09 January 2017

So much advice!

The beginning of a new calendar year brings a flood of articles and blog posts offering (mostly unsolicited) advice. Do this, don't do that, set goals, choose a word, make lists.

So much busyness!

Does anyone take any notice of these things? Are they written simply because someone, somewhere, decreed that, while in the midst of holiday lethargy (a period that bears no resemblance whatsoever to the real life we lead for most of the year) people want to hear how to organise their lives?

In the meantime, I'll continue to meander through my life in my own way, enjoying the moments along the way, adopting the philosophy of this Tibetan proverb:

"The secret of living well and longer is: eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure." 

Sounds perfect.

02 January 2017

Playing with Prisma

If you follow me on my Facebook pages (Erica Spinks and Creative Dabbling), you may have seen that I've been having fun on my tablet with an app called Prisma. I've shared some of the altered images I've made on those pages but here I want to show how different a single photograph can appear once it's been processed with various filters.

This is my original photograph. I took this picture last January at a workshop with Sophie Munns, held at the Australian PlantBank at The Australian Botanic Gardens, Mt Annan. I love the shape of the seedpod, as well as the textures - smooth on the inside and rough on the outside. I wondered how the Prisma filters would alter the colours and look?

This is the 'Illegal Beauty' filter. I like the subtle colours - a pink and yellow combination is one of my favourites.

This filter is 'Composition'. It makes the photo graphic and dramatic. Quite striking, don't you think?

'Mosaic' is one of my favourite filters. Not all photos translate well with this filter because some of shapes fragment into too many pieces but I like this result.

This is the 'Electric' filter, where the waving lines add an element of movement to the seedpod shape and background.

Prisma is available for Android and for iOS, so you can download it from the usual places. The filters are fabulous and the app is free! Have you tried it yet?

26 December 2016

Holiday sewing

It's holiday time here so my thoughts turn to sewing. If you're looking for a simple quilt project to make during your holidays, I have a free quilt pattern for you!

This is my Sunshine on Roses quilt, called that because the yellow and pink colours remind me of the dappled sunshine on the petals of the pink rose in my garden. Aah... summer!

Please enjoy my gift to you and enjoy making your own version of Sunshine on Roses. I'd love to see your photos. 

19 December 2016

A new quilt project!

I haven't done much sewing this year because other projects and activities have claimed my time. It's been a wonderful year, with much to celebrate and I'm grateful for all that I've experienced.

But I do long for handwork. Meditative stitching is a great pleasure for me and I've been looking for a project that will challenge and entertain me. Now I've found it - a new BOM project designed by my friend, Sarah Fielke 

Down the Rabbit Hole it is! (Except I'll be doing the floral border option, not the bunnies.)

Sarah has produced these colouring-in sheets to help participants choose fabric colour combinations. Colouring is enjoyable and I've taken out my box of gorgeous Derwent pencils to get started. Such fun!

Colouring will also help keep us occupied while we are waiting for our first cutting and sewing instructions (due at the end of January).

If you'd like to make the BOM, too, you can read about it here. The dedicated Facebook group is already rocking! 

12 December 2016

My book of the month: December

I enjoy Josephine Moon's stories. They are uplifting and show us that all families have complexities and secrets. The Beekeeper's Secret has an added bonus: the joy of a character's relationship with nature.

The beekeeper character is ex-nun Maria, who has tucked herself away on a secluded mountain to serve what she sees as penance for past events she experienced in the Catholic Church. Her relationship with the bees she cultivates is personal and insightful and I loved the interaction they had.

A happy ending? Of course. That's the pleasure of this novel; it kept me engaged and left me feeling satisfied.

Read more about The Beekeeper's Secret on Goodreads.

05 December 2016

Studio inspiration

For issue 82 of Quilters Companion magazine, I was fortunate to share with readers a peek of Prue Noonan's textile studio.

Writing about other quilters' studios is always a privilege. I love learning about how they are set up and how materials are stored. Best of all, I enjoy describing the ways a quilter uses her space to create unique textile pieces. 

Issue 82 is currently on sale, so you can read about Prue's studio, too!

28 November 2016

Do you know about BookBub?

I discovered BookBub only a few weeks ago and, since then, have enjoyed receiving daily alerts about discounted and free ebooks. You may like to try it, too?

How does it work?

You join online here (it's free) and then choose the types of books you like to read and the authors you want to follow. Every day after that, you will receive a brief email with links to limited-time free and discounted ebooks. You can then browse the deals and download your selected ebooks to whichever of your devices you prefer.

Why would you want this?

You may discover stories you would never have come across before, by authors you've not read before. I have downloaded over ten new-to-me novels since I started using BookBub. 

How come it's free?

BookBub is a marketing tool for authors to connect with readers and they (or their publishers) pay for their books to be featured. All authors want to expand readership of their books so it's a win-win! You can read about BookBub's marketing tips for authors here

Here's a sample screen showing some of the ebook offers tailored to my selections. You can change your selections at any stage.

So, if you would like to widen your reading habits and you like to read ebooks (I know a lot of you prefer print format but BookBub won't help with that), why not try it? It's fun and easy.