Sunday, February 28, 2016

Summer's Brilliance

Summer lingers long, with all its wonderful goodness and challenges. The grass is becoming dry and crunchy under foot yet life continues with all it's resilient brilliance. This kookaburra comes often, perching on our back fences on the lookout for possible food. 

With a little watering our gerbera daisies continue to flower and produce intricate seed heads. Our new lime tree has a small first crop slowly filling out. Until today I was concerned there may be a problem with the limes as they look different to the smooth skinned ones I see in the shops - but it's a Kaffir lime and (thanks to google) I now know this is exactly as the fruit is meant to look.  :) The large caterpillar on the small orange tree nearby may not be pretty but the Citrus Butterfly which I expect it will become certainly is!

Our 21 year old above, Master J, hitting the shot which scored him his first ever century in cricket. He held his bat too, meaning he was one of the opening batters the previous week and was still not out at the end of last Saturday's play - all his ten team mates in second grade had batted with him and got out (including one of his 18 year old sisters). He scored over half the team's runs, soundly defeating the opposition. It was Pink Stumps Day, a special day of cricket in Australia to raise awareness and support for the McGrath Foundation which assists families affected by breast cancer.

Miss E, the youngest of our eight children, turned eight last week. She was so excited, rising before the sun! In the predawn she chose to read a book (with her favourite dinosaur) while waiting for the rest of the family to wake up. She had a wonderful day, filled with family activities. Master J surprised her by arriving home from uni just for the day! A homemade ice cream cake, with specialty bought ice creams, is a popular summer birthday choice in our family.

Enjoying one of today's passionfruit flowers - they open in the afternoon and last only 24 hours. Their fragrance and glorious visual display leads to luscious fruit some months ahead. 

A week without some sewing would seem incomplete to me. The cool refreshing colours of my Fresh Fields quilt, a long term English Paper Piecing project, have been my stitching choice this week.  :)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Spring Breeze Checkerboard Quilt

 There's a sense of satisfaction but also sadness to finish working with these beautiful fabrics. With around fifty different quilting fabrics from my stash, including a sprinkling of organic cottons, the sewing has been a great pleasure. Many of the fabrics are the same as Miss C's quilt and the dimensions are the same - each square is 2 1/2" with a completed size of approximately 40" x 60". I followed Rita's (Red Pepper Quilts) tutorial, beginning by cutting my fabric into pieces 3" x 13".

I used the last of my supply of Pressed Leaves in Pink for the back, an organic cotton by Cloud 9 from Sarah Watson's Biology collection. In fact I had to add a strip of checkerboard blocks to make it stretch far enough. I have since ordered some more of this timeless favourite, as many fabric collections are only available for a relatively short time.

The quilting follows the seam lines, a technique called quilting in the ditch, which allows the fabrics to be the dominant feature. The batting is Hobb's Organic cotton from Texas.

This quilt is now listed (sold) in my Etsy shop, adding some much needed pink!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Summer Days


Another beautiful week of hot summer days filled with colour, cricket, homeschool and a little creative sewing. 

It's always a treat to see a Citrus/Orchard butterfly, our largest local butterfly. This stunning female was gently perched in our neighbour's garden. The caterpillar (photo March 2015) is also fascinating but not so welcome as it feeds on our citrus trees.

The gerberas continue to flower despite the heat, and our young lychee tree has had a small crop this year (yum!).

When I was sewing my new dressing gown recently Miss E asked if we could make a pair of pants for her in the same beautiful Moody Blues organic bird print. I waited until she raised the subject again to make sure she was genuinely keen. Friday we sewed her new pants, a combined effort for she loves to use scissors and the sewing machine. She has hardly taken them off since, even wearing them to bed one night! I guess they must be comfortable!

Master J (now 21) and Miss N (18) love their cricket and are batting together here for their local team. They will continue batting when the game resumes again this Saturday afternoon, J coming home from uni on weekends to play as often as he can.

Quilting is in progress on my new checkerboard quilt which is very similar to Miss C's quilt. I'm really enjoying working with such lovely soft spring colours, a very relaxing palette. Looking forward to sharing more when it is complete, yet there is no rush, no deadline, just sewing and creating something beautiful and useful for the sheer pleasure it gives!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Surrounded by Colour

As beautiful as they are, Blue Triangle Butterflies rarely sit still long enough to allow close observation - being able to capture one in photos (after many attempts) was a pleasant bonus! I love the touch of bright blue which is eye catching as they flutter around the garden.

Our bromeliads, sheltered under the shade of our huge frangipani, are in flower. Their bright shades of coral pink open to reveal wonderful purple and yellow.

The spotted Oleander Butterfly is less flighty than the Blue Triangle, yet always a delight to see. This one is resting on our avocado tree.

It is an honour to have my Aussie Landscape quilt featured in Down Under Quilts magazine annual Australian issue, arriving in newsagents and libraries now (Issue 174). Aussie Landscape highlights the beautiful and ethical fabrics printed by several Australian small textile houses/cottage businesses.

Making Miss C's pretty checkerboard quilt was very rewarding. This week I have been steadily working on another very similar one, most likely to be added to my Etsy shop. Today I finished sewing the the quilt top, now to choose backing and binding fabrics - again, all from my stash. Pink binding or green binding??? Maybe I should choose the backing fabric first.   :)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Miss C's Quilt

My heart is full. Pretty Checkerboard quilt is complete and today reached the person it was lovingly made for. There is something very special about choosing fabrics and design with a brand new person in mind. This gorgeous little girl already has the use of a small baby quilt - the very first quilt I ever made - which was sewn for one of her cousins. For this reason I made a larger quilt with a view to it lasting her many years. The last photo, taken today (sent to me via text), looks like the beginning of a beautiful quilt story.

Quit details: Keeping to a soft pink and green colour scheme, I selected many favourites from my treasured fabrics, with a sprinkling of organic fabrics. The backing fabric is called Patio Lights from Tamara Kate's Flight Patterns collection. The batting is Hobb's Organic Cotton batting from Texas. Quilting in the ditch along each seam line. I used Rita Hodge's checkerboard quilt tutorial, cutting fabrics into strips of 3"x13". Following Rita's directions this yields finished squares of 2 1/2" with each 4x4 block being 10" square. With six rows of four blocks each, the finished quilts measures approximately 40" x 60". 

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