The sewing machine is still packed away!


Yes, we've been home five days and the sewing machine is still tucked away in its cabinet!  I do have something to show you, however, because the latest Australian Handmade magazine is on the streets and my "Love came down at Christmas" table runner is in it. Christina Rossetti wrote the poem of the same name in 1885 and it was part of the Christmas Carol tradition of my youth, thus the inspiration for this pattern.


My runner has the first couple of lines of the poem embroidered on each end. The design is simple but I wanted to show off the lovely pack of charm squares ... and I can't remember the name of the fabric range!  My usual system of recording what I do with each of my purchases went out the window with this one and the fabric was purchased last year, so the name escapes me!  I'd be happy to hear from you if you know!


Apart from being busy and having some unexpected things land on my plate this week, I decided I really needed to tackle some of my "To Do" list. I have been wanting for ages to make some more of my designs available on my website, so this was the week to do it. You've seen these before in Australian magazines, but they are now available for purchase online, which should help my international readers:








The other reason that I haven't done any sewing is that Spring fever has hit my household!!! Now that the weather is warmer, I am seeing all the mould and grime of winter everywhere, so out has come the Springcleaning list!  In deference to my age, I have decided to spend just half of each day for the next few weeks tackling the big cleanup.  It will spread it out a bit, but gone are the days when I am happy to spend the WHOLE day cleaning! That way I can get some stitching done too!

First area to be done was the entertaining area.  We have a fabulous large under-cover outdoor area. 

From inside the house:


See how clean the pavers look now that I have cleaned them:

  
Now to stick to my plan for the rest of the house!

Happy stitching!
Val

Wild about wildflowers


My husband and I are now home from a holiday with our son, his wife and four children.  We spent a week with them in a lovely coastal area of northern New South Wales. It is always so lovely to catch up with family and we enjoyed many hours of just being together - playing board-games, fishing, shopping, eating and relaxing.  It was especially restful for me as I didn't have to do any cooking!J

Our cabin was on the edge of a conservation area which had lots of beautiful birds and a magnificent area of wildflowers. The colour scheme was gold, purple and white!



Some areas were just one great mass of colour:


 The flannel flowers with their velvety leaves were gorgeous:


No wonder purple is one of my favourite colours.  There are so many Australian wildflowers in shades of purple:

     



The boronia is always delightful:


Even a common pea flower was quite stunning:


We were delighted to see a couple of Eastern Spinebills with their long bills, perfect for obtaining nectar from the flowers.


Needless to say, there was no stitching done for the week, but there's plenty of inspiration for the future from our lovely walks in the bush. What a wonderful world we live in!

Till next time, happy stitching!

Val

Free Pattern Thoughts in Thread - Block 9


We're in the ninth month of the year, so it's time to give you Block 9 of the free BOM "Thoughts in Thread" quilt. The focus this month is on "right thoughts", so I have used a pretty clock to depict the theme.  There's nothing worse than trusting a time-piece that doesn't keep the correct time!  It needs to be right and able to be trusted!  So that's the focus - right thoughts being the foundation for right living.


An appliqued clock with some simple stitching and piecing:


As usual, you can find the new block on my website.  

This is the last block in the quilt, but come back next month and I will give you some instructions for the borders and binding, plus a quilt label.  All the blocks will remain on my website until the end of the year.  I have been planning another free BOM quilt for you for next year and some fun things for November and December, so I hope you will keep visiting!

Some friends of ours are being married next Saturday, and I wanted to have a special card to accompany their present. I decided to revisit my parchment skills (or lack thereof) to make them a pretty card.  It didn't take me long to remember why I hadn't done any parchment work for a while - sore wrist, aching shoulders, kinked neck. Of course, some of the pens had dried out and I could see I needed some practice to come up to my old standard, but I had to be content with the result. If you don't look too closely, the overall effect isn't too bad:



Two things I do know - the gift (one of my wall quilts) and the card will be one of a kind and the lovely couple are not going to get two the same!

My table runner that gave me all the angst in the previous week came together really well in the end - that is until I did the quilting!  I did my best machine quilting ever with a great cable design in the centre, but the design pushed the fabric to the edges and I ended up with waves in the non-quilted area!!!  Out it all came!  I had another two attempts which were even better quilting, but I ended up pulling them out too! Back to faithful hand quilting.  Now I have a runner that I really like and it has turned out beautifully! I never will get this quilting by machine thing!!! Lesson to self - a needle in the hand is worth two in the machine!

Happy stitching!
Val

Rosebud Treasure Box


It's time to reveal the project I will be teaching at the Creative Craft Retreat. If you live in South East Queensland, you might be interested in this wonderful weekend away - nothing to do all weekend but craft!  It will be held at Lake Perseverance from 2nd-4th November and you can find all the information you need here.

My workshop for the weekend will be the Rosebud Treasure Box:


I had so much enjoyment putting this design together.  It embodies so many things that I like - applique, Suffolk Puffs, embroidery, lace, beads and pretty rosebuds.


As you know, I love to make pretty and practical projects.  This box is a six inch cube with a lid so is really quite roomy and ever so useful for storing treasures.


I hope I'll get to meet some of you there and I'd love to have you in my class!

Do you remember how fond I was of my "Thoughts in Thread" dove? I loved it so much that I had to use it in another project and so the Pure Peace quilt was born:


Four lovely doves in the centre:


The design is in the latest Australian Country Craft and Decorating, Vol 23 No 8:


I've had a funny week!  It was one of those weeks when my stitching didn't come together as planned.  I've been working on a table runner and have done more reverse sewing on it than I like to remember.  I am happy with the basic design, but the embellishments have just not been right, so I've been making and adding things, getting almost finished, then off they all come again! Then I drew up a really lovely little stitchery with applique, then I realised that the fabrics I had used were too similar to another design which has been commissioned for publication.  I tried some other fabrics and got under way with the embroidery, but it's not the effect I was hoping to obtain! I haven't had one of those weeks for a year or two and I'm hoping I don't have another one soon!

However, in the middle of my unproductive week, I had a fabulous idea!  There's going to be lots of exciting things happening on my blog in November and December, so stay tuned!

Happy stitching!
Val

A rose by any other name ....


I love roses!  When we lived in a much cooler climate where it was ideal for growing this beautiful flower, I had quite a few in my garden:


The sub-tropical climate where we live now is not really suitable for growing roses, and our lifestyle is such that I need to have a garden that doesn't need much water or TLC, so there are now no roses in my garden. That doesn't stop me buying fabric with roses on it! And talking about rose fabric, I had better let you know the winner of my giveaway which included some of the lovely Butterscotch and Roses fabric line!

The person that Mr Random.org chose was


Thank you to everyone who entered the Giveaway.  It was so lovely to receive all your delightful comments.

And still on the rose theme, one of my recent designs "Coming up Roses" can be found in the latest edition of Patchwork & Stitching Magazine:



 It's a rectangular vintage-style doily with embroidery, a few beads, some colouring-in and some lovely cotton lace:


It seems that I have had a real penchant for roses lately!!!  Just because I can't grow them, doesn't stop me from stitching them!  I have had a real craving to make LOTS of them - pretty roses, sweet little roses, silky roses, pink roses, lavender roses, apricot roses, tiny rose buds - you name it and I've been doing it!


I went on a search for my tin of silk ribbon and I haven't been able to stop!


 I even bought some more ribbon while I was on holidays! 


I wonder how long it will take to get it out of my system??????

Of course I've been working on some other quilty projects during the daylight hours but have been looking forward to the evenings when I can sit and make roses to my heart's content!

I hope you've enjoyed my rosy pictures!

Happy stitching,
Val