Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April so far ...

 Yikes, it's the middle of April already - where has the time gone? This month has been a bit of a mixed bag so far - mostly good, I'm very glad to say.

The bad - my SIL died early in the month after losing her battle with stomach cancer. So sad. She was in her early 70s, the eldest of a family of four in which my husband is the youngest. Their younger sister died almost a year previously of brain and lung cancer. Life can be so cruel.

Daily (retired) life is good - long chats with the Mr, having fun with our dogs, pottering in the house and garden, coffee dates together or with friends; generally nothing remarkable but very pleasant. Uneventful life is often under-rated.

And last weekend was lots of fun. On Saturday I attended the first class offered at Cotton Factory, a gorgeous little patchwork shop recently opened in Ballarat. Claire Gee from Matching Pegs was the tutor and let me tell you there is nothing she doesn't know about needleturn applique. She showed us her method, we discussed other methods, we did a practice piece then set to work on the project, a cushion cover appliqued with 5 gorgeous butterflies (Claire's pattern). I achieved embarrassingly little (we all did) but learned such a lot so I was very satisfied (that feeling of satisfaction might also have had something to do with the good coffee and lovely lunch laid on by Alison, the owner).

After class I raced in to Melbourne by train, walked for what seemed like miles, hopped on a tram, worried about where to get off  (can't you tell I don't often venture into the big city) then found the hotel where I was staying the night with a group of lovely ladies from Launceston and Adelaide. It was great to catch up with Cathy and Leanne and Loz again and to meet Claire, Alex, Meredith and Kate. We all enjoyed our dinner in Lygon St and the icecreams afterwards were delicious. Being a bit of a mucky pup, I ended up dripping chocolate icecream all down the front of my cardigan. Next time I'll colour-match my clothing and chosen flavour (although I don't know if any flavour of icecream comes in a mustard shade!)  At home in Ballarat the Mr and I are real homebodies and hardly ever go out at night and to be walking around in Melbourne where the pavements and restaurants were crowded and everyone was friendly was refreshing and enjoyable.

We went our separate ways next morning, after a chatty breakfast - I headed off to AQS and the others were going shopping before catching their planes for home. And yes, there was lots to see at the quilt show and I did make a few purchases - more than I intended to, but at least I bought the applique paper I was interested in; the other things are for various projects and the table topper kit was a bonus (and a bargain). As for the quilts on display - colourful, quirky, inspiring and just plain wonderful. There is huge talent in the quilting community.
The exhibition building is beautiful inside and out and I spent quite a bit of time admiring it and the surrounding gardens.
Now back to stitching and sewing - I haven't finished anything this month so I'd better get my skates on (and learn how to place pictures properly in blog posts!)