Category Archives: collaboration

The Creative Retreat – my thoughts

I drafted this post some time ago (early July, just home from the Retreat) then published the post by Jess and never got around to expressing my own experience… Today I found this sitting in my drafts folder and thought I should just press publish – here are my thoughts, they are, raw, unedited and quite possibly not coherent! If you want to read another participants take on the retreat, Emma has given a wrap up here.

We had two absolutely amazing weekends and have some more coming up as well as plans for a more permanent space, I can’t wait to have you along for the ride!

Content below the line was written on 8 July 2016

Wow! The very first of The Creative Retreats have come and gone. I am just home and have a big, full cup. Community has been built, creativity has been fuelled and boy oh boy am I overflowing with gratitude for so much.


I’m grateful for the attendees, without them taking time away from family, work and caring commitments, believing in the unknown and committing to being present, we would not have had such a blast. A complete blast. At each location, the sewing room was full of encouragement, support and hilarity round the clock.


From the one who had never attempted making a quilt to the one who owns a quilt shop and the one who writes quilt patterns, books and designs fabric for a living and everyone in between, we had a large range of technical skill and experience. These wonderful participants placed their trust in me to bring them an untested experience, thank you all for coming and participating wholly.



To Cheryl, who put blind faith in me to bring her outside of North America for the first time, who gave her all and was an absolutely amazing tutor, thank you. I miss you already and can’t wait to have you back again!

And then there’s the team I worked with to pull this thing off. Bianca who created my website and provided small business advice and assistance, Sylvia who encouraged me for years to follow this dream, Claire who folded more fat quarters than anyone should ever have to fold and provided more support than I can possibly put into words.


Special mention must go to two ace ladies who worked tirelessly across the retreat weekends, these two women are generous, supportive, kind and so damn funny. Nomes and Cath you are both seriously amazing. You were right there the whole weekend and you worked like crazy town from dawn to dusk and beyond. I had so much fun with both of you, my dear kitchen slappers, and you know I could never have managed so much behind the scenes without the two of you. I’m so, so, so grateful for all that you did, all that you are and I hope your hands are starting to recover – I owe you both some hand cream! Love you both, thank you.

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And while I’m on the train, there’s one last mention of gratitude I have to make, to my family. To the Mr who picks up the slack at home while I’m away and provides encouragement, support, reality checks and washing services and to our three smalls who have all helped this come about in their own special ways, our dreams only happen with the support of the people who love us and I can’t do what I do without my family.

I’m already planning the next retreat in November, can’t wait to tell you who the next tutor is!

Right now I am…

This post should probably be titled “This month I am” given it has been over a month since I have posted here. However, as I can manage only what is in front of me right now, let’s start with that.


Enjoying :: the glorious Autumn weather Canberra gives us. Crisp mornings, sunny days, clear blue skies and fireside evenings.


Loving :: my children and my husband. As corny as it is, Mr Procrasticraft and the three smalls are what this life is all about.

Appreciating :: my friends. Those who are physically present in my life, those in the interwebs and those who are no longer with me. I am grateful everyday that I have such supportive, intelligent, generous, creative and funny people along for the ride on this crazy journey that is my life.

Sharing :: my language and my love of food with a new Spanish friend. She is sharing her language and her love of food with me. If you ever have the chance to trade language and cooking lessons with someone new to your country, take it! Learning a language through cooking each other’s food, hello!

Making :: class samples – I am going to teach some quilting classes using modern designs and improv techniques – I couldn’t be more thrilled. The design and making aspect of this is fabulous, writing the patterns, not so much. Do you write patterns? Any tips?


Working :: for the first time in a while – since the last baby actually. I’ve set up my own small business working as a virtual assistant and through that, I get to spend a whole day of each week in a fabric store!!!  SO. MUCH. FUN!!!

And finally, tonight I am remembering :: right now, it feels so appropriate to be in this space, one which I was encouraged to enter by my dear sweet friend Kathreen. You see, today it has been one year since she and her gorgeous hubby lost their lives. One whole year since I heard her voice. So right now I am missing and I am thanking. Missing my friend so very much and thanking every being possible that I was lucky enough to have had her as my friend at all. I’m thanking her for encouraging me to follow my dreams. Thanking her for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Thanking her for inspiring me to live a more creative life. Thanking her for being her and for showing me how to be me.

Miss you Kathreen. And thank you dear friend.


on sewing with smalls…

IMG_0028I have to declare my bias right up front, before I go anywhere else. This is my seven year old, the eldest of our smalls. She is an awesome kid, one of the most intelligent, creative and capable people I have ever met. She is a deep thinker and is kind and funny and well, just super. Also, it’s a long post. If you make it to the end, I applaud you!

This Thursday just passed, the Mr headed off with the middle small in tow for three nights to visit family. The biggest small and the smallest small were home with Mumma for the weekend and Miss 7 decided we would use our time to make a quilt for her bear.


On Thursday before school, she raided the scraps and laid out a strip quilt. That very night, we set up in the kitchen and got to work. Within an hour of showing her how to use the machine, she had made a quilt as you go quilt about 12″ x 14″ and then added in some extra quilting – there are snails in one of the fabrics and she wanted to make a snail trail. Bear is now warm and cosy.

IMG_0030I honestly (naively) thought that would satisfy her quilting bug and she would get distracted by other things for the weekend. Wrong.

My Amitie Textiles stash builder parcel arrived Friday and she snatched it up and then  spent her Friday night fondling fabrics, mixing and matching the stash builder pack with some scraps from my sewing room and talking about making a quilt using triangles.

Saturday morning, she woke up all bossy like and asked me to start cutting for her. I did as I was instructed (while I’m ok with her using the sewing machine, the rotary cutter is a whole other step for me). I cut out all the pieces as per her direction and she set to sewing.


By Saturday afternoon, we had a completed quilt top. It was made with such fun, care and passion and it was a beautiful way to spend a weekend. The seams are not quarter inch, the points don’t meet and there are some strange extra strips in there to make up block sizes but you know what, I think this is just about my favourite quilt in the whole of everywhere!

IMG_1120The final three seams I had to sew for her as the top got too heavy and bulky for her, but I am so darn proud of this child and think it’s an amazing effort! The quilt is now basted and we started watching “Machine Quilting Negative Space”, a class with Angela Walters on Craftsy for ideas on quilting designs – sketching is happening as per the class instructions and I expect, like everything else, this next task won’t phase her nearly as much as it does me!


This exercise was really nice to spend time sewing with my girl but I have to be honest, it was also REALLY tough for me! There were many moments I had to breathe deeply to stop myself from interfering. To remind myself of the capable person I was working with, to allow her the freedom to create without limits and to show her that I respect her judgement.

The lessons I learnt from sewing with a small :: Breathe deeply, let go, have fun and stop thinking about the rules! Oh, and hide the glitter glue and the nail clippers from the two year old because when you are focusing on stitching, she is decorating the bedroom carpet and trimming her nails!

Do you sew with children? How much do you allow them to do? And, what lessons have you learnt along the way?