Thursday, 2 April 2020


It’s my best friend’s birthday on 4th April when she will turn 63.

Lots has been written by many women over many years about the value of friendships with other women.  I couldn’t better anything else written before.

I’ve known my best friend since our children were little.  But we didn’t hook up until about 15 years ago.

Since then we have shared many ‘heart-to-hearts’ over coffee and the occasional glass (or bottle) of wine!

Our most recent heart-to-heart, during the Coronavirus social distancing rules, was at our local beach where we walked, sat on the sand, and each opened our own flask of coffee while we chatted – two metres apart.  The sun shone, the waves crashed, dog walkers passed us, and we had a good old chin wag. 

We moaned about things that were annoying us (other people’s attitudes and unkindness during this crisis; trying to keep husbands amused while they are at a loss on how to fill their time - I kid you not); we shared amusing stories like how I had hidden two ladies’ shoes on the beach the previous day because the ladies in question had been so horrible to my husband and I when our tiny poodles approached them, tails wagging, to say hello. Really, this is true -  my schoolgirl prank made me laugh all the way home - and I make no apologies for it.

We talked about adult children who are Interstate, yet they wonder if they should visit (with grandchildren).  “What’s in their heads?” we asked ourselves. 

And then we thought, “Thank goodness we live here, in paradise, where horrible people, incidents, and thoughtless children, are easier to forgive.”  As we had these thoughts a pod of around 15 dolphins popped up and played in the waves in front of us.

Here is my friend’s gift, in celebration of our heart-to-hearts which keep us sane. I did an all-over jagged loop de loop (because my loops are always jagged) which won’t win any competitions, but did the job.

We will be best friends forever.

And the back of the quilt where I used a panel, intended for a baby quilt, as the label for Heart-to-Heart.  Belinda is a mad keen gardener – never happier than when she is ‘playing’ as she calls it – in her garden.

I gifted it to her today.  She was thrilled.

Thank you to (Diana Harris aka Stashbandit) for her free pattern and tutorial.

Linking with -

Wendy's Quilts and More
From Bolt to Beauty

Monday, 30 March 2020

The garden and the gardener

We’re not in complete lockdown here in our part of Australia, but we are getting closer every day.  As of midnight 30 March we can no longer congregate in groups of more than two.  Living as we do on a large property, and leaving now only to get some groceries or to walk the dogs on our almost deserted beaches, life has not changed too drastically.

It’s curious, to me, that so many people find it difficult to ‘isolate’ or ‘socially distance’ themselves from other people even though we know this is the way to minimise the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

I don’t find it hard at all and I have to work at understanding those that do find it hard.  As a child, my favourite punishment was to be sent to my room!

This is me to a 'T'

My husband is a good example of someone that finds it hard to go into seclusion.

We are retired and spend a lot of time together.  That’s not difficult because he’s also my best friend. But I am someone that craves solitude at the best of times, and when I don’t get it, I can become pretty grumpy.

My husband is the opposite.  If he doesn’t get to meet someone, other than me, every day then he gets grumpy.

Which is why our normal routine is to be busy doing something apart from each other every morning.  Tennis, pilates, yoga, coffee with friends, walks on the beach, kayaking.  Some weeks not a lot of house keeping gets done!  Our activities mean that we get time alone and get to spend time with other people.

Now that almost all external activities are banned the days and weeks ahead will not be all plain sailing. My husband and I need to be careful not to bicker, otherwise home life will become a trial. Luckily, we live on a property that is big enough to give us a bit of space away from each other.

I’ve always likened our relationship to the garden and the gardener.  My husband is the garden and I am the gardener.  I need to tend the garden for harmony in our household so I am mindful that I need to be careful that I don’t allow this wonderful luxury (to me) of being able to spend more time alone, doing things like sewing, knitting, and reading, to overwhelm my husband’s need for companionship.
I worry about how my sons are coping too.   They live in the city.  The eldest is with his partner, and the youngest shares a group house with three other housemates.

My eldest son sent me the cartoon above when he was in the early stages of his relationship with his (now) partner who is more extroverted than he is.  He used it to help explain to her that he needed some time alone, but some time with other people. 

My youngest son is also an introvert, but unlike the eldest who has learned to tolerate the more extroverted around him, he has difficulty with too much social interaction and he does not suffer fools gladly.  This sometimes makes his life a hard row to hoe.  I wish he recognised that.

Both boys are still working.  One from his home where he has set up a home office; the other, who is in construction, is still able to work outdoors.

We’ve set up a group chat so we can check in on each other every day and tell each other what we are up to.  One son is very bad at keeping in touch under normal circumstances let alone the crisis we find ourselves in today. It’s keeping some of my anxiety at bay and soothes my need to gather the boys to me and protect them.

My husband has also set up a group chat with his tennis and coffee mates, and this is helping him to cope.

I hope lockdown doesn’t go on for many more months as I wonder what toll this will take on all sorts of family relationships in the future. 

I think my family will be okay and we will weather the storm as long as we are kind to each other and recognise individual needs.

Hope your family needs are being taken are of too.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

A birdie for Belinda

I finally got the sewing room set to rights, post bushfires, and released my sewing machine from hibernation. 

It’s my best friend’s birthday next week and I wanted to make present for her.  I originally intended to make her a tote but ran out of time.

Instead, I found a free pattern by Diana Harris aka Stashbandit for a small wall hanging and I set to work sorting through scraps.  I’ve been collecting white-on-white’s and neutrals to make one of Lynne Tyler's (Patchery Menagerie) bird quilts one of these days.  I picked one of the neutrals out for the sashing for the heart blocks.  As it turns out the neutral fat quarter is just the right amount of fabric.

I put the blocks together fairly quickly and by the end of an afternoon I was able to play around with them for placement.  I used all sorts of scraps, predominantly flowers, because Belinda loves gardening. I also had a few brights from quilts I made many years ago.

Then I added the sashing.

The outer border is from fabric I bought many years ago that I intended for my ‘falling leaves’ quilt.  This is a UFO that has been languishing on the shelf for some time, so this pretty leaf fabric is being put to good use! 

Oops - sashing and hearts are a bit rustic which means no straight line quilting!

I remembered a panel that I had purchased for a baby quilt, and I decided to use this as the label in a pieced back.

This little birdie is so Belinda!

Now to quilt.



It’s my best friend’s birthday on 4 th April when she will turn 63. Lots has been written by many women over many years about the value ...