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January 2011
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March 2011

February 2011

Holy Moly

Will was in Christchurch this week. He was in a meeting in his office in the CBD when the earthquake struck.  They took shelter in a door jamb. Their building (which is less than a hundred metres from the devastated CTV building) is newer and was fine. They were a little stunned, but it was only when they ventured into the street that the full magnitude of what had happened hit them.

CTV building

Will is the person you want to be with in a crisis. He's cool under pressure. Shortly after the quake he phoned his travel agent and got three different travel options out of Christchurch booked for him and his two Melbourne colleagues. 

Still, the airport was closed that day, so they were in Christchurch for the night. He spent a sleepless night in his hotel - a three story building overlooking Hagley Park. The park is where thousands of people sheltered that night because their homes or hotels were destroyed. Will wasn't sure whether he was better off in the park or in his hotel room. The aftershocks kept him awake for most of the night and for several of them he sought shelter under the desk in his room.

He arrived home the next evening exhausted and very rattled.  He had photos for the boys of the tanks that were parked outside his hotel. The whole thing was frightening. The cafe where they had lunched the day before was shown on the news covered in fallen masonry. The restaurant they were booked to eat in on the night of the quake was on the Melbourne evening news - totally destroyed. It was all too close for comfort.

FeastingSo tonight we're going to enjoy the company of old, old friends and some good comfort food. I'm cooking a slow baked shoulder of lamb with a freekah salad and yoghurt dip from Karen Martini's great book (Thank you Jane for recommending Karen Martini in one of your earlier blog posts). I might follow it up with a simple Nigella chocolate pudding with lashings of vanilla ice-cream and cream. Diet be damned.

A quilt in the making

My days have taken on quite a different focus this year.  I seem completely occupied with being a housewife and mother at the moment, which is making me wonder what on earth I was doing (or wasn't doing) last year.

I'm tipping more toward Bree Van de Kamp than Lynette Scavo these days, I'm surprised to say.  The boys are getting home baked cakes and gourmet chicken sandwiches in their school lunches and the ironing basket isn't full to overflowing.  I'm also on a mission to get fit and lose a few kilos.  My goal is wedding-day-weight and the deadline is March 7th, when Will and I are heading off to do a little skiing.  I've been trying to exercise for at least an hour every day, which I'm finding quite a commitment when in reality there aren't more than a few hours to spare each day.

So after all that I've been crashing on the sofa each night and chilling out with a little hand sewing.

Quilt block

This is the quilt pattern I decided upon after purchasing the bright solids I showed in my previous post.

Quilt planning 3

A few favourite antique quilts were inspiring me.  

Quilt planning 2

I couldn't determine whether it was the pattern or the choice of fabrics that I was drawn to, so I sketched them out for a better comparison.

Quilt planning 1

I decided on the last of the three sketches.  It was somehow airier and lighter, and featured more pink than the other two.  I'm not sure if I'll do mirror blocks as in the sketch, or whether I'll set them in a checkerboard pattern (alternating with a plain white block).  I'll make a few blocks and see what I think.

Quilt block detail

For now I'm enjoying this applique.  I haven't done it in years.

The winding road of inspiration

I find it interesting that inspiration can come via a very long and winding path. 

Red green inspiration 1

Alice, a fellow Australian (who lives in Rome) and long time reader of my blog, recently started her own quilting blog.  In a post she mentioned following a blog called Beyond the Cherry Tree, where a group of applique enthusiasts are each recreating an old quilt and posting their progress.

Red green inspiration 2

I have enjoyed following these posts and it has reminded me that this style of quilt is my first love.  One of my favourite quilting books that I've had for 15 years or so is "Red and Green: An Applique Tradition".

Red green inspiration 3

The problem is I'm not a huge fan of the colours red and green together (which is how this quilt came about).  But I have been feeling the urge to do some applique again.  I like hand applique because it's something that I can do on weekends or away from my studio.

So I decided to go for something a little more modern and youthful.  I want to make a single bed quilt for Adelaide in pink and orange.

New quilt fabrics

A visit to my local fabric store today resulted in these colours coming home with me.  The greens were already in my stash, but the others are new.  And I couldn't resist a few metres of Anna Maria Horner voile for the quilt back, as it blended perfectly with the colours I chose.

New quilt fabrics detail

Images of vintage quilts above are from this book and this book, two recent purchases on Amazon.  When I find a moment to spare, this is what I will be putting some time into.  But for now, there is a huge pile of unopened mail that needs attending to.

Fabric, I missed you

Don't you love looking at photos of other people's fabric stashes?  Ooh I do.

I missed my studio while I was away for the whole of summer.  I missed being around my fabrics and crafty bits.

Crochet 4 ply

I had a selection of crochet yarn to keep me company, but I still missed my fabric.

Fabric stash

To kick off what I hope will be a creative year, I decided to sort my fabric stash.  This old wooden set of filing shelves was previously storing Townmouse t-shirts and bodysuits.  That's not nearly as inspiring to look at as sorted and neatly folded fabric.

Fabric - rockpool quilt

There's an eclectic mix of fabric here.  This stash goes back to the '80s and '90s.  As in all things, taste in fabrics has changed somewhat, as has my liking for certain things. 

Fabric - mixed

I've even retrieved the bits of my stash that had been relegated to shoe boxes in the garage.


The gathering of fabric from all corners of the house also unearthed other things, like half finished quilt tops that had been long abandoned.

Quilt top WIP

And you know what conclusion I reached after all this ironing and folding and sorting?  My fabric stash is not that excessive for someone who has been collecting for 3 decades.  Either that or these shelves hold a lot of stuff.  What do you think?

What a week

I confess to being completely shattered.  It was the first week back at school.  Max and Henri started at a new school.  Henri, being in Prep, is doing half days.  That has meant I have done 5 school drop off and pick ups each day.  That's 5 times per day battling traffic and hoping for a parking spot, 5 times in and out of the car with the stroller, Adelaide (and she's no lightweight).  I've found it stressful, and it takes a lot to get me stressed.

Part of the stress has been emotional stress on behalf of the boys I think.  Sharing their anxiety about a new school.  Thankfully, all went well.  Max loved it so much he expressed the desire to go to school on Saturday!!!  And Henri claimed Friday was the best day of his life.  Obviously that school is doing a lot right.

Will is in the bad books because he flitted off to Europe during this crucial week.  You can tell by my choice of verb I'm not happy about this ill-timed business trip.  He arrives home on my birthday next week.  Willy, if you're reading this, think orange boxes.  You know the ones.

There's been little activity on the creative front.  I've regained my sanity by leafing through my quilt book collection and adding quilt photos to my flickr faves in the evenings.  It's all I've had the energy for.

House quilt

Here's a house quilt I'm currently loving.  It's from my all time favourite quilt book: "The Quilt Engagement Calendar Treasury".  The book is from 1982 and is now out of print.  I managed to buy a second hand copy from the states about 10 years ago, after someone bought a copy to a quilt class and I fell in love.  It features 185 full page colour photographs of quilts of all type, and all are stunning.