Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas

From my family to yours . . .

Wishing you a safe and happy Christmas! I hope your day is filled with good company, good food, love and laughter.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Angel Redwork

This is another little project from the Stitching By The Lake day with Sylvia and Fiona. The pattern calls for the stitching to become the top part of a little cushion/decoration to hang on the Christmas tree, but I'm not quite sure how I'm going to finish it yet. I quite enjoyed working on this tiny, delicate piece of redwork. There's something so appealing to me about things in miniature.

What "little" pieces are you working on?

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Petit Point Treasure

We visited a little antique and collectables fair recently. I love to go and wander, and hopefully spy some treasure I didn't even know I wanted!

Well, I came across this beautiful little powder compact. Now, I'm not really a pressed powder kind of girl. That was more my Nan's thing. What caught my eye was  the most lovely petit point on the lid!

It's a bit tarnished and has been well used, but all that just adds to the appeal for me. It's even inscribed - "Bon Voyage Margaret ~ 1949". The compact's made in England, so I'd like to  imagine that Margaret was sailing away to foreign shores (Australia) to start a new chapter in her life with a lovely young man, the compact a gift from a friend who would miss her dearly. And maybe each time the compact was used, Margaret remembered her dear friend, far, far away. After all, don't wonderful new-found treasures always have a story behind them?

The stitching is by no means perfect, but it is beautiful in all its aged glory. It's made me wonder whether I'd like to have a try at stitching petit point - just a small piece, and with a large magnifying glass!

I just love this little treasure. For me it was well worth the drive in the blustery weather to a little town an hour away.

What's caught your eye (and imagination) in expected places?

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Music to make you happy

I've been listening to Mindy Gledhill on my iPod and loving it! I got her album "Anchor" and it's great.

If you get a chance . . . and you want to hear music to make your ears happy . . . then check out the link to her video.


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Re-purposed Applique

I've read how a few ladies like to applique or stitch with a cushion on their lap for a bit of support or to raise their work so they don't end up with neck strain. Well I use a Stable Table - a little lap table with a bean bag base. It's really handy, especially as it has a trough around the outside so things don't roll off. It's also slightly non-slip on the surface, so that helps keep things in place too.

Now while I find this table very useful, I wasn't really all that in love with the coffee beans image that was on the top. So I decided to do something about it.

I had made a start on some of the blocks in the Homespun Magazine "Breast Of Friends" quilt, but I lost motivation after about 3 1/2 of them (there are 12 in all, I think). The first one I had made was this one - it's a Leanne Beasley design and I really love the filled in backstitch swirls on this block.

So, rather than have the block sit in a bag and go to waste I thought I would re-purpose it. (If you're interested in more ideas on "re-purposing", check out NotJustNat - she's a wizz at taking something old and making it new again!) I covered the original coffee bean picture with my block, slipped it back under the surface . . .

and voilà . . .

One updated stable table that should see me through many more stitching hours to come!

How have you re-purposed your orphan blocks?

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Stitchery and Bags

I started out to make a bag so that I could applique this little stitchery on to it. The stitchery is from a retreat with Rosalie Quinlan and Leanne Beasley held in Nowra (hosted by Jukejema Quilting Barn) and was a practice in satin stitch.

Satin Stitch - Rosalie Quinlan design

So I had the fabric for the bag, chosen to match the variegated threads (Cosmo Seasons) used in the stitchery.

But then procrastination set it!

And stayed for a while!

And then a while longer!

To cut a long period of procrastination short, I ended up using the applique on the front of a journal cover. There's something quite decadent about a notebook covered in fabric, don't you think?

Journal Cover

So this journal cover did not use any of the original fabrics (although it did use fabrics from my stash, so that counts for something). I'm loving these muddied/muted colours at the moment.

Well, then there was still the issue of the fabric for a bag!

So I stitched the bag outer.

And the bag lining.

And then I decided that I really, really liked the bag lining and that it should be a bag of its own.

And it is!

Bag with drawstrings

I've put a casing and drawstring on it, so I can fill it up or give it a little shape if it's not so full. I really love the fabrics in this bag.

Bag with drawstrings 2

Egg fabric

But then, what to do with the original bag outer?

Well, make another lining, of course.


So this one also used fabric from my stash (it feels good to use from the stash).

I left the lining sitting up a little at the top to give the look of piping, and then top stitched to keep it in place. I quite like the look of this one.


Both bags have been put into service and it's lovely using fabric instead of plastic when I'm out and about!

What project of yours has evolved into something entirely different?

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Apple Blossom Time

This is our Pink Lady Apple tree - very new, but hopefully one day very full of fruit. The blossom is just beautiful, so here's hoping the fruit is just as good!

pink lady apple blossom

This picture reminds me of when our son was in pre-school. His class learned this song . . . which is indelibly etched in our memories - he practised it over and over (although when his father and I sing it to tease him - he hates it when we reminisce - he feigns ignorance and no memory while groaning with disgust and embarrassment that he's related to us) . . .

(Neville Fleeson / Albert Von Tilzer)

I'll be with you in apple blossom time,
I'll be with you to change your name to mine.
One day in May
I'll come and say:
"Happy the bride the sun shines on today!"

What a wonderful wedding there will be,
What a wonderful day for you and me!
Church bells will chime
You will be mine
In apple blossom time.

What's making you reminisce today?

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Shake your tail feathers!

I do believe I really like working with felt! It's a pretty forgiving medium, it looks good and it's pretty adaptable to so many projects. So what's not to like?

This little felt bird is one of the projects on offer at the Stitching On The Lake Day hosted by the lovely Sylvia and Fiona.

Felt bird with embroidered and beaded wings

We had a bag  full of goodies, including kits for 6 stitching projects. I chose to start with this bird and although I didn't get it finished on the day, I did come home and keep stitching 'till it was done. And I'm glad that I did! His tail feathers are pretty cute and I really enjoyed the stitching and beading on the wings. I found that part of the day very relaxing and almost meditative. I think I can feel a bit of embroidery coming on!

Felt bird - felt tail feathers

I think it he'll look pretty good hanging on the christmas tree.  And who knows, maybe there will be a whole flock of them one day soon . . .

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Done! 1 Crocheted Cushion Front

Finally . . . I've finished 1 cushion front! I know that doesn't technically count as "done", but it's "done" enough for me. This has taken me a fair bit longer than I thought it would. I wanted a fairly solid effect (not too open like granny squares).

 Finished crocheted cushion cover front

I'm pretty happy with the result, but my plan for 4 cushions (front and back crocheted) may need to be slightly modified. Perhaps a different back . . . perhaps not all of them complete this year . . .

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Friday, 6 August 2010

Catalicious BOM Progress

I've been stitching away on Block 5

and Block 6

of Bronwyn Hayes' Catalicious BOM and I think I'm almost done!

My plan was to make a throw for the end of the bed, where our cat spends most of her time . . .

I've pieced the blocks and now the top is done. I just need to quilt and bind it . . . and that will be about the first thing actually finished this year!

Many thanks to Bronwyn for putting up a block each month - there are still another 6 to go, but for me I've done what I set out to achieve. I've enjoyed the quiet stitching on these blocks and I'm sure that the cat will take up residence pretty quickly!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Loving what I see from my window

Sometimes it looks like this . . .

But at the moment it looks like this . . .

I love both - one view calls to me and says "come out and enjoy the day" . . .
the other says "light the fire, grab a needle and thread and snuggle in".

What does the view from your window say to you?

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Teaching myself to crochet!

I got myself a book . . .

and I've been teaching myself to crochet.

I thought that I'd make some cushion covers, so I started . . .

but I wasn't really happy with the results, so . . .

And then I started again.

I'm much happier this time around. My plan is to make 4 triangles and join them to make a square.

1 triangle done.

1 partially complete.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

"Our Home" - finished and framed

Well, I haven't had too many finishes this year - LOTS of new things started, though . . . hmmm, does this mean I have finishing issues? Or just busy multi-tasking? The answer depends on who you ask!!!

Anyway, I have finished this . . .

"Our Home" applique - framed

It's the "Our Home" applique (by Lynette Anderson), which I wrote about here and here. It's been finished for a little while, but now it's framed and hanging on the wall. I put the year "2009" on it, even though I made it this year, in honour of 2009 being the year we moved into our current home.

I'm really pleased with the way it turned out - a little piece of cheeriness celebrating our home.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Introducing "Francene" - the Featherweight Sewing Machine!

This is "Francene" - my birthday present! How lucky am I?

She's a February 1951 Featherweight model 221K, made in Scotland. And she's just about perfect!

When I first unpacked her, the needle wouldn't go up or down, but removing the 2" piece of thread caught (or really just snagged slightly) in the bobbin case and the lint from around the bobbin saw her sewing like a dream - such lovely tension and perfect stitches (I used 2 different coloured threads to test her out - much easier to see where the tension needs adjusting). Her bobbin area may never have been cleaned, but all in all, she's been very well looked after.

And she's got the most beautiful scroll work on the face plate . . .

Her paintwork is in pretty good condition - see her reflection in the bed extension?

What is it about older things that holds such appeal? I mean, I can't speak highly enough of my Janome machine (which is about 23 years old). It sews like a charm - always has. But Francene . . . she's got a feel all of her own. Such a gentle rhythm, not to mention way toooo cute. She's aged pretty gracefully for a 59 year-old! I guess my husband feels the same way with his cabinet making - he has the "new" tools, but there's something about working with vintage equipment - mentally it seems to take you back to simpler times, a less rushed pace somehow. Whatever it is, I like it!

So there she is - Francene the sewing machine!

Snapshot - June 13

I was engrossed in doing some sewing, deep in contemplation when I looked up to see this . . .

the sun was streaming in through a small leadlight window and casting lovely coloured light across the room. And this little beauty was in the spotlight! It was as if she was just keeping an eye on what was happening in my little part of the world today.

I've posted about this lovely collage by Kate Mason before - she does really, really nice work.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

iPhone Stuff Page

I've added a page to my blog with links to useful and/or interesting iPhone applications. You can click on the button on the left of the page or the iPhone Stuff tab at the top of the page to get there . . .

This is an evolving list - as I come across things I like, or as my kids point me in all kinds of different directions to different apps . . .

Yesterday, Heidi talked about an app which I knew I just had to have. It's the Quick & Easy Quilt Block Tool! Heidi talked about the "real life" version of this tool a while back, but I hadn't seen it in the shops in my travels. So this app was ideal for me. Check it out if you're a quilter . . .

If you go to the iTunes Store and use "quilt" to search the apps, there are a few interesting one to see.

Check back to the iPhone Stuff page from time to time if you like (I can't quite figure out how to set it up so that you can subscribe directly to that page, so if anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them!).

Snapshots of June

Janelle Wind is taking "Snapshots of June" . . . "to focus on little things in my day to day life that bring me joy, make me happy or just make me smile".

I thought I'd join in, too . . . a little late, but better late than never, right? So here goes . . .

Today, I'm inspired by greens and reds, like on the magazine cover . . .

and in this little dish made many moons ago by our son . . .

And this snapshot from a few days ago brings a smile to my face . . . one very happy, BRAND NEW learner driver!

What's making you smile today?

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Z Y X W V U T . . .

Can you say your alphabet backwards? That's one of the things that my grandfather could do - right up until he passed away last week, aged 97.

Fred - a good man who lived a good life. A kind and gentle man, a man who let you know he loved you. A man who was half of the team I know as my grandparents - the team who showed everyday what it is to live life from a place of love and respect. A man who's heart stretched way across the miles and who gave hugs that let you know you were cherished.

Well, Fred's body gave up the race, but his spirit lives on. And I smile as I think of (among other things) him teaching our kids the "backwards alphabet". It was a bit of a conversation piece for him and is now a bit of a party trick in our household. Not that long ago, while he was unwell and being assessed by medical staff, he whipped out the "backwards alphabet" - much to their amazement. At 97, no less!

Try it for yourself - it's not that hard once you get your head around it. But trust me, if you try to learn this sitting around the table with your kids laughing hysterically at you, it may take you a little longer!

So, here's to Fred - Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Snowbound BOM

OK, so it's not like I'm in need of another project, but I've been seeing the Snowbound Block of the Month from Bunny Hill - and I really like it! The snowmen are so cute. But  I decided I was going to start . . . and then I had a moment of indecision!

What was it that caught my imagination about this project?

Was it the fabrics (Rural Jardin - who can resist)?

Was it the applique which should go together pretty quickly?

Was it the snowmen?

Actually, it was a bit of all of those things. But . . .

I have decided, for now, to simplify (my life and this project) - so I'm doing it as a stitchery - in miniature!

Each stitchery block with be about 4 /12" square. And I'm using some vintage silk thread that I picked up on my travels a while ago (I knew I loved it but didn't quite know what to do with it).

So . . .

I started with the pattern and a fine (01) Zig pen (I find Pure Brown pretty good for tracing stitcheries) . . .

and traced it onto my fabric (which is the Rural Jardin plain in the aqua) . . .

then I started stitching . . .

There are 5 blocks available so far, with 12 in all to be done. I'm not sure what I'm going to add - maybe some little nine-patch blocks . . . we'll see.

I quite liked stitching with the silk. It's actually not quite as fine as would I would have preferred for this project, but still, I'm using it! I did a bit of Google-ing and it seems that the threads were probably made around 1925. They've held up pretty well - one spool was a little grubby on the outer threads, but most of the others are in pristine condition, with the label bands still in tact! There's something quite appealing to me about working with older things (it's a bit like antique furniture, I suppose). Whoever owned the threads before me must have a had a project in mind at some point, as there are 6 spools of one colour and a couple of another. Just goes to show - one girl's stash is another girl's treasure!
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