Tag Archives: mad cows

The Portsea Retreat


I wanted to share some photos from a recent retreat I went on down at sunny Portsea on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. It is an old school camp that was set up in the 1940’s for under-priveleged children so that they could have a sea-side holiday and various health checks from doctors and dentists while they were there. These days it is hired out to various groups and although accommodation is somewhat basic, it is a great opportunity for crafty ladies to get together and create (with the added advantage of not having to cook or wash up all weekend!! Yay).

A hive of industry

A hive of industry

Some 'mad cow' friends

Some ‘mad cow’ friends

While I was there I had the chance to set up a mini-shop and and the Bali Pop (jelly rolls) were selling like hot cakes!
The Crafty Pioneer mini-shop

The Crafty Pioneer mini-shop

A couple of ladies were so keen to put the purchases to good use that they made up there jelly rolls and had a quilt top within a couple of hours!

Speedy jelly roll quilt!

Speedy jelly roll quilt!

Garden theme friendship quilt


These blocks I’m showing you are actually from our 2010 friendship group quilt. We chose the theme of “Garden” at the beginning of the year so that it would be nice and easy for people to come up with ideas and then we each had to come up with a design for a block which we would present when it was our turn for the monthly get together. The design could be either applique or stitchery as long as it had some connection to the garden theme.

Try to ignore the loose threads hanging (some of the blocks have been hanging about for a while)!

Some of the group had a lot going on in their lives so ended up not making all the blocks; they will probably use whatever they’ve got to make cushions out of. As you can see, this is not a high pressure group (thank goodness)!

There were 10 of us in the group at the time and here are my 10 finished blocks:
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The next one was probably my favourite block as I liked the combination of stitches and buttons:

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The last block was my contribution although not my own design as I had it in an old magazine and thought it would fit perfectly with the theme:

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I hope you like them and I am now planning how I am going to put them all together in one quilt top. I have been playing around with a large centre block and will hopefully be able to show you that soon.

I love to hear how other friendship groups work and if you decide on a yearly theme or just work on individual projects. Let me know as we are always looking for ideas and I will show you some of the other things we have made in future posts.

Mad COWS day out!


Mill Rose Quilting
There’s nothing like a fun day out with the girls and that’s exactly what we did last Saturday even though it was a bit on the hot side (about 38C which is probably well up in the 90’s in Fahrenheit). There were 10 of us in two cars and we were making our way up to Ballarat which is about 2 hours north from our part of Melbourne. Our first stop was in Ballan which is a great spot and really worth a visit if you get the chance. Mill Rose Quilting and Gallery was just beautifully laid out and we really enjoyed looking at all their gorgeous fabric and patterns.
Stunning array of fabric
I hear rumour that they are starting a bed and breakfast so will definitely be keeping that one in mind for a weekend retreat!

We also dropped into the farmers market in Ballan and enjoyed looking at all the lovely produce and couldn’t resist buying some of their crusty bread, of which we were given many tastings. We were a bit tempted by the cheese too but I think we quickly realised it would be a big and smelly mistake on such a hot day!

Ballan farmers market

After Ballan, we took off up to Ballarat and visited Eureka Patchwork and Ballarat Patchwork and stopped at a wonderful place for lunch (we were ready to chew an arm off by this stage)! Its called Wen and Ware and is a fabulous gift shop and delicious lunch stop. Even managed to do a bit of Christmas shopping – for me!! All in all a very successful day and quite ready to collapse in a heap when I got home. Luckily himself had got the new pizza oven fired up and we had our very first wood-fired pizzas – YUM!
Boys keen to help with inaugural pizza

Back from the quilter’s


Last week our little friendship group (The Mad COWS) sent off 7 quilts with our wonderful quilter Natalie from: thequiltingbug. A very speedy 7 days later she drove accross Melbourne to deliver them to my door!! (what amazing service). We had our own mini quilt show as we oohd and ahhhd over each other’s quilts and with service like this and our backlog of quilts shrinking, its hard to find a good reason not to do all our quilts this way! Anyway here’s our mini quilt show for your enjoyment.

Flo’s double-sided quilt- side 1 (Christmas)

Flo’s quilt (side 2)

Carrie’s split nine patch quilt (Christmas)

Carol’s country scrap quilt

Carol’s ‘Under the Australian Sun’ quilt

My Drunkards Path quilt

Detail of Drunkards Path showing ‘simple swirls’ quilt pattern

My Moda fabric jelly roll quilt

Detail of my jelly roll quilt

Mainly ‘Moda French General’ fabric – stack and slash quilt

Stack and slash using (mainly) French General fabric

The Mad Cows Quilt Challenge


OK so we’ve been meeting monthly for a few years now but it was only this year that we came up with a suitable name for ourselves – The Mad Cows and thought we ought to make that the theme for this year’s project.  So each month we take it in turns to come up with a suitable cow block design – reflecting something about ourselves and then we all make our own version of it.

So far I have only completely finsihed two of the blocks (slack cow!) and here they are:-

Di – the beach cow!

Di loves nothing more than lying on the beach with a good book to read so I thought I would give her some rather sexy sun glasses and a beaded bikini – She’s not quit as buxom in real life!!

Julie – my life is a “cowtastrophe”

Julie was feeling the pressure at the time so this is a reflection of a relaxed happy cow (how she would like to be feeling)….. good luck with that Julie. I gave her some rather charming hoop earings and her very own cow bell!

Having seen some of the other girls’ versions I think it will be really fun when they are done and they will all be very different.

Keep ya posted!