Pelicans at Sunset…

When we were in Australia back in 2008, we spent time in the Tuross Lake Area on the southern coast of New South Wales. It was meant to be a relaxing few days after a breakneck tour, visiting with colleagues and friends.

This photo typified the time…..

I have always loved the photo but also like the way it looks when cropped…..

…just ONE of the joys of digital photography!!

America’s Cup

Having been born and raised in West Texas, I had never heard of the “America’s Cup”…..let alone know that it was a yacht race run every 4 years, and HEAVILY contested between the ocean-loving countries.

The current year race ended this past week, with New Zealand beating out the Italian challenger. Every time the race is run, Michael and I remember our “first” America’s Cup…….

In 1981 we moved to Canberra, Australia….a country that LOVES yacht racing!! In 1983, it was time for another contest, and our friends and my fellow employees were determined that we knew ALL about it.

It seems that the cup had previously only been won by the Americans and the trophy had been held in New York since 1851. Well this year, the Aussies were out for blood!!

As we moved into the final races between Australia and America, the smack talk ran rampant!! The two countries battled evenly with races being split between them.

Then it was time for the final race!!!

Since it was held in the US, we had to get up REALLY early to watch it, and Michael and I huddled around our little black and white TV loudly urging our American compatriates to sail faster and smarter than the Aussies. And they were!!!

The race was nearing the end and the US was ahead by several minutes so Michael and I felt comfortable leaving to shower and get ready for work…..ready to RUB THE WIN into everyone’s faces.

BUT, 45 minutes later we turned the TV back on to find that the Australian team had taken a wider tack than the Americans, caught some amazing wind and were now in the LEAD!! NOOOOOO!!

Yes, the Royal Perth Yacht Club had indeed won the America’s Cup and brought glory (and the cup) to Australia!!

Michael and I both knew that it was going to be a rough day at work so we fashioned black arm bands to wear in mourning and left for our offices.

I think that most of the office was already there to greet me when I walked in. They escorted me to my cubicle which was properly festooned with black crepe paper and a small black wreath was attached to my window!!

I ate crow for the rest of the day, although they did allow me to participate in the cake and champagne celebration!!

In 2006 (some 23 years later), I wanted to make a quilt for Aussie friends who loved sailing and I chose this fun design……

It reminds me of the great yachts, the wonderful Australian friends and the fun ribbing that took place…..

Well done New ZEALAND!!!!

Sailing Energy/Getty Images
Dave Rowland/Getty Images

Aussie Dreams

In today’s “look back at the past”, I wanted to talk about using Australian fabric!!

For those of you who don’t know our history, Michael and I lived in Australia for 6 years back in the 1980’s and then returned for a visit in 2008. While we were visiting in the Tuross Lake area, Michael found this amazing granite mortar and pestle that he just had to have…..

As we discussed how we would transport it back home (it weighed a TON), we decided that we would purchase a small suitcase and take it back as a carry-on. Michael looked at me and said “We really need to pad it up. Do you have anything that would work for that?”. My answer was simple….”Let’s go back to the quilt shop!!!”

So, I purchased TONS of Aussie fabric and used it to pad and protect the kitchen tool….we were BOTH happy!!

Now, I needed to figure out what to do with the fabrics.

For many years I had owned the book “Vivacious Curvy Quilts”….

….and REALLY wanted to make a quilt of curves!!! I decided that the Aussie fabric was the perfect place to start.

I talked a bit about the process in THIS POST from 2014.

….and I even made a video of the curved piecing process……

The final quilt turned out great…..

…and I used up EVERY LAST BIT of Australian fabric making the back……

This quilt is on our bed and we both enjoy snuggling under it every cold night!!!

Escala Azule

Several weeks ago I showed a quilt that was made based on a photo taken in Porto, Portugal. You can check out that post HERE…..

Here is an excerpt from my blog about the next day…..

As I walked back across the bridge, I noticed a long set of stairs that went up the hill to the area that I was trying to reach. I also saw a small tram that would take you up the mountain. As I was debating about which to use, I noticed that there was a fairly long line for the tram and that the ticket machine was not working well and there was a tram agent banging on it to try to get it to work. SO, I decided to climb instead.

After I had climbed the first 100 steps, I turned a corner and found that there was ANOTHER set of steps and terraces that ended up being 114 MORE steps. However, it was a very interesting walk as there were homes located along these terraces, with kids, dogs and small shops along the way. I watched as one woman walked out of her door and up about 90 steps to get to her car. I can’t imagine how they manage to live there. Also, one of the train lines ran just above the houses so I would imagine that it is relatively noisy as well. But, the views were wonderful!

After I had finished “Casa Amarela”, I wanted to continue working on perspective in stairs, so I decided to use the long flight that I had walked up first.

I printed the photo in black and white and enlarged it to a full sheet of paper. Then I took a fine-point sharpie and traced the lines on the copy…..

The good thing about using a sharpie is that the ink soaks thru to the back…..

….leaving a perfect “reverse image” design for paper piecing!!!

I started piecing at the bottom….

….and worked my way up the stairs.

I was thrilled with the final quilt……

…and left with a memory of a fun day AND a lesson in perspective at the same time!!