Tuesday, January 17, 2017

WIP :: Australia Quilt

Australia quilt
Remember the Texas quilts I made for my niece and nephew?

As soon as I finished them, I knew I wanted to make another one. For no particular reason, I decided to do Australia. It has an interesting, and recognizable, shape so it's a good one to simplify in this way.

Australia quilt
I wanted to only use fabrics from my stash, that was the original plan. But then I decided that this project would be perfect for the beautiful Blueberry Park fabrics I've been hoarding saving for a special project. And I didn't quite have enough of the background colour, so I had to order a bit extra. Still, it's mostly from my stash, so mission accomplished, I think. :-)

The centre of the design is Uluru (Ayer's Rock). Because these quilts have a centre that the design radiates from, it didn't make sense to use Sydney as the centre. It's on the coast, so the whole design would be lop sided.

And I quite like the idea that the centre is a place that was important way before Europeans arrived in Australia.

I'm pondering how to quilt this. Maybe I'll just do straight lines, longitudes and latitudes...

Australia quilt
Allow me to get a bit quilt-geeky for a moment. Just look how neatly those points meet in the centre. That's far from always the case for me! ;-)

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Five Friday Favourites :: January 13

Five Friday Favourites
This week... at first I couldn't really think of any favourites, because I felt like I've not done anything or listened to or watched anything interesting. But of course, the whole point of this exercise is to look at bit closer and appreciate things AND notice when you appreciate things. If that distinction makes sense?

So first up is the London Modern Quilt Guild, LMQG for short. We have a monthly meeting, usually on the first Sunday of the month, which I went to on Sunday. On the way home on the train, I got to thinking how happy I am that I joined the group. And how much I look forward to the meetings.

Their talents are many and varied, and I am really quite in awe of their skills. But the best thing is the wonderful accepting attitude towards any quilt that you want to show (or bag or knitting). LMQG is part of the larger organisation called the Modern Quilt Guild, but and I don't know what other groups are like, but I feel like there isn't a dogmatic attitude towards what people bring to show and tell at the meetings. Yes, it's 'modern' but everyone appreciate the work that goes into any quilt. And I love that. Plus, it's a lovely gang of ladies. If you're interested in (modern) quilting and you're near London, do join us! :-)

Do you know about Bandcamp? It's a site where people can indie publish their music, of all types. You can listen to the music for free and if you want you can buy a song or album. Often, you can set your own price and sometimes there's a minimum price. It's also kinda like a social network for music, you can follow people (me) and discover music through them and I think you can even buy music for them from their wishlist.

I have been listening to the Sketches album by Sergey Akhunov as played by Polina Osetinskaya and Ilya Hoffman. It is beautiful and dreamy and moody piano and viola.

Blake in the snow
Last night it snowed! It's probably 6-7 years since we last had proper snow - meaning, snow that actually settles and stays overnight. It's all gone now, sadly. We walked Blake in the snow last night and he LOVED it! Unfortunately, it was too dark to video it but it was hilarious! He was running around, rolling in the snow, chasing snowballs. He was so excite. He may never have seen snow before, there certainly hasn't been any while he's been with us. We reckon he's around 7ish years old, so it could be that this was his first experience of it.

We walked over to the field this morning, I thought he'd have another happy run around, but it was bitterly cold so we had to come back without further snow-frolicking. Fingers crossed we'll have more snow this winter. :-)

Speaking of Blake, he tried another new thing last weekend: doggy daycare! We weren't sure how he'd react to that, being left on his own in a strange place. But he enjoyed it as far as we could tell, he was certainly filthy from playing outside! And the staff said he was good as gold, so that's promising.

It's good to know that we can take him there so we can go out for the day without worrying about getting back home within a few hours so he can be let outside.

At the weekend, I finally bought veggies from the market that rolls into Grays on Friday and Saturday. I've been meaning to do that for ages, but we don't always go 'down town' and I kept forgetting etc etc. I got four beautiful red peppers and almost a kilo of tomatoes on the vine for just £2. Definitely going to do that again! I don't know where those veggies came from but I'd assume it's somewhere close-ish - instead of being flown in from Spain or whatever. :-)

Have a lovely weekend, friends! xo Carina

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

New Pattern :: Bird Song

Bird Song embroidery pattern
In March 2014, this pattern, Bird Song, was in Australian Homespun magazine. It was my intention to put it in my shop as well, but that just never happened. I found the embroidery yesterday when I was going through some of my old embroideries and decided that I really should do something about that!

So here it is! Bird Song. A 'sheet' of music with little birds and a large bird soaring off the music. In the original idea, the little birds were the notes, but it didn't quite work, so instead they are hiding in between.

At first, I didn't like doing all that satin stitch in black, but eventually I did find a rhythm and it was almost meditative. Thinking back on it, I remember that I was working on this while we were in the middle of moving from our old flat to ourhouse. We stayed with Tony's parents for a couple of weeks. It was very hot, right in the middle of summer in 2013. I remember getting up very early to sit outside with my embroidery while it was still cool. Surrounded by the pretty flowers in my inlaws' garden and listening to the birds singing, very appropriately!

As I'm writing this, the conditions are much different: grey, dark skies with freezing rain. They say we'll get snow later - I'll believe it when I see it! Nice to have something warmer to think about.

Bird Song is in all my shops: polkaandbloom.com (please use this link if shopping from UK/EU), Etsy and Payhip. :-)

Bird Song embroidery pattern

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Finished Project :: Tamara Quilt

Tamara quilt
I realised I've not actually shared photos of the finished Tamara quilt. It is named for Tamara Kate because the inspiration for it came one of the fabrics in her Origami Oasis collection (see below).

Doing half square triangles on point was a bit of a pain, I have to admit. And for a couple of the fabrics, which are directional, I should have kept this orientation in mind, because they are at a 90° angle. But nevermind.

The overall effect is exactly what I was going for. Big and bold, lots of colour and showing off some of my favourite fabrics. No one is going to complain about the direction of the prints when they are snuggling under the quilt. ;-)

I only started the quilt two years ago and finally quilted it a couple of months ago! Quilts do not have a quick turnaround in this house! Or atleast they didn't when my studio was out of commission because of water damage.

But now I have the studio back so I should be able to finish things quicker. Especially since trying a new-to-me method of basting quilts. We don't have any quilt-basting floor space so that has made basting quite difficult.

I'd heard about basting on a table, using clamps to hold the quilt taut. I decided to give it a go with this quilt and it worked great. It would have worked even better if I had taken the time to iron the top and back properly, but hey-ho. The quilt is done and it's already in use by humans and dog. Blake really likes to make a nest in any quilt!

Origami oasis fabric

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Friday, January 6, 2017

Five Friday Favourites :: January 6

Five Friday Favourites
I have been thinking about gratitude journals lately, they seem to come up in blogs I read and podcasts I listen to. At the end of the day, write down the things you are grateful for, it's supposed to make you happier. And I'm sure it does. But, knowing myself, I suck at doing a daily thing. So instead I'm going to try a weekly thing, which is this: Five Friday Favourites. It's like giving a gold star to five things that I'm grateful for or something that inspired me. Anything that was a positive thing in my life that week.

So even if I'm not writing it down every day, it will be at the back of my mind to notice things so I can blog about them each week. That's the theory, anyway. It'd be lovely if you'd join me - that might help me stick to it as well! What were your favourites this week?

Here are mine:

I recently came across the Nerdist podcast. They talk to celebrities like Metallica, Neil deGrasse Tyson, David Schwimmer, Alison Janney etc etc. It is funny and insightful about art, life and creativity. The two episodes where they talk to Tom Hanks get an extra gold star. They made me laugh like I haven't laughed since June.

A film called Film called Pride. Synopsis from IMDB: "U.K. gay activists work to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984." This is a true story. Both moving and thought provoking. It looks at the stereotypes we have about other people and shows that you can be friends despite, seemingly, being very different. People are people.

You say you want a revolution at the V&A. I actually saw this a couple of weeks ago, but it made quite an impression. It's an exhibition about the second half of the 1960s and it was very interesting. And quite moving too.

Oh Comely magazine
Oh Comely magazine. This magazine isn't like other magazines. It is beautifully written - you can tell they delight in words, and the photos and other illustrations are lovely too. It is not a glitzy, in your face magazine. It is a take-your-time magazine. You don't want to rush through it. Read an article or two a day. Savour the words and the pictures they form in your mind.

Wintery walk with Blake this morning. No snow, but everything was covered in frost, creating interesting patterns and making the grass crunch underfoot. We chased each other across the field while the sun rose and our breath hung in the air like miniature clouds.

Bonus favourite: finding a (vegan) chocolate bar I forgot I had! :-)

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