Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pattern Giveaway

And the winners are ......

Winner of the Kitchen Dresser pattern is rockgranny who said "Congrats on two front covers, I think the Kitchen is my favorite." Rockgranny, the pattern has been e-mailed off and is on its way to Croatia.

Winner of the Laundry Cupboard pattern is Katherine who said "I have to say it is cruel of you to ask us which one of your cupboard patterns is our fav... :0) They are all sooo adorable, but if I were to have to choose I think I would have to pick The Laundry Cupboard. At some point I plan to purchase all of them.
I am a follower of yours and have to say I just love your work and want to thank you so much for sharing with us. A Big THANK YOU. " Katherine, as you have not shared your profile publicly, I can't contact you, so please e-mail me so I can send you the Laundry Cupboard pattern.

COMPETITION NOW CLOSED.
....................................

 
It must be time for a Giveaway! 
Just because ....

If there needs to be a reason, let's say it's because I'm celebrating having two of my designs on the front covers of magazines this week!

Here's one of the covers - Lily's wardrobe:


It reminds me of the days when we used to dress paper dolls - and the frustration of the clothes never staying on properly!

Lily's clothes are guaranteed to stay on with the ever-trusty Velcro! The six outfits on the hangers are all removable to fit on Lily.  Can you imagine how much fun I had designing this project!

Here's Lily in one of her cute outfits:


For my lovely friends who don't have access to our wonderful Australian craft magazines, I have put the pattern on my website here if you would like to purchase it.

-------------------

Now I've digressed totally!  The Pattern Giveaway ....

I have now designed eight wall-hangings in my interactive cupboard series.  (You can see them here)

I am giving away two e-patterns from the series.  
The first is My Kitchen Dresser, the very first cupboard I designed and definitely my favourite.


The other giveaway will be an e-pattern of My Laundry Cupboard, probably my cutest cupboard.  I always smile whenever I look at it!


To enter the contest, just leave a comment on this blog post, telling me which pattern you'd like to win and why.

There'll be a second entry for anyone who is a follower of my blog - please make another comment to tell me you are a follower. 
(If you wish to become a follower, click on the Follow button on the sidebar.)


Entries close at midday (Oz time) on Sunday 7 August.

Feel free to tell your friends.

Happy stitching!
Val

Sunday, July 25, 2010

How did it get into such a mess?


How did I let my fabric stash get into such a mess? It used to be quite tidy! I have 6 crates for my fabric - one for pink, another for blue, then there's green, white, and one with purples and red and then one for my not-much-used-colours - yellow, brown and black. And the system has been working quite well for a few years.

But progressively, I became lazy, then I was in a hurry looking for something a few times and the easiest way to find it was to upend the whole crate and tip it out on the floor!!! By this time it was such a mess, that I just ended up shoving everything back in and closing the lid!


Disgusting, isn't it!

I've been enjoying the Stash Manicure blog and eventually was inspired enough to do something about my messy stash. My big mistake had been to leave all my little scrappy bits in with my fabric lengths, so that was easy to fix. I had some boxes that were holding items that I didn't use much, so into shoe boxes for them and now my scrappy bits are readily accessible in their own pretty box. I am happy to have them randomly sitting in their box at the moment without any order!


Now I had to tackle the fabric lengths. I decided I needed a system instead of randomly folding fabric to suit its size. My new method is to fold selvedge to selvedge, then take that fold again to the selvedge. This, of course, is also a fat quarter folded in half, measuring about 11 inches which is the perfect size for my crates. Then I cut a piece of cardboard 7½ x 11 inches for a template. I put the cardboard on the end of the fabric and fold over it to the end. When it's all folded neatly, I slide out the cardboard, and voila! my mess has turned into this:


And there's even some room for more fabric!!!!


Now, were those scrappy bits really worth keeping? Yes, of course they were! I rather liked the "A little help from my friends" scrappy string quilt which I found here. It's constructed similarly to my Colourwash Diamonds quilt. Because the strips are random sizes, I found that I had 99% of what I needed already cut from left-over borders, bindings, sashings etc. I like the quilt-as-you-go method, so out with some batting scraps and some larger fabric scraps for the backing squares and on to the sewing!

I made 8 inch blocks rather than the 6 inch in the tutorial and 36 blocks later I had a lap quilt 48 inches square. Add $5 (Aust) worth of black fabric for joining sashes and binding and here it is:



I am not really into "brights" but just a few here and there really give life to this quilt and the black gives it the extra "zing". DH keeps looking at it and admiring it - he obviously really likes it!

I've been so inspired, I've already designed another scrappy quilt-as-you-go and have made five blocks, so I'm on a roll!

Happy stitching!
Val

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Free Pattern - Gifts of Grace Block 6

Wow, where has the year gone?  We're already in the third week of July, so it's time to give you the next block in the Gifts of Grace free block of the month pattern.


I hope you like this little block and enjoy stitching it.
You can download the pattern from my website here.  Scroll down to find all 6 blocks.

 

Toadstools are one of my favourite things to draw, discover and photograph.  We seem to have so many different kinds in Australia.  Would you like to see some real life ones?

A fairy seat - the colour is real!:

 

 Tiny little mini toadstools:

 

A bit camouflaged, but look at the rich glorious colours:

 

Can you see the fairy hiding underneath?:


Could be Easter eggs?:


What an amazing world we live in - a good reason to be generous in our dealings with people, in giving praise where it is due, and above all praise to our great Creator God for His wonderful handiwork.

Happy stitching!
Val

 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Free Coat Hanger pattern

I have done up a tutorial for the "Doing Frilly" Coathanger cover and you can download it from here. 


I'd love to see photos of what you do with the pattern.

Happy stitching!

Val

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Doing "frilly"

I had a severe reaction to the cold again last week and my fingers were not much good for holding a needle and thread (and still aren't!).  So ... if I was going to do any stitching, it had to be by machine.  I wanted to make a small, practical gift for a friend and thought a pretty coat hanger cover would be something I could sew.

I looked in the craft cupboard for suitable fabric and wouldn't you know, some lovely lace happened to pop out at me, begging to be used ... and I couldn't help myself - I went all "frilly" for the week.

First there was this sweet paisley fabric that I have had for ages just waiting for the right project:


Then I wanted to try out my new Clover Yo-Yo (Suffolk Puff) maker that DD gave me for my birthday:


And that Paisley fabric would look nice with some Suffolk Puffs:


And one in yellow for my friend:


Then maybe a ruffle would look good:


And let's try a pink one while we're at it:


Does anyone else out there "do frilly"?????

If there are enough 'frilly' people out there who are interested, I might write it up as a free pattern for you.  They can be whizzed up in an hour or two.

In between being "frilly", I organised three projects with instructions, templates, samples etc. and they are now all posted off to magazines, ordered some new fabric - as if I don't have enough!, and started tidying up my stash which was in a terrible mess - more about that another day.

Meanwhile, happy stitching!

Val

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Free Tutorial - Bullion Stitch Roses

I've had a number of people ask me how I do my "Grub" roses, so I thought I'd put the instructions on the web for you to download.  I hope you can follow the "how to" step by step.  It is easier when I'm teaching a class and can get people to turn their work around the right way, or grab the needle before they push it right through or move their thumb to the right place, but hopefully the notes will be of assistance.

The tutorial is on my website - scroll down to the bottom of the page.  Here are a few examples of how I have used the roses in my designs. 

A bevy of scissor-keep pincushions:


And this velvet needlecase is one of my favourites:


And you might remember this little Etui:


Another pincushion:


You'll see more on my web page.

Happy stitching!
Val

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Thinking about Christmas

No, I'm not a "Christmas in July" person, but it's a very popular concept with Australians who hanker after a cold northern hemisphere Christmas.  For me, I'm very happy with our lovely Australian WARM weather in December!  However, I have done some thinking about Christmas this week as I had desperate e-mails from two editors, both needing more Christmas projects for their magazines.  Well, I had the time to drop what I was working on, a couple of designs popped into my head, and of course there was unused Christmas fabric in the stash, so I thought I could help these lovely editors out.  It only took a few days to produce two new designs:

A sneak peak will have to do for now:


I can tell you it is gift wrapping with a difference:


I knew those lovely navy and gold fat quarters would come in handy one day!

Then I looked on the green shelf and found this elegant fabric which soon turned into this:


So there's been more pattern writing to do.  Maybe one day someone will invent a programme that will watch what you do and then produce the instructions automatically!!!!  I'll be first in the queue to buy it!  As you can see, writing up instructions is not my favourite part of designing!  I have a rule that I'm not allowed to start a new project until the instructions and templates are complete for the just-finished design.  Mostly I try to be disciplined and stick to my rule, but there are occasions when the lure of fabric is just too great!

Thank you to all the lovely people who had sympathy with me and my sore fingers.  Some milder weather made them much more bearable last week, but it looks like the air conditioning will be on high heat for the next few days!

Whatever your weather, I hope you are able to fit in some lovely stitching time.

Regards
Val