Monday, June 30, 2014

Blog Hop Around the World......

Who am I……who, who, who, who……do you really wanna know??

The gorgeous Gilly from the lovely blog, Gilly Makes  asked me if I would like to share a li'l about myself and participate in the 'Blog Hop Around the World'. Gilly imparts a delicious sense of happiness with both her beautiful photos, her delightful personality and of course the gorgeous makes that she creates. You really, really must visit her will be delighted!!

So....make yourself a cuppa, perhaps a li'l treat or two..... because you might just need it by the time we get to the end.

So….let me begin at the begin…..

Most every day (and some evenings) I pirouette along my botanical inspired hallway and enter my happy sewing room in readiness for a li'l dreaming, designing, creating and fun, fun, fun!

What am I working on now? me see. How much time do we have!! Just kidding!! I am a gal that has many lovelies in the production line at any given time....a quilt or two, revamping an antiquated lampshade, recovering a chair that has definitely seen better days, tarting up some op shop article of clothing, a cushion or two,  etc etc... (I am always making something for our li'l ole abode, changing things around). But I will spare you the ho hum details and give you a li'l  bo peep at a few lovelies that are being stitched by my li'l  fingers. Excuse me.......that "thank goodness for that" sigh of relief escaping from your lips is just a li'l too loud....I can hear it all the way down here!!

Alas, yes.... I have more than one 'lovely' in various stages of assemblage. Naughty of me, I know, but is not variety the spice of life!! I have some lovelies that take an age, hence the need for these to be punctuated by other 'quickie'  li'l lovelies.

My first 'lovely' evolving is a cathedral window quilt. Window after window of scraps of pretty fabric peeking out from white frames. This quilt was always going to be a protracted affair just because of the very nature of it. A cathedral window quilt involves oodles of cutting, lining up seams and so, so many hours are spent in trying to attain perfect corners (yes....I am a tad persnickety) where the windows meet.....hence the desire to pick it up and put it down at intervals (very, very long intervals)!!

I would dearly love to see my cathedral window quilt, enriched with its lovely patterned and coloured window panes resting on our guest bed, singing a heavenly, hallelujah chorus with those cherubic beings joining in, but I'm guessing those angels' lips will be button closed for a li'l while longer! This quilt is going to take a while.

My second 'lovely' is a Japanese inspired quilt, made entirely from panels of gorgeous Japanese silks, sourced mainly from vintage kimonos with each panel being bordered by strips of dupion silk. I'm endeavouring to applique origami flowers and leaves and scatter them intermittently over the quilt top. The problem with this quilt, is not the origami flowers, which I thought would be a wee bit of a dilemma, but with the quilting. As this quilt is 100% silk I am not quite sure how I will approach this botheration. I am thinking that the patterns in the different fabrics cry out for sashiko quilting. Silk's genetic gene pool is just a li'l too slippery, squirming and shimmying all over the place and will not lay flat. I do wish it would behave itself...but me thinks this slippery varmint will win the battle! If there are any luminaries out there as to how I would solve this wee li'l problem....please do enlighten me.


Of course, me wouldn't be me if my fingers weren't 'clickity clacketing' feverishly away on a woolly garment of some kind or another. As I speak my "knit by the seat of my pants" jumper is well on it's way to completion!!! Soooooo excited!! Sorry for my's just that I am a wee bit excited as it  has been a herculean effort to arrive at the stage of interlacing all those colourful strands of wool into multitudinous patterns; resulting in an almost finished rainbow-filled jumper. It won't be long (fingers and everything else are crossed) till this gal will be kindling a li'l brightness to this wintry far rural outpost with a wee bit of colour and pattern as I step out in my gleeful jumper!! Yippee!!

Most school day mornings I am in the throes of designing and preparing a stitching project for the kiddos who visit my humble abode each afternoon and while away an hour or two with a li'l stitching. Yes indeedy, each afternoon, the school bus hurtles along our winding country road, screeches to a stop, ejects excited li'l earthlings in readiness for a fun afternoon of stitching, chatter and laughter. Here are some of the stitching lovelies that one li'l girl has created whilst she has been visiting "The Kim Sharman School of Stitching Excellence"....(my tongue is firmly fixed in my cheek!!). She's a clever li'l possum, is our Holly!!

Here are some of this week's projects in progress. You could say it has been a hoot hoot kinda week!! Sorry, lame I know.....but I simply could not resist!!

How does my work differ from others of this genre?
Each one of us has our own uniqueness;  our own ability to impart our own personality, our own flair into whatever it is we create. That is the joy of creating. As for me, I love to create what makes my heart smile. I love to design and though at times I enjoy following a pattern, for the most part I like to design, expand and create my own original idea. My style is quirky, pretty (I lurve pretty), colourful, creative, meandering, embellished..... and I hope a li'l inventive....and of course always evolving. My skipping along the yellow brick road of creativity is a li'l different today  than it was a year or two ago. It is a road where I learn something every day.

Why do I write/create what I do?
I adore creating and I adore writing. It's deep within the psyche of  me. I cannot imagine a day without some form of creativity being enjoyed. I am happiest when stitching a lovely or putting fingers to keyboard and penning a written piece. I love to design and to create, and I love to stitch! It really is play. It's who I am. The arty farty gene is deep within me. Creativity is the essence of me. I love to learn. It doesn't matter what I have made, I always glean some tid bit of knowledge and file it away for another day. I love the written word. I love the interplay between words, filled with nuances; how they can be expressed in a gazillion ways. As far as the east is from the west the essence of words is limitless. Words can inspire.......uplift, they can cause one to laugh, to cry, to visualise, to ponder, to meditate, to dream, to cause one to read between the lines, to create glorious mind pictures.....aahh yes, words are limitless, there are no boundaries. So for me, the designing, stitching and making; and the writing of a blog is a perfect fit.

How does my writing/creating process work?
So much in life inspires me. Life inspires me to create and to write. Everywhere I look there is a rich array of joyous inspiration. From the majesty of God's handiwork around me, (if I live to be 100 I will never not be inspired by the gorgeous vignettes that abound),, love, love soundtracks to many genres of music. I always have music playing softly or blasting (quite often the bovine...the four-legged ones....bellow along; providing their own uniquely curious harmonies), whilst creating in my sewing room. Gorgeous blogs  that people write inspire me; others' creativity, a beautiful fabric, a lovely painting, a tiny button, a piece of vintage lace, something that I have read, a little girl's ideas on what she next wants to create, people's stories, always the gorgeous, gorgeous flowers..........I could write a tome from whence my inspiration emanates.

When I sit at my keyboard and  begin to type, words seem to spill out of me. I will have a tiny thought and think about how I can develop that thought, how can I make it interesting, different and enjoyable for the reader. How can I write the words that I want to say in an entertaining way. I am always thinking how best to present my thoughts in my addled brainpan.  I write for me and hopefully out there, there are a few who enjoy what I have written. More often than not my tongue is fixed firmly in my cheek, I fear I can be a bit droll...yes indeedy I must admit I see the funny side of life all too often. So, so many things in life make me giggle. After all, one cannot take oneself too seriously when one waxes lyrical about what one has made! I mean really....

Mostly writing is the easiest thing for me.....but there are other times when there is not a single fog-like brainpan just won't get into gear; but then, the fog clears and I am on my bumbling way again. I am a gal that drafts a piece, always thinking how can I make what I am trying to convey a li'l more fun. I am afraid that even when I detonate the publish button, there will always be an inkling of a thought...."oh I should have said it this way or that way. Sad....but true.

When creating a stitching 'lovely' I ask myself, how can I make this to be a li'l different, a li'l original? How can I impart 'me' into it. The design process always starts with a whisper of an idea, then the dreaming, then the plotting, then the creating. I am always amazed how a smidgen of an idea, a thought; develops into the finished creation before me. More often than not there are lots of twists and turns in that yellow brick road before reaching the destination. I often divert to explore other li'l paths along the way. My design and creative process can be both a long process or a very quick process. Sometimes it is complete inspiration....but sometimes it is all perspiration.

So.........there you have it. As you see I am not a gal with few words (how's that cuppa going?). If you have stuck around till the end many congrats and a very big thank you! The powers that be should never have given me so many questions to answer. Alas, I am a wee bit wordy but that is me, that is who I am. It would be a rather banal world if we were all the same. There has be the odd one or two of us that waffle on and on and on!! That is the fascinating and exciting thing about this blogging caper, we each have our own spin on what we create and what we write....and we!

But.....enough of me.....(thank goodness for that).....I am handing all these questions over to my very dear friend, Vicki of A Quilter's Mission, who lives in the USofA. Though we have never met, I feel that we are kindred souls, and if perchance we ever should meet, there would be many a cuppa and much nattering going on. I am ever so thankful that we two collided in cyberspace! Vicki has the most beautiful spirit and generous soul. She has alchemistic fingers, performing magic with lemons and magically turns the lemons into  sweet, sweet lemonade; changing peoples lives and wrapping them up with her beautiful quilts, in a warm hug filled with much love. Do visit Vicki's  blog and be certain to visit her next Monday when she tells us all a li'l about her sweet, lovely self!

Toodlepips for now. Thank you so much for hopping down to this li'l isle, at the bottom of the world; it has been a pleasure to have you visit!  I don't know about you, but I need a breather!!

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Needle Book Swap

I have never participated in a stitching swap of any description before in the land of blog. I have read posts by other gals who swap blocks and other stitching projects with  others from around the world and have always thought it would be fun to be involved in a swap of one kind or another.

So........I have decided to join in the fun of Amy's Needle Book swap, and.........I must admit I have had the best fun designing and stitching my li'l needle book.

With oodles of possibilities colliding around in my brainpan, I decided that I would stitch a cute li'l cottage. Kerrie, who is my swap partner, didn't stipulate what she wanted, only that she loved the colours purple and green, which suited me just fine as I lurve these two colours! Shades of purple, violet, mauve, lilac with a little green......perfect!!

Having drawn a  few sketches of what I wanted to create, and having selected a few fabrics and a few bits and bobs, the stitching began. There are a few house needle books on pinterest but I wanted to create something a li'l different.

My cute li'l cottage was mainly stitched using free hand machine stitching. The doors, the windows, the fused curtains, the trailing flowers and the wrought iron table are all stitched freehand. The front and back fabrics have a thick buckram sandwiched in between to give strength. I hand stitched with tiny stitches the front and back together, all around the perimeter of the house and the roof.

I fancied not only having a 'pretty-as-a-picture' front facade, I also wished the back of the cottage to look cute as well. After all, is there not a saying that goes something like...."back door friends are the best". We most certainly cannot have a boring and ordinary back now, can's just unthinkable!! Besides, there is a pot of tea in readiness for those back door guests.

With the exterior of my li'l cottage  having been stitched and completed, I really wanted to have a whole lot of fun with the inside. The exterior looks like any other cute house needle book out there in cyberspace but the interior of my li'l cottage will be just a li'l avant garde.

Me being me, I  dreamt up an idea of designing and stitching an armoire as the gathering place for the needles and pins. After all, doesn't every li'l cottage, house a beautiful armoire or two within its walls!! Of course they do! I know there is the odd two or three (and more) armoires in my li'l humble abode stashed with a slew of stitching pretties.

So......I drew an armoire, cut the fabric and free hand machine stitched it to the backing fabric with a small piece of batting in between. I then used a small length of 'measuring tape' cotton ribbon as the shelves. Every self respecting armoire needs a babushka doll or two and a lovely tea cup to sit alongside the sewing paraphernalia. I then sewed two doors, with buckram between both sides and stitched them to the armoire. I love the spiffy, state of the art, chevron doors, they are a perfect match with the purple fabric of the armoire....mmm....very in vogue!!

Oh and of course, there is a small basket sitting alongside the armoire, filled with embroidered pretties just waiting to be transformed into a stitching 'lovely'.....oh and of course a pair of scissors peeking out, in readiness for a little fabric snipping!

Now that my lovely armoire is finished, sitting ever so prettily  in front of the polka dot fabric-lined wall, making a design statement, I decided that there needed to be an "oh-so-elegant" candelabra hanging from the ceiling. This would be a wonderful way of housing the pretty embroidery scissors that I wanted to include. I stitched a little pocket for the scissors, then free hand stitched the top of the candelabra continuing to stitch the pattern downwards.

Love it!! Me thinks that every self-respecting cottage needle book needs a gorgeous candelabra and an armoire....don't you??

I really, really had the best fun designing and stitching this li'l needle book. I wanted to make something a li'l different; a 'Kim original'. So, now it's en route, over land and sea, wrapped in an embroidered pretty and tied with a pretty purple and green polka dot ribbon.

 I do hope that the lovely Kerrie loves her unique needle book, just a li'l; adding a smile to her heart and day! I know my li'l cottage needle book added many a smile to my day!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Two lampshades.....and a li'l machine doodling!

At the risk of boring you all to death I have prettified yet another old lampshade. Ho-hum...enough already (I can read your have probably seen one too many of my tarted up lampshades to the point of ad nauseum)!! I mean would imagine my humble abode is replete with tarted up lampshades. Actually no, as I do like my path to be lit with many a splendid beacon of light! I do like all those li'l nooks and crannies to be illuminated with a lucent light. Besides, this tarting up of lampshades caper is kinda fun.

Again I have dived into my embroidered lovelies and chosen a few for the task at hand. But this time I decided to add a a li'l bit of perky colour with scraps of fabric. Are you yawning yet?? (I know I am!!!) Well, perhaps just a li'l bo peep before I send you into a soporific slumber.

I carefully snipped scraps of fabric, pulling each panel of fabric as taut as I possibly could and stitched the seams together with a running stitch in embroidery cotton. I then added a  doily here and a doily there, carefully snipping around the doilies on the inside of the shade.

And...voila....another pretty lampshade....but enough of this ho-hum shade.

Now then, wakey wakey.....are you awake!! You might not want to miss this....but then.....perhaps you might!

Now for  a really, really fun lampshade. Well it was fun for me....but then free hand machine stitching is something that really tickles my fancy. This style of stitching (which I have waxed lyrical about  previously and also here) satisfies my love to stitch by the seat of my pants. It satisfies my impetus to veer off that straight and narrow line of monotonous straight stitching, and explore the wiggly and crooked lines. I love the idea that I never really know what my machine sketching will turn out like, and though there is always a fog-like, grand plan demisting in my brainpan, nothing is ever set in needle and thread. If perchance there should be a li'l foible, a li'l hiccup, you just change the oddity into something else. There is something terribly lacking in my DNA as I get quite a kick out of making it up as I go. I love the sense of unexpectedness when drawing with my sewing machine. Of course this kinda stitching can be fraught with frustrations and annoyance along the way, but when all is finished I am usually tickled pink at the results before me and I know I have definitely learnt a thing or two along the way.

This cute tea light candle holder is the inspiration for my lampshade cover. I love the whimsical silhouettes of children intermittently placed around the glass. It is gorgeous when alight with flickering tea lights.

So I gathered together oodles of pictures that I have collected over the years, to play around with ideas for my design.

This is the plain, nothing to get excited about lampshade. One of my stitching girls, who comes for a li'l stitching fun on Monday arvos, said the other day, pointing to my rather uninteresting shade...."Kim, isn't this lampshade a little plain for you!!!!!" I kid you not. Out of the mouth of babes..isn't that just too funny. A nine year old observing that this poor shade looked a li'l out of place sitting amongst my other tarted up lovelies. Mind you this is the same nine year old who told her nan that our home is a magical place!! I suppose to a nine year old, who can stitch whatever she dreams up with whatever pretties hidden in my many armoires; then to her our li'l ole abode is magical. Of course there is nothing wrong with a plain cream shade. Indeed, in a lot of interiors this would look rather spiffy, the 'less is more' look would be's just that I want something a li'l more busy...a li'l more adventurous; an original 'Kim' design.

So....let the stitching begin!!

I decided that I wanted to stitch a tableau of cute children playing and strolling around a lampshade. Illustrations of cute children  picking apples from apple trees, children chatting, children swinging on swings, children climbing trees, children riding bikes....children laughing, chatting and having oodles of fun.

My scene opens in an apple orchard under the shade of two ancient apple trees, more ancient than Great Granny Polly, where children have gathered together to have a fun day. There's Amelia who is busily picking shiny, delicious apples. Oliver is happily swinging, glancing nervously at the plucky Clementine who is rescuing Boo, the puddy cat from lofty heights. Boo has found himself in a bit of a predicament after being chased up the tree by the naughty,  doggity dawg Maisie. Oh be careful, Clementine!

Well...that's one way of getting the apple tree to relinquish it's hold on it's bounty. 
Seb fiercely whacking the branches.

Sarah and Dimity chatting whilst Sam, who is a li'l shy, plays peek-a-boo.

There's Sally and Billy relaxing amongst the flowers, whilst Suzie bites into a delicious apple.

Henrietta is pushing her brother Sam on his trike with Scamp yapping at their heels; and Lucas and Sophie are whizzing by on a trike. Weeeee......this is such fun!

After a li'l tilling of the soil, Ali is having a snooze under the apple tree. 
This gardening caper is tiresome work.

Laura and Mikey have just finished a li'l gardening.

So.......all the boys and girls came out to play,
but have all gone home after a fun-filled day!

Having finished stitching the scene on the fabric, I then glued the fabric onto the shade. This part was quite fiddly, and a tad laborious; and though there are a few creases here and there, that I could not smooth out because of the close stitching in some places, I am quite pleased with the result.

Will this be my last tarted up lampshade?? Probably not. Will I bore you again with the finer points of yet another tarted up shade. Most probably; as already there is another idea hatching in the dark recesses of my imagination. Besides there are a few more shades waiting in the wings to be turned into an original, never to be seen before, lampshade.