Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Australian Quilt Convention 2014

It was with excitement and a sense of freedom that I ventured off on my own to the Australian Quilt Convention (AQC) on Saturday.  The slow train journey in to the City was wonderful.  Following on from three days of continuous rain, the skies had turned blue, the sun made a debut and the suburbs I travelled through were littered with trees and fence palings that had transformed from a typical light brown, to a deep dark umber, due to the rain soaking in to their depths.  It truly was beautiful.  Of course, it wasn’t all trees and attractive fencing… there was a lot of graffiti and run-down buildings on the way too, but they’re all part of the charm from being on the tracks, aren’t they?!

I got off the train at Parliament station.  The platforms are in the depths of the City where two steep escalator rides ascend you to the surface.  The station reminded me of the London Underground, except it wasn’t anywhere near as cold. 


Then a short walk to the Royal Exhibition Building where the AQC was being held… through the established Carlton Gardens to be greeted by this view:


It really is a stunning venue!

AQC Kathy Doughty

I hadn’t been inside for very long when I discovered this very talented lady… it’s Kathy Doughty from Material Obsession! She was really lovely, exuding a gentle confidence and chatting with the most delicate American accent, I was a bit star-struck to be honest! 

AQC Leanne Knell

Now let me introduce you to my sweet friend, Leanne Knell of Petals & Patches.  She was guest designer over on the Blue Willow Cottage stand, we had time for a chat and I squealed with delight when I picked up a pattern I’d been coveting on Facebook only to realise that it is one of hers… so I embarrassed her and asked her to sign it for me!!  I’ll show you the pattern shortly.  Leanne has some beautiful block-of-the-months… I fell in love with her latest release and will share more about it in the near future, Leanne has promised to send me some photographs to share with you.  Do you see the blue sign in the centre top of the photo?  It reads:  “Your husband called, he said buy ANYTHING you want”!  Ha ha!  Love it!

After a coffee it was time to wander around the Quilt exhibition.  I took my IPhone but the battery was wearing down really fast so I had to be selective with the quilts I photographed.  These are a few of my favourites:

AQC Jenny Bowker 1

This amazing work of art is by Jenny Bowker and is titled:  Sandstorm over the White Desert.  It won the Rajah award in 2013.  It was inspired by a sandstorm Jenny encountered while living in Egypt.  The gentleman depicted in this quilt was a friend and guide who was apparently, always very calm, and obviously well-liked.  Jenny was particularly taken with the change in colour of the land and sky as the storm travelled over, and I simply love the movement she has captured in this piece.  I also love the quilting in the sky and the pixelated piecing of the sand in the air.  I attempted a close-up:

AQC Jenny Bowker 2

Isn’t it absolutely utterly and undeniably stunning?!  In fact, there were quite a few of Jenny Bowker’s quilts on display and I fell in love with them all.

AQC Jenny Bowker 3

I’m sorry not to have taken the names for the next few of Jenny’s. This artist really has a gift for capturing the essence of a person, their warm and cheery expressions are, I’m sure, a reflection of her own disposition.  Not that I’ve ever met her, but I don’t think anyone could convey such warmth without feeling it and ‘being’ it themselves.

AQC Jenny Bowker 4

This next quilt had a much larger area of the overall pattern, it was stunning and I’m so sorry I didn’t capture it as well as it deserves to be, in this photo:

AQC Jenny Bowker 5

This next quilt is by the ever-wonderful Pam Holland.  Do you follow Pam on Facebook?  I do and I can tell you, her photography is Amazing with a Capital A!  She travels profusely and captures the most amazing moments… I’m hoping that one day she will produce a coffee table book full of her prints.  But I’m also very  happy to look at her quilts!  This one is an older quilt of Pam’s from when she first started out on her quilting journey.  It is called:  “1776, Heartache, Heritage and Happiness”

AQC Pam Holland quilt 1

The detail is incredible.  It took 9558 hours to make and has won three Best of Show prizes.

AQC Pam Holland quilt 2

This next quilt is the last for me to show you and is by Sue de Vanny and titled:  “Tram Route no. 10”

AQC Sue de Vanny

Sue de Vanny created this quilt for this, the tenth anniversary of the AQC.  The no. 10 tram used to travel through the city to the World Trade Centre which is formerly the home of the AQC.  Although the tram no longer runs, it is a symbolic connection with the former and current venues of this exhibition.  I love the perspective and the luminescence of the tram against its wintery passionate background.  I attempted a close-up photo:

AQC Sue de Vanny 2

After being entranced by the exhibition I headed back to the stalls for some more eye-candy (as if I hadn’t had enough!!).  I headed over to Faeries in my Garden and met the delightful Lesley McConnell.


I could have chatted to this lovely lady for hours!  I discovered that Lesley’s designs are a personification of herself… gentle, sweet, unassuming and utterly charming.  She really does love her craft with a passion!  I follow Lesley on Facebook as well, and she is prolific with her work as well as with sharing her knowledge.  There’s so much detail in her designs and if you are a romantic at heart - you are in for a treat!

As the exhibition came to a close I was still chatting away, and you’d think me a real names-dropper if I mentioned all the talented women I met and spoke to!  But here is one lady whose talents I’ve been admiring for a few years… we walked past each other and I thought, I know that face!  It was a very excited Paula Storm from Sew Little Fabric.

AQC Paula Storm

Excited, because Paula has just released her very first book, Sew a Little Fabric, at the show… and literally as everyone was packing up their stalls for the day, I got a quick flick-through and it’s fantastic! The photo of Paula and I (above) was a selfie taken on my phone and as you can guess, I need a bit more practice with selfie-taking!!  So I borrowed a pic of Paula’s book from her Facebook page…

Sew a little fabric by Paula Storm

Paula is currently working on her second book, and that sounds fantastic too!!  I love the cover photo don’t you?  The colours and the simplicity marry so well.

So I literally walked out of the door of the Royal Exhibition building with everyone locking up behind me!!  Through the parkland again I trotted, admiring two recently-wed couples being photographed… which is always a bonus!  Then home for cuddles with my family… all good stuff!

Okay, so would you like to see my loot?!  I know I would!!  I love looking at people’s loot! (smile)

AQC Goodies 1

I bought some neutral fabrics with different textures, Osnaburg, Linen and hessian-coloured Hanky Linen.  The cross-stitch ribbon and linen trim were purchased at the L”ucello stand, the online shop can be found here.

AQC Goodies 3

I bought these two patterns.  The first is Pipkin’s Pincushion, featuring the cutest little mouse (which if you’ve been reading my blog recently, you will know I have a love of!) and it’s ‘the’ one I was telling you about, by Leanne of Petals & Patches.

AQC Goodies 5

The Other is a zipper pouch pattern by Helen Stubbings of Hugs n’ Kisses.  It was one of a few patterns that belong to Helen’s ‘Hexie Club’ and it contains the zip and the half-inch dissolvable hexie papers to make the project.  I also purchased a pack of 50 hexie papers for future projects and some Precencia threads to try out, also purchased from Helen’s stall.

AQC Goodies 2

This 5in charm pack had to come home with me too! I can’t remember the place I bought it now, but I do regret not making any more purchases from there.  It was so cute and a really good price, it’s called Sweetcakes by Riley Blake Designs.

Ahhh well… it was such a great day out! I hope you enjoyed reading about the quilts?!

Till next time – happy stitching!

Vikki xo

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Debutante Ball

We are almost at the end of Week One of school holidays.  There have been play-dates and movies and a little sleeping-in during the morning hours as well!  It is nice recovering from a hectic week that was… but what I am busting to share with you is the experience of being a proud mum at my son’s Debutante Ball.

Aaron Bianca Deb 6

But first of all, let me introduce you to my sixteen year old son, Aaron, and his gorgeous girlfriend of two years, Bianca.  Don’t they make a cute couple?!

Aaron Bianca Deb 7

These beautiful photos were taken by Bianca’s step-mum, Sharon, she’s an amazing photographer!  In fact, she’s pretty amazing at whatever she puts her hand to – cooking, baking, hair-up-doos… you name it.  But the photography?  Wow!

Aaron Bianca Deb 8

I may be biased, but I think she has very good subjects (wink)!

Aaron Bianca Deb 3

Thank you for fixing up his dickie-bow Bianca, and to both of you for looking out for each other as you do! x

Aaron Bianca Deb dance 3

Aaron and Bianca were the first of 31 couples to walk out of the curtains, down the stairs, and present themselves to the Federal Member of Deakin, Mr Michael Sukkar.

After the couples had all graced the floor, the girls in their amazing dresses and stunning hair-styles, and the boys all looking so debonair in their ‘tails’, the formal dancing began…

Aaron Bianca Deb dance 2

And this mum lost it… I was so overcome by how grown up they all look, how graceful they moved, and how these two kids look in to each other’s eyes…

Aaron Bianca Deb dance 1

And I cried… in happiness and love bursting in my heart… because I love them so dearly.

I wish I could share more of the photos but I don’t like to share without permission from the other Deb couples in the pics. 

The boys all did a dance, which was fantastic!  Then the girls followed suit with a dance of their own… and the finale was the couples dancing to two more songs, with beautiful choreographed moves.  Aaron and Bianca were chosen to give a speech on behalf of the other Debutantes and partners, and they did a great job!

Then, a very special and poignant moment for me – the first dance with my son as a young adult… and his childhood flashed before my eyes as it dawned on me just how quick it all goes.  I love the sensitive funny young boy that he was, and I love the kind and intelligent young man he has become.

Aaron Bianca Deb 12

I’m so proud of you Aaron!  You are the perfect son for me!!  And Bianca, you are a sweetheart and everything I could hope for in the choice of Aaron’s heart!  Love you, kids!!

When I was at school in England, we never had anything like this.  I was surprised that Debutante Balls were a big thing in Australia because I had always thought of them as being American.  I think it’s so special that these young people learn how to dance and present themselves so gracefully – what an amazing – and confidence-boosting opportunity!  Have you had any experience with such occasions?

Okay… best go dry my eyes… 

I hope you all have an amazing weekend!  I’m off to the Australian Quilt Convention tomorrow and I’ll take my camera!

Much love, Vikki xo Smile


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