Last few days to "get it free"


Just a reminder that if you wish to download my free "Consider the Lilies" quilt design, there are just a few days left.  The pattern will be taken off the website on 31st December in preparation for the new 2012 free design.

Go here to download all eleven patterns.

Happy stitching
Val

Happy Christmas!

I wish all my lovely blog friends a wonderful Christmas, celebrating God's amazing gift of Jesus. I hope you are able to experience the love, joy and peace of this beautiful season.


Nearly all our family are here now and we are having heaps of fun and wonderful food.  I was smart this year and prepared a roster so that each of our four families shares in the cooking, so I'm only on duty every fifth day!  I'm enjoying my holiday!  We have some amazing culinary talent in our family - they certainly don't get the genes from me - so we are enjoying mouth-watering goodies and delicious meals.  They are so good that nothing goes to waste - except that I'm afraid it might be going to my waist!  Just as well Christmas only comes once a year!!!

I hope you have some wonderful family times too this Christmas and look forward to sharing with you again in the new year.

Blessings
Val

Online Workshop - and something for FREE!


This is this new project I've been working on this month - "Lilac Love".  I'll be conducting an Online Workshop with it at Patchwork Posse next year. It won't be happening till March, so why am I telling you about it now in the week before Christmas??????

BECAUSE if you register for one of the workshops this week (until Dec 24th) you will get their "Christmas Spirit" Workshop FREE!!!!  That means 12 new patterns that will all be finished and ready for next year's Christmas Season!

My Lilac Love set includes a pinushion:


a scissorkeep, personalised with your own initial:


and a needlecase:


All the workshops are offered at a great price ... but of course I hope you will want to do mine!!!!!!  (it's only $US10). Go here for the details.


I feel as if I am ready for Christmas!!!  The grandchildren decorated the tree earlier this month, all the presents are wrapped, I've worked out where everyone is going to sleep, visited the Op Shop for some extra crockery and sheets, made the Christmas pudding, written up the "House Rules" !!! and now I'm just waiting for the first lot of the family to arrive from Japan in two days' time.  Two more families arrive on Wednesday, then there'll be more coming on Friday and then Christmas Day - till all 25 of us are together!!!

My dream to have the new free Block of the Month quilt ready for hand-quilting while all of our family are here took a bit of a "downer" this week.  I fell asleep with it in my hand almost every night this week!!! ... like at 8 pm!  That's pretty much unheard of for me as I'm usually good till 10.30 pm.  Maybe it's got something to do with the fact that I am usually up between 4 am and 5 in summer, and burning the candle at both ends caught up with me last week.  It could NOT be that I am getting old!!!

What I have finished is looking pretty I think.  Some teaser pics for now:






Now for a reminder!  The Consider the Lilies quilt patterns are still available for free download over on my website. 


They will be taken down on the 31st December in readiness for the 2012 pattern.  So if you haven't downloaded them yet, you have just a few days left to obtain this pattern for FREE.  I'm happy for you to tell your friends about it too.

Have a great week and don't get stressed about Christmas!
Val

Things are "hotting up" ...

I'm sure you are finding, as I am, that things are "hotting up" in the countdown to Christmas.  Maybe my friends in the snow don't think that's the best way to describe this busy time of the year, but it's very appropriate for where we live.  We found out this week that ALL of our immediate family are going to be at our house for Christmas!!!  YAY!  All 25 of us!!! Now, I'm busy trying to work out if we have enough tables and chairs to fit everyone, counting the sheets and mattresses, deciding whether we need to buy another set of crockery etc. The interstate and overseas families will stay in our house and be around for a couple of weeks - as our daughter described it: "Fun and madness all rolled into one"!!!

Needless to say I'm going like mad trying to get the necessary sewing done.  I've been working on the new free Block of the Month quilt for 2012.  It is looking so sweet and turning out beautifully. I hope to have it ready for hand-quilting by the time everyone starts arriving in 8 days as that will be a good project for sitting around chatting. Then I will be conducting an on-line workshop early in the new year so I'm trying to finish a set of three designs for that.

Now here's something that was finished some time ago - my Showers and Flowers cushion. It is in Patchwork & Stitching magazine Vol 12 No 9.



I always love it when my project makes the front cover!!!


You can't go wrong with checks or stripes, can you?


We had some of our grandchildren with us last week but we only had one trip to the beach as the weather was not good.  It gave Miss E an opportunity to finish a couple of projects.  This girl definitely has the stitching genes.  She did all the stitching on the centre panel herself and most of it before she turned seven!


She decided she would like it made into a cushion, so Grandma raided the purple box for the squares to frame it.

Miss E also finished a little purse from a kit, but it didn't come with a handle, so that called for a lesson in how to make a twisted cord.  She was pretty surprised by how those threads suddenly became a rope!


One of her brothers is a pretty amazing stitcher too.  He even tackles satin stitch!  He has almost finished the Peace block from my 2010 free Block of the Month project, Gifts of Grace.

Well, that's enough skiting (that's Australian for boast!) about my talented grandchildren.

Have a great week.
Happy stitching
Val

Free Christmas pattern

Today I have for you a free Christmas bag pattern. It's the design that featured in Handmade magazine earlier in the year:


This little bag measures 6 x 8 inches so is ideal for that small gift or maybe a gift voucher and a chocolate. It is very quick to make and there's a little bit of applique and stitchery to keep "those who love to have a needle and thread in their hand" happy!  It's fat quarter friendly too and of course you can embellish it to your heart's content!
 

You can find the download in the Christmas section of my website here.

I've had a great week of sewing and have been busy working on the 2012 free Block of the Month quilt pattern for you.  It is coming together beautifully and I am so enjoying stitching it. There will be nine blocks and I've already finished three this week!  I think you're going to like it!!!  I hope to have it ready to start in January -maybe I'll give you a sneak peak next week.

Do you remember the little fluff balls I showed you a few weeks ago?  They left the nest recently and we managed to find them not too far away.  How cute is this?  That is father on the left, doing his camouflage pose.


The lovely Annette very kindly sent me a photo of her beautiful version of my Love Never Fails quilt.


Isn't it delightful with the green spot borders?  I love this design because you are able to hang a different mini quilt in the centre whenever you feel like a change.  Thanks Annette for sharing your lovely work.

We have four of our grand-children here (with their mum and dad) at the moment, so that means trips to the beach, grass slides, board games, lots of meals to make and plenty of hugs, smiles and laughs!

Hope you have a great week too.

Happy stitching!
Val

We have winners!

It's time to pick our winners of my little giveaway ...  and this is what the trusty Random Number Generator has decided:

No 37. Congratulations,  Rita E in AZ  is the first prize winner. Rita said: "I was just reading about a gift Megan made for her husband and shared on her blog here:  http://megsmonkeybeans.blogspot.com/2011/11/fractal-quilt.html. The men in my family love to camp and hunt so I make crocheted hats with camouflage yarn which are very easy to lose and in constant need of replacement.  Your prizes are great!"

And No 24. Congratulations to Michell who has won the second prize. Michell said...
"I follow you and I am sorry I have no idea what to make for a male"

 Please e-mail me your snail-mail addresses so that the parcels can be on their way to you soon! 

Thank you to everyone who joined in the fun.  A special BIG THANK-YOU to you clever ladies who made suggestions for gifts for men!!!  You were all amazing and came up with such GREAT ideas!  In fact, the ideas were all so brilliant and there were so many different ones, that I have sorted them into rough sections and put them together in a file.  You can download the pdf file from my website here.  It is a wonderful resource that I certainly will be using in the future.

After my lack of motivation and unproductivity earlier in the month, I'm pleased to say that it's been all systems GO for the last couple of weeks.  I've made a sewing set, table runner, small wall hangings and some Christmas gifts, all of which I can't show you at the moment for various reasons!

I can show off my lovely new appliance covers though. I wanted to have something with red which is the accessory colour in my kitchen which was resurfaced recently. It was "Old Mother Hubbard" when I went looking in my stash for the right colour red fabric, but I did have a very large scarf which was EXACTLY the colour I wanted. So, yards of fusible webbing later, lots of buttonhole stitching, and Ta Da - my new toaster oven cover.


I also made one the same to fit my breadmaker.

My Oriental Touch clutch and cuff is in the latest Handmade magazine.




I used some lovely kimono fabric in this project which our daughter bought on a visit to her sister in Japan and which she gave to me for one of my birthdays. I especially like the cuff which looks so sweet on the arm. Hmm, they would make a great Christmas gift ....


Here's a close-up of the embroidery on the buttons - three little rosebuds.  Can't help myself with my roses!


Now, how is this for one "up to the minute" lady!  Lovely Lyn Morrison has already finished her "Consider the Lilies" quilt and sent in a photo - just ONE week after I uploaded the last pattern.  Isn't this just gorgeous? You have blown me away, Lyn!


I hope to soon start working on another free block of the month pattern for you for 2012. All the ideas are on paper - I just need to get it out onto fabric!

Have a great week - and happy stitching!
Val 

Giveaway time!


It must be time for a Giveaway, what with Christmas on the horizon, and my new Facebook page ... and I haven't done a giveaway for a couple of months, so why not?

There will be a couple of winners. Each will receive a few bits and pieces - crochet bag, cupcake pincushion, heart keyring and trivet - something like this:
 
 
Then there'll be this bundle included in the first prize:
 

Do you remember the design below, using the beautiful Martinique range by 3 Sisters?


and this, using Rural Jardin by French General:

 I found I had quite a few Jelly Roll strips left over from these two fabric ranges, so they are bundled together and are ready to be included with the first prize.

And I'm sure you'll remember all the things I made from the delightful Garden Party range by Blackbird Designs.  Last count, I had made 14 different projects. 


Now would you believe there are still some scraps left???  There's enough fabric to cut lots of border squares like on my Fantasia wall-hanging above and plenty of bits and pieces for applique and mug rugs.

So that bundle will be included in the second prize.

Now for some rules.  If you are a "follower" of my blog, you are eligible to enter (from anywhere in the world), so leave a comment below.  If you want to be super nice, you can give me in your comment some ideas of gifts to make for MEN!  I always find it SO hard to think of male gifts, so would love some help if you have a bright idea.  You can have a second entry in the competition if you "Like" my Facebook site.  Leave a second comment to let me know you have hit the "Like" button at the top of the Facebook page. 

The competition will close on Saturday 26th November at midnight (my time).

I haven't designed many Christmas projects in the past, probably because we didn't have Christmas in our own home for much of our 45 years of marriage, mostly travelling to see other members of the family.  However, I did design two small projects this year and one of them was in Handmade earlier in the year and another in Vol 29, No 8 last month:


(It was lovely to share a page spread with my friend, Jenny, with her Daisy runner.)  I called my design "Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh:


I've had quite a productive week, but more of that another time.

Keep an eye out for a free Christmas pattern that I will be making available soon.

Happy stitching!

Val

Free pattern - Consider the Lilies Pattern 11



We've reached the end of our free Block of the Month programme, 'Consider the Lilies'! 

Today I am giving you the rest of Block 4 and instructions for putting it together and finishing it off as a wall quilt. My quilt was hung on one of our walls yesterday, just on a bit of dowel at the moment, but I have ordered a lovely black 'scrolly' hanger which I think will really show off the quilt. Not many websites stock these hangers as large as 80 cm, so it took a bit of looking around to find what I wanted.  Now I'm eager to hear the postman's knock!

And ta da! - the finished product:


I hope you like it as much as I do.

You can download the instructions for this pattern 11



And here is a photo of the completed Block 4:


I hand-quilted the whole quilt.  It took a while, but I am always much happier with my hand-quilting than my machine efforts!  All the patterns will remain for free download until 31st December, so make sure you tell your friends.

Well, this last week was a much more productive one - much better than the previous three or four!  I was beginning to wonder whether I'd ever get back into my usual frenetic pace!  The assembly line went into full production and I managed to actually get some projects completed!  Woo hoo!  I made a gift, completed a sewing set and have started on some appliance covers.

My Butterscotch and Roses fabric has arrived, so I hope to get started on a new project next week.  I love buying fabric ranges, but it brings its own problems!  It's a bit like a child in a well-stocked lolly shop, not knowing which one to choose!  There are so many lovely fabrics that it takes me ages to work out which ones I will use for applique, which ones I will keep for borders, how many I will include in the sashings, what binding I will use.  Oh the joys of designing!!!!

As you know, I don't make many large quilts as I'm not big on piecing. However, when I bought an irresistible range of oriental fabrics, they were crying out to be made into a quilt.  It is a very simple one to show off the gorgeous beauty of those fabrics.  You can find it in the current issue of Australian Country Craft and Decorating, Vol 23 No 2.


I called it "Oriental Twist":


The Prairie Points:


Some months ago, I wrote up a tutorial for using the 1/4 inch bias tape maker and included instructions on how to make this Celtic knot:

If you missed it, you can find the tutorial here. 

Don't forget to send me photos of any of my projects you happen to make. I love seeing your interpretation of my designs.

Until next time,
Happy stitching!

Regards
Val

Did I do anything at all last week?

It was one of those weeks!  I look back and think "Whatever did I accomplish in all those daylight hours I had?"  I had a 'To Do' list as long as my arm (and I have long arms!) and how many things did I cross off as done?

I paid a few bills, did the shopping, washing, ironing and gave the house 'a lick and a promise'. I did make a batch of sweet orange marmalade (yum!) and replaced the zip in a pair of my husband's trousers. The rest of the jobs were transferred to next week's list!  I have to admit that some of them like, "Apply Killrust to the Laundry Trolley and repaint it" have been transferred for a few months.  I have an idea that in the back of my mind I'm thinking I'm just going to go out and buy a new one!!!

I could blame spending time looking at this Tawny Frogmouth that we have been watching on a nest for a while.



That little fluff-ball on the left is a baby.  We could only see one on Friday when I took the photo, but there were definitely two little fluff-balls earlier in the week.

Or maybe I was too distracted watching the spectacular aerial pursuits of the Dollar Birds which have arrived in our district for Summer.


Or maybe it was the time I spent online looking at fabric!!!  I saw a delightful new range called 'Butterscotch and Roses' and couldn't resist!  To justify my purchase, I decided I better have something designed ready to make when the fabric arrives and that would give me something to show for my week's work.   So, it was out with the pencil and I am very happy to say I have a new design sitting waiting for the postman's knock. 


Seeing I don't have much else to show, I'll share my Lily Pond Needlecase, which appeared in Patchwork & Stitching Vol 12 Issue 7 last month.  If you haven't worked it out already, I love making stitching accessories.  (Check the link out on the web.)  This is the front:


The inside:


and the back with the heart which is a little scissor's pocket:

It's one of my favourite designs from this year.

With Christmas coming ever so closer so quickly, I hope to be more productive this coming week! Hope you have a good one too! 

Happy stitching!
Val


A fabulous weekend!

I'm home from the Creative Craft Retreat!  As always, it was a fantastic weekend in a beautiful location, surrounded by the Australian bush and birdsong. There were lots of amazing crafts being worked on or learned.

My crochet class did very well and they managed to get lots of Granny Squares made and a few bags finished (or 95% there!).



Each year, the Craft Retreat has a stall with lots of beautiful hand-made articles made by the participants.  It's a fabulous opportunity to buy some unique gifts. A few weeks ago I was thinking I didn't have much to put on the stall this year ... but then I looked in the project crate and found a couple of bags:




A Christmas Wall-hanging:

A pincushion and scissor keep:


I printed out some of my patterns and with the key rings and pincushions that I quickly got together over the last couple of weeks, I ended up with LOTS of things to sell! All the above were snatched up quickly and I didn't come home with much at all.  I was thinking that I would have enough left over for our Church fete next weekend, but there are very meagre pickings left, so I will have to get my skates on again and whip up a few more things!

Ten percent commission from everything sold on the stall goes each year to a worthy project.  This year, the goal was to raise $1120 sales so that $112 could go towards providing sewing lessons (check out the link) for a woman in a third world country to enable a poor family to have an opportunity for work or even to set up a business. The fantastic news is that the goal was reached!!!

Now, I had better go and put on my skates!!!

Happy stitching!
Val