Amanda Daly

Amanda Daly
I've been passionately working with fabric for more than 25 years . . . relax with me as you read about my life and my quilts

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

More about what makes me happy

Spending time with my daughters. Last evening we celebrated daughter Bec's 31st birthday and now looking forward to going along with the newly weds to see the house they have chosen to build.
Spending time with my grandkids - Later this afternoon I'll be going to their Pre-school Christmas concert. I don't know how involved the 18month old will be but I'm pretty sure the 5 year old will get right into it.
Spending time at home - Even if the roof is leaking in 3 places, the bedroom is in the midst of being painted and we have turned to lounge room into a make shift bedroom until the new bed arrives in a couple of weeks.
Holidays - Looking forward to spending a couple of weeks in New Zealand with my husband very soon.
Rain, Red wine and Dark Chocolate - what more can I say.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Liquorice Allsorts

I made this miniature (12inch square) quilt early last year for the NSW Quilters' Guild mini marvels challenge. It came first in the innovative category. I really enjoy making miniatures, this one has tiny cathedral windows and other 3D bits.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

The end of an era

Last Sunday our 15 year old water bed sprung it's last leak. It's had plenty of chances, we've been through 2 heaters and 3 bladders.

I've always been very attached to the water bed. I really like a bed that welcomes me in to it rather than reluctantly allowing me to lie on top of it.

John and I decided it was time to look at other options, so we spent the day lying around on various beds in various bed shops, asking all of the appropriate questions and taking the whole thing very seriously. We finally decided on a bed filled with air chambers rather than the usual springs. We spent an hour or so in a large well known store finding out what our sleep number is. It turns out that my number is 30 and John's is 35. We watched with great interest as the sales person showed us on the computer screen that our pressure spots (shown as big red and orange lumpy bits ... all a bit confronting really) dissappeared as the bed yielded to our resting bodies. It's also quite interesting that after a while it seems quite natural to be lying on a bed in the middle of a busy shop with interested onlookers passing by the end of the bed.

This bed that I'm so taken with will allow us to dial up our individual number and the air pump will do the rest. The only problem is that it won't arrive for another 6 weeks, so meanwhile we are alternating between a thin foam mattress and an air bed. We're not really sure which of the two is the most uncomfortable. If we survive the 6 weeks the bed will sooth our tense muscles as we lower the air pressure down to our individual numbers. Sounds gimmicky but the price tag tells me it's probably a serious bed.

Our water bed era is over, it made me think of other phases of my life that seemed so terribly important at the time but eventually everything seems to run its course. There was the 10 years or so that I led groups on bushwalks 3 times a week, I never really saw the end to this really enjoyable part of my life coming, but eventually my body let me down a little and I let go of this passion. There was the pottery era, I even had my own wheel and kiln but when the kiln died so did my interest. Then there was the macrame era and the folk art era, both lasted for 5 or 6 years. The fitness instructor era that lasted for 18 years. My mandolin playing which lasted for around 10 years before giving way to playing the piano for the bush band that I still enjoy being a part of. I think the only exception to this will be quilting. I can't see me ever getting over the quilting obsession.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Lazy day

At the moment I'm taking a little time to reflect on my usual hectic life schedule. As a rule even if I'm not feeling too well, I still feel the need to continue the pace and be productive every day and I don't really know why.

I'm toying with the idea of giving myself a complete day off, that is a day off from everything. If I'm going to go through with this idea, I'd better start soon as I've already started the washing, striped the bed and cleaned up after last nights BBQ with friends and of course this started me on a major clean up of the kitchen, even the bits that could have waited. I think I'm my own worst enemy. The only positive thing I've done so far today is to sleep in until mid day. . . after a couple of minutes just gazing into space I've come up with a plan. It involves work or should I call it quilting. Sounds good, but arguably not a complete day off.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

The Snake and the Frog

Over the weekend we spotted one of the Diamond Pythons who thinks of our property as his home. He was taking a drink in the bird bath. He is quite used to having us around and takes not notice as I poke a camera in his face to record his life.

When he had finished he or she (can't tell) crossed the lawn and the patio and proceeded to climb back up onto the roof. Judging by how many snake skins we find up there he really likes to be on, or in our roof.

We followed his every move and took photos as he got a leg up (so to speak) on one of John's favorite pot plants then scaled the brick wall until he managed to get a foot hold (well you know what I mean) on the fork in the down pipe then up and over the guttering. Just as I took the final photo of him dissappearing onto the roof a frog who for some completely unkown reason was on the roof, decided it was a good idea to jump off and aim for my shoulder to break his fall. He looked a little stunned as he sat there on the grass. I stopped taking photos of the snake and turned my attention to the frog ! I love living in the bush.

Here he is drinking from the bird bath

Up and over

. . . and here's the Frog !

Monday, 22 October 2007


I am a member of the N.S.W. Quilters' Guild. This year their annual challenge theme was - Looking Forward, Looking Back. I entered and was thrilled to be announced the winner with my entry - Chrysalis.
My interpretation of the theme is the life cycle of a butterfly with the Chrysalis being the stage where in my imagination the butterfly has time to reflect on its past life as a caterpillar and anticipate a more rewarding life as a butterfly.
The quilt is machine raw edge appliqued and machine quilted. The Chrysalis is heavily embellished with organza, angelina fibres and foils.
Even my husband who often thinks my quilts are just quilts! gave this quilt his tick of approval.
View the other quilts in the challenge by going to the guild's web site

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

The Grampians

I've been making a quilt during our yearly camping holidays since late last century. It's just a simple hexagon quilt in really bright fabrics. I collect fabrics while I'm on holiday whenever I can. I even managed to buy a couple of fat quarters in Tiboburra in far West NSW which was really surprising as at the time there was only one general store.

So far the quilt has travelled to national parks all over Qld., N.S.W., S.A. & Vic. We have just returned from a camping trip to The Grampians in Victoria. I didn't manage to get a lot of quilting done but decided it's time to start including the quilt in the holiday photos. Here it is watching the billy boil. I've also included a scenic shot looking down on the town of Halls Gap.

The Grampians are well worth a trip, if camping isn't your thing there is plenty of accomodation in Halls Gap. The bush fires (Jan 2006) really took their toll but the scenery is still magnificent.
Great bushwalks.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Time at last to blog

Life has been so hectic lately, I've been unable to find even a few minutes to blog. The wedding was beautiful, I had an absolute ball and my daughter and son in law tell me the day was way over and above any of their expectations. A memorable day for everyone. A last minute change of plan saw this mother of the bride wearing an outfit with a velvet patchwork effect jacket and yes I wore high heel pointy toe shoes and ended up feeling happy with them. No photos yet . . . but soon I hope.

The wedding was in the middle of the NSW Quilter's Guild show, but I was able to fit in a full day visit on the Wednesday and followed this up with another vist on the Sunday. I thoroughly enjoyed the show. I just loved the best of show quilt.

I've also been busy preparing to present a weekend workshop to around 40 people. I've just returned home from it and although it was very hectic, it was really rewarding. The large group of enthusiastic quilters are in the photo. Thank you ladies, it was a memorable experience.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

June Bride

Good news - My youngest daughter's wedding is now very close and I have finally found an outfit to wear. Those who know me won't be surprised to hear that it is brown (but beautiful). For someone who is so passionate about colour in quilts I really do wear a lot of brown.
Not such good news - I'm just horrified with the thought of having to wear pointed toe shoes. I've had a look around and really pointy toes are the just about the only ones available. I wore them the first time round when I was a young girl and don't want to go there again. I don't think my size 9 1/2 C fitting feet are going to like being stuffed into shoes like these, they are built for comfort these days.
Good news - I have finally managed to reduce my working hours to a manageable level, so I'll have more time for quilting, going the gym or for a walk, catching up with friends, posting to my blog and even doing nothing at all from time to time (now there's a novel idea).
More good news - My newly organised sewing room is working so well. I've been quite productive over the past few weeks. I named my latest quilt Spring Fever, it has my usual 3 dimensional blocks and I made it with my usual quilt as you go method. No lumps or ridges, if you have only ever made quilt as you go quilts using a method that produces lumps and ridges, do yourself a favour and learn a better method. It really does take the strain out of quilting.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Happiness is

I started thinking today about what makes me happy, content and at peace with the world. Here are just a couple of the thoughts I had. More to come later.
I'm a bit obsessed with the process of making lists. It brings order to my often hectic life and makes me feel more in control. I have a list of quilts I've made with different columns for the ones I have entered in challenges or shows, any successes I've had with these quilts along with lists of quilts I have as works in progress and ideas for future quilts, upcoming challenges etc. I also have a complete list of all the quilts I've made. I update it often.
I love Jacaranda, Wattle and Flame trees and play games with myself during the Jacaranda season. As I drive around Sydney I honestly believe that I won't have to travel for more than 10 seconds without being able to see another Jacaranda tree either beside me or off the side in the distance. I love to reflect on the story a friend told me. When she was a little girl her father used to tell her that fairies live in Jacaranda flowers and you can actually see their legs and feet sticking out from inside the flowers (take a look for yourself, it's true), I now tell my grandaughter the same story.
I have a very small Jacaranda tree growing in my garden. It was given to me by a very dear friend several years ago. Pat is now in a nursing home after suffering a very debilitating illness which has left her so mentally confused she doesn't recognise me anymore. Pat has also become quite agressive which isn't at all like the friend I once had. The tree is very precious, it has been very slow to grow and still hasn't flowered but I'm sure it will one day.
I love working with fabric. I could ramble on about this for ages but suffice to say that I'm never really happier than when I'm quilting or even just sorting my stash and planning new projects. My newly organised sewing room ... (it really is just soooo good, I probably should call it a studio), is an absolute delight. I'll tidy it up a bit tomorrow and take a photo to show you.
Being with my daughter and her beautiful girls Oliva and Tegan brings me a tremendous feeling of contentment. Seeing the bond they have and marvelling at what a great mother Sarah has turned out to be is a very emotional experience.
I really love being at home and if I didn't enjoy being with people so much I'd probably become a hermit.
I'm a bit of a chocaholic as well.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Fabric avalanche

If the quilter who dies with the most fabric wins, then I'm a winner. I finally decided it's time to organise my stash onto shelves that actually will actually accomodate a bolt of fabric, after yet another avalanche of precariously balanced bolts.
After looking around for ages and only finding shelves with a fixed centre shelf and far too wide for a fabric bolt anyway, I decided to seek advice. The first person I spoke to was my daughter. Bec believes that if you really want something you should float it - out there - in the universe and the universe will come up with a solution, so I did ... float it that is.
The very next person I spoke to re advice on where to find shelves, told me she has a friend who used to sell patchwork fabric and now needs to sell her custom made shelves. This lady lives just a short drive from my house, the shelves fitted perfectly in my room and best of all they fitted with less than an inch to spareinto the back of our station wagon if we just needed to push the front seats forward a touch... thanks Bec for the daughterly advice.
I'll post a photo of my newly organised sewing room soon.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Miniature quilts

I was so inspired by the postage stamp sized quilts that I decided to give it a go. I had varying degrees of success and in the end decided to make a miniature quilt with 1inch blocks instead. I was very proud of my 1inch square Snail Trail blocks. See one of them in the photo. I've entered the quilt in the nsw quild show, it represents a beach scene. I've called it Rock Pools, Surf and Sand. It still needs a bit more beading and finishing off. I'll photograph it properly later and post it to the blog.
This little quilt was therapy for me during my recent drawn out dental mayhem and madness.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Wasting good quilting time at the dentist

I broke one of my teeth a few days ago, it cracked along the gumline and the dentist and I agreed that it wasn
t able to be saved. When the dentist tried to take it out there was really nothing to hang on to. I thought for a moment she was going to climb onto my chest to assist her in her effort to tug the thing out. Eventually she did get most of it out but I have to go back again so that she can cut my gum open to retrieve the last little bit. Oh goodie! Meanwhile thank heavens for Nurofen Plus.

German blog addresses

I'm still learning to drive this thing (blog) I did post the german blogsite address links but they didn't appear. Here they are - - - I'm sorry I couldn't enter them as direct links.
Must find out how to do this properly.

Sunday, 11 February 2007

Postage stamp sized quilts

I've spent a couple of days enjoying looking at a few German blogs. These links were sent to me by a very helpful lady I met at the Friday Showcase last week.
I hope you also enjoy looking at these delighful little treasures and feel as inspired as I do to give it a go. Have I told you I thrive on challenges?
The blogs are written in German but the photos make visiting the blogs worthwhile.

The wonder of nature

I've just finished my entry in the Bunbury International Quilt Challenge. The theme is the wonder of nature. I think the true wonder of nature is its Diversity. So I've named my quilt Diversity and feel quite pleased with it. Here are a couple of photos of the detail. Of course there is a little 3D stuff included.

Friday, 2 February 2007

Friday Showcase

I had the pleasure of showing some of my quilts to a group of quilters at the NSW Quilters' Guild today at the Friday Showcase. What a fantastic group of ladies. I only wish I had more time to devote to being an active member of the guild. Following this mornings showcase, a selection of my quilts will hang in the guild's office for the next month...feels good.

One of the ladies at the showcase told me about a web site she has found promoting the idea of postage stamp sized version of the ATC's. Sounds challenging but fun. As soon as she sends to web address to me I'll check it out and pass it on to you.

I have asked my employer if I may job share my position at the neighbourhood centre by May this year, reducing my hours from 30 to 15. As much as I really enjoy the work I can't keep this pace up much longer. If my employer decides to say no to this proposal I've decided to retire from work and devote my time and energies to teaching patchwork and persuing my own patchwork quilting interests...the second option looks really inviting.

Sunday, 28 January 2007


I'm a fairly recent convert to ATC's. I just love making them, they fit in with my tight time schedule and I can make many of them by hand.
I'm rather taken with the idea of giving them away as what is known in ATC circles as a random act of kindness (RAK) rather than an organised trade. If I receive any in return that will be the icing on the cake.
The one at the top is a painted nappy liner embellished with tyvek and beads. Embellishment is rapidly becoming an obsession. Some of the others were made from orphan blocks or interesting bits of fabric left over from my arty experimentation.

Updated my website today

I've have completed an update of my website and my husband John uploaded it for me today. I'm so grateful that he is far from I.T. challenged. I'm also grateful that blogging is so much easier than dabbling with websites.

Friday, 26 January 2007

Found the wedding dress

My daughter has finally made a decision on her wedding dress and she looks just stunning. Can't wait for THE DAY.
I'm starting to go off the idea of Burgundy paint - perhaps a deep turquoise / blue.

Saturday, 20 January 2007

Burgundy paint for the bedroom

I've finally decided on a colour for the feature wall in my bedroom. It will be a deep burgundy. After it's painted I'll start on a new quilt for the bed. Something more contemporary than the rather boring 15 year old quilt we currently use.
I'm not a great painter and I think my husband is a little worried about the whole process as my attitude to painting is - why put on two or three coats if one really thick one will suffice. I can't really use a roller as it is a bagwashed wall and the roller would probably cause paint to spray everywhere. I've found that if you hold the paint tin really close to the wall it's possible to load heaps of paint onto your brush with minimal mess and work it in to all the knobbly bits on the bagwashed wall . . . I will use a drop cloth ... Hmmm. I don't know how I'll manage the bit of wall behind the water bed - perhaps just leave it. Photos of before and after to follow.

Friday, 19 January 2007

Our favourite visitor

We haven't any pets. Our old cat went to where the old cats go a few months ago. He was a Siamese with heaps of personality. We didn't live in a bushy area when we got him, so he did live a rather restricted life after we moved here. We value Aussie wildlife too much to let him out and destroy it.
We now have far more natural animal visitors than before. The photo is of a lizard who has set up home very close to the house and tolerates us humans rather well. He often sits in the bird bath or just hangs around in the shade at the back of the house, blending in very well with the bushrock. The photo is of him sitting next to the birdbath that John has dug out of a rock ledge just opposite our front patio. He's quite comfortable with us walking around very close to him.
I'd love to create a quilt using him as the focal point. I'm just waiting for the right inspiration and of course the time to do it properly. I have to focus on my new years resolution (to work less hours this year and have more time for me).

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

100 days of rain

This is my current favourite.
I made it for DUQ Quilt Indulgence PFAFF challenge and it won 1st prize.
It now lives permanently in my hallway.
The challenge was to create a quilt with the theme 100. I made it with raw edge applique and used Fibonacci number sequencing for most of the proportions. It's called - 100 Days of Rain.
I'm really obsessed about our lack of rain lately.
My wish is for 100 days of rain during 2007. It is so dry at our place, even the rabbits have deserted us.

Sunday, 14 January 2007

Colour My World

I finally discovered that the photo was too big, so I continued on my steep I.T. learning curve and learnt how to resize photos. Thanks go to my long suffering husband John.

This quilt is named - Colour in my world.
I made it for 2005 Bunbury challenge and it received 2nd place. The theme was - Colour my world. We were supplied with 3 small pieces of fabric which had to be used, these fabrics were almost completely black and white, though one of them had a little soft green on it. It is raw edge appliqued - machine pieced, appliqued and quilted, with 3D leaves. I also used Fibonacci number sequencing for some of the proportion.

Wedding dress shopping

I spent today helping my youngest daughter to choose a wedding dress. We had a wonderful, if exhausting day. We didn't actually buy a dress but now have a short list and plans to do it all again next week. I really don't know how helpful I was. Every time Rebecca tried on a dress I was convinced that she should buy it. She looked absolutely fantastic in everything. The last one we tried actually brought me close to tears. The wedding is just a few short months away so a decision will need to be made soon.

I've been working hard on my next challenge quilt and getting everything ready for the start of my patchwork classes in February. I'm still also trying to find time to paint my bedroom. I'd like a really strong colour as a feature wall. I don't usually have trouble choosing fabric for a quilt but paint for a wall ... that's another story.

I've tried to post a photo of one of my favorite quilts, so that you can start to see some of my work but I think I'm doing something wrong. I'll try again tomorrow.

Friday, 5 January 2007

Found a new template

Sorted out the photo thingy, then I spent some time finding a better blog template. I like this one. I'm comfortable with warm neutrals. That's not to say I don't like other colours. I spent the morning sorting out my sewing room and it's full of every imaginable colour.
I love January, I get to do all the stuff I don't have time to do any other time during the year.
My new years resolution this year - To reduce the amount of hours I work (at the day job, not the patchwork teaching). I need to leave a little time for me, to be able to just potter now and then.

Learning to add photos

Learning to add photos today.

First posting

I'm just so I.T. challenged, I can't believe I've actually been able to start a blog. I'm still unsure about where to go from here.