Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Some hexie action

The weather is cold and drizzly here. Perfect for farmers ... and sewing. I love a rainy day. Having grown up on a farm, rain always meant rest from helping Mum and Dad and time to play. Rain still evokes that feeling for me. And so I have been playing:



I'm channelling my inner 1930s with some half inch hexies in pretty little prints. I am loving paper piecing - it is precise and methodical, which suits me just fine right now.




I have one small quibble: They look lovely right up until the time that I remove the papers. I don't like that the seam is showing through on the white hexies. Picky, I know! You can't see it so much in these photos, but trust me, it's annoying.


What are my options?
1. Push on and ignore it? 
2. Start again with a thicker white fabric so that the seams don't show?
3. Line the back of the piece with white fabric and hope it minimises the seams showing?
4. Shelve it in frustration?
All suggestions are welcome. Just don't call me anal ;) I'm thinking I'll go with #1 and #3. Ain't nobody got time for #2 and my shelves are already too full with abandoned projects for #4. 

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Plant of the month

One of my favourite plants in the garden right now is this beauty:


She is Salvia involucrata 'Bethellii', which I purchased from a plant stall at Ballarat Botanic Gardens a few years ago.



I thought I'd bought a dud at first because she just produced vast quantities of leaves for months after planting. Just as I'd about given up on her, late into autumn, she decided to put up these fabulous flowers.



She is also know as Roseleaf sage, and is a native of Mexico. Sure enough, she is renowned as a late but glorious bloomer, producing hot pink blossoms across the winter.



She is quite a large plant growing well over a metre tall and wide, and has a reckless, sprawling habit. She needs plenty of room to spread her arching branches. 


I guess some would call her messy, but she redeems her untidiness with prolific and spectacular blooms. She is a treasure in the winter garden, and testament to the adage of not judging by first appearances!

Saturday, 18 April 2015

'The Novel Approach' fabric bookends

Thank you for your kind comments about my daughter. She is improving slowly, and we hope to be home soon. In the meantime, the latest issue of Australian Homespun (Vol. 143) has been published and so has my 10th project for this great magazine.


Susan Hurley, the editor of Homespun, contacted me many months ago with a request for fabric bookends. Can you pick them?


I am always up for a challenge, but this one really stretched me! It took me a long time to come up with a construction method and even longer to execute it. I decided the bookends needed to be self-supporting, so they are quite heavy. I made them from recycled magazines - not Homespun of course ;)


I covered the magazine foundation with striped fabric to imitate book pages, and then made a fabric cover with embroidered titles and spine art.



The trickiest part was attaching the cover to the magazine foundation - yes, there may have been blood spilled and a considerable amount of cursing! 



But I was very pleased with the end result! Whenever I design a project, I'm not satisfied until I've created something that I would be happy to use in my own home. If you'd told me a few months ago that I could make fabric bookends that I would have on display, I'd have fallen about laughing. But you know, I will actually be using these!

Paper subscriptions and back issues of Homespun can be ordered through Universal Magazines. You can purchase digital issues and subscriptions of Homespun from Zinio, the Apple Newsstand or Google Play.


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A change of plan

There has been a bit of progress on my scrap quilt. It is the perfect project when you only have 15 minutes here or there to sew.


However, progress on the scrap quilt has stalled due to my youngest daughter being admitted to hospital. She is OK, but we have some eating issues that it would seem only hospitalisation will sort out. The upside of this is that the view from her bed is fantastic!


 And I have plenty of time to hand sew.


I have pulled out the clamshell quilt I started in a Brigitte Giblin workshop ages ago. 


So life isn't all bad. I get to sit by a big, light-filled window with a great view, and stitch for hours and chat with my daughter. There are worse things!

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Why Good Friday?

It has always been a mystery to me as to why 'Good Friday' is good. For such a sombre day in the Christian calendar, there doesn't seem to be too much good about it. Thankfully, we know that Easter Sunday is coming, and with the news of Jesus' astonishing resurrection, that there is wonderful hope.


Happy Easter to you and yours. We have everyone home for Easter which is very special. The weather is cool and drizzly, perfect for devouring homemade hot cross buns and snuggling under quilts to read or watch movies. Lovely!

Friday, 20 March 2015

TGIF

Not sure how this week has treated you, but I'm worn out! I'm looking forward to a weekend to catch my breath. Now, do you remember this little waif from my last post?


Well, she's now stitched and ready for action. She accompanies the Liberty pencil case I made from Alice Garrett's book 'Little Lady Liberty'.


Ain't she sweet? She seemed the perfect 'Little Lady Liberty'!


The stitchery design is by Sarah Jane Studios and I've been waiting for just the right reason to stitch her up. 


I hope you have a great weekend. Bring it on!
Bloom x

Friday, 6 March 2015

Little Lady Liberty blog hop



Liberty of London has been producing its exquisite, fine quality lawn fabric for as long as I've been alive. I have been a fan for almost as long!


Liberty's trademark pretty florals are timeless. And for a girl who calls her blog Bloom, you can imagine how thrilled I was to be asked to review Alice Garrett's sumptuous book of projects made from Liberty florals.


Little Lady Liberty, a collection of over 20 sewing projects designed primarily for little girls, will have you swooning. 

This is Alice Garrett's first book, and she is well authorised to do her subject justice. Based in the UK, she owns Alice Caroline Fabrics, and sells an extensive range of Liberty of London fabrics and gifts. She designs and sells her own patterns and shares her passion for sewing on her blog. She is also blessed with a daughter!

If you are a fan of Liberty fabrics, Little Lady Liberty is a visual treat! Page after page, brimming with images of pretty prints.



The book is a delightful mixture of projects, encompassing garments, home decor, toys, bags and purses. The projects are simple, achievable and adorable. What little girl (or even a big one!) wouldn't love this swirly, whirly skirt?



This book is perfect for anyone new to sewing, but inspiring for any level of sewist. Alice's instructions are detailed and very well written. She has a PhD in cancer genetics, so she is well trained in writing methods accurately! Her diagrams are excellent and explain construction concisely. And throughout her book, she includes some great tips on fabric choice and colour.



While many of the projects are designed with little girls in mind, there are enough versatile projects to justify this book's place on any sewist's bookshelf. This gorgeous floor cushion could definitely find a home at my place, and I have teenage daughters!


The release of this lovely book seemed good enough reason for me to indulge in purchasing a little Liberty! I bought a 5" charm pack and, to put Alice's instructions through their paces, I made up her pencil case. 

My effort is less sweet than Alice's rainbow version. With limited fabrics, I opted for a more random fabric placement. However, Liberty prints blend so beautifully together - you really can't go wrong!



After making up Alice's pencil case, there were enough surplus fabrics to make another smaller purse. These little squares of prettiness are addictive! And just to change things up a bit, there is a sweet surprise on the reverse side ... but I will tell you about that in my next post ;)


Warmest congratulations to Alice on her lovely book. There will be a month long feast of luscious Liberty to celebrate its release. Join the party by visiting all the blog hop contributors. You can find the full list hereYou can visit Alice at her blog or through her website

You can purchase the book, Little Lady Liberty, here. Or as an e-book here. Other sewing titles published by the same author are available here.

I'd love to hear any Liberty-inspired stories from you. When I lived in Sydney in the '80's, I loved visiting the Liberty of London shop, I think in Elizabeth St? It was heavenly! 

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Little Lady Liberty blog hop

I wonder how many of you remember the late '80's, when 'the look' was all Liberty shirts with collars turned up and pearl earrings? My love for Liberty of London tana lawn started way back then!


For fellow fans of Liberty fabric, I have a treat for you. A month-long treat!  Alice Garrett of Alice Caroline blog and purveyor of all things Liberty, has written her first book:


To celebrate the release of Little Lady Liberty, a blog hop has been organised for the month of March. I'm up on Friday! For a full list of blog hop contributors, please click here.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

'Studying' the inner city

I had forgotten just how long the summer break is for University students! After three months of being at home, our eldest blossie has been champing at the bit to get back to Sydney. 

She is studying at the University of Sydney, which means I get to re-visit familiar places from my time there 25 years ago.





I also get to hang out with the girl in Newtown and Glebe - 'hang out' is probably wishful thinking; 'stand out' is more accurate. These days, I loiter around the windows of florist shops - actually I did that 25 years ago too! But oh, how amazing inner city florists are now.




We were waiting one evening at a bus stop in Newtown, conveniently located outside an amazing florist called The Flower Room. The photos are confusing because of reflections from King St, but can you see the fabulous aloes growing suspended from sea urchin shells? So imaginative, and very spectacular.


I will definitely be returning in opening hours for a closer look.


The coffee shops were good in my day, with many an hour wiled away at Cafe Latte in Newtown, or Badde Manors in Glebe. Today, they are mind-blowing (and waist-thickening)! The girl took me to La Banette, a French pattisserie on Glebe Point Road. Oh my! Where to start?


We started with mille-feuille and coffee eclairs, and finished by walking out with a sample box for 'ron!


The benefits of having a daughter in Sydney ;) I haven't even made it to the fabric shops yet!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Scrap-busting

And so we are well into February, the kids are back at school and my time is a little more my own again. I am keen to get back into some sewing. I was looking for something easy and quick to get me back in the groove.


My scrap basket was overflowing, with lots of surplus jelly roll strips from previous projects (like this one and this one).

 

I decided to make 'Candy Coated' by Amanda Jean @ Crazy Mum Quilts. The pattern is in her book 'Sunday Morning Quilts' (co-written with Cheryl Arkison).

Source

It is a really easy project, not requiring too much thought in terms of fabric placement or colour - the things that usually slow me down! 


I can spend 10 minutes on it here or there and it is coming together nicely. It feels good to be using up fabric scraps and to be dusting off the machine!
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