Tuesday, June 14, 2011


So long for a fortnight, folks!

I have packed gloves and a fire engine red coat and I'm heading down south to be with my sister and her little family while they await the arrival of a bran noo bebe! I'll catch up on Project 52 when I return. Keep smiling!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Stitching love

For me, one of the neatest things about being involved in the world of patchwork and quilting was the connection with those who might be inspired by one of my designs. I found it incredibly cool to see how someone else interpreted one of my designs or used it as the starting point for something else. I’m not actively involved in quilt design these days (for now) but the happy connections still trickle in occasionally.

Last September I received an email from Janet in New Zealand. She had picked up volume 8 #4 of Country Patchwork & Quilting while in Queensland on business and hoped to make my Paradise Quilt for her new granddaughter, Plum (best name ever, yes?). Back in New Zealand, she gathered the materials and took them, pattern and all, to visit Plum’s family. But a flash flood hit the car and, though Janet survived, her patterns were soaked. She emailed asking if I could send a copy of the pattern. Of course I could.

A few days ago, I received another email from Janet. She’s completed the quilt and little Plum is now its delighted owner. Janet attached pictures and I was so delighted with how she interpreted the design. Appropriately, Janet has used plum tones and referred to the nursery rhyme ‘I had a little nut tree’ to add quirky variations to the tree. She also replaced the birds of paradise with ‘festival kiwis’, designed by Plum’s father for the Wellington International Festival of the Arts some years ago. Janet writes that the original version of the festival kiwis ‘had a kiwi with nikau feathers attached as its tail (kiwis don’t have a tail)’.

The final result is amazing. I love that Janet shared her end product with me and I love that this is a quilt with true history and significance – an artwork that tells a story of a little girl’s origins and a grandma’s love. Which, to me, is basically what quiltmaking is all about.

* * * * *


Laura Elizabeth -- oh have I ever seen the half-season finale of Doctor Who!! Eeh, such a twist! I was quite delighted and shocked. (PS. freeform poetry all the way! I was incredibly nervous about writing and sharing the poem -- free verse! so pretentious! so ridiculous! -- but I feel like that's all part of the challenge.

Samantha R -- Thank you so much for your encouragement. I'm sure I wouldn't have even tried this had it not been for your enthusiasm when I discussed it :).

Asea -- ooh, I have not read The Trumpet of the Swan. Must find!

Staish -- (and I you!)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Project 52: one

It is a kind of familiar, friendly pain,
this stretching of unlimber muscles.
Mind reaches into memory and beyond it
into words, straining after significance.

I breathe heavy, bearing the weight of moments,
shifting them from hand to hand.
I balance images:
one, a laughing boy pressed nose to window;
two, thoughtless words like footprints
trampled without care over someone's heart
(from hindsight, they resemble regrets);
three, a fuschia, feathered sky.

I juggle them from mind to memory
and fumble for a unity to bind them/
bear their weight.
No matter; life is its own poem.

[tentative beginnings]
* * * * *


Rebecca Simon -- ah, Jim and Wally are such fabulous guys! Now I want to re-read all the books. Immediately.

Samantha R -- I know what you mean. I just had to pick five of the many books that have influenced me. There are probably hundreds!

Asea -- those are some fantastic people to visit! Ah, and I love Strunk & White. Those guys are amazing. I didn't realise for so long that the White half of the equation was E.B. White, author of Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little. Oh, and I really want to read that Brian McLaren book!

Bethany -- I truly recommend them all. :)

BushMaid -- ah, I have lost count of how many times I've read Stepping Heavenward. It always inspires me to be zealous about my journal-writing and to record the real life adventures of faith.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Five books that changed who I am:

Bethany tagged me for participation in a book meme and I'm happy because talking about books + filling out memes = my kind of fun.

If it were even possible to compile a complete list of the books that formed and shaped me, I'm sure it would contain dozens of titles. Books have shaped so much about who I am. They've opened my eyes to truth, taken me to places I'm far too much of a wimp to go to, chastened me for being such a wimp, and helped me discover the beauty of words. I devoured books when I was a girl. Now, I chew more slowly but I love them just as much. Here are just five of the many I have been fed by:

1) The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. I've read this many times since I was in my early teens. It's the true story of one family's loving defiance against Hitler's anti-Semitism in World War II, their own tiny world war waged by hiding Jews in a secret space in their home in Holland. Their defiance came at a great price, but it also resulted in great faith. I wish I could do this book justice in my brief review, but I can't. Honestly life-changing.

2) Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot. I've read this one multiple times, too, and every re-reading provides me with something new as well as a fresh dose of wisdom and passion. Although some will argue with me (I'm looking at you, Anastasia Lambert!), this book is incredibly romantic with a unique authenticity and genuineness. It has changed who I am by exposing me to new thoughts about love and romance -- true love, which is so much more than happily ever after -- and pointing me back to the Author of it all.

3) A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliot. This is Elliot's biography of feisty, courageous Amy Carmichael, a poet who crossed oceans and cultures to break down the boundaries of caste exclusion and rescue young Indian girls from temple prostitution -- all of this in an era when frank discussions of sexual crime were highly taboo, especially from a middle-class, church-going single lady. Amy Carmichael said that she would rather burn out than rust out, and her burning is a challenge to my cravings for comfort and ease. [edit: Elliot's autobiography? I must have been half asleep]

4) On Writing Well by William Zinsser. This 'classic guide to writing nonfiction' might seem an unlikely inclusion in a list so far dominated by thoughtful discussions on life and faith, but writing is a big part of who I am, and this book has molded that to some extent. It's a brilliant handbook on the craft of writing and, though it has a decidedly journalistic focus, its sage advice rings true whether you write stories, review records, or scribble plays. Obviously, I'm still a work in progress as far as writing is concerned; this is evident by the fact that I crammed three cliches into two successive sentences. Awesome.

5) The Billabong Books by Mary Grant Bruce. Any number of books could also have gone here in the list, the spot reserved for fiction that I consumed like a starving creature as a young teen. But the Billabong Books (yes, I'm cheating by including a whole series here) are special in that they are so distinctly Australian. They are not brilliant works of literature (though they are good) and yes, they're decidedly dated when it comes to issues such as race, class, and gender, but they preserve so much from an amazing period in Australia's history. Written from about 1915 to 1940, they cover war, the depression, and the remarkable shifts in culture and society in Australia during that time. They are also wholesome, good fun adventure books which made me proud to be an Aussie kid. I read these books so many times I'm sure I could quote whole passages even now. They made me love living in a rural area, they made me love story-writing, and they made me wish I had an awesome older brother. Where is my Jim?

What would be on your list? I love talking books so I am opening this meme up to everyone. I tag you alllll! If you don't have a blog, feel free to leave your reply as a comment.

* * * * *


Laura Elizabeth -- YES. I love the clashing, joyful riot of colours that God puts together in nature. So unlikely and yet so right.

Samantha R -- it's so hard to get good shots when you're powering through the countryside :).

Friday, June 10, 2011

Project 52: an update

Yay! More people are joining the fun of Project 52! Laura, Jessica, and Chantel are also coming along for the ride, which will only make the journey cooler.

If you want to play along, it's not too late. There are no hard and fast rules and it's super easy: simply settle on a theme you want to explore, and post your first photo (plus poem, if you're going that route) sometime over this weekend. If you title or label your posts with 'project 52', it'll be easier for other bloggers to find you and potentially play along as well. I can't wait to see how this project opens our eyes to the wonderful treasures that are scattered throughout the everyday.

PS. How incredibly amazing is tonight's sunset? Eat your heart out, Crayola.

* * * * *


Chantel -- yay! I'm so happy you're joining us!

Katie -- and scarves! Winter provides so many more opportunities for layering and accessorising.

Asea -- you went to Albrecht Durer's house? YOU WENT TO ALBRECHT DURER'S HOUSE? *sigh* And a package came from you the very day after I received your comment! *joyful dance*

Samantha R -- suddenly I'm heaping extra blankets onto my bed and wearing double layers of pyjamas :).

Laura Elizabeth -- this does NOT feel like Queensland, right? And it feels colder than the actual temperature, as well. What is going on?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Daybook #9

Outside my window it's dark and grey and actually really, really cold. I didn't know Queensland does cold.

I have been listening to Lecrae's Rehab, and I keep going to make a big post raving about how good this album is -- and maybe I still will. But for now, let me just say that it's excellent. I've been ridiculously reticent to confess that I actually like hip hop and rap, but this guy's music is forcing me out of the closet. So good. So Scripture-soaked. So worshipful. I'm loving it.

I have been wearing tights and boots and cardigans and dangly earrings.

I am thankful for my four-week-old niece's sudden discovery that she can smile -- and how. Seriously, what a cute little imp! Her cheeks puff out and her eyes turn into these adorable little half-moons. SO CUTE.

I am pondering how best to arrange maximum stuff in minimum space.

I am reading Oh Me of Little Faith by Jason Boyett. In word: excellent. I'm only part way through, but I could have written the personal anecdotes myself. I love how the author is very real about his doubts and overthinkyness in regards to Christianity. He's honest, but he doesn't kill hope. It's doubt without the despair, candour with faithfulness, always pointing back to the truth. We need more books like this.

I am creating letters. Actually, I'm writing letters, but it's been so long since I last sat down to write mail, on actual paper, by hand, that it feels akin to a work of artistic creation. (I'm odd).

I am looking forward to hanging out with my down-south niece and nephew next week. I hate leaving home, but I like being with them :). There will be crafts and cooking and reading and cold toes, I am sure.

A picture-thought I'm sharing is nothing special to look at, but it's from last weekend's local folk festival. A printmaker had set up a little workshop which was open to anybody who wanted to go and make prints of leaves and feathers. Favourite.

* * * * *


Laura Elizabeth -- I'm so happy you'll be playing along! Your theme's awesome (I think I already said that). Starting this weekend -- how does that sound?

Caitlin -- indeed! :D

Samantha R -- I'm so excited we're doing this together!

Asea -- I'm anti-chemicals so I'm thinking henna. I really need to do some research! Aw, I would love to hit the op shops with you. We'd have so much fun :).

Rebecca -- ooh, I would love someone to do the dye job for me! Although I'm shy about my hair, one of the main reasons I end up doing everything to it myself (that, and saving the money otherwise spent on hairdressers).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A new challenge: 52 moments

I love that breaks in the schedule of the everyday bring with them the promise of headspace and the opportunity to step outside of the now and think ahead a little bit. I'm hoping that the next few weeks (well, those either side of a planned visit down south) will be weeks of new things. I'm dreaming of a new little etsy store, a new hair colour (not the grey that my hair is attempting to become), and a new afternoon each month dedicated to crafting (the Crafternoon! All welcome!).

But today one new project is moving out of the dream zone and into the here and now. Remember the beautiful 52 Weeks project I linked to a couple of weeks ago? Blogger Shaina Longstreet committed to taking a self portrait and writing an accompanying poem, one poem/picture diptych each week, for one year. It's such an excellent concept, and one which works side-by-side with my blog's goal: that of living an examined life.

Over the last week, the lovely Samantha and I have been chatting about how we could explore this project ourselves. In her beautiful introductory post, Samantha wrote:
This is the beginning of a journey. A journey that might further open my eyes to the beauty around me. A journey that just might change how I view the world. May I see the sparkle in the raindrop, the beauty in the rose, the joy in the eyes of those who love me. May I see the green grass grow, the glowing warmth of the sun, the excitement in all there is to see.
Samantha has chosen 'simple little things' as the theme for her 52 weeks project. I am going with 'moments'. I want to take notice of the moments, and I want to challenge myself to wrestle them out of experience and into words. Sam is focussing particularly on the photography aspect of the project, and I'll be paying attention especially to the poetry. Poetry doesn't come easily for me, but it's a good sort of hard work, the sort of work that leaves your muscles aching in a happy-tired way.

I think I'm going to enjoy the struggle to find the truest way to enunciate what is only felt or seen or heard. Want to join us? We definitely welcome your companionship on this little adventure of creativity!

* * * * *


Un -- :D :D :D

Samantha R -- yay! We're really starting!

Asea -- I second the motion. You definitely need to visit Australia!

Laura Elizabeth -- noooooo! I'm sad our holidays don't coincide! I wanted to be all holidayishly joyous with you! I'm so happy you only have one assignment remaining though. How do you feel the exam went? xx

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Hi. Sorry. I kind of disappeared from blogland for a bit there. Mostly it was because of final week. I did a lot of this ^. But a few others things were going on, too. Like...

...my friend Annie's pre-wedding set-up-the-pantry party, which included the creation of elegant, pure white toilet paper wedding gowns (ours won the best prize -- quite possibly because we had the bride on our side, yeah!).

Lots of girls and lots of chat.

Also, the cutest snacks!

On Thursday it was my beautiful mother's birthday. We spent it catching up and exploring some cool local spots.

Coffees and nearing sunset at the slipway...

Just a teensy bit of camera coveting...


This. Lots and lots of this. So many late bedtimes and study sessions in pyjamas!

And now, finally, today -- this first day of holidays! And the sun came out, just to celebrate.

Gorgeous winter flowers glowed.

And everything was happy. The end.

* * * * *


Bek -- I love the bookshelf, too! My grandfather made it for me :).

Carla & Alastair -- she is indeed :).

Samantha R -- we can start our project soon!

Laura Elizabeth -- hang in there!! Is it over for you now, too? HOLIDAYSSS!

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