Sunday, 7 September 2014

Looking for Spring

It's difficult to believe that winter has finally departed, in theory at least.  In fact it's still hanging around and bringing along its friends, rain and wind.  However, if you look hard enough there are delightful pockets of the new season to be found and yesterday we set out to discover a couple of them.

After a soggy walk through the city we arrived at the pop-up gallery where our daughter Maz's paintings are on exhibit, along with some other talented artists.  We were greeted by lovely the gallery director Emilya Colliver who delighted in advising that all Maz's painting were sold and indeed there was a waiting list for new paintings.  Emilya champions emerging artists and her vitality and enthusiasm shine through.  If you are in Sydney you can catch the exhibition which runs until 14 September.  Details can be found here.

 Why not make a day of it and take in the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes at the Art Gallery of NSW?  

Earlier in the day we took our annual pilgrimage to David Jones in the city to take in their annual Spring Flower Show which is always the best way to get the spirits soaring.

This year the theme is The Enchanted Florence, celebrating the renowned artist Florence Broadhurst.

The display did wonders for us.

The iconic pianist was there to greet the visitors with his cheerful smile and amazing reservoir of tunes which he can choose from at the drop of a hat.  

Of course, the merchandise blended beautifully with the surrounding floral displays and I was hoping to return today to relieve them of a handbag or two.  But we didn't win Lotto.

Thank you David Jones for making us all feel a little younger.

And thank you to our daughter for making us feel so proud.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Goodbye winter

You could not imagine two more differing days if you tried.  Yesterday (Sunday) was a perfect late winter's day; cloudless skies, temperate weather.

Which was just as well, as we gathered for a family lunch to celebrate my brother's birthday.  

The boys amused themselves reading and drawing, waiting patiently for their favourite food ...


In contrast, Saturday began for us at two in the morning when loud hammering invaded our bedroom.  It transpired that our apartment neighbours had a wee problem with their plumbing which necessitated the emergency services of a plumber. With a big hammer.  You can imagine how thrilled we were to discover a few hours later that we were the recipients of their excess water.  

At least it prepared us well for the day ahead, which included joining our granddaughter's cheer squad for very soggy netball semifinals.  Thank goodness for the pop-up coffee vendors who kept us warm on the inside at least.  I felt so sorry for the poor little pets playing their hearts out in such atrocious conditions. 

Available here

 However, it was perfect weather for sewing.

And here
Spring will be arriving in a week (doing the traditional End of Winter Dance of Joy) and I will be busy between now and Christmas with new stock for the summer months ahead and for the Christmas season.

Image: Sara Sprague

Bring it on!

Monday, 11 August 2014

New life

Three weeks from today it will be spring in Australia.  I wish I could say that you can feel it in the air, but with today topping 12 degrees Celsius, I would have to be the eternal optimist to make such a declaration.

Images: Sara Sprague
 But new life abounds, with the trees budding up ready to burst into blossom, and an adorable new baby who is as beautiful as her big sister.

And of course, she loves wearing Hot Fudge.

Wonderful family memories were made yesterday when our grandson was confirmed.

Which meant a special afternoon tea.

With gifts.

And a cake decorated by the boy himself.

 "I think I went a bit heavy with the green, Granddad."

Aunty Maz may have a painting hanging in the Art Gallery of NSW, but how cool is it to have one of her Roadkill drawings on the kitchen blackboard.  Priceless.  And to top it off, thirty-nine years ago today our son was born.  So many happy memories.

Image: Sara Sprague.  Dress: Hot Fudge
Good days, and better days ahead when spring finally puts in an appearance.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

A night at the gallery

Little did I think as I held our firstborn baby that one day I would see her art work hanging in the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

But there she was last night at the official opening of the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes.

And there we were, soaking up the atmosphere, sipping our champers and celebrating with Maz, our son-in-law Nathan and their friends.

Note:  My camera threw a hissie at being taken out on such a cold night and became quite temperamental. It produced blurry images and half the time took video shots when decidedly not asked to do so.  This is what really happened:   

Along with about 1,000 of our close personal friends, we listened to speeches from officials and politicians, buoyed by even more champagne and Matt Moran catered food.

At last we were invited to view the art works and the rush was on.  Artists and celebrities mingled with us mere mortals as we entered gallery after gallery of paintings on view for the first time.

The Wynne Prize was taken out by Michael Johnson (r) who was suitably chuffed with his win (no pun intended).  

Another entry in the Wynne which caught the eye.

It was difficult to get close to the Archibald winner Fiona Lowry's haunting portrait of architect Penelope Seidler.  It was a popular win and looks so much better viewed in reality than it comes across on the web.

The Sulman Prize was taken out by Andrew Sullivan with his wonderful entry T-rex (tyrant lizard king).  Do you notice what a gracious person I am, considering he was in competition with my daughter?

What Death Leaves Behind
I was so happy to finally meet an artist I have admired, Jason Moad who flew up from Melbourne with his wife Peggy to attend the opening.  His beautiful painting was quite poignant - I loved it.

We took one last look at our daughter's entry before braving the winter winds to drive home.  If pride is one of the seven deadly sins, then I stand guilty.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Secret # 2

Oh, the relief.  Ten days ago our daughter Maz Dixon contacted us with the exciting news that she had been selected as a finalist in the 2014 Sulman Prize.  However, we were sworn to secrecy until the official announcement from the Art Gallery of NSW which has now happened.

Of course we are bursting with pride, as it's the second time she has been a finalist in the Sulman Prize. This is a major event in the Australian art scene and the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes will be on exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW from 19 July to 28 September.  I will try to keep my cool when I visit the gallery.  I can't promise, but I will try.

Secret # 1

Can you keep a secret?  Well, I've been sitting on two of them for a couple of weeks now and I've been very, very good.  At last I can reveal one of them here and the other will have to wait until later in the day.

Images: Justine Whiting
Eleven days ago I was lucky enough to be selected as a pattern tester for a new design by Tie Dye Diva.  There were over 250 applicants, so I felt a little chuffed to be one of the 22 chosen.

The Coral Dress and Top is the first in the new Diva Collection and it's a really versatile pattern.  I made the dress length in size 9/10, using mainly Kaffe Fassett fabrics which had been sitting on my cutting table waiting for the appropriate inspiration.  I tend to drool over Kaffe fabrics and procrastinate, but their time had come to be cut.

The bodice is completely shirred, making it so easy to fit all body types.

It's the middle of winter here in Sydney, so my model (who also happens to be my granddaughter) kept in perpetual motion to ward of the chilly temperatures.

What a trouper.  Mind you, she had just returned from a week in the snow, so she considered the Sydney temperatures to be fairly mild.

I will be featuring the dress in these fabrics in my Etsy and MadeIt shops towards the end of the month.  If you would like to pre-order, details can be found on my Facebook.  

Sunday, 8 June 2014


I love Tuesdays, because it's the day I run off and play with my quilting friends.  That's the way it was for the many years we lived in Queensland and so it continues here in Sydney.

This week we had a special visitor, Maru of Material Girls Down Under who brought along lashings of fabrics, notions and all sorts of quilty things to tempt us.  I didn't really need any more fabric, but my eyes lit on two half-metre pieces of the most adorable soft pink fabric adorned with little chicks and they somehow followed me all the way home.  It happens to me a lot.

This is my flavour-of-the-month pattern and I knew it would work beautifully with the chicky fabric.  

The bow is detachable, so it can be removed before the dress is laundered.

Sadly, there was only enough fabric to make one dress and it's ready to ship in size 12-18 months here.

The first Saturday of every month gives me a double dip at quilting when the Sydney SCQuilters get together at a local watering hole.  It's always fun, noisy and full of laughter.  You can take a look at our antics here

 By the way, the pattern for this dress is by Tie Dye Diva and they are having a sew-a-long commencing tomorrow (Monday).  

You will be making a sailor dress and if you would like to join in you can read all about it in the Tie Dye Diva blog post. There are two versions - one in girls' sizes and the other for babies. It should be great fun and you will learn so much. 

On the other hand, you can let me do all the hard work and buy it from my Etsy shop. or my MadeIt shop.