Petals and Points

I have no pretensions that I am a great 'patchworker'; I find it difficult to have my points just right, which is not so easy to live with when you are a perfectionist! So it's always a challenge when  I make a project that doesn't have embroidery on it, and basically it is just all about the patchwork. I was so pleased with these cushions that I actually called them "Petals and Points" - well I did include a little bit of appliqué!
This Cushion Pair was published last year. The red fabric used in this design was given to me by a friend some time ago and it sat in the cupboard waiting for just the right project. I wanted to draw attention to the richness and elegance of the fabric so added the black and cream elements. The additional hint of green softens the whole effect.

I have finally put the pattern in my Craftsy Store and it's a bargain, because you receive two patterns for the price of one. 
You can find the patterns here.

I have had fun making some new Pinterest Pins of my designs. Here's one for this project.  What do you think?


With the demise of all but one of the eight magazines that used to publish my designs (and the one that is left has sacked its staff and has reduced its publication to just six a year), I thought I would have lots of time on my hands.


It hasn't quite worked out like that, as I have taken on the role of Secretary of our Church! It's not a huge job, but has filled a fair part of any gaps that were in my life!


However, I try not to work in the evenings, and so there are a few leisurely hours for hand-stitching and it's amazing how much one can accomplish in front of the TV!


Pincushions and scissor-keeps are easily accomplished in an evening or two so there are now a few additions to the Craft Stall I will have at the Creative Craft Retreat in a couple of weeks.

Do you like the cast-on stitch I did around the outside of the butterfly? My favourite Palestrina Knot stitch is worked around the inner wings.

   

I am so much more relaxed away from those Patchwork Points!

Happy stitching!
Val

Enchanted with Toadstools


I’m not really sure where my fascination with toadstools began, but they have enchanted me for a long time. 
 

I love spotting them on our bush walks, drawing them, embroidering them, photographing them, appliquéing them and looking at their amazing designs. 


I guess some of the captivation began with the delightful ‘fairy-rings’ I learned about in my childhood. We didn’t have actual rings of fungi in our lawn, but I was allowed to pick certain flowers out of our garden and make my own ring for the fairies, complete with a little throne for the Fairy Queen! That’s one of the fondest memories of my happy and innocent childhood. 


And I am still playing with toadstools! I showed you my Enchanting Forest Cushion when it was first published in Homespun Magazine, but I have now put the pattern in my Craftsy Store. You can find it here.


As you know, I LOVE playing with felt, and then to combine it with some lovely textured stitches, is the ultimate joy for me. Palestrina Knot stitch features heavily; it is so easy to do, lots of fun and gives quite a unique finish to any edge. 


We had a lovely holiday recently, filled with things we love. We flew to Broome, an amazing place that had been on our bucket list for a long time, to attend a Bird Congress. We spent two days listening to amazing presentations, then two days of field trips viewing thousands upon thousands of migratory shorebirds. Next on the list of things we love was spending time with our grandson, his wife and our great-granddaughter in Darwin. 


We were only home for a week or so, and our son and daughter-in-law flew from Melbourne to spend some time with us. To add to the delight, our other son and his family visited, then we caught up with another grand-daughter and her husband over dinner last night. When you add in Skype calls from our two daughters, you can see we have had a month of pure bliss! 

Needless to say, not much has been happening on the sewing front, but I did manage to crochet around the edge of a couple of pincushions I had embroidered.


...and yet another toadstool!


Happy stitching!
Val

Quilters Meet and Greet ... a fabulous Prize

Hello to all my blog friends and a special welcome to new visitors who are participating in the fabulous Quilters' Meet and Greet in September.


I am an Australian patchwork, embroidery and quilt designer and love to design projects that are useful and beautiful.


 More than 200 of my designs have been published in craft magazines and my patterns are available for purchase in my Craftsy Store. 


I hope you'll enjoy browsing through my designs - you will see the headings of my pages in my side bar. If you like what you read and see, you are invited to follow my blog to see my regular posts.


Now, whether you are one of my old friends or a new visitor, as a reward for coming to visit me, you may have one free entry into the amazing Great Grand Prize associated with the Quilters' Meet and Greet Party. Have a look at the amazing prize - it's a parcel of goodies anyone would love to win!


The winner will be chosen October 1st, so you have plenty of time to visit lots of amazing quilters. Every blog you visit during the Meet and Greet Party gives you a chance to have another entry for the Great Grand Prize.

You will find the links to lots of wonderful quilters
here.


I'm off to meet and greet!

Happy stitching,
Val




Sweet Dreams

I am often found quoting a rather well-known maxim amongst my circle of friends -"There's not much fun in getting old!"  The anticipated days of leisure and sweet dreams of plenty of free time, when you no longer have to go to work every day, sometimes end up spent in doctors' or x-rays or pathology or hospital waiting rooms!

However, one of the greatest joys in growing old is having grandchildren! Hubby and I have been blessed with 15! They are scattered around the world now so we don't see a lot of them but hearing snippets of their life and progress brings us great joy. In recent years, every second Christmas has brought most of our family together for days of sheer delight in just being together.


Last year we were blessed with another joy of old age and that was the birth of our first great grand-daughter. Molly-Faith is such a sweetie and chock full of character. She lives a long way from us now but we are looking forward to spending some time with her and her parents again in September.


Of course, the first thing I did when baby was on the way, was to make her a quilt!


Homespun Magazine liked the quilt so much, that they have published a 'generic' version that I designed with "Sweet Dreams" on it. I have made it in the Quilt-As-You-Go technique, so it is super easy to quilt and put together. Here is Homespun's photo of Sweet Dreams:


The quilt is in the August Issue of Homepun and this fabulous magazine is available worldwide with both print and digital copies. www.homespun.net.au


The blessing of a new baby certainly brings many of those Sweet Dreams into reality!

Happy stitching!
Val

Beauty in the Bush Wall Quilt and Reflections on Retirement

Retirement is an interesting experience in the chain of life. It's something to which people look forward for many years, but when retirement comes, the expectation and the reality are often miles apart.


Much as they love their spouse, having them around 24/7 can suddenly mean a lack of freedom, a sense of living in each other's pockets, a feeling of needing some space. Others I have met have been bored and unfulfilled. One retired friend moved into a new home for no other reason than to give him something to do - he told me he was bored to tears. (I felt like saying, "Haven't you seen all the needs for personnel that the local charities have?"!)


Thankfully, my husband and I have had an utterly fulfilling retirement. Both the homes we have lived in have been large enough to have our "own space". He has spent his days in research and writing, and supervising students as they go through the process of writing their theses... and I have been designing and stitching!


 But while it is important to have our own separate interests, we have discovered it is essential that we have a leisure activity that appeals to both of us.


We love being involved together in our local Church, but that is an essential part of who we are as Christians and not something we do as a hobby. 


We are ever thankful for the friend who introduced us to the delightful hobby of bird-watching and the Bird Club friends who taught us so much. We have learned together how to use binoculars, how to take in all at once, the size, shape, colour, flight pattern, bill length, tail size and call of that aerial creature that flies past our nose. 


Bird-watching is our connecting point - what we do together, what we talk about after our morning walk, what we do when we go on holidays.


Why am I reflecting on retirement? Because the quilt photos interspersed in this post are a result of the joy and fulfilment we have had in retirement in walking thousands of steps through the Australian bush, binoculars and camera in hand, with the eager anticipation of spotting another beautiful bird.


"Beauty in the Bush" quilt celebrates some of the wonderful treasures of the Australian bush where beautiful wildflowers and colourful birds abound.


I have used appliqué (lots of it!), embroidery stitches and pencils to display some of the beauty and intricacy of these treasures. 


"Beauty in the Bush" measures 105.5cm (41½in) square and the pattern is now available in my Craftsy Store here. The pattern includes more than 60 pages of very detailed instructions and photos. It's not a quilt to rush - it's a work on which to enjoy the journey, to savor every moment and to revel in the intricate beauty of our world.

I hope you like it as much as I do.

Val