Sunday, 10 July 2016

Online BOM

Four blocks from 'Cosy Afternoon' BOM 2015
Many of my regular readers may recall that in August 2015 I blogged about an online BOM that I was taking part in -- 'Cosy Afternoon'. It was a delightful project created by +Jacquelynne Steves @ The Art of Home. The BOM only ran for six months so it was a "can-do" project for someone like me who always seems to be neck deep in projects! Because it was an online BOM when we were travelling away from home for long periods I could still receive the block and work on the project in my own timeframe.

Jacquelynne is offering another free online BOM and I have just completed Block 1 which was released on 6th June. This year's project is called "Maggie's First Dance ".

As with the previous BOM the Center of each block can be completed with appliqué, embroidery or just a feature fabric. I have again elected to embroider the centres, as I did with 'A Cosy Afternoon ' .

For me the hardest part of any new project is choosing the fabrics. I often think it takes me longer to decide on fabrics and colours than it takes me to make the project!! Perhaps it didn't take me quite so long this time as I was restricted by the fabric available for me to choose from-- remember we were still away from home when the first block was released in June and my "travelling " stash was somewhat smaller than my "at home" stash!!!!

However, I ended up with TWO colourway choices.
Colourway 2
Colourway 1

Some of these fabrics were in the 'bonus'  box of fabrics Miss Carmel was kind enough to give me in May, and some I purchased whilst on our travels. So what do you think about the choices? Might have to make TWO projects!!!!

I have actually completed TWO embroideries for Block 1. Why? Well, the first one I worked on white fabric  but when I placed it against the other fabrics I had chosen to complete the block I thought it looked too stark. So I started again and this time I used a cream background. Much happier with that!
Embroidery on white
Embroidery on cream

Cushion cover front
I used a few different embroidery stitches as I tend to get "bored" with just backstitch. The stitches I used included Portuguese knotted stem stitch on the petals; French knots and straight stitch for the centers; flystitch for the leaves; and raised outline stitch for the stems (this was a new stitch for me but easy and very relaxing to complete).

Time and effort was not wasted as the  offensive white block has been "recycled" into a dazzling cushion cover front.  Voila-- nothing wasted in this 'Woman's Cave'.

Here are the steps in making Block 1 and the finished Block.
Making the snowball block
Completed snowball block
Making the 1/4 square triangles
Joined 1/4 square elements

White centre trial - too stark
Cream centre trial - much better
It might not look much difference in the photos, but it was definitely TOOOOO white!

And the finished Block

If you like my version of Block 1, and you are interested in participating in this free online BOM, you can still join the group at this website--

Next post I'll bring you an update on my progress with those PiPs from DD3 and Drawer 6 as well as the additions to my Xmas gift box.

Until then --
Hugs - and - Happy stitching!

Friday, 24 June 2016

Back in the 'Real' World!

Travelling Box
Hello fellow crafters and blog followers. Wow! More than three months since my last post. Many of you will know that the OWO and I have been on a wonderful adventure with "Ada" our A-van. We have been exploring the far north region of our wonderful home State, Queensland, since the end of February. (You can follow our adventure on our travel blog - The Rambling Retirees ).

We are still not home as we are currently housesitting in Peregian Springs on the Sunshine Coast until 8th July. I have to admit it took about ten days for me to settle back into the 'real' world in a 'real' house after roaming the countryside in 'Ada'. But I am finally settled and appreciating the comforts and space of the beautiful home we are looking after.

Sooooooo ........ What has been accomplished with my stitching projects whilst travelling? You will recall from a previous post that I packed a small box with hand stitching projects including one or two from the Dreaded Drawer 3 list of UFOs (actually I prefer to call them PiPs).

When I sat down and looked at the projects I had managed to complete, I rather surprised myself (and the OWO!,).  The wall hanging, 'Miracles by Appointment ' -- that was a fun project -- was completed,

and I completed all the embroidered pieces for  the other 'wall-hanging', "Written in Thread" -- not sure what I am going to do with the latter as the individual pieces are not the same size as the original pattern! -- but it was an accomplishment anyway.
"Written in Thread" embroidered pieces
Both of those from DD3 project list. There has also been progress on the 'Love Letters' quilt from Drawer 6, with another block completed.  I also kept busy working on some of the cross-stitch PiPs that I packed in that purple box. Although not completed there has been progress! I'll include photos of these in another post next month when we get home.

Now some of you with sharp eyes may have noticed that the 'Miracles' wallhanging has been FULLY completed, with fabric sashings, backing, binding, and machine quilting. How you may ask, did I achieve that when we left home without my trusty Brother (machine that is)? Well, here's the story.

At the end of April, around ANZAC day, we travelled from Cloncurry to Townsville for our annual stopover at the Pera Court Hilton, before travelling onto Nairana for our Caretaking commitment. I look forward to this annual sojourn as I get 'girl time ' with my beautiful "sewing sister", Miss Carmel. We have a wonderful time - card making, stitching, shopping, chatting, and going to lunch-- leaving the 'boys' to their own devices.
"Stitching Sister", Miss Carmel
Girls Day Out
On day three of our visit Miss Carmel was kind enough to loan me her light weight Janome to work on a table topper using fabric that we had chosen together the day before. Over dinner that evening the conversation somehow revolved around our shared interests and how much time we spend stitching and crafting, and I made comment that a light weight machine would be a bonus to travel with. Next thing the OWO says, "Well, go buy one tomorrow before we leave for Nairana." Of course, I didn't believe he meant it, but the next morning he insisted Miss Carmel drive me to Lincraft to buy a machine! And so, I now own a lovely Toyota Quilter - light weight to travel with anytime with all the quilting attachments -- and a bargain to boot, as it was 50% off in the Lincraft sales! Isn't the OWO wonderful

As there is no radio, television, or internet at Nairana I usually spent my evenings, and 'rest' days, hand stitching, reading and writing. Bonus this year -- I had a new 'toy' to play with and At the end of the first week I had made some small items using some of the fat 1/4s purchased in Townsville.
A new scrappy block

Mug huggers and mug rug - no iron!
I was very happy with my machine, but I now had two problems.

1. No iron -- ever made blocks for a table runner or placemats omitting the pressing stage? Trust  me, finger pressing just doesn't cut the mustard!
2. There was now a fabric shortage -- never occurred to me that I would need more fabric for the month at Nairana. Nearest fabric shop? -- Clermont - 168 kms away!

Miss Carmel and the lovely Paddington Bear to the rescue! They had decided to make a short visit to Nairana and would not only bring us top up grocery supplies but if I sent a list with a working budget, Miss Carmel would bring me fabric and an iron to boot. Not only did she bring the required items but there was a bonus box of fabrics handed over from her own stash -- many pieces of which you can see in the finished items below.
An Australiana runner - maybe a Xmas gift?
Reverse Australiana runner
Red, white & black table runner

Reverse using scraps for RW&B
We had a fantastic three days together, stitching and chatting whilst the 'boys' went about Park duties during the day and I have to say it was a bit of a "downer" when they left.

I am very happy with my table runners that will be added to my Christmas gift box of goodies.

Before I close off my post I would like to show you a couple of photos of the little vest I made for our youngest grandson who turned one at the beginning of March. I used two different fabrics and the vest is completely reversible.
London front view
London view back
Back view 1
Front view 1

Next post I will have something different to show you. Until then --

Hugs - and - Happy stitching!

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

A Little Early for Xmas?!!

Wow - I have actually managed two posts this month!

AND.... I have finished another item from the Dreaded Drawer 3 (an "unlisted project" unfortunately,  but from the DD3 just the same!). I have also made some progress with another project (Number 9 - 'Miracles by Appointment" - very appropriate I thought!), as well as managing to cut, and iron into place ready for stitching, the violet bouquets for another block for the 'Love Letters Quilt' in Drawer 6.

Last month I joined an online group called 1 Xmas Item a Month  .  Members of this group work on projects/items for Xmas, whether it be decorations or gifts, individual projects or a larger project, and share their progress each month. As I try to make most of my Xmas gifts for family and friends I thought it would be fun to join this group and share my progress with them. Already proven a successful motivation for me as the finished PiP mentioned above is my first "show and tell" project with the group. Looking forward to adding more finished Xmas projects to their blog throughout the year.

This is the finished PiP.  It is a design by a Victorian designer at Smee Designs  . I bought the pre-printed pattern online quite some time ago and I have been working on it for over two years.  A redwork design, the original is mainly worked in backstitch but I added my own personal touch with a variety of stitches and added some embellishments to complete each block. The sashing and border material is Seasons Greeting by Fabri-Quilt - I bought this fabric on our recent travels to WA.

Xmas Wall-hanging - 'Subversive Santa'

During the month I also downloaded a sheet from +Cynthia's Ark to list my UFOs and PiPs to help me keep track of the projects I either complete or make some progress with.  I now have TWO lists - one for the hand embroidery stitching and one for the projects in the DD3 - that should keep me busy for awhile.  Of course, in answer to my quilty friend +Marilyn C , there may also be one or two "new" projects to work on during the year.

Stitching UFOs and PiPs for 2016

Soooo..... more progress in the last ten days.  It must be all the excitement around here as we finalise our preparations for the big trip starting on 25th February.  Yes, I do have projects ready to take with me and hopefully, now that we have the comfort of the new A-van, I will be able to complete some more of those UFOs and PiPs before we get home in July.

So until next month ........


Friday, 5 February 2016

OMG - Progress Already!

Finally, creativity has returned to the 'Woman's Cave'! It must be this wet, dreary weather keeping me indoors, but whatever it is I am happy to say I have made some progress on the contents of that 'dreaded Drawer 3'.

Activity in the 'Cave' stepped up a notch or two this last two weeks, with an increase in cardmaking and stitching.  There's a long way to go before that 'dreaded Drawer 3' is empty but here are the results so far this month. (A couple of "before" and "after" shots too).

These projects, as numerically listed in my previous post, have now been completed.

Lovely bright backing
Dragonflies in Sashiko
Number 1 - Dragonfly sashiko square - now complete with lovely Kaffe Fasset fabric. Already in the A-van to be used as a candle mat.

'Keys to my Heart' Cushion Cover
Redwork Heart "before"
Number 3 - Redwork Heart cushion front - now complete with borders, backing, and insert. Another lovely addition in the A-van.

Candlewick Bears on pillowcase
Candlewick Bears "before"
Number 4 - Candlewick Bears x 4 - I didn't know what I was going to do with this project until I finished the stitching. The candlewicking is now finished and I have made a binding on each square and attached both squares to decorate a pillow case - maybe a Christmas gift for a little girl with a 'Bear Hugs' quilt!

 There has also been some progress made on the following projects:

Number 6 - Bareroots "Written in Thread" wall-hanging
Number 7 - Mystery Runner from AP&Q magazine
Drawer 6 -  "Love Letters Quilt" (Faeries in My Garden BOM 2011?)

Mystery Quilt Block1
Broderie Perse progress

In addition to all that stitching activity there has been some very successful cardmaking activity. There are so many 'new' techniques in cardmaking and I have enjoyed the 'challenges' some of these have presented. There a few samples of those "challenges" below.

My "Scan 'n' Cut shopper
My DH was very generous at Christmas and gave me a Brother Scan 'n' Cut machine, despite agreeing there would be no expensive gifts this year as we had purchased our A-van just before Christmas. However, I must say I am thrilled with this new addition in the "Cave" and I have spent a few hours 'playing' over the last couple of weeks. 

So until my next "progress report" --- stay safe, be happy, and may the creative juices flow freely.

Happy crafting.

Just a sample of my finished cards.
Paper folding and Scan 'n' Cut stencil

Baby girl pop-up card
"Flip" technique
Pop-up card - folds flat for postage
'Waterfall' technique - just pull the ribbon
Tri-fold with a difference

Another 'pop-up' baby boy card
'Step' technique
Simple Male birthday easel card
'Book' card with Scan 'n' Cut images