Monday, 29 December 2014

151 unread blog posts???

Hi there, everyone, I have not completely disappeared out of the blogosphere but so much has been going on over the last few months and barely anything had to do with quilting!

As I had written in a previous post, I have accepted a job in Australia, so for the last few months we have been busy getting ready for the big move across the ditch (as we here in New Zealand tend to call the Tasman Sea separating us from Australia). Both DH and I resigned from our jobs, we packed up the house (well, actually the movers did it for us TG!) we found a rental in one of the western suburbs of Brisbane and on 18th December we arrived in Oz. It all sounds a lot less stressful than it was at times, 2 trips for me to Australia in Oct and Nov topped off by a trip to Germany for DH in Dec amongst the usual madness of family, school, work, conferences etc.

We have left our NZ place with a property manager and tenants which gives us options for the future. For now we're quite happy with the suburb we have chosen though the house is smaller than our NZ place and we'll definitely miss the pool. At this stage I won't have a sewing room either but with the container still a fortnight or so away there is plenty of time to come up with some creative ideas. Being in walking distance to shops and schools is a novelty for us, and even the office is less than 7km away and easy to get to by car or bus.


We have already stalked the local Ikea (how I had missed shopping there!) and DH has already suggested I might want to go and check out the quilting shops:) We're definitely missing family and friends but at this stage it's still a great big adventure. Today we finally got phone and internet hooked up hence the mention of 151 posts I had unread in my Feedly in just 10 days without proper internet!

The lovely Suz from All the Good Ones are Taken has suggested a Trans-Tasman Challenge using Vintage Revival - can't wait for my sewing stuff to arrive! (I yet have to get me the book, too lol). Looking back over the last few months there's been little accomplished on the sewing front, still some more to do on the Tokyo Subway Map and I haven't started anything new. However, I entered Uni{que}versal and Spring Fling at our local P&A Show and received 1st and 3rd place (I think?) respectively.

DH is cooking tea, the boys are enjoying being back online, so there's little else to do for me but to wish you a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I will try to check in more regularly again in 2015!
Mstr10 & fluffy cat - in need of a haircut!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Big move...

... coming up for us. I have been offered a very cool job in Brisbane, Australia, starting in January, and we have decided to accept it. So the big move is on!!!
If anyone has any suggestions about
  • how to move and stay sane
  • reliable and reasonably priced moving companies
  • 'nice' suburbs and great (state) schools in Brisbane
  • 'must connect with' Quilting groups and shops in Brisbane, as well as
  • any tips and tricks for moving from NZ to AUS
please send them this way, we will need all the help we can get :)
Not much sewing going on I'm afraid but lots of sorting out, packing up etc....

Hope you are more productive than I am! Happy Sewing!

Monday, 1 September 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

The lovely Suz from All the Good Ones are Taken - quilter, neighbour and friend - has asked me to join her in the Around the World Blog Hop. It's been a long time since I have taken part in a blog hop, so let's see how we'll go:

1. What am I working on?
I haven't done much lately, but I have out both the Tokyo Subway Map quilt that still needs more echo swirls as well as Whakapapa I for which I have a lot of ideas but not found the time and 'muse' yet to continue on.
Tokyo Subway Map - WIP - 2013 - 2014

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I like to design my own pieces, but I usually only make one of a particular design - it's a bit like "been there, done that". Often I use bright colours:








I love batiks though they can give me grief with quilting at times due to the tight weave. Lately I have been doing a lot of heavy quilting on many of my pieces. Quite often I have a purpose and finished size in mind and work from that. While some projects develop over time, sometimes I just know what it needs to look like.

3. Why do I write/create what I do? 
I have always liked creating things. I like the touch of fabric, maybe that is one of the reasons why I struggle to buy material online? Quilting is 'me time', it gives me a chance to create, to play, to simply have a good time :)

4. How does my writing/creating process work?
I don't often work from a pattern nowadays - recent exceptions include Spring Fling and Tokyo Subway Map.
Springfling 2014
There is usually some kind of spark, sometimes a Challenge theme like "free" or "ten" from the AQC in 2013 and 2014, 
Uni{que}versal 2014
or just an idea like Against the Odds,
Against the Odds 2011
or something I have seen like Whakapapa I
Whakapapa I - WIP - 2014 (apologies for the poor quality photograph)

which was inspired by our trip to Germany in 2013. Sometimes I know straight away what has to happen, sometimes a piece will sit for a long time before inspiration strikes. I have yet to completely abandon a big project. Suz and I often laugh how size is one of the starting points for me (she takes quite a different approach :D). 

Thanks for joining me for this Blog Hop! To continue it I have asked Rona from Layer upon Layer and Bente from I like to Quilt to hop on next week - please check out their posts on 8 Sept!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Time out over lunch and some contemplating

I took some time out over lunchtime today and DH and I went to the concert of the Royal NZ Navy Band. It was absolutely fabulous and brought back dear memories of our time (a long time ago) playing in our concert band back in Germany. The band did really well catering for the audience of mainly school children, music, entertainment, fun, engagement and at 1h just long enough. As our sons' schools were not taking classes there, DH went back to grab Master 9 and is currently enjoying the repeat of the concert.

As an ex-musician and music teacher I am quite sad that children in our area rarely have the opportunity to hear such music life, also that learning musical instruments happens only in pockets, esp. when you look at instruments beyond recorder, ukulele, guitar and drums. I sometimes wonder if I am denying my children some opportunities by not exposing them to more different experiences, though often it is just too much of an effort to get them there.

Despite the prevalence of online learning and ubiquitous access to knowledge, are we creating a society that has a very narrow view of the world and the limited skills that go with that. What price will we pay as a society for not passing on skills and knowledge beyond what is in their immediate surrounding? How can we expose young people in rural areas to 'what they don't know'? How can we ensure we are not limiting them to the point where they are denied certain pathways - pathways of personal growth, enjoyment and for future job prospects?

(Cross-blogging this post to thebelbird.blogspot.com)

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Rain, rain, go away...

Term break and the weather in the first week has been atrocious! We've had a massive storm that has left roads and country side flooded (just google "Northland storm flooding 2014" to see some of the pictures...). We ended up with no power for 72h from Tuesday night to Friday night. Thank goodness it wasn't too cold (though we ended up borrowing a gas heater on Friday - that's what you get when you build a house with heat pumps and no fire place lol). Our freezer had a sleepover at Suz' place who got power back before us, our oldest son had a sleepover at Oma's (who had power and wifi ;D) and the rest of the time we just got on with things. We had access to plenty of water with 10,000 gallons in the water tanks but carrying it inside in buckets is not that much fun (incl. water for flushing the toilet...). In the aftermath of the storm we are dealing with road closures and detours, but overall our family are just fine, much better off than some other people.

As I am not a friend of handwork I didn't get much done last week - I seriously got tempted to take it up I can tell you! I have made up a little since, let's hope the power stays on :)

Here are some pics of Fireworks which I finished and washed at the end of June; as this is a UFO from 2012 (??) I will share this also on Sew It's Finished:

 

 

 

 

Tokyo Subway is getting there, still quilting endless echo spirals... I won't bore you with pictures that are just more of the same. I think I might have about 2/3rds done now.

I am getting a bit restless with quilting this big beast, so I have basted and SIDed Spring Fling. Using some polyester batting for the loft (and because I still had it on hand lol) it is waiting to be quilted further now. I might try to imitate the quilting on the original.

It's fairly puffy looking as you can see :)
My apologies, I had pinned it upside down so I flipped the photo which looks a bit strange now (at least to me!)
Weekend before last I needed some instant gratification type - combine that with a colleague leaving at the end of the month this will be heading her way:

Remember the lovely coaster Suz gave me for Christmas? I used the same pattern :)
Here is my coaster for Di :) Hope she'll like it :)
So that's me all caught up - I think? What's happening in your neck of the woods?

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Pottering along

There's somehow not much exciting going on in my quilting life, so I struggle to post! It's no like I'm doing nothing, but nothing much worth sharing I feel....

The Tokyo Subway will need weeks of quilting until it's done:

Basted stage from a few weeks ago

All coloured subway lines are quilted, plus approx. 1/8" black line around all of these lines. I have quilted some of the white 'stops' but I am mainly concentrating on the black echo swirls in the background.


And here is a shot of the back (please excuse the lack of focus).

This flimsy is completed and waiting for the right inspiration to proceed to the next step:


Fireworks is in the ‘bury threads' stage - not much longer I hope!

And that's about all my quilting accomplishments at the moment!

As you would expect, many waking hours are taken up by work (I read an interesting article today about work-life integrationg rather than work-life balance where in the latter somehow work and life mutually exclude themselves, while in the former you can arrange your work around life - hmmm). A few accomplishments from there to share, though, an article which includes an interview with me about Minecraft in the classroom has been published in Education Aotearoa a few weeks ago, and I have just been asked to contribute to a similar article in a different magazine; I passed my Google educator certificate last weekend (and now have set my sight at the Google Teacher Academy in Sydney in September - anyone interested in billeting a slightly crazy quilting e-learning facilitator from New Zealand???), and I will present two sessions at the ULearn Conference in Rotorua in October.

Can't wait for winter to be over, I can't stand cold/damp/grey weather brrr - and all those socks on the washing line really irritate me ;). What is going on in your part of the world?

Happy Sewing!!!



Sunday, 11 May 2014

Split Personality :)

My quilting persona is not coming out much lately, it's all just the BeLchick (my e-learning persona)! A quick catch up:

In the Easter holidays we spent a week in Queensland - blue sky, sunshine, temperatures around the 30degC - my perfect climate! It was a holiday for the kids, we went to Movie World, Sea World, Lone Pina Koala Sanctuary and to Wet'n'Wild and Australia Zoo twice. We travelled in a large camper van with sufficient space and with aircon - it was great!

The second week it was back to work, I spent 2 1/2 days away for the GAFE Summit in Auckland, and then in the first week of term I headed back to Auckland for two days of meetings.
In this whole time I haven't been in any quilting or craft shop (though we passed Ikea in Logan City, south of Brisbane, several times).

Every now and then the quilting persona manages to sneak out: While I'm still stitching on the binding for Fireworks, I just had to piece something else, an instant satisfaction project:

The pattern is free from Sew Kind of Wonderful (http://sewkindofwonderful.blogspot.co.nz/2014/05/spring-fling-freebie.html). The use of the Quick Curve Ruler is recommended, however, with the moral support of some quilters on Facebook I found the lid of my Slowcooker served as template for the curves:

The fabrics were all in my stack, I had a vague idea to make something pink some day. No idea what it will be when it's finished, we'll wait and see!
Hopefully the quilting persona will come out again before next month...

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Still here!

Just a week a later and I'm still here! Maybe on the account of a slightly lighter work week? I just quickly wanted to share some pics with you:

- Fireworks has progressed one step, binding strips are cut ready to go:



(It's a generous queen size, so you see 'To the Power of Four' underneath on my superking sized bed)

- Middle DS' iPad Mini has a new 'home': His request was for crazy applique style bag with ribbons etc.

 

As (also) requested it says his name on one side and awesome on the other (though the last 'e' disappeared a bit in the binding). Still need to get rid of some thread ends...

- My MacBook no longer has to share a bag with the Chromebook:

FMQ circles with echo swirls around it. Velcro for the closing, a left over piece of ink coloured batik for the binding.
- Teddy has all limbs attached again ;)

Youngest DS has now requested not one but two bags lol: One for my iPad which he uses at home, one for the Chromebook at school (at their school they each have a Chromebook each from y4-6 to do their school work, all paid for by the parents though we live in a low socio-economic area :D yes, they are one of the schools I work with so I am obviously biased). The Chromebook actually has a really sturdy bag already, but he doesn't want to miss out when his brother gets something :)

What is next? Basting Tokyo Subway quilt and then start quilting it. I would have lots of other ideas but need to find time to really think and get started...

We played our two concerts last night, that was lots of fun! Now that I'm in a bit more playing shape again it's sad it's over - have been talking with a few people if we can keep practise going... Watch this space...

On the house selling front nothing has changed yet, so we may stay put for a while yet. Day light saving has ended last night so we're up bright and early - will have to head to the shops to fill up that Colouring in Bag and the rest of the bucket so we're all set for Batons up at school next week.

What's happening in your neck of the woods this beautiful autumn weekend?

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Dropped off the face of blog land

Wow, that's just mindboggling, 6 weeks of no blogging and more or less no sewing??? It's about time I give a bit of an update!

1) Uni{que}versal was NOT accepted for AQC. That in itself is alright (though of course I am disappointed), but as I have blogged about it vefore, I won't be able to enter it elsewhere - bugger!

2) Fireworks is close to finished with just one more border requiring pebbling; while I like the resulting effect, I am not pleased with some of my travel stitching - and I am quite over quilting a large quilt, too! I'll have to wash it and see what it looks like then.

3) I have all my bits and bobs together for sandwiching and quilting Tokyo Subway Map, just need to make a start.

4) As you might have seen over on Suz' blog (All the good ones are taken), major fundraising going on at school this year, I made a colouring-in book & crayon bag for a little person, now I just need a book & crayons and some Easter eggs to be ready for Batons up next month.

5) While I haven't started yet, a teddy needs his leg re-attached, middle DS needs a little pouch for his iPad Mini and my MacBook needs a bag, too, hmmmm


While (and because) my work takes up most wake moments, we have made the hard decision to sell our paradise in the country and move into town:
Reality is that mother guilt is biting very hard, my children don't get to do sports or other outside school activities or even just go to friends because their mother woukd have to take them - and I have no time. They can't walk anywhere from here, they can't even get home from school on their own (no bus for one and a 4km walk along a busy highway without any footpaths for another - too dangerous). Now that I have gotten my head around it I am actually looking forward to the idea of walking to the park or a cafe, however, it's been on the market for a few weeks now and there hasn't been any serious interest yet. Four more Open Homes to go (meaning we have to go out every Sat & Sunday...).


We are having some fun though, too, I am playing a bit of music again! A local musican and photographer has organised a 'Meet the Mozarts' concert for next weekend and working towards that has been heaps of fun.

With the usual autumn (sniff, summer is truly over...) gluttony, I have bottled peaches and will start on the feijoas soon. And DH found some Mascarpone mix at the supermarket, so I might even make some of that :)
And in only a few short weeks we'll have a family trip away;)

Work has been stressful and fun, it's been great to extend myself in various ways (content, ways of delivering, size of audience etc.). I'm getting myself involved in more forms of 'blended delivery', e.g. I presented online last weekend for TeachMeetNZ as part of the Festival of Education (live-streamed and recorded). While I can't stand the sound of my recorded voice, I'll dabble in that some more, might give you a taste of it some time;) (for my e-learning blog, visit thebelbird.blogspot.com). I've also been interviewed for an article on Minecraft in 'education Aotearoa'! So that's all very cool, there's two conferences next term I would like to be part of, too. I'm very good (!) at self-doubt, so being given these opportunities and receiving positive feedback has been good for my ego and hopefully for further job prospects when this contract finishes at the end of the year - does nothing, though, for MOTHER GUILT!!!

Plans for today? Well, I better finally get up and check that the house is in a ready state for open home (it is clean thanks to Donna!). Washing etc., organise somewhere to go this afternoon (Suz, are you home???). I'll pull out some fabrics for the bags (probably after teddy surgery). What is going on in your part of the world?

Happy Sewing!