Saturday, 27 September 2014

Astrid's quilt

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So as you know by now, each time a new baby comes into the extended family I've been making them a small quilt. This quilt is for the newest darling to arrive, little Astrid, my niece's first baby. We met Astrid for the first time yesterday. She's beautiful, with the cutest blonde quiff and tiny, tiny little hands.

Also traditional is that it has some pieces of flowerpress fabric designs sewn into it, and this one has nine of my patterns in its squares. Can you pick them? (see below) 

I'm really a beginner quilter, this is only my fifth quilt, and all of those were small and simple square patched quilts. But each time I make another my skills and knowledge grow a little more. Here are some of my past efforts, Poppy's quilt, Sid's quilt, Penny's quilt.

This time I got ambitious and changed direction after cutting out all squares. I decided to cut them in half and combine them in two piece blocks, alternating directions between the print and solid blocks. It meant I got to include more patterns and a second solid - a mushroom grey.

It also meant I had to retrim all the pieced squares which had become rectangles, but that went pretty quickly and probably helped keep everything straight. Next time I will decide my design before I start cutting!

For the back of the quilt I found the lightest fawn coloured and patterned flannel at Spotlight, I love flannel backed quilts for softness. I bound it with this fresh lime green spot. Its quite a unique colour combination but I think it works, its a spring quilt and it looks like one!

Quilting is done with simple horizontal lines which match in with the design.

I've said this before, but its worth saying, a simple baby quilt takes a little time but is a simple sewing project, and one that is very forgiving. If you want to have a go at making one yourself my baby quilt tutorial is over here. It shows every step needed to make a simple quilt.

I also have a binding tutorial in the works, because I found I am often dreading this step in the process, and have to look through the directions again. I took some photos this time to remind myself.

If anyone wants some of the Flowerpress fabrics in the quilt, a few of them are available in my Etsy shop. A few are digital and others screenprinted but they all play well together. I'm planning on making up some mixed packs so people can use a mix of my designs like I have here.

The dark blue stars are mine, the coloured spots, the blue blockprinted leaves, the white on linen filigree, the clouds, both blue screenprinted flowers, the blue doily on linen and the green leaf pattern on blue fabric.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

renovation

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Guess what! We signed a contract with the builder last week for renovation work on the back of our house. We are going to extend our tiny kitchen and dining room and add a big deck off the back where we now have a tiny one. Underneath will be a big extra space.

It was going to start yesterday, but luckily we have had a reprieve and get to keep the back of the house for another week! I'm dying for it all to start but also dying for the extra time to get organised. We're living on site during the work and will lose our kitchen for most of the time and though I'm not sure how that's going to go it sounds like a challenge!

We have been working on the plans and council approval for a couple of years now, doing it with a friend of ours who is an architect. He's been busy, we've been busy, and we've dragged it out a bit - putting off the disruption and expense. But now its finally happening!

Last week the plumber moved the sewer pipes to make way for the excavation. To save money and time we dug a lot of the holes ourselves, all five of us had a go. One minute we had lawn and garden and the next minute there were holes and pipes. My lovely planter boxes  were dismantled and three self sown trees which had put themselves in the wrong spot had to go. Luckily all the trees we've planted are okay, so the bones of the garden will still be there. But the beautiful side garden has been cut back hard in preparation for access so diggers and building materials can come along there.

I've been feeling a bit sentimental for our garden as it was. It's going to change a lot, levels will change and the low wall and stairs and pond we built will most probably go. Plants have been pulled out, pavers stacked and gravel dug up and put in bags in preparation. So here are some before shots, some garden pics I came across while looking through my photos for something else. I love this garden, and I will miss its present incarnation, but I'm looking forward to the next.

My gardens have always been works in progress, I think all good gardens are. They grow and change like children and we can't hang on, but just enjoy the ride. When one plant dies I look at it as a chance to plant something new and different, when a tree plants itself in the middle of a sunny bed we've changed to shade loving plants, and when a plant doesn't look right or doesn't thrive it is unceremoniously uprooted and moved or composted. I learnt to do that from my mother in law :-)

We will always have trees and paths and water. There will always be vegetable beds. I'm looking forward to rearranging things when the dust settles.  My only frustration is this beautiful spring weather, it seems criminal to be moving plants and not sowing seed at this time of year!!!

I hope to show some before, during and (especially) after photos. I always love to watch those sort of transformations and have long been a fan of Grand Designs. Ours won't be so grand and we're hoping to bypass some of the drama and delays of some of their shows but it will be a big change in the spaces we have.

Friday, 29 August 2014

stamp class

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I taught a Stamping on Fabric workshop on Saturday. I love teaching workshops. It really is the best job. Helping people get their making on never gets old! I love watching people's quiet concentration as they are carving a block or printing a stamp. It proves to me what I already know, that making is good for the soul, and that we all need a bit of it in our lives.

I'm always surprised that some workshop attendees haven't done any making or art since high school. I really believe everyone has a creative streak, that everyone can be taught to draw, and that everyone benefits from getting the chance to be creative. And so I love enabling that process.

Its not even the finished product that is the prize, its also the process of making which is a mindful meditation in itself (even that endless unpicking can be a time for daydreaming!)

It is lovely watching people relax into creative work. And it is wonderful to see their happy faces when they hold up their finished tote or tea towel at the end with pride and accomplishment, and a big smile on their face. Thanks to the lovely bunch of girls who were such a nice gang to hang out with on a rainy Saturday.

Thanks to Melissa and Pepper (pictured) for another great day at SewMakeCreate. We haven't scheduled a new date yet (!) but email Melissa (hello@sewmakecreate.com.au) to be notified about my next class which will probably be in October.

I sewed this piece of stamped fabric I shared on instagram a while ago into a zip purse to show people what you can make with a small piece of hand stamping. Its such a quick, cheap and easy craft this one, and so adaptable.