Sunday, April 20, 2014

Vintage Love

I am very attracted to all things vintage. My piano is a vintage Broadwood - it used to have candle holders on it, but unfortunately they were removed  in an attempt to modernise it before I bought it. Much of my furniture is walnut and in the Victorian style - velvet and deep buttoning etc.

So you can understand how pleased I was when I was asked to contribute to Patchwork & Stitching Magazine's Vintage issue!  I love making beautiful stitching accessories so I chose to make the Vintage Dreams Sewing Folder:

 It has pretty embroidery, a lace motif, sweet charm, beading, and plenty of pockets and places for sewing bits and pieces:

You can find it in Australian Patchwork & Stitching Vol 15 No 4:

I could happily make vintage sewing accessories as a full-time job!

However I have a long 'to do' list and last week I needed to start thinking about deadlines. A sweet stitchery has been posted off to a magazine editor (forgot to take a photo!). I rejected my first attempt at a patchwork bag I had to make. I've never made a bag which includes a quilting block before and I soon realised that the block I had chosen for it was far too big and was never going to look great, no matter what I did with it! A change of fabric, a change of size and sudden inspiration ... and I now have a bag which I really like and will be happy to have my name on!

I seem to be stepping out of my comfort zone a bit this year! I've committed myself to making a Christmas candle mat and I want to try out a new technique. I've never made a candle mat before and I'm not sure how my ideas are going to turn out, so I am having a trial run with this design. So far I think I like it but the jury is still out!

Back in my comfort zone, I boxed up some more charity projects for our Church market stall:

Some key rings:

A sign:

A cot quilt:

We are having absolutely perfect weather for Easter and hubby and I took advantage of it yesterday to go for a long walk in our beautiful Australian bush which sits on the edge of the Bay.  The cassias were making a beautiful sunny show:

the birds were delighting us with their songs, the water was crystal clear and the company was great!

I hope you are enjoying this wonderful season, celebrating the fact that Jesus is ALIVE!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Free Block of the Month Wall Quilt Pattern 4

Today I have for you another free mini quilt pattern in our 
"Shining Like the Dawn" 
block of the month quilt:

Patience seems to be in short supply in our 'instant' world of today! It is said that “delays find us out” and that certainly is true in my experience.  I love how up-to-date the Bible is. These words were written centuries ago, and yet they are as relevant today as they were then.

Be patient and wait for the LORD to act.
Psalm 37:7

I hope you enjoy stitching another uplifting quote.  You can download the free pattern here.

Our daughter and her four children were with us for the whole week, so there were lots of cuddles and very little stitching done! Our daughter-in-law and her two boys also came one day. It is so delightful to see their different personalities and their amazing talent. All sorts of creative things were going on - stitching, drawing, loom band jewellery, recycled crafting, story writing, inventing party games ... It does a grandmother proud to see all that creativity!

I sent daughter-in-law home with a box of goodies for the school Mother's Day stall - potholders, needlecase, bag, drawer sachet:

Heart sachets:

Key rings:

plus lovely crochet bookmarks.  There's now a couple of weeks to get organised for our Church market stall just before our Australian Mothers' Day.

I was given a beautiful bunch of flowers early in the week. I hadn't really looked beyond the roses and chrysanthemums, so I had a lovely surprise when this beautiful lily opened a couple of days later. Now as the roses fade, there are two of these giving me delight:

After I rearranged the house back to suit just the two of us, I thought I had better also get my paperwork in order. Commissions seem to have been appearing in all sorts of corners lately and I was beginning to feel I didn't have a handle on it at all. So now I have a neat list with ten commissions in date order so I know what I have to tackle next. Four are due in the next 5 or 6 weeks, so it will be head down and tail up now the family has gone home.

I hope you enjoy the blessings of the Easter Season.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fun with felt

I love working with felt!  It can be so colourful, so tolerant, so easy to manipulate, it doesn't fray, you don't even have to do anything on its raw edge. I thought today I would show you some of the ways I like to use this wonderful material.

Felt can be used as a background for embroidery then appliqued on a bag or made into a pocket. This one has blanketstitch around the edge with a running stitch frame:

A contrast thread highlights the blanket-stitch on the one below. Instead of lots of embroidery on this bag, I've used more felt for the appliques:

Felt is just fantastic for making pincushions - so easy to shape into a birdhouse:

or made into cupcakes:

or a beehive ... and so easy to embroider:

The Pixie Garden pincushion which I showed you recently uses felt in a way that is opposite to the bags above. In this design, the felt is the background rather than the fabric, and the fabric is then appliqued onto the felt. The edge of the fabric is included as part of the embroidery. This pincushion had no need to do anything on the raw edges of the felt:

The Garden Gate Pincushion has inset applique. The embroidered fabric centre is underneath the felt:

You can find the Garden Gate free pattern either here or here at Craftsy.

One of my favourite things to do with felt is to applique it as scallops onto fabric. The Daisy Jane workbox and needlecase have their felt scallops fused in place with fusible webbing and then prettied up with roses and guipure daisies. The reverse happens with the pincushion in that the fabric is fused to the felt and blanket-stitched in place. This pincushion needed to be blanket-stitched on the edge to hide the back of the embroidered roses:

Felt makes lovely French tags. Add a bit of lace, beads and ribbon ...:

Felt makes great keyrings or scissor keeps. I've been making lots for my charity box: 

On this wall-hanging, felt was used for the four heart pockets - so easy to use, again with nothing required around the edge. Fabric, lace and a heart charm give the finishing touch:

 I accomplished a lot more than I expected last week. My husband had cataract surgery and we are ever so thankful that it was successful as there was no guarantee that it was going to work with his problems. He can now read the bottom line on the chart without glasses! It was such a good result that the surgeon now wants to go ahead with his other 'good' eye. In between hospital and post-operative trips, I managed to make a bag for a friend (forgot to take a photo!), cut out and start piecing a quilt, and prepare for our daughter and children's school holiday visit.

I promised to take the grandchildren to the beach and the legendary grass slides in a few minutes, so I had better get off the computer and put on the sunscreen!

Happy stitching!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Trunk Show

Yesterday I had a lovely visit from five ladies from the Logan Village Community Craft Cottage. It was the first time I had given a "trunk show" since we moved to Queensland 3 years ago.

My projects unfortunately are not stored in anything as beautiful as a "Trunk" - I've resorted to plastic crates for most of them! During the week, I thought I had better take a look in the crates and see what I could show my visitors. It's not very often that I look at all the projects I have made since my first magazine commission in 2005. Even though I've given things away, there is still a huge number of bags, wall-hangings, table runners, stitching accessories and quilts in those crates. 

The ladies were very sweet and made nice comments about the things that I showed them.

What did surprise me was that there was only one project in there that I didn't really like - and it was a fairly recent one in an area that is not my forte.  I think my designs have improved over the last eight years, and I have branched out into a few different areas, but basically I wouldn't change much on any of them!  I found that encouraging!

I enjoyed having the ladies so much, that I am issuing an open invitation! If your craft group lives within  a "cooee" of my home just north of Brisbane, I would love to have you visit!  

Do you remember the fabulous Lightpad that I purchased recently? I decided it needed a cover to protect it:

The latest Handmade magazine Vol 32 No 5 has a project I made with the same fabric range:

The daisies are fusible web appliqued and the embroidery of the petals on top of the fabric has really given the flowers a lift. This design has three parts, the bag, glasses case and the cutest little notebook cover:

Don't forget that my Craftsy Class Giveaway closes next Saturday - this is your opportunity to win a fabulous course of your own choice - photography, cooking, cake decorating, knitting, painting, quilting, sewing etc etc etc. 

If you haven't entered already here is the link to do so:

Till next time, 
Happy stitching!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Fabulous Giveaway

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you will know that Free Motion quilting and I have not been best of friends. I don’t really know why, as I’m not the type of personality that let’s something beat them. If you tell me ‘It can’t be done!’, then I will be determined to prove you wrong! I love a challenge – that is until it comes to FMQ! 

Somehow I just let my fear of Free Motion Quilting conquer me. It scared me so much that I wouldn’t even try after the first few poor attempts. I decided that it definitely wasn’t for me. 

But all that is changing. I enrolled in this fabulous online Craftsy Class:

Free Motion Quilting a Sampler

 and I am slowly getting the ‘hang’ of it. I have really surprised myself! FMQ really isn’t half as bad as I thought it was!

The thing I love about the course is that I can watch it in my own time in my own home. Access to all the lessons never expires so it’s easy to go back over something that you can’t remember or to repeat a section until you understand it. 

And now you have an opportunity to win a Craftsy online Class.

Craftsy are offering my blog followers the opportunity to win a class of their own choice! There are hundreds from which to choose: Photography, Cooking, Cake Decorating, Knitting, Painting, Quilting, Sewing, Jewellery-making … and many many more. Each class consists of a number of HD Video lessons with expert teachers.

Entry is FREE! All you have to do is enter via the link below and login or if you are not a member of Craftsy, create an account – (it costs absolutely nothing to join and you won't be inundated with junk mail).

Entries open with this post on Sunday 23rd March and close midnight on Saturday 5th April 2014 (Australian Eastern time). 

This is a giveaway by Craftsy so I won’t see your entry and Craftsy staff will draw the winner from the entries they receive via the link above.

All the best in this fabulous giveaway!

I’ve been practising my new FMQ skills on some items for my fete/charity box and this week I’ve made five oven mitts. I’ve also put together a quilt top with squares cut from left-overs from a fat quarter range. This is going to be my practice piece as I work through my FMQ lessons. You see, I am really 
getting serious!

If you have a look in the latest gorgeous issue of Homespun No 130 (Vol 15.03) you will find one of my favourite designs:

It's a lovely cushion with a Penny Farthing bicycle stitchery:

The magazine is available in digital format  if you are unable to purchase a hard copy.

I also completed another gorgeous cushion. The brief from the magazine editor was “an apricot/orange cushion with flowers” – no trouble with that as I chose apricot for my bridesmaids’ dresses because I like it so much, so plenty in my stash!

I think I will make 5 or 6 zippered pouches for the charity box this week. I like to get everything cut out and then get on a roll with the sewing. It seems such a waste of time and effort to just make one! 

Happy stitching!

Disclosure: There are Craftsy affiliate links in this post. This means that at no additional cost to you I receive a small commission if you join or make a purchase after you click on these links.