Sunday, August 30, 2015

A stitcher's attempt at cardmaking

One of my friends is an absolutely brilliant card-maker. Her creations are amazing, so when I want a card for an extra special occasion, I commission her to produce one of her delightful masterpieces.  

As a stitcher, my attempts at card-making are pretty ordinary, but occasionally I have a go with some silk ribbon embroidery. I do it with the thought that the card can live on after the event and be a pretty picture to display, or even be placed in a small frame and bring ongoing enjoyment.

Recently, I made a set of three cards using the beautiful Kacoonda silk ribbon:


There's something lovely about hollyhocks:


Fuschias are one of my all-time favourite flowers. In our previous home, the climate was great for growing them and I had a number of beautiful hanging baskets full of their delightful blooms:


They are a delight to make in silk ribbon:


I guess it's not a bad alternative to growing them:


Another plant that I can't grow in the sub-tropics is Wisteria. The courtyard in our previous home was an amazing sight each Spring:

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I haven't quite captured its beauty but at least there's a little hint:


and roses ...


Again, the climate was perfect for growing roses where we used to live. Now I have to be content to produce them in stitches and I do love making them with the beautiful silk ribbon:


You can find the pattern in Embroidery and Cross Stitch magazine Vol 23 No 2.

Meanwhile, I think us stitchers can learn so much from scrapbooking artists. Their use of layers makes their work stand apart, and I am sure it is something that I could adapt into my world of stitching. I just need the patience and effort to think about how it can happen in my projects.

I taught a workshop for the local quilting group last week. It was a fun time together with delightful ladies. They made the Flit and Flutter Pincushion:


Now I'm working on a new design to teach a workshop at the local Community Arts Centre. I enjoy the teaching but getting 30 kits together took me for ever!

Happy stitching!
Val


Sunday, August 23, 2015

A child at heart

I've come to the realisation that I am still a child at heart! I'm not the only one either, given the popularity of adult colouring-in books that I see everywhere. 

If you've read this post from last year, you will understand that I am still hooked on making cute, educational wall-hangings. Here is the latest - My Kitchen: 


It's a wall-hanging with removable parts.  
Who could resist a canister in blue and white check? 


Grab the mixing bowls off the shelf:


  Weigh out the ingredients on the scales:


Let the vintage Mixmaster do all the mixing:


Pop the apple pie in the oven:


Put your feet up and make a coffee:


The colour-scheme was based on the pretty fabric I used for the curtains and for the toaster:


It even comes with a child-size apron to match:


The pattern is in Patchwork & Stitching magazine, Vol 16 No 10.


I will make the pattern available in my Craftsy store in a couple of months so don't despair if you don't have access to the magazine.

I've had another week of running around in circles with lots of interruptions and I feel as if my head is still spinning! Maybe I should stop and make that circle quilt I've dreamed about!

Happy stitching!
Val

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Quippy Quotes

There are thousands (probably hundreds of thousands) of quippy quotes 'out there'. A quick search of the internet will reveal that there are quotes on just about any subject matter you can think of!

I thought this one about Time was a great one to turn into a cushion:



It's true, isn't it, that family and friends value your time so much more than an expensive gift. It's not the presents we remember from our childhood but the time our parents spent with us!


My mum spent hours teaching me embroidery, crochet and knitting. I have happy memories of sitting in the winter sun doing these things together.


The Spending Time cushion is in Country Threads magazine, Volume 16 No 8.


Keep an eye out on my Facebook page later this week as I plan to put the words of this quote into a poster to share.

Last week I worked on a project for a workshop I have been asked to teach, put together nine blocks of a wall quilt I am making, cleaned up the veggie patch and spent an inordinate amount of time online searching for a couple of items I need. Ebay can be as time consuming as Pinterest!

Val

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Free Block of the Month Wall Quilt - Pattern 8

I have a great saying for you today - "Don't worry about anything!" 
That's one of the hardest things I find to do. 


The rest of the verse goes on to tell us why we can stop worrying, because we are able to "Pray about everything". How wonderful is that?!

So this is Block 8 in our 
  


I hope you will let this Key to Contentment into your life as you stitch this block.


A little silver key again to remind us about this secret to a contented life:


You can download the pattern here in my Craftsy store. All the patterns are available free until the end of the year.

My husband and I are back from a lovely holiday with our family. Their new location is a beautiful place and we had a wonderful time bushwalking, bird-watching, catching up with old friends and being together with our loved ones.


Our daughter was very kind to me and only had a couple of small mending jobs for me to do. Instead she asked me to embroider some hand towels for her, which was so much more enjoyable!:


I've been told I should give you a tutorial on how to do these, so expect one soon!

Some time ago I made the Butterfly Kisses cushion. It was a project to feature buttons, so this is what I came up with:



The pattern is in Handmade magazine, Vol 33 No 11.


I haven't touched my sewing machine for three weeks and I have itchy fingers - itching to be stitching!  So I'm going to say goodbye and open up that machine!

Hugs
Val

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The day the letter came!

On the 25th July 2005, exactly 10 years ago, a letter was written which changed the course of my life!


  I was on 10 months long service leave and had recently arrived home from interstate having spent time caring for my mother in the last month of her life. My husband and I needed a holiday after the time apart and working through the grief and loss, but somehow plans would just not come together. Everything we tried to organise fell flat and in the end we decided we would just stay home.



I was happy with our decision and decided that I was going to make it a real holiday at home, with a minimum of housework and a maximum of craft for the six weeks that we had allocated. We soon discovered that God was in control and why He hadn't allowed our plans to come to pass. My husband developed shingles and that needs special treatment within 72 hours to negate long-lasting problems. If we had been outback bush camping as planned, miles from civilization, he would not have been able to obtain the urgent medication that he needed.


Meanwhile, I jumped into my 'holiday at home'. After years of wanting to do craft but never having time to do it except on holidays, I could craft to my heart's content - absolute bliss! After six weeks, I had a great pile of things I had made ... and suddenly had a reality check! 


My long service leave was a stepping stone into retirement and I had made known to my employer that I would not be coming back after LSL. If I could produce all that stitching in six weeks, how much was I going to do in retirement? How could I afford to keep buying fabric and everything else needed for stitching? Whatever was I going to do with everything I made? Was there any purpose in all this crafting?

Then I read a little note in an editorial in Patchwork & Stitching magazine. They were looking for new contributors and encouraging their readers to have a go at submitting their original designs. 


I had always said that I couldn't produce original patterns. I could copy and change someone else's but I would never be able to create something uniquely mine. But something stirred within me to have a go and to get out the pencil and paper, and I found that yes, I could be original. The key for me was that for the first time in my life I had plenty of time to just play, and with that doodling, gradually an idea formed.


Nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I made two projects and sent off photos to the editor. I waited for a very long month and didn't hear a thing. Oh well, it didn't really matter - I had had my fun and there was nothing lost in trying.

And then the letter came!

Dated the 25th July, 2005, the official letter commissioned both of my designs for publication in Patchwork & Stitching Magazine. To say I was over the moon is an understatement!


And that's how it all began - a decade of having the privilege of spending time doing what I love, of sharing my ideas, of making pretty projects and having my work recognised by the crafting public.  I have been so blessed!


I think I've improved a bit since my first design, as you can see from all these photos of my old projects!  I am for ever grateful to editors who were prepared to give me a go and encouraged me in my baby steps in designing.




Thanks for reading my reminiscences and for being part of my journey.

Hugs
Val