Free gift tags and more PASSES

Making preparations for Creative Craft Retreat has been top of my list this week. Needless to say, there's lots to organise, kits to prepare and goods to ticket ready for the craft stall. I thought you'd like to see what has happened to some more of my PASSES (Projects at a stand still).

This umbrella stitchery now adorns the front cover of a sewing folder:

The block below is from the Gifts of Grace wall quilt which was our free BOM in 2010. Has this one of my PASSES really been sitting around for 3 years?  It was time to turn it into a sweet drawer sachet:

Some months ago I was trying out a silk ribbon technique for my project I am teaching next weekend.  I decided this trial run really was pretty enough to put in a frame:

This too was a try-out for an embroidery project.  It's now turned into a Christmas tree ornament:

I love umbrellas and I'm realising that I often put them in my projects!  Don't you love this little dog in the puddle on the journal cover:

[Do you remember the project I did where there was an umbrella on every block?  Told you I was fond of them!]  Showers of blessing:

I think there's only one of my PASSES left now!  I don't want to look too thoroughly in case I find any more.  The one that remains does so because I simply can't think of what to do with a half finished bit of embroidery on a piece of velvet.  It can wait till next year when inspiration might hit or until I decide to finish the stitching!

Talking about free Block of the Month quilts, do you remember Consider the Lilies from 2011? Rian from Holland sent me a lovely photo of her completed quilt along with a touching story of her journey while she was working on the project.

Hasn't she done a beautiful job.  Thank you, Rian, for sharing your work and your story.

With Christmas fast approaching I thought you would love to have some printable 
'Handmade with Love' 
gift tags to attach to all the gifts you are making. Our friends at Craftsy have come up with these FREE cute tags:

Aren't they adorable!  Just go here to download your own gift tags:  

I'm getting excited and so looking forward to teaching next weekend.  Spending a weekend with my daughter (who started the annual Retreat) is the icing on the cake.

Happy stitching!

Some classes - for FREE!

Hope you're having a great week.

As you are more than likely aware, I have a lot of my patterns for sale over on Craftsy. I am putting up new ones every month or so. I know some of you aren't sure what Craftsy is all about, so today I'm going to tell you a little about it and give you a link to their free classes.

Craftsy is a worldwide craft community offering online classes. It also has a patterns marketplace where independent designers can sell their patterns; a supplies shop with great deals on yarn, fabric, and class kits; and a projects section where members share pictures of their latest craft successes.

With more than two million members, Craftsy has something for just about everyone, in categories ranging from quilting, sewing, knitting, painting, photography, cooking, cake decorating and more.

I enrolled for the Craftsy Block of the Month 2013 course this year.  It is so great to have the convenience of a world-class instructor in your home. I really like the concept of online courses. You are able to learn at your own pace, anytime. Online learning is a fantastic alternative for people with busy schedules or who have difficulty leaving the house. It also allows you to watch a troubling section over-and-over again, so you can see exactly how a technique is carried out, or refer back to your class for relevant concepts before beginning any new projects.

As you can see, I love Craftsy.  I know you will too!

Happy stitching!

Disclosure:  Craftsy is so fantastic that I decided to become a Craftsy Affiliate. This means that if you click on their links on my blog and make a purchase, I receive a small payment from them. 

More Applique talk

I thought today that I would show you a couple more Applique techniques that I like. The first one is what I call "Inset Applique" that I developed for use with felt.  It is very simple - virtually it is just putting the applique underneath instead of on top. It looks slightly different to normal applique with a more three dimensional effect.  

You can see the embroidered centre inset under the felt in the Garden Gate pincushion above.  This is a free pattern that you can download from here or over at my pattern store on Craftsy.

I used the same technique in my Lilac Love Sewing Set:

The second technique is one I found on my internet browsings and I'm sorry that I can't link back to where I first saw this done some years ago and I have no idea where it might have originated before that.  The edge of the applique is shaped as part of the embroidered design, then the flowers etc are completed on the applique fabric.

This lends itself to experimenting with different stitches rather than blanket-stitch.  Below I have used a twisted chain stitch around the toadstool.  You can read more about my musings on blanket-stitch alternatives here.

I hope that has encouraged you to do some experimenting with applique in your projects.

There's nothing like a Creative Craft Retreat approaching fast to get me into doing something about all my PASSES (Projects at a Stand Still).  A fun part of the Retreat weekend is seeing all the wonderful creations available for purchase on the Craft Stall. I've booked a table to have some of my own gear for sale so as it's less than a fortnight away, it really was time to put my head down and make some more items.

As I've mentioned before, I seem to accumulate plenty of PASSES and they are ideal for quick assembly as usually the stitchery is complete and that is the time-consuming part. I completed nine this week - happy!

I had two pretty appliqued borders which were perfect size for adorning a hand towel:

I made another Walk in the Park bag.  I love the blue/green tones, which are so different to my original pink version:

Love this little cottage wall-hanging:

Old-time favourite!  Another heart scissor keep:

As there are quite enough photos already, I will show you some more next week. I was quite pleased with all my "finishes" seeing I was out three days in a row, had visitors on two evenings and two projects to complete to post off to magazines. Just shows you what a bit of motivation will accomplish!

I hope your week is productive too!


Free BOM - Apples of Gold - Block 10

Wow, the year is disappearing fast - so fast, that we are up to Block 10 in the free Block of the Month 
"Apples of Gold" quilt.

Our verse this month is from Proverbs 15:4:

Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim.

Plenty to think about in that verse, isn't there?

You can download the pattern here.  Next month I will give you the final template and instructions for finishing the quilt.  

I have always hated having my photo taken!  For years, I have been the one behind the shutter button so thankfully there aren't too many photos of me around!  However, when a magazine wants to do a profile article on you, a photo is a bit of a necessity!  How do you think I feel then, when this month there are actually TWO magazines with my face on the front cover!!! Thankfully the photo isn't too bad! I showed you Handmade magazine last week, and now my copy of Patchwork & Quilting has arrived:

And the profile article:

The project of mine in the magazine is the Pastel Panache Bed Runner and Cushion.  I really like the old-world romantic fabrics.  The addition of the white fabric has given it a fresh more modern touch:

Most of my projects just go into crates after they are published, kept safe for a trunk showing or to give away as a gift.  However, this one is destined for our bed. It will be very different to the burgundy Regency Stripe quilt I have on there at the moment!

As usual, I am in the middle of a number of projects at various stages of completion. A set of bright placemats is awaiting instructions, samples and templates. I used an orphan stitchery block on a bag yesterday and it just needs a button to be sewn on.  Then I've started the 2014 free block of the month project. It will be quite different to the Apples of Gold, Thoughts in Thread and Consider the Lilies of the last three years, but plenty of stitchery still of course. Whenever I have some spare moments, I am putting together a few items to sell at the Craft Retreat stall where I will be teaching Silk Ribbon Embroidery.  I love my "job"!

Happy stitching!

Fabulous Gift Idea!

Do you have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews?
... or friends with children? 

 I just have to share this fabulous gift idea, designed especially for children 5-11 years old.

Our very talented, creative daughter, Janelle, has just launched 

It has activities, recipes, games, craft, drama, stories, puzzles, sewing, party ideas and more. 
There's no advertising and it is full of educational, creative and healthy fun. It is a very professional production:

All the instructions are illustrated so that the children can follow them with very little need for adult assistance:

And it is amazing value - 70 pages for just A$5.  There will be four issues a year and if you take out an annual subscription, then the cost is only A$16. Gift vouchers are available as well.

I hope you'll go and have a look - it is really a unique concept. Janelle has chosen to be a stay-at-home mum to her four children, but circumstances necessitate that she has an income. I am so proud of her and I hope she receives a lot of support for her fledgling cottage industry.

Like them if you do!

Talking about magazines, my copies of some of the Australian magazines have been arriving and Handmade has this on the cover:

No, not the cushion or the angel, but the photo in the lower right hand corner!

There's more inside:

It is always an honour to be profiled in these wonderful Australian magazines. I can't believe it is really happening - truly a dream come true!

This is my Christmas cushion that you will also find inside Handmade Vol 31 No 11:

I have never really made many Christmas projects, mainly because we were always away from home at Christmas.  Now circumstances have changed and we so much enjoy having the family come to us, so I thought it was time that I started adding Christmas designs to my collection. There will be a couple more coming out in the next few weeks. 

Keep an eye out for the next block in the free Block of the Month "Apples of Gold" quilt next weekend.

Happy stitching!