Friday 29 August 2008

Tutorial for 'The Blossie Bag'

Cut a rectangle of medium weight fusible Pellon, approximately 20"x13" (I used Vilene H640). Choose coordinating fabrics, as many or few as you like, & cut strips 20" long. The width of the strips for my bag were cut 3.5" (stripe), 2.5" (blue), 1.25" (orange), 1" (yellow), 2" (green) and 4" (floral). There are lots of ideas for combinations on my previous postLay the base fabric, right side up, on the fusible side of the Pellon. Press.  Be careful to press the fabric only, not the Pellon. Pin the second strip to the base strip, right sides together. Stitch a 0.25" seam. Use a walking foot if you have one, as this prevents the uppermost strip from stretching as you sew. Carefully press the second strip back against the Pellon. This is a sort of quilt-as-you-go technique, and means you don't have to quilt the top of the bag later. Continue adding strips in this manner until you get to the pom-pom trim. How to add a pompom trim with a header which needs to be hidden: Pin the pom-pom trim to the top of the previous strip. Stitch the trim to the bag. Pin the final strip of fabric to the bag, with the pom-poms sandwiched beneath. Stitch the final strip to the bag, getting as close as you can to the pom-poms as your walking foot will allow. This stitching is awkward, and can be a bit rough. It is really only stay-stitching. Flip the entire bag over, and now stitch on or inside a previous stitching line, as close as you can to the pom-poms. A zipper foot at this point may help. Now press the final strip back against the Pellon & with a bit of luck, you will have a lovely row of pom-poms sticking out from the seam nicely! 
Add any extra trims you'd like at this stage by simply stitching them on the bag. Pom-pom trims with a decorative header can be added at this point rather than inserted in the seam as previously described. When all strips have been sewn to the Pellon & all trims attached, cut the rectangle back to measure approximately 18"x11.5". You should now have something resembling the photo below:
With right sides together, match the two 11.5" sides of the rectangle. Stitch this side seam and across the bottom of the bag with 0.25" seams. Fold the side of your bag against the centre bottom seam to form a triangle. Stitch across the corner approximately 0.75" from the tip. Repeat for the other corner. Trim excess from corners and turn bag right side out.Prepare two handles 15" long as described in this tutorial. Stitch them 1.25" either side of the centre top of the bag.Prepare the bag lining as for the outer bag, leaving a gap in one seam for turning. Keeping the outer bag right side out, place it inside the lining with right sides together. Matching side seam, pin the outer bag & lining together around the top & stitch with 0.25" seam.Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the lining. Top stitch around the bag top & slip stitch the opening in the lining closed.There ends the longest tutorial in history - I hope you've made it! I actually made my bag with pockets in the lining, but I think pockets will have to wait for another tutorial - it's late & believe me, I need my beauty sleep! Please ask questions if you don't understand my instructions.
If you are making this as a bible bag, it will fit a student's bible approximately 15cm wide x 22cm long x 4.5cm deep, with some extra room for pens, lip gloss, iPod, lollies, prayer notes (?) etc. 
Hope to be back with a pocket tutorial soon. Happy weekend, Bloom.
EDIT: Pocket tutorial available here.

Stitchers' Angel Project

Helen of Hugs 'n' Kisses is very generously organising a wonderful stitching collaboration called 'Stitchers' Angel'. She has arranged for seven stitchery designers to release a free pattern each week for seven weeks. Helen released the first pattern, a sweet Armchair Caddy which you can download here. Natalie Lymer of Cinderberry Stitches provided the pattern for this week, the delightful 'Blue Wren's Nest Tote' which you can download here. You can keep up with everyone's progress & add your own creations at the Stitchers' Angel Flickr group here. I, of course, have intentions of making them all - yeah, yeah, like that's going to happen! But I have started Natalie's blue wrens:

The bag tutorial mentioned in this post is next on my 'to do' list. Thank you to all the lovely girls who left wonderful suggestions for a name for my bag. I almost went for 'The Bread & Butter Bag' from Liz - very clever! But after much agonising I think I am going to call it 'The Blossie Bag' as the very first of these bags were made for my daughters (aka Blossie #1 and Blossie #2). I'm hoping to have the tutorial up today, but you just never know what will come along to muck up my plans in the land of Bloom!

Wednesday 27 August 2008

Launching Australian Needle Flickr group

I have decided to create a new Flickr group, called 'Australian Needle', to celebrate the amazing wealth of stitchery, fabric and quilting design in Australia. We have such prolific creative talent in our country, which I am immensely proud of, so I thought we could use Flickr to try to gather examples of these designs in one spot. If you have stitched an Australian design, please feel free to share your work at 'Australian Needle' & be sure to acknowledge the designer. You do not need to be Australian to upload photos. The only rule is that the original design must be by an Australian. Does that make sense? If you are not familiar with Flickr, here is a basic outline: TO SIMPLY ENJOY LOOKING AT CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE GROUP: Click here or on the 'Australian Needle' Flickr badge in my sidebar and enjoy! IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD YOUR PHOTOS TO THE GROUP: 1. Go to Flickr and click on 'Create your account'. This is free & requires you to create a Yahoo ID and a password. 2. You can now upload your photos to your own photostream from your computer. 3. Go to Australian Needle & join the group. 4. You can now send your photos from your photostream to the Australian Needle group. I am no Flickr expert, but I can attempt to answer any questions you have. Have fun!

Tuesday 26 August 2008

Little Miss Flat becomes Little Miss Fat?

No, just Little Miss Cuddly! Generously proportioned curves in all the right places. She is 'Babushka Beauty' from Handmade magazine Vol 25 No 10 by the very talented Jhoanna Monte Aranez. I couldn't find the perfect flesh-coloured felt for the face (other than a sickly shade of apricot!), so used linen instead.  Nor could I find the perfect red-coloured felt for the cape, so went with red & white spotty fabric. Considering the aforesaid lack of felt, Little Miss is constructed on a foundation of thin pellon for stability. The girls in our house all think she is pretty cute. The boys are eyeing her off as an ideal football! I am thinking how wonderful she would look on the shelf with three or four progressively smaller sisters - ooooh, but we won't go there!

Monday 25 August 2008

Afternoon tea time

Delicious passionfruit slice from this recipe by wonder-cook Kerry at Cottage on the Hill. Thank you for the great recipe Kerry, especially from the ravenous children who are scoffing it right now!

Sunday 24 August 2008

Holy? Hardly!

My 12-year-old blossie went off to a friend's birthday sleepover on Saturday. She put in an order for a bag to be made as a gift for her friend. She & her friends go to a Christian youth group on Friday nights, & the girls like to have something funky to carry their bibles in. The brief was something bright, not too girly, definitely no pink, but some dominant lime green. Here is what I came up with: The funky floral & stripe are 'Eyes Wise' collection designed by Luella Doss and Robin Fleming for FreeSpirit. (I came across a very cool & modern quilt pattern using this fabric here if you are interested). I have made many of these bags over the years, both as bible bags & as simply cute & quick little girly bags. I was surprised how many I had made when I went back through the photos: 1. Pom-pom love, 2. Girly pom-pom bags, 3. Fete bags, 4. Pink & green pom-pom bag 1. Blue & brown velvet, 2. Checks & roses, 3. Fresh blue & white, 4. Pink & brown frilly
A friend & I have made some of these bags for school fetes, and they sell like hotcakes. I took lots of photos as I was making this latest bag so that I can put a tutorial together. I hope to post it soon. 
Please let me know if you can think of a better name for my tutorial than 'Bloom's Bible Bag' - this sounds far too holy for me! I am working on it, but am far from puritanical yet - LOL!

Thursday 21 August 2008

We interrupt our normal transmission ... for Book Week!

There are costume-challenged mothers all over Australia breathing a collective sigh of relief as they send their children off as their favourite book characters to Book Week parades. Can you guess who mine are? Please tell me you can guess!
EDIT: Yes, points to Janellybelly, Fiona & Maria for guessing Lola of Charlie & Lola fame for Littlest Blossie. We are big fans of Lola at our place. My son is dressed as someone more obscure. The bejeweled belt in the last photo is an enormous hint. Ask the nearest 9-12 year old boy, especially Australian ones, & they will probably know! EDIT #2: I am enormously relieved that Penny recognised Lief from Deltora Quest! This is a series of fantasy books written by Australian author Emily Rodda. Lief is the hero of the book who fights all every evil creatures imaginable in order to return each of the seven gems to the Belt of Deltora & thereby restore peace to his homeland. 
D = diamond
E = emerald
L = lapis lazuli
T = topaz
O = opal
R = ruby
A = amethyst
A classic tale of good overcoming evil, but with lots of twists & turns that have you wondering all the way through. Great story, especially for boys, but more than a little scary at times! 

Tuesday 19 August 2008

Feeling flat?

Just keep smiling! Hoping for a bodily transformation, very SOON!

Monday 18 August 2008

Cheerful pink amidst the winter gloom

Back to the farm for the weekend for the baptism of a nephew, so an opportunity to check on my garden. We managed to catch the Taiwan flowering cherry (Prunus campanulata) in full & glorious bloom. It only flowers for a week so we were fortunate to be there just at the right time.The remainder of the garden is still in it's dull winter dormancy, but will transform in just a few weeks as the warmer weather approaches. The wheat crop is looking alright considering we've had so little rain, but needs moisture soon. And of course, I couldn't miss the opportunity to bring a big bunch of cheerful daffodils back to town. Little progress to report on the bright idea from my last post. I have done a tiny bit of embroidery, but am hoping to get back to it tonight. Have a great week. Best wishes, Bloom.

Friday 15 August 2008

What can you make of this?

Well, my husband would say, "A hat, a brooch or a pterodactyl". Hmmm, not so helpful! My littlest blossie has been home most of the week with an upset stomach & is in need of some cheering up. So I have a plan. Watch this space!

Tuesday 12 August 2008

The Great Dear Jane catch up

The Dear Jane group has been in hiatus for a week or so to give some of the slower members (that would be ME!) a chance to catch up on some blocks.F2 Kaleidoscope - I really like this block. Must be the pinwheel shape. I have always loved pinwheels, & I'm happy to say my piecing of them is improving. Segments are foundation pieced.
A3 Hunter's Moon - reverse appliqued. A nice simple one.
C2 Streak of Lightning - I thought this one looked easy enough, just a glorified nine-patch, but the angles made it tougher than I expected!
So I am now only four blocks behind. But one of them is an edge triangle, and the dreaded 42-piece Battlefield is looming. Wish me luck - I may need it!

Sunday 10 August 2008

Kids' Art on Saturday ... otherwise known as KAOS?!

After an encouraging start two Saturdays ago, the kids & I sat down yesterday afternoon to spend some art time together. This week we again used the Art Projects for Kids blog, and Kathy's Picasso Pastel Portraits tutorial. Again, her instructions were foolproof and each of my kids enjoyed their time enormously. I printed out a few examples of Picasso's works (this, this, this, this & this) as inspiration. Here are their creations:
'Waking from a Peaceful Dream' by Eldest Blossie, age 12
'Sleeping in a Garden Bed'
by Littlest Blossie, age 7

'Good or Evil?'
by Boy in the Middle, age 9
My husband asked our boy, "So what do you think makes a Picasso a Picasso"? His immediate response was, "Well you just make it look weird really"!!!
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