Saturday, December 8, 2012

And the winner for the SMS giveaway is...

Congratulations comment no. 337!

Fiodhna December 4, 2012 9:15 AM
Kissing my baby nephews totally makes me feel alive and happy. Thank you for the tutorial link and the chance to win. I've never hand quilted - it kinda scares me but all my guild buddies can do it. I'll have to get one to teach me beacuse I love the way it looks.

I'll send you an email very soon.

Round two of the bug has started in our house (just when I thought it was over) so I'm going to keep this short and sweet. I'll be back soon with the most terrifying story ever!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

24 hour Pattern Sale!

Can I just say, reading your comments on my giveaway post are really lifting my spirits, especially as I've been spending my week cuddling sick children (while recovering myself from the bug that's going around.) So thankyou.

I haven't had a pattern sale in ages, so I thought I'd sneak one in just before Christmas. A gift for a crafty friend perhaps, or a gift to yourself? Pattern Sale finished - thanks!

And here's another lovely gift idea - Owl Lover 2013 Calendar - beautiful owl artwork from 40 artists around the globe, that you can customise and print out for free! Sarah is making up calendars for each of her teachers.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

Although I've been on a bit of blogging break I have been doing a little hand quilting on my Miscellany "There's a Square in There" quilt. After quilting the original, I swore I would never quilt this pattern again. It was a pain trying to lay down the masking tape for the hand-quilted squares around the quilting pins.

BUT after much deliberation I couldn't think of a better pattern, so I'm doing it again, but this time a few changes have made it much easier. I spray basted for the first time so there's no pins, and I machine quilted in the ditch around the patterned fabric squares first, which holds it in place nicely. So I'm actually enjoying quilting it this time, and I really like the white thread against the black.

Have you tried hand quilting with nice chunky Perle Cotton yet? If you're new to it you might like to check out my tutorial. I don't use a hoop so you don't need much to get started. I like to combine hand and machine quilting in many of my quilts, as you can see:

So now for the giveaway. To make it a little easier for you to give this type of chunky hand quilting a go, I'm giving away a packet of my favourite needles - Scarlet Today Chenille size 24. It's actually a packet of various size needles including size 24, so you can see what size you prefer. I can't get these needles in Australia so I have to order from the UK, but I'd love to know if someone in Australia stocks them. I'm also giving away a ball of white Perle Cotton no. 8, some of this adorable fabric, and one of my pdf quilt patterns of your choice.

To enter just leave a comment telling me something that rejuvinates your soul. It's open internationally and I'll pick a winner randomly on Dec 7th.

I often think about Anne Frank when I sit in my red rocking chair at my bay window. She found that just looking out her window at a tree, watching it change with the seasons, rejuvinated her spirit like nothing else could. I tend to agree with her.

 Although I'm not sure if it beats a warm sunset over the beach with my beautiful family.

I hope you enjoy the rest of Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tinker by Printink Studio

A couple of weeks back I attended Bowerbird Bazaar. I love that market! There were so many things that I wanted to buy like this and this, but the truly great find of the market was Tinker by Prinink Studio. They are a Melbourne based company who hand screen print their fabrics, producing beautiful original designs. I kept going back to their stand (oh, about 5 times) because I have a problem making decisions when there are too many beautiful choices... I think the guy thought I was a little crazy. I finally made a decision on this gorgeous linen table cloth and my sister Ellen took a photo to celebrate the momentous occasion :)

Then when I went home I looked up their website and was even more blown away. I pretty much love everything they do including their wallpaper, homewares, baby clothes and bedding, and ofcourse fabric.

phoot courtesy of tinker by prinink

The only problem now, is that I don't want the kids to get food all over it... luckily I hear it washes well.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A photo shoot with Ellen Arthur

We're all moved into to our beautiful new place, and I was lucky enough to have my very talented sister, Ellen, take some gorgeous photos of our kids out in the backyard. I can't wait to get some of these blown up and put on the wall (once I can decide on which ones!) Ellen has recently started her own photography business and I just love her style! It's a pity she lives in Sydney, but fortunately she'll be down in Adelaide again soon and we'll get to hang out some more (and take more pics!)

You can see lots more photos of our family at Ellen Arthur Photography, although she's in trouble because she wasn't meant to take photos of me or the kids in their pajamas!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Surface Art... and a blogging break

I've been waiting for Adelaide designers - Surface Art - to bring out their first range of quilting weight cottons, and when a lovely bundle came in the mail recently, I certainly wasn't disappointed.

In fact, I love their designs, as does Todd (and he's quite hard to please when it comes to fabric.)

I dusted off my graph book immediately and drafted a simple quilt inspired by the cait fabric (above on the left) that would show off the bold colours and designs. I even drew up the templates in corel draw - each petal measures about 10in tall. This will use curved piecing, not applique.

And then I sat down with myself and had a frank talk. When was I going to have time to actually make this? You may have noticed that I haven't been showing any quilting lately. No, I haven't been writing a book or working on a secret pattern (I wish!). I just haven't been quilting at all. The reason is that I'm exhausted and I need to focus my energy. I'm not sure how you fit it all in, and I'm not sure how I used to fit it all in either. But I've just hit a wall. Between three young children, international students and preparing to move house, it's time for me to pair back and focus on the most important things first. I'm becoming increasingly aware of how quickly my precious children are growing and I really want to savour this time with them. Because I love quilting so much, it's easy for it to take over not only my time, but also my brain space. I have been guilty in the past of rushing through the bed time routine with the kids so I can get out there and quilt. There are so many exciting quilting projects that I'm hanging out to start ... but it can wait ... children can't.

So I'm taking a blogging break; a little bit of time away where I wont feel guilty that I'm not keeping up. Please feel free to email me if you have a question or a photo to share. I'll still be around.

Quilting and sharing on this blog are important to me, so I'm hoping once we're settled into our new house (a beautiful acreage in the hills) I'll have more time to quilt, while maintaining some sort of balance. I'm hoping for my own sewing room,which will help that cause!

In the mean time I'll just enjoy walking past this gorgeous little bundle and giving it a reassuring pat every now and then.

And I might need to get my hands on some of Saffron's new Wombat Wonderland range before it sells out!

And then I'll take a break :)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Piecing curves without pins - a video!

Welcome to everyone taking part in the Totally Groovy Quilt Along, and anyone else curious about sewing curved seams without using pins. I've made my very first video for you today!

I love the look of curvy seams in quilts and quite enjoy sewing curved seams, but I'm not keen on pinning. Today I'm going to share with you the way I tackle curved seams. I have used this technique in quite a few of my quilts which use freehand curved cutting such as Sea Views and Sherbet Dreams, but also in my quilts with precise templates such as Grand Designs (although I only describe the method using pins in the pattern.) It can take a little bit of practice to get this down pat (especially on such a tight curve needing a high degree of accuracy), but it's worth giving it a go because it could save you a lot of time.

Some tips to remember are:
  • ensure you are sewing with an accurate 1/4" seam. In this video I used foot with a 1/4" guide (I'm using my old machine because my new one is in being serviced.)
  • if your sewing machine has a needle down setting, use it, otherwise just lower the needle into the fabric if you need to stop and adjust the fabric
  • reduce your stitch length to smaller than usual. This will give you a nice smooth curve (I used about a 2 on my sewing machine)
  • have tweezers handy for holding the fabric together at the end of the curve
  • go slowly
  • don't pull the fabric, just ease and guide it through the machine
  • if possible use fabric of similar weight and weave (especially when piecing such a tight curve and needing a high degree of accuracy). If you are using all kona cottons or prints from the same range you should be okay. However if you're mixing and matching prints from different ranges you may need to test different combinations. Some may stetch more than others.
  • Give it a try, and if it doesn't work easily, just unpick it and you may need to use pins for some fabric combinations.
  • make sure you cut your fabric so the grain is running the same direction on your inner and outer curve (otherwise it may warp when you sew them together) 
  • Be prepared to unpick. I still need to from time to time.
    So, here's my very first video. Please excuse the fumbling. I pretty much had five minutes to capture it before the baby escaped from nana's (and you would have heard very cute but rather distracting babbling). Hopefully it will give you the general idea and confidence to give this method a try. 

    And here's one I prepared earlier (note that the fabrics are swapped around.)

    Have fun, and let me know if you have any questions!

    Also, Alyssa's running a giveaway sponsored by Sew Fresh Fabrics that you'll want to check out!

    Friday, August 24, 2012

    Getting to know my Nikon D90

    I'm turning over a new leaf with photo taking. I've always just stuck my camera on auto and snapped a bazillion photos in different lights and locations until a few came out okay, but now that I have a new camera I'm really trying to learn how it use it properly. I love our new Nikon D90! It takes beautiful photos, particularly due to the 50mm 1.4f lens which lets in lots of light so you can take good photos in low light.  Todd's thrilled that I'm finally going beyond auto, so that I'm not so reliant on him to take photos of my quilts. I'd like to do a 'proper' course, but right now I've attended a beginners course put on by a couple of girls from church, and I've watched these online videos - which were brilliant for going through the basics step by step - specific to my camera. I now know about aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance. Now I just have to practice so I can think on my feet and get the right thing in focus. Some of these photos were taken by me and some by Todd.

    up early

    date night

    penny lane markets
    bike riding along the river torrens

    the beauty of sharing a bed