Festitalia Italian Festival, Brisbane, 7 October 2016

On Sunday we went to have a look at Festitalia, an Italian Festival held this year at Spencer Park in Brisbane, which “celebrates the richness of the Italian culture in its entirety, from the spirit and passion of its people to the romance of its language, its inimitable fashion, the radiance of its arts to the luscious wines and regional dishes acclaimed the world over” (visit http://www.festitalia.com.au/ for more info).

From the wonderful cars (Lambourghini, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Fiat) to the lovely food stalls (woodfired pizza, calamari, lasagna, cannoli, gelato); from the beautiful Venetian face masks to the tarantella dancers and Italian flag throwers; from the cooking demonstrations to the wine appreciation sessions, it was a great chance to experience and appreciate just a little of what Italy has to offer.  (My brother-in-law is Italian, so we were in good hands for the day 🙂 )

The flag throwers were spectacular with their colourful costumes and huge flags, which they tossed and (mostly!) caught with ease – have a look at these action shots:

I was particularly impressed with this young man, who managed to juggle THREE of the huge flags, throwing them up and catching them with each hand and one leg or the other with equal dexterity:  pretty amazing!


(Trying to actually capture shots of throwers with flags in the air – I always seemed to be too early or too late – has given me new respect for the likes of sports photographers who get those amazing action shots! 🙂 )

Tonight my sister and I are off to something just a little different … her daughter gave her a voucher for a “Cork and Chroma” night, so we’re off to work on our creativity!  Here’s a picture of what we’re supposed to be painting (from scratch) tonight:


Given that on a scale of 1 to 10, I’ve always rated my drawing and painting skills at about -5, you may or may not get to see the result of my endeavours … 🙂



Lots of goodies!

What with my recent month’s holiday in Brisbane, sales at Spotlight back home in Christchurch, and special online offers from Grandmother’s Garden Patchwork & Quilting in Hamilton, there have been quite a lot of fabric purchases in my life recently (and quite a lot of money going out of my pocket … but then I think to myself that in less than a year I will be retired, and I will need all that fabric for all the quilts I’m going to be working on in all that time I’m going to have on my hands! 🙂 )

Actually it hasn’t all been fabric purchases:  there have been other useful things as well, such as tools to help me practise and master free motion quilting; books to help me learn diamond chain quilting, and building block quilts, and dazzling patchwork quilts Sassaman style; and books to start me off on colouring for mindfulness, and to help me get back into tangling, and coloured pencils to help me do it.  And some of these have been gifts as well, so it hasn’t all been purchases, either 🙂

So, are you ready for a quick show and tell? 🙂

Fabric first.  My younger sister in Brisbane had discovered two new quilting stores since I was there last year, and since our older sister from Wales was with us for the month as well and she also sews (although she’s not into quilting (not yet!), the 3 of us took the opportunity to visit said stores, and yes, I bought fabric …

And we also visited a lovely quilt shop in Maleny, where I was delighted to find this:

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Which I took along with me on a visit to another quilting shop, where it proved very useful in helping me make up my mind about the suitability of this gorgeous Australian fabric for a one block wonder (OBW) quilt:

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(How could I resist that fabric when it’s going to give me such exciting hexagons???!)

And then when I got back home to Christchurch in mid-October, there was Spotlight with 40% off their quilting fabrics; and Grandmother’s Garden Patchwork & Quilting emailing me about their clear-out specials to make room for new fabrics, so, yes, I bought some more …

And then there were the quilting books and the tools:

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And the colouring and tangling books and pencils:

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One thing I can say for sure – in the next year, if I use or tackle even half of the fabric and projects pictured above, I’ll be doing well:  but wait, oh, just wait until I retire this time next year, and then see what I get up to! 🙂

For those who live in or near the Brisbane area, the quilting shops we visited were:

East Coast Fabrics, 14 Paisley Drive, Lawnton, Q4051 (website http://eastcoastfabrics.com.au/) – their fabrics are quite a bit cheaper than most other stores, good quality and a good selection of all types of fabric, ie not just quilting.  (They also have branches at Burleigh, Maroochydore and Springwood.)

Spotlight – I’m sure most of you in Australia or New Zealand will already be familiar with this chain of stores, where I’ve never had any trouble finding fabric to my liking!  And their prices are reasonable, too, although the quality is sometimes a little lacking – quite a bit of their quilting fabric is imported from India, Pakistan or Korea, and I find the quality not as good as the fabric I buy online from the USA, for example.  (They have stores in a number of cities.)

The Quilters’ Store/The Embroiderers’ Store, Shop 4, 286 Evans Road, Salisbury, Q4107 (website https://www.quiltersstore.com.au/) – don’t be put off by the exterior of this very ordinary looking store, it’s an absolute treasure trove inside!!  Over 9,000 bolts of fabric, it goes back and back and back once you’re inside – truly amazing!  This is where I got the Australian fabric, and there were several others in that range that tempted me as well – but I resisted – with great difficulty! 🙂

Maleny Magic Patchwork and Quilts, 924 Maleny-Montville Road (website http://www.malenymagicpatchworks.com/) – this is where I bought the fussy cut mirror, and they have a lovely range of fabrics and notions.  It’s on the Sunshine Coast about an hour’s drive north of Brisbane, so a little far to go unless you combine it with something else, which we did – a lovely visit to Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World (website http://www.malenybotanicgardens.com.au/), which was fabulous and well worth the drive! 🙂

Make It Hobby and Craft, 70 Rostrevor Rd, Boondall (website http://www.makeithobbyncraft.com.au/) – nice range of batik and other fabric and very pleasant staff.

In the meantime, it’s back to my November ALYoF project, which is going well – but I do keep taking breaks to look at my books, and stroke the new fabrics, and think about what my next project might be … 🙂





Brisbane Quilt Show, October 2013

For those of you who aren’t even remotely interested in quilts, a few words of advice: you need to pick up the remote control, and change channels 🙂

I am definitely interested in quilts, and I need to share photos (lots of photos!) of some of the wonderful work on show in Brisbane this year!

To make it easier, I’ll break it into sections.

First up, some places / scenery-type quilts.

Second, some people and animals.

Third, some quilts of a more traditional-style.

Next, a few plants and flowers:

Followed by a quick shot of the best in show (and apologies for a not-so-good photo, which doesn’t do it justice)

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… a couple of quilts that deserve a section all of their own …

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…  and finally, some close-ups to really show off the details and intricacies of the work on some of the quilts.

Some pretty cool stuff, there, yes?