Sunday, November 28, 2010

First candle

I'm feeling sooo together right now. For the first time for years I have actually managed to get my advent decoration sorted and the first candle lit on the day without being all stressed out about it. I'm enjoying some quiet time indoors on my own with that first candle flickering gently next to me, a cup of cappuchino and my laptop, getting ready to do some blog reading and then I'll start sorting out my Christmas lists. But I have such a feeling of calm about it all this year. Christmas will come one way or another, and I don't really have to make a lot of fuss. I have a little bit of baking to do, and I have one party to arrange, but that's all really. The presents won't take care of themselves, but I know that with careful planning the actual shopping will be done in a few hours, so there is really nothing to fuss about. Now if this calm only continues into December I'll be fine...
I love my advent decoration this year - a little moss covered landscape with candles. I added a strip of paper with (slightly wonky) numbers around the edge. The idea was to have a Santa or snowman magnet to move along from day to day, but all the holiday stuff is still up in the attic, so I just grabbed a magnet from my fridge door for now. I like the effect, though - it could be a door into a secret garden, perhaps? Maybe I need some little gnomes and red mushrooms peeking out from under the moss hills...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Holiday prep

Originally uploaded by crafty mathea
Less than a month until Christmas - where did this autumn go? To get myself in the right mood for holiday crafting I started off with this little star. I have a stash of old buttons inherited from my seamstress aunt, and this was a fun project where I got to use a lot of them. I made a star shape frame from heavy gauge wire and used thin wire to "sew" the buttons onto the frame. A nice and easy project that I finished in an evening while watching a movie.
Now, if all my craft projects were as quick to do, I would be ready for Christmas with time to spare...
Right, duh!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Harvest quilt

It's about time I showed my Harvest quilt, isn't it? Tada! I actually finished it a couple of weeks ago, but the weather has been awful, so I have been waiting for a clear day to be able to take some pictures, and today, being at home in the middle of the day I finally got the chance to hang it up and start snapping. In order to take the photos I have to move the sofas and the table out of the way, which led to quite a bit of dusting and hoovering as well, so what was meant to be a relaxed day by the sewing machine ended up quite busy, but tomorrow is another day...
Now, this is not a different quilt. It is the back of the Harvest quilt actually. I couldn't decide on what to use for the backing, and I had an idea in my head while I was working on the front that I would include some turquoise - like glimpses of water through autumn foliage, but I just couldn't make it work. So I made the background all "watery" instead. To create a bit of interest I made a few star blocks to blend into the background.

I have spent quite a lot of time quilting this thing. Inspired by Boo Dilly's lovely quilting I went with alternating lines of machine and hand quilting, dividing the quilt into quarters - two with horizontal lines and two with vertical lines. After washing the quilt got a lot of texture, and up close it looks like furrows in a field. Combined with the lovely fabrics with prints of onions, mushrooms, corn, cauliflower, leaves and chrysanthemums the name was obvious - this just has to be the Harvest Quilt! I just love the texture that the heavy quilting has added, and it is so soft and snuggly. Just right for cold autumn evenings. This one will definitely not leave the building ;-)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

More mug rugs

I don't seem to have much to talk about lately, and I'm way behind in visiting blogs and taking part in whatever's going on. I joined the Bloggers Quilt Festival, but must admit that I have yet to make the rounds and see all the fabulous quilts. A combination of cold weather (I'm so not a winter person...) and stress at work has left me with little energy for any extras. Computer problems have added to it all. I have treated myself to a laptop now, though, so once I get everything transferred and set up the way I want, I should be back on track.
Huddling under a pile of quilts in a quiet corner has helped me get some work done, however. A quick dash into a chilly sewing room to quilt a few wavy lines here and there, followed by some cosy hand stitching means that I have finished a few things. My Lonnie Rossie/Autumn/Harvest quilt (name pending) for one. I'll try to fit a photo session in tomorrow during those precious few hours of natural daylight, so I can show it off. Meanwhile, here's a picture of some more mug rugs I made from bits and pieces in my scrap bag. Have a closer look in my Flickr album if you like!

Monday, November 01, 2010


Originally uploaded by crafty mathea
I've decided to show my Sunflower quilt for the Bloggers' Quilt Festival this time around. This is one of the quilts I have made that I have actually managed to keep for myself. I found the pattern in the first Material Obsessions book and thought it would be a good pattern to show off the lovely Sole Sunflower fabric by Valori Wells. I had been hoarding this fabric for a while and been reluctant to cut into it, but with 18" blocks I got to show off the lovely sunflowers. Once I had managed to pick the rest of the fabrics, the blocks went together easily enough, but I had a hard time choosing fabric for the border, and auditioned several choices on Flickr and got lots of help before finally ending up with the red fabric.
I think one of the reasons this quilt feels special to me is that I got so much input from my internet friends and that really made all the difference. I really got the sense of being part of a community who helped and cheered me on.
The quilting took ages. I used quite a lot of free motion quilting on the sunflower blocks, and straightish lines on the strips of the courthouse step blocks. I regretted my choice of quilting more than once, because it seemed to take ages, but I got there eventually. After washing the quilt became very soft and crinkly and remains my favourite nap quilt.
More photos of the quilt here.