Wednesday 29 February 2012

Forget Me Not: Part 1 is launched

Joining the mystery

Forget Me Not: Part 1 is launched. You can download Part 1 over at my wesbite or in my BOM Yahoo Group. You won't get my blocks anywhere else. There will be no repeats with this pattern. So if you're joining us, join up!

Esther’s Free BOM

Forget Me Not: Descisions, Descisions...

this is still an elegant option and I did think seriously about beige / taupe

Today I've been making much ado about fabrics (again).

Like most quilters, I know what I instinctively love and believe in following your strongest colour feelings. With Forget Me Not however, I've really had to double think all my choices and potential options.

With so much energy being invested in the applique, I want to be sure, really sure, that the block background fabric enhances and highlights the floral applique.

Love the red background but it fights with the foliage for attention!
Some fabrics drain colour away from the floral/foliage pallette I will be using, others harmonise too well, which means that the applique won't stand out.

The floral and foliage fabrics are assorted scraps and stash fabrics that I know I will be fussy cutting and using in small amounts for colour realism. I dont know exactly which applique fabrics I will definitely use, that will depend on the individual flower pattern, but the colours below are a good indication.

Dusty pink is so romantic and maybe a bit too complimentary
I want a striking contrast
I lined them up against the potential backgrounds I had chosen.

Then to confuse myself even more, I consulted colour theory. Apparently an excellent background for floaral applique is dark block colours as they draw the eye to colour (of the applique).

That made sense. So I tried out my colours on a dark red background I had my heart set on. And it did stand out, but it was also fighting for attention. Red as a background option, gone.

Here's my Forget Me Not Background
1. Spring
Yes I went for the provincial charming yellow, it's a little differnt from my usual choice, but I really love it's vividness, it feels alive already. Flower colours across the yellow from the Curio range really stand out nicely. I'm happy with this choice.

Yes. love it, it glows!

And... yes, I will be making 2 x quilts at the same time. I have 2 DDs you see, and of course I want to create all of my block floral patterns. I simply couldn't chose just the one per month like you will have to!

My second choice is below.
I couldnt part with my polka dots, well my DD couldnt, but the red block background didnt work with the flowers, so I went with polka dot frames, a dark block background and...just to make a statement, have gone for dark plain borders and sashing also. The polka dot frames will stand out with bright applique being the focus. Perfect. Well, it;s my DDs choice and now I'm sticking to it.

They both decided that there was too much red in my life...and you know, they may be right about that!

With the dark block background, the flowers are really going to stand out. And so are the polka dots!

OK, now I'm set!
Have you chosen the background yet?

WOW: Ready for Forget Me Not??

WOW = WIPs On Wednesday

A whole week since my last post? It's flown by! Just as I was getting into the swing of this whole new mystery, I stopped for a few days to celebrate my DHs birthday. Of course, I am not complaining, I needed a break from my ooohing and aahhing over my selection of fabrics. Beige is the most versatile, but I love the red too, and the yellow just has a certain charm about it. We've already discussed this, I know...

This morning I have been going through my stash (above) and looking at prints (colours actually) to fussy cut to get colour grading in my applique. I was thinking that there is a lot of scope for colouring in certain applique parts in this mystery and I am very excited about it. I am so looking forward to sharing the pattern with you.

But enough about that, it is after all, a mystery. And all mysteries must start at the beginning.
And you will know what the beginning is just as soon as I have had my morning coffee and typed it up.

So I will also post a little later.

Anyone who has been thinking about joining in on this mystery, the time to join the Yahoo Group is now. This mystery will run for 12 months and there will be no repeats or catch ups.


Wednesday 22 February 2012

WOW: New Mystery BOM Button

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

Perhaps you've heard about my New Mystery Bom for the year?
If you're interested in joining in, why not grab my Mystery Bom Button?

Here's the code for a small one, 180px
Esther’s Free BOM
Here's the code for a large one, 250px
Esther’s Free BOM

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Shrove Tuesday

I don't indulge in pancakes very often,
so it makes Shrove Tuesday extra special

And I'm quite glad this delicious tart cherry syrup jam is almost finished,
so that I won't be tempted to eat it again for breakfast tomorrow

Because I am supposed to be eating healthily after my festive season of indulgences, but with my DH's birthday this week...well, I will try.

As for the new Mystery Quilt BOM

I feel somewhat behind because I am a bit stuck in my ways... and like to 'sit' with a fabric before deciding on it for certain. As the fabric has only just arrived, I dont feel certain enough yet.

So I have still not chosen my background hue. I think I've decided, but I will know for sure in the next few days. As for the quilt's name, all will be revealed when I share the button here later this week.

Friday 17 February 2012

New Mystery BOM Background Fabric

Who's going to be making the
New Mystery BOM for 2012?

The New Mystery Quilt 2012 is a  floral applique wall quilt. Being a Mystery I will not be revealing any more details other than the monthly released blocks. But here's some information that will help you choose the best background fabric for your own quilt based on your own taste.

Here are my three backgrounds. Of course, I have 3 and can't decide between them!


1. Springtime:
The first yellow is the block background
The second milky white fabric is a contrast trim
The brown is a frame
The print is sashing and borders

This fabric option would be perfect to light up a wall, is feminine and cheerful, it would be a real delight to make this background.

Yellow & Yellow Flower Print- Basic Grey Curio range by Moda
Milky White and Brown is my stash

2. Polka Dot & Rouenneries:
The first red print with Fleur De Lis is the block background
The second pearl Fleur De Lis fabric is a contrast trim
The turkey red tournesal is a frame
The polka 'dobby dot' print is sashing and borders

I like these reds so much, they really speak to me. Another consideration is that blues, pinks, white and greens come alive on this red background and any floral applique will be very striking. It will dominate and make a statement of my wall and I am drawn to that. It's very tempting. And most of you know, I do have a thing for reds.....

All the fabrics in this range are
Rouenneries Deux by French General for Moda

Note that the 'dobby dot' polka dot fabric is a heavier fabric than usual.
I was not aware of this heavier weight when I purchased it.

3. Classic Neutral:
The first beige print is the block background
The second dull brown is a contrast trim
The third print is a frame
The stripe print is sashing and borders

Neutral is not boring! If you want your wall quilt to blend into your surroundings, this range is classic, sophisticated and balances the floral applique beautifully. If I was making a wall quilt for our sitting room where we have chesterfield sofas, this would win hands down.

All the fabrics in this range are
Rouenneries Deux by French General for Moda

Except for the dull brown which is from my stash

Choosing your background colours: will depend on the wall where you will be hanging this quilt. You may want to go with colours that suit your home design. All three options below accommodate lots of styles. The yellow is very feminine and french provincial, the red is classic and opens a living space, and the neutral is a sophisticated formal look.

Personally I could use all three colours on my own walls, but whether you want a more provincial, more classic look, will depend on your own taste and surroundings.

If you are thinking, how will my florals work on these fabrics? The aim of the quilt design is to allow the flowers to shine through. These fabrics are the background - the floral applique is the feature of the quilt. If you opt for a dark background for applique blocks, your floral applique will be dramatic.

If you opt for a neutral background, you may decided to select floral applique fabrics in muted tones to match the tone of the quilt. In nature there are many floral variations, even within a species. You may for instance, create, say a rose in a striking pink, a soft cream or a deep red. These are choices you will make as you create your floral blocks.

All three options listed above could work and work very well in my living area where the quilt is going to hang. I am torn between which one to opt for. The reds are very predictable for me and I do love them, but I also am taken by the idea of a glowing quilt that the first yellow option would allow. Then of course, classic, monochromatic sophisticated beige, where all emphasis would be on the flowers. But can I resist colour to allow it to work at it's best?

You will decide on your own background based on your own taste, and colour preferences.

You now have a good idea of what the background is going to do on this quilt top - and how your fabric choices will direct that. And how your own own fabric selection must 'zing' in the combination above of: background, trim, frame and borders / sashing.

As for me, I am still deciding...

Thursday 16 February 2012

Fabrics Have Arrived!

My Fabrics have finally arrived, here is the mix of two ordered lots. There are still a few bits to arrive but this is the general theme. This stack consists of the fabrics I have chosen to go with. I just wanted to give you a quick peek as I am very excited that they are finally here.

In the next post I will go through each fabric, why I chose it and the pallette in more detail. This way you will get a feel for the base fabrics and the contrasts, which will allow you to select your own fabrics.

All fabrics requirements for the entire quilt will be listed in Month 1, so you will be able to plan your fabric from the first block.

More to come soon...

Wednesday 15 February 2012

WOW: 'Inheriting' WIPs

WOW = WIPs On Wednesday

After all these years I have spent teaching my DDs the importance of *starting a single project and finishing it before moving on to another* (I know, I know, wishful thinking), I discover that not only has my DD abandoned her WIP, but did so in my sewing studio... apparently 2 weeks ago!

Yes, I have to face the reality that my DD has inherited my multiple WIP habit and worse, has opted to pass her WIP on (to me) with no intent on actually completing it now (or ever) herself. It sure looks like I have inherited my own bad WIP / UFO habit.
Bad WIPPing habits do not go unnoticed. Even when they are craftily stored temporarily in a dedicated sewing studio. If I could start my quilting adventure all over again and rewind 11 years, I'd stick with a strict 01 project until completed rule.

But then again..... 
100% merino wool, 8 graduations of colour, 5% completed
Were oh where did she get such extravagant ideas from???
Fabric News:
My parcel from Paducah still hasn't arrived and I have decided not to expect it any longer. I am moving on and moving forward regardless.

Mystery BOM 2012 News:
I am now delayed with the release of the BOM, but after the suggestion in the YahooGroup of releasing it on Feb 29th, I've really taken to the idea. Hopefully once the new fabric arrives I will be able to move quickly on with the month.
Back to what wednesday is all about...WIPs!

Monday 13 February 2012

St Valentine ...and other excuses

St. Valentine's Day, a good excuse to bake a cake.

I have been eating healthily and trying to avoid indulgences, especially as Oct - Jan is a very indulgent yuletide in our household and I must admit, I did over do it over the festive season.

This is not good and so I have been making amends these last 2 months. How quickly February has arrived!

I have been married 37 years and have never cared for Valentine's Day, but I do love any occasion to bake a marble cake. This one is moist and easy. The bundt heart tin means the decorating is done without any extra effort during baking and the slicing is gorgeous too.

I'm very keen on Bundt tins, but they do require care when greasing - if you get that bit right, the cake will slide from the tin cleanly and beautifully.

To do it right you need warm butter. If your butter is not soft to touch, run hot water through the tin so that it heats up. Dry thoroughly and while still warm smear the butter into every dip and crease. If you use spray oil it can taste bitter and if you dust with flour it can leave white patches over the finished cake. Getting the oiling right is really important.

For my three flavours I opt for cherry, chocolate rum and vanilla. For the cherry I added a good dollop of tart cherry conserve and a teaspoon of red food colouring. For the chocolate I added 2 tablespoons of quality cocoa and 2 tablespoons rum. You can't taste the rum once baked, it simply adds a depth to the chocolate flavour. The vanilla is lovely. I always use a good vanilla extract and the zest of a lemon, so the vanilla or plain part of the cake has more lift. The sourcream makes this cake moist.
250 grams butter
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
3 large eggs
2 cups self raising flour

1st bowl
2 tablespoons cherry jam
1teaspoon red food colouring

2nd bowl
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons rum

Preheat oven to 180c fan forced. Grease tin. Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla together until thick and pale. Add eggs, one at a time. Add flour and sour cream until just combined. Separate mixture into 3 bowls to add colour and flavour (cherry and chocolate).

Spoon into cake tin. With a tin that has slice sections this small, spoon in with a teaspoon to achieve the marble look. Otherwise, if you ladle in with a large spoon you won't see the marbling as clearly. Run skewer through mixture to marble the colours. 

Bake for 60mins in a 180c fan forced oven or until a skewer comes out clean.

With a bundt tin, you need to alter recipes by 10-15 minutes as these tins often bake faster.

Test from 45mins onwards.

When ready, I place a large plate over the cake pan for 5 minutes- this traps the moisture in the cake and helps the cake slide out of the tin easily. Very easy and delicious.

I love it when the cake slides out effortlessly. Then simply dust with sugar.
Of course you could drizzle with melted chocolate or coat with a ganache (very effective with this cake tin shape) but I have gone the simple way.

I used a large spoon to mixture in my 3 colours and as the slices are small due to the cake tin shape, the marble effect isn't as clear as it would be in a normal tin. Use a teaspoon to add the mixture in turns if you want a visual marble look. Personally I love the changing flavours per slice as below!

Three things I love today
good coffee in the morning
a spotlessly clean kitchen
ingredients for dinner in the pantry (and no shopping required)

My Paducah order from November still has not arrived. The replacement order I made with another supplier is arriving any day. Today I hope...

This means that my Mystery BOM is behind schedule as it is due to be launched on Wednesday.
It's likely now that the BOM start date will have to be delayed.
It's simply too important to rush.

It's frustrating and I have been quite annoyed about it all last week. However, I started the fabric process in November and I don't reasonably think I could have expected to still be waiting for it in February!!

I will let you know when the fabric arrives. I have very strong feelings about this Mystery BOM and with my samples down (beautiful!!) and the patterns painstakingly drawn, I'm simply not prepared to do or start any part of it with less than 100%

Updates soon...I hope!

Wednesday 8 February 2012

WOW: Colour Picking for the New BOM

 WIPs On Wednesdays

At the moment the New BOM has 2 names...and how to decide? Well at the moment I can't! Why is naming new quilts so hard? I can feel that the naming of the BOM will be a last minute thing...

FEB 15th is the launch of my New Mystery BOM for 2012: it's applique, it's floral, it's a wall hanging.

It's high time that my living room received a new wall quilt - at the right size and full of florals that I love. Red Delicious has been retired for a while, and well, it's time for something new. I am very excited to be getting on with another Quilt from my Quilty To Do List. This is another quilt from my quilt "bucket list" so you know, it has to be very special and feel just so in my quilt collection.

Will you be joining me on this Mystery? I think it's the best so far -of course, I might be biased!

Everyone wants to know...what is the mystery all about? It's about my favourite flowers in my favourite combinations - I want to be able to look at them all year long regardless of the season. They will always be in bloom for me. I have been thinking about how to describe this quilt.

Romantic? yes. Naive? not really. Folk Art? no. Abstract? no. Contemporary? no. Does that help?

These are a selection of my new hand dyes. I am aiming for realistic tones.
And I've been going through the stash for some foliage greens too.

The only way I can think to describe the pattern style is a kind of romantic realism...I am aiming to bring nature into the house in a beautiful, purposeful and stated way. I'm sure everyone who makes this quilt will make their own wonderful version to bring their own garden to life. In fact that's one of the reasons I love sharing my work so much - I get to see it being made by many different hands in many different styles. It's always a real treat to see my designs interpreted by others.

So I have been rather impatient waiting for my fabric this week. I have been waiting for my old fabrics from Nov 2011 to arrive and my newly ordered fabrics to arrive as well. Will they show up? That is the question.

Whilst waiting, I have been busy hand dying special colours for the flower details. The wait has been so hard to take that I have resorted to these desperate measures!

The background is a commercial print range. I will be showing the pallette right here (when it arrives).

Will you be joining in on the BOM?

How is your wednesday coming along?

Wednesday 1 February 2012

WOW: WIPP-ing up Inspiration

Do visit his website by clicking on image (or name below)

WOW = WIPs On Wednesday

Claude A Simard is a talented painter who's work I am always drawn to. The colours, the shape, the style...everything about it basically inspires me. This video above is a clip of Claude A Simard working on a painting. It goes for 6 minutes and if you watch it, I'm fairly certain it will leave you as speechless as it did me. The moment it suddenly becomes a breathtaking. If only I could WIP this fast!

I've spent a lot of time looking for inspiration this past week. Looking for a new colour scheme sounds easier than it actually is. I expected that with my fabric stash I would have no problem finding new colour ideas. But nothing worked. And I messed up the stash looking. All fruitless. I went through lots of combinations and possibilities. Fell in love. Changed my mind. Repeat! It feels like once I have decided on a scheme...I become a bit inflexible about changing it. Did I find my new scheme? Yes...eventually. Now that I've chosen it, if feels so predicatble and I don't know why it wasn't my first option all along. You'll know what I mean later in the week. I finally think it's an improvement on the previous choice.

Why is choosing the right combination of colours so hard? Well it is always difficult for me and something I always find myself second guessing. Maybe it's all down to too much choice? I will have to keep working on it and hope that I improve.

No parcel yet.

UPDATE: I have just realised after browsing his website, that Claude A Simard has a new book for sale....appropriately titled "Inspiration". Can you believe it? Now I will have to find extra shelf space...this book is a must for me!

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