Giveaway time!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Now that I have two reasons to celebrate, 
it's definitely time for my giveaway! 
On top of my 100 designs landmark, I have now reached the 600 followers milestone! Thank you to the four or five lovely ladies who became official followers during the week to make this happen.  

For the giveaway, I decided to make a pretty sewing set using some of the Scarborough Fair range.  There's a pincushion:

 A needlecase:

A scissor pillow:

and a thread-catcher:

 Then there's a set of 22 five-inch charm squares of the lovely Butterscotch & Rose range of fabric:

To enter is easy.  If you are a follower of this blog, or become one in the next few days, you are eligible to enter. All you need to do is leave a comment at the end of this post. (Reminder: my system is set up to automatically delete any "Anonymous" comments. If you are a "no-reply blogger", please include your e-mail address in the comment.) 

The giveaway will close on the first day of our Spring - next Saturday 1st September, at midnight Australian time.

Feel free to mention the giveaway to your friends - I'd be happy for them to become followers too!

My "Charmed Life" Table Runner appeared in Patchwork & Stitching Vol 13 No 5 recently. 

Charm squares are such a great way to sample a fabric range and they are quite economical too.  It takes all the guesswork out of matching fabrics and colours!  It can be lots of fun going through the stash trying to get things to match, but sometimes it is really enjoyable to use a range of fabric where you know absolutely every piece will fit in perfectly!  This design is very simple with squares "on point" and a bit of ricrac and flowers for embellishment and hand-made tassels on the end. 

The only "tricky" bit to the pattern is how to bind and mitre the odd angles on the sides. Some time ago I prepared a tutorial for you on how to cope with an angle other than 90 degrees. You might find this helpful some time and can download the file from this page here.

Have a great week and happy stitching!


A small Milestone

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I reached a small milestone this week, I had my one hundredth design commissioned for publication.  I won't actually have 100 projects published until some time next year, but I'm quite excited to have reached the one hundredth commission.  A milestone, no matter how big or small,  is definitely something to be celebrated, so of course I'm planning a Giveaway. I have something pretty and practical in mind to make this week as a prize, so look out for my next blog post when I hope to be able to show you what is 'up for grabs'. The giveaway will be for my followers so if you regularly read my blog, it would be great to have you as an 'official' follower. (It would also help me to get to another milestone - 600 followers!)

I resisted the lure of patchwork and quilting for quite a while because I knew I would never be happy painstakingly machining little bits of fabric together! I am first and foremost a hand worker! It was only when I saw how embroidery could be combined with the craft that I became interested ... and ultimately addicted! Since then, most of my 100 designs have included stitcheries of some sort:

Then I fell in love with applique, particularly fusible web applique, so heaps of my designs feature both applique and embroidery.

However, sometimes the call of embroidery is just too strong and I have to drop everything and do some serious stitching with beautiful silk ribbons, fancy cotton, silk and rayon threads, elegant guipure and plenty of pretty beads. 

That's how "Fan-ciful" was born and featured in Embroidery and Cross Stitch magazine Vol 19 No 12. You can see I didn't drop my love of applique but instead worked out a way to showcase it!

These burgundy and pink spider-web roses are super-easy to make.  Of course I couldn't do embroidery without including my beloved grub roses.  (... a reminder that I have a free tutorial on how to make these, the link for which you can find here on this page.)

The lovely editor phoned me to see if I had any more embroidery projects I could give her!  I didn't need a second asking!  I like to do hand stitching at night and drawing, cutting and machining during the day.  Serious embroidery takes a L-O-N-G time to complete so I've had plenty to keep me occupied in front of the TV lately!

Happy stitching!

Free Pattern Thoughts in Thread - Block 8

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The year is disappearing fast and it's time to give you the second last block in the free Block of the Month Thoughts in Thread quilt. Wow, I'll have to start thinking about next year so I have something to share with you each month in 2013.

So here is Block 8 with the focus on admirable - kind, winsome and gracious - thoughts.

I LOVE receiving letters and it's always a highlight of the day to go and check the mail box to see if the postman has been (as long as he doesn't bring bills!). When I was a child, the mail was delivered twice a day from Monday to Friday and just once on Saturday. The postman used to announce that he had popped a letter in your letterbox with the blowing of his whistle.

It's rather different now with most of our communication in and out by e-mail, but the bonus is that I get to check the mail box every time I sit at the computer and don't have to wait for the postman!

Over the years I've received some wonderful letters - so many kind and gracious words have encouraged me, lifted me up when I was down, and put a smile on my face. Seeing I'm an incurable romantic, you won't be surprised that I was especially thinking of all the love-letters my husband-to-be sent me. As we were living in different States, we did most of our courting by letter.  I just had to depict this in my quilt!  

I hope you enjoy stitching this block.  As usual, it and all the other blocks of the quilt, are available on my website here.

While you're there downloading the block, you might like to have a look at the couple of new patterns that I have put on the website.  A number of you really liked my Showers of Blessing quilt which was published in Australian Country Threads magazine recently. 

For my international readers who have difficulty obtaining our fabulous magazines, the pattern is now available for purchase here.

My "Cook with Love" oven mitt and trivet would make a great gift or would be ideal to make for a fete.

It's quick to make and snazzy with its check binding. The pattern is available here.

It's been a busy week but I've made headway on a couple of new projects.  One is all about colour and the other is all about embroidery - two very different styles but I really like them both!  More about that another day.

Meanwhile, happy stitching!


How I spent my "Crafternoons"

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I've had quite a few "Crafternoons" since we arrived home from holidays. One of our daughters had a special birthday last week with a party at the weekend and I only decided what I would make for her while we were away!  That meant there were only 5 days to do it all - unpacking, holiday washing, shopping to fill the fridge and pantry, catching up with e-mails, and making the gift. And what better time to do Crafternoons than when the Olympics are on!  We have 9 channels of Olympics, so I did lots of channel swapping between swimming, table tennis, badminton, basketball, hockey, rowing and anything else I could find when the ads were on and worked steadily on my gift!

Janelle loves containers - boxes, tins, bottles, caddies, chests - so I made her a six inch cube with lift up lid.  It is modelled on my Rosebud Cottage treasure box which I will be teaching at the Creative Craft Retreat in November. It has a bit of everything - applique, embroidery, felt, silk flowers, guipure, beads and my favourite grub roses. 
This is the front:

The sides:

and the lid:

I had a few hours to spare on Friday, so whipped up a quick French tag to accompany the gift:

Having now made one, I really want to make more of these tags! They give me plenty of opportunity to let my vintage, romantic, Victorian side come to the fore, with plenty of 'prettiness', lace, ribbon, embroidery and lovely embellishments. 

But first I really should sit down and tackle one of the other four or five designs that are in various stages of production. I really am a 'finisher' but on occasions the lure of starting a new project is too strong and before I know it, my craft cupboard is strewn with carefully organised packets, each filled with fabric, threads, embellishments, and half-drawn pencil designs. Then all that careful preparation is put aside when another idea pops into the head!

I see on the calendar that the third week is coming up fast, so I had better get myself organised and prepare the next block in the free Block of the Month Thoughts in Thread quilt for you.  Don't forget to put photos of your blocks so far up on my Flickr page. There are some lovely photos there now. (If you only see a few photos, click "more photos" to see the rest.) If you don't know how to upload the photos, or don't have a Flickr account, you can e-mail me the photos and I can put them on for you.

Till next time, happy stitching!