Archive of ‘Random’ category

I Quilt: Proud to be a Quilter


It’s Thursday, yay!  That means I get to quilt all day tomorrow and read your linkys <3  Firstly, thank you so much for all your comments last week!!  You’ve really made me think about what it is that I want, how we’re all going through a similar journey and how much I have to be grateful for.  Thank you!!  Following on from the theme of last week; (re)defining success, I want to talk about pride.  A few times recently I have almost said, “I’m a quilter” but have ended up saying something like, “I’m a textile artist/designer”.  Today I’m going to shout it out; I’m proud to be a quilter!  Don’t forget to link up your quilt process and feel free to share your thoughts about being a quilter. Quilters rock!

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This week I’m featuring the hugely talented Midge of Ms Midge.  Midge and I have never met but are very close online friends.  I’m not sure how that all started, but it did and now we chat online most days and help each other out, sharing advice and lending an ear when needed.  Midge has been quilting for 2.5 years (and is super organised and has all of her quilts in two pages on her blog 2013 and 2014) and holy heck, she is good!  With four kids, a successful handmade business and a job outside the home, I don’t know where she finds the time to quilt!  I suspect she has a clone or robot or something, because the rate at which she pumps out her amazing projects is truly astounding!!

Image used with permission from Ms Midge

Ages ago Midge wrote a thinky post (she’s good at them, you should follow her blog) and among other things she wrote that I was the first person to call her a quilter.  I’m pretty sure that was around the time that I also called her crazy for taking on a quarter square triangle quilt as (I think) her second ever quilt ;)  The point is, I was so touched and so proud that my encouragement meant so much to her.  She is awesome, she doesn’t need me to tell her that, and yet I’m compelled to do so.  We NEED to encourage each other, it feels good to make others feel good and we can take pride in being not only awesome quilters, but a community that encourages, shares and connects at a meaningful level.

Image used with permission from Ms Midge

In keeping with the theme I asked Midge to share three quilts that she is most proud of.  She selected the above two and the following quilt.  Midge is most proud of her triangle quilt below because the quilting looks perfect from the back.  Only a quilter would get that, the pleasure at not only having a beautiful quilt from the front, but knowing that you’ve done a damn good job and the back is worthy of being put on show.  You should be proud Midge, all three quilts are beautiful and a testament to your drive, determination, skill and good taste!!

Image used with permission from Ms Midge

I don’t know if I can choose one quilt that I am most proud of.  I guess it was probably mean of me to ask Midge to select only three!  Every quilt is special, a learning experience, a meaningful gift, a profitable sale.  There is pride to be found in each quilt and we should be proud of what we do.

My son’s Rainbow I Spy quilt is probably one that I can pick out as being super proud of.  It’s not my favourite quilt of all time (although I’m pretty sure it was at the time), but I was/am proud of myself for working out the layout.  It is pieced and was made by fussy cutting every novelty print I had in my stash at that time, placing them in a rainbow gradient and then working out how to piece them.  I learnt a heap from that project and gained a lot of confidence.  Plus my son loves it and sleeps under it every night <3

So next time I find myself talking to someone outside the quiltosphere about my passion I’m going to tell them that I’m a quilter and not feel the need to hide behind a cool title, explain that it really is for awesome peeps or talk it down as just a hobby.  Maybe I’ll get it printed on a t-shirt…. ;)

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Now it’s time to link up your quilty process <3  Big love to all the quilters out there xxx

An InLinkz Link-up


I Quilt – my quilt process


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Happy Thursday and welcome to I Quilt!  After getting up at 5am this morning to chat with the adorable Mark Lipinski, I am about to fall flat on my face at 5pm!  You can listen to our discussion here (it’s the 30 April 2014 show if you’re reading this later), please be kind, it was early, I hit three coffees in rapid succession and started out pretty nervous!  One thing that Mark asked me about is the process pledge which has left me thinking about my quilt process in the bigger picture.  If you haven’t noticed, there is a lovely little button over there —>  (unless you’re on a mobile device and then it might be down the bottom)  If you don’t know about the process pledge, go read about it.  It really resonates with me.

I LOVE the process pledge and it is an intrinsic aspect of the I Quilt linky party, but I find that as I get busier and busier with my business I have less time to share my process.  I have no idea what the solution is.  In actual fact I have been spending a lot of time thinking about what it is I want to do – run a business that contributes to our family income and grab any opportunity that comes my way, OR slowly build a business that is true to what I really love and want to do.

That might sound like a pretty easy decision.  Even I know what it is I really want.  I want to be true to my artistic inner soul, stuff the money and maintain complete creative control.  But saying no to opportunities is hard.  Super hard.  I’ve done it twice recently and I couldn’t really believe that I was doing it.  My husband tells me that I need to decide whether Pretty Bobbins is a hobby or a business.  Being creative is such an integral part of who I am (believe me when I say that five years ago I would have claimed that I was not at all creative) that I find it hard to assess opportunities based on potential fiscal gain or business growth.

South Pacific Dreaming trio (wall quilts)

My all-time favourite quilts.  When I think of the quilter I want to be, I think of these.

I think that being passionate, pouring yourself into your passion and being happy are key.  Surely success cannot be had without these aspects.  But I guess I really need to define success.  I think I have been defining the success of Pretty Bobbins by whether or not it contributes to paying for our family needs.  I have not contributed a single cent through Pretty Bobbins, in fact I’ve spent a bunch of our savings investing in the longarm and supplies, let along all the time invested.  My day job is a much greater success at contributing to the mortgage, but it gives me no joy in my soul.  So I think I’m going to redefine success and because I’m a social-media-holic and therefore a chronic over-sharer, I’m going to start by listing my quilting successes here.  I’m not showing off, believe me.  This is making me anxious in the pit of my stomach.  So do me a favour and share your successes related to your passion in the comments or on your blog or even by email if you prefer :)  (be it quilting, family, art, farming, car racing, whatever lights your fire!)

  1. Making beautiful quilts and having the confidence to know that they’re damn good.
  2. Making a heap of wonderful online and real life quilty friends who share and understand my passion.
  3. Having a studio (I’m damn proud of my studio).
  4. Maintaining my blog, even though I don’t blog as often as I would like.
  5. Being contacted by (quilty) industry types to work with them.
  6. Receiving an email from Mark Lipinski to be interviewed – that was totally out of left-field and a HUGE faith builder.
  7. Having quilts accepted into quilt shows.
  8. Seeing how proud my husband and children are of my work (the kids show their friend’s my quilts when they visit!).
  9. Having over 800 Instagram followers.

(the above are in no particular order, rather of equal importance, although seeing my children proud of me is the best achievement ;) )

Me in my studio - not so warm now that we're in Autumn!!

Me in my studio – not so warm now that we’re in Autumn!!

All those things, they are HEAPS more important to me than whether or not I contribute to our mortgage through quilting.  But I guess the thing that I can’t list as a success yet, but I think is possibly the most important aspect of Pretty Bobbins, is maintaining artistic integrity.  At this stage there is no sponsorship on my website.  There is a Craftsy affiliate button in the sidebar and I do work with designers that I respect and admire, and I do promote products that I have purchased and believe in.  This is something I need to think about some more.  Do I want to remain a quilt artist who only promotes things they believe in and only makes the things I’m inspired to create, or do I want to grab every opportunity and turn my passion into a business and find myself making things for other people?  (I’m not saying that’s a bad thing by the way!)

I would LOVE to hear your opinions on these issues!!!  In this online, social media based, constantly shrinking world, how do you decide which path to traverse?  I’m very conscious of my own mortality, there is only so much time and so many quilts to make.  Should every single one count or can we all jump on the sponsorship/money chasing/making bandwagon?  Does it impact our voice, our integrity?  Does it even matter?

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Share your thoughts people and link up your quilty process :)

An InLinkz Link-up


Priorities – getting it right


Can you believe that I’m posting more than once this week?  Gosh that hasn’t happened for awhile!  I have been wanting to, but the week passes and Thursday arrives and I’m pushing to just get my I Quilt linky post out.  But today I got a wake-up call and I’m sorting my priorities, today is all about getting it right.  Or at least trying to! ;)

I read a post last year sometime that said something along the lines of, “when you’re starting up your longarm business, think about whether you just want to be snowed under by quilts, it’s easy to burn out.  What you need to think about it what you want to do rather than just trying to take in 100 quilts a week.”

QBN Quilters ad 2 text

An ad that I put together for two upcoming quilt shows that I am sponsoring. This is where my heart is.

Last week at a local guild meeting someone asked me, “is it true that once you get a longarm you never have time to piece?”  I could only laugh and offer a bit of an explanation that I love designing, piecing and quilting and it’s a constant struggle to get the balance right.  AND you know that I’m struggling with balancing my day job (the one that pays the mortgage and I should be grateful for!), my family (who I love to pieces and require extra time and attention whilst settling into new schools and learning to read and write in English) and my business (that lights my fire, gets me out of bed in the morning and makes me happy).  It’s pretty clear what I want to be doing, but my commitments are also clear.

Today I had an email from a LQS that had signed me up to teach a few classes mid-year.  They were cancelling the classes as I hadn’t gotten samples to them in time.  Which is completely understandable, but I had April 14 in my diary and was working to that date.  A simple mis-communication, but one that left me in tears.  My daughter also had a lock-down at her school, a colleague was downright rude to me, winter weather has arrived and I’m hungry and no one is cooking dinner.  So really, it wasn’t my favourite day ever!

I like to think that I’m a pragmatic soul.  What I am taking from today is that I need to sit down with a blank piece of paper and pencil and sort out my priorities.  Accepting that I must continue my day job, feed the kids, clean the house, etc, I do have the privilege of setting my own priorities for my business.

BLOGGING is a priority.  I love my blog.  I love you folk.  I love sharing, being creative, encouraging others and being inspired.  I will make blogging a higher priority from now on.

QUILTING is a priority.  Quilting makes my heart sing.  I have the equipment, space and ability to quilt.  Making time to quilt is a priority.

PIECING is rewarding.  I love making quilts. I  LOVE playing with colour.  I MISS playing with colour!  I’m writing a timetable and I’m setting some time each week to piece something for me.  That I love.  In my colours.  Piecing is a priority, just not the highest one.  An hour a week will keep me happy and is manageable.

DESIGNING is something that I love.  I DO NOT love the time and effort it takes to take my original designs and turn them into a pattern fit to sell.  It’s hard work and it takes lots of time and it is going down the list.  I wish I could do it all, but taking my sketches and quilts and rewriting them, checking, getting them tested…  It’s not at the core of what I want to achieve.

TEACHING is something that I am super excited about.  It is VERY flattering to have people tell you that they love your work.  That they want to pay you to teach others.  Somewhat less exciting is the time it takes to prepare classes, instructions, notes and then check them all.  I can’t wait to start teaching and I hope that it’s a success, but I need to watch my commitments here.  This is not my highest priority, but this does compliment my goal of being a full-time longarm quilter, it is a high priority and it is FUN.

I would love your tips on prioritising.  I read this great post on running/starting a creative business this week. I guess I’m struggling with reality and my dreams.  I always describe myself as overly optimistic.  Today it occurred to me that maybe I just have a really poor sense of time LOL

So there you go!  Sorry for the lack of photos.  Sorry for the overly deep and meaningful post.  I’m putting this out there and holding myself accountable.  I am going to get my priorities right.  Well, righter, at least ;)  And maybe practice my English as I’m meant to be teaching two children to read LOL

I Quilt: Balance


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Can you believe it’s Thursday already?!  Welcome to your weekly quilty link-up here at Pretty Bobbins; I Quilt.  This link up is all about the quilting process, we want to learn and grow together and my goal is to give something back to the online quilting community.  Before I start to talk about my theme this week, I want to remind you to please visit a few other linkers and add the linky button and/or a link to my blog.

quilty habit improv mini in progress

Image by Quilty Habit, used with permission

This week I am featuring the very talented Jessica from Quilty Habit.  I always love visiting Jessica’s blog, it has a fun, fresh feel to it and her projects are always beautiful!  Her profile picture also features her in a scarf with one of my favourite prints, so I feel happy whenever I pop on over :)  Last week Jessica shared a beautiful improv curve mini that she was making for Valentine’s day.  If you follow me at all, you will know that I LOVE improv and I LOVE improv curves even more!

Quilty Habit improv curves heart mini

Image by Quilty Habit, used with permission

Jessica finished her Valentine’s mini (above) and it’s just gorgeous!  Seriously girl, you got everything just right!  The colours, the prints, the quilting, everything (even the photography)!  Well done, it’s beautiful!  I encourage you all to pop over and check it out.

Getting back to my theme this week of balance.  Now, this isn’t strictly quilting but it is integral to me as a quilter, if you know what I mean :)

As you know, I’ve recently been running around my new home town of Canberra asking the local quilting stores if they’d hand out my business cards for longarm quilting.  I also offered myself as a teacher.  Well, two stores, Addicted to Fabric and Hobby Sew, have signed me up for a number of classes including free motion quilting, piecing (with a focus on modern styles), foundation paper piecing, cushions, my starry skies quilt, table runners, and possibly a few other things.  (Details to follow, I’d love some local friendly faces to come along!)  At the same time I have had my first few customer quilts AND I have returned to my day job part time!

I’m super excited to be teaching, seriously, I can talk for hours and hours about quilting and I can’t wait to share my enthusiasm with students and offer some fresh, modern techniques and ideas.  My big dream is to be a full time longarmer and on my days at home I will working towards this as well as fitting in teaching and teaching preparations (samples people, I have samples coming out my ears!).  I then spend three days a week at the office (today was my first official day, I did go in about a month ago for a planning day).  Every day I drop my kids at school, and two days a week I collect them (from two different schools).

I am feeling overwhelmed, excited, overwhelmed, anxious, overwhelmed and…  Well you get the idea ;)  I feel like I’m over committed, I feel like I have too many equally important priorities pulling me in different directions.  I am living in chaos and I need to reign it all in and feel in control.  BUT, I am doing all of this so that I can live my dream of being a longarm quilter.  So I’m not complaining, I don’t resent the hard work.  I’m just sharing this journey :)  Balance is something that I am craving.  I want to quilt and piece.  I want to teach and quilt.  I want to be with my babies and have an income.  I don’t necessarily want to don a suit three days a week but I do want that income (and it’s kinda fun to dress up).

photo (39)

When I quilt I am pedantic about tension, I want that perfect balance between top and bobbin thread.  I take my time setting everything up, I test threads, I don’t let myself panic or worry.  I focus on getting the perfect balance and then I quilt knowing that my quilting will be beautiful, I will enjoy the process and I will feel relaxed and energised.  Right now there is no balance in my life.  It’s all GO GO GO!!!

How do you find balance?  Do you have any tips?  I would love to hear your advice.  This whole working mum, starting a business, teaching and quilting for others is new to me!  I feel comfortable and confident in each of these roles, but trying to do them all at once is a challenge!!  Share your wisdom lovely quilters :)  And I promise that next week there will be lots of quilty photos :)  Oh, and speaking of balance…  I’ve realised that I can no longer visit all the linkers, I just don’t have time, so I’m visiting half a dozen or so each week from now on.  Thanks so much for understanding, I just need to seek that balance :)

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An InLinkz Link-up

I Quilt – how much do you want it?


i quilt blog button

Hello my lovely quilting friends and welcome to I Quilt linky party at Pretty Bobbins!  We had lots of new linkers last week and I apologise that I am still getting around to visiting everyone.  I will get there! :)  Please remember to add the linky button (found at top left) and/or a link to my blog and to visit 3 other linkers.  We all love comments!

I haven’t organised myself to feature a quilter this week, I will be back on board next week, I’m sorry!  This week what I have been doing is visiting local Canberra quilt stores and introducing myself.  Wow, that has been an adventure!  We are super lucky in Canberra to have a big quilting culture and I think the Canberra Quilters (the local quilt guild) is possibly the longest running quilt guild in Australia.  Don’t quote me on that ;) but they have a great reputation and have been around the traps since way back :)  They haven’t had a meeting since I arrived in Canberra but I am looking forward to going along next Thursday.

Of course taking a queen size quilt to handquilt at a guild meeting is the best idea in summer!

Of course taking a queen size quilt to handquilt at a guild meeting is the best idea in summer!

As part of being a professional longarm quilter I feel it is important to introduce myself to the local groups.  Last Thursday evening I attended the Canberra Modern Quilt Guild meeting and had a hoot!  They are such a lovely, enthusiastic, talented group of quilters.  I shared two quilts and I must say I really appreciated the positive feedback I received.  Thank you lovely ladies xxx  It was also rather hilarious to have to ask everyone what their blog or IG name is because I don’t necessarily know their real names!

pile of quilts

But back to this week.  What I can take away from this week is the belief that I want this dream bad!  I’m passionate, enthusiastic, committed, talented, kind, generous and possibly somewhat naive and sensitive.  Driving from one end of Canberra to the other, quilts in hand and business cards on offer I was somewhat taken aback at the reception that I received.  I was told that I would “never teach in this town without being accredited”, “we already have a longarmer, the owner isn’t in, but don’t come back because she won’t take your cards”, “you need to offer a discount to get any of our customers”, “wow! that’s a bit out there.”, “leave your cards over there” without even getting up to shake my hand.  It was soul destroying.  But after coming home and licking my wounds for an afternoon I realised that I want this, I want this dream, I am going to get there and I am going to do it with a smile on my face, in the knowledge that my quilting is awesome, my style is up there, my passion and enthusiasm is evident and contagious.  Building a business takes time, belief in yourself and a thick skin.  How much do I want it?  I want it with every fiber of my being!


The other big positive that I want to share with you is that I will be teaching later this year at a local quilt store!  I’m super excited to have the opportunity to teach others to machine quilt, to gain confidence and to get on board this fun, addictive hobby ;)  If you’re local keep an eye out for more information closer to May :)  The world needs more quilters! ;)

So, with all this waffle (which is completely quilting focused!), I ask you, what is it that drives you to quilt?  Are you committed to charity quilting?  Do you quilt for your kids or grandkids?  Is quilting your escape?  Why do you quilt and how do you overcome those mental hurdles when someone discourages you?

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Happy quilting, happy linking and thank you, thank you, thank you for being lovely and encouraging to each other!  We need more of that in our community both online and in real life :)




Have you missed me?  Did you notice my absence?  Are you also melting in this crazy heatwave that Australia is currently enduring?  What a homecoming!

I often describe myself as overly optimistic.  I truly thought that I would continue blogging during our move.  Um…  that didn’t quite work out!  But I’m back and I’m itching to get back to designing, piecing and quilting.  The weekly I Quilt linky party will restart from next Thursday 23rd January, I hope you join me :)  But first up, let’s recap.

Last sunrise in Nouméa

Last sunrise in Nouméa

Leaving Nouméa was emotional.  Like any move it was chaotic, but those three years were more challenging and less enjoyable than many others that I’ve experienced and I really had to face it all as I left.  I do dearly miss my friends in Nouméa and oh how I mourn the blue of the lagoon!  I’ve swapped our tropical vista for the bush in Canberra (known as ‘Australia’s bush capital’ for a good reason!) and I am loving it.

Sunset from our house in Canberra <3

Sunset from our house in Canberra <3

I feel relaxed, happy, relieved.  All those things that don’t usually closely follow an international move.  Of course I am very lucky that both my husband and I are on leave and are able to spend the summer holidays with the children and setting up the house.  I LOVE our house.  Many times a day I gaze lovingly into my husband’s eyes and tell him how much I love this house ;)  It feels so right for us.  It features classic 1970s mission brown and bright white paint, cathedral ceilings and mostly original fixtures.  I am on a serious mid-century modern furniture bender at the moment (my budget being the only thing stopping me from refurnishing the entire house) and am eyeing off second hand sales and thrift stores.  Do other people furnish their homes this brightly? ;)


Excuse the shutters and blinds, we're in the middle of a heatwave...

Excuse the shutters and blinds, we’re in the middle of a heatwave…

Whilst I am eternally frustrated that the house isn’t perfectly organised right NOW!!  I am happy with the progress that we’re slowly making.  Our ‘dumping ground’ (ie. the rumpus room that we put all the stuff in that we didn’t initially know what to do with) has transformed into a guest room quilt show room.

photo (34)

But I know what you’re really wondering about…  Yes, I have a longarm!!!!  I won’t bore you with the setup hiccups that we had but I will tell you that’s she’s beautiful, clever, sexy and powerful.  She also needs a name…  Any suggestions?

I’ve been having fun practicing and working on some charity quilts.

photo (32)

I am open for business but the quilting website is still a work in progress.  If you are so inclined you can check it out here :)  Here I am in my studio with my lovely girl (and just for the record, I cannot bring myself to use the term ‘lady cave’, think about it people… ‘man cave’ works, ‘lady cave’ sounds a bit erm…  Well, let’s just say I enjoy my STUDIO) ;)

Gemma in studio

And yes, I make my own clothes so I can blend in with my stash LOL  Apparently it’s known as “quilter’s camo” ;)

Thank you for all the lovely messages and support during our move.  I have lots of quilts to share that I made just before we left Nouméa but blogging really had to take a backseat whilst we focussed on family.  Now that normality is starting to return, expect to see me back to blogging and quilting <3

Big love and happy new year to all you lovely, marvelous quilty folk.  Oh, and if you’re in Canberra, give me a hoi!  I’m looking forward to joining the modern and local quilt guilds :)  Keep an eye out for me, I’m much more shy in real life :)

Thoughts on moving


Well, the big move is underway.  Two days ago the shipping container was loaded and locked and shortly it should be on it’s way to Australia.  Now we camp out for awhile until returning.  This is my third international move with children and I was prepared for the fallout but it’s still hard.  We are exhausted, we are stressed and on edge.  The children returned home from school on Monday to find their home (the only one they remember) empty of all their possessions.  Miss 3 had tears in her eyes for hours, Mr 5 was full of nervous energy exploring every cupboard and Mr 7 got angry.  In my experience we should expect six tough months but by the year mark we should be back on track.

I can already see the behavioral issues.  Everyone is fighting and bickering ALL. THE. TIME.  The loss of anything (taking away a plate before they’ve finished) results in hysterical tears.  I am having to stop myself from taking them to the toy shop every day.  I want to see them happy again.  I want to stem the tears and stop the fights.  But all I can do is try and explain, try and be patient (I’ve had my post-move meltdown, it wasn’t pretty) and try to keep life as normal as possible.  But what is normal about this nomadic lifestyle?  That’s not a path I should venture down at this point.  It’s a dangerous spiral.  My silver lining is that in our mid-thirties we have realised that this lifestyle is not for us.  We are still employable, we have time to claw back our family life.  I know my husband will forever mourn the loss of these three years that he only saw his children on weekends (he has worked LONG hours Monday-Friday) but I hope that they will forget and it will be replaced with memories of a Dad who does their homework with them, a Dad who is home for dinner every night, a Dad who isn’t late for everything no matter how important it is because work ALWAYS comes first.

I hope that I forget too.  I hope that these three years go fuzzy in my memory.  That I remember the brilliant colours of New Caledonia, the smiling faces in the provinces, the precious friends that I have made.  Those friends that have taken my kids into their homes so I could pack up our life without them watching, the friends who rang to see if they could drop over dinner, the friends who judge me on my actions and not on what others may say.  I have had some very dark days here in Nouméa, I tell myself that great artists have to suffer for their work.  It’s a kind of sad joke.  It makes me wonder how much you have to suffer to actually make great work.  I’m not asking for pity, but I’ve written and deleted this story so many times without publishing it.  I don’t want to be negative in my happy place but these three years have had a huge impact on me as a person.  I have lost so much of my confidence.  I have suffered social anxiety to the point that I won’t leave the house other than to collect the children from school.  I have had moments where I was ready to walk out but I didn’t even have the clarity of mind to know where to walk to.

To me, quilting is like meditation.  I focus so wholly, with every fibre of my being, on a small area of fabric.  The rest of the world, my thoughts, the doubts, they disappear.  And then I produce something pretty and amaze myself.  And then I share it and other people like it and I feel human again.  Thank you dear readers for commenting both here and on IG and Flickr.  Your comments and ‘likes’ have helped me regain my confidence.  You’ve helped me feel human again.  My very good friend told me yesterday that you don’t need hundreds of virtual friends that you never even meet, that you only need a few diamonds (he -and his family- is definitely one of my diamonds).  I disagree.  Yes, my awesome ‘diamond’ friends are amazing and prop me up, but the online interaction has shown me that complete strangers care.  That is really powerful.  I can’t tell you how much it meant when Dasha emailed me late on Sunday night to wish me luck with the packing on Monday (we’ve never met and only started corresponding in January over thread/tension issues), I ‘chat’ everyday with the ‘Wombat Stew’ bee girls, in the last hours of packing they were cheering me on.  Those kind words and all the lovely comments on my blog are no less important.  So thank you very, very much.

I’m sorry this post isn’t really sewing related.  And I’m sorry if it’s negative.  And I know it doesn’t tell the whole story of what really happened (let’s just say bullying doesn’t end in primary school and leave it at that).  But this time I’m going to hit publish and I hope you don’t mind.

Tomorrow we’ll be back to quilting.  I’d love you to come link up to I Quilt Thursday.  I haven’t visited last weeks linkers yet.  I will, but it has been chaos here and my feet have only just hit the ground.

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Cascading Tetris Quilt in progress


Phew!  That’s a mouthful but I really do have an image of a kind of colour-clever cascading tetris for this twin quilt.  But before we start on the WIP I must apologise for the silence.  I’m unwell (sinus infection) and am really struggling with fatigue and just haven’t had it in me to blog.  Keeping everyone fed and clothed and food at the ready has been enough for the last week.  But before the sickness I was in Australia test driving long arm quilting machines and it was so wonderful and exciting and fantastic and great and…  Well, you get the idea ;)  But I’ll save all that for a post of it’s own!

Months ago I pulled out fabric to make a winter quilt for both of my sons.  Mr 5 has a light-weight quilt that is big enough to sleep under but doesn’t drape over the sides of the mattress at all.  Combine that with the big move back to Australia at the end of this year where we will be experiencing four seasons and I definitely NEED to make winter quilts for at least two of my three babies!  (Miss 3′s princess quilts has a flannel back and wool wadding, the boys currently have cotton and bamboo).

Adding in some low value prints

The thing I love about quilty blogs is the process, seeing how other people work and taking some of their methods and trying them out myself.  It is slightly ironic then that I often find myself hesitant to share a quilt in the earliest stages of progress.  I tend to have a very clear image in my head of what the finished quilt will look like but I worry that people won’t get my vision and will preemptively judge a quilt.  So what am I saying?  Trust me, this quilt is gonna be fab! ;)  (From lack of self confidence to in your face in two seconds folks, that’s me!)

Sewing the rows – the cascade affect taking shape

So whilst I’m here to show you my current work in progress I guess I’m also talking about self confidence.  Mine in particular.  A few months back I was interviewed by Kathreen Ricketson who was travelling Australia with her family.  Two days after I sent off my finished interview and photos, Kathreen and her husband tragically passed away.  The news was gut wrenching, completely unbelievable.  Not only do online connections make people seem more real and close, but I’d only just been corresponding with Kathreen.  Like many in the craft world I was swept up in the outpouring of grief for Kathreen and her family.  It isn’t my place to tell her story, we weren’t close friends, but she did do something really important for me.  She made me face the world and put into words what my hopes and dreams are.  I had thought that the article wouldn’t go ahead and to be brutally honest I thought it would be rude of me to ask the magazine if they were going to run the story.  So it was a big surprise to hear that the article has been published in the current issue of Quilter’s Companion, an Australian quilting magazine.  I haven’t seen the article yet but I did see an image (below) by Siobhan of Beaspoke Quilts on instagram this morning.  That’s my mini quilt there!  So big thanks to Kathreen for making me step up and share my dreams with the world.  After I’d typed it up for Kathreen it was much easier to share it here, and now I’m at the point where I’m just about to invest in a long arm machine and start my quilting business in earnest next year!

Image with permission from Beaspoke Quilts

So what’s the moral of the story?  Be brave.  Voice your dreams and pursue them relentlessly.  Accept that good things happen in time.  Cherish every moment.

That’s where I am right now.  Have you got a dream that you don’t have the confidence to share?  I encourage you to shout it from the rooftops!  Write it down, tell a friend, mention it over a cup of tea.  I’m finding that everyone I tell only has positive and encouraging words and that just helps me on my way :)

I’m linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Curves Cushion Cover Giveaway



Hurrah for August!  I’m celebrating one last time by giving away a quilted curvy cushion cover.  I shouldn’t really be celebrating as August is nearly over and I still need to complete my bee blocks and prepare for a double birthday party this weekend…

Improv curvey quilted cushion cover

As a final celebration of August I’m giving away this 15″ cushion/pillow cover (insert not included) that I made yesterday.  As always I used my lovely Aurifil threads (2810 and 2605 in 50wt) and had a lot of fun free motion quilting on my Bernina 440QE.  The grey is kona steel and the prints are some favourites that are fast becoming scraps!  This giveaway is to say thank you to all of you lovely readers here on the blog and the wonderful bunch over on Instagram.  Whilst Instagram is definitely dampening my blogging mojo somewhat I really encourage you to give it a try if you haven’t.  There is so much inspiration and a really nice quilty/crafty community.

I used nearly the last of a favourite print on the back

Just leave me a comment letting me know why you like to read my blog (or follow me on Facebook or Instagram).  As I’ve mentioned before I have a dream to turn Pretty Bobbins into a business quilting for other people whilst continuing to make quilts for family, friends and for sale.  Being online is a big part of what I do, I love the social interaction with other crafty types.  I love meeting like minded people all over the world.  As much as my blog is a place for me to share my makes with you, I also want to make sure that I’m actually sharing things that interest you.  There are lots of posts that I’ve hesitated about writing because they were too wordy, I was worried I’m not qualified/an expert or I just didn’t think it was a good fit.  I would love it if you could tell me what keeps you coming back.  The pretty quilts?  The visual inspiration?  The posts about colour or process?  The tutorials?  Is there something that I’m not blogging about that you would like to see or something that I could do better?

A simple zippered closure so you can feature the front or back (but I hope you like the front enough to show!) :)

I don’t talk about myself very often so I’ve decided to share a few things about myself today :)  Feel free to just scroll down and enter the giveaway ;)

I’m an only child who has three children and an incredibly patient and supportive husband.  I have crazy hair, I’m forgetful, I always try to do too many things at once and I never knew what I wanted to do until I started quilting.  Now I get anxious at the thought of not realising my dream of being a full time quilter.

It’s seriously hard to giveaway a cushion cover that looks so good on my sofa! ;)

I speak four languages (English, French, Indonesian and Mandarin) but my Mandarin is pretty basic these days.  I always wanted to live overseas but now that I’ve done it a couple of times I’ve realised that actually I love holidays overseas.  I’m a homebody who needs a haven in the suburbs and a job that gives me time with my family.

I don’t remember learning to sew, but my Mum, Grandma and Aunt all sewed and I was always around sewing growing up.  My Aunt is the only other quilter in my family but we have very different styles (her quilts are beautiful!).

Quilting detail up close

Whilst I’m not one for pigeon holes, I would put myself in the “modern quilter” camp.  I love colour, creativity and improvisation.  I LOVE to quilt.  I am much better at drawing with my sewing machine than with a pencil and paper!  I’m a perfectionist and I love the absolute perfection and micromanagement that is part of piecing.  Free motion quilting and improv curves make me happy.  I crave simplicity.  I want a vegie patch and chickens and I want to quilt day after day after day.

So there you go :)  That’s me in a nutshell (and now I have Austin Power’s nemisis in my head crying “help! I’m in a nutshell” LOL)

Improv curvey quilted 15″ pillow cover

If you’d like to be in the running please leave me a comment letting me know why you like to read my blog/instagram/facebook or what else you would like to see me post about.  If you follow me on Instagram you can have a second entry over there, just share the photo that I’ll load shortly with the hashtag #prettybobbinsgiveaway and tag me  I will combine the number of entries with blog comments first, ie. 1-50 then followed by IG comments in order ie. 51-90.  The giveaway will be open until midnight AEST (Sydney time) Saturday 31st August.  I will use to draw a winner and announce it on Monday 2nd September.  Please leave your email address (if the winner is on IG I will tag you there) so I can contact you.

This giveaway is open wordwide (it’s for the cushion/pillow cover only).

Good luck and thanks for supporting me on this creative journey xxx


Why the move


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

A stack of Pretty Quilts

A stack of Pretty Quilts

Thank you so much to everyone that replied yesterday that they can see me in their reader!  Yay!  I am trying to figure an easy way to reply via email without cutting and pasting, so please be patient :) (if you have a wordpress blog and you know of a plugin that can help, please let me know.) I would much rather be at my sewing machine but am still at the computer trying to get my site as user friendly and pretty as possible :)

My sewing space

I had a few questions asking why I made the move and seeing I need to add a new post to claim my new address on bloglovin’ I thought I would answer that question :)  The simple answer is that I have found my passion in quilting and I want to take it from being a hobby to being my profession.  In the last six months I have bought my domain name, business name and set up an Australian Business Number, I have ordered business cards and spent a lot of time thinking and planning how to turn Pretty Bobbins into more than just a blog.  Most importantly, I spend a lot of my time quilting.  Practice makes perfect, right?  Plus, I love playing with colour and producing lovely quilts!

Next year I will buy a longarm quilting machine and the dream is to make quilting my full time job.  I love blogging and I will continue to blog, but by having my own domain name I plan to incorporate my business into my site.  At this stage I am planning to just add another tab up top where you can see my business details.  What services I will offer and important details that potential clients will want to know.  The blog will continue as it is, but by moving from blogger to wordpress I have more options in terms of what I can do here.

A girls gotta dream, right? ;)

In the meantime I will continue this STEEP learning curve (I didn’t even know how to add an image or html code when I started writing this post LOL) and hopefully make it back to my sewing machine ASAP!!  I’m having withdrawals…

Have you made the move to wordpress?  Do you have any tips?

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