2015: project 365, week 13 …



[Credits: ‘highlights’ wordart by One Little Bird. Font: Calibri.]

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2015: project 365, week 12 …



[Credits: ‘highlights’ wordart by One Little Bird. Font: Calibri.]

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2015: project 365, week 11 …



[Credits: ‘highlights’ wordart by One Little Bird. Font: Calibri.]

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2015: project 365, week 10 …



[Credits: ‘highlights’ wordart by One Little Bird. Font: Calibri.]

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2015: project 365, week 9 …



[Credits: ‘highlights’ wordart by One Little Bird. Font: Calibri.]

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2015: project 365, week 8 …



[Credits: ‘highlights’ wordart by One Little Bird. Font: Calibri.]

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2015: project 365, week 7 …



[Credits: ‘highlights’ wordart by One Little Bird. Font: Calibri.]

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2015: project 365, week 6 …



[Credits: ‘highlights’ wordart by One Little Bird. Font: Calibri.]

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2015: project 365, week 5 …



[Credits: ‘highlights’ wordart by One Little Bird. Font: Calibri.]

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sharing audio books – the outlander series, by diana gabaldon …

Outlander TV series

Perhaps, gentle reader, you watched the recent tv series, Outlander, based on the first book of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon?

This series ‘follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate relationship is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.’ [from here]

I’ve reviewed this book series here on my blog before, and after watching the tv series, I headed back to the books on my shelf, to dive once more into the world of Claire and Jamie.

outlander book series

But then I thought, wait … what about listening to an audio book or two? I quickly checked Audible to see if the books were available as audiobooks, and they were! Several were on sale at the time I checked and I purchased these and started listening to Outlander.

The book was narrated by Davina Porter, and I very quickly fell in love with her reading style and was so pleased to see that she has narrated all eight books in the series. I did some research and found out the following about Davina …

She admires authors who do their homework, like Diana Gabaldon. Davina’s readings of the Outlander series, for which she uses her Scots heritage to flavour the dialects of dozens of characters, have many fans. And they’re among her personal favourites. Gabaldon’s lengthy novels require careful preparation. An initial reading, which Davina always does, is followed by preparation of a day’s recording session, with careful anticipation of pages that may involve five or six Scots in a scene. She strives to bring each voice off the page and at the same time maintain a natural sense. A flexible voice, notes Davina, is essential for audiobook narrators, as is the ability to make quick changes and maintain a comfortable narrative level for long periods.  [from here]

This is the magic, for me, of Davina’s narration; she can narrate several character’s voices with no hesitation, with no pauses, and the listener knows exactly who is speaking. I love listening to the ‘Scottish flavour’ of the voices … should a character ‘speak’ with no introduction, I know exactly who they are. She has brought the characters and their world alive to me. She has narrated over 100 books, and I would have no hesitation in recommending a book she had narrated.

Listening to the Outlander series will take some dedication if you would like to listening to the series, as they are very long. I have 14 hours left in the last (to date) book of the series to go … all 8 books add up to just over 365 hours of listening pleasure!!! Here’s a rough breakdown of book sizes.

Outlander (Book 1) – 33 hrs
Dragonfly in Amber (Book 2) – 39 hrs
Voyager (Book 3) – 44 hrs
Drums of Autumn (Book 4) – 45 hrs
Fiery Cross (Book 5) – 55 hrs
A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Book 6) – 58 hrs
An Echo in the Bone (Book 7) – 46 hrs
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Book 8) – 45 hrs

So … anyone else game to listen to all 8 books? I believe there will be a book 9, though there isn’t a release date yet … something to look forward to!!!

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2015: project 365, week 4 …


2015_Week4_SideB_695[Credits: ‘highlights’ wordart by One Little Bird. Font: Calibri.]

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tutorial – lantern terrarium, by persia lou …

succulent lantern, by persia lou

[lantern terrarium, by persia lou]

Aren’t these lanterns lovely, filled with (faux) succulents that even I could ‘grow’ … I have a fondness for lanterns, and can see one of these in scandi white, filled with succulents, turning a corner of my home into an interesting space.

You can find instructions and photos at persia lou

I found these reasonably-priced white lanterns and succulents at Ikea.

Ikea - white lanterns

[white lanterns and succulents from Ikea]


Perhaps a weekend project? Enjoy!!!

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sharing technology – bookbook travel journal, by twelvesouth …

bookbook travel journal 1a

bookbook travel journal 2


Oh my, this makes my little librarian’s heart beat just that little bit faster!!! Technology plus books equals love!!!

From the twelvesouth website … BookBook Travel Journal looks like a vintage book, but it’s really a dapper, hardback leather case designed to hold your iPad and the essential accessories that go with it. Inside you’ll find a collection of pockets and adjustable bands that neatly organize and protect items like your power adapter, cables, USB drives, stylus, mouse, earbuds or high-end headphones. Say bye-bye to your backpack. Everything you need for the road fits inside BookBook Travel Journal. [from here]

Ok, did I mention that I had a birthday coming up soon? I love this clever mix of old and new … and when you’re not traveling, this lovely book can sit on a bookshelf, looking very classy.

PS. You can find it on Amazon!!!

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2015: project 365, week 3 …


2015_Week3_SideB_695[Credits: ‘highlights’ wordart by One Little Bird. Font: Calibri.]

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quilting plans for 2015 …

After dealing with December’s quilting progress, I thought I would work on a creativity plan for 2015.

Last year, I worked on a little challenge called #simplyretrochallenge that I set up for myself. It involved making the 11 quilts in ‘Simply Retro’ by Camille Roskelley. Other quilters who wandered along and expressed an interest were invited to join me, and together we posted over 100 ‘simply retro’ photos on Instagram at #simplyretrochallenge

After I had finished my eighth quilt towards the end of October, I decided that I was done … I was happy with the quilts and mini quilts I had made and was happy to call the challenge finished. I really enjoyed the fun of choosing and making up a quilt each month … eight months, eight quilts. Here are the finished quilts and quilt tops …

simply retro quilts 1-8

I’ve been thinking for a few days now about the quilting opportunities that are spread out in front of me at the beginning of this new year. Already (are you surprised?) I have some quilty ideas quietly bubbling around in the back of my mind.

So for 2015, in quilting terms, here’s the plan …

I’d like to make one quilt each month, and a little something else, for example, a mini quilt, a mug rug, a zippered pouch, or a cushion. I’d like to make some specific quilts/patterns (more on that later!). AND I’d like to work through my list of ‘to do’ projects and either finish them or take them off the list! And, as always, while this is underway, I am quietly working on my handsewn hexagon quilts … there is always one of these in progress!

Where the major projects are concerned, I have the first four months organized!

So for January, I’m going to sew up (it is already cut out and ready to go!!!) the girl’s grey/white/red chevron quilt, and I’d like to make a zippered pouch for the girl’s Playstation/PC controller, and a little padded case for my iPhone.

February is lined up as follows … a king-sized quilt for the boy’s bed, something to throw on his bed during summer, when a doona and cover is not needed. It will be grey/yellow/low volume. Mind you, this is entirely for me, as he wouldn’t give a fig if his bed is EVER made. I like to see the room looking presentable as I walk past!

We may squeeze a mini quilt in there too during February, though a king-sized quilt will take some time to make up!!!

In March, I’d like to make up two scrap 50 x 50 inch quilts that will be donated to a local charity. I’ll use 5” squares from my scrap collection. I always am amazed at what beautiful quilts result from scraps. At Christmas time, a good friend chose a scrappy quilt as a gift, that just happened to have her favourite colours in it, rather than have me make another one for her, unseen.

She chose the quilt below …


You can never make/have too many scrap quilts, I say, and I’m looking forward to organizing my scraps ahead of time so when I get to March, it’s just a matter of sewing them up.

April … well, in April I’d like to use a Drunkard’s Path pattern, perhaps this one …

Drunkard's Path Quilt, Red Pepper Quilts

[Drunkards Path quilt, by Red Pepper Quilts]

Or this one …

m_soto, modern drunkard's path

[quilt by m_soto]

It will be hard choosing between the two …



To help my creativity along, I purchased (via Book Depository) this quilt book today, called Quiltopedia, by Laura Jane Taylor. I happened to come across it while browsing along the shelves in my local bookshop (where it was twice the price of the BD copy!), and was entranced by the fresh, modern and whimsical quilting projects I found between the pages.

The first half of the book is a ‘how to’ introduction to quilting, and the second half of the book is divided into three sections, one for beginners, one for ‘not-so beginner’ quilters, and one for quilters that fall into the ‘advanced’ category. Can’t wait to get my hands on this book!!!

So there we have the first third of 2015 sorted out … I’m off to inspect my collection of needles, cotton and cutting blades to make sure that I have everything I need!!!

Happy sewing/quilting, folks!

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quilting wips, december 2014 …

IMG_2978Hello fellow quilters and/or gentle blog readers … it’s time to wrap up the quilting happenings of the last month of last year!

It was pretty much a December like everyone else’s, I am guessing, with lots of rushing about and doing important last-minute stuff, with not all that much time for quilting and the like.

Here’s an update of what I did, quilting-wise, during December … oh dear … not much done at all.

I picked up two quilts from the professional quilters and bound them on the very last day of December, and dropped two more quilts off to be quilted. Hmmm … and I think that was about it, apart from working on my current hexie quilt, called *starz*, which you can see above, to the left!

Here are the two finished quilts … Playground and Sweet Life, from ‘Simply Retro’, by Camille Roskelley. I’m so sorry about the quality of the photos, taken at sunset yesterday afternoon. I’ll get some better images over the weekend and repost.


So here’s how the month of December panned out …

the ‘ideas’ stage

  1. a secret project involving diamond paper piecing
  2. Rainy Day Sewing, by thimble blossoms

the ‘construction’ stage

  1. the girl’s grey and white chevron quilt
  2. a ‘secret squirrel’ project I’m working on with the girl [3/4 of the blocks completed out of 10]
  3. a second hexagon sewing kit
  4. 5 in squares to make into scrappy quilts
  5. my next hexagon quilt called *seeing stars*, begun Nov 4, 2014 [50 blocks completed, out of 150]

the ‘quilt top’ stage

  1. Noteworthy hexagon quilt
  2. Limes & Lemons hexagon quilt
  3. a new hexagon quilt called *smiles*

the ‘ready for (professional) quilting’ stage

  1. hexagon quilt 1 made from ‘Good Morning’
  2. hexagon quilt 2 made from ‘Good Morning’
  3. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 7 Dwell

the ‘being quilted’ stage

  1. 2 scrappy 50 x 50 in quilt tops

the ‘finished’ stage

  1. iPad cover
  2. hexagon sewing kit
  3. Sea Breeze Mini Quilt
  4. Scrappy quilt
  5. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 6 Fresh
  6. Modern Vintage hexagon quilt
  7. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 3 Vintage
  8. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 5 Framed
  9. Judy’s Dilly Bag
  10. a second Sea Breeze Mini Quilt
  11. Feathers ‘herrringbone’ quilt (made from leftovers of Playground quilt)
  12. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 4 Swell
  13. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 8 Adorn
  14. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 1 Sweet Life
  15. #simplyretrochallenge quilt 2 Playground

And now we are moving on to 2015 … what quilting fun!!!

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tutorial – woven cane baskets, by design*sponge …

design*sponge Woven Baskets trio


You can never have enough storage … can you?

I love these little baskets I found on design*sponge. Of course, I have no great expectation that my attempts would end up looking this beautiful, but oh my, I think I’d like to try.

You can find a tutorial plus more lovely images at design*sponge.

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2015: project 365, week 1 & 2 …

So here I am, starting my fourth year of recording our family life through photos, one week at a time!

I seem to have worked out a system over the years … I create a template, then simply choose seven photos from my collection from the week’s shooting, add some text, and I’m done! Even though at the time, I often don’t feel inspired as I work on my pages, looking back at them later is something I really enjoy, so it is worth it!!!

At the beginning of each year I do pause and worry over how to start, as the first of the year nearly never falls on a Sunday! (I start my p365 week on a Sunday, and finish it on the Saturday.) This year end I finished off 2014 with a layout, then stole some photos from that page, and popped them into another layout beginning 2015! Week one really only has three ‘2015’ days in it, but technically it is ‘week one’.

If you aren’t completely confused by that, here are week 1 and 2 of the new year …



[Credits: ‘highlights’ wordart by One Little Bird. Font: Calibri.]



[Credits: ‘highlights’ wordart by One Little Bird. Font: Calibri.]

I am almost ready to send my 2013/2014 layouts off to Blurb to have them printed off. I love seeing all my books lined up on my bookshelf; last year, I have a large photo first, then the smaller photos on the second page, as follow …

2014 p365

This year, I’m changing it a little … new template, with the larger photo coming in after the collection of smaller photos and text. The wordart is by One Little Bird, and when I can work out which kit I snaffled it from, I will put it in my credits.

2015 p365

So that’s two weeks under wraps …

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following @crystalmoody …

crystal moody 2

crystal moody[crystal moody]

Isn’t this a gorgeous collection of creativity?

I discovered the Instagram feed of @crystalmoody this morning and was blown away. I clicked back to her website and read about her work …

I used to spend way too much time admiring others and not doing anything creative myself. I often found myself looking at cool stuff online wishing I was cool too. I looked at my four-year-old daughter’s drawings and I was completely amazed. What happened? I wanted to be more like her. So, I challenged myself and changed all that. In 2014 I made a drawing every day and took a photograph of it, usually with my breakfast. In 2015, I’ll be painting each day. 

My year of creative habits project was inspired by artists that write about creativity like Twyla TharpJulia Cameron, and Austin Kleon. My rules are simple … Choose one creative habit. Do it everyday. Share my effort/progress with others. Reflect and make changes along the way. [from here]

Here’s the thing … I can’t paint or draw for nuts, and I don’t do breakfast, but her Instagram feed makes me wish I did both now. I’m going to be following along for the rest of the 357 days left in 2015, enjoying both her artwork and her beautifully photographed breakfasts.

Oh yes, I just remembered … I do something creative most days! I take photos then craft them into my p365 pages. I’m working on my fourth consecutive year now, and you can see the first three years here.

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sharing podcasts – serial …

SerialHave you listened to the Serial podcast? This is from the Serial podcast website …

Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, and is hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial tells one story – a true story – over the course of an entire season. Each season, we’ll follow a plot and characters wherever they take us. And we won’t know what happens at the end until we get there, not long before you get there with us. Each week we bring you the next chapter in the story, so it’s important to listen to the episodes in order, starting with Episode 1. [from here]

I came across this podcast a while back while blog-hopping, and as I was a This American Life fan, I listened to the first podcast with interest. It was compelling stuff … I have now listened to all episodes and very much enjoyed the relaxed ‘story-telling’ style of This American Life, and the ‘detective’ story line.

Here’s a brief synopsis of season one …

On January 13, 1999, a girl named Hae Min Lee, a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County, Maryland, disappeared. A month later, her body turned up in a city park. She’d been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was convicted and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae’s body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.

Sarah Koenig, who hosts Serial, first learned about this case more than a year ago. In the months since, she’s been sorting through box after box (after box) of legal documents and investigators’ notes, listening to trial testimony and police interrogations, and talking to everyone she can find who remembers what happened between Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee fifteen years ago. What she realized is that the trial covered up a far more complicated story, which neither the jury nor the public got to hear. The high school scene, the shifting statements to police, the prejudices, the sketchy alibis, the scant forensic evidence – all of it leads back to the most basic questions: How can you know a person’s character? How can you tell what they’re capable of? In Season One of Serial, she looks for answers. [from here]

If you need something new to listen to, then perhaps this podcast is something you would like to check out. I am looking forward to a second season of Serial

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