my life in the land down under


Loss and Gain

The sewing machine I’ve been using for the last year belonged to my husband’s late wife, and had been held ‘in trust’ for my step-daughter. Recently she asked if she could have it, as she has developed an interest in sewing. Kelly N., I look forward to seeing your first creations. 🙂

Although sad to lose the machine – as I still have a way to go on my first quilt top, and a number of other projects in mind – I had only myself to blame for not making more progress on the quilt over the last few months.

Bernina sewing machine

‘The Old’ – Bernina 830

What I didn’t know at the time was that a lovely new machine was in store for me. When we knew the Bernina was going to a new home we started looking for a likely replacement, starting with the local Spotlight store and Bernina dealer, doing some research online and finally checking out a number of different makes & models at the Quilt & Craft Show in Hamilton last weekend. An interesting process during which we learnt what accessories we wanted / needed for quilting and decided what the budget would allow. We made an order at the show on Friday and collected the machine from our local Brother dealer the following Tuesday afternoon.

For the benefit of quilters reading this, it comes complete with a number of quilting-related presser feet, including a 1/4″ foot for piecing and a walking foot for machine quilting. It also has some ‘luxury’ (to me!) features such as automatic needle threading and automatic thread trimming, not to mention multiple embroidery stitches most of which I may never use. I feel very spoilt!

Brother sewing machine

‘The New’ – Brother NV 600

What’s that saying about needing to let go of something to receive something better ?! Now I just have to learn how to drive it…  hence the Operation Manual in this photo. 😉



Quilting Lesson #1

Okay, thought I’d better give a quick update on my first quilting lesson yesterday.

It was great!

I don’t have much to show for it yet as we have only just begun learning appliqué – I’ll post a photo of my first attempt when its complete (hopefully within the next few days).

I was horrified initially when I heard we were to machine appliqué as I had been practicing hand-sewing blanket stitch and had no idea of the machine settings to use. However, thanks to a helpful & encouraging tutor and a good instruction book for the sewing machine, we figured it out quite easily. The other ladies on the course seem to be in much the same boat so we were all learning together. My confidence is growing! I made notes and we have homework to complete before the next class in two weeks’ time.

New words to add to the vocabulary include vliesofix and whisper weft.

Later in the day my husband came home with a bunch of flowers and some Hersheys kisses as a way of celebrating the start of the course. 🙂

Flowers #1

Flowers #2

Flowers #3

I think he’s a keeper. 🙂



Question to the family – “Don’t laugh… but I’m going to start writing a blog. What do you think I should call it?” (laughter follows.. but also some good suggestions). Counter question, “What is it going to be about?” Well, it was originally intended to be a record of the quilt project (more on that later) but that seemed too narrow. It would be good to write on other things too as they came to mind. So, a bit of photography, family life, work maybe; we’ll see where it leads. And sometime in the future we hope to travel, and blog and photograph as we go, so this will be good practice. (Kelly, I’m not sure if I spelled that correctly).

Some time later… “If it takes you that long to think up a good tag-line, how are you going to write a blog post?!” Yes I struggled with the tagline and still don’t like it but I had to put something.

Anyway this is the beginning of the blog; the beginning of the quilt project; almost the beginning of my three weeks leave from work (its actually day 3 already). I had a cuppa with my sister this morning and a good chat (we live in the same town but are both busy and don’t see much of each other), and I’m hopeful this is the beginning of a better relationship with her. The beginning of a sort-out in the house and getting rid of a bunch of stuff we don’t need that is cluttering up the place and costing us $$ in storage fees – at least my husband is hopeful that I’ll make some good progress on this over the next few weeks.

Back to the quilt. In short, at the beginning of March a friend & I had been on a photography outing and were heading to a cafe for lunch. We ‘by chance’ parked outside a craft shop and went in to have a look. They were advertising a beginners quilting class with a bit of appliqué and stitchery thrown in, the quilt called ‘Made with Love’ as designed by Wildcraft Farm was hanging on the wall inspiringly. We both put our names down for the class, me knowing basically nothing about quilting, though have always appreciated those who do make them and would have loved to own one. Initial feelings of excitement were later replaced by panic as I realised how big the project really was and how much I had to learn! We eventually located the sewing machine which had been in storage for some time, had it serviced and I started to learn how to use it. Choosing the material to use for this ‘scrappy’ quilt was great fun (see I’m even learning the terminology), purchased a few necessary tools e.g. rotary cutter and cutting board, and basics like pins, needles & scissors, and the first class is tomorrow morning!

Photos to follow when I can figure out how to add them…

Tools of the Trade #1

Tools of the Trade #2

Quilt Materials #1

Quilt Materials #2

Quilt Materials #3

Success (I think!!) Now to publish…