Thursday 29 October 2015

Craft It Forward

Late last year I read a blog post by my friend Nessa at Nessa's Place who was participating in a sewing themed Pay It Forward idea.  As I was one of the first three to leave a qualifying comment on her blog post, I would receive a handmade gift in the post from her over the next twelve months.

I have to admit, when the parcel arrived back in May, I instantly went into panic mode when I saw the words "Craft it Forward Swap" fearing that I had stuffed up and forgotten to send off a swap parcel. Then I read it properly and started to breath again as I remembered about the Craft it Forward post I had seen ages ago on her blog and I realised what it was.  DUH!!!

The items I received from Nessa
Nessa had made a pincushion with hanging pockets and a loop to hold onto a bucket for collecting threads and trimmings.  The pin cushion is weighted down with rice and has a felt strip down the middle for sewing needles. It is attached to a hanging pocket that can sit next to your sewing machine or on your armchair.  There is a loop to attach the threads bucket, but if you aren't using it then the loop tucks in to one of the pockets.  

Also included with the main gift was some Scottish Tablet (Nessa lives in Scotland) and some rich treacle toffees.  She also generously included some Liberty of London fabric scraps.

A close up of the pin cushion & scrap bucket
I cannot thank Nessa enough!  I absolutely love it!! I use it all the time and it sits comfortably on the edge of my sofa or "soffice" as I like to call it.

I absolutely LOVE my gift. It sits next to my chair and already has a lot of scraps in the bin (I must remember to empty it). It really is fabulous & the colours are just perfect for my lounge & sewing room. I cannot thank you enough! I'm yet to post my Craft it forward on my blog but it will be coming!!!

If you would like to participate in Craft-It-Forward, you need to have your own blog and be one of the first three people to comment on this blog post.  You will need to be sure that I have your email address, so that I can contact you for your postal address and to ask you your favourite colours.  Then I will send you a handmade gift at some time before 31 May 2016!  (I am putting my deadline down for May as I did actually receive this from Nessa in May this year which makes it within 12-months of receiving my item).  This is open worldwide. When you receive your gift you need to be prepared to host your own Craft-It-Forward on your blog, and then send out a homemade gifts to three different people within 12 months of receiving your item.

I am looking forward to getting to know three of you better,  and to work out a perfect little crafty gift for you!

Tuesday 27 October 2015

The Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt - Week Three

Week Three kicked off on the 12th of October and these are my two blocks:

Block 13 - Belle

Belle's accompanying letter was all about "Gift, Fun, Fellowship".  Whilst I don't celebrate Christmas, I could relate to the comments regarding inexpensive exchange of gifts. There is no need to spend a fortune on a gift for someone only to find that they don't appreciate what you have given.  One of my favourite swaps this year had a spend limit of USD10.00 on swap extras.  We could not spent more than this on the extras that we included with our main gift.  This meant that we had to be creative.  It is amazing what you can make out of inexpensive embroidery floss, ribbon, zips, and fabric scraps.  It is also a great way to learn new skills and try new patterns.  How much more enjoyable is it to receive a beautiful hand made gift, knowing how much love and effort the maker has put into it!  

Block 24 - Coral

Coral's accompanying letter is "Take Time for Enjoyment".  We all need to take "little whiles" in the midst of our busy days - whether it is some quiet sewing time, play time with children, kitty cuddles, or just sitting out in the fresh air.  Life goes by way too quickly, don't forget to enjoy it before it passes us by. 

Thursday 22 October 2015

Craft Alive Bendigo

I discovered this blog post partially written and unpublished, so I thought that I would finish it off and publish it.

 Craft Alive

Back in June I attended Craft Alive here in Bendigo.  Craft Alive is Regional Australia's leading craft and sales expo and is held over 3-days.  The three day craft show has craft of all ranges and craft for all ages. Exhibitors have everything from supplies to finished goods, covering a wide range of craft. Each show has 60-100 exhibitors, workshops, make and takes, demonstrations, a full cafĂ©, and the local guilds and groups.  The Bendigo show also features STITCH! which is a two day niche craft show which is focused on all things needlecraft. In addition to the main show, STITCH! has 20-25 needlecraft experts covering patchwork, quilting, embroidery, wool work, and more. Exhibitors will have everything from supplies, to kits, to finished goods. Each site runs interactive learning opportunities including workshops, make and takes, and demonstrations.

As I don't handle crowds very well, I usually try to go on the Friday when I know that attendee numbers are fewer than those on the weekend. This year I went with Mum and a friend of hers from the retirement village.  Once there I met up with my friend - Linda from Echuca - and we walked around the stalls together. I managed a few hours before having to return home.

Although we arrived right on opening time, there was already a queue to get in.
THIS is why I like to go on a Friday, there is space to move and I can actually TALK to the stall holders without constant interruptions or having to elbow my way through the crowds.
This year it was housed in a larger pavilion
I headed straight to the Brindabella stand as I had recently purchased one of their quilting frames and I needed help.
One of my highlights was catching up with my sewing idol Rosalie Quinlan/Dekker and her sister-in-law Erica who is the proprietor of Under the Mulberry Tree.  I love these girls!
And I finally met up with my Instagram friend Julie @narioka  
Mischief in the making - a photo of me with Linda.
Linda knows EVERYONE (or so it seems)
Beautiful vintage sewing machine
Some more vintage sewing machines
Ooooh lots and lots and lots of notions!!!
Too many wonderful goodies to purchase
My goodies from Craft Alive.

I bought a Rosalie Quinlan embroidery pattern "Happiness"; embroidery needles, Sewline ceramic lead refills; Cosmo floss; some Kaffe Fassett fat quarters; two other fat quarters for one of my quilting bees; a specialty ruler for my Brindabella quilting frame; quilting pins (for the quilting frame) and a new stencil.

Tuesday 20 October 2015

The Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt - Week 2

Week Two kicked off on the 5th of October and these are my two blocks:

Block 14 - Betty
Betty's letter "A Dream Come True" speaks of her love of music and living frugally.  It reminded me of my own journey with quilting; how regular practice has helped me to improve my sewing and develop a great love for it.  My own meager pension makes it impossible to spend much on fabrics.  But I have learnt that you don't have to spend a lot to create something beautiful. 

Block 20 - Caroline
Caroline's letter "When I Behold the Heavens" gives praise to God and his beautiful creations.  It is so easy to view the beauties of nature as "commonplace" or to take the gift of life for granted.  When did you last stop and truly appreciate the wonders all around, or to ponder over the complexities of the human body and its amazing power to heal and grow? Despite our hectic pace of life, it is important to slow down and really appreciate what we have been given, and to give thanks to our God Jehovah.

Thursday 15 October 2015

The Vintage Kitchen - Block of the Month

In January this year I decided to participate in a 9-month Block of the Month program designed and published by Jenny of Elefantz called "The Vintage Kitchen". Each month from January to September, Jenny released a free embroidery block.  There were a total of 9-blocks which could then be sewn together to form a lovely wall hanging.  

Block 1 - Baking 
I must admit it has taken me numerous attempts at sewing the lazy daisies.
Block 2 - Apron
Block 3 - Scales
Block 4 - Oven Mitts
Block 5 - Vintage Kitchen
Block 6 - Canisters
Block 7 - Preserves
Block 8 - The Vase
Block 9 - Cookie Jar
My completed blocks prior to being sewn together

The finishing instructions were released in September with the final block, however I chose to use different fabric to Jenny's finished design and I made it up as I went so that it would fit the 17" x 21" space on my kitchen wall where I wanted to hang it.  I had originally intended to use Milk Cow Kitchen by Mary Jane Butters for Moda Fabrics to frame my blocks but decided last minute to use What's Cookin' by Dan Morris by RJR Fabrics instead.  
I am also proud to say that I have finally mastered the lazy daisy stitch

My completed version of "The Vintage Kitchen" now proudly hangs in my kitchen.

This design is original and copyrighted by Jennifer Reynolds/Jenny of Elefantz. Permission is given to use this design as a gift or for personal use, but you are not permitted to sell the pattern, or sell the finished project. The nine red work embroidery blocks featured in "The Vintage Kitchen" will remain as a FREE DOWNLOAD in Jenny's pattern shop until December 31 2015. 
From January 1st 2016, the full pattern will be available as a purchase only.

Tuesday 13 October 2015

The Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt - Week 1

I suppose by now you've all heard about The Farmer's Wife 1930's Sew Along that Fat Quarter Shop and Angie (Gnome Angel) are hosting? Of course you have, everyone knows about it, it's all over social media ;0)  The sew along is based on the book "The Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt - Inspiring letters from farm women of the Great Depression and 99 quilt blocks that honor them" by Laurie Aaron Hird.

Well yes, I have decided to sew along.  I have had intentions of making a paper pieced quilt made up of small quilt blocks for a while now but just hadn't had the time (I have been collecting patterns from another source but I will start this another time). When I saw this sew along start up I thought this will do, it's only 2 blocks per week over 12-months and no doubt with the masses of people sewing along I will be motivated to keep up. 

I ordered my book thankfully before the publishers ran out of copies, and it sat on my coffee table untouched for weeks until the sew along began late September - I still haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I have printed off my paper piecing templates from the CD Rom, yep - all 99 blocks:

The book and my 99 paper piecing templates
I had big intentions of making my version of the quilt using a combination of Bonnie & Camille fabrics, or the new Bloom & Bliss range by Riley Blake Designs, but the budget just wouldn't stretch that far.  Instead I decided to "Sew my Stash" and went rummaging though my fabric stash.  I have a large selection of black & white prints which I had been saving for another idea (which is still floating around in the vast abyss in my head), so I decided to go through them and to separate them into a "black" pile and a "white" pile.  I also had a fat quarter bundle of teal homespun solids which I had purchased from Spotlight.  And thus my theme was born - I am going to make MY VERSION of the "Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt" a scrappy monochrome version with a pop of teal.

My Fat Quarter bundle of Teal Homespun Solids from Spotlight
my "blacks"
my "whites"
Week One kicked off on the 28th of September.  The first week we had 3-blocks to sew, and they were all rather quick and easy to piece together.  Although I am displaying my block photos like this, they will be set "on point" in the final quilt layout:

Block 16. Bonnie
Block 12. Becky
Block 8. Aunt

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Millefiori Photo Shoot in Maldon

On the 10th of September I drove down to the historic old town of Maldon with my friend Jenny to visit the local patchwork shop.  I had recently finished hand quilting my Millefiori Mystery Quilt and as it was freshly washed and pressed, I decided to take it along with us for some photos.

Outside the patchwork shop - it was too difficult taking photos in the main street.
Outside the patchwork shop - it was too difficult taking photos in the main street.
So we enjoyed lunch at Cafe Maldon and decided on another tactic
Devonshire Tea for two at Cafe Maldon
As we walked back to the car down a little lane way, I saw this rustic corrugated iron fence...

Maldon Band Rotunda
Maldon Band Rotunda

The following photos were taken at the historical Victorian Goldfields Railway at Maldon:



As we left Maldon and drove back to Bendigo, I spotted this quaint old truck at a property called "Gumtree Hollow". I slammed on the breaks and we jumped out to take some more photos:

Me at Gumtree Hollow

Quilt details: 
Millefiori Mystery Quilt.  Pattern & fabric range by Sarah Fielke.  The pattern was released as a block of the week exclusive to Spotlight stores Australia.  I made the top late last year. The back of the quilt has been made using a Drunkards Path template with left over Millefiori fabric.  I made the back earlier this year and hand quilted it with Perle 8 thread during winter 2015.