Friday, July 21, 2017

A bag for a friend.......and a bag for me

My friend, Anne's (you lovely stitching friend) daughter, Trudy (who is also my friend) will celebrate her birthday in a couple of days, so I decided to fashion her a  Kim Sharman design, one-of-a-kind bag that she can sling over her shoulder when out and about town. Now.....what can I whip up?? What pretties can I unearth to create a one-of-a-kind, divine little bag that will set the streets a-buzzing??

I dived headlong into my many suitcases brimming over with ribbons, laces, buttons, doilies et cetera, et cetera, pulling out what I thought might work. Trudy loves the colour red so I decided upon a little number with oodles of red popping up here and there, oh and some black; after all red and black are best of friends.

I unearthed a remnant of charcoal grey, nubby-type fabric and a piece of grey leather which would be perfect for the bottom.

With my fabrics and a little bit of this and a whole lot of that gathered together, I began playing.

The main attraction is a needlepoint of red poppies I acquired a little while ago. Whenever I spot a needlepoint, either in a frame or as a remnant in an op shop, I always take it home with me as they can be refashioned in oh-so-many ways.

I thought a french wired ribbon cinched here and there around the needlepoint would be an excellent idea. Of course if there is a cinched ribbon, there has to be a pretty bow.

I ruched a red satin ribbon shaping a flower as I stitched and with the addition of a cute-as-cute button, I think it looks perfect. Doesn't 'she' look ravishing nestled among the ruffles of the satin ribbon. With the addition of some black, guipure lace leaves and a grey and black brooch, plus a doily, I stitched merrily away.

I found this pretty red and white vintage ribbon trim from my favourite vintage shop here in Tassie?? The teeny little flowers and the square pattern are in a red flock fabric. It really is very pretty.

The back is simple with just the vintage trim making an appearance. The lining is a cotton, red and white, floral print from my stash.

NOW.....let's chat about the cross-over-the-body bag I stitched  recently for me, myself and I. I was in need of a bag with brown tonings to team with a pair of boots. Never being a gal where one bag fits all occasions, I like to have matching bags and shoes for different outfits. My matching bag/shoe predilection harks back to the days when as a slip of a girl I worked as a general management secretary in a large insurance company, meeting and greeting and rubbing shoulders with the wheeler dealers who exist in the higher echelon of the business world. Though, if I am truthful, my shoe and bag fettish and love for fashion started well before those heady days.

Just a few books pertaining to the subject of fashion that I have acquired and have been gifted over the years. As I have already intimated, I have always been a gal who has been interested in fashion. What can I say?? I am but a shallow gal. ;)

Just a little aside, the book with the brilliant title "Women I Have Undressed" is a memoir of the Australian costumer designer, Orry-Kelly who went to Hollywood in the 1930's and designed the wardrobes of all the biggest stars, from Bette Davis to Marilyn Monroe. He won three Oscars for his costume design. It is a fascinating read as I both love movies from the Golden Years of Hollywood, the stars and those exquisite sets and costume design. Orry-Kelly's take on Hollywood in those days is a delightful read.

These days of course, living in this far rural outpost, I can count on one hand the pretty shoes or boots that sit in the wardrobe. These days my oft-worn pair of footwear seems to be a floral-covered pair of gumboots. No, no.....not standard black issue gumboots for me. My gumboots, though so faded that one can hardly distinguish the bright pink flowers anymore, are mandatory around these parts. Walking around the paddocks and garden, one never quite knows what one's clod hoppers will step in.

BUT.......I digress yet sorry! One of these days I will stick to the topic at hand! Without further ado, my little brown bag that I conjured up late one night. Again I used ruched ribbons (of course), a doily, fringing, brooches, a lovely floral upholstery fabric, and leathers and suedes. happy with my little bag. It teams perfectly with my brown boots  and remember that op shop jacket I tarted up a few moons ago???? My little bag kinda looks spiffy with that, too.

Designing and stitching bags is always fun for me. I am so thankful that I need only step into my sunny, sewing room and unearth pretty fabric, trims and bits and bobs in the designing and stitching of my bags, or anything else for that matter. I am so very thankful I have been hoarding collecting a little bit of this and a whole lot of that for years and years. I truly have a seriously, amazing stash of pretties which would cost a small fortune if I were to purchase all the pretties today. I don't think I have purchased a bag from a store for a very, very long time; years in fact. With just a little imagination and an 'Aladdin's cave' of gorgeous pretties, one can whip up anything....well almost.

So happy with Trudy's pretty, red and black bag and so happy with my brown and black number. Fingers crossed Trudy is equally enamored with her pretty. This coming week it's back to a li'l hexie stitching for me.......the light down the QAYG hexie tunnel is shining a little brighter.

It's almost the weekend down here at the bottom of the world. Wishing all you lovelies a fabulous weekend. Until the  next time....................

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

I am in love!!

Yes.....I am in love. Actually, I am in love with so much of life (it is a passionate and visual kinda gal that I am) but the subject of my passion for this little while is EPP or for those of you whom are not in the know, English Paper Piecing.

LOVE.......all those itty bitty EPP hexies!

Why does EPP move me so??  Why does EPP transport me into a state of rhapsodic rapture?? =) Why......because in folding itty bitty scraps of fabric around itty bitty pieces of paper, then hand stitching each shape, every itty bitty corner lines up perfectly. Every itty bitty shape, in this case my fave shape of all time, the hexagon, snuggles perfectly to the hexagon beside, above, below; every which way. Yes indeedy, it warms the cockles of my li'l ole, persnickety heart that each shape is perfect! Me and EPP are a match made in heaven!

Now, before you heap burning coals of fire upon my head and point your finger at me chastising me regarding my perfectionist tendencies, let me assure you I am okay with the imperfections of this life.....I am.....I really, really am.  I saw the light as a wee child that nothing in this life is 'just so'. It's just that my arty farty soul is enjoying the exactness of EPP. I am loving the fact that I can sew teeny tiny, almost invisible stitches and each shape is lined up utterly, entirely, consummately......(you get the picture) the most perfect manner. Yes indeedy, I am loving skipping down the oft-elusive path of perfectionism, with my itty bitty EPPs in hand, happily stitching as I enjoy the view. 

My arty farty soul is having the best of times with my itty bitty EPP hexies, fashioning flowers as I go. Instead of using paper shapes for my hexies, I have used iron on shapes. I wouldn't use iron-on paper if I was fashioning a whole quilt entirely of EPP hexies, but as this quilt will be one made of blocks with a hexie flower in each block it should be fine. The dear lady in the quilting shop assured me the iron-on paper would slowly dissolve, so throwing caution to the wind I decided to give them a go. If over time it doesn't work I will let you know, shall I.

As you can see I have continued to build teetering, tottering piles of hexies, both for my scrappy quilt-as-you-go quilt and for the EPP quilt. Love, love, LOVE!!

Colour my world with hexies!

I am continuing to work on my scrappy, quilt-as-you-go hexie as well as English Paper Piecing. My scrappy quilt has grown much too big for stitching in the car as we (my good husband and my good self) meander through the countryside. There has been talk around town of the strange man who drives around the countryside with a movable quilt next to him in the passenger seat. Thus the need to have a smaller stitch-wherever-you-go, pretty. Somewhere underneath these folds and folds of a hexie quilt, is a woman. Somewhere underneath this pretty, is li'l ole me! =)

I have also been stitching lengths of fabric strips to cover the seams at the back of my quilt-as-you-go pretty. My persnickety tendencies again. I like to cover the back seams with fabric as it looks lovely and also makes the quilt stronger. Besides, by doing this one has two quilts in one. Sounds 'perfect' to me!

My EPP quilt is going to be a simple one (famous last words). It will be a quilt made of  blocks with each hexie flower being the star attraction. Each block will be bordered by scrappy 2 inch squares....but then I have been known to change my mind.

I don't know why me and EPP have taken forever to become acquainted. Strange really, considering my love for hexagons. I have been falling down the rabbit hole of Pinterest of late and have been oohing and aahing over the Milliefiore and La Passacaglia quilts that all those clever souls are stitching at the moment. Be still my beating heart! Each and every one is truly the most magical work of art. Someday I would love to dance along the bejewelled Milliefiore, geometrical pavement and stitch one of these exquisite quilts, but for now this arty farty soul is loving stitching my sweet, little itty bitty hexie flowers.

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

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Scrappy Happiness

This last little while, my days have been pleasantly filled with scrappy happiness. After stitching some considerable projects of late, I felt a desire to stitch something effortless and easy, something that wouldn't tax my pea brain. With this thought in mind I picked up my happy, scrappy hexagon quilt once more and continued stitching. Yes indeedy, lately my days have been pleasantly filled with a little hexie love!

Me and my little Bernina have been whirring away in my sunny sewing room, whipping up hundreds of little hexagons in readiness to hand stitch them to my quilt-as-you-go hexagon quilt.

Me and my little Bernina have been  building teetering, tottering piles of hexagons.

Old Man Winter has arrived downunder and though the mornings and evenings are a wee bit chilly, we have been experiencing lovely, sunny days. On these sun-filled mornings my sewing room beckons me. Stitching away with Old Man Sun overlooking my shoulder fills me with bliss.

Of course there are those days when Old Man Sun has others ideas about beaming his warmth on my humble abode. Some days for one reason or another he has decided it is a no show day, so it is these mornings I find myself sitting in front of the crackling fire hand stitching each hexie to the quilt.

Of course, long morning stitching sessions require many a cup of tea. =)

I originally stitched this quilt with the thought in mind of using it to throw over a sofa, but have now decided to make it into a queen size bed quilt for the boudoir. I know, I know, you are thinking "how many quilts does one woman need in her boudoir?". I already have my Cathedral Window quilt and my vintage linens, scrappy-licious quilt for the bed, but I have found with Old Man Sun casting his sunbeams all day in my boudoir my quilts are fading a little too quickly. Even though my favourite kinda quilts are those that are a little faded and have become squishy squashy after many washings, the quilts on my bed are paling a little too 'lickety-split' for my liking. So much time and effort goes into the stitching of a quilt that one would like to enjoy them for a long while. Hence the reason I need many a quilt so that I can interchange them often in order to keep the effects of all that sunshine at bay. Anyway, the more quilts the merrier, is what I say.

Notice how the fabrics on one side of the quilt have faded. This quilt has only been on the bed for four months.

Old Man Sun casts his sunny smile of happiness all day in my boudoir. I am that gal who every morning throws open the curtains to allow the sunshine's magical beams of warmth, light and happiness, permeate every corner. I am that gal who welcomes Old Man Sun, allowing him to embrace the rooms in my humble abode with all his brilliance.

Have you ever visited homes where on bright and sunny days the curtains are drawn all day? I have. I walk into these homes and feel a sense of darkness and cheerlessness. If only the occupants would fling open the curtains and allow the sunlight to invade each room, banishing the dimness of every nook and cranny, replacing these dark hidey holes with the whistling of Old Man Sun's bright and merry tune. If only they would allow their homes to be awash with warmth and sunny brilliance casting all those icky, dark shadows away forevermore. I don't know about you, but I find sunshine-filled rooms always bring a smile to my day. Somehow, rooms that are showcased by the sun seem to nourish my soul. Indeed, many a day I find solace sitting and stitching in a sun-drenched room.

But.....enough of me prattling on about Old Man Sun. Over the next little while I will continue to enjoy stitching my happy, scrappy hexie quilt. I also have been thinking about my next quilt. Hard to believe I know, but I am thinking my next quilt might just include a little hexie EPP stitching. Who would've thought!! =D Oh.....and there is a bag to stitch for a friend's daughter's birthday. It could be a little while till I 'chat' with you lovelies again.

Until the  next time..........

Monday, May 22, 2017

Ship Ahoy

This past week I have been buried under swaths and swaths of fabric whipping up a cubby house fit for a pirate. One of my friend's little boy, Eli, celebrated his first birthday. I exciting!! Of course turning one demands a fun gift, a gift that will bring oodles of make believe into a little boy's day.

And.....what better way to encourage a little make believe into a little boy's day than to fashion a cubby house with a pirate theme. I decided to stitch a cubby house that fits over my friend's kitchen table. Every little boy wants to sail away on the seven seas.....right?? Every little boy wants to go a-sailing with the thought of adventure upmost in his mind, to explore distant lands, to perhaps happen upon "that" island and the treasure that is marked with an "X" on his map. Every little pirate wants to find fame and fortune.

When I worked in childcare, one thing I always noticed was that kids love to make cubbies out of all manner of things....sheets, blankets, chairs, tables, boxes.....whatever they could lay their hands on. Children love to hide away in a small, snug place, a hidey-hole where they are safe and cocooned away from the world; a place where their vivid imaginations can run wild.

But back to the pirate cubby house. A while ago I borrowed a craft book titled, "Belle and Boo Book of Craft" written by Mandy Sutcliffe, where from cover to cover there are wonderful crafty ideas to make for children. I was rather taken with the pirate theme cubby house. Isn't it sweet??

The rudimentary need of a pirate if he is to sail the seven seas in search of adventure in far away lands, is a ship. But....before I chat about the 'building' of the ship, let me first introduce you to the birthday boy, One-Eye Eli. He is the sweetest little boy, always smiling and has the most placid of personalities. Though, the waving of that cutlass from ear to ear, by our swashbuckling buccaneer seems to belie that sweet and innocent expression.

I wanted "One-Eye Eli" and his big sister, Ari, to feature on the ship. I took photos of the both of them and then printed these onto fabric, whilst seeing to it that they were dressed in appropriate pirate attire. One-Eye Eli is the master of this ship. With his cutlass and his beguiling smile he will protect his sister and his ship. =)

The main part of the cubby was stitched in a blue canvas-type fabric representing the sky. For the bottom of the cubby I found a cool, ocean theme fabric for the water where a magical, underwater world glides and swims below. I fashioned the ship from strips of old jeans with the masts of the ship in a black cotton fabric. Every pirate ship has portholes. These I fashioned out of a clear plastic. It is of upmost importance that  every pirate keeps an eye on what is happening outside whilst sailing the high seas. A pirate must always be on the lookout for marauding and pillaging pirate ships sailing on his horizon.

Parrots, swords, bunting, peek-a-boo portholes, a jolly roger, anchors, fish........., Eli's cubby is a place where the imagination can escape to far away lands. It is a fun place to play, or in those quiet times a place to perhaps have a nap, or perhaps take time out to have a book read to him. 

Anchors aweigh! The 'door' that entices each child into the magical, cubby world of all things piratey reveals the anchor diving deep, deep down into the sea.

For the table top of the cubby, I found a fabulous print of the world with fact after fact about different countries. Not only can "the pirates" pretend all things piratey, they can have fun with some 'learnin'!'s party time. Sooo......much fun to be had!!

With the party over, with the auspicious celebration at an end and the guests having kissed sweet One-Eye Eli goodbye, hopefully there will be many, many imaginative trips to faraway lands where swashbuckling escapades are to be had. Hopefully there will be many, many moments of magical, pirate cubby house, play to be enjoyed by li'l One-Eye Eli and his fellow bucanneers. "Yo Ho! Yo Ho! 'Tis a pirate's life for me!"

As I sat and stitched Eli's cubby this week, my mind ran away with me. How fun it would be to fashion a cubby with a castle featuring knights and dragons and sweet maidens; or perhaps a sweet, little cottage complete with pretty curtains peeking from behind the windows and of course sweet, pretty flowers hugging the cubby all the way round. Aah yes.......the stuff of a fanciful imagination!

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

Sharing this week with lovely Jann's, Share Your Cup.