Saturday, 27 August 2011

Flood Quilts

I love a sunburnt country 
a land of sweeping plains
of rugged mountains ranges 
of droughts and flooding rains...

from 'My Country'  by Dorothea MacKellar

I know that natural disasters befall nations at any time, but the floods that hit Eastern Australia's Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria in January 2011, were completely unprecedented.

Australia had been in the grip of a drought for so long...we were all on water restrictions, building desalination plants and some towns had plans to recycle waste water...that we couldn't remember what rain looked like, let alone storms. But hit us, they did. La Nina ousted el Nino with savage fury and a series of cyclones lined up one after the other to wreck havoc on 3 states.

 A big pile to go to those that lost everything

 Quilting for Queensland

And so the mission to do something for those that lost their homes, possessions and loved ones, began. 'Quilting for Queensland', a group on Facebook, was born. Our group started with about 15 members and currently has 30 (feel free to join). We've lost count of how many quilts we have made...and that's a good thing. Some quilts went to people in cyclone affected North Queensland, the  town of Grantham in the Lockyer Valley decimatedby an inland tsunami and the flooded suburb of Goodna in eastern Ipwich.

 Flood Quilts

These are some of the quilts that my mum and I made. Some of them were machine quilted for free by a Brisbane quilter named Tamara Buchanan, who volunteered her expertise and company 'Quick Stitch Quilting'

I apologise that I can't seem to upload or change orientation of  some of these quilt backs

'Cover Story'
  'Cover Story' back
'Vinnies Rebirth'

'Vinnies Rebirth' back
'October Glow'
'October Glow' back

'Autumn Story'
'Autumn Story' back

'Garden Delight'
'Garden Delight' back detail
'Shangri-la' back
'Eastern Inspirations'
'Cranes and Geishas'
'Cranes and Geishas' back
Tamara's quilting detail
'Sunshine Flower Fairy'
'Owly Twin'

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Halloween Projects Part 2

My tone on tone quilt backing arrived from the USA quite quickly but recent viruses with my children meant that I haven't been able to get back to piecing the back for the 2 Halloween Quilts until this week. The first is the backing for the 'Bats on Parade' quilt which features a huge panel of Halloween icons. I used some leftover solids to frame the panel before sashing it with the tone on tone black.

'Bats on Parade' Quilt back

Now the quilt back for my daughter's Halloween quilt proved to be more problematic. I realised that I could not put too much black into the design, as she is only 3 years old. So I had to make use of what ever yards and fat quarters I had.
I love using up the brightly coloured scraps from the front assembly and so I set to work making some strips about 4" tall and sewing them all together. I used the wide-back black to sash them. 
 There were a couple of other purple cat strips that were laying around and so I included them as well. So it kind of just kept growing on one half. But then I got stuck! I didn't have enough of the black cats with yellow moons to finish the other half. I did have some cute lighter purple fabric but I wasn't sure how to use it.
So I put out a "help me" call to my online Facebook quilting group, to garner their ideas. One friend suggested a more symmetrical approach and another strip. So I started stripping...not really a problem as I really like to created these...and added another.
Then quite unexpectedly a lovely mentor from our local MOPS group dropped by my house yesterday. She had done some quilting in the past and so I asked her for some opinions. Not only did she help me work through the problems...she stayed long enough to iron and sew the fabric I cut. And so with Simone and Sue's help, repectively, the quilt back was completed yesterday.
 "Jack-o-lanterns on Parade" quilt back

BTW- If you live in Australia, and would like to join a great online quilting group, look it up on Facebook under the group name 'Quilt Club Australia'. It's a friendly group of quilters from all around Australia. We are just about to start our first challenge - a mug rug - so join in soon.

I changed my mind  - August 27th

While I was piecing the 2nd quilt back for my daughter, I stumbled upon some yardage that was already pre-cut for a Halloween quilt. It got me to thinking about how I could tie the 1st and 2nd quilt backs together. The first incarnation, at the top of this post, looks more like a quilt front. And so I cut the yardage up, added a couple of strips and voila' NEW quilt back for 'Bats on Parade'!

New 'Bats on Parade' quilt back

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Operation 'Declutter' Continues

With 3 kids comes the challenge of storing things that they need everyday, some days and on a rainy day. This is what I came up with for an unused hallway corner.

It grew to this when I inherited a bag rack. Not sure whether I am too happy with this now as it looks too cluttered. Reduce the number of hats or bags?

I used the same concept to display the dress up wings, masks and tails that the kids like to use nearly everyday.


This is my daughter's room.

Ikea fabric shelving and boxes make a great space for shoes and winter gear.
The pram was mine when I was a little girl. The eye-spy quilt on the bed, the bedhead and the 'Thirties' quilt on the toy box were all made by my mum.

This is my oldest son's room.

Although my eldest son has this bedroom for his belongings, he chooses to sleep in the same bedroom as his younger brother. So these bunks are used for guests, playtime and quiet time.

This is my youngest son's bedroom.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Cutting through the Clutter

I tend to accumulate clutter...well flat surfaces really - table tops, floors, and especially the kitchen bench. It is a constant battle and some days I win and some days I lose. I was alerted  to a great book called 'Cut the Clutter' by Cythia Townley-Ewer and a website called

I found that I fit more than one of the profiles of a clutterer - 'Hoarder - "I might need it one day"; Perfectionist - "Next week I'll organise everything perfectly""; Deferrer - I'll think about that tomorrow"; and Sentimentalist - "That belonged to my....". Four out of the five listed personality traits were I was in BIG trouble.


Yesterday I tackled the dreaded corner cupboard...always a difficult shape...but I had seen a great idea using an old cd rack on Pinterest and I put mine ("I might need that one day) to use. It turned out well. 

I also used an old Elfa shelf (see that came in handy too!) that was orphaned in our garage.


During the recent school holidays, a lovely friend gave us her old fridge for FREE, we in turn gave our skinnier version to another friend (love the 'pay it forward' attitude). But I was determined to make a fresh start. 

Using another  Pinterest idea, I bought some plastic shelf boxes with handles and made a tidy fridge. After 6 weeks, it is still holding up well under the demands of a family of 5. Can I also say that it is such a bonus to have more door shelves for jars and bottles too!


Our dvd and cd shelves were prettied up with a couple of purchases from vintage stores...the tree and birdcage. 

Our sideboard top was covered in Christmas decorations and it got a clean and dust.

It has been 2.5 years since we moved in and I finally felt confident enough to unpack the good crockery (usually we find out that we have a new posting soon after I do fingers crossed!) and hang a few pictures on the walls.

And I put the tea and coffee cups into the drawers. The two on the right come from my mum's crazy tea set collection. They include cup, saucer and a dessert plate. Beautiful.

About 2 months ago, we bought some Ikea 'Billy' bookcases for only $69 each. I decided to keep some topics together (Pre-Raphaelites, North American Indians, cookbooks, Tolkien etc.) but for the rest I sized and colour-coded. Having 2 bookcases meant that I could also break up the book stack with some frames (original painting by my preschooler) books on display.

My 'La Passion D'Adonis' J.W.Waterhouse frame was a bargain from a second-hand store.


After 9 months, I finally got around to having the computer guy come and 'fix' the computers. It turns out that my computer  wasn't on the blink, but I had the monitor cable plugged into the wrong socket on the back of the CPU. 
Our Expedit comes in handy everyday. On hand are things like address books, envelopes, board games, scrapbooking pages, OT, Speech and visual aides. 

Lower left basket for cardboard boxes for preschool, centre left for wayward toys, centre right for playdough and mats and lower right for receipts. Upper right magazine holders have notes from Preschool, Kindergarten and Grade 2 respectively.