I have had a long and busy crafting season - Christmas sewing followed by Mum's 70 squares (She loved it!). Over the last two weeks I have really enjoyed aimlessly wandering from crafty project to crafty project, just playing. Sewing for no other reason than because it is what I feel like doing right now.Here's a few things I've been up to...Nova's Liberty Scrap Challenge
I used the no sew bunting to decorate the girls new writing area.
And the Liberty wire words for our new "work in progress" sewing area.I have also really enjoyed playing with the new Prints Charming fabric range. I would describe it as a light home dec weight. Perfect for bags and cushions but I have also seen a beautiful quilt made with it too. Beautiful colours and simple designs
make it perfect for embellishing with hand embroidery. I call this my bath supervision project!
I've also been dabbling in patchwork.If you have ever wondered about online courses you can try out the Craftsy Block of the Month
which is free. The format is great - video tutorials, an opportunity to take notes, ask questions and display your finished block. Here is the January block I did:
I have also been playing with a great technique to make a Lone Star from Quilt Smart
. I am still very much a beginner quilter and this technique is so easy to get fabulous corners every time.
One day this may be a centre piece for a new quilt for Rob and I. But right now, I'm not too fussed about that...
I'm just playing.
It's probably something to do with my past life as a high school teacher, but there is something about the beginning of the year and a brand new term that I just love. I used to get excited by new exercise books and pencils, but right now I'm super excited about Sew Together's latest purchase...
eight brand spanking new Brother machines for our next series of classes that are beginning in February. They're computerised, very flash and I can't wait to introduce them to our next group of students. We've also been stocking up on lots of notions - lovely Clover marking pencils and some Gorgeous (with a capital G) fabrics. Life doesn't get much better!
Yes, after a super relaxing Christmas and New Year, it's been all go here at Sew Together. High powered meetings have been on the agenda and plenty of cake and coffee has been consumed!
There has been some time for sewing, though. At the end of last year Kat, from Mumma's Time to Create
sent me some gorgeous fabric and I couldn't not sew it up into something straight away. I still can't seem to kick the bag habit- I was really pleased with the finished product...
It makes me want to jet off to Paris! Unfortunately, I'll have to be content with carrying a little piece of it with me in my bag.
Happy New Year to you all - I'm off to play with my new baby... (the sewing machine, that is...the kids are asleep!)
How did that happen? I was planning the perfect Christmas Eve post, I blinked and it was New Years Eve! Note to self for next year - do not ever think you will have time to write a blog post on Christmas Eve. Despite my best attempts at improved organisation I still didn't get to bed until 1:30 Christmas morning!!
So why do I have time to write a New Years Eve post? Will and Pippa are tucked up in bed and I am manning the home front. Rob and Madeleine disappeared at about 8pm to see the 9pm fireworks - I can hear them rumbling as I write this post. Madeleine was so excited to be sneaking off with her Dad to do something so grown up.
Maybe next week I will write about the wonderful Christmas time we had and share some of the highlights but tonight it seems appropriate to look at the year past and the year to come.
The Year Past
Without a doubt, the highlight of 2010 was the arrival of this little bundle of joy on April 22nd:
He is loved by all. He only has to look at Madeleine and he giggles. If Pippa is upset, her first response is "I want to cuddle Will."
Welcome to your family Will. We are so glad you found us. We couldn't imagine life without you.
My other great joy has been witnessing the beautiful relationship that has developed between Madeleine and Pippa.They are a team. They giggle at night in their shared bedroom. We occasionally reprimand them, but mostly listen secretly from the hall way to their chatter, their shared imaginary stories and their mischief. They watch out for each other. They comfort each other when they are hurting and know how each other works only like sisters do.
Talking about teams - there is Rob and I. (I can't find a recent photo of the two of us!) We have been very lucky to spend a lot of time together this year. No grand dinners or grand holidays. Just lots of hanging out, being parents, tag teaming and making each other smile when the going gets tough. I don't think I would have survived the year without him and Madeleine, Pippa, Will and I would certainly not have had so much fun. He is a man of infinite patience, kindness and love.
The Year to Come
I am not one for grand New Year's Resolutions but here are a few ideas I'd like to see through in 2011.
Lets talk about what counts - Sewing!!!
I am thinking that 2011 will be a year of Japanese inspired craft.
The cloths for children are so pretty:
The adult cloths look so wearable. (Rob gave me this book for Christmas)
And the embroidery patterns are sweet without being cutsie.
I'm tempted to say I will make a quilt - something fresh with lots of white, lots of bright colours (maybe turquoise and red) and some sort of circle design. I like the idea but I have never been good at long term projects.I saw this chair at the Prints Charming Market Day and fell in love with it. Something similar is definitely on my list of projects for 2011.
I have to admit I bought enough charm packs to cover a whole lounge suite!
Well, Madeleine and Rob have arrived home safely from their adventure. I can see the twinkle of the fireworks in Madeleine's eyes. I have just tucked her in to bed and it wont be long before all in this house are asleep. I hope to sleep through the coming of the New Year. Maybe it will set a precedent for the year to come - lots and lots of nights of unbroken sleep.
Where do you sew? Do you have a lovely, warm, light filled room that is organised and inspiring or are you like me, sewing on the end of the kitchen table in the play room?
My husband has just offered me my own space (I'm fairly sure that he's just trying to contain the sewing mess that is slowly spreading from one end of our house to the other...) and I'm just so excited at the prospect. I'm fantasizing about built-in cupboards and a giant inspiration board in a room just slightly away from the general hubbub of everyday life, but close enough to the heart of the house that I know what's going on.
The thought of a permanent location for my overlocker and sewing machine fills me with joy and only a crafter could share my thrill at being able to leave up the ironing board all the time.
While I know that Virginia Woolf didn't have sewing in mind when she wrote A Room of One's Own I really don't think that you can underestimate the importance of beautiful spaces (and corners!) to inspire us to create lovely things.
If I had a big comfy chair like this...
A cupboard like this...
and an inspiration board like this...
in my sewing room, I may never want to leave it!
When it comes to sewing, November is Marto's month and I've just completed my first project. Applique t-shirts are one of my favourite crafts - minimal effort and maximum effect! (and you can learn how to do them yourself in our introduction to sewing course.)
I’ve been reading a lot of Winnie the Pooh lately. While Pooh’s adventures with Tigger, Piglet and Christopher Robin have been keeping Lizzy, Martin and me entertained, a quotation from their creator AA Milne really made me think.
“One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.”
Anyone who knows me understands that describing me as disorderly is an understatement – a bit like describing Mount Everest as a hill.
Recently though, I’ve discovered that (when it comes to my fabric stash, at least) it has its benefits. How would I have experienced such joy at chancing upon a beautiful piece of Liberty fabric my sister brought me from London last year if it had been washed and ironed and folded neatly in a drawer? How would I have discovered that the pink dress I’m sewing for Lizzy would look fantastic with orange gingham piping if they hadn’t been shoved together in a bag under the bed?
Finding bags of ribbons and ric rac, buttons and elastic while searching for that elusive baby shoe or hair clip brings another whole dimension to my day. As someone who spends a lot of time colouring in, making play dough ‘cupcakes’ and reading Winnie the Pooh over and over again, for that I am truly grateful.
It’s spring, and while I will freely admit that my pantry cupboard and the kids’ wardrobes need a clean to fit the season, my stash can stay as it is. I love making discoveries and bringing to light hidden gems. After all, why waste time cleaning when you can sew? I’m off to make something out of that beautiful Liberty.
I don't know much about my great-grandmothers' craftiness. I do know there were crocheted granny squares and hand embroidered table cloths. I am sure there were dresses made and jumpers knitted. Sadly, I do not know if they were women of their time, or if they had a passion for the art of making that brought them pleasure.
One Sunday, our great-grandmother, a strict Scottish Presbyterian woman, discovered our mother (her daughter-in-law) sewing. She firmly told her that Sunday was a day of rest, which apparently meant no sewing. She warned her that any stitch made on a Sunday would have to be undone after the maker died - with her nose. Interestingly this did not deter our mother. She has continued to sew on Sundays but has asked that when she dies, before she is buried, someone attach a stitch ripper to the end of her nose.
My first sewing memories begin with the amazing dresses our grandmother, Mardi, made for her five grand daughters. Fine Liberty prints, shirred summer dresses, peter pan collars, lace trim and pearl buttons - all made on her old Singer sewing machine. I remember it, shiny black with elegant gold writing. I don't ever remember seeing her sitting at it though. Her creativity must have happened at quiet times, away from the chaos of her family.
Our other grandmother, Mamma, was a knitter. We used to stay with her in the holidays. We watched our jumpers grow on her knitting needles as she watched Beau and Hope, Days of Our Lives' star crossed lovers, first fall in love. As we got older we spent hours poring over knitting books, picking out the jumper that she would make for us all each winter. We both still have a soft spot for Days of Our Lives!
Our Mum can only be described as a crafting force.
I remember the gabardine pinafores she made for us to wear to preschool in the 70s. I also remember the dresses she made for me to wear for school book week when I wanted to be the Patchwork Princess or Rapunzel.
When Caroline (the youngest in our family) started school, Mum learnt to quilt and she has never stopped. She has taught many of the women in her community to quilt and through her, I have learnt about the great joy crafting in a group can bring. By osmosis, I have learnt the name of most quilt blocks. So has my Dad!
She has also taught us about crafting as a business. She funded her first overseas trip with a knitting machine, knitting scarves for the local football clubs before they were readily available. She ran craft sales from the front verandah of our house when the height of crafty elegance was fabric covered tissue boxes and padded picture frames.
Now she encourages her eight grandchildren with all of their creative endeavours and gives us the confidence to start this blog and this business together.
I don't know if there is a crafting gene knitted tightly into our family's DNA or if it is through their example that Caroline and I share the crafting passion of these women. Whatever it is, I thank them for showing us the way.