Wednesday 29 January 2014

Aaah ... Paris!

As a designer of patchwork/quilting/craft patterns, one of my all-time favourite things is to see how clever-clogs stitchers make their very own version of my patterns. So ... imagine how excited I was to get an email from another 'top-of-the-hill' dweller, Maddy. Not only has Maddy joined Sweet Peg and I for OPAM in the past, we also met up at Stitchers Dream Day last year, which was fun!! :0)

A little while ago, Maddy told me she had been inspired by one of my quilt designs that appeared in an issue of Homespun magazine a couple of years back ...

Here's my original version of "Aaah ... Paris!" ... which now lives with my Mum ...

She and her very spoilt doggy, Sunny, love snuggling under it. 

Well ... it seems Maddy's son's girlfriend arrived back in Australia from Europe ... where she fell in love with France! ... just in time for her 21st birthday and Maddy presented her with a very special quilt. Have I kept you in suspenders long enough?! :0) Here is the GORGEOUS quilt Maddy shared with me today ...

Isn't is FANTASTIC!!! I just love how Maddy has put her own spin on my quilt design! Well done, Maddy! And since we met up at my Home-Away-From-Home, we got the lovely Marion to take a pic of us together ...

Thank you SOOOOO much for sharing your lovely quilt with me, Maddy! I'm sure it will be loved and snuggled under for many years to come! :0) If anyone else out there has photos of projects they've made using my patterns, I'd LOVE it if you could email me a copy! :0)

That's about it from me for today ... I'd working on some Secret-Squirrel stitching at the moment, so can't share. Let's just say that it's WAAAAAAAAAAY out of my comfort zone, but not only am I enjoying the challenge of designing with colours and styles that are outside of my little sandbox, I'm loving how the design is coming together. I promise to share some sneaky peekies soon. :0)

Oh ... almost forgot!! If you haven't already joined Sweet Peg and I for all the fun and inspiration of OPAM 2014 ... there's still time!! Email one of us with your name, blog name and email address ... we'll add you to our handy-dandy spreadsheet and then you get stitching. All you need to do is email your tally of finishes to us at the end of each month (and it doesn't matter is some months don't have any finishes beside them ... life happens! :0) )  and we add the tallies to said handy-dandy spreadsheet and we take turns in doing a random prize draw to send out some little encouragement parcels. Plus ... you have the fun of being part of a huge, world-wide sewing circle. :0) Sign up finishes at the end of the month, so don't miss out.

OK ... really heading off this time. I've got a stitching date with a designing mate tonight, so need to get organised ... sort of! :0) Hope your week is toodling along nicely so far and that includes some stitchy, quilty, yarny time. Til next time ...



Wednesday 22 January 2014

Heatwave & Another Finish!

PHEW!! We've been having another heatwave here on top of our 'hill' and even this hot-weather-chick's feathers are wilting. More days of temperatures hovering around 40 degrees Celsius. It wouldn't be so bad except it's been icky, sticky and humid as well ... that's the part I don't enjoy. As my 90 year old Grandma says ... It's been knickers-stickin' weather! Tee! Hee! Hee!

As a result, the sewing room has been a sauna and I haven't been in there very much, but did have to be brave for a bit yesterday to finish off a special giftie for my youngest nephew who turns a big ONE this weekend ...

A drawstring book bag. Once again, I've raided my stash and found a strip of cute Noah's Ark fabric that's been waiting for the right project for ... well ... BLUSH!! ... YEARS!! :0) And I teamed it with a cool 'running stitch' designed fabric. I used some iron on pellon to pad the bag to protect the books and add a bit of strength. I couldn't find matching wide ribbon or cord for the drawstring, so the cord was made from some off-cuts of the brown fabric and ... VOILA! A handy book bag. I popped a couple of Disney picture books in there ... but forgot to take a pic ...  Oops! :0) Even though the nephew is a little small to be toddling off to the library yet, drawstring bags are a great giftie idea for people of all ages for storage purposes ... pop things in to store and then hang them from a clothes hanger in the wardrobe, or on a hook behind the door ... I think I need to make a few for myself to store stitching projects to help me get organised. :0) Nice to have another finish for my sidebar list.

And speaking of stitching projects, finishes and sidebar lists ... have you signed up to be part of the OPAM 2014 fun? The One Project A Month challenge has been running for 6 years now and boy oh boy have we seen some fantastic finishes in that time! In fact ... there've been so many finishes that surely all of our sewing cupboards must be empty by now ... right?! Tee! Hee! Hee! If you'd like to join my Sweet Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg, have a read of my last post and email one of us to sign up. It's amazing what that little bit of motivation does to help us all each month to get things crossed off our 'To Do' lists. We'd love to have you join us whether you're a "First Time Offender" or a "Repeat Offender". :0)

OK ... I'm off to help the cricketers finish up in the Big Bash competition ... Brisbane Heat playing tomorrow night for a place in the finals ... Go Queensland! Despite our heatwave, I do love summer! :0) Hope you're all having a great week ... and staying warm or cool depending which hemisphere you call home. Til next time ...



Monday 20 January 2014

Here We Go Again ... OPAM 2014!!

Yep ... Sweet Peg and I are kicking off with OPAM again ... so if you want to join in the fun, read the guidelines below and follow the instructions. Some gals have been with us from the very beginning, which is fabulous ... love to have our 'repeat offenders' joining us. :0) If you're a 'first-time-offender' ... welcome aboard ... hope you have as much fun as we do!

This is just a quick drop in to leave you with the guidelines to read and mull over ... I'll be back soon to see who's going to play along with us ... PLEASE make sure you follow all the steps if you're signing up ... it makes everything go much smoother so the fun can start sooner! :0) Til next time ...



The One Project A Month (OPAM) Challenge Guidelines 2014

The idea of the “One Project A Month Challenge is pretty simple ... To try to finish at least ONE craft project by the end of each month. This can be something you’ve had partly done for a while (a Work In Slow Progress WISP), a pattern you bought ages ago that you finally get around to making up, or a completely new project. This is meant to be a low-stress challenge  - if you don’t finish a project every month  - that’s fine! We understand sometimes life interferes with our plans. We also realise some projects are meant to be long-term and have a LOT of work involved, like a quilt or a cross-stitch. The main aim of the OPAM Challenge is to give us all a bit of a motivational boost and to give us all a big cheer squad to encourage and inspire us.

However, there is quite a bit of time and work involved in running OPAM, so Sweet Peg and I have some guidelines we ask people to take note of AND please only sign up if you intend to follow through. If for some reason during the year you decide you don’t wish to remain part of the OPAM Challenge, just drop Sweet Peg or me an email to let us know. Please read through all  guidelines before you sign up.

1. Participants must have an ACTIVE BLOG. If you change your blog address, drop us an email telling us your old address and what you’ve changed it to. If your blog is already, or you change it, to invitation only, please send Sweet Peg and I invitations, or we can’t check your finishes list each month.
2. Numbers won’t be limited for the sign up for OPAM 2014, BUT ... it WILL close on February 1 ... You must sign up before that or miss out on joining in the fun.
3. Participants can sign up via email to Kris or Peg, or via a comment on EITHER blog AS LONG AS it includes all asked for information.
4. Participants MUST provide all info asked for. * Name (first and initial of surname in case of double up names); * Email; * Blog address.
5. Participants MUST have the OPAM Challenge badge on their blog sidebar and link it to either Kris’s or Peg’s blog.
6. Participants MUST keep a list of each month’s finishes on their blog sidebar and update it BEFORE the last day of each month. (This is easiest if you add each project as you finish it.) If you can put this directly under the OPAM badge on your sidebar it will be easier for Peg and Kris to find it. You may also choose to have a separate OPAM 2014 page on your blog.  That’s fine too as long as it’s clearly labelled.
7. Only ‘soft’ crafts are included in the OPAM Challenge, ie. Projects made from fabric, thread or wool. Some examples are: embroidery, patchwork, quilting, cross-stitch, knitting, crochet, practical sewing (curtains, clothes etc), long stitch, appliqué.
8. QUILTS: A quilt will only be counted as a finish if it is COMPLETELY finished ... Quilted and bound. Flimsies/tops won’t count as finishes.
9. BOM’s: Blocks that are part of a BOM (Block Of the Month) program will only be counted as a finish when they are joined, quilted and bound. Individual BOM blocks DO NOT count as a finish.
10. If you can email Peg or Kris your list of finishes each month BEFORE the end of the month, this would be appreciated, as it cuts down the amount of time it takes to check finishes for the month. (and save Peg and Kris from getting square eyes!)

11. Lastly, participants MUST ... Have fun! After all, the reason we craft and create is to relax, have fun and 

Sunday 19 January 2014

Weekend Stitching & OPAM Countdown!!

Here it is, Sunday again ... another week has somehow flown past. It seems we were hardly shouting "Happy New Year" and we're already closer to the end of January than the beginning! SHEESH! The first month of the year and already I feel like I'm a month behind! :0)

It was another busy week, though not quite as stressful ... thank goodness! And it finished with a lovely day of sewing with my lovely friend, the Fabulous Fiona. Can I tell you ... I was SPOILT!!! :0) Fiona made the YUMMIEST waffles which we ate with maple syrup, raspberries and sour cream ... YUMMO!!! :0) Don't you all wish you could have lunch at Fiona's place?! Tee! Hee! Hee!

The other nice thing about visiting Fiona is that she is such a calming, soothing person to spend time with. After a busy, hectic week with a couple of mini-family crises, it was lovely just to sit, stitch and chat. Thanks Fiona!! So much more fun than therapy! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And since there's a one day cricket match due to start on TV in a little while, I'll be doing some more hand stitching today. A little bit of this ...

Almost finished the appliqué for the centre panel, then it's borders and a little bit more appliqué before this new version of Moon Dance goes off to the Fabulous Fiona to work her quilting magic. It's been fun to re-create one of my designs in a different colourway ... loving both, I have to say! :0) And when I've finished that stitching, there'll be this to go on with ...

... sewing binding down on my Paris Flea Market quilt ... will have to think of a proper name for it, won't I. :0) The binding could take a while to sew down ... this is the BIGGEST quilt I've ever made! It's 90"x81" and let me tell you, it was no easy feat sewing that binding on, working at my little sewing desk!! I think at some point in the exercise, every other object on my desk ended up being knocked onto the floor as I squoodged the quilt around to sew it! (squoodged is a very technical quilting term, don't you think!! Tee! Hee! Hee!)  :0) But ... it's on there and it will be very exciting to not only have a new quilt ... I'm keeping this one for my very own self! :0) ... but it will also be another finish to add to my new OPAM list for the year ...

... And speaking of OPAM ...

... Sign up opens TOMORROW!! Yep, if you'd like to join my sweet partner-in-crime, Sweet Peg, and me for all the fun of OPAM 2014, make sure you pop back tomorrow to read the updated guidelines and sign up. PLEASE ... if you ARE thinking of signing up, read ALL the guidelines first and save a copy somewhere to refer back to ... we had a few gals go 'off the air' last year or change their blog to invitation only but forgot to invite Sweet Peg or me ... and it made collecting finishes a bit tricky. We'd love to have you come and play with us. There won't be a number limit for OPAM this year, but there WILL be a cut off date, so jump in quick to play along with us. It really is a very low-stress, fun, encouraging challenge.

So ... I think I'd better go and have a cup of tea and relax with my stitching in front of the cricket while I have a chance, before the avalanche of OPAM signups begins! :0) Hope you're all having a lovely weekend ... my thoughts are going out to anyone in those areas fighting bushfires at the moment ... and to those silently and desperately battling drought too ... you're not forgotten ... we're praying for rain for you and wishing there was something we could do to help! Til next time ...



Sunday 12 January 2014

Stress & Some Stitching!

That about sums up my week, really. The stress was no one large issue ... you know how you have "THOSE" weeks where a whole lot of smaller things just get on top of you a bit? Well ... that was my week. Back at work after a break that didn't feel long enough and trying to get back into the swing of things, boss going on holidays as I was getting back and not in the best frame of mind to pass the baton, in-laws looking to move, after-holiday-tight budget pinching more than anticipated and a tradie leaving a mess behind that took the shine off a long-anticipated renovating project. (Why is it that a lot of the things we put 'old fashioned' in front of are a dying breed ... old-fashioned service, old-fashioned courtesy, old-fashioned common sense!!!!!!) SIGH!! It really isn't much fun being a grown up most weeks! :0)

However ... my thought is that the coming week will be better ... AND ... I've managed to achieve quite a lot in my sewing room over the weekend. :0) Now ... some of my stitching and sewing isn't quite finished to show you, but I've made a LOT of progress on several projects, so that's been good. But I CAN show you one new finish. Do you remember me sharing a photo of a new design a few months ago ...

This pattern is called "Birdie Bunting" and is a set of three hanger projects ... a large welcome banner, a small birdie hanger and a pocket door hanger. Well ... I made this version for a friend last year as a house-warming giftie ...

Today I finished this for her to match it ...

A pocket door hanger. This is a handy little pocket that could be hung on a door knob, or a cupboard handle, to keep your precious things safe ... sunnies, phone, keys, scissors ... all sorts of things. :0) I just need to find a little something to pop into the pocket before gifting it. If you think you'd find this hanger handy to have at your place, the "Birdie Bunting" pattern is now on my website as a paper pattern or a downloadable PDF.

So ... a week that started off stressfully has ended on a more relaxed, positive, stitchy note. I should have a couple more finishes to share with you soon, but right now ... I'm off to play Polly to sit back with a cup of tea and a little cruise around blogland. Hopefully your start to the year has been a little less stressful than mine ... but I hope there's also been some good stitching time for you. :0) Til next time ...



Saturday 4 January 2014

First Finish & A Tute!

PHEW!!!! Another scorcher here on top of our 'hill'. Even this summer chick is starting to wilt a bit with 40 degree heat... VERY unusual for our hilltop. The only way my Beloved Geek Boy and I have found to keep cool is to open all the  windows an doors, turn the fans on full and sit and watch the cricket whilst drinking lots of icy water and crunching on fruit juice ice-blocks. :0)

 The only problem is ... I really needed to finish off a birthday giftie for one of our nieces to be handed over tomorrow when we catch up with GB's family. That wouldn't normally be a problem ... except, as I shared recently, my sewing room is one of the hottest rooms in the house ... EEK! 

But ... I was brave and trooped off to the sewing room (AKA the Sauna!!) and since I was tackling a quick project, I thought you might like a bit of a tutorial ... plus ... taking photos as I went helped keep my mind off how hot it was. I bet you didn't ever think you'd hear me grumbling about hot HOT it was ... me either! Tee! Hee! Hee!

First step ... collect your requirements. One plain coloured pillowcase, some pretty fabrics and some ribbon. After giving the fabrics a good press, I cut a strip of that pretty stripy fabric 5" wide across the full width of the fabric. (I actually had a fat 1/8th so cut two strips and joined them)

The next step was to fold the strip in half lengthways, right sides together and sew along the length using a 1/4" seam to form a long narrow tube. I turned the tube out, turned both ends in 1/4" and gave it a good press ... making sure the seam was in the CENTRE of the flattened strip

Next, I sewed a gathering row down the centre of my stripy tube and gathered it to fit the short side of my pillow case. (I only decorated the front of my pillowcase, cos you only SEE one side, right?! :0) Make sure you give your pillow case a good press too ... they get a bit squooshed in the packaging process. :0)

Once I'd pinned the gathered strip in place about a half inch from the 'cuff' edge of the pillowcase ... I cut a length of pretty ribbon a half inch longer than the frill. I tucked 1/4" under for each end to neaten and stop fraying and pinned it over the gathering stitching. I top stitched along both edges of the ribbon and along each end, which also attached the frill to the pillowcase AND hid the gathering line. :0)

Next, I cut a strip of a contrasting fabric 3" across the width of the fabric. I folded both short ends under 1/4" and pressed, then folded the whole strip in half lengthways with WRONG sides together, pressed it and stitched a gathering thread along the raw-edge side and gathered it up. I gathered mine fairly closely, but you could spread it out a bit more if you wanted.

After experimenting a little to work out where I wanted to place a feature frilly flower, I drew a circle with chalk pencil and started stitching my frill in place, following the circle until I got back to where I started ... then I spiralled the frill in another 1/4" and kept sewing until I got to the end of the frill.

 You can see that I still had a gap in the middle when I ran out of frill. To avoid this, you could sew your second and subsequent rounds of the frill 1/2" apart instead of 1/4" like I did ... but I had a cunning plan for that centre gap ...

... a sucky puff! :0) (as Bronwyn Hayes refers to them!!) The frilly flower was then finished off with a light pink button to attach the sucky puff and a length of leftover ric-rac for a stem ... and ... VOILA!!

A frilly, girly pillowcase for a teenage niece. And ... all fabrics and trims were from my stash! :0) I know there are a lot of gals promising not to buy any new fabric for six months ... I just know I couldn't do it! :0) I HAVE however, promised myself to look to my stash first when making gifties and projects for myself. A good start to the new sewing year, I think ... and my first finish for 2014! :0)

I hope you've enjoyed my quick tute ... maybe it will come in handy if you've got gifties to make ... or just want to spruce up your own bed. :0) I'm actually thinking I'll make myself a couple of these pretty pillowcases for our guest room ... in a colour other than PINK, of course! Tee! Hee! Hee! Hope you're enjoying the first week of the new year. It's back to work for GB and I on Monday ... GROAN!!! The only plus we've found is that we both work in air conditioned offices! :0) Stay safe whether your weather is scorchingly hot of chillingly cold and I'll be back to visit soon. Til next time ...



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