Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pride of Australia Awards

Friday 24th Oct was one of the most rewarding days of my life. Here is the story...

IT would have been hard to miss the buzz that gripped Annerley soccer fields in June this year, when 10,000 people gathered for World Refugee Day.

The Volunteer Refugee Tutoring and Community Service, or VoRTCS (pronounced vortex), organises the yearly festival to coincide with World Refugee Day on June 20, and it's hard to believe the organisation's growth has culminated in such a large event.

VoRTCS started with just 18 tutors and five refugee families three years ago, but has grown to more than 650 tutors and 250 families today.
Pride of Australia, Peace category
VoRTCS - Claire Schneider, Ian Tanner,Julie Tobler, Corey Monaghan, Melissa Greeben and Heather Davidson

Finalists: Shyla Bauer, Roy Chamberlain and Tony Bower-Miles

The festival highlights the diverse group of cultures and people Australia is blessed with, but is just an offshoot of the major service that VoRTCS provides - free in-home tutoring and English language support through the Refugee Tutoring Program.

Since 2005, the tutoring program has paired volunteers with refugee families across southeast Queensland, bringing Australians together with refugees not just for education, but also to increase understanding between cultures and assist refugees in the huge adjustment to an Australian lifestyle.

VoRTCS President Claire Schneider leads a diverse team who represent Brisbane, from Deception Bay in the north to Sunnybank in the south, and west to Ashgrove. Ms Schneider was jointly awarded the Pride of Australia Peace prize with team members Ian Tanner,Julie Tobler, Corey Monaghan, Melissa Green and Heather Davidson.

The award was looking for an Australian or group of Australians whose selfless, tireless and largely unacknowledged actions have enriched or improved the quality of life for a local community.

Clare Schneider said that while tutors put personal time into the families, they consistently say they feel like they're the ones getting rewarded.

"They feel they get more out of it than they give, and we couldn't do it without our volunteers," she said.

VoRTCS aims to assist and encourage refugee families to take up the educational, social or vocational opportunities available to all Australians.

Heather Davidson, Julie Tobler, Ian Tanner, Claire Schneider, Corey Monaghan & Melissa Greeben from VoRTCS. The winners of the 'Peace' category.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Chenille blocks

YES ! There is a right and a wrong way to make chenille blocks for quilts. The first photo is the wrong way and the second is the right way. I have always wanted to dabble in making a chenille quilt, but did not have the correct cutter. This week I purchased off eBay a pair of power scissors. They sure make the cutting of the rows so much easier. I had only ever seen one TV demo of making chenille blocks, and had remembered everything about it except sewing on the diagonal. As usual if I am making a block for the first time, I cut only one and make only one as a test. This way it helps me understand the block, adjust any thing I feel I need, and it also help me see the outcome and if I like it for what I want to use it for. Thank goodness I applied this rule this time too. I knew something was wrong when I was hand washing the 'wrong' block, as there were threads everywhere. I called my mother and asked if diagonal was the 'right' way, and of course she confirmed this to me. So I set out to make the second block which looks great. Now I know how to make chenille blocks, I plan to make some new bath mats and perhaps a picnic blanket etc.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Some people have the cutest granddaughters. Here are my two, Chelsea and Mia

African Dancer update

Although I usually like everything symmetrical and square , I decided to try something different with this quilt. So far I am not sure I like it, but it's starting to grow on me. This quilt is being made just for a home one to build up my stash of nice quilts instead of using those shop bought ones and needing to put covers on them.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Blue and Yellow ??

I gathered this fabric to make a striking Bargello. However, I am not sure it will end up as a Bargello? It has been sitting in my stash a while now, and I just want to make it as it is colours I never use and I want to see how creative I can be with it. Perhaps next week, I will put blade to fabric and begin the challenge of my blue's and yellow's.

African Dancer

This is my latest WIP. I am stuck on some placement issues on this one. I started out with the center piece and just wanted to add to it on either side and keep it growing from there. (I never use a pattern as I find them too hard to stick to when you need to make some 'design modifications') Now I have made some cobble stone blocks and cut them once and swapped them around and sewed them back together, then I cut them again and did the same again. Now I have all these wonderful blocks that don't fit anywhere due to the fact that they ended up neither the length or the width of the already existing center block 'sigh'. So I will add more, take away more, 'fudge' more and see what this quilt turns out like. Wish me luck?

Blue Bargello

I am not really a blue person, but when I added the brown tones to this quilt, I think it really made it nice. This was made for my friend Hermann in France and he thinks I am clever to make such a wonderful 'blanket' as he calls it.

Blended Tribes

This is the first cobble stone quilt I made. I just love the different tones of browns, creams and mustard in it. I made this quilt for my friend Emmanuel that lives in France. He takes it where ever he travels as he loves the fact that I hand made it just for him. It is a combination of African and Australian prints.

Ben's Squares

This is my second cobble stone quilt. I made it for my friend Ben who lives in France. I had a nice collection of reds and greens, and I think they look great together here. Cobble stone blocks are my favorite, as even though they are the same, they are all very different too.

Kristen's Hearts

I made this quilt for my granddaughters 14th birthday in May 2007. Like all teenagers, Kristen loves hearts, so I used my batiks to create this quilt just for her.

Happy With Who We Are

My daughter asked me to make her this quilt in June 2006. I collected the fabric as fat 1/4's from my local Spotlight. I decided on this post and rail layout as the fabrics were so nice that I did not want to use them any other way and it also makes it look like a rainbow, which is what my daughter wanted. She was more than pleased with her quilt and uses it as a picnic blanket and gets many comments about it. She is happy to be who she is in life, and as her mother, I support her, so that is why I named this quilt 'Happy With Who We Are'.

Angel Wings

I had been collecting bright fabric for some time and was never sure what I wanted to do with it. Since I had been using fabrics from the earthy tones for most of my quilts, I decided to get out my brights and just toss them together any which way in this cobble stone setting and this was the result!

Asian Occasion

I designed this quilt after watching Simply Quilts one day. I traveled to 71 cities in 13 countries in 2005. I have decided to make a quilt for every country I was lucky enough to visit. This is the quilt I have made to cover the Asian part of that trip and I have called it 'Asian Occasion'.