Archive for the ‘Quilting’ Category

Paducah – the rest of the days (a bit late)

May 14, 2014

I love the title of the last post:  Paducah – Day One!  As if I was going to have time to blog every day that we were there! LOL

We had a great visit, and saw lots of friends. Here are a few pictures from the rest of the event.

I finally got to see the Tentmakers of Cairo in the flesh. My friend Jenny Bowker discovered them and has done such a great job introducing them to the world. The work is stunning.

I finally got to see the Tentmakers of Cairo in the flesh. My friend Jenny Bowker discovered them and has done such a great job introducing them to the world. The work is stunning.

This is Tarek Abdelhay, one of the Tentmakers of Cairo, working on a new piece, surrounded by curious applique-rs.

This is Tarek Abdelhay, one of the Tentmakers of Cairo, working on a new piece, surrounded by curious applique-rs trying to figure out how he does it.

We attended a wonderful lecture by Philippa Naylor about her life as an award-winning quilter.

We attended a wonderful lecture by our friend Philippa Naylor about her life as an award-winning quilter. Yes, that’s her award-winning quilt behind us.


A quick visit with Sue Patten - who inspired the writing of "You Can Quilt That Out".

A quick visit with very popular longarmer Sue Patten – who inspired the writing of “You Can Quilt That Out”.

That night, we attended the Ricky Tims night. It ended with the most incredible wall of his quilts, filling the stage!

That night, we attended the Ricky Tims night. It ended with the most incredible wall of his quilts, filling the stage!

We had a great weekend.  Then we drove back to Delaware to continue our own touring.  More about our adventures later…..


Paducah – day one

April 24, 2014

John and I have a week off between our gigs in Fallston Maryland and Dover, Delaware.  What to do, what to do?  Well…. we could drive for two days and get to spend two days at the quilt show in Paducah!

So we did.  Via my cousin’s hospitality in Columbus Ohio (where there were no leaves on the trees), we had a very pleasant drive back into spring here in Kentucky (where the leaves are fully out – all in one day!).

We have found (with Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry’s help) a B&B a few blocks away from the quilt festival (thanks, Caryl!).  It is amazing to be right in town with everyone else.  The last time we were here for festival was 10 years ago, and we had the RV. People book even the RV parks a year away and available accommodation is very rare for those of us who can’t plan that far ahead.

The first thing we did was wander over to the Bryerpatch to thank Caryl for helping us out.

Bryerpatch Studios

Bryerpatch Studios

This is a purpose-built two-story building that Caryl designed to be part retail, part residential house, and part studio.  The main entrance leads into the retail part, and the main floor is mostly quilt shop and gallery space. The moment we walked in, someone approached us and asked if we’d like to take a guided tour of the house, which was just about to depart. Of course!

We entered a door to the private area – a living room open to the top floor, with huge ceilings. There were quilts and paintings on the walls by other artists whom Caryl admires.  The way up above was a trompe l’oeil ceiling with blue sky and clouds, and a soaring bird.

The ceiling of the living room.

The ceiling of the living room.

If you know Caryl’s work this is so appropriate.

We moved on to one of the biggest kitchens I’ve seen in a house. Caryl does retreats in the building, and this would be action central for much of the non-quilty action.  During the floods in Paducah a few years ago, I believe there were many many meals made there for the community who had lost power.  Everywhere, there were little tasteful collections of cool things.  I loved the gekkos on the wall of the kitchen.

Kitchen gekkos

Kitchen gekkos

Artists have such cool houses!

We then moved upstairs, where there is a huge working area, a few bedrooms for retreaters, and office space. First, a visit to Caryl’s stash.

Paducah Caryl's stashThis is the most organized stash I’ve ever seen!

Her studio has lots and lots of light, a huge design wall and everything like power cords hanging from the ceiling so that people (including her) can’t trip over things on the floor.

Three sewing machines ready to go, plus a system of clamps to hold the quilt suspended as you work.

Three sewing machines ready to go, plus a system of clamps to hold the quilt suspended as you work.

There’s a large floor space available for squaring up quilts, with a huge cutting mat for the task.  The design wall was wonderful.

Design wall and part of the squaring off area

Design wall and part of the squaring off area

We emerged downstairs again into her gallery area.  And there was Caryl, amid her 30 quilts for 30 years exhibit.

paducah caryl and cathy

She and her husband will be packing up this entire building and moving it to Port Townsend WA very soon after the show closes.  The building will be taken over by Paper Pieces (the English Paper Piecing template company) when they go.  If you are anywhere near Paducah during this week, I would highly recommend visiting Bryerpatch, and taking the tour.  It was fascinating to see how a professional quilting studio, designed by a thinking person, turned out.

We checked in very briefly at the entry to the show, and got ourselves accredited for the next two days of our visit, but it was too late in the day to see anything. We did see on the schedule, though, a Big Show by Eleanor Burns that night, so we decided to attend.

The last time we were here (10 years ago) was in similar circumstances – we had driven for 2 days from Virginia so that we could attend Eleanor’s 25th anniversary celebrations. She had asked to use my song “100 Ways to Hide Your Stash” as part of her presentation.  I had no idea what she would use it for – and that’s why we had to come to the show.  I was absolutely delighted when she aired the MUSIC VIDEO for the song!

This is now her 35th anniversary. It seemed appropriate to go.

It was very well attended with all her fans from over the years.  She proceeded to present a 1 1/2 hour trunk show with videos and quilts and lots and lots of stories.  It was hilarious!  She even played the video again!  We were sitting off to the side, but in the front row, and she actually spotted us (didn’t know we would be there) and introduced me to everyone.  It was delightful.

So that was our first day at Paducah.  Whew!  Two more to go…..



Satellite Beach Florida and Morgantown WV

April 5, 2014

We’re in sunny Florida, finally!  Enjoying the warm weather and the relaxed tempo of things here. Our first gig was at Seaside Piecemakers in Satellite Beach.  We were last there in 2005, and were very much looking forward to our return, and singing some new songs for them.

We stayed with our friends Patty and Clay, and thoroughly enjoyed our visit (complete with watching an Eagles concert DVD!).

wv patty and clay

The guild meeting was in the recreation centre of a gated community – a large room, that doubled as a theatre.  They were about to open a new play, and we got to perform on stage amid the set!

Seaside Piecemakers meeting

Seaside Piecemakers meeting

We loved our return visit. Thanks, everyone, for the standing ovation!

The next morning we rose early and headed north along I-95 for a two-day drive to West Virginia.  I played for the first time in WV last June, when they had their big quilt show in Summersville.  I had a great time, and was thrilled when they wanted us to return and sing in Morgantown (yes, this is the same Morgantown that Joni Mitchell wrote about! You can listen to her song here.) This time, John was coming with me.

The drive was uneventful, even though we were travelling straight north.  It’s still winter in large parts of the continent, and we were hoping to avoid snow (that’s why we tour south first!). So far, so good.  I made sure we stopped at the New River Bridge on the way. It had been recommended to me last June, but I missed it somehow on the drive back to the airport. It was worth the stop.

New River Bridge

New River Bridge

This bridge is the largest single span bridge in the world, and the second highest bridge in the USA. We didn’t quite have the energy to walk all the way down to the second lookout, but this was good.

While we were stopped, we went into the gift shop for a cup of coffee.  There, I saw this amazing sign:

We don't call 911

“We don’t dial 911” in rusty metal – with a gun hanging underneath!

I wonder who would buy this?

It was great to see so many familiar faces when we got to town.  It hasn’t been a year since I was last with these women, and I remembered them well. In addition, I had a couple of surprises with students from last time bringing their completed quilts to show me!

Sue just has to finish the quilting and binding on her Notan.

Sue just has to finish the quilting and binding on her Notan.

Gitta's Notan is all about a tree, a bear, and a UFO!

Gitta’s Notan is all about a tree, a bear, and a UFO!

What fun!  And it was great that they finally got to hear John’s “Quilter’s Husband’s Lament”, which they missed last time (because he didn’t come with me).

It was all good.  Until we woke up the next morning to start the 2-day drive back down to Florida.

Morning, Morgantown!

Morning, Morgantown!

It turned out okay, though – we kept to our schedule and the temperatures got warmer as we got further south.  But that first 100 miles or so was pretty serious driving through falling snow and slippery slush!

When we were in Morgantown, I noticed my throat was getting a bit scratchy.  I told John I thought I was coming down with a cold. I started thinking  healthy thoughts, drinking lots of water and taking extra vitamins, hoping that it would all go away….


April 5, 2014

It’s been a busy tour so far, and it’s high time for me to let YOU know what fun we’ve been having!

We visited a very close friend in Fort Worth on our way to Houston, and she had a surprise waiting for me.  Last time we visited Martha, I had my “fractured mock mola” quilt with me (I called it “Shattered” and it was in the gallery show in Victoria).



I made it with four fat quarter sized Mock Mola pieces, using hand dyed fabrics, then I sliced them up and interspersed them using a technique I learned about in the book Fabulous Fractures by Brenda Esslinger.  I’m thinking that this might be a new class, and was happy that Martha loved this quilt and wanted to try the technique with her group. I wrote out the instructions and they gave it a go.  The day we were there was the Reveal Day!

Not all of the quilts turned out, I must say. I will be re-doing the writeup to provide pictures of the work in progress, but one of them was terrific!

Charlotte made hers with shades of grey, and finished the edges.

Charlotte made hers with shades of grey, and finished the edges with satin stitching.

I think there’s a future 2-day class for this, just working on it (and of course I’ll need permission from Brenda Esslinger)!  What do you think?

From Fort Worth, we headed down the track to Houston and a concert and class.  Before we arrived, Barbara had gotten in touch to talk about her molas from Panama, which she had collected many years ago.  I was most interested in seeing them.  She’s made a couple into pillows, and framed another couple.  They were gorgeous, and in perfect condition! I’ll be teaching a couple of hand mola classes on this trip (in Wellsboro PA and Plaistow NH).

Barbara and two of her molas

Barbara and two of her molas

Our performance at the West Houston Quilt Guild was great – they gave us an enthusiastic standing ovation!  We are selling lots of songbooks on this tour – so many that we’ve run out until we get to Ontario.  I guess we underestimated….

This is what John sees when we're doing a show.

John’s view during the West Houston show.

The next day we drove up to Cypress (we sang at that guild a few years ago), and I taught a class at Quiltworks for the guild.  It was the first time I’ve been in the shop, and I’d recommend it if you’re in the area.  As a teacher, it was a great space to work in – especially the fact that it easily fit the 20 students, and there were twice as many comfy rolly chairs as we needed.  That meant that the teacher got to sit down when she was consulting with each student!!! A rare and wonderful thing.

Mock Mola class at Quiltworks

Mock Mola class at Quiltworks

I am teaching this class a lot during this tour, but I’m never bored with it because everyone has such different ideas.  Here are a few of the beautiful pieces made that day.

FL houston mm class swirls FL Houston MM class salmon FL Houston MM class flower

It was a great visit to Houston.  We’ll be back, y’all!

Now, onward to Florida.

The Truth is out there….

March 17, 2014

Our stop in Tucson Arizona was great.  We sang two shows to one of the largest guilds we’ve visited: the Tucson Quilters’ Guild. They have two meetings, and the smallest one was over 100. The next morning, there were closer to 200!

The morning meeting was full!

The morning meeting was full!

For the next two days I taught classes: the first was Mock Mola.  Lots of great ideas. I’m just going to put some of the pictures up here so you can see their lovely work.  You’ll notice a couple of two-colour ones, which turned out well.

Saguaro cactus

Saguaro cactus

This is not a tree, but another desert succulent - I just don't know what it's called!

This is not a tree, but another desert succulent – I just don’t know what it’s called!


Vortexes, having fun with holding it up!

The next day I taught a Notan class.  This is always great fun – we play with paper in the morning, then choose one of the designs to turn into a quilt in the afternoon, using Mock Mola applique.

On paper - I love the lines on this one.

On paper – I love the lines on this one.

Scissors and thread

Scissors and thread, and a secondary star design in the middle.

A 2-way symmetrical notan.

A 2-way symmetrical notan.

Elegant lines on this 4-way symmetrical leaves piece.

Elegant lines on this 4-way symmetrical leaves piece.

This is a completed quilt, done in class.

This is a completed quilt, done in class. Gorgeous fabric!

Another finished piece - totally symmetrical.

Another finished piece – totally symmetrical.

Another lovely fat-quarter sized quilt, all done in class.

Another lovely fat-quarter sized quilt, all done in class.

I have a dream of doing a large-ish wall hanging using Notan designs, and quilt-as-you-go technique.  When I get a minute…..

We are now driving towards our next gig at the West Houston Quilt guild this coming week. On the way, we decided to stop in Roswell New Mexico. Just because we’d never been there before, and because it’s so famous.  I figured they’d have a UFO museum there, and I wasn’t disappointed!

Live Long and Prosper!

Live Long and Prosper!

It was worth the $5 admission.  Not necessarily a museum for young folks, because there was a lot to read – testimonials of friends and neighbours of the rancher who, in 1947, found the debris from the flying saucer on his property. Military and government officials who attested that evidence was messed with and replaced, that there were 3 bodies of aliens – one of which was still moving when they found it!  It was really interesting.  Not sure I’m convinced, but that doesn’t matter.  Unfortunately, the film was not operating, so all there was to do was read.  Oh – and take pictures of the cool aliens with the UFO over their heads that lit up and SMOKED once in a while!

Take me to your leader.....

Take me to your leader…..

The exhibits had pictures of crop circles too, and had a nod to the skeptics.  It was fun – especially the gift shop (where they had golf balls, water bottles AND guitar picks with the alien face on it!).

One part that seemed quite tasteless and un-kid-appropriate was this: The Alien Life Form Autopsy Room.  (In this picture, Mom motioned for the little boy to go and stand in front, so she could take a picture of him with it! Ewwww….)

Alien Life Form Autopsy facility

Alien Life Form Autopsy Room in all its glory

And obviously they’ve been doing fundraisers in Roswell – with horses.  This one is plastered with newspaper articles about the UFOs and the “crash” in Roswell NM.  Odd, yes, but at least it’s in the right museum.

Roswell horse plastered with UFO newspaper articles

I would recommend this museum. It’s a hoot!  Next time you’re going through Roswell New Mexico.

Leaving home and our first gig in Roseburg Oregon

March 5, 2014

Before we boarded the ferry in Victoria to begin this tour, I had time to visit the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria to see the retrospective of Carole Sabiston’s work.  She is a famous fibre artist in Victoria, and it is the first time I’ve seen so much of her work together at once.  She uses collage in fabric, and often secures her creations with a fine layer of tulle overtop to hold everything together and add texture.  Her work is stunning.  If you should be anywhere near Victoria in the next month, you need to visit this show!  It is open until April 28th.  Here is the link to find out more:

The start of the show.

We spent the night with friends over in Sequim (pronounced “Squim”).  Sue had taken my Mock Mola class a while ago, and look what was hanging over our bed that night!

Sue Nylander Mock Mola

Sue’s Mock Mola piece and a couple of African masks

The Umpqua River runs through this valley in southern Oregon and Roseburg is nestled on its banks amid mountains and beautiful scenery. The call themselves the “Timber Capital of the Nation”.

We performed two shows for the Umpqua Valley Quilters’ Guild here, and had a fine time!  Pam introduced us by saying they had been trying to get us to sing for them for years, and they were delighted to finally be able to present us.  We drive through this part of Oregon a lot, and we’re happy to learn of another wonderful guild in the area. They have two meetings a month,  yesterday evening and this morning, with a membership of just over 200. They also invited lots of people from the community to each meeting. We really enjoyed singing for both meetings.

Last night was a smaller group, held in the local Arts Centre. Having just left home and my own gallery show, I was delighted to see art on the walls of the meeting.  We had a lovely time with everyone – they really “got” “You Can Quilt That Out” (the single professional longarmer in the audience hadn’t heard the song before) as well as John’s “Quilter’s Husband’s Lament”.

Then we got up early this morning to sing for a much larger group at the Garden Valley church.  It was a haven of Cathys:  the first three people I met were all named Cathy! I was really impressed to see the monster quilt that they’re making this year for Block of the Month. It includes LOTS of paper piecing, and each and every quilt will be a masterpiece.  Here’s the work in progress (WIP) on the floor of the meeting:

Umqua valley quilters block of the month

Umpqua Valley quilters guild block of the month

We were set up by 9am and started singing soon after.

John all set up at the Umpqua Valley Quilters’ Guild

I love it when people tell me stories at our shows. At this guild, two people told me stories that I have already written about: The Duck Neck quilt in Skagway Alaska, and the Panguitch Quilt Walk in Utah!  I love both of these tales, and I’m happy they do too.

We headed out of town early afternoon, on our way south and west to the California coast.  On the way (when the road wasn’t too twisty) I finished off my latest two Mock Mola class samples.  These will be sent off tomorrow ahead to guilds that I’ll be teaching for on this tour.  I love making these little fat-quarter sized quilts: they’re fast and easy, but you can do so much with them!

This one's called "Tic Tac GO"

This one’s called “Tic Tac GO”

This one is "Subway Ceiling" - not a great name. I'll take suggestions!

This one is “Subway Ceiling” – not a great name. I’ll take suggestions!

The temperatures have warmed up considerably from home.  We actually saw 20C today!  Time to peel off our winter jackets and long sleeved sweaters and turn our minds to spring.  There are huge numbers of flowering trees down here and “random acts of daffodils” blooming on the side of the highways. It’s always amazing to see spring progress before your eyes on a drive like this.

We’re on our way to spend a couple of days in the San Francisco area before we start heading east. We’re hoping for some clear skies tomorrow as we drive along the California coast south to the Bay area. Our next gig is next week in Tucson Arizona. I hope I can keep updating you with regular blog posts on this tour – there are some very busy weeks coming up in April and May, but I’ll do what I can.  I’ll be teaching lots of both Mock Mola classes and Notan classes, so watch for what my students will be making soon!

Till next time…

Article in the Victoria Times-Colonist

February 24, 2014

Last week I did a very enjoyable interview with my local newspaper.  Mike Devlin was reporter and he “got” what I do immediately – I think the fact that both his mother and grandmother were active quilters had a lot to do with that!

Darren Stone, the photographer, came over and took a picture of me in my studio/guest room (sitting on the bed, playing guitar, surrounded by quilts).  It all looked good.

The paper came out yesterday morning and, alas, a major “oops” happened.  Somehow, someone transposed my name to “Cathy Smith” throughout the article!  (At least it was consistent.)  My close friends are now calling me “Ms. Smith”.  I can handle this – as long as they don’t call me late for dinner! LOL

It’s a really good article, and they have now corrected the online version to my real name.  In the paper, it was an impressive full-page article all about ME!  But it looks better online, because the picture is in colour.

You can read it yourself here:



Refractions: Mud Brush and Needle show opening

February 21, 2014

Last night we opened my first gallery show.  A year an a half ago I challenged myself and two friends to each create 10 pieces on the theme of “Refractions”.  Last night we showed the results of that challenge to the world (or, to at least 50 people!!!).  Here are a few pictures from the night.

The show will continue until March 4th at the Cedar Hill Arts Centre in Victoria BC.  Opening hours are the same as the Recreation Centre (in the same building) – meaning, usually, 6:30am to 10pm except on the weekends when it’s 8am to 9pm.

Before opening, with the food ready to serve!

Before opening, with the food ready to serve!


With my quilting and doll-making friend Linda Danielson.

With my quilting and doll-making friend Linda Danielson.

People started arriving just before 7pm.  In this picture, I’m chatting with friends.  In the foreground are Eileen McGann (in blue/green) and her partner David.  I used to sing with them both in a band called Trilogy.  Eileen is the “brush” part of this show – wonderful paintings.

Refractions Peter & Cynthia Woods Tom Croft

I met a new friend: Nancy and I have a mutual friend in Canberra – it was the first time we had met. Love how small the world is these days! We are standing in front of the last quilt in the series for me – I finished it two days before we moved into the gallery! It’s called “Eucalyptus deglupta: Rainbow Gum” – wonderful bark on this tree.

Nancy and I have a mutual friend in Canberra - it was the first time we had met.  Love how small the world is these days!

It got quite full in the room – we estimate over 50 people showed up during the 2 hour opening reception!

Refractions opening people

The couple who had the most challenge getting to the show were Donna and John – they were on the Victoria Clipper,  the big catamaran from Seattle, when it was turned back due to high seas (very windy day).  They had to travel up to the Tsawwassen (BC) ferry by bus to get to Victoria!  (Ah, the joys of living on an Island!) They made it, but only just.  Donna is a follower of my Facebook page and blog, and she has figured out how to do both Mock Mola and Notan through my comments here. She brought two of her quilts to show me!

Refractions Donna Carley and notan quilt

Donna’s stunning Notan-inspired quilt started with a rectangle, ended up as a hexagon.

Donna's Notan and Mock Mola quilts.

Donna’s Mock Mola quilt, with lots of added threadwork and top applique afterwards.

It was interesting to hear what people had to say about the work.  Everyone seemed to have a different favourite, and some people really surprised me in what they liked.  I have my favourite, as well (but I’m not telling!).

I’m very sorry that I won’t be able to bring any of these quilts to show audiences on our upcoming tour around North America. The show is closing two days after we leave…. But next time, whatever doesn’t sell will become part of my trunk show.

We’ll be going to Oregon, Texas, Florida and up the Eastern Seaboard of the US right up to Nova Scotia on this next tour.  Then across to Ontario and Wisconsin on our way home.  If you’d like further details of our travels, or to see if we’re coming anywhere near you, please check out the Touring Itineraries on my website.

All in all, it was a great evening.  Having an art opening is very different from doing a performance.  At an opening, all your work is already done – and you can even have a glass of wine at the event!  The three of us will be in the gallery during the following hours, if you’d like to come and visit. (Sorry, no wine though…..)

Sunday Feb 23: 10-12 Eileen McGann (painter)

Tuesday Feb 25: 10-12 Cathy Miller (quilter)

Thursday Feb 27: 10-12 Louise Parsons (potter)

Tuesday March 4: 10-12 Eileen McGann (painter)

Right – back to work now! I have some class samples to make before we leave!

A bit of excitement, and nervousness!

February 14, 2014

I’ve been quiet on the blog lately – that’s because I’ve been having so much fun!  We got back from Australia via a week-long visit to the Big Island of Hawaii (to celebrate a Zero Birthday – AUGGHHH!) last week. I immediately left for my annual quilt retreat, where I started the last quilt I need for my upcoming gallery show.  It’s going well, although slowly.

Herewith is your invitation to come and see what I’ve been working on for the last year and a half. You won’t see these quilts on tour for a while, but you could fly to Victoria BC (a beautiful place even at this time of year) to see them all hanging together! We hardly have winter here, so don’t be daunted by weather.

This is a challenge I’ve issued to two very good friends: Eileen McGann is a painter, and Louise Parsons is a potter.  In the last year and a half, we have each created 10 pieces loosely relating to the theme of “Refractions”.  It’s going to be beautiful and exciting and – yes – daunting, all at the same time!  This is the first time I’ll have put prices on my quilts to sell to complete strangers.  Wish me luck!  If I sell enough, I’ll be buying a new Murphy bed for my studio/guest room!

Refractions Postcard web final

If you can’t make it, I will be putting up pictures of the opening next week.

Our Australia Travels to date

January 16, 2014

Greetings from Geelong, Victoria, where it has been in the mid-40C temperatures, sunny with thunderstorms, and everyone is mad for tennis.  Before that, it was cricket.  We continue to see lots and lots of friends in our travels, and have taken pictures of us with them, but I won’t subject you to them here. Suffice to say, this trip is living up to all our expectations.  Having loads of fun, and drinking lots of GREAT wines! (They sure know their wine here – so many great wine regions.)  This will be a very long post.  Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

We have, so far, spent a week in Darwin, a week in Perth and environs, a week and a half in Adelaide and now we’re driving (slowly) back to Sydney.  Haven’t had a lot of touristy experiences until yesterday. I’m going to show you a few of my favourite scenes from the last month:

I loved seeing all the "Christmas Trees" in bloom in Western Australia - this one down near Dunsborough, WA

I loved seeing all the “Christmas Trees” in bloom in Western Australia – this one down near Dunsborough, WA. This tree is nuytsia floribunda.

Once we got to South Australia, we headed out almost immediately to spend the weekend at a beach house in Cape Yorke with friends. It was cool and very windy, and we had an interesting walk on the empty beach, chasing after hats and sunglasses and sponges we found.

Three kinds of sponges

Three kinds of sponges

We also found sharks’ eggs.  They are scary looking twirly things, and you’d walk right by one if you didn’t know what it was.

A shark egg

A shark egg

It was still very cool and windy, but we took a short drive down to Innes National Park to see a shipwreck John had photographed many years ago.  There wasn’t much left of it to see, but we really got into some fierce winds there!

John holding on so he won't be blown over!

John holding on so he won’t be blown over!

This is what the coastline there looked like.  There are lots and lots of shipwrecks along this coast – no wonder, if it blows like this very often!

The view towards Cape Spencer in Innes National Park

The view towards Cape Spencer in Innes National Park

Just as we left the park, we got a very close-up encounter with an emu who was on the road ahead of us.  We were going very slowly, which is good. They certainly are odd looking birds! We were advised to keep an eye out for emu babies, but didn’t see any.

Close encounter with an emu

Close encounter with an emu

We got to see a lot of friends in Adelaide during our time there.  One was Cathy Lanio, who had a sign I wanted to steal….

Two Cathys

Two Cathys

From Adelaide we spent a couple of days south in the Victor Harbor/Goolwa area.  It’s very relaxed here, lots of holidayers and retirees. The wind had died down and the sun shone and everything was good! There are some quilters there, of course, too! Our friend Carol pulled out some show and tell – an unfinished hexagon quilt she made while recovering from surgery.  The hexes still have their templates – medical catalogues!  Carol is a nurse.


Show and tell.

Show and tell.

We walked out to the barrage at the mouth of the Murray River, where the seawater is kept out of the fresh water river. Hundreds of pelicans – my favourite large bird – fishing at the outflow.

au pelican at goolwa


A quick overnight visit to Victor Harbor – I love this artpiece in the downtown there.  In the right season, you can spot Southern Right whales off this coast. In the wrong season, you have to settle with this!

Whale Tail in Victor Harbor

Whale Tail in Victor Harbor

We’re driving now, from Adelaide back to fly out from Sydney, so I expect more touristy opportunities.  We’ve driven the Great Ocean Road a couple of times before, so that’s not going to be on our list this time.  (But if you haven’t done it yourself, it’s HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – one of the most beautiful drives in the world.)

We stopped in to see our friend Mary-anne Rooney (yes, the one from the song “One Stitch at a Time”) on our way through Bendigo.  From there, a quick stop in Castlemaine to have coffee with Jasmine. She told us of the quilt she spearheaded for her local library, with lots of help.  She asked everyone to make their favourite book in fabric, and then put it all together.  It’s great – and with lots of detail, it really draws you in.  Teacups, bookends, a clock, and some great books: there’s so much detail in this, it’s fun to explore.


In Castlemaine with Jasmine and her library quilt.

In Castlemaine with Jasmine and her library quilt.

We are now in Geelong, just southwest of Melbourne.  The temperatures have topped 46C (what’s that, 115F?), and there are bush fires that have been started from dry thunderstorms. Last night the skies opened here with lots of lightning and 34 bush fires were started last night alone. It doesn’t cool things down much, though – we’re expecting to see +44C today again. Although they are no longer in serious drought here, it is summer and it’s always dry.  At the same time, the Australian Open Tennis championship is on; top tennis players from around the world are PLAYING in this heat!  (And thousands of people are watching it in this heat).

We spent a day yesterday in the City (Melbourne). We met John’s daughter Sara and her partner in Federation Square – right in the heart of the action.  Although the tennis was being played only a stone’s throw away, there were huge screens everywhere with the live action.

Deck chairs and umbrellas for the tennis on Federation Square.

Deck chairs and umbrellas for the tennis on Federation Square.

We spent most of the day in air conditioned comfort – the National Gallery of Victoria has a huge multi-venue exhibit on just now called Melbourne Now. It “celebrates the latest art, architecture, design, performance, and cultural practice to reflect the complex cultural landscape of creative Melbourne”. It was wonderful, and we only saw a small bit of it. The first exhibit was from the Hotham Street Ladies, who create home-like settings (like the VERY messy remains of Christmas dinner, with leftover prawns, cigarette butts and dirty dishes piled up everywhere).  It was very odd to see and I didn’t quite get it – until I realized that almost EVERYTHING was made of FROSTING! Carpets, wallpaper, light switches, leftover pizza – everything!

Wallpaper, light switch and painting, all made of icing.

Wallpaper, light switch and painting, all made of icing.

Even the "crocheted" afghan was made of icing!

Even the “crocheted” afghan was made of icing!

AND the carpet and pizza on the table.

AND the carpet, cushions and pizza on the table.

It smelled wonderful, too….

There were some extraordinary exhibits, and I can’t begin to tell you about all of them. I’ll tell you about three others I particularly loved.  I entered a room hung with many many strands of yarn.  It was full of all kinds of lovely things for children to play with.  In one corner, I spotted a young child with his mother. As he reached out to touch the silvery mobiles around him, they made sounds. If he held them a long time, they sustained. If he tapped them, the music reflected his fingers. It was way cool!

au Children's Music area

Making Music.

I discovered a new artist in the Aboriginal display who is working with old fencing – rusty barbed wire! This piece is called “Possum-skin Cloak” and it is by Lorraine Connelly-Northey. It is huge (about 5 feet tall) and all made with barbed wire and corrugated iron. Check out her other work on her website.

au Lorraine Connelly-Northey Possum Skin Cloak


This next piece is only a detail from a much larger work by Lucy Irvine that sat on the floor as we came up stairs. It is entirely made of black plastic pipes and ties. It ungulates into amazing shapes, and I have no idea a) how someone comes up with such a fantastic 3-D concept and b) how it’s actually done.

Before the after by Lucy Irvine.

Before the after by Lucy Irvine.

I’d like to draw your attention to the tapestry work of Michelle Hamer, as well, while I’m at it.

Whew, this is a long posting!  One more thing we did after the gallery.  Several years ago on another visit, we had a drink with my nephew Dan at the Young and Jackson’s pub.  It’s in a historic building just across the street from Federation Square. After we left, we heard that there’s a famous painting inside, which we didn’t know about, and didn’t see.  It is of “Chloe” (not her real name). She will always be on the wall of this pub, even if it is sold.


Chloe – and us (clothed).

We’ll be spending a few more days in this area before driving east.  There’s an upcoming gig for us on Sunday in Altona before we leave.  We’ll be part of the AIDS Quilt Retreat workshop there at 3pm.  Let me know if you want to attend and need directions.

That’s the end of this very long missive.  Thanks for staying with me, and stay cool.  More adventures to come!

%d bloggers like this: