Friday, December 13, 2013

Finding Friendship

Sometimes we find the best friendships in the most unlikely of places.  For me it was through distance learning online, where I met fellow student Sarah and we began chatting about the course and our aspirations and frustrations.  It then developed into blogging, and emails, before we eventually met each other and found we still liked each other just as much in the flesh. The amazing thing about this is that we live at opposite sides of the world - Sarah in Jersey, Channel Islands and myself in Australia.  
Hubby and I had a quick and frantic trip back to the UK in September for a bereavement, and decided to cheer ourselves up with a trip to Jersey to meet Sarah and her family, and what a wonderful time we had.
Sarah is the owner of Quilt Candy, an online store for her beautiful, hand made, bespoke quilts for babies and children.  Here she is showing me one them, with a little help from her son. 
We couldn't go to Jersey without a trip to The Harbour Gallery.  What an alladin's cave!
Here's some photos of inside the gallery, showing you all they have to offer - far too much to choose from.  I doubt anyone could go in there and not find something to excite them. Sarah has told me so much about the Gallery, I just had to visit ... in fact, it was our very first stop on day one!
It's full to the brim of hand made arts and crafts from local artisans, and even has a cafe upstairs.  Definitely somewhere to visit time and time again. 
Sarah and her hubby took us all over the island, where we saw all the beautiful sites Jersey has to offer, and sampled the delicious food.  I'm sure I put on a few extra kilo's but it was well worth it.   We packed so much into 3 days - sight seeing, wining and dining, meeting friends, going for walks, visiting her children's school, shopping, and non-stop talking.
As if meeting Sarah and her family wasn't wonderful enough, she topped it off by presenting me with a delightful handmade mini quilt of my new home, complete with the number on the door.  It was all appliqued, stitched, and quilted by Sarah ... and was a very emotional gift to receive, knowing how much time and effort goes into something like this, and what a wonderful friend I indeed have.  It's something I will cherish forever.
Hubby and I had a marvelous time meeting Sarah and her family, we all got on like a house on fire, and the only sadness is that we live so far apart, but I know our friendship will continue.  There is so much abuse of the internet, which is a shame, because if used properly it's a brilliant tool for meeting people all over the world and forging new friendships, as Sarah and I have done. 
I would love to hear your own stories of how good friendships were made, and hope that you all get to meet the friends you blog with, just as we have.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Another UFO finished

One of my favourite embroidery designers is Tanja Berlin, a graduate of the RSN, who has been a professional embroiderer for the past 10 years.  She's based in Canada, but came to Australia to teach at the Beating Around The Bush convention in 2009.  As soon as I read that Tanja was coming to Oz, I just had to book my place at the convention, and all three of the classes I undertook were with Tanja.
To date, 4 years later, I've still only finished one of the pieces.  Shameful, I know!
This was another of the UFO's I decided to complete during the past year ... Tanja's "Tropical Bird" design, a 2-sided embroidery technique.

Despite being initially daunted by the prospect of a 2 sided piece, Tanja's instructions and personal guidance made it quite simple to create. Her instructions are second to none, and even for a piece with a total embroidered size of only 7.5cm x 9cm she still provides 19 x A4 pages of precise instructions and diagrams, with clear photography of the finished piece.

I loved doing this little design, but have yet to work out just how to frame it to its full advantage so that both sides can be seen ... something to ponder on.
In the meantime I've two more of Tanja's designs to complete so I'd better get cracking, heh?!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Where have I been?!

Hello fellow bloggers & blog readers,
Where have I been for the past 8 months? No, I've not forgotten you, sometimes life just gets so busy and the months zoom by.
Have I been creative? I sure have .... on a big scale .... hubby and I have created our own new home, built by us with blood, sweat and a few tears, sometimes of joy, sometimes of relief, and sometimes of sheer exhaustion, but its all been worth it.  We're in, and loving every minute of it.
This was the beginning - what used to be our workshop
and now this is it  - a home.
The view from the street.
There's still some titivating to do with the front wall, which needs rendering, and the pickets replacing, and the lawn tidying up ... and, and, and .... there's always something that will need doing for a while yet, but its liveable and completed inside.
Unfortunately the sewing/textile side has had to take a back seat, but I have managed to spend a few hours in the evenings to work on finishing some UFO's.
One of them in this Jenny McWhinney Camel blanket which I started in 2003 - how slack is that!?  Ten years to finish it, but I'm sure there's many of you out there with similar UFO's shoved in cupboards or drawers and forgotten about - its never too late to dig them out and work on them.  
I'm patting myself on the back for finishing the stitching, but I've still got to complete the blanket - I'm trying to find a suitable backing fabric with a bit of "oomph" and all the right colours.  I'm sure I'll find it sooner or later. 

More finished UFO's to come in the next post.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Welcome to 2013

Happy New Year to all my followers and readers - I hope your Christmas was enjoyable, and that the new year will be a happy and creative one for you.  I'm hoping it will also be a bit more creative for me as well.  The reason for my lack of creativity is shown below .... the construction of our new house, built by my hubby with me as labourer, as well as some employed labour hire too.  If you look closely to the right of the photograph you'll see my little studio buried in the middle of the construction site (green door).
The work has been hard especially in the heatwave we've just had, and I won't be sorry to see it finished. The next step is the roof and then hopefully everything else will happen quickly after that and life can go back to normal. As if building this isn't enough work for us, I had a disaster in my studio to contend with. During the winter storms rain got in through the door and seeped under my beautiful jarrah flooring, buckling and twisting it, so we've had to have all the floor ripped out and had it tiled. 
Now the house is full of my clutter, and I'm waiting for the floor to be completed so I can move everything back in and have a clean up.  Its very hard to be productive in all this upheaval. So to keep my hands moving I've been doing some simple stitchery work in the evenings, but they're itching to get into more exciting stuff, so stay tuned, I haven't forgotten you all and will be back as soon as I can with more interesting things to share with you.