Monday, June 29, 2009

A little bit of news...

I am happy to report that the nappies are going well. Seem to have resolved much of the leaking by using extra microfibre inside the nappy.But really, that is not the news I was going to tell. The real news is actually rather big - we are expecting a baby in January! We are very excited. Aaron most of all, maybe. Within five minutes of being told, he had sorted out all the logistics of the coming baby - who would sleep where, where he would stay when I go to hospital, which day he would tell for show and tell that we have a new baby, the fact that we need to get a new car, and what we would do with our current one, as well as a host of other things.

As far as we know, everything is going well so far, and we pray that it may continue going well!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


People sometimes ask me how I quilt the words in the background of some of my quilts. Here's a couple of pictures to show. I write the words (or trace them) onto tracing paper, pin the paper to the quilt and stitch along the lines. Later the paper will be ripped off, with the help of blunt tweezers and then the threads will be tied away.

Although the words I am doing now are freehand, rather than traced from computer font, I still prefer to draw them onto paper first - it makes the quilting process much more relaxing, and means I make less mistakes - especially as I am usually interacting with the kids in some form at the same time.

On a side note, but still on the theme of 'words', an ambulance officer came to school today and Aaron learnt how to do first-aid on people who are self-conscious! (Please don't tell him I told you - I didn't laugh when he said it, only inside!)

The height of luxury

Well, here they are - 24 modern cloth nappies! All our babies were cloth nappy babies - Aaron wore folded flannelette and towelling squares, while for Hannah I made fitted nappies from flannelette and towelling (though not enough), all requiring plastic pants over top. Now we've gone for the 'Rolls Royce' of nappies - waterproof, breathable outer layer (hence no plastic pants), moisture-wicking suedecloth inner layer (theoretically no nappy rash) and a pocket for stuffing the nappy with superabsorbent bamboo fleece (removable, to ensure quicker drying times), as well as adjustable to three sizes! It doesn't get better than that, does it? Now I just have to sort out a few leaking issues - might need to use more 'stuffing' ...
Unfortunately not such a willing model, though!
P.S. Sorry if you don't come here to read about nappies, but it has been an exciting project for me. Phil is glad they are done so he doesn't have to hear about them all the time!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Things I did today

Today I had to package two quilts for posting to an exhibition coordinator. This is never a favourite job, but thankfully today I had an enthusiastic helper! The quilts are now ready to go. They will be touring the US as part of the World Quilt Competition and I am thankful for this opportunity to display them again. (The quilts are 'Not Even Solomon...' and 'Shadows and Silhouettes')

Once that job was done, I could proceed with another sewing project which I had hoped to finish weeks ago already...
This job was also undertaken with pleasant company, as you can see!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Entertaining our one year old

The story at our house for the past three days has been one of three sick kids and a sick mummy, with daddy away on a business trip for the last two days. Not such a happy story. So, because everything with Caleb has been a fight lately I was very thankful to get some dinner into him early tonight, with minimum fuss, so that the rest of us could enjoy our dinner. Here's how Caleb was entertained while we ate:Caleb triumphantly got hold of one of our pencils the other day, and I was surprised to see that he seemed to know exactly what to do with it, scribbling on a nearby paper. So I got these baby crayons by Crayola. The problem is, they don't look like any drawing implements Caleb has seen us use, and we had a hard time convincing him that they were for drawing. He thought they made awfully good spinning tops though, and Caleb LOVES anything that can spin!He worked it out eventually, much to the delight of Aaron and Hannah. And the most important thing... we all got to enjoy dinner with a smile!To top it off, I got a nice cuddle from Caleb when I put him in bed tonight, instead of the kicking and screaming that has been more normal for the past week!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Website Update!

My website has been updated, thanks to wonderful Phil. Please do check it out if you have a chance. The gallery has been rearranged and new works have been added. Please also let me know if you encounter any hassles with the site!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

In action again

Yes, the sewing machine is back in action. I lacked motivation during my first five days back but things are new settling back to normal. I was thankful for this quilt awaiting Having a project to continue with made it much easier to get going again than having to start a new one, when the motivation is low!

Before I left I promised an update on my website, including my mini-exhibition, Forest Foray. Its all ready to go except for that fact that for some reason its not uploading. Hopefully we get that sorted out soon - I'll leave a note when we do!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thinking about Quilt National

I think the jetlag is still taking its toll as I am still very tired everyday around dinnertime and beyond. So this post is taking a super effort on my part tonight! Pictured above is the Dairy Barn, the beautiful building where Quilt National is exhibited every two years. You can click here to read more about Quilt National if you are interested.Above is a very poor photo of my quilt hanging in Quilt National - the best I could do with the lens I had. What follows below is something I jotted down the other day regarding my experiences at Quilt National and the SAQA conference. It's quite long, so feel free to skip over it. I just included it because I know there are some people who would like to read it.

I sit here surrounded by three newly purchased ‘art quilt’ books from Studio Art Quilts Associates (SAQA), seven yet-to-be-devoured textile magazines and journals, the Quilt National catalogue, about 100 postcards and business cards from quilt artists and many pages of notes from the conference. I have just returned from attending the opening of Quilt National 2009 (and the SAQA conference) so I also have my many memories – of meeting so many textile artists, many of whose names were very familiar to me from various quilt publications going back many years, of discussions surrounding many aspects of making, exhibiting and selling artwork, of the artists-only preview of the Quilt National and the subsequent grand opening. I feel partly like a child set free in a toy shop, but also very much a novice privileged enough to peek into a world of experienced, well-established and widely recognised artists.

This was a humbling experience. It was amazing to see how many wonderful people are busy doing many different wonderful things with their quilts. I treasure my collection of Quilt National catalogues and spend many happy hours paging through them, but I realise now just how much better those quilts must be ‘in real’. It was such a privilege to be able to see this year’s exhibition in the Dairy Barn, to be able to view the quilts from all angles, and of course, to get ‘up close’. I’m not sure if I will be quite so content with simply paging through my catalogues in future! Unfortunately I found myself quite overwhelmed by the hype of the exhibition opening, and would love to have the chance to go back now and take more time viewing each piece.

The SAQA conference was timed and located to tie in with the Quilt National opening, and I must admit I approached it with some trepidation. This was my first conference/workshop. I have not made workshops a priority in my quilting life, and have mixed feelings about the value of (techniques-based, in particular) workshops. I attended workshops and lectures dealing with pricing, sales and commissions, marketing and self-publishing. I think one of the big things I got out of this was realising that my own thinking in relation to these topics is not too far off the mark and that the things I have debated in my mind or with my husband are similar to what many other quilt artists are busy with.

On of the highlights for me was a panel discussion by Susan Shie, Therese May, Dominie Nash, Robin Schwalb and Sally Sellers. It was reassuring to hear that even these artists struggle with thoughts like ‘I will never make another good quilt ever’, frustrations surrounding creative dry spells, questions about what to do with bad, or old work, and concerns about the balance between being distracted or inspired by the work of others, and how far to let yourself be influenced by other artists

Some of the workshops and lectures were quite intense, particularly those related to marketing. I can’t see myself acting on all the advice received, but as a first step in the right direction, I have noted a few things I intend to begin with. For example, one piece of noteworthy advice I intend to act upon is ‘you gotta have a story’ – figure out how to say what you do, briefly, without downplaying it. This is part of packaging yourself and your work to make it more marketable. I think I will also make a point of developing my mailing/contacts list – to include friends, family, and any one who has any interest whatsoever in my work. It was stressed in one of the talks that the people you know are your biggest asset, and I have been amazed time and again in my short quiltmaking career to see how true this is.

I realise too, that this was the biggest benefit of a conference such as this – the networking opportunities. It is wonderful to be inspired by other artists and also to have the opportunity to inspire others.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Eucalyptus Spectacular

Well, I'm back! I had a wonderful time, with loads of new experiences to digest. For now I am easing (rather slowly) back into my home duties! Hopefully I'll get to blogging a bit more about it all soon, but must admit that my brain is taking a bit longer than expected to return from holidays! :) For now, here is a picture of my piece in Quilt National 2009, titled 'Eucalyptus Spectacular'.