Monday 27 July 2020

Mixed Bag Beginning!

Hello everyone out there in blogland! I hope your week is off to a fantastic start. I confess my Monday has been a bit of a mixed bag. I received some unsettling & stressful news about my grown up job ... But I also got to catch up with Stupendous Steph of The Quilters Angel to stock up my stitching supplies, including these pretties ...

Yep ... More Cottage Garden Threads for my collection. 😁 And with The Quilters Angel arranging order pick-up for customers in the Toowoomba/Highfields area, I got to enjoy a chat with Steph, too. Win-win! 😁 Along with my pretty new threads, I booked myself & my Bestest-Buddy-Since-We-Were-Nine Lynette into this year's Stitchers Dream Day Out  ... YAY! Debbie McGee & Nikki Tervo will be the guest designers with two new patterns each ... Not to mention yummy food, teas, coffees, giveaways, chatting with other lovelies ... Oh ... And apparently some people actually STITCH at these days! Tee! Hee! Hee! Are you coming to play in September? Then make sure you book soon, cos seats are being filled fast! 

And that's about it from me today ... I hear the kettle playing my song, so I'm off to make a cuppa. OPAMers ... We've nearly run out of month again, so don't forget to update your sidebar lists & email me your finishes. Have a fantastic week ... I have hopes that mine will smooth out ... Fingers crossed. πŸ˜‰ Take care, stay safe, keep stitching & keep smiling. Til next time ...



The Quilters Angel

Wednesday 15 July 2020

Better Late Than Never!

Hello everyone! Greetings to you all from the top of our VERY cold & blustery 'hill' today. We've hit the half way point of winter & I think winter is showing us it's just getting its groove on ... SIGH! Roll on Spring!! πŸ™„

I meant to be back here sooner than this to do our OPAM update, but somehow it's Wednesday already. OOPS! 😜 I think the zombie apocalypse & winter's chills (here in the Southern Hemisphere) have joined forces to encourage us all to get creating, because June was our second largest tally for the year, with ...


... Added to our year's tally so far. WOW! Well done to everyone who added to their tally. And as I've hopped around blogs, I've seen many of you working on longer term projects & making steady progress, so well done to you, too. And with a drumroll, the winner of the random prize draw is ...

Congrats, Karen! Drop me an email & I'll send your prize PDF Tag Along Teddies pattern to you to play with. 😁

 I managed a few finishes to include in that June tally that have to stay Secret Squirrel for now, but I CAN show you my first finish for July ...

It's a simple drawstring book bag for our youngest nephew's birthday gift ... He's hooked on the Disney movie "Frozen". There are a couple of books inside the bag ... He's already a keen book collector ... Both sides of the family are bookworms, so it's being passed on to the next generation. πŸ˜‰πŸ€“ 

Well, that's about it from me for today, but before I sign off, I do have an exciting snippet of news for you ... My Beloved Geek Boy has been hard at work behind the scenes & has put together a new Tag Along Teddies web site for me ... YAY! The old one was sucked into the black hole vortex when we changed hosting servers ... Or some such technical jargon. 😜 It BROKE! πŸ˜‚ And with the craziness that is our life, it's taken GB a while to get it sorted. We haven't had a chance to load ALL of my patterns but there's a nice selection for you to peek at if you pop over to We'll continue to gradually add more of my patterns to the site as we go along but right now, I'm off to pop the kettle on for my arvo cuppa. 😁 Enjoy the tail end of your week. Stay safe, stay well, keep stitching & keep smiling. 😊 Til next to me ...



Saturday 11 July 2020

Saturday Stitching Tips!

G'day from the top of the Great Dividing Range in south-east Queensland where it is a funny old  day weather-wise ... Perfect for stitching! πŸ˜‰ Which I'm really hoping to do tonight after I finish my grown up chores & spend some time chained to the computer editing pattern templates. I think stitching & a good disaster movie will be my self-reward. 😝

And speaking of stitching ... Some of you will have caught up with posts I shared on the Love & Hugs From Australia & Tag Along Teddies Facebook pages yesterday where I shared a few of my fave stitching tips. Well ... It occurred to me that not all of you have crossed over to the "dark side" ( as my Bloggy Buddy Chookyblue refers to FB! 😜) so I thought I'd share my top tips here, too. I'll start with the disclaimer that I in no way consider myself to be an expert ... These are just a few things I've personally found to be helpful along my stitching journey. Those of you who have come to play at stitching days hosted by The Quilters Angel will have heard most of these, but grab a cuppa & read on. πŸ˜‰

So my first rule of stitching is ... THERE ARE NO RULES!! 😜 There are just a whole lot of ways to do things & some give better results than others. You'll also find that one way of doing things won't be as easy/comfortable/achievable for everyone, so don't let "rules" stop you from getting started. Find a project you love (because you're more likely to finish it! 😜) & get stitching. With stitcheries, there are a few things I've learned that work for me. The first is choose your background fabric carefully. If it's too dark or a busy print, your stitching will get lost. The second (which can save significant swearing later on! 😝) is to cut your background fabric at least an inch bigger than you want it to be when finished - 1/4" for your seam & 3/4" to allow for shrinkage as your stitches pull in a little, trimming fraying & gives more options for using your stitchery.

I use a light pad to trace, but taping your design to a window that the sun is shining through works fine ... Your arms just get a little tired. 😜 You can see in the pic above that my fabric is bigger than the finished block size. If your pattern doesn't have the finished size marked, you could do so yourself ... & marking your quarter points as shown helps centre it, too. I use a light tan, fine pigment pen to trace my designs. After disasters with disappearing lines, smudged lines, thick lines & reappearing lines, I find the pigment pens my go-to, but, horses for courses. If you're thinking of colouring your stitchery remember it will need to have both liquid & heat applied to set it, so pens that disappear with either won't be helpful.

When tracing lazy-daisy stitches, I don't draw the loop ... I mark the centre point of each flower & the outer point of each petal. This way it doesn't matter if your loop is a bit tight or loose, you don't have to cover a drawn line.

The next helpful thing I've learned is to attach fusible stabiliser/interfacing on the back of a stitchery. There are all sorts of stabilisers, so choose one that suits your project. 

These are the two that I have used most & my fave is the Shape To Create on the left. It's a light muslin type stabiliser & I find it really nice to work with ... I get mine from The Quilters Angel HERE  Stabiliser helps minimise stretching & fraying as well as hiding those longer "I'll just hop over there" threads we all end up with from time to time. 😜

My next tip is about needles. I know we're all on budgets & would rather spend our play money on fabric, but trust me ... Investing in some good quality needles will make stitching more enjoyable. I know some people like (need??! 😜) a bigger eye to thread, but thick shanked needles will make bigger holes in your fabric & can drag your stitching out of shape. 

I prefer using a milliner's or straw needle. The eye is the same width as the shank, so when you're stitching knots or bullions, the needle slides through the wrapped thread a bit easier. I usually use a size 9, but that's just a personal preference. (Yes ... The ones in the pic are no. 10's & picked up by accident & you should hear me muttering when trying to thread two strands of thread! πŸ™„) And speaking of threads ... It took me a while, but finally I've admitted its better to work with a shorter length of thread. 😜 My favourite Cottage Garden Threads come pre-cut into a good length, or the length from your wrist to elbow is a good guide. As you pull your thread through the fabric, it rubs & frays a little & can lead to frustrating thread breaks or your stitching looking a bit 'fluffy'. So, shorter lengths = less fraying. Most stranded embroidery thread has 6 strands twisted together, but most stitching is done with 2 strands, so you need to separate them. If you separate the strands one at a time, they're less likely to tangle & will sit flatter when you stitch.

But the
MOST IMPORTANT RULE of stitching is ... HAVE A GO & HAVE FUN!! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜ It's not about who finishes first, or whose work is the neatest, you don't need to compare your work to anyone else's & it won't look exactly like the pattern sample ... And that's more than OK! It's about each of us taking some time to slow down, take a breath & do something creative, so enjoy the process, not just the finished project. 

I know many of you are more experienced Stitchers than I am, but I hope something I've shared will help or encourage you to keep stitching ... Or maybe tempt you into picking up needle & thread for the first time in a while πŸ˜‰ And now, I think I've earned a cup of tea, so I'll sign off for now. OPAMers ... I'll be doing the draw in a day or two ... Promise! 😁 In the meantime, I hope you all have a relaxing weekend. Stay safe, stay well, keep stitching & keep smiling! 😊 Til next time ...



PS. There's a brand new Tag Along Teddies website up & running too ... In case you need another project ... Or two or three! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚

Tuesday 7 July 2020

Winter Blues!

I've got deadlines I should be working towards, I've got pattern templates I should be editing, instructions I should be writing, sketches I should be brushing up, washing that should be put away, emails to answer, dinner to prepare  ... But I did none of those things! Instead, I took advantage of a rare gale-force-wind-free day & spent some time outside.

 I strolled around the garden to see what's growing & what's hibernating for winter, I chatted to one of our resident kookaburras, I topped up the birdbath for an impatient fantail bird (you should have heard the language he directed at me! 😝), I watered my vege patch & my marauding herbs (the mint is seriously plotting world domination, I'm convinced! πŸ˜‚) & gazed at the blue, blue cloudless sky forming the dazzling backdrop for our gorgeous gum trees. SIGH! Yep ... That's the best winter blues to have. 😍 The deadlines & tasks are still on the "To Do" list, but after stopping to take some breaths of fresh, crisp winter air, I think I'm ready to put my head down & get working again. 😁 (PS This pic hasn't been enhanced or filtered in any way, just cropped ... The sky really was THAT blue!)

So ... How's YOUR Tuesday going? πŸ˜‰ Til next time ...


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