Monday, July 25, 2011

Fantasy flowers

It's not hard to guess what I've been up to in the last week, or at least for a part of it.
I've reacquainted myself with my magic blinkers which had temporarily lost their magic powers.
There's been a fair bit of project rotation going on in my mind and it was time to settle back into some sort of order. I only had five Flower Garden blocks left to do and blow me down if I didn't manage to get four of them done, the last one is in progress.
Oops, I didn't mean for this one to grow a face, honestly it was an accident but it's staying as is for a laugh. Sometimes quilts should bring a smile.
I'm pretty sure I'll be renaming this quilt "Fantasy Garden"  If you'd like to stich or are stitching one of Kim McLean's patterns, we now have a system set up over at Glorious Applique to allow more contributors. Just send a request via email to me from here or over there.

See you again when I have something more to share, Janet

Monday, July 18, 2011

A makeover for the goldfinch

Forgive my giant photos, I wanted to show you some before and after shots of the applique with embroidery and the difference it's made to the applique.
Here's my wee Goldfinch  prior to any embellishing.
Here he is after a small amount of coloured pencil shading around the yellow parts. Sandra Leichner explains how to do this on her blog here if curious minds want to know.
Doing the embroidery on the eye makes  a whole world of difference. I used simple straight stitches with floss for the highlight and three rows of sewing weight thread in stem stitch to outline the eye.
I put the thimble there in case you were wondering how tiny that appliqued circle was. I actually measured it just for you and it was 3/8" before embroidery. You can see I did the beak as well.
Isn't he just the most handsome little fella? All the embroidery is completed and he looks like he's about to fly off at any moment. The feathers and outlines are again done with sewing weight thread in some sections and embroidery floss in others. I used a  hoop to control the tension
I've also highlighted most of the flower petals and am now starting on the background embroidery.
I pinched this photo of the male Goldfinch to show you the real thing in case like me,  you don't live in America and have never seen a real one

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The little people

You might know that I have two grown up children (one unattached son) and David has four (one recently passed on). This means that we are likely to have a growing tribe of grandchildren as the years pass.

You haven't met  the little people in my family and I'm allowed to introduce you to some of them. Good excuse for a brag I think.
As you may know I spent a week in New Zealand recently and got to catch up with my children and grandchildren.

I couldn't believe how much Noah had grown and changed. He's normally very easy going, eats three breakfasts  ( like a Hobbit) and has a hissy fit when he has to leave the cool toy cars in the quilt shop which he thought they put there just for him. He'll be two next month.
Miss Ella is going to be turning four next month, she's a teeny tiny tot but has a personality that makes up for it. She's all about negotiation. She's very like me and her middle name is Janet after me.
The family lives across the road from their school and are responsible for looking after the chickens in the weekend in exchange for eggs. The school is very environmentally conscious and also has vegetable plots, a Macadamia nut tree and worm farms where a lot of the lunch scraps go.
I played around with my camera which does sketch shots and took this one of five year old Sophie.
Sophie is the kindest most caring young lady and has a fabulous sense of humour. She wants everyone to be happy and friends and is trying to grow her hair as long as the character in the Disney cartoon, Tangled.
Here are girls last year.
The eldest is Julia who is eleven, she's a very gentle soul and is thoughtful, kind and has the best manners in the world. She's very intelligent and is an avid reader, crafter and cheerleader.
That's the four on my side, David has another five grandchildren so we have nine together. We had his daughter's two year old Beth for the afternoon yesterday. Oh boy, she is hard to get a photo of but I managed. I'm trying to teach her to play on her own, it's not working.
Thanks for indulging me, today I get to sew so I'll be back very soon for some show and tell on the current project.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Applique with attitude

Its been a long time since I have done any applique, well it seems like it anyway. I have a new and exciting little project on the go. This pattern is from Sandra Leichner. I'm loving the challenge of getting back to layered small pieces. This is applique with embroidery for a more realistic rendition that gives it that extra visual punch. This pattern is called the Goldfinch block and is part of a series called the naturalist notebook block series.
This is the first flower that I've done and is an Osteospermum also known as the African Daisy.
I haven't been able to put it down and this is how far I've got. I'm not happy with some values of a few petals in the second flower so I'll replace those.
The hardest part was the tiny piece for the birds eye. There is the option of embroidering it with satin stitch but I decided not to wimp out and applique it. Can you make out the tiny circle in the middle of the head? It will stand out much better when the embroidery is added.
I have to say that Sandra's patterns are incredibly detailed and beautifully presented. I opted for the kit and freezer paper templates and I'm so thrilled with them that I can't speak highly enough about them.
I haven't been slack about visiting, I have a good excuse, really. I've had to change computers, mine finally slowed down so much it was just about dead. Now I'm back with more speed and promise to do more blog visiting soon.  We've had a lovely dinner invitation for tonight so must dash.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

little pleasures

Hellooooo my friends!! I'm back from my whirlwind week in New Zealand. It's so good to be back home and I'm so looking forward to getting my old routine back.
If there's one thing I've learnt over the last month and a half, it's to stay positive and to enjoy the smaller pleasures life has to offer. It has been a really challenging year so far and that's an understatement.
Enough of the deep and meaningfuls and onto some nice cheerful chatter.
It was such a good idea to start playing with hexagons. I packed a pile of fabrics, the supplies I'd need and had some nice times with needle and thread during found moments. Thanks to my DD who is a star fussy cutter extraordinaire, I now have these sweeter than sweet flower delights.
The pile grew quite nicely and I've decided how I'm going to set them together.
I love the cheerful scrappiness of the Vignette hexagon quilt from Leanne Beasley. I didn't think I'd last the distance if I embroidered the hexagons that fit in between blocks so opted for my cheats version. The cherry fabric from the Sew Cherry fabric line is the perfect fit for a one inch hexagon, how amazingly wonderful is that??
Row one has begun but now that I'm home, who knows how far I'll get. Does it matter? Nah! This is about having fun people and a needle and thread in my hand is my idea of  pleasure.
I can't remember the last time I actually wanted to get in the kitchen and cook. I'm not talking about having to cook to sustain us but the "I feel like cooking something" feeling. Mmmm, maybe it's the Masterchef effect. I'm addicted to watching that cooking show and something must have rubbed off.
Lamb shanks cooked with red wine with gremolata and served on a bed of polenta. Does that sound a bit cheffy? I used some random recipe off the Internet and did my usual tweaking just because I can and I think it makes me look like I have a talent in the kitchen.
Strawberries for afters but just for me because the only other person living in this house is allergic.
The last lovely pleasure of the day is this heavenly smelling bunch of flowers just delivered to our door. Some friends were thinking of us, how thoughtful!
I hope to catch up with you soon, thanks for dropping by for a visit.