Friday, 30 May 2014

It's been a long time coming

Finally. At long last. My Civil War Sampler Quilt top is done!

After making a whole stack of Shoofly blocks to fill the gaps . . . I decided against using them. And went with a mix of creams from my stash for the blocks and sashings instead.

Don't get me wrong, they are lovely. In the picture, the top with the Shoofly blocks looks beautiful, full of sparkling colour.  I laid them out. Took them out. Put them back. Such indecision. But in real life it was just a bit too busy with all the blocks. Who knows, maybe they'll become  a whole other quilt altogether . . .

But the construction process was not without . . . challenges assistance!

Between tripping over Walter (who managed to move to exactly where I needed to stand every. single. time.) and constantly having to move Squeaker (who had a knack of laying on exactly the row of blocks I needed to stitch next), let's just say a whole new dimension was added to the process. This quilt was certainly a collaborative effort!

So all that's left to be done is to send this top off to the quilter. And then some binding. It's been a long time coming!

Pattern: Civil War Sampler Quilts
Designer: Barbara Brackman

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Nature's Confetti

I love. love. love. this time of year in my home town. Autumn. Glorious colours. Cold nights. Fresh mornings. Sunshiny days. The reminder that time passes. That things change. To appreciate now.

On a rare afternoon home from work in the daylight this week, this is the magic that I was greeted with. How beautiful. And fleeting. When the leaves are like this, a slight puff of breeze makes for a dazzling display of nature’s confetti! It doesn’t take long before the trees will be bare for another season. And Winter, in all her beautiful starkness, will be upon us. But for now I’m certainly enjoying the golden glow of Autumn.

And with such a fantastic display of colour outside, I thought a splash of colour inside was in order too!

It’s nice the way a couple of simple, colour-blocked cushions can change the feel of a room. Some simple quilting and large vintage buttons from the button jar. Big chunks of great fabrics . . . they’re like oversized jewels for the lounge room.


What colours, I wonder, are inspiring you at this time of year?

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

1832 Mary Whitlow Sampler Motif

I've been inspired to stitch a little motif from the Mary Whitlow sampler I saw earlier this year . . .

Recently we were fortunate to spend a day in Hobart and while we were there we toured the historic Narryna, a Georgian town house built between 1837 & 1840. Opened to the public in 1957, Narryna is a museum with a wonderful needlework collection including garments, patchworks - such as the little hexagons bed coverlet made in 1830, embroideries such as samplers, Georgian stump work, mid-Victorian Berlin wool work and high-Victorian bead work. 

Also housed at Narryna is the collection of baby's bonnets that inspired Christina Henri's Roses from the Heart project to commemorate the experience of convict women in Australia.

The walls of the Nursery were home to several early samplers, among them a sampler by Mary Whitlow, dated 1832.

I loved the uncluttered simplicity of this piece . . . the use of only one colour . . . and the (almost) symmetry of it.

It was also wonderful to see the other samplers at Narryna, including one dated 1779. Some of the samplers are in a very fragile state, but beautiful just the same. And you can just imagine the time when they were stitched by young girls learning the art of needlework to stand them in good stead for later in life.

While not wanting to replicate an entire sampler, I've chosen to render my interpretation of one of the motifs on Mary's sampler. Using my trusty 27 count linen, I've stitched one piece into a lavender sachet and the other into a pin cushion.

I enjoyed working on these little projects. Sometimes the inspiration from little things bring as much satisfaction as from the big things. What's inspired you lately?

Pattern: Mary Whitlow Sampler, 1832

Fabric: 27 count linen
Threads: DMC 503, 504, (760, 761, 3779), (894, 961, 3832)

Friday, 18 April 2014

Hot. Cross. Stitching.

Inspired by all the Easter stitching goodies I've seen on Pinterest this week, I decided to put thread to needle and do some stitching of my own.

I like the "dusted" look of this little French Knot Bunny. I made a stencil of a rabbit and traced it on to the linen. A quick outline in back stitch and then it was on to the French Knots . . .

Originally I planned to make this in lovely soft pastels, but then I liked the simplicity of the white on natural so much that I just stuck with that.

This is an idea that could be used for all sorts of shapes, letters and words. And with threads or markers - see here for more ideas about that.

And then there's the Cross Stitch Bunny using the Spring Rabbit pattern from The Little Stitcher. This little guy went together pretty quickly. I like the simplicity of this design and was thinking of making it into a little lavender bag. But then I was inspired by Cindy's little fabric weights over at Fluffy Sheep Quilting . . . so it's now my latest pin cushion, filled with silica sand so it's nice and substantial to do double duty as a fabric weight!

I don't usually do much in the way of decorating for Easter . . . but the rabbit designs seem to have caught my imagination this year. What Easter crafting are you up to?

Pattern: Spring Rabbit
Designer: The Little Stitcher

Fabric: 32 count linen
Thread: Cosmo 8040

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Ice Cream Is Recommended

It's true . . . it says so right there in my Great Grandfather's Cookery Book!

Magnificent food value, it says. Recommended for folks of all ages! If it's in print, then surely it must be true . . .

And my Nan used to make Pufftaloons for Sunday breakfast for us when we would visit in the Christmas holidays. I don't know anyone else who's ever heard of them. People have laughed and scoffed when I've fondly described them. Such a strange name. And not very healthy. But they are real, the recipe's right there to prove it . . .

I'm very fortunate as our family's historian to be the custodian of some real treasures - this Cookery Book among them. It has seen better days, there's no denying. It's been re-covered long ago. But it's got some great bits, like his name inked into the pages by his own hand. Some detective work from the advertising makes it probably about a 1933 edition.

As well as all the recipes, there's something else for the modern cook . . .

The house-proud little lady . . .

The entertainer . . .

And the seamstress . . .

Ahh, the good old days . . .

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Sailing, Scaling and Stitching

We were very fortunate recently to go on our first cruise. We sailed on the incredibly large Voyager Of The Seas for 14 nights to New Zealand and Tasmania.

As well as being our first cruise, it was also our first time to New Zealand and our first time to Tasmania!

One of the highlights of our trip was climbing to the top of Mt Maunganui, scaling an extinct volcano in the Bay of Plenty region of NZ. It was both exhilarating and challenging . . .

And from the top, the most wonderful view!

We were lucky to enjoy great weather for almost the entire trip. The exception was the day we spent cruising through Doubtful, Dusky and Milford Sounds. Although that day was pretty cold and bleak, we were still able to enjoy some really spectacular scenery . . . even on such a moody day, there was plenty of beauty to be seen!

While on the cruise I was  able to take part in classes hosted by Needlework Tours - something like 22 tutors and about 320 stitchers, each with 3 projects to work on over 6 days of the cruise.

The first class I had was for a Counted Needlework Set with Christine P Bishop . . .

This type of stitching requires precision. There was a lot of counting and concentrating . . . a bit of unpicking . . . and a new-to-me stitch - Italian four-sided stitch, which I really liked. I finished the biscornu and made a start on the wallet too. We had a choice of 7 different colour ways for this project.  I chose the blue/green scheme of this set and am really happy with it.

My second class was with Judy Newman, working on the wonderfully gorgeous Museum Medallion quilt . . .

This was my first real foray into hand piecing. I was a bit nervous about it - mostly about maintaining accuracy of the pieces. But Judy was able to put my mind at ease . . . and I'm really happy with how the centre medallion is coming along. There's still A LOT of work to go on this, but I can't wait to see it finished as it's a really beautiful quilt.

My final class was the beautiful Wildflower Jewel Box with Fiona Hawdon . . .

I had a great time working on this embroidery . . . lots of colonial knots and and bullion stitches combined to make this wonderful collection of Australian wildflowers.

We made some lovely new friends on the cruise, and caught up with some old ones too! All in all, we had a great time - we went to new places, we saw some pretty spectacular sights and made some wonderful memories . . . which is as it should be!

Pattern: Counted Needlework Set
Designer: Christine P Biship

Pattern: Museum Medallion
Designer: Judy Newman

Pattern: Wildflower Jewel Box
Designer: Fiona Hawdon

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

European Folk Art Stitching

As soon as I saw this design I knew it was one I would have to stitch . . .

I am really drawn to the European Folk Art style of Sylvia's design, but rather than make it up into a cushion I stretched the finished piece over a canvas (pictured below hanging in a collection with Lynette Anderson's Our Home applique and Rosalie Quinlan's Heartsong stitchery).

The blue linen is something I've been wanting to work with for a while and I really like the effect of the tone on tone stitchery.

I love the mandala-like central medallion . . .

and the openness of the chain stitched outer leaves.

I like the satin stitch circles (although there were a few moments when I thought they would never be done) and I really enjoyed working the chain stitch. I think it gives such a depth and interest to the  stitching.

This is a style of stitching that I will definitely use again! I'm thinking large cushions. And lots of colour . . .

Pattern: Stitchery Cushion
Designer: Sylvia Frazer

Fabric: Dress linen
Threads: DMC 932

Saturday, 4 January 2014

28 Years Married

It's been 28 years since we became Mr and Mrs. 
In that time we've added . . .
2 Kids
7 Dogs
2 Cats
17 Homes
Way too many cars

This guy's had my heart since the very first day.

I can honestly say that it's been a wild and crazy ride so far - some bits planned and some not so much.

He's funny and smart. He's gentle and strong. He's intuitive and creative. And he chose me.

I can't wait to see what the next chapters bring . . . and I love that I get to share every bit of them with the love of my life!

Who can ask for anything more?

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Welcome 2014

Here's to  2014.

To hope and possibilities.
To learning something new.
To doing something useful.
To making a difference.
To love and laughter and friendship.
To good times, real connections and meaningful moments.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Farewell 2013

It's been a long, tough year for our family. There have been times that I've felt absolutely, totally broken. But there have also been times when my heart has seemed mended and whole - I'm pretty lucky to share my life with some incredibly special people who help make the ride worthwhile.

Here's to a new year - one with hope and joy and connection . . .

In 2013 I committed to taking a picture a day - a Project 365. There were some days that I could not have cared less about taking a picture. And others where I had too many to choose from. But in the midst of my chaos, I just kept clicking.

Every. Single. Day.

This is my 2013 in pictures . . .

App: Project 365 Pro
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