Monday, 6 October 2014

Card Creativity

Why is it as we get older the days move faster? Already two months since my last post but at least I have not been idle during that period.

You will notice a new look to my blog - brighter colours, sharper text, and three new things added - Pages at the top of the blog (only two at the moment - Home and Christmas Cards); a "Pin-It" tag in the sidebar - give it a try and see if it works; and a "Pinterest" tag - it will take you to my Pinterest Boards - hopefully (if not please let me know).  Any feedback on any of the add-ons would be very helpful. So I haven't been completely idle.

The month of August was somewhat hectic in our house with very little activity undertaken in the Woman's Cave.  Time in Tasmania, visitors, and caring for my 99 year old MIL for five days, soon took its toll with a dreaded MS relapse in the middle of September. However, one must build a bridge and get over it and I am delighted to say, we did!

One of the downsides of a relapse (leading up to and following) is the loss of coordination.  As a result stitching in the Woman's Cave has been on hold for a month.  But that doesn't mean all creative activity came to a halt.  I did manage to almost complete two projects!

Pinned and ready to quilt
Country Romance top complete
Back in February I posted a photo update on an old BOM project that I was working on - A Country Romance.  I am pleased to report that I have now completed ALL the blocks and have pinned the quilt (with the assistance of a fellow quiilter - thanks Marilyn) ready for quilting.  Not sure when that will happen as it is quite cumbersome trying to handle it on my home machine (and I value my fingers too much to chance anything motorised at the moment) but at least it is finally together after six years in the cupboard!

My first Scrappy
The second project I did actually complete and it was one that I started in May before going to Tasmania.  All quilters know about the "scrap dilemma" - where a box/es overflow with scraps we are so reluctant to throw out.  Well I don't have a large number of scraps as I have only been quilting for a short time, but I thought I would try to "tidy up" the scrap box and attempt a slightly different quilt - my FIRST scrappy quilt.  Not bad, hey?

The hold on stitching meant I had to fill in my time with other creative activities.  So the "stitching" room became the "cardmaking" room.  With inspiration gleaned from other creative pinners on Pinterest, and using the OGO's lovely iPad, the creative juices began to run wild. THIRTEEN beautiful cards in one session - wow, that was a wonderful day's work.

More motivated than I had been for awhile I moved onto starting my Christmas cards.  Yep, that's right folks - that time is almost upon us again, so now is a good time to start. Twelve cards completed, so well on my way for a tick in the box of Things to Do for the Silly Season. You can see my efforts if you click on the 'Christmas Cards' in the pages bar above the post or go on over to my Pinterest Boards for a look at all the other cards I completed.

Still on the cardmaking projects, I found the Pinterest site very helpful for learning new techniques - well, new to me anyway.  So I decided to give a few of them a try and was delighted with the results.  I have also been experimenting with my 2013 Christmas prezzie - the wonderful Sizzix machine.

So you see, I have found other avenues to have a wonderful time creating in the Woman's Cave. Although I must admit that I am looking forward to the time when I can resume my embroidery and stitching activities.

Until the next time.
Happy stitching (or cardmaking) to all.

PS:  Don't forget to leave me some feedback on the "new look" blog.




Sunday, 3 August 2014

A Little Romance

Delicate roses bloom
Romantic Roses
We are now in the last week of our time in Tasmania, and what a wild few days we have had this week. Winter finally arrived in Gordon with a vengeance - gale force winds over 100kph ripped through the State downing trees and de-roofing buildings, the heavens opened up and we had 100mm of rain in three days, with snow down to 200m.  Mt Wellington glistens white in the sun that came out briefly yesterday.

Why am I giving you the local weather forecast?  Well, you know that many stitchers, including myself, love the winter - it gives us an excuse to spend more time with our handiwork.  Not that I need any excuses, but I do feel less guilty about spending hours stitching when the weather forces me to stay inside.

Happy spinners and knitters
Latest addition to the Group - this is Wally
Last year I enjoyed the company of a small group of like-minded stitchers and I was delighted to once again meet with them on this visit.  They are a very creative group who, like me, enjoy a diverse range of crafts - quilting, applique, knitting, papercrafts, and even spin their own wool. Wednesday will be my last opportunity to meet again with these lovely crafters and I am looking forward to sharing more ideas and projects with them - and another cuddle with Wally.
 

So today's blog entry gives me an opportunity to share with you the work that I have completed since we arrived in Gordon in the middle of June.  These blocks are part of my current BOM project from the  Faeries in My Garden quilt 'Romance of the Roses'.  I am loving all the challenging bullion roses and French knots.  The thread colours are not identical to those in the original project because I have used colours that reflect my own personality.  They are still soft and romantic but not so 'shabby chic' in tones.  I have now completed seven blocks and can't wait to get home to receive the next set to work on. If you pop over to the Faeries in My Garden site (just click on the pink link above) you can see what the original project looks like

All seven blocks

Block 2 - "L" is for "Love"

Block 6 - "My Love is Like a Rose"

Block 1 - Garland of Love

Block 4 - "Fruits of Love"

Block 3 - "My Secret Love"

Block 7 - "Overflowing with Love"

Block 5 - "Sweet Love"

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Catch up time

Yes, I know it has been months since I updated my post.  But that doesn't mean I have not been busy "creating and making".

Since my last post in February the OGO and I have been on several 'adventures' - Mackay, Nairana, Townsville, and we are currently in Tasmania. There have been some wonderful 'adventures' shared with so many beautiful places visited and people met.
Visiting our daughter and son-in-law at their new home just outside Mackay, allowed us to enjoy the peace and tranquillity that can only be experienced away from the humdrum of city life.  We witnessed many beautiful sunsets and enjoyed lovely warm (sometimes too warm) days in a very beautiful part of Queensland before moving on to our annual "retreat" at Nairana NP.  It was at the latter location that I completed much of my handwork shown in this post. 

Quilters at Clermont
Whilst at Nairana I had the opportunity of meeting a group of quilters in Clermont.  This is a very small group of ladies - about 12 - who were more than happy to welcome guests to their meeting.  They have a dedicated room, with kitchen, at the local community hall, where they meet once a week, sometimes twice.  It was a pleasure to join them and I hope I can do the same again next year.

As has become a tradition with us we also visited our friends in Townsville, where I enjoy the company of a very special friend and we share ideas and spend time making cards, shopping, and stitching.  Always such a special time with lots of inspiration and motivation to work on projects.

We didn't have much time at home between our return from Nairana and our flight to Tasmania. I did manage to get a lot of hand-stitching done though as I was silly enough to have a fall on Mothers Day and broke my ankle which meant no walking, driving or any other activities which required the use of my right leg. So plenty of "guilt-less" time in a comfy chair with my trusty needle and thread.

Despite the broken ankle I did manage to host a lovely High Tea to raise funds for MS, and each of my guests received a handmade picnic place mat - yes, even the gents received one. They were easy to make and it was a project that helped diminish my scrap and fat-quarter stash.

Before leaving Toowoomba on this current trip, I also completed two cross-stitch projects, and a special memory book for our youngest daughter.  These had to be finished before leaving home on 18th June, as her 30th birthday was celebrated in SA at the end of June and they had to be mailed to reach her before she left for her SA holiday.  So it was an extremely busy stitching time for me despite my lack of evidence on the blog.

Unfortunately, no photos available on this post as I forgot to transfer them from the main computer onto the external hard drive that the OGO had set up for me.  So no evidence of projects completed.  I'll remedy that when we get home at the beginning of August. However, here are some sample pages from Mrs K's birthday book.
Cover

Page 2

The little things

Parents, Grandparents

Tiny Hands

Until then:
Happy stitching all.

PS:  If you want to follow our 'adventures' in Tasmania - pop along to our travel blog at :  www.theramblingretirees.blogspot.com.au


Thursday, 6 February 2014

A lot to Hoot Abooot

Another 'Country Romance' block
Another month just flew by and I'm beginning to 'panic' a little about the time I have left to prepare for our travel adventures - 'stitchers' preparations that is. As we will be away from home for several long stints in 2014 I want to be sure that I have plenty of hand-stitching projects to carry with me - so for some of the past month I have been busy preparing projects for travel.

In my last post I hinted at the TQ Club challenge project that I had completed. The 2014 challenge was to make a banner measuring 12 x 35inches. When we registered for the challenge were given two small squares of fabric.  The 2014 theme was OWLS and the fabric was to be incorporated in 2 owls using at least 90% of the fabric.  All other choices were up to the individual - that is technique, fabrics, colours, finishing.

After my initial decision to incorporate both applique and embroidery in my banner, I spent a great deal of time searching through my stack of mags and on the internet to find something that would reflect the image I had in my mind.  This took me longer than it took to make the banner!

Embroidered owl
I finally found an embroidery design I liked in a volume of Crafts to Stitch.  The design was a small square wall-hanging by Paula Storm. I embroidered the central image and added my own words. 
Initially I was going to put just the embroidered square on the front of the banner but after great deliberations I decided to use it as my label for the back of the banner. So the name for my banner was created - Life's a Hoot in Our Whoos!  Once the embroidery was completed I moved on to making the individual owls for the front of the banner.

Block design
Banner elements
The internet provides us with some wonderful 'free' designs for personal use as well as some very helpful tips and techniques.  I found inspiration for the blocks in my design at www.quilterscache.com  There is an amazing range of blocks on this site, with instructions and examples. The templates for my owls were taken from a free pattern provided by www.jackieclarkdesigns.com  

Completed banner
I'm really quite chuffed with the end result of my three days stitching (and two weeks searching and researching!).  But you be the judge and let me know what you think of my lovely Welcome banner.



Vertical sashings
Sashings complete
The challenge wasn't the only project worked on through January.  I have also been very busy working on Mr Bonney's quilt that I started in January last year (2013 project initially!).  I thought as this quilt was to be a king-size topper that it would be easier (and cheaper) to work on it as a QAYG project.  Well, after struggling with putting the last of the sashings on last week I have now concluded that I can only work on SMALL quilts - that is no bigger than LAP size.  Anything larger is going to the QUILTER - cost or no cost.  There is still some hand-sewing to be done on the sashings but in general I am quite pleased with the progressive result.

There were two other projects completed in January - a special quilt for the OGO and a beautiful embroidery for self.  

You may recall I completed a quilt called "Swircles" in 2012 which was displayed at the TQs annual exhibition in Toowoomba. The OGO fell in love with that quilt but I was adamant that it was made for a special couple and the OGO could not keep it. I promised him I would make a similar quilt just for him to have on our bed.  The top was finished in December and the quilter (Rosalie at Rose Quilting, Meringandan West) finished the quilting in January.  I still have to bind it but the OGO just loves it as a replacement for 'Swircles'.  So here it is - my "Promise Kept" quilt.

Bullion stitch roses
Feather stitch on fan plates
Dresden plate fan
Completed roses with ribbons
 One of the projects in my bag of stored goodies from "Faeries in my Garden' Gift of the Month was a beautiful table/dresser runner that I had put aside because I didn't know how to do 'bullion stitch'.  


Last November a member of the Toowoomba Embroiderer's Guild taught me the technique for bullion stitch and I knew I had to complete this beautiful runner before I returned to the first meeting in 2014. How delighted am I with my completed project after accepting the challenge of this quite difficult stitch.  This is a gift for ME and I will be taking it to Show and Tell at the Guild meeting next week.
Completed runner - Oh so proud!!

   


Love and hugs to all


Monday, 13 January 2014

Motivation and Inspiration equals Creation

In my last post I shared the gifts that I had made for some of my family members. As my stitching time in the month of November was mainly taken up with those gifts and  preparation for Christmas was the priority in December, I was very slack in updating my craft blog.  So this post will review the "other" stitching for the months of October through to December.

You may recall that my goal for 2013 was to complete some of the UFO's sitting around in my craft room.  In the first couple of months I completed three of those UFOs.  As we were away travelling from April to June, and then house-sitting in Tasmania from June to August, I was a little restricted with the type of craft I could work with in that period.  However, it was a perfect opportunity to work on any hand-stitched projects that I had aimed to complete.

The first of those hand-stitched UFO's that I completed was the Nikki Tervo teapot stitcheries that I had purchased in 2010!  Once the stitcheries were completed I then, of course, had the dilemma as to what I would do with NINE individual teapot stitcheries.  My first thought was a wall hanging, but then where would I display it - certainly didn't want to leave such lovely work in a drawer!  Then I had a brilliant idea and this was the result - finished by the middle of September.  Six placemats and a central table runner - Perfect solution.

Individual placemat

Six placemats & a runner
So without a sewing machine I continued work on my applique projects, from April to August, and although I didn't actually FINISH any of those UF quilts I did feel as though I had made some progress and continue to be motivated enough to work on them between other projects - in other words they are no longer sitting idle in the craft box!

Redwork on Canvas
In October the Embroidery Guild of Toowoomba held their Open Day and with a little encouragement I entered a few of my own completed projects for display.  There was a special display of Redwork and so I challenged myself to complete a Redwork project in time to display it at the event. Never having done Redwork before I was quite proud of my finished project. If you were lucky enough to attend the Open Day you would have seen some very beautiful work by some very talented members of that group.  I have learned a great deal since joining the group in 2012 - I have also learned that not all types of embroidery are easy to master!!!

Following the completion of the Redwork challenge I had set myself, I was indeed more motivated to work on more challenging projects than just my applique and that forced me to look into my very large bag of "goodies" that I had been receiving from "Faeries in My Garden". 

In 2012 I signed up for the "Gift of the Month" club with FiMG, then re-signed in 2013 despite having only completed ONE of the 2012 projects - silly me you might say.  But not so - all the special stitched gifts I made last year, and showed in my last post, were actually from that bag of "goodies". Out of 18 projects I have now COMPLETED EIGHT.  You have actually seen photos of seven projects - project number eight was completed last week - this one is for ME. Photos in my next post, along with photos of my current quilt project.

I have also been working on the Toowoomba Quilters 2014 Challenge - which is a banner. I might just give a sneak peak in my next post but can't reveal all until it has been completed and submitted to the organisers.

My last RR project for Mazz 2013
In my October post I mentioned that I would be commencing another RR with my cross-stitcher friends.  Unfortunately, life became a little overwhelming with all that was happening at the time and I had to withdraw from the group.  I just felt it would have been a little unfair on my fellow stitchers if I had been unable to meet the stitching deadlines, and the increase in overseas postage was beginning to stretch the craft budget a little too much.  I was quite sad about leaving the group, as working on other stitchers projects has kept me motivated with my cross-stitch since my MS diagnosis in 2006. I hope that maybe in 2015 I might be able to re-start those RRs. 
 
But following that sad decision I decided that in 2014 my goal would be to direct my efforts into completing some of my "unloved" cross-stitch projects hidden in the cupboard whilst continuing work on those three applique quilts still in progress.  

A PERFECT goal for me, as we will be away from home for most of the year with travels north, south and west, and hand-work will be easy to pack and carry.
RR Xmas exchange -  Wendy UK

Before I close this post, I would like to share with you some of the beautiful handcrafted cards we received from family and friends over the Christmas period.  There are so many talented people in our lives and I would like to acknowledge their efforts.
Alice - RR stitcher UK

Friends - Denise J. (L) and Carmel P. (R)

Family - Donna (cousin) & Freya (grand-daughter -7yrs)

Until next post ----- HAPPY STITCHING ALL.




 



Monday, 6 January 2014

New Year Greetings

Happy New Year to all my readers.  Yes, I know it has been TWO MONTHS since my last post but it was a very, very busy period leading up to Christmas.  There was so much stitching to be completed for all those precious family gifts - and, of course, added into the pot is having the house listed for sale - which meant, much to my horror, more housework and less craftwork!

But here we are - the start of another year - and what do we have planned this year?  For me and the OGO it will be another part of our journey in life together.  The house is on the market and if it sells before the end of February then we will be turning another page in our book.  No sale before then and we are off travelling, caretaking, and house-sitting again from March until October.  So I had best be prepared with a case full of hand-stitching no matter what happens.

The first week of January has been a scorcher - with every day over 35 degrees celsius - and two days in the 40's.  The air-con has been working flat out but the positive from all that is I was able to sit and stitch whilst watching the tennis (and the cricket) and not feel any pangs of guilt - it was just toooooo hot for any other kind of activity.  Ohhh darn!!!!


Alisha's gifts
Well enough of the weather woes.  I think in my last post I promised photos of the gifts I was making for my family.  So here they are.  I know one little girl was very pleased with her gift and another was surprised that her grandmother had actually made such beautiful things.  So all in all - I was chuffed.

Evening bag - Heidi


Folder - Alisha

iPhone case - Alisha
Back Hippy bag
Hippy bag - Kristen



iPad satchel - Fay

Memory book - the OGO

Ribbon bag - Freya

Ribbon bag side - Freya

Serviette holders - last minute gifts

Placemats - Kylie (neice)