Saturday, June 17, 2017


This weekend - or today at least - I'm being a couch potato, treating my suddenly sore back with my homemade heat pack and watching Scotland beating  the Wallabies in rugby.  24-19, in case you're interested. I was born in Scotland and raised in NZ so that's where my allegiances lie. Rugby is the only sport I follow - when you grow up in NZ you just can't get away from it. Must say I was impressed when my Aussie husband sang "Flower of Scotland" with me and the Scots in the crowd - and I have to say we were a whole lot more tuneful than the kilted singer.

Last weekend I was less of a lazybones. We're fortunate to have a small and beautiful fabric shop, Cotton Factory here in Ballarat and owner Alison organises some fun activities such as the weekend retreat I attended along with 70-something other craft enthusiasts and presenters from near and far.  It was two days of  hugging, chatting, laughing, eating and - oh yes, doing some stitching too. Not that I finished anything. No matter.
There was just so much talent in the room. One of the ladies at my table was working on the most magnificent fussy-cut EPP stars. The swap was a great hit on the first day. We'd all been sent some rather unpromising geography- themed fabrics and there was such a variety of amazing makes. I scored this bag, which I really really love (seen here with a few extras that were in our box of goodies plus a couple of things I won).

And this is what I made with my world map fabric (which I ended up liking - my swap partner was pretty pleased too.)

The presenters were all super-talented too. There was toymaker and fabric designer (and my favourite rude person) Jodie Carleton, quilters Kate Henderson from WA and Peta Peace from Queensland, EPP queen Sharon Burgess, longarm quilter Wendy Gleeson, Andi Herman, who produces patterns for pixellated quilts from photos and spent some time at my house finishing  her fabric mosaic mini featuring Anh Do - what a brilliant technique! - and international quilt judge Jenny Bacon.  Each was so lovely and so  generous with telling their personal stories and providing beautiful, inspirational displays. It was a weekend none of us will forget in a hurry.

Thursday, June 15, 2017


I turned 65 a few weeks ago. My birthday was marked with phone calls and messages, some lovely gifts and the receipt of my pension card (yikes! - that really does make me feel old!)  And a deep sense of gratitude, because unlike some of my dear friends, I'm still here. Still on the right side of the grass, as some of my elderly library borrowers liked to say. Still feeling lucky. So here's to all of us - long may we continue to wake up every morning , to be happy and healthy and enjoying whatever each day brings.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Happy birthday, Chookshed

So it's the Chookshed's 5th birthday - hooray! It's been lovely to think of Chooky and friends stitching away in that gorgeous welcoming space I was so lucky to visit a few years ago.

Much of my weekend was spent in my sewing room - but not a stitch was stitched. Instead, I got stuck in to some desperately-needed sorting and tidying, spurred on by a desire to actually be able to see the floor  and to find my lucky door tickets for the local retreat I'm going to next weekend. I haven't found them yet - but I did manage to find lovely stuff I'd forgotten about, to display some of my charm square packs in the rope basket my friend Jeni made me for Christmas and to do some general prettifying (the photo in the header shows the top of the chest that holds all sorts of fabrics  and is displaying some of my favourite things, including my Happy Hens from NZ.) Oh, and my collection of Liberty prints - much bigger than I'd realised - is now sitting prettily in a set of colourful  display suitcases purchased from my local quilt shop, Cotton Factory I'm pretty happy about all of that. The tidying will be continuing during the week - and hopefully my sewing table will soon be organised enough for some creativity.