Saturday, May 30, 2009

Making stuff

The kiddies are hard at work making stuff... drawings, houses, people, towns, roads. They can't wait to show Mummy!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Please excuse me...

... while I head off into the wide, wide world for a bit. I'll be back in a couple of weeks!
Meanwhile here's a picture of our entertainment strategy for the kids while I'm away. Can't wait to see what they come up with!

More pink

I had another go at dyeing reds last Thursday and Friday. Unfortunately all I got was more pink, much to Phil's amusement. I used Procion dye from a different supplier, in Carmine Red and Fire Engine Red. Some the fabrics shown are red dye over pink/orange fabric, but they still turned out pink. I would still like to try Red MXBG from KraftKolour (where I usually get my supplies). Unfortunately they have had to rebuild their business after the Victorian bushfires. I look forward to their business being open again!

Something else I may need to try is whether or not it makes a difference using synthrapol to wash the fabrics prior to dying. I'm very curious now whether it is my dyeing technique that is causing the trouble. I suppose the only way to find out is by more experimenting.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Quilt National

The other big thing to blog about this week has already been alluded to - a trip to the US and Canada! I am going to attend the opening of Quilt National 09 (in which I have a quilt!) as well as to catch up and spend time with my very dear friend Helen. While I can't wait, I am also a bit apprehensive about leaving Phil and the kids for two weeks. He assures me they'll be fine**, but I do feel a bit like I'm shirking my home duties. Having said that, I am determined to make the most of this trip. Seeing it as a gift from God means that it would be irresponsible not to. I am looking forward to developing with respect to my artistic pursuits, as well as having uninterrupted time for Bible study and for regular daily walks. Spending time with Helen is always stimulating and uplifting, so I know that will be great for me too!

I haven't shown a picture of my Quilt National quilt yet, as they have a very strict policy about the quilts not being exhibited anywhere prior to Quilt National opening. I'll post a picture when I can.

In the meantime, I just finished piecing my latest quilt top and it feels great to have that out of the way before leaving!

**at the same time Aaron assures me that they will do lots of silly things while I'm away, watching with a cheeky grin for my indignant reaction!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

As promised

Wow, its been a hectic day, between the morning school run, a trip to the city (including the camera shop for a new camera card, a flying visit to the quilt show, an obligatory browse of the art gallery shop), walking home, delivering a sewing project to a happy owner, visiting the post office, the afternoon school run, picking up printing from Snap, and picking up Phil from the block! I finally had my first coffee at 5pm which may explain my headache! In a little bit I have to head out again for youth Bible study club. (Just in case you think my life is spent behind the sewing machine!)But for now... here's the promised picture(s)...
The quilt is called "Weeyaww, weeyaww!" (to say it, just imagine a small boy racing around with his little fire engines and police cars, and make sure its full volume - I'm afraid I get a bit of a kick out of a 'challenging' title like that!:))

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

No noise

For Mothers Day I received this book. It was presented to me with cheeky giggles as the kids deemed it a rather appropriate book for me! Hannah has since memorised it and spent all afternoon reading it out aloud.

Show and tell

I have quite a bit to blog about in the next week or so. I am hoping to finally start sharing some of my recently completed quilts. First of all, I have put together a small exhibition of some small artworks. Next week I hope to be at the SAQA conference in Athens, Ohio! I have booked a table at the trunk show and intend to use it to share this little exhibition. If everything goes well and according to plan, when I get back I hope to upload the exhibition onto my website, where the artworks will be available for purchase.

In the meantime, QuiltWest (annual exhibition of the Western Australian Quilters' Association) opens tomorrow at the Perth Exhibition Centre. I will have a new quilt on display, and I'll share a picture of it here sometime tomorrow!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Digging and dirt

Just in case you are wondering, here is my solution to Caleb digging up my lavendar - a mini-sandpit. Every toy shop around here has plastic clam shells that do this job but I don't like them. There are other well-known toy brands selling sand-pits and sand-tables but all very plastic and oversized, and I don't like toys that are unnecessarily bulky. The one I do like is outside my budget. I think our $17 solution will work, though. Caleb is definitely impressed, and heads straight for it when he goes outside, making his digging noise (a sort of drone which is a tell-tale sign that he is digging in dirt!

My new machine

Look at my new toy! It is seriously heavy duty, and smells authentically greasy, too. I tried it out this morning, with some very excited observers! Do you know what it is? A snap press (and 1000 snaps in 10 different colours)! What am I going to use it for? A new sewing project I am very excited about (as those who speak to me regularly will know - Phil looks forward to this project being finished so that he doesn't have to hear about it all the time)... But I'm going to be difficult and leave you in suspense until I have a bit more to show you! In the meantime, don't be surprised if you see snaps appearing in random places - this machine is very easy to use! I'll try to keep them off my quilts, though.

As to the quilt I am piecing, two days ago as I sat down to work on it, some of my enjoyment was taken away by the fact that I had quite a few outstanding jobs and projects that were niggling at my conscience. I put the quilt away for a couple of days and now that many of those jobs are done I am looking forward to getting going on it again this morning! And this afternoon we get to pick up Phil from the airport -HOORAY! He's been in Botswana for 10 days, which is how I am getting so many projects finished around here (its OK - he knows I get lots done while he's gone - I actually plan lots of projects in advance as a distraction during the long days and evenings) but we can't wait to have him back again!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Indian summer?

We have been having the most beautiful weather for absolutely ages now - we're all still fully into summer clothes, even though its well and truly autumn. (Is this what is called an 'indian summer' in northern America?) The kids have been spending heaps of time outside now that its not as hot as summer was. Caleb spent a long time happily throwing these leaves around. He loves it outside, but tends to head straight for my pot of lavendar. He has dug nearly to the base of the pot, and I have to wash the black dirt off him several times a day. I have been mulling on a solution to this for some time, (in conjunction with teaching him not to touch, of course:) ) and I'm going to try something out tomorrow - I'll let you know how I go!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

More collaborating...

This is what I have been doing in my spare time :). Well, not really spare time, but I did do it 'just for fun'! Remember all that paper? That's what I used for these (well, some of it). The people were drawn by Aaron and Hannah and carved by myself into lino and rubber to make stamps (inspired by Craft Pudding). And inspired by The Small Object I used padding compound to bind these into notepads. It really was fun!

Washing Day friend

I have a spider who likes to spin large webs from my washing line to the nearby garden bed. I have often wondered where she goes when she's not busy in her web. Well, today I found her. It's a pretty good hiding spot, I think. I wonder how she knows that?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Portraits and piecing

I am thoroughly enjoyed the colourful cast of characters gracing the scrap papers in our drawing cupboard at the moment! Top image is a self-portrait by Aaron, done while looking in the mirror. What do you say then when your six year old asks if his drawing looks like himself? Will he be offended if I say yes or if I say no?? The next picture is a self-portrait by Hannah. She draws people all day, but to draw the trees was a major achievement for her - it took a significant amount of time and concentration to get the 'squigly' foliage happening. Please note the (red) bag stuck in the tree. Not sure how it got there...

Meanwhile the piecing of my next quilt is well underway.
I always end up with a container full of fabric offcuts and the colours always look so nice together that I find it hard to through these out. I have now set a size limit for keeping: if I were to take a seam allowance off all sides and there would still be fabric left, then I keep it; otherwise it gets thrown.

Friday, May 1, 2009

My new sewing box

I have a new large quilt all cut out and ready to be pieced. I am looking forward to getting stuck into the piecing but always find that I can't seem to get started until I have done a spring-clean and a bit of home organisation. Not sure why that is...So today we visited one of my favourite shopping precincts - the second-hand and antique shops in Guildford and Midland and I now have a new sewing box. This is something I have never had any particular wish for before. It was more born out of a need for a new storage system for my collection of Schleich animals. Up till now they have been stored in a basket on top of our piano, which looked quite nice. But the paint was starting to come off where the animals rubbed against each other when the kids rummaged through the basket.

Now they are housed rather comfortably in the new sewing box and there is still room for more. I have my eye on more marine animals at the moment!At the same shop we found this box, perfect for housing my yet-to-be-printed recipe cards. Perhaps one of the nicest finds of all was unfortunately too big to fit into our car along with two small children. It was two old lidded school desks joined together with an attached school bench. Since it was 'leave the children' or 'leave the desk' it now awaits another happy customer. Hope it goes to a good home.
Anyway, it took a bit of mucking around but we think we have found a good spot for the animals on top of the ammo box that holds our Quadrilla set and our basket of handmade toys.