Posts Tagged ‘September’

Finished: a Fine Balance

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Hi Jennifer,

We’re finished! Here is the finished quilt for the Balance theme:

Balance Bevs finished quilt

This month, I decided to create my own version of a circus poster. In the middle, there’s a woman who is walking a fine balance on the tightrope. She’s got so many things in balance: her life, her career, her family and her artistic and intellectual thoughts and ideas.

Balance finished face

Some days it feels like I’m in the middle of my own circus (wild animals and all!), and this quilt gave me a chance to smile about it all, while making something colourful and with a bit of bling.

Here’s one of the many posters that inspired me – this one, for the figure of the woman:

Circus Poster

1890s circus poster. Originally posted at the Circus Museum of the Netherlands.

The quilt includes a stencilled design, lots of beads, embroidery, drawing, fused applique’ letters and prairie points around the edge. It’s quilted onto cotton batting, and the back was left plain this month.


Tiptoe-ing to the finish….

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Hi again,

More and more beads have been added, and we’ve been out in the sushine this morning for a progress photo-shoot.

Tip toes

Tip-toeing towards the finish!


The mystery….

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Felted vest

Hi there,

Okay, so I know we’re both almost almost neeeearly finished the latest of the art quilts. As for me, my fingers are stiff tonight from sewing on about twenty zillion little beads onto my image. It doesn’t help that I’m sitting on the sofa and every once in a while I hear a little ‘ping!’ tinkle-tinkle-tinkle as another bead escapes and skitters across the floorboards.

I can’t wait to reveal this month’s quilt!

As if we didn’t have challenges enough, my personal skill-testing technique this month is stenciling, and to do this, I am participating in a challenge issued by a very fun blog here in Australia. Head on over to Hoppo Bumpo‘s blog to see her excellent Stencil-Along research and testing. This girl is taking the challenge seriously, and like all good girl guide leaders of our little troupe of sewer-stencilers, she’s doing prep beforehand (“Here’s one I made earlier…”) You can find the original post about the Stencil-along here.

Let’s just say that my quilt isn’t going to lead on the technical accomplishment sideFelted vest, but the graphic turned out just fine.

So, Jennifer, let me guess… I bet you a pack of beads that the wonder product you’re raving about is a tip from the workshop you went to with Sharon Schamber. Her art looks amazing, and if you are sharing any techniques, bring out the goods! We want to know!

There’s more to talk about, including the Fibre Forum, of which I’m including just a couple of photos as a teaser. The photos above and to the side are of stitched, felted and embellished vests made by the ladies in one of the week-long workshops. You can see more photos and my post about going to the Forum here on my blog.

It’s late here in Australia and this bead-sewing quilty chick is off to bed. (P.S: don’t believe the time stamp on this post: it thinks I’m in America).


On deadline…

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Hi Jennifer,

Wow, you really are moving things along there! I can see that there are some fantastic colour combinations in your quilt, and you’ve clearly done some interesting cutting into the fabrics I sent you. Isn’t that just the best part of this challenge? Making something unexpected from what you’re sent?

Red paint

(All I’m revealing at this point is that this month I’m playing with paint!)

I have had a few hurdles on the project, and times when it has stalled. As usual, I have to fall out of love with it in order to fall back into love with it again. Perhaps it’s a process of letting go of the perfect image in my head and learning to work with what I have created. The challenge is increased by my personal desire to learn a new technique with every month’s quilt. Do you find that you are – consciously or unconsciously – using these quilts as testing grounds for new methods and materials?

Here’s a picture of the parcel I have been working with: you sent me a wonderfully bead-y selection of oranges and blues for this month’s theme. Those big tubes of beads – oh boy!

Fabric pack September

Maybe we’re both the kind who need deadlines to get over the final hurdle. I can’t wait to see what you have made! It’s like Christmas and a birthday coming soon, and all the anticipation….

I’m allowed to work on the quilt again tonight, AFTER I finish my job application that’s due tomorrow. Carrots first, then dessert.


P.S. I sat and watched that video while I had coffee this morning. I’m sure I’ve seen it before – perhaps in a film of award-wining shorts. I find it eerie, and sad, and a bit depressing, particularly the numbers on their backs, and the way it ends. Maybe I’d rather not live my life in that kind of careful balance! (She laughs)

Balancing Quickly… Is This Possible?

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Hi Bev.

After weeks of mulling over the possibilities for this month’s quilt, I finally started stitching last night. I’m going in a direction I didn’t expect, but I guess that’s what happens every month. If all goes well, I’ll have the top done by late tomorrow night.

I’m having fun with the fabrics you sent and so far have not used any from my own stash. We’ll see if I make it to the end without adding to the mix. I’m really trying to avoid that. I’ll fill you in on my design inspiration in my next post and also tell you about the magical substance I’m using to make my appliques. This trick has changed my life already. Seriously, you’re going to LOVE this!

In the meantime, here’s a quirky little video to inspire you (or not). It’s called “Balance.” Enjoy!



Crafty city

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Hi Jennifer,

I’m gearing up for a big visit this weekend to the Open Day at the Textile Fibre Forum here in Australia, at Geelong, on the coast near Melbourne.Textile Arts Forum

Several crafty ladies are jumping in the car for an early-morning start tomorrow to get there when the action starts! Some of our group have been in residence all week stitching up a storm – I greatly envy them. At the Open Day, I anticipate lots of exciting textile art displays, and of course, tables of loot. I hope to be back with lots of great photos!

There’s a huge amount of crafting going on in Melbourne at the moment: our arty city is quietly getting on with creative life in all corners! There’s a cool website dedicated to all things crafty and the inside scoop on the Melbourne scene for anyone who’s visiting or who lives here. Craft City Melbourne is a blog dedicated to Melbourne crafters, shops and resources, and the street art that inspires us! You can see one of my photos on their site today, under Crafty Streets – Northcote.

The Balance quilt is building well, with a few technical issues to – uh – iron out. I’ve taken some photos, check back soon for some details!


Complete circus-o-rama

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

I’m not sure I can stop finding these amazing circus images.

Have you seen Elsa and Magda in their natty matching outfits (halos are optional)?

elsa and magda

Or perhaps you prefer the solemnity of Daniel and Son, like fantastically talented waiters wearing beautiful boater hats?

Daniel and Son

I love the graphic of this one, with the curling shapes of the black body shapes on the right almost like writing or a decorative flourish. Very classy.


Ernesto’s flipped over the bill again, but he plays a fine tune.

And finally, there are the amazing and elegant window-washermen themselves: the Alwijano Troupe!

Raise your hands, ladies and gentlemen, for the Circus Museum of the Netherlands! All poster photos are originally posted in their archives.


And now, for my next act…

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Hi Jennifer,

I’m having some fun researching images and inspiration for this challenge! After getting knocked for six by a virus, I’m getting up and raring to catch up on the lost week. Here are some of the fun things I’m looking at as the Balance art quilt takes shape.

Barnum and Bailey circus

Mr Louis Cyr, the “Strongest Man on Earth”! Oldtime Canadian Strongman and Quebecker, too, he could lift a horse, and displayed his strength lifting 18 men on a platform.

There’s a blurb about him on this OldTime Strongman site – a gym site, it serves up tips if you want to train up for that strongman role. It made me a little – tired, so I made a cup of tea and cruised on….

Louis Cyr, strong man

Only to come across the lovely Silvestros, trapeze artists (who look like they might do a side-line in debt collection.)

- Would you say no?


These fantastic posters were courtesy of a wonderful site you absolutely must visit: The Circus Museum of the Netherlands. (Here’s the link in Dutch). I haven’t had so much fun in ages, checking out the retro glory of the nineteenth century circus poster archive.

circus troupe

Where is all of this leading? A-ha, I could tell you, but then I’d spoil the show!


Ladies and gentlemen… it’s a balancing act!

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Balancing act

WATCH two stitchers juggle life, stitching, families and work to create something new.

MARVEL at the derring-do as they snip and stitch, sew and slice, embellish and reveal.

GASP at the astounding dress sense (what’s with that boater hat, above?)

So… as you said, Jennifer, this month it’s all about balance.

Your parcel has been sitting on top of my drawer of ‘in progress’ projects, and every time I open it, I wonder… What will Balance mean for this month’s quilt?

Always looking for inspiration, this morning I did a quick search online for the word ‘Balance’. It was slightly surprising to see the variety of results I got:

- There were gyms, health drinks, running shoes and herbal remedies.

- Web site design, short animated film of that name, and software.

- Work-life balance… now that got a huge number of hits!

- Trade balance, natural resources, nuclear balance (?) and BALANCE – or in full “Baltic Sea Management – Nature Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Ecosystem through Spatial Planning”

Balance is equilibrium and equality. It can be compromise and collaboration. There’s a balance of power and a Balance Sheet, balance of payments, and bank balances (unfortunately). We can swing the balance, tip the scales, strike a balance or throw someone off balance. And we all do our own balancing act sometime!

Off we go! Let’s see what turns up as the balancing act begins.


This September It’s All About ‘Balance’

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Hi Bev

This month’s theme is a something I think about every day. I do a lot, too much sometimes, and I never want to slow down. So my life is all about spinning lots of plates and running fast between them to keep them all spinning.

While this approach to life suits me, it can be exhausting at times. And I often feel a bit off balance when one project demands more of my time that I feel I can spare. But somehow it all comes together in the end and all the tasks get completed and I eventually catch up on sleep.

You sent me some interesting fabrics this month, which will be fun to work with. (Thank you!) I’ll update you as soon as I make the necessary design decisions and get stitching. The stitching is always my favorite part.

Okay, I have to get cracking on my quilt.

I’ll have another update for you soon.