Australian Update

Pour yourself a cup of tea and settle in for a newsy update…

Many of you have been following our newest big adventure I first wrote about last summer. (In case you missed it, CLICK HERE.) Admittedly, my blog posts were rather sparse during the last quarter of 2021 because we put our plan into motion and my husband actually made the big transition and moved down under in early November. We spent the holidays apart for the first time in 34 years, but we chose to make the season merry despite our circumstances. As for my poor husband’s Christmas gifts and other sundries I mailed in mid-November, they still have not reached him. Sadly, my confidence in mailing things to The Alice (as the Aussies call it) with any real success diminishes by the day. 

Thank goodness for the internet and Facetime so we can see and talk to each other every day. This aspect of technology has made the absence easier to bear, even though it is still very difficult to be apart. For those who know us well know we like to spend all our free time together. Kent really is my best friend and partner for everything in life. I’ll confess there have been plenty of moments of loneliness increased by the remote location of our cabin in the mountains which, while very beautiful, is isolated in comparison to the easy access and hustle and bustle where we used to live in the South Bay area of LA. We sold that home in September and that’s when I moved up to the cabin to live full time until I join Kent later this spring.

The time difference is proving to be a major challenge. We’re 16 1/2 hours apart; he’s behind me as far as time of day but ahead of me as far as the date. Confused? Yeah, me too, at first. It took a full month before I finally wrapped my head around it. I relied on Siri and I would ask my iphone, “Hey Siri, what time is it in Alice Springs?” It’s that darn half hour which really throws me off. Honestly, I didn’t even know there were places in the world with 1/2-hour time zone differences. Who knew? For example, when it is noon here, it is 5:30am for him but he’s already into the next day! So, while it may be Friday for me it is already Saturday where he is. This definitely takes some flexibility to get used to but we take it in stride. For instance, he was well into 2022 while we were still in 2021! A dear, close friend of ours said the cutest thing (tongue in cheek): “When Jesus comes again, Kent will see Him first!” I still giggle every time I think about her saying it. Maintaining our sense of humor has made this separation bearable. 

The latest from Alice Springs

Kent is still staying in a hotel, but we are in the process of buying a home in The Alice. The lack of available inventory of suitable rentals made us realize even though we will only be living in The Alice for a couple of years, we want those years to be joyful and comfortable. Kent was adamant we find a home with space for a wonderful studio for me since I’ll be spending so much time in it. The Lord is so good and shortly before Christmas, we found a beautiful home with lovely views overlooking the MacDonnell range which I’m told showcases glorious sunsets. (You know how much I love sunsets and sunrises.)

Prayers are appreciated as we navigate the immense amount of paperwork involved in buying a home overseas. I’ve been reminded lately of that scene in the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun, when Frances says with a bewildered tone, “I have bought a home in a foreign country.” Honestly, that’s one phrase I never, ever expected myself to utter. IF everything goes according to plan, settlement will happen in early to mid-February and Kent will be able to move in. Our household goods, however, are still somewhere on a container ship in the open ocean. Hopefully, they will arrive in port by the end of January. It will then take several weeks to get the container driven on a flatbed to the middle of the outback! Needless to say, there are many moving parts to all these plans. We welcome prayers for things to progress smoothly as each part of the process needs to fall into place, one by one.

One of the most exciting things I’m looking forward to are the kangaroos who visit the back yard of our soon to be new home. Our real estate agent sent this wonderful photo of the roos by the bench in the back yard last Sunday morning. I cannot wait to be able to see these amazing animals in person! I realize to Aussies this is a regular occurrence; similar to the way most of us feel here in the US about squirrels in the back yard. But for me, this is new and exotic and something I never dreamed would happen in my lifetime so I’m going to enjoy every moment!

Be prepared for my posts to be flooded with all the wonderful delights of Australian critters and culture. From what Kent has told me, the amount of amazing and colorful birds is quite something to behold!

Back home

After teaching in Houston in late October, I took some time to really settle into full-time cabin living and to be honest, to rest and regroup. 2021 was a year of so much transition, hard physical labor to pack and move, emotional fatigue and just trying to find my footing and a way forward from several major life changes. After taking some time to just be still and quiet, I’ve come to the realization God wants us to live a much bigger life than we could ever have imagined. So, we’re truly letting Him guide our steps and path. It’s been a wonderful time of just leaning into Him.

I’ve taken up hand stitching again in earnest and I decided to create some new art for the walls of our modern Aussie home. Kent sent me four gorgeous panels; two are shown below. The postal service seems to work coming this way. I decided to stitch some of the Australian animals I hope to meet! I created many more embroidered blocks than I will actually need for those panels, but it was so fun to stitch in the evenings while binge watching the entire Downton Abby series again over the course of a couple of weeks.

One of the most useful gifts I received at Christmas was an Amish sewing basket on a stand. It now sits right next to our sofa and having it handy and readily available anytime I sit down has allowed me to be very productive! I can stitch for just a few minutes and sometimes hours on end. This has really made a difference in how much hand embroidery I’m getting done on a daily basis. I just love being so productive and seeing tangible results. (CLICK HERE for a link, in case you’re interested.)

2022 has brought back my creative mojo, and it feels fantastic! I’ve been working diligently constructing the demos and step-outs I’ll need for the new Janome BOM Blitz which we hope to film in early March and launch in April. I’m sew excited to be doing this and you’ll be seeing a lot more of me on social media, especially in the Janome Sewing Classroom and on the Janome, Sewing Machines page on Facebook. I can finally share I’ve got a new machine embroidery design pack coming out (Sashiko-style designs!) and a new Sashiko-by-machine thread kit coming, too! These will all launch later in the spring, and I’m eager to begin sharing photos and sneak peeks of the projects I’ve already created. I think you’re going to absolutely love these new designs. 

As for our kitties, we finally have the import license from Australia and a reservation for them at the quarantine facility where they will stay for two weeks upon arrival in Melbourne before being flown to The Alice. Their departure date will be in mid-April and I plan to follow soon after a Janome event in Las Vegas. I should have my flight to Australia booked later this week and I am very excited! Now that we have a house lined up and I have a busy schedule planned for the next couple of months, I’m getting so excited about this new adventure. Hearing Kent’s daily enthusiasm for life in the Outback and all the wonderful people he has already met, I know we’ll make the most of our short time there. God has planned a wonderful experience for us and I am eager to be reunited with Kent and enjoy all the new experiences coming our way together!

But first, I’m taking it one day at a time and making the most of each and every day here. I’m noticing the small things. The lovely things. I’m enjoying stitching in the evenings with Cheeto on my lap. I’m embracing the quiet moments. I welcome the creative times and the times where no creativity seems to happen. It’s all good. Most of all, I’m spending time actively counting my blessings of which there are so many. The ONE WORD I have chosen for 2022 is ADAPT and I already feel it was the right decision. I’m adapting to many new changes and situations, but I have already grown and I feel stronger. 

One last update….I’ve collected so many Shoo Fly blocks (THANK YOU to everyone who sent me one, two, or more blocks — and for all the notes and goodies you included in those packages!) I plan to begin work on assembling the quilt top later this month. I’ll also be creating an amazing label with the names and information about the makers of each and every block. I’ve saved every note and letter and they will be put into a special album which will accompany the quilt! It’s going to be amazing because of your generosity, love, and thoughtfulness. 

Thanks for spending time during your busy day to read and catch up on all the happenings on our end. There will be more updates and sneak peeks coming in the days and months ahead! I’m praying for you all that 2022 is off to a wonderful start and you all are safe, happy, and healthy. Stay hopeful and creative!

  1. Oh, I absolutely love this update. Our son (wife and 9 childten) was a missionary in Hong Kong and China for 29 years, moving back stateside in July 2021 so we had to get used to the time difference, too!!

  2. Beautiful. You got this!! Love you!

  3. Thank you Kimberly for this post. Please know that you go with our prayers. I think that your are right when you say you think God wants us to live larger lives.I look forward to following you in this marvelous adventure that God has designed for you and Kent. Rest in His love and be sure of His Care.

  4. So many wonderful adventures await you and Kent. So many changes coming your way. God has you in his hands. Safe travels.

  5. Thanks for a beautiful read, I am excited for your adventure. I lived & worked in the Alice with Indigenous Communities with wound care. The Alice is highly complex, however I believe it’s Gods country.
    Don’t forget : sewing lessons in the Alice: I’ll be there
    Amanda Lloyd

  6. We plan to be travelling through Alice on a long road trip with our camper in July. Australia has so much more than Motels will let you see. Hope you get to experience lots of our “Outback”

  7. What a joy to read your update, Kimberly! I am in awe of this next chapter of your life and eager to be a part of it virtually. Thank you for sharing with us!

  8. Kimberly,
    I love hearing about your impending move. It’s so exciting. I love the kangaroo panel Kent sent you. Can’t wait to see photos of your new place, sunsets and animals. I’m anticipating a new pattern from you with an Aussie them.

  9. Love the pictures of Alice. I was thinking about you lately and Wondering where you were in your journey. All the best to you in 2022

  10. I am sew looking forward to all your/Kent’s adventures! Especially scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef! I also want to see photos of my boy at the windows looking at Roos! ? prayers for everyone and everything to go smoothly!

  11. Thank you for taking the time to share with your fans. So glad to hear your excitement and to see the pictures from The Alice. Looking forward to seeing your newest projects.

  12. Kimberly really is my best friend and my partner for life! Can you imagine how hard this transition would be if I didn’t have Kimberly helping me through it. She has been my rock! God bless her and each and every one of you that follow her. God’s peace to you all and happy quilting from Mr Kim

    • Love you so much, Mr. Kim! I LOVE that you commented on this blog post! Can’t WAIT to be there with you!

  13. You’ll love Australia! My daughter and son in law are presently in New Zealand and they just adore it! Home is where you make it Kimberly.❤️❤️❤️❤️

  14. Loved hearing and seeing all about your upcoming and current accommodations Looking forward to many more Miss learning from you but anxiously awaiting for you to get to Australia and back with Ken Best wishes and prayers for a safe journey

  15. Your explanation of the time difference reminded me of Radar O’Reilly trying to explain the time difference from Korea to the US to Col. Potter in M*A*S*H. Our continued prayers are with you both as everything falls into place.

  16. I knew some of the Americans who lived in Alice in the 90s. They loved it so much they always tried to put in for extensions. The family I stayed with was nearing their 4th year, had put in for longer, but weren’t expected to get it. Alice is a magical place.

  17. I just love all of your blogs, updates, pictures and creative stitching of the Australian Animals! I read everyone and can’t wait for you to update again! Your Adventures will be exciting and memorable! I am so happy to be a part of your journey!
    You got this Kimberly ? with God’s love and guidance ? you are golden!

  18. I love your attitude and what God has planned for you.
    It’s all so exciting.
    I’m looking forward to ask the news

  19. Since it’s a long flight to Australia I suggest going first/business. I did and don’t regret the cost. Love the two panels, especially the ‘roo. Please keep in touch.

  20. What adventure in you and Kent’s life. A story I will follow forever! I look forward to the day you are both together again! I am sure you both do too! Keep these updates coming. Relax and enjoy as soon your life will be filled with another move, setting up your new home. Meeting all kinds of quilters and friends! Save all of this documentary for your future book!. Love you! Helen

  21. Thank you so much for your blog. I love hearing about your adventure and eagerly await more and to see how the Alice inspires new creations from you. Stay safe and well.

  22. Love hearing all the updates for your new adventure. I’m happy that you are finally taking time to be creative for you.

  23. I was thrilled to read this new post- you are keeping so upbeat. The many obstacles you are facing would styme many people. My friend Maree Whitney owns a quilt shop Oz Quilts in the Melbourne area. If you spend anytime there on arrival. Prayers for safe travels for you, your kitties and your household goods.

  24. It was great hearing your latest news and what’s happening. I’m so glad you and Kent are doing OK and took some time for yourself. Life can get crazy. I know it will be a special day when you’re back together. I was thrilled to hear your news that you will be continuing working with Janome. I did last year’s BOM and am excited to do this year’s BOM. Stay safe and I’m looking forward to your next post

  25. Kimberly,
    I just met you this weekend through your jelly roll quilt magic book and now your blog. The book was gifted to me by a friend from her library of quilt books. I’m a retired teacher, bought a new Pfaff, and really enjoying my new hobby. My next project is with a jelly roll … I’m interested in the Lone Starburst. I saw you offered classes at one point… haven’t figured out if they are available online.
    Excited about your reunion with your husband in Alice Springs. We know a young couple who live there and love it. They were there came home to DC area and then we’re asked to return… they sold their house here and returned.
    Thanks for sharing your life in the blog.
    Deb from Lititz, PA. Home of the Wilbur Buds

    • Hi Debra! I’m so happy to “meet” you here! Thank you so much for taking time to write. I can’t believe you know someone who lives in the Alice; is she a quilter and might she be part of the local quilt guild there? Perhaps I will meet her. Does her husband work for the US at the site there? The town is quite small — from what I hear, everyone knows everyone else! It would be fun to meet them and be connected to you through them. Please feel free to reach out via email to: moc.omnieylrebmiknull@ylrebmiK. PS — I absolutely adore Wilbur Buds — best chocolate in the universe!

  26. Wow, I’ve not popped into many blogs lately other than mine & the ones I follow on my side bar, as I’ve not had much mojo for anything, but here I am on a hot muggy night in good old Oz, reading about your new adventure & thinking we’ll have to help you settle in, so you feel at home here. I’ve been to The Alice many years ago, but we live in country Victoria. I was only looking at one of your books the other day & thinking I must take a peek at what you’d been up to. Hope all goes well &take care.

  27. Congratulations on your new adventure, I wish you well! Just a note to let you know how your video on half-square triangles changed my entire outlook on quilting! I have been quilting since 2007 but avoided half-square triangles because they NEVER came out right! So, I avoided any patterns with those in them (talk about limitations!) Then Christmas, my daughter who also quilts told me to watch your video on the scant 1/4″ seam and half square triangles. I found it encouraging that you say in the video that you guarantee it to come out right! That was enough to get in interested! I had just by mistake ordered a quilt kit that is almost ENTIRELY half-square triangles and was thinking of selling it on EBAY! But, I realized I have the same machine as you, the M7 and you showed me how to change the pressure plate to the HP and use the 1/4″ foot and WALAA!!! I did that and made my first block and it came out PERFECT! SO, BLESS YOU KIMBERLY!! I’m about 1/3 through my quilt blocks now and they all are measuring a perfect 10 1/2″ square!!!!! Can you tell I’m excited? I hope your move to Australia doesn’t mean you are leaving Janome and your quilt blog? I sure hope not, we quilters NEED YOU!

    • Dear Karen – My goodness….I just read your lovely comment with happy tears in my eyes! To think that I was able to help you find the joy and fun in quilting in any small way means more to me than you could possibly know! Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I’m touched to the depths of my heart! I will absolutely continue to do videos and online events while we’re in Australia for a couple of years! I’ve got a new “TOP TIP TUESDAY” coming soon and my next big online class series, the Janome BOM Blitz II will begin in May! It’s all free and I hope you’ll follow along for fun! God bless you and your sweet daughter and please keep in touch and drop me a line from time to time to let me know how those HSTs are coming along! Next up to master? Flying Geese units!

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