About Me

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I am a mother of eight and grandmother of four who loves to make and create. Rosemary Hill is the name of our home where we live, work, learn and create together

Thursday 31 July 2008

2006 Tamworth Fibre Textile Biennial

So, I have been trying to post this since Thursday. I don't know if the problems were caused by my computer or blogger. Anyway, it all seems to be working now! Thursday morning we (Mrs 23, grandson, Mr 14, Miss 11, Mr 7 and myself) met some friends at the State Library. Our mission was to see the 2006 Tamworth Fibre Textile Biennial exhibition at the Flinders University Gallery at the State Library. We had been planning to visit the exhibition separately and together for some time, but only got there last week because it finishes this weekend. Ahh! How deadlines make us perform! I heard about the exhibition from The Bird Bath in one of her posts. She loved it, and so did I!!! So many exciting pieces of stitching!!! The Gallery has a no photos policy (aww!), but if you google my title you will find some photos from this travelling exhibition.

This piece which is in the State Library is just beautiful! We are particularly interested in woodcarving at the moment because Mr 14 has just started woodcarving classes. It is something he has had an interest in for a while now. His interest manifested itself initially when he started borrowing woodcarving books from the library. After reading a few he began to start carving with his pocketknife. It would have been at this point that a good parent would have taken him to classes. I waited about six months, but he's there now, so I'm not so bad. He has one more week working on his test piece and then he will need to start his own piece. So the State Library was inspirational for stitching and carving!

The SALA (South Australian Living Artists) Festival started yesterday. This is one festival that I love! I will be off to exhibitions all over the place for SALA. The best thing is that art is everywhere. Cafes have exhibitions, Nurseries have exhibitions (I'm off to Newman's this week), there are even exhibitions at shopping centers. I'm looking forward to lots of inspiration over the next 3 weeks or so! What is the source of your inspiration?

Tuesday 29 July 2008

Freaky coincidence in blogland!

Over the weekend (the way every entry started in my grade one journal) I visited daisy chain and was blown away by her post. She talked about her initial foray into patchwork as a teenager using leftover fabrics from her dressmaker mother. I thought it was freaky because it sounded exactly like me. Visit her blog to compare!!!

This is my patchwork. I started it when coles supermarkets used paper bags and I cut my templates out of their paper bags. I was 14. I used leftover fabrics from clothing that my mother, my sister and I had made. Looking at it is such a trip down memory lane. I see dresses, skirts, shirts, trousers, shorts, and nighties belonging to my Mum, Dad, sister and myself. Sometimes the article of clothing gets mixed up in my mind too. I think, 'Oh! My shirt! Hang on. Was that my shirt? Was that mine or Mum's?' cause I could wear her clothes from the age of ten. Of course, having five daughters myself I have made sure that never happens to me. I am several thousand sizes larger than my girls which ensures that my clothes stay in my cupboard. (Despite the fact that sylf-like Miss 18 claims that we are the same size. She thinks we look identical in every way.)

It's interesting to note that in the late 70's this is what I thought patchwork was. And whilst I was using new fabrics and not recycled fabric, I wouldn't have considered buying fabric just to use for patchwork. Leftovers were the order of the day. My how things have changed! Where did your patchwork addiction start?

Sunday 27 July 2008

Janet Bolton

This is my favourite book from our library. I think I borrow it more than anyone else. It is at my house more than at the library! I guess I really want to own it and one day I will buy it. I never get tired of looking at Janet's work. It has such a feeling about it. I would love to produce work like that. Not work that neccessarily looks like her work (although her stuff is fantastic!), but work that has that feeling about it. It is so very much about the fabric and also memories. I can feel that she creates from memories. When I look at her pictures I not only can feel her memories, but it stirs memories I have of similar experiences I have had.

Okay, I'll admit it. When I grow up I want to be Janet Bolton!

Saturday 26 July 2008


I don't have any photos today. For the last month I have been having computer problems. (Miss 22 - don't worry too much. It can be fixed. Everyone else - what's hers is mine while she's away!) Computer access is just so much more important to me than it was a year ago. I love to check my emails and all my favourite blogs everyday. (Okay, strike the word favourite out! If it's a blog, I'll read it.) So I have been using my Bradley's computer and right now I'm using an Asus Eee. It's a teeny tiny computer that does everything I need! Mr 19 is still setting it up for me, (oh yes! I am soooo computer literate!!!) so I don't have access to my photos tonight. One of the interesting things about using all sorts of different computers over the last month (any I could beg, borrow or steal!) is how different my blog looks on different screens. Everything looks great on my 7 inch Eee screen, but my Pooh sticks post looked terrible on Bradley's computer!

Today we got up early to take Miss 11 to her basketball game. Basketball means we never get to sleep in on Saturday, but we do get to see Miss 11 smile. A lot. She loves to play basketball. I have learnt many things in basketball stadiums over the years. Some of them are even to do with basketball. One thing I know now is that it's generally colder in a tin shed (ooops! Basketball stadium) than it is outside at 8am. It was soooooo cold at Wayville this morning. All the parents were shivering! Some of us were grateful that we weren't outside in the rain watching netball, or football, or soccer. The rest of us were just cold. One of the Dads kept saying, 'I can feel a draft. Can you feel it?' Eventually we worked out that the wall behind us had a series of vents in it. No wonder we were cold!!! I got to stitch while I watched and cheered for Miss 11 and her team.

Miss 11 was most productive today. After her basketball game she worked on her sudoku quilt. She has started piecing it and it's going well. I spent the afternoon tidying up in my sewing room. You know how it is when you can't see your desk! It's hard to be productive under such circumstances, so I figured some tidying was in order. Tomorrow morning we will go to church, (I get to teach a lesson tomorrow in Relief Society) and tomorrow afternoon I will be in my sewing room. I can't wait!

Friday 25 July 2008

Pooh sticks!

Yesterday we were at the Botanical Gardens. One of the kid's favourite places is the SA Water Mediterranean Garden. It has a small 'stream' running through it which is the perfect place to play Pooh sticks. It was one of my favourite games as a child. I just loved the Pooh Bear books and read and re-read them. I couldn't wait for a chance to play Pooh sticks, but of course in Adelaide you really had to wait until it was actually raining to find a suitable stream! First you drop your stick in the stream. If you have a natural stream you have to do this from a bridge just like Pooh Bear and Piglet did.

Then you track the progress of your stick. With a natural stream this usually means you need to rush to the other side of the bridge! (My brother and sister and I always played Pooh sticks across a four laned bridge. This was when we were teenagers ! We would time our drop with the traffic - or lack of it.)
You watch and watch and slowly follow the progress of your stick.
Then you wait for your stick to emerge at the other end. Hopefully yours will be the winner!

Everyone behind you is probably out of the race!
Retrieve your winning stick
And then start all over again. And again. And again. And again. We spent an hour watching these three play Pooh sticks. Fortunately, the stream must be designed for Pooh sticks because there are seats for mothers, sisters and nephews to sit and watch. And we did.

Thursday 24 July 2008

Miss 11's sudoku quilt

When Mrs 24 was 19 she did a design foundations course at TAFE. It covered a little big of everything designwise (fashion, graphic, illustration, multimedia, etc) and taught about the design process. She enjoyed it very much and would come home and take over the kitchen table with her homework. Miss 11 loved to be with her sister and she would 'do' her homework too. Whatever Mrs 24 did, she would do. We used to think it was so cute to see this 6 year old copying her sister and 'pretending' to work. Well, I don't know how much 'pretending' went on because she really understands design principles very well. She also plans and designs everything she makes. Her first step always involves paper and pencils. Last week she designed a sudoku quilt. She loves doing sudoku and whilst in the middle of of a sudoku she was inspired and quickly grabbed graph paper and pencils to design her sudoku quilt. We then looked in our fabric stash to choose fabrics. We decided that we would have to go to spotlight to fill the gaps in the stash. When we got to spotlight we noticed that they had their flat fats on special for $1 each and figured at that price we could buy all the fabric and have a really co-ordinated look. This is what she chose. Miss 11 has made small quilts before, but decided the time was right to make her first bed sized quilt. So she had her first lesson on rotary cutting and cut all the fabrics out. Next is learning to chain piece. We just need to get a day at home to do that! Today we are off to the botanical gardens with homeschooled friends to picnic and then visit a textile exhibition at the State Library. (There's gotta be something fun for us Mums too!) Must go!!!

Monday 21 July 2008


Sorry about the awful photo, it's dark! This is the first thing I have ever bought via the internet. I know! Amazing, huh? I have ebayaholics here at my house, but I'm not one of them. I really love "Cloth Paper Scissors" and have been looking for this special edition since it came out. I hadn't seen it anywhere here so decided to buy it from their website. It cost me the same amount that I would have paid for it at my local newsagent and only took a week to get to me, so I was very happy with my purchase. That's a bit scary. Now that I'm comfortable making internet purchases I will have to be careful. Shopping any time. It's a bit of a worry.

I have had a great day looking at artist's studios and storage systems. Being an artist or crafter entails a lot of stuff. I have been spending this year sorting and organising my house and it's still going on! This is my stitching trolley. I have put everything I need to stitch in or on this trolley. It sits in our making doing room (under a cover) and can go anywhere in the house with me. It holds all my projects and I can quickly grab something from it as I rush out the door to be the taxi for the kids. Being organised makes life so much easier. Hopefully my whole house will be completely organised by the end of the year!

Sunday 20 July 2008


I finished this stitchery today. A pattern by Australian designer Bronwyn Hayes (Red Brolly). I really enjoy her designs. Stitching is portable and is therefore a mother's best friend. I have stitched while the kids were at ballet classes, basketball training and games, ice skating, roller skating, circus classes, piano lessons, activity days, and playing with friends. I have also stitched while waiting at doctor's appointments, dental appointments, hospital appointments, and physio appointments. It is anti-boredom in a box, or bag. I am working on many stitching projects and thought I would make it a priority to finish some in the next month or so. So, first project finished. Now I just need to decide what I'm going to do with it. Stay tuned!

Saturday 19 July 2008


I have spent the past couple of days in bed feeling terrible. Today I don't feel so bad and thought I would get up and be busy, but haven't gotten there somehow. I am dreaming today I guess. I have been looking out of my window. The weather is so changeable. I was looking at the blue sky and thinking just how beautiful it was so I took a photo. About 15 minutes later I noticed that the room was darker and I couldn't believe how grey the sky had become.
So I took another photo. The second photo looks so wintry! I have been doing more than cloud watching. Not much more. I have been organising my stitching trolley. (I am a stitching angel now!) Photos later.

Wednesday 16 July 2008

More scraps

There were more flannelette squares left so I made a second quilt and a drawstring bag today. I have been thinking about bags lately because I have joined Linda's bag/bucket swap. I'm not sure whether I was motivated by the packages I see on other blogs, or whether I am looking for a creative challenge with a deadline.

I also joined Helen's swap. I am now a stitcher's angel. (You may have noticed the button on the side.) It's going to be an exciting swap whether you join in or not, because Helen is going to have free patterns available on the sticher's angel website from a range of designers. These patterns will be available to everyone (swapping or not!). To check it out click on my stitcher's angel button and have a look.

Tuesday 15 July 2008

Waste not.....

I have been keeping flannelette scraps for a long time. I'm not sure what I planned to do with them, but I decided to make a quilt-as-you-go quilt yesterday. I figured that I could make a scrap quilt for my grandson. (Afterall, you can never have too many rugs when you have a baby.)

I started to cut squares without any real plan and ended up with enough squares to make two quilts. The second quilt is almost finished. So far this week has been a sew, sew, sew week and I plan to keep sewing for the rest of the week too. It's still cold and rainy here and my sewing room seems to be the most comfortable room at the moment. Mrs 24 and I had another sewing day today to finish off her fitted nappies. We almost did it too. We just have 3 nappies left to make. We have made all the liners and we want to make some more nappy covers. So, one more sewing day is in order next week.

Sunday 13 July 2008

'Hook, Hook, here's the Hook!'

Although I haven't seen this movie for a long time, I remember really enjoying it at the movies when I first saw it. I very rarely go to the movies because I am a migraine sufferer. There's nothing worse for my head than a dark room with bright flashing lights! But for some reason I went to see this with a 3 year old, a 2 year old and a newborn. Perhaps I just really needed to get out! I was late to pick my 5 and 7 year olds up from school too because it was such a long movie. I loved the grown up Peter Pan. I loved his efforts to fly. He had to think his 'happy thought' in order to fly. It turned out to be his children and he flew. Maybe that appealed to me (as my life was very full of my children at the time!). Ever since I have considered what my 'happy thought' is in different contexts of my life.

My 'happy thought' in life is Bradley and my children and now I guess it includes my grandchildren too, but I also think about it in the context of just being happy. On Thursday as I sewed nappy covers I felt so happy. I really haven't done much sewing of late and was surprised just how much my spirits were lifted by sewing. I love sewing. Really love it. It is my happy thought. It can change the way I am feeling and change my outlook on life. If I could bottle what sewing does for me I could make a million! I just have to sew more often!!!

I decided to make a wall pouch from Tone Finnanger's book 'Sew Pretty Homestyle'. I decided to embroider a rose on it too. I learnt bullion embroidery in hospital when I was pregnant with Miss 11. I had high blood pressure and was hospitalised until she was born. The Women's and Children's hospital had a craft room and it really broke the boredom for me. I chose to make some things I had never done before. I made a teddy bear from fur fabric (which I had never sewn with before) and decorated a bib with bullion embroidery. They had volunteers in the craft room who helped me learn those new skills. When Mrs 23 had her baby we walked past the craft room several times and it was never open. It made me feel really sad.

I am also working on a cushion at the moment too. I love pink and green together. Just so pretty! Hopefully this week holds lots of sewing. I want to be happy!!!

Thursday 10 July 2008

Nappies and Covers (and a birthday)

I copied this photo from Picklesticks. (Who has a birthday today and graduates from being Mrs 23, to being Mrs 24!!! Happy Birthday!!!) With her permission of course! I had to do that because the nappies we made this week are all at her house. (Which makes sense because that's where the baby is too!) My grandson is modelling a fitted cloth nappy designed by Mrs 24. (She is soooooooo clever!) It is made of bamboo fleece. (It's actually an 80% bamboo, 20% cotton mix) Mrs 24 chose bamboo because it is more absorbant than cotton. When she was pregnant she knew she wanted to use cloth nappies and began to research them on the net. I was blown away by all her plans, but she designed the nappies and we have made them (she did most of the work) and I have to say they are quite easy to make. We did go to a shop on Magill road to have a look at what nappies (bamboo, hemp and microfibre) are available ready made and to check out nappy covers. They were wonderful, but expensive, and as my grandson's family are students we figured DIY was the way to go.

This is my first polar fleece nappy cover. It was a snap to make, so I had better go make some more!

Tuesday 8 July 2008

Teenagers and play. (Ready, set, play!)

Remember this? This is Miss 18 last December after a brush with a hair artist at Art at the Hart. Miss 18 is an artist herself and she was fascinated with this hair artist's work. She spent quite a while watching her and just as the artist was about to pack up she offered to do Miss 18's hair. This was the result. Miss 18 was inspired and began collecting things to 'do' hair artistry herself. Miss 16 loves to wear outrageous hair and loves Miss 18 to practise on her. I consider this to be play - teenaged play. Miss 18 plays with hair to create an outrageous 'do' and Miss 16 plays with people's reactions when they see her outrageous 'do'. Yesterday they spent the day at the local shopping centre. If you went to the shops yesterday and saw a teenaged girl with hair sticking straight up, with a bow and butterfly, then you saw my daughter! It is a form of dressing up. My girls love to wear 'costumes', put makeup on and then go out to play! I think that play is important at every stage of life.

Picklesticks (Mrs 23) and my grandson came over today to sew. (He may only be 2 or 3 weeks old, but we believe in starting them young!) We are in the throes of finishing off all the things neccessary for a modern cloth nappy wearing baby. Fitted nappies, nappy covers, polar fleece liners, and flanelette wipes. Sometimes Mrs 23 sews and I hold her precious bundle, sometimes I sew while she cuddles her darling and sometimes we both sew while he naps in his stroller. He is almost completely outfitted now. We think it will take just one more 'sewing day!'

Week of Play (Monday)

I was visiting the bird bath today and came across her kids playing pirates. It looked like so much fun and she said she would be posting about play all week this week and invited everyone to join in. Play is a subject close to my heart and I couldn't resist, so I'll be posting about play this week too. One of the best things about home schooling is the time it gives kids to play. Not that my kids didn't play before we home schooled, but they were always pressed for time. The duplo play shown in the photos is the result of Mr 14, Miss 11 and Mr 7's efforts this morning. One of their favourite games is role playing. It takes all kinds of forms. In fact they can role play with just about any of their playing tools.

I think that my kids are play experts. This is because Mrs 23 (my eldest) has a natural talent for play. Fortunately she also is a natural teacher and imparted this ability to her brothers and sisters. Her favourite year at school was kindergarten, when she was four. She didn't really play with other kids at kindy, she played next to them. She wasn't up to playing with others at that stage. When she was in year 2 she had a teacher who ran an award based program when the kids got to school.Some of the activities were academically based and some were play based. If you completed a certain number of the activities you got a certificate at the end of the week. This ensured that everyone completed some academically based activities, because every kid wanted the reward of a certificate. Every kid except my kid! The teacher encouraged the parents not to organise the kids to do these activities because she wanted them to learn to organise themselves and take responsibility for themselves. So I would watch her play 'home corner' five days a week. One day her teacher commented on the fact that she was in home corner again. I said she always was in home corner. In fact she had never had anything signed off because she spent all week playing home corner. The teacher was incredulous and had to check Mrs 23's book because she was sure she had received a certificate. When she discovered the truth she went to Mrs 23 and said, "Didn't you play home corner yesterday?" "Yes", answered Mrs 23. "So why are you doing it again today?" "Well", explained Mrs 23, "I haven't finished yet!" Now that's a dedicated player! She is still playing home corner with her bloke and her new son. Hey! It's one of my best games too!

It's quite weird seeing size 14 basketball boots next to a duplo house. Mr 14 still enjoys playing duplo (but then again so does Mrs 23! She can't wait for her baby to start playing so she can play with him.) despite being 6 foot 2 and wearing size 14 shoes! More about play tomorrow. In fact, I'm talking about teenage play tomorrow.


In my new sewing room (which is taking a long time to get organised!) I have new pinboards. In my old sewing room I had canite between my bench and the overhead cupboards which was painted the same colour as the walls and was virtually invisible. Canite is so expensive these days that I opted for a collection of Ikea pinboards, which are anything but invisible as you can see!

I thought I might be able to make them disappear a little if I painted them white. I used some watered down white acrylic paint topped with some water-based estapol. The estapol knocks back the white to a very soft white which I like a lot. I have used this method with picture frames in the past. I was really happy with the wooden frames, but the painted cork didn't look quite so good. So I thought about it a lot and decided to staple some fabric over the cork. Don't ask me why, but I needed to think about it for a week before I did it. It seemed very scary! Today (Monday) I covered the first board. It was easy. (Why do I worry so much?) I am very happy with the result.

Progress in my sewing room is very slow, but I'll get there!

Thursday 3 July 2008

the Snap Press

A couple of weeks ago I talked about our 'new' snap press. Some of you (Okay, just comfy cosy!) wanted a photo of my magnificent machine, so here it is! Picklesticks (Mrs 23) did all the research and the actual purchasing of our press, but I chipped in half the cash. (Some might say a small contribution, but not insignificant!) It is heavy! And it attatches the most amazing plastic snaps. They are available in many colours and are very strong snaps. (I was worried about them 'staying on'. No problem. You have to worry more about putting them on in the right place, because they don't come off if you've got it wrong!) I'm in love with it, and I didn't even know it existed until Mrs 23 told me about it! It is so quick and easy to use. Mrs 23 was interested in purchasing one because she wanted to use cloth nappies for her son and wanted to use fitted nappies (for comfort) that she made herself. She has made the nappies and they are beautiful. It's quite possible that neither one of us will ever sew a buttonhole again!

July and jewelery making.

It's July! Time is flying. My computer is on the 'blink'. It seems to have forgotten all about the internet and every time I try to connect it says, "WHAT???". Like that. I have finally borrowed a computer so I can get some very neccessary net-time. Hmm... Sounds like I have gone to considerable effort, rather than asking a family member if I can use their computer. (I'm using Bradley's computer.)

Miss 11 has been making jewelery. She has had all sorts of equipment for some time now, but has just made a few pieces, up until this week. She seems to have crossed some sort of barrier and is now making all kinds of things. She has been borrowing books about beading from the library and suddenly seems to know what to do. Learning is interesting, isn't it?