Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Book Review: Imagine Quilts [plus a giveaway]

My sweet friend Dana has written this beautiful book called Imagine Quilts.
I first met Dana when she gave away a quilt waaaay back in 2008.
At that point I was amazed and inspired by her generosity,
(I remember crying when I watched the video of some lucky person getting in).
I think that Dana's act of outrageous giving ignited something in my own heart
and showed me the possibility of sharing love in this way.

By that stage I had been blogging for three years,
and my life had taken a few unexpected turns (ah, Hello Annie-Rose)
but the world was opening up with lots of crafty folks starting blogs.
I've pretty much read every word Dana has written since then
and I count her as a friend. She continues to inspire me.

Dana is one of the cool kids and I was amazed and honoured when she asked me to 
review her shiny brand-new book.
I've always liked the quilts that Dana makes so I was excited to read her book.

As soon as I saw this quilt, I HAD to make it.
I loved the simplicity of it. The instructions were clear
and I easily made four of these pinwheels (one is now a cushion for Reuben).

One of the things that I noticed about the quilts is that they have quite a lot of
background space, and while it is beautifully quilted in the book,
I wondered how they would look if you didn't have access to
a long arm quilting machine.

So I decided that before I reviewed the book,
I would quilt as much of the quilt as possible by hand
just to see how it looked and so that I could review the book
with a clear conscience.

Good timing, I had to watch the first season of the Newsroom
for my Media Audiences paper,
and so I spent a couple of happy afternoons hand quilting
and watching the Newsroom!

I'm happy to report that it is looking lovely,
I still have a long way to go with the quilting,
but that's fine, I know it is going to turn out beautiful.

The book is filled with quilts that are beautiful in their simplicity,
and their originality. I really love the whale. I think I have to make that sometime.
It would look amazing in vintage sheets, just saying. 

It's a great book and I recommend it. Thanks Dana for entrusting me with a copy.
Now luckily for you, I have a digital copy of the book to giveaway
plus this delicious bundle of fabric also to giveaway.

I can't believe i have to give it away,
it's cruel to send me fabric and not let me keep it!!!
It's called Playdate by David Walker and I wish I didn't have to part with it.

There are a few ways that you can enter below...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Catnap in Triton Cove....

So remember a couple of weeks ago when I started this quilt?
Yes well now it is completely finished and I love it!

It began a month or two ago when I was buying a text book on Amazon
and this fell into my shopping cart.
Actually at the time I didn't realise it was quite a new release,
I just remembered seeing it on John's blog.

I've been trying pretty hard not to buy fabric this year,
but just to use what I have (that's failed a bit lately)
and I remembered my very precious stash of Catnip fabric.

I think it might be the first time that I've only used one range
in a quilt, usually I'm more of a fan of mixing things up.
I didn't use the complete range, but just the brighter ones (of course).

Anyway I made this quilt for no reason whatsoever,
just for fun. 

It felt good. I forgot that was ok.
And I'm going to keep it. That is ok too.

It's enormous. I'm standing on tiptoes stretching my arms as far as possible
to hold this thing up.  I love how this wall makes it look so small!

So there it is. A fun quilt, just for fun.
I love it. I'm pretty sure I'll use this pattern again
because it's so simple, even an idiot I can work it out.

Tell me what you have been doing for fun lately,
here at the bottom of the globe it is spring,
and you can feel the possibility in the air!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Love you man...

The Edge radio station has been running a competition called  'Love You Man'
The plan was for best mates to compete for the opportunity to marry each other 
and go to the Rugby World Cup in the UK.
I usually have the Edge on in the car
and so I've kinda been listening and thinking about marrying your best friend.
I realise that a lot of people are scandalised about the fact that
its a competition to get married and maybe cheapens marriage, 
and this post is not about the rights and wrongs of that.

In a country where one third of marriages end in divorce,
clearly we still have a lot to learn about love.
I've learned a lot about love myself since that day in 1993
when as a 23 year old I went to a meeting
and was told that David Robertson was coming to the meeting
 and that we were going to get engaged.

I won't lie, it hasn't been smooth sailing for the last 22 years,
sometimes it's even been down right terrible.
Relationships are just jolly hard work
and relationships between two flawed human beings?? 
Just asking for trouble!!

In fact I stitched this quilt at a time when I didn't actually know
if we were going to make it. I'm sure anyone whose been in a relationship
will have been there if they are honest.

Times when you wonder why you are together,
and what the hell is love anyhow!

This morning I listened to Matt and Travis
as they proposed to each other.  You can listen here from 58 minute mark.
I thought you could do a lot worse than promise what those two promised,
in fact it would probably better for more of us if we just
promised to be there for "whatever life throws at us".

The thing is, no matter how you define love,
you gotta like the person you going to live with for the rest of your life.
Ok, maybe you won't like Every Single Thing about them,
we are all flawed human beings right?
So there's probably going to be half a dozen things that annoy the s*** out of you,
but on the whole you have to like your other half. 

You have to like some of the same things,
you got to like being together, just hanging out,
you have to like them in your personal space.
You have to be able to trip over their stuff and laugh at their jokes.

But the most important thing is that you have to be ok
with the messy bits. I liked the way that Matt and Travis acknowledged
that they would be there for each other for the crappy stuff.
That's the stuff most of us sweep under the carpet
and pretend isn't gonna happen. 

I like the reminder just to love you man.
You could do a lot worse I'd say,
than commit to love someone just as they are.

What a novel idea!!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The heart expands when it is broken [four years]

Four years ago the city where I live was hit by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake.
I remember leaping out of bed to stand in the doorway,
kicking open the door to my sons room
and screaming at him to get out of bed.

I remember that David held our baby, Annie in his arms
as the wine bottles from the rack shot across the floor;
and I remember the incredible noise of the whole house being shaken.

I have never been so frightened, before or since.
I thought we were going to die.
I thought the house was going to fall on us.

In the last four years I have learned that everybody has a breaking point,
it is just that some people get there sooner.

I have learned to respect this and to make allowances for someone
who is not coping, instead of judging them as I may have in the past.

Our son Reuben met his breaking point in the June of 2011,
and he suffers to this day as a result of this.
He lives his life courageously despite of his fears.

I have learned that when faced with death,
some find amazing courage within themselves,
and take control of their lives in ways they didn't before.

It is almost like facing death, gives them the courage to live.

My daughter Chrissy is one of those.
As she walked home on 22 February 2011 through the ruins of the city,
she made decisions about her future life, 
about what she wanted to achieve and made plans for how she was going to do that.

I could not be more proud.

There's a lot of sky in the centre of our city.
There's a lot of empty spaces where buildings should be,
acres and acres of empty space.

There's a lot of buildings still coming down,
like these two in this picture. The wrap on the building on the left
is to contain asbestos.

There's still more buildings with decisions being argued over their fate.
Like this building, with windows boarded up which may or may not be saved.

There are great plans for Christchurch,
and there are definitely signs that the rebuild has begun.
There are some funky new buildings going up.

But it's four years people!

Four years.

That's a long long time to be waiting.

They say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger,
but I found these words today and I love them.
"Your heart expands when it is broken"
so true. So very true. Something to hang onto as we remember. Four years.

Time heals.
Mountain winds sound exactly like ocean waves.
You are worth everything now.
Walls can be destroyed.
The sun always rises (and is always beautiful).
Children know the answers.
There is music in everything.
Logic doesn't produce magic.Somewhere, somebody loves you.
You don't need to choose mediocre when fire exists.
The moon orchestrates our nights and tides.
Trees can grow through rock.
Your heart expands when it's broken.
You should do it now.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Another quilt all finished...

I started this quilt months ago when I wanted to make a quilt
using only two fabrics and one simple block.

This is a pale grey sketch and a vibrant Kaffe floral
and an easy half square triangle.

My friend Kate and I sat one afternoon and worked out nine
separate layouts for the blocks.

The thing was that half way through this project I got bored with it,
and then when I had pieced the nine blocks I really didn't like it.
It almost disappeared to the bottom of the pile.

However you know how I think even ugly quilts keep you warm,
so I decided to add a border. I found the blue Prints Charming fabric
at Spotlight and it is matched perfectly.

And then of course I loved it again!
I'm actually stoked how this one turned out.
It's fresh and modern looking and quite different to what I usually do.

I really really wish I hadn't promised to give it away now!

The moral of the story is, sometimes you have to get to the end of the process
to see how it all fits together!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Paper pieced butterfly....

I tried paper piecing a few years ago and it was a traumatic experience
which put me off for a long time.
But my good friend Juliet is a paper piecing genius
and so I finally caved and asked Juliet to give me a lesson!

Luckily for me, Juliet is very patient and had a good technique
and in one morning I had pieced this 24" cushion top
for Annie's bed. And there were no tears and no need to resort to the 
dreaded unpicker!

I actually enjoyed seeing it all come together
and last night I quilted it onto a scrap of cotton batting.
This morning before school Annie and I put clean sheets on her bed
and made it nicely. Then I sewed an envelop backing onto the front
and hey presto! a lovely cushion for her bed.

I really like how all the oranges play so nicely together
and I like the low volume plaid I used for the background.

I actually had an incentive to do this,
because Juliet has just released a beautiful 30" bear pattern
that I really really want to do,
but of course I had to get over my fears of paper piecing first!

I love how Annie's bed looks with it's thrifted sheets and pillowslip
and it hand made bedding. It's so satisfying to make practical items
which say "I love you" for others!

It's also awesome to have tried again to do something which scares me
and it turned out to be not so scary after all!

Bring on the giant bear I say!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Election time

It's nearly election time here in New Zealand
and it's difficult to decide who to vote for.
Really there just doesn't seem to be a compelling reason
to choose one side above another.
Maybe I'm missing something.
It's really hard for me to not want to vote for John Key though.
Let me tell you why.

On the 22 February 2011 after the earthquake,
after I had sat on the grass for hours and comforted hysterical children,
after I had dug my car out of liquification
and carried my mother in law down her drive to my car.
After I had found a route home
that didn't include cracks that I thought the car would fall down,
and after I found out that my children were actually still alive.

After I found a spot on the neighbour's lawn for the kiddies
and put nana in a comfy chair.
After all that, I walked down the street and into my house.
I opened the door to utter chaos.
The contents of the cupboards were on the floor,
furniture was upended,
the walls were cracked and dust and mess was everywhere.

I stood in the disaster and I finally started crying and swearing.
And at that point I thought, we are going to loose everything,
there is no way we can pull our business through this.
It's over. We won't make it.

However within the first two weeks,
John Key authorised for payments to be made to businesses,
it was a simple uncomplicated process
and we were able to pay our staff.
We received three payments and our business was saved from certain doom.

I understand that the Government has made a lot of decisions 
that are unpopular. I understand that a lot of people are hurting.
But I can't help but remember what they did for us and many like us,
making a quick decision that would protect the infrastructure of Christchurch,
without that, we would have lost a lot more businesses like ours,
and a lot more people would have been hurting.

It's hard to forget that.