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!

Friday, 13 June 2014

Another antique quilt

A few weeks ago I saw this delightful vintage quilt on eBay. I was lucky and got it for a very reasonable price, and yesterday it arrived. Isn't it cute? I've never seen this block before - tumbling blocks with bows tied around them, how original!

The quilt was advertised as pre-1930s. I'm not sure if it is that old as that hearts fabric looks more recent to me - I think it was probably made in the 1950s. But I love the design and am very happy to have acquired this quilt. It's completely hand-pieced and hand-quilted. The seller told me that it was made in Pennsylvania, US.

There's some damage to a few blocks and some running of the red dyes, but overall it's in a pretty good condition. It has joined the other antique quilts on my antique sewing machine :-)

Stay tuned for an update about the Wild Fabrications quilt this weekend!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Thinking of Holland

This quilt was made in November 2013. It was my entry for Living Colour! but it was not selected. I was very disappointed, as the theme really spoke to me and I knew immediately that I would make a quilt showing the famour flower fields in Holland. Initially I called it Flower Fields Forever, but I changed the name to Thinking of Holland, because it does really remind me of my home country.

We lived close to those fields in the last few years before we moved to Australia and, yes, they really are so vividly colourful! (here are some great photos). I had to add a windmill, cliché or not - they have such an attractive shape and there were lots of them where we used to live. And you will recognise the bicycle as the one I used in my Cycle of Life quilt (based on a photo of my husband and our youngest son).

I used my favourite Aurifil thread for piecing and quilting. The quilt is hanging over our dinner table and I am enjoying looking at it every day. But I am also happy that it is going to travel around Australia soon, as part of the World of Colour exhibition organised by Berry Patchwork. It is even going to Uluru! How I wish I could go and see it there!

Friday, 6 June 2014

My Gymnast

Today I received a cd with photos of my eldest son taken at the Australian Gymnastics Championships and I can't resist sharing a few of my favourites here. All of these photos are made by the fabulous photographers at WinkiPoP Media and the copyright remains theirs.

Parallel bars:


High bar:



And my absolute favourite photo, rings:

I have asked and received permission to use this photo as the starting point for a new art quilt - so stay tuned!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

State of the dragon

This is the current state of the dragon. I found a gorgeous glittery gold fabric that looks great but is an absolutely pain to sew with!

I cut the mouth, glued it to the black background fabric and tried to stitch it in place. It kept moving and distorting... grrr! I have stitched it onto the quilt top now and will use a satin stitch in gold thread to cover the edges later.

The teeth are made from white felt, and only the base is sewn to the background, so they add a little bit of a 3D effect. Ernst loves it and I'm pretty happy with the overall picture as well. Sadly I won't have time to work on it tomorrow, but I hope to get on with it on Thursday.

To be continued!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Wild Fabrications

A few days ago I saw a call for entry for a new SAQA exhibit: Wild Fabrications. I have been making a lot of traditionals quilts and quilted items for Down Under Quilts in the last six months and I really feel like starting a new art quilt project. The exhibit concept reads as follows:

'Wild Fabrications celebrates a world of animals both real and fantastical. Let your imagination run wild as you create interesting and unusual interpretations of animals using unexpected or unconventional materials and adornment, and/or unusual techniques. We are looking for whimsical and creative depictions of animals. Your animals may be common or capricious; odd or ordinary; live or imagined. The key to this call is to have fun!'

That sounds good, doesn't it? I asked my middle son Ernst (9) if he would like to design a fantastical animal for me to recreate in an art quilt. He sure would! He started drawing immediately:

He drew and drew...

... and drew...

... and drew:

(And drew some more, but I won't show you all nine dragons!) It was a very difficult choice but in the end we decided to go for 'the dragon of the sky'. Ernst re-drew it for me on a large piece of paper:

Here it is. This dragon lives in the sky and never ever comes down to the ground. When it is really tired (very rarely) it will sleep on a cloud.

I traced the drawing on tracing paper:

In my stash I found a beautiful handdyed purple fabric. I backed it with fusible webbing and cut out the tail of the dragon. I hadn't realised until after I started cutting that it was going to be the mirror image of the original drawing, but fortunately Ernst didn't mind. Here is step one of the quilt!

Now I need to go and find a yellow fabric - and some more fusible webbing.

To be continued!

PS I asked the curator if it was okay to use a drawing of my son and to post this on my blog. It was :-)

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Back from Melbourne

I had a great time in Melbourne - my son and his team did very well (they won bronze in the team competition) and I really enjoyed watching some high-level gymnastics. When I was not at the HiSense Arena, I wandered around in Richmond (the suburb close to the Arena where I was staying) and took photos of the street art. This mural was my favourite; for more photos check out this posting on my photo blog.

Lots of inspiration, both at the gymnastics championships and in Richmond. I'm hoping it will lead to some new art quilts!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Off to Melbourne

Last week was pretty hectic here - getting a magazine ready to go to the printer and a son to go to the Australian Gymnastics Championships! Therefore the only sewing I did was this luggage tag for Hugo; in the most maroon-ish fabric I could find in my stash (maroon is the colour of Queensland). He flew to Melbourne yesterday with the Queensland State Team, I am going down tomorrow morning to watch him compete in the afternoon. Very excited!

Here is the athlete - so proud of my boy :-)

PS My Etsy shop will stay open while I am away, but all orders will be shipped on Monday 26 May. In the meantime, use coupon code CHAMPION for a 25% discount!