Creatures great and small - well, mostly small!

I had a day or so to spare before family arrived last week, so dutifully opened up my PASS (Projects At a Stand-Still) drawer. I'm determined to reduce its size! In it I found some small creatures - three appliqued butterflies each on a white square.


I looked at them for quite a while pondering what I could do with them. Inspiration finally hit and I thought they would work nicely into mug rugs.


I had some left-over jelly roll strips and other bits and pieces in the lovely Notting Hill range so they were put to good use. I was quite delighted with how pretty they looked. 


It is interesting how the soft colours counteract the stark black of the butterfly and its equally stark white background.


I was very happy with the unlikely combination. The pink and aqua must have inspired me and I found myself making a little felt and crochet hanging, again with a butterfly:


The other small creatures I want to show you are Mr & Mrs Mouse.


I asked my clever grandson to draw me The Mouse House and he did such a fabulous job. It is definitely one of my favourite stitcheries.


It even made the cover of Patchwork & Stitching Magazine.


The pattern is in Volume 18 No 1 and will be in my Craftsy Store later in the year.

Hubby was away at a Conference for a few days, so what is there for a girl to do but to start a new design!!! It's going to be my first ever row quilt and I'm super excited about it. I've worked out one row and I have a vague idea about the others, so it's my usual 'design on the run' style. I like to be flexible!

Next week I plan to give you the first of my six little Christmas tree ornaments, so I hope to see you back here then.

Happy stitching!
Val

PASS mark

I'll be teaching the Hollyhock Cottage needlecase at the Creative Craft Retreat next month and participants are invited to have a pop-up stall to sell craft items, patterns etc there.


When I looked at my crate of 'bits and pieces', it was looking a bit like Old Mother Hubbard so it was obviously time to think about making a few things. It's no use having a stall if there is nothing to sell!!!

The first thing to do was to look in the PASS (Projects At A Stand  Still) drawer. It was an effort to open it as it was so full! I found some half completed hardanger accessories and it really took very little time to complete them. A scissor-keep:


and a tape-measure cover:


Why had they languished in the drawer for so many years???  I really can't understand why I didn't finish them when they were so close to completion. I found yet another almost complete project in the drawer so I plan to try to tackle this one soon.

Then it was on to some more embellished hand towels:


They can be completed in just a couple of hours and I am so happy with the way they turned out:


Toadstool in a different colourway:


Hand towels lend themselves to fusible web applique:


 and Broderie Perse:


It's school holidays this week so I'll be spending time with two of our grandsons but I'm still hopeful of getting at least one more PASS finished! Then I reckon I'll definitely reach the PASS Mark!

Happy stitching!
Val


Free Block of the Month Wall Quilt - Pattern 9

Here we are at the end of our free BOM quilt journey! I hope you have enjoyed stitching the 

You Are Blessed quilt

or as I imagine with many of you, that you will enjoy it when you get round to stitching it one day!


I have given you some instructions for how I put all the blocks together and finished the quilt. You can find Pattern 9 free here in my Craftsy Store.

All the blocks will remain free for download until 31st December 2016. Of course I would love to see a photo of your completed quilt!

That won't be the end of the freebies for the year from me as I have a plan to share
  six Christmas tree decorations

These little cuties will start at the beginning of October, with a new one each fortnight until the 11th December. I hope you will like them as I've really enjoyed preparing them for you.



We have been enjoying the freshness of the Spring Season. Birds are nesting (swallow above), young are fledging (Blue-faced honeyeater baby below) and happily for me, the weather is getting warmer.


We were thrilled to find a Tawny Frogmouth nesting again this year. They are masters of camouflage and we are amazed that we have been able to find them six years in a row in the thousands of trees we pass on our morning walk. This year there is extra excitement as we have found two separate nests:


I found a drawer full of hand towels and face washers in my craft room, so, with Spring in the air, I decided it was time they had some work on them to pretty them up.


Some quick applique, Prairie Points and a bit of ric rac and an hour or so later a plain white towel was transformed. I love the freshness of the blue and white, 


  Then I went into "In the Pink" mode!

I needed the drawer space, so I did a few more ... but I'll show you them next time!

Happy Stitching!
Val

Tied up in knots

As I'm a 'highly strung' person (or so I've been told!), it's fairly easy for me to get tied up in knots! It doesn't take a lot for me to get upset about something and then I feel as if my stomach is literally tying itself up in knots. Thankfully, as I've got older, those instances are fewer and further between.

Lately I've been tying lots of things, other than myself, in knots!  Threads!  I've fallen in love with Palestrina Knot stitch.


Palestrina Knot has a few other names, such as Double Knot and Old English Knot stitch. I love using it on felt with Perle threads. I outlined these daisy petals with the stitch, then filled in the centre with lots of French Knots. This one became a pincushion:


Here's a closeup of the stitch on another design. It gives a great texture:


Changing the distance between the knots and the width of the scooped fabric gives a different effect. I find it really useful for outlining the edge of a felt applique.


 I've found also that it works beautifully on curves and makes a great border stitch:


I'm not going to give you a tutorial as there are dozens of good ones already on the internet. Like many of these more uncommon stitches, it had its origin in Italy. I think I'm on a mission to popularise it! 

Meanwhile I'm happily enjoying the warmer weather that Spring has ushered in. My husband and I had a lovely day yesterday. We stayed in bed much longer than normal, had a leisurely breakfast then went for a pleasant drive to the beach half an hour north of us. We did a spot of bird-watching for a couple of hours where we saw some delightful birds like the golden whistler:


By then it was lunchtime so we did something that we rarely do, we bought ourselves hamburgers. That proved to be a great choice and ticked all the boxes. There was nothing left to do but to finish it off with an icecream, so we tried the new to us Connoisseur Murray River salted caramel with Macadamia (Hubby) and the Belgian Chocolate fudge with roasted Hazelnut - totally recommended!

On the sewing front I've done some finishing off of two projects. The next job on the list is to put some appliques on hand towels. I keep looking with pleasure at the fabrics I have chosen, so I'm eager to get started on them.

I fell in love with these little hoops when I attended a Craft Fair last year. The pattern for these three in the "Jumping Through Hoops" design is now available in my Craftsy Store.


Next week I plan to give you the last pattern with finishing instructions for the free Block of the Month 
You Are Blessed quilt,
 so keep an eye out for Pattern 9.

Happy stitching!
Val

Wild about flowers

Spring is in the air where I live. Along with the prospect of wonderful warm weather, nature showers us with beauty in abundance at this time of the year.


My husband and I went for a very pleasant bush walk yesterday.


The sun was shining brightly and we soon forgot the cool overnight temperatures. 


Everywhere we turned, the wild flowers were poking their heads out of the bush.


Delicate fungi were peeping from logs.


We were actually hoping to see lots of birds, but the bush was unusually quiet.


I was happy that I had taken my camera as well as my binoculars, and was able to record some of the beauty we had seen instead on the ground.



My husband reckons I should make a wall-hanging with some of these flowers on it!


Inspired by the prospect of Spring, I looked in the stash and found some gorgeous fabric with an abundance of flowers:


and turned it into a bag:



It's easy to be wild about flowers!

Happy Stitching!
Val