Monday, October 31, 2011

Workshops: your thoughts?

OK, today I am wondering if some of you dear readers can help me out. I am considering taking on some teaching, and in order to developing some workshops I would love to hear from you.

If you might be the least bit inclined to join in one of my workshops, what sort of things would you be interested in learning and doing? For example, would you like to see techniques-based workshops where you learn skills to take home and apply in your own projects, or project-based workshops where you come home with a completed (or near completed) project? Would you be interested in the designing side of quiltmaking, or the construction side of quiltmaking?
Of course I have a whole host of thoughts myself - a two-day workshop focussed on quilting images into your work, or one on screenprinting, or a 'design and start making your own botanical quilt' workshop'... There are so many options that I would like to know what you would hope to get out of a workshop or what you would be interested in learning about?

I would love to hear from you via the comments, or by email to ruth{at}

Friday, October 28, 2011

Seven year old celebrations

OK, I've been a bit slow with blog posting - sorry. We had a birthday in the last week - for a big seven year old girl! Complete with rainbow cake......and badgemaking......and presents of course - with an overabundance of handmade gifts this year (I wouldn't normally spend so much time making gifts, but her birthday wishlist consisted of a 'completely soft' doll, a quilt, and a hug and kiss from Dad and Mum... and she also loves all the princess dresses she sees in the shops but didn't think I would want to by her one... so how could I resist?)

Here they are: a princess dress (beats me why a patternmaking company like McCalls can't at least get the neckline right - it comes down almost to her belly button)......a 'completely soft' doll......and a new bed quilt, extra for winter (backed in light blue which is her current favourite colour)...Caleb wants to know when the next birthday party is. Thankfully not for a while yet!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fotch, eat, nummy!

If Caleb and Daniel see my mixer on the benchtop, they quickly pull up stools in order to 'fotch' (Daniel-speak for watch). Of course, we all know what they are really after...
My favourite thing about these photos is the springcleaning list you can see on the blackboard in the background. That was our holiday project (lucky kids!). All crossed off except for 'wash windows' but that's so far down the list that you can't see it anyway!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New energy

Thanks to Phil's parents who babysat all four kids for the weekend, I got to make an escape for three days to join Phil in Kuala Lumpur (he's working there at the moment). What a treat - eating out (including a delicious meal at this Lebanese restaurant), shopping, and enjoying the Royal Botanic Gardens. And catching up on sleep. Even though I was exhausted before I left, and there was a 10 hour journey (door to door) each way, it was a wonderful break.

Coming home to four small children and a new school term means there is no such thing as 'easing back into things'. High on my list of priorities this week is the quilt-in-progress that was causing me a bit of grief last week.It's getting there, even if it's been all about perseverance and determination this time round...As you can probably tell, it's a bit of a departure from my other 'childhood' quilts. I'm still contemplating whether to do some screenprinting on the background before finishing the piecing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011





QUILT! is an exhibition of contemporary art quilts by internationally respected Australian artists who over the years have all been selected for the esteemed American exhibition Quilt National. Their works incorporate new practices, but also refer to time-honoured quiltmaking traditions, extended and interpreted in a host of new ways. The result is a body of unique and striking works that incorporate a variety of concepts relevant to the life and time of each artist. The exhibition was curated by Barbara Macey and Glenys Mann. Read about the artists and their works on the exhibition blog:

I have three quilts in the exhibition, including "Weeyaww, weeyaww!". You can view the exhibition folder here. It's an exhibition I would love to see in real.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

This and that

I LOVE those two photos. Not that they're great photos, but do you see what she's doing?
Reading. Voluntarily. Page after page. Chapter after chapter. Book after book. I've been hearing 'please may I just finish this paragraph first', and 'yes, I'll play with you, Aaron, after I've finished this chapter' and it's music to my ears! For nearly seven years all her 'reading' time has been forced, so to speak (we have daily quiet reading time after bathtime and Hannah has generally managed to wriggle and chat and procrastinate her way through that time of the day with little more than a quick flick through the pages of the nearest book). More books were requested so yesterday was spent raiding the opshops (an outing which all the kids thoroughly enjoyed and which mummy would have enjoyed much more without all the kids).

With school holidays here there hasn't been as much quiltmaking as I would have liked. The younger two children have been particularly demanding, and between them and various holiday activities, I'm feeling rather exhausted. There's a little bit of quilt progress every day, but I have to push myself to keep at it...
... although the size of the pieces of this quilt may have something to do with it too. I think I may have crossed the thin line between 'enjoyable challenge' and 'crazily impossible' with this quilt, but I'll persist for now and see how far I get with it.

I realise you probably don't come here to read about the quiltmaking that isn't happening right now, but I figure it's also good to make it clear that things don't always (hardly ever?) run as smoothly at our house as they might appear on this blog. By God's grace, I am healthy enough to be able to manage the various aspects of my life (kids, housework, quiltmaking, other commitments) and it usually goes OK, but it also doesn't take much to upset the balance so that everything falls in a heap, or at least goes out of kilter. This week I'm tired and the housework and quiltmaking are suffering (and if I'm really honest, the kids are too), but I have also learnt (am learning) not to get down about this, but to accept a bad week, put it behind me and tackle the new week with new resolve and enthusiasm. So I'm looking forward to a better week next week, God willing!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

On to a good (bad?) thing

I think we're on to something good here! This is the second batch of macarons in as many days. I came home with the latest Donna Hay magazine on Thursday, and it's loaded with yummy recipes. Including a range of macarons. These coffee macarons with salted caramel filling are delicious, but I couldn't get them to look right - with the smooth top. Not sure if I whipped the egg white for too long, or maybe made the macaron mounds too big/high... if anyone has any tips, I'd love to know (although I should probably wait at least a few days before experimenting again - there's only so many macarons one can/should eat in a short space of time).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

While they play

This afternoon I managed to sneak upstairs to spend some time in my studio while my kids were busy making a wonderful mess at the dining table. They were having a great time, and I figured I was best off being where I couldn't see the mess!(Yes. that is Hannah there, 'cleaning up' the mess. I do believe there was way more effort put into giggling and dancing with the broom than in actual cleaning.)While they were busy, I made some good progress cutting out a new quilt.Just in case you find all these different quilts confusing, my current quiltmaking situation is as follows:
9 small quilts and 1 large quilt - waiting for the binding to be handstitched down, and the threads to be buried
3 medium quilts - layered and ready for quilting
1 large and 1 medium quilt - cut out and ready for piecing
2 medium quilts - in the process of being cut out
1 TOP SECRET bed sized birthday quilt - layered and ready for quilting

I won't be bored for a while yet...