Archive for March, 2012

A Day in the Country

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

palette-pleasure-blue-on-white-swirl200We always welcome a visit from Rowan from ‘A Day in the Country’. Not only do we admire his always fabulous shoes but he continually brings such delicious fabrics. Naturally Jackie couldn’t resist these latest ranges. Printed fabrics are now available for $18 a metre and homespuns for $12 per metre.

Click here to see these newbies.

Australian Quilt Convention

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Yes, a quilt convention! Held in the beautiful historic Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens, Melbourne, this show is devoted entirely to quilts and quilting. Those who have been will ooze with adverbs extolling the virtues of this internationally renown fair. It’s being held from the 12th to the 15th of April.

Kayoko Oguri is visiting with her group from Japan and will have a exhibition of their superb work on display. Other celebrities will include Jinny Beyer, Lesley Riley, Rita Hutchens, and Vikki Pignatelli all from the USA, and home grown heroes such as Kim Bradley, Sue Daley, Katrina Hadjimichael, Michele Hill, Kay Haerland, Chris Jurd, Gloria Loughman and Deborah Louie.

Jackie Carmel and Emily from Blueberries will be fronting the best stand in the entire show (naturally!) Stand 21.

Why not have a little weekend away and see this all for yourself.

Click herecontactus200 to see more.

Big ‘n’ Bizarre

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

A road trip of Australia’s fiberglass monuments

The Big Macadamia Nutmacadamia-nut200

It’s a rather shy Big Thing we meet this week. The Big Macadamia Nut peeks out from the surrounding trees almost apologetically, as if it has no right to even be there. This is probably because this terminally insecure Big Thing lives in the shadow of another much bigger and more famous Big Thing located a very short stroll away.

Two weeks ago we met Australia’s two Big Pineapples, one of which lives in the Sunshine Coast town of Nambour. The Big Macadamia Nut is actually located in the grounds of The Big Pineapple Complex, and has been developing a bit of a complex of its own ever since it was first unveiled in 1978 as a kind of sidekick to the Big Pineapple. Like Dame Edna’s sour-faced and silent companion, Madge.

This is in contrast to the Big Macadamia Nut’s actual-sized, edible counterpart, which is a pretty impressive little bugger. It’s actually Australia’s only commercially developed native crop, named after Dr John MacAdam, who was someone terribly important who lived a long time ago. But the most impressive fact about the macadamia is that it’s the hardest nut on the planet to crack, something that usually needs to be done with a hammer.

Australia is the world’s biggest producer of macadamias, with the local industry estimated to be worth nearly $100 million. And although we export a huge amount of macadamias every year, (35,000 tonnes in 2011), we Aussies are still the world’s largest consumers of macadamias. Like Big Things, we just can’t get enough of them.

Another reason for the Big Macadamia Nut’s insecurity is the fact that it’s only the top half of a nut. Underneath it is a wooden-beamed display centre, which houses the ‘Rainforest Creatures of the Night’ exhibition. This sounds pretty cool, but the Big Macadamia Nut doesn’t seem to draw much joy from it. The suggestion has even been made that as most people are much more familiar with shelled macadamias instead of unshelled ones, the Big Macadamia Nut doesn’t pull much of a punch with the viewing public, and is often mistaken for some kind of astronomical observatory (without a telescope). This Big Thing is in serious need of some therapy.

Big ‘n’ Bizarre

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

A road trip of Australia’s fiberglass monuments

The Big Pelican pelican200

“A wonderful bird is the pelican… its beak can hold more than its belly can.”

That’s an extremely impressive claim when you consider this particular bird. Nicknamed ‘Pelican Pete’, he can hold two whole humans inside his belly, so imagine what’d fit in his beak – a stringed quartet, or maybe a well-fed family of five.

The story of the Big Pelican in Noosaville parallels the usual career trajectory of any modern, self-respecting celebrity worth their salt; fabulous beginning, trashy and undignified midlife career slump, then eleventh-hour redemption and triumphant comeback. So many of Australia’s Big Things follow the same career blueprint for one simple reason – it always works.

Pelican Pete dates back to 1977 when he was constructed as a float for Noosa Council’s Festival of the Waters parade. At the time, Council’s official emblem was a pelican, so it was important that this large fiberglass mascot was worthy of the honour bestowed on him. Percival Pete certainly didn’t disappoint. He could rotate his head 360 degrees (like the demonic girl in The Exorcist), open and shut his bill, flap his wings, blink his eyelashes and wiggle his tail. Individually, these tricks were always sure fire crowd-pleasers, but when he did them all at the same time, the terrified screams of small children could be heard from several blocks away.

All of this movement was made possible by those two aforementioned humans hidden inside his belly. It was so effective, that for years after his triumphant debut, Pelican Pete made many stellar appearances in all kinds of parades and public events, carrying such dignitaries as sports stars, celebrities and politicians on his back. This was hot physical work for the operators, who had to be kept in continuous supply of cool drinks, which were passed in to them through a little trap door under Pelican Pete’s left wing. Alcohol was strictly forbidden of course, but you wouldn’t have thought so, considering how often Pelican Pete would gradually veer off course and head straight for the crowds lining the side of the road.

In spite of his early popularity, Pelican Pete seemed to lose some of his cred throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. He was passed around town like a cantankerous old uncle. He lived outside various different motels, one after the other, then was downgraded to spending time in vacant lots and sites of “future development”. He was often vandalized, and was once even dumped upside-down in the Noosa River. It was an extremely difficult time for Pelican Pete and one that he prefers not to discuss in interviews.

Redemption finally came in the mid-90s when he was resurrected and made mascot for the Pelican Boat Hire. He sat in a prominent position outside the popular riverside business, and, over time, became a well-known local icon. Resident author Wendy Alice Waring immortalized him in her children’s book, I Can See the Colour and Lights of Noosa. Finally, in 2011 he achieved the ultimate honour possible for a Big Thing in Australia – he was put on a Redhead matchbox as part of their Big Things series. Pelican Pete’s triumphant comeback was complete.

Favourite Embroidery Stitches

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

bareroots-200

Embroidery is a wonderful and peaceful art. It is great a great craft to carry with you and take along to be worked away from home or with your friends. Embroidery can be done without a lot of expense and used in big projects or little embellishments here and there to personalize a project. The simple stitches found in this book can be used to create hundreds of combinations. This book gives some great tips on floss, needles, knots, hoops and frames.

Available in store or click here to buy online now.

Big ‘n’ Bizarre

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

A road trip of Australia’s fibreglass monuments

The Big Pineapples picture1

This week we’re looking at two Big Things at the same time, both of them Big Pineapples. These closely related, but oh so divided members of the Big Things family are so similar and so interchangeable that many people are surprised to find out there’s actually two of them. And this is especially odd since most people would automatically list “The Big Pineapple” as one of the most famous Big Things in the country.

Located in the towns of Gympie and Nambour on the Sunshine Coast’s hinterland, the two Big Pineapples have each tried to forge a meaningful career while systematically having their fame diluted by the presence of the other. This scaly tale of tropical rivalry has been going for over 40 years, ever since the two Big Pineapples appeared within two months of each other, exactly the same size and less than an hour’s drive apart.

Gympie has claimed for decades to anyone who’d listen that its Big Pineapple was the first one. The theory goes that a Council mole leaked the development application to some friends who were pineapple farmers 65kms away in Nambour. They then submitted a similar idea and ended up having it approved before Gympie’s. Not only that, they deliberately enlarged their Big Pineapple so they could claim it was the biggest one.

When the Nambour Big Pineapple opened in August 1971, Big Things were still a relatively new phenomenon, so its official unveiling garnered a lot of attention. This must have really annoyed Gympie, whose Big Pineapple was unveiled only two months later, and to considerably less fanfare, as their thunder had mostly already been stolen and people were dangerously close to suffering pineapple fatigue.

Both Big Pineapples are about 16m high and made of fibreglass segments, although the Gympie Pineapple claims to be “bigger and more realistic” than Nambour’s. “A good pineapple should be even sided and not taper off at the top,” says one of its engineers. Although it’s housed many things in its time, including an art gallery and an audio-visual display about the local area, these days the Gympie Pineapple merely functions as the proprietor’s office of the adjacent service station. Quite a fall from grace, really. The Nambour Pineapple must be smirking under its scales.

Relations, prickly, scaly

Flowers in my Garden with Jenny Rofe

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

jenny

This is an adaptation of a 1950′s cot quilt (by Eve Felstead). The large simple shapes make this a great project to learn basic needleturn, hand applique techniques or would be a fun project for those already with experience. The collection of odd sized blocks adds interest to the finish project, and you will learn how to assemble the blocks into a quilt top in four lessons. There will be some homework between classes to have the blocks ready for assembly in lesson four.

Click here to find out more and to register for this class.

New Fabric

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Papillon 3 Sisters 4070-12

Last spring while persusing an antique market in Europe the sisters made a most exciting discovery. An antique quilt from the 1860′s with a very unique backing comprised of bold, simple bands of large faded florals to die for! Feeling quite inspired, the sisters scoured their vast libary of antique fabrics to complete their collection. The dramatic jacobean and rose adorned florals are complimented by the occasional Papillon, which is french for Butterfly. Paired with delicate botanical prints in quilts original palette of pale, dusty pinks and aquas with faded red and stone accents, Papillon captures all the splendor of a lush garden estate.

Available in store or click here to buy online now

Big ‘n’ Bizarre

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

A road trip of Australia’s fibreglass monuments

The Big Mandarin mandarin150

If there’s one thing we’ve seen plenty of so far on our road trip, it’s oversized pieces of fruit. Well folks, the fruit salad ain’t finished yet, coz here’s another one. And after four oranges, three apples, two bananas, a strawberry, an avocado, not to mention a bowl of fruit as well, this time we have our first mandarin.

We’ve swung a sharp west and travelled 200kms inland from Bundaberg to the tiny town of Mundubbera, population approximately 1,125 and home of the Big Mandarin. As Mundubbera has long been widely regarded as the ‘Citrus Capital of Queensland’, it was always inevitable that a big fibreglass citrus fruit of some description would one day take up residence. However, there were four other Big Oranges already in existence, and a Big Lemon might have invited unkind nicknames, but luckily, Mundubbera has always laid claim to producing more mandarins than anywhere else in Australia, so it really was a no brainer..

It was the owners of the local Citrus Country Village theme park who made the Big Mandarin a reality, mainly to lure tourists up from Brisbane, which it managed to do very efficiently from day one. It was originally dubbed the “Enormous Ellendale” (named after the most popular variety of mandarin grown in the area), but the name didn’t really stick, so for years it’s simply been called the Big Mandarin.

Painted a bright, happy, slightly-Prozac-inspired shade of orange, the structure certainly makes its presence felt in the local area. With a large green leaf sprouting out of its top and a cute little peek-a-boo window on its side, from a distance it has a whimsical, almost fairy tale-like quality, like it belongs in Munchkinland. It isn’t until you’re standing next to it that you realise you’re the munchkin. The Big Mandarin is much bigger close up, standing an imposing 7m high with a 9m diameter.

It was originally constructed by a Brisbane builder who transported the 10 separate segments up to Mundubbera is semi-trailers, where they were welded together on site. It was unveiled in May 1983 on what happened to be the 50th anniversary of the first citrus planting in the area, a juicy little fact that made the Big Mandarin’s appearance into the world all that more triumphant.

And so it has reigned ever since, the undisputed star of Mundubbera. Maybe our ex-PM, ex-Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, could possibly look up to it as a role model. Its lesson is clear – sometimes just speaking Mandarin isn’t enough… sometimes you have to BE the mandarin.

Robot Riot by Kellie Wulfsohn from Don’t Look Now

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

robot-riot

This wonderfully colourful quilt filled with whimsical robots will be sure to delight the little people in your life. The robots are fixed using raw edge applique and enhanced with trapunto to give fantastic added dimension to this quilt. This is a fun and relatively simple project to practice your free motion & raw edge skills on.

Taking applique beyond the turned edge!

Click here to buy now!

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