Saturday, April 27, 2013

Once upon a time............. a little country town, lived a lady and two very clever little girls. Every week the two little girls visited the lady's cottage,  where the lady taught them the art of stitching. They all had such fun playing with fabric, lace, buttons and whatever bits and bobs their creative fingers could find.
One day the little girls decided that they each wanted to make a beautiful quilt. So the lady recycled a bundle of cast off jeans and cut them up into big squares. 


The little girls whirred happily away on their sewing machines and joined each patched piece of denim into two magical quilts.

But, the little girls decided that they wanted to embellish their quilts with colourful scraps of fabric. So they designed and appliqued  smiling butterflies to their quilts and hand stitched long strips of pretty fabric, magically fashioning these strips into beautiful flowers, to sit cheerfully atop their quilts. 

Day after day the little girls stitched happily away until, with the very last stitch, sat two enchanting quilts where flowers flourished, weaving their way in and out of jean pockets, with butterflies merrily looking on.

The two little girls were so delighted with their beautiful quilts. They couldn't wait to climb into their oh so comfy beds that night, snuggle cosily under their warm and cheery quilts, and excitedly slip into the land of counterpane where magical dreams weave in and out of children's slumber.

The tale continues............

In the same little country town lived yet another very clever little girl, whose fingers magically fashioned a quilt from old jeans.

But, hers was not a quilt of flowers, butterflies or other such whimsical creatures. Hers was a quilt of an equestrian theme, of her beautiful Arab filly, Courage. She sewed and sewed until one day before her very eyes sat a quilt of which she was very proud.
The little girl could not believe that her fingers had stitched such an amazing quilt.
So each night snuggled under her oh so cosy quilt, she drifted off into the Land of Nod, where astride her beautifully elegant Courage, galloped as free as the wind to discover and explore faraway mythical lands.

PS Yes....I am the lady who lives in the cottage where children visit after school to play with fabric, have oodles of fun and learn some stitching! I might add that the three little girls in the story are only 8 years old!! Amazing really.....I am always blown away by the brilliant ideas their sprightly little imaginations conjure up!! Yes is a blessed life I lead, skipping along the yellow brick road of creativity with these clever children!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"Forgive me Father.....for I have sinned!!"

....and it seems my transgression could just well be......dare I say it.....unforgivable!! Well it just could be....that is, of course, if you are a lover of books.....a bibliophile!! A person who regards books, any book, a sacred published document which should remain in it's binding and sit in a bookshelf and collect dust for all eternity! I could quite possibly be burnt at the stake for my wrongdoing!
And what iniquitous error have I committed......I hear you ask? Well........I have taken a beautiful botanical book from one of my burgeoning bookcases, dusted off the cobwebs and ripped out (ever so carefully of course) every single page,

 ......adhered all the pages to the walls of my hallway. "Oh no!" I hear you bibliophiles utter in a strangled gasp! That's right! I have glued, page by page, my beautifully illustrated "Flowers of the World" gardening book, (a book I might add, that I have poured over many times) to what was once rather drab walls of a rather drab thoroughfare!
I must say that defacing a book in such a manner is not my usual behaviour. Indeed the act of ripping pages from a book is an aberration from my usual treatment of these objects of knowledge. I love books. I am the gal who looks murderously at anyone who should so much as dog-ear the corner of a book.

One of my pleasurable pursuits in life is to read. Ever since I was a little girl it has been my passion to collect books on all manner of subjects. Indeed there are bookcases and cabinets in every room of our house, filled with many a splendid book bearing witness to my bookish addiction. Seeing a wall lined from floor to ceiling with beautifully bound books makes me happy.
It's just that I thought my hall would look rather spiffy lined with beautiful pictures of botanical life! After all what is a gal to do when she can't find the right wallpaper?
Not only is my hallway now light, bright and colourful, everyone who enters our humble abode, can now be enlightened on all things botanical (and I might add, learn Latin as a second language) as they stroll down my hall.....starting from the 'Abutilon Megapotamicum' which in everyday gardener's term is a Trailing Abutilon right down to the very last plant... the beautiful Zinnia!
Surely in these extenuating circumstances I can be forgiven.......can't I?

Monday, April 22, 2013

'Tis a glorious quilt washing, drying in the sun kind of day!

Today is just one of those days where I woke up and was greeted by a beautiful azure blue, cloudless sky and decided to take full advantage of the warm and sunny day, and wash a few of my quilts. There is nothing quite like hanging the washing on the clothes line where the sun permeates the washing, leaving the most delicious fragrance. just happens that today is Monday.
I remember as a wee child when my nan did all the family's washing every Monday.  It's just as Ma used to say in "The Little House in the Big Woods" book......"Each day had its own proper work".
My nan would wash bundle after bundle of laundry in a huge copper, feeding each article through the hand propelled wringer and then hang it on the line to dry. It seemed to me that we would spend half of the day in the laundry laughing and chatting; with my nan sharing many of life's insights with me.
I remember having so much fun with my nan as I helped her sort the laundry into groups......sorting the whites from the colours, the heavy soiled work clothes from the towels, the delicates from the jeans. Sometimes my nan would recite a poem to me:
 "Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Mend on Wednesday,
Churn on Thursday,
Clean on Friday,
Bake on Saturday,
Rest on Sunday."
When I look back I can't help but think how hard life was back then. Domestic chores seemed to be so labour intensive. I can't imagine spending half of my day in the laundry now. Thank goodness for washing machines where you just press the 'on' button and everything is washed, spun and ready to hang out to dry!
Fast forward about 30 years and I remember how my two girls never quite felt the same enthusiasm at the thought of 'wash day' that I shared with my nan!! Alas....... the laundry was not the place where I was going to enlighten my girls, nor indeed impart my thoughts on the meaning of life! I  remember them spending as little time as possible in the laundry! Growing up they could never quite grasp the concept of sorting out their clothes, putting them into the washing machine and could never seem to find the 'on' button. A wry smile often crosses my face when I think of my girls and their 'hanging their clothes on the floor' mentality. It's only since moving into their own homes that they have managed to grasp the 'washing the clothes' concept!!
I often think of my nan. I think of her wisdom, her smile that would hug me, her dry humour, her inexhaustible patience, her ability to make the everyday goings-on fun, and amongst other things, her positive attitude to life.......but most of all I love to remember those special memories we shared on 'Wash Day Mondays'!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Room with a View

Every day my sewing room seems to lure me into its creative grasp, teasing me to while away an hour or two and just play. Previously, in my other life I sewed on the kitchen table, which was a tad problematic as my creativity used to morph into a life of its own, escaping its rather confined boundaries and weaving its way throughout the house entangling anyone and anything into it's messy textile web.
But now I have my very own sewing room. Hallelujah!


A room where everything has its place. A room where I don't have to unearth fabric, lace, buttons and other sewing paraphernalia to find the required bits and bobs for whatever creation I'm working of all, my sewing room has the most amazing view. A vignette of lush green paddocks which changes daily with a roving kaleidoscope of black and white bovine, a country winding road, aged gum trees perfectly placed as if nature had the view from my window in mind when planting each seed; and majestic purple opalescent mountains off into the distance. 

A view that calms and inspires.  A view that provides the most breathtaking sunrises, incredible Monet-esque sunsets where the sky's canvas is painted with glorious hues of fiery orangey reds or the softest pinky purpley blue hues, which then transforms with a final crescendo into the theatre of the night sky, where thousands of scintillescent stars smile down at me. It is truly magical.


My view heralds the changes of each season. From the sun-filled days of Summer, to the cooler days of Autumn where the leaves change from green to a glow of yellow, orange and red; to the icy cold days of Winter, where there are ice-sheathed paddocks as far as the eye can see; to the warm days of Spring when the earth begins the dance of new life with masses of pretty flowers popping up to greet the sunshine.


Aaaah yes........the view from my sewing room is truly serendipitous!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I'm just a Material Gal

Yes indeedy.......I am bewitched by fabric! Oh alright....I confess......I am actually quite the fabric hoarder, but then I always have been. Throughout my home, stashed away in cupboards of various shapes and sizes sits my burgeoning 'dowry of cloth'! Patchwork fabric, sumptuous vintage Italian coverlets, French laces, satins, velvets, silks, fabric of all sorts of persuasions.....all patiently waiting to be whipped up into whatever creation my pin pricked and hardened fingers can stitch. I particularly love to collect vintage fabric. I am always a wee bit excited when out and about, that the next stroll around a flea market, or an 'op' shop, or some quirky little shop hiding in an out-of-the-way cul-de-sac, just might be an opportunity to unearth some glorious textile fancy from piles of discarded pieces. Yes beady li'l textile eye is always on the lookout for that next treasure.

I must of course, include my bounteous stockpile of beautiful embroidered fancies; gorgeous embroidered tablecloths and doilies that I have collected over the years. I love the beautiful handiwork that has been lovingly stitched by ladies of a bygone era, a more genteel time, where they gathered in each other's homes enjoying a symbiotic relationship, sharing their daily lives and perhaps enjoying a cuppa from a delicate fine bone tea cup, whilst patiently stitching a new keepsake.
I love to reuse these embroideries in a more modern setting. Just recently I have fashioned some curtains using an assortment of doilies, tablecloths and other textiles from my stash. I am delighted with my dressed windows! They look so pretty and cheerful draped in all their embroidered glory!
 So really......who needs to take a trip to the local fabric store and purchase metre upon metre of fabric to whip up curtains to festoon, drape and dress one's windows?? Not this material siree.....I will just dive into my bottomless 'dowry of cloth' pit!!