Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Bread for all, and roses too

This post is to commemorate International Women's Day 

I was a young woman in the Australian Council of Churches" Commission on the Status of Women, when another member introduced me to the slogan "Bread for all and roses too" 

When women wanted the vote, they didn't just want the vote, they wanted good hospitals and schools and relief for widows and 'abandoned wives' and prison reform and all sorts of justice issues -for women and for all.Women wanted to have justice for all, but some beauty too.

Often women's crafts and arts are diminished and demeaned as somehow inferior or silly. However the skills have been passed on from woman to woman down through our families -the skills of taking a few flowers and putting them in a vase, or adding a tablecloth to the table, or embroidering a flower on a pillowcase. Just a softening touch to provide the 'roses' of beauty into our everyday lives. 

Hear is the song below, from the movie Pride on YOuTube
(PS if you haven't seen Pride- you must watch it!) 
As we go marching, marching, in the beauty of the day 
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray 
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses
For the people hear us singing, bread and roses, bread and roses.

As we come marching, marching, we battle too, for men, 
For they are in the struggle and together we shall win. 
Our days shall not be sweated from birth until life closes, 
Hearts starve as well as bodies, give us bread, but give us roses.

As we come marching, marching, un-numbered women dead 
Go crying through our singing their ancient call for bread, 
Small art and love and beauty their trudging spirits knew 
Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses, too.

As we go marching, marching, we're standing proud and tall.
The rising of the women means the rising of us all.
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories, bread and roses, bread and roses.

 I hung up a  purple green and white quilt this week in our entrance, in honor of International Women's Day.

Why purple green and white? These are, especially in Australia, the colours of feminism. This week marks International Women's Day on March 8.  Wearing purplewhite and green sashes was considered to be a “duty and a privilege” for campaigners: green for hope, white for purity and purple for “loyalty and dignity” (


\Embed from Getty Images

I wish us all a wonderful International Women's Day.

Monday, February 26, 2018

When you slow down

We walked on the beach this morning, and found this beautiful shell, which looks like an angel wing.

There was a strong southerly wind blowing, some gorgeous clouds and more than a hint of emerald green in the waves. It was so good to start the day this way! 

We are taking some time this week to slow down again, because we have been a bit busier than usual: good things, but not our usual slow life. 

Last night we went to the Pines at Joondalup to see a wonderful film about Gurrumul Yunupingu 
Do go and see it if you can. 

The week which started with a comedy show called Pirate Church in which I was interviewed by a couple of reprobate pirates! 

The week included a concert with the Australian String Quartet in the Government House ballroom, and it was absolutely sublime. 

I also went to the Community Sewing Day on Saturday -where the show and tell of amazing donated quilts was quite wonderful. 

So it is time to slow down a little, read a book or two, catch up with some routines, take care of things and enjoy a slower life.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Second quilt finish this year! #HappiestWhenScrappiest

Yay! Christmas In Australia is quilted and bound! 

I love the fact that this quilt used up some bits and pieces I found when I did a major clean-out of the fabric in my sewing room. I also love the way that the "playing patience" block we were shown at the WAQA January sewing day took on a new look when I used four patches which were found during that clean out. 

I really love scrappy quilts, and of course if you are a quilter you make lots of scraps! 

My  favourite quilt designer is Bonnie Hunter -the scrappy queen! 


Taking pictures in my summer garden showed me just how much this quilt captures an Aussie summer, right down to those blocks with Christmas decorations printed onto yellow and green backgrounds. 

I adapted my usual meandering free motion quilting, to be more angular and block-like. It gives a nice effect, though when I went to the WAQA sewing day this month and looked at other people's quilts, I couldn't help but notice that my quilt has a LOT more quilting than other people do on theirs. I like to make sure every seam is going to stay put! 

This quilt came together very quickly. 

Now, what quilt will I make next, I wonder? 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Summer days in green and gold

Just pinned the "Christmas in Oz" quilt together. Don't know why it has taken so long to get to this stage, but there you have it. Partly it was because I was in full magazine production mode for WAQA, but still, it took a while to get this far. Not sure how to quilt it yet -it might even work with diagonal straight lines. 

The Eureka lemons are going well at the moment. I have a new citrus juicer that I bought second hand, which will help me cope with our citrus harvests. My hands struggle with some things -like opening cans and squeezing lemons. I am thinking we might make lemon passionfruit butter! 

Glorious summer days in the park behind our house. The sheoak nuts are ready to eat, and the pink and grey galahs are enjoying them very much.

DH's leg is so much better! He walked with me around Carine Open Space this week- just look at this lovely colour! Extra points for finding the coot in among the reeds. 

Our Kalamata olives are getting so big! No sign of them ripening as yet, but I am keeping my eye on them.  We have had to be a bit wary because we think there might be rats around again! We have heard some noises on the roof (in the roof?) at night. This is their hungry time of the year, and when the fruit is ripening they come for a feed! I am watching the pomegranates in particular. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Making the best of things

This post was going to be full of pictures of our trip to the South Coast. We were looking forward to long white sand beaches, granite outcrops and cool weather.  Last Sunday we packed up the house, got a neighbour to feed the cat, hitched up the trailer and we were far as Williams before we had to turn around! DH managed to twist his knee so badly he couldn't walk on it, and the medical centre at Williams was not open on the weekend. What to do? We could go on -to another town with no emergency weekend clinic...we could go all the way to Albany  (another 200 kms) and then go to the hospital there... with DH either admitted for treatment during our holiday or released to a bed for some days to recover.....

We decided to come home. We got home, unhitched the trailer with some neighbour assistance, and I drove DH to the Joondalup Emergency department. We were given every consideration and care, and by 9 pm we were driving away with painkillers and crutches. We both have words of praise for the Australian free medical system, which is world class.

For about a minute we considered getting take away food on the way home -but realized it would be quicker and nicer to eat with what we had, even if we had been running down supplies before leaving for a week.  Supper consisted of cheese and crackers and home made mango chutney, followed by home made bread from the freezer toasted and served with home made cherry jam and cream! Not too shabby at all.

At least the cat was glad we were home!

So DH spent the week on crutches, gradually improving. He is a volunteer treasurer for a small community group, so being immobilized actually worked out quite well, as he spent the week preparing the books for the auditor. 

This is not the south coast, but it is still a beautiful morning at Mullaloo. 
What have I got to complain about really? 

In the UK it is traditional to  take grapes to the sick, so every day I have been out to the Rubio grapevine to get DH some grapes. They were tied into stockings to keep the birds off them, and it has been quite successful in producing beautiful ripe fruit. A bunch a day for a whole week! 

DD and I decided to try to have fun this week, anyway. We did a tour of our favourite Op Shop haunts -and had coffee and lunches out just as we would have done on holiday.

This was my favourite op shop buy -just $3 for two pristine condition useful quilting books, and the French dictionary thrown in for free! Thanks to St Martin's Bookshop in Kensington. 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

My scrappy quilt has a name!

The quilt top is done and on the design wall. I added a bright yellow stop border.

I like to name my quilts -but nothing had emerged whilst I was sewing this one. I can't keep calling it left overs! 

As I mentioned last time, there are some strange Christmas squares in lime green and yellow among this lot. DD came home, saw the yellow border and commented that the quilt was 'very green and gold'- the colours of our Australian sporting team uniforms, our wattles and more.

Then she had a brainwave: "This is a Summer Christmas in Australia quilt!"

Yep, it sure is!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Love your leftovers!

When I mean leftovers, sometimes I mean food...of course. Using up our leftovers is a big project here, and we come up with lots of ideas to make less food waste.

Food is not the only thing that can be valued, even when a 'leftover'. Take my quilting scraps, for example. I LOVE making scrappy quilts. Fabric scraps were once paid for and so they cost the same as the whole fabric. With some creative ideas, scraps can make fabulous quilts.  Take this example below. 

This picture is of the lesson in the Block of the Month which took place at the West Australian Quilters' Association this month. It is a simple bordered square, but when cut into 4 you turn two of the resulting squares and get a new pattern.

I have a block to make for the Association, but I got inspired to see what I could make using the same layout. I had found some random 4.5 inch squares in a tidy up in my sewing room, and -wonder of wonders -some 4 patches I had made but done nothing with! What would happen if I put these together, and recreated that BOM layout? I already had some leftover green strips from my last finish here-

Here is the result -above. I am enjoying this process very much -especially because it is simply using left over pieces which have sat in the sewing room for years, and now they get to shine! I have got about half the blocks made already. 

I have started my regular morning walks, and really am taken by flowers and trees around my suburb in the early morning light. I can't always get to my beloved beach, but this is almost as good. 

The quince, olive and pomegranate are in my garden, colouring nicely.  We are scoffing black grapes from our vines at the moment! 

There is so much beauty here. 

One thing which was NOT a leftover  was that DH and I went to a lovely little country wedding in the Swan Valley last weekend. It was extremely hot but the family had cold water and paper fans for us all! Then we had dinner in  a winery nearby. Such fun to be with young people starting their married life together.