Friday 6 November 2015

Beautiful HB Wishes

Thanks for all your Birthday Wishes everyone, I had a beautiful day at home with my family and it was exactly what I wanted. I only joined Facebook a few months ago and was surprised to find hellos over there as well as over in my BOM Group and even Google decided to wish me a HB (below). A few years ago, this would have really puzzled me, but I think I've become more blase about how intrusive technology is becoming in our lives. Sure, it's just a cute note but it does make me wonder about how technology is becoming or trying to become more 'humanized' by creeping into our life events. 
What do you think? Is Google being nice? Or weirdly intrusive by reminding me that they know everything about me? There were plenty of flowers because I love them and I'm at that age where I have everything and no one knows what to buy me and I don't even know myself. I used to just ask for a new fancy cup/s each year, but now I have a cupboard full of those and couldn't think of anything else to ask for!
I always take hundreds of photos of my bouquets because I use them in my designs. Here I am sneaking in to pull out a rose - I usually pull out any extraordinary flowers and make new 'bunches' to study them and in this bunch a lovely rose caught my eye. But I resisted pulling it out just yet, I decided that I would leave all the flowers alone on my actual birthday, but it was tempting...
In my mind, white lilies are funeral flowers so I'm always surprised when they appear in bouquets. They're very popular here and are pretty much in everything which I still think is so strange given how much variety and colour is out in the natural world. Perhaps I'm just being old fashioned. I love all flowers so it didn't lessen my enjoyment, it just gave me a start to wake up to a kitchen full of white flowers!

I was going to bake a cake but didn't get around to it. In the last few years my family have stopped purchasing cakes from the shops because they always look so pretty but somehow all taste like cold slabs of margarine. We're all in a cake slump! 

I sent my DH out to pick up some cannoli's from a local bakery which are usually so good, but they must have used old oil because they tasted like they'd been fried in sausages! This has just confirmed my determination to pull out my old box of Bundt tins and start making family birthdays cakes myself all over again. I really thought I was over all that, but quality seems to have dropped everywhere so I think I'll have to get back into the swing of things.

Wednesday 4 November 2015

WOW: It's My Birthday!

WOW = WIPs On Wednesday
As it's my birthday, I suppose I can consider myself a WIP. My DDs have kindly given me an extra arm which I can tell you, I'm thrilled about. I've wanted one of these for ages. I did have one a few years ago, but my DH got rid of it as he felt it made me lazy. And I may or may not have started using it to pass him objects at around the same time. I can't really remember. Which is another advantage of aging.
Now that I'm old enough to be expected to share wisdom, I can tell you this: there is never enough time to do everything you want to do or undertake everything that interests you. If I had 100 lives, I could fill each one with a whole new range of interests and pursuits, so my birthday advice is this: love what you do or stop doing it.

Today we'll be having my birthday lunch at home. I get irritated at restaurants because they never prepare the food exactly as I want it and I've finally snapped and declared my birthday a restaurant free zone - so you can see, I've already started taking my own advice.

What's Your WOW ?

Monday 2 November 2015

It Must Be Pattern Making Time!

The oddest thing happens whenever I release a new quilt pattern - something in my house retires. It's happened so many times that we often joke about it now, wondering which thing will 'go' next? Without fail, whenever I am releasing a pattern, things go wrong in the house. At first I thought it was a strange coincidence, then I thought I was being paranoid about things that must have been due to happen anyway, but now there's really no way to explain how all these things happen precisely when I'm working on quilt releases! It's so strange.

Well, my washing machine and PDF software both failed when I was on the computer typing up the Nelke pattern. The washing machine was so expensive to fix that it was cheaper to purchase a new one. It arrived this morning. My PDF software simply failed for no reason that the software company was able to determine so I'll be moving on to another brand and hoping it's all in place for my next pattern release. My photocopier is still on the blink. I keep going back and forth about whether it's worth spending the money to fix it. Whenever I'm scanning patterns, I'm certainly sure that it IS worth the expense, but every other time I think it's not. We'll see. My current system is too frustrating to keep up so I'll have to update how I work on my patterns.

As for the rest of today, I'll be doing the laundry.

Saturday 31 October 2015

Pattern Making Leaves

Nothing inspires me more than nature. Actually, most of my designs are based around a desire to showcase designs styled and interpreted on and around natural floras and the fabrics that make those designs shine throughout the year - be it frosty winters, bright springs or warm, woody autumns, 
Naturally this means I press just about any leaf I come into contact with! Whenever I go out, I scan any foliage around me for interesting shapes that I can use in the future. Sometimes I even send my DH to complete strangers' doors to ask for permission to take some leaves from their front yard trees. Up until now, they've always said yes, which is lucky for my design kit.
Mostly, I wipe the leaves down, place them between clean sheets of paper and pop them into cook books (these are always the books that I seem to open up the least and are always 'heavy' enough to do the pressing. And then, voila!

Friday 30 October 2015

Proper Care & Storage Of Sewing Needles

When I was a girl, I used to store my favourite sewing needles on the collar of the blouse I was wearing. Now that I'm teaching a children's class in hand sewing, I decided that the perfect end of term gift would be a a sewing case for each child. They're about to progress to real sewing needles now (advancing from plastic needles) so the timing is perfect.
I purchased this fabric 15 years ago and at that stage you can see it had already been waiting around in someone elses stash. In fact, I do wonder how many stashes it's been in since 1988?! I'm quite pleased that it's being put to good use after all these years.
 I really like that it's the perfect template for my little cases, it even has a 'spine', it's stash busting serendipity :)
I've used bright fabrics for the insides and batting for the needles
I love the applique design style animals, its a little nod to my passion for quilting
Hmmmm, feels like it's missing something...
...and it was! After these photos were taken, I stitched button holes and added a button on front - and then it felt 'just right'. I hope the class likes them.

Wednesday 28 October 2015

WOW: The Green Bowl

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Since my last Pinterest fail, I decided that I would find an easy 'do-able' cake recipe that I can make up for my DH without having to pull out the cake mixer and make a big deal of it. Interestingly, I do own a cake mixer (that gets used only yearly), as well as a gorgeous set of mixing bowls that are sitting in the cupboard, nested perfectly and gathering dust. When I need to mix, I always pull out this bowl which is 35 years old. How old?! I can barely believe I just typed that.

In this bowl I have mixed cakes for all my children's birthdays (back when it was the norm to bake your children's birthday cakes yourself) and made countless Easter and Christmas mixes too. It's interesting how a plastic bowl can have so much value, but the truth is, no matter how many times I replace it, I just can't bare to let it go.

It looks like I'll be using it until it falls apart. Unless it goes on to outlive me. It's German made, so anything's possible!

What's Your WOW?

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Patricia Stephans' Love Entwined

Love Entwined 1790 Marriage Coverlet by Patricia Stephans of QLD, Australia (and her long suffering DH helping hold it in place during the photograph :) ) All hand stitched and quiltedPatricia chose the colors of purple and gold as they depict the colors of the jacaranda and silky oak trees that are out in blossom in Queensland

What can I say? It's beautiful and inspiring, Here we have yet another Love Entwined -hand sewn- that reflects the life and nature surrounding the quilter who created it. What an inspiration! Thanks for sharing your work with us Patricia, it sure is motivational for those of us stitching along on this extraordinary heirloom.

This quilt will be added to the Love Entwined Gallery so it can be enjoyed alongside other LE's as and when they're made. If you've made LE, please consider sharing it with us all via the gallery.

Details on how to do this are listed on my website, click here for the link.
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