Adelaide’s Festival of Quilts

Our annual Festival of Quilts Show and Exhibition was held this past weekend and was a success on every level. The number of entries was record breaking, with 50+ first time entrants. The quality of quilts was outstanding and I really didn’t envy the judging teams the task that they faced. That said, I don’t think I’ve ever attended a quilt show when some of the decisions made by judges remain a total puzzle to me. This show was no exception.

That said, I have no quibble with the decisions they made with regard to my entries!


Cafe Au Lait (106cmx106cm)


This quilt started life as a supper cloth but I can’t actually recall how it came into my possession as I’ve gathered quite a few in the last few years. I loved the beautiful golden brown thread used in the embroidery and knew that a chocolate brown background would set the cloth off beautifully. Once I’d quilted it to death I beaded it to death, so it’s undergone gone a transformation.

Last year Heather, from Adelaide Sewing Centre, gave her Handiquilter girls the challenge of all making the same one block quilt and then to ‘quilt as desired’.  Two months later we compared efforts – learning so much in the process about considering designs that we hadn’t thought of doing ourselves. I decided to enter my quilt and it too won a prize.



I’ve always loved miniature quilts. Half a lifetime ago my girlfriend, Maureen Harper, and I wrote regular articles in Down Under Quilts featuring miniature quilts.

I made this little (20cm square) foundation paper pieced top in Queensland whilst minding Isla.


I’ve long loved an antique quilting pattern from England called the Sanderson Star. Hand quilting one is still on my bucket list, but I thought I’d try one in miniature. This poor little thing was actually sewn on 5 different sewing machines in order to get it finished by the deadline. I started it on my Bernina 440 (which lives at my daughter’s,) then on my Bernina 710. I started quilting it on my Sweet Sixteen, did the final border on a Q20 in Hobart and then sewed the binding on on my girlfriend’s Bernina.


Sanderson Star (30cm x 30cm)

We worked very hard to make this Show a success and our best hopes and wishes were realised. To paraphrase a well known movie: we built it and they came.

We made/make a great team, but every strong team has to have an extraordinary leader and I just want to put it out there that we wouldn’t be celebrating tonight if it hadn’t been for the vision, talent, tenacity and the superb leadership of Anne Marie Serrano.

And… many others who came to our Show, I’m going to spend the next week or two thinking about what quilts I might make a start on for next year!

Til next time…



Sometimes, I’d like the world to stop for a few moments…..

…….so that I can catch up with my life!

I certainly wouldn’t win a frequency of blogging award at the moment. I can’t believe that we’ve been home from Canada for 6 weeks and I’ve recounted nothing of my crazy, busy life.

Our last week in Canada was pleasantly relaxing after the whirlwind of the wedding. We flew out to Vancouver where I was able to meet up with a friend whom I hadn’t seen in 15 years. We took the train out to her suburb then off we went for a hike and picnic. What a unique experience – her dog wears a bear bell!


The weather was glorious and we had a fabulous day. IMG_4577 IMG_4578 IMG_4580

A group of young children waited patiently for this object to float in to shore – we left wondering if they ever did find out what it contained.


Vancouver is a beautiful city and we walked and walked and walked. Stanley Park was a delight.

IMG_4868 IMG_4870 IMG_4872 IMG_4914

As we walked out of the park we managed to get these photos. My first sighting of racoons!

IMG_4881 IMG_4890 IMG_4897

After a trying flight from Australia to Canada four weeks earlier, I’d read up on some strategies for getting to sleep on a plane so caught the flight home well prepared. The research was worth it – I slept a great deal of the flight and felt much better on arrival.

The second day after we returned I took a 2-day workshop on our Sweet Sixteens with the wonderful Kimmi Brunner from the US. She is the most delightful tutor – so calm and so awesomely knowledgeable. I picked up lots of new ideas for future quilting projects, but both she and I shared moments of jet lag throughout the days of stitching and learning.

With Canadian luggage still not completely unpacked, and a 2-day workshop of ‘stuff’ to put away I packed up a spare suitcase and headed south to Pt Noarlunga for our Festival of Quilts Committee Retreat. I have the pleasure of being on a committee with the most hard working and committed ladies one would ever hope to meet. Our Guild made the decision earlier this year to not renew our contract with the national craft event organisation that we’d been associated with for a very long time.

The major consequence of this decision was the reality that our committee were going to have to take on the steep learning curve of event planning and management. It has been an enormous undertaking but through the vision, coordination and sheer hard work of our convenor, Anne Marie, we have worked small miracles. Our show and expo is now less than 2 weeks away so life has been very full on. We’d asked Guild members to give us any spare orphan blocks that they had lying around, and the weekend was spent stitching up a special project that will be revealed at our Show.

Shortly afterwards the bi-annual AMQF was held here in Adelaide. I taught six classes for Bernina, and loved every minute of my time there. I’d been encouraged to enter a quilt that I’d made last year into the associated AMQA show and I was absolutely amazed to get a phone call to tell me that I’d won First Prize in my category.


The Tasmanian Quilting Guild had made that same parting of company decision that the Quilters’ Guild of South Australia had and their self managed Show and Expo was held this past weekend in Hobart. Hubby and I have close friends in Tassie so decided that this event was a good reason to book a holiday week. We love Tasmania – it has been on our radar as a possible next home for quite a while now. I was asked if I’d be the guest quilter at their show so my suitcase was packed with equal measures of clothes and quilt samples.

It has been a great week. While South Australians back home were experiencing heavy rain and flooding, we had 5 out of 7 days of perfect weather. The gardens there are an absolute delight at this time of the year.

img_2641 img_2645

Friends Pip and Alan have moved home since our last visit so lots of time was spent checking out all things new. Pip has a sewing room to covet – complete with her new Q24. We spent many companionable hours downstairs in the evenings – she doing quilt show administration while I was madly trying to finish off 3 of my own show entries.

The Tasmanian Quilt Expo was a great success and a testament to the hard work of their convening committee. I met many wonderful new friends while spending 3 glorious days doing what I most love doing – hand applique and machine quilting. It was also very interesting observing how the Tasmanian guild organized their show and I have a page of notes/suggestions for our committee to contemplate.

Pip’s entry was a winner, which was much cause for celebration.

img_2683 img_2684

Catherine Jones’s entry into AMQA won her Best of Show. Her entry into the Island Quilts Show won her another Best of Show.



We flew home on Monday, with one leg of the trip being a little fraught. I had a gentleman sitting next to me who was considerably wider than his seat, necessitating an overflow into mine. I was unable to read or in fact do anything as I had to keep my arms crossed in front of me the whole way, and even then I was constantly and annoyingly elbowed as he wrote copious notes in a diary. I’ve told hubby that I will never, ever, ever, ever sit in the middle seat of a row on a plane again.

Today, my daughter-in-law, Tanya flew down from Brisbane with Isla so I have a wonderful week of being Grandma to my 2 gorgeous grand-daughters planned. The two haven’t seen each other since last November but they quickly settled in to some serious play.


I have just one ‘must do this week’ on my list – somehow I volunteered to quilt a small vintage linen as a thank you gift for a very special guest who will be opening our Quilt Show and Expo next Friday. I’m going to mount the cream linen onto red silk – I’ve never quilted on silk before so I hope it’s a very straightforward process.

Til next time.














Wedding Celebrations

I can’t believe that it’s been 6 days since the wedding and I haven’t done a blog post about it, but life has been so full on that I just haven’t had the opportunity.

I didn’t take very many photos myself, so I’ve had to rely on photos from wider members of the family to be posted to our shared photo site in order to have some to use.

In every way it was a perfect day. The weather was superb, the planning went off without a hitch, the bride was gorgeous and Isla enchanted everyone.


The wedding ceremony was held in the back yard of Tanya’s parents – with a lovely view over north west Calgary. Tanya used an old treadle sewing machine for the document signing, which was decorated at the base with flowers in a gorgeous old wooden box by her Grandmother, Beth.


Friends and family gathered around the arbor for the ceremony.


Tanya and Gareth with the JP (we would call her a celebrant in Australia).


Three proud parents look on. The fourth was upstairs on the balcony taking this photo!


The happy family.IMG_2513

After the ceremony the bridal party and immediate family headed out to a park for photos.



I’m not a tiny person – my son is a giant! The canola in the background reminded me so much of home.


The girls of the immediate family – 4 Canadian generations are there.


Grandma Nancy and Grandma Chris were kept pretty busy throughout the day!


I just love this photo of the three of them taken at the reception.

When the floor was cleared for the first dance, Isla watched Mum and Dad from the sidelines for a short while then joined them on the dance floor. She pretty much stayed on that dance floor dancing and cavorting about til the wee hours of the morning, taking just a short nap to recharge her batteries!


My cousin, Anne and husband, Robert from Mansfield in Victoria joined us for a few days around the wedding day and it was such a treat to have them there to join us in the celebrations. In his earlier world-wandering days Gareth met a lovely Australian girl in Scotland where he was managing a youth hostel. They’ve remained friends since then and she and her husband also flew over from Australia for the wedding.

The happy couple headed south for a brief honeymoon in Watertown, right on the US border. Coincidentally it was Anne and Robert’s next holiday destination too, but I don’t think that their paths crossed as both were busy hiking and taking in the sights. The grandmas and Great Grandma Beth took up Isa babysitting duties and loved every minute of those few days. There were one or two occasions too when the phrase: ‘what happens at Grandma’s stays at Grandma’s’ was heard!

The excitement is over and family have, or still are, returning to homes in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Australia. Our very best wishes go to Tanya, Gareth and Isla and hope that the wonderful success of their wedding day is an indication of successes in their future.

Til next time…




Heritage Park, Calgary

With wedding preparations well in hand, hubby and I set off yesterday to spend some time at Calgary’s Heritage Park. We learned a lot about Canadian history, had a ride on a heritage train and a gentle paddle round a lake on a paddle steamer.


I sit on the extremely disinterested end of the petrol head spectrum, but even I was impressed with Gasoline Alley.








Mostly, though, I was interested in things more related to domestic history.


What a magnificent stove this was.


But thank goodness laundry days no longer require one of these!


There weren’t a lot of quilts that were easily photographed.

IMG_0060 IMG_0059

I have hollyhocks planted randomly throughout my garden, but I now have a new goal. Don’t they look wonderful as a group planting. If you are reading this and your hollyhocks still have some seeds on them, please save them for me! I don’t have this many colours.


It’s Friday night here in Calgary. Family and friends are arriving and getting to know one another. We had 11 for dinner tonight so there was lots of chatter and getting to know you conversations. The Australian contingent is in the minority so it was nice to catch up with them and their travels throughout Canada during the last few weeks.

Til next time, with some wedding photos….




The Big Day Looms….

…and everyone has has a list of tasks to do. The biggest one was getting the front garden looking its best so it was all hands on deck pulling out the fire pit, dead-heading the roses and finding temporary homes for things that regularly ‘live’ outside.

While we were in Idaho, Nancy purchased a lovely old stove and it was our job was to set it in place and do some plantings around it.


It’s soooo cute.

Even Isla lent a hand with scrubbing the fire pit clean.


Tanya’s Grandmother had made up a beautiful rustic arbor. Tanya’s brother brought it all the way from Saskatchewan on the back of his truck.


One of Tanya’s gazillion tasks for the week was to decorate the arbor. After a trip to the local Michael’s store (yes, I loved it! Spotlight without all the fabrics, furnishings and notions) we are ready to go with Saturday morning’s decorating.


That’s Tanya’s deep in concentration look you see!

The weather has been glorious all week, as was the forecast for the coming weekend. Was. Tonight’s forecast indicates that we should be prepared for all contingencies!

Til next time



Be Still My Beating Heart…

Our time in Spokane was brief, and hot, but we crammed in as much sight seeing as we could.

IMG_4458 IMG_4459

We stayed at the iconic Ruby Hotel. There was a very obvious Beatles theme – visual and audio.

IMG_4450 IMG_4443

We took a gondola ride over the falls along the Spokane River, then stopped by the historic carousel.


It was too hot to walk far, so we strolled along the river.


Gareth and Tanya picked us up first thing this morning for a quick trip back over the border into Idaho where they have been holidaying in this cute holiday house.



Tanya and her Mum, Nancy.


And Isla.


Wouldn’t this make a gorgeous studio? It stores bikes and kayaks….

Guess where the first place my wonderful daughter-in-law to-be took us? An antique mall! She’d been by it earlier in the week and recognised some textile items that she thought might interest me.

Oh me, oh my!

I’ll let the photographs speak for themselves. Vintage linens, vintage quilts (maybe one antique quilt that may or may not survive the rest of the day in the mall), works in progress, quilt blocks and a range of sewing paraphernalia.

IMG_4590-1 IMG_4591

IMG_4585 IMG_4601 IMG_4600-1 IMG_4589-1 IMG_4592-1 IMG_4597-1 IMG_4593-1 IMG_4599-1

IMG_4587-1 IMG_4583-1 IMG_4582-1 IMG_4586-1


Til next time…




Today’s Other Highlights

We started off the day visiting the Boeing Factory. What can I say? (I can only say it because there was absolutely no photography allowed).

The factory itself is 0.5 km wide and 1.6 Km long. In volume it is the largest building in the world. You can fit California’s Disneyland and 12 acres of undercover parking in the one building, which sits on over 900 acres of land. When you look down from the viewing platforms into ‘rooms’ full of assembly line 747s  and other jets it’s easy to run out of words to describe the experience. I’m not even going to try. It was pretty awesome.

However I did get one photograph. It’s Boeing’s 100th birthday this week, and we got to share some birthday cake. I don’t know how many they baked – I saw at least 6.


On the drive back we asked to be dropped off at the Space Needle.


Going to the top wasn’t on our agenda (besides which the queue was enormous), but beneath it sits another awesome exhibition. The Chihuly Garden and Glass is a museum in the Seattle Centre, showcasing the extraordinary glass work of Dale Chihuly. Photos don’t seem to do it justice – it’s both an internal and external exhibition. Here’s just a taste – and thanks to Faye Packham who said that it wasn’t to be missed. It wasn’t….







I’m pretty much touristed (my new word) out, so tomorrow I’m just going to wander. Probably into some shops, but anything is possible.

Til next time…



Pike Place Market Fish Throwing and Other Wonderful Sights

We first visited this market last Saturday, but literally the crowds were so overwhelming that once we’d navigated its considerable length with few stops we left. It was a constant sea of people with almost no chance of getting near any of the stalls. We’d particularly gone there to see the fish throwing but there was no chance of observing that.

So we went back this afternoon and had a really lovely time, enjoying the crowd this time as well as all the stalls. Some of the produce was so unlike anything I’d previously experienced.


These elephant garlic bulbs were the size of grapefruit!


In contrast, these baby potatoes were like beach or creek pebbles. Absolutely gorgeous and such a range of colours. In size they would be somewhere between a large marble and a walnut.


Very unusual looking Italian broccoli. It resembled coral.


Donut peaches!

The whole market area was incredibly bright and colourful. Love these chillies…..


And….we did finally get to see the fish throwing. We had absolutely no idea what to expect, but stood around like dozens of others waiting. We missed the first throw because of this, but I had my phone ready to capture video the next time!

The guys on this fish stall obviously share a great sense of humour. Here’s one of their signs:


And just outside the Market was this sign. Love it!


There are dozens and dozens of non-produce stalls too, and this for sale item caught my eye. Wouldn’t see this one at home!


Til next time….


Spending a few days in the U.S.

It’s been a whirlwind few days since we left Australia – and at last I think we’ve settled into our new timezone. For a few days it was a bit challenging – we left Sydney at noon one day and arrived in Vancouver at 3pm the same day, despite spending about 15 hours in the air. That was one looooong day.

We’re now in Seattle, having taken the Amtrak train down the west coast from Canada- a really pretty ride. We were quite surprised at what a difference it is entering the States by train as opposed to by air. Our luggage was scanned, but we weren’t!


Beautiful architectural features in the Railway Station at King Street, Seattle. I wonder why the ceilings in railway stations are so high?


And you know that you’re in the US when there’s one of these at the end of your corridor!

Seattle is a treat – it didn’t take long for us to work out where things were – but when I booked accommodation I was more focused on being close to the railway station than downtown so we have covered A LOT of kilometres in two days.

We went to the Pike Place Markets yesterday but they were incredibly crowded so we plan to go back during the week when hopefully it’s a little less crazy. The famous fish throwing didn’t seem to be happening despite  a dozen or so cameras being trained on the fish stall so we’re hoping to see that too.

Today we were in total tourist mode. We started the day doing the Underground Tour. Seattle was originally built at sea level. Mmmm. Not someone’s best idea. The founding fathers resolved the problem by raising the city’s roads to the first storey level thus creating a web of undergound businesses from old first floor buildings and along the original roadways, the remnants of which can be seen today.


Above this ceiling is the current sidewalk.

Then a harbour cruise around Elliott Bay in glorious sunshine. I’d almost forgotten what sunshine and blue skies looked like. If you live in Adelaide, here’s a reminder. I’m told that it’s still rather wet and cold at home.


We took the long route home past a glass blowing studio and watched, entranced, as beautiful glassware came to life.


It was hard to get a clear photo, so apologies about the quality.

Hubby wanted to come to Seattle for one reason only, so for the next two days it’s his choice of tourist attraction: we’re visiting the Boeing Factory tomorrow. Hope I like all things aeronautical because it’s the Aeronautical Museum the following day.

Wednesday, this girl is going shopping! I still don’t have a complete wedding outfit and I’m running out of time to find a bottom half. I needed a summer outfit for a July wedding in Canada, but at home our shops have been full of winter clothes for about forever. Wish me luck.

Til next time…..