21 December 2014

Summer solstice

When we live in cities, we sometimes don't notice the rhythms of the earth and our seasons. Today is the summer solstice here in Australia - the day when the sun's track across the sky reaches its highest point - and commonly called the longest day of the year.

Although my daisy shrub is in full bloom, the flowers appreciate dappled shade that protects them from the full blast of the sun's power. From now on, the minutes of daily sunlight slowly decrease and, for that, my garden and I say thanks.

16 December 2014

Textiles Tuesday

Here it is - my last Textiles Tuesday for 2014. Have you enjoyed the links to interesting crafty events and websites I've shared with you this year? Today I have 13 items for you.

* Jenny Bowker has had so many requests for instructions for her Shimmering Triangles quilt that she has released a pdf digital pattern. You can purchase it from Craftsy for immediate download. It's a glorious project - check out the photo here!

* Do you need to upgrade your Electric Quilt skills? You can now take online classes direct from EQ University.

* For all you Bonnie Hunter fans - her latest mystery quilt, Grand Illusion, is now available! 

Printing with compressed sponge is so much fun. If you haven't tried it, watch this video by Lisa Walton to see how! If you are inspired to try this technique yourself, you can purchase compressed sponge here.

* Did you know Facebook has changed the rules for use of business Facebook pages? Here's a useful post by Katherine Tyrrell about how to best use your business Facebook page (not personal page) in 2015.

* Do you keep a visual diary? This article from Brain Pickings may inspire you.

* Pat Sloan has announced her new, free, mystery Block of the Month quilt. It starts in January 2015. 

* The Quilters' Guild of NSW Inc has announced a call for entries for Evolution, Change, Challenge: A Contemporary Quilt. Entries close 24 July 2015. 

* Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr are coming to teach in Australia! Bookings are now open for Brisbane workshops and lectures on 19-22 June 2015. This event is organised by Cecile at Unique Stitching. Classes will also be held in Sydney - details to be announced soon.

* Are you interested in dyeing fabric with plants from your own garden? Read which plants Myf Walker grows in her Victorian garden and see some of her work in this article from The Planthunter.

* Another 2015 event for your diary: 

* Victorian Quilts Inc invite entries to their Remembrance Challenge 1915-2015. Entries close 1 June 2015. Full details here.

* The Tasmanian Art Quilt Prize for 2015 has been launched, with the theme History, Her Story. Entries close 31 July 2015. Full details here.

Have you found anything of interest here? Please make me happy by leaving a comment! 

10 December 2014

Fun and easy textile surface design techniques

People who aren't involved in writing, editing, designing or publishing magazines and books truly do not appreciate how much work goes into preparing these publications for our reading pleasure. How can they?

Well I do. I've seen first-hand all the planning, sample creation, writing, photographing, and organising that Lisa Walton has done to create the first in her Creative Journeys ebook series. I'm so pleased to be part of the blog hop to showcase Lisa's ebook because it's such a handy resource for all of us who like to pattern our own fabric.

I made a couple of textile postcards, using techniques that Lisa covers in her ebook. For my first one, I stencilled the background with a plastic stencil and Derwent Inktense blocks. In Lisa's ebook, she explains how to carve your own stamps but, for my postcard, I chose to use a set of letter stamps I already had. Simple stitching marked the path between 'lost' and 'found'.  

 My other postcard features a screen print of a copyright-free image. Screen printing is so easy and this is one of the techniques Lisa shows in her ebook. I coloured the tree with opaque paints - this made the black lines even more striking.

I think the main reason I find the ebook so handy is that I don't have to scramble around looking on the internet for different techniques - they are all explained in Fun and easy textile surface design techniques. It's 187 pages of useful information and there are also links to Lisa's videos!

You can buy your copy now and read it on your device of choice within minutes. How easy is that? 

To see other posts about Fun and easy textile surface design techniques, follow the blog hop on these blogs:

8 December - Sarah Ann Smith

9 December - Lyric Kinard

10 December - Erica Spinks - you're already here!

11 December - Susan Brubaker Knapp

12 December - Brenda Gael Smith

13 December - Judy Coates Perez

14 December - Shelley Stokes

05 December 2014

My book of the month: December

In my opinion, this is Picoult's best novel so far. A wonderfully twisty plot combined with richly worked characters results in a story that is difficult to stop reading.

A novel should transport you to another place and time. It should take you inside the characters' heads so you understand their motivations. Leaving Time does this and so much more. There is plenty to savour in this tale of loss, grief and motherly love (and elephants). I cried. 

To read more reviews about Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult, visit Goodreads.

01 December 2014

Hello December!

I have to tell you up front that December is not one of my favourite months. It's awfully hot here and many of us are feeling increasingly crushed by the incessant commercial pressure leading up to Christmas. Yet, December arrives at the same time every year so I try to focus on the positives instead.

December means being grateful for the air conditioning at work, staying away from large shopping complexes, lunching with friends, keeping the water up to all my garden plants, hand sewing while watching Test cricket on TV, eating cherries and mangoes, and watching Australia slump into summer mode. Lots to enjoy there, so hello December! 

29 November 2014

Blog corralling

Last time I checked, I was following 642 blogs. Yes, you read that correctly - 642! So, you can imagine that I need a way to organise all this information so that I don't run away screaming from it, can't you? That's why I love Feedly.

Not all the blogs I follow post daily. Some don't even post monthly. I suspect some are actually defunct but I will delete them when I do my next regular cull.

It doesn't matter, though. Feedly keeps track of all the new posts so I don't have to. All I have to do is maintain the list of blogs I want to read. Easy!

This is the way the summary looks on my PC screen. If I want to read the actual post, I just click on the picture. Depending on how the blog has been set up, I will see either the full post (without having to visit the actual blog) or a partial post (to see the full post I then go to the actual blog).

This is the way the summary looks on my tablet. If I want to read the full post, I tap on the photo and am taken to the blog.

You can see that this type of display is really an invitation to read, so it's important that a blog post has a meaningful title and a photo - make it look enticing. I don't read every post from every blog, just the ones that tempt me from the Feedly display. I enjoy catching up with blog posts at breakfast time each day.

You can add my blog to your Feedly blog subscriptions by clicking on the icon in the sidebar of my blog or, if you prefer to use Bloglovin', click on that icon instead. 

I have tried Bloglovin' to organise my blog subscriptions as well, but prefer Feedly. Isn't it lovely to have options?

25 November 2014

Textiles Tuesday

I'll be posting a collection of links for Textiles Tuesday once a month, now. It's a crazy amount of work to compile this post and do all the linking, so I hope you look forward to your monthly crafty browsing.

Take some time, get a cuppa and enjoy exploring these 14 links.

* My favourite quilt magazine is Quilters Newsletter because it always has interesting, meaty articles that often lead me to sources I didn't know before. The Dec/Jan issue arrived this week and I was intrigued to read an article about World War I quilts made by American quilters. It is written by Sue Reich and here is the link to the section on her website about this topic. It's very topical and worth reading.

* Craftsy has many interesting resources available for free. This one, Genius Hacks Every Quilter Should Know, is a free downloadable eGuide. You do need to sign up to Craftsy but that's free, too!

* If you are a knitter, Craftsy has lots for you, too. Here's an article, 5 Knitting Apps to Keep Your Knitting Organised and On Track. There are also other apps mentioned in the comments.

* Here's a whole new world to explore: crochet diagrams. This Craftsy article explains what all those symbols mean.

* I regularly pop over to TextileArtist.org to read their articles. There's a great one here about art quilter Deidre Adams.

* If you love Kona solids, you'll want to view this collection of 30 quilts made with these fabulous fabrics. You can view it online or download a pdf. Free patterns are available from the Robert Kaufman website. Very inspirational!

* Photos of the winning quilts from South Australia's Festival of Quilts are now available for viewing. Congratulations to all the winners!

* Are you making Barbara Brackman's Austen Family Album block of the week quilt blocks? She's up to block 32 now but all instructions are on her blog if you want to get started.

* See photos of the 2014 winning quilts from Quilts: A World of Beauty, the annual Judged Show of the International Quilt Association. Congratulations to all the winners, in particular Australians Rachelle Denneny and Denise Sargo, for their awards.

* Abby Glassenberg's blog is always worth reading for her thought-provoking posts. Two subjects in particular have raised a lot of discussion. The first subject is about how much do fabric designers earn from designing quilt fabrics. Abby has two posts on this subject: An Inside Look at How Much Fabric Designers Earn and An Inside Look at Designing Premier Quilting Cottons for JoAnns. Very frank and interesting - don't forget to read the many comments.

The other question Abby asks is should crafters work for free products? This is common practice in the crafting industry - you make up your own mind about whether you agree or not. 

* Here's another take on the ongoing discussion about craft fabric designs being copied, this time by The Eternal Maker.