17 July 2017

My book of the month: July

Here's my confession up front: I usually steer clear of books set in World War II Britain because I tire of the stiff upper lip attitude that seems prevalent in most of the stories set in this time. It may have been true but I don't want to read any more about it.

This novel is different. It charmed me with its story lines about relationships and the natural inclination of people to support each other during terrible events. It could really have been set in any society during war.


The characters are different ages and react in different ways to the bombing of the town of Chilbury in 1940. Portrayed through letters written by various characters, the story shows how human resilience can shine to make life worthwhile, even in difficult times.

You can read more about The Chilbury Ladies Choir on Goodreads.

11 July 2017

Making your life the way you want it

A few months ago, I shared with you that I enjoy being a homebody. I cherish being in my nest, in the calm and nurturing environment I have created. I'm exhausted by people who always want more - more travel, more goals, more of this, more of that.

Did you read this article by Wendy Squires in the weekend papers? I felt such relief that someone else feels the same as I do. As Wendy says, "Your life and goals don't happen to look better to me. I don't necessarily want what you want."

And that's the key, I think. We are all different and we make our way in life as best we can, in line with our own priorities. So next time you look at a friend and think, 'she could achieve so much more', just stop. Don't project your personal outlook and goals on to her. 

As Wendy says, "What I will say to those of you who worry about me, who are always asking me what next, who next, or urging me to go harder and faster, is: slow down. I understand you are coming from a good place but it is your place, not mine." 

Yes, indeed.

26 June 2017

In the Studio with Megan Manwaring


Did you miss my article about QuiltNSW President, Megan Manwaring? Now you can read it online for free!

19 June 2017

My book of the month: June

Do you know that feeling when you eagerly anticipate the new novel in a favourite series? I have several of these faves and the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths is probably my number one!



Dr Ruth Galloway is an English forensic archaeologist who, it must be said, has a complicated life. I always find myself drawn into the stories in this series, with their mix of archaeology, police procedural plots and, above all, the personal lives of Ruth and all who enter her life. 

I read this novel in one day, while waiting at a hospital (long story). Sadly, I have to wait until 2018 for the next instalment!

The Chalk Pit is the ninth in the series. You can read more about the book on Goodreads

05 June 2017

Quilt stories

I was fortunate to interview two quilters for issue 85 of Quilters Companion magazine. Two - double the fun!


Christine Lethlean has a fabulous studio in rural Victoria, where she is creatively resourceful. I am always thrilled to peek into another quilter's creative space - it's that inner sticky-beak in me!



My second article is about Rachaeldaisy, an award-winning quilt maker with a playful name. Rachael won Best of Show at the Sydney Quilt Show in 2016 and I enjoyed discovering how she developed her colourful style. You can read this article online now!

I don't have any more articles planned at present so, if you need a writer for craft-related articles or a technical editor for quilt patterns, I'd be happy to discuss how I can help you. Email me and let's talk!

Meanwhile, I'll go back to plotting my novels....

29 May 2017

Three things I like this week

Right now, the sun is shining and the temperature is cool. I'm sipping green tea while composing this post and life feels good. What better time to list three things I like this week?

1. This book about creative studios

Working in an organised and comfortable environment at home is important to me and I love snooping into the creative spaces of other people. That's why I was excited to finally devour Studio: creative spaces for creative people by Sally Coulthard.


The studio on the cover is too dark for my liking but the book shows studios of all styles, shapes and colours. It certainly satisfied the sticky-beak in me!

2. Flat pack achievements

I was thankful for my Black & Decker rechargeable screwdriver as I assembled three pieces of flat-pack furniture - two bedside tables and an entertainment unit. They all have drawers (six in total) and I managed to put only two sets of drawer tracks in the wrong way. Yay me! 

I may retire from assembling furniture for a while now; I think those pieces are this year's quota.

3. Seeing Ian Rankin

The Sydney Writers' Festival wrapped up on the weekend and we attended one of the sessions on Saturday. What a thrill to hear Scottish writer Ian Rankin in conversation with Candice FoxIt was an entertaining chat and he recounted some funny and fascinating stories. 


I always like to learn more about authors who write my favourite books and this session did not disappoint. How fortunate we were that he travelled from the other side of the world to engage us.

How is your week? Have you had any positive experiences? Share them in the comments so we can all enjoy them, too.

15 May 2017

My book of the month: May

Real people are multi-layered, aren't they? I enjoy books that have characters so well formed that they appear real; they have so many layers of complexity that the reader can understand the characters' behaviour. The real Liddy James by Anne-Marie Casey is one of these stories.


It's not just about Liddy, though. As she forges her way through life at ferocious speed, with a ruthless reputation as a top divorce lawyer, we also see the impact she has on the other members of her family.

I thought this might be a predictable story about how a 'perfect' life falls to pieces and, in some ways, it may be read that way. But The real Liddy James is much more than that. It's about recognising our true selves and finding our place in relationships with others. 

Read more about The real Liddy James on Goodreads