Thursday, March 20, 2014

Little things

I LOVE little projects. Whether I'm making something for myself or for a gift, I'm more likely to finish what I've started if it's small. If it's big, or becomes a bit tricky, it's a UFO, likely to be shoved in a cupboard and ignored till the end of time. Naughty, naughty - and I know I'm not alone.
These are my latest little things.
 Little Bluebird Pincushion - designed by Leanne Knell of Petals and Patches. Sweet. It's stuffed with crushed walnut shells, my favourite pincushion filling.
 After making lots of these little bags from
  the Spoonful of Sugar tutorial as gifts, this one's for me.
And yes, I know what's below looks like a cover for a miniature hot water bottle - actually it's a jumper for a little penguin. It seems a bit quirky but it's useful - it stops penguins affected by oil spills preening their feathers and becoming more contaminated. Here's the link, if you're interested - click on the wildlife rehabilitation section. This morning I've been playing with selvedges, making a scarf from Jodie's pattern and loving sorting through the selvedge pile and reminiscing about where I bought some of the fabrics and what I made.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Lots of colour

It's rather grey and sort of blah in Ballarat today but there's been lots of colour in my life lately and lots of gorgeous fabrics and quilts to admire.
We spent the March long weekend at home and took in some of the activities on offer. Top of the list, and so close to home, was the annual Begonia Festival in the Botanical Gardens. Begonias aren't my favourite flower but the display was amazing - so many colours, sizes and shapes of blooms.
The gardens are among our favourite places in Ballarat and always look good but this time looked even better. There were special displays, stalls selling all manner of horticulture-related goodies, interesting talks from garden experts, entertainment and food stalls (alas, too few of the latter and we were too hungry to queue for long so ended up having ice cream for lunch, Life's tough). And people, people everywhere. It was lovely.
As was the Begonia Quilters' exhibition I'd gone to the previous afternoon with my friend Jeni. It's a fairly small group (22 members) but their output is phenomenal and so is their talent. There were some truly amazing quilts there. And the venue makes any exhibition attractive - Ballarat's Mining Exchange dates back to the late 1880s and during the gold rush, miners would go there to exchange their finds for cash. These transactions took place in the little booths on each side of the main open space and during quilt shows become little shops for patchwork supplies retailers and others. I went back on the Sunday to catch up with my friend Annie Flowergarden, who is a member of  the group and had several quilts on display as well as some lovely bags for sale.
Last Friday Jeni and I caught up with Annie and Jodie and others at the official opening of a lovely new quilt shop in town. Lovely fabrics, beautiful quilts and other projects on display makes this an inspiring space full of temptation. I'm planning to learn needleturn applique with Claire Gee of Matching Pegs (hi Claire, it was lovely to meet you properly) at a class there later this year. I had the camera in my bag but forgot to take photos.
On Saturday, Jeni and I went to GJs fabrics in Melbourne; she was hunting for fabric for a project and I was along for the ride. I did a little shopping - some linen-look cotton, a mini charm pack (Boho by Urban Chics, gorgeous) and a little pattern which I plan to use in the next few days (but don't hold me to that, okay?)
And yesterday my lovely patient husband and I went up to Castlemaine for an exhibition of appliqued quilts that was just oh so inspiring. There were a few colourful quilts but mainly they were in reproduction fabrics and I realised that despite my developing interest in modern styles and clear bright colours it's those muted tones that still capture my heart. So when we got home I pulled out a pattern I bought after seeing the quilt hanging at another quilt show in the same town a few years back and got the seal of approval to make it (I figure that since it's for our bed, the Mister should have some say.) The pattern is Old Glory by Bon Bon Designs and it's going to have to wait till I learn to needleturn but I'm happy the decision has been made - that bed has been waiting for a special quilt for a long time.

Sorry about the overload of words and pictures - now I need to press publish and go and make something (or at least pat fabric and dream.)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Little gifts

My friend Nyssa in Tassie has just had her first baby, so these gifts were sent on their way yesterday.

Isn't that little boat cute! It's the first taggie I've made and I'm so pleased with it. Having not made a softie for ages, I'd forgotten just how much stuffing they take; thought I'd never finish filling it. It was a free pattern online; sorry, I don't remember what blog it was from, or when I found the shape for the bookmark (which I included just in case Nyssa ever has time to read, which is probably not at the top of her to-do list at the moment).

The little boots are a 3-6 month size (don't they look HUGE!) and are from  Hadley Fierlinger's fabulous book Vintage Knits for Modern Babies. And the bag is a  free pattern from Lisa and Sarah at Spoonful of Sugar Designs. This little bag is my favourite quick gift and with the addition of some nice smellies (Cath Kidston hand cream in this case) or other goodies it's a lovely present. I've made so many of these but still haven't made one for myself (or at least when I did I gave it away). The next one's definitely for me!

I love making and giving little gifts and these were all products of my wool and fabric stash, which made the process even more satisfying. I hope Nyssa and her precious little boy are as happy to receive them as I was to make them.