Thursday, August 17, 2017

Snip,snip, snip!

I promised to tell you all about those gorgeous new scissors that arrived last week:
These elegant little scissors are from Warm Crochet and when I first saw them I had to buy a pair. I love pretty scissors and their exquisite detailed texture, just stole my heart ♥
They are available in four colour finishes (bronze, gold, silver and red bronze) and I chose the silver and now I wish I'd ordered a pair in each finish, they are just adorable.
They are light weight, super sharp and they're nice and pointy so they're perfect for snipping stray threads or getting into those tight corners. The detail is just beautiful and don't they transport you back to older times when things were much more ornate and elegant? And the best part is, they are inexpensive!
Delivery is super fast and cheap to Australia (from USA) so go and grab a pair or four, HERE :)
I thought I'd show you some of my other favorite scissors as well. You probably see them pop up in photos from time to time, but I thought you might like to know why they are special to me.
First up are my stork scissors. Way back when Les and I were first married, I cross stitched samples for a local craft shop. Every visit to the shop, I'd admire the gorgeous scissors in their velvet boxes behind the glass, knowing we couldn't justify or afford the expense. Les, the wonderful man that he is, brought me a pair after noticing how often I admired them. I'm pretty sure we didn't eat that week because of the cost but I was the happiest wife ever. That was close to 29 years ago and they are always right beside me during every project I work on.
Back when we did a huge house renovation, I thought I'd lost them in the chaos which left me devastated. I searched everywhere, fearing the builders had thrown them out accidentally but they turned up weeks later in the lining of one of my craft bags, much to my relief :)
These scissors are high on my list of favorites. I brought them purely because they were pretty (and so was the packaging). I didn't realise that I would use them ALL the time. They live right next to my machine and I use them for snipping threads as I sew. My machine does have a inbuilt thread snipper thingy but why use that when you can use something pretty right?
I love how these scissors feel in my hand; they are weighty with beautiful, smooth ceramic handles and they cut perfectly every time plus they are blue so whats not to love?
I also have a pair of scissors from each of my grandmothers sewing baskets. One grandma was a beautiful embroiderer and her scissors are the larger etched pair. I remember her having ribbon tied to them because she was always losing them in the sofa. They were her constant companion as she worked and she was quite adamant about not letting me touch them.
I never saw my other grandma sew anything, not even a button but she had a sewing basket and inside I found those tiny scissors and thimble which I just love.
Neither pair of scissors cut anymore but I love having them in my sewing bag, it makes me feel close to both of them ♥
I brought these scissors on a recent trip to Melbourne, in a gorgeous French Provincial shop. There was no logic or purpose in buying them, I just knew they had to come home with me. They are razor sharp and fantastic for cutting through wadding or denim etc. plus they remind me of old colonial scissors. They are pretty to look at and useful as well so i think my purchase was justified.
So that's some of my favorite scissors. I also have countless pairs of fabric scissors, paper scissors, paper piecing scissors and general craft scissors and each pair has a specific job or purpose. I guess all crafter's are the same and have heaps of pairs because without our scissors, we just can't craft ;)
Happy sewing :)

Monday, August 14, 2017

One Talented Reader :)

My readers are a very talented bunch and I love seeing how you interpret my designs. Time doesn't allow me to share everyone's photo's and work but I do have one project I must share with you.
I have been corresponding with Jyoti on Facebook and she has been sharing progress of her version of my Chatelaine Sampler Quilt. You really have to see this quilt and shes kindly allowed me to share it with you.  But first, here's what Jyoti had to say about her quilt:

"I started making this quilt on 29th Jan 2017 with a challenge to myself that I will make a sampler quilt to hone my skills. In start it looked very simple but as I crossed first 10 blocks, the design started getting complicated and confusing.
I learnt a lot in the process and completed 77 blocks (each block sized 6 inch) to size my quilt 64 x 96 inches. 
The next challenge was of sashing and I wanted to add colours to highlight the blocks.
The binding is done by 1 inch of 2 fabrics (resulant is 1/2 inch) which were used in sashing.
Thanks a lot Threadbare Creations for allowing me to do this sampler quilt which I enjoyed a lot and I was satisfied as outcome of this work is awesome." 
Jyoti Maddh Ahuja
And here are Jyoti's finished sampler blocks:
Aren't they amazing? 77 little stunners!!! Seeing these made me want to run to the stash and start a whole new sampler in solids! Jyoti has definitely honed her skills with these beautiful blocks. She has chosen a gorgeous selection to showcase her sewing abilities in both piecing and foundation paper piecing. I love these colours soooo much and she has used them perfectly in each block, so each one is a little 6" masterpiece on its own.
Even her trimmings are pretty :) Her sashing choice was both bold and effective and it works so well! The two tones of orange frame the blocks perfectly and as the quilt top grew, I loved it more and more, if that's even possible.
Don't the sashings look great? They are simple, striking and oh so clever and they compliment the blocks perfectly without overpowering them.
Ta da! Jyoti's finished quilt top. Stunning ♥  Just stare for awhile and take it all in :)
I was so proud of her and I know how much work goes into this quilt so its fantastic to know she was thrilled with the end result. Its really hard to describe how happy I felt when I saw the completed top but I can tell you, my jaw dropped :)
Jyoti quilted the top herself and quilted in the ditch of the blocks and last week I received the photos of it all finished and bound:
Perfection ♥ and look at the intricacy of that binding! Its made from 1" strips of the two sashing fabrics, so clever!  I'm sure Jyoti and her family will treasure this quilt for years to come.
I'm so happy that my pattern has helped Jyoti and many others, learn some new techniques and has given them the confidence to attempt blocks they might not have before. It makes my heart happy to know that by simply sharing a block a week for umpteen weeks, I've helped Jyoti, in a small way, make this masterpiece.
Jyoti knows I'm proud of her but I'm sure she would love to hear your thoughts on her achievement as well. I know what a supportive bunch of readers you are so please leave her a comment. She deserves a huge pat on the back for this stunning quilt :)
Thanks for sharing your progress with me Jyoti. I have enjoyed our inbox chats and loved watching your quilt grow. I hope it brings you years of comfort and happiness and I can't wait to see what projects you make in the future :)
The free patterns for my Chatelaine Sampler Quilt can be found HERE.
Happy sewing :)

Friday, August 11, 2017

Virtual Blanket #grannysquareday2017

Did you know that Tuesday, August 15th is Granny Square Day? There's a crochet feed on Instagram at the moment #grannysquareday2017 which has a awesome idea and I thought you might like to participate. The feed was set up to make one huge virtual blanket with everyone's granny square photo's; cool idea right?
There's already heaps of beautiful and inspiring creations in the feed so grab your hooks and yarn and add your own creation to the virtual blanket :) Here's a few ideas:
This is the square I'm contributing. Its not a traditional granny but I wanted to test this square for another project I'm planning and I thought this was the perfect opportunity.  This square is called New Bloom and its another gorgeous free pattern from Mandy at Crochet Redagape, which you can find HERE. I'm thinking of crocheting a whole batch of these in different colour ways to make a blanket.
Do you remember the Daisy Wheel squares I made for my cushion HERE? This is another quick and easy square to crochet and its so pretty. I just love all of that texture ♥ I'd like to make a blanket of these squares as well but there's just never enough time in the day.
You can find the free pattern HERE.
I'm currently working on a new baby blanket for the shop and I'm using this lovely Maybelle Flower square. I'm raiding my yarn stash and making this blanket pretty, bright, colourful and fun.
These squares crochet up quickly but you need two patterns to complete them; one for the flower and another for the edging.
Begin by reading the blog post HERE which gives you all the links you need.
And if you want to go traditional, don't forget I posted a chart a few weeks ago for this little sweetie HERE. You can use the chart to crochet your square or you can use some written instructions HERE, if you prefer.
Plus have a search on Pinterest. There are tonnes of free patterns and so much inspiration.
Go and have some fun; crochet a granny, upload your photo on Instagram and tag it #grannysquareday2017 and be a part of the huge virtual blanket.
I know I've been sharing a lot of crocheting posts this week but I'm working hard behind the scenes preparing a special sewing project for National Sewing Month in September. I'm having so much fun with it and I cant wait to share. I must get back to the machine :)
Happy crocheting :)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Lets Call Her Pam ;)

On Monday morning I was scrolling through Instagram and a new crochet pattern stopped me in my tracks. After the routine housework was done, I aborted all my other plans and set about making my own Pamela Mandala using the free pattern from Mandy at Crochet Redagape:
Isn't it beautiful? I love all of Mandy's patterns and her colour combinations are always stunning. I raided my yarn stash of Patons 8ply cotton blend yarn and I tried to match my colours to the ones in her tutorial. I love how it turned out; its so bright and spring inspired and since we are in the last month of winter, it helps to lift those dreary winter blues.
As with all of Mandy's patterns, the mandala crochets up quickly and easily and she includes step by step photos to help along the way. I find they help with colour changes and placement of colours in her projects, especially when substituting one colour with something similar.
It took me most of the afternoon and a few hours after dinner to complete (ends weaved in as well) so you can make this mandala without sacrificing valuable time on more labour intensive projects. And seriously, who doesn't love a quick finish?
Don't you just love those scissors?? I'll tell you more about them in an upcoming blog post. They are super sweet and they just arrived on Monday too :)
Mandy is an Australian crochet designer and her use of colour is amazing. She's currently working on a book and I can't wait for it to hit the book stands. From the little sneak peeks she's been sharing its going to be amazing and colourful and you're going to want a copy of your own.
The projects I've seen so far are in her trademark style of super pretty and stunningly colourful and I want to make them all :)

If you haven't seen Mandy's blog before, then go visit her HERE and check out all of her patterns including the Pamela Mandala and also these adorable Flower Power Coasters:
I needed some new grey coasters for our lounge lamp table and these are my "go to" pattern. I've made heaps of these in different colour ways to use around the house and I swap them around depending on my mood. Trust me these are a super quick make, I can crochet one while I wait in the car for 30 minutes at school pick up. I love that, it makes you feel like you have achieved something in a time wasting situation :)
I hope you enjoy your visit to Mandy's blog.
Happy crocheting :)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Crocheted Rose Bunting

A few weeks ago Ashleigh from Sewrella held a mystery crochet-a-long and I started along with everyone else on Day 1 but fell behind quite quickly. The mystery was revealed long before I got back to my hook and the finished product was a pretty Rose Bunting. I've finished mine now and I wanted to share it with you:
This was a fun project to crochet and once I had time to work on mine, it came together in a couple of nights. I worked my bunting in an acrylic 8ply yarn that I had in the wool basket.  I was pleased with my choice in the end because its thickness adds a little bit of stability to the bunting. Mine will hang in the studio at some stage and it fits perfectly across one of my windows, so it was meant to be.
You're required to crochet ten bunting pennants and the pattern is very easy to follow. In saying that though, I had added the white lace edging to six of them before I realised I hadn't read the pattern correctly and made an error. I decided to leave it and keep doing it my way, which gave my edging a fuller look than it should have, but I love it ♥  Lesson learnt, I need to read patterns properly before taking off and thinking I know what I'm doing :)
The little 3D roses are super sweet and very feminine.  They would also make a great embellishment to add to hats or gloves so I'll be keeping the pattern for future projects. I may have pulled mine a little tight, but I wanted them to look like newly opening rose buds.
I did notice on the Sewrella Facebook group, that a large range of embellishments were added instead of the roses. I saw other flowers, succulents and even lettering, spelling out the family surname. There was one clever lady who did a whole Halloween theme for hers which looked great too.
If you are not a member of a crocheting or quilting group on Facebook, go and search for a few and join up. You find a lot of support and positive inspiration in these groups and its the only reason I still enjoy using Facebook these days.
The pennants are crocheted together with a simple binding made with two rounds of SC. I used the darker denim blue yarn for this because I thought my bunting needed another colour and I think it frames the pennants perfectly. Again I was happy with my yarn choice as this acrylic crochets tightly and the binding wont distort or stretch too much when its been hanging for some time.
I also noticed a few variations of the binding in the Facebook group; some had added wider more elaborate or thicker binding and they looked great as well.
I'm so thrilled with my bunting and I'm so glad I finished it. Its going to look so pretty in my studio and as its in front of my sewing machine, I'll be able to admire it as I sew.
Its another very clever design from Ashleigh.  She does design some amazing projects for the home, and if you want to make your own Rose Bunting you can find the patterns on her blog HERE, just search "Mystery CAL" and there are 5 days worth of steps to collect.
I had heaps of fun with this project, I hope you do as well :)
Happy crocheting :)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Arbor Blossom

How happy are you to see the postman when you know he's delivering fabric? Last week our poor postman must have felt extremely special when he brought this happy mail to my front door:

This adorable fat quarter bundle is the new "Arbor Blossom" from the very talented Nadra Ridgeway of Ellis and Higgs. I'm telling you, this range is drop dead gorgeous! There are 21 prints in the collection and each and every one of them is sweet and pretty and the colours are vibrant and stunning :)
I never buy fabric without projects in mind but I have to admit when I first saw this bundle, it was in my cart and paid for before I had a chance to talk myself out of it :) And I'm so glad I brought it; its even prettier in real life. I think my favorite prints are the little heart shaped flower garlands, they are in four colour ways and sooooo cute.
I also love the sweet little low volume prints. (Please excuse my dreadfully chipped nail polish in this shot, self care is so far down on my to do list lately!) Anyhoo, you will love all of the prints in this range and even though I want to rip this bundle open and start planning, I'm happy to leave it sitting in my studio where I can pat it and admire it and dream up endless possibilities of using it.
I brought my bundle from the lovely Alisha at Ministry of Fabric and I'm pretty sure she still has bundles in stock HERE. If not, be sure to check your local quilt shop for a bundle of this range and I'm sure you will fall in love with it just as I have.
Also check out some of Nadra's projects HERE showcasing "Arbor Blossom" they are adorable :)
Happy quilting :)
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