Archive for July, 2011

Jul
26

A rainy saturday morning stuck inside with two energetic boys? Yes, I admit I relented and allowed unrestrained bed jumping. Of course it ended in tears. But they loved it while it lasted!

Jul
25

I’ve recently been cultivating a new passion. Making handmade quilts.  I’ve only made two so far, one for each of my boys… but I see a habit forming here.

The fact that sewing is passion of mine came as a huge shock to me. I spent four years of my catholic convent high school education rebelling against the compulsory “textiles” & ‘home economics” classes we were all corralled into attending. I wanted to learn how to carve wood using a lathe or bend bits of metal into god know what. My peers at the local state schools had equal opportunity to choose carpentry or metalwork, but my all girls school was still stuck in the 1950s! Gosh, it made me so mad and our poor teacher, Miss Butcher, I’m afraid bore the brunt of my teenage “equal opportunities” angst.

Fast forward 15 odd years and I’m standing in a bookshop in Chatswood. I love books and bookshops. I love the smell of them, all that new paper. I love the potential behind every cover and browsing the shelves waiting for my next favourite book to jump out at me. On this day there was one book that just wouldn’t leave me be… I kept picking it up, putting it back down again …. being drawn back to it again shaking my head… no… it can’t be… I’m not interested in quilting… surely not!

It was the colours, the riot of pattern, the beautiful modern design of the quilts. I was spellbound, it ticked all the boxes!  1) The art of matching a diverse colours, patterns and tones to create one beautiful coherent quilt (the creative urge in me). 2) Creating beautiful objects that would be part of our everyday life (the practical virgo in me). 3) Pieces of art that I get to wrap my family up in when they need warmth or comfort (the mother in me). I mean, how awesome is that!

Quilting is a labour intensive activity. Many many hours over several months. I mentally genuflected to my old convent school  every time I had to thread my sewing machine, secure a knot or tie off a thread. Miss Butcher (and my parents),  you were right to tell me I would appreciate my education in later life. I’m so sorry I ever doubted you!

With hand quilting, it can seem like an insurmountable task when you make that first stitch.  It is a job that was only achieved by putting aside a little of my time every night, twenty minutes or even an hour if the kids get to bed early.  Tiny increments of applied effort over a long period off time to get the desired result. At times it felt pointless, like it was going to take years to get this thing finished so why bother… is it really worth all this time?  But something kept me going back to it. Every night. Maybe only for 10 minutes whilst watching Masterchef until one night, six months down the track, I tied my last knot. I walked to my son’s bedroom and laid the finished quilt, with much satisfaction, lightly on him he slept.

Harry’s quilt is not nearly perfect as a quilting piece goes, in fact it is obviously made by a complete beginner to the art…but, Harry LOVES it and so excited that his Mummy made it just for him. This makes me smile deep inside. I feel  joy when I look at it.  I felt at peace when I was making it. I feel pride that I kept going at it even when I didn’t really want to do it anymore.

Surprising, this experience has given me even more faith to persist in my other great passion in life, my photography and running this small business of mine.  My manta in this slow winter season… tiny increments of effort applied daily over time will get the desired result : )