Sunday, December 23, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Cheer...

and plenty of it. We had our "White Christmas" party and opening at the Project Gallery last night and I'm feeling slightly the worse for it this morning. A bit like this photo, a little blurry. This is another of my Christmas Postcard samples - as you can maybe see, I try to avoid too much cutesiness or traditional colourways - bright & simple but classic works for me.

We're braving the shopping precincts to finish off the last of the Christmas shopping - I'll be glad when it's done and we can relax. More postcard pics to come - watch this space.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Getting some Christmas Spirit...

Intermittent blogger here, sorry for being tardy once again but life has been a teensy bit insane so some things just have to slide. I thought I'd post this Christmassy meme (thanks to Deb) to try and get some festiveness happening...

1. In your opinion, what does Christmas smell like?
Honey-glazed ham baking on Christmas eve, cinnamon and spice - Mum's here baking Christmas cakes and puddings today - yum!!

2. Do you leave cookies out for Santa?
Yes, we usually do leave out a snack for Santa, sometimes a beer and always a carrot for the Reindeer.

3. What Christmas song would you prefer to never hear again?
"Felice Navidad" - it is the worst earworm ever. Just typing the name has the awful thing going round and round in my head. My favourite is probably Bruce Springsteen's version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town".

4. What does your tree topper look like?
Our family favourite is a little Garfield wearing a Santa hat - I've had it since the first Christmas after I left home. I also have a little tabletop tree in the family room which has a funky orange & lime green star on top.

5. Do you plan a special breakfast for Christmas morning?
We'll be having brunch with Rob's family this year - I'm baking raspberry friands (my specialty & sooooo quick & easy).

6. Is a Bûche de Noël a great holiday dessert, or the greatest holiday dessert?
According to wikipedia, this translates to Yule Log - sounds nice, but not something I've ever made.

7. Do you festoon your Christmas packages with ribbons and bows and glittery furbelows, are they plain, or are they (shudder) in gift bags?
Mostly just wrapped with Christmas paper - I used to get really fancy with bows etc, but there are too many these days.

Pictured above is one of my Christmas Postcard Samples - I'll try to post some of the others over the next few days (but I won't make any promises). Five more sleeps...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Scatterday M

Apologies for this late Scatterday blog entry - I was stuck on one of the categories, Textures. I had lots of work to do so I just kept on with it in the hope that inspiration would come to me, and then looked down at my work and thought AHA!! McTavishing is one of my favourite quilted textures - I use it more often with matching thread which takes away the linear quality and leaves just lovely texture. But you can all see it much better in the funky bright thread!

Next we have Weapons. The Space Marine you see below is brandishing a Multi Melta Weapon - looks pretty fearsome, doesn't he? For those of you not familiar, a Melta weapon is a devastating short-ranged heat-ray.

Which brings us to the final M category - Hobby. Here I present my son Adam's hobby - Modelling. Over recent months he has spent many hours and I hate to think how much money building and painting these tiny figurines and their tanks, spaceships, and various other equipment. He spends some time most weekends at the games workshop, where they have battles and competitions to see whose army will be victorious. There are lots of rulebooks to go with the various games too. I don't really get it, but there are lots of worse things a 15yo could be spending his hard-earned cash on, so I'm happily supportive (being somewhat familiar with obsessive hobbies myself).

Next week's letter is K and the categories will be blue things, dangerous things and in my neighbourhood.
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Friday, November 30, 2007

Journal Covers

These pictures show the front and back of a lovely journal cover made by my friend Michelle Steele during my recent class in Brisbane. She made it for her lovely friend Carolyn, who is returning to the UK later this month. There are subtle (or maybe not so subtle) reminders of their time working together, in the clever quilting designs.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Holidays are here...

At last my busy school year is over and I only have three more workshops to teach before I can have a bit of a break from those too. The end-of-year assessment process was a little bit stressful (but really only as stressful as I chose to make it). I have somewhat high expectations of myself, and will not allow myself to put forward work that is less than the best I can do. Perfectionism reigns. I will not know my results for a few weeks, but at least I am satisfied with my own efforts (my closer friends will have some idea of how significant a thing that is for me to state). Progress has been made this year, on many fronts.

Now that assessment is over, it is time to review, to clear the decks, to decide what to keep and what to cull. More importantly, it is time to clean out the studio (and the rest of the house, where bits and pieces have escaped the confines of the workroom and are at large) and make room for new work.

I spent quite some time on the weekend putting up the best work on my Etsy store - not only will this assist with storage issues, but if some work sells it will supplement next year's fees. Although I am pleased to have a bit of a break, I am very excited about what comes next. The picture above is a linocut "Pretty Beach" which is available for sale if you are interested.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Scatterday T

Another week has flown by and this one was brought to us by the letter T, with categories of Clothing, Purple and Hot Things.

The first pic is clothing (and definitely NOT hot things ;-))) - this is the top I wore today, my current favourite. You can also see my other fave thing right now, my turquoise pendant (not strictly clothing, but I am wearing it).

Hot things - well of course I had to dig the bottle of Tabasco out of the cupboard, it's your ultimate in hot sauces. I balanced it on the bannister in front of another T thing - my first Touchstone quilt, which happens to be purple.

Which brings us to our last category - purple. Here is one of the more purple blocks of my latest Touchstones quilt.

Next week's letter is M and the categories of Textures, Weapons & Hobby have already got me thinking.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Scatterday H

This Scatterday is brought to you by the letter H and our categories are Human, Soft and Toys.

Here fulfilling my Human category is Helen, who attended my class today. It was the final of the current six-part contemporary techniques series with Illawarra Quilters and we all had a lovely day. It was great to see all the ladies put their own twist on my designs and make them their own.

After class this afternoon I headed over to my sister's house for a sewing evening (glutton for punishment, yes I am). And look who joined me - this is Humphrey and I can assure you that he is very soft (and also a toy).

But of course I thought would be cheating to only have one pic covering the two categories. so I chased Cooper (who was being particularly uncooperative cause he is not well, poor kid) to get a picture of his Hippo which is also a toy. I couldn't quite get him to demonstrate how the Hippo picks up the blocks but you probably get the idea.

Next week the Letter is T and the categories are Clothing, Purple and Hot Things. I hope to resume some sort of more regular blog activity as soon as my Art School assessment this week is out of the way and I get my life back. Wish me luck!!
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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Blog Makeover & Button Code

My blog has had a mini makeover by Brenda of Serendipity & the Art of the Quilt and incorporates the logo developed by Design91. Here is my new button code that you can cut and paste into your blog or website:

<p><a href=""><img src="" alt="quiltzandpieces" title"quiltzandpieces"/></a></p>


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Scatterday O

This Scatterday brought to you by the letter O...

My Breakfast item was going to be Orange Juice. Unfortunately in this house, it's the quick or the dead when it comes to Orange Juice - and I'm just not quick enough to beat my family to it. Consequently, you have a watercolour Orange from the same page of my sketchbook as last week's apple. We'd better not need a Banana next - I really don't like to draw them (cause they always tend to look somewhat phallic).

My quest for something Shiny led me straight to my studio - I looovve shiny things and shiny fabric more than most things. Here is a small selection from my extensive collection of Organza - silk or polyester I'm a sucker for that shimmer.

While in the studio, I managed to find this O-Ring which seemed to fit the bill for our third category this week - Little Things. It is a spare one for my Gammill's bobbin-winder, and let me tell you this little thing causes no end of stress when it gets a flat spot or some other issue which stops it from performing it's very important job.

Next week's letter is going to be H and the categories are Human, Toys and Soft (yay - no bananas required!!!).
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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Scatterday A

This week was brought to us by the letter A!

Our first category is Round Things - I ummmed and ahhhhed over this, but Emma just looked at me and said "Apples of course" like her mother was only slightly brighter than an Amoeba (which may well be round, come to think of it - I'm too brain-drained to go searching right now). So here we have a watercolour Apple from my sketchbook.

Next we have Something I Like the Smell Of - Acrylic paints. I love the smell of Acrylics, though Archival oil paints are even better!

And lastly, Vegetables. I'm sure the girl in the fruitmarket thought I was crackers, judging by the strange looks she gave me as I photographed this stack of Artichokes. The things we do!!

Next week we will visit the letter O, and the categories will be Breakfast, Shiny and Little Things. Hmmmm.
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Friday, November 02, 2007

2007 Journal Quilt


Creative Quilting techniques used: layered sheer fabrics (p. 11); stamped imagery (p. 67); close machine quilting (p. 247)

2007 has been all about creativity for me. I have made more art this year than ever before, learned many new techniques, developed personal imagery and had an absolute ball doing it. I was given Creative Quilting – the Journal Quilt Project for my birthday early in the year and found a wealth of inspiration in its pages. In planning my journal quilt, I thought about my year of creativity. It feels like I have been developing my art and creativity at a cellular level, deep within my being. Art is bubbling just beneath the surface and bursts forth at every opportunity. My journal quilt features a painted sheer fabric, framed by stamped and dyed fabrics. The piece was heavily quilted, with some sections of the sheer fabric burnt away to reveal the sub-strata.
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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Scatterday J

I've decided to join in the Scatterdays fun (cause I don't like to miss out when my friends are playing - mature huh?). The letter this week is J so here we go...

For the category Restaurant we have the Jasmine Rice Thai Restaurant here in Wollongong. They have very nice Thai food, but eating here is a bit odd for me - 20 years ago my parents owned and ran their restaurant in these premises. It was American style Ribs & Steak and I think they were a bit ahead of their time, given the success of Chilli's, Hog's Breath, etc in more recent years. I'm yet to taste any ribs as good as theirs.

The next category is sport and although Adam made a very good suggestion of Jousting it was a little difficult to find any of that going on. So instead we have Emma jumping rope (it is so a sport).

And finally we have Pointy Things (who thinks up these categories?). For this one I found this picture of Javelins and Javelinmen which is part of the Bayeaux Tapestry from the Middle Ages. Javelins are definitely very pointy, just ask that poor guy in the middle of the shot with one sticking into him.
I'm in Brisbane this week for the Quilt Show, so I'm setting this up to post on Saturday (hope it works). I'll try to post while I'm away, but I'm not sure if I'll have access to the internet. If not, be good and have fun, and I'll bring you up to date when I get home.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Might as well face it...

I'm addicted to journals. Of all descriptions, but in particular to making covered journals. This is one I made last night, and it will be another sample for the other class I'm teaching in Brisbane at the end of this month. Some of you may know that I have a bit of a thing for a blue/green colour combination, but doesn't it zing with some orange embellishments?

This class not only shows you how to make your own covered journal, but will also include free-motion quilting and embellishing your work with sheers, handmade beads, bobbin embroidery and more. It is lots of fun and I know everyone who comes along will soon be as addicted as I am.

There are places in this class, so please don't hesitate to get in touch with me or The Quilters' Store to book in - I'd love to see you there!
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Friday, October 19, 2007


This is a detail shot of my "Garnet Strata" quilt. It is a class sample for improvisational strip piecing, and a ton of fun to make. Students will add scraps of their favourite fabrics to a half metre of fabulous hand-dye or batik to piece a wallhanging as unique as they are - no two turn out the same. On the second day of the class, we sandwich our quilt top and do some fabulously easy and achievable free-motion quilting to complete the wallhanging.

I'm heading to Queensland next week for the Brisbane Quilt Show, where I will again be working with my friend Lisa Walton on her Dyed & Gone to Heaven stand. Then I will spend a few extra days in the sunshine state teaching at The Quilters Store. I'd love you to join me there - get in touch with me or call the store to book into the class.
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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Classy Results

This is the result of one of my Strata classes - Gay's version just glows, doesn't it? I will be teaching this class in Brisbane at The Quilters Store, Auchenflower on 31st October. It's a fun class, with improvisational piecing and a touch of sheer fabric for embellishment. The free-motion quilting is very effective and achievable for even the inexperienced quilter. There are places available in this class, so if you'd like to join me, contact The Quilter's Store on (07) 3870-0408 to book.
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Monday, October 08, 2007


Finally some client work to show - I know its rare aound here, but it does happen occasionally. This one was fun - lots of bright colours to keep me entertained while I did my free-motion thing with it. School holidays mean I have spent much of the past week running the kids around, but this is what I've been up to in between.
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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

More Drawings

But with colour this time. Last week we had the daunting task of drawing this large and very colourful bunch of flowers, adding coloured media (coloured pencils, pastels, watercolours). This is my effort - very traditional looking in watercolours, but I do enjoy using them.

I thought I'd have a go with oil pastels over the weekend - these pears made a delicious subject. I'm fairly happy with this one too, although I couldn't find my paper stump so my blending is less than wonderful.

For those who were interested in the technique I used on the piece in my previous post - I began with white PFD cotton and painted the entire image, then added the quilting after the paint was dry & heat set.

Friday, September 28, 2007

New Work

Only got time for a quick post tonight - it's Rob's birthday tomorrow and we're heading out for dinner soon. But I thought I'd give you a peek at my newest art quilt. I've just finished machining the facing on & still have to hand-stitch it down, but it's finished enough for a photo.

This one is a strange hybrid cross between a painting and a wholecloth quilt, and sort of qualifies as both. Not sure how it will be received, but I'm happy with it. Haven't settled on a name yet - any suggestions?
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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A box of dreams

Today's pic is of a special project I made over the past few days for my sis, who is going through some stuff at the moment. I wanted to make something special to let her know I understood, so I made this little box of dreams - it is a place to put her hopes and hide her fears, to keep her dreams and contain her heart (whole or broken).

It is constructed of Lutradur painted with shimmery pink & orange, hand stitched over bamboo structure with variegated perle thread and lined with watercolour paper (painted and printed with words of power). I made a tassle and added a bead closure, and embroidered rainbows, kisses and hearts.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

My love affair with ink

Here are some of my drawings from the past couple of weeks. As you can see, we have been working with ink and wash. I've been having an absolute blast - I adore this medium. It is linear and fluid at the same time, and so much can be done with it. I've drawn lots of these bones and skulls in drawing classes over the years, but this one (above) is my favourite - never thought I'd enjoy it so much!

Briony, also in ink and wash.

Christine - a 10 minute study in ink with a stick instead of a pen or brush.

Another 10 minute study of Christine, with a stick again but also wash added (with my fingers!).