Tuesday, 3 May 2016

My 60th Birthday

Last month was a big month for me because I turned 60! I grew up in a very quiet, conservative family who didn't believe in making a big fuss about a birthday and so parties were a rare event. I decided that if I was going to turn 60 I might as well do it in a big way and I ended up with three parties.

Here are all my birthday cards and would you believe they are all different, who would have thought that there are so many 60 cards although to be fair they didn't all have 60 printed on them.

My children organised a High Tea at The Windsor Hotel for the family the day before my birthday. It was very elegant and I always love it when the entire family gets together. After we had eaten the waiter brought out a little cake for me.

Here is a photo of me with my two daughters and little granddaughter Savannah at The Windsor.

It's not a very good photo of my daughters but I am pretty sure they don't read my blog!

The next day was my actual birthday and I had a luncheon at my place for my friends. I was thrilled that two of my friends from Adelaide came over to be there, it helped make the day very special. It was so much fun to have so many people that I like all in the same room. I wish that I had have thought to take a group photo with everyone in it.

This is what the table looked like before we started eating.

That night the family came over for dinner and my daughter Bec had made me a sewing themed cake. I couldn't believe the trouble that she had gone to, it was delicious as well.

So here I am a woman in her 60's but the parties I had really helped soften the blow and made me so happy. I am so grateful that I have such a hardworking, supportive husband, four beautiful children, a dear little granddaughter and some wonderful friends. I am able to spend my time sewing and quilting and although life sends all sorts of ups and downs, I have a wonderful life.

It was a big week for us because two days later my son graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition. No more children at school, hooray!

AQC, my birthday and Cam's graduation made it a very busy week.
Bye for now,

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

AQC 2016 Part 2

I really enjoyed my day at AQC (Australasian Quilt Convention) this year. I caught up with many quilting friends from all over Australia as well as morning tea with an online friend from the Southern Cross Crazies (hello Claire), I spoke about my quilt in Brenda Gael Smith's presentation of the A matter of Time exhibition, I bought some quilting supplies and I did white glove duty in the afternoon. It was a long day but so much fun.

AQC always have a challenge and this years theme was Tradition with a Twist. As usual all the entries were so diverse, here are some of them.

A Happy Place by Alison Withers won first prize. She had included many traditional blocks in her quilt.

A Happy Place by Alison Withers
Second prize went to Twist'n Time by Christine Dowell.

Twist'n Time by Christine Dowell

Blue Willow by Jennifer Horsfield

Carousel by Yvonne Chapman

Twisting Time by Sue de Vanny

Wedding Wonder by Deb Layt
There were so many wonderful entries, it must have been so hard to pick a winner.

I always appreciate other people's work a bit more when I have tried something myself. I have recently embroidered a nest and was interested to see two quilts with nests in them.

Nest by Julie Haddrick

Nest by Cait Gordon
I loved a quilt from a South Australian quilter Adriana Newton that featured a snowy scene. My photo does not do it justice; it was incredible and quite vibrant.

Snow in Shinjuku by Adriana Newton
The Best of Show from South Australia was by Lisa Maree Davis.

Meeting Michele by Lisa Maree Davis
Pamela Brockwell from Canberra quilters won Best of Australia with her quilt Canzonne Rosso that she made from a Sharon Schamber pattern.

Canzonne Rosso by Pamela Brockwell

Canzonne Rosso detail
I was impressed by this large peacock quilt by Katherine Jones.

Peacock by Katherine Jones

I think my favourite quilt was by Cat Larrea from Alaska.

Clam Chowder part 1 by Cat Larrea
It will be hard to see from the photo why this is my favourite. It was made with little rectangles of fabric that looked like paint brushstrokes, this gave it a water colour effect. I wasn't the only one who liked it though, I was talking to a friend from the Design and Composition course I did a few years ago and she showed me a photo of her favourite quilt and lo and behold it was the same one that I liked. If I ever get some spare time I would like to try this technique.

The talk of the quilt show at AQC was Stevie by Susan Carlson; he was massive and measured 20 foot wide. If you click on Susan's name it will take you to her website where she has lots of progress shots of making this huge quilt.

Stevie detail

Stevie by Susan Carlson
I can't help but notice that most of the photos that I take are art quilts; they are the ones that seem to interest me the most but there were many beautiful traditional quilts as well.

Bye for now,

Friday, 22 April 2016

AQC 2016 - A Matter of Time

AQC (Australasian Quilt Convention) is over for another year. I went on the first day and had a wonderful time catching up with friends, looking at Quilts and of course shopping.

The A Matter of Time exhibition was on display and everyone was fascinated by all the different interpretations of the Time theme.

Here I am in front of my quilt called Life on the Reef.

Brenda Gael Smith curated the exhibition and at 12.30pm each day she gave a talk about all the quilts. They were displayed so beautifully with the colours and themes flowing through from one quilt to the next.

Here are some photos of some of the others in the exhibition.

Songlines by Annie White
Life Cycles by Eileen Campbell
Where does the Time go by Lisa Walton
Time Flies by Sally Westcott
Czech 1410 by Sue de Vanny
And the Wheels go Round by Sue Reid
This is just a small sample of the quilts in the exhibition, you can see how diverse the entries were. Brenda has a catalogue of the exhibition for sale for $20. It features a page for each quilt with a photo and description and techniques for the quilts.

In the same aisle as the Time exhibition was another exhibition by SALT (South Australian Living Textiles). They had to explore the themes of Discovery, Spiritual, Emotional, Physical and Creative. Here are a couple of photos from their display.

Emotional by Julie Haddrick

Emotional by Francie Mewett
Spiritual by Julie Haddrick
I love the way that Julie Haddrick adds shadows to her motifs.While I was admiring the quilts, I saw Suzanne Gummow who is one of the SALT members and was also a tutor at AQC. I took a photo of her in front of some of her quilts.

Suzanne Gummow and her Lotus series.

Here is another of Suzanne's quilts; she loves making quilts that feature vibrant flowers.

Poppies by Suzanne Gummow.
This is just a snapshot of one aisle of quilts at AQC. I took a lot more photos that I will save for another post.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Looking Forward to AQC 2016

AQC (Australasian Quilt Convention) is just about to begin. It is always so much fun and has a very high standard of quilts on display.

One of the reasons that Quilters really love AQC is because all of the shops are designed for quilters in mind, so we don't have to wade through the extra crafty shops.

I have two quilts on display at the Convention this year.

My Life on the Reef is part the A Matter of Time exhibition. Brenda Gael Smith curated this exhibition and is doing a floor talk about the quilts at 12.30pm every day of the Convention. I will be at the talk on Thursday, I am so looking forward to seeing the other quilts up close. Brenda will also have some catalogues for sale.

Life on the Reef ©2016 Linda Steele
My Firelight quilt will also be on display at the Brother stand.

Firelight © 2015 Linda Steele
 I will only be at AQC on Thursday 14th this year because I have to spend all my available time trying to finish my Seasons Quilt by the end of May deadline!

I hope to catch up with many friends, get to do some shopping and do white glove duty with the quilts in the afternoon. It should be a very busy day, but so much fun.

AQC- Thursday April 14th to Sunday April 17th 2016

Venue- Royal Exhibition Building
9 Nicholson Street,
Carlton Gardens

Open 10am - 4.30 daily

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

How to Embroider a Bird's Nest

I wanted to put a bird's nest on one of my spring themed crazy blocks and I wasn't sure how to go about it. I looked at some images on Pinterest but couldn't find what I was looking for and so finally came up with my own idea.

I cut out a little nest shape in brown felt and fused it to my block. You will notice that I added a little circle of black fabric behind it to add some depth.

I started embroidering some straight stitches over the top of the felt while trying to replicate a nest. I wasn't trying to be very neat or even, I was just trying to keep an oval shape.

After I had gone around the felt in a variegated brown thread, I added in some stitches in a couple of other colours to make the nest look a bit more haphazard.

Here is my completed nest, I added three little beads to complete the look.

I was happy with the result; I think any little bird would find it a cosy nest!

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Happy Easter

Easter is over for another year but I always enjoy having the family all together. The weather was fine and we had a lovely BBQ lunch followed by dessert of Easter eggs and fruit. I think more Easter eggs were eaten than fruit!

We started the day with this many Easter eggs but we had much more later on because all the kids brought over eggs as well!

Savannah is 16 months old now and so could have some Easter eggs for the first time. She was given a little yellow bucket of eggs that she carried around all afternoon.

Of course she dropped those eggs many times.

She did eventually get to eat one though.

I managed to get some sewing done on the Monday holiday which made me very happy.

I think that this is the largest template that I have ever made, it is 45" across.

I made it out of freezer paper and then turned the edges with some glue because I want to try and keep it from warping.
Here it is with all the edges turned.

The next thing to do is applique it onto my quilt without it moving out of position too much.

Still, it means that I am one step closer to getting my quilt finished.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Website Update and a quick trip to Adelaide

We had a quick visit interstate to Adelaide over the weekend for an engagement party. Even though it was only for one night it was good to catch up with my brothers and my friend of many years.
Little Savannah is 16 months old now and we loved being able to introduce her to family and friends in Adelaide. It was a whirlwind trip and I can't believe that we could do so much in two days.
Savannah 16 months

Savannah 16 months

 It's been a busy year so far and one of the many things I have been doing is updating my website, Linda Steele Quilts. It is just about right now, just needs a few tweeks here and there.

I love the new Home page with the slideshow of 6 of my quilts.

There is also a page of some of my quilt patterns that I am selling with payment through PayPal. I know that people have been asking for the pattern for my Christmas Crazy but there will be a delay with it because I just don't have the time to draw it up for a few more months. At this stage it might not be available until next year.

There are also easy links to the Linda Steele Quilts Facebook Page and Instagram Page.

What is missing is my Workshops page because I am taking a break from teaching while I try to get my quilt finished and devote time to being President of Waverley Patchworkers, who also have a new website.

I am actually making progress with my seasons quilt, I have finally finished the applique corners and should be able to start sewing all the elements together and start thinking about how I am going to quilt it.

Here is a photo of the Autumn corner with the embroidery added. You can click on the photo to enlarge it.

Please visit my website and let me know what you think or if you have any suggestions to make it better.

Bye for now