A Trunk Show


Yesterday I had a lovely visit from five ladies from the Logan Village Community Craft Cottage. It was the first time I had given a "trunk show" since we moved to Queensland 3 years ago.



My projects unfortunately are not stored in anything as beautiful as a "Trunk" - I've resorted to plastic crates for most of them! During the week, I thought I had better take a look in the crates and see what I could show my visitors. It's not very often that I look at all the projects I have made since my first magazine commission in 2005. Even though I've given things away, there is still a huge number of bags, wall-hangings, table runners, stitching accessories and quilts in those crates. 



The ladies were very sweet and made nice comments about the things that I showed them.

What did surprise me was that there was only one project in there that I didn't really like - and it was a fairly recent one in an area that is not my forte.  I think my designs have improved over the last eight years, and I have branched out into a few different areas, but basically I wouldn't change much on any of them!  I found that encouraging!

I enjoyed having the ladies so much, that I am issuing an open invitation! If your craft group lives within  a "cooee" of my home just north of Brisbane, I would love to have you visit!  

Do you remember the fabulous Lightpad that I purchased recently? I decided it needed a cover to protect it:


The latest Handmade magazine Vol 32 No 5 has a project I made with the same fabric range:


The daisies are fusible web appliqued and the embroidery of the petals on top of the fabric has really given the flowers a lift. This design has three parts, the bag, glasses case and the cutest little notebook cover:


Don't forget that my Craftsy Class Giveaway closes next Saturday - this is your opportunity to win a fabulous course of your own choice - photography, cooking, cake decorating, knitting, painting, quilting, sewing etc etc etc. 

If you haven't entered already here is the link to do so:


Till next time, 
Happy stitching!

Val

Fabulous Giveaway


If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you will know that Free Motion quilting and I have not been best of friends. I don’t really know why, as I’m not the type of personality that let’s something beat them. If you tell me ‘It can’t be done!’, then I will be determined to prove you wrong! I love a challenge – that is until it comes to FMQ! 

Somehow I just let my fear of Free Motion Quilting conquer me. It scared me so much that I wouldn’t even try after the first few poor attempts. I decided that it definitely wasn’t for me. 

But all that is changing. I enrolled in this fabulous online Craftsy Class:

Free Motion Quilting a Sampler

 and I am slowly getting the ‘hang’ of it. I have really surprised myself! FMQ really isn’t half as bad as I thought it was!

The thing I love about the course is that I can watch it in my own time in my own home. Access to all the lessons never expires so it’s easy to go back over something that you can’t remember or to repeat a section until you understand it. 

And now you have an opportunity to win a Craftsy online Class.

Craftsy are offering my blog followers the opportunity to win a class of their own choice! There are hundreds from which to choose: Photography, Cooking, Cake Decorating, Knitting, Painting, Quilting, Sewing, Jewellery-making … and many many more. Each class consists of a number of HD Video lessons with expert teachers.

Entry is FREE! All you have to do is enter via the link below and login or if you are not a member of Craftsy, create an account – (it costs absolutely nothing to join and you won't be inundated with junk mail).


Entries open with this post on Sunday 23rd March and close midnight on Saturday 5th April 2014 (Australian Eastern time). 

This is a giveaway by Craftsy so I won’t see your entry and Craftsy staff will draw the winner from the entries they receive via the link above.

All the best in this fabulous giveaway!



I’ve been practising my new FMQ skills on some items for my fete/charity box and this week I’ve made five oven mitts. I’ve also put together a quilt top with squares cut from left-overs from a fat quarter range. This is going to be my practice piece as I work through my FMQ lessons. You see, I am really 
getting serious!


If you have a look in the latest gorgeous issue of Homespun No 130 (Vol 15.03) you will find one of my favourite designs:



It's a lovely cushion with a Penny Farthing bicycle stitchery:


The magazine is available in digital format  if you are unable to purchase a hard copy.

I also completed another gorgeous cushion. The brief from the magazine editor was “an apricot/orange cushion with flowers” – no trouble with that as I chose apricot for my bridesmaids’ dresses because I like it so much, so plenty in my stash!



I think I will make 5 or 6 zippered pouches for the charity box this week. I like to get everything cut out and then get on a roll with the sewing. It seems such a waste of time and effort to just make one! 

Happy stitching!
Val

Disclosure: There are Craftsy affiliate links in this post. This means that at no additional cost to you I receive a small commission if you join or make a purchase after you click on these links.


Block of the Month Wall Quilt Pattern 3


It's time to give you another pattern in our "Shining like the Dawn" block of the month wall quilt. The verse this month is another simple step towards having shining lives:

Trust in the Lord and do good. 
Psalm 37:3


I hope you are enjoying stitching these little mini quilts. You can download the pattern here.

When it comes to fabric choice, I am drawn to romantic, pretty, floral styles, and lean towards cooler colours. A look at my wardrobe will soon confirm that!  Pastel hues have always been my first choice. When I started quilting, it didn't take me long to find out that a quilt made up of all pastel hues can be totally insipid. Quilts need contrast - they need large and small-scale patterns; they require dark and light values, and so I began to expand my horizons and include reds and some of the warmer colours that I would normally have avoided.

See all that red on the right:


Patchwork & Stitching have very kindly included a 4-page profile of my work in their latest magazine:


It's Volume 15 No 3 if you see it in the shops ... and it's their "Brights Special". I wouldn't call myself at all a "Brights" stitcher, but I still had some fabric left from a gift of  bright fat quarters that one of our daughters gave me, so I came up with this set of four placemats for this issue:


I rather like the modern feel of the white background and the dots and of course I always enjoy making applique. You can find the pattern in the same magazine:


I've been looking back over my week and been trying to remember if I actually accomplished anything at all!  I did choose some fabric from the stash to make some oven mitts for my charity box. I had planned to finish six, but I guess one completed is a start. I did manage to post off three small designs to a magazine and that's always a good feeling to think all the instructions are done and dusted. The parcel contained two bags; here's a couple of sneak peaks:



Have you heard that Craftsy is having a big sale on all their classes this weekend - up to 50% off ?

Craftsy

I'm a big Craftsy fan. Their online classes are fabulous. Once you buy a class, access never expires and all the lessons are always available. I've benefitted a lot from the ones I'm taking. 

Now for the big announcement: 
 I am hosting a fabulous Giveaway commencing next week. Make sure you come back to find out how to enter.

Happy stitching
Val


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I will receive a small payment if you make a purchase after clicking on my Craftsy link.



Bluebird of Happiness


When I was growing up, our family was not very well off, but my parents saved very hard so that they could give my brother and I wonderful gifts for birthday and Christmas. One of my most treasured gifts was a 9 carat gold ring with my initials engraved on it. Even as a young girl, I loved beautiful things and I felt like a princess wearing my precious ring.

Another piece of jewellery that I wore constantly was a double Bluebird brooch - sweet little enamelled bluebirds set in silver. I gave it to one of our daughters many years ago so can't take a photo but I've borrowed one from Ebay to show you:


How I loved wearing it! I grew up with the words of the hit song on our radio too, though I don't expect many of my readers to remember that!

So, can you imagine what my answer was when I was asked by a magazine editor to design a blue and yellow quilt with bluebirds??? I didn't have to look far for inspiration!

This quickly has become my favourite quilt, and I think the best I have designed:


My quilter did a fabulous job:


 If  you are looking for a quilter, I recommend Judy at Furball Farm. I couldn't be happier with her work: 


You can find the pattern in the latest Stunning Country Craft magazine, Vol 25 No 2:


I've had a string of commissions to get my head around in recent weeks. Everything is organised in the planner and I'm working steadily towards completing each item well before the due date. In between times, I am working on goods for my fete charity box.

Cute little burlap and lace key rings:


A mug rug or two:


I practised some free motion quilting on that one and I think I am improving!  It's far from perfect yet but I am enrolled in this fabulous Craftsy Online Machine Quilting Class and I am learning heaps.

This week a cushion is on the agenda and organising the next block in the free Block of the Month "Shining like the Dawn" quilt.  Watch out for it next week.

Happy stitching!
Val

Border Security


Whenever I have the opportunity, I like to watch the TV Show "Border Security". I guess it is a similar show all over the world where you are taken behind the scenes at Airports and other country entry points and are shown what people are trying to do illegally regarding Customs, Quarantine and Immigration.  I LOVE seeing bad people get caught! My faith in our national security has been restored watching that show!

Now that has nothing whatever to do with the types of borders I wanted to talk about but I like the title for this post! I thought this week it might be worthwhile giving you a few ideas of what you can do with borders around quilts, be they large or small. I like variety and I was actually surprised to see how many different types of borders I have used in my designs.

Let's start with the simple - a fabric border which picks up the colours used in the quilt and ties it all together:

(I actually chose the border fabric first, then used its colours for the appliques and embroidery.)

If you are using a range of co-ordinated fabrics in your project, the concept below works well. I had only fat quarters of this range, so there was nothing big enough to make a full length border. Rather than make a border of one fabric with lots of joins, I chose to use four different fabrics. I don't think it would have looked half so good if I had just used a different fabric on each side. By taking each fabric around the corners, a much more co-ordinated look was achieved:


Then there's fabric with a border print. This gorgeous rose border looks as though I have put four borders around the central butterfly square.  No, all the work was done when the fabric was printed. The only tricky bit is getting those mitred corners sitting perfectly:


The ends on the Country Fruit table runner below are a variation of the border print idea. I've used just a section of a border print and applied it only to the ends of the runner and not the sides:


Then there is embroidery. In Calista Cottage I wanted a contrast fabric between the red border and the red binding, but a plain cream border did nothing for the design. I chose to embroider scallops and flowers, echoing the colours used in the centre block and it gave the framing effect that I was after:


The Love Never fails quilt has eight little mini quilts, each with love sayings on them, which go in the centre of this quilt. Adding four more embroidered sayings in the second border brought harmony to the whole design:


 The brief for the design below was "Vintage". Cream cotton lace was the obvious choice for highlighting the rose stitchery:

Then of course there is applique. Wide borders lend themselves to this treatment, whether it be fusible web applique:


or needleturn applique, Suffolk Puffs and ric rac swags:


Co-ordinating fabric squares are always a winner. I would not normally do two borders of squares on a project but this one works because of the dark border separating them. To take the harshness off the dark fabric, I embroidered some lacy scallops which gave the softer effect that the design needed:


I hope this post has motivated you and given you the 'security' you need to try something different for your next border.

I've been making more items for my 'Fete' box and had fun with hessian/burlap and lace, constructed some mug rugs and now I'm onto some pretty key ring adornments. I'll share some photos next week.

Happy stitching!
Val