Thursday, 29 March 2012

Quilting with Pretty Florals

This week has been rather a busy one for me.  Being the final week of school, it has meant parent/teacher interviews every day after school for the past couple of days, so that all takes up time.  Of course I'm also trying to make use of every moment during the day while the children are still in school, to run errands and do all the upcoming family birthday shopping, before the school holidays start.  As every mother knows - the key to family life running smoothly is organization!

The good news is that I have managed to squeeze in a few hours of sewing over the past week - how could I not with all my craft show goodies just waiting to be used?!! 

Quite some time ago I was visiting a local quilt store Faeries in my Garden and I bought a few Fat Quarters of the most gorgeous floral fabrics called Celebrations by Lecien Fabrics.  I just love them!!

As a bit of a side-line, if you have never visited, or heard of Faeries in My Garden, take a look at their website - it is only a small store but if you love pretty floral fabrics and enjoy doing embroidery, you will fall in love with this store.  Lesley McConnell, the owner, is a very talented lady and designs beautiful projects for the store.

Back to my fabrics though, when I was at the craft fair I found some fabric which blended in fairly well with the Celebrations fabrics I had.  I regretted not having purchased something from the range with a cream background, but the fabric I found at the craft fair was a compromise and it did co-ordinate okay in the end. 

So I began cutting squares and sewing them together.  I spent ages playing around with the colours and working out the best way to lay them all out.  This is what I have sewn together so far.

I am so pleased with the way it is looking but it will be a bit of awhile until I finish it yet.  I am considering options for a border - perhaps designing some type of applique border even, to frame the blocks.  I will post more pictures as the quilt continues to grow.

And yes, I am still working on all those triangles I shared with you previously.  I wanted a break from joining triangles though - and what can I say, I am the typical crafter who has numerous projects on the go at once!!

Enjoy your creativity!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Sweet Treats

Today was our final day for our Playgroup for Term 1 - I can't believe how quickly this first Term has gone by!  Last week the children all made Easter baskets  - we do different ones each year and this year I found a design of a cone shaped basket which was really simple to make and have the children decorate.  I didn't think to take a photo of one of the finished baskets though - sorry!

The reason for the baskets was for an Easter Egg Treasure Hunt of course - which is exactly what we did to finish off our day.

Today seems to be a bit of a sweet themed day all around.  I picked up some books I had reserved from the Library which are filled with so many yummy treats.   My mind was racing with ideas for birthday parties!

I've never tried to make Cake Pops yet, but I know that they are very popular and one of the latest party trends.  This book had lots of different designs and themes.

This second book was absolutely amazing!  I desperately need to do a cake decorating course to achieve the levels of perfection some people have with their decorating skills.  I totally enjoyed this book.  It is really just a book full of ideas, not an actual "how to" type of book - but in saying that, I would highly recommend it for as a great resource for just about every theme you could want.  It is also the type of book you can sit down with a cuppa and enjoy flicking through the pages.  A good coffee table book.

I love this cookie design!  I have seen cookies decorated like this before using fondant icing which has been coloured and imprinted using an acrylic stamp. 

I love swirly designs, so these cookies with all the colourful scrolls really appealed to me.

A good friend of mine loves and collects snowmen.  This cute cookie design made me think of her.

Perhaps the upcoming school holidays will be a good time to try out some of these newly found decorating ideas  - I know my children would enjoy the benefits of this!!


Thursday, 22 March 2012

Stash of Crafty Goodies!!

Yesterday was a very full day at the Craft & Sewing Show - we enjoyed it so much!!

I didn't get a photo of the crowds waiting for the show to open, but my goodness, I don't think I have ever seen such a long line of eager women.  It was actually a little daunting to be honest, and here I was naively thinking that going on a weekday had to mean less people to contend with than a weekend.  So, so wrong!!! 

Even though it was crowded, that didn't dampen spirits any, it was still an entirely wonderful day.

The above photo is taken of one of my favourite stalls Miss Rose Sister Violet.  I can spend hours looking over their beautiful items.  I love the lace and flowers and beads - very vintage looking and so pretty and feminine.  Here are some of their beautiful flowers.

and these are some of the beautiful laces they have.

You either love this kind of thing or you hate it - for me though, I think it is gorgeous!!  I have participated in one of their tutorial sessions and found it thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable and I came away amazed at all the ways you can transform something quite plain into something beautiful, so easily.  They made it look so simple to make accessories for your home and your wardrobe.  I just wish I could come home and remember everything I learned!

Here are some cute monkeys we found, a different variation to my own Sock Monkey.

So my purse did come home a little lighter . . . but my bag was filled with lots of crafty treasures which I am eager to put to use.  I do usually go along with a bit of a list of what I am looking to purchase, but of course at an event like that, it always involves a little impulse shopping too.

I love laces and experimenting with dying my own colour combinations too, so I stocked up on some new dyes and lace to do that, but I couldn't resist the coloured daisies - they are something I have had before and used a lot in my craft work and cardmaking. The fabrics I bought were very specifically chosen to go with other fabrics I have here at home, ready to be made into projects. One of my most favourite finds of the day was the adorable owl ribbon - this just had to come home with me :)

The other things I had fun finding were all for the papercrafts I make.  My absolute favourite find of the entire day was the new cling stamps - I liked every single one in the pack, all so cute! 

I added to my copic pens collection too so it will be nice to have those few missing colours which I'm always wishing I had when in the middle of working on a project.  There were quite a few really good priced bargains at the show, but of course you had to know your prices and hunt through the specials to find the good deals.  I always enjoy shopping when I know I am getting things at a reduced price, who doesn't?!!

Now today I am am back to reality, school runs, going to speech therapy with one of my children, laundry and mountains of housework . . . fun, fun, fun . . . definitely not!!  You don't know how hard it is with my new crafty goodies sitting on my desk looking rather neglected, I would so much rather be playing with them.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Craft and Sewing Show

Look where I am going today ~ yah!!!!

It's a rainy day here and what better way to spend it than wandering around the stands at the craft and sewing show -  I know I can't think of anything better!

I love the sessions you can sit in on to learn new skills, or tips on the crafts you love.  It's fun when you can actually participate in making something to take home with you too, I always enjoy that.  But like any true craft lover, I have to say I enjoy the shopping most of all! 

There are always a great selection of stalls to wander through, from all over the country.  We get to see the latest products available, new techniques, and just a much better variety than what we are limited to with only our local stores.  Of course we love our local stores too, but you know what I mean?!

I visit the craft show with my mother-in-law twice a year and it is such a great day out for us both - I'm looking forward to today!!

This craft show is on at the Brisbane Convention Centre at Southbank for the next 4 days - if you are a local, plan to go along, you won't regret it.

I never plan to spend too much money - but let's see how well I can resist temptation!!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Owls, Owls and More Owls

I really love some of the adorable Owl designs that are very popular at the moment.  I must admit that I really didn't know just how popular they were until I recently joined Pinterest and started coming across them everywhere - it seems like many of you out there love them just as much as I do!

Well I have tried my hand at making a few different variations of owls.  First was a cute little toy design I made up and I was so pleased with it that I have one sitting on my desk and have even been known to use it as a pincushion. 

Because this little owl turned out so well, the next thing was to make up a cushion using the same design in the form of an applique.   Inspiration came when my daughter had to make some type of cushion for her Home Economics class and wanted to do an owl applique which would go with her bed linen. 

Together we came up with a cute bolster cushion design.  We dyed our own laces in varigated colours to match the fabrics of the cushion and owl.  Although we designed it together, my daughter had to do all the work herself at school.  She made a beautiful cushion and won the admiration of the teachers for her hard work.  In fact, she even took along some of our dyes to school to teach her teachers how to dye the laces - they had a fun time doing that and she thought it was great to be teaching her teachers something - role reversal!!

Since the original cushion design, which was made up in pink, I've made up quite a few more cushions in different colours, some of which are for sale in my Etsy store RaspberrySwirls.

And of course owls are a big part of my papercraft collection too - this cute little Owl stamp is one of my most favourites and gets used regularly.

Searching the internet has opened my eyes to the many other ways people use owl designs.  I've seen some amazing birthday cake designs and some adorable cake pops and of course lots of cute cookies too.  I found these ones which I loved here: Owl Cookies

You can imagine how my creative ideas are running wild with all this new found Owl inspiration - I just love it!!!

And now on to some fun things ~  totally Owl unrelated ~but fun just the same.   Who doesn't love a fabric giveaway?!! 

Well I have found one with the most gorgeous fabrics which I want to tell you about.  Moda have a great fabric range called "Hullaballo" by Urban Chicks - so many possibilities spring to mind when I just look at the fabrics.

So if you are interested in entering a giveaway for 3 of these great Moda Charm Packs, visit And Sew We Craft and join in this very generous giveaway which Amy has running.

Happy Crafting!!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Our Creative Day

I'm a busy mum with 4 children, so trying to find time to enjoy my favourite crafty pursuits is often a challenge, to say the least.  This week I have had my youngest, who has just started Prep this year, at home sick for a couple of days.  Today she was feeling slightly better, enough that she wanted some activities to do, so we worked side by side, each doing a bit of creative play - hers with magnetic foam squares and mine with fabric squares and my sewing machine!!

Here is a cute dolphin picture which my little girl made.  This has been one of the best craft toys I purchased for my children from Kmart, a few years ago now.  It comes with a large magnetic board (almost A3 in size), a big box full of magnetic foam cubes and about 20 different picture patterns to make.  So easy for young ones to do, they just follow a colour code pattern and place the squares on a template.  It is a great activity for rainy days, holidays or even days at home when not feeling well.  It has certainly been well used in our home, by all ages, definitely dollars well spent!!

Well back to my creativity today . . . and this is something which I started cutting up fabric squares for when I had a few spare moments earlier in the week, or it may have even been last weekend, who knows . . . the weeks go so fast!

Firstly, I started with these gorgeous fabrics.  I fell in love with these aqua blue shades and couldn't resist them. They are from a Riley Blake collection called Sugar & Spice. I really like flowers and paisley designs, and these fabrics incorporated both.

Next I set to work cutting up 3" squares.  This is just a few of the many squares I cut.  As you can see, I decided to team up the aqua blue fabrics with plain white for a nice fresh look and am really liking the combination.

Sewing has begun and it will be a slow and lengthly process.  I've not decided just how big I want to make this quilt yet, so will work on a lap size and see if I like that, if not I can extend it as I go.

After a few hours of sewing, my pile of these is starting to grow

I will share more photos as this quilt starts to take shape.  For now I will leave you guessing as to what the finished block designs will be.  I am really enjoying working on this quilt though.  I like the challenge of putting a design together.

Hope your day has included some enjoyable creative time too!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Knitting a Scarf

Something I seem to do each year is knit up a scarf using the latest yarns (wools) available.  Scarves are great accessories to dress up our winter wardrobes with and I have particularly enjoyed the more feminine ones available over the last year or two.

A few years ago I tried out the bobble type yarn which was really popular, I don't even remember what it was called.  It was unusual to knit with, but made up into a scarf quite quickly.  These are nice and cosy to wear!

In the early months of last year when I was at one of the craft shows in Brisbane I came across Can Can Yarn.  A lady was demonstrating it as she knitted a scarf.  I was so fascinated with it and knew I had to give it a try.  Loving frills and ruffles, I was amazed at how this yarn curled into natural ruffles as it was knitted up.  It was most unusual, nothing like any other yarn I had seen or tried, and looked more like a rolled up mesh.

Colour availability was limited and I didn't really like anything they had in stock, so I chose a ball of white yarn and took it home and dyed it.  I dye my own laces all the time to use in my sewing and craft work and usually buy my dyes through Starr Laces & Ribbons.  I first discovered them at a craft show, but they are also available online.

After dying my yarn, the end result was a yarn in a gorgeous shade of pale pink which is one of my favourite colours.  Each ball of yarn can knit up into two scarves and being a family with quite a few girls in it, I had no troubles finding a willing recipient for the 2nd scarf!

Each ball of  Can Can Yarn comes with instructions for knitting it, on the reverese side of the label, but the instructions are written so small that even with a magnifying glass it is difficult to work out what it says.  So after some online searching I found a great tutorial for knitting up Can Can Yarn at Can Can Yarn Tutorial.   Because you have such a small number of stitches on your needle, you can honestly knit up a scarf in an evening, or if you are a bit slower, two evenings at most.

I have noticed that this yarn is now available under different names and in a lot more colours, even varigated varieties.  I prefer this close-knit mesh, but there are yarns also available with a much wider mesh which still gives the ruffled affect with a more open, loopy kind of a look to it.  Prices have come down this year too, now that the yarn has been around for awhile. 

So if you are looking for a relatively simple knitting project to try, I highly recommend this yarn for making up a cute new winter scarf.  Enjoy the compliments you receive when wearing it, because I can guarantee you there will be plenty!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Playgroup Crafts

The beginnings of my week are always busy with preparations for our Playgroup.  I co-ordinate a local community Playgroup and love being part of this group of wonderful ladies and children. 

You don't realise just how many needy people there are out in our communities until you volunteer your time and get involved in people's lives.  It is such a priviledge to be there to help others and to offer one of life's greatest gifts, friendship. 

Over the years I've seen so many positive changes in people and it all stems from them finding a place to connect with others, where they are accepted for who they are and strong bonds of friendship have had the chance to develop.  I know I am biased, but we have such a wonderful group of people who meet together each week!

So with Easter coming up, I am starting to work on Easter themed crafts.  Here is what I have been putting together today . . .

While I love craft with a passion, I must say it really doesn't extend over to children's crafts.  I can do them, but I certainly don't love doing them.  I'm not very original and rely heavily upon our local library or the internet for ideas for kid's crafts.  It can be a challenge to find things that are age appropriate as well. 

My two youngest daughters love making crafts and so they are usually quite eager to make up my sample crafts for the week, once I have all the pieces cut out and ready.

Here is a Peacock picture we made a few weeks ago, it was relatively simple and the kids all enjoyed making these.

If you know of any resources or websites with great kid's craft ideas - especially in the 2-5 year old bracket, I would love to hear from you!

Once my preparations for Playgroup are all complete, I am planning to start piecing squares together for a new quilt I started working on over the weekend.  I will share more about that another time.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Sunny Days and Quilts to Admire

Today was such a beautiful day!  I couldn't resist stopping on the way home from running errands this morning and taking some photos of our local beach. 

We are very blessed to live only 5 minutes from the beach and on days like today I can't help but feel very thankful to be close enough to the sea to enjoy such beautiful surroundings. 

While out this morning I did call in to visit a local store which sells all sorts of fabrics, mostly curtain or upholstery type fabrics but they do also stock a small amount of quilting fabrics which are really inexpensive.  They are usually the type of fabric that you would never choose to make a quilt top from though.  Never the latest or popular colours or styles of quilting fabric.  I mostly use their fabrics to do the backings on my quilts if I can get a colour which blends in with the front of the quilt.  Today I was pleasantly surprised though to find this fabric in the store!

I actually really liked it - both the retro flower type design and also the various shades of aquas and browns.  I can seriously imagine making something with this one! 

I've been finishing off a quilt today, just doing the final stippling and binding.  I'm really pushing myself to get it done because I'm very eager to get started on a new quilting project!   Searching the internet for new quilt designs is so much fun . . . and I must say it races away with time!  Here is one of the many that I came across which I really liked.

And here is another . . .

and one more . . .

All of these gorgeous quilts are all made from patterns and tutorials by Kellie Wulfsohn of
Don't Look Now. Her style and her designs rate up very highly among my favourites - and what is best of all, she is one of our very talented Australian Designers.

I've never yet made a quilt featuring plain white , but I do plan to incorporate this into my next quilt.  I love the look of bright, fresh colours against the white and have admired so many quilts made by others like this.  It is about time I gave it a try!!