Sunday, 30 December 2018

Top 5 picks from the 2018 Top 100 #favequilts

I am chuffed to be listed again in the top 100 quilt patterns on favequilts. But I thought I would share my top 5 picks from the selection.

1. Blue Bargello Quilt Pattern

I love the mathematical feel of this quilt pattern and you could do some interesting things by playing around with the graduation and colours.

If you love this, just check out her rainbow version of this one!

2.  Full Moon Quilt Pattern

I love this because for me it references star wars. Choose some strategic use of star wars fabric and some appliqué this quilt would be loved by every fan!

3. Four Square Free Quilting Pattern

I just love the colours and the simplicity in this quilt. For me, it reminded me of the combinations of a 2x2 pocket rubiks cube.

I loved this one because it was a sampler type quilt. There were lots of flying geese patterns but this one stood out as challenging me (I know how hard those pin wheels can be).

I just love the idea of this triangle pattern and the accents throughout the quilt. Very sophisticated. Make sure that you check out her blog. Some beautiful quilts and ideas contained within!

These honourable mentions were quilts were too good not to mention.
  • Road to Oklahoma Quilt Pattern. Loved the way in which the designer used some simple patching techniques to create a quilt that looked complex and sophisticated.
  • Strip and Flip Quilt. simple yet effective. I think that this pattern could be easily knocked up in a weekend. You could also use the idea to use up scraps by making a jelly roll length of fabric from matching colours for each graduation. 
  • Aztec Charm Pack Pattern. Similar idea to the Oklahoma Quilt Pattern, take a jelly roll or some charm packs and experiment with basic blocks.
  • Church Picnic Quilt. I love the idea of doing a cathedral window quilt, but not the hard work that is involved! 
What do you think of my choices? Do you agree? 

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Society 6 Throw Pillows

I have a few designs up on Society 6 that you might like to check out. They have 30% off for new members at the moment which makes them $21 US.




Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Sixteen Patch Baby Quilt rides again!

It has been a while between patchwork projects, but my Sixteen Patch Baby Quilt tutorial keeps on generating traffic for the web site and it looks like crafters are enjoying the tutorial.

I recently received another email to say that the pattern was featured in FaveQuilts' collection of 24 Traditional Quilt Patterns and Quilt Blocks! Check out the great list of quilt patterns and projects.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Patchwork Knitted Blanket Ideas

During Term 3, the colder term, there is a little knitting clique that are knitting blankets for charity. Every week they get together to knit squares of 20cm x 20cm and they are hoping to stitch them all together at the end and produce a few blankets.

I am not a knitter at all, I seem to have better confidence and technique with a crochet hook than two needles. But I am giving it a go and I see it as an opportunity to learn a new skill. After all, we always need an extra craft project and cats are enjoying the fact that I have been sitting on the couch knitting while watching television.

So here are some ideas that I stumbled across.
Have you ever made a knitted patchwork blanket?

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

The passing of Vladamir

I am absolutely shattered at the passing of Vladamir last Friday (29th June, 2018).

After battling kidney issues for 6 weeks, it was time to say goodbye. My beautiful boy had deteriorated to the point where he was skin and bones and he was having difficulty swallowing.

But for the eight years that we had him, we had the best time. He was the most gentle of cats. Befriending anyone who arrived at our place, he loved to jump up on laps and make people feel very special.

He was so patient as well, especially with our special needs boy Nicholas. He could pull his tail, lift him up, throw him and he would still be gentle with him.

He was a rose between two thorns, our girl cats and he will very much be missed by all. 

He is probably running around up there with Boris and Anastasia and having a grand old time.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Noah Greenfeld

This is the first time I have come across Noah, I saw a link on the Epiphany ASD blog.  Linked to the blog is a 60 minutes story about Noah's story.

For me, it is the first time that I have heard a parent in a similar position to us talk so candidly about what it is like to be a parent of a special needs child. 

Most of the parents that I know are "card carrying" members of the Phelan McDermid army. Most have drunk the cool aid and have re-invented their lives to evolve around their special needs child.n The campaigns, t-shirts and positivity can sometimes be a bit too much for me, when I think about the impact that he has had on my hopes and dreams. Don't get me wrong, I love him to bits, but part of me died the day I found out about his condition.

Reading about Noah and hearing his brother talk about him has given me another opportunity to talk about what we are going through with Nicholas. Josh Greenfeld was a successful writer and he talks about the impact of Noah on his life, his career and his family. I was very sad to read that he recently passed away, but I was glad that he took the time to share his story with us all.

His brother Karl Tao Greenfeld is a successful author and wrote a book what what it is like to be a brother to a non-verbal autistic. "Boy Alone" outlines his journey and is the fourth book written about Noah. I often wonder about what is like for my daughter to have some of these similar experiences, to love a sibling that in effect won't return their affection in the same way. She is, in effect, an only child.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Weekend Respite

The hubby and I stole a few days away in Sydney last weekend, by ourselves. No kids, no real commitments just both of us together. 2018 has been one hell of a ride so far and we both felt that we needed time to stop and recoup.

Sometimes as a special needs parent you tend to forget to look after yourselves. I'm back at work full time this year, so I don't have that quiet time on a Wednesday that I used to get. The plus side is that I guess my career is taken more seriously because I am full time (but that is a blog post for another day). Hubby is part time and taking over the primary caring duties. The role reversal has been interesting, along with the assumptions and statements made to me about this arrangement for our family.

As Tori gets older, we can see that in a few years time she will be wanting to get more independent, making her own way to school and back. She can basically take care of herself at the moment, she knows all the university food group basics; scrambled eggs, 2 minute noodles and toasted cheese sandwiches. She helps with the cooking and cleaning and is happy to bring the washing in when asked.

As she gets older, the irony is that Nicholas is getting harder to manage. He is still not toilet trained at seven years of age; despite working on it for the last 4 years.  Still non-verbal, he can point to wanting a drink or something to eat, but there is not much "conversation" beyond that.  He will "pinch" us when he is not getting his own way and he has started to show signs of frustration, but it is hard to reason with a 25 kg non-verbal seven year old. He is slowly developing, but it is a at a glacial pace. He still needs constant 24/7 supervision and a highly structured environment. In another life I would have two kids who would be learning their way to independence. But alas, that was not the card that was dealt to me.

And then there is the NDIS happening, which will probably happen at the same time as the NBN and cause us a whole world of pain.

In the mean time, we will try and grab respite whenever we can, be it 2 hours on a Saturday or a weekend away (which happens very very rarely). 

Friday, 25 May 2018

Man it was Mean

I've loved Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel for as long as I have had my Morris Minor. A regular on some of the mix tapes and on my record player, a lot of the songs and messages are dated but the melody and lyrics are just fabulous.

As I rotate playlists through my smartphone, albums come and go and Steve Harley found it's way back onto the playlists before Easter.

When I went hunting, I was surprised to hear that Steve Harley is still performing (and alive!).

I came across this video, I hadn't realised that Alan Parsons put his golden touch on their first album!

One of my favourite Harley songs is Sebastian ... it is beautiful the way that the strings and harpsichord engulf you and carry you along on the journey.

Monday, 21 May 2018

But don't worry because NDIS will be here to save the day

The NDIS is being rolled out in our area in September, 2018. The promise of a new land, a new landscape of disability funding is being touted. But until then, everything has come to a grinding halt. Any applications for equipment that we had in the works, such as Nicholas' stability suit, has stalled; paperwork 'lost' in the bureaucratic nightmare.

But don't worry because NDIS will be here to save the day.

My anxiety is building slowly for the NDIS rollout. Trying to stay positive is a hard act as I read articles about fellow Phelan-McDermid suffers like Jonathan Gladstone who has had his funding cut by 25% on his second-round NDIS application, people such as Micheline Lee who have documented their struggles with the 'NDIS system' and the NDIA flip-flopping over their definition of what a disability entails. My anxiety levels are building.

I agree that we need to move to a more centralised method of funding. The funding landscape at the moment is a patchwork of services. Equipment funding through SWEP, individual respite through a variety of other providers such as Alfred Health Services and Windamere and other one-off services through both state and federal departments.

The NDIS will, from a governments point of view, streamline the allocation of funds.  NDIS will theoretically give the power back to the family or person with the disability, but only if they can navigate the application and management process of the funding. Both my husband and I are university educated and we are finding the process complex and onerous; we feel for those families who might have English as a second language as they will automatically be disadvantaged by this process.

I guess this is where my anxiety kicks in. It might be because "us" as a family will have to manage my son's disability funding like a small business. Having separate banking accounts and strategies to manage funds in and out of his NDIS account. Perhaps it is the foreboding administrative pressure that we will endure that is kicking my anxiety into gear. Reflecting on how Centrelink has wrecked people's lives with false claims of debt, we worry about not "getting it right" and getting either short-changed or accused of misusing funds. At least with the current system, we know that once we get access to the equipment or service there is no question that it is needed.

So we are waiting and attending NDIS information sessions in a quest to find out as much as possible about the "system" so that we can get the most out of it.


Barbour, L., Borys, S. and Branley, A. (2018). This is Jonathan, one of the thousands worse off under NDIS. [online] ABC News. Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2018].

Lee, M. (2017). The NDIS promised choice and control. [online] The Monthly. Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2018].

Monday, 30 April 2018

5 inspirational hot water bottle covers

Here are some gorgeous hot water bottle covers for inspiration if you are looking to create something for the Opendrawer Hottie Challenge.

1. Fox knitted hot water bottle cover

If only I could knit!

2. Toothless hot water bottle cover

My daughter loves dragons, she would kill for me to make this hottie cover.

Love these PDF patterns for hot water bottle covers, they have a lovely range. However, I haven't tested their patterns. The Sarah the racoon is my favourite!

4. Crochet Grannie square hot water bottle cover.

Foxes Lane has a great tutorial on making a Grannie-hottie.

5. Mushroom House 

I love the feel of this hot water bottle cover.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Opendraw Hottie Challenge 2018

It was welcomed news last night to see that OpenDrawer in Camberwell are holding another hottie challenge.

 OpenDrawer Hottie Challenge 2018

In 2011 I participated in their Hottie Challenge and I am seriously thinking of doing it again, it was such a fun process and event to be part of.

Entries have to be submitted by the 31st May and there is a $10 entry fee. Money raised will go towards SisterWorks, a non-profit social enterprise supporting women who are migrants, asylum seekers or refugees to become financially independent and happily settled in Australia.

So if you are interested in a quick crafty project this weekend, knock up a Hottie and support OpenDrawer and SisterWorks.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Participating in Furious Fiction

Blogging was one thing that I really enjoyed at some point. I used it as a writing exercise, putting my thoughts down on paper and reflecting on things that I had made. When I was predominately at home it was an exercise that I did each morning. I’d sit Tori down in front of the TV and take my half an hour to do some blogging.

The last few years have been busy. I know that we tend to throw that term around a lot. Everyone is busy, engaged and consumed with their life. My downtime has changed from being a time when I could write and sew, to a time when I really need to veg-out and forget about the challenges that face me and my family. But I am going to try and change that around.

I’ve been trying to participate in the “Furious Fiction” challenge. I wouldn’t describe myself as a writer, but I do enjoy writing. So lets see if this monthly challenge brings back a bit more of the peace that I used to find in writing and sewing.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

My #phelanmcdermid boy

Isn't he gorgeous?

My boy who will never grow up.

My boy who will never want for much more than the basics.

My boy who will never talk.

My boy who cracks up over Dinosaur Train.

My boy who covets biscuits like he has never eaten.

My boy who delights in running around the backyard.

My boy who knows not what jealously is.

My boy who always wants kisses and hugs.

My Phelan-McDermid boy.

My Nicholas.