Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Story of an Orchid


About 40 years ago I was given an Orchid plant.  It was an Australian Native King Orchid and was a piece broken off from my grandmother's beautiful plant which flowered profusely in the Spring.

Now I need to tell you this little bit of information - I have always considered myself to have "Green fingers" or "Green thumbs", and if you haven't heard those terms, then I'll explain that I think I am reasonably good at gardening and most things grow well for me:


I have even won a couple of prizes for my gardens!

I only had my piece of orchid plant for a couple of years and it hadn't grown enough to flower before we moved house.  It was an interstate move south, about 800 kilometres, and I had about 40 pot plants that I wanted to take with me.  I put my orchid in a pot and duly had all the plants sprayed and certified suitable for moving to our new location.

My pot plants thrived and multiplied in the new climate.


My orchid looked very healthy, but it didn't produce any flowers.

Thirteen years later when we moved again, I whittled my number of pot plants back down to about 40 again (I told you they multiplied) ready for the move to another State 1600 kilometres away.  My orchid of course went with me.  We rented for two years so I didn't have my own garden, but my pot plants thrived, but still my orchid didn't flower.  The next move was just across town and my 40 pot plants plus my orchid went to our new house. They all loved their new environment, but the orchid didn't flower.
 
By the time we moved again eleven years later, I needed to reduce my pot plants back down to about 40 again and they and my orchid moved 80 kilometres south to our beautiful retirement home.
 
By this time I had accumulated LOTS of orchids and they loved our new courtyard.
 
There were delicately coloured ones:

pink ones:
 

brown ones:
 

yellow ones:


  They flowered profusely ... 
 

and right next to them, on the same shelf, being treated with the same tender loving care, sat my King Orchid.  It must have been the only orchid that I owned that didn't flower. The plant didn't thrive either in the very cold weather; in fact it actually reduced in size!

Last year, we sold our home ready to move back to Queensland where we started.  I made the big decision not to take my pot plants with me this time.  Patchwork and stitching have rather taken over my life since I retired and I decided I didn't want to spend lots of time looking after plants any more. Half a dozen would be enough to keep the house looking a bit green and I could buy plants more suitable to the sub-tropical climate when we moved. I said goodbye to them all:


... gave plants by the dozens away and kept just two.  One was a very lovely big fern and the other - you guessed it - my King Orchid.  I was nostalgic about that orchid because it came from my grandmother's plant and I had this secret idea, that maybe when it went back home to Queensland, it just might flower. The orchid and the fern sat in the back seat of our car and endured the 2000+ kilometre trip to our new home.

When we arrived, I bought half a dozen new plants and put them in the courtyard along with the fern and the orchid.  All but one of my new plants died!!!!!!  But guess what, in anticipation of its first Spring in our new home, the King Orchid has a flower spike on it!!!  Yah!

It isn't fully out in flower yet, but I couldn't wait to show you!


Each little part of the flower spike is a tiny little white orchid: 


Can you imagine how pleased I am after all those years!  My orchid just needed to come home!

Have a great week,
Regards
Val

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Making Daisy Chains



One of my lovely daughters gave me some fabulous fat quarters for both last Christmas and my birthday.  They are really good basics, being tone-on-tone fabrics. Now I know solids are the "in-thing" at the moment, but I feel much safer using fabrics that have a bit of a pattern on them, so I am finding these fats very useful.


I have made a children's project from them and the brighter colours were ideal for the appliques and borders. It will be published later in the year so a sneak peak only for now.


One day I was looking at the pretty array of colours in their boxes and decided to design a bag using just one fat quarter for the outer bag. And so was born my "Making Daisy Chains" bag which is in Country Threads magazine this month.


Here it is peeping from the front cover:


As a child, I was always wanting to make daisy chains.  I never seemed to get the hang of keeping the flowers together in a chain and I was using what was readily available - clover flowers - but I have happy childhood memories of long days that never seemed to end, beautiful sunshine and the most wonderful backyard full of places to explore.


You can understand then why the wording on the bag is "Happiness is ... making daisy chains."


Now for some show and tell of what people have done with a couple of my free patterns ... Anita from Holland got on a roll and used my Threadcatcher pattern to make these for friends and family:


Aren't they lovely and colourful!  I hope, Anita, you have made one for yourself now! 

Sharon has shared a photo of her lovely version of The Garden Gate Pincushion.  Hasn't she done a fabulous job:


You can find both these free patterns here.
Of couse,  I'd love to see your finish product if you use the patterns.

Happy stitching!
Val

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Free Pattern - Consider the Lilies Pattern 8

We'd better have first things first!  I'm sure you will want to know who won my '400 Giveaway'.

The Random generator chose Number 57 - Susie
The parcel of goodies will soon be winging its way to Melbourne.
Thank you to everyone who participated. I enjoyed reading your lovely comments which were all so encouraging.

Now it's time to give you Pattern 8 of the free BOM "Consider the Lilies". 
This is the section for this month:


and when it's joined to Pattern 7, we have Block 3 complete:


and that's three quarters of the quilt done:


As usual, the pattern can be downloaded from my website here.

Patchwork & Stitching magazine decided to do a profile on me this month.  It's five years since they did the last one, so they wanted to reflect on how my craft has progressed.


It was a good exercise for me to think about the last five years, where I'd come from, what I've learned, how I've developed.  I quite enjoyed the process.  I think my designs have improved, people tell me I have developed my "own style" (though I'm not really sure what it is!), I am much freer to think outside the square and do things differently and I have made so many friends along the way. It's been a good five years!  I am forever grateful to the editor who commissioned my first project and started me on my design career. If my first submission had been rejected, I probably wouldn't have tried again!

The profile is in Vol 12 No 5 if you are interested in reading the blurb.


On the sewing front, I don't seem to have accomplished much lately.  Crocheting was good while we had grandchildren to mind, as it was portable and required little concentration.  We had our daughter's four lovely children for three days last weekend.  We are so proud of our daughter - her sculpture was chosen to be shown at the Rob McNamara Exhibition, so she and her husband went to Melbourne for the opening of the exhibition. You can see some of her fabulous work here

 I did manage to finish a cushion cover this week.  The stitchery had been done for weeks, so it was good to put it all together. It has already been commissioned so will be off to a magazine soon. Then there was another batch of marmalade made.  I think we must eat more marmalade than anyone else I know, as I seem to have to make a batch every 4 or 5 weeks.  I guess that's because home-made is SO much better than the supermarket one! 

At the moment I have paint all over my hands (and probably elsewhere if I looked closely).  I finally got round to painting our garage door.  It was purple!  Now I love purple, but not on my house! 



Two coats later and it is now a nondescript cream blending in rather than standing out like a sore thumb! I really didn't need the garage door to be a feature of the front yard!  It will need one more coat then it will be time to tackle the gates and dividing fences which are - you guessed it - also purple! I'll do an "after" photo when it's all finished.

I know you will love seeing Tracee's fabulous interpretation of my "All my Lovely Sewing Things" wall hanging.  Just look at this:


I love those colours.  In fact, I like it better than my original!
And Tracee has used this little fellow as her Profile Pic on Facebook:


Thanks Tracee for sharing your lovely work.

Hope you all have a great week.

Regards
Val

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Celebrating 400 Giveaway

I am so encouraged to know that there are people out there in blogosphere who actually like to read the bits and pieces I talk about on my blog!  I am amazed that I now have 400 followers, so of course there has to be a Giveaway.  I have gathered together a few bits and pieces for a prize:


"My Sewing Room" wall hanging.


A selection of 14 fabrics in 10 inch squares:


and a pretty mug bag:


(Accessories not included)

The rules are simple - no jumping through hoops, no hanging from the ceiling, no walking the tightrope - 

 If you are a follower of my blog, (or become one this week), then leave a comment at the end of this post if you wish to enter the giveaway.

Giveaway closes midday Saturday 13 August (Eastern Australia time).  Please ensure I am able to contact you if you are a "No Reply blogger".

I made a couple of things for our daughter's birthday recently:


I won the pattern for this sweet bucket from Joy and of course daughter put her order in for me to make one for her!

Then I've still been in the crocheting mode so I whipped up a little bag for her:


Daughter has also put her order in for covers for all her kitchen appliances - food processor, breadmaker, popcorn machine, coffee grinder, toaster etc. I've made a start - sort of, by drawing up some paper patterns.  Some of the shapes are quite challenging which means the sewing isn't going to be straightforward either!  The things we do for our daughters!!!

Susanne from Denmark very kindly sent me photos of her version of my Fun and Fruity mug rugs.  Aren't they gorgeous?



Thank you for sharing them, Susanne - I especially love those colours! 

I've had a couple more projects in magazines this month, but I'll keep them till next week to share.   Talking of next week, keep an eye out for the next instalment in the Consider the Lilies free BOM pattern ... which means I'd better get my skates on and get it ready for you!!!

Happy Stitching.
Regards
Val