Monday, 29 December 2008

Baking!


A few years ago (after exhausting all the flavours and types at the local patisseries, cake shops and bakeries), we wanted to enjoy some new cakes, so my daughter's took up the challenge of beginning to bake all our cakes - for every occassion.

I think this was the best cake decision we've made, it's really enjoyable to watch my girls bake and realise again and again just how much work goes into a good cake. This was a first attempt at croquenbouche, and it tasted delicious. The only thing missing was the spun sugar nest - which just didnt come together (she lost patience with the candy thermometre and decided to glue the stack together with chocolate instead!).

It's so nice to finally be able to delegate some cooking!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Block placements, take 2

I know, I know, you're all eager to see the block placements. I'm STILL having trouble with my EQ6 so I've handed it over to someone who doesn't mind the software...and hopefully it will be up either before or with the next block....thank your for your patience and emails...it's coming....soon

Seasonal Sewing

What's Christmas without some last minute sewing?


We grew tired of our usual festive tablecloth, so I decided to quickly make one at the last minute. Actually, it wasn't a real UFO, it was just a hemming project. I had this wonderful apple print fabric that I bought a few years ago to be a quilt backing...but I really didn't want to see it languish at the back of a quilt, its so pretty and festive, it was definitely calling for some attention. I love the apples, and of course the red. I zipped up the red edging in just a few minutes. I love stumbling across great print fabric that just 'tells you' what it wants to be!


And then I found another packed away stash of fabric and I decided that it too was destined to be a tablecloth. We have a birthday just following Christmas in our family, so I like to have a change for the table.


This one took a little longer as I had to join it all up (it was cut in large squares and rectangles). I added some trim, and that's that! Who said Christmas was too busy a time for some home sewing?

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Update

Some pics of the finished birthday quilt. I can't take the credit for this one, I only quilted it, but it always feels nice to make something as a group effort.

I havent packed away the unfinished pink/green UFO yet...which is promising, its on the wall, reminding me to get on with it...but, it is Christmas afterall, so I dont know WHEN that will happen.







about the 15th

Every month on the 15th (Australian time), the monthy free BOM will be removed and will no longer be available. After the 15th, you can buy any missed blocks through my Etsy shop.

Now, I know we all hate a deadline (the months just seem to fly by) but the 15th of the month is definitely the deadline for each monthly BOM. In fairness to those who purchase the block through my shop, there will be no emailed blocks or exceptions after this date. I want you to all enjoy this mystery BOM, so please remember that:

Red Delicious will always be free
if you download it before the 15th of each month

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Info about Nightshade, block 2

In answer to today's most popular question:

The finished size of the Nightshade block is 16 inches x 9 inches. (Finished size means NO SEAM ALLOWANCE).

Cutting size: when cutting the background fabric for Nightshade, I have ADDED a seam allowance (making it 16.5 inches x 9.5 inches).

Please read the BOM INTRO before starting any blocks,
it just makes it so much easier

Monday, 15 December 2008

Block placements

I've been asked a lot via email in the last 6 hours, so just to let you all know, I will be providing the placement of each block in the scheme of the quilt as we progress every month.

At the moment I'm still wrestling with my EQ6 software which is driving me plain crazy with frustration! You see, I had the quilt outlay and blocks ready to insert each months block, and then I moved something....and couldnt get it back....and then it all went wrong...so I'm going to correct it shortly and put it up so that you can see where each new piece of the mystery belongs....When I sort out my software stand -off, I will post up the outlay promptly...until then, think of it as a 'double blind' mystery...

Nightshade is available

There seems to have been some delay with the Scribd.com site uploading the files at midnight, but its OK, Nightshade is definitely up now- I just checked.

Block 2, Nightshade

It's the 15th! Where has the month gone? It feels like a few days since I was designing Red Delicious and now we're already onto block 2.

Welcome: NIGHTSHADE, block 2!

When I first had the idea to start a free mystery BOM, I had no idea that it would grow into something so rewarding. Block 1, Love Birds has now had over 11'000 downloads - more than I ever expected. THANK YOU for joining in !

Lots of you out there love your reds and have the stash to prove it...I've been really impressed with the amount of fabric and reds some of you are fitting into a single block - its inspiring!...and I love all the pics you've sent in of your finished (and almost finished) blocks, keep it coming!

Red Delicious is now a worldwide BOM, with downloads, emails and block pics from every continent! So, dust off your next batch of reds and get stuck in, January 15th will be upon us before we know it....

Friday, 12 December 2008

3 DAYS TO GO

3 DAYS TO GO!

On the 15th of December, Red Delicious BLOCK 1 will no longer be available for free. After the 15th you can buy block 1 from my etsy shop for a minimal fee.

I know many of you are taking part in this mystery BOM and I dont want you to miss out, so please hurry!

Red Delicious will always be free
if you download it before the 15th of each month

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Quilting...

What quilter doesn't love a deadline in December?!

I'm at my machine again tonight, finishing the birthday quilt.

After this one, it's officially Christmas season for me and I'm going to stick with designing, catching up with the quilting magazines that keep arriving on my door (time flys when youre quilting!) and of course, designing some more quilts. ( I have a few new ones brewing that I have to get down).

At some point, I'll have to take a moment to consider doing the Christmas shopping too..

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Finished

Progress....and now its finally finished (and just in the nick of time)

I really enjoyed turning my white stash into hand dyes...there's something really rewarding about creating your own design and using your own hand dyes.
The colours still don't show up in my pics as true to life, each time I post they look completely different.
Sometimes I think that in order to be a quilter you need to be a professional photographer and computer technician as well. I still fiddle with my camera settings, and I STILL havent designed a quilt on my EQ6 software, even though I've had it for years. Sometimes I fiddle around and print out frames, but I always end up just drawing my designs by hand. This can be very frustrating, especially as all this new software is supposed to make life easier and quicker...I guess I'm just stuck in my ways.
Finally finished, but the week is not over yet. I have that Friendship Group Quilt to Quilt tomorrow!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Ok, a little sneak peek


It's nearly time....here is a sneak peek of BLOCK 2,
arriving on the 15th (Australian time)

Do you have your next batch of reds ready? Remember, You only need scraps - don't go out and buy any!

It's nearly been a month and I can't believe how quickly time has flown by. I knew a free BOM was a great idea....but I wasn't expecting so much positive support and feedback! Nearly 10'000 downloads and counting...

Thank you to everyone who has decided to take part in this mystery. I have received some GREAT email pics of finished blocks - I'm in awe at how fast they started arriving in my in-box. It's good to know that I'm not the only one with a red stash!

Can't wait to see the next batch arrive!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Detour

What's December without a detour? I've put Dream Fountain on hold for today as I have Quilter's Friendship Group Duty ( I won't say which one as that may give it away)...I'm in charge of quilting a quilt that the group has made for an "0" birthday.

When lots of people are involved in a project, things don't always fit at the last lap, so I'm unpicking this quilt's ditch stitching tonight as it's uneven - it has too much ease. I have to admit, I am a bit of a perfectionist and I can't start quilting unless the top is as close to perfect as possible...I always tell my friends, once you start unpicking- it never ends! You see more and more mistakes that you want to correct. What starts with a small 'fix' ends up with 6 hours invested. There's just no easy way out, good quilting needs a good foundation.

It's times like these that I wish I had a long arm machine, because with domestic machine quilting you just can't get away with fudging it - even a little bit...

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

UFO Progress

It's a week for getting things done. Here is a pic of my nearly abandoned brights UFO. I've nearly finished piecing, all thats left to do is the sashing and border...and some serious quilting of course!

When I found this quilt, I couldn't remember why I'd started this one in the first place. But now, I like the green coming through the pinks.

I'm sure I'm not the only quilter out there who has made or started something...and then 're-discovered' it and wondered, 'what was I thinking here?'

I really need a throw quilt. Many of my quilts are on the walls and some of them are really precious so I dont throw them about or let my cat climb or claw them.
This one will be a 'useful' quilt.

Progress

I've been busy today, working towards getting this wall quilt finished before monday ( I have to set deadlines on myself or I never finish). It's a whimsical quilt and I've decided to call it Dream Fountain.

This is step two, and I'm loving the brights, it's a nice change and it's really rewarding to work with hand dyed fabric. That's also why I enjoy stencilling so much - the artistic control, down to the last detail.

I'm builing this quilt from the 'background' up. I've placed the squiggles in their spot, but I've got a long way to go yet.
I'm having difficulty photographing it so the hues are correct - it looks a bit too stark in this image - but you get the idea.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

New Designs

Now that I've satisfied my red craving with my monthly BOM, I've been struck with inspiration. It's not like I don't have a million other things to do....but when you feel you must....so for the last few days I've been hand dying a pallette of vivid hues

I've been inspired by a walk through the garden again....(nature can't get it wrong when it comes to matching colours)

Green is my other favourite colour (my quilts are like my wardrobe, I love wearing Reds, Oranges and Greens - not all at once). I'm still working hard at getting to love Blue a little better, I know it's classic, but often I don't get past navy. I just need to appreciate it in nature somewhere to apply it to a quilt design.
Christmas is nearly upon us, so before I definitely didn't have a spare day to dye, I got stuck in, and I'm now in respite from a few days of non stop procion shifts.

Above is a pic from some of my new pallette. The grey didnt show up well in the photo, but it's a greeny grey and it makes the greens and oranges look alive. I'm really inspired with this design at the moment and think I will have to finish it before Christmas. Or it might become another UFO and sit on the shelf for years before I discover it again!

Monday, 1 December 2008

Colour Palette


Here is my latest inspiration, a passionfruit flower; I love this colour combination. I'm drawing up a design called Dream Fountain and these are the colours that have moved me towards blues and yellows.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Red Moments



What a delightful suprise!
I took this photo walking across a damp field.
I found a ring of toadstools, just like a fairytale.
I dont need more reason to enjoy red, but when I stumble across it, I like to celebrate it. I'm always amazed at the vibrancy of colours in nature.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Inspirations




I would NEVER have merged these three swatches.....
before seeing them exist in nature first.



The question I most get asked is : where do you get your ideas / inspiration from?
For me, it all comes down to colour.


Well, mostly, I get my drive to do something creative in quilting after I've enjoyed something beautiful - and that happens most often after spending time appreciating nature.


My work never ends up looking like what I've enjoyed - well rarely ( I have created a few pictorial wall hanging quilts) but mostly, I get an idea, or a desire to explore a texture or merge some colours and I start sketching and those sketches turn into entirely new ideas and designs. It may take a while, sometimes months or years, but once I decide that thats what I want to do - then I just let it brew into an idea in it's own time.





Sometimes colour and texture inspire me. Sometimes I have no interest in particular colour schemes and then I see some tones recreated in a place where they look stunning and it makes me reconsider my thoughts about a particular colour.


When I created Nightshade, I had previously loathed purple quilts. I didnt have a single one! Then one evening I was out in the garden and everything took on a beautful deep lilac hue before sunset and I was instantly inspired.





These beach shots were taken at twilight and I was overwhelmed with how many ideas there were just waiting to be used. It makes me wonder how many breathtaking moments I miss everyday because I'm otherwise distracted . Inspiration is everywhere.

Seeing colours in their natural environment helps me make choices when I am riffling through shelf after shelf of prints. Recently with Peony Pride I decided to follow the 'colour rules' and obediently observed the 'correct' charts when I was colour mixing - the whole time I wanted to rebel and just do it my own way like every other time, but I stuck to it and Peony Pride's colour scheme is 'correct' and I almost hate to say it - the most successful harmony of colour in any of my quilts.
I always prefer to feel a certain way about colour and let it evolve and choose its own scheme....but sometimes it doesnt translate well. So now I settle on taking my inpsiration from nature and matching it correctly on the colour chart afterwards. I cant find inspiration if I just 'select' harmonising colours - I like to have experienced it somewhere, in its natural state first.


Friday, 14 November 2008

Peony and Cake - Birthday Perfection




Peonies are my favourite flower. I've been having a peony year - with my quilt Peony Pride, my endless sketchings of peonies and peonie sampler quilting and now, for my birthday, a breathtaking peony bouquet.


Peonies are perfection in a flower. And the perfume - it's just glorious. It's mild and fleeting, then collects intensity - I've been breathing the scent non stop for days and I can't get enough of it. It just reminds me of how difficult it is to bottle beautiful and natural scents.


Unfortunately, peonies only last a few fleeting days. When they crumpled, I couldnt part with them and the petals were still heavily scented, so I collected them in paper and they are still scenting everything beautifully. I definitely have to look into planting a poeny garden, even for a few days of flowering, I cant think of a nicer thing to enjoy in a garden.


This cake was almost too beautiful to cut, I love the chocolate leaves. The cake is a delicious walnut / chocolate layer cake.


This is the experiemental lemon layer cake. I think they girls enjoyed decorating it more than the cake itself.
The year has gone by so quickly, before I know it, it will be Christmas!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

FREE FREE FREE...

Red Delicious is launched!

Many thanks to Brenda - without you, I would'nt have known what to do! You have saved my blog yet again (Brenda is also the reason many of you can view my images these days as she kindly let me in on the secret of "re-sizing" images). Well, what can I say? I put my energy and desire to learn new things into creative things and not technology (although I should!)...as there is no real reason not to know these days...ahem....anyway, thank you so much for the advice. I feel like I learn something new everytime I get on the computer!
Brenda's site is linked on the side of this blog under 'Serendipity Patchwork and Quilting'.

Red Delicious is easy to access. Simply double click the BOM motif on the side of the blog and it will redirect you to the PDF file.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

UFO Update



My girls still arent showing any interest in seeing this quilt finished....and I dont need any encouragement to abandon it again!
I still dont know what I was thinking when I cut it up and packed it away - except that I was enjoying a period of brights. The problem is that as soon as I start a project I'm thinking of another one.....It did look like this UFO (still unnamed I'm afraid) would stay on the wall a few more weeks yet....but we had an unexpected cold snap during the last few nights and were all bemoaning the lack of quilts available to cosy up with...and as it's expected to be hot again mid week I'm furiously working to finish it before I change my mind. Again.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

101, advice sought

I promised that I would launch Red Delicious on my 100th posting....and the good news is, it's ready to go!

The bad news is that I am looking for a suitable way of hosting the PDF file up on this blog so that it can be accessed easily by any one who's interested. So far, all the file sharing programs I've seen are unsuitable and advert clogged.

Bare with me, I am seriously technically challenged and have been trying to work this out most of today.

I will launch Red Delicious ASAP. If you have any file hosting advice, please feel free to share.

Well, what a suprise


Well, what a suprise!
I can still remember the first afternoon I spent exploring other artists, gardners and baker's blogs, thinking what a great technology - for everyone to share what they're doing with anyone who's interested.
It's hard to believe that this is my 100th post! Especially since I often think, well I don't have anything to say....or more often, I'm just too busy getting on with things to get around to posting. I've been rounding up loose ends these last 3 weeks, and havent had much time to post.
To celebrate 100 postings, I will be launching my mystery BOM, Red Delicious shortly. I know we all have serious fabric stashes that we intend to get into, and this BOM is a perfect way to make more shelf space.
Thank you for emailing me your comments and stopping by this blog, I'm always suprised with the range and interests of those who stop by, its always great to hear from you all.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Another UFO Found

Whilst I was investigating my red stash, I found something else of interest tucked away under my desk.

Fully cut out pieces, neatly folded...a UFO!

It's about 6 years old (I think!) and I've given it a good look over and actually, although I can't remember what I had in mind, the florals and fresh and lively - and who coundn't use an extra quilt? So I'm quickly stitching up this newly found floral.


It's seems to me that originally it was supposed to be 4x4 patch, so I laid it out on my table and quickly starting putting it together.


I don't know why I cut these up this way ( I think it's just amazing how much quilters can change in taste after just a few years!) I wouldnt do it this way now, but it looks like a pinwheel block with a small bowtie block in the centre.

I do like the green though, it looks very fresh and lively, without it I would have packed this UFO away again. Obviously I was mixing in the pinks in this 'era' as well.


Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Raiding the Stash

Here is my red stash. I've been raiding it and adding to it.

Originally I was going to go out and buy new season reds to keep up with trends....but then I got to thinking (as I was trying to clear out my studio) that we all have stashes and stashes and stashes....and that *maybe* I should resist fabric shopping and make do. Red Delicious will be made from my stash.

I WILL NOT BE ADDING TO THIS STASH. That is my commitment!

Here are all my reds in all their glory.

I must admit that there are some burgundy reds which I will need for some contrast.

So, are you going to join in and make Red Delicious?
Lots of red





and more red





And more red still ( I really dont need to keep adding to my stash!.....I will be allowing white (or maybe off white depending on the reds selected) as the background.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Drum Roll Please!

I have an announcement to make
To celebrate 100 postings I will be sharing
my Mystery BOM, Red Delicious!
This mystery BOM will be available here for the next 10 (or maybe 11) months
Red Delicious is inspired by all the beautiful red things in life.
Red Delicious is approx. 55 x 65 inches and is a wall hanging.
Red Delicious is an applique & pieced BOM
If you have a red stash...now's the time to raid it!
So how does it work? Every month, a new block will be make available for free on my blog for a limited period of time. Get in quick and download this block.
After 2 weeks, the block will be removed from my blog. If you want to download it after this time, it will only be available through my Etsy shop for a minimal cost.
I can't wait to share this mystery BOM with you, and hope you'll join me in making Red Delicious, month by month. (Yes I will be posting my block progress up on this blog to share with you all out there).


Monday, 13 October 2008

I'm Still Here (thinking hard!)

I didn't mean to take a blogging hiatus- I just don't know the days went...
But I have been thinking hard, and I have been inspired!
A little cliche I know - but I do love flowers, and these roses....well what can I say? I have red on my mind....which reminds me that I have a BOM to post.
I love the way roses unfurl themselves, I could look at this bouquet all day (it's ok, I take coffee breaks)

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Phew....

Just recovering from non stop quilting! I like to take a few days off not really doing anything after I've been sitting away at my machine non stop for a week.


I've been enjoying some garden time before it gets too hot to stay outside for very long. My favourite time in the garden is mid morning and twilight.
Nature really expresses some great colours at these times, really vivid and fresh....or changing and glowing in the sunset.


These specific and beatiful hues are the reason I started hand dying my own fabric ranges... when I couldnt find the exact tone for a quilt I had in mind....I took it to task to create it! Of course, I learnt that the bright glossy colour in the jar doesnt stay that way after washing, rinsing and ironing, so I have pallettes of beautiful, suprising and sometimes unexpected tones.

Just recently I read about a textile artist who, after getting too old to work with fabric, started painting. She said that the best thing about painting was the colour gratification - that the colour she mixed and blended more or less stayed true to that first initial colour thrill. That idea really excites me, I dont think I'm too old to quilt just yet....but when I get there, I think I will take up painting too!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Happy Birthday Grace!


Happy Birthday Grace !


What a beautiful day
celebrating the birthday of someone we all love so much

Today the Applique Angels celebrated Grace's birthday, and yes, the sun was shining and we had a special suprise.......


Mary's Ginger Fluff Cake

Now, yes, we did promise to provide this famouse cake and *nothing else*, but Grace, we were already well under way making your quilt when we promised.... what were we supposed to do? Give it to someone else??




I love a suprise when its REALLY a suprise! and I think this was an unexpected gift (the best type I think).

So that made the suprise even more rewarding.

Here's Grace inspecting my quilting to see if it's up to scratch!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRACE !

Secret quilting business...continues

and now I've got the flowers, so its time to deliver this quilt!

Secret quilting business.....finished



So
I finished quilting the SUPRISE Birthday Quilt this morning
And now I'm going....where? to the florist!
I only quilted this beautiful quilt, it was made by Applique Angels, knowing that Grace loves Birds of a Feather

Monday, 22 September 2008

Secret Quilting Business


It's been quiet lately, because I've been up to....secret quilting business..... this is the only snap shot I can provide (or else I'll be in a lot of trouble!). Being the last hand on the list, I was waiting to receive the item, and now I'm quilting against time to get it finished.
You know, it doesnt matter what I plan, or what I say, last minute quilting is becoming my specialty!
After a little clean up and sorting out on my weekend , I'm back to the stitch!
Will keep you posted with more info AFTER the event.....

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Basking in the Sun


Basking in the sun.....today I started emptying out my bear drawers, and came across some little bears that I made a few years ago just before I started quilting. It's a shame to keep them boxed up so my daughter took them out in the garden for a photo shoot in order to find them new homes.
I remember when I first started making bears - a friend told me that bear makers always end up making bears that look like themselves, their spouses or their pets! I remember looking at some bears of people I knew and seeing a resemblance....and then staring at my own ...and not being able to see anything....but a bear. Until today that is. This little bear, ginger fluff, has a strong resemblance to my over indulged and over dramatic cat, who was no doubt looking at me forlornly whilst I was trying to make ginger fluff's face.
I ended up boxing my bears away because my cat took a liking to biting my bears faces and trying to chew off their stitched noses.