Monday, January 29, 2007

Six Things

I'm a bit late picking up this tag from my good friend Lisa, but I guess late is better than never? So now I have to think of six weird things about me....

1. I love the smell of wet paint - whether it's oil paint from my latest project or a freshly painted room, it's one of the world's most exciting smells.

2. I can't get rid of used books. Even if they're old ones, if I didn't particularly like them much, I have to hang on them. It's like they're sort of sacred or special and shouldn't be desecrated.

3. I am the oldest child in my family, and I am married to Rob who is the oldest in his family - I believe firstborns/eldest siblings have a different outlook on life, a different sense of responsibility and duty (not necessarily better, but different).

4. I am married to my childhood sweetheart - Rob & I have been together since I was 14 years old, more than half of my life. I am often surprised by how rare this is, and how special.

5. I can't stand the taste or smell of mangoes or fresh coriander - both smell rotten to me and make me want to throw up. The mangoes don't particularly worry me, but I love asian food so the coriander thing is quite inconvenient.

6. I hate breakfast in bed. Teachers etc seem to encourage children that Mum's love to have their brekky brought to them in bed on mother's day and such festive occasions, but I can't actually think of anything worse than crumbs in my bed & spilled tea on my doona.

So there you have it - six quirky things about me, perhaps not the weirdest there are but ones I'm willing to share with you all. So now I need to refer you all on to my six favourite blogs (excluding the ones who have already been tagged for this one).

Melody - one of my fave fibre artists, constant inspiration
Deb - her red shoe ramblings are always entertaining

Susannah - interesting writings from the UK

Denise - the amazing spirit of a bohemian soul

Darlene - an incredible woman, an amazing mother

J9 - my partner in crime, holding my hand in our forays into the art world

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Back from the depths...

of the studio. I've been bogged down for nearly two weeks on this huge quilt, which belongs to my lovely client, Gay Jenkins. It is a show quilt, requiring heavily detailed quilting over every square inch of the quilt.
I'm very happy with how it has turned out, and hope that my client will be too. We have a history of some quilt show success together, having won best Longarm quilt at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham the year before last. Gay lives in the UK but has a daughter who lives in Sydney, Australia. She visits here every year for several weeks/a couple of months in the summer, and brings me a quilt or two to quilt for her.
This photo shows the back of the quilt. I use the same thread top and bottom, so the back of a quilt like this one with the light backing makes for a nice wholecloth look.

Next on the agenda, I need to do a couple of quick quilts and get some $$$ in. Luckily, the kiddoes are back at school this week so I have half a chance of resuming some sort of reasonable productivity.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Late Night Encounter

I came awake with a start. There it was again - I recognised the sound of my front security screen door rattling. A surge of adrenalin had my heart racing as I listened for the sounds that should not be coming from the entry of my home at 1:04am. Rob snored beside me in blissful ignorance.

The sound returned - there was definitely someone at the door, not knocking, but trying to gain entry just the same. I shook Rob awake and hissed "Listen, can you hear that?" in his ear. He was not convinced, and still more than half asleep.

After several minutes of lying still and silent in my bed, straining to hear the approach of the axe murderer, I eventually convinced Rob that he needed to investigate. Grumbling irritably, he pulled on some clothes and shuffled out to the front door.

There was a moment of puzzled silence, before he called my name. I could hear the amusement in his voice, calming my fears. I joined him in the entryway and looked to see what had caused the commotion.

I have no idea what this large possum thought it was doing, hanging from the top of the metal screen door. Maybe trying to find an entrance into our roof space - I'm glad it failed, would've made a hell of a racket up there!

We have had quite a few visitors from the animal kingdom since we moved into this house nearly seven years ago. Once a pair of barn owls took up residence under our back deck, even allowed us to get close enough to photograph them, and stayed for a few days. There was an echidna who lived in the back yard for several years - we would see him every few weeks, trundling across the rocky terrain or snuffling in the dirt in search of insects for lunch. We've spotted a bandicoot quite a few times, and native birds like Rozellas and big green Parrots are frequent visitors.

My least favourite was the time a couple of years ago I happened to glance out of the studio window while talking on the phone, and spotted a large black snake coiled in the sun at the bottom of the gully behind the house. It was quite a distance from the house, certainly no threat to me, but I had to watch it and stood transfixed at the window until it slithered out of sight, thankfully away from the house.

Considering that we live only about a 7 minute drive from the CBD of Australia's 7th largest city, these encounters with nature are a delight and wonder to me.

Just to clarify, the possums we get here are the Common Brushtail Possum which are Native Marsupials, and they are quite different from North American Possums or Opossums (though they are a very distant relative). From photos I've seen, ours are a little bit cuter!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Some of what I've been up to...

This is the cover of my new year diary. My friend Lisa gave me a diary which was bigger than the one I had last year, so of course I had to make myself a new cover for it, didn't I? I used a piece of silk fabrication I had leftover from another project, stitched to a lovely piece of purple hand-dye. I added some shisha mirrors (which Lisa also gave me), stitching the entire thing on the longarm machine.

This is what it looks like closed. I'm very happy with the whole thing - I feel it looks suitably arty-farty for the artist I intend to be in 2007.

I have been thinking about my intentions for art practice, what I hope to achieve, etcetera and so on. I am hoping to manage my time better this year than I have in the past, to not waste moments, hours, days in procrastination. I want to be nicer to myself, not berate myself over time lost and things not yet achieved, but to get on with things without regrets over things I can't change.

This is a baby quilt we (myself and my sister and a friend) have made for another friend who is expecting her first baby. I have yet to decide on a border for this, but I'm tired and lacking inspiration this evening.

I have been fairly productive the past couple of days, finishing the magazine project that was due and getting it in the mail, doing some piecing on the baby quilt, then rewarding myself with some creative time, sketching and even painting.

This is a canvas I have painted over a couple of evenings this week. I gessoed, then added scrunched tissue paper and PVA glue, let it dry then applied glazes of acrylic paint, allowing the texture of the tissue-prepared canvas lead the way. Rob thinks it depicts 'our mountain' - Mt Kembla, which we live at the foot of, and he's probably right though I was working intuitively without a particular intention of painting this particular landscape.

The other thing I've been doing over the last few days is listening to an audiobook - a new pleasure since I got my Ipod. I downloaded "The Time Traveller's Wife" on recommendation of some of my blogging friends, and have been totally caught up in the story. I spent the last hour weeping at the beauty of the story, and have that utterly pleasurable feeling of being emotionally spent - don't you love it when a novel gets you like that?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Georgia on my mind

Just look at this gorgeous girl - she reminds me so much of Emma when she was born, I'm taken straight back eleven years ago when she was born and I fell in love.
When my son was born, all I wanted was to be a mother. I was happy and grateful for the little bundle of joy that was my son, but the hard labour had left me so exhausted that I maybe missed out a little on those first few days of pleasure following his arrival.
When Emma came along, the circumstances were such that I was in a far better place to enjoy the experience. I had a far easier, drug free labour and knew a bit more about what to expect. Throughout my second pregnancy I had yearned for a daughter, and was ecstatic to be told by the ultrasound technician that I was indeed carrying a girl.
When I finally got to hold my little girl in my arms, I fell head over heels in love. I still recall the rush of emotion as I examined her perfect tiny features. I am still amazed at how wonderful she is, how beautiful and smart and perfect.
Both of my children have been a constant source of joy throughout their lives, with enough tears thrown into the mix for me to fully appreciate the wonder of their existence. I have been following the painful journey of another mother and her son on Darlene's blog. I have been adding my voice to the many who have been praying for this family - it has also been a time of giving thanks for the health and safety of my own children, and that of my neices and nephews. Hug your kids every chance you get - you never know what is just around the corner.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Two-fer Meme

It's Sunday again, don't know where the time goes! Here's a Meme (courtesy of DebR) for your perusal...

Two names you go by:
1.. Nic
2.. Mum

Two parts of your heritage:
1.. English
2.. Irish (yes, anglo through & through)

Two things that scare you:
1.. Spiders (I'm a terrible arachnaphobe)
2.. My kids entering the teenage turmoil years

Two everyday essentials:
1.. Coffee
2.. Email and blogging

Two things you are wearing right now:
1.. Jeans
2.. T-shirt

Two of your favorite bands or musical artists (at the moment):
1.. The Cat Empire
2.. The Killers

Two things you want in a relationship (other than love):
1.. Friendship
2.. Trust

Two truths:
1.. I constantly question my own abilities
2.. The only person I truly believed when they said anything good about me was my Nan (and she’s gone)

Two favorite hobbies:
1.. Art
2.. Blogging

Two things you need to do this week:
1.. Finish a magazine project commission
2.. Finish as many client quilts as I can

Two favorite sports (will physical activities do? I don’t really play sport as such):
1.. Walking
2.. Tai Chi

Two shows you like to watch:
1.. CSI
2.. Little Britain

Two things you’d buy if money were no object:
1..An extended trip around the world (I’ll stick with that one Deb – sounds good to me)
2.. A backyard swimming pool (or maybe a house with a pool, it wouldn’t really be practical to put in a pool on our steep, steep block). Please note that I am right now sweating while listening to the neighbours children swim in their pool)

Two wishes for 2007:
1.. To be happier with my artistic progress
2.. To be healthier.

Go ahead & pick up this meme if you want, just let me know in comments so I can read your answers.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Late update!!!

Introducing Miss Georgia Patricia Ward, born at 9.47pm weighing 7lb and measuring 47cm long. She has fair hair (we're hoping for red, her Dad is a redhead), a good set of lungs and all her fingers and toes.

She also has a very excited big brother, Cooper, who couldn't wait to meet his "Georgie" and a very relieved Mum (who got the job done in quick time) & Dad.

Sorry about the quality of the photo - I'll try for something better tomorrow (I was too excited to focus).

The Waiting Game

I'm playing the waiting game tonight - my darling sister has been in labour since 3:00 this morning, and has just gone back to the hospital in hopes of getting down to the business of bringing my new baby niece into the world.

This is her second baby and she had a bit of a hard time delivering my nephew Cooper, so we're all on edge. Cooper is here with us while his mum & dad go get his new sister.

Keep your fingers crossed and send any good vibes you can to Sarah - I think I'd almost prefer to be in labour than waiting (I did say ALMOST).

The picture is one I took a couple of months ago on a walk through my neighbourhood - it was a lovely display of tulips, under a gorgeous magnolia tree.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Out of curiosity, last night I spent a little time trawling through my Picasa photo albums collecting images of my work for 2006. I must admit to being a bit surprised at how many pieces there were. Some of them were quite small, but then again there were some large ones as well. And I haven't included any of my client quilts in this collection either.
Considering that I felt like I struggled this year with some personal demons, I'm pretty chuffed to look at this collage. Not a bad effort, eh? Wonder what 2007 will bring?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Back in the Blogosphere

If any of you are still checking in on my blog, I'm sorry to have been absent all this time. It's been a very busy few weeks over Christmas and New Year, plus the new version of Blogger has been challenging me (well, eating up my few attempts at posting and making them disappear - very frustrating!). Let's hope that I've got it figured out now.

Other than keeping me away from your computer screens, it has been a lovely Christmas season. Not following my usual form, I was quite organised this year - gifts purchased (or made) and wrapped well in advance of the day; menu planned; pantry & fridge stocked; even much of the cooking was done by Christmas Eve.

After a gorgeous Christmas morning at my sister's home, where the kids had their present frenzy and we shared a delicious breakfast, we made a quick visit to DH's Grandma (93yo and just out of hospital the day before Christmas Eve) then hotfooted it home to cook the last-minute goodies. We had 13 here for a late lunch on our back deck (at our new outdoor dining setting - an indulgent gift to ourselves) - I think the last ones left about 9pm. As I had handled most of the cooking, my wonderful DH did all of the dishes while I played with my new green ipod nano (which he gave me after I had been hankering after one for months - I was thoroughly spoiled).

I have had a very cruisey few days since then, with Rob and the kids home and not much motivation to do any real work. We had a houseful again on New Year's Eve, which was lots of fun and much less work in the kitchen than Christmas. And now I'm back to the grindstone.

I did finish piecing a new magazine project quilt on New Year's Day, and hopefully will get that quilted in the next few days so I can show it to you. I have also been contemplating my goals for 2007, but will wait till they are a little more refined before I share them here.

The picture above is a small piece I made for the ArtDiva's Book Challenge. It is called Pluto & Charon, and belongs now to my friend Rhonda (hope she likes it).