Not the sort of holiday you really want!

We've just returned from our holiday and it was definitely "not the sort of holiday you really want"!!!

To cut a long story short, on Thursday afternoon we had an accident in our campervan, my husband's first accident in 50 years of driving (apart from being nudged behind once at a stop sign and a bit of a ding at a petrol station when he didn't turn wide enough.)  It looks as though our campervan will be written off as the external and internal damage was quite bad.

We are SO thankful to God that He sent his angels to look after us and we came out of it without a scratch on us.  A nano-second earlier and my husband could have sustained serious injury or worse.

The last few days have been spent trying to get home and to get all the gear in the van home.  Because we were out in the country, there were no hire cars available. We caught a bus to travel the 200 kms to the coast to try to hire a car there, but without success. In the end, we were able to borrow the car of a friend another 113 kms away, drive back the 200 odd km and pack up all the gear in the van, drive home 370 kms, unpack the gear, have a sleep, and drive the 340 kms back to return the borrowed car.

So here we are at a train station, waiting to catch the Tilt Train back home!  We are so blessed with so many people helping us in our time of trauma.  Friends and people we didn't know have gone out of their way to look after us and we are ever so thankful.  We're now starting to get over the shock and are looking forward to a relaxing train trip.  We will be very happy to arrive HOME!

With thankfulness to our great God
Val

Annie's Threadsaver


My husband says that I "abhor waste".  And he is right!  I hate wasting anything, It was bothering me that every time I sewed something on the sewing machine, I was wasting quite a lot of thread - at least 6 inches from the reel and bobbin, where you need to have plenty of thread so it doesn't pull out of the needle when you start sewing.  I'd read a bit about "leaders and enders", so decided it was time I did something about all that waste and that I should actually plan a project as my threadsaver, rather than grabbing something to put under the needle IF it was handy.

I cut up lots of little green, cream and apricot 4 inch squares, ruled a diagonal line on the wrong side of the cream squares and sat them next to the sewing machine in a little box. Over the last few months, every time I finished sewing, instead of pulling out my three inches of thread, I would pop two little squares under the foot, sew the seam, and leave them sitting in the machine, with the thread all ready to start next time I sewed.

Gradually, I had lots of little half square triangles and the next step was to put them in rows to make Annie's Choice blocks ... and now I have a new breakfast cloth:


Now you all know I don't particularly like piecing and I'm not terribly good at it and I find it boring, but making this project (43 inches square so almost a lap quilt) was relatively painless!  I didn't really know I was doing lots of repetitive piecing, I saved all that thread, and ended up with something that is very useful and that I really like.  It's a WIN, WIN situation!

Putting this project together started me thinking about why I detest waste. I guess my upbringing was the formative factor.  During World War II, my father was conscripted to the Army with the outbreak of war in the Pacific. He was a soldier for almost four years, serving in Papua New Guinea for most of that time:


Here is a photo of my dad which was published in one of the post-war books put out by the Australian government:


My mother spoke often of how scarce basic commodities were and how everything was rationed. I was born while my dad was in New Guinea and he didn't see me until I was eight months old when he was able to come home for a short leave.  It was a rare opportunity for a photo:


Mum had another photo taken a couple of years later.  I think the war was over by then but I know Dad wasn't able to get on a ship to get home for another 5 or 6 months:


I just love this photo of Mum and me.  It's always been my favourite.  See the war badge Mum is wearing.  It has a little bar on it with one star, indicating she had her husband serving in the war.

We were not at all well off  - never owned a car or went away on a holiday.  It was a simple but very happy upbringing. With very careful budgeting, my family managed to survive and we had the occasional treat like soft drink and icecream at Sunday lunch.  My parents saved very carefully so they could spoil my brother and me at birthdays and Christmas. Of necessity, Mum made all our clothes, curtains etc.  And so there was never any waste ,,, and that attitude became part of my very being,

 ... and I don't really wish to change who I am! 

Well, enough of nostalgia! We're going bush this week for a little holiday, so some of the long drive will be spent on planning my next threadsaver project!

Have a great week,
Val

Free Pattern - Consider the Lilies Pattern 5


Before we get to the next pattern in the free block of the month design, let's announce some winners of my pattern giveaways!

Trusty Random.org chose the following three winners:

No 14
sue niven said...
Love the Fan heart and charm quilt.


No 93

 Linnie Quilts said...
Please enter me in your drawing. I love the pattern Fan Hearts and Charms ... it would be PERFECT for our new home. We're retiring and recently purchased a home for our retirement years ... after many years of hard work we're finally achieving our dream ... can't wait to spend my free time quilting! Thanks and loved your column on Stash Management ... one of my daily blog stops ;-)


No 84

Cecilia said...
I love your Hearts and Braid table runner. Thanks for showing all of your projects. They were beautiful.


Patterns have been sent off to Sue and Linnie.  Cecilia, as you are a "no reply blogger", I can't contact you, so please e-mail me.  You have until midday (Aust EST) on Wednesday 18th to contact me.

Congratulations to the winners and thank you so much to all those who entered the giveaway and left me those beautiful comments here and over at Sew we quilt.

..................................................
Now to Pattern 5 of "Consider the Lilies" - we're almost half way there!


 Can you imagine how much delight I had in sewing this sweet little bird?

As usual, the pattern can be downloaded from my website on the wallhanging page.  I hope you enjoy stitching my little bird.

.....................................

I have no idea where my week went to last week.  I had a look in the diary to see what I was supposed to do to see if I could remind myself what I might have actually done to fill in my days.  I know I made a batch of sweet orange marmalade, wrote up another pattern, prepared Pattern 5 for you and answered lots of lovely comments.  I suppose that took two or three days.  Then yesterday I cleaned out our campervan ready for a planned holiday visiting national parks, state forests and friends.  Can you see my smile?!!

Another day I spent quite a while setting up a Powerpoint presentation for my husband to use in our church today.  Would you like to see a couple of my photos from the Australian bush that I used?



Boronia


A Ladybird beetle on Wattle


Fringe Myrtle

Our Australian bush is magical, come August/September/October.  The intricate detail in the flowers is mind boggling to me.

Have a great week ... and I hope to have some stitching to show you next time!

Regards
Val

Guest Blogger ... and THREE giveaways!

I'm a guest blogger over at Sew we Quilt today!





I hope you'll pop over and have a look.

It's a fabulous site with lots of great ideas for manicuring the stash.



And I'm having a giveaway - THREE in fact.



Yes, there will be three winners. The prize will be one of my e-patterns (a pattern that is e-mailed) for each winner.



To enter the giveaway, go to my website pattern pages and see if you can find a pattern that you would like, then leave a comment at the end of this post, and another comment on my post over at Sew we Quilt, telling me which one of the patterns you would like to win. The three winners will receive whatever pattern they choose from my range.




Giveway closes 12 noon Sunday 15th May, (Aust EST).
 



And don't forget to keep a look out NEXT WEEK for the next pattern in my free Block of the Month "Consider the Lilies" design.

Happy stitching
Val

PS - I am having terrible trouble with Blogger at the moment (as are a lot of other Australians evidently) and have had to use the old editor to be able to write this post, which keeps on putting HUGE spaces between everything and won't allow you to do all sorts of things that I'm used to doing! Oh well ....

Breaking the rule

When I started designing and having works commissioned for publication, I set myself a rule that I would not allow myself to start a new project until I had completed the pattern writing, diagrams, templates and samples of the project just finished. I have stuck to that rule quite well for years, but over the last couple of months, I was just too eager to get into the next design, that I broke my rule! 

And how I wish I hadn't!

My excuse was, after having five months where I couldn't do much sewing or designing, with holidays, selling and buying houses, packing and moving, making Christmas presents and having lots of family and visitors, I really just wanted to get back into the flow without having it interrupted by all that tedious computer work!

This week, it all caught up with me!

As due dates started looming large, I knew I had to grab myself by the scruff of the neck and be disciplined, and actually sit down and work on those patterns!  So, it's all my own fault that I had a boring week - four days of working out how I had put together four designs.  Why don't I take proper notes as I go?????


Time spent counting how many winds I did on the tassel.
Maybe I should do a little tutorial on how to make easy tassels???


How did I put those embellishments on?

Did I sew the button on before or after adding the batting?


When did I make those buttonholes?  Yes, there are some there.

So, I think I am cured.  There is still one more pattern to write up and then I will NOT break my rule again!!! Ever!

On another note, Happy Mothers' Day to all the mothers and grandmothers out there.

I remember with great fondness my own mother - how I miss her.  She was a fantastic crafter and taught me so much, not least of which was embroidery, sewing, knitting, crochet and tatting.  I'll finish off with a photo of one of her lovely gifts to me - a crocheted tablecloth.


Can you imagine the love and time that went into making this gorgeous piece of work?  How important it is to cherish the ones we love while we have them with us.

Have a great week.
Val

I want fabric like this!

If ever I get opportunity to design a fabric range, I want it to be like this:


deep, rich, gorgeous colour

and this:


lots of texture and sheen

and this:



intricate detail.

It is definitely MY fabric range ... but I don't know whether this fellow will allow me to have the copyright:


We met him, and plenty of his brothers and sisters, when we took our granddaughter to the local zoo.  We had a fabulous day looking at animals in the beautiful setting of a botanical garden cum rainforest. Anita is now back at Uni and we're 'home alone'.  It was so lovely to spend time getting to know her again.

Very little sewing has been done, needless to say, but I can show you a sneak peak of  a project that is complete.





And remember the "What is Love?" free pattern from a couple of years ago?  Ginny from the USA has shared this photo of her lovely version of the design.


I've put a new pattern onto my website.  You might remember "All my lovely sewing things" wallhanging which was featured in Australian Homespun earlier this year.  It's now available for purchase if you are unable to obtain a copy of the magazine.  You will find it here.


The mug rugs pattern I showed you last week are also now on the website.

I hope you have a productive, inspired, creative week.

Regards
Val