Friday, July 30, 2010

Saffron's Bird Tree giveaway

She's done it again! I was so excited to see Saffron's new "Bird Tree" fabric range 'in the flesh' yesterday.  Aren't those little birds are just so cute and I love the fresh greens that she's used. The purples tie in beautifully with the Forest Elementals as well, which is a bonus.

This morning I sketched a design for a baby quilt using this fabric range (I take my sketch book everywhere with me) - its going to be such a fun one - it has some similarities to Sierra's forest (at this stage, although who knows what twists and turns the design will take in the mean time!)

Head over to Saffron's blog for a chance to win some of this beautiful fabric.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sneak peaks...

are a bit boring for you... I know (but a bit exciting for me because they're going into a fantastic magazine). But I thought it was better than nothing as I don't have much else to show this week.

Hey, but my wavy quilt is quilted and as soon as the rain lets up, and I can do a little photo shoot at the beach, I'll share it with you. Stay tuned....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Castles giveaway!! (and some really bad quilting)

Becky's giveaway is on now. Check it out here. LOVE those castles!

As part of the giveaway Becky is asking about the biggest mistake you made on your first quilt. Well, I've been avoiding sharing my first quilt because it is such a shocker. But I think now is the time to reveal it in all its shonkiness. The story starts out nice enough. My mother was given this cute little fabric panel by my Aunty Dinah when I was born.

Mum never made it into a quilt, but I kept in my glory box so I could make a quilt for my first child. Despite my best intentions it took 18 months to put this together, but I was so proud to give it to my daughter Sarah for her first birthday. I used a high loft polyester batting, polycotton yellow fabric for the back and binding, and ofcourse polyester black thread for the quilting. Now here's where it gets really good. I made lovely big knots on the back to secure the beginning and end of my quilting, and the stitches were ginormous (it was hard going hand quilting through that mattress).

Puckers... what puckers?

I don't even know how I attached the binding, but its definitely not right. I machine stitched it on the back and hand stitched it on the front??

I've thought about pulling it apart and redoing it many times, but there's just something about it that makes me smile, knowing that that was my best effort three short years ago. Anyway, that thick batting is nice and comfy for babies to roll around on.

Now, go share your story here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Not in the mood

I've reduced my work (as a speech pathologist) to two days a week as of this week and I'm already loving some extra time with the kids. On the weekend we all went to a food and craft market at The Entrance (just up the road from us) and had the yummiest fish burger ever - coutesy of Jake from Masterchef Australia. I also stumbled across the cutest little "Jeans Bag". I had a good chat to it's maker - Tiffany - from "Bobo and Gogo" (who happens to live in the suburb next to mine!) who assured me she will have an online shop up and running soon.

I thought a little photo shoot would be nice, but Sarah had other ideas...

but then she started to come around ...

and even busted out some ballet moves...

 lovin' that cheeky face!

So simple but adorable. I love finding new talent. I'll let you know when Tiffany's shop is open for business.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The story of my logo

A few of you may have noticed that my site has had a little make over, with a new logo and links to pages across the top. I thought you may be interested in hearing how my little birdy logo came to be (its only taken me 2 months to blog about it!) . Just to jog your memory this photo was on the old header.

I wanted something clean and simple looking that linked back to Australia somehow (without using koalas or kangaroos). My friend Jana (who's a graphic artist) was really helpful in brainstorming ideas and doing sketches (thanks heaps Jana!), but I really didn't know what I wanted at that stage. Then one day Saffron and I spent the day at Taronga Zoo with our daughters, and I saw an Australian bird cracking an emu egg open by picking up a rock and hitting it repeatedly with a rock. I was amazed that a bird would know how to use a rock as a tool to go after an egg that was so big and difficult to crack, and I thought this would be a great starting point for my logo - representing creativity, progessiveness, thinking big and persistence.

So with this in mind I had a go at drawing up my own logo, and here's what I came up with (the only way I could figure out how to draw the bird was in one sweeping motion with my mouse, so it was a bit tricky to include the rock too).

I tried to pretty it up a bit.

I then spoke to another graphic designer - Sarah Baron - who nurtured my idea and improved upon it. Two hours after speaking to her she sent through these roughs (among others) and gave me the idea to use a needle to crack the egg as the needle is my 'tool' (and the egg represents big ideas and dreams). She was amazing and I'd highly recommend her - thanks Sarah!

In the end my dad (who is also a graphic designer) came up with the final logo picture and I love it - thanks dad!

So now you know the story of my logo and what it means to me. I think that even if you didn't know the story, it would still be a pretty logo:)


My friend Ally is having her first big giveaway on her blog, so head on over to see if you can snag yourself a huge pile of fabric!

And welcome to everyone who has come over from Kaye's blog . For those of you who haven't heard yet, she's having a massive giveaway each day to celebrate her 2 year bloggiversary - you wont want to miss this one!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

This time its international!

I was thrilled when the latest Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine appeared in my mailbox. I wasn't expecting it until August so it caught me by surprise, and what a nice surprise!

Yep, that's right - that's my quilt!! I have Saffron from Saffron Craig to thanks for this. She was the one who gave me the confidence to think this might be possible and she even rang the magazine for me! The design is pretty traditional (except for the raw edge applique) but its the fabric that really makes this quilt look modern and fresh I think. Not only does Saffron create the most fabulous fabric (I used her Fantastic Fairies and Fields range for this quilt) but she is such a warm genuine person who has become a wonderful friend.

The magazine staff were great to work with and did a wonderful job of showcasing my quilt. I wish I could take photos showing my whole quilt the way they can. I'm sure they didn't pin this to a washing line or hang it in a tree to take the photo below!

I want to make mention of a couple of friends, Joan and Kaye, who were my pattern proof readers/testers. Thanks guys for picking up some pretty important errors - helping me avoid an oops moment!

So go grab your copy - it will be hitting shelves in the next couple of days and I'm pretty sure this magazine goes international!

And if you're interested in a baby sized version or this pieced back you can grab the pattern here. Saffron Craig has kits for both sizes here.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Far far away 2 castles

I wish I could say that I'd designed these castles because I just LOVE them! What an amazing way to show off those beautiful far far away 2 fabrics by Heather Ross - genius. My talented quilting buddy/cousin-in-law/bestest friend, Becky, created these beauties and I can't wait for her to write the pattern because even though I never follow a pattern, I might have to make an exception this time. My daughter Sarah has put in her order:)

Photo courtesy of Becky from Chasing Cottons

Photo courtesy of Becky from Chasing Cottons
Its so wonderful having a real life friend who really 'gets' the quilting obsession - Becky's as hooked as I am. The other night she came around for a quilting night and we talked non-stop (we didn't even sew!) about quilting. We spread out fabric, doodled design ideas, discussed blogs, flickr and all sort of other things. I think we talked as fast as we could for 4 hours straight and we still had plenty more to cover. I'm so excited that Becky's started a blog (after abit of prodding), so I can keep up with all her creations. She's also started writing patterns, and has a great flair for colour and designs.

For those of you who have been following for a while, you may remember that Becky and Trav lost their gorgeous baby, Chase, at 2 days old only a few months ago. I can only imagine the pain that would come from such a loss. Though it has been a rocky ride, Becky has remained incredibly strong and has started her blog partly as a distraction and to channel her energies into something positive, and also to share her love of fabric and quilts. I love the name she has chosen for her blog - "Chasing Cottons".

So head over and take a peek at some of Becky's quilts and say "hi". She might be having a giveaway soon too... I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bibs - two ways

I met my new little niece, Aylah, this week and she's beautiful - just like a little doll. My babies suddenly turned into giants next to her!

I'd previously made her a quilt with Sarah's help, but when I saw these bibs on Nettie's blog I just had to give them a go. They were so fun to make and great for using up fabric and batting scraps, and for practicing different quilting techniques. They have cotton fabric on both sides (they are reversible), with cotton batting in between. Pattern available here.

Left - "Recipe for Friendship" fabric,  Right -Saffron Craig's fabric
I think the above bibs would be a good size for an older baby, so I also tried making some smaller bibs that had towelling on the back (and no batting in between). Pattern available here.  I can't decide which ones I like better. They were all so fun to make.

Left - Shannon Lamden's fabric, Right - apples (don't know the name)
 Welcome to our family baby girl.We love you.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sew chatty

Thanks for the quilting ideas. I really appreciate everyone who stops by whether you leave a comment or not. I've basted the quilt and will begin quilting tomorrow. Its always a little daunting making that first stitch.

I had a wonderful time at my first modern quilt guild meeting the other night - I'm so excited I found one near me. Such a lovely bunch of women to chat and share ideas with. Leanne, the president, was so welcoming and I was chuffed that she first recognised me from my blog. Jody's shop, All About Sewing, was a fun relaxed place to chat (and sew a bit) -I almost forgot to take photos.

I did get a shot of one of Leanne's quilt - loved this one.

It uses Anna Maria Horner's Good Folks fabric.

Loads of chatting going on... not so much sewing. Check out the lovely range of solids on the left.

My youngest sister, Ellen, came along with me and finished her first quilt! A lovely little raggy flannel. I started out on raggy quilts. They're great for beginners because you quilt the squares before you put them together. I wonder if she'll catch the quilting bug.

She also knitted me this lovely scarf.  I've worn it nearly every day she gave it to me. It's cold here - we had our coldest day in 60 years last week. You may be wondering why this giraffe is wearing my scarf - well I can't be bothered looking half decent for a photo (it was taken on my day off with the kids!) Thanks so much for the scarf little sis, I just LOVE it (and thanks for the kid's scarves too).

Last but not least, this gorgeous little pin cushion arrived from Cindy at Sewing on the Edge.

Its beautifully made and has a lovely weight - its filled with crushed walnut shells so it doesn't slide all over the place.

You can check out Cindy's unique range of pincushions using selveges at her etsy shop.

Speaking of pincushions, I just found a couple of cuties here too.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ideas for quilting this?

I've finished the top for my latest design using Cloud9's gorgeous "Beyond the Sea" fabrics. Thanks for all the ideas and suggestions on which design to go for, and the colour combinations to use. In the end I used one of my first sketches (the third one here), for its simplicity and flow. I decided not to use the brown in the blocks and just save it for the binding (I had just enough), but as it came together I felt it needed a bit of oomph, so I added the brown at the last minute. I love the brown and now wish I'd used it in more of the blocks (but not enough to unpick it though).

The fabric was beautiful to work with and I find it a really calming quilt.

It was really easy and quick to put together. I discovered pinless piecing of curves a little while ago from Tallgrass Prairie Studio's blog and was excited that it was so easy. This is the video that got me hooked (it explains sewing curves without pins so well).

You guys came up with so many brilliant ideas for how to quilt my Wonky Donkey quilt, so I thought I'd shamelessly solicit ideas for quilting this new design. I'm thinking about stippling or trying that pebbly look in the sashing and borders, and then handquilting some waves on the wavy blocks. Alternatively I could machine quilt large waves horizontally right the way across the quilt (a little like I did on Sierra's Forest).

I ironed it, but by the time I got it out at my in-laws to photograph it, it looked like this.
 A penny for your thoughts?