Thursday, September 28, 2006

Constant Companion

I've been very stressed and emotional today, so I hope you'll forgive me for posting cute puppy photos (I normally don't like to). This is my poodle x puppy Ruby, one of my two dogs who are my constant companions.

When I first began working from home full-time two and a half years ago, I found it quite lonely and isolating to spend the majority of my time alone. At that time I had only one dog, Bonnie, who was happy that I was around but as she is old and sleeps quite a lot, she was not all that great company.

Six months ago we adopted Ruby, who rapidly became part of the family and endeared herself to us all with her goofy antics and abundant enthusiasm. She is a little dog with an enormous personality, who has made up for her character flaws (which include questionable toilet habits and a taste for underwear) by loving us to distraction and making us laugh.

Ruby has not been herself for the last few days, and today we found out why. The vet found that she had an intestinal blockage, and did surgery to remove a large section of her bowel along with a sizeable wad of undigested underpants. She is still in the animal hospital, and while we are hopeful that she will pull through, it is still uncertain as to whether she will make a full recovery.

Ruby was supposed to be my daughter's pet, but this crisis has shown who her real owner is - and that's me. I am amazed at how attached I have become to this annoying little nuisance who has driven me crazy for months by refusing to be properly toilet trained and chewing up (and apparently swallowing) anything she is able to get hold of.

I can only hope that she'll make it through the night & be back to her old self in short order. There's a space in heart where she belongs. Who knew??? Posted by Picasa

Quilting Details

Here are some close-ups of the quilting on Rob's birthday quilt (for want of a better name) - it's all done & I'm really happy with the quilting (usually I hate it on my own quilts, I immediately think of a better idea). The stitching lines are mostly 1/8 - 1/4 inch apart, mmmmm I love that dense quilting!!

 Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Quilt for Rob

This is what I was working on today. My long-suffering husband has watched me make many, many quilts over the years and has occasionally bemoaned the fact that I've never made one for him. I usually remind him that he has half ownership of all of my quilts, but he seems less than satisfied with that explanation.

Two days ago, I realised that his 40th birthday was looming far sooner than I had reckoned (I'm sure someone is stealing days and weeks from me, and if you know who they are, I'D LIKE THEM BACK). The big day is coming up next Friday the 29th September. So I figured I had today only to get a quilt made for him.

I had an idea in the back of my mind, and had even taken some photographs to work from - so it wasn't too hard to get started. The quilt is based on these pics which I took in his garage, of cylinder heads and engine blocks (Rob is an engine reconditioner, racecar builder and general rev-head). I used a variation of my positive/negative fused applique technique, with three colours instead of two, to create the design. A chequerboard border completed the design.

I will quilt it one day this week, and with Mum's help get it bound and ready to give him on Sunday when we have a family celebration. Why do I leave these things until the last minute???? Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Meme Time!!!

I picked up this meme from Kirsty and thought it seemed like some fun - I've been a bit bogged down with mundane work this week, so I haven't anything more interesting to post. Here goes...

A) Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Admin Manager/IT support/Accounts Clerk/Secretary - I've done different versions of this job since I was 16, right up until 2.5 years ago when I threw it all in. There were some gaps in between various jobs and having babies, filled by...
2. Waitressing - a whole different lifestyle, but good fun at times, and
3. Domestic - in a nursing home. Saddest job I ever had, but geez all that running was good for my figure!
4. Professional quilter/Quilting Teacher/Designer/Artist - the job I have now. Took a while to settle in, hardest boss I've ever had (me), certainly won't make me rich, but I love it and wouldn't change it for the world.
PS. I've never considered motherhood a job, more like an extreme endurance sport!!

B) Four movies you would watch over and over:
1. Love, Actually (feel good but not corny, awesome British cast)
2. When Harry Met Sally (yep, this one too)
3. Ferris Beuller's Day Off
4. Bladerunner
plus Fargo, Twister, As Good As It Gets, Pulp Fiction, Rocky Horror, Grease, all the rest.

C) Four places you have lived:
1. Wollongong, NSW, Australia
2. Armidale, northern NSW
3. Wollongong
4. Tamworth, northern NSW
5. Wollongong (I've got a pattern going,too)

D) Four TV shows you love to watch:
1. Spicks & Specks - ABC music quiz show (the original & best) - hilariously funny (plus I know heaps of the answers)
2. The Sopranos - a show that can make you fall in love with vicious mob criminals has to be good.
3. Dr Who - I don't go out on Saturday nights when Dr Who is on. I just don't. I thought the new Dr last season was amazing, and this season's Dr is even better. Loved it when I was a kid too, but back then the Dr was never sexy!!
4. My name is Nic Bridges & I'm addicted to CSI - is there a 12 step program for this??

E) Four places you have been on vacation: Hmmm, we've mostly been too broke for holidays - I never even had a honeymoon as I'd just started a new job and when we lived in Tamworth holidays were spent visiting family, but here goes...
1. Houston Quilt Festival - last year, my first trip OS and definitely my most memorable trip, with my great friend Lisa.
2. Tasmania - I used to travel there frequently for work, and had a couple of lovely weekend's there, extending working trips. Definitely somewhere I'll visit again.
3. NSW seaside resort towns - a day at the beach is part of every Aussie's childhood, and I've spent my fair share of time enjoying the coast, and brought my kids there too.
4. Brisbane/Gold Coast QLD - we have relatives there now, so it's fun to visit & do the tourist things while we're there.

F) Websites you visit daily
1. Blogs have become my obsession this year - I must visit my favourites (and there are many) every day to see how my online friends are doing.
2. Gmail - the best web-based mail. Email has been my saviour since I began working from home (talking to the dogs all day will send you a bit crazy after a while).
3. E-bay - a recent addition to my online routine.
4. Wherever my links will take me - I follow links on emails and blogs and seem to end up in some wild and wonderful places.

G) Four of my favourite foods
1. Bananas - I'm so banana-deprived at the moment (due to Cyclone Larry wiping out banana plantations earlier this year, for non-Aussies) that I have been driven to occasionally pay the exorbitant prices being asked at the fruit shop.
2. Chocolate & coffee - go without saying, they are the essentials of life.
3. Asian food, particularly Vietnamese food such as satay chicken, fresh ricepaper rolls, spicy salty prawns.
4. Good italian food - my own risotto and spaghetti a'la matriciana are current favourites.

H) Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Anywhere, everywhere - I have the desire to travel without the means, so I dream and live vicariously through my online friends.
2. I would love to drive across America with my hubby Rob and see the big cities and small, country towns, all those amazing places.
3. Europe - don't think I'll ever get Rob to go there, but the art and the history and the diversity are fascinating to me.
4. England, Scotland, Ireland - land of our ancestors, one day I'll get there. Here in Australia we have no history, compared to such ancientness and history - the oldest we have here is only about 200 years old, so I'm fascinated by crumbling ruins and antiquities.

If anyone has made it this far, and wants to pick this meme up - let me know in comments so I can read all about you!!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Look at what the clever girls in my class today did....

It just thrills me to see the different interpretations in the class samples - I love it when they take the technique or the idea and just run with it and make it their own.

It's the best part of teaching for me. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Some Quilting Snippets

Here's a collage of some of this week's quilting. I've been working my way through as much as I can - I'm teaching for the next few days, so there won't be any more done this week.

I have spent a bit of time this week working on a seperate blog for my teaching activites (see the link in the sidebar, NicQuiltz Professional) - it's still a work in progress, but the bones of it are there. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

More Postcards

After a couple of quite disrupted days (problems with my longarm machine made it necessary to throw it in the back of the car & drive to Camden for some expert tweaking) I finally finished the quilt that was on the machine with a little bit of time to spare this afternoon.

So I decided to finish off some of the samples from last week's class and turn them into some more postcards for the FFAC project.

The first one is a gum blossom, enhanced with a little bit of fusible applique. The second is a banksia blossom and leaves, stitched then beefed up with some gold metallic paint.

Fun, huh?!?! Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 11, 2006

Art Meme

All my frantic work last week has left me with nothing to show you this week (cause I'm exhausted!!). Sooooo, I picked up this tag from Deb for an Art meme and I thought that might be interesting...

Favorite artists: I have so many artists who inspire me, including Escher, Kahlo, O'Keefe, Van Gogh, Monet, Remedios Varo, Rosalie Gascoigne, to name just the first ones that spring to mind. As far as textile artists go there are too many to name them all - check out the work of some of my talented friends Lisa Walton, Jenny Bowker, Alison Muir.

Favorite art styles: Impressionism, Expressionism, Surrealism, some Modern and Abstract works.

Favorite Mediums: Textiles, paint (oil/acrylic/watercolour), charcoal on paper.

If you had the chance to change all the artwork in your home for new, would you?Depends what was on offer - most of the artwork in my home is my own, so I'd be happy to sell some and be able to buy some of other artists work.

Have you ever won a prize or award for your work? Yes

Have you ever sold your art work? Yes

Have you ever given away your art work? Yes

Favorite colors: Lime green combined with blue is my favourite combo at the moment. Hot pink and orange is up there too. Any bright, strong or clear colours are the ones I gravitate to.

Where do you get your inspiration? I am most often inspired by the natural world, and the work of artists cleverer than I.

What are you currently working on? This week is an art free week (must make some $$$ this week, bills to pay).

If you could own one famous work of art, what would it be? One of Frida Kahlo's self portraits. Or one of Georgia O'Keefe's flowers.

Would you want to make your living as an artist, or prefer to keep money out of the creative process? Yep - that's why I'm here (though I'll continue to make it regardless).

What kind of atmosphere do you create best in? On my own in my studio, with my favourite CD blaring and a deadline to work towards.

I'll follow Deb's lead - if you feel the need to pick up the tag on this meme, go for it (I'll be sure to check it out).

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Inner Landscape

This piece is called "Inner Landscape" and is constructed of a hand-felted wool/silk piece hand stitched with perl cotton to a painted canvas. It was fun to do something completely different, not even involving a sewing machine.

I have been working on so many new things lately, in part working towards an appointment I had today with a director of a local gallery It went very well and I am going to be part of an exhibition there later this year, along with my friend Janine Matthews. We are both feeling very chuffed, in particular because it feels like we are making some small inroads to the mainstream art world.

I am off tomorrow to Mittagong to the DUQ Indulgence Festival where I'll be attending a class with Susan Mathews, which I'm really looking forward to. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Another one bites the dust....

One more quilt completed in my recent burst of enthusiasm. This one is about the same size as the last (approx 27" x 30") and was made in a similarly improvisational fashion. The quilting (which you can't see terribly well in my pic) is dense, stylised fern fronds in the green/blue areas with close straight lines in the red. Again, I don't have a name for it - my brain just isn't functioning on that level today, though usually I can think up something catchy. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 03, 2006

It grew.....

I really liked that postcard I made last weekend, and I also got some lovely positive feedback from people I'd showed. So I thought it was worth using the same design in a larger piece.

I am quite pleased with how it has turned out, particularly the texture which was achieved by quilting the poor thing nearly to death. Lines of stitching range from 1/8" to 1/4" apart. I LOOOOVVVVE heavy stitching like this, it just delights me.

I need to come up with a name for this one, so if any of you have any bright ideas, I'd love to hear them.

I've had a particularly full-on week - my 10yo daughter has been participating in a regional school dance festival which has kept me running, between rehearsals and several performances.

Besides my "mum's taxi" duties, I've taught two classes, finished three quilts plus a class sample, written up class notes and had to deal with the death of our new budgie for no apparent reason.

I'm tired and frazzled, and although it's Father's Day today, this mum needs a day off. I should be working, but I'm going to take it easy, have lunch with my family and maybe hand-stitch a binding. Posted by Picasa