Sunday, June 29, 2014

Random Joys

With a few pretty fabric scraps and some scrapbook card I made three "postcards" yesterday - I can see a use for these in the future and they were quite fun to make.

Our winter days are mostly filled with sunshine, cool nights and warm days. There's always something in the garden to catch my eye.

One of the children snapped a photo of homeschool in progress - it's the hair I like most.

A few nights ago our girls decided to play "bedroom cricket". Miss G and Miss N shared some of their rep. cricket shirts with the younger girls and wanted me to catch the moment for them - I do believe one of them wanted it for their Facebook. I was happy to oblige.

I hope your week has been filled with random joys too!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Two Quilts? Knots and Games

I love each of the two piles above but I have to concede that they don't blend well together. 

My Fresh Fields quilt is a long term epp project however the serene effect I have been working towards doesn't sit well with the navy or brighter golds.  Seems I'll be adding some more brights and highlights to make a second epp project. The gold centred flower above (just finished today) is made with a couple of new-to-me Laura Gunn fabrics. I plan to include more in these tones to this "new" project. In fact, I'm really liking the gold and navy together.....

Most of my stitching time in the last week has been spent on a special request which involved no cutting but lots of careful quilting. Much time was spent tying end threads in knots and burying them in the batting. Is this how other quilters finish ends? I don't like to back stitch or leave untidy ends. Do newer machines (mine's 29 years old) have a feature which tidily knots/buries the ends or do you need to add the human touch for an invisible finish?

Today one of the big stores began their large annual toy sale. Miss E and Miss V had been saving and waiting to buy some new Lego. The older ones also chose a new family board game to enjoy in the two week winter school holidays which are about to begin. As teacher of our Homeschool I'm declaring an early start to our holidays! We are all very ready for a good break.

Sharing at WIP Wednesday, Anything Goes Monday and Making Monday.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Playful Sewing

Playing with a selection of ribbons and threads I have had some fun over the last few days working with my colourful fabrics for this quilt. With no pattern to follow I'm working towards a set of 5 x 11" rows of fabric strips - unless I change my mind along the way. 

This week I've enjoyed using my "hand quilting" Sulky 12wt Blendables cotton threads for a little decorative machine sewing. Some shiny blue viscose/rayon also found its way onto my machine too, thanks to a surprise parcel of threads from the wonderful people at Gutermann.

This is the Gutermann Sulky Sunset Sky rayon/viscose machine embroidery thread pack which was in the parcel. I've never sewn with rayon threads before but their lustre and smooth texture are a delight both in the machine and for hand stitching. On the fabric below I used two threads of the rayon together to hand stitch a feature spot on the Acacia print, Hummingbird in Midnight.

It was fun to add some sparkle to my favourite new Anna Maria Horner fabric with some Gutermann Sulky metallic thread and also some DMC stranded metallic. The DMC, even using one strand, was a little stiff for this use but still pretty. The Gutermann metallic was finer and softer, just right for smaller stitching.

Sewing a quilt with an eclectic mix of fabrics, threads and trims is quite relaxing, resembling the free play of childhood in some ways. There are no rules and I'm thoroughly enjoying it!

Extra Notes: The wide ribbon in the top photo is Moths in Lavender and Turquoise by Anna Maria Horner by Renaissance Ribbons (bought on sale recently). I have sewed a grey velvet ribbon to the lower edge of the AMH ribbon using a matching Gutermann Extra Fine thread
The Gutermann Sulky rayon thread pack was a surprise gift to me from Gutermann, along with a selection of Sulky metallic threads and sliver reels.
The Anna Maria Horner fabric in the last three photos is Primrose in Sapphire from her recently released range, Pretty Potent. This fabric has a wonderful soft feel to it too - I have ordered sufficient to make the backing from this fabric.
Previous update on this quilt are here and here.

Sharing at Work In Progress Wednesday.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Succulent Beauty

My succulents continue to delight me. Not only have they grown quite rapidly but their flowers have been interesting to observe.  Black Prince Echeveria, my first succulent, grew a strange mini-plant spike which continued to lengthen and produce red flowers.

The sunlight levels on our back deck seem perfect for them, they began to grow tall and straggly in the lower light of our front deck. They also like to be watered once or twice a week as they don't receive rainfall where I have them. 

Here is the centre of my Violet Queen Echeveria which has grown considerably since I bought her at the end of last year. She is sitting next to Black Prince in the group photos above.

Here are some of the little pups growing along Violet Queen's stem between her "leaves". I find succulent propagation quite fascinating. They can be grown from pups like this, or by pulling off leaves which then start to grow new plants at their base (whether planted or left sitting neglected), or by beheading an older plant and planting the crown/head. The beheaded stem will also start new plants. Some succulents also grow from seed.

There are many beautiful reasons to enjoy low maintenance succulents, they are far more interesting than I had ever thought.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

One Requirement

Piecing and embellishing, using new and old, combining shiny with matt, making it up as I go. There is no rush, it's a quilt project with no deadlines, the only requirement I'm placing on myself is to enjoy the process.

Sharing at WIP Wednesday.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Being Restored

We had a guest speaker at church today who brought a wonderful message and an amazing (extremely accurate) prophetic ministry which greatly encouraged everyone present. Jan has lost her husband and a 40 year old son, both to cancer, in the last few years. She is a living example of all she shared. Three thoughts from her message:
Embrace God's goodness in all situations
Hold what God has given us loosely
Be generous wherever we can

Yearning a little solitude to refresh and ponder Jan's words, I sat silently for a few minutes in our backyard this afternoon, listening for soothing birdsongs. No energy or motivation left to hunt for photos, the opportunities unexpectedly unfolded in front of my eyes as I sat on the grass. The little jenny wren didn't see me at first, then cocked her head in surprise. The afternoon sun played on the tight buds of the Ned Kelly Grevillea
Sometimes I just need to sit still a while, to watch and listen, and I find myself being restored, ready to return to life's ongoing challenges.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Cutting, Gathering, Thinking

These look so delicious I am simultaneously hardly game start sewing yet so excited I can't wait to start! Since last week I have been busy gathering supplies, some from my stash, others from our local Lincraft store, a phone call and an online order. 

Thank you to all who offered suggestions and opinions about my fabric stash selection last week, I really appreciate your input and have decided to just use these lovely fabrics without adding black or similar.

I've been cutting fabric and thinking about some decorative stitching, both machine and handwork. Those beautiful frayed selvedges are too pretty to throw away, they deserve a place in the quilt too!

Sharing at WIP Wednesday, Fabric Frenzy Friday.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Jumping Fish!

It's a wonderful thing when the pleasant unexpected happens along the journey of life. I have walked over our town bridge hundreds of times yet I have never seen the fish jumping like they were last evening. A couple of young fellows fishing from the bridge had caught a small catfish and made mentioned of mullet. We know there are eels, bull sharks and perch in the river also. 

The rippling rings were quite fascinating to watch in the stillness of the sunset as I tried to anticipate and capture the hopping fish on camera.  

Sharing at SkyWatch Friday.

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