Saturday, 30 December 2017

My Quilting Year: Looking Back Over 2017

For me, 2017 has been all about learning and coming to grips with technology. Although the internet hasn't changed the way I create, it has changed the way I communicate and connect with others. And it's been a steep learning curve.

For one thing, this was the year I realized I had to change my BOM installment delivery method. It was a year of technical glitches and trying to understand that sometimes, emails get sent from the server and ping that they have reached the other server... but somehow never make it into the in-box. A double frustration for everyone involved.

Happily I can report that my BOM 2018 file deliveries will be a breeze in comparison. You simply need to log in and download what you want. I wish I'd done this sooner, but you live and learn. Just like Facebook. I resisted moving my BOM Group over to the Facebook platform for y-e-a-r-s, but now I can't imagine doing it anywhere else! The fact is, there is no other platform that allows users to share their work so quickly and easily as Facebook does - and for free. I know a lot of people resist Facebook out of privacy concerns and I was one of those people, but you can set up a private account just to join the Group and it's definitely worthwhile. This year we passed the 7000+ membership mark. Given what a close knit community we are, this number seems staggering. When you're in the Group, it really feels like a cosy get together - thanks to the efforts of our Moderators.

And what about the quilts? Honestly, I design so many quilts that I sometimes forget which ones I've released. So a yearly round up seems like a timely reminder of what I managed to get done these past 12 months.
'Diamond Hill'
It all started with Diamond Hill, my free BOM for 2017. I just loved the idea of an applique BOM full of beautiful 'free range' flowers blooming on a hill, surrounded by steps of glittering diamonds. And BOM wise, all the Diamond Hill beauties out there simply shone - it's a stunning quilt. 

'Secret Garden' 
Next up was my Mystery BOM, Secret Garden. An intricate applique quilt full of the wonder and beauty of gardens, this design kept me busy all year. 

By March I was thinking about pieced quilts and what to do with all those off cuts that were too nice to throw away. And, oh I love everything about this pieced quilt: it's a foundation pieced wonder that eats up all your scraps and lets you enjoy them in a interesting hex style design. You simply make up your hex's from all your favourite leftovers and then join all the blocks up when you're done. Perfect! I have 3 x Hexit's on the go right now from different fabric scraps and can't wait until they come together one day. 

'Egg Hunter Trio'
For Easter I wanted to have some fun with gorgeous prints and a super sweet bunny and bursting tulip heads. I made three versions, all available together, to allow you to choose which best suited your own Easter decor needs. For me, it was always going to be Tulips and I offered this style in both a landscape and portrait arrangement so that everyone could fit some quilted art on their walls.
I can already tell that this trio of wall hangings will be around for years to come
We all know Tulips represent passionate love and the the pussy willow was added to symbolize a bending branch. The last option, the Egg Hunter was all about hunting beneath some gorgeous bunting.

 'Tickled Pink'
In April it was time for some simple but effective piecing and Tickled Pink is another one block wonder. You just work out how to make up the first one and then go from there. The blocks are nice and large and completely accomplish-able - perfect for making up a quilt top in no time at all. 

'Mia May'
In May I decided to release a fun and easy small quilt - perfect for cot and crib. The bold, easy applique made it perfect for showing off those gorgeous baby prints. 

In June, it was time to get back to my early days. I have always wanted to make a clamshell quilt and couldn't believe I hadn't got around to releasing my own version yet. Shelly took care of this and I love the pathways these clamshells make when you follow the design. 

'Thursday Flowers'
In August I started a wall hanging series of flower designs, made specifically to be shown on walls, gallery style. There are 7 in the series and I released 2 in 2017. The rest are coming in 2018. 

'Monday Flowers'

'On My Window, Flowers Bloom'
I ended the year on a high note with a final free mini BOM. This wall hanging applique BOM is all about flowers blooms against a window frame backdrop that shows off a bright or night sky.

Celebrating 10 years
A year passes so quickly and I'd actually forgotten that a few of these beauties happened in 2017 so I'm happy to have given them a final bow before the year is out. Thank you everyone, for supporting me with your incredible encouragement and friendship. It's a pleasure for me to release my patterns out into the world and each year I offer both free and paid designs to those of you interested in taking part in this creative journey with me.

In 2018 I celebrate 10 years of blogging and BOM-ing and it's going to be my biggest year ever. 
I can't wait for 2018 to start. It's going to be an amazing creative adventure. 

I hope you'll join me..

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

WOW: Over Already?

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays 
Today is the last WOW for 2017. That went quick! Two birthdays in two days, how much more festive can you get? I can't believe Christmas is over for another year, it all feels like such a whirl. In fact, I even forgot today was Wednesday. Thanks to Glenda for reminding me, I'm glad someone's keeping track. Please tell me I'm not alone in when I say I'm in a festive 'cloud' and not even keeping track. As for me, it's all one dining room to another, I've lost a day somewhere.

What's Your WOW?

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas!
If you click the image above, it will take you to my Festive E-Card. 

Thank you for all your support and friendship this year, the months have passed me in a flash and I'm looking forward to a New Year of exciting projects, creative plans and more time set aside for doing the things I love.

Whatever your plans are, it's my wish that your Christmas is spend surrounded by loved ones, good food and all things Merry & Bright.

Thank you for your support and friendship.

In Festive Gladness,

Esther XX

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

WOW: Peach Biscuits for Christmas

WOW= WIPs On Wednesdays
Today is the final WOW before Christmas and I'm making three batches of biscuits. Ever since I can remember, I've been making Peach Biscuits for Easter and Christmas. Back in 2010 I posted the recipe here on my blog (click here to go there now) and in the years since, I haven't skipped a beat.

Sure, sometimes I was short on time and used nutella straight from the jar with added crushed nuts to stabilize the mixture for the 'filling' .. and no one noticed. And most years, I somehow forget to attach a tip of pretzel and mint leaf as the final decorative 'touch', but whatever version they've been, they're always delicious and just so lovely to look at. It doesn't feel like a celebration without an 'impostor peach' biscuit on a plate somewhere! I'm always making them. And over the years I've tried all the recipes, including a soft sponge version with ricotta filling. And they're all fine. Although, to be honest I do prefer my own traditional handed down recipe!

The biscuits I make today are for giving away, I'll make my own family one last final batch on Christmas Eve with my DDs which is another tradition we keep at, despite them being all grown up.

What are You doing on this last Wednesday before Christmas? 

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Have YOU ever made one of my Quilts?

It's about time we had a group Gallery, don't you think? 

Facebook has opened my eyes to all the stunning quilts out there - but as the feed keeps updating, all the beautiful pics get 'lost'. Well, I want to be able to see them all in one place and enjoy their beauty, variety and style. And I know you do too. So, I've opened up a Quilt Gallery where you can add your finished quilts (with as much or as little info as you like) where it can be enjoyed for years to come.

Sounds good? I don't know why it took me so long to think of it, but now I have. And you're invited to add your pics and be a part of it. How? Simply visit the Gallery page over  on my website, click the 'upload file' widget and add your pics. Easy peasy!
As you can see, the Gallery is just 1 day old and is currently empty. -let's change that!

Monday, 18 December 2017

Secret Garden: What I'd Do Differently..

They say you 'live and learn', well let's just say I learn more than most. Although I'm always challenging myself, sometimes I make the wrong decision in my quest for finding new ways around creative choices. Secret Garden is an adventure of a quilt - full of romance and detail. It's one of my most beautiful quilt designs and now that I've made my top and can take a step back from all the creative chaos, I see what I would improve and do differently if I could go back in time.
I got the fabrics all wrong and this colouring miscalculation has let down my design on my own quilt top. It should be a shining show stopper - but it's actually a 'look-over' - full of exquisite detail, but easily missed.
 How did I get it so wrong?
I picked the wrong fabrics. 

Don't get me wrong, the range of fabrics I opted for are beautiful and not at 'fault', no, the fault is all mine. I decided for once that I would spare myself the hours of fabric deliberations and simply do with a single pallette that was essentially all worked out to go together and that it would be so harmonious that it would work - and save me hunting out endless combinations of hues. And you know, I do this all the time - hunting out fabric that is. I took the lazy option and it didn't work for me.
Staying within the single pallette turned out to be too gentle and too washed out. The result is a quilt that is too low contrast and too wishy washy. I've looked at my top long and hard and the real issue was choosing the subdued green background. 
It just dulls everything down.
These wonderful and gentle spring hues would have come to life on a white, cream or linen background. 
And I seriously considered unpicking all my applique and restitching it on a new background, but of course, it's all stitched down much too permanently and can't be undone. 

Quilt and learn.
 Do I still love it? Of course. It's an incredible quilt. 
But I made the wrong colour choice. 
And I have serious considerations about re-making it in a completely different colour scheme. 
When? Who knows!
Lucky for me, those of you who have been making your own Secret Gardens have made better colour choices than I have! And I've been thrilled to enjoy the visual feast of them all from dark to bright, to gentle and light. Perks of creating a BOM, even when you get it wrong, you can watch other's get it right. 

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Secret Garden Part 12 is Launched

The final installment of Secret Garden has been released. It's out early, allowing those of you on the original schedule to download it. Those of you who started after the original launch date of January 2017 will receive it according to your ongoing schedule.

This month it's time to add the final border - it's made up of leftover fabric pieces, bringing patches of all your gorgeous leftover fabrics into focus and it really ties the design together.

Also this month, you can consider whether you want to embellish the spaces between your blocks. This is a detailed quilt top and I feel that any visual 'spaces' require a spot of embellishment. I have opted for petals to be sewn down in the block corners. It's entirely optional but I think it really adds something - as shown above.
My quilt top is horribly creased, as you can see here, but when I was taking this photo it really didn't look so bad. At least I didn't think so. Anyway, you can see the entwining border, then the mitred border and then finally the borders of fabric patches. 

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

WOW: Secret Garden's Satisfying Centre

 WOW = WIPs On Wednesday 
I'm so pleased that my Secret Garden quilt top is now together. And, as soon as I find a wall big enough, I'll take a photo of the whole top to show you. This is one quilt where the parts are lovelier the longer you look at them - detail overload! This is the satisfying center and I love everything about it.

In the next few days I'll be releasing the final installment of Secret Garden, Part 12 of 12, so those of you taking part can finalize your WIPs and get your schedules in order. December is a crazy month in my household, so I know how helpful it is to get fabrics, projects and plans for the New Year in order. Speaking of fabrics, I'm awaiting a very special delivery, can't wait to show you my new BOM selection as soon as it arrives. 

What's Your WOW?