Sunday, March 27, 2011
I was looking for a small piece of cream silk I had put aside for a project. Silk is such a wonderful fabric and though it is difficult to work with, the results are always so beautiful. I was picturing this piece of silk with some gorgeous red grub roses on it - total elegance!

We've been in our new house for five months now, but it isn't really long enough for me to remember where I have put all my sewing bits and pieces, especially things only used occasionally.  Of course, being the super organised type, I made an index so I could find what I wanted ... so you will find my felt in the "bottom right" and the zippers in the "top left"...

I didn't consult my index for my little bit of silk, because I had a fair idea of where it should be - in the crate that has orphan blocks, unused stitcheries, fabric set aside for special projects, and of course my PASSES (projects at a stand still). Before I had a chance to look for my silk, a bag of left-over strips from a jelly roll jumped out at me, demanding my attention.

There were some unused blocks from my Fairy Floss Quilt.  There was a little stitchery that didn't end up being used on this Soft Jelly folder:

There were strips of joined-up two inch squares.  There were lots of little bits and pieces, not enough to make anything big, but too much to just put in the scrap box. The search for the silk was forgotten and I was sidetracked into using up these bits of pretty fabric.  Two days later, they have turned into:

A needlecase

A thread catcher

A sewing pouch with a gorgeous vintage button

 A pincushion

A scissor pillow 

Needless to say, I had a lot of fun whipping up these quick and easy projects and using such pretty fabric.  Now there are just a few tiny bits left, just right to go into the scrap boxes.  And what am I going to do with these sidetrack projects?  All will be revealed soon!

And the cream silk fabric...  I didn't get around to looking for it, but when I opened a drawer to pull out something else, there was the silk fabric all folded neatly waiting to be used!

Happy stitching!

Hidden beauty

Saturday, March 19, 2011

How could something so delicate come from such a prickly, spikey bunch of thorns set in such an arid, stoney landscape?

In some amazing way, this cactus in my garden, contains hidden beauty.  It is just waiting the perfect time, with the right conditions, to display what is hidden in there.  With almost no warning, a beautiful flower appears, then it's all over in one day!

Just look at the detail in there!

It's a lesson not to judge a book by its cover, instead, to think what beauty might be hidden inside the
"not-so-lovely-on-the-outside" person.

Having enjoyed the flower above with its fleeting lifespan, we were delighted when this one appeared yesterday.  I think this flower lasts two or three days before it fades away:

 Same story - lots of prickles, thorns and spikey bits - this time glistening with rain drops:

On the sewing side, this month I seem to be going through the "everything takes longer than expected" stage.  I am usually quite good at estimating how long something will take me to do, but I've failed miserably with my guesses lately.  Consequently I'm making much slower progress than I hoped on a couple of projects.  I obviously will have to be more realistic in future.  But, what's the hurry anyway?  At the moment, the only deadlines I have are ones I've set myself!  So I'm going to enjoy the process, rather than be hankering to finish a project!

Talking of finishes, have a look at this gorgeous version of my Gifts of Grace design:

Don't you just love the colour combinations Sharon has put together.

Have a great week ... and
Happy stitching!


Free Pattern - Consider the Lilies Pattern 3

Sunday, March 13, 2011
Another month has come and gone!  Have you been able to work on your Consider the Lilies block?  I have Pattern 3 for you today.  Go here to download it.

A little bit of stitching and some applique are the treats for you this month.

I added some sweet little pearl hearts as embellishment here.

You might like to try some water colour pencils to add some colour to your pot of lilies.

If you have any problems making this 'square in a square' pot of lilies block, there are many good websites with lots of diagrams and photos, so I decided not to duplicate what is already there.  If you need help in finding a good site, send me an e-mail and I can direct you.

Your completed block should look something like this:

which is the completed Block 1. Finish this one, and you are a quarter of the way there!

I managed to finish another of my 'half finished' items this week including the instructions etc.  Yeah!!!  It too was commissioned by a magazine, which always makes me happy! 
So now I am on one of my 'half started' projects.  It's a wall-hanging for a toddler.  I always enjoy making children's designs.  I do have another 'half finished' project on the go, but it is at the stage where it is ready for lots of embroidery, which I love to do at night.  The wall-hanging needs lots of machine work and that's what I like to do when I have time during the day, so I have allowed myself to pick up another project, even though the other one isn't finished!  You see, I am really trying to be disciplined!
We enjoyed having four of our grandchildren and our daughter here over the weekend.  We love being able to see our family so much more often that we used to.  Then this afternoon, the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra came to our little township and put on a fantastic classical concert.  My husband and I haven't been to one of these concerts for years, so it was just wonderful to sit back and allow the beautiful music to flow over our souls. There's nothing like being there - it is always just so much better than just listening to a CD!

Now to show you what Ginny has done with the Gifts of Grace free design from 2010.

Isn't this all-embroidered version sweet?

Have a great week ... and happy stitching!


A few finishes!

Saturday, March 5, 2011
This last week I managed to FINISH a few projects! A bag has been made, patterns have been written, templates have been refined, a label is on a quilt and I had two projects commissioned by magazines ... so all in all, I think it was a pretty good week! 

One of my dreams for this year is to have a project published in an overseas magazine.  Just finding a magazine that is open to accepting designs from other than their own country, is an issue in itself.  Then finding an editor's contact address on the web is quite often like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. Then finding a magazine that will make a decision in less than three months ... then discovering that a submission has to be by mail, not by e-mail ... (all the submissions to the six or seven Australian magazines that have published my work in the last five or six years have been by e-mail!) ... I almost put it in the "too hard" basket. But I finally found a magazine in the USA that had the decency to reply to my e-mail enquiry and I have now posted off a submission to them. 

I am really happy with the way this project has turned out and it uses my favourite Robyn Pandolph fabric range.  Maybe the editor will like it too????? 

Don't get me wrong - I just LOVE our Australian magazines and really enjoy working with some absolutely delightful editors, and hope to continue to do so.  A few years ago, I just dreamed of being published.  Then I wanted to design something that was good enough to be featured on the front cover. I guess now I am feeling ready for the next challenge.

Some of the magazines are quite happy for a designer to sell or teach or show a pattern before publication.  With others there is a two or three month wait after publication before the publishing and use rights revert to the designer.  Why am I telling you all this?  Because I developed my own policy as a result of working with the different magazines.  Early in the piece I decided that I would not sell or show any new patterns before publication. I like people to find my design in a magazine and not be disappointed thinking "I've seen that before!"

So all of that big long explanation is to tell you why you are only getting "sneak peaks" today!  These will be off to magazines this week:

On another note:  I was honoured to be asked to be the Guest Designer at Snickerdoodle Dreams Community for the month of March.  It is free to join and each month there is a free pattern exclusively for use of the members.  My little free pattern is a sweet stitchery which you might enjoy working on.

I counted up the projects on my "next few weeks" 'to do' list.  (I have another "longer term" 'to do' list as well!)  I have three projects 'half finished' and another four 'half started', so I am trying to be disciplined and plan to gradually get them done, one at a time, beginning with the 'half finished' pile - all without adding any more projects in there!  Now I need to go and get the next section of the free BOM "Consider the Lilies" pattern organised so you can download it next week.

Happy Stitching!