Countdown to Christmas

I've managed to tick a lot of jobs off the list this week in the countdown to Christmas.  The Campervan is packed ready for travelling the 2000 kilometres interstate to spend a couple of weeks with our family.

Priorities have to be right - so one of the first things I organised was what stitching to take with me!!!  Here are my "What is Love?" blocks ready to start - I told you the colours were quite different.  It is unusual for me to go for "brights" but I rather like this fabric and I am using variegated cotton for a change.



Then I'm planning to have another FREE BOM Pattern for you in the new year.  Pencil and paper have been working overtime and scanner and computer have been whirring away and all the blocks are now designed.  I am really excited about this pattern and have already fallen in love with it!



Of course I never have just one lot of stitching on the go at a time, so a couple of these blocks will be put into the sewing compendium with the hope of starting them too while I'm on holidays.  And I can't leave behind what I am currently working on, can I? .... so I should have plenty to keep me occupied in the unlikely event that I might have time to just sit and sew!

The Christmas pudding and Christmas cake have been made.



And the last of the presents have been finished:





So, in case I don't have an opportunity for another post before Christmas, I'd like to thank you lovely readers for being interested enough to follow my ramblings, for your kind comments, and for liking my designs!

I pray you will have time to think about the real meaning of Christmas amongst all the commercialism - "Jesus, the Saviour is born".

Happy Christmas and abundant blessings for the new year.

Regards
Val

Block 8 - Free Pattern

It's time to download Block 8 of my "What is Love?" free BOM pattern. 



This is the last of the little stitchery blocks, but don't forget to come back in January for the rest of the design.  There will be more lettering and quilting patterns to go with the blocks and some instructions on how you might like to put it all together. You can access Block 8 from here.

I've been having fun making some more Christmas presents:





























In between all the sewing, I have been thinking about what to take with me when we travel the 2000+ kilometres (and another 2000 back again!) to see our family for Christmas.  I'm sure I'll have some time to do stitching, so I've had the design pencil out and managed to get a new design ready to stitch.  Then I decided I really should make a "What is Love?" for myself, seeing I gave my original version away as a gift!   So now I am about to get the light box out and trace all the patterns so they are ready to pack. The colours I have chosen this time are VERY different to the last one!

I hope you are managing to fit in some stitching in all the busy-ness of the Christmas season.  I have wrapped a heap of presents, so I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself!  Once I've dealt with the priorities of getting my stitching ready, I must work on posting out our Christmas letter!  All the e-mail ones have been sent, so only the snail mail to go.  It's starting to feel like Christmas!!!

Happy stitching
Val


Time to make some presents

I've been busy this week making some Christmas presents.  Unfortunately, none of our family live near us, so we don't see them very often which is sad.  It also means that we don't really know what toys our grandchildren have or even what they might like for Christmas.  So we give all our family money to go buy their own present!!!  However, we do like to have one or two small gifts for them to open on Christmas Day so this year I decided to make things for them.

I'll give you some sneak peaks - in case any of our family have a look at the blog!










Hopefully I'll have some more to show you next week.

---o0o---

My Etui has now been published in Country Threads, Volume 10 No 4. Don't their stylists make the projects look so good?



It's also on the Country Threads website at http://www.countrythreads.com.au/nextissue.php.

---o0o---

The last of the free What is Love? BOM blocks will be on the website in the second week of December.  In January I'll have some instructions for how you might like to put them together.  I have enjoyed the contact with so many of you lovely ladies out there through the free pattern, that I am planning another one for 2010!  It's still in my head at the moment, so hopefully I will be able to sit down one day and actually bring it into being!  Maybe after Christmas ... which is creaping up on us very fast!

Happy stitching!

Val

Colour and Texture

Earlier this month I was able to attend a workshop run by Lisa Walton of Dyed and Gone to Heaven.  Eight of us had a great day together learning how to make her "Chrystallisation" quilt. 

It was something quite different for me and I was out of my comfort zone coping with all the "randomness" of the technique.  To tell a person who is a perfectionist to cut strips with a rotary cutter without using a ruler, well .... !!!  Then to sew together strips totally at random, then cut them and put them back together again ...  Well, I threw all my order out of the window and went with the flow.

The quilt is all about colour and texture.  You can see from the picture of the completed quilt that I chose to use my favourite side of the colour wheel, starting with cerise, going out through purple, blue and turquoise, then with the final round in aqua.




You might be able to see from the close-up photo below that I have used all sorts of fabric, satin, silk, cotton, wool, velvet and lace.  I tied the quilt rather than quilting it and used varieties of the "feathers" wool which gave it even more texture.



All in all, I was quite happy with the result of my first 'art' quilt.

Regards
Val

The winner is ...

Thank you to all the lovely people who entered the giveaway celebrating 1000 BOM stitchers. I enjoyed reading what season you liked most and your colour preferences.  Autumn turned out to the most popular season with Spring a close second.  Very few people went with my choice, Summer!

Interestingly, most people who liked Autumn also chose the rich Autumn colours.  However, that didn't apply across the board to the other seasons.  Choice of colour didn't necessarily coincide with choice of season.  So it was an interesting exercise.

I decided to go with the tried and true method of putting all the comments in "the hat" and had my husband pull out the winner.

And the winner is:

Liz Schaffner

Congratulations Liz!!!

Your parcel will be winging its way off to Germany as soon as I receive your address.

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I thought you might like to see one of my children's designs which was published in Patchwork and Stitching this month.  It's yet another in my cupboard series.




The original was made for one of our little granddaughter's birthdays and that's her photo on the shelf.  You can see it and other projects from this month's issue on the Patchwork & Stitching website here.

Till next time, happy stitching!
Val

Giveaway! Celebrating 1000

Yes, it's time for a giveaway!

In the last couple of weeks my "What is Love?" free BOM pattern passed a milestone - 1000 lovely people have decided that they would like to stitch these little blocks.  And that has to be cause for a celebration!

So I've put together a little parcel of goodies for you - five sweet gifts.



1.     There's my Garden Dreams Calendar pattern.  This has been my most popular pattern over the years.  You can have a better look here.

2.      Then there's my Sewing Etui.  You can read about that on my previous blog post. 

3.      I've also included a water bottle carrier so you can carry your 600 ml bottles of water in style. 

4.      Then there's a little felt key ring and ....

5.       So many have commented about the cupcake pincushions, I just had to include one in the prize.*

* Basket not included


To enter:

I am very interested in the relationship between the seasons and colour so I'd love to hear what season you enjoy most and the type of colours you like.  So leave a comment on this blog before midnight (Central Australian time) next Saturday 21st November and I will chose a winner next Sunday!

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Happy stitching
Val

Block 7 - Free Pattern

I'm about to upload the What is Love free pattern, Block 7, to the web ... but more about that in a moment.

First I want to show you what I completed this week. I LOVE embroidering roses and I've really enjoyed the process of producing this design:


The inspiration for the colours came from, of all places, our local discount store!!! The girls there have quite a flair for presentation and one day I walked in and saw this stunning display of raspberry and purple towels. Of course, my first thought was, I have to use those colours together in a design!

Here's some more snippets:





What do you think of the colours?
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I've had a number of requests and enquiries about the Etui, so I'll try to answer them all at once. The pattern will be published in the next edition of Creating Country Threads, Vol 10 No 4 Gift-giving issue. Unfortunately they gave me the date of Nov 4th as the publication date, but that turned out to be Vol 10 No 3, so my apologies to those who bought the magazine and did not find the Etui in there! I would expect that the issue will be on the shelves either in the last week of November or the first week in December. For those who are unable to obtain this Australian magazine, I will make the pattern available for purchase.

Here's what the Etui looks like open, with four little pockets and a pin cushion to hold your sewing accessories.



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Now, back to the "What is Love?" BOM. This month, it is "Love always perseveres". Hmmm, don't always feel like persevering with someone who just can't get their act together ..... that requires some more work!


This is the second last block in this design. In January there will be a couple more templates to complete the stitching in the design and I plan to give you the pattern for making it up into something other than a quilt or a wall-hanging, but I'm not giving away any secrets yet!

This month we passed a special milestone with the BOM, so I'm planning a give-away to celebrate! Keep watching as I hope to get it organised within the next week!

And finally... here's where you can download the pattern.

Happy stitching!
Val













A little Free Pattern

Do you remember the little stitchery that I produced for the Craft Retreat gift bags? [Read about it here]


I've put it on the web so that you can download it for free. Here it is. There are a couple of ideas there on how you could use it - as a panel in a cushion, mobile phone pocket on a bag .... but all you creative people will have plenty of ideas of your own. I'd love to see a photo of what you do with it.

Enjoy!

Regards
Val

Some new patterns

I have put some new patterns up on my website, five in all, so please go over and have a look.

This is one of my favourite patterns - Country Fruit table runner. I love the traditional country colours and there's some of my favourite fruits on there!



Then I can't help but make more in my cupboard series. I have so much fun creating these interactive pieces for children. In fact there's another one on the drawing board at the moment. Here's the pantry:



and the Refrigerator to go with it:



This sweet little Spring Showers Cushion is now available:



and in time for Christmas, I have released my Vintage Christmas Pudding design. It has a wonderful traditional Christmas Pudding recipe in the centre. This recipe has been handed down through a number of generations of our family and now my children also make it for their Christmas celebrations. Last year my husband and I invited some older single ladies to celebrate Christmas with us. They told me they hadn't tasted Christmas pudding like that since they were really young! It was a real hit! So I am sharing this wonderful recipe with you and instructions on how to print it on the fabric from your computer are included.



Keep an eye out for Block 7 of the "What is Love?" block of the month free design. It will be ready for download soon.

Meanwhile, happy stitching!

Val

Back from a fantastic weekend

What a great weekend we had at the Creative Craft Retreat - 50 happy ladies spending a whole weekend doing craft, lovely meals provided, lots of chatting, plenty of laughs - all in a beautiful setting at Lake Perseverance.

Here are the kits all set up ready for the arrival of the class:



My class of 8 ladies did a great job with their Etui. Here's Delma with her pretty pink choice:



Margaret and Robyn chose autumn tones:




Pat's soft green version is going to be a gift - lucky recipient! :


Here's Jan and Chris working hard ... with Jan's lovely aqua:




And isn't Rosemarie's sweet in blue:



Then there's Jill's pale green one with copper and pink accents. Don't you love the gold daisies?



And Chris's with lots of rich purples and cerise:



They managed to get them either finished or to an "almost finished" state so it was a great accomplishment. Don't you think they have done really well?

Happy stitching!
Val

All packed and ready

I'm all packed and ready to fly off to Queensland tomorrow to teach at the Creative Craft Retreat. The class will be making my Garden Delights Etui and I've been busy choosing all the fabrics for the kits. I hope they like my choices!

The bags are ready and labelled and I will pop the kits in when I arrive at the Retreat Centre:



Janelle,
who organises the Retreat, asked if I would like to donate something for the gift bags - (isn't it exciting when you go to a Craft weekend and are given a bag of goodies on arrival!) - so I came up with a little stitchery that each lady will receive. Here they are all printed ready for packaging.



I made a couple of samples to give the ladies some ideas for using the stitchery. One became the centre of a little cushion cover:



and another one is now a mobile phone pocket on this bag:



As you can tell, I'm excited at the prospect of sharing the weekend with lots of ladies who are also passionate about craft!

Now .... just make sure the airline doesn't lose my suitcase!!!!!

Happy stitching
Val

Block 6 - Free Pattern

1959 must have been a wonderful year! We have just arrived back from interstate having celebrated yet another 50th anniversary. That's the third 50th celebration we have had this year. This one was celebrating the founding of a college and it was fantastic to be able to catch up with so many of our friends from when we were at the college in the 80's. It's amazing how you can just pick up where you left off last time you saw your friends, even if it is 20 or 30 years ago! No doubt that is because these people were really wonderful friends with whom we shared so much of our life over a number of years.

Now we're home again and it is time to let you have the next block in the "What is Love?" free BOM.



You can download the pattern for Block 6 from here.

A number of you lovely people out there have told me you have only just found the free pattern, so I am happy to leave all the blocks on the website in case there are any more new-comers.

There are only three more blocks to add and then I will have some instructions on how to put it all together. I've already started thinking about another free BOM for when the "What is Love?" is finished!

Happy stitching!

Val

Our Morning Walk

We're currently having a week's holiday with our son, his wife and four children. We don't see them very often as they live interstate, so it is just lovely to spend time with them all.

We're in a beautiful part of the east coast of Australia and went for our usual before-breakfast morning walk. I took my camera with me to try to capture some of the beauty that surrounds us.

Here are some flannel flowers - aptly named as they feel so soft and velvety:



The rice flower has such intricate detail in its tiny flowers that make up the flowerhead:



The bush track was dotted with the brilliant purple of the boronia:



And we just kept discovering more and more:




The cone bush was in flower:



And the callistimon:



And right at the end of our walk, a lovely orchid:

.

Don't we live in an amazingly beautiful country! I can feel some designs coming on with all that wonderful inspiration!

Regards
Val