Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Choice? Noice!

Australians all let us be choice,
For we are young and three!!

- Words by Emily, aged three (of course)

BETWEEN YOU AND ME, this is a much better version of our Anthem than the original lyrics, stirring as they may be. They were sung with gusto last Sunday after Emily's mother (our daughter) had finished a gruelling fun (?) run across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, around the foreshores of the harbour, and finishing up at the Opera House. Our heroine can be seen finishing in the white cap.

If you thought the run was exhausting ...

... have a care for the poor spectators!

Where is she?

Ah ... there you are!

I'm afraid the only exercise I seem to get these days is using my Bernina knee lever (guilt, guilt).

I had some Japanese fabric from the Echino range, crying out to be made into a jumper dress for my Etsy shop, and when some yellow spotted fabric arrived last week, I couldn't procrastinate any longer. It's a size 2 and being reversible, it saves packing an extra outfit in the bag if there's a tragic ice-cream spill while miles from home. It's a simple matter of inverting it and re-buttoning at the shoulders. Easy.

The quilt deadline is looming ever closer and progress is slow but steady. Hopefully I should finish the top by this time next week and it's then only a simple (ha!) matter of machine quilting and finishing off the binding. What can be difficult about that? Squeezed in between this I have some desktop publishing jobs to attack and then there's the imminent arrival of a new grandchild (can't wait to meet her and spoil her rotten). Then in a few days I am expecting Mr Postman to bring me lots of new fabrics ... and I know what will happen once that fabric arrives!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Busy Times

Life has been pretty frantic over the past week. My brother flew up from Sydney to spend the weekend with us – the main reason for the visit (apart from seeing us, of course!) was the Rugby Union match here between Australia and New Zealand, our arch enemies. He had bought tickets for the three of us to see the game and we were really looking forward to it.

Saturday morning was the beginning of a glorious Spring day and we headed out at the crack of dawn for the New Farm Farmers’ Markets to buy fresh fruit, vegetables and meat, and to soak up the wonderful atmosphere. This fortnightly market produces the most wondrous parade of canine characters. My brother couldn't get over it and cursed that he had left his video camera at home. Some of the dogs were on leashes, while others rode haughtily in their owners’ trolleys or baskets, and we even saw one a few weeks back being cradled in a baby sling.

Coffee is always the first vendor we hit before a leisurely stroll through the crowded stalls, selecting the best produce in season.

We drove home with our goodies and had a light lunch of delicious Greek spinach and cheese pie and green salad (some of our market purchases) and spent the afternoon catching up and reminiscing, as we always do on such family occasions.

Early dinner was at the Hilton Hotel before we boarded the free bus service to take us to the football stadium. This was a first for me and I think the bus driver’s last job was with a roller derby demolition team. However, we arrived in one piece and the game was exciting, even if the outcome wasn’t. The bus trip back to the city was at a more stately pace, which only served to prolong the agony of enduring a busload of over-enthusiastic Kiwis (a little unsporting, I thought) who seemed to think that we should share in their joy.

The next day the three of us drove to the Gold Coast, about an hour from Brisbane, to catch up with a relative and her family who we had not seen for many years. The day was extremely happy – I don’t know how we let time slip by without contact. I guess life is hectic all round and we really should take time out to remember the important things, like keeping in touch with family.

In between all this, another package of fabric arrived from the States, and it was all the inspiration I needed to get cracking on the quilt which I have to have completed by early November. There are 56 pieces in each block, so you can appreciate my panic. One block is completed and up on my design wall. Well … at least it’s a start.

Somewhere in the last week I managed to make some outfits from the fabric I had been drooling over since its arrival a few days earlier.

My son sent us an email yesterday, telling of the latest adventures of their just-turned-two-year-old. From the time she was a baby she has been She the Adventuress, climbing precariously up onto furniture way before she could walk.

Apparently Matt caught her teaching her older brother and sister how to climb the chest of drawers. When Matt walked in she covered her mouth and went, “Oh oh!”, turned to the other two and said, “Run away! Quickly!” before turning to her father with her big eyes and saying, “Daddy! Hold me!” What a girl.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Happy Two

THE PAST FEW DAYS have produced two happy events. The first involved the arrival of fabric (always a gleeful event) and the second involved a grandchild's birthday celebration.

Fabric Day was rainy and windy, the last remnants of a cold winter (well, cold for us living in sub-tropical Brisbane). After waiting impatiently for the expected parcel to arrive in my post box for several days, finally there it was. This lovely package arrived from Charlie of Fabric Supplies (, my favourite fabric supplier. The collection is Sandi Henderson's Farmer's Market designs and I absolutely fell in love with them at first sight.

After the usual drooling, I washed and ironed the stash and am in the process of planning some pretty outfits for little girls. Oh, I don't want to cut into this gorgeous fabric, but I know I must!

The second, and much, much more important event was the celebration of our youngest granddaughter's birthday. She turned two on 4 September (ever to be known as the day Steve Irwin died - bummer!) and she generously brought her family to visit us for lunch on Sunday. It was a double celebration, being Father's Day, so we had three generations to cheer on - husband, son and granddaughter.

Birthday Girl ripped her way through the pink and orange tissue paper wrapped gifts and immediately fell in love with her very own beads, made by my good friend Joy (who can be seen riding a fire engine in my last post).

While the beads were getting all the attention, Hat Boy quietly sneaked away to play with one of his little sister's other gifts.

Enter Miss Red on the scene. After a bit of snatch and grab, we soon have a full-blown drama on our hands.

After Dad has a few gentle words, peace descends once again. Miss Red has made the trembling lip an art form, but she can't resist Hat Boy's charms.

Meanwhile, Birthday Girl is still captivated by her beads and has no idea that her other gifts have caused battles. Time for the party food.

Hat Boy likes to leave the chocolate icing to the last - shades of my childhood! After a squashy cheeks hug from Grandad, it was time to get the little folk home. A perfect day.

Oh, and to top my week I received a lovely award from Pixie Kisses ( I am humbled and delighted at the same time, so please take a look at Pixie Kisses - it's a lovely blog.

Today Tony and I took ourselves off to the Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art, as we realise that it was the last week of the Picasso and His Collection exhibition.

It is the first time the collection has been outside Europe, so we feel very fortunate to have it in our own city - the only place in Australia it will be visiting. The collection consists of 150 works in Picasso's private collection, featuring not only his own works, but those of his favourite artists. It was absolutely wonderful and we were delighted to see so many school children attending with their dedicated art teachers. It augers well for the future of art appreciation in Australia.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Schoolhouse Quilters' Exhibition

It always amazes me how it takes all day to set up a quilt exhibition, but it comes down with lightning speed. There is a secret. We are indeed fortunate in Schoolhouse Quilters to have a well-organised group of women who are ably backed up by some wonderful menfolk who never let us down.

As you can see, Brookfield Hall is a very pretty heritage listed building and the perfect place to hold an exhibition. On Friday morning we were inundated with quilts arriving in their bags, a truckload of display stands, sales room items, card tables for the refreshments room and several volunteer helpers. Somehow out of all this confusion the beginnings of a quilt show started to emerge.

The piles of quilts were sorted into their appropriate sizes and from there decisions had to be made regarding where the larger quilts were to be displayed around the walls and hanging from the rafters. Then it was time to call in the heavy artillery - those unsung heroes, men with their ladders.

Once the larger quilts were in place, the smaller ones were arranged on the display stands, and the sales room was set up. The catering girls set the tables with pretty tablecloths and fresh flowers and we were ready for opening the next morning.

Despite dire threats of a rainy weekend, we had in fact the most glorious weather, worthy of late spring rather than the last two days of winter. The crowds on Saturday morning were very large and kept the girls in the sales room quite busy - so much so that I couldn't even stop to take some photos.

The exhibition was enjoyed by all who came and most people took advantage of the refreshments room or sitting outside under the marquee, renewing their strength with cups of coffee and tea and enjoying lovely sandwiches and home baked slices.

For the first time, this year we invited the local primary schools to participate in a competition to make a quilt using the theme of fire prevention, as the proceeds from our charity raffle quilt this year (see picture at the top of this post) will be going to the local bushfire brigade, a wonderful voluntary organisation which helps to keep us safe during those terrible bushfire seasons. Frankly, we were gobsmacked when the entries poured in from little children in Grade Three - 7 and 8 years of age - and this was their first attempt at making a quilt. My hat goes off to those dedicated school teachers who guided their pupils in such a way that the enthusiasm oozes out of the finished products.

This was the winning quilt (left) and my favourite (right).

The presentation of awards to the children on Sunday was such a happy event.

Once the formalities were over, the children were shown over the fire engine parked outside the hall and were even permitted to sound off the siren - big excitement. Even some of the big kids got in on the action!

I was very pleased with the sales I made over the two days. The baby booties were snapped up fairly early and by the end of the weekend I had sold several dresses, aprons, bags, etc, with queries for some commissioned work.

I am sure there were plenty of weary bodies dragging themselves out of bed this morning, but all will agree that it was all worth the effort. We had such fun!