Sunday, October 7, 2018

Hydrangeas, Hydrangeas, Hydrangeas.....and a Water Lily or Two

Hello all you lovelies, how delightful to have you visit my little Spring place. It has been a couple of weeks since I last chatted but I can assure you I have not been twiddling my thumbs and doing nothing. Indeed, I have been quietly and ever so slowly fashioning more fabric flowers for my garden quilt. Why, this very afternoon, a sunny Sunday afternoon, I am going to spend a few hours enjoying a little slow hand stitching. I have reserved a spot in the swing seat beside the pond, for this very occasion. =)

Those of  you who have visited me here for a while know that whilst I sing a rhapsody of all things floral, the flowers that sing the sweetest song to my heart are Hydrangeas. Those gorgeous mop head beauties are my favourite flowers. So, because I am in the mood of a little Hydrangea blue, these are the flowers I have been fashioning this last little while. Yes, that magical packet of mixed seeds has sprung petal after petal (120 itty bitty petals to be exact....but hey who's counting) of Hydrangeas. I am rather pleased with my little Hydrangeas and their leaves. They almost look like the real thing. =) I thought they would be near high impossible to fashion, but surprisingly they were not. Once I got into the groove they played happily under the soft touch of my fingers.

If you were to walk through my rickety front gate in early Spring a row of sunny Daffodils would smile at you, welcoming you to my humble abode.

But as these pretty, trumpet-like flowers begin to fade, the Hydrangeas burst forth onto the stage with great aplomb  and perform the most beautifully choreographed dance, month after month after month. From early December until May these beauties gift me with flowers.  That's six months of these ever flowering shrubs......not bad, not bad at all!

In Summer the Hydrangeas truly are the most gorgeous of flowers. They flourish along the front picket fence needing not much attention. Their only requirement is to be kept well watered, as they are thirsty plants. They are a car-stopping spectacular. We have had  tourists stop and capture happy snap after happy snap of these beautiful flowers. En masse, I don't think there is any flower that can outshine Hydrangeas.

In Summertime vase after vase of these mop head beauties can be found everywhere in my home. They last for weeks and after a while fade into glorious soft hues. Of all the flowers that dance in the flower kingdom, the beautiful Hydrangeas in my humble opinion, reign supreme.

Water Lilies sitting on lily pads have popped up from that floral seed packet of enchantment as well. It's astonishing how magical this mixed packet of flower seeds is.

The pond my husband imagined and then slowly created is the heart of the garden. It is a place of peacefulness, of serenity and of healing. It is a place of enchantment; it is balm to the soul. In the warmer months it is a place where you will more often than not find my good husband and my good self sitting in our swing seat being renewed; by the peace and beauty of the pond, the flowers that hug it and the little critters that call the pond home.

So, of course when imagining my quilt the pond had to have pride of place.

With the Hydrangeas and Water Lilies having been fashioned I decided to begin to stitch the flowers onto the the background fabric. There are a lot more flowers to be 'growed' but I am a little impatient for my garden to flourish. I decided now is the time for the flowers to begin to bloom in situ. I stitched blue batik fabric onto the background for the pond and then the Water Lilies, arranging the Hydrangeas to the side of the water. Stitching the Hydrangeas and leaves I feel, will take forever but that's okay, because as I have intimated before I am loving this hand applique caper.

Love, love, love these sweet little Hydrangeas. In reality there are no Hydrangeas growing near 'our' pond, but as this garden is one which grows in my imagination, anything is possible.

When I have finished stitching the Hydrangeas and leaves on this side of the pond I will be stitching the same or very similar on the other side!! That means....120 or thereabouts, itty bitty petals to fashion and then stitch........not to mention many more leaves! Oh my giddy aunt!! I wonder if this big girl will live long enough to see this quilt finished?? The thought has crossed my mind, wondering if I will have exhaled my last breath before my fabric flowers will be blossoming beautifully altogether. Oh well, I guess I will just keep on keeping on.

But.....I won't worry my muddly little head wondering will I or will I not finish, as this week my good husband and I are off on a little jaunt over hill and dale, on a little road trip around the countryside. The final destination is an acre upon acre Tulip farm where a rainbow coloured tapestry astonishes all who gaze upon it. We are going with a dear friend and two of my sewing girls. We will all have the best fun. There probably will be little time for stitching, but that's okay......there will be oodles of opportunities for me and my camera to take lots and lots of happy snaps.

Until the next time.....................

Linking up this week to Sunday Slow Stitching at Kathy's Quilts and
Soma's Wandering Camera at Whims and Fancies, at the end of the month.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Who Would've Thunk it!!

Yes indeedy!! Who would've thunk it......Applique with a capital 'A', is actually enjoyable. I have avoided the "A" word for most of my quilting life. Why, I don't really know. I suppose I thought all those itty bitty, pointy leaves and minuscule petals of flowers, especially those that appear frequently in those Baltimore beauties, were just too tricky to coerce into anything that half resembles a  flower, or a leaf, or a butterfly, or a get the picture. Yes, I don't know if the tips of my leaves  are the sharpest they should be and yes, I don't know if some of the curves of my flower petals are the curviest they could be but do you know what, I am having the best time coaxing teeny tiny smidgens of fabrics into blossoms. I am loving this growing pretty fabric flowers caper.

This week my magical, mixed packet of seeds have germinated into Pansies and Tulips. More flowers for my big girl quilt have begun to show their happy faces.

Pansies for your Thoughts...........

Tulips for true love...............

Mmm......looking at all these pretties showing off in a lovely frame, me thinks a framed bouquet of appliqued floralicious delight could be rather spiffy! Goodness gracious imagination will just not stop imagining! =)

Thus far, I have chosen to applique using the freezer paper method. I have found this method to be the easiest as it enables me to finger press around each shape. When I peel off the paper template I dab the  turned under fabric with my glue stick here and there and then iron the fabric shape. I find this gives each shape a crisp, defined look, fabulous for those leaves with sharp tips. After manipulating over 100 petals and leaves I am getting the hang of this finger pressing caper. I have developed a soft touch with my fingers gently easing the curves, thus avoiding sharp indents that should not be there. I find this painstakingly slow, but oddly enough I don't seem to mind at all.

I have yet to stitch the flowers to the background though there has been a little hand stitching. I have stitched individual petals to form each flower and then join these to the stem with the leaves. When I do begin to stitch the flowers to the background it will be easier to arrange and then stitch the completed flower. This is probably not the way 'those people in the know' applique, but it suits me. It would be torture to stitch each little petal, each little leaf to the fabric background separately. Also the finer embroidery details are yet to be stitched. I will do this when I 'plant' the flowers on the quilt.

Whilst my applique flowers have been slowly growing this week, as I look out my windows I see signs that Spring is about to explode onto the scene. The Daffodils, those pretties that provide a spectacle towards the end of Winter are beginning to fade. I always feel Spring has arrived when I see the buds on the pendulous branches of the weeping cherry trees explode and cascade waterfall-like down to the ground. They truly are a spectacular sight.

Though mornings are still chilly it won't be long till I can be found relaxing on the swing seat by the pond, reading a book or two, or perhaps  stitching flowers to my big girl quilt.

Appliqued Daffodils, Pansies and Tulips. Next week I think I might attempt some Water Lilies, after all, the star of  the garden is the pond my husband has created. I can see the Water Lilies spilling out of the magical packet of mixed seeds as I type. How exciting!! Who knows, perhaps when next you visit my little Spring world the real stitching will have begun. Perhaps, just perhaps my applique flowers will have begun to blossom on the quilt. But for now, I will just keep having the best fun Appliqueing with a capital "A". As always, thank you for visiting my blossomy, little Spring place.

Until the next time.........

Linking this week at Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts......well is Sunday and my stitching this week has been slower than a snail's pace. =)
AND....also at Soma's Wandering Camera at Whims and Fancies

Thursday, September 13, 2018

When I grow up!

It seems to me it is time for me to grow up. It is time for me to join the big girls and design and stitch a truly grown up quilt. You know the girls. Those whom dream up, design and stitch the most amazing quilts. Those quilts that when you look upon them rather nonplussed, your mouth drops open with drool uncontrollably dripping from the corners and as you scratch your cranium, wondering "how on earth did 'she' make that"!! For me, now is the time to fashion a quilt that is just a little out of my comfort zone. For a while now I have felt it is time for me to "begin the beguine" begin the dance of the quilt that has been gliding and swaying and twirling around and around in my brain pan for a very long time.

I mostly stitch quilts that really do not overtax a lot of brain cells, in the designing and then making that design a reality. Don't get me wrong, I adore quilts spilling over with scrappy loveliness. Indeed, I am at my happiest when I am stitching a quilt oozing with scrappylicious delight.

BUT.......for my next quilt I want to try something new. I want to push myself. I want to learn and discover new things that challenge me along the way.

This quilt has been in my imagination for a very long time. I have dreamt about it for so long now that I can see it in my mind's eye. I have been day dreaming of fashioning a quilt with blossoms flourishing all over. I want it to be a wild garden where flowers of each season dance together in one quilt. This quilt is one where I will applique all the flowers by hand. I know........what am I thinking!!

These two fabrics are what I will use for the grass and the sky. Both fabrics evoke an impressionistic feeling, perfect for my vision for this quilt. The green is a soft one with just the hint of  smudges of tiny watercolour flowers and the sky is a soft batik dancing in pastel shades, reminscent of those soft, whispering, early morning misty skies that greet me on my walks as the sun rises.

I have been hunting and gathering oodles of Kona solids for a while now and other hand dyed fabrics for the flowers, leaves, birds, readiness for my hand applique pretty.

I want this quilt to be dancing with flowers evocative of those that flourish in the garden outside my windows....Daffodils, Tulips, Bluebells, Foxgloves, Pansies, Magnolias, Forget Me Nots, Roses, Hydrangeas (though these could prove a bit tricky)......Lilies, Irises, Hollyhocks, Lilacs, that gift me with their  beauty and delight me each season. I want this quilt to celebrate the magic my darling husband has created on our little plot of earth these past ten years. He has dug, toiled, sweated, laboured........plodded on and on, sprinkling beauty from his magical gardener's wand everywhere. He has transformed a patch of earth that was once an altar to the 'junk god' and created a garden of beauty, tranquility and stuff of dreams. His garden is my inspiration. This quilt is the packet of mixed seeds that were planted many, many moons ago in my dreams and are now beginning to germinate.

All washed and ready to go. Hues with scrummy names.......Poppy, Mango, Cantalope, Cerise, Candy Green, Papaya, Kumquat, Bubble Gum, Azalea, Morning Glory, Bright Flamingo, Noble many gorgeous hues to bloom in the garden of my dreams.

As it is Spring and everywhere I look I see a "host of golden Daffodils" sashaying in the breeze, illuminated by the soft, Spring sunshine; they are the first flowers I will applique.

I am going to experiment with different methods of applique and see which method works best for me. For inspiration, when compiling the pictures of the flowers, I will use the many garden books that line the shelves here in my library, colouring pages sourced from the internet and my own sketches. But....I suppose the greatest inspiration will be the beauty outside my windows.....the flowers that smile at me each day, here in the garden.

I am quite certain there will be many new concepts I will encounter and learn as I stroll along this new flower-lined path. I am so excited about this quilt. There will be moments of joy, probably more moments of sheer exasperation and frustration, but you know what, I am skipping with delight at the thought of this quilt and discover if what is in my imagination looks equally amazing in real life. Why oh why is it that everything looks better, more grandiose in one's head?? As it is me, I will have no planned overall drawing to guide me along the way.  This quilt is drawn in my head. =) I seem to work best when I make it up as I go along.

I won't be stitching my flowers onto the background for a while yet as there are so many flowers to design and stitch before the overall stitching begins. There are much too many flowers to be 'growed' before I begin to arrange and stitch.

Of course, the walking along the path for this quilt  is going to be a very slow, but contented stroll. This quilt will not be finished any time soon but I don't mind in the least as I rather love slow hand stitching....I am a patient gal. In between the stitching of this pretty, I am sure I will be distracted by other imaginings, other tarted up pretties, other scrappy quilts, one-of-a-kind bags....dare I say, the odd cushion of baskets overspilling with ribbon flowers. I am a gal whom never has one pretty in the creative pipeline at any one time. Having several pretties jostling for attention at any given time is what makes the creative life so terribly interesting, don't you think??

As always, thank you lovelies for popping into my place. Thank you for reading my "stuff and nonsense" and humouring my rather fuzzy dreams of my big girl quilt; my grown up quilt. Your sweet visits always delight my day. Each one of you makes me want to skip through my flower-filled day. Welcome too, all you lovely ladies who are new to my little blog. It is a most beautiful thing to have you visit. Sending you all a little posy of Love, this beautiful Spring-time day.♥

Until the next time...........

Linking up this week:
Finish or Not Friday at Busy Hand Quilts
Slow Stitching Sunday at Kathy's Quilts
Wandering Camera at Soma's Whims and Fancies

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Spring Blossoms.....A Spring Finish

It is always a joyful feeling when a quilt one has been working on for a long time is finished. And......with the last stitch stitched on my Spring Blossoms pretty, I am beside myself with great joy! In my sewing room this past week, time has been ticking away as I finished the hand quilting and stitched the scrappy fabric binding to the quilt.

Spring blossoms is resting on the bed in the boudoir, singing a sweet Spring song, which is apt as there is just a whiff that Spring is perhaps not too far away. There is just a hint that Spring will soon be 'bustin out all over' down here. Well.....that is at least in the botanical is still a wee bit chilly for my liking. Those first pretties of Spring, all things Narcissus are popping their frilly, petticoat hoop faces up from the chilly earth to greet me with a smile. I must admit when I gaze upon these sunshine-filled blooms oozing with happiness I cannot help but smile. 'Tis beginning to look rather pretty down here.

I started Spring Blossoms about this time last year. I had fallen giddy in love with stitching EPP hexies and as I stitched each flower I imagined how pretty a quilt would look with blocks of hexie flowers  in a scrappy quilt. So.....Spring Blossoms was born.

Remember these??

Each of these hexie flowers and blocks have as if by magic blossomed into a pretty spring-like quilt.

A simple quilt both in design and stitching. No PHD required here for the stitching of this pretty. The hand quilting too, was simple, just quilting around each block and the flowers. I suppose one of these days I will send one of my quilts off to a long arm quilting connoisseur, but if truth be told, I love the look and feel of a hand quilted quilt. Yes my stitches are not even in length and yes my stitches do tend to wander off the straight and narrow path but I love the soft, squishy-squashyness feel of a hand quilted quilt; something which a quilt loses when quilted within an inch of its life on one of those long arm machines. Oh, the patterns on these machines are amazingly beautiful and may I say perfect (something which I should wax lyrical about seeing as I am a tad persnickety) but somehow I am rather partial to a hand quilted pretty. I will always love the perfect imperfections of hand quilting. Besides, I find hand quilting rather therapeutic, I really, really do.....even if it seems to take forever to finish.

Another scrappy quilt to add to the collection.

There is just something about quilts that dance with scrappylicious colour and pattern and charm, isn't there. I love my Spring Blossoms quilt. It oozes with two of my favourite things in quilting....hexagons and scrappy fabrics. Will this be my last scrappy quilt?? Somehow, I don't think so.

Until the next time.........

Linking up this week to
Julie's Homemade Monday over at The Sum of Their Stories
Jann's Have a Daily Cup of Mrs Olsen.
 Freemotion By the River
Let's Bee Social
Soma's  Wandering Camera
Can I get a Whoop Whoop?