Coat Hanger memories

I am rather fond of pretty coat hangers. It all started many decades ago when I was a little tot in primary school. Our school ran a series of Spelling Bees and I won the competition in my grade. The prize was a pretty padded and decorated coat hanger. 

I remember my mother being quite excited about it and it wasn't till I was in my "double figures" that I began to value it. I used it for years and years until finally it ended up being just raggy strips of fabric draped over wood, and it had to go where all coat hangers eventually go!


Over the years I have enjoyed making my own pretty hangers, my favourite probably being this one that I made for a bride earlier in the year:


Most of the ones that are in my own wardrobe were made by my lovely mother. She loved crochet and spent her latter years making exquisite tablecloths, doileys, rugs and coat hanger covers, and I have been the happy recipient of many of them.

A while back I had the urge to make some more fabric covers, and so the sweet and pretty Frou Frou was born:


The pattern has now been published in Patchwork & Stitching Magazine Vol 17 No 2.


If you want to make your own pretty hanger, my Doing Frilly pattern is still available for free. They make lovely gifts with Christmas fast approaching.


Talking of Christmas, I have put another of my Christmas designs in the pattern store. Christmas Chimes Candle mat is a delightful combination of felt, applique and silk ribbon embroidery.
You can see it here.


I'm excited about teaching Hollyhock Cottage at a workshop this week.  


I love it when a design comes together exactly how I want it.


This is a multi-functional folder pattern as it can be made into a needle-case or a tissue holder or a card wallet. 



I hope the ladies enjoy making it!

Val

Christmas - keeping it traditional

I managed to design five new Christmas projects this year. You've seen my apron and oven mitt/trivet set. Then there are some ornaments and a cutlery holder which I'll show you some time. For all of them I decided to stick with traditional red and green this year after diverting to something quite different last year. There is something just so right about the red and green combination.

"All the stockings were hung" is my first ever Christmas Stocking design. While I've made a number of stockings for grandchildren in the past, I've never come up with my own original design till now.


I wanted the embellishments to be three dimensional, and they ended up coming right "off the page". The angel and the gingerbread man are removable and wearable as a brooch or pinned to a bag or however you like to use them during the lead up to Christmas. 



Christmas Eve they can be pinned back onto the stocking ready for the big event!


They have been published in Patchwork & Stitching Magazine, Vol 17 No 1.


I do plan to put the pattern in my Craftsy store early December if you are unable to source the magazine and want to make these gorgeous stockings. The gingerbread man is just the cutest!

I've been trying to make a few more of my patterns available in the store, seeing so many of you tell me that you can't buy our wonderful Australian magazines where you live. Polly finds the Holly oven mitt and trivet set is now available here.


After not ever doing much Christmas sewing previously, I have a little collection of designs now. You can see them on my Christmas page.

My husband and I have been having a couple of small holidays this month. We spent a delightful week away in northern New South Wales pursuing our passion of bird-watching with members of our local club. They were all intrigued with this yarn-bombing which we discovered:


It had been very creatively put together.


Once we arrived back home, the number one focus has been to prepare kits for a workshop I will be teaching in early December. Sure takes time to cut all the fabric, batting, fusible web and package all the embellishments! 

Happy stitching!
Val


The Symphony of Life

I have quite narrow tastes in music. I love classical music, a bit of musical theatre and nothing much else! On special occasions, like our wedding anniversary, my husband and I will go to a Symphony Orchestra Concert, which for me is a fantastic way to celebrate. 


It always amazes me how so many different instruments can all play together to make such a beautiful sound. 


On reflection, I think our life is a Symphony. 


There are so many bits and pieces, joys and sorrows, friends and family that make up one's life.


How we bring it all together can make a beautiful symphony or a terrible cacophony!


The best way I know of expressing this thought is to make a quilt!

Meet my Symphony of Life quilt!


I commissioned my 12 year old grandson to draw the instruments for me, seeing I am a woeful artist and he is exceptionally good, then I added what he calls my "abstract flowery things".


I think he did a fantastic job with the drawings. I just loved turning them into applique and stitching all the details and the words that make up the Symphony.


Homespun Magazine liked it enough to publish it!


It's in their latest edition, November Collector's edition.



It's one of my designs that just makes me smile every time I look at it - definitely my favourite this year! Now I need to work on making my own life a beautiful symphony!

Happy stitching!
Val

Turning the Calendar

I had extra pleasure in turning the Calendar over to November this year! For a whole month my project is on view in the beautiful Homespun 2015 Calendar. 


I am very fond of the Herb Garden design for a number of reasons. I like to use herbs in my cooking and so have a few lovely pots in my garden – thyme, rosemary, parsley, basil and mint, and it gave me great pleasure to design four little herb stitcheries to display on this wall hanging. 


I also love that the pattern showcases a beautiful range of fabric. This project was really a turning point in my designing. It was just so easy to use the great variety of fabrics, because they were planned to complement each other, they all belonged in the one range, and so they worked perfectly together.


It eliminated all the struggle of finding just the right combinations of shade, tone, texture and scale – taking fabric to the window for better light to see whether it matched, only to find there was a harsh clash – searching through drawers of fabric to find that elusive piece and then being disappointed that it didn’t really work after all. 


That’s when I became hooked on buying whole ranges. I find them so versatile and economical. I like to buy a 10 inch layer cake which usually provides about 40 different fabrics. They are a good size for cutting appliqu├ęs plus some squares or half square triangles. With 40 pieces, that’s plenty of fabric to make a wall quilt. Then I usually purchase some yardage of tone-on-tone fabrics that can be used for borders or binding. You can read more about my buying rationale in this "Adventures with pre-cuts" post.


Before we could turn the calendar over to November, we spent a whole week in wonderful celebrations for my husband’s big “0” birthday with lots of family and friends joining us for the festivities. We had a few surprises for him and it was such a joy to see his happiness in what we had organised. 

Needless to say, with party preparations, baking, organising, shopping, and family with us, there hasn’t been any stitching happening but I did manage to upload one of my recent designs to my Craftsy Store. The Fan Dance pattern is now available here



Another of my silk-ribbon embroidery projects has appeared in Embroidery & Cross Stitch magazine (Vol 23 No 4) – Fuchsia Frolics:


When we lived in a cooler climate, I used to grow the most beautiful Fuchsias. Now I work them in ribbons instead!


I'm just back from the Creative Craft Retreat at which I taught some lovely ladies bag-making. It is always a wonderful time of fun, friendship and food - always tastes great when I don't have to cook it!

Happy stitching,
Val