Tuesday 23 December 2008

A quilt shop tour for Christmas?

I have been travelling about with my family for the last couple of weeks or so, and consequently have been away from my computer & blog. A very disconcerting place to be! But of course, travelling throws up many an opportunity to visit quilting shops! A highlight has been Beechworth Quilter's Cottage, in the historic, goldmining town of Beechworth in Victoria. Inside is a most exquisite collection of quilts, many crafted by talented Australian designer, Yelena Elliott.
Delightful displays in every nook & cranny ... ... masterful examples of needleturn applique and amazing quilting ... ... and some always extraordinary Dear Jane Blocks ...
I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Yelena, and you can meet her too, at least via cyberspace at her blog, Flosie Floo. Yelena has the honour of being the only international designer invited by Alma Allen and Barb Adams of Blackbird Designs to contribute to their latest book, You're Invited'. In the photo above is the quilt Yelena submitted for the Blackbird Designs book, and is called In Mollie's Garden'. You can read more about this ámazing quilt here.
She has also recently had this quilt, 'Reg & Rita' published in Australian Homespun magazine. One of Yelena's works-in-progress is the intricate, hand-pieced work above.
One of my favourite quilts was this sweet 1930's child's quilt called 'Freckles'.
I also loved the old-fashioned look of this quilt called 'Connie's Crowns'.
And this would be my long-suffering family! "No Mum, not another quilt shop"!
So from my family, to yours, a very blessed Christmas as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. The photo was taken during our travels, just in case you thought reindeers were Santa's only means of transportation! Best wishes from the land of emus & gum trees, Bloom xxx

Thursday 11 December 2008

Stitchery by Gail

This gorgeous bag belongs to my gorgeous friend Gail. I am yet to convince her to start her own blog, but she would have no end of beautiful work to share with you. She stitches the most tiny & perfect backstitches I have ever seen.
Until she joins blogland, I will just have to sneak photos of her work to show you when I can!

Tuesday 9 December 2008

Nice spice

This is a favorite meal with our family at the moment. It is from Whipped, a really excellent food blog.
A yummy tandoori chicken, recipe here.

Sunday 7 December 2008

Tilda goodness

I have had so many beautiful things arrive in the mail lately, it really has felt like Christmas has come early! A little while ago, Marit from Norway (no blog) asked me to send her something, and this is what arrived in my mailbox in return: 
I have swapped twice now with Norwegian girls, and my request has remained the same: "Please send me a little Tilda"! It is as rare as hen's teeth in Australia. Thank you Marit for the beautiful fabric, buttons & angel sweetness. Just beautiful!

Friday 5 December 2008

A meagre offering!

So little time for stitching right now, but I sneak a few stitches on this every now and then:
The pattern is 'Baby Love' by Anni Downs of Hatched & Patched.

Tuesday 2 December 2008

A little fabric love

I have been enjoying Sew Mama Sew's wonderful tutorial links all through November - such a treasure trove of ideas. For each day of November, they ran giveaways, & I was the very thankful recipient of a $20 voucher at their shop. Ooooh, what fun, and a special treat considering the bottom has fallen out of the Australian dollar. I've not bought fabric from the States for ages.
  Here is my little, summer-y stash of 1/4 yard cuts. Lots of Heather Bailey (Pop Garden & Bijou), a couple of Sandi Henderson's Ginger Blossom, a little Park Slope by Erin McMorris and one beautiful Amy Butler Midwest Modern fabric.
Special treats indeed - I can't find any of these fabrics locally.

The sous-chef is home on school holidays!


Monday 1 December 2008

Jan, the Rose Genius!

You may remember from a few posts ago that I put out a request for anyone to identify this lovely rose:

No sooner was the challenge issued, than I received a lovely email from Jan, complete with beautiful photos of her own garden:
Jan has identified my beautiful unknown rose as 'Albertine', a stunning, large climber, bred in France in 1921. She says it is a real show-stopper, with passers-by always asking her about it. No wonder - what a beautiful archway!
Thank you so much Jan for your help. 'Albertine' will certainly be finding a place in my garden. Jan does not, as yet, have a blog, but I am sure she would have wonderful things to share with all mad-gardener bloggers if these photos of her garden are anything to go by!

Friday 28 November 2008

Another deadline met ...

... with only minutes to spare!
Teacher gift completed & delivered.
More pictures on this post from last year as I made them exactly the same - and I had no spare time to take photos!


Sewing to a deadline ... again!! Last day of school for us today, so busily stitching up a teacher present, hopefully to be finished by the end of school! I am making the same gift as I did last year, as they were so well received & something different to the usual coffee cups or chocolates.

Monday 24 November 2008

Pulling up stumps

Mum & I have been called back to the farm tomorrow for what remains of the wheat harvest after some very wet & damaging weather. So no more stitching for a bit. This is how far the 'Seeds of Love' quilt has come today (after the unpicking of the last post!): There is a little 1/4 inch blue peeper around the centre block, a la Peg at Happy in QuiltingThere are more borders to be added yet, and lots of machine blanket stitching around those tiny applique pieces. But it is a whole lot further ahead than this morning! 


Hmmm, and she hasn't even had a glass of wine tonight yet!

'Seeds of Love' progress

Mum pulled rank and insisted we go for lunch, which turned into some clothes shopping, culminating in my being booked in the underground carpark for not parking wholly between the lines - grrrrr! Would have been so much less expensive to stay home & sew. This is the state of the quilt so far: I am trying to get Mum back on task now that we're home again, but she is off playing pairs with her grandaughter just at the moment! I will keep nagging her.

Mum is stitching away ...

Thank you for the lovely comments on my last post. Mum is very encouraged as the emails come in & is hard at work. She is working on a small quilt called 'Seeds of Love' which we bought from Weigela Design, who knows how long ago! (Weigela Design does not have a website, but I have posted photos previously, here, here, here and here). The quilt has a gorgeous heart-shaped centre panel, which Mum has finished embroidering. We are just adding the appliqued pieces this morning:
It is a very sweet design. Hope to be back soon with more progress, although her concentration is wavering a bit, & she is talking about going out for lunch! Focus Mum, focus!!

Sunday 23 November 2008

Go Mum!

My Mum is visiting for just two days and has brought a UFO with her. Here is the progress so far ...... lots of fabrics, cut & ready for action. I am cracking the whip & getting her moving with this project. Will keep you up with her progress. At least if I don't have time to sew right now, I can make sure she is!

Friday 21 November 2008

Has Christmas come early?

Well no, but it's not every day you receive something in the mail from the 'inner sanctum' at Moda Fabrics! Let me explain: 
The lovely Angela at Moda Home Mom works for Moda as a Web Developer and started her own blog just three months ago. Having access to the Moda 'inner sanctum', she is able to share with us all the latest & greatest Moda news. 
And she can give away GREAT gifts! As part of her very first giveaway, she offered the chance to win a collectible Moda hanky and tissue holder combo in return for leaving a suggestion about the Moda website. I love to 'wander about' the Moda site, drooling over beautiful new fabrics. I suggested a 'fabric archive' so that we can revisit older collections. And I was fortunate enough to win!
My handbag contents have never looked so pretty! But it gets better! Angela really liked my suggestion & has implemented the idea already! How special. Please visit the Moda Fabrics site, and check out the wonderful new fabric archive. Go lose yourself for a while! And while you are there, try the very cool Fabricmatcher and have a look at the free pattern page.
So Angela decided to send me something special because she used my suggestion.  I told you she was lovely! She sent a gorgeous red & white striped fabric-covered journal, a very trendy matching key fob & luggage tag set, all tied up beautifully with ribbon.
All Moda Home of course! And very special, as we see Moda Home products so rarely in Australia. Thank you Angela - it really did feel like Christmas had come early for me! All you Australian girls who I know love Moda fabrics as much as I do, please pop over to Angela and say hi! 

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Discovery of (yet another!) talented Australian quilter and designer

I was in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales the weekend before last, and popped into a favourite little shop, Ribbons & Rainbows (no website unfortunately). The owner was lovely and, despite me being there right on closing time, generously sent me off out the back to look at the quilts hanging up in the workroom. What a treat!
On the wall was this magnificent medallion quilt by a Blue Mountains local, Anne Sommerlad. It was special to see this quilt 'up close & personal' as it is published in the current issue of Australian Country Craft magazine (Vol 20 No 1).
It is made using the warm, rich fabrics of Moda's 'Chocolat' range by 3 Sisters. The applique & piecing of this quilt was impeccably done. And what should be on the wall next to this quilt?
The most exquisite of Dear Jane blocks, again stitched by Anne. She teaches classes on these blocks.
Anne has pinned or tacked her blocks onto a large sheet, which I thought was a great idea. Why have them packed away in a box for the months (years?) it takes to make a Dear Jane, when you can have them out to look at?
There was also the tiniest of sampler quilts made by Anne, with each intricately pieced block being a mere two inches finished!! I stopped short of photographing it for fear of breaking copyright. I emailed Anne to ask her permission to post these photos. She replied most warmly, allowing me to show you her work. She is based in the Blue Mountains, and designs patterns & is obviously an accomplished quilter. She is also well qualified as a tutor, having been a school teacher previously. She can be contacted by email (srt.sommerlad@bigpond.com) or I can provide you with her phone number if you are interested in asking her to teach a class in your area.

Monday 17 November 2008

Take a walk with me ...

We found an hour or two in the midst of a busy weekend to stop and smell the roses, albeit someone elses! A local garden opened as part of Australia's Open Garden Scheme.
Here are some images from an amazing 3 acre garden belonging to a cheerful Italian couple, probably in their sixties, or perhaps even seventies. It is an astonishing achievement for them - they are obviously hard workers, having created the garden in the last 15 years or so. Enjoy! 
Lots of amazing topiary ...
... perfectly clipped.
The roses were in full glory. Red & white roses, grafted to a single standard stem, lined this walk.
The always beautiful climbing rose, Pierre de Ronsard ...
... and of course, it didn't take me too long to find the David Austins!
This was a very lovely climbing rose I spotted. Please tell me if you know what this rose is called. It was the softest of peachy pink, loose form. 
I was particularly smitten with this lady - isn't she gorgeous?!
A wonderful garden to explore, with paths leading every which way.
My children have come to expect that their mother will, from time to time, drag them about Open Gardens. I think I am winning in coercing them into garden interest. My 10-year-old son declared upon leaving this garden, "Hey Mum, you know, I reckon that was even better than an hour on the computer"! High praise indeed!
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