Friday, October 29, 2010

Caitlin's quilt revisited......for the bloggers quilt festival

Since this is one of my favourite quilts I thought I'd bring it out again and re-introduce it. Before I go on I just want to welcome anyone who is a first time visitor and I hope you enjoy what you see here and are getting inspired by all the other wonderful quilts showcased in this bloggers quilt festival.
This quilt was made for my youngest daughter Caitlin when she was about 8 years I think and she is now 11. When I asked what she wanted on her quilt she wasn't totally sure but flowers and lots of hearts are 2 things she did want. So I put my thinking cap on and decided to make a sampler type quilt and sketched a few ideas and pulled out favourite patterns  that I'd always wanted to try. I had no idea how the final layout was going to look like but just kept making blocks as the ideas emerged. I included a few of Caitlin's favourite things and also some scraps of fabrics from dresses and skirts etc.. I had made her. It took me 6 months to complete including lots of freehand handquilting of mostly swirls and of course lots of hearts. I enjoyed every moment of designing and making this quilt even the recall of my maths skills when I had to figure out the final layout of the blocks.
Here are some close-up photos of some of my favourite parts of the quilt:

A mother and baby bird with covered button detail on their feathers.......

The house block with yo-yo flowers and beaded centres. This block is taken from a Piecemakers Calender and I had always wanted to make it.

Caitlin loved the Felicity Wishes books at the time so here is Felicity and her blue bird. I added beads to her wings to give them a little sparkle.

Caitlin's friends as she likes to have a lot of friends around her.

Another bird with little stuffed hearts. She's an animal lover so birds seemed appropriate and I had always wanted to do this block which is also from a Piecemakers calender.

I think I made this block when I was trying to work out the layout and needed something to fill in a space plus I had these little flowers leftover from the other garden blocks. The green gingham fabric has served me well as it started off as a pair of dungarees then when they got too small I made it into a pinafore dress and now bits of it are gracing her quilt.

Another block from a Piecemakers calender and one that stretched my skills as I had to hand applique it and I don't really enjoy hand applique but I love how this block turned out. Lots of echo handquilting which makes these pretty butterflies puff and stand out.

At one stage of making this quilt I raided my Mother's button tin and had fun making these precious old buttons into flowers with a little beading.  And I couldn't resist adding the little beaded spider.

And finished off with the perfect coloured striped bias binding. I hope you enjoyed seeing one of my favourite quilts and don't forget you can get more quilting inspiration over here at Amy's Creative side.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Winging their way home.....

As much as I'd love to keep them, these sweet winged pin cushions will be flying to new homes soon. I have made them as gifts and I'm sure their cute little faces will bring a smile to their new owners. They are the other two pin cushions from this Heather Bailey pattern and were lots of fun to make just like their ladybird friend. I love all the details Heather puts in her patterns.
The bee was the easiest of all. I made her yesterday including choosing fabrics and cutting out. The detail on the wings is all done on the machine which of course is a lot quicker than by hand.

The butterfly was a different story just because of all the hand embroidery detail on the wings. I even did some embroidery while watching the girls take their first summer swim on Saturday at the local pool.

On the back of both of them is a little place between the middle of the wings and the body to hold a small pair of embroidery scissors. The wings are a handy place for needles and of course the body is the pin cushion.
And because I used quite a bit of felt for these projects I thought it was a good opportunity to show the latest addition to my felt stash. These lovely colourful bundles were purchased from Heather Bailey's online store and bought back from the States by my DH. I can get felt here in NZ but not always the right colour I want and the quality varies a lot as well. I often have to resort to buying acrylic and I hate the way acrylic feels and 'squeaks' when your rub it. You just can't beat natural fibres.

Her service  is great and I just love the way they're packaged as well!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Coromandel coastal walk.......

Thought I'd share some photos from another  small walk the girls and I did yesterday and one we had never done before although it's only 10 minutes drive away. This walk starts at the next beach along from where we live and follows the coast south back towards Whangamata. The above photo is looking south down into a rocky bay. The water was unbelievably clear and a beautiful turquoise blue.

Looking north towards Pauanui and Tairua and near where we had our picnic lunch.

There were a couple of seats along the walk and this photo is taken from one of them. The walk meandered along the top of the cliff face on the edge of the bush on one side then private farm land on the other. All the way the views were stunning!

The track then slowly dropped down through large pohutakawa's to a little secluded bay fringed by more  pohutakawa's that will be covered in red flowers in a month or so. Although it was a long weekend here we still managed to get away from the holiday makers that flock to the Coromandel beaches. When we arrived at this little beach there was only one other small group of people there. Perfect!

Lots of rock pools to play in and hunt for little sea creatures. The girls had fun playing with tiny hermit crabs and then making sandcastles and the water wasn't too cold.

Caitlin taking the lead on the way back...

Another great little walk that we will definitely be doing again very soon but next time we'll bring something to swim in!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Some green goodness.....

I can finally reveal the cushion I created specially for Renee who was the second winner of my giveaway a while back. Renee is a young Mum of Charlotte (nearly 2!) and is a kiwi living in Australia. Looking around her blog I decided that she might like something with a bit of a modern twist to it. My starting point was the green floral square I had received in a scrap swap earlier in the year and I decided it deserved to be framed but slightly off centre.
Included in the random log pattern are a couple of Heather Bailey fabrics from her Pop Garden and Bijoux range.

The back is made up of the scraps from the front and I've also done some straight line quilting with the same blue/green/yellow variegated thread I used on the front. It was the perfect colours to match all the different fabrics and just happened to be in my thread stash, perfect! Oh and of course I added my favourite covered buttons.

And doesn't it look good with my circle cushion on our green sofa! Really didn't want to give  this one away but it has gone to a good home.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A little bush walk.........

As mentioned in my last post the girls and I went for a little bush walk to a waterfall on Saturday. It was a less than half an hour drive up the coast and I can't believe after living on the Coromandel for 16 years that we haven't done this little walk before. I noticed the very humble little sign on the side of the road last year when I was out training for my mammoth 200km cycle challenge and promptly put on my 'to do' list. The walk itself took just over 10 minutes each way and was a fairly flat walk following a small tranquil stream. We turned a corner at the end and were greeted by this beautiful double waterfall that you would never know existed.  Amelia and I scaled the rock face on the right-hand side of the above photo ........ we could see the upper level pool. We had our picnic lunch nearby then slowly made our way back.............

........stopping halfway to have a paddle and play in the stream. We found it hard to imagine that this little calm waterway floods so much in heavy rain that it would come level to Caitlin's neck( or maybe over her head!) in the above photo. We could see as we walked along the path where the flooded water level had reached. We could only imagine how amazing the waterfall would have been then.

Cooling our feet in the 'fresh' stream waters.

After such a strenuous walk (yeah right!) we drove to nearby Pauanui Beach to treat ourselves to ice-creams and enjoy this beautiful deserted beach.

Looking left up the coast to 'Paku hill', Tairua.

And looking to the right out to 'Slipper Island'. Next weekend is Labour weekend so being a long weekend this beach will be very busy especially if the weather stays fine like it was this day.
Okay I'm off to make some pincushions in my sewing attic.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ladybird, ladybird fly away home!

I've had a busy week this week with 2 days out of town but I did manage to get this cute little pincushion finished which means I can once again link to Amylouwho's Sew'n'tell Friday's. It's one of Heather Bailey's latest patterns which includes an adorable butterfly and a bee which are on my list to make next. The hardest part was choosing the fabrics for it. I don't have a lot of red in my stash. I not sure why because I do like red. Both the stripes are from Heather's "Nicey Jane" fabrics which is one of my very favourite collections.
The legs are meant to be made of rolled satin cord which I didn't have so I looked for some other cording in my stash but didn't have the right colour soooo I ended up stealing some off a drawstring bag that I store my felt in. When I looked at the pattern instructions and the size of the pattern pieces I was a little daunted but Heather's instructions walks you through each step and I had absolutely no issues, it all went together fairly quickly and very easily. I'm really looking forward to making the butterfly and bee now.

Now since I've been talking about Heather Bailey I thought it was appropriate to show some Nicey Jane fabrics that I recently purchased and my husband bought back from the States for me. I bought this group of fabrics from Sheree's Alchemy on Etsy and had them shipped to friends that my husband was going to stay with in Reno. As you can see it also includes 4 prints not from Heather's line. Sheree is very good at putting different fabrics together into lovely complimentary groups and she has great customer service and good quick shipping so I'm thoroughly recommending her shop. The cute birdie prints are from the Urban Chiks line "Sweet".

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend and if you need some great sewing inspiration go check out the Friday finishes over here.
I'm off to enjoy our nice spring weather and my birthday with a bush walk to a waterfall and a picnic.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pillow talk - take 4 and some mail!

A couple of weeks ago I won a giveaway on Georgie's blog 'All things Crafty'. She is giving away a craft book a week and I won the above book "Handmade Bags" which I was really pleased about because I do enjoy making bags. She also sneaked in some pretty little crochet flowers. Thanks so much Georgie!!

Now this is my latest cushion! I started it last week along with another I have finished but can't show you yet. I've had this circle cushion idea written down in one of my notebooks for a while now and got the urge to make it when I saw the green "Erin McMorris" print in my stash with the circles of green leaves. I pulled out some more green prints from my stash and scrap basket and just had fun creating the different sized circles and placing them randomly on a base of pale green fabric.

I then decided to practice my free motion machine quilting. I initially tried doing loose swirls but quickly switched to a pebble design which I think suits the random circle design more. It's far from perfect but I just really love it and it looks great on my green couch although I think it needs some friends!

I used this bold green and white polka dot with the circles for the back and isn't that green button in the middle the perfect match. Such a shame I didn't have 3. Can't tell you what this print is as I've thrown out the selvage.
Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A pillow full of 'polka dots"

I can now reveal the full photos of this cushion which I finished earlier in the week. It was made especially for Deb of The Angel and the Pukeko. She was one of the winners on my recent giveaway and it was my challenge to snoop around her blog and find out what her tastes were. She did give me a huge help by saying she liked the 'shabby chic' look and polka dots which I had picked up on her blog as well.  So I went through my stash and scraps and found some polka dot fabrics in various colours and then matched up some fresh florals.  I cut out 5" squares then put those in coordinating pairs and made up half square triangles which is the same method used to make my 'zig-zag quilt'.

For the quilting I machine stitched in the ditch of the vertical and horizontal seams then 1/4 inch on each side of all the diagonal seams.

For the back I chose this pretty red floral which has a watercolour look to it and the aqua and red polka dot print. I love this aqua and red colour combo!
A few days ago I read on Sandi's blog Portobellopixie about the one word one week challenge she is doing with 2 other bloggers. It is open to everyone to participate and you can share your creations on this flickr page. This weeks word is "polka dot" and I think this pillow perfectly suits this challenge. I did have another idea but don't think it will be finished in time.
I am also linking up with Amy's Sew'n'tell friday . I haven't been able to do this for a few weeks now so I happy to be able to finally take part again this week. Do go on over and check out all the lovely inspiring sewing finishes this week.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Snippets of life.........

Have just finished making this pear pincushion for a blogging friend. Its made using a Heather Bailey pattern and I have had it cut out ready to put together for a few months now but didn't really have a reason to make it...until now. I hope the recipient likes it.

And this is another gift I've been working on but can't show you any more till it reaches its destination.

We're in the middle of the school holidays here and have been just hanging out at home doing stuff like baking double chocolate brownie....... it's all gone now....

trying to complete this jigsaw....

Enjoying the spring sunshine and having picnics, oh and painting those toenails in the photo neon orange!

Walking deep into the bush to see waterfalls and ....

.............tranquil streams with moss covered rocks. So nice to get away from it and enjoy the tranquility of these local bush walks which are literally on our doorstep.

Also wanted to let you know that Georgie of All things Crafty is giving away a lovely cross-stitch book to one lucky reader so go on over and say "hello"!!

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