Christmas party

We had a Christmas party with Gatton Quilters last week. No doubt, there are a lot of Christmas parties being held now! It’s a good time to catch up with everyone, to see the latest project they have been working on, as well as – in our case- the results of any challenges. We also had a lucky dip where we all had to bring along a Christmas ornament to swap with others. Here is the one I made to swap – a star made from an old linen teatowel, hand- embroidered and beaded:
xmas_swap1
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We have a bunch of talented ladies in Gatton Quilters, including a group of art quilters. The group had a challenge in this latter half of the year to produce a piece to the theme of ‘Recycled’- to interpret however we wanted, in whatever format and using whatever materials we wanted.
Here are a few of the challenge projects:

Marilyn

Marilyn


Meryl

Meryl


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This magnificent work below is by Shirley, using feathers to create the gentlemen: the work is mounted and framed. Really breathtaking.
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The party is also a chance to “show and tell”- here’s just a few:
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Helen- completed journal

Helen- completed journal


Jan K

Jan K


On another note, at long last we have rain! The grass is green, the dams are full, the frogs are croaking and the storms are fierce! Here is my brave companion Hayley, who has to come inside at the first rumble of thunder, then promptly hides under the desk:
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and checking out the window at a particularly large clap of thunder:
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So brave!

dogs will be dogs

Even doggies have to have play dates. We took our dog Hayley, a kelpie x, to play with her ‘cousin’ Molly, a big black labrador belonging to my niece, on the weekend. Both dogs don’t get a chance to mix with many other dogs, so they love to play together, running and chasing around my sister’s garden.
My sister’s dog, the brown fluffy one in the photo, is the old man of the household and he had to make sure the others knew who was boss, trying to muscle in on the action. When he was trying to scold Molly, Hayley was trying to round them both up, as is her nature. So funny to watch!
dogs
Have a look also at the beautiful prize-worthy garden, all the hard work of my bother-in-law. We had a lovely day!
garden
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group activities

The meetings for my local quilt group, Gatton Quilters, are about to begin so I have been busy preparing some things for our planned activities for the year.
We are going to have a ‘Half-Square Triangle’ swap. Utilising the printed papers that are provided generously on the website Quilting and Whatnot it’s very easy to sew up a lot of these colourful little units, a page at a time.
The instructions are given on that website, but you basically just use two pieces of fabric that are at least an A4 size,

place them RST and then lay the printed paper on top of them.

Sew along the dotted lines and then cut along the solid ones.


Remove the paper and press open and Voila! lots of quick little squares made of triangles.

Of course it means that you have 12 that are made at a time with the same two fabrics, so if you want to make a scrappy quilt, it’s a great idea to get with a group of people and swap some of yours for some of theirs- you end up with a much greater variety of fabrics, but still made super quickly.
My group is making squares that will be 2 1/2″ square finished, with one light and one dark fabric.
I’ve made a few sheets of them so I can swap half and keep half so I still get to have some of my own fabric in my final arrangement.
Our little Art Quilt group also has a few different things happening this year. One of them is a challenge where we each bring along a bag of randomly- chosen items which will be passed onto another person, who then has to use those items in an art quilt piece. I have been putting together my bag of goodies, some of which might be seen below.. or I may change my mind….

Last but not least, here is our little birthday girl. Hayley turned one this week, so she got a new toy to chase!

Finished quiltlet

A few random things in today’s post. I went to the Quilt and Craft Show in Brisbane on Saturday. Lots of vendor stalls with many lovely things to look at and touch and drool over! The quilt display was amazing, and in fact there were so many that we didn’t get around to look at all of them. Clearly, more than one day is needed to make the most of it! Congratulations to two Gatton Quilters, Alison Green and Shirley Manley, who both won prizes. Here is a link to the Queensland Quilters page to see their quilts.
I finished a little quiltlet that I started last week and showed in a previous post (pattern from Modern Quilting magazine):

It looks lovely and fresh with a citrus-coloured binding:

I quilted it with straight parallel lines which suited the overall simple look.

The back was a plain white with just a little colour, and I put 2 corner pieces up the top to enable it to be hung easily as a wall-hanging.

It may be one I’ll put up for sale at the Art and Craft Fair I’m working towards in a short few weeks time.

It was so hot on Sunday that the doggies had to have a bath, so I have to show here how nice they look now, so they can see the drama was worth it!!
This is Chleo, our old lady:

and Haley, the puppy, now 8 months old, all shiny and sleek but with velvety black ears:.

These two photos were taken when I caught her in on my son’s bed this morning, trying to act innocently and convince me that she was allowed to be there:

And lastly, I just had to show this gift that my sister gave me for my birthday- isn’t it the cutest teapot with its colourful knitted cosy?!

Postcard play


At our recent textile art exhibition, we had a section devoted to our Postcard Challenge. Each member of the Art Quilt group took part in the Challenge where we created a textile postcard to a different theme each month. It was an excellent way of experimenting with various techniques in surface design, quilting and embellishment. By only having a small size to deal with, it meant that we could experiment without worrying over the effect on the final appearance of a large quilt; great for trying out lots of “What if…..” ideas. At the end of the Challenge, we all stuck the postcards onto a black art canvas for some cohesion within the exhibition. The photo above is of my postcard collection.
I thought I might occasionally show here on the blog each of the postcards that I created. You’ll probably note that with these art pieces I tend to like finishes that are not completely neat and tidy- my cards often have threads dangling off them, raw edges, I don’t colour within the lines, etc. I like to embrace the ‘wabi sabi’ aesthetic of beauty within imperfection. That’s not to say I don’t and can’t create with precision and exactness where required; I just like the handmade look on some of my own things.
I made this postcard in response to the theme of “Found”.

I started with some dark fabric and painted it with gold fabric paint. It was then quilted in a grid pattern. I hand-embellished with lots of objects I found- found on one of my walks, found while looking on the ground for discarded bits and pieces or even found in the cupboards or drawers of my sewing room. They were each sewn down with a variety of threads.
At a recent meeting of Gatton Quilters, we had some more of our fractured pictures on show. Not all of the participants had brought in their piece so we didn’t have any completed pictures but here are some of the installments. This also is another way for us to practise different methods so once again I have been trying to vary the techniques I use.
Below is Lyn’s piece, beautifully done and it looks better than the original picture slice which is on the left:

Three other pieces of a different picture (you can see the theme this month was buildings):

(L to R: Trish, me, Shirley)
This month I coloured in the building with Inktense watercolour pencils and then free-motion sewed with black thread around all the outlines to give the appearance of a hand-drawn line.
The original photo:

I have to end with a photo of our little dogs today: Hayley the cheeky puppy on the right recovering well from her little operation this week and (annoying) playing with Chloe .

A busy weekend for all

We’ve had a weekend full of sport-related activities so not a lot of sewing! On Saturday I took my son to a soccer match in Toowoomba. It was a very cold day with the wind never letting up. I’m sure it was also cold on the field, but for us supporters jackets and beanies and gloves were the order of the day. We also took our puppie, Hayley, with us for the trip but while we were at soccer she had a ‘puppy play date’ with my niece’s dog Molly. Molly is a 2 year-old labrador who loves to play and run but often doesn’t have another dog to play with, while our Haley is the same, so this was the perfect opportunity for them to get together.

Haley is the bigger of our two dogs- the older dog is a chihuahua, so it was good to see Hayley on the backfoot for a change- to be the smaller one and to fit in with the doggie heirarchy. Hayley is a very energetic pup and will take whatever chance she can to play with the kids.

It was so cute because that night both Hayley and Molly were so exhausted from running around the yard the whole afternoon chasing each other, that they both slept soundly the whole night! Just like children- tire them out for a good night’s sleep!

My day

If I was to tell you about a day in the life of what could I tell you? Each of my days is filled with things that I choose to do, as against things I have to do now that I no longer go out to work in a paid job. Over the last few months I have been working on my quilting business, doing lots of sewing and quilting, developing this website, doing more sewing, running after children – or mainly just one child at the moment-, more cooking and playing with the puppy. It’s all good!
I have a pot of peppermint tea each morning, courtesy of my daughter who gave me the cute little teapot and the tea for Mother’s day. My eldest son gave me the flower pot, so I was very lucky!

Today the gardner, a.k.a. the husband of the house or runway maintainer due to his fondness for solar garden lights, brought in some beautiful roses from the garden beds he made for me when we moved into this new house of ours a short four years ago.

The roses keep blooming, even though it’s close to their pruning time, they currently have black spot and attracting aphids – but still lots of new growth!

After the daily jobs get done in record time (always done in record time, better things to be doing…) I wander to the quilting room and contemplate which project to work on. I have a variety of pieces on the go because I like to change from machine piecing to applique to quilting as I feel like it. No UFOs here, just all WIP.

This is just one corner; perhaps I need to tidy it a little to show a little more in the photo! Next time.
Today I also have my daughter home for a fleeting visit from uni. She gravitates to the reading corner of my quilting room.

I think that is the favourite place in the whole house for reading. I love to sit there when reading a quilting magazine or book, and the chair itself has special meaning. It’s old and worn with broken springs but comfy; the one I used in the middle of the night feeding and soothing my babies some years ago now.

During the course of the morning I look out the window and there is our puppy Hayley. She has pinched the rug I inadvertently left outside the back door when sweeping earlier, and brought it around to play with it before now sleeping in the sun, worn out for awhile. I smile to myself; caught with the rug she shouldn’t have, but never-the-less I sneak quietly outside with the camera to take a photo.

When her ‘master’ – my youngest son- gets home from school she is there at the fence waiting for him; barely able to contain herself when she hears the bus pull up, ears alert, tail wagging.
The days here in a Gatton winter are beautiful, warm and sunny without a hint of the cold that comes in with the night. When I read of people praising the weather they have in other sunny parts of the world, I think beautiful Queensland tops them all.
Across the road from us is the large dam of a nearby farmer. From our house it looks like a lake and gives us enviable ‘water views’. The sun from the late afternoon is warm, and makes me feel all is good in my world.

Growing…

I fill my days with quilting-related activities, so much so that I still think to myself I didn’t get as much done today as I would have liked, but at least I have another day tomorrow to do it all again! Since being retrenched from my previous job, I have been fortunate to be able to stay at home and I have so loved being able to do what I like whenever I like.
I hope to develop my long-arm quilting business, but that is a long-term prospect, particularly in an environment where success depends very much on word-of-mouth, so I need to get more quilts quilted and build from there. I’m not one to easily self-promote so I find the aspect of looking for business the most difficult. So, it is a conundrum; how do people who don’t like promoting themselves drum up customers?!
In the meantime, I’m working on some quilt-art pieces for the exhibition that my local group, Gatton Quilters, will be having in June. All of the pieces have to be labelled and have a hanging sleeve – and that’s after they are actually finished! I’m planning to show 4 or 5 pieces, all with different techniques and end results. I’ll show some photos on here once I’m happy with them!
In the meantime, here is a photo of our baby- she is now 14 weeks old, growing lots and slowly learning how to be well-behaved – at least, most of the time!

And just for good measure, I have to include a photo of our little old lady Chloe, who so patiently (or not as the case may be) puts up with Hayley bounding all over her!