Thursday, 18 September 2014

A new look and a giveaway

Down Under Quilts issue 166 is on sale at newsagents throughout Australia today! It will be available at Coles supermarkets next week, and you can also order it online (digital or hard copy).
This is our spring issue and it has a fresh new look. To celebrate I have one copy to give away - for your chance to win it just leave a comment here and tell me what you love to see in a quilting magazine. (Australian readers only - sorry international readers!)

My project in this issue is this Stripy Chevrons baby quilt, made with upcycled men's shirts (you may remember I showed some sneak peeks here and here). There are also some gorgeous projects designed by Andi Herman (aka PatchAndi), Anorina Morris and Molli Sparkles, and on their blogs you can also win a copy of the magazine.

Speaking of new looks... I also have one! I decided to go for the short bob again, just in time for my birthday. Today I turned 45, but we celebrated it yesterday, because hubby had to go to Perth:

I am really spoilt, with lots of chocolate, and this gorgeous bag from BagyBags on Etsy (yes, I like chevrons!).

My mother-in-law gave me money to choose something for myself, so I am going to have a lovely time browsing on Etsy. I am thinking ceramics or jewellery (or a combination!). I gave myself Edge of Eternity, part three of the Century trilogy by Ken Follett which has just been published. Looking forward to delving into it!

I have mixed feelings about this birthday. I don't mind getting older (quite the contrary), but I am now older than my mother ever was - she died at 44, when I was 17 - and that is a really strange idea. I guess I'll get used to it...

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Cadet Cap

You may remember the Reversible Bucket Hat I made last month for the Sew-long Summer sew-along organised by Betz White. Well, I posted a picture on the Betz White Sewing Pattern Forum on Faceboook and won three Betz White sewing patterns!
One of the patterns I chose was the Cadet Cap and yesterday I made one. I used fabric from a skirt that I bought years ago at the op shop (mainly because of the fabric):

The lining is some soft denim from a pair of pants that do not fit anymore :-(
Here I am wearing the cap. I really like it!

The other patterns I chose are the Alice Book Bag and the Midtown Messenger Bag. I hope to make one of them using the vintage Dutch post bag that my BFF gave me the last time we visited the Netherlands...

Friday, 5 September 2014

Felted Trivet article

My article about making trivets and coasters from felted sweater/jumpers is in issue 16 of Down Under Textiles, which is on sale now. I show how to make the baby blocks trivet and there is a small gallery with my other pieces.

This is a great issue of Textiles - it also has articles about making paper vessels, sun printing and stitching on metal, as well as artist profiles, exhibitions and lots more. You can order a digital copy of the magazine here.

A few of my felted trivets are for sale at the Reverse Garbage giftshop at the moment. They were part of Handmade Harvest which opened a few weeks ago. Sadly I missed the opening night, but here is a photo from the RG Facebook page. I spy a felted trivet hanging on the wall! (under the X)

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Button cookies

The other day I saw a photo of button cookies on Facebook and I just had to try and make some. Aren't they cute?

I used a Dutch recipe for 'sand cookies', but of course you can use your own favourite biscuit recipe.
I don't have a round cookie cutter (I'm not really the baking type) but found an egg cup with a diameter of 5 cm (2 inch) and used that to cut out the shapes. A bottle top was just the right size to make the indentation, and a straw was perfect to make the buttonholes. My boys loved the cookies and are already asking if I can make them again!

And now for something completely different... Last week I noticed this photo on the Spoonflower blog - it's the classroom / community space at the Spoonflower HQ. See that blue fabric on the wall? Could that be my Dutch Houses fabric? Yes, I think it is! How exciting! :-)

Friday, 22 August 2014

Good news

Yesterday I received an email telling me that my quilt Speed had been selected to appear in 1000 Quilt Inpirations by Sandra Sider, due to be published by Quarry Books in December 2015. How exciting!

This little quilt (A4 size) is getting a fair bit of limelight, for it was also featured in the American magazine Quilting Arts in 2011. It lives in Holland, as I made it for my uncle who loves cycling. I will have to get him a copy of the book!

More good news: a dear friend bought my Forest quilt and it is now hanging in her home office. That is making me very happy! :-)

Sunday, 17 August 2014

See-through pencil roll

As you know if you have been following this blog for a while, I have a thing for pencil rolls. Last week I was buying some fabrics at Spotlight when I spotted (see what I did there?) this clear vinyl table cloth, and I thought, 'Would it be possible...?'

Yes it would!

Sewing it wasn't very difficult - although a bit weird, looking into the machine like this:

But turning it was a pain! ;-)

I am very happy with the end result  - think it looks pretty cool!

Here is the balloon ball I made a few weeks ago for our little niece in Holland. It was her first birthday yesterday and I was told that she loved her present!


PS Yes, I have finished my big art quilt and I love it! But I'm not showing it here yet - you'll have to wait a couple of weeks to see it...

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Gymnastics bag 2

Yesterday I made a gymnastics bag for my youngest son Robert (7) who, like his older brother, is a competitive gymnast. He is in Level 2 now and had his first competition in June, where he won his first silver medal, on rings! This weekend he has his second competition, the Junior Regional Championships. Very exciting!

It's a simple drawstring bag made from two of my Spoonflower gymnastics fabrics and lined with plain white cotton. I made a similar bag for Hugo in 2010:

It has been used intensively for 3.5 years and is still keeping up very well! Hugo loves it and even prefers it to the cool Gymnastics Queensland backpack he got this year as part of the Queensland team. I have stitched his Level patches onto the bag (Level 2 is on a singlet and he skipped Level 5):

Here are both bags. I hope Robert's bag will be used as much as Hugo's!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

A new hat

At the moment I am working on the largest art quilt I have ever made (I showed a sneak peek in the previous posting). I have put in many hours of quilting already (and also quilte a few hours of unpicking...) and about 75% of the quilt is finished now. This weekend I really felt like doing some quick and easy projects, so first I made a present for one of our nieces in Holland, who turns one in a few weeks - will show it here when it has arrived. And then I made a hat! A reversible one - the black side was supposed to be the main side, but as it turns out I like the lilac side better!

The pattern is from Betz White - I have been following her blog since last year, when I bought her book Sewing Green, and when she announced Sew-long Summer!, a reversible Bucket Head Sew-along a few days ago, I decided to join in (even though it is winter here Down Under). The black fabric is my favourite Thea & Sami handprinted fabric and the lilac is one I've had for years (I made a halter top out of it in 2008).
Very happy with my new hat! :-)

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Friday, 25 July 2014

My portrait, by Jesse Breytenbach

A few weeks ago Jesse from Jezze Prints announced that to celebrate the opening of her portrait shop she was having a giveaway - and I was the lucky winner of the free portrait! I love it, and according to my kids she has captured me perfectly.Thanks Jesse!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Kombi Van Sewing Machine Cover

I am very fond of Kombi Vans (in Holland they are called VW buses), and the cover we did for Down Under Quilts 161 last year (you can see it here, scroll down a little) inspired me to make a Kombi Van cover for my sewing machine. It is a project in issue 165, which goes on sale tomorrow, so I can finally share it! (I showed a sneak peek here and here)

In Australia the magazine is sold in newsagents; if you're overseas you can buy it through this website.

Here is the cover on my machine in my sewing room - it makes me smile every time I enter the room!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Christmas in July

This week I have been making a Christmas table runner which will serve both as a project for the Christmas issue of Down Under Quilts and a present for my mother-in-law - for we will be celebrating Christmas with her and the rest of our family in the Netherlands this year! I am so excited - we will finally meet the two nieces that I have made Aussie baby quilts for in the past 18 months, and even better; another niece of nephew is due in the week before Christmas, when we are there!

The boys can't wait to play in the snow - we have told them that it's quite possible there won't be any snow in the Netherlands in December or January, but they still expect something like a Frozen set ;-). There was snow just before we moved to Australia, in March 2007, but only our eldest can remember that - he had just turned four. Here he is on his sleigh!
(If there is no snow in Holland we will probably drive down to the south of Germany to find some)

The table runner is finished but I can't show more than a sneak peek yet. I am also making matching placemats, using this lovely Poinsettia fabric:

Working on a Christmas project feels kind of appropriate, for it is of course winter here in the Southern Hemisphere. Although there is no snow in Brisbane it does get pretty cold at night in our unheated and badly isolated wooden house! The boys have two weeks of winter holidays at the moment (I always think of it as Christmas holidays) and we are having a lovely relaxed time after the busy first half of the year. I think this weekend is the first since January without any obligations! No gymnastics training, no competitions, no tennis, nothing!

Meanwhile I have started preparations for my next project: the gymnast quilt. I have printed the photo after enlarging it through Block Posters:

I imagine the finished quilt will measure about 1m x 1.5m. Now thinking about which fabrics to use...
To be continued!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Another vintage quilt

Another vintage quilt arrived from the US yesterday. I bought it on eBay a while ago for a very reasonable price - probably because of the two holes in the top of the quilt. Apart from those and a few stains on the back it is in a very good condition. It is hand-pieced and hand-quilted, a lovely scrappy Lone Star.

The person who sold it found it in a trunk she bought in a garage sale in Waco, Texas, in the 1990s. She has no idea who made it and how old it is. The holes look as if someone just put it up on a wall by hammering two nails through the quilt!

This will be the last vintage quilt for a while as my PayPal account is now empty! I buy these quilts with the money I make with my Blue Jacaranda shop on Etsy and my Spoonflower fabric sales. Hubby doesn't really understand what I want with these old quilts. It is hard to explain... ;-)

Saturday, 21 June 2014


The dragon of the sky is finished!

I had so much fun making this quilt. The best part was attaching all the rhinestones:

I free-motion-quilted spirals in the background, inspired by the tail of the dragon. Free-motion quilting is not something I enjoy doing, but I do like the texture it created.

Ernst loves his dragon recreated in fabric. We might do another one together (I have found a very groovy green fabric) but first I have a few other projects to finish. Stay tuned!

Read more about the making of this quilt here, here and here.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Dragon progress

Slowly but surely the dragon of the sky is created in fabric.

His claws are added...

And his eyes (what you thought were eyes are his nostrils!)

The 'spikes' are his wings. They move so fast that they seem to be stationary. The dragon lives high in the sky, much higher than aeroplanes go.

Ready for quilting!