Monday, 18 August 2014

Another month gone in the life of Fatquarterbird

Time whizzes by! An older friend and work colleague once said to me, many years ago now, that when you are young your days and life stretch endlessly ahead of you, then, at some mystical point suddenly time seems to whizz past and your days and life seem to flash past!
I am pretty sure that I have certainly past that mystical point in time. I wake up, do stuff, then it's bed time again. Where did that day go????? Then it happens over and over and the week is gone!!!!
I love my life and I want to savour it!
I am enjoying my sewing, just chugging along on a few projects, with an eye to finishing a few for our local guild's show in October.
I am quilting Harperville, a flannel quilt pattern by Kathy Doughty.
 I am also hoping to finish this nine patch beauty, the result of a block swap last year.
 I am slowly making "elements" for my MSG quilt. No real plan yet but my fabric choices are becoming more obvious to me!
 Getting out and about, I had a lovely day in Sydney at the quilt show, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones! It was so strange to instantly recognise faces of people I had really only chatted with on social media!
I loved the new venue and the quilt display was great. The day didn't end so well for me, with a phone call mid afternoon from my brother to say my 89 yr old Mum had been taken to hospital in an ambulance after a nasty fall.
So, from a before dawn start, to a day at the quilt show, then a 2.5 hour drive home, to a hospital emergency room till after midnight, it was a pretty big day.
A broken nose, a broken wrist and stitches in the head has meant that my dear old Mum has required some fairly intense TLC for the past few weeks. Thankfully she is now close to mended and getting back to being fairly independent.
Last week as a reward for being the dutiful daughter, Top Gear and I snuck away for a few days to visit Mudgee and surrounds. We visited a few wineries, went for a few long walks, checked out the local museums and ate far too much good food.

Another little project is fast coming to fruition. About six weeks ago I did the deal with our local sewing machine store and a Sweet Sixteen quilting machine came home to live with me. (Haven"t actually had much time to practise on it yet ..... read first part of post.) Hmmmmm, exciting yes but where was I going to put it? I moved it into the 2nd spare bedroom (my sewing room is in the 1st spare bedroom) but I wasn"t really happy with that set up.......brainwave hit.....knock the wall out  and make two rooms into one. Surprisingly, Top Gear agreed it was a good idea so this happened.....
 Nearly there!!!
Add into all this chaos, regular activities like exercise classes, sewn groups, book club, running a household (or two), and keeping up socially with friends......well.....
Happy Stitching

Monday, 7 July 2014

Just Chugging Along

Not much has happened in Fatquarterbird world. I am just chugging along, taking each day as it comes. I find winter a hard season to get through. I hate the cold and short days. I know I shouldn't complain because winter was slow to kick off this year but give me hot sunshine and long lazy afternoons any day. On the plus side I get lots of fireside stitching time but I do yearn for a swim every now and again!
Our regular monthly get togethers and sewing times keep me going.
When these lovely ladies gather, there is usually lots of show and tell.
Sue has finished Tessellations, a pattern from Brigitte Giblin. What a lovely way to warm up a cold winter's night.
Carol is binding this beauty, made from a pattern by Pam Furniss.
Wendy had a bit of vintage goodness made into a wall collage.
And a few of us are going round and round in Brigitte's "Trip Around The World" quilt challenge. Chris seems to be winning with this reproduction delight!
Mine is looking very small compared to this.......and I am having trouble deciding what to do next. Probably overthinking it!

 I have also been enjoying hand quilting [ in very big stitches ] this flannel quilt from a few years ago, Harperville, a pattern from Kathy Doughty.
So as you can see I am just chugging along,.....quite happily too!
Happy Stitching!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Learning to Let Go and See What Happens!

Last weekend I was enormously privileged to be able to attend a workshop with the legendary Marg Sampson George. Her quilts are a fabric delight with appliqués of whimsy and lots of little bits to take in. Her quilts make the eyes travel over them and then come back for a second look!
The workshop was based around taking an element of a quilt you love and building something from there. It was about using fabrics you bought because you loved them and expanding your choices from that basis.
There was no set quilt, no set was more show me what you love and what can we do with it. Sounds easy......right? WRONG!
For me it will be a learning curve. I could see a million possibilities, too many things to love and so I second guessed all my original choices. I seriously needed to step back. It was very hard not to know what the end result would be.
I MUST remember this will not be a "quilt in a day". This will be a quilt that evolves, possibly over years, with choices made, as elements are added. But, it will be all mine when I am done, it will be what I like, done with colours and fabrics I like. Trouble is I like tooooooo much so it might have to be two quilts, so a very long journey!
So for now I am making hexies and stars that please me, doodling over vases, flowers and birds to appliqué and auditioning a number of background choices.......progress will be slow!
It was a perfect sewing but lots learned!
Everyone got in on the discussion!

We had some lovely show and tell expertly shown!

Fabric choices contemplated!

I know there is some debate over social media and it's dangers but for me I have found delightful new friends and experiences that make my life richer. Lovely to meet you, Jean and Marg and a big thank you to my lovely know who you are......for your expert organisation and making it all happen! Xxx
Happy Stitching

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 6 June 2014

Rising to the Challenge......well, most of them!

I was very lucky to have yet another weekend away, sewing with a bunch of girls who make me laugh.... a lot!
It is a weekend some have been attending annually for twenty years, I have been going for about 16 years and a few have only been once or twice and it is always lovely and always fun.
Camyr Allen is the venue. It is a beautiful old home in the Hunter Valley, and we are well looked after by our hostess, Janet Edmonds.
This is the view from the sewing room and verandah!

It has become a bit of a tradition that we set a small challenge for the group to complete each year. Last year it was my turn and I dutifully handed out teeny, weeny paper hexagons, some teeny fabric starter packs and the instructions to create something no more than 12inches square!
I was blown away by the response. The girls certainly rose to the challenge.......well most of them!
Olga did better than nothing with two quilt labels.......hhhhmmmmmm, better than nothing Miss Chris D !

Debbie was the over achiever of the group, with a gorgeous bag, pin cushion, mirror pouch and mug bag. I had definite "ensemble" envy with this one and her workmanship was superb as usual. Technically, though, she was a little over enthusiastic because this exceeded the 12" size restriction but I think we can forgive her!

Cristie, typical of her giving and generous personality, made little hexie wall plaques........FOR EVERYONE! Clever idea, clever girl.

Cathie proved, once again, she has the patience of a saint. She produced a mini quilt, made from the smallest hexies, in an array of lovely fabrics.......some were even fussy cut!!! A mini quilt stand made by her husband added the finishing touch. I wanted this one, too! Luckily I was gifted a little quilt stand, unluckily not so the little masterpiece. I will have to make my day.....maybe!

The keys to the right add scale!

Alison (AKA made two gorgeous pincushions in the loveliest colours. My pincushion envy was very short lived here, as I was allowed to pick and take one home. So very generous and so lovely. Thank you, I will use it everyday!

We even had projects from a few friends that couldn't make it.....a cute mug rug from Tiff and a pincushion from Elizabeth.

Then there was that one person we have to shake our heads and wag our fingers at! Diane submitted this......what she would make IF she could only find where she put the challenge a year ago!
Nice try, I say!

All in all, a challenge well most!

Sewing projects appeared thick and fast as we all tried to make headway on projects that were new or a long time in the making.

We even managed to sort the next two batches of Churn Dash Swap blocks, ready for our Guild's next monthly meeting. Not even close to a chore in such a lovely setting!

Thank you Janet and thank you, my sewing buddies, for another happy, fun weekend. Let's do it all again, next year!

Happy Stitching!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 26 May 2014

Back in my Happy Place!

Jet lag has passed and I am happily getting back into routine, though sadly my first phone call when I arrived home was to tell me of the passing of a dear friend. Though expected, it does not lessen the grief but I am really glad were are home to support his wife at this really difficult time.
These lovely faces never fail to cheer me up and it was wonderful to check out all the project progress while I have been absent!

I have been lucky to have some sewing catch up time, too. Top Gear left for a five day car rally and though we are usually quite happy together, after eight weeks constantly together we both agreed it was nice to have some time out!
I took my turn then and headed off for a three day sewing weekend at Main Creek, Dungog with a group of stitching buddies.
It was a lovely weekend with lots of laughter, food and frantic stitching!
Kaz produced this for her husband's 50th......

Then Cristie finished this, ready to go up on the wall at Thorpe and Co. It was made from a really cute new range of fabric featuring spaceships and astronauts, vintage style!

Tiffany rested on her laurels for a while........

but then got a spurt on and headed to a finish of this really pretty quilt top!

Debbie made a few new starts on some long term projects and finished a block for a work in progress.

but she really needed to concentrate a little harder.......

Cathie made good progress on her million, sorry, thousand pyramids quilt!

I sewed nine patches most of the weekend. I have a plan but this quilt is going to be big. Not exactly what I envisaged when I worked out all the measurements in my head, in bed , in the middle of the night.......hmmmmm!

It was a happy, industrious weekend with a smiley happy bunch, in a beautiful place with lots of good food.......what more could you want?

Well, we could do it all again next weekend.......yes please!
Happy stitching
Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Travelogue complete!

I have been back home a little over a week now and thought I had better "finish the trip".
After Nantes we had a few days before we had to return our car to Paris so we decided to head north, as I wanted to see that famous Bayeux tapestry.
We spent a day exploring Saint Malo, a beautiful, fortified walled coastal town. It is the ferry port for those travelling to the Guernsey Islands, and I was very glad we were not embarking. It was cold and very, very windy so we walked, then huddled with hot coffee then walked some more! It was the most fortified town on the French Atlantic coast and, yes, we had to explore every fort.......even those across the sandbar!

It was such a relief to get back in our toasty warm car, that day!
We then headed to Dinaan, another picture postcard cobbled and stone village, with a hilltop town and a river valley! It was a quiet, sweet place without the tourist vibe.

If I ever went to live in France, this would be a place to consider!
Next stop was a re visit for me! I had been to Mont St Michel 35 years ago but it was a first for Top Gear. Nothing beats that first glimpse as you come over the rise!

Mont St Michel is completely surrounded by sand and mud flats that recede under water at each high tide. When I visited many moons ago you had to time your visit to be able to walk across the sand at low tide and if you missed the tide you had to wait to get back or pay an exorbitant fee to a local boat owner! Those days are gone!

You can just see the remnant of the old road running across to the island in the right of the picture. Now they can shuffle tourists in by the multi busloads!
We climbed to the top to the peaceful cloisters and here I have re-created a photo my friend took 35 years ago. It is still a beautiful place even though I had to share it with thousands this time. Last time my friends explored it from top to bottom by ourselves and for free!

Last stop before Paris was Bayeux to see the famous tapestry. Top Gear excelled himself this time with his choice of accommodation. We arrived at a beautiful little chateau, complete with swans on the lake! You gotta love

The tapestry was awe inspiring. No photos allowed but if you ever get the chance, go see it, because photos do not do it justice. It is long, almost 70 metres, and you can follow an audio guide which tells the story depicted in the tapestry as you move along it! Awesome!
No time to linger though, hire car is due back in Paris and we are getting close to Home Sweet Home!
Paris was a delight as usual. This was our fourth time in Paris so most sightseeing boxes had been ticked on previous trips, thankfully, because If you visit Paris in May you must be prepared to queue.
We spent our time walking, people watching, eating and sleeping. No pressure!

We did exert ourselves to climb to the top of Sacre Coer, as this was one view of Paris that we hadn't seen and we again missed a visit to the Catacombs under Paris as it had been raining and they flood!

Montmartre was fun......artists doing their touristy artist thing!

I did a little shopping..........hehe! Surprise, the textile quarter of Paris just happens to right beside Sacre Coer, who would have known!!!!!!!

It was a lovely way to round out 7 weeks of travel but I am so longing to hug my children and cuddle my fur babies.
Next stop .....HOME!!!
Happy stitching

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad