Saturday, 12 December 2009

Long time, no Post

It's been a long time since I have posted. The creative muse has dried up. Hopefully it is due to the normal end of year chaos.Schools have finally closed and we can settle down to a month's family holiday. I can't believe it is only a "couple" of days until Christmas. Straight after Christmas is New Year and then full steam ahead for 2010. In the meantime, here's to hoping the creative muse returns..... Have a blessed Christmas and a wonderful new year to all who follow this blog.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Spring Fabric Postcard

I have been making fabric postcards again :LOL. It is fast becoming my favourite occupation. This one is for a South African group I belong to. The theme was "Spring". I cut out the flowers from a piece of  Kaffe Fasset fabric I have and "stuck" them on a green background. The free motion quilting is my hearts pattern - "Mom's loving hearts" as my son David calls them. It is the closest I get to quilting leaves at the moment :LOL

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Beach Landscape

I had so much fun creating my fabric postcard called "Construction on Durban Beachfront" that I decided to make a similar miniature landscape.........

This landscape is for sale.

Inspirations and UFO's

Inspirations and UFO's is a strange title for a blog post. Well, they are the 2 most important things on my mind at the moment.

It's a warm Sunday morning where I stay. We have had sun for 2 days in a row now - absolutely awesome as we stay in the Mist Belt and sun is rare in Spring/Summer. A perfect day to finish another UFO. It's amazing how quickly they accumulate and how they clutter up one's creative life. The trick is not to allow UFO's to happen, I think... Anyone have any ideas on how to prevent UFO's from occuring?

As I walk the creative journey and learn more about design etc, it is amazing how I am starting to find inspiration in the smallest things. For example, T-Shirts with stripes are amazing - the different colours of the stripes, the distance they are from each other, the colour of the background etc. Another example is the shape of trees, I am passionately in love with trees and their shapes. Driving the 200kms to my son's school in the Drakensberg mountains is another inspirational trip. By now, those who follow my blog regularly, are aware that I am in love with the Drakensberg mountains. Every time I make the trip, I see new shapes along the way. Depending on the time of day, the cloud cover, the haze etc,the mountains appear to have different shapes. It is almost impossible to document it all.

Oh well.... time to tackle the UFO

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Construction work on Durban beachfront

My previous post was all about my first painted sky fabric, well, I have sliced it up and have used it to make a fabric postcard. I think it came out rather well if I might say so myself.....

There is a lot of construction work happening on the Durban beachfront at the moment. I suspect this is all for the 2010 World Cup.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Fabric Painted Skies

My first attempt at painting "sky fabric" for my landscape quilts. It was scary to start something new that I have never done before but exhilarating once they it was done. I can't wait to slice it up and make a this space for more photos

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Cot Quilts and Roses

Strange title you may say..... I think I have said this before :LOL.

I have finished the top of the cot quilt that is for a gift for a friend. Her baby is about 3 months old now so I'd better get a move on. The three layers of the quilt are pinned and I am busy machine quilting the quilt. I went on a quilting course last monday so have some fantastic tips to help me quilt easier.

The first photo is supposed to show the dark blue striped background while the 2nd photo shows a close up of the detail. When I have finished the machine quilting, I will post more photos

Now for the Roses.... One of our rose bushes in our garden is flowering and the flowers are stunning, the colour the way the flowers have opened, their arrangement on the bush etc... I just could not resist taking LOTS of photos....... I have posted 2 of them below.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Fabric Postcards

One of my favourite things is to make and receive fabric postcards from all over the world. Here is a selection of photos of my latest postcards. Needless to say, I owe everyone postcards, and am late again.....sigh. About better planning of my day.....

This postcard is from a friend who lives in Namibia. The theme was Spring as it's spring in the South Hemisphere.

This postcard is from a friend in Ireland. The theme was "The Sea"

This next photo is from a friend in South Africa. She organises the postcard swop I belong to in South Africa.

Sometimes the postage stamps are just as beautiful as the postcards.

The last postcard in this evening's selection is from another friend in South Africa, You guessed it... the theme is "Spring"

Thursday, 15 October 2009

My first commission

I have been commissioned to put together a couple of memory quilts for a family that lost their 8 year old son to cancer last year. Yippee to the commission but not the family's loss. It is so sad. They have taken family photos, memorabilia from the highlights of his short life and pinned them to a backing. It is my job to take the pinned stuff and make a quilt out of it. I suppose it's a case this space for photos of the works in progress.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Quilts and Plays

One of my quilts is being used in a play. It is being carried on and off at the appropriate moment. It is awesome. I am rather excited.The play is called "Gem of the Ocean" by August Wilson. It is being put on by the Durban University of Technology and the University of Kwazulu-Natal.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The Artist's Way

I am starting to work through the book "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron. I have started it a couple of times before but have never got past the first couple of chapters. Life just runs away.....I really like the idea of an Artist's Date once a week where you get to visit an Art Gallery or any other inspiring place. Am looking forward to the challenge.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Frustrations and Mulberry Bushes

I have just been though a period where I get very despondant and frustrated with where I am going artwise and with life in general. It seems as though my brain decides that the world is going to end tomorrow and I have to be a world famous quilter before then. Sigh....Fortunately it is just a phase and, with the helpof some wonderful friends throughout the world, I come out of the other end fairly unscathed with a new sense of purpose and understanding of myself. Thanks to all my wonderful friends.

I suppose the question that begs to be asked is: "Why does one have to go through emotional turmoil to grow as a person/artist? Can't this insight happen while one is sleeping?" :LOL. I suppose not. BTW, the reference to the mulberry bush in the title of this post is a reference to the fact that one keeps having to go round the same circles of life to learn the lessons of life.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Purple Trip Round the World Quilt

The "Trip Round The World" pattern must be one of my all time favorite quilting patterns. I have just completed the top of a purple double bed quilt. Actually, almost finished if I decide to put borders on the top. I am really not sure whether I should or not. Any comments would be appreciated. Then I just have to add the batting and the backing and machine quilt the 3 layers. Time, Time where are you? I am sure it is a common lament of many quilters.

The next photo is a close up of the centre of the quilt:

Monday, 21 September 2009

Crab Apples

In my travels round KZN recently, I saw a Crab Apple tree in blossom trained onto a wire frame against a wall. It was sooooo beautiful. The blossoms were a delicate pink and white. These photographs are my first attempts at putting together an abstract landscape - my impressions of what I saw. Needless to say, the first attempt was not very successful. The background (first photo) is ok but the wheels fell off the bus when I tried to cut curves in brown fabric to represent the tree (2nd photo). All I can say (embarrassed grin) is "watch this space" for the next version. Hopefully it will improve....

Monday, 7 September 2009

Amazing book

I have just finished reading the book called "A Summer All Her Own" by Roseanne Keller. What a stunning story about a woman who recently lost her husband and the resultant struggle to find herself and her voice as an artist. Well worth the read.

On another note, I am busy re-arranging things at home, trying to find a small corner where I can have a studio - a quiet space without being in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the home.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Nancy Crow Quilting Course

Back from the quilting course in the Northern Drakensberg, South Africa. What a wonderful experience and a huge learning curve. We learnt about lines, shapes and their proportion to the background - how lines form shapes etc. Much like positive and negative space. It is a design course - certainly the most advanced I have ever done.

We arrived at the conference centre on Sunday afternoon, unpacked and started work bright and early monday morning. Nancy did not say much before sending us off to discover the exciting world of "lines, lines and more lines". Our brief was to produce 18 pieces using different types of lines by 9am the next morning (Tuesday). What a journey of discovery, a bit nerve wracking as well. The following is a photograph of one of my pieces from this task:


The following morning we were tasked with doing a piece 4 feet x 6 feet (1.2m x 1.8) using our chosen colour palette and "lines, lines and more "lines". We had to have the piece completed by 9am Wednesday morning for a critique. (Help). The start of my piece.

This is as far as I got.... still a large amount of work to do.

On Wednesday morning we were tasked with making a sampler with at least 7 different shapes from a "C" curve to a "S" shape to a circle. I have not started this as I took Nancy down to see the Drakensberg Boys Choir perform. What an amazing experience. It was totally worth going to see the boys sing especially as one of my boys is in the school. :LOL

On Thursday morning we woke up to the start of the major work - an 8 foot by 8 foot piece. This is what it looked like when I started work. We had about an hour to put the following frame work together and then start working on the detail.


This photograph shows the final detail of the top right hand quadrant - It's all I managed to do in 2 days. My sewing skills need to be radically improved......

The first thing I need to do tomorrow morning is organise myself a design wall and then I can finish these 2 projects. I can't wait..

For photos of the area that I stayed in see the following blog :

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Quilting Adventure

I am off on a quilting adventure - a quilting course in the Drakensberg mountains with Nancy Crow. Not sure if I am excited or just plain scared or both. Should be fun and the scenery is beautiful. I hope to come back with stacks of photos.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Yet more Postcards

Fabric Postcards are wonderful. This is a monochromatic landscape - well supposed to be :LOL of a winter sunset in rural South Africa. Because of all the burning fires, there is a lot of smoke and the sunsets get very red.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Website design

I have just finished building my first website for a client and what is more exciting is that I used a photo of the sea that I took in Mozambique for the background. You can see the website at

Monday, 10 August 2009

Shapes and colours - more tales from an infrequent traveler

Last Saturday, I had to take my daughter to Underberg - a town in the foot hills of the Drakensberg. The winter landscape is awesome. The different shades of brown are amazing. It gives a different shape to the mountains, hills and farmlands than in summer. In summer everything seems to be the same colour green. There is a lot of snow on the mountains - we are having a cold winter this year. This photo shows all the snow on the mountain - It was taken at sunset

There were a lot of bush fires burning. I could not stop to take photos but if you can imagine a round hill with one half brown and the other half black with a red fire line running through the middle of the hill.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

The Creative Journey

Adding to yesterday's post titled "The Journey", my very good friend and author, Elana Bregin, suggested that life is not only a journey but a creative journey. How true....I never thought of it this way, if I could just remember this and learn to take each day as it comes... How much easier life would be.

On another note, I was thinking yesterday that the 2 best things that I have ever bought are my camera and my sewing machine. I am so grateful to have both - they open up such wonderful avenues for being creative. It is awesome to be able to take photos and then use them in my quilting.......

Monday, 3 August 2009

The Journey

Life is about the journey - the process along the way. Now why is that so difficult to's about taking each day as it comes and doing the best you can for each day, not worrying about the rest....So simple when you think about it, but so difficult to implement (well, for me at any rate)

Monday, 27 July 2009

My own Fabric Postcards - more

Making and receiving fabric postcards seems to be becoming a major topic of this blog. I love making them and receiving them, especially from other parts of the world. I have make such wonderful friends throughout the world through quilting, especially exchanging postcards.

The deadline for my first South African postcard exchange is the end of July. I used the trusty photo of the Aloe as the centre of the postcard and did a Crazy Patch design round the photo. I am not sure it looks good - the colours of the crazy patch might overpower the photo....

Monday, 20 July 2009

Memoirs of an infrequent traveller

We went travelling last weekend - no too far but far enough to satisify my wanderlust (and get some stamps in the kids' passports). We went to Ponta do Ouro in Mozambique. It is about a 5 hour journey north of us to the border between South Africa and Mozambique. Because we don't have a 4 wheel drive vehicle, we had to leave our car at the border and were collected by staff from the resort we stayed at.

On the way to the border, we passed the Pongolapoort dam. It is so big that I only took photos of a tiny corner of the dam - what beautiful colours - there were at least 3 different blues in the water.

The next photo is of the main road from the border to the village of Ponta do Ouro.

Dual lane highway?

The local people are very poor and impoverished.... They mainly live in reed houses. We wondered how they stay dry during the cyclone season. We also discussed how much in our lives is really unnecessary clutter. If one looks at how these people live and how friendly and contented they are - we can do without a lot of "stuff" especially in the modern age of instant gratification and our plastic society.

We stayed at a resort called the Motel Do Mar Beach Resort. The apartments were small but clean and functional. The general air of Ponta do Ouro is one of shabbiness and everything is run down. People have been talking about renovating for years after the war but there is still a long way to go.

This photo is of the carved tree at the entrance to the resort.

I was totally fascinated by the way the trees in the resort are pruned - it looks as though they have a mohican hairstyle

The local craft stall where tourists can buy curios. It was just around the corner from where we stayed. The handcrafts were awesome - amazing woodwork and paintings etc

The kids spent most of their time on the beach. They hired body boards for the day and spent their days in the sea..... We went for long walks on the beach and just relaxed and took about 1000 photos. I even pulled out my new needlepoint work but did not get very far. I saved the knitted for the travelling.

There are a lot of stray dogs (African Village Dogs) who live on the beach. That was heart breaking. I wanted to bring the one puppy home but would not have got the puppy across the border without the necessary documentation.

All in all, it was a wonderful experience and I'll go back anyday......

Sunday, 12 July 2009

My travels - the advantages of quilting

This morning I went to the Midlands Meander, had breakfast with a friend and stopped off at Piggly Wiggly (see earlier post) for a cup of their famous cappuccino with chocolate mousse on top. I actually went to borrow a dog cart from a friend and took my baby Schnauzer with for some socialisation. One thing I am noticing is that I am more aware of shapes of "stuff" ie hills, mountains, trees etc as I drive. Learning about Design and Design techniques is teaching me to become more aware of my surroundings. It is awesome - wonderful to see all the Aloes next to the road, the shapes of the mountains, trees and the rivers, dams and waterfalls as I drive. As an aside, the reason for going to Piggly Wiggly was to socialise the baby Schnauzer. :LOL - she did get to look at lots of children playing and making a notice etc and I had a wonderful drink.

Concerning family matters, My son at the choir school was nominated as Chorister and Smiler of the week. I am so proud of him.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

My own Fabric Postcards

Today I am making my fabric postcards and am hoping to post them off tomorrow morning. I can't post any photos yet but as soon as my friends have received them, I will post a photo of them. The first 6 are very the production line is running. I have discovered that I LOVE making landscapes big or small.

Friday, 19 June 2009

My FIrst Landscape

I am in the process of making a framed landscape. It is about the size of an A4 page and is a gift for a friend (for her birthday) who loves Africa as much as I do. The African tribal dog in the landscape is a photo of her beloved dog that died from liver complications when she was 2 years old. I took a photo of the dog, printed it on fabric and cut it out. The mountains in the background are the beloved Drakensberg mountains. It's the view from my son Ben's school in the mountains. This mountain is called the Rolls Royce because it looks like a car. I added the Aloe in (again a photo printed onto fabric and cut the aloe out) just for the winter effect. The aloes are in full bloom at the moment. The photo below is the fabric put together - I still have to fuse and stitch the pieces together and then frame it.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Sleeveless Pullovers

I seem to be posting about everything except quilts these days..... not sure if it is a good thing but anyway..... I finished 2 sleeveless pullovers this week - they were both started last winter but I ran out of time to finish them. Now my whole family wants a sleeveless pullover - they are ideal for keeping chests warm in our climate. It does not really get cold enough to wear jerseys but is too cold to just wear t-shirts. So... it's 2 down, 3 to go. I am almost finished the back of the 3rd sleeveless pullover.

This is David's sleeveless sweater.

My Sleeveless pullover:

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Bronchial Pneumonia - Advantages

An old Sage once said that you should find the good in all circumstances. Well..... below is a photo of the advantages of having to lie in bed for days (it took a long time to see this advantage :LOL) - sorry sometimes my sense of humour pops out......

Friday, 12 June 2009

Fabric Postcards

The 2nd fabric postcard came in the post yesterday. I am like a child in a toyshop with an unlimited budget. Have a look at the photos - it is so awesome. The butterflies are beautiful. I LOVE it.

Thanks to everyone who is taking the trouble to send postcards to then southern tip of Africa. Yippee......

BTW - a head's up to everyone who is expecting postcards from the Southern Tip of Africa, they are in the process of being made - watch your postboxes. I hope the Post Office does not send them overland by ox cart though :LOL

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Aloes and more Aloes

It's winter here in South Africa and the Aloes are flowering. They must be my favourite plants. They come in all shapes and sizes....... I think I should print them on fabric and cut them out to stick on a, just to gather some energy to try... maybe tomorrow morning

Monday, 1 June 2009

Completed UFO's

I have 2 completed UFO's, Yippee, well almost..... The top of the memory quilt is together - just have to pin, quilt and bind it.

The Needlepoint called Morning Glow is finally completed and framed. This has been the most intricate needlepoint canvas I have ever worked on.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

My First Fabric Postcard

On Friday afternoon, my first fabric postcard ever arrived in the post. Yippee. It's beautiful. I LOVE it. It is of the Canola fields new Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. See photo below.... It's a real postcard made out of fabric and sent to me with a postage stamp on through the normal post. Things don't happen like this in Africa. It's amazing.....

Saturday, 23 May 2009

UFO Day again

The monthly UFO day has come around again - my time does fly. I have almost finished all my strips for the memory quilt - am just short 4 photos. This morning I cut the fabric, soaked it in the Inkjet Set Solution, hung it up to dry, am ironing the freezer paper to it and will be printing soon, Yay..... I am also busy with a brightly coloured sampler of a few photos of my kids. I LOVE working with bright fabrics. I will be printing all the photos onto the fabrics this evening.

Saturday, 16 May 2009


I saw a chameleon the other day......what a wonderful experience. They are like "hen's teeth" due to the destruction of their natural habitat. The local people are also very superstitious and believe that seeing a chameleon will bring bad luck so they kill them if they can.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Landscape Quilting workshop

I have been at a Valerie Hearder landscaping workshop for the last 2 days. It was awesome, so stimulating, yet relaxing. I learnt so much - new ways of matching fabrics and looking at fabrics through new eyes to produce the most amazing landscapes. The photos below are of the 2 completed landscapes - one is still in progress

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Easter Saturday Travels

This morning we went up to the Midlands Meander - about 100kms from where we stay......It was a good break - went to the Groundcover Leather Company to collect a pair of shoes that were resoled and I bought a medium leather body bag. Have finally decided I am old enough to have a handbag :LOL

The scenery is absolutely stunning as you meander through the area - mostly sand roads so one you can't drive fast anyway. I saw the most stunning small waterfall underneath a low bridge.....South Africa has the most wonderful scenery.

After all the shopping and driving..... we stopped off for lunch at the Piggly Wiggly Farm Stall. They make the best Cappuchino in the whole of South Africa if not the whole world. It has real chocolate mousse on top. No wonder they won the best Cappuchino in South Africa award a couple of years ago. Scrumptous....