You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2008.

These words of wisdom were posted over on Laughing Purple Goldfish Designs and I liked them so much, I decided they needed a wider audience.

LPG attributes them to Robert Louis Stevenson:

Make up your mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things.

Make the best of circumstances.  No one has everything and everyone has something of sorrow.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Don’t let criticism worry you. You can’t please everybody.

Don’t let your neighbors set your standards; be yourself.

Do things you enjoy doing but stay out of debt.

Don’t borrow trouble. Imaginary things are harder to bear than actual ones.

Since hate poisons the soul, do not cherish enmities and grudges.  Avoid people who make you unhappy.

Have many interests.  If you can’t travel, read about places.

Don’t hold post-mortems or spend time brooding over sorrows and mistakes.

Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself.

Keep busy at something.  A very busy person never has time to be unhappy.


Celebrate the season with joy and happiness and welcome the new year with hope for a bright, happy and healthy future for all.


Where do you go for ideas for designs for your art?  I find that inspiration for designs come from a range of sources; sometimes I am not even aware of what has been behind some of the pieces I have produced.

I have been known to leap out of the car with camera in hand when I have spotted a tree with beautifully textured bark and I have several pictures taken in different seasons of the same tree trunk in Kings Park, Perth.


I can say, however, that I have never been tempted to use xray images or pictures of internal organs as a stimulus!  This hasn’t been the case with two ladies recently written up in New Scientist magazine – they have produced quilts and a knitted sculptural piece based on images of the brain.

This is defintiely one of those things that falls into the “weird but true” category however it is worth looking at  – this is the article link and this takes you to a special website featuring their work.


Supposedly, the “average” adult in the US has only read 6 of the books on this list… on “average”, that is!  I am an avid reader yet I have shied away from many of the classic “must reads” over the years. I was curious to see just how many of these books I had read over time given an education that featured a pretty hefty dose of Literature studies over the high school and tertiary years .

I thought I might flick through the list and highlight those titles I have read (or can remember having read)….just for the hell of it!

The titles  emboldened are the one I have read. The italicized comments are just that – comments!

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible (yes, I had an attack of reading this and decided it was all too much! Some time later I acknowledged that I as deep down an atheist.)
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell (I feel I may have read this… but can’t remember!)
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (Some of them… most of us for whom they were required texts at school)
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams (and all the rest of the books in the series!!)
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne (and all the companion books)
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Forty one isn’t a bad total… there are titles there that are on the to be read list….I should review this list in 12 months and see whether I can cross a few more off!

These little wonders have been circulating the world through our postal system much to the bemusement of the post office workers.  I have been teaching the fundamentals of making these quick postcards at CraftAlive shows for a couple of years now and prompted by the postings of a fellow blogger, I decided to give these an airing.

postcards_1In the three shown above there are a variety of techniques used – captured thread with machine embroidery, fused applique with freehand embroidery outlining and captured found objects.

In order to make a card that will survive the rigours of the postal system, it is important to ensure that you use the stiffest possible iron on interfacing TWICE… some techniques I have seen described have suggested cardboard as a stiffener but if your card happens to get wet whilst in transit, it is unlikely to survive.

postcards_4A Christmas postcard with a difference can be created using fussy cut pieces of fabric fused and over stitched onto a backing fabric…a simple project for a beginning stitcher!

I use heavy duty “Heat ‘n Bond” for fusing…. again, the stiffer the better! This is a stiffer grade than that normally used for applique in quilting. For writing the address details and the message on the reverse of the card, I use a Zig Millenium fine line pen size 05 in brown and I always heat set my message for permanancy by pressing with a dry iron.

postcards_2When “capturing” found objects or threads, I use a layer of black bridal tulle – the finest and the softest I can find!  I know it is about three times the price of normal netting but the difference in the quality and the result obtained make it worth while….. and you can get a significant number of postcards out of a metre of tulle when the cards themselves are only 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ big!

postcards_3This is a great way to use up left over bits and pieces of fabric…. with one exception, each one of the butterflies on the above card were missing bits of wings and were unsuitable for the task at hand….by layering those bits, the missing bits were disguised and a card created.

Get out your scrap bags, piles of threads and yarns, ribbons and braids, glitz and glitter, favourite embroidery threads and get stitching!  Surprise a stitching friend today with a fabric postcard in the mail.

Recently I experienced my first exclusively paper crafts show both as a customer and a worker…. and like every good customer, I spent some money on some stuff!

The funny thing is I have had no interest in paper crafts of any sort until the advent of ATCs or Artists Trading Cards.  I was introduced to the concept by my great friend, Sonja Cogdell – who shared with me her wonderful exchanges of tag books, cards, treasure boxes and assorted goodies.  In case you are wondering, ATCs are 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ in size.

Yesterday I decided to get all the bits and pieces I had collected and decided to have a play…..


This is one of four cards I am making for the Man …. and I plan to set them into a frame on a background of bike images …….but then again, maybe that is a bit “pie in the sky” for me!


More of the Man’s collection….. discovered that some of the things I acquired to use have their challenges when photographing the end result – the shine on the carrier tape reflects in the flash!!!!


Just loved these reproduction Vintage nude sheets so I acquired a number of them to play with – further aged effects can be achieved by very lightly sanding back the edges and the surface with a little sanding tongue tool I found on the Collections stand.


The burgandy/black matts I have used to work on here are part of a great range of ATC products available from  They also include these wonderful card “frames” and are available in a wide range of colours.


Another trap discovered when takings pics…. the metallic finish of this frame glared badly in the flash!!!

Ah well… all these things are a learning experience!!!  One thing I have discovered about myself when working like this….I am a messy sod!  I managed to get glue and ink and stuff everywhere!  I don’t really mind, however, as I had fun (and isn’t that what it is all about???)

I was saddened today to hear of the sudden death of June Kelly, patchworker and friend.  I met June about 15 years ago through Essendon Patchworkers and continued my association with her through the Monday Runaways and The Loft Network.

June Kelly

June Kelly

June made many contributions to the charity quilts project run through The Loft Network and was an active participant in our block exchanges, Round Robin Quilts and Birthday Blocks exchange.

There will be more than a few people out there with a little piece of June’s fabric, talent and love in one or more of their quilts. Many organisations have benefitted from her contributions including Tweddle Baby and Maternal Care Centre, Bone Marrow Donor Institute and the victims of the Trentham fires.

My favourite memory is the laugh she gave us all telling how she picked up the bits of her finger she had managed to slice off with a rotary cutter and walking herself to a neighbour to ask that they get her a bandaid…sensibly she was taken to hospital and her finger beautifully repaired so she could be back to her beloved applique as soon as possible.

In more recent years, I have not had the chance to see much of her but have always been pleased to hear of her latest exploits from mutual friends.  I knew her as a caring and giving person of her time and energy – she was always helping out her less mobile neighbours and friends.

Vale June.

I know I am Australian and this is the wrong time of year for snow here…but I couldn’t help but think that to have some snow falling about the blog would be a little bit of fun….;)

It is the Silly Season after all!


You can do this too if you have a WordPress blog…..just follow the instructions here….its too easy!

There are some iconic Australian photographs which Aussies instantly recognise as “ours”.  There has long been a debate about whether photography can be considered art – such debate will go on in the future, no doubt. However, Max Dupain’s Sunbather for example is to many, more a work of art than just a snapshot.


Rennie Ellis was the consummate “happy snapper”… his pictures captured moments in time without staging or artifice and they remain enduring images of the times.  Many shots, like the one above entitled “Sharpies”, were of ordinary people in ordinary places doing ordinary things.


Others captured iconic personages – like the fabulous shot of Bon Scott snapped back stage in Chicago trying really hard to look taller than the girl he was face to face with (almost!).

Looking at some of his celebrity work, he could have been accused of the same type of photojournalism we see these days carried out by the papparazzi…however, Ellis was known, liked and a part of the celebrity crowd he captured on film.  There was no malice or ulterior motive in his recording of their lives or actions.

His was a complex and layered body of work that will reveal more as time passes and can be more critically assessed.  Rennie Ellis captured the spirit of a people, its time, its place.  His was Art.

This exhibiton is currently at the Ian Potter Gallery, NGV, Federation Square, Melbourne. It runs until February 22, 2009.

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