Wednesday, 31 July 2013

V & A quilt exhibition Brisbane July 2013 and a sister fix

Monday the 29th July saw me fly to Brisbane being picked up by my sister and then drive to Toowoomba, where I spent a couple of days with my sister and her family. We also celebrated my nieces 23 rd birthday. On Wednesday my sister and I traveled to Brisbane to Visit, Quilts 1700-1945. The reason for traveling to Queensland was to get a sister fix and also to see the famous Rajah Quilt which is in this particular exhibition from the V& A in London.  The Rajah quilt, 1845, was the inspiration of Elizabeth Fry. Elizabeth thought that setting a task for the convict women on this long voyage, would help the women to cope. Elizabeth Fry gathered the fabrics and gave it to the  convict women who were being shipped to Van Diemen  Land on the Convict ship "Rajah". This is how the quilt got it's name. The quilt when made, was to be a gift to the wife of the  governor of Van Diemans land. After getting lost in Brisbane because some bright spark put in the wrong address in the Tomtom, we finally arrived at our destination, a hotel very close to the Queensland Art Gallery in South Brisbane, we parked the car and rushed to the gallery to make the 1.15 pm tour. We actually arrived at 12.55 pm and made the 1 pm tour, which I highly recommend, although the tour guide was very informative about the historical aspects of the quilts, she had no idea about quilting, such as windmills, tumbling blocks, six pointed stars and the type of embroidery stitches used. My sister who does not quilt was amazed at the detailed workmanship in the quilts, embroidery and curtains displayed. After our tour we purchased the patchwork platter lunch in the cafe, then went back into the exhibition for a more thorough look. No photo's were allowed to be taken, not for the want of trying..but had to suffice with some shots of our lunch and the entry to the exhibition. Also on display was a collection of quilts from Ruth Stoneley, photo's were allowed to be taken in this exhibition but no flash. Overall the exhibition is well worth a visit.
Entry to the exhibition

Patchwork platter lunch.

Ruth Stoneley collection of quilts
Reds and blacks seem to be her favourite colours, as well as crazy patchwork.
A stunning evening dress

Work by Ruth Stoneley in blacks and reds.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Circular Table Centre

This is the latest project that I have been working on and have taken my time in basting it, as I was not sure if I could use it as a table centre or make it into a quilt. Do I need another quilt?. I have basted the circular table centre so decision made and it will be kept as a table centre. Another wonderful design by Chris Jurd.  I just love the French General range of fabrics, so I have used this fabric In the table top.

Marysville and Black Saturday

With the recent arrival of the new royal baby, from the news bulletins, I have noticed that a number of references have been made about Prince William and when he visited Australia, especially after the Black Saturday fires and how compassionate he was at the time and  likened to his mother who also demonstrated  genuine compassion.  The Black Saturday fires occurred Feb 7th 2009, and devastated nearly all of the Yarra ranges National parks and into the Dandenong's in Victoria. The townships of Marysville, Buxton, Taggerty and Narbethong were totally wiped out, other towns were also affected as well. The reason for mentioning this is that I was fortunate enough to visit Marysville on my 30th wedding anniversary in December 2008. A friend in Perth sent me some gorgeous photo's of this magical garden in Marysville with the most amazing sculptures, set amongst the back drop of a natural wonderland and it was the work of one man " Bruno". As my hubby and I always do something special for our anniversary, I was insistent that we visit Marysville and now in hindsight, we were very fortunate to have visited, and the surrounding area's before it was devastated by the Black Saturday fires. We spent a wonderful three days touring Healesville, Narbethong, Taggerty and Buxton. Marysville is a 90 minute drive from Melbourne and I recommend that you visit. Since the Black Saturday fires, Bruno's new Gallery has been built and opened in November 2011. He is still rebuilding the gardens. Visit the link. 

What also reminded me of Bruno's art garden, is this image above. This is one of my most favourite sculptures from Bruno's garden. Last week I was having lunch with my friend Sandy and after dining we went shopping.. as you do!. In Windsor a small historical town where we both live, has some very quaint shops, we stumbled across a boutique that was having a sale and had reduced some great clothes. I purchased 2 dresses to wear with tights and Sandy bought about 5 outfits for the cost of one. What Sandy bought that I was very jealous of was  a jacket with the above image all over the back of the jacket, we had a little dispute over the jacket, I lost because it looked so much better on her as well, than me and she also saw it first. That is the best thing about our friendship as well, there is no hard feelings, when either of us lose, we both just move onto the next item, as we both have similar tastes and like the same things, this is a regular occurrence.

Entry to Bruno's Art Sculpture Garden

One of the sculptures in the front garden in a café ... Marysville..

Monday, 22 July 2013


We welcomed our new puppy Xena, in January this year, after losing our darling Jules, who was an American staffy and the biggest sook, whom we loved dearly. Jules was only 10 years old when she succumbed to cancer and died in november 2012. Jules had such an impact on our lives and was very much a treasured member of our family, when she died we were left with a huge hole in our hearts and lives that my hubby and I only lasted 3 months, before we adopted another dog. We were both finding it hard to adjust with out a dog in our family and missed  the greeting on our arrival at home and the unconditional love that having a family pet generates, as well as  a pleasant diversion from our normal routine. With our new family member, I feel that my hubby and I also forgot what hard work it is by having a new puppy. After having such a well behaved dog to a boisterous puppy was a huge shock to the system. Xena is now 11 months old and improving in her behaviour each day, She was a pound puppy and was 4 1/2 months old when we adopted her. Her breed is a staffy cross, possibly with a lab, as she does have a ferocious appetite. She still continues to jump at people, when greeting them and is still chewing shoes. But overall with training is getting better each day in her overall  behaviour. She is a typical staffy with wanting to be close and loves to cuddle up and is very spoilt as well. When posting, I have learnt to save my work as she loves to put her paws on the keyboard and I have often lost my data.
Xena at 5 months old, a bit scrawny and only 6 kgs.
Xena at 11 months old, very spoilt, 24 kgs.
Xena loves to come and have cuddles in the morning.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Folk Art.

In the 1990's folk art painting, decoupage and china painting was very popular and of course it was a hobby that I also took part in. With folk art anything that stood still got painted, I painted cupboards, fridges, cookware and garden ornaments such as milk pails and flower pots, especially terracotta pots, which always were a delight to paint.  My most favourite thing to paint on the pots were strawberries and sunflowers. These also made great gifts as well. It has been a number if years since I have painted but it comes in handy at times when an altered medium is required when I am doing my crafts. Along with scrap booking I was also doing altered art and had the most talented teacher Linda, who has since moved back to Perth, what amazing work that she did,  Linda could take something ugly and make it into a work of art, in a future post I will post some of the amazing things that I made when I did classes with Linda. I will leave some photo's of my painting.
My fridge and freezer painted with animals and a barnyard scene
My chalkboard message board
This was going to be part of a cupboard. Rabbits with strawberries
Two of the many urns with a flower spray painted and framed.
One of my cats painted on the side of a cupbaord.

Monday, 15 July 2013

A heart quilt

Recently I had a friends 50th birthday, and as she teaches patchwork and is a great sewer herself, I was pondering what to make for her. I decided to do a number of little hearts and incorporate different techniques and make them into a little quilt. I used a number of buttons to embellish, did a wild hibiscus rose in stump work and placed it in the centre of the quilt. I used satin, quilting and sandcastle  fabric as well. I also hand embroidered  some saying's and words of wisdom on the sides of the quilt. One heart had multiple French knots and with the use of ribbons, lace and trinkets. Another heart I foundation pieced,  it all came together nicely, and overall I was quite pleased with the result.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Bird House's

For a long time I have had a fascination with birdhouse's, I feel that it commenced on a trip to Hong Kong a number of years ago, when  I had the opportunity to visit the famous Yuen Park Bird market, what a wondrous site with multiple birds, mainly canaries  multi-coloured and being fed grass hoppers. I was fascinated at how these Chinese men lovingly peel the grasshoppers to feed to their birds. This was where I purchased my first bamboo bird cage. From then on I have since collected bird cages as well as bird houses. Much to my hubby's delight he has erected my buys into the garden and others are hanging or on stands.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Texas Wheel block

Over the last number of weeks I have been attending class with Chris Jurd, Patchwork Fundamentals  making blocks, called Texas wheels. These blocks are made up of  light and dark fabric sewn together to form a circle, then placed into a square. A great way to use up your fabric scraps. The star shape does not require a lot of fabric. I am using my reproduction fabrics, that I have collected for my Lucy Boston as well as my Dear Jane quilt. The half triangle shapes can be either hand pieced or machine sewn. For the centre I am doing tiny dresden plates and hexagon centres, the challenge will be what I create for all the centre's. The blocks come together quite quickly
Start with one dark and one light fabric
Make 8 altogether
Then sew the eight sides together, coordinating light and dark fabrics to form a star

 Then add quarter circles to the star shape, I have used cream fabric, but a different assortment of light fabric could also be used.