Thursday, March 30, 2017

Friendship and.....Cathedral Quilts

Hello lovelies. I hope you are all well and I hope for those of you who have been bombarded by avalanches of snow over the last little while, that Spring has decided to greet you with it's warm smile; bringing with it all the pretty flowers that herald Spring's appearance.

The weather down here at the bottom of the world has been warm, and yes, the garden is still greeting me with flowers of loveliness each morning. Though in saying this, the days are shortening and it won't be long till Autumn is in its full regalia, dressing all the trees with gorgeous frocks of layer upon layer of rustling, taffeta-like leaves of burnished golds, russet reds and burnt siennas.

But, the purpose of this post is not to chat about the weather, nor the flowers (I would've thought I have talked enough about the flower kingdom over the last little while....though I cannot say for certain that a vase or two of flowers will not appear later on....=) ), but to chat about the stitching I have been doing on my Cathedral Window quilt, oh, and about friendships. At the beginning of the year I decided I wanted to finish all those quilts that I had started over the last couple of years. With my unfinished Cathedral Window sitting in my cabinet beside my bed for a while now, I have decided I am going to do my darndest to finish it. Although these pretties, the Cathedral Window and the hexie (another incomplete pretty) look so pretty sitting in my cabinet, I would much rather see them resting atop my bed.

Every fortnight my good husband and I visit friends of ours, and spend the most enjoyable day at their home. Both my husband and I get on famously with our friends. Indeed, it feels as if we have known them forever but really it has only been a little while. My husband helps Gary in his garden, or lends a helping hand in renovating their home, or indeed, at this time of the year goes foraging for wood in the bush. It won't be too long now until both our fires are gobbling up wood faster than those old chainsaws can churn out an acceptable quota of logs. It takes a huge forest to keep my tippy toes warm in winter. =)

As for me, I enjoy the most wonderful day sitting and chatting with Anne, whilst we both stitch and sip cups of tea in pretty teacups; taking a break at lunchtime and walking to a nearby art gallery cafe for lunch. Yes indeedy, Anne is a gal after my own heart. We both share and love many of the pleasantries of life. We both adore stitching, fashioning pretty after pretty and both slip into apoplectic shock when our eyes gaze upon a pretty fabric. Though I seem to need the oxygen tank more than she. =) Indeed, both our heads seem to exist in them-arty-farty, textile clouds. We both love God and have a deep faith, and have both walked many a road with Jesus over the years; alongside Him, and more often than not in those impossible times, carried by Him. We both are of a similar age, surviving our childrens' trudging through that interminably long, foggy tunnel of pubescent insanity, finally arriving at the other end; and having flown the coop, making their way in life, making their own choices. We have both survived the travails of teenage angst......just!

When my good husband and I left the cacophonous, concrete jungle of Sydney to make our new home in a far rural outpost in Tasmania, we left behind dear friends. Dear friends whom we have known most of our adult lives; one "forever friend" I have known since I was five years old. Dear friends where we enjoyed that special friendship of like minds, beliefs and shared interests. These friends I stitched with, enjoyed many an old movie with, belly laughed until it hurt, discovering bric-a-brac shops together, holidayed together, cafe-ing together and many heart to heart conversations about our faith, our children......and a million and one other things. You know the kind of friends, where on a Saturday or Sunday arvo we would pop by each others' homes to enjoy a cuppa and conversation. Though we have kept in touch and many have packed their gear for their survival kit bag and braved the wilds and natives of Tassie to come and stay with us in our humble abode, I do miss the camaraderie of those spur-of-the-moment visits; those quick decisions of visiting each other. I love my life here in Tassie and though I would never live in Sydney again....(one should never say "never", should one) the day-to-day, easy friendships with kindred spirits are deeply missed. These easy friendships based upon much laughter and shared interests, friendships that have taken a lifetime to foster and nurture, are deeply missed. These friends whom know so, so many of my stories because they have lived them with me as they have been written. Happy stories, sad stories, hilarious stories, triumphant stories, touching stories, miraculous, so many stories; these are the friendships that are cherished.

Anyway........on the last couple of visits to Anne's home, I have been working on my Cathedral Window quilt and Anne has been working on a lovely applique flower quilt.

Why oh why did I ever start stitching a cathedral window quilt?? Cathedral windows are not for the faint-hearted, indeed, there have been many times I have been faint of heart whilst stitching this pretty. It just seems to take forever.

When stitching a cathedral window quilt one has to spend an inordinate time ironing, in this case 12" squares of fabric into little 4" envelopes.

Then one cuts out little squares of a jumble of pretty fabric and with a backing of batting fits them into the envelope, turns the edges of the envelope over, making a frame and then machine stitch around the frame. Easy enough, but if you are a persnickety gal like me, the imperfections are a tad annoying.

The stitching of each strip seems to take such a protracted amount of time. Each strip is joined to the larger section of the quilt and then after the little windows are inserted, the stitching around each frame is completed.

Hallelujah.....another three strips joined and then stitched to the larger quilt. I can see that finishing line inching.....inching ever so much closer!

Friendships centred around shared interests and passions are a delightful thing. Friendships when one can chat about deep and personal things and know for a surety that what is  spoken of and revealed will go no further, is indeed a most gratifying thing. Indeed, this kind of friendship, this kind of rapport can be a rare and most wonderful thing.

Anne's and my friendship is one one that uplifts and warms the cockles of my li'l ole heart. I find our stitching days to be filled with laughter, tete-a-tete conversation without the need of scuttlebutt; with a  joy of  shared interests and life experiences. We are kindred spirits. It is rather a splendid thing to meet kindred souls as we walk along the yellow brick road of life, don't you think?? It is a wonderful thing to walk along the bendy path of life, to write new and fun stories with kindred friends that one meets along the way, who share the path for a little of the journey.

Already, I am looking forward to  my next stitching day with my friend; looking forward with delight to enjoy a little more stitching of my cathedral window quilt. Perhaps within the next little while, my Cathedral Window will be sitting atop my bed with a jubilant Hallelujah Chorus filtering down from the heavens. Well.......miracles do happen. 

Until the next time........may you enjoy many moments of kindred friendship over the next li'l while, and enjoy a lovely chat with your friend over a cup of tea in a pretty tea cup.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Carnival of Flowers

It all started early one morning. It was a simple thought in my mind. A simple thought to gather some flowers to dream up a still life; to capture my floral imaginings with my little camera and post it to my friend as a birthday greeting. Well that was the intention......BUT.........about two hours later it seems many, many still lifes of a carnival of flowers, magically unfolded! How does that happen?? =)

Oh, how I adore capturing real, painterly still lifes, abloom with gorgeous blossom after gorgeous blossom, with my little camera. Oh, how I adore playing with  floral arrangements, haphazardly arranging them together so that they dance in unison, not vying for singular attention but, en masse, content to shine in a rhapsodic and melodic bouquet. AND.....always, always, a background of messy puddles of beautiful fabric; in this case patchwork curtains in a selection of Tricia Guild fabric, which gloriously festoon the windows of my sewing room; is quite simply, the icing on the cake! Let the carnival begin!

Some of the roses have decided they are not finished with the parading of their beauty. Whilst some are beginning to close the curtain on their performance for this year, others, such as these glorious buttery yellow and pink roses are reaching their final crescendo. Indeed, for some reason or other these two rose bushes have saved the best till last.

Amazingly, the Hydrangeas are still producing new blooms. I went to gather a few and came in with about twenty stems. The size of the Hydrangea in the middle is twelve inches across......amazing!! Oh those pink roses; the fragrance is divine!

And then there are the Hydrangeas with a few of the buttery yellow, roses haphazardly thrown into the mix.

Be still my beating heart.

The softest blue-mauves and softest buttery lemons are the best friends, are they not??

But wait......those sweet Easter (Michaelmas) Daisies clamor for a happy snap or two. Their pretty, little, purple cluster of faces always make me smile. must not, must not forget the Cosmos. How can one forget the Cosmos?? Every year these blossoms of happiness pop up without any bangs and whistles; their only aspiration is to bring a sense of joyousness to whomever gazes upon them.

This floralicious carnival cannot close till the Dahlias frolic in their tutu-like, pretty petals. In their minds they are the stars of the carnival. The riotous colour of these prima donas certainly bring a festive spirit and irridescence to the carnival of flowers, but, I don't a top-liner of this show, the pretty blue Hydrangeas with the soft as soft, buttery yellow roses, must surely factor into the equation.  What say you??

There you have it. Early one misty, Autumn morning a few pleasurable hours, capturing the exhilarative beauty of each petal, of each flower, and puddles of a patchwork curtain; all singing the most lyrical and brightest of songs. Indeed, a cavalcade of deliciously coloured blossoms, a carnival of flowers filling the air with merriment and gaiety and many, many smiles.

Until the next time.......sending you a li'l smile to cheer your day.

Linking up this week to the lovely blog, Floral Passions: Floral Bliss, where all things botanical are showcased.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The week that was........

......was a gentle week. It was a week spent enjoying many things.

Enjoyment in early morning walks with Miss Maisie, walking along dusty country roads, meeting interesting characters along the way.

Having a li'l pow wow; secret animal business, me thinks.

Some members of the family aren't really into long country walks. Some are a little terrified of the bovine you meet in this part of the world, both the four legged kind and sometimes, even the two legged kind. =) Yes, some much prefer to nap on bedding fit for a queen; obviously a fellow of exquisite taste.  Have I introduced you to our Boo??  He is a rather aloof fellow. If someone perchance, should drop by he is out of here quicker than quick, heading for dem dar hills. He always considers strangers with a certain amount of distrust, a little suspicion. I don't know why.......I have a theory about black felines. We have had two who have lived with us in our home, and both have been rather aloof and have followed the beat of a different drummer. Besides, when not dreaming of a life without Miss Maisie, he is off catching creatures of the pesky, rodent kind. Boo understands perfectly I hate meeces to pieces!!

This past week has found much enjoyment in knitting my cabled woolly, delighting in it's progress. Progress is still slow, but I am loving all the lovely aran texture. The back is finished.....hip hip hooray! Now for the sleeves. Maybe, just maybe come Winter, this pretty will be hanging from my frame as I gad about town.

Enjoyment also, in planning another tarted up jacket. I was gifted an inspiration-filled book written by Mandy Pattullo for Christmas. Mandy Pattullo is a textile designer and artist who creates beautiful collages from vintage fabric and quilts and a plethora of other pretties. I have loved her work from afar for a while now, so when I saw this book in a book shop I hinted rather longingly that it needed to make one of our many burgeoning bookcases, home. This jacket has been sitting on my dress form, in the corner of my sewing room for much too long....two years if my memory is correct.

I am going to use old tapestries that I found at a market many years ago, and other bits and bobs. As it has been an age since I tarted up some pretty, I am looking forward to playing again.

A delicious jumble of needlepoints, ribbons, laces and a little bit of this and a whole lot of that. Probably too much of a "whole lot of that" for these neck of the woods.......but who cares. Not me. Eyebrows aren't raised heavenwards any more when I am seen out and about in an eccentric, tarted up's kinda expected.

Of course, I have been strolling through the garden cutting flowers for vases. The roses are in their last flush and  the Dahlias are still winning the prize for sheer lusciousness.

Are you ready for some floralicious delight?? Again, there is photo after photo overspilling with sumptuous, floral exquisiteness......old habits die hard. Besides, soon they will be no more and I will have to sit out a loooooong Winter without any blossomy prettiness. I am not looking forward to Old Man Winter returning to our happy li'l isle, armed with his arsenal of frigid tricks, one little bit.

The Dahlias. Those vivacious, vibrant, flashy Autumn showoffs of the floral world. 'Tis hard not to be filled with joyousness at the sight of these flowers. There is nothing demure about these beauties, they trumpet "look at me, look at me"!!

Of course, vivid, rainbow-filled, embellished to-an-inch-of-their-life, hexie quilts demand your attention as well. =D

As I say, one can't help but be feel a heightened sense of joyousness at the lusciousness of the Dahlias, or indeed "queenly" hexie quilts.

Then, there are the roses, in their last flush.

Soft, pastel-painted, with sunlight-kissed petals.....roses.

For those of you who are wondering if the heavens opened up this week and sent lightning bolts filled with creative notions on what to do with my au naturel lampshade......alas nothing. Not that I mind, as my imagination has been swirling and swirling around with other pretties. Thank you lovelies for your comments re this conundrum. It seems half of you prefer the cream shade to be left just as it is and the other half have decided it is sadly lacking in a li'l pizzazz and is in need of a little embellishment, a li'l oomph. This still out on this "the-world-will-stop-spinning-on-it's-axis", problem!

Until the next time...........a l'il love sent from me to you, this lovely day.