Friday 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas everyone. Today it's hot down my way, it's going to be 35c which means my usual ideas for Christmas day lunch have gone out the window and I'm just going to enjoy the day without the usual baking cycles.

If you're here, I'd like to thank you for reading my blog throughout the year. I feel so much encouragement and support from each of you and your comments mean so much to me too. When I'm working away in my studio, it feels really special to bring my work online and share what I do with you. It's a special connection and I've found some really wonderful people quilting online and for that, I'm grateful.

My personal motto has always been 'givers are receivers' and this blog has proven that to me over and over. I've been so blessed to have so many of you here encouraging me on. Over in my Yahoo BOM Group, I've been blessed with Moderators who volunteer their time to keeping all our members in a spam free zone where they can share their experiences as they make my patterns. 

This beautiful little film is a Russian production and it's one I share each Christmas on this blog on Christmas day because I think it's so charming in getting to the heart of the matter. It is such a nice change from the usual commercialism we are all bombarded with at this time of year. The detail is simply lovely, it's a pleasure to watch and a reminder to us all that Jesus is the reason for the season.

Wednesday 23 December 2015

WOW: Glad Tidings Progress

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
This year's free Christmas Project 'Glad Tidings' was released to my Yahoo BOM Group which has over 5500 members now. And, as well as our Yahoo Group I decided to release it for free on Craftsy and am happy to report that's been downloaded more than 1'900 times so far. Not bad, eh? This is really exciting for me because the more quilts being made out there, the more likely I am to get to see them, and I always love that. It was a beautiful surprise to see Gail Smith's Red December earlier in the week (it's been a while since I'd even thought about that quilt first designed in 2011) and seeing it again really made my day.

I wonder how many of you will be stopping by today? I imagine you're all getting ready for Christmas. I have the day set aside to tidy the house, make room in the fridge and put the last load of washing on before the big day. I'm looking forward to taking it easy and letting my DDs take care of all the cooking.

What's Your WOW?

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Applique by Freezer Paper

The Freezer Paper Applique Method is popular, surprisingly easy and completely satisfying.

It attends to all those important details which are so important: like smooth edges, clean tucks and sharp lines. Whilst traditional needle turn applique is my favourite and most cherished technique, this is the technique I use the most. It's so practical. If you haven't tried it - I can only recommend that you do.

 Simply brush fabric edges with starch
 Turn with a hot iron, using the freezer paper insert as your edge guide
 Remove the freezer paper easily
 Inner view of turned piece
the completed applique shape

I know many of you are familiar with this technique, however from the emails I have received this week I realise that there are still some quilters who are not confident using this method.

This is the technique I will be using throughout Hearts Desire and as there is so much applique in this BOM, I have decided to show some more detail in the slides below.

Coming up in this BOM, you will be creating applique leaves I have created a leaf in the tutorial below which shows exactly how I do it.

2015 update: I'm re-posting this technique which was first posted in 2011 as I'm asked about it so often. This is the same technique I use today except that these days, I replace the freezer paper with a wash away fusible instead. The method remains the same. 

Thursday 17 December 2015

I've started Listening to Golden Ratio Music

Most of us know about Fibonacci and the Golden Ratio. It's something that's always interested me and since I purchased Jinny Beyer's Golden Rato Calipers I've been checking over many of my patterns to check they meet the ratio...just as a matter of interest...and I'm pleased to report that they mostly do. For many quilters the Golden Ratio isn't just interesting, it's instinctive to us. And we naturally create and work within it's ratios without even knowing it.
What I didn't know until last week, was that there is an equivalent 'perfect ratio' when it comes to music and these ratios are known by their frequency ranges. Last week I received an usual gift from my DD - music scaled in the Key of David, which is produced for listening at a frequency of 444 hertz. Actually there are numerous frequencies and each has it's own qualities. Just like the Golden Ratio is satisfying to the eye, these sounds are satisfying to listen to. And now that I've started listening, I find myself seeking out specific frequencies at different times of day.

Since I first time I heard music scaled in this frequency, I've had a strong emotional response to it which I can only describe as being 'in tune' to the sound. It's beautiful and has an instant positive effect on my mood. Many people believe that different frequencies have the power to heal the body or guide it into a state of self healing - a concept I find very interesting.

The music I'm referring to is called 'Whole Tones' and is composed and played by Michael Tyrrell. I'm so impressed with the music that I approached Wholetones to become affiliated with the project. That's how much I enjoy it -  the music is beautiful and refreshing to listen to. I will just mention that, importantly, this is not a 'New Age' product, the creator of this musical range has drawn his motivation from the book of Psalms and Biblical teachings to create these soundtracks. His motivations are based on his belief in the power of music to transform our moods, energy and ultimately, our lives. As for me, I just really enjoy it and am pleased to promote someone who creates his own work with integrity.

Why not have a listen and see what you think?

Wednesday 16 December 2015

WOW: Coming Full Circle

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Oma's Blues by Pat Sirni

Days like today, I really feel that I've come full circle. First I started out just sharing my patterns seven years ago...and now people are sharing the quilts they made from my patterns back with me...and it's a wonderful feeling.

Pat's quilt is really special. She's adapted Oma's Blues using the centre plate and border before finishing it off as a wall hanging. Isn't it fabulous? I just LOVE the way she used beige in with the blue and white, but most of all, I love her dutch fabrics, In my pattern, I have charm plates. Pat has fussy cut her own style of charm plates from the most gorgeous fabrics, it's really effective and I love seeing these variations. Pat is doubly generous you know, as well as sending me pics of her quilt here, she's also a Moderator over in my Yahoo BOM Group, so it's a double thank you today Pat!

Luckily for me, the Moderator's over in my group usually make my quilts before I do...that combined with you talented quilters out there who decide to share your finished pics with me, I'm satisfied that even if I don't get around to making a particular quilt as quickly as I like...I'll still get to see them....somehow. 
What's Your WOW?

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Red December by Gail Smith

'Red December' by Gail Smith
quilted by Angela McCorkle

So many people ask me what Red December looks like? Good question! Luckily it's one Gail Smith can answer - here is her gorgeous version. Isn't it just stunning?!

My blog readers are the best. Here I was sitting down to read my emails when a lovely hello came in from Gail, who duly informed me that she had finished my quilt pattern Red December, and would I like to see it? Well of course I did! 

My own Red December is on a chair waiting to be quilted. It's been there for a few years actually. In the meantime, I went ahead and made a Red December table cloth for Christmas as well as a matching cushion that was printed in a magazine. Oh I do love it and seeing it all made up here makes me love it all over again :) 
I might even take a moment now to imagine that my own is finished and is as gorgeous as Gail's...
It's easy to imagine as she followed my original scheme of (what else?) red and white.
I've always loved this pattern and must admit that I haven't done it justice because I haven't been able to show it off here on my blog. I think that sometimes, even when you design a quilt and share that design, until people can see the finished quilt, it can be hard to imagine just how beautiful it is. I always knew Red December was a beauty, and now I can prove it! Thanks so much Gail. You've really made my day. It's a real pleasure of mine to share my work and I really appreciate it when people take the time to share what they've made back with me. 

Thank you :) 

Red December was released for free in December 2011 as the yearly Christmas Project.

Saturday 12 December 2015

Oma's Blues: Quilted

Thanks so much for all your comments on my last post. I'm glad you were all as happy for me as I was! It's s good feeling to be 'finished' with a quilt. When I started Oma's Blues, I was interested in re-creating the 'Delft" inspired style that I've always loved so much. I wanted it to hang in my kitchen and be the ultimate 'fabric' wall of plates.
Here's my centre plate bird: I decided to quilt him a little plumage crown
Many of you stuck with the blue and white theme which I found really interesting. I thought there would be a lot of mixed colours out there - more than I've seen, so I suppose many of us like Delft so much that blue and white just felt right :) 
 Now that it's done, it's going up on my wall in the New Year, 
right after the Christmas decorations go down
I love these corner plates coming together
and these blocks were designed to look like fragments of plates stacked along the borders
and I can tell you now that the quilt is finished, that I really think they do!
I've enjoyed quilting all the free space
and even detailed the circles and diamonds
like so
For my binding, I opted to strip this delft fabric together rather than use a dark blue and it ties in all the blue fabrics nicely.

Are you making Oma's Blues?

Wednesday 9 December 2015

WOW: I finished Oma's Blues!

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
I've finished Oma's Blues! Yes, it's all done and I did it before Christmas which was a high hope of mine. Well, I did it. There were a few obstacles along the way but I've passed them and I'm over the moon about that, if feels like a real achievement to end the year with this quilt completed. Yes, I am in love with it! I can't wait to show you all my quilting details on Friday as there's just too much to fit in on this WOW post and I'm excited to tell you the story behind exactly how I got it quilted with all the sewing machine issues I had. It's a happy ending and icing on the cake for me to know that this quilt is ticked off my list! So happy:)

What's Your WOW?

Monday 7 December 2015

Yuletide Time

Well I'm behind with the festivities and decorations, but I don't mind. I'm doing Christmas at my own pace. In fact, I'm still working away at a few Christmas projects and I don't mind that either. There used to be a time when I felt that I just had to have the tree up and spice biscuits out on December 1st. But I've mellowed since then and now just unfurling my rolled up 12 Days of Christmas wall hanging, above, feels like Christmas time to me!

I've been undecided regarding my tree options and given that it's already the 7th of the month and I don't feel bothered either way, I think that once again this year we will go with a small table top sized tree. This photo below was taken this morning in my garden. It's held up remarkably well since last year, I really didn't think it would make it, but it has. And it's green (greener than it looks in this photo) and there are no dead bits, so I'm happy with bringing it indoors. I've started hosing it down thoroughly to dislodge any insects and tonight I'll pop it in the shower where it can acclimatize to indoors overnight. And that will give any insects a chance to crawl out as well.
Of course, the most important plant for me each Christmas is a beautiful poinsettia and as I don't have any of these in the house yet, I will probably buy some this week when I get a chance. I love to have them all over the house and all the pots from last year (all 8 of them) died throughout the year which was really disappointing as I had hoped to keep them to bring back inside, but they never last.

Perhaps I should try to keep them indoors all the time? Someone told me they're popular in shopping center interiors as they make good houseplants - which I thought they weren't, so I'll have to investigate this further as I'd really love to have them inside all the year.
My geraniums (another favorite of mine) also didn't fare too well this past year. I will have to take more care in the year ahead, I've really neglected my herbs. flowered pots and hanging baskets and am paying the price as I really miss them. I suppose I've been too distracted with my indoor pursuits. I'll take the few days after Christmas to give my plants some love and nurturing to set them up for the year ahead.

Is your tree up? What plants do you love to have around your home Christmas time?

Wednesday 2 December 2015

WOW: Nelke Progress

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Ooops, I lost my bird!
Here I am with my Nelke progress. I didn't notice my sweet little birdy fell off, but you get the idea. Now that I look at it, I think it needs something in the corners, perhaps a motif? I couldn't decide. I was thinking about simple circles, then love hearts and then bows on an angle in each corner, but couldn't decide so I've left it for now. Actually looking at it now with fresh eyes, I think it's crying out for 4 sweet corner bows. What do YOU think?

Nelke is still available for free to members of my Yahoo Group (why not join?), for everyone else, you can buy this pattern over in my online shop.

What's Your WOW?

Tuesday 1 December 2015

FQS Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations Mary, you're the winner of the Fat Quarter Shop Giveaway. Now, it's time for you to shop for some exciting new fabric :)

Thanks to the Fat Quarter Shop for generously offering this giveaway and for the random number generator for making the comment selection so easy - honestly, how could I ever choose between the comments? I agree with all of you and only wish I could send you all something. Thankfully the random number generator did the hard work for me.

I love a giveaway and there'll be more giveaways to come, so stay tuned..

Friday 27 November 2015

Fat Quarter Shop Giveaway! Open to EVERYONE!

Thanks to the generous people at Fat Quarter Shop, I'm hosting a Giveaway! 
WIN $50 to spend at the Fat Quarter Shop!
 I'm making it super easy to enter: simply comment on this post to be in the draw to win

The lucky winner will be announced on Wednesday's WOW Linky Party Post! 

If I won, I know what I'd rush to get into my stash - it's this new Little House on the Prairie range and I have to tell you, it's stolen my heart! My DDs used to watch this series when they were young and I have such lovely warm memories of that period in my life. These scenics and icons fat quarters are just the thing for making something special. And I'm already wondering what to make with them??
Scenics and Icons Fat Quarter BundleLittle House on the Prairie for Andover Fabrics | Fat Quarter Shop
What would you pick up?

Wednesday 25 November 2015

WOW: Doll Making

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Over the years, I've made many cloth dolls and this year I'm thinking about releasing a Christmas Glad Tidings Cloth Doll to go along with my Table Runner, Throw and Bed Quilt. You see, I've made many over the years, including a few angels...but can't find a single one! Where have they all got to? My DDs have been on the hunt for them too, but none have re-surfaced. I must have a box somewhere with beautifully hand made dolls lovingly tucked away. Sometimes, I take too much care when packing away my things so this year I've just decided to go ahead and make a replacement for Christmas. I do miss my usual cloth doll angel and it's time I did something about it.

But first I'll have to decide on the size and body type, so I'm playing around with my doll patterns - they're all quite different and I can't decide between them. I'll let you know how I get on...

What's the strangest thing you've packed away...only to never find again? Or perhaps you've been lucky enough to find something you hadn't realized was packed away?!

What's Your WOW?

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Nelke Zig Zags

I'm up to making Nelke's zig zags. I think the fabric from the range slots in perfectly, it's all so complimentary, it takes the matching issues out for me. I think from now on I might try to select 'ranges' and restrict myself in this way when making up my designs. I really do spend so much time ummming and ahhhing over fabric choices, that restricting myself has been a welcome change. And so much faster too. I never though I'd think that restricting my creative range could be a good thing, but it definitely is in the case of fabrics. 
Since Love Entwined, I have a renewed enthusiasm for zig zags, I'm using them everywhere. In fact, before LE, I don't think I'd ever designed a quilt with zig zags, you can see they've really grown on me!
I'm using Polyfuse for everything at the moment, it's such an easy solution for me and cuts down on my prep time. Polyfuse is what you can see backing my fabric. I won't remove it. It just stays put until you wash your quilt (if you do) and it's not too stiff to work with or quilt over in the interim. I really like using it right now. I go through stages. There was a time when I was in love with the freezer paper method, but I've moved on to fusibles since then. Sometimes I wish I'd move on to raw edge applique for speed reasons and sometimes I think I will, but I never do. There's just something about turn edge applique that I find so satisfying. 

Finished Size 51 x 51 inches
This pattern was released for free for 1 month to my Yahoo BOM Members. 
It can now be purchased from my online shop for $9.95 USD

Monday 23 November 2015

Nelke, a little bird told me..

Oooh I love unexpected progress...
Here's my Nelke bird. What a sweet little thing it is, I never tire of birds in quilt designs. And I'm really loving the background fabric I picked up as a remnant from AQM last weekend. It's a perfect fit for this quilt. 

And this is the back. I'm using Polyfuse which means that I don't have to remove it. It will simply disintegrate when washed. I don't know that I will ever wash this quilt, as it's a wall hanging. The good thing about Polyfuse is that it isn't too 'thick' or study so even when in place, it looks natural. 

Finished Size 51 x 51 inches
This pattern was released for free for 1 month to my Yahoo BOM Members. 
It can now be purchased from my online shop for $9.95 USD

Sunday 22 November 2015

Nelke Progress

I wasn't sure if I would get Nelke done this year, but it looks like I will. With my sewing machine dramas, I had to put my quilting aside and then I got the flu and now that I'm back to quilting I'm stretched over 4 projects I started during my 'lull' and now with them all needing attention at the same time, I've decided to just do whatever I want -so rather than worry about 'getting things done' I just work on what I feel like on any particular day. Tough life for a quilter, eh?
With so many projects on the go, I have to number my pieces just like I recommend every one else does. Even though it's my own pattern, I lose track just as easily as everyone else! Preparation can be boring sometimes, but make no mistake, it's crucial.
This range is still growing on me. I was a bit stuck about the background, but since I picked up a few metres at AQM last weekend, there's been no stopping my progress. Sometimes a little thing like finding the right background can make everything else fall into place. 
You've seen my vase by now. When I designed Nelke, I had planned on using the main feature fabric from the range, but now I can't imagine using anything other than this one. I think it's perfect. Of course this means I have to design another quilt to use up the other feature fabric because I really do love it and want to see it out to use in one of my quilts. 
 Stems completed. 

Wednesday 18 November 2015

WOW: Working on Nelke

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
I'm serious about keeping Wednesdays (well, most Wednesdays) a day for WIPs, so I've made a start on Nelke. I just love everything about this quilt and buying the fabric was so easy too, I found the range at my local quilt store and knew it was for me. The colours really spoke to me. Although I purchased a background from the range specifically, I've been playing around with it at home and it didn't zing. I couldn't put my finger on my why exactly. Then, this past weekend, I went to the AQM and came across some end of bolt fabrics and snapped up a new background in soft white with some yellow dots on it - and it's a perfect match (above). So I got all inspired to get my Nelke top made. Today I've made a start.

I have no idea when my Nelke will get done. Of course I have no 'time' for her officially, but I've been quilting Oma's Blues non stop last week and just needed a break this week - its been so much work. So Nelke is my WOW break.

What's Your WOW?

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