Sunday 25 December 2011

My blooming best to you for Christmas

In my travels, I found some blooms to share with you for Christmas. 
The Botanic Gardens at Ballarat had some stunning seasonal displays resplendent in red and white.
There was also a collection of the most lovely fuchsias which remind me of tiny, colourful ballerinas, their long legs daintily dangling below ruffled tutus!
Because we have been busily travelling and visiting family, it has been trickier for me this year to focus on Christmas as the celebration of the birth of Christ.
But in church this morning, we sang 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing', as so many will have done this day, all over the world. The words of this hymn were written over 250 years ago by Charles Wesley and struck me afresh today, as they speak so richly of Jesus' birth and significance.
Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"
I hope you have a very happy Christmas with precious family and friends. With best wishes, Bloom x 

Friday 23 December 2011

A meeting of minds

After a two week absence from the blog while we travelled about the countryside, I have so much news that I'm not sure what to post first. But the undisputed highlight of our travelling, for me, has been meeting up with some long-time favourite bloggers.

After jokes-a-plenty from my family about meeting my potentially axe-murdering cyber friends, they were relieved to find that Lenora of Lenora Jenkins Designs and Linda of Gum Vally Patchwork were, like me, both far too busy with fabric and stitching to consider serious harm to anyone!

We met at Linda's shop which has been meticulously and thoughtfully built from materials recycled from an old church.
It is a perfect setting to showcase her beautiful selection of fabrics ...
... with enticing bundles and bolts at every turn.
It was very special to see Linda's astonishing 'Dear Prudence' quilt, painstakingly constructed from teeny, tiny hexagons. It is a magnificent thing!
And Lenora's wonderful designs graced many of the walls, this aqua and red 'Ruby' one a particular favourite with my girls.
Flushed with confidence and enthusiasm for converting 'virtual' friends to 'real' ones, we then met up with Ric-Rac Jodie and Flower Garden Annie at a very hip little place called The Upholstery Gallery.
All photos are courtesy of The Upholstery Gallery website, as I was far too engaged in vital and stimulating conversation with Annie and Jodie to take photographs (or to spend money, much to my Sweetness' relief).
The Gallery was an Aladdin's cave of treasures which kept the kids  exploring while we chatted.
Without exception, Lenora, Linda, Annie and Jodie each warmly welcomed me and my family, and we could all have talked fabric, stitching and gardening for days. 
We shared coffee and stories and lots of laughs. Hours passed like minutes in their company! I left them all reluctantly, but in the firm knowledge that, even if limited by cyber connections, warm friendships can be forged and that the online loveliness of these women is only affirmed by actually meeting them!

Thursday 8 December 2011

Layer cakes and shortbread

After working with Joanna Figueroa's 'Strawberry Fields' to make this quilt, I knew I would find her next line all but irresistible. Didn't I tell you?! And so a layer cake of 'California Girl' arrived today from the lovely Jane @ Want It, Need It, Quilt.
The colours are fresh and happy, and I love the brighter blue that is new for Fig Tree. I'm not sure how Joanna does it, but there is always a soft vintage feel about her designs, which reels me in every time. 

Jane is generously giving away a 'California Girl' layer cake on her blog, 'Quilt Jane, Want It, Need It, Quilt'. Hop on over here to enter.
There has been a frenzy of creative activity in the house since the kids finished school. I will be back soon with some of their action.
In the meantime, I have been busy doing some Christmas cooking for friends. I stayed with two of my fail-safe recipes, rocky road and almond and white chocolate shortbreads. Packaged in cellophane bags with cute printable tags from Martha Stewart.

Saturday 3 December 2011

School is out

It was Speech Day for our school today, and weeks of summer holidays lay ahead. Some will be spent busily travelling to spend Christmas with family. And lots of it will hopefully be spent at the farm, lazily recovering from a busy school year. Holidays mean a break for me from the routine of chasing about after kids, and time out to lose myself in my garden, and smell my roses which are always so beautiful across the summer. Here are some I snapped just this afternoon.
Golden stamens of the David Austin rose, 'Moonbeam'. 
Strawberry pink of 'Triple Treat', a free rose given to me by Treloar's in appreciation for being such a good customer! Don't ask how much money I have spent with them over the years :) 
The strong pink of 'Zephirine Drouhin', an old bourbon climber, first bred in France in 1868. 
 Delicate David Austin, 'Lichfield Angel', released in 2009.
 French Delbard 'Soeur Emmanuelle', which has a notably spicy fragrance.
 'Strawberry Hill', another David Austin is also strongly perfumed.
 'Papi Delbard' has orange-pink tones, and is planted in our town garden as a climber in an attempt to cover the colourbond fences.
'Heidesommer' is a particular favourite of mine, and is a low grower. Creamy yellow buds open to sweet little white blooms, with golden stamen-laden centres. 
 And lastly, the stunning French Delbard, 'Camille Pissarro' which varies from soft yellow and pink (above), to stronger gold and cerise. Mmmmm, lovely!
Now if you are procrastinating about making a purchase in my shop, you have but 4 hours left to take advantage of discounted prices. From one procrastinator to another, feel free to spend up :) My sincere thanks to everyone who has kindly supported me by purchasing patterns. My fabric budget is looking a little healthier! Bloom x

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Summer's Blush - a new layer cake PDF quilt pattern

My quilt that I have been making from Fig Tree's 'Strawberry Fields' range is finally bound and ready for snuggling under.

The weather has been dismally wet, and it has been tricky getting some good photos.

This quilt is the largest I've made, and fits our queen bed. After years of procrastinating over a quilt for our bed, I've finally produced the goods! And I am really happy with it. I love this Fig Tree line.

I pieced the backing since I had insufficient meterage of any fabric to back it in one. I pulled together all sorts fabric bits and joined them in strips.  

I love how the back has come together, and it fortuitously makes the quilt virtually reversible!

I have called the quilt 'Summer's Blush'. The soft colours of the 'Strawberry Fields' fabrics reminds me of late summer, of freshly picked, warm strawberries, and full blown roses, faded to blush in a hot Australian sun.

I have written up a pattern for the quilt which is now available as a PDF download in the shop.

Pattern details

The quilt is constructed from a layer cake plus yardage for the sashings and borders. The layer cake was purchased from Jane at Want It, Need It, Quilt It. I have used a linen/cotton blend fabric for the nine-patch elements. 

Quilt size: 93” x 93” (236cm x 236cm) 
Block size: 16” finished

The pattern includes: 
List of fabric requirements 
Detailed cutting, layout and assembly instructions and diagrams 
Helpful tips throughout 
Binding instructions

The pattern is an 11-page 2.3MB downloadable and printable PDF document. There are more details available in the shop listing.

As a little pre-Christmas thank you to each of you who read my blog and leave universally encouraging comments, all patterns in my shop will be discounted to AU$7.00 for three days.

Pattern prices in the shop will return to AU$8.50 per pattern at 11pm AEST on Saturday 3rd of December.

I'm off to snuggle :)

Paper Kites and rain ... so much rain

My find for this week is a gorgeous song called 'Bloom' (!) by The Paper Kites, an up-and-coming Indie band out of Melbourne.

If you enjoyed that one, then try 'Featherstone' - sweet film clip; watch it to the end!

And if you love them as much as I do, both songs are able to be downloaded free from this page @ Triple J Unearthed.

This music is soothing my mood today. Easy, sweet, comforting and a tad melancholy. The rain clouds are building again outside, casting a grey impending gloom. We have had SO MUCH rain. The crops are a disaster. Trying not to think about it. 

My roses have been blown to the ground in the wind and rain, so I have been collecting them up, trimming the spent blooms and coercing the buds to open. These are the lovely David Austin, 'Strawberry Hill'. 
I am pattern writing today and hope to be back later today with photos of my 'Strawberry Fields' quilt and a shop update. 
Bloom x

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Sixteen and stepping out in style

How is it that 16-year-old girls today are SO beautiful and SO sophisticated? Here are some photos from my daughter's Year 10 Formal on Saturday. Lovely, lovely dresses - all short, but thankfully not as short as last years'! And with legs like theirs ...

The hairstyles were very pretty, lots of curls and up-dos.
And the shoes!! Oh my! Without exception, they were spectacularly high. Within about half an hour the groans set in, the hobbling started and complaints flew: "Why did I wear these shoes"? Seems their mothers were right, huh?!  Just sayin'!

I grew up on a farm with three brothers, so I'm not that great with the 'girl stuff'. But I'm sure getting an education via my daughter and her friends! They were all astonishingly beautiful. I am still reeling and wondering where the last 16 years have gone :)
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