Confectionary Corner

I'm not big on lollies - or candy, or sweets, or confectionary, or whatever you might call them!  I probably would only eat two or three in a whole year.  When I was a young teenager, I had to have some dental work done.  It was a very unpleasant experience in those days so I decided from then on that I would choose to NOT like lollies any more. I talked myself into it and for all those years lollies have just not turned me on.

Now I'm only talking about lollies, not Chocolate! I love chocolate, especially super dark chocolate, but I try not to indulge in it very often!  So what do you do when you have fabric in your stash called "Double Chocolat"?  I've made a few things from the range already, but I decided I just had to make something to celebrate the sweet tooth.

Confectionary Corner:

There's a little shop with a welcoming door:

Jars filled with goodies:

Toffee apples, candy canes and all-day-suckers:

a gumball machine, licorice allsorts and a bag filled with chocolates:

Can you imagine the fun I had making this?  The pattern is available in the latest Country Threads Magazine, Vol 14 No 6.

It's been a busy week with four designs packaged to send off to magazine editors. That was a lot of instructions to write, samples to make and templates to organise!  

In the package was my latest quilt which has turned out beautifully.  My quilter has done a fantastic job on it:

Just love the feathers:

 A lovely rope border:

Now I'm working out of my normal zone with some bright fabrics. It will still be recognizable as mine though - plenty of applique and stitching - just vivid fabrics to go with it instead of soft, pretty ones!

Have a great week and happy stitching!

Applique Applications!

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I am hooked on Applique.  It's a rather versatile craft so I thought I'd share today a concept that I've used quite a bit - making appliques free-standing or removable.

When I began designing my "Cupboard" series of wall-hangings for Children I wanted to make them interactive with removable parts. The method I used was to fuse the appliques onto felt, rather than fabric, a technique I saw in a gorgeous nativity quilt/advent calendar designed by Nancy Halvorsen of Art to Heart.

The felt is trimmed about 1/8 inch outside the appliques after blanket-stitching. You can see in the 'Pantry' the tins, bottles and packets which come off the shelves for play and then are put back in place to make a delightful wall-hanging:

The black felt showing just beyond the items in the 'Refrigerator; give a three-dimensional effect:

In the Country Cottage perpetual calendar, the days and numbers obviously need to be removable, so they have the same treatment.  The numbers are on little birdhouses and the days of the week are clouds, so they have white felt, rather than black, showing beyond the outline:

When I came to make the 'Wardrobe' and Lily with her sweet little outfits, I didn't want black or any colour felt showing beyond the outlines. I found that I could achieve the effect I needed by carefully cutting the felt in line with the applique.  The clothes on hangers are all removable:

and here's Lily dressed in one of her outfits:

The 'Lounge Cabinet' appliques are likewise all removable and these are on matching coloured felt so that it is hardly noticeable around the pieces.  With the photo frame, however, it was something that needed to stand out, so instead of cutting the felt around the shape, I have cut a wider scallop frame as a feature:

An extension of this idea can be seen on "Hearts by the pocketful".  The heart appliques are fused onto felt which is then cut into a scalloped shape.  Sewing the lower portion of the heart to the background and leaving the top open forms a pretty pocket:

I hope that this has given you some new insights into the wonderful world of Applique!

I'm at various stages on five commissions at the moment.  The construction is complete on three, samples need to be prepared for a couple, templates need to be refined, then the dreaded pattern-writing has to be started from scratch on two of them. I shared a sneak peak on Facebook of my favourite design out of the five:

That's plenty to keep me going in our gorgeous Spring weather, if I can stop my itchy eyes from watering long enough to focus.  The wind is stirring up lots of seeds and pollens today but I'm not complaining - anything is better than Winter for me!

Happy stitching!

Free BOM - Apples of Gold - Block 9

I have Block 9 in the free Block of the month "Apples of Gold" quilt for you today.

What does a ring in its box have to do with our quilt about Words?
The inspiration for this block comes from Proverbs 20:15:

"Wise words are more valuable than much gold and many rubies."

It's a reminder that there are many things in life much more valuable than precious jewels!

You can download the pattern here.  I'd love to see photos of any of your completed blocks.

Each year I teach at the Creative Craft Retreat that our daughter runs in Spring. I've taught a variety of crafts there - patchwork, embroidery, applique, crochet ...  This year I am teaching Silk Ribbon Embroidery.  I like to combine the embroidery with applique and this is what I have designed for this year - the Garden Nook:

A climbing rose around the birdbath:

 Some delphiniums:

Little red flowers:

and a rose bush:

If you live in South East Queensland, or want to come to visit(!), I recommend the Retreat as a fantastic weekend that you would enjoy.

Spring has sprung here with beautiful weather and an urge for me to get cleaning!  I was very smart this year and paid someone to come and clean my 21 very wide and mostly floor to ceiling windows. I happily quilted a new quilt while someone else did all the work! Tomorrow I'll think about making a start on tackling the rest of the rooms! I'd better do SOME of my own housework!!!

Happy stitching!

Free Bobbin template

I'm feeling refreshed after a fabulous little holiday, but when I thought about my blog, I realised I really didn't have much to tell you, seeing I hadn't been home for most of the week.

That was until our daughter designed a great thread bobbin template and made it available free on her website! I just had to share it.

I have to travel more than 20 kilometres to buy sewing bits and pieces so if I run out of bobbins I have to resort to trying to cut bits of cardboard into some sort of shape that has only a slight resemblance to what it should look like!  No more!  I'm sure you will just love this template as much as I do! You can find it here:

While you're there, have a look at the rest of the website. The focus is on children and making craft easy and accessible for them ... and there's going to be a fabulous children's magazine launched very soon, full of great ideas - craft, sewing, recipes, games, drama, stories, puzzles, party ideas and more! Have a look at all the fabulous decorated cakes too - they are amazing.

I will have the next block in the free Block of the Month "Apples of Gold" quilt for you on the weekend.

Happy stitching!

Lavender's Blue

When I was a little girl, my mother used to play the banjo-mandolin.  She didn't have a huge repertoire that I remember, but a couple of songs that she used to sing stand out in my memory.  One of them was an English folk song from the seventeenth century, 

Lavender's Blue, dilly dilly, Lavender's Green,
If I were King, dilly dilly, you'd be my Queen.

There are evidently many variations in the words, but I reckon those are the ones my mum used to sing.  Burl Ives brought it into the twentieth century when he sang it in the movie So Dear to My Heart (1948) and it became his first hit song.

It's amazing how those early childhood recollections are embedded in our memories, whereas I might have trouble remembering where I put something just yesterday!!!

When I was asked to make a cushion for Country Threads magazine, I couldn't get the song out of my head so of course the cushion had to feature Lavender.

Not quite blue, but ... well, lavender:

The other element I wanted on my cushion was a Sundial. On our morning walk we see a sundial in a neighbour's garden.  Once again, it triggers memories of childhood and the red-covered book I had, called "The sundial"!

You can find the pattern in Country Threads magazine, Vol 14 No 5.

Some more of my PASSES (Projects at a standstill) have hit the dust.  A scissorkeep heart:

and this one I made into a keychain:

I've made a few more cards too: 

Early in the week, I pulled out of the cupboard a lovely range of fabric with lots of brown and red shades.  Before I knew it, some white fabric had joined it and now I have a modern looking Cherry and Chocolate Table Runner.  Just occasionally I jump right into the twenty-first century!!!

And just as quickly I jump right out again. Last night I started a pretty stitchery of an old-worlde well:

I really enjoy the freedom of making whatever I feel like at the time - life is never boring!

Hope you have a great week of happy stitching!