house. The big moving day is only two sleeps away so I have no exciting photos or quilting news to share!! So for now all I can do is share these lovely photos that Brett and Emily have taken over the past few weeks……..

I hope our Australian friends had a wonderful Australia Day yesterday……a little 'ho hum' for us as we were packing! We have a few more hot days this week of over 40C but thankfully Wednesday will only be 34C… I will speak to you after the move xx

Saturday 18 January 2014

A hot week at home

This past week will be one to remember for a number of reasons. First of all we have just experienced 5 days straight with temperatures above 42 degrees. One day it was predicted that we would be the "hottest city in the world" with an expected maximum of 46C (almost 115F!). But it didn't quite make it - it was still 45C and with that kind of heat comes the hot nights as well….and the inevitable tragedies of bush fires, lost homes and even human life lost. The wildlife loss must be horrendous and we heard tonight of a farmer losing thousands of sheep. More news and photos at the ABC News site…..
Finally last night the temperatures dropped but preceding this was a very noisy and spectacular storm. Local photographers have been sharing photos all day and they are truly spectacular. You can see more here

And it is heart warming (no pun intended!), to see images like this too……..

So what did we do during this extreme weather event? Well we decided to get the tiles regrouted in our new home - problem is no tiler would do it as it is apparently easier to rip them all up and replace them. Well being naive we threw ourselves into the task and we discovered why no-one will do it unless you pay thousands of dollars! The noise, the mess and the dust is an experience we don't want to repeat - not to mention our hands, knees and backs……moan, moan! This was the grouting in some areas before our attack….
 Larry used the electric equipment and I used the hand held device…..
 In all it was about 60 square metres and took the two of us 3 days….

So the job is done and all up for about $800 including a professional tiler doing new grout and silicone edging…and it looks amazing! I am now looking forward to decorating and putting our own stamp on the place. Included in the make-over will be some painting, changes to the window treatments and new lights. Some time ago I received the most incredible gift of some William Morris curtain fabric …..this will be made up to go in the formal dining room. So stay tuned for the changes…..
Tomorrow we have another open for inspection with the hope of a much needed sale as we will be moving all our belongings in just over a week. So on a final note I wanted to share a special evening that we had with the girls (and partners), that I did my nursing training with almost 40 years ago - minus a very special friend who lives in the country (miss you Deb xx)! It is quite scary to think we started training that long ago! Everyone in the photo is still nursing…..except me because quilting took over! I have been away from nursing for nearly 4 years and do miss it at times. It was a good night with many laughs……

Have a great week and I hope all is well in your part of the world x

Thursday 9 January 2014

Back to Business

A brand New Year means time to get organised (apart from selling a home and moving!!)… I have finally updated my calendar for the year which you can find by clicking on the 'Calendar' tab at the top of this blog. I am also very excited to announce that Lloyd Curzon Textiles will be stocking a selection of my patterns! I have worked with the Curzon team for over 4 years now with the fabric ranges and they have always been incredibly supportive and encouraging of my quilting journey. It has taken a couple of years for me to finally get it all together and you can see the eleven patterns in the 'Gallery and Patterns' tab also at the top of the blog. Some are resurrected patterns and some that have only been available through workshops. Of course other designs are available from Country Bumpkin Publications in my books and as separate patterns. The following are newer designs that have previously not been available:

I am sorry but this is initially for Australian quilters but I can let you know where they are being stocked for online purchase from overseas. Wholesale enquiries can be made direct to Lloyd Curzon.

I have recently also received some more lovely "Show and Tell" from afar. Firstly this gorgeous quilt from Christine for her brand new grand-daughter……just gorgeous……(the pattern is from More William Morris in Applique)….
Pam from the US emailed me some years ago telling me about her charity work which she calls "comfort" work. I was so touched by her story that I sent her a selection of designs for her projects. You can see more of her story here at this Link. And more in her words:
"I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the amazing ways that you unknowing, have shaped and changed my life.  I wrote to you two years ago, asking for permission to use your designs for my charity projects.  Not only did you gladly do that, you sent me every beautiful pattern that you have ever made free of charge. :)  
I am still working on my comfort projects(I do not like the word charity) and what a time I have had.  We have been on tv and several newpapers with our charity projects! While I am right now teaching children, and they are close, but not quite ready for William Morris designs, but they have learned his wisdom, his love for all beautiful things and more importantly, the love of helping others, caring for others and we spend all of our free time making beautiful quilts for others!!

I have taught the William Morris class for the  past 4 years at local quilt shops, and have given women the ability and confidence to make the whole" Friendship quilt" by hand, making each stitch a labor of love.  

I actually gave a Friendship quilt(embroidered by hand) to each of my sons, and the label I wrote was as follows:  "Every stitch on this quilt represents a time that you have brought me great joy"

Every day of my life involves William Morris in some aspect and my goal is still to send his message to all parts of the world through sewing".  
Thanks so much for sending me these lovely images Pam……

What a great way to continue the enthusiasm for William Morris! So back to the packing here at home with 'business' organised. Hopefully this year I can find the time to create more new designs……and Beatrix Potter nibbles away at me too - so stay tuned! xx

Tuesday 7 January 2014

Indian Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia

I never need an excuse to visit our Art Gallery of South Australia, but today I had an extra reason. It was to view an exhibition titled Realms of Wonder that features Jain, Hindu and Islamic art of India. On the way to the gallery we crossed the University footbridge and found a collection of love locks that we had not seen since our visit to Minsk - the capital of Belarus, a few years ago. Strange to see it has started here at home………..

 The lawns at the gallery looked inviting with an Indian art inspired snakes and ladders game waiting to be played in the courtyard……...
 The gallery also has a studio space for children to 'play in' which reflects the special exhibition…….
 Of course there is always the mandatory visit to the William Morris room…….
 And we also discovered another exhibition inspired by Ovid's poem 'Metamorphoses' (which I discovered were 15 books!). This was intriguing and is the work of contemporary artist Fiona Hall …..

 The installation below titled "Clouds" was a commissioned piece for the Melbourne Art Foundation and is made up of all sorts including ladders and hundreds of cables and lights. The artist is Ian Burns…….

 This piece "The Gamekeeper's Gibbet" is from British artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster. You have to get up close to see that the reflected sculptures are actually made up of mummified and then gilded creatures……..
 But what were we really there for…..Ah, ahh……...
 this of course……...
 I have predominantly taken photos of textiles and most of the following are from the 20th century. Some are painted, some embroidered and many block printed……….

 This hand painted temple hanging is dated 1780……….

These are my favourites - Palampores from around 1800…….

 More incredible gold-work embroidery…….
Wood carving………... 
 and a beautiful 18th-19th century tent panel………..

 More inspiration……...

 I am sure William Morris was inspired by this style of work as well……….

 This hand quilted prayer mat is dated mid 19th century……….

 It is always exciting to see my book featured in the bookshop - such a thrill. So it was time for a coffee - I am sure Larry's look of deep contemplation had nothing to do with what we had just seen though!! More about why hasn't our house sold yet and when is this new part-time job I was offered 6 weeks ago finally going to start!!!
 A gift from Larry of a beautiful ceramic mug. The gallery have a promotion on at the moment so of course we had to have the Morris one! 
It was a great exhibition and very timely as I am working on the Mughal inspired quilt at this very moment. So thanks for sharing our day with us!