Friday, May 31, 2013

May's End

A beautiful sunny day marks the end of autumn here. Our multi-purpose outdoor table is just the spot for warming up while one reads, eats or joins in with miscellaneous art and craft activities.

We celebrated my mother-in-love's 80th birthday this earlier week. She enjoyed a few days in her old bayside home (she has recently moved into an aged care centre in our town). One of the gifts we gave her was an copy of the Australian Women's Weekly magazine 80th Birthday souvenir edition. She had a wonderful time flipping through and reminiscing over so many events.

 Miss O is enjoying sharing photos of her cooking and other happenings on her brand new blog. I love seeing each one develop their own interests, try new things and have a platform for sharing. Four of our older children already have blogs but only one of these continues to add posts.

Our weekend will include several games of hockey (I rarely stay to watch), music for Sunday's church service (three eldest daughters), mil joining us for Sunday lunch, a girls' rep. cricket training session, Master J heading off with fellow students to explore a nearby Uni, food shopping, washing, cooking, sewing and a little gardening. Hopefully we will also see some improvement in my husband's eczema as he begins an adjusted regime of cortisone creams, lotions and moisturisers and yet another course of high dosage oral cortisone.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Singing Heart

The quiet joy of anticipation bubbled over into great excitement yesterday when the mail man left a package at our front door. I knew straight away it was much more than the mentioned nondescript "little something". Look what was inside! A beautiful copy of Sarah Fielke's new book Hand Quilted with Love, thoughtfully wrapped in a fat quarter of Sarah's latest fabric range. Even the cotton twine matches, half of which has been squirrelled away already by one of my teenage daughters (just spotted some around an ankle...).

Sarah's book is about far more than hand quilting, in fact several of the 16 quilts shared in this book have no hand quilting on them at all. There is a great variety of designs, something for every level of experience, all beautifully photographed and presented.

Quoting from Sarah's Introduction: 

Try new things, be adventurous, and crack your own quilting code. 
Don't be hung up on whether something is right or wrong, 
or on whether you are a "modern quilter", a "traditional quilter" 
or even an "art quilter": 
just be a QUILTER, be creative and love what you do.

Sound advice for many areas of life.....

Most of my quilts contain a lot of different fabrics. 
I don't usually use one or two greens when I can use 30.....
I don't ever get stuck finding that PERFECT fabric. 
(Sarah, page 8)

So where did this wonderful parcel come from? From someone I've never met who lives hundreds of miles/km away, the very thoughtful, generous and talented Bloom whom some of you no doubt already know. As well as being a devoted wife and mother, Bloom stitches beautifully, designs, quilts, sews, blogs, produces unique project articles for Australian Homespun magazine and has the most amazing garden.

With my parcel came the discovery that Bloom also makes beautiful cards! Filled with kind words Bloom's card sits here on my Sunlit Treasure quilt which I made from Sarah Fielke's previous book Quilting from Little Things (North by North East design). 

No wonder my heart is singing! Thank you Bloom!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

May Days Around Town

Sunlit Treasure at our local railway station

A beautiful time of year here as the heat of summer gives way to chilly nights and warm sunny days.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Simple Life Quilt

The fabric for the binding (outer edge, the last stage of making a quilt) arrived in the mail yesterday - 24 hours later The Simple Life quilt was finished and ready for snuggling under. Miss E (5) loves her/our new quilt, especially the blocks which she hand stitched around, one on the front and one on the back. It's been wonderful to work on a quick, fun and simple quilt after my two year journey with Sunlit Treasure.

Winter is near, we've used the heater a little the last few days and seek the sunshine to help us warm up during the day. I can see this quilt being well used.

Quilty Details

Dimensions: 41" X 50"
Special Techniques: Fussy cut pieces were raw edge machine stitched in place (no fusing) then most were hand embroidered/stitched in red DMC embroidery floss (Miss E chose to stitch her block for the back in green DMC). 
My own design, pieced and straight-line quilted on my 28 year old Janome.

The feature fabric is from Tasha Noel's The Simple Life fabric range as are the aqua gingham and aqua bunting. The little mushrooms, large red dot and the red "Little Leaves" binding are from Tasha's recently released Little Red Riding Hood range. Remaining fabrics from my stash.

Sharing at Blogger's Quilt Festival: Throw Quilt and In The Studio.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Story of Sunlit Treasure

A very warm to welcome to all visiting from the Blogger's Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side and Sarah's blog, The Last Piece.

I'm sharing the story of my Sunlit Treasure quilt which I finally completed last month.

It began with a desire to make a bigger, more challenging quilt, one large enough to cover our bed well. When my pre-ordered copy of Sarah Fielke's "Quilting from Little Things" arrived in April 2011 I fell in love with her "North by North East" quilt design. The same month Lori Holt's Sew Cherry fabric range was released - a perfect match!

Using fabrics from my colourful stash, I quickly made a start on all those flying geese required for the middle panel, experimenting with which method worked best for me as I had never made a flying geese block before.....

Being one who sews on the dining table (of our family of 10) which is also our main homeschool space, quilting time and space is largely confined to school holidays. Somewhere in the middle of the monotony of sewing the required 700 flying geese I nearly lost all motivation to quilt at all. I was enjoying the more instant satisfaction of exploring my love of photography, and "unfollowed" every quilting blog I had previously enjoyed following.

 However, every time I would take a good look at the rows of geese hanging safely in my wardrobe I would realise afresh how much I really did love these fabrics. Many of them held special memories being remnants from previously made quilts and sewing projects, not to mention that their bright colours (like jewels or treasure resplendent in sunlight) just made me feel happy. Slowly but surely I persevered...

As I finished the quilt top I was still unsure about how to quilt this monster. It was physically impossible to reach the centre using my 28 year old domestic Janome. Not wanting to give up at this point, I decided to hand quilt the middle panel using hundreds of little four point crosses, an invented stitch which acts similarly to discreet tie quilting. Using this quilting method I was able to avoid stitches on the coloured fabric pieces.

Stippling the large setting corners has provided good stability and a smooth finish.

I love the hand quilted border around the edge of the quilt, it gives a wonderful finish to the design.

As the time drew near when the backing fabric would be needed our local Lincraft ( fabric/craft chain) store had a fabric sale. They had a cherry fabric which looked just perfect. I bought all that was left on the bolt but I knew it was considerably short of the stated requirements. However as I had slightly modified the quilt top, I ended up being only a few inches short. After hunting through my fabric stash to supplement the cherry backing, my first choice was a green basket weave print which I later discovered just happened to be a quarter yard purchase from the original Sew Cherry range which I had bought (and forgotten about) nearly two years ago. A happy discovery indeed.

As we head into our winter "Down Under" in Australia, my Sunlit Treasure quilt is keeping us snuggly warm at night and brightening my days every time my eyes glance upon it.

Once more I can enjoy contemplating new fabrics and dreaming of beautiful quilts....I am relished re-entering the world of quilting blogs!

Quilt Stats:

Dimensions: 87" X 87" (Slightly modified/smaller than Sarah's original design)
Special Techniques: Centre panel and border hand quilted with mini four-pointed crosses.
Quilted By: Me! All geese blocks are hand quilted, the setting corners stippled using my Janome SL2022.

"By perseverance the snail reached the ark."
                                  Charles Spurgeon

PS If you are interested in further details, click on the Flying Geese Quilt tag in my tag cloud in the side bar or leave a question amongst the comments.

Sharing at the Blogger's Quilt Festival: Bed Quilts.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Both Happy

I've been having a wonderful time working on more little feature blocks using Tasha Noel's The Simple Life fabric range. Keeping with the fun and simple nature of the prints, embellishing has been a delight.

Miss E (5) was excited to know the quilt will be for her to use. She loves the prints, especially the ones with the girls and boys. The sections with the apple trees are her favourites as she loves red juicy apples.

Miss E was wanting to make her own quilt with my fabrics so as a compromise we decided we would work together on just this one quilt. Last night she diligently stitched a feature block of her choice.

Now we are both happy!

Sharing at WIP Wednesday and In The Studio.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Giving and Receiving

A flowering cyclamen, mini watering can, chocolates and a personalised door sign made by the children, all to help my mother-in-love's room in the aged care centre feel even more like home. 

Our weeks always seem busy but we are settling in to a nice routine of bringing Granny (mil) to church with us each week and then to our place afterwards for lunch, all at her suggestion. This gives us a good chance to catch up and enjoy some time together.

Little Miss E chose to wear this shirt today in honour of Mother's Day, although she makes it very clear every day that she loves me, never forgetting to tell me.

Miss O (11) and Miss G (15) created this masterpiece in secret. I LOVE it.

My children know me well! They also mowed and whipper snipped the lawn for me yesterday along with a little work in the garden.

A happy Mother's Day to all those who mother and nurture, for each person is precious.

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