Please remember that any photos, images or text on this blog remain my property, but if you wish to use any that you see, feel free to contact me for permission. Thank you for respecting my request and enjoy your visit.......Joy

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A word 2011.....instead of a resolution

How many of you out there make resolutions for the coming year, but find for some reason or other that you fail to follow them - you know what I mean - loose ? kls; get fit;  remember ALL your friends birthdays;  finish X number of UFOs; only work from your stash etc etc.  We all start out with good intentions, I do, but life happens.

After reading a couple of blogs and comments on the QuiltArt list on Yahoo, some very inventive people are choosing a word for the year - ie - Inspire;  Change;  Learn;  Persevere;  Believe;  Balance.  So if resolutions don't work for you, how about trying a word.  Make some signs using this word and place them in strategic places like near your computer screen;  on your message board;  in your diary; etc to remind you how/where to focus.

My word for 2011 is Relax.  I need to learn to relax  and not worry about things I don't have any control over;  I need to relax when trying new directions for my quilting and not be concerned if it isn't going where I want it to;  I need to learn to relax when working on my art quilts - they are not meant to be 'perfect' but to go with the flow.

What word would you choose for 2011?  Would love to hear your ideas.

To read more about choosing a word pop over to Linda Matthews blog and see what she has written.  If you leave a comment there she will also incorporate your word in a small gift during the year.

Take care and have a happy New Year's and make 2011 the best you can.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A delightful parcel came today

from my Angel - No.19.
The on-line group Scquilters which I belong to have an annual retreat and next year it is being held in Kiama, NSW.  One of the many activities in connection with the retreats is the Angel/Mortal swap.  It isn't compulsory to join, but if you do then you are an 'Angel' to someone and an 'Angel' is appointed to you.  The idea is that as an Angel you send a parcel in December and then in each of the next 3 months to your mortal, trying very hard not to give away who you are.  At the same time you are receiving little parcels from your Angel.  This is what came today from my Angel who is known only to me as No.19.  Isn't it lovely - a cute little purse, embroidery scissors, handy note book, cross-stitched book mark to go with the book and a beautiful glass bell to add to my Chrissy decorations.

I would love to show you what I sent my mortal but if I did and she looked at my blog then the secret would be out.  All will be revealed on the Sat night of the retreat.  It is a lot of fun because all the time you are trying very hard not to reveal yourself, but at the same time trying to work out who your own angel is.  Some people get up to some very very devious ways and means to hide themselves or work out who their own angel is.  ps I have a few clues but not revealing anything here.......... 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I had forgotten about this one..

When searching through all my photo files on the computer looking for a specific photo of a specific quilt I came across this little one.  I had forgotten I made it. Duh.  It is a little 12"x10" quilt made for one the challenges for a little art group I used to belong to.  I have forgotten exactly what the theme was but looking at my notes (which I have kept with the quilt - wasn't that clever of me!!) it had to do with links or linking.
My background was a piece of furnishing material which is quite heavily stitched with different threads and gives it lovely texture.  I then overprinted with a simple edged square stamp (you can see one in the middle with the star button).  I then added three triangles in four blocks around the centre star to represent my three boys, and the fact that we had moved 4 times in our lives.  I couched some copper wire joining the triangles with each other and then towards the centre star which is the hub and centre of our world - our home.  I couched some woollen thread for the border and used a wooden toggle to hang it with.

On the left of the little quitlet are symbols representing where we have lived - in the hills just outside Melbourne with very very tall gum tress and then we came to Anglesea and the sea.

I thought this little quilt was lost when I had to pack up my sewing room towards the end of last year, for the painters to come in.  By the way, I still haven't found what I was looking for.....maybe it is in that 'safe place' we all have.!!

Bye for now, take care,

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A little bit of experimentation--

This weekend I did a little bit of experimentation.  I have dabbled a bit here and there with different surface elements and backgrounds for some time, but today decided to get the paints out.  In this first photo I originally started the painting in the top half when I spent some time with my friend Jeann.  Today I decided I needed to finish this piece, so added more yellow, then red and then purple.  I used acrylic paints mixed with a small dab of textile medium.  Quite like the way the colours have turned out, not sure what will happen next, but am thinking of using it as a background for a collage using sheers and tissue papers etc.

The following is what the experimentation was all about.  Reading through some of my many many books I found an article on 'sun printing'.  Today was the perfect day - plenty of Aussie sun, but not too hot as to dry the paint too quickly and little or no wind.  In this first photo you can see how I placed the leaves and anchored them down with small stones - they need to be as flat as possible so that they take more precisely.

The second shot is how it turned out.  The right side of the material I dampened first and then splashed over some acrylic paint diluted with medium.  The same mixture of paint was used on the left side, but I didn't dampen it before painting.  You can see the difference in the two backgrounds.  The dampened side is more even and lighter than the left.  Not sure which one I like best.  Should have used the same type of leaves on both sides then I could compare them better.  I'm learning and enjoying the process. 

Again not sure what will happen with this piece, but I'm thinking of cutting it in half and doing some free-motion stitching on one half and maybe collaging with the other half.  When it has dried completely and cured I may even add some more colour and definition to the leaves.

The whole process didn't take a lot of my time, just waiting for the sun to do it's bit.

Take care and enjoy the upcoming festivities.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Another UFO finished (not quilty!!)

Today I received a phone call from the picture framers that my cross stitch of 'Little Women' was finished.  I have been working on this for quite some time - like 3 years!!!  When I retrieved it from the 'UFO' bin all I had to do was the backstitching.  While I had some time sitting down with my foot up (doctor's orders!!) I finished the stitching then took it to the framers.  I think they did a fabulous job and love the shape of the mat surrounding the stitching.
My UFO/WIPs are still overhanging the sides of the tub.
On the top you can see my hexagon quilt - I'm about 3/4 of the way through hand quilting this - I'm quilting around every hexagon.  Stupid I know.

Tomorrow I'm off to my local guild - Geelong Quilting Guild for our November meeting - another chance to do some hand sewing on a UFO.  Slowly but surely I'm making my way through that tub.

Till next time, take care,

Friday, November 12, 2010

Another one past the finishing line!!

At long last I've just managed to finish another UFO.  This rather large (Queen size+) is for DS1 and DIL.  I called it 'Bali Seas' - you have probably guessed it is made entirely from Bali Batiks and I have used mainly blues, with a touch of 'sea-greens' and darker 'reedy greens' to represent, naturally the ocean.  Both Cam and Sam love the sea and Bali.
The squares measure 10" and there is 10x12 squares.  Because of the size and also the design I decided not to put on a border, but did a wider binding.  The quilting itself is fairly simple as I didn't want to take away from the materials and pattern, so have crossed-hatched each square and then stitched ovals on the outside edge of each square and also I needed to be able to put it under my domestic machine.  With much folding and refolding I managed to do it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Well, after some time being absent I'm now back.  A couple of family traumas; 2 weekends away on retreats; and then a stupid debilitating allergy to deal with.  Fingers crossed, all is now OK.

I finally got around to taking pics of the last of the ATCs that I received from the International Swap - so here they are:

This very pretty one is from Joy S in Australia.  Some beautiful stitching and glitter.

This next one is from Beate in Germany with it's cute little heart and lovely lace edging.

This very pretty green card is from Margeeth in The Netherlands.  Margeeth has used some tissue and painted effects on her card.

The lovely daisy card is from Jo in the UK.  Jo has used raw applique technique on this card.

The delicious looking icecream is from Kelly H in Minnesota, USA.  Kelly has used hand dyed fabric with metallic thread in the stitching.  Yummy.

The next card is from Susana in Spain - lots of lovely threads have been used on this card.

Another card from Australia - from Andrea H in Tasmania.  Have a look at the absolutely beautiful scenery of the area in Tassie where she lives.  Stunning.  Her card is felted with woollen materials, ribbon, and scrim.

The last one is from Leah ( in the US.  It is one of her 'Fortune Cookie' series, freemotioned stitched and put onto card stock.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Friends in Print

Some time back I told you all about the friends I met on my trip to the US last year who have a quilting shop in Queensland and that Frances has had some of quilts featured in Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine.

Well this month they are both featured - Frances with her beautiful quilt called A Summer Place and Peter has an article on the 'shed' he built in their backyard for their quilting - yes, I said 'their'.  Both Peter and Frances run the Cairns Craft Centre and he is a hands-on male - he also enjoys designing and making quilts.

The shed is some shed - a tad bit bigger than your average garden shed!!!

If you can't get a copy of the mag here is a link the France's blog where she writes and shows the quilt.  Congratulations to them both.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fab blog on Threads

In my quiet moments in the wee small hours when sleep is beyond me I often sit here at the computer and 'surf'.  Last night I came across what I think is a fabulous blog on threads.  Everything you want to know is there - what thread to use for what project; how it is made; how to use different threads etc etc.  The latest posting is about using threads in the bobbin - great tutorial.  The blog is called Practical Thread Magic and you can click on here to see it or go to my side-bar and click on there.  If you go through the archives - and a warning here - you need lots of time(!) there is heaps and heaps of information.

This is one blog I'm definitely keeping an eye on.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

At last some more ATCs to show you

Well after my little break I'm back to show you more ATCs that I've received. 

This first one is from Pauline B in Leongatha, Vic. Unfortunately the colours are not very true it is a more deeper purple.  Pauline has used a variety of techniques (I think) on her ATC.  She didn't say, but I'm guessing some felting, mixed media in the background and free-motion on the top and couching.

This next one is from Pauline C in the UK.  Pauline has used some beautiful colours in her felting background and embellished it with crystals.

This next ATC is from Marja M in The Netherlands.  Marja has used mixed media collage technques in her card.  Her painted flower embellishment is beautiful.

This beautiful envelope and card came from Doreen G in Canberra, ACT.  Doreen has free motioned her background and added embellishments.  I adore the tiny dragon fly.
The next card is from Cindy in Chester VA, USA.  Cindy has used a very pretty lime green background and she has free motioned and added sequins, beads and a lace flower.
This card is from Sheila S in the UK.  Sheila has made a pieced background, added machine stitching wire and beads.  Sheila and I have exchanged many cards, both ATCs and Postcards over the past couple of years and I always enjoy receiving her cards.
This cheeky card is from Kathy D, in Laurel, MD, USA.  I love the way Kathy has depicted the ocean and the fun loving times one can have by the sea.
The last card for this posting is from another Aussie, Penny C in Victor Harbour in SA.  Penny made her with card layers, FMQ, burnt background, metal cut outs and beads.  The card she sent with it is a Gelatin Print.
This international group that swaps birthday ATCs is so talented, I'm in awe of them.  Kate North in the UK who started the exchanges doesn't ask for any particular technique or put rules on us - just that we do our best to post our cards to the birthday person in the month of the birthday.  If the cards arrive early or on time that's good, but not a requirement, only that we try and if we are going to be late then we post a message to group, so that the recipient knows it is coming.

You can read more about Kate's work on her blog here.  Please go and have a look and maybe join in with us next year.

Till next posting of the final cards, take care and we will talk again soon.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

If you've been wondering...

where I've been.  My apologies.  Have had some computer problems - all fixed now (I hope). Went on a quilting camp/retreat, then spent a couple more days with a friend 'playing' with mixed media stuff.  Great time.  Also had family commitments, plus I had a really heavy dose of the flu.

All is well now.

This weekend is my granddaughter Jorja's 4th birthday, so hopefully between now and then will get some things done and get myself into gear.

I will have some more pics of the rest of the ATCs that are still coming in to my mail box.  Also hopefully have some pics of the camp to share with you.  The weather is not great here for taking photos - I like to take photos of texiles etc outside as the light is much better.

Have a good week and will be talking again very soon,

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The next 6 ATCs

 Here are the next 6 ATCs to arrive in my mailboax - I love them all.

The first one is from Anne in the UK - the technique she has used is organza bonded onto a felt background, cutback and then stitched.  The amazing card she sent with it is, in her words "a bit of encaustic arwork'!!!  At bit - it is amazing work, the first of this type I have seen.  Thank you so much Anne.

This photo of the card sent from Julie in California doesn't do her work the justice it should - it is a beautifully pieced 8-point star which is small enough to fit on the size of an ATC!
 This next one is from Maria Clara in Spain - a delicate dragonfly made from fine tuille and beaded on a delicately dyed/painted lace background.  Much better in real life.
This next one came from Kathy in the UK which is applique, hand and machine embroidery, and she included some beautiful pieces of silk and tuille with it which will go into my 'play box'.  Can't wait to do something with this beautiful fabric.
Diana from NZ included a postcard with hers.  I love this idea as you can see the different places in the world where your swap partners come from.  It is something I have always done when sending an ATC or Postcard to another country and have always had positive feedback from it.  The ATC Diana sent is hand-dyed silk background with a piece of Paua shell and NZ stamp collaged on. Lovely card Diana.

Finally for this post the lovely birthday cake complete with candles, which looksis good enough to eat, came from Montse, another lady from Spain.
That's all folks for today, there are more to photograph and put up very soon.  I just love being part of this international swap.  The cards are so diverse with both style and technique and there is no huge demand of one's time to have the cards for each month ready and sent in time for the birthday girl as long as you get the cards in the mail in the month of the birthday and let the list know when you have posted them.  If some arrive before your birthday you have to try and not open till the day (a very hard thing to do -:) )but your birthday can last a whole month! It's great going to the letterbox and finding a little envelope instead of those horrible window-faced ones which mean a bill, ugh, hate those things.

Have a good week, be happy, create something, take care.....Joy

Monday, July 26, 2010

International mail

I had a birthday last week and every day for the past fortnight I have been receiving ATCs from all around the world as part of Kate North's International Birthday ATC swap.  Every single one that has arrived is beautiful and so many different techniques. I will try and post 6 photos a day so as not to make it too big of a posting!

This first one is from Kate herself and is a beautiful butterfly cut out in relief and is 3-dimensional.  She has also added stitching and beads. 

This next one is from Carol in Wales - painted pelmet vilene -
This one was received from Marina in Spain - not sure how she did her background,but it looks like painted and then enamelled and the ribbon stitched flowers are on canvas.  She also included a couple of crazy stitched hearts..
This card is from Anna in the UK - Anna has made long thin materials beads and put them on a metallic background
This ATC came from Simone in The Netherlands and Simone did a Transfer dyeing and stitched card.
And finally this one came from Gemma, also in Spain and she has hand stitched on a piece of printed silk
 Enjoy and I will put some more up very soon.  Have a good week and take care

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A small finish from Houston

 One of the highlights of my trip to the USA and Houston last year was meeting with Pokey Bolton of Quilting Arts fame and to be lucky enough to attend one of the Quilt-It Univeristy workshops.  The one I was able to get into was with Lesley Riley who developed the TAP product for using images in your quilts.
Here I am looking pleased with myself.

 It was  fascinating process and very easy.  The images come out so clear.  In our little kit we all received an image to use and some quotations along with the transfer paper, very clear instructions to use later, and iron-on webbing.

She had a humungous case of materials from which we could choose our background and any other bits we thought we might like to use.  In the workshop we managed to just finish doing the transfer and the iron-on bit.  The rest of the finishing was left to us to do later.  I had left mine as I wasn't sure as to how to finish it.  BUT I have been playing with a needle felting machine and having great time with it, that I want to needle felt anything that comes across my sewing table!!!

I got my little project out and did some free-motion stitching on the background thinking I might add some applique, but that felting machine was beckoning - so I searched my scraps of wool, found some I liked and felted some flowers onto the stitching. 

Did some round ones, long ones and a couple of leaves.  Rather like how it was looking, so rather than over do it I backed and edged my little quilt. For those interested it measures 10"x8.5".

Now onto more PHD's.  (I don't have UFOs!!!)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Felting & Postcards

This month's challenge from the Stitchin Fingers Postcard group was a swap for a felted postcard.  Lucky me my partner for this swap was Sheila in Scotland.  I have swapped with Sheila a number of times and have always been thrilled with what she sends and she is always on time or early.......If any of you have been in swaps before you know how frustrating and annoying it is to always be waiting for yours to arrive - sadly on the odd occasion there has been nothing.  I don't mind getting an email or notice to say it is coming, but will be late because of family commitments, health, work etc.  What I don't understand is why someone would commit to a swap and then 'drop out of sight' and you don't even know if what you sent has arrived safely.

Anyway, enough of 'standing on the soap box' Sheila has once again sent me a lovely piece of her work. Here is what she sent - she said she used both wet & dry felting.  I love her colours. Thanks again Sheila.

I can now also post a photo of the card I sent to her - as it arrived safely in her letterbox yesterday.  This is my first 'official' attempt at needle felting.  I have borrowed a machine from a friend who is letting me play with it.  It is great fun!  What I did with this little card is I used a piece of green silk and partially embellished it to the backing (pelmet vilene) to use as my background. 

As you can see from the photo I left parts untouched and I rather like the idea of how the silk has pleated or gathered - I think it adds an extra dimension.

Then I stitched down a piece of lace ribbon and over that I embellished some flowers, using multi-dyed scraps of wool.  I then used some ordinary knitting wool and embellished it down for grass.  Finally finishing off with some beading.

Somehow I don't think this little machine is going back!  She is wanting to sell it - I can see a new home for it very clearly and I know exactly where it is going to go.......

Have a great week, till next I write, take care

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I don't know about any of you, but I have always been interested in doing a tesselation quilt.  But have been put off starting one because it looked so complicated.

BUT one of the blogs I follow - Kay Sorensen of Quilts + Colour, has posted part 1 of a tutorial on designing your own tesselations.  It looks soooooo easy - if you click here it will take you to her posting.  You can also get to her blog by clicking on the link in the right-hand column.  It is a great blog to read.

Can't wait till she posts the next part.  I will put up a post when she does.

Till then,  take care,   Joy

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ah the pleasures of shopping in Chapel St

For the past week I have been in Melbourne cat and house sitting (in that order!!!) for my son, dauther-in-law and granddaughter while they are having a holiday.  Mostly when I go up to the big city I'm usually busy babysitting Jorja (I'm nearly 4 Nanna!!), but this time they were only home for a day before they took off.  The first couple of days I did some work in their garden (they are definitely not gardners....)  It's not a big garden, but does get weeds and has bushes that need trimming.  With Mr Jingles (the cat - who by the way is a 'she') we managed to get a fair bit done, so I decided that as a reward I would firstly go to the Prahran Market - a very cosmopolitan venue and treat myself to some of their wonderful sauces and treats to take home.

The market is in the middle of the famous Prahan shopping strip - Chapel Street - and one can't go to the market without strolling along the strip, window-shopping and stopping for a Latte and a slice of continental, very chic.

Of course, you can't go 'window shopping' without buying something - like this absolutely beautiful soft leather, denim-look bag.  Isn't it wonderful - not too big but it can put a lot of stuff inside.

I did manage to do a little hand sewing while away, but now that I'm back home need to get back to my UFOs.  Will post more pics when I have a couple more finished.

Till then, take care

Friday, June 4, 2010

I'm so pleased with myself......

as today I picked up from the framer's a cross-stitch that I have been working on for 12 months.  I finished the stitching a couple of weeks ago, cleaned, pressed and took it to the framers.  When he bought it out -  I thought wow I am thrilled at how it looks in the frame.  Can't wait to get it up on my wall - it will probably go in the lounge room.  I used 3 different sepia/brown colours for the stitching as I wanted to create an 'olde world' look and used a combination of full and half cross stitches for depth and texture.
Cross stitching was one of the first crafts I learnt along with crochet and I have always loved doing it.  I find it very relaxing to do, even though you are counting threads and stitches all the time.  In the coming months I will put up some of my other work to show you.

Now that this is finished and framed I am itching to get out another chart I have of a bouquet of Australian wildflowers which is stitched on black linen.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Another productive weekend

The fifth weekend of the month (when it happens) is usually pretty busy for me.  This last one was no exception.  Saturday was the get-together of the Geelong Scquilters.  We usually meet at The Blanket Box in Geelong, but this weekend we went to Pentland Patchwork in Bacchus Marsh, for me about 1.5 hours drive.  A really lovely day with a bunch of lovely ladies.

Then on Sunday I drove to Hoppers Crossing (about 1.3/4 hrs this time) for the Blue Willow Cottage I-Spy Charity Quilt sewing day.  These little quilts are donated to the Cancer Ward at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.  The girls at Blue Willow have been organising this day each year for some time now.  The Regent St girls (who I belong to) sew I-Spy quilts for them during the year, but some of us also go and join in the sewing bee.  It's great fun - no pressure; good lunch provided; they even bring around your coffee/tea for you instead of making it yourself!

These are some of the quilts that were produced or in the process of being sewn.  It's like a production line - someone is cutting; someone is ironing; some of us sew the blocks together; put on the borders; some do the quilting; and of course someone is sewing on the bindings.

In this photo afternoon tea is being brought around to us.
This photo shows LeeAllan, Dallas, and shy Sharon with her head down, busily sewing and some more of the quilts around the walls.
I'm afraid I forgot to take my camera with me to the Scquilters get-together, so no photos to show you. Will tie a piece of string around my finger to remember next time (???)
Have a good week, till next time,

Monday, May 24, 2010

A UFO hits the dust!!!

Well, am I pleased with myself this weekend.  One UFO completed (or I really should say 2 UFOs, but I don't count the second - why - because I have had a piece of white damask for quite some time - years actually! - that I wanted to hem and use as a table cloth for special occasions(?).  Hence no photo - only a white table cloth.

Now for the one that is counted and completed - a small quilt that I will use as the centre piece on my dining table.  This one started off as a 'something to do while on tour last year' - Michelle Marvig who was one of our tour guides gave us all two small projects to do.  One was a small square of fabric with a drawn pattern and some varigated threads to do a stitchery.  At our 'farewell dinner' on the last night of the tour she had divided the finished squares into 2 parcels and drew out a couple of names - one was mine - I got my stitching back plus 5 others.

I ummed and aahed for a while about what to do with these squares - put in as part of a large quilt, do a small quilt, make a wall hanging.  You know the drill - whill this work? or that?  In the end it was the colours
of the thread that made it easy to choose.

They were in autumn shades and as my house has lots of those colours and my dining table is bare, except for a vase that I like to keep there - the penny dropped - why not make a centre piece for the table.  Another easy choice was the fabrics - have a lot of those colours.  This is the end result - I like it.  Nothing fancy or over the top, very traditional - which I like also.

I hope the girls whose names are one the squares like it too.

Now to get back to the rest of my UFO's, including the other project we had on the tour - a small hexagon pincushion.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hand Sewing - long term project

Yesterday I went to the Geelong Quilting Guild's Annual Quilt-In.  A great day with over 200 people there and some even came down from Melbourne by bus.  I'm not a member of the guild, but hope to join very soon.

Of course when one goes to something like this you have to take some hand sewing with you.  I have been working on a stitchery quilt for some time now, but was getting a tad tired of working the stitcheries - don't get me wrong - I love the embroideries just wanting to do something else.

This is one of those hand sewn quilts that I have wanted to do for some time now.  Not sure what the pattern is actually called - I have seen it as 'Japanese Daisies' and a few other names.  Anyway, a very simple, yet striking quilt and one that you can take-along with you to meetings;  waiting in Dr's rooms; etc etc.

The basic steps are you start with squares of fabric - I am using Japanese type fabrics (atfer all I did say I have known it as Japanese Daisies!!); then the same size squares of batting; (I am using 3" squares) and finally circles cut larger than the squares.  To make it easier I am using an old CD disc for the template.  You gather around the edge of the circles and draw the thread in which you then iron down.
You place a square of fabric on top of a square of batting, then place this on the underside of the gathered and pressed circle.  Then one by one you fold over the edges of the circle and can either slip-stitch down, blanket stitch it down, or as I am doing use a contrasting thread (mine is gold) and quilt it down. 
Once all the squares are sewn you then join them together with a slip stitch - the same as when you sew hexagons together.  And finally the quilt is done - already backed and quilted - no edging needed.
Not sure how long this will take me - I'm not worried, but will post my progress from time to time.