Taking doodling to the next step

26 10 2015

At a conference I recently attended in Perth, artist Jan Naylor had some of her colourful works on display. All were painted, then drawn over with india ink. Great effects! And great quilting inspiration!

Apologies for the blurriness of some of the photos — I didn’t want to use the flash in public areas.







Community Quilt 232

19 10 2015

This scrappy ‘eye-spy’ quilt had lots of busy fabrics and a multitude of colours, so a simple all-over quilting motif was all that was necessary. Instead of a meandering stipple, I decided to do large bubbles/pebbles in yellow thread.

(Click on a photo to view it larger)






Threads used:

  • Top: Robison-Anton ‘Merit Gold’ (40 wt, rayon, colour 2463)
  • Bottom: Fil-Tec Magna Glide Classic pre-wound bobbin (white)


Baby quilts: Railfence 1 and 2

18 10 2015

I wanted to try a simple railfence quilt pattern and wanted to use up some pale pink flannel/fleece fabric, so raided my stash for some fabrics to go with it. The end result was these two crib/cot/baby quilts/play mats.

Both are a 2-layer sandwich — the quilt top and the backing, with no batting in between (the flannel/fleece is plenty thick enough).

For one, I quilted it with an ‘open headband’ motif, and for the other I stitched alternate blocks in opposite directions with a long droplet motif.

Both have now been donated to the McGrath Foundation (breast cancer).

Quilt 1




Quilt 2




Community Quilt 231

18 10 2015

How to quilt this dramatic red and white quilt?

I agonised over how I would quilt it as I stitched in the ditch around ALL the blocks, eventually settling on doing a wonky star in red thread on the white crosses, and some very dense quilting on the ‘backgrounds’ to the red stars, thus creating a puffy square effect. I used my Line Tamer ruler for all the straight lines, except the dense quilting.

I thought about doing a white wonky star motif in the red squares, but decided against it as I quite liked the puffiness of those squares against the rest of the quilt.

I stitched straight ‘piano key’ lines in the tartan border, following the pattern in the fabric.

(Click on a photo to view it larger)



Threads used:

  • Top: Fil-Tec Glide ‘Cardinal’ (40 wt, trilobal polyester, colour 700001)
  • Bottom: Fil-Tec Magna Glide Classic pre-wound bobbin (red)


Community Quilt 230

14 10 2015

This quilt was made up of approximately 2.5-inch squares of fabric ranging from light at the top to dark at the bottom. As with other very visually busy quilts, I just stitched it with a simple all-over motif — a large meandering stipple for this one, using a variegated thread of brown, green, and orange.

(Click on a photo to view it larger)




Threads used:

  • Top: Fil-Tec Harmony ‘Tweed’ (40 wt, cotton, colour 14076)
  • Bottom: Fil-Tec Magna Glide Classic pre-wound bobbin (light tan)


Community Quilt 229

14 10 2015

Another scrappy quilt, this time of approximately 1-inch squares sewn into 6×6 blocks. The person who made the quilt top also top-stitched the squares — I’m not sure why.

Because  it was such a busy quilt with all those fabrics and all those tiny squares, I just quilted it with a large meandering stipple, in a matching blue thread.

(Click on a photo to view it larger)



Threads used:

  • Top: Floriani (40 wt, rayon, colour PF373)
  • Bottom: Fil-Tec Magna Glide Classic pre-wound bobbin (light gray)


Community Quilt 228

14 10 2015

Someone spent a lot of time putting these blocks together! At least, that what it looks like — perhaps there was a quick way of doing these offset half-square triangles and pinwheels?

Each square was only about an inch or so wide, and lots of scrap fabrics were used, making it a very busy quilt, visually. There was no point doing elaborate quilting on it as it would just get lost in the busy-ness of the blocks, so I opted for a large meander across all the blocks in a matching blue thread. I used the same thread in the border, where I stitched mountain peaks of uneven heights (freehand, no rulers or markings).

(Click on a photo to view it larger)




Threads used:

  • Top: Floriani (40 wt, rayon, colour PF373)
  • Bottom: Fil-Tec Magna Glide Classic pre-wound bobbin (light gray)


Bali hut has a new roof

11 10 2015

Our Bali hut, which was part of our house purchase 5.5+ years ago, has been looking the worse for wear. Holes in the roof, broken bits of thatching rows, chunks out of the hips etc. So it was time to see if it could be repaired, or if a complete rethatching job was the only option. Guess what? Unable to be repaired…

It got rethatched over a couple of days last week. (For those in the south-west of Western Australia, the company I used was Carpenters R Us, from Mandurah. The tradies were young, polite, and cleaned up after themselves. Cost: About $4000… ouch! Expected life — 12 to 15 years.)


If you look closely near the hips/ridges, you can see gaps, which are much more obvious from the photo taken from the inside.




During and after


Removing the old thatching; new stuff (Alang Alang) wrapped in the ‘body bags’


All the old thatching is now gone


The new stuff is pretty hairy! This is before it was raked and tied down




Before the new hips (with metal flashing beneath) were added


No daylight to be seen!!


Hairy hut, with a big fringe. Yes, I opted for fire retardant on the thatching (extra $450), and had a butterfly sprinkler installed on top of the hut a few weeks earlier.


Looking through the fringe

Capturing memories

11 10 2015

A recent post on Facebook linked to an article on the printing of the last library catalogue cards by the biggest printer of cat cards back in the day. Article (with video): http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2015/10/02/the-last-card.html

Oh wow! That brought back some memories, which I figured I should document before my memory of that time faded…

I started working in school libraries in Western Australia in the 1970s — mostly we did our own cataloguing and catalogue cards, although there was a minimal centralised service from our state’s Education Dept. That central cataloguing department increased over the years to become the main provider of cat cards to all schools in our state by the mid-80s (perhaps earlier). However, I always made sure we had a copy of Dewey in the library workroom for things the centralised service didn’t provide (like full cataloguing of articles within yearbooks), and a copy of Sears subject headings.

By the late 80s (1988?), I was part of an Australia-wide project to centralise ALL school library catalogue data. By the very late 80s the first library automation systems were coming in to schools, and schools started to have the choice of printed cards (minimum of two for any book/multimedia [author, title]; sometimes up to nine! [author, title, one for each subject heading ascribed to the resource]) or digital catalogue records from the centralised service.

The high school library where I was Head of Department was a pioneer in our state, becoming one of the first libraries to automate their catalogue in/around 1989 — I think our system cost somewhere between $20,000 and $40,000 all up, with the computers, backup tapes, barcode readers, barcodes for 25,000+ resources, dot matrix printer, and other costs (like a motorised sit/stand desk for the library clerks — $1600 in 1989!). We kept our catalogue cards and drawers for a couple of years (some kids really liked the familiarity of them), getting rid of them before I left that school in at the end of 1991. When I asked the Ed Dept furniture people about what to do with the catalogue drawers, I was told they didn’t want them back and I could dispose of them however I wanted. I still have a 3-layer bank of 6 drawers — my DH used it to store audio cassettes for many years, and I now use it to hold large 5000 m spools of thread.

All this was a precursor to my next career, though I had no idea at the time what it would segue into. Around May 1992, I started working for the library automation company (my first job outside education and the first with a software company), which lasted until July 1998 when the company imploded (another tale for another time…).

During that time, I pushed for our company to get a website, and, as no-one else was interested in doing it, I taught myself HTML and wrote and edited our company’s 600+ HTML pages in Notepad. For those who remember, these were the days of <font> tags and NO CSS!! Why 600+ pages? Our company’s site became a repository of vetted websites in all sorts of subjects for school kids, and was heavily used by teacher-librarians around the world as a reliable resource. These were the days before Google — I used to check websites for their suitability using Alta Vista and DogPile, and used Netscape as my browser. But that’s a story for another time.

Ah, memories…

New babies are thriving

2 10 2015

I saw the ducks again today — they’ve been ‘missing’ for the past couple of weeks when I’ve driven into town, but they were back today. (see: https://rhondabracey.com/2015/09/15/new-babies/)

Surprisingly, 10 of the 11 babies are still alive, and from the size of them, they are thriving! I didn’t think that many would survive those first few weeks as I thought predators such as snakes, foxes, and raptors, as well as the big killer — the cars on the road that runs right by where they live — would get a few.

The photos were taken from the car so that I didn’t disturb the family.