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…..


Celebrations Ahead….and some sad family history revealed


This is a first for us – a wedding invitation that requires a passport. We’ll be the groom’s parents so it wasn’t an invitation to decline! The bride and groom-to-be left Brisbane today, just a tad anxious about surviving the long flight to Canada with a toddler.

It’s been a busy time helping out in Brisbane and then coming home to get things organised here. My life has revolved around endless lists which are fortunately filling up with checked off items. We have house sitters coming in to care for the house and pets while we are away so one of the biggest tasks has been to write up the ‘house sitters text book’. I hope I’ve remembered everything!

The kids asked each of their parents to sort through family photos for ones of them growing up from babies to teenagers. They intend to set up a display during the reception, which I think is a lovely idea. It’s been an absolute delight re-living old times through our photo collection (which I must organise more effectively. One day.)

A much harder request for me was finding generational wedding photos for another display. We have a real mixture going back to one of our grandparents’ but sadly I discovered that there are no wedding photos of my own parents’ wedding day. A telephone call to my aunt in England revealed that, typical of the times, a ‘baby on the way’ wedding in the early 1950s wasn’t always accepted well by the wider family and in their case certainly not celebrated. In fact, on the day they were married my Dad’s parents chose to go to their local football team’s match instead! I felt so, so sorry for my Mum and in a way I wish I hadn’t found out this bit of family history.

Til next time,


I’m Getting Absolutely No Quilting Done….

….. because I’m spending time in Queensland with my gorgeous little grand-daughter, Isla. Dad has been away working for 2 weeks so Grandma paid a visit to keep the girls company.

We’ve shopped til we dropped, and had some fun at the Mall while Mum was at work:


Made curtains for Isla’s bedroom:


Played together – Isla in her cardboard box,


and Grandma on her trusty Elna Lotus.


I carefully pack my trusty travel companion in my checked-in luggage each time I come up to Queensland and love the convenience of being able to keep up with at least one of my projects while I’m away from home. It’s always an anxious moment opening my suitcase and hoping that all is well though. I’ve been lucky to date, but this time I’m going to leave my machine here ready for the next visit.

This week I’ve worked on the foundation paper pieced borders for my That’s What Friends Are For quilt. Getting that quilt finished in time for our Guild’s quilt show will be a minor miracle. The sewing is close to completion but it’s a big quilt to quilt on a domestic sewing machine. I might have to put sleep on hold….

It’s chilly, even in sunny Queensland, and this was a welcome weekend family activity when Dad dropped in for 36 hours.


Dad went back to work this morning and Mum’s on school holidays, spending every spare moment planning for a very special celebration that’s happening in 4 weeks time. Stay tuned!

Til next time…


A New Vintage Linen Quilt

Last weekend was a long weekend here in Australia and my local Handiquilter dealer offered her Sweet Sixteen girls a 3 day wholecloth quilt-in. I decided that it was a perfect opportunity to start a new vintage linen quilt in the hope that I might get it finished in time to enter into our Guild’s Festival of Quilts at the end of September. The next six weeks of my life are going to be crazy busy and I won’t be able to get any quilting done at all so my timeline is a bit pressured.

In my normal fashion I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with this lovely old tablecloth. However the centre already had the beginnings of a structure so it seemed logical to build on that.

Here is what I did with the centre section – swirls of feathers coming out from the centre. Have I told you how much I LOVE feathers??!!Centre MedallionI wanted to take some hand sewing to a quilting function I went to this weekend so I started playing with some beading ideas. I can’t do any more than this or they’ll get in the way of any ruler work I do.


A lightly beaded circle in the centre.

Bead work

Tiny beads in the flower centres.

Central panel

The centre is close to being finished. I just have 3 more of these pairs of fiddlehead feathers to do and then some heavy scribbling to do around the edges. I needed a design to ‘capture’ the scribble, and I think that these one sided feathers do the job perfectly.

Fiddle Head Feathers

I’ve started stitching out a background grid, but I’m still undecided about which fill idea I’ll go with. I’m hoping inspiration will strike soon!

Flowers and leaves

I filled the leaves with pebbles, the flowers with veins and densely scribbled in the funny hook shapes. I wanted to create some different textures within the corner motifs but it’s pretty subtle. Whilst veins seem logical to put into the leaves I decided to switch the ideas around.

I loved those one sided feathers so much that I’m carrying on the idea into the outside border areas.


Til next time…



Quilting For Someone Else

I did something this week that I never imagined doing. I quilted a teaching sample for a friend. Several weeks ago, Wendy asked if I would be willing to do this for her. Initially I decided that I couldn’t (for a whole bunch of fear of failure reasons) but then I decided to be brave and give it a go.

I don’t know how quilters who quilt for others do it…..all I could see were the ‘oops’ moments in my quilting and all I could think about was how I would like to start over and do things differently.

It was definitely an eye opening experience.

Wendy has a love of applique, and with her passion for reproduction quilts she has developed a unique style. Influenced by recent Red and White exhibitions here is her latest applique teaching sample, quilted by moi.


Sorry about the slightly blurry image. My quilt holder was in bed sick and it was quite windy outside.

And some detailed shots… IMG_4220  IMG_4222  IMG_4224 IMG_4225 I wanted to do a whole lot of pebbling in some areas, but found that stitching white cotton thread (I used Aurifil 30 weight) on white cotton fabric is not conducive to pebbling – I just couldn’t see where I’d previously been stitching. I tried a few other background fills but found them equally challenging. Chalk that up to another lesson learned!

Til next time….


On-Line Quilting Class

A couple of weeks ago I had a quiet night to myself with absolutely nothing on television that interested me. Whimsically I decided to have a look for a new online quilting class to check out. I started with Craftsy, but didn’t find anything inspiring there so headed over to iQuilt. I had previously enrolled in an iQuilt class and I wasn’t disappointed this time either. Better still, the classes were 50% off!

Looking at the classes available, I figured that one in particular was likely to be more of a ‘quilt along with me’ style, which quite appealed to my style of learning. So I signed up for Judi Madsen’s class – Quilting Makes a Difference.

I loved it. Judi offers two styles of quilting on the same designed pieced tops – a more traditional approach and a modern approach. Only the coloured fabric strips in the centre are different for each. Initially I watched the whole show through, but once my tops were ready to quilt I went back and watched each lesson then stitched out the design.

My finished samples aren’t exactly like hers – but the designs were so flexible that it was easy to tweak techniques.

Here is the first sample that I completed along with Judi.

Traditional Quilted Sample
Traditional Quilted Sample
Centre Detail
Centre Detail

This is one area that I chose to stitch out different to the Judi’s original design. I love feathers too much to pass up an opportunity to include them!

Setting Triangle Detail
Setting Triangle Detail

You can see from the traces of blue marker pen that I had to add some guiding marks for this design.

Border Detail
Border Detail

The second quilt was even more fun. I’d not done very much modern quilting and I have to say that I really enjoyed the process. Here is my finished top:

Modern approach to the quilting.
Modern approach to the quilting.
Corner detail
Corner detail
The two samples together

I thoroughly recommend this class if you want to have fun learning some new quilting techniques. Judi is a great teacher.

Til next time……


Getting Back to Normal.

My life has been a whirlwind of craziness during the last few weeks. In the lead up to the Coro Quilters’ Exhibition last month, I decided that I could easily manage to quilt two quilts before the deadline. Whew! I only just made it…..

I showed some photos of one quilt in my last post and here are some detailed shots I took during the exhibition of the second quilt. This quilt was the 2015 Coro Quilters’ Mystery Quilt, made over 6 months. In summary, these were our monthly clues:

  1. Create a centre piece which includes an applique cut from the Go Cutter.
  2. Use 3 different fabrics.
  3. Include French Braid.
  4. Something starting with ‘S’.
  5. Half square triangles/Quarter square triangles.
  6. Border – 4 squares wide and reflects your current environment. (For me this was during a time when I was just about overwhelmed with emails dealing with an event I was involved in – words, words and  more words!)

2015 Mystery QuiltI had a lot of fun quilting this quilt – for some reason it reminded me of the beach so I have pebbles, shells and grasses as my main quilting motifs.

Pebbles and Shells

The outer negative spaces were treated to more elaborate ‘shells’ which helped to fill the quilting spaces more quickly.

Feathered Shells

The French Braid reflected a simpler version of the free motion ‘grasses’ that I quilted in the same border.

Beach Grasses Second Border

French Braid

Both the inner and outer black printed borders were so busy that any quilting that I did was not going to be at all noticed, so I kept it simple – ribbon candy on the inner border and a swirly continuous design on the outside border.

We have interstate visitors staying with us at the moment, but in between the food, wine, excursions and chatting I’ve managed to find bits of time to complete a fun, online quilting class that moved me out of my comfort zone. More in the next post!

Til next time.



Coromandel Valley Quilters Exhibition

My local quilting group is holding an exhibition on the 21st and 22nd May at the Community Centre. They exhibit every two years and put on a wonderful show. There will be a trading table, demonstrations, Devonshire tea and a local quilt shop to tempt us.

I thought that this would be a good excuse to ‘play’ with one of the vintage supper cloths that are in my collection – and the one that appealed the most was a far-from-square, blue embroidered cut work cloth that had multiple stains which had resisted every attempt I’d made to remove them.

I didn’t think to take any ‘before’ photos, but here are some in the early stages of quilting. I started by playing with a free quilting motif from Forest Quilting . I had to re-shape some of the feathers to fit comfortably within the square shape that I could sit neatly between the embroidery and cut out design features.


I also designed a plumed feather shape to fit around the embroidery so that a continuous bordered line was set up around the outer edge of the supper cloth.

I quilted a double echo around the feathers and filled with pebbling. I love pebbling, but it sure takes time.


The worst of the stains were in the centre of the quilt, so I decided that some seriously dense quilting was in order.

IMG_2273Some of the stains are still evident, but the quilting does focus the eye away from them.

IMG_2274The double echo lines really help to emphasize the feathers. I used a blue wash out marker to draw in the plume shapes – and sometimes a quick spritz just spread those blue lines around! You can see that I had to do a bit of reverse quilting in one corner – the initial 3/4 inch grid that I drew up was just too big in scale. The 1/2 inch one looked much better.

The greatest challenge with this quilt was trying to determine the boundary within which to quilt the feathered border. I had no points of reference to use on the white cloth – which was nowhere near a perfect square.

IMG_2278I had to get creative and use a combination of square rulers and some spare vertical blind blades to mark it out. I double checked by measuring the two verticals – I needed to do a bit of fudging with the blind blades, but it was so successful that the strategy is now on my ‘must remember to do in future’ list.

IMG_2277Then came my favourite kind of quilting – continuous feathers. All I marked was a centre line though the four borders and an uneven number of curves above and below that line on each side. There is nothing regular or predictable in the feathers, and it looks wonderfully organic. I echoed once on the inside edge and multiple times on the outside edge as I don’t like the puffy look that you can get between a feathered border and the binding.

IMG_2295The quilt top got a good soaking while I set up my interlocking mats and drew up lines along which to block the quilt. Three sides lay down beautifully but the last edge needed a bit of coaxing…..

IMG_2285But we finally played nicely together.

It was a lovely warm day with a gentle breeze so it didn’t take long to dry – and it is now as flat as. What a relief.

IMG_2286I’ve now bound it and it’s all ready for the exhibition. I haven’t taken a photo – will leave that until it’s been hung.

Til next time.


A Holiday Break and AQC16

It’s been a busy week – hubby and I took some time off to have a bit of a holiday, to visit with family in Mansfield and to attend AQC in Melbourne.

We love to stop at local bakeries to break up the looooong road trip (and check out their vanilla slices!) and this is one of our favourite rest stops – at Bordertown on the South Australian and Victorian border. There is so much to see  inside this unique bakery, which has a delightful gift shop attached.

The bakery is built over and around the old Police Station.
The bakery is built over and around the old Police Station.
The toilets are the old cell block.

Rural Victoria is an absolute delight at this time of the year.

Glorious autumn colours.
Glorious autumn colours.


Relics of the past
Relics of the past


A bit of a history lesson.
A bit of a history lesson.
Peaceful picnic spots.
Peaceful picnic spots.
Quilting inspiration is to be found everywhere….


I wish we’d had time to see the Marilyn Monroe exhibition in Bendigo – which has embraced the Marilyn theme throughout the commercial district.

Then 3 wonderful days in Melbourne. It started on a high on the first afternoon when I randomly walked past a dress shop and saw a jacket in the window by a designer that I love and haven’t been able to find locally in my size. I was recently Mother of the Bride, and am about to be Mother of the Groom – one who was still searching for the perfect outfit. What a relief. The wedding is in July, in Calgary, and finding suitable clothing options when our shops are full of winter outfits has been challenging to say the least.

Then on to AQC. This has become an annual pilgrimage and once again it didn’t disappoint. I am always awestruck by the talent of Australian quilters and this is particularly evident to me in the AQC Challenge each year. The diversity of creative thought processes is a total mystery to me.


This year, too, was special because of this:


I have to admit: it was a bit of a buzz to be a participant in the exhibition.

Til next time…