Monday, 30 June 2008

Have Nun ... Will Travel

HAVE YOU EVER had a running gag with someone? My husband Tony and I have one that goes back many years, to the time I put a wind-up nun in his Christmas stocking. Well, she has turned up in the most unusual places and sometimes at the most embarrassing times. She has a penchant for hiding in my shoes, or in Tony's underwear drawer. Once she travelled all the way to Perth to accompany Tony on a business trip and he didn't discover her presence until he opened his briefcase at a meeting. Boy, was he surprised.

Well, apparently she felt it was time to come with me to Toowoomba, about one and a half hours' drive from Brisbane.

Around thirty members of Schoolhouse Quilters were on our annual weekend retreat and our accommodation was at the beautiful one hundred year old boarding school, Glennie, which has been our destination for three years now. The girls are on vacation and we took over their facilities for a weekend of fun, frolics and just a little sewing.

On the way up a few of us met for lunch in a coffee shop at Toowoomba. As I left the car and put on my jacket pocket (it's cold in Toowoomba) I knew instantly that I was not alone. There in the jacket pocket was ... the Travelling Nun!

She had the time of her life helping me construct my quilt top and we are planning her next appearance - my husband is looking very nervous!

One of the many tea breaks

Dinner table Saturday night

In between eating (well, it was cold), most of us worked on a quilt top constructed from fabric jelly rolls (pre-packed 2½” strips of fabric). I wanted to use some of the left-overs from my children's clothing and I also wanted a more scrappy look.

We all had the most wonderful, creative couple of days and accomplished all that we set out to.

In the end I decided to make my quilt top cot size and will have it ready for our new granddaughter due at the end of October.

After laying it out on the floor, I quickly pieced it and packed it ready for the trip home.

Before we left, members of the school staff showed us the school's Centenary Quilt hanging in the school hall.

Some people can't resist the touchy-feely experience!

Naturally, we visited a local quilt shop, Precious Time - the shop that lives up to its name. It's a beautiful shop, tucked away in a quaint old timber cottage/shop and the staff treated us like old friends. I couldn't resist buying a couple of soft toy patterns by the remarkable Australian designers, the sisters Melly & Me ( Keeping in mind that this week is RED in Fede's weekly colour challenge, I bought this fabulous fabric and will make up one of the patterns this week.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

How Now Brown ...

At first glance, when I saw that Week 3 of Fede's colour challenge was brown, my heart sank. I have to admit it's not a colour that makes my heart sing.

However, I took a look at some of my children's clothing and was amazed at what I had already made in brown. Hmmm ... not such a bad colour after all - in fact, I love it.

Earlier this month I sold a jumper dress, Strawberries and Chocolate, to a young father in America for his little daughter's first birthday. I was really touched, because I don't think many fathers would dream of buying a dress for their baby - that's usually the domain of mothers and grandmothers. Anyhow, it had been at the back of my mind all month that I must make a replacement to put back in my Etsy shop and only this week the penny dropped - it's pink and brown!

So here it is, my first (and maybe only) entry in the Brown challenge.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Yellow ... Take Two

I know it's late in the week, but I have just finished a children's library bag to replace a couple sold recently. In my eyes it qualifies as yellow. Well, there are lots of yellow bits in there if you really look.

I am almost over yellow, so bring on next week's colour ... Brown??!! Mmmm ... that will stretch the creative mind!

It's the shortest day of the year today and yesterday afternoon we had one of those loud and noisy thunder storms normally associated with summer - not the middle of winter.

I was about to close the family room door when something caught my eye:

Closer inspection showed that it was a very clever little butcher bird taking shelter on the clothesline under the eaves.

As soon as the downpour stopped, he was down on the lawn, waiting for the first worm to pop up its head.

A very clever little bird indeed.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Week Two - Yellow

Week Two of the colour challenge is to make everything in the colour yellow. The Japanese fabric I had been waiting on arrived yesterday and between outings I managed to sew my first item. I designed a simple swing skirt from scratch and was pleased with the result:

I added a layer above the hemline, which may be let down as the little girl grows taller, extending the skirt length by two inches. It is a size 5 and I'll put it in my Etsy shop tomorrow.

Now ... what else is lying around the studio that could pass for yellow?

Monday, 16 June 2008

Making an exhibition of myself

This was a first for me, I must admit, being invited to exhibit my clothing at an art exhibition. In fact, there were three of us - Joy the beader, Margot the quilter and me the clothier. We're all good friends and that helped enormously.

The rest of the exhibition was the usual paintings, pottery and the like, so what we did in effect was turn it into a genuine Art & Craft exhibition

Opening night on Friday was a resounding success, with over 200 crammed into the gallery at Southbank in Brisbane. The atmosphere was wonderful and the wine flowed freely, loosening the purse strings and red stickers started appearing on the walls. Margot sold a quilt in the first five minutes and by the end of the evening had sold three. A grandmother made a beeline for my clothing and snaffled a dress, pair of pants and an apron for her granddaughters. At the end of a successful evening, we were passed on the front steps by a little tot wearing one of my aprons. Ah, another satisfied customer!

Margot and Joy's items

Saturday, however, was fairly quiet, which is probably par for the course, but there were good attendances on Sunday and I made several sales. Altogether it was a very interesting and educational experience and one I would gladly tackle again.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Goodie Blue Shoes

Here is my second (and last!) item for Blue Week. My son's best friend and his wife have just returned from Taiwan with their newly adopted baby son. I had planned to give them the pair of Trainer Baby Booties which I had on sale in my Etsy shop, but they were sold at the exhibition I am participating in this weekend, so I had to quickly make another pair.

I will make a couple of matching bibs and perhaps a small nappy bag to complete the set. I can't wait to meet the new little man in their lives.

Oh, and the blue pants I made earlier this week also sold at the exhibition, which was a bonus!

And now on to Week Two - Yellow.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Week One - Blue

I have joined in a challenge issued by an Etsy Dust (Down Under Street Team) member, Fiona of Fede ( Over the next six weeks we are to make items in one particular colour and this week it is blue.

No time to be creative, as I have a weekend exhibition deadline and have to have my items at the gallery by tomorrow. So I killed two birds with one stone and made a pair of blue pants for a three-year-old to put up for sale in my Etsy shop.

Boring I know, but hopefully the creative juices will start flowing when I have time to take a deep breath.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Noodles, Cupcakes and Mondays

God bless the Queen. Thanks to her celebrating her birthday, we had a public holiday yesterday, so instead of the usual dreary Monday laundry chores, we had the family over for lunch - so much more interesting.

We had met up with our son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren a few days earlier, when Cathryn had her first ultrasound. We stayed in the waiting room in case we were needed to mind the children. They played so patiently while their mother was going through the process, except for 21 month old Gabrielle, who was very anxious and kept asking where Mummy was. At last they were given the word and they trouped off with their father to take a look at the new baby. Within a few minutes they burst out of the room and announced to all and sundry, "It's a girl!" Oh no - I didn't want to know - I love the surprise element when it comes to births. At least we know the baby is healthy and I can plan on girlie things to make. All very exciting.

Our grandson is a very fussy eater, so I took the opportunity of asking what he would like for lunch on Monday and the instant response was, "Noodles!" Of the Two Minute variety. Oh dear. So noodles it was. We bought a leg of lamb for the rest of us - I couldn't visualise us all sitting down to a pile of noodles somehow. However, keeping the Stephen Friendly Meal theme going, I made cup cakes for dessert. I had bought a packet of pink and white M & Ms from a friend who was selling them as a breast cancer fund raiser and after making pink icing (the first lot ended up down the drain when the pink colouring did a merry dance out of my hands and into the icing mixture) I popped one on top of each cake.

Stephen wanted a white one.

It all went down a treat - nothing left but empty plates.

I took the opportunity to persuade The Princess to model one of my latest dresses.

After that we played indoor games, as it was a little damp and the trip to the beautiful park next door had to be abandoned. The room was tidy and ready for play, but this didn't last for very long.

Why is it that I always end up with the slowest rocket ship and am shot down in flames? It's just not fair.

And now it's back to the sewing machine. I foolishly opted to join in a challenge to make items of one particular colour each week and this week it's blue. Should be an interesting experiment.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Coffee, Cake and Companions

Mmmm ... a warm winter's day Brisbane style. It was time to meet up with the BrisStyle gals to discuss preparations for our Christmas market. We welcomed new members Jo and Sharon and greeted established members, Helen, Bec, Ali, Amanda, Georgia, and our founder Esther. Other members sadly could not make our meeting, due to prior commitments or illness in the family.

We gathered at a large coffee shop opposite the site of our planned market in busy upmarket Hamilton. It was a warm and friendly gathering and of course, Show and Tell was high on the agenda. We oo-ed and ah-ed over Jo's delightful baby items and her colourful mini tissue cozies (Prampurse Etsy shop), Sharon's beautiful jewellery - her wirework is simply amazing (Shazzabeth), Bec's latest bag made of the most wonderful fabric (Wheresbeckybean), Ali's eye-catching retro jewellery and so appealing "little jelly" soft toys, each with its own name (Jellygnite), Helen's beautiful retro button earrings (RubyredStudios), and I brought along a couple of my latest dresses. Esther (GreenenvyDesigns) topped us all, though, with her three page article in a just-published issue of an American beading magazine. She was also wearing her latest creation, an exquisite beaded necklace which had to be seen to be appreciated. Well done, Es.

Then it was down to the business of the nuts and bolts of working out the committee members, joining fee and basic rules.

Our big day, 13 December may seem so far away, but look how fast the first six months of the year have flown! In the coming months new members will join our group and it all augers well for our Christmas market.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Wet & Wild

WHAT DO YOU DO on a wet weekend? We have had so few of them in the last year or so that it did indeed present a problem. In the end we took the boring, well-trodden route of taking in a movie.

Mistake No 1: I let my husband choose the movie. Indiana Jones.

Mistake No 2: We chose the first session of the day - 10.00am on a Saturday, which left time to do the supermarket shopping later in the day. We had forgotten that our local Mega Movie House now allocates the seats - no more wandering in and doing a random. We trundled upstairs after purchasing our tickets and were about 10th in the line waiting to enter our individual theatres. The only problem was that at 5 to 10 there was no member of staff in sight to tear our tickets and order us to enjoy the movie. The woman in front of us nervously wondered out loud if they would start the session without us. Of course they would. At 3 minutes past 10 an unhurried young man sauntered up to the pedestal at the head of the queue. At last some action. Wrong. He stood looking down at some paperwork (good heavens, man, all you had to do was tear the tickets!) and took out his you-beaut two-way walkie-talkie. He was soon joined by a teenage girl and they both studied the paperwork. Then suddenly they looked up and without a word of apology, allowed us to enter the inner sanctum. Of course, the theatre was plunged into darkness, with commercial movies playing to an empty house. We all stumbled along in the pitch black and somehow found our allotted rows. However, the seat numbers, located by feel, were not to be read by the human eye. Tony whipped out his mobile phone (naughtily, he had not turned it off yet) and by the light of the screen, he was able to become an honorary usher and showed many poor lost souls to their seats. His name will be put up in the New Year Honours List.

All this to see an ageing Indy puff his way through a very poor story line. Harrison - what were you thinking of?

Today was the sort of day to stay at home and catch up on some sewing (me) and reading (Hisself). At last the rains are falling in the dams as well as on Brisbane, so the threatened further water restrictions (drink your own spittle) may be held off for a few weeks.

I know our poor neglected garden appreciated the drenching.