Monday, May 20, 2013

So.......tell me......were there.........

.........really 604,800 seconds......10,080 minutes........168 hours that passed into oblivion this past week?? Surely not. It just seems that my week was short-changed....just a tad!

I mean, it only seems like yesterday that I celebrated Mother's Day with my husband and daughter; blissfully unaware of the ticking clock, strolling around Evandale Markets on a lovely, sun-filled Autumnal day, acquiring a few 'must have' treasures and coffeeing my way through the day.
 
 And what treasures they are.......well at least they are to me. I added to my 'dowry of cloth' (I am always in need of an embroidered pretty or two or three.......). I found an old sewing basket which is a little worse for wear, but not to worry, with a little fixer-uppering by li'l olde me it will be as good as new. I also added to my coloured knitting needle collection......I have been making fabric flowers of late and they make beautiful flower stems, besides they look ever so colourful bunched en masse in a glass receptacle. And....of course....I couldn't let the day pass by without buying a book. The book in question is called 'Home' and if I ever get a free moment, I might just sit in front of the fire, and take an armchair voyeuristic journey into the homes of the 50 famous people's interiors.
 
Then........I happened upon three beautiful mirrors. I have a penchant for collecting mirrors. Indeed, there are mirrors everywhere in our li'l ole abode. I think at last count there are 25 or so. No, I am not some Greek mythological, narcissistic being, always tempted to look at my reflection....quite the contrary.....the less I look at my reflection in these reflective looking glasses the better! I love how mirrors reflect wonderful light, giving an optical illusion of making a room visually appear so much more spacious and lighter. 
 
 
I particularly love the quirky wooden mirror that I unearthed. I lurve the detail at the top of the mirror and the lovely flowing curvaceous side. Of course this needs a bit of repair but with a little fixing, a good sanding and a coat of Antique White USA paint.........shhhhh.......sorry...... I have to whisper the fact that I am painting wood, because around these parts the very mention of applying a coat of paint to any wood surface is akin to heresy and one's safety could be in danger!! Indeed one must be vigilant as there are eyes and ears everywhere! Tasmanians LOVE their wood!! Their homes have  stained wood floors, wood-lined walls, wood ceilings and everything in between pays homage to the 'wood god'! Don't get me wrong, I love wood, indeed for a time I was surrounded by various hues of stained wood but these days I prefer a lighter and brighter ambience for our home.
 
 
So that was Sunday.....which was a wonderfully relaxed day......the calm before the storm!
 
The rest of the week was filled with a creative whirlwind which included preparations for kids' craft in readiness for the school bus, which each school afternoon braked to a screeching halt, ejected the excited little earthlings at my front gate, who then got lost in a plethora of fabric, zippers, buttons, embroidery thread and all manner of stitching.
 
I happened upon this fabulous fabric in IKEA a couple of months ago whilst visiting my daughter in Adelaide.. Now Tassie is a bit light on in the modish and funky fabric department, so when I spotted this fun fabric, I am afraid that I went into a hypo-ventilated state and I snapped it up. I could visualise the kids making a cushion with a word or two in a speech bubble.....in the Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein 'Pop Art' vein.
 
 
These are just a few of the cushions that were stitched by my child prodigies this week. I think they are so cool and funky!
 
 
And then there were some who made some Scotty dogs from an old woollen blanket.
 
 
Other kids' projects included house cushions, Babushka Doll cushions, a life-like stuffed guitar (yes really) and one or two magoozalums (don't ask)!!
 
Also, this coming week is Chaplaincy Week' here in Tassie, so 'My Pete' (my  husband) who is a chaplain at our local district high school wanted to say thank you to all the staff for their support. Now what better way to say thank you than with a beautiful bunch of flowers. Right? Well............there is just one problem with this well intentioned sentiment.......our beautiful garden has been obliterated by early morning frosts. All the flowers have dived deep down into the earth to flee Jack Frost's icy, wintry grasp and have refused to show their pretty faces until next Spring! What to do? What to do?
 
So, of course, li'l ole me suggested that perhaps I could fashion a flower or two from some pretty fabric (what was I thinking)!!!
 
So li'l ole me cut out, folded, stitched, hot glued (both fabric and fingers) 180 or so circles and after many, many seconds, minutes, hours.......
 
 
fashioned oodles of  bright and breezy and cheerful fabric flowers........
 
 
and artfully arranged them (this took an age) in pretty 'vases' (yep all from op shops)........
 
 
and......VOILA......here they all are.......sitting ever so perky in joyful abundance in front of one or two or three of my mirrors, with individual cards each expressing a thankyou sentiment.......ready to be delivered to each teacher and staff member; hopefully putting a smile on their faces and a spring in their step as they walk through the hallowed halls of learning!!
 
So this is just a little peek into my 'week that was'!!
 
NOW............this week...... I must, must, MUST begin my friend's birthday hexagon quilt!! Let's just hope that no-one knocks on my pink front door (yes really....we have a bright pink front door.....doesn't everyone??) with some urgent stitching that needs to be attended to and ask "are you the lady who sews?"
 
 
 Perhaps Father Time will be kind to me this week and grant me a few extra seconds, minutes, hours.....perhaps.....perhaps??
 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Oh no......not another hexagon quilt!!

Alas....yes another hexagon quilt!! I thought that I had put my hexagon templates away for a while but it seems I am in need of them once more. This time though, it is not to 'whip' up a fabulous 'quilt-as-you-go' hexagon quilt  for me,  but for a dear friend's 50th birthday.

I love hexagon quilts. I love how the shape is repeated over and over again, the juxtaposition of each shape forming a beautiful  tessellated pattern which fits neatly into each other without any overlapping. I love the myriad of mosaic pattern combinations that quilters dream up when making a hexagon quilt. I am particularly fond of Grandmother's Garden hexagon quilts of yesteryear.
Though I have always wanted to fashion a hexagon quilt using the traditional English paper piecing method, and  to all intents and purposes I will one day; I happened upon a wonderful method for sewing hexagon quilts a few years ago. Individual hexagons are sewn with the top fabric, the batting and the backing fabric all at once and then a little of the backing fabric is brought to the front to form a narrow border. Then the finished hexagons are whipped stitched together at the back to form the quilt.

My first 'hexie' was made from hundreds of scraps of fabric and I must admit it is one of my favourites. It is an oft used quilt and I love how it has faded with age and has become wonderfully squashy.




I have fashioned a few scrappy hexagon quilts both for sale and for presents. I have always loved the look of scrappy quilts. I love playing with and using all those little scraps of fabric that are remnants from past projects.



The seams on the back of this quilt are covered by lengths of fabric binding which adds to the scrappy look and gives a more visually pleasing finish.

But.........as is always the case when skipping down the yellow brick road of quilting, I decided to try something more creative and adventurous. My next hexagon quilt was made with the intention of using some of my pastel vintage fabrics and laces that I have been collecting over the years. So I stitched a hexagon quilt for our queen size bed, incorporating my vintage Italian coverlets, satins, silks, brocades and velvets. 




Then......and this is the part that I really lurve; I embellish to my li'l heart's content! I love to embellish with ribbon work, vintage buttons, gloves, beads, ribbons, buckles, vintage jewellery, doilies and whatever other treasures that I can unearth in my 'Aladdin's Cave'.


These were two basket doilies to which I added oodles of flowers and leaves that I snipped from crocheted doilies to make a beautiful bouquet of floral extravagance.


I love crinoline ladies and Southern belles!


  


After fashioning my pastel hexagon quilt, ideas were swirling around my head to make a sumptuous, vibrantly coloured, hexagon quilt celebrating a bohemian spirit. I wanted this quilt to be awash with glorious colour, breaking a few 'so called' colour rules along the way.


I absolutely love to fashion flowers and leaves from ribbon....ruched flowers, pansies, roses, fuchsias, daffodils...the list is endless. But of course, flowers demand to be thrown together in a beautiful ribboned basket with butterflies hovering close by!




And...of course there must be a vintage glove clasping a few trailing stems of flowers.



I love the random craziness of the hexagon quilts that I make. There is never a grand plan. I just love to see what exciting journey the fabric takes me on experimenting with colour and texture; and playing with design. I love to twirl all the gloriously vibrant colours round and round in a merry dance!


These quilts are, except for zig zagging (serging) the top fabric to the batting around the edge of each hexagon; all completely fashioned by hand. So they can take an age to finish. My purple 'piece de resistance' took eight months of my life to complete.

So.........what are the chances of transforming this mass of glorious blue-hued fabrics, laces, ribbons, brooches, beads and buckles into a glorious hexagon quilt within 6 weeks!! Am I positively, stark raving mad!! Me thinks that I most certainly am!!


Well I had best be off.....and 'begin at the begin'......wish me luck!!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Behold I stand at the door and knock!!

No....it's wasn't the Good Lord knocking on the door of my li'l olde abode, that afternoon....(that door was opened in what seems a lifetime ago; in my youth)....but a dear friend in the guise of an angel, standing on the threshold of my humble abode with a beaming smile. Margaret came bearing wonderful gifts. And what were these gifts? They were swatch after swatch of the most beautiful Tricia Guild (of Designers' Guild fame) fabrics!
 
Now Margaret, who is rather blase about all things pertaining to textiles and design, (she shakes her head in complete befuddlement as to my state of asphyxiation each time I see a "must have" fabric) was  nonchalant as to why I should be so incredulous at the sight of her present. "It's just fabric" she declared!!! Margaret had never heard of Tricia Guild, nor indeed was she aware that Tricia Guild is one of the most influential and creative forces in the world of interior design. She just simply did not understand as to why I would oooooh and aaaaaah at the sight of each splendorous swatch! Apparently, a designer friend of hers was getting rid of these treasures and asked if she knew of anyone who could make use of them. Margaret, of course, instantly thought of me; her quirky, head in a textile cloud, friend!


I might add that these are not itty bitty swatches...no, no....BUT 1/2 metre lengths of gorgeous 100% linen, silk and cotton fabrics. Every colour of the rainbow is represented. The colour palette is a gradation of colour; from mellow hues to bright, dancing hues. Colour upon colour of pure and unadulterated  prismatic delight!

 
 
So.......after sipping many a cup of tea in my parlour that afternoon, Margaret and I chatted about all things Tricia Guild and poured over many of the sumptuous photos in 'one or two' of my Tricia Guild books! It's safe to say that when Margaret left my home she was well versed in all things Tricia Guild, seeing the Designers' Guild textile world of pattern, colour, texture and innovative design with new eyes. She had seen the light and had stepped over to the other side, into the redemptive, bold and colourful land of Designer's Guild!

Yes indeedy......it was one of those "I think I have died and gone to heaven" kind of afternoons.