A new quilt


If you've been following my blog for a while, you will know that I don't make many large quilts.  I enjoy making smaller projects - wall hangings, bags, cushions, sewing accessories.  But I'm usually good for two or three simple quilts in a year.  I had plenty of fabric left over from the 2011 free Block of the Month quilt, "Consider the Lilies".  Remember this:?


So I made the Floriana quilt which has just been published in Country Threads Magazine, Vol 13 No 8.

And here it is gracing the front cover: 


This quilt started out as a simple "Square in a Square" quilt, and you can see I kept those blocks in the four corners. However, when all the blocks were made, I thought it looked rather "ordinary" and wasn't very exciting at all!  That's when I started experimenting and pulled the rotary cutter out of the drawer!


And so the "Disappearing Square" block was born. The lovely Dawn quilted it beautifully for me and it now makes an attractive cover for our small-sized Pool table.

Christmas for us was rather quiet this year after very large celebrations last year, but we enjoyed having some of our family around.  This is my Christmas present - a wonderful new oven - well two ovens actually:



 When we moved to Queensland two years ago, we purchased a beautiful home, but one or two things were not as good as in the previous home which we had had built to our own design. The oven in our new home left quite a bit to be desired; it regularly burnt things on the bottom shelf and didn't cook things on the top shelf!  I really missed my beautiful fan-forced oven. I had been thinking about buying a new one for quite a while (and saving up for it!) and in the end I decided it would be silly not to have a good oven for all the Christmas baking, so went ahead and bought it!  

The interesting thing is that in the process of installing it, this was discovered:


The previous oven had not been installed properly with a vent 15 years ago. The heat had burnt through the fire-retardant sheeting and had started burning the surrounding wood!  The installer was surprised that it hadn't actually caught fire! I was ever so thankful that I had made the decision to buy NOW!  And for the first time in two years, I made a fruitcake that wasn't burnt on the bottom!  I don't know whether it is my imagination or not, but all the food baked in my new oven just tastes so much better now!

In between all the Christmas celebrations, I have done plenty of stitching. This design was a commission which was quite different to the norm and I am excited about the way it has turned out.  It's a technique I will definitely try again:


I've been hand-quilting the new 2013 Block of the Month free quilt I have for you, but sub-tropical Queensland summer is not the best time to have a quilt draped over one's lap, so it's just short, sharp bursts on that one.  When it gets too hot for comfort, I move over to doing some stitching on another new design.  I'm just loving the way this one is coming together:


Then the pencil has been out and I have drawn a new stitchery for a bag.  It's been a fun week!

I'll take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful New Year, filled with blessings and plenty of stitching!

Val

Have a wonderful Christmas!


Just a couple of days to go and we celebrate God's amazing gift to this world. Seems a bit strange really, that we receive gifts when it's Jesus' birthday we celebrate!

Thank you for sharing my journey through 2012. You've enriched my life - even though I haven't met most of you!  Your encouragement and sweet comments have put a smile on my face.

The fruits of a productive few months earlier in the year are upon me with lots of projects being published at the moment.  There'll be a corresponding few blank months in about half a year's time seeing I haven't been producing too much lately!

My Butterfly and Roses Needle case is in a recent issue of Embroidery and Cross Stitch Magazine:


It has silk ribbon roses and grub roses on the outside:



A pretty butterfly or two on the inside:


I love that I have the freedom to tackle a variety of different styles of stitching. Sometimes I am in a Country mood; sometimes it just has to be a Classic elegant look; other times I am totally lost in the world of silk - be it ribbons, threads or fabric; some days I dream of redecorating my house into Shabby Chic; occasionally my love of pastel colours is put on hold and I even break out into brights. If "variety is the spice of life", then I think I like it spicy!

The new free Block of the Month quilt for 2013 is progressing well and the quilt top is almost complete. Keep an eye out for it in January.  Meanwhile, the 2012 free pattern will be available until 31st December, so make sure you download it while you can!

I do hope you have a wonderful, safe and happy Christmas.

Hugs
Val

Week 7 - free pattern


It's the last week of the Seven Weeks of Christmas Giving.  I hope you have enjoyed the free patterns I have given each week. I've had a lot of fun sharing them with you. For our final gift project I have a Christmas envelope and as a bonus, there's a gift tag pattern as well.


It's gift-wrapping with a difference - the wrapping is part of the gift!  Pop in some money or an "I love you" note, or even a fat quarter! Then of course the envelope can be re-used after Christmas.  It would be quite a useful pouch for threads, make-up etc.


 The gift tag can be attached over the button on the back of the envelope or you could attach it to a completely different present.

I hope you enjoy making these - you have just 8 days to make them before the big day!!!  The pattern can be downloaded from my website.

While you're visiting my website, this is a reminder that all ten of the free 2012 Block of the Month "Thoughts in Thread" patterns are still available until 31st December, so download them while you can!

I am more than half way finished the new free Block of the Month quilt for 2013. I am rather liking the way it is coming together! I am putting my skates on to try to complete it for release to you in January!

You might remember seeing this pattern earlier in the year when I conducted an on-line workshop.  Lilac Love Needle case, pincushion and scissor-keep have now been published in the beautiful Australian Country Craft magazine, Vol 23 No 10.


Felt, fabric and embroidery - one of my favourite combinations:


Last week I went on an internet search for a little box that would be suitable for holding a felt Christmas ornament and some chocolates.  I was delighted to find this free downloadable pattern at Paper Glitter:


The box has a cute little Gingerbread House on the other side.  It was the perfect size and shape for what I wanted. It is so lovely when people freely share their creativity!

We had some lovely catch-ups and break-ups last week and now I'm nearly ready for Christmas. We went to our local community Carol singing evening last night, presents are bought, Christmas pudding is done, Turkey is in the freezer; now there's just the Christmas Cake to make and the presents to wrap.  Not many sleeps now!

Hugs
Val

Week 6 - Free Pattern


It's the second last week of the Seven Weeks of Christmas Giving. This week I have three very versatile little stitcheries for you. You can make them into a Trio of Trivets as I have, join them together with a button and make them into a swag, or simply use the stitcheries wherever you like!


The free pattern will be available on my website  for one week. I hope you enjoy using these designs.

Six or seven months ago, I must have done a lot of sewing!  There are quite a few of my patterns being published in magazines at the moment!

Here is Les Macarons in the latest edition of Patchwork & Stitching:


and it's always exciting to be on the cover:


Now I have a confession to make - I don't really know what all the fuss is about when it comes to Macarons!  There are many other sweet delicacies that I would rather have placed before me!  But what I DO love is the colour!  They look so amazing!  Here are the colours I chose when I "baked up my storm":


In contrast to my hive of activity six or seven months ago, I don't seem to have accomplished very much stitching lately!  The round of Christmas catch-ups, break-ups, clean-ups and shopping always engulf the last two months of my year - it's a fun way to have life engulfed!  

Not so fun this week was having a problem with my colour printer.  I wasted a whole day trying to get it to work, then another day scouring the internet for a new one, trying to do the impossible - compare apples with apples! I finally worked out which printer to buy, based on its purchase cost and ongoing ink costs, and the best place to purchase it ... only to find when I went to the store yesterday, that they had sold out!!!!!  I was determined to come home with a new printer, so went to another store for a different model, only to find they also had sold out!  The story has a happy ending, however, as the store was giving big discounts yesterday, and I was able to purchase a better model for just $6 more than I originally was going to pay!

I have managed to stitch a few little Christmas ornaments in front of the TV at night:


Felt is such a versatile fabric:



We have more break-ups and catch-ups this week.  It's getting to look a lot like Christmas!

Val

Fabulous free Christmas Craft


Part of the joy of being a crafter is having children and grandchildren who also love being creative.  Our very talented daughter, Janelle, has just designed this fabulous Advent calendar for children to make.


The pattern is available for FREE over here at Imagine, Make, Believe.

Janelle is in the process of setting up an inexpensive, digital, downloadable magazine for children 5-11 years old.  It's going to be full of fabulous ideas - craft, sewing, recipes, games, drama, stories, puzzles, party ideas ... but more about that another day.

Part of Janelle's philosophy is to use materials that are easily obtainable, cheap or free, and often what can be found in the house. I'm sure your children, grandchildren, friend's children will just love making this and it's not going to cost a fortune!


Who'd have thought that egg cartons and bottle lids could look so good and be so much fun?

 Hugs
Val

Week 5 - Free Pattern


It's Week 5 in our Seven Weeks of Christmas Giving!  This week I have a very practical project for you - a set of Vegetable Bags.  We all know that we should keep vegetables such as potatoes out of the light, so these hessian bags are just perfect for storing your veges. Added to that is the fact that they have been 'prettied' up with a fun bit of applique!

Simply Fresh Vege Bags

I hope you like them and find them a quick, easy and inexpensive gift idea.  You can download the free pattern from my website.  It will be available for one week until the next free pattern is uploaded.

This week I've been making some felt Christmas ornaments, some of which will be given away as little gifts. They have been in the form of such things as doves, Christmas trees, stars and bells, with a little bit of stitching and a few beads and embellishments.  I've also been doing some more stitching on the 2013 free Block of the Month pattern which I have planned for you. It's coming together quite sweetly.

This weekend we've had two of our young grandsons staying with us and they were keen to put up our Christmas tree and decorate it, so it's all organised a couple of weeks earlier than I would have got around to it!  Yesterday we spent a lot of time at the beach but today we had a "Crafternoon" and had lots of fun recycling Christmas Cards. They created tiny little boxes which could hold a chocolate or couple of lollies:


Some round baubles:


There were also lots of different 3D baubles made.  Once the older grandson understood the concept behind making these, he came up with the idea of making one in the form of a Christmas tree.  It turned out really well and looked quite brilliant.  (No photo, so I will have to make one myself to show you!)


 The younger grandson really enjoyed making these strippy balls:


Before we went to the beach yesterday, we had a go at making some 'Crystal' ornaments. I'd never tried them before and it was a game of patience waiting for the experiment to happen overnight!  But happen it did.  This little pipecleaner heart this morning was encrusted with sparkly crystals:


The star was shining:


and the sweet little bell was ready to ring out the good news:


There are many sites where you can learn how to do these - just Google "borax crystal ornaments".

I was going to show you a couple more of my designs that have been published in the last month but there's enough photos already on this post - and truth is I haven't got round to photographing the projects!

Have a great week,
Val