Wednesday 29 February 2012

Messing About

In the interests of becoming a better blogger, I've challenged myself to be able to make my own blog button.

I've been playing around with picnik (which I've just worked out how to use and now I've found out they're closing down) and come up with a couple.

Don't get excited, there is no Butterfly Days or Faceted Jewels Quilt Along (oh there's a thought!), I just needed something to use as my background.

It's surprisingly easy to do a picture.  And even more surprisingly easy to do the grab thingie so you can add it to your blog.

But it's just a fun thing for now, THERE IS NO QUILTALONG!!   I'll take down the sidebar thingieme soon.  But I like that I made it! 

I got a very good tutorial from Between Naps On The Porch that was very easy to use.  Highly recommend her website. 

Anyway, must choof off.  Off to have coffee with my four year old and my ninetyone year old grannie.  Life is good.

Till tomorrow,


Tuesday 28 February 2012

Good Friends, Lovely People

One of the best things about having a blog is the people that you meet.  Kind hearted people who do stuff just because it’s a nice thing to do.

One lovely reader, Ginny, has done the best job of drawing the Bountiful Bouquet flowers in a fancy computer programme that is just soooo much better than my hand drawn diagrams.

I’d be more than pleased to forward the pictures to any readers who want them, until such time as I change my pictures over to hers online.  They are very easy to use and I’m just so grateful for that.  Please just drop me an email or a comment and I’ll send them on their way.

So thanks again, Ginny! 


Monday 27 February 2012

The Bucket List

I was reading a very interesting blog the other day and she had a list on the side of her page, listing her ‘bucket list’ of quilts she wants to do.  She called it a much more dignified name, but bucket list seems to sum it up for me.

I began wondering about my bucket list.  What would be on it?  Would I be able to do it all, skill-wise?

I haven’t written it down yet, as it seemed a little hard.  I’m going to, I think it’s a good way to focus my attention on a set number of things.

But this one is definitely one of those on the list.


(taken from Amish Country Lanes – one of my must go places when I’m needing some inspiration).

Because I had nothing started that I could go on with (insert small eye roll here), when I had some time to myself on the weekend I pieced together this:

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It’s called Faceted Jewels, and I’m proud to say that I jiggered it all up on my trusty EQ6.

The colours are a little washed out but it came together pretty well.  Now just a few more to make and it’ll be done.  Shouldn’t take too long! (insert eye roll here).  The only vaguely tricky block is the triangle with the off centre side triangles – cutting them out is by way of template and that always slows things down.  But I’m happy with it. 

One of the things about creativity is sometimes you just have to go with it.  The sewing room may not be clean, the chores may not be done but when the urge strikes, it must be obeyed.  This is the aftermath of my afternoon of sewing;

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Pretty impressive really.  Big hot mess!  It doesn’t look like that now because I gave it a jolly good clean out last night.  One thing I always seem to do is to totally cover my cutting mat, which is a large one, with crap I don’t need.  So I end up using this teensy tiny area.  I may as well just save my money and buy a small one for all the extra mat I end up using!

I’m sitting inside right now on the trusty laptop listening to the rain fill my rain water tank.  Yesterday it was 42 degrees (that’s Celsius, ladies, not Fahrenheit!) and far too hot to even think so the rain is a very welcome change.

Till tomorrow,


Friday 24 February 2012

A little bit of crochet


It’s been another one of those weeks – you know the ones, where time in the sewing room is like spun gold or hen’s teeth and you just wish the world would stop spinning for ten minutes?

But I managed to figure out some crochet and I’m pretty darn proud of myself.

Hexagon Crochet One

It’s not showing the colours real well and I’m needing to do some figuring out of the corners, but it’s a pattern I worked out ALL BY MYSELF!  From a picture!  With no one telling me how it’s done!

I love to crochet, but my skill level is not the best – but I’m pretty proud of that little hexagon.

Now to do about 100 more and I’ll have enough for a blanket!

When I’m feeling all crochety (crochet-y, not cranky!) one place I always end up going to is here with Lucy at Attic 24.  I love her crochet, I love her colour sense and I love her clever photography.  I am forever aiming higher with my blog, and hers is one of the ones I aspire to be like.

You know how you start at one blog and then she has some favourite blogs and so you check them out, and before you know it you’ve discovered a whole new world out there and you’ve been on the computer too long?  That happens when I visit Lucy.  I thought I was one of the few young ones (well, 40’ish) that liked crochet.  I was very wrong there!  There is a whole massive group of them out there.

That’s what I love about the internet.  I doubt I know any ‘real life’ people my age who crochet.  I know there are hundreds online.  All with lovely blogs, all with creative juices flowing.  All make me aspire to be a better crafter, better blogger, better photographer. 

They all make me learn, I guess.  And you’re never too old to learn!

Till another day,


Saturday 18 February 2012

Oh dear readers???

Does anyone know how to do those wonderful charts for their unfinished dear janes (or farmers wife, or civil war or anyone of a number of quiltalong quilts that we may or may not have started yet?)

Pat Sloan has a lovely version here:

I’ve searched the net, and can’t find anything.  It strikes me as pretty easy in theory.  Just need to be pointed in the right direction.

Can anyone help me?


Where does the time go?

I’m so glad you liked my little stitchery.  I hope that the diagrams come out clear enough.  But remember, it’s your work so if it varies a little to mine, it doesn’t matter one bit.  My long term plan is to get a graphics programme to do it properly, and not just have my hand drawn diagrams for you.  Long term though.

So.  This has not been a week for quilting.  This week started with a crack in the I-pad glass (the second I-pad we’ve had in six months, needless to say the children are NO. LONGER. INVITED. to play the I-pad anymore!) and culminated in an old man backing into my car at the local shop.  Throw into that a three year old that has decided she is simply too old for an afternoon sleep and you may surmise that it’s all gone to pot here.

This has not been the best week in our house.

But – the old man was deeply distressed by the accident and shaken by it and highly apologetic, and it doesn’t matter in the whole scheme of things and no one was hurt and one day we’ll all get old too.  And the three year old is nearly four, and she starts all day kindy soon (cartwheels!  fireworks!  happy, happy mummy!!) and I shall finally have a little tiny bit of time to myself! 

As I have nothing new that I have created, I thought I’d show you a few more of my finished works.








All except the final one are someone else’s design that I did a long time ago.  The final one is all mine so if you’re keen, I might load that one next as my next freebie. 

Let me know if you like it enough for me to do it.

So that’s it.  Very boring post today.  Have a fabulous weekend!


Saturday 11 February 2012

Accuquilt blocks

Firstly, thanks so much for all the lovely comments I received about my freebie.  I’m so glad you like it. 

I’m still learning the computer, and I haven’t worked out how to load all the images into one PDF file that will have it print out the right size.  So until I do that, I hope you’ll bear with me and just print out individual sheets.  Unless someone out there knows how I can do it?  Would be very grateful if I could get help in that regard.

Our quilting group meets twice a month, and I was asked if I could show my Go Cutter for a demonstration.   I had nothing to show apart from my apple core quilt, so I figured I’d spend an afternoon cutting a few blocks out and stitch them together as samples.  And it really was just an afternoon.  The Go cutter is a very useful tool for doing stuff quickly, I have to tell you.

So this is what I came up with:


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Totally LOVING the bottom one, but of course I only have enough fabric to make four blocks.  So it’ll be a slightly small wall hanging (of course the best blocks are always the ones that you don’t have enough fabric to make bigger – it’s Murphy’s Law).  But because it was so super easy, I think I’ll get some more background fabric and do another one in a bigger size.

Did you know, by the way, that it’s the middle of February and I haven’t brought ANY fabric this year?  Yay me!

So that’s how I spent my week last week, apart from spending HOURS on the computer stuff, trying to upload the freebie.  It’s not the actual freebie that takes the time, it’s the computer mucking about stuff that takes forever.  But I’m learning, so that’s a positive.  Got to keep the little grey cells going, don’t we?

Not totally in love with the flower block but I’ll do something pretty with it, I guess.  I wanted to show how you could cut out with vliesofix already ironed onto the back. 

The ladies in my quilt group seemed suitably impressed (or at least they were polite enough to appear so) and the night wasn’t worth all the angst I’d associated with it (I hate speaking in public and felt a bit ill before I got there!).

Must away now.  Church tomorrow, then hubby has promised some child free time for me – I can’t wait!


Friday 10 February 2012

An Irish Blessing–Free Pattern

Due to my promise to upload a freebie stitchery as soon as I hit 150 followers – here you go!

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This was one of our biggest sellers when we were in business.  I always found that the small, heartfelt stitcheries sold really well.  People couldn’t commit always to a big project, but who doesn’t have the time to stitch a little wall hanging like this?  They were always winners.  I loved trying to find new sayings, new sentiments.  This was one of my favourites.

Click here for print friendly version

An Irish Blessing

Finished Size 18” x 34”

Please read all instructions carefully before beginning project.  It is recommended that fabrics be 100% cotton, prewashed and ironed before use.  Requirements are based on fabric being approx. 44” wide.

Please note that all instructions and designs included in this pattern are protected by copyright and may not be sold or reproduced in any form except for personal use.


20 inches cream fabric for stitchery backgrounds

5 inches of ten assorted fabrics for pieced borders

Assorted scraps for applique

12 inches fabric for inner border and binding

24 inches backing fabric

24 inches of wadding

Vliesofix (or other fusible webbing)

Whisper weft (or other stabiliser for back of fabric)

Pencil or micron pen

Stranded embroidery cotton – we used DMC

  • 154 (very dark grape
  • 315 (medium dark antique mauve)
  • 435 (very light brown)
  • 437 (light tan)
  • 902 (very dark garnet)
  • 930 (dark blue)
  • 3031 (very dark mocha brown)
  • 3051 (dark green grey)

Sewing machine and general sewing requirements

Quilting requirements (rotary cutter, mat, ruler etc.)

Cutting Instructions

From cream, cut

  • (one)  6” x 12” (for centre)
  • (four)  6.5” x 12” (for centre)
  • (two)  2.5” x 12.5” (for top outer borders)
  • (two)  2.5” x 32.5” (for side outer borders)

Assorted fabrics cut

  • (ten)  1.5” strips (one of each colour)

Inner Border cut

  • (two)  1” strips x 11.5”
  • (two)  1” strips x 28.5”

Binding cut

  • (three) 2.5” strips

Backing cut

  • (one)  24” x 40”

Wadding cut

  • (one)  24” x 40”

Ensure that you press after each step.  All seams are quarter inch unless specified otherwise.

Applique Instructions

Tape each pattern piece provided to a light box or windowpane and with care trace words and borders lightly in pencil onto the four larger background pieces, being sure to centre the design in the middle of your fabric.

Due to issues with some printers and the differences between Australian paper sizes and overseas, your pictures/words may print out at different sizes than the ones I have intended for each picture.  After printing your diagrams, be aware that each of the four large word diagrams should measure 9.5” wide and 4.5” down from the edge of each corner of stitching.  You may need to adjust them if required.

The smaller applique background piece should measure 9.5” x 3.5” from corner to corner of stitching.

Leave outer borders for now. 

Trace the general location of your appliqued shapes onto the smaller background piece.

Locate applique designs on the pattern sheet provided.  Trace designs onto the smooth side of the vliesofix.  Please note that designs are reversed.  Leave about an inch between each shape.  Cut roughly around each shape in the space provided.

Decide what colours you wish to make each applique shape from.  Use our photo for placement if you need.

With your iron on the dry setting (no steam) lay the rough side of the vliesofix onto the wrong side of the fabric you wish to use for each appliqued piece.  Fuse the webbing to the fabric by ironing over each piece for a short time.

With sharp scissors cut each shape out on the traced line.  Peel off the backing paper of each piece and lay into place over the traced pencil lines on your background fabric. 

When you are happy with the placement of your applique pieces, iron into place.  Do not move the iron about much as the fabrics may move into an incorrect position.

Iron whisper weft to wrong side of background fabric following manufacturer’s instructions.

Using a new needle and two strands of your matching embroidery floss, blanket stitch around all exposed edges of your appliqué shapes. 

Using three strands of embroidery floss (colours indicated on pattern sheet), stitch words in a back stitch.  Using three strands throughout stitch remainder of designs as indicated on design sheet.  Stitch only the centre panels.  Do not stitch the other borders yet.


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When complete, trim centre designs to the following measurements:

Applique (first) panel – trim to 4.5” x 10.5”

Second, third, fourth and fifth panel – trim to 5.5” x 10.5”

Piecing Instructions

Stitch your ten 1.5” strips together lengthways so that when complete, it should measure 10.5” by the length of the fabric (it won’t line up evenly at the end, all fabric is different lengths).

Now we will cross cut (cut across the finished 10.5” width) into 1” strips.  You will need to have six strips that are 10.5” long that you will use as your centre sashings and two strips 27.5” long that you will use as your side sashings.

Using rotary cutter and ruler, cross cut your 10.5” wide fabric into twelve one inch strips.  Put six strips away for now and join remaining six strips together  end to end to make one long length, and crosscut this into two strips measuring 27.5”  Set aside remainder for now.

Following photo for placement assistance, stitch a shorter border length to top and bottom of applique block.  Stitch a border length to bottom of remaining stitched blocks.  Press seams.

Stitch the centre panel together in rows as shown.

Stitch a long border length to either side of centre panel and press well.  your designs should now measure 11.5” x 27.5”.

Stitch first inner border (1” x 11.5”) to top and bottom of design and press.

Stitch remaining inner border (1” x 28.5”) inner border to either side of design and press.

Your design should now measure 12.5” x 28.5”.

Stitch a 2.5” x 12.5” cream border to top and bottom of wall hanging and press.  Stitch remaining two cream border lengths to either side and press.  Design should now measure 16.5” x 32.5”.

Cross cut remaining pieced strips into 1.5” lengths.  Join these lengths together to make two borders measuring 1.5” x 34.5” and two borders measuring 1.5” x 16.5”.  Stitch shorter lengths to top and bottom and remaining longer two lengths to either side and press.

Tape the four diagrams together, being sure to overlap where indicated.  Also be sure that your width and length measurements as indicated on the pattern match.  It should measure 19.75” by 14.75 inches from end to end of your stitching.  Again – adjust this if necessary.   As you are stitching a row of running stitch to frame your vine, I find it best if you use this as your best guide. 

Using pencil or pigma pen and following instructions previously given, trace outer border diagram onto outer cream border fabric.  Stitch designs following instructions on pattern sheet.


Press backing fabric.  Smooth out onto a table right side down.  Lay wadding over top and ensure it is smooth and free from wrinkles.  After pressing wall hanging lay onto wadding and baste or pin the three layers together in place.  Quilt your hanging in the ditch of each seam.

Press quilt again and trim the three layers, wadding backing and top so that they measure the same size and excess wadding and backing is removed.


Sew the lengths of binding strips together along the short length, with right sides facing.  Fold in half right sides out and press the whole length.  Lay the wall hanging right side up and with care lay the binding on top so that all raw edges are lined together.  sew bindings to the quilt using a 1/4 Inch seam taking care not to stretch binding and to ensure that corners are mitred.

Turn the folded edge of the binding to the back and hand stitch it in place.

That’s it!  I hope it’s clear enough for you.  Please, as always, email me if you need clarification.



Monday 6 February 2012

Freebie Pattern

I've been watching my follower number grow steadily now for a few months, and I'm just so thrilled to have you all along for the ride.  I have to tell you, I don't know where that ride is going.  But I think they are the best kind of adventures!

So in honour of that, as soon as I hit that wonderful number of 150 followers (just one more, people!!) I'll upload a new freebie stitchery pattern that I've got hidden away here. 

It'll be my little gift to you.

See you soon,


Friday 3 February 2012

Head down bum up

My little people have been back at school this week and despite all my promises to myself that I would get my life together, I'm flailing a little.  It didn't help that I left yesterday's instalment of Bountiful Bouquet until the last minute, normally I'm a little more organised than that.

But it's done now, and I'm listening to the washing machine whirr away (it's the noisiest damn thing on the planet, the dishes are at least in the sink, and the beds are made.  So far so good.

I've been tinkering (again) and added a translate button to the top of the webpage so that you girls who need it can use it.  I've cleaned out the side bar thingies and got rid of a few.  But hopefully in the next week or so I'll add a few new ones.

I discovered the other day that a woman is taking over our old shop site (to refresh your memory - I used to own a quilt shop but closed it, sadly in 2009) and will be opening her own in the next few weeks.  I'm so conflicted about this.  I'm so happy that we will once again have a shop that supports our local quilters, because I really did feel badly about letting them down when we left.  But so much of me wishes that it was me who was opening it.  She seems a very nice lady, and I know she will do very well.  But I feel - kinda wistful I guess.

I couldn't keep going with the shop - two kids, an aging mother (who will kill me for saying that), life just got too hard to keep up with and something had to go.  Each time we got sick, we got REALLY sick and it just wasn't something we could carry on with.  I've missed it every day since then but I know deep down that I had made the right decision for my family.  And sometimes (often, if I admit) we need to make the decisions for the greater good of our family.  So what we did was right.

I miss it though. 

Anyway.  Wistful old me is off to hang another load of washing on the line.  Never Ending God Awful Washing Washing Washing.


Thursday 2 February 2012

Bountiful Bouquet Free Block Of The Month–Month Five

Hi there!
So it's time again for month five of Bountiful Bouquet. I hope you're keeping up (or at least printing the instructions off). I'll remind you again, I won't take the instructions off the internet, they will remain free as long as Blogger lets me put them up there.
So - you'll be able to see that I had a bit of a snafu with the cutting instructions of month two - I told you to cut five 9.5" squares for our floral row. I've amended that to read six 8.5" squares. Hopefully it isn't too big a deal for you guys - it just means a little bit of wastage, plus you have to find another cream square to use.
This month we are all about applique. I'm trusting you know a basic knowledge of vliesofix (iron on fusible web).
We will require:
  • Those background fabrics - six 8.5" squares.
  • Various coloured fabrics, including a few greens
  • A lead pencil, or a fine ink pen. I don't recommend a wash-away pen because we are going to be ironing over the top of any markings we make
  • Vliesofix
  • Matching embroidery flos
  • Sewing needles (I prefer crewels)
  • General sewing requirements (ruler, board, rotary cutter etc)
  • Light box if you have one
Click here for the diagrams - you should have six in all. Please note that due to a lot of confusion over trying to read the numbers over what goes when and where on the pictures, I've left them off this time. I don't think we'll need them for this step. Basic rule of thumb - leaves go down first, stems second, flowers after and so on.
The pictures should all fit into a six inch square (or there abouts).  Our finished size of the block will be 7” so you don’t want any getting too close to the edges.

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Trace as many pieces as you wish to onto the smooth side of the vliesofix or fusible webbing, making sure that you leave a little bit of space around each shape. Remember to number each piece to correspond with your background diagram. This will save you going nuts later in the placement stage. Cut roughly around each shape in the space provided.
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Decide what colours you wish to make each applique shape from. Just like the last applique we did, you can be adventurous here!  Every garden is different.
With the iron on the dry setting (no steam) lay the rough side of the vliesofix onto the wrong side of the fabric you wish to use for each appliqued piece. Fuse the webbing to the fabric by ironing over each piece for a short time. Cut out on the line and let cool completely.
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Now, as we are working with vliesofix, the nature of it means that all our applique shapes are the opposite of the diagram.  To make placement easy, I lay the diagram so that the reverse side is facing up over the light box.   Now everything should line up well when we do this next step.
Lay the background fabric in over this so that the design is centred in the middle.   You should be able to see your lines through this fabric.  If you want to, you can lightly trace your design onto the fabric so that when you move to your iron, the bits are easily put back into place.
I don’t bother with this step.  I find that if you don’t wriggle much while you’re moving your fabric, the bits stay in place fairly well.
Peel the backing paper from each piece and lay in place over the traced lines on your background fabric where it is indicated. I find the backing paper peels off much easier if you let it totally cool after pressing.
Lay as many out as you feel comfy with and then press in place.   Remember my rule of thumb?  Leaves first, stems second, flowers third.
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When all  your bits and pieces are in place and you are happy, give it a good final press to secure any loose corners and using a new needle and two strands of matching embroidery floss, blanket stitch around all exposed edges of your applique shapes.

Give them a good press, and trim back each block to 7.5” square. 
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Stitch the six rows together to make one long row that should measure 7.5” x 42.5”.   I haven’t done this yet.  Wayyy behind.
That’s it for now!  Please let me know if you have any queries.  Happy stitching!


Wednesday 1 February 2012

Bountiful Bouquet Errors (sorry guys)

I thought I was so clever but I think I've found a little error.  Nothing too major, it'll just mean you may have a few inches of fabric wasted.  I really do apologise for that.

In month two, I asked you to cut five 9.5" squares from your background fabrics.  You may be able to see that I have amended the picture so that there are now six small appliqued floral blocks instead of five.  My maths was wrong.  So you can still use the five squares you have already cut, but please cut another cream square as well.  This one will only need to be cut about eight inches, but if you want continuity of size, feel free to cut this the same as the other ones. 

All six of these blocks will be cut back to measure 7.5" when appliqued.  The cutting back will be done after we stitch our blocks, because they will be raggy at the edges.

Again, I apologise.  Hopefully it's not too big a deal for you all.

See you soon!