Friday, 26 November 2010

Boy zone

One of my three brothers celebrated his 40th birthday recently. My mum was keen to make him a quilt for the occasion.
40th birthday quilt for my brother
He is a farmer, so something unfussy, practical, non-floral and dark was in order. This is a very simple pattern and uses plaid fabrics. They look like they could be flannel, but they aren't. It was purchased as a kit from Marally Craft.
40th birthday quilt for my brother
Belinda at Eucalypt Ridge Quilting quilted this beautifully in a 'boy-friendly' edge-to-edge design called 'Quill' by Anne Bright.
40th birthday quilt for my brother

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


I'd like to show you the very first version of my 'Abracadabra' quilt pattern. Kirsten kindly purchased my pattern on November 9th, and emailed me to say that she was hoping to make it up using 'Neptune' fat quarters by Tula Pink. I couldn't wait to see it - Neptune is one of my favourite fabric ranges. By November 16th, just a week later, she was done!! Look and be amazed: 
Kirsten says she has only made 3 quilts before, which only makes this more impressive. 
She has done a great job of quilting either side of each seam line.
Just a gorgeous outcome I think. Congratulations Kirsten - you have me looking for 'Neptune' all over again!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Rack 'em up!

Another birthday party safely negotiated today. My boy had his 12th birthday, and requested 'pool ball' cakes!
We cut a deal. I did the cakes, he did the party 'bags'. Yes, he has a mathematical bent ...

All ten energetic 12-year-old guests are still alive and well, and safely home with parents. An achievement in itself! I am ready for sleep.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Blogger's cross stitch display continued

Last week's cross stitches are by far the more impressive in my portfolio. This week, the wheels fall off! I went through a period when I was smitten by all things William Morris (I still admire his designs in fact). This little cushion was stitched in my William Morris phase. It has a Morris feel about it somehow.
I loved that this design incorporated tiny Mill House beads. It is a pattern called 'Among the Berries' by Homespun Elegance. I remember seeing these made up in a beautiful needlework shop called 'Stadia Handcrafts' in Sydney - not sure that it still exists.
The rabbit has a ducky little friend. Here is where the wheels fall off! Poor ducky is languishing in the box of 'things to finish', dusty and forlorn.
There is so little to do to finish this stitchery, although there is a bit of work in making the piped cushion. I think the arrival of children put an end to this project.
And continuing an animal theme, here is my cute sheep in plaid. The pattern is called 'Woolen Sheep' (!) by The Cricket Collection. I loved creating the effect of tweed with stitches with this one.
But I confess, there should be four sheep, all with different coats. I managed one legless houndstooth variation! You could say the legs fell off this one (groan)! And what brought this one to a screeching halt? I mucked up the border, and never got back to fix it.
There my illustrious cross stitch phase limps to a close. But if ever life slows down, and I still have my eyesight, I have this in the cupboard ready to go:
I have always been intrigued by blackwork, and this design has a modern twist which I love. It is called 'Three Black Back Lace Flowers' by DMC.

There are many other bloggers sharing their cross stitch works today. You can find a full list over at Chookyblue's blog. Thanks so much to Chooky for organising the cross stitch display. It has been fun!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Looking for a virtual pinboard?

Have you discovered Pinterest yet? Pinterest is a fun 'virtual pin board'. It is somewhere you can 'pin' any image you come across in your browsing that you are keen to remember. 
It is a bit like Flickr favourites, but so much better. You are not limited to Flickr images. You can pin absolutely any image you find online. And you can categorise your pins however you want.

I simply requested an invite from Pinterest, and within a few days, was granted my very own pin board. You can have a look at my pin board here. It is a really interesting to see a snapshot of things that appeal to you, and to notice recurring themes in design, colour etc. Fun!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Promises, promises

I promised my poor mother a black and white frilly dilly bag. I won't say when I promised! She is a very patient woman, but in sheer desperation, she made it up herself on a recent visit to my place.
How cute does it look in black and white? And on the shoulder of my 'Miss-Fifteen-With-The-Blonde-Locks-To-Die-For'?!
From top to bottom, the fabric details are:
Unknown by Timeless Treasures
'White Swirl' from  Not So Basic Black & White by Avlyn Inc.
'Everything but the Kitchen Sink' 2006 by RJR Fabrics
And, as if I need to say it, the pattern is 'Frilly Dilly Bag' by Janelle Wind. I've lost count how many times I've made this pattern up, and I still love it.

Good job Mum!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Blogger's cross stitch display

Inspired by the unbelievable display of cross stitch samplers by Jean of Linen and Raspberry, Chookyblue has coordinated a blogger's cross stitch display, starting today. She has brought together at least 20 bloggers to display their stitcheries. Check out Chooky's blog for a full list of participants.

My cross stitch days were limited to a very narrow window of my life, stitched between finishing university and having children. The idea of having extended periods of uninterrupted time to concentrate on cross stitch is but a memory now! Oh, but I did enjoy it.

Today I will show you what remain my two favourite cross stitch projects.
This is my very first cross stitch, a wildflower sampler, stitched on Aida. I am afraid the details of the pattern are long gone. If anyone recognises it, I'd love to hear from you!
I do remember that it was supposed to be stitched in one strand of Danish Flower Thread. This thread was certainly not readily available in Australia at the time, so I substituted 2 strands of DMC equivalent threads.
My second project was a collection of four stitchery samplers, predominantly cross stitch, but with some drawn thread work thrown in.
I remember really enjoying doing these. I loved conquering the different types of stitches.
Of course, they are 'bloom' inspired, depicting bluebells, violets, amaranth and buttercups. My love for flowers is as old as I am!
Hmmm, it is stretching my memory for the details of these too. I remember buying the graphs at a craft show at Rosehill Racecourse in Sydney. It was probably 20 years ago!
'Shepherd's Bush' is ringing a bell?
It is such a relief that 20 years after these were stitched, I still love them. They took an inordinately long time to complete! They have pride of place in our living room.

I'll be back next Saturday to show you the other half of what constitutes my short and sweet cross stitch phase!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Daybook entry #6

Outside my window ... the first roses of spring are budding, almost ready to burst into bloom.

I am loving ... eating the first juicy mangoes of the season
Today, I am going ... to a birthday lunch for a friend.

I am wearing ... bare legs for the first time in six months - scary!

I am wondering ... how I can lose some weight before Christmas. Unfortunately it involves eating less! 

I am reading ... exciting new purchases that arrived this week: 'The Practical Guide to Patchwork' by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson!
And the first edition of Leanne Beasley's 'Vignette', purchased from Gum Valley Patchwork
The lovely Linda surprised me by including some Cosmo thread and a piece of Rosie Quinlan's new fabric range 'Sweet Broderie' with my copy of Vignette. Thank you Linda! Can't wait to get stitching with them.

And just for good measure, I am also reading the latest edition of Fat Quarterly, dedicated to fussy cutting. So no shortage of inspiration this week!
I am thankful for ... kind friends who have purchased my first pattern! And for the many who have sent encouraging messages through my blog or on Flickr. Thank you!

On my machine ... a frilly dilly for a very patient friend! Hi Nellie, not long to wait now. You might have it before Christmas!
From my picture journal ... blossoms from a crabapple (Malus lemoinei) in our farm garden in the spring (I have added this to my 'wallpaper' page).
Happy weekend everyone. Bloom x

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Announcing .... 'Abracadabra' - a PDF layer cake quilt pattern

Boris, my supremely talented (if kinda weird looking) assistant, would like to announce the release of my very first pattern for your purchasing pleasure!

With a swish of my magic wand, I am very happy to present to you, my 'Abracadabra' PDF quilt pattern:

My pattern magically transforms a single layer cake into two quilts.

Quilt #1 is a single bed size quilt, and combines layer cake fabrics with a crisp white background.


Quilt #2 is pieced from the same layer cake, and is a smaller cot sized quilt. I have used a linen/cotton blend as the background for this quilt.


The small quilt includes a nameplate to personalise the quilt for your special someone.


The white quilt has been beautifully quilted by Belinda Betts of Eucalypt Ridge Quilting in a design called ‘Playful Paisley’ by Anne Bright. (Please say 'hi' to Belinda at her relatively new blog. I am in awe of her quilting!)


The little quilt I have quilted on my domestic machine using straight lines.


If you would like to purchase the PDF pattern for this quilt, please visit my shop - SHOP I say!! All purchasing details for the pattern can be found there.


Being my very first pattern for sale, I am hoping that any transactions happen smoothly. Fingers crossed! Actually, Boris, where's my wand? Perhaps I can cast a little magic over the process!

I am by no means expecting to make my fortune with this venture. If anyone other than my mother buys it, I will be thankful! I am just trying to recoup some cash to pay for all my fabric purchases really!

Hope you like it,
Bloom x

Friday, 5 November 2010

Giveaway winner

Is I alluded to vaguely in my last post,I have been doing some conjuring with a layer cake, weaving some magic, so to speak. I decided I needed a little someone to help me. With some felt, a vague idea and a lot of hocus pocus, may I introduce to you my supremely talented assistant. Think I might call him Boris. What do you think?
Ha, I need some encouragement here. My husband says he looks evil, my daughter that he's dead!! I won't be offended if you agree - I am no softie maker! Can't say I was aiming for the evil dead look, but if that's how it is ... 
Anyhoo, Boris has arrived just in time to help me draw my giveaway. Thank you for your wonderfully encouraging comments about my debut project. The randomly chosen winner of a copy of the 10th Birthday Celebration Edition of Australian Homespun is:

Bec Clarke who said...
Oh if I don't win I may have to splash out and buy one. I love the look of those projects
3 November 2010 18:43

Congratulations Bec, I will be in touch! There were many of you who were keen to find retailers of Australian Homespun near you. Here is a listing of overseas distributors. Click on the image to make it bigger if you have trouble reading it. I hope this helps my overseas friends. Homespun is a great publication. Definitely worth the search!
So how did Boris bunny fit all those comments in his hat? Well, that would be magic wouldn't it?! In fact, even fitting his legs in his hat is a challenge!
He has another trick up his sleeve. Check back tomorrow for another 'magical' announcement. In the meantime, I will leave you with this teaser! Now, where's that champagne?
Have a great weekend, Bloom x

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Coming soon ...

Humour me!!

The ironing pile might magically disappear?
A genie might emerge from my teapot offering to clean the house?
The kids will do their homework this afternoon without my nagging?
Telstra might UNDERCHARGE this month?

What would you conjure up at this moment if you could? Me? Well, world peace is a given. But right now, I could do a really good coffee and a little bit of something sweet. Hey, that could just be within the scope of my magical powers!

More soon ...

Be sure to get your name in for my giveaway to be drawn tomorrow evening.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Pinch me!

Another chapter in what is fast becoming the book, "How my blog changed my life"! It is 8 months since I first noticed an email from Catherine Sanchez in my inbox. In case you are not in the know, she is the esteemed editor of Australian Homespun. She asked, "Would you be interested in creating a project for our magazine"? I answered, "Oh my! Are you kidding me? I'll give it my best shot". Catherine: "Could you make me a sewing machine cover"? Bloom (aside): "Yikes, how on earth will I do that"? Bloom, faking confidence: "Sure Catherine, I'll give it my best shot"!
The 10th Birthday Celebration Edition of Homespun hit the newsstands this week, and with it my very first project, a sewing machine cover, entitled 'Beyond Measure':
You can pinch me now!
I decided to use a linen/cotton blend, which was perhaps a mistake as it looks a bit crinkled. But it does combine really well with almost any fabric range.
Having all the confidence of an L-plater in Pitt Street, I made the cover twice, once in 'Hope Valley' by Denyse Schmidt for Freespirit, and again in 'Martinique' by 3 Sisters for Moda.
Round pearl buttons and dark floss with 'Hope Valley' ...
... flower pearl buttons and ecru floss with 'Martinique':
I made these using 5" charm squares. The cute twill 'measuring tape' came from Hatched & Patched.
There will be a follow up project in January, which has a sewing mat, thread keeper & pincushion to match.
There are some great projects from other bloggers in this special issue of Homespun, including a gorgeous 'cathedral window' cushion from Lisa at A Spoonful of Sugar, the sweetest appliquéd tea towels from Janelle, a very cute 'mouse house' from Rosie Quinlan, and a special feature on Corrie of Retromummy and Kellie of Don't Look Now. Wow, I am in amazing company, huh!
To celebrate my Homespun debut, I have a copy of the 10th Birthday Celebration Edition of Homespun to give away. Leave a comment on this post, and I will draw a winner over a glass of champagne on Friday evening!
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