Monday, 26 March 2012


On my work desk today, some cute little critters. 
More news of their escapades soon I hope :)

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Hard copy patterns available

After what seems like an eternity wrestling with Adobe Illustrator, I have this little icon to show for my troubles.
Thankfully, the icon is of more significance than the making of it. Due to demand, I have arranged a limited print run of some of the patterns available in my shop. If you prefer to purchase hard copy patterns and have them arrive in your post box, then this option might be for you. My patterns also remain available as PDF files delivered to your email. Bloom x

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Something blue

Something old, something new,
Something borrowed, something blue,
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.

I whipped up a little blue keepsake for a friend who was married on Saturday.

Evidently the rhyme is Victorian in origin, and is wished for good luck.
  • 'Something old' represents continuity with the bride's family and the past.
  • 'Something new' is for optimism and hope for the marriage
  • 'Something borrowed' is traditionally something special loaned from a happily married friend, and signifies that friends will always be there for the bride in times of need.
  • 'Something blue' symbolises purity, love and fidelity. Blue was evidently a popular colour for wedding gowns in the late 1800's, and is the source of the phrase, 'Marry in blue, lover be true'. 
  • And the silver sixpence in the bride's shoe represents wealth and financial security.
    This is a favourite gift I like to make for brides. The pattern is by Marg Low and is called 'Sweet Heart Birdies'. It uses one of Barb Smith's woodcut buttons, called 'Kissing Birds' available at Theodora Cleave. I used some beautifully silky smooth Cosmo Seasons variegated embroidery floss 8076, purchased from Patchwork Orange.

    Funnily enough, the 'marry in blue, lover be true' saying is but the start of something bigger! Who ever knew?!

    Marry in white, everything's right
    Marry in blue, lover be true
    Marry in pink, spirits will sink
    Marry in grey, live far away
    Marry in brown, live out of town
    Marry in green, ashamed to be seen
    Marry in yellow, ashamed of your fellow
    Marry in black, wish you were back
    Marry in red, wish you were dead
    Marry in tan, he'll be a loved man
    Marry in pearl, you'll live in a whirl

    Monday, 12 March 2012

    Waste some time with me and my boy ... OK GO!

    If you don't have the privilege of living with a thirteen year old boy who can educate you about OK GO and Goldberg machines, then allow me to do you a favour! Courtesy of my boy, sit back and enjoy ...

    Definition: A Goldberg machine is a deliberately over-engineered machine that performs a very simple task in a very complex fashion, usually including a chain reaction.

    This next clip makes me laugh! These guys are so imaginative and clever, but obviously have far too much time on their hands!

    And the last one is especially for our dear dog-loving friend Peg @ Happy in Quilting. Watch out for the goat!

    OK GO do something productive Bloom instead of laughing at these guys!

    Friday, 9 March 2012

    Happy happenstance

    Happenstance? 'Happenstance' you say Bloom? Hmmm, I am reading Charles Dickens at the moment, so my use of 'happenstance' is his fault.
    Motivated by the wonderful adaptation of 'Great Expectations' on the ABC, I am trying to read ahead before next Sunday's episode. Catch up with last week's episode on iView, or read it with me by downloading a free copy on iTunes. Oh, the irony, or is it juxtaposition - Charles Dickens now on iView and iTunes! 

    Sorry, I digress! Since first posting to this blog over five years ago, one happy happenstance has lead to another and I find myself designing patterns. 

    Last October, I was invited by Australian Homespun to contribute a design for a new project-of-the-month (POM) initiative called 'A Trip to Remember'. The POM is a series of 10 projects, one per month until December, each with a travel theme. All projects have been constructed using Amy Butler's dramatic new line 'Lark' (below), and the the series is being launched in this month's issue.  
    There is an awe-inspiring roundup of designers who will present their creations over the next 10 months, including:
     Natalie Bird of The Birdhouse
    Jodie Carleton of Ric Rac
    Lesley McConnell of Faeries in my Garden
    Natalie Ross of Natalie Ross In Stitches
    Monica Poole of Moonshine Designs
    Nicole Mallalieu, of Nicole Mallalieu Designs
    Brenda Ryan of Thimblestitch
    And even the inimitable Ms Butler herself. What a treat!

    I am weak at the knees and completely humbled to be in the company of these amazing women. I feel like I'm in a real-life version of Sesame Street's 'one of these things is not like the others'!

    Each designer was generously supplied with fabrics of her choosing from Amy's range. I chose these:
    My brief was to construct a garment bag. Concepts for my designs are usually directly inspired by the fabrics - their colours, scale and mood. Amy's 'Lark' fabrics struck me as flamboyant, extravagant and dynamic. I decided on an appliqued panel with a floral 'flourish' twining from top to bottom.
    The applique background was problematic, with just the right shade of 'almost black' unrepresented in my stash. Thankfully the lovely Rita @ Red Pepper Quilts came to my rescue with some perfect Kona 'Pepper'. Thanks so much Rita - you were a godsend!
    The reverse side of the bag has a central zipper ...
    ... and two zippered pockets for safe keeping of jewellery, stockings etc.
    It is a bit hard to see, but there is a gusset all the way around to accommodate several garments, and the bag is finished on all edges with a fine bind. It is fully lined inside.
    It is particularly special that all projects in the Australian Homespun's 'Trip to Remember' program will be donated to Alzheimer's Australia. This organisation is the peak support body for people with dementia and their families and carers in Australia. The projects in Homespun's program will be auctioned or raffled to raise funds for this important cause. I doubt that there are many women who are not affected, indirectly or otherwise, by the suffering caused by dementia.

    This month's issue of Australian Homespun (No. 106) is just hitting newsstands now. 
    Australian Homespun can also be purchased in a digital format from Zinio.

    Thursday, 1 March 2012

    An inheritance

    Last Friday was the fifth anniversary of my Dad's passing. He has been on my mind. In fact, not a day goes by when I don't think of him. Of my many passions, two are directly attributable to his influence: my love for gardening and for reading. He told me often how, as a child, his father would rouse on him for 'always having his head stuck in a book'.

    As a child, two of his favourite books were 'The Good Master' by Kate Seredy and 'Reach for the Sky' by Paul Brickhill. They in turn became favourites of mine, and now my children read them.
    I have just finished reading a book called 'The Language of Flowers', a debut novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I enjoyed it enormously. It is the story of a young woman, tormented by memories of a childhood of mistreatment at the hands of a succession of foster parents. Psychologically scarred, her preferred way to communicate with others is through flowers and their Victorian meanings. Her journey is to learn to trust the love of others.
    This book is warmly written, and an easy, uncomplicated read. As a gardener, I loved the powerful role flowers played in the narrative. For me, the story's appeal is in the concept that flowers might comfort psychological distress and nurture hope. 

    And so my two inherited passions, gardening and reading, came together with this book, read in February 2012, as I thought of my Dad.
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