thursdays are great.

Last night was my writers' group (we are called Spiders' Group) and as always, I came home feeling completely content. There are people you know, and there are people you want to know. Spiders are definitely in the latter category. Am I allowed to say this without sounding gloopy? I love them. We are weird and wonderful and we are all on such different journeys, but it is amazing that we all intersect at the written word.

Before Spiders' Group though, Sel and I ventured south of the bridge to Remnant Warehouse, where I promptly found the little Lecien Minnie Muu sailor fabric in a pink colorway! I had to get it, along with some much-coveted Lorax fabric, the rest of a bolt of a faded medallion print, and some nice Kokka linen/cotton. I also picked up a charm pack and ran my hands longingly over the quilting books. Ahh. Next time. Or when I win the lottery!

I also picked up a book on antique quilts at Kinokuniya. I love quilt books with lots of reading. It makes me happy that authors have taken the time to write something about the way their work makes them feel. This book presents some basic blocks in new ways.

Making Antique Quilts

Making Antique Quilts, by Rita Weiss

And, when I got home, my two brand new templates had arrived! I have a small curved dresden plate and an Elwood Rose template to play with.

This morning, Piper and I dropped Mr Poppleton off at the train and had a long, leisurely coffee. We have been trying a brand new babywearing device and I have to admit, I love it. It's much more comfortable than the sling I have been using and it puts the baby to sleep. She loves being in the face-out position too! So while Piper had her nap, I had a coffee, and afterward we went to Cottage Quiltworks and picked up a few more lovely fabrics (which you will see, of course, tomorrow). I also picked up an amazing book on 1930s quilt patterns!

Treasures from the 30s

Treasures from the 30s, by Nancy Mahoney

This week I have not been terribly productive, though I have gotten some work done on J5's quilt. This is what it looks like laid out. I have yet to sew the blocks together (or finalize the design) but hey! It's pretty cute!

Ultraviolet Quilt

Forgive the terrible, it's-midnight-and-I-can't-turn-the-light-on-or-I'll-wake-the-baby lighting.

Here's a slight close-up of the blocks.

Ultraviolet Quilt

Last but not least I have been playing with my charm square packs. I have two Kona "Snow" packs, two Kona "Brights" packs, and a lone Hunky Dory by Chez Moi for Moda pack, and I want to make a cot quilt or two (or five). They look so pretty all stacked up!


Tomorrow I have only one fabric-related errand to run, and then I'm going to cool my heels for the month of October, and focus on sewing what I have instead of acquiring more fabric. Fingers crossed I can stay within my own self-imposed's hoping I can resist the pull of new colors, styles, textures and prints!

I'll be back tomorrow with Fabric Friday, and I have not forgotten I promised a book review too!


written words

As a writer, the most important thing I do to become cleverer is to read. And, lest you think I'm one of those people, the "literary fiction" types with their americanos and clove cigarettes, let me confess to you right this second: I've never made it through a single Jonathan Safran Foer book. SHOCKER I know. (I also don't own any plaid flannel, so I can't be a real hipster. DARN.)

These are the cleanest hipsters ever.

Taste aside, I am a reader. One of my earliest memories is sitting in the backseat of my parents' car, kicking my feet, exclaiming how I couldn't wait to learn to read! (My mother obliged & taught me how. Thanks, Mom!) When I did learn, once I exhausted my school library's supply of Berenstien Bears books, I moved on to Beverly Cleary and Roald Dahl. Then on to Lou Kassam and Mary Downing Hahn and (best!) NANCY DREW. I spent the summer after 6th grade reading Nancy Drew in Kings Hill, ID, and, uh, making up a fake boyfriend. (I never forgot the afternoons we didn't spend playing basketball in your driveway, Tall Jeffrey!)

There was a brief stint in late childhood where I read a lot of Sweet Valley High and Babysitter Club books. My saving grace were LM Montgomery books. Anne of Green Gables, Emily of New Moon, The Blue Castle, all amazing. In my teens I read Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series and discovered William Gibson. Eventually I discovered Sandra Cisneros, Louise Erdrich, and Barbara Kingsolver.

When I turned 25 and realized something was missing. YA was missing. As a too-cool-for-school teen, I was busy reading Anaïs Nin and David Sedaris. I didn't have time for frippy romantic teenage novels. I barely visited the library, instead opting for the dusty shelves of the local seconhand bookstore.By wading through heavy literary fiction, reading about murders and incest and difficult adult relationships, I missed out on all the heart-thumping, the sweaty palms, the intense romance and agony of being a teenager in fiction.

Of course, YA isn't really about romance all the time, or agony. There are some great books out there that sit firmly within the "adult" banner, books that deal with homosexuality, sexuality in general, have bad words, or have difficult themes (death, supernatural abilities, sparkling inappropriately, etc). There are some that are light-hearted but still approachable. The book that got me into YA was Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

I'd never read anything by John Green or David Levithan but a friend recommended WG, WG so I bought it at the Sydney Writers' Festival. And when I finished reading its amazingness, I promptly scoured my favorite bookstore, Kinokuniya, for all the David Levithan and John Green books I could find. I bought them all. I began browsing in YA, ignoring my pretentious adult tastes. I felt a pang of guilt each time I passed the literary fiction section without a backward glance, but honestly, I was loving every sweaty-palm difficult-choices being-a-teen-sucks coming-of-age moment.

And the writing. The glorious, amazing writing. These weren't hastily penned for a daft audience; these books were crafted, written for intelligent and savvy young adults. The authors spent just as much time creating worlds and characters as any "proper" novelist. Maybe more. John Green takes at least three years to write a book. And Maureen Johnson's dedication to writing has clearly sent her insane. (For proof, see her Twitter feed. Watch out, she'll try and put you in a jar.)

My point is, my home is YA. It's what I read. It feels right. I might be a married mother but dang, when I read Looking for Alaska I was crying like a teenager. I felt like a teenager. (I was poorly suited to being a child, by the way, and love being all grown up, so this is not some sort of nostalgia doohicky.) YA is not a guilty pleasure; it became the first place I turn for new books. And it's fabulous. Here's why.

YA is a reader's genre. See, it's not just "young adult fiction". It's YA science fiction, YA horror, YA fantasy, YA dramatic/comedic fiction, YA poetry, YA you name it it's there. And as a reader, a real reader, the kind of person who reads ANYTHING and EVERYTHING she can get her mitts on, I respect that. I love that one minute I'm reading about butt-kicking angels and the next I can pick up a book on terrifying fairies and I'm back to reality with a story about a girl who is finding her family.

I bring this up because when people ask what I do, I tell them I'm a writer. Invariably they wonder, "What do you write?" and I have to make a decision. I write coming-of-age stories for people who aren't teenagers but remember being teenagers. I write about teenagers but not necessarily for them. Plus there's a lot of magic/random/supernatural-esque stuff (don't worry, NOBODY SPARKLES) in my stories, so a large chunk of my work falls under magical realism. Magical-realism-not-quite-YA doesn't really roll off the tongue, though. So I tell people I write novels, fiction, and most people leave it at that. I always want to say I write YA, but then I don't. I'm scared people will read my manuscripts and take me to pieces for corrupting the nation's youth or something. Eek! So I don't say anything.

What people should ask me, when they find out I'm a writer, is "who's your favorite author?" because that tells you more about a writer than any genre ever could. For the record, I can't think of a favorite author. Probably LM Montgomery, since she's been with me the longest. But I'm reading a shedload of Maureen Johnson right now. And I could quite cheerfully reread, at any time, John Marsden's Tomorrow When the War Began series. Oh, and I do enjoy Neil Gaiman. Maybe he's my favorite. Maybe they're all my favorite. Who cares? I'm a writer. I read a lot. And I love a lot of authors. The inspire me to put my fingers on the keys and write.

And really, that's what makes it awesome.


sunday night plan #3

This week was busy in strange bursts, so I managed to squeeze in bits of sewing here and there. I have to admit, I thought babies napped a lot more than this...but Piper likes to condense her sleeps into the evenings, leaving the day with just a few grizzly short naps. Yikes. But I can't complain too much. She's so gorgeous and bright, always looking around and taking everything in.

I didn't get very much done this weekend, owing to aforementioned Miss Grizzles, but we did manage to finally buy a pram this week! I am looking forward to walking in fine weather. We took the inaugural walk to our favorite café and it felt amazing to stretch my legs. I forsee many hours out and about in our future!

A quick look at this past week before I get down to the nitty-gritty plans!

An explosion took place, and my goodness, the amount of Napisan it took to get that out! Of course I think all of this is hilarious. For someone so tiny, she can make a LOT of mess!


That picture is definitely going in the "21st Birthday Party Slideshow" file!

We caught up with Ellen and Joel. Ellen and I were pregnant together! They have a brand new baby girl, Olive (she's not even a week old!) who is eight weeks younger than Piper. Ellen is my age-ish and it is so nice having a friend close in age who is also a new mum. Where we live, the mums we encounter are mostly post-career women, in their mid- to late-thirties. This is Ellen, Joel, and Olive (in the sling).

Ellen & Joel & new baby Olive!

Mr Poppleton's school friend Aaron and his wife Floss were up this weekend from Melbourne, so we took Piper to meet them. She especially liked Aaron and didn't complain once while he held her! But then he's always been charming to the ladies.

Aaron & Floss

And of course, we distracted Elle. She is always sneaking off to have a hold of Piper, and always gets in trouble at work! Shame shame.

Coffee Elle

So we have been very social, and as a result I had a very cranky, overtired baby on Saturday afternoon and most of today. But she is happily sleeping now, so I can plan my week!

Sewing projects:

x sew J3's quilt top (still, I know I know, I'm SO slack)
x sew J5's quilt top (which I cut and pinned last week)
x design, work up, and cut out 2 cot quilts
x finish Happy Camper quilt top
x finish wrap shirt
x finish hand sewing last three curved hexagon blocks

Writing projects:

x diagram story
x write something every evening (even if it only 100 words)
x structure story toward a finish line

I have a few other things to do this week, in the "life projects" pile. We're considering a new dining table & chairs, so I'd like to sell my existing set. I also have four chairs I bought and reupholstered, and I just need to give them another coat of paint (or five!) to make them worth selling. I'm also converting all our media from physical to electronic, with a view of having a less-plastic lifestyle in the near future. So that's an ongoing set of projects to keep me busy. For now, I'm going to watch an episode of Gossip Girl and finish sewing this curved hexagon block. Maybe if I am really clever, I can get two blocks sewn before the end of the show! A worthy goal.

PS I read a fantastic book and I am going to write a review of it, so keep your eyes peeled!


Fabric Friday #1

I know it's not Friday, but I'm going to do an update of my purchased fabric because Fabric Friday was actually Fabric...Thursday. (Thursday Threads? Bah.)

Well, today was a lovely day. I had a lovely long lie-in with Piper and we were so relaxed it almost seemed criminal. We met up with Sel to go fabric-shopping at one of my favorite places ever, Material Obsession. (Except I forgot to get thread, as usual.) Lately I've been collecting fabric for my stash, just piling everything I love into my arms and getting a meter here, a half-meter there. Today was exceptional: I found (and bought the rest of the bolt) my favorite Lecien fabric to date. I had used it for a sling for Piper and was regretful. To find it again, in real life, after many fruitless Google searches... oh man, I was chuffed. So now it's back in my stash!

Lecien love

The rest of my haul came predominantly from Moda's Sophie by Chez Moi line and more from My Folklore by Lecien. And a few half-yard finds I just liked!

Fabric Friday #1

Isn't it all beautiful? Oh yes, yes it is.

Back at home I've got a few projects all wrapped up and ready to post! My niece Sissy is a very lucky little girl who is getting a beautiful new quilt. I used a disappearing 9-patch block set on point and had just enough extra tiny blocks to tuck into the corners. It's super sweet!

Sissy's quilt

This was my first go at machine-quilting but I think I did pretty well. It looks nicer than I thought, especially for a first attempt.

Sissy's quilt

I have to say, this was my first real attempt at a pieced back and I went with the motif from the 9-patch block. It worked out well!

Sissy's quilt

I am sending a quilt to my other niece Jayden, one I made a while ago with no one specific in mind. This one I called "Rainbow Sherbet". I love the back of this one as well, a real find of organic fabric with grey trees and brightly coloured animals.

Jayden's quilt

But in the midst of those projects, I've begun something new! A quilt for my sister J5. I drew the plan out on some A3 paper and have been toying with two colourways: rainbow with white (as the design is drawn), or prints with a purple center.

Project sheet for Jaymi

I decided on the multi prints with purple centers, but I loved the idea of a rainbow quilt so much I went and bought a shedload of colourful fat quarters just in case!

Rainbow fat quarters

Last but not least on this busy Friday, I decided to make my own "design wall". Now I have a limited amount of wall-space but I needed something to stick my blocks up on, so Mr Poppleton helped me with some Command tape and a length of white drill I had laying around. And it looks great! It complements my space super well and leaves my bulletin board for paper inspiration!

My new design wall!

I put two of my completed curved hexagon blocks up there. I had six of these gorgeous cerulean scraps left from my former life as an American (ha ha) and I made them into the center of these blocks. I'm loving having a wall to stick them on!

Curved hexagons

So that was my Thursday. I've got a clean kitchen, a semi-tidy sewing area (ha, as if it will ever achieve real tidiness!), and a pan full of warm, gooey brownies calling my name. Oh and a sweet baby and a gorgeous husband to cuddle up to! I'm so blessed, it's true.



progress, ever slow...

Well! The fates aligned this morning and I got some work done!

I had my "fake coffee" (aka my glorious decaf), in my special favorite mug:

fake coffee in my david bowie mug

I had a pile of ironing seams which went wonderfully quick!

ironing times

I had Chuck and Blair to keep me company (oh, the intrigue)!

blair & chuck 4EVA

And, best of favorite tiny terrorist decided to grace me with sleep!

tiptoe time!

N'awwww... well, she woke up and I had the quilt blocks half-laid out so J3's quilt is not quite put together yet. Maybe tomorrow! Until then, I've got a block to design for J5's quilt top. Toodles!


mondays are good.

I did get some things done today, not all of them crafty, but important tasks nonetheless. I'd been putting off making an appointment, but I bit the bullet and rang the doctor to make it. I had blood drawn for postnatal checks. I posted all 120 birth announcements five weeks later than I finished them. I bundled up the Cotton Candy Quilt so it is all ready to post on Thursday. I washed and dried my nephew's and nieces' quilts, chain-pieced the four-patch blocks for J3's quilt, and started working on my curved star hexagon blocks (there are six, and I am hand-sewing them). And I cleaned the kitchen!

But the real reason today is such a good day? My friend Ellen had her baby. Welcome to the world, Olive Margaret! I am so excited to meet you!

Now, I am off to bed with my very own big, demanding baby, and my very sleepy husband. I'm not going to leave the house tomorrow, I've decided. It is much nicer inside sewing, after all that excitement. So perhaps tomorrow night's post will be even more victorious. I aim to be replete with sewing smugness!



sunday night plan #2

Okay, okay, so technically this is a Monday morning update, but shhh. It'll be our little secret.

From last week's list I managed to finish a few key projects, but the one I am the most excited about is George's quilt. Honestly I'd been hemming and hawing (or perhaps hawing and NOT hemming) about stitching just three feet of hand-quilting, so tonight I finally just rolled my eyes at myself and finished it. YAY!

Another accomplishment? Finishing the quilt for my niece Sissy. I machine quilted it, but I hated it pretty much the entire time. Even with a walking foot I felt like the stitches were uneven and bodgy. I love hand-quilting so much. For J3's quilt top (67" square) I am probably going to spring for professional machine quilting. Tonight for Sissy's quilt I finally chose the binding and attached it, and except for four lines more of stitching it is DONE! I'll be able to post it on Friday to my tiny, excited niece! This is what it looked like all taped, but not yet basted or quilted.


Also I made her a matching Viewfinder bag! She specially requested one just like mine. I was only too happy to oblige!

sissy's bag

I'm feeling obviously super chuffed.

I'm sad to say I got very little writing done. I need a good nap day so I can sit down and diagram the story. I used to go through phases, where I'd write a lot, then I'd stop almost completely and sew a lot...I think I'm on a sewing upswing at the moment. But I need to get back to writing. Boo for me.

So for this week, my sewing projects are:

x finish J3's quilt top
x cut out J5's quilt blocks
x design & start two new cot quilts
x sew wrap shirt

And my writing goals:

x 500 words per day
x diagram the story on index cards

I'm going to spend a bit of time working out my new cot quilt designs, and it's really exciting because, well, I SOLD ONE THIS WEEK! I'm so proud that my efforts have been rewarded! It is always really great to make something new and beautiful but for a complete stranger to love it enough to pay hard-earned dollars for my creations is just the best feeling ever. Seriously, best best best. This is the quilt I sold, the Cotton Candy Kaleidoscope Quilt:

Please go visit my store for updates, and I will try and include new stuff every couple weeks.

Here's to a happy, busy week!



fabric fabric fabric

I don't usually get the chance to do big build-ups when it comes to fabric shopping, no matter how much I'd like to. Being a miserly new momma means I need to count my pennies and parcel them out very I usually shop for a project, or for inspiration. So I spend a lot of time staring wistfully at the beautiful bolts on the shelves of my favorite stores, and more time wishing I were independently wealthy!

But this week, the Tax Return Fairy waved her magic wand and after a big, doe-eyed discussion with Mr Poppleton, I had leave to splurge! It was heavenly to walk into Material Obsession on Friday and boldly say "I'm here to shop for my stash!" I got a few good fat quarters, some Lecien, some Sanae for Moda, and some 1930s fabric for my quilt for Rachie. I also got a new kite-shaped template and a free pattern to go with!

new fabric

new fabric binge

After a brief stop at my favorite café, I met up with the gorgeous Sel and we ventured up to Cottage Quiltworks together, where I got even MORE gorgeous fabric! This is the lot, and note the new template from MO:


I've been dreading trying hexagons, but when I saw this super cute template I had to buy it. The finished block is really interesting (see a picture here) and the template looks like this:

new template

Last but DEFINITELY not least is the latest addition to my quilting bookshelf. I've been a huge fan of the Material Obsession books so I've had my squidgy little eyeballs on Sarah Fielke's new book for weeks. I finally procured a copy and I was so stoked! So many gorgeous new quilts and even more inspiration! Look at's so beautiful!

new inspiration

You can find your copy at your local quilt shop, or here.

I'm a very happy camper, with miles of new fabric to play with and dozens of ideas cropping up. I've already started on the curved hexagon template with some treasured scraps of bright blue fabric, and it has inspired me to finish up the projects I I can get new ones underway! Hooray, new fabric!


piper rose

I love everything about the tiny creature that we made.

She is so inspiring. She learns so much everyday. And to look down at her in her sling and see all that trust, with her hands clinging on to my's magic. Best job in the world.

Big eyes.


sunday night plan #1


Sundays are the planning evening in our house. We do all the ironing, I try in vain to finish up whatever lingering sewing projects I have, and we tidy the house for the week. I'm carrying that over to this space so I can keep myself accountable, or at least keep track of my myriad projects!

I found some time to work on my sister's quilt this weekend, and I realized after how I needed the sewing time. I feel more centered, more like myself, when I find the time to sew. Now I just need to carve out the time to write so I can be balanced on all three points: mother, writer, and crafter! The magical tripod of my sanity. I am armed this week to hunker down and do some serious work, though, Piper-permitting; I have index cards, new Sharpie Pens, and a burning desire to finish this story so I can turn it into a manuscript, then pitch it and try to get it published.

(Wow, okay, that is the first time I have written that, or even said it. Yes, this is the one I hope to publish. The last five completed novels were just practice. And that is A-OK.)

This week's upcoming sewing projects are:

x finish the "walk in the woods" quilt top
x baste Sissy's quilt
x decide on and cut piecework for j5's quilt
x finish the dang "happy camper" quilt top
x make a new sling for warmer weather
x finish georgie's quilt (two lines of quilting left, yeah!)

This week's upcoming writing projects are:

x diagram the novel
x 1500 words by friday

And hopefully my little mini-me will behave this week...she has grown to an astounding 5.27kg and finally we got past the awful Miss Grizzle week! She looks pretty sweet and innocent here!


My favorite time to sew. Too bad I miss her when she sleeps and I end up wanting to cuddle her...and then I wake her up. New momma fail!