"The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest."

Thomas Moore

Monday, August 31, 2009

Di's Challenge for August completed!

I've been working between waves of migraine to get these Christmas projects finished for Di's Challenge, and they are! :-)
My first project was the place-mat set I showed you yesterday, the second is this wall-hanging using one of the trees from my "Christmas Package In Stitches" design pack...

...and this morning I finished this cute wall-hanging, again using one of the stitcheries from my "Christmas Package in Stitches" set.
I made this one for those narrow places between doorways as it's only 6 inches wide.
Now I can officially enter Di's giveaway - yay!! :-)

Tomorrow is a big day here.
Firstly, I draw the winner of the Sewing Machine Cover Challenge, then I share block 9 of my Shabby Roses BOM!
Remember, you only have hours left to enter the Sewing Machine Cover Challenge for August!

My head is hurting again, so I'm off to that darkened room once more.
May your own day be joy-filled, and full of HUGS! :-)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Quilt finished, plus some Christmas placemats!

My spur of the moment Layer Cake quilt is finished. :-)

I quilted wiggly lines down the length of it, and used spotty Woodland Bloom in turquoise for the backing. I think this is the first time I've made a quilt using just one fabric range!

I still have some more of the Layer Cake, a jelly roll, and some yardage left, so I'll make another quilt from then - that will give me two new lovely bright quilts in the living room.
Do you remember I signed up for Di's Christmas in August Challenge?
I thought it was to make presents, but it was to make Christmas decorations - silly me, didn't read the fine print! ;-)
Never mind - I was inspired yesterday to make up a set of festive place-mats. When I received my Christmas in July parcel from Jacquie she had used this BEAUTIFUL fabric for some of the items she made me, and I was able to get more from the States thanks to her.
I mixed and matched 3 fabrics and 2 trims to make the place-mats, and I quilted swirly trees on two of them, and curved stars on the other two, as well as stitching in the ditch along each seam and then around the entire 12in mat.

Aren't they gorgeous!!?

I am definitely a vintage era girl at heart...whether it be Jane Austen's England, or June Cleaver's 50's, I love old and simple.
Speaking of vintage and the 50's I have signed up for my first ever Block of the Month! I do some of the free ones that wonderful designers share through their blogs (and I share my own BOM with all of you) but I have never yet found THE block of the month I loved enough to commit to financially every month for a year. I think that is because this is only my 4th year as a sewer and my style is still evolving as I go. What I liked two years ago I don't like as much anymore....but this is a BOM I know has been, and always will be, *me* - "The Sewing Circle".

I made Raspberry & Choc Chip muffins for breakfast today, but they never last long enough to photograph. Sorry! :-) I do however have two large punnets of strawberries in the fridge that I plan to use later today...just not sure what I'll make yet, but I'll be sure and take a photo for you.

Apart from the free BOM's available on the internet, are you doing a BOM at the moment?
If so, why did you choose that particular one?

Now I'm off to make two more Christmas decoration projects to fulfil Di's Challenge before midnight Monday!!

PS: You only have two days left to make that Sewing Machine Cover August Challenge!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Finally...I'm making another quilt.

I have had a Woodland Bloom (Lila Tueller) Layer Cake since last year...always waiting for the right project to use it. Of course, when I bought it I also bought the Jelly Roll. And seeing as I had both jelly roll and layer cake, months later when the yardage for Woodland Bloom was on special I bought 7 yards of that too. So here I was this morning thinking about all the fabric I've bought over the last 4 years (I have only been sewing for 4 years you see) and decided to not purchase any more until I clear my shelves of things that I loved but never used. This means a lot of quilts are about to be made!
I know we live in the Tropics, and we don't have a winter, but we do have cool nights and something soft to hug around you is nice and homely. So I am taking an idea from Allie and instead of using batting between the quilt top and backing, I am using vintage flannel sheets...she tells me they are so beautiful to drape around yourself. :-)

Today I took that Layer Cake and made split 9-patch blocks for the first of my flannel filled quilts!

I only used two-thirds of the forty 10-inch Layer Cake blocks, but I still have the Jelly Roll to work with so I'll come up with a way of using it with the rest of the Layer Cake blocks in another quilt top.

You know, this could be a Challenge for September couldn't it? Do you have fabric you loved when you bought it and it's still sitting on the shelf? Couldn't you use it to make a simple quilt top like I did today?
Let me know if you'd like to take up a new Challenge next month. :-)

In the meantime, have you seen in the sidebar how many ladies have dressed their sewing machines in new finery!? Each of them now has an entry in the giveaway from Cheryl and I, to be drawn on September 1st. If you want to enter you only have days left to dress your sewing machine for the challenge!

And speaking of Cheryl....
I sent her my finished Shabby Roses BOM quilt top a couple of weeks ago, to quilt for me. Today it arrived home ready for me to bind. I'm so excited, I have to show you a sneak peek....

No, I can't show you the front, there are still 4 blocks I haven't shared with you! ;-) Hasn't she done beautiful work!? Thanks so much Cheryl!
If you're near Geham on the New England Highway in QLD on the weekend of September 19th and 20th you can visit Cheryl's stall at the "Spring Into The Country" Craft Show. If she weren't a 2-day drive south I'd be there to see all her gorgeous wares myself!

Now you know I think my Blossom is incredibly talented. Well she is.
Look at this tiny little button...

She embroidered a little sailing ship and seagull onto some vintage linen, then used it to cover a 1/2 inch wide button. So, so sweet!
My final Tilda book arrived in the mail today! I haven't looked past the first 5 pages though...I am savouring the quietness later tonight when I can hop into bed with a herbal tea and drool to my hearts content!

In the meantime, I can hear Blossom and my husband driving in with pizzas, so I'll say goodnight and join my wonderful family - I just need to wake Slicer, who fell asleep after a hard week at work ( and with a head cold too!).

Sweet dreams!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

SEASONS - an embroidery for each season of the year!

You met SUMMER in my needlebook/pincushion tutorial earlier today...

...but now I would like to introduce you to WINTER ~

....SPRING ~

...and FALL!

The 4 SEASONS patterns are available as a set in my Etsy store now. :-)

NOTE: For all those who use AUTUMN instead of FALL please ask for the additional design when you order. It will be sent free of charge with your SEASONS patterns.

What would you use these embroideries on??


Secret revealed!

Yes, you can do something creative with CDs!
I've given myself a challenge (I'm doing that a lot lately, aren't I!?), to reuse old CDs in creative and useful ways. Less landfill if I give them a second occupation. ;-)

When Slicer (almost 17yo old) gave me his pile of cast-off CDs I immediately sketched a new set of designs - "The Seasons" I have called them. For now I am just sharing one for you to see - summer - because the northern hemisphere is winding down from their summer, and the southern hemisphere is already gearing up for theirs. Besides, I live in the tropics and it's ALWAYS summer here!

I began by tracing the CD outline onto paper and sketching my design inside the circle. I traced the design onto a 6 in square of fabric, fused a medium weight piece of Pellon to the back, and stitched the design.
After stitching I cut the circle from the fabric 1/4 in out from the line for an exposed seam.
Then I lay the CD on another 6 inch square of complementing fabric which also had Pellon fused to it. I used Basting Spray to adhere the CD to the Pellon side of the square...

...then cut around it, leaving that same 1/4 in exposed seam. I then stitched red ric rac around the drawn line on the embroidered circle.

I made a fabric hinge and lay it across the top of the CD, then put the embroidered circle on top sandwiching the hinge inside. I pinned the pieces together, and blanket stitched almost all the way around, leaving a 1 inch opening for stuffing later. This is the FRONT of the project.

For the BACK, I repeated the process with a second CD and two more fabric/Pellon circles, but without the embroidery. This time you will have the ric rac side on the inside. Then I stitched the other side of the hinge to one of the new CD circles....

...and stitched two circles of doctor's flannel with a ric rac top onto the inside of the BACK.

I sandwiched a little loop from the leftover hinge piece into the bottom of the BACK, then stiched around with the machine to join the two pieces before blanket stitching. (remember to have the 2nd CD inside these circles before you stitch).

I then sewed press-studs to the bottom front, and the front loop, and added a ladybird button. I then stuffed the FRONT with fibrefill and finished stitching the 1 inch opening closed in blanket stitch. Now I have a needlebook and pincushion for summer!!

Now remember, this was my first one, so I have a few things I may do differently with the next one, but I think you get the idea?

Would you like to see more of my tutorials?

I have a special page of them right here!


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hmmm, what am I doing with those CDs???

So you are wondering what I am doing with the pile of CDs Slicer gave me, are you?

Well, I am using them for a secret project, but I'll share some sneak peeks just so you know I really do have an idea brewing. ;-)

On the kitchen front I made these Rock Cakes for morning tea yesterday, and today I baked an Orange Madiera Cake (but they ate it before I took the photo!)...

...and guess what I found when I was cleaning up the book shelf in my sewing room?!

A DVD on domestic machine quilting!! I never realised I had it...but maybe that's because it came free with a magazine a while ago and I wasn't into machine quilting back then. Now that I am I'll get around to learning some smarter techniques.
And look what other DVDs I came across...

...I have no excuse not to learn new techniques now! The hard part is sitting down to watch them - because I have to WATCH, I can't stitch at the same time. Very hard for me. Is that hard for you?

Have you signed up for the Hug Swap yet?

How is your August Sewing Machine Cover Challenge coming along - you only have a few days left in August and the giveaway prizes are wonderful if you finish in time to enter the draw! Remember, the idea is to dress your machine-friend and not have her naked anymore...it's not about having the perfect cover or the prettiest. :-)

And lastly, don't forget, next Tuesday I'll be sharing block 9 of my Shabby Roses BOM ( and it's gorgeous!) I will also be sharing the cutting instructions for your fabrics - if you need the yardage measurements to purchase the correct amount of fabrics you will find them HERE. Have you stitched the first 8 blocks yet?

I must away now and finish more of my CD project...can't wait to show you!!

Happy hugs,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Giveaways you can enter!

There are a few beautiful giveaways right now that I encourage you to enter!

Lurline has the sweetest bunch of reproduction fabrics, and I'm becoming quite partial to them myself so I'm entering too! I can see them fitting in perfectly with my chosen Material Obsessions 2 quilt-I-am-yet-to-make.

Elaine has a beautiful bundle of Civil War fabrics to giveaway, and again, I see them in a future quilt I want to make!

Bonnie has a fantastic giveaway where you can win a kit to make the sweetest quilt! She has even included some Texture Magic which I have been reading about as I traversed the road of machine quilting lately!

Now, Id better go and play some more with those CDs Slicer gave me...the idea for some designs has formed very nicely. ;-)

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Monday

Monday morning again.
Because we live on the school grounds I get to enjoy having Blossom and my husband home at 10am each school day for morning tea. This morning I baked fresh scones s0 we enjoyed Devonshire Tea together before I began my stitching...

...which today was all about practicing my machine quilting again, this time with swirls instead of wiggly lines.
I have had this piece of Prints Charming fabric for ages (left over from a quilt I made one of my daughters) with no idea how I would make use of it, but today it was the perfect background for my practice session and ended up being quite a nice table centre after I added binding.

Once that was finished my husband came home for lunch with the mail. Lately getting the mail has been very exciting because I've had a few parcels arrive from overseas, and some fabric purchases as well. Today, though, I got quite a surprise!

Dear Jane in the UK had sent me this delicious parcel of presents, all individually wrapped, and in the prettiest paper! I felt like a 7yo on Christmas morn!
Gorgeous (and I mean GORGEOUS) pink satin fabric, pretty white ( I LOVE white) broderie anglaise, buttons & bows & ribbons & lace, and the sweetest sewing kit - a needlebook, pincushion, and scissor fob - all handmade by Jane. She's only been sewing less than a year but she is a very fast learner and her handiwork is just wonderful.

{{{Thank you}}} dear friend, Jane!! You made my day!


UPDATE : Hug Swap

A few ladies have asked Vicki and I if they can still join in the Swap if they do not have a blog. We've chosen to say YES, however, you must email is with your full name, address, email address and phone number. You'll find a link to my email on my profile page, and Vicki has a link to hers on her blog.

Also, I have uploaded my pattern for the Mug Hug in a PDF format as well for those who are unable to open the Word.doc easily.


Are you ready for a surprise? Fiona at Mothers Cupboard has a beautiful table runner pattern she has designed and she is offering it as a free download! It's so homely, just like her, and I know I am going to be making it!


On my own design agenda, Slicer gave me a pile of old CDs today. He wondered if I wanted any of the information on them. "No", said I, "but I think I have an idea on how I can use them!"
Now to the sketch pad and to see what I come up with....

Happy Monday!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A bag for Blossom!

As much as I enjoy sewing for others, I really enjoy stitching for my 15yo daughter! She loves green and pink with white at the moment and before we began the huge road trip to move here she chose this bird design by Bronwyn Hayes (at least I think it was Bronwyn Hayes, I've misplaced the pattern sheet I got it from) for me to stitch with those colours.

She really loved the bag I made for Sarah, so she asked me to make her one the same but with her chosen stitchery on the front.

So what did I do this weekend?

Made my Blossom happy :-)


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mail, a machine cover finished, and that shop AGAIN!

Two of those beautiful giveaways I won arrived in the mail yesterday!
Terry sent me these really pretty fat quarters and matching thread...now you know I love roses so I've already started dreaming up ways to use these fabrics! Thanks SO much Terry!

And then there was a big bulky package from Brenda!
I am so excited about making this felted wallhanging, but Brenda has the experience so she shared some very helpful tips in her card and added a few extra pieces in case I make a boo boo. Thank you Brenda!! She also added in a couple of American quilting magazines, and wouldn't you know it, I already have my eye on one of the quilts featured!

Remember the applique rose sewing machine cover I was making? Well, after I shared the applique pattern with you I promptly put the cover aside because I just couldn't decide how I was going to finish it! When I'm not sure on a project I stop working on it and move to the next one...this tends to free my mind to be more creative and when I come back to the project a week or so later I have a brainwave. So this is how the machine cover was finished today...

On the first cover I made (the one with Blossom's design on the front) I tied the sides with bows. For this one I simply buttoned 8in strips down on the sides so the cover slips over the machine, but I chose to make those buttons a feature of the machine cover. I used large and small mother-of-pearl buttons on top of each other with tiny seed pearl beads across the holes. Aren't they so sweet!?

Now my machine is dressed very prettily! The first cover, with the embroidery Blossom designed and stitched, has been sent off to one of the magazines I contribute to - it's being photographed and will be published later this year or early next year. I'm so proud of my girl! :-)

Speaking of my girl....this morning we went out for coffee and to visit THAT shop again! We thought you may like to see our purchases?

This bowl will hold my ruby red ceramic pomegranates...

...and this set I bought for Blossom, for our High Teas. Isn't it stunning?

I loved this sweet little hanging photo frame....perhaps to house a tiny rose stitchery?

Do you remember the beautiful milk jug from my last visit to the shop? This was the matching sugar bowl, but it does not have a lid (someone must have mishandled and broke it in the store), so rather than use it for sugar I intend to fill it with dried lavender and place it on my bedside table. Such a gorgeous piece to wake up to each morning. :-)

Now I'd best get back to a project I'm working on for Blossom. She really loved the bag I made Sarah in Hawaii, so I'm making a similar one for her to use on sports days at school. :-) She's chosen the embroidery and fabrics she wants and I'm half-way through it...hopefully it will be finished tomorrow and I can show you.

Have a lovely weekend!