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

Monday, 14 December 2009

New Sewing Machine for Sale

A while ago, I won a Singer Quantam 9940 sewing machine and as I already own two great machines I have no need or space for this one.

Although it's brand new and still in the box, I'm selling it for the second hand price of $800, this is around half the RRP.

This clever machine is ready willing and able to do the following -
12 professional buttonholes
3 styles of alphabet in upper and lower case
Quilt applique and heirloom stitches

It's a computerised machine with 393 stitch programmes, a large easy to read screen and a walking foot.

It really needs a good home with someone to love and care for it. If you are interested, phone me on 02 9654 9463 or e.mail

Sunday, 29 November 2009

What tickles your fancy

This is the quilt I designed for the Quilters' Guild of N.S.W. annual challenge.

The theme was "What Tickles Your Fancy"

Initially I really struggled with the theme, I really felt that the entries should be humourous and bring a smile to face of the viewers. I do have a vivid imagination and must say that plenty of things tickle my fancy but sometimes I think I'm probably the only one who is tickled and perhaps the images from my imagination would leave many viewers wondering what the quilt was trying to say.

When a friend returned from Singapore with tales of having visited a fish pedicure boutique, the thought of it really tickled my fancy. I instantly knew that I would depict the fish pedicure as my entry.

Apparently this kind of beauty treatment is becoming quite popular in many overseas countries. Sherry explained through so much laughter it just about reduced me to tears, that she had summoned the necessary courage to immerse her feet in a large pool of water containing dozens of tiny fish. The fish had nibbled away at her dead skin and apparently had a real feast. Sherry says she is sure she saw several fish floating belly up in the water, too full to move! In my mind I also imagined glamourous fish painting toe nails down in the depths of the pool.

I know I could never ever subject myself to this kind of pedicure but the thought of it really tickles my fancy.

View all of the entries in the challenge by visiting the guild's blog. See the link at the bottom of this page.

I love the the upturned ducks and friend Julie's, John West's Rejection Island Resort.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

New photo

It really is time for me to have a new photo taken. The one on the blog is years old.
I really hate having my photo taken but I really can't explain why.

I'm always the one behind the camera, not in front of it. If I suddenly became a missing person, my family would be hard pressed to come up with a photo to show the police. They would probably find one of me in the back row of a group, slightly blurry and probably with my eyes closed.

John's workmates mentioned that I'm never in any of the holiday photos. We generally go camping and I spend the whole time having a bad hair day due to lack of hair washing and styling facilities. I wear hats and beanies and I even wear a miners light on my head at night so that I can sew and trust me this is a REALLY GOOD look. No wonder I duck for cover whenever there is a camera about.

On the inside I'm still around 39 years old, I'm at least 6 inches taller and a few kilos lighter. I like living in this fantasy world, so perhaps I just haven't found a photographer who can adequately portray my interal image of myself yet.

I don't think I'm particularly shy, perhaps I'm just a control freak. I'm an oldest child and ... (I think I'd better leave my thoughts on birth place in family for another day).

It's a strange thing, whenever photos are shared around with family or friends most people seem to be able to find fault with their own appearance or facial expressions in the photos being viewed, too many chins, a dorky look or tummy not held in properly... the list goes on, yet no one else can see what the problem is. Do we all have unrealistic expectations of the camera.

Must give in and let someone take a photo of me soon, though I might need a sedative first.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Time to buy a 2010 calendar

It's that time of the year.
November 1st and Christmas is just a few short sleeps away.

More importantly, the end of the year is approaching and you'll soon need a 2010 calendar.

The calendar in our house is really the family management centre. If it's not on the calendar it's just not going to happen.

I'd like to suggest a couple of very good Australian quilt calendars. See photos of the detail in the quilts I've contributed to these calendars above.

The Quilters' Guild of N.S.W. has again produced a very attractive calendar. My quilt titled "Flannel Flowers" is Miss September and there are many other fabulous quilts to inspire you throughout the year.

The Down Under Quilts calendar features my quilt titled "The Rhythm of Lifes Many Phases" on the front cover. How good is that? There are 12 other unique quilts to view as the months go by. It's not overly large, I find the compact size just right for hanging on the wall and transporting around the house.

I've already filled in many of next years engagements on our copy and I'll be giving copies of the calendar out like lollies to friends and relies for Christmas.

Click on the web site link (see the bottom of this blog page) to The Quilters' guild of N.S.W. for their calendar or Creative Living Media to order a copy of the Down Under Quilts calendar.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Don't Worry, Be Happy

I recently spent a couple of days teaching at a quilting retreat in Wisemans Ferry. It was a very relaxing couple of days with a with a really nice group of ladies completing my "Don't Worry, Be Happy quilt". It's a quilt as you go, no worries sort of quilt and this beautiful Water Dragon lives in the grounds of the retreat near the waterfall. He/she looks and behaves as if he also has no worries. Isn't he magnificent.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Start them young

I completely failed in my attempts to interst my own daughters (now in their 30's) in quilting but I decided that my grandaughter Tegan who is now 7 is just the right age and with a bit of dedicated help from me (Amar, short for Grandma) I'm sure she will become an accomplished and creative quilter.
We started with a couple of fairy panels, one for Tegan and one for her little sister Olivia and we are now moving on to a bag.
Tegan and I visited Country Pickins today, partly so that Tegan could choose her own fabric and partly so that she could see where Amar teaches. She was impressed by the sheer size of the place but completely overwhelmed by the amount of fabric to choose from. We eventually settled on pink (no great surprise there). Thanks to the school holidays we have a date to start the bag.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Missed the dust storm

We managed to get away for our first camping trip in two years. Spent a week communing with nature and roughing it a bit at Coolah Tops and Goulburn River National Parks. Fortunately we missed the dust storm by a few days.

Some of our family and friends worry that we rough it a bit too much, so I took a few photos of our 4 star camping accommodation.
The photos are of the bedroom, the kitchen and what I laughingly call the activities corner in our tent. we have camp stretchers with really thick air mattresses, doonas rather than sleeping bags and a hot water bottle. I even have a chair and some carpet for the bedroom floor.
We do have to use pit toilets (or worse still a shovel) and 3inches of water in the bottom a bucket instead of a shower, the only good news is that the water is hot, but its still a lot better than my first ever camping trip.
I met John just before I was 40 and as he had always been a keen camper he decided that it would be really good if I enjoyed it too. He was probably a bit optimistic to think I'd enjoy the Warrambungles in early July with just a small 2 man tent that I had to crawl into, a very thin air mattress and a sleeping bag that wasn't really up to the task. I didn't really enjoy that first experience but I could see that camping could probably be fun with better equipment, It took a few trips to the camping shop and a bit of experimentation and imagination and I've been a keen camper ever since.

I always manage to do a lot of hand sewing while we are camping, I took this photo with one hand while sewing in front of the fire with the other.

We always try to go to quiet campsites far away from people with just the wildlife for company. We weren't disappointed this time all except 2 of the nights we spent alone in the campsites.
There was heaps of wild life including kangaroos and wallabies, a wombat who seemed to be both deaf and blind and oblivious to the fact that we were there, a tiny little lizard and a cow who just stood in the river all day (it was quite hot). You'll have to look carefully to see the tiny lizard. It was about 2in from nose to tip of tail.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Jemby Rinjah

Last weekend John and I spent a very pleasant few days in the Blue Mountains. We asked about the meaning of the the name of the Eco Lodge we stayed at and apparently it means "Beautiful Big Colourful Bird". We didn't see any big colourful birds but plenty of smaller birds and this magnificent creature.

The Blue Mountains have a very special place in my heart. In my younger / fitter days I used to lead bushwalking groups. Twice weekly I would lead a dozen or so trusting souls into the bush. We climbed mountains, descended into beautiful valleys communed with nature and explored every corner of the the Bush in the Sydney area.

Visiting the mountains brought a lot of my treasured memories back with great clarity. A very dear lady who has recently passed away, wrote this poem for me when she left the group to move to her central coast retirement dream home and I know this was written from the heart.

Just a few words of thank you
for all the work you've done.

The places you have taken us
through wind and rain and sun.

You've had us climbing mountains
we never thought we could.

You've guided us down tracks
we didn't think we should.

You have taken us through forests
and across the mountain streams.

You have shown us such splendour
and where the Waratahs grow.

Wild flowers in abundance
with names we didn't know.

You have shown us the wild life,
nature at its best
The panoramic vistas,
north, south east and west.

You have given us strong bonding,
stay back and help your mate.

Care and understanding,
adventures to relate.

You have brought us home exhausted,
aching from head to toe.

We survived the snakes and leeches,
how? We'll never know!

And so our fearless leader,
I say thank you my dear friend.

You always keep us moving with
"It's just around the bend"

Pat Brookes.

Monday, 17 August 2009

My Place Exhibition

The My Place quilt exhibition curated by Dijanne Cevaal will soon be on display in Victoria, at Craftfest in Melbourne from 8th - 11th October and in a newly created gallery space at the Colac Entertainment Cenre, Cnr Gellibrand and Rae Sts, Colac from 30th October to 1st November. This is a brand new exhibition space and the My Place quilt exhibition will be the first to use the venue.
My quilt "Blue Gum Creek" is part of this wonderful exhibition, see a close up photo of a small section of my quilt above.
I recently travelled to the Textile Art Festival in Brisbane in order to see "Blue Gum Creek" hanging with the other 89 fabulous 50cm square quilts and I was very impressed, a very worthwhile trip.
The exhibition has so far travelled to South Africa and New Zealand and in 2010 will be exhibited in France.
All of the quilts can be viewed on line at There is a link at the bottom of this page.
I'm told that Down Under Quilts will feature some of the quilts in their next issue.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Discharge dyeing

I must say I'd rather fill up my washing line with newly discharged fabric than washing any day. I recently got together with some friends for some play time.

Julie changed some very very ordinary grey fabric into the masterpiece shown in the top photo. Great fun

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Decluttering progress

After a lot of time and hardwork, and numerous trips to my favourite hardware shop and storage shop and my workroom is starting to take shape.

I've labelled everything, including the pens and pencils. I've even sorted out my pin dishes (though I'm sure Lorraine will think I could take the pin sorting a step further!)

The photos below show the wardrobe doors (door handles removed) and covered with flannel to provide a design wall and the storage space within the wardrobe.
The design wall isn't new and needs to be replaced with new flannel and a less unsightly method of holding it in place than the packing tape currently being used.
I have drawn a 2in grid on the flannel and will do this again when I replace it. The grid really helps with lining up the blocks etc.

The room is looking good. I've hung different quilts on the walls and added a few favourite photos.
My books are in a logical order and I've culled my old magazines. I now only keep DUQ and Quilting Arts.
All fabrics that are at least 1m in length are stored on bolts on the shelves and the smaller pieces are now stored in the new wire baskets under all of the benches.
All of my started projects are in separate plastic boxes under the sewing machine table and tucked into corners here and there. I really must cull these soon. If I count up all of the works in progress - everything from the quilt tops waiting to be quilted down to projects that are still in the very early stages, I have more than 30 of them. I'm an enthusiastic starter but not a particularly effective finisher of quilts.

My work room is quite small and it's still a work in progess but almost worthy of being called a studio.

Thursday, 7 May 2009


I've been flat out for months now, becoming far more involved in the lives of family members and their problems than has been good for me. Consequently I've had precious little time to spend quilting. Blogging has also suffered and I haven't been a particularly happy or healthy camper.

The problems I've been helping others to face won't be going away any time soon, so I've been taking stock of my life and with the aid of Peter Walsh, author of a couple of books I've been reading whenever I managed to have 10 minutes for myself. "Does this clutter make my butt look fat" and "Enough Already" have helped me to put things into perspective just a little and I'm now decluttering both my house and my inner self.

In an effort to take control of my life, I've started to declutter our house, I'm in the process of throwing away all sorts of junk that I've accumulated over the years and in an effort to declutter my emotions, I'm busily engaged in handing problems back to the people who actually own them. It's very liberating, I should have done it years ago.

Of course I can still be involved and caring but not totally consumed by the seemingly insurmountable problems facing my some of my relies. I've started to get more sleep, I feel more relaxed and as soon as I declutter my work room and make it into a really efficient and workable space I'll be able to get back to my sewing machine.

One of Peter Walsh's suggested strategies for anyone who might think they are just too busy to declutter, is to throw something out every day. Literally every time you walk in through the door, find something you don't use and throw it out. It you don't know it to be useful or belive it to be beautiful, you just don't need it in your life.

I feel so much better now that I've started on my decluttering path. If your life could do with a little decluttering - read the books.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

One less frog in the world

Those who know me well will know that I quite like snakes, which is a good thing because we live on 5 acres of bushland. We have a diamond Python who spends much of his/her time in the roof, though I wouldn't mind betting he's not up there at the moment. (Tin Roof / Very Hot). We have a bag full of Python skins to show the grandkids and loan out for show and tell at school etc. (Check out the older post in this blog for my reptile posts).

I must admit to feeling a bit spooked at the moment though. A couple of days ago I saw something lurch off the roof or perhaps a pot plant up high, on close inspection it was a Green Tree Snake in hot pursuit of a tiny little frog.

It didn't take him long to devour the poor little frog right in front of us on the patio,(did I tell you I also just love frogs), so this was quite devastating for me.

As soon as the frog had given up all hope of escape, the snake moved with lightening speed into the bush.

Yesterday I dispatched dear husband to Bunnings to buy a magnetic catch for the screen door as it often springs open after closing. I would much prefer the snake searched outside for it's prey!

I suppost I live my life in denial. I love animals but hate the thought of them eating each other.

It's probably the same as my not being a vegetatian because I enjoy eating meat, but only if it doesn't actually look like an animal. This leaves out whole fish, most seafood and anything on a spit that even resembles the animal it really is.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Need doesn't really come into it

I've been taking advantage of some fabric sales this holiday. I don't really need the fabric but with the hot weather I haven't really felt like doing a lot of sewing and this is my way of getting a fabric fix.

A lot of my students ask me how much of each fabric I buy. Well how long is a piece of string? Firstly, these days I only buy good quality fabrics. I'll happily snap up a bargain but only if it is a genuine sale and not cheap, inferior fabric in the first place. If I'm not shopping for a specific project, but just browsing around for interesting and beautiful fabrics for my stash, how much to buy is really no more complicated than deciding on how much I like it, then how much I can justify to myself.

A fat quarter is a good idea if I just want the fabric but have no idea what I'll do with it (perhaps deep down I know already that I probably won't ever do anything with it, other than stroke it and play with it now and then). I often buy fat quarters at shows just because they are there. I usually try to keep a record of where I bought it from just in case I need more later, however my filing system isn't what it should be.

I've been known to buy the whole bolt if I really like it and think that I'll use it extensively. Realistically though, I usually only make small-medium sized quilts so anything from 1m to 3m usually satisfies me. Of course the backing for a large bed quilt can take up to 9 metres and I always use good quality fabrics for the back as well as the front of the quilt. I also like to cut borders in once piece from the length of the fabric, so if I think I'll be using the fabric for a border I'll buy 3m.

I only have to ask myself two questions about fabric.

1. Do I really like it?

2. Can my budget allow for it?

If I get two yes answers I buy it. Need really doesn't come into it.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

New camera and Happy New Year

I asked Santa for a new camera for Christmas and I must have been good all year because he gave me one.

We have a perfectly good camera with 12 x zoom and lots of really good features but I didn't ever read the book and in any case it is very bulky and won't fit into my handbag.

My new, compact camera is really good, it's got a larger screen, is really compact and I've taken some great photos - so many that I'm currently re charging the battery for the umpteenth time. I'll share them next time I blog. I don't really know how to to load them onto the computer I'm using tonight. I would either have to read the book or ask my husband for advice and ... anyway I think I'll wait until tomorrow.

I like to use my own lap top. It always feels very indulgent when I connect to the internet from the comfort of my lounge in front of the T.V. with my feet up.

I intend to post to this blog more frequently this year and post the interesting photos I know I will take.

I really love the start of a new year. I'm always so motivated and full of ideas. I write them all down and truely feel as if I can achieve just about anything.

This year I've started out by resigning my daytime job as a community development worker so that I can spend more time doing what I really like... quilting. I've been going to the gym everyday and have already spent time just doing nothing at all. A pretty good start really.