The language of quilters!

No, not the expletives that we often hear when we make a mistake or sew our quilt to our jeans (yes, it has happened!) I mean the phrases we use to describe our techniques, designs and tools. Normal phrases to us but a totally foreign language to those not versed in our craft.

Take for instance the words “quilter” and “patchworker”?  To those of us that have actually been initiated into the realms of cutting up fabric and sewing it back together again we understand the subtle difference between these two words but to the world at large we just sew! Hence champ quiltthe wonderful friends who greet you so enthusiastically with the phrase “Seeing you sew, I wonder if you could fix the split in my tracky daks?” Ah, the ignominy of it I think, don’t they realise my “sewing” is more sublime than mere repair work, that it is closer to an art form, creative and an expression of my inner self? (Well, that’s the image I have sometimes!)

And so I try to gently educate and impress upon them the complexity of our craft. Instantly I run into problems. If you have ever tried to teach someone new to patchwork you will understand how much explaining you need to do.

Recently, at our quilting group, the Champagne Quilters, we had a newbie. She was really interested in learning about quilting and had come armed with a notebook and high hopes of absorbing some of our knowledge and wisdom. She was testing the waters and seeing if it was for her. I wonder if she’ll be back!

Oh dear, it really wasn’t fair. There were seven of us and only one of her. We hadn’t seen each other for a month and as usual there were numerous conversations happening at once. At the same time as we were chatting I was trying to teach the others a new technique and everyone was at different stages of creativeness at once. It was bedlam! As we chatted and created we would hear a plaintive voice ask “So what’s a fat quarter?” and several explanations would ensue from various corners of the room. I’m sure the notebook would be interesting reading.

Here’s a few of our catch phrases that were queried:

Olfa cutter – even when we said rotary cutter we still needed to do a show and tell

Jelly roll – nothing to do with dessert and then this led to layer cakes and charm squares!


UFO – no, we are not all science fiction readers

Reverse sewing – plenty of that ‘cos no one listens to instructions!

Hanging sleeve – lots of laughs here as it has nothing to do with clothing

Finger press – are these finger exercises?


Walking foot – of course you use feet for walking, what do you mean?

And on and on – Sashing, borders, mitered corners, setting blocks, nine-patch, four-patch.

stashAnd of course STASH!  What a wonderful emotive word that is. We all had stories to tell about our stashes and why they were so necessary. Nothing we like better than talking about our stashes.

It was an exhausting and fun-filled day for us all and it made me realise yet again that quilting is a passion that needs to be absorbed over time, quietly savoured and patiently built upon until one day you realise that you are not just a person who sews squares together in random fashion but rather a person with creative flair and talent – a quilter!


Enjoying the ambience!

When I began there was no title for this post  so I thought I’d just burble and see what happens. I often get inspired to write after I read Katie’s blog at

After reading her blog about Country Life I realise that I’m living the lifestyle that she dreams of   …. and I have to say it is mighty fine!   20 years ago if you had told me that I would be living on top of a hill, 12 km from the nearest town and with very few neighbours, I would have said “ I don’t think so”.  My dream was a beach house with wonderful panoramic views of the ocean and a town close by.

Well we did look at that but nothing jumped out as possible and suddenly we fell in love with a view.  Yep, the view. Not the house, not the area, not the convenience(there wasn’t any really) and definitely not the ocean. But we had a view that rivalled the ocean view, a view of a valley and surrounding hills with wonderful sunsets.

We saw our house in June, the beginning of 6winter. We arrived here on a whim after seeing a tiny photo of the view in the newspaper. Let’s go for a drive we said.

The real estate agent told us it was a distance to drive and that we would be driving through areas that were blackened by recent bushfires and she wasn’t wrong. Jeeralang 140411 104

The drive up was along windy roads, through big areas devastated by fires, no undergrowth, no bushes, only blackened stumps of trees with a few leaves starting to sprout.

Finally we drove down a long, treed driveway through misty rain. The agent opened up the house, did a quick tour and then returned to the warmth of her car. The house was absolutely freezing and yet the view from the living room was fantastic even through the mist and rain.


It was a simple house. It was a plain house. front jeera front jeera2But the possibilities were there….. and as we talked we started to see ourselves in this house, as our home.

Four years later we have made it our own. We have put on an extension including a new bedroom and ensuite, we have sliding doors that make it easy to access the outdoors, we have a new extended front deck that gives us clear views of the valley, and there is nothing better than sitting out the front, enjoying a quiet drink and enjoying the ambience.

Aaahhh, the ambience!!!! This is our word for the quiet serenity of our home. We love the sounds of nature, we love the cool breeze that flows across the deck (although at the moment it is a howling gale!), we love the silence. We have made this place our own. From the kookaburras calling out their birdsong before dawn, to the magpie tapping on our window or the parrots calling to my man to bring out the bird seed several times a day, this is our place and we still have to pince ourselves as we realise how lucky we are.

Did you know that ambience and ambiance are different spellings of the same word, referring to the special atmosphere or mood of a particular environment. I found this out when I realised I wasn’t sure how to spell the word!

My man and I have these silly conversations about the ambience. Do we “enjoy” the ambience” or do we “feel” the ambience?  Whatever the phrase is we know we are very lucky to be here, together, making the most of retirement.

We have a beautiful garden (not my doing, already here!), we have a vegie patch, we have an area of native bushland, we have an orchard (which the parrots love and leave nothing for us!) and we even have a chook house for when we’re ready for the girls (the chooks) to move in! We talk of getting something to help keep the grass down but the farm aspect of our home is still on it’s way.

front j hill

These two pics show the front of our home – a very hard pic to take as the hill slopes at about 45 degrees and hence the strange perspective!

front hill

Our home has gone from a country getaway in 2010 to our current comfortable home which we love sharing with our friends and family.

The best part of country life is there’s no rush, no pressure to have everything “just so”. What we do have is a lot of time to dream, to get our plans “right” and eventually something new and exciting will happen.

Meanwhile, life is good whilst we enjoy the ambience!flower collection

Showing off ……. my patchwork achievements in 2014

teddy blankeesI’ve decided to show off!  Why not?

I have actually finished a number of projects in 2014. Thanks in no small part to the classes I have taken at the Neighbourhood Centre as well as the encouragement from my friends from Champagne Quilters. (In fact, in recognition of my sense of fellowship with this group, I am sipping on champagne as I type! Thank heavens for previewing though!)

The problem is – do I have pics of all of these?  ………. A slight delay here while go off and check ‘My Pictures’ folder…………. Well, this is embarrassing!  2 problems – I don’t appear to have taken photos of patchwork I have finished or even worse I have a number of UFOs in the cupboard.  What no idea what a UFO is?  Well these are Unfinished Objects. We quilters hold special days just so we have time (and encouragement) to get these finished!  In fact I have a UFO from the 1970s – a grandmothers garden english pieced quilt – but, oh dear, where is it?!!!  Perhaps it is strategically “lost” so I never have to finish it!

In my defense in not having evidence, I have made fundraising items for the Neighbourhood Centre and gifts for my daughter’s friends who have had babies. Would you believe 20 teddy blankee dolls; 6 hexagon patchwork bowls, several patchwork balls and a partridge in a pear tree!  Nah, only kidding  about the patridge (It’s xmas after all)…… I just threw that in to see if you’re awake.

However I have made a few quilts and other things that are in the cupboard ready for the day when I pluck up the courage and have a craft stall somewhere, sometime. My mball 1an thinks this is a great idea otherwise our house on the hill will be overwhelmed by “things”  Perhaps he thinks this because of my growing fabric stash  ….. all quilters have stashes otherwise no one takes you seriously!  Everyone knows that don’t they?

So the moral of this blog is ……  even if you know you’re good, don’t try and show off unless you’re sure you have the evidence!

The Pics I do have include:

A soft patchwork ball for babies.(pic up above)

elephant quilt sm

A snuggle quilt I made for my Mum’s 91st birthday. A wonderful technique called chenille.  After 4 washes this quilt was wonderfully soft.  Mum loved sitting in her recliner with  this on her knee and snoozing the day away.

eleanor quilt

This lovely quilt was made as a welcome present for my great niece Eleanor. Her Mum Sophie loves purple so that dictated the colour scheme(well actually I loved it too). This design is adapted from another I made in the 1990s.

balls twist

I made two of these bright quilts with the twist pattern!

I’ve had the design in a book for years and always wanted to make it. I got a bit carried away making the blocks and suddenly I had enough for 2 quilts.

Now they’re waiting in the cupboard for that future craft stall!

circular centre marie

I made two of these circular table runner also!

This was a project in classes at the Neighbourhood Centre in Churchill.

I enjoyed it so much I taught to the girls in the Champagne Quilters group. (and yes, of course we had champagne with lunch!)

So after Christmas I guess I have to get busy and take pics and finish a few UFOs.

That is after I’ve cleaned up the house I plan to sell!!

(Could that be Procrastination again or maybe even Obligation?   Aaaghhhh!!! )

Procrastination and creation …….. why they go together……. or do they?

They really do go together you know. I’m living proof!

Despite the fact that I know I want to lock myself in my sewing room I have done everything but in the last 2 months. My procrastination levels are extremely high!

lilies in dam sm

So what have I been up to you may ask?  Well, I made a decision in October that meant that suddenly there were expectations of me from outside the family (those I am well used to!) I decided to go on the Board of the local Neighbourhood House Centre.  And Kaboom! my time was not my own. It has been a crazy time with lots of meetings, lots of decisions and lots and lots of angst ….. finally though, it is settling down and I hope that 2015 will be a better year for the Centre.

It’s been an interesting time for me as I had deadlines to meet, something that has generally been missing over the last 2 years. It has certainly proven to me that basically I am a committed retiree! I love the freedom of waking up in the morning and deciding on the shape of my day rather than having  ‘have tos’ and ‘need tos’ to fill my day!

I always said in the past that when I stopped working I would do some kind of volunteer work, however it looks like it will be taking second place to the joys of retirement!

So back to procrastination and creation.

To help the creation process I wrote a list  …  all the projects I wanted to do …. but here’s the kicker  ….. I felt obliged to put at the top of the list all my half done projects or ones I needed to do. Again the procrastination!  But wait, maybe I’m wrong! It’s not procrastination that’s the real problem – it’s obligation!

Love this pic of a  leaf which I took a while ago.  I need to get back to the creativeness of taking pics - it's good for the soul!

Love this pic of a leaf which I took a while ago. I need to get back to the creativeness of taking pics – it’s good for the soul!

Now all I need to do is learn how to be selfish and I’ll be set to create – no problem!  I’m working on that right now, I should be cleaning the house but instead I’m creating another blog post!  Yeah, I’m on my way!!!!

Being relaxed

Now, I may be wrong (it does happen!) but I have a feeling this would have to be the most unused blog site in record.

Humm, I finally came back to my blog site and realized that it was 2 years since I’d started the blog and in that time nothing!!! Nada!   Niet!   Zero!

My intentions were sooooooo good when I started this blog. But life came between my fingers and the blog. Now it is time to write again, to record my life as a retiree.

What is a retiree you may ask – well I am still discovering that.

Irelaxing2 think it is what you make it, that’s the beauty of retiring. No prescribed text, no deadlines to meet, just me and my man, low key decisions and enjoyment of life. It takes a long time to realize that you have control of your life and lifestyle. I get to set the limits on myself, my commitments, my ‘must dos’, my ‘want tos’ and my dreams.

Problem is I’ve just been meandering along, living from day to day. However I still use a diary so all is not lost!

I still feel an obligation to do things and see people but I am realizing that it does not need to be at a frenetic speed that wears me out and puts stress on my interaction with others. I can set a pace that is slower and less rushed. Perhaps though, I need to rush a little as a 2 year delay between posts is WAY too relaxed!

What was happening at the Farm …… a while ago!

Written in April 2013 – I forgot to post it!

Ever since we bought our little bit of paradise we have had plans …… lots of plans. In fact so many plans that we had to make lists ……. Lots of lists!!! The end result is that is has taken us forever to get things going. Finally we are doing an extension to our home.  And guess what? It’s all to make me happy. ‘Cos as my man says “if you’re happy – the world’s happy”.    What a great concept!

So this means that we are building a new bedroom, bathroom and dressing room so that our old bedroom becomes ….. wait for it!…….. my sewing room!!!!!!


13 jeera 20130404_082 small

The start of our renovations

Yes, I will have my very own space. I get a sewing room and he gets a shed. Fair’s fair eh!! This is so exciting for me. I have never done an extension before. Our builder, Jamie, cannot believe that I feel the need to take so many photos. Every night, I go to sleep planning my space   ……. Sewing space that is!


Yes, I care about the bedroom and bathroom but my dreams are about the sewing space — the possibilities, the goodies, the layout, the dreams.  Already I fear that my hopes and dreams may far exceed the space! Ahhh well, that’s the fun of dreaming…….. whatever happens will be a vast improvement on the current situation. The living room perhaps could look a little less lived in, a little less quilter’s mess and a little more relaxed haven!

Onto less serious things…..

Written in April 2013 – I forgot to publish it!

In my little house upon the hill I have been exploring how to organise my day – well actually how NOT to organize my day. Do I clean, do I quilt, do I read my book, do I go for a walk, do I garden, do I cook, do I watch TV – the possibilities are wonderful and exciting. To get to the end of a day and realize that I have procrastinated so well that I achieved very little – but not to worry there is always tomorrow.

What I have really enjoyed is the time to quilt for hours on end. To plan the design, to organise the fabric, to balance the colours, to cut out the pieces, to change my mind, to just go with the flow.  And to say, several times a day…… I’m so happy!

I have made several quilts already this year. And I am so proud of them!

will's quiltOne for my nephew, for his 21st birthday – he wanted a rainbow coloured quilt – so I made a New York Beauty design quilt for him. It just lifts my spirit every time I look at it – hopefully he will enjoy it too.




wave revThen I found a new tool a “Simple Curve ruler” which has made a delightful wall hanging for my home.



I also joined a quilting group in Churchill and explored the possibilities of Ricky Timm’s Convergence quilts. I love bright and cheerful so used some great vibrant fat quarters for this design. It’s fantastic to have the time to play and to also meet great people too.