Thursday, October 23, 2014

Take one quilt pattern, make three blocks and......

So you brought the book (I know loads of you have!)
and you want to make something but you don't have time to make a quilt
or you don't have money to buy the fabric
or there's just too much and you don't know where to start??

Well make a Half Moon Bay table runner!

I was given this little pile of Christmas fabric, 
all shapes and sizes and I worked out it would be perfect for this project.
You don't have to make it Christmas,
it's just that I had this pile and didn't know what to do with it.

I didn't have enough of the spot, 
so I cut my squares from the small piece of red that I had
and it turned out to be a happy accident
because it gives a whole new look to the pattern.

See? it's different but it works.
Anyway just use what you have - four fat quarters
and half a metre/yard of yardage and you should be fine.

I didn't have enough of the spot for the long sides either,
so I got this teeny star fabric. Lucky I like a scrappy look
and I really like using what I have!

Look at that, perfect for our table.
It's not following the pattern exactly
and it's using what I had, but it doesn't matter in the scheme of things
because it makes our table look bright and cheerful.

It was hard not to take a million photos!!
I think these would make awesome gifts
and with the end of the school year fast approaching (in the southern hemisphere)
I'm pretty sure they would make great teacher gifts too.

But wait there's more...

If you take a vintage pillowcase and some leftover yardage,
you can make just one block and make a lovely centrepiece.

Yes you can! and you can quilt it in an evening
because I did last night while I watched the sun go down.

I used just two fabrics but of course you can use as many as you like,
in fact while I was lying in bed this morning
I was plotting to make one from scrappy 2/12" squares.

See same pattern, completely different look.

Really wanted to take another 100 photos of this because it looks so good.
It's so quick, you can make one while you ponder what else to make from the book.

I have plans for more things. Yes I do.
You gotta love a book that inspires you to make more stuff
with what you have lying about, isn't that right?

Who is going to make one of these this weekend?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Life is hard, choose joy anyway...

When I write in this space, I never really think about anyone reading it;
I just write because the words buzz around in my head,
getting increasingly noisy like bees about to swarm
and I just have to write them down.

There is no rhyme or reason, there is no plan, there is no agenda here,
just me and my laptop, quietly writing.

You could argue that I am writing for you, 
because otherwise I would write a journal.
But the thing is you can add pictures and hyperlinks to a blog
and sometimes people read it and give you feedback.

It is interactive and I like it that too.
But at the time I sit and write, it is just because the words in my head
have got too loud.

It hasn't always been like this for me, 
when I first started I just wanted to see if I could still think.
And then I guess I wanted to keep a record of things that I made.
But gradually the words have become the important thing
as I have learned to organise them and get them down.

The Internet is a funny place, full of people talking and showing off
bits of their lives. If you spend time on the Internet, it is easy to think
that everyone else has a better/more interesting life than you.

It's easy to feel your nobody status on the Internet,
because all the cool kids are doing all the cool stuff and you can feel left out.

These feelings are not a new thing to any of us just because of the Internet. 
There has always been things for us to be envious of.
Here's an example for me (being honest here). 
My baby sister is a better mother than I will ever be,
I look at her in wonder at the charming way she manages parenthood.
She does it with a grace and charm, I will never achieve.

I have a choice, I could choose to be jealous
or I can choose to enjoy watching her be an amazing mum.

If I choose jealousy, I will hurt myself,
If I choose to enjoy, I open my heart to the opportunity for joy.

It's the same thing with the Internet.
We can choose to be jealous, letting bitterness creep into our hearts
because we are not one of the cool kids.

Or we can choose to enjoy the bits that people share of their lives,
understanding that it is not the whole story,
but just the bits they are sharing with us
and we can be glad for them for the good things they are enjoying.

I'm not saying this is easy. It can be big things, 
like for me when twice a year all the cool kids go off to the US
for Quilt Market and it is hard not to be eaten up with jealousy.
Or it can be little things like someone who gets to go out for dinner
and post a picture on Instagram when you are screaming at your own kids
to "go off to bed right now why don't you".

Yes the Internet is a big place and it's easy to get lost in there.
But the thing is, it's not reality.
The only person who can make you feel bad is you.
You get to choose whether to be content with where you are at,
or you can choose to look around you and be eaten up with envy
at those who you perceive are better off than you.

The reality is, everyone is walking their own journey
and nobody has a completely charmed path.
All of us go through good times and then some completely shitty times.

Life is hard, choose joy anyway.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Modern Maple Quilt

Last year for my birthday Chrissy gave me a bunch of Christmas fabrics
(way to my heart = give me fabric!!)
and while we were living at Bronte Street while our house was being repaired
I decided to make them into a quilt.

(little did I know I was going to become a huge fan of QuiltDad)
Anyway the pattern is by Amanda
but it's the same simplicity but effectiveness that I like from the Beyond Neutral book.

I'm not sure but I think this might be the only piece of Tula Pink
that I've used. Her fabric is lovely, I wish I had more of it!
Anyway I made the top this time last year
and it finally got to the top of the quilting pile and I picked it up from Shenleigh yesterday.
 I sewed the binding on last night and it's all finished.

This morning we ducked out early to take pictures of it.
I've been wanting to take photos of a quilt in front of this wall for ages
but there is always heaps of cars there, so early it was.

I really like how nice and summery this Christmas quilt is,
just perfect for a New Zealand Christmas.
We will be camping this year for Christmas, I can't wait.

Here's the whole wall. Isn't it amazing.

 Sorry for the photo overload,
but it just looks so pretty!!!!

Friday, October 10, 2014

About equality and justice; and why it matters to me...

So here's a post that I've been trying to write for a while. The thing about writing a blog is that you get to build a picture of who you are and what you are about, it's a construction of you as a person. But of course there is more to me than my blog, there's a whole lot of living that I have chosen not to write about; and that's fine. But there's a thing or two that I want to share now. So here goes.

I grew up in a cult. Yip it's true, while the rest of you were playing with your friends, having birthday parties, going to movies and generally doing the things that kids do, I was trying to follow 101 rules and being punished when I didn't remember them. Years later when I discovered that a child had rights, I cried. There were lots of rules about what you wore and what you did. Some of the rules were silly things, like the fact I never had a haircut until I was in my 20s, or the fact that I didn't wear jeans until after I had my first child. But some of them were just way bigger.

There were rules about how you should think. Like the time I was told I was too happy and therefore a bad example at work. Apparently I needed to laugh less. My personality was not acceptable and I was told by someone in charge that it was their job to break me. Which they proceeded to do. 

There were a lot of rules about how you should act or how you should live your life. I was not allowed a proper education (we were going to be wives and mothers). I was not allowed to go flatting, I was not allowed to choose where I went to work. I did not get to choose who I married. One day I was called to a meeting and told that I was going to get engaged to David. Yes big things.

I'm not writing about this to make you feel sorry for me, because the truth is that dealing with all of this stuff didn't kill me and it did make me stronger. It's a cliche but it is actually true! I'm writing about this because having lived through a situation where I was powerless and decisions were made for me that were not in my best interest, has given me a perspective on the world. I know what it is like to feel like the odd one out, I know how it feels to have people judge you because of how you look or what you say. I understand how it is to observe the world and yet not be a part of it. It is partly this which drives me in my second chance to get an education. A passion to enable others to be the best that they can be and to access education and community in what ever way they find it.

There is a tremendous amount of challenges facing the world today. So many difficult things that need to be addressed. In sociology we call it a Global Risk Society; that is to say, we live in a world where the bad things are the foundation and we have to address them to enable us to move forward into any kind of future.

There's lots of things that I could write about here, but recently my Facebook feed has had a lot of conversations about the legalising of gay marriage in the US. In New Zealand it is legal for a gay couple to get married.  This is something that is close to my heart, I remember sitting watching the votes being counted in Parliament and holding my breath for a yes vote. My sister is gay, she told us last year, but we had known for a long time. She is in a loving committed relationship with her girlfriend who I regard as a sister too. It is easy for people to judge something they don't understand, but when you see two people love each other through the very worst of times, that is so precious and so wonderful, how can you judge it as a bad thing?

I don't know what it is like to be gay, but I do know what it is like to be socially isolated, to be picked out as being weird or unusual. It upsets me so much to hear the debate, debate in which people judge others as not being good enough. Injustice and inequality make me angry because having experienced some of these things, I know how it feels and it is not a good thing.

If there is one thing that my childhood taught me, it was that freedom of choice is a very precious thing. I want a world where precious relationships like my sister and her girlfriend have are recognised and honoured. I want them to be able to choose to get married if they want to. I've never had to go out and find someone to love me. I have only ever been with David, he's the only man I've ever kissed; we have learned to love each other. I can't even imagine how it feels to put yourself out there and trust someone to love you back, but then to be told that your relationship is wrong and not valid... it's unthinkable to me. 

I want to teach my kids to accept others for who they are, that love comes in all shapes and sizes. I want to see a future where who you love is not important, rather learning to live in a committed, faithful relationship being the important thing. There are a lot of things we are going to struggle to change in the world, but surely who we love should not be one of them.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

#makingallthequilts #beyondneutral

I often used to wonder why people took on outrageous challenges,
like walking from one end of the country to the other,
or running all the marathons.

But in the last few weeks I've decided to do a challenge of my own.
A completely selfish, fun challenge, for no reason except that I want to.

I can be a bit too serious about life,
and sometimes I get a bit bogged down with the things I want to achieve
and forget to have fun along the way.

(This is why its a good thing that I'm married to the man of fun himself,
David, who will never ever forget to have fun!!)

Anyway, I have mentioned here that I'm having surgery in November
for a shiny new hip. And basically I can't wait.
In the meantime however, there is the dealing with the pain.
And the pain has got kinda bad.

However I'm fairly easily distracted (how do you think I ended up with four children?)
and a bit of mindless sewing is the best distraction I know.
Plus if you really can't walk, you can always sit and sew!

So anyway, as you know I made a quilt from QuiltDad's book,
and then I planned a couple more,
and then I made a couple more.

And then I thought actually I want to make about six of them.
And so I planned those.

But now I have decided to make all the quilts.
Yes that is right. I probably won't get them all done before November 10,
but I'm definitely going to have a good try
and I'll finish the last ones when I get better. 

I've discovered that there is something super cool about 
setting yourself a BHAG,
it gives you a reason to get up in the morning
it helps you to put aside the things that are driving you crazy
and achieve something.

I realise this is not helping with world peace
or any kind of lofty goal like that,
but it is keeping a smile on my face
and my brain humming with ideas
and trust me, right now this feels like a very good thing!

Here's a little Storify I made of my challenge....

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Disclaimer: No boys were harmed in the writing of this post

It seems to me there are way too many people worrying about 
their kid "catching the gay". Let me tell you this.
You can't catch it. You don't get to choose who you love.
It's just who you are. I'm going to love all of my kids no matter who they end up loving.

Reuben has very nice fingernails,
I don't know why, but they grow and don't break
and they look nice. He was pretty keen to paint them
so I brought him some black and some sparkly nail polish.

Why did I buy him nail polish?
Because he wanted to paint his nails and we thought black was a good colour.
This morning I painted his nails for him.
They look awesome.

Now I know that some of you are judging me right about now.

But let me just tell you something,
painting his nails will not make him gay.
Painting his nails does not make him any less manly than he already is.

Painting his nails does not take anything away from his manliness,
it just adds to his quirkiness.

He's learning to choose clothes that look good,
to have a shower and wear deodorant.
And if he wants to wear nail polish, I don't care.

All I care about is that all of my kids feel loved
just for being who they are.

Isn't that the whole point??

Also read this great article here.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

I'm acting like I'm ok. Please do not interrupt my performance.

In 41 days I'm going to have a hip replacement.
It's my second one so I know what I'm in for,
but even so I can't wait.

Currently I'm trying to finish the semester at uni,
writing essay after essay
on propaganda, media audiences and death and dying,
while trying to forget how much my body hurts.

I can't sleep at night,
so I lie awake waiting until it's a decent hour
and I can do some sewing before breakfast
so that I can forget how much my leg hurts.

The days that I'm not at Uni,
I spend here in my bed, writing, reading
and cheering the family on as they learn to cook,
to be nice to each other and to manage Annie's hair.

It turns out that it's amazing how much you can do in a day,
even if you think you can't.

I just can't wait till trying to forget the pain isn't one of them!