Monday, December 14, 2009

corps de ballet

I feel as if I have been let out of jail tonight. After a week of shutdown glueing and cutting out little dancers, I finally have the borders of my "Dancing Dollies " quilt ready for a centre and a year or so of applique,  My husband asked me if it needed to be appliqued, and I said glue is good but I dont think it lasts a lifetime.
Not very often am I overwhelmed by something I am making, but this quilt is unbelievable. I have such admiration for the woman who made the original, and now I am planning my pilgrimage to Ayers House. When I saw clips of it over the years I just adored it and I think I have bought every pattern that has a dancing dollies border associated with it, so when Annette Gero published her book "The Fabric of Society"I was so excited to see it included. ( I was actually just so excited to have the book, it is stunning and so many beautiful quilts I want to make). However the pattern for this quilt included in the book is quite different to the original, so I have drafted my own borders and will make my own centre.  I am not a fan of broderie perse, so I will do something different. That is for tomorrow to think about!

Douglas, our no1 dog, isnt happy at all the quilt doesnt have a centre as that is where he likes to position himself, so you can see him sulking on the tv guide. He was having a bad day all round really, as the other two dogs went to work with me this morning and then to have their vaccinations and he was left home alone.
Christine and Bob said farewell to Charlotte, Isabella and Cameron this morning and made a quick dash back from Melbourne to Wodonga. Christine thinks she will have some free time this week now they have returned to Dubai. I said I will ask her at the end of the week if she was right.
I have to clean up from all my mess of getting this quilt together. Our daughter is coming home in a few days and I have jobs for her, so I want a clean floor and table.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dancing Dollies

I have been having a bad day today, I made morning tea for my husband's office staff and went to put the little tea cakes in the oven and discovered the element or something has died as the oven was stone cold. Fortunately I have two ovens, so I quickly had to turn the second oven on and proceeded to burn my finger on the element of that oven. I hope the repair man can come before Christmas!

But I have finished the glueing of border 1 of my dancing dollies quilt for summer school. It has been a relief to know my maths worked out and all the pieces fitted where I thought they should. I love this quilt and I am loving enjoying the journey of the woman who made it.  Three borders and the center to go!

I decided tonight when I have finished appliqueing all of the 1200+ pieces of this quilt I am taking a trip to Ayers House in SA. In fact I think it should be a Dancing Dollies Tour.

Monday, December 7, 2009

hexagons, circles and quilts

I do not have time to leave the house until summer school, but I guess here and there I will have to make a few trips to the shop, do some shopping and one trip to Melbourne. I have still not done one of the quilts for summer school! My friend Joy suggested to me on Thursday that it might be a good idea to start, just so that I might have a few pieces done to give the girls a hint of what they were making. With that in mind, I have been busy cutting out last night and I will do some glueing this afternoon.
I have made the hexagons.

Earlier in the year we had visitors staying from France, so while I was sitting and talking ( in a very limited way as Monique's English was as good as my French), I made hexagons. I found them very therapeutic and addictive. When I make hexagons I like a little larger seam allowance than the standard 1/4". It is much easier to turn over and hold, and helps eliminate sore wrists and thumb joints. I was making 3/4" hexagons and searched for a "fussy cutting " template. After buying a few here and there , none were really what I wanted so last week finally we received stock of a custom made template. I love it!

Although I have not made the last quilt I have been busy sewing and during the week I finished our little summer school quilt "Little Miss Cupcake". Christine became addicted to appliqueing circles after last year's summer school quilt, so she can graduate to this quilt. Bridgette, one of our gorgeous Monday night girls, has the job of packing the patterns and all will be ready with that little task.

The other job I finished yesterday was the applique on the quilt "the Five Sister's quilt". I love the colours of this quilt, they are the colours of my kitchen/family room and this is where this quilt will live. I cut one the blocks wrong so it is a bit off centre, but I decided not to change them and leave it like a "real" antique quilt. I had the quilt with me in Qld in August and my mother was horrified I could leave it. But no doubt the quilt will get rough wear, the dogs will be on it, the sun will fade it and one crooked block will make no difference to its longevity.

Friday, November 27, 2009

small pleasures

Today we have had our last Friday Ann Daggs class for the year. Glue is a wonderful thing and the last three months , I have not sewn a stitch on my quilt and everything is glued on. I have been very impressed with the "Best Press" as my bias has not unravelled one little bit in the humid weather, so hopefully it will hold down until after summer school. I am quite amazed as to how much of this quilt I have achieved over the first twelve months.
Next year we fill in with all the sprays of flowers and birds.
I am very excited today as a range of fabrics I just love has come in to the shop, "Hope Valley". It takes a lot to get me excited over fabric, one of the problems with having a shop and having a huge fabric collection. But I could not wait for this to arrive, it is sort of funky vintage. They are modern and fun but quite subtle in colour. I would love to start a quilt tonight, but I havent got time , so they will just have to keep me company until after summer school. But I will go and read my favorite cooking magazine "Dish" which arrived in the mail.
Michael will be happy as a pile of Geelong Football club mail has arrived for him. All in all a great day at the mailbox, no bills and Christmas catalogues.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Anna's Sampler

I am running behind with my work this week. I have the Ann Dagg's class tomorrow and I have not cut out a piece or done the notes. Actually not quite true, I cut out half the pieces and they are too large for the quilt, so I have to start again. And it is our last class for the year, so I need to cook lunch for tomorrow and Saturday's class. At least the sewing, notes and lunch will be fresh!
The picture is of the original embroidered sampler of Anna Browne. This embroidery is what I am basing our new quilt upon. I hope you enjoy making it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

getting ready for summer school

My lack of writing on this blog has not been due to lack of news, quite the contrary. I have been really busy, organising the last of things for summer school as a priority. This year we have been entirely booked out with 20 extra girls attending on last years booking. On top of that we do not have Joy for the first week to do our lunches and morning teas, so I have been organising everything for that, and we have just had three weeks of weather over 35, way too hot for November. Somewhere amongst all that, I have been to Sydney with my husband for four days and Christine has arrived home from New York, and I have been to Melbourne to Quilt market, and had some minor surgery and had complications. But all is under way now and I can start my final quilt for summer school.
I am not too worried about this as I have done everything in my head and just need to put it to fabric. The hexagons have all been made, and the borders drafted. I am telling myself I will be fine. I am actually ahead of schedule and I have done the Christmas shopping!
This weekend Christine has her daughter Charlotte and family arriving from Dubai. We are hoping for cool weather for them.
I have miserably failed in getting my twelve quilts finished for the year. I was hoping to bind, quilt or whatever 12 quilts not started this year. I think I got three done. Oh well.
On the weekend I finished the newsletter so it will be in your letterbox in the next few days. We have done something different this time, so I hope you enjoy it. You will be receiving the first part of the quilt "The Browne Sisters' sampler". I did the first block to take to Fragrant Cottage but came back and decided to work my quilt on a little cream check background. I like it so much more as it has more of a touch of whimsy about it. I will post a few pictures tomorrow, but tonight I have a class to teach.
I was trying to get a quilt done yesterday but Douglas, the no 1 dog in our house was busy rearranging the blocks, Here he is at work.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

nesting and 100th birthdays

I was in my sewing room all day yesterday and watching a pair of birds frantically building a nest. The poor little male bird had to keep resting, with his beak full of twigs and threads, on a stake nearby I have for my tomatoes. I was thinking they have chosen an ideal place, really, sort of like an ocean front apartment. They can scratch up the garden for worms, then attack the tomatoes as soon as they ripen, right at their front door. They do it every year!
We have been busy while Christine is away. She sounds to be having a great time in New York, so I hope she comes back! I have set myself targets to have completed while she is away, most of all, the summer school sample quilt cut out. I have a friend who offered to help me do some of the sewing, so I am trying to make the most of the offer. Meanwhile Jan has also been getting things ready for summer school, cutting up fabric for kits this week.
I discovered a great new product last week "Best Press". It is an alternative to spray on starch giving a much crisper finish, no flaking and the bias I made did not unravel one bit. It is my new best friend! I am allergic to spray starch so I am very pleased about this new product.
Yesterday was my great aunt's 100th birthday. She is a close aunt in the family, my mother was her flowergirl 73 years ago. Yesterday her children and my parents spent the day with her for a birthday afternoon tea and on the weekend she is having her party. Last week mum decided to repair the old flowergirl dress and washed it and then I took down the "Best Press" to starch it with, as it is acid free. Mum took the dress over for her and her children to see. It looks brand new. I took a photo, will have to get that off the camera. I chased my mother for a photo of her with it but no luck!
something very spooky happened over this on Sunday night. I had stayed at my parents on Thursday night, went to Warrnambool for the weekend and left my mother a cookbook to look at that I knew she would enjoy. When I got back we were discussing cake recipes and I said I thought she had one in a particular old book. She said it was down in the back of the cupboard in a storage box, so with a bit of effort got out the box and inside along with the recipe book was an old Kodak envelope with a picture of my mother aged 6 years old at aunty Doris' wedding. So she took the photo over to her yesterday and got her to sign it on her 100th birthday. Mum didnt remember the photo, but we are still amazed that she should find it just a few days before the event.

Monday, October 5, 2009

baby news

After a busy past few days, I have found a minute to update the baby news. On Friday morning, Saturday evening New York time, Christine became a granny again to a healthy baby boy. He was born at home as planned, and Christine and Bob have left this morning, for two days in san Francisco and then on to New York. As of late yesterday afternoon he didnt have a name. Getting everything ready for Christine's three weeks away has been a rush. She gave me a quilt late Friday afternoon to get quilted for Saturday and a after a few frantic phone calls Sunday afternoon, she was ready to go.
The response to summer school has been overwhelming this year, with just a few places available. Now I just have to get the work done. I have completed two of the quilts ( still appliqueing one but glue is a wonderful thing) but more than a little work to do on the last one. I have made the hexagons and that is it. I am feeling well now though so no stopping me, head down and steam ahead until Christmas.
Meanwhile I have started a new quilt that I just love "The Browne Sister's Sampler". It has lots of applique blocks around a centre piece.
This weekend I am attending the retreat at Fragrant Cottage, and I thought I would start the quilt using one of the blocks for a small project.

Monday, September 28, 2009

and more Ann Daggs photos

more Ann Daggs photos from class

getting everything done

I have been more than a little busy the past week. I have had my friend, Joc, back to stay, tried to get the Ann Daggs for September done, mailed out our summer school mailout and answered so many emails, as well as getting some urgent quilting done. Summer school has almost booked out after 24 hours, which is great but kept us busy at the telephone and computer. I still have quite a bit of work to do before now and January!

Christine still has no baby news from New York but the baby is due today and Simon said Julie has had quite a few false starts, so I am assuming in the next few days. Christine and Bob leave for New York, with a stop off in San Francisco on the way, on the weekend. Getting everything done before she leaves, will no doubt work like drugs when she finally gets on the plane. She should sleep until San Francisco I think.

On Friday and Saturday we had the Ann Daggs class. Quite a few of the girls who are doing the quit by correspondence dropped in to see what the class girls are doing. I thought I had taken more photos than what I had in my camera, so I will have to add next month, but they are looking gorgeous.
My life was a bit chaotic on the weekend, Michael went down to Geelong to watch the football at the Cattery, met up with Paige and her friend, and then drove back here Saturday night ( in a much happier mood than last year). Paige has the week off this week so is coming home later in the week, so I am trying to get work done before they arrive.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Alice and all things in Wonderland

I have been fabric buying today, and just when I thought all hope for something nice was lost, out came the most divine fabric. I looove Alice in Wonderland fabrics and this one was to die for. Due in the shop late November, December. The only baby clothes I have saved from now 28 year old daughter, Paige, is a baby suit made in Alice fabrics. Christine was gasping and the rep was amazed we liked it and said he wouldnt have thought he should even show it to us. I am not quite sure just what he thinks we buy.
There were other cute little prints too, I will get to those tomorrow!
S x

Monday, September 21, 2009


I have just been to Melbourne for the weekend, a doctors appointment on Friday and then to the ballet on Saturday night, and then back home on Sunday. I spent most of Saturday in search of things I couldnt find, shops closed or one shop after the other saying I can order it in for you, so I bought a few clothes and headed home.
Michael had been gardening, and we have a big garden, so nothing much ever seems to be achieved. I had asked him to set up a new vegetable bin for me and clear out the old vegie garden but those things didnt get done, so I will have to wait another two weeks. I like growing vegetables, something I have done all my married life and I need to get seeds planted. Last year's vegies were not so successful as it was far too hot and the week of the bushfires everything almost burnt and dried up from the hot winds. So this year I am hoping for a cooler summer and rain ( and no rabbits).
Last year we had fruit fly in our apricots. Hello revolting! Christine has had fruit fly at her house for the past few years and no one seems to take any control to get rid of it. I somehow think the department of primary industry and and the council should call in the army or something, but no authority seems to care. So this year we have done all we can and it is now watch and wait.
We have had a rush of sales reps the past week and another tomorrow. Fabrics are looking good for next year and I have some gorgeous quilts in mind. I am usually brain dead at this time of year but as I havent been sewing I have been reading quilt books and cooking books, and doing lots of thinking. Today I organised the last bit I had to do for summer school so I can prepare that tomorrow and send it out.
I am trying to catch up on some work this week also, so back to it I am heading.
S x

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I am sure it wont take long to get the hang of blogging, but right at this moment I haven't got a clue what I am doing!
I should be cleaning up the house as it is a terrible mess and I have a dear friend Joc coming to stay today. We have been friends for about 25 years, so there is no need really to pretend I am a just a little tidy, she knows well, I am not. But if we want to have dinner at the table tonight I need to clear a space.
I have been away on holidays and came back home to get shingles, and I am so far behind with my work, I would like to just close the door on it all, but that wont get it done, so I need to make a start on that also.
Christine is waiting on baby news from New York. Simon and Julie are waiting on the birth of the baby, due in two weeks and Christine and Bob are off to New York about two weeks later. Christine is supposed to be saving money but yesterday we bought ourselves gorgeous new Amy Butler bags, well I hope they will be gorgeous when they arrive. It was a bit like one for the customer one for me when we had Alan from XLN here yesterday. I bought gorgeous furnishing fabrics from Amy ( I dont have anywhere to put them) but maybe I will find and old chair or something to have reupholstered.
I would like to design some fabrics so I spoke to Alan about that also yesterday, now I just need to get back into some drawing. It is about 20 years since I have done any of that, designing fabric that is, not drawing.
well I will try posting this for starters and get back to the cleaning.