Sunday, June 23, 2019

Sydney Australia and the Blue Mountains


There truly are no words that could adequately describe the adventure we had in our brief time in Australia. I think the best way to put it is... I can't wait to go back!

Day 1


We arrived on a very rainy day so we went to the world famous Material Obsession Quilt shop. It was delightful to visit with the wonderful people there including the super talented Kathy Doughty and her husband John. I got a big hug from sweet Helena, whom I had met in Houston, as well as the infamous Wendy Williams who let me barge in on her class and visit with everyone there. I honestly can't think of a nicer combination of humans... Australians and quilters. They made us feel so at home and welcomed us with such kindness.


Clutching a few fabrics we went to dinner at the top of the Sydney Tower. The views were spectacular and the clouds even broke for a few minutes to let us enjoy a spectacular sunset. We walked back to our hotel with full tummies, big smiles and very sleepy eyes. We had no trouble falling asleep immediately as we had traveled 5 hours to LAX and then another 14.5 to SYD. Somewhere in there we also lost an entire day! But it was so worth it!

Day 2


We booked an all day excursion in an attempt to see as much as possible while we were there and it turned out to be a fantastic experience. The van picked us up at the hotel and we drove out to the Blue Mountains to enjoy some short hikes and spectacular views. We also visited Scenic World and rode the cable car across the top of the valley to view the waterfall before riding the suspended tram to the valley floor. Our guide told us all the wonderful stories and history as well as some pretty funny anecdotes. He truly made our entire day completely entertaining!


After another hike to a waterfall, where we same some amazing wildlife, we had a delicious lunch at a pub. After warming up and drying out (though we were lucky that it was only misting a bit here and there) we drove to Featherdale Wildlife Park. We pet a koala, fed a kangaroo, and watched some dingo pups playing. The wombat may have been my favorite but the echnidas were super cute as well. We were able to interact or get very close to all of the animals and really enjoyed meeting them.


We then took a peaceful boat ride back down the river to Sydney, ending our day sailing under the iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge and past the Sydney Opera House. We enjoyed and amazing dinner outside with a view of both! It was a very long day but we were so happy and talked and laughed about our adventures on our walk back to our hotel.

Day 3


We woke up super early every day and went to bed just after dinner because of the 14 hour time difference. Jet lag is no joke! But we were excited to see the sights and do a couple of walking tours through the historic district in Sydney known as 'The Rocks' and then we walked through the Botanical Gardens as well. They were so amazing and so much was in bloom in spite of it being winter there.


We then took an Uber to the coast. We walked the Coastal Cliff Walk from Tamarama Beach to Bondi Beach. The walkway along the top of the cliffs was spectacular. The weather was gorgeous and we could not believe how beautiful the cliffs, the ocean and the views were. It was so stunning. After walking the cliffs, we poked around the shops along Bondi Beach and just enjoyed the beach.


We then made our way back to Sydney to meet up with my friend, Diane, from Orange, NSW. We've been friends for over 20 years and have only met once in person a few years ago. We met as quilting pen pals and have stayed in touch over all these years. She is so delightful and I know we would be best friends if we lived closer. I was so thankful that she was able to travel to Sydney to see me and visit the quilt show together with me. Spending time with her was a highlight of my trip for sure!

Day 4 and 5


We spent the next two days exploring the Sydney Quilt Show. The shopping was amazing and I brought home quite a bit of Australian fabric, Aboriginal fabric, and some Liberty of London fabrics that are hard to find in the US.


But I didn't just shop, we enjoyed the quilts as well. We were lucky enough to spend an hour with the amazing quilter who made the 'Best in Show' quilt. She also happened to have a special exhibit of her quilts through the years. We enjoyed hearing her speak and learning the stories and techniques behind her amazing work. If you don't follow Catherine Butterworth, you should check her out! Her work is amazing!


We also found Rachaeldaisy (author of Whiz Bang!) and spent some lovely moments chatting with her. She's as fun as her quilts are and I always enjoy spending time with her!


We even bumped into Linda Collins (author of Quilts in the Barn) and enjoyed a chat. She's so fun to catch up with and I've run into her now on 3 different continents. No telling where I'll see her again! LOL


I'll need to devote another post (or 2 or 3) to the quilts alone. I need to sort through my 600+ photos before I can manage that though.

Day 6


And then we began our long journey home. Our flight was delayed 6 hours because the inbound aircraft was delayed. Luckily, the same aircraft was used for our connecting flight to Atlanta, so we didn't miss it even though we had to clear customs and immigration which was total chaos. I must say, flying on a Boeing 777 is delightful if you are in the right cabin! We sat in a different cabin for each leg of the journey (slight mix up with reservations) and the closer one gets to the front, the better the experience by far! However, the flights home were only 14 hours and 4 hours, so it was easier than the first day of travel for sure! And because of the time changes, we landed in LAX before we left SYD. So we got the day back that we lost on the way over!

And now we try to adjust to the time zone we are in. I have 72 hours before I get on another flight to go to Salt Lake City for HandiQuilter Academy. I'm the luckiest person I know, and probably the most tired as well!

Diane

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Good Day Mate!


The time has finally arrived, I'm off to Sydney for an epic adventure. I will share photos on Instagram while I'm away.

I hope to come home completely inspired by the sights, sounds, colors and nature of Australia, not to mention, the Sydney Quilt Show. If you will be at the show, please say HI if you see me. I'll be the one walking around looking completely overwhelmed.

Diane

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Last teaching trip for this spring...


My teaching schedule has had me on the road a lot so far this year. And my last teaching trip was so much fun! I flew to St. Louis to visit the Heartland Quilters and be one of 3 teachers at their retreat. I had a wonderful class full of talented quilters who made gorgeous versions of  "Under the Mistletoe."


We had so much fun sewing and flipping on paper, then playing with curves and putting it all together. I never tire of teaching this workshop and I am always surprised and impressed with the exciting versions that each of the fabric choices create.


I was lucky enough to be driven to and from the airport (as well and very well taken care of in general) by another C&T author Susan Marth.


She is as kind as she is talented and she even shared her shampoo and hair dryer with me. Never mind that I locked myself out of my room late the first night returning the hair dryer to her, so the entire guild got to see my polka dot pajamas when I went begging for help. Nothing like making a professional impression!!! hahaha


The other teachers were Karla Kiefner of Creative Bee Studios and Emily from Em's Scrapbag blog. Each one of Emily's quilts was bright and happy and gorgeous! I wanted to take photos of them all but I was too busy oohing and ahhing.




The flowers were beautiful! They were along all the walkways and I took lots of photos of them. Only once did I step off the path the take a photo, because I stepped on a black snake and I surprised it as much as it surprised me! After that I stayed on the walkways.


Many thanks to Heather and Susan and all of the amazing quilters of the Heartland Quilters. Thanks for some fun memories and lots of laughs. It truly enjoyed quilting with you! My flight home was delayed 8 hours due to horrible weather in Atlanta, but I finally made it home in the wee hours of the next morning. I was totally exhausted when I climbed into my own bed, but I dreamed about all of the fun I had and the amazing quilters I met.

Looking ahead, I have scheduled a couple of fun trips and some relaxation time home with my family for the summer. I plan to catch up on my sleep, go to Pilates on a regular basis, read lots of books, and make some new quilts of course!

My fall teaching schedule is almost full, but if you would like for me to visit your guild, please check my calendar HERE or email me HERE for more information.

Enjoy every stitch!
Diane


Monday, June 10, 2019

A Ribbon Winning Quilt!




This beautiful quilt made using my pattern Under the Mistletoe won a ribbon at the East Cobb Quilt Show this past weekend. I just love the bright colors on the bold black, the amazing quilting and the fun embellishments. It is such a pretty quilt with real visual impact. I'm honored that the quilt was a very amazing rendition of my design.

You can find the pattern HERE and see my versions as well. Not nearly as striking, but a super fun quilt to make.


I didn't get to attend the quilt show because I was in Illinois teaching a workshop on THE VERY SAME QUILT! How fun is that?!? I'll share lots of photos and some fun stories about that adventure soon.

Congratulations to Carolyn Powers (and committee) on a wonderful job and well deserved ribbon!

Enjoy every stitch!
Diane

Thursday, June 6, 2019

East Cobb Quilt Guild Show


It's time again for the amazing East Cobb Quilt Guild Show! This show only rolls around every two years, so you don't want to miss it. Go the the website here for all the details.

Have fun!
Diane

Monday, June 3, 2019

Hello Locals!



I'm so happy to be sharing my quilts and new book STRIP QUILT SECRETS tonight with the Chattahoochee Evening Stars Quilt Guild. Join us for a fun evening of stories, quilts, laughs and friendship. The meeting starts at 6:30pm and the program begins at 7pm.  There may be small visitor fee but if you mention this blog post to me, I'll have a free gift for you!

See you there!
Diane

Friday, May 31, 2019

May Reading List


Get the book HERE.

I've read this book before but it was a long time ago and I felt like it might be worth a revisit. It was. It's a book that can be skimmed and taken in chunks at a time, but it's a good reminder that we can spread our wings a bit, embrace new ideas about ourselves, and let go of the thoughts that hold us back. While it's written from a writer's perspective, it easily translates to any art form. I would recommend it, especially if you are feeling like you're in a creative rut.


Get the book HERE.

After hearing rave reviews about this book, I put it on hold at the library. I really enjoyed the style of writing and the charming story of the man who was put under 'house arrest' at a hotel and how he embraced his life there and found unexpected gifts in the people around him. It's also the story of the rise of communism and fear and threats that were ever present. I admired the courage of the characters and how they never gave up. I also enjoyed the period details and relationships. I was however, extremely confused by the ending. I must have missed something important. If you've read this book, please contact me so I can ask some questions. Most specifically, will he ever get to see Sophia again?


Get the book HERE.

This is a fun and quirky read that makes you fall in love with an unlikely character. His life is anything but ordinary and while he experiences some tragedies, he also experiences a lot of love and some wonderful good fortune. I loved every bit of this zany story and laughed out loud at parts. I needed a book like this after reading some 'heavy' books. It's a delightful change and would be perfect summer reading.


Get the book HERE.

This is a young adult book that takes place during the early days of western expansion about a boy who finds himself alone and in search of his beloved horse that has been taken from him. He finds a friend along the way and they run into quite a few adventures. It's a wonderful tale, told in the voice of a boy that has tremendous courage to face what life throws at him. I highly recommend this book.


Get the book HERE.

I listened to this book on CD from the library. It's an interesting story of a terrible library fire in Los Angeles and the events that led to it as well as the stories of the people who were there. I wish I had read this one as it might have been better on paper than on CD. I still found it very interesting and if you are a library lover, you really should read this!


Get the book HERE.

This book is told by the two characters in alternating chapters. I love books like this. His perspective verses her perspective. The main character is obviously on the autism spectrum. I'm always wary of books that to portray people with issues that are typically widely misunderstood (in my opinion.) I found that this book pulled me in from the first few pages and I stayed up way too late reading it. That too me is a sign of a good book! I would recommend this book.


Get the book HERE.

Another historical fiction found it's way into my reading list. I do love historical fiction, especially told from the female perspective. This book takes place during WWII and follows three women. They are all very different and much braver than they think they are. I like that the three voices make an unexpected trio. This is another book that I listened to on CD while driving. I found that I didn't want to turn the car off when I arrived at my destination, because I wanted to keep listening. I would recommend this book if you like historical fiction, especially stories based on real events and true stories.


Get the book HERE.

I've wanted to read this book since I first saw the cover. It's so beautiful! If I ever write a novel, I hope mine has a cover this gorgeous! The story swept me away with the first page. I couldn't stop reading and I wanted to know more about each of the characters. That's a sign that I'm going to love a book for sure! I'm still reading as of this post, so I can't give a complete opinion, but I am fairly certain this is going to be a 'highly recommend' from me.

What are you reading this summer? I would love to hear your suggestions in the comments or messages. Thanks so much!

Enjoy every book!

Diane



The fine print: as always these links are affiliate which means I make a tiny profit from the number of clicks and purchases made through the links. I earned a free book last month, thanks to your support. I hope you enjoy my honest reviews and I truly appreciate the support! 
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