Addicted to Cottages


Over the last couple of months, I realise I've become addicted to Cottages!  They seem to be appearing everywhere in my designs! We have a beautiful home which I absolutely love, but a modern large home just doesn't cut it when it comes to applique and stitching!!!

My Rosebud Cottage was the project I taught at the Creative Craft Retreat last year, and now it has been published and the pattern is available in Australian Country Threads magazine, Vol 14 No 1.


Of course a sweet country cottage needs a wheelbarrow full of flowers:


and a fountain through an arch:


As you can see, it is a practical project - a 6 inch box for all your treasures:



I was looking back through some of my designs to see when I started becoming addicted to Cottages. I think it began with my Country Cottage Calendar a couple of years ago:


Then my free 2011 Block of the Month Quilt, Consider the Lilies, had this cute little cottage:


and last year Maisie lived in this while she tended her Market Garden:




Now we're up to this year!  Remember my 100th published design, Calista Cottage?  The pattern is now available for purchase along with my other cottages on my Wall-quilt page.


If you prefer instant download, you can purchase the pattern at my Craftsy Pattern store.


 Our house is rather quiet now.  Our daughter who lives overseas was living with us for the last 6½ weeks and she went back home on Friday. She has a very hearty laugh and kept us entertained with lots of anecdotes. Now it's time to start meeting some of the deadlines that are looming - a cushion, a tablecloth, a stitchery, answer to Profile questions and some embroidery for an editor who phoned to ask did I have anything in mind for her!  I love my retirement career!

As if there aren't enough photos in this post, I will finish with a sneak peak of another cottage
which will be published later this year: 


Happy stitching!
Val

One of those weeks!


Yes, it's been one of those weeks!  I used to have a friend who mispronounced the word 'frustration'.  He used to say 'flustration'.  Now I really think that is a GREAT word because it combines getting flustered with all the frustrations!  And that's been my week!

On Tuesday at lunch time, our internet suddenly stopped working. Oh well, that happens occasionally, so a reboot of the modem and everything will be fine.  NOT THIS TIME!  I spent the rest of the week trying every conceivable isolation test, talking with our Internet Service Provider, contacting the Modem technician, back and forth to my clever IT specialist son, going to the shop and buying a new modem, and reconfiguring modems till I nearly knew all the settings by heart - all without success!

We had to go interstate at the end of the week for a couple of days, so I came home yesterday with a sinking feeling in my stomach knowing I had to face the problem yet again. I virtually turned everything on and it worked! It seems that there must have been something wrong with the phone line to our home and it has come good again.  HAPPY!!! 

Needless to say, there hasn't been much stitching happening, but I did spend an afternoon quilting a table runner so it will be ready for next week's deadline.  I do have something to show you though.  This is my favourite design published this year - my Walk in the Park satchel.


... pretty pink roses fabric surrounding a sweet stitchery with plenty of grub roses to keep me happy.


I love umbrellas:


You can find the pattern in Country Threads magazine, Vol 14 No 1.


I don't cope with non-productive weeks very well, so I'm hoping to produce a bit more next week!  On my list are two projects to do the binding.  I'm a finisher, so I love binding as it signifies that just about everything is complete and it soon will be finished.  That means I can start on something new!

Have a great week yourself!
Val

Free BOM - Apples of Gold - Block 5


It's time to share Block 5 of the free Block of the Month Quilt,
 "Apples of Gold".  


Pinwheel and Square in a Square blocks are so easy to make and I love the 'life' they bring to a quilt. I added sweet rosebuds as well:


Our verse this month comes from Proverbs 16:24. Pleasant words - sweet and healthy. It’s a contrast to  the bitter, angry words that seem to pervade our society so often.

You can download Block 5 from here, and if you missed any of the other blocks, they are all available from my free pattern page.  

As you know, I love embroidery!  Sometimes I just have to pack the sewing machine away and sit down and spend time with needle, thread, ribbon and beads.  Not that the sewing machine was too far away in this project:


My "Sew Vintage" design has a mixture of my favourite elements - applique, silk ribbon, roses, bullion stitch and apricot!  (My bridesmaids' dresses were apricot.)


The pattern for this design is in Embroidery, Cross Stitch & Beyond magazine, Vol 20 No 9:


Hope you like it as much as I do!

For all my friends in Australia, 'Happy Mothers' Day'.  I've had a wonderful day with three of my children with me (and families) - a very rare occurrence!

I had a lovely e-mail from Cheryll recently. It was great to see how she has used one of the blocks from my "Buckets of Love" quilt to make a gorgeous mini wall-hanging for Mothers' Day.  I love the colours:


Thanks for sharing your lovely work with us, Cheryll.

I'm 'hastening slowly' on a few projects at the moment, but I have started on the quilting on two of them, so I guess progress is being made, even if I seem to be getting nowhere! My week is not looking too crowded at the moment, so I'm hopeful for some motivation and inspiration!

Happy stitching!
Val

Paper cuts and childhood memories


I had a happy childhood in a very stable environment with loving parents, and not many dramas or traumas. I thrived in the creative milieu that was my home. We were quite poor in comparison to some of my friends, so our creative entertainment made do with very simple bits and pieces - string and buttons, paper and scissors, wool and cotton. 

One thing I loved doing was folding pieces of paper, then cutting triangles, semi-circles and other shapes along the folds. Open it up, and voila! - a beautiful paper-cut doiley. Place them over a coloured background and my desire for pretty things was satisfied!

You can imagine how quickly I said "Yes" when the lovely editor of Australian Country Craft & Decorating magazine asked me to design a project in the style of Paper Cuts! The original request was for the design to use felt, but I found it very difficult to obtain the intricate detail that I wanted, so opted instead for black fabric.

...and so, Du Papier was born:


You can find it in Stunning Country Craft and Decorating, Vol 24 No 1:


I really enjoyed making this wall-hanging and was delighted that I was able to find fabrics and beaded fringe to match in my stash.  It's a bit fiddly and the cutting takes a long time, but it's worth it all for the effect that is gained.  Maybe I am a bit addicted as I've already started on another design in the paper-cut style!  I think I might even go and find some paper scissors and make a paper doiley this afternoon!

I received a lovely e-mail recently from Dianne in Adelaide sharing a photo of her completed "Thoughts in Thread" quilt (the 2012 free Block of the Month quilt):


Isn't it gorgeous!  I love the fabrics that Dianne has chosen - they work beautifully together and the applique and stitching looks great.  Thanks, Dianne, for sharing.  My plan is to make this Quilt pattern available for sale SOON!  - been putting it off for ages!

In the middle of all the bits and pieces that made up my week, I managed to complete a wall-hanging for daughter, Janelle.  I had worked a cross-stitch for her many years ago in blue, but was never happy with it. It definitely needed something done to improve it, so Janelle coloured it with her Inktense pencils.  It brought it to to life but it needed some kind of framework to set it off.  Janelle suggested a house shape, so grandson and I worked out a design and then I had to figure out how to actually sew it.  In the end, it came together quite easily and turned out really well. As daughter hasn't seen it yet, I'll just give you a sneak peak:


Yesterday I spent time working with the lovely Double Chocolat range - what a name!  The fabric is as lovely as the concept too!  I'm combining it with some white and love the fresh country look that that combination brings. I used to avoid white at all costs, and now this is the second design in a couple of months where I've used it! What is happening to me?????

Hope you have a wonderful week with lots of stitching.
Val