Choosing a colour palette

A cushion for Lotta :: Matching Pegs
4 Years ago I made a cushion for Lotta, for her to sit on when she is on the couch.  Although it was for a dog, I made it to blend in with the other cushions, and not look particularly doggy.  The one you see up above is a new one, and below is what the 4 year old one looks like now.
Lotta's old Dog Cushion for the Couch :: Matching Pegs
Sadly, after 4 years, it looks very doggy.  Definitely time to make a new one.
The first thing I did was pull out a whole lot of fabrics which toned in with another of my couch cushions (the one you can see in the top photo, on the right).  I wanted a lot of variety.  Using a feature fabric to inspire you is a great technique, if you are ever stuck for a starting point.  Even though I didn’t use any of this feature fabric in my doggy cushion, (it’s scale would be too large anyway) picking the colours this way makes the 2 cushions harmonize wonderfully.
A pile of harmonious fabrics for a quilt :: Matching Pegs As you can see I went with plumy purples, apricots and oranges, buttery yellows, a range of warm greens and some taupe browns/greys.  I made sure there were a range of lights, mids and darks, as well as a variety of scales of prints.  The taupe/grey fabrics echoed the background colour of the feature fabric.  A few of these fabrics didn’t make the cut,(because the scale on them was too big) but most of them are in the finished cushion.  When in doubt I just held the fabric up against the feature cushion, and if it clashed, it was out.
Seam experimentation, pressing the seams open :: Matching Pegs
I have been loving all the equilateral triangle quilts I have been seeing for the last year or so, and this cushions was an excellent way for me to experiment.  For some rows I pressed all the seams to one side as I went.  For other rows I pressed them all open.  I found the latter to be easier to manage when it came to piecing the rows together.
Yay, the intersection is perfect! :: Matching Pegs
It helped me when it came to lining up the points, and amazingly, some of the intersections are perfect!
Wonderful hippo backing fabric for the cushion :: Matching Pegs
I found the cutest backing fabric for the cushion, a very fine corduroy.  I quilted the cushion-top onto a piece of old blanket with straight line quilting, (with orange thread) before I assembled the cushion.  I finished the edges with orange binding, just like a quilt.
An equilateral triangle cushion :: Matching Pegs
I’m pretty pleased with the end result and so is Lotta.  I enjoyed this foray into equilateral triangle piecing so much that I have a whole quilt on the drawing board, and a pile of fabrics waiting to be cut.

Have you made anything with equilateral triangle piecing?

Very Busy

Lotta and my growing Rag Rug

This week has flown by, and so will this weekend (because I’m off to Sorrento, on a girly, sewing weekend).

I haven’t had time to do much crafting (or reply to comments, sorry) except for a little “tooth-brushing” on my Rag Rug in the evenings.  It is now pretty much “Lotta Sized”, but Lotta was not as brave as Jodie’s cat, and has not yet sat on it.  If only she felt that way about the quilt blocks that I have laid out, on the floor, (with paw prints on them).

My Toothbrush Rag-Rug

You can now see that the next colour I went for was green, (three times in fact) along with some mauve and pinky-red.  I have not yet decided what comes next, perhaps more coral-pink from the middle.

See you – I’m off to the beach…

Red things go faster…

Red Running Shoes

A challenge and an invitation was laid down to me recently, by a friend in the computer, Emzeegee.  A few weeks ago, prompted by her, I embarked on the “Couch to 5k” running program.  You will understand my basic level of fitness if I tell you that I have had these running shoes for 11 years.  Clearly, they are not worn out.  Now that all the kids are at school, I have the freedom to put a bit of effort into my fitness.

Running top - special pocket in the back

After the first few sessions, I was getting frustrated by having to carry my keys.  A friend, who is a serious runner, mentioned that running tops often have a little pocket in the back for just that purpose.  Off I went to the outlet store where I found just the thing in red, to match my shoes, because red makes you go faster, don’t you know!

In the photo above, I grabbed the nearest thing on hand to demonstrate the clever pocket, it just happened to be the lovely necklace that my friend blog-less Debby gave me for my birthday, she sure knows my taste.

New Bangles for my birthday

Clearly, my brother and his partner also know my taste, and my penchant for red, because these are the lovely bangles they gave me.  These, however, will probably not make me any faster.

Lotta the Moodle

Sadly, my sweet doggy, Lotta, doesn’t make me any faster either, in fact the complete opposite.  She is great company for the walk to school, (like this morning in the beautiful winter sunshine) but when I am jogging, she stops and starts, and I am scared that I will accidentally land on her paw, and break it.  That was something that my Father managed to do when running with our sweet Foxy, “Silky” many years ago.  I feel really mean, but I think jogging will have to be a solitary pursuit.

Quilting in progress - red thread

Now that I have bored you with my fitness regime, on my crafting blog, I may as well go the whole hog, and mention an article that has been rolling around in my head, which is similarly not crafty at all.  It is about parenting in a way that prepares your kids for independence, (or not).  It might roll around in your head too…

while it does, look at my quilting-in-progress, with red thread!

 

 

Critters

A tiny peek at my fabric design

Have you heard about Project Selvage yet?  It has got me very excited.

Spoonflower and Michael Miller Fabrics have joined together to hold a competition to become Michael Millers next designer with their own fabric range.  To enter you need to design a fabric suitable for a baby boy.  I have spent all week working on my design, which you can see a tiny part of up there.

detail of moth fabric

The very first thing I did was come up with a palette of colours that felt comfortable and promising.  Next I started thinking about nocturnal creatures and the night sky (after deciding that I was not feeling inspired by monsters – sorry facebook friends).  I did quite a bit of work with moths, which looked great, but not baby-boyish.  Finally I hit on an idea I liked – a nocturnal critter that is really working with the colours and the baby-boy theme.  I spent several days fiddling with the repeat, tweaking the colours of each element and adjusting the line thicknesses, and now I think I am happy.  Hopefully I will get chosen to be one of the semifinalists and then I can tell you where to vote!

Lotta - wet and bedraggled

This critter is not nocturnal, and has been in a bit of trouble lately.

Here she is looking wet and bedraggled after she escaped and joined us, unexpectedly, on our walk to school the other morning.  Clearly, she felt that we should not go for any walks without her.  I only left her home because she is not allowed on school grounds, and I knew I needed to go in and chat to the teacher that morning.  Lotta and I have been having plenty of walks during school hours, because I have been trying to get more exercise, so it was not like she was missing out on all the action.

While we were walking (very fast) on another day, we startled a brown snake on the path, who in turn startled both of us.  Luckily it was in a hurry to leave, (they are very venomous) but I had horrible visions all the way home, of what it would be like if Lotta had been bitten – I don’t think a tiny dog like her would survive the experience, even if I got her straight to the vet for anti-venom.

It is just as well that she is strong enough to withstand bees though – she was stung yesterday on the paw, and was quite miserable for about an hour.  She has been snapping at bees near a particular bush for months, I am only surprised that it has taken this long for her to reap the consequences.   I am hoping she has learned her lesson – I hate seeing her miserable and in pain.

Anyway, I will show you more of my nocturnal fabric critters when the competition entries close, and the top 75 semifinalists are anounced for voting, at the end of March.  Cross your fingers for me please :-).

A New Skill

It has been a super busy week here in the house of Matching Pegs.  It is school holiday time, so the kids are home and I am busy spending time with them.

Way back, (last Saturday) I went to a workshop with Kellie Wulfson of Don’t Look Now on Free Motion Quilting.

Here you can see Kellie’s capable hands demonstrating her favorite, and achievable free motion quilting patterns.

Amazingly, I discovered that with a little practice, I can do it too.  Here is the pillow that I started in the workshop and finished in the following few days.

Do you free motion quilt?

Fluffy and Stickie

Well I finished Michaela’s library bag, and am quite proud of myself.  As I planned, I finished the applique by stitching (twice) around each shape about 1/8″ or so from each edge.

This time I challenged myself, and did all of the sewing free-motion (as in, feed dogs down).  It’s tricky, but another one of those skills, where the only way to get better, is to actually do it.  The letters of Michaela’s name were the hardest, but luckily they are really dark, so the mistakes don’t stand out.

Did you notice who sneaked her way into that first picture?

Lotta the Moodle, who is the fluffiest she has ever been!  Here you can see her just after a bath, a blow-dry and a brush.  Unfortunately, I have to have her clipped, as she is starting to get matted, especially on her underside.  Once her fur is this long, she is very hard to keep snarl-free, and I think wearing her coat at night has contributed to the matting.  She is going to be wearing the coat a whole lot more after her trim!

Meanwhile, on the weekend, Luke picked up a new friend, while mowing the lawn – a Stick Insect (or phasmid).  We were all fascinated, so we had a good look, and then gently popped her (as far as I can tell, the male phasmids have wings, and the females do not) back onto one of the bushes in the backyard.

The sun is shining today,and I think Winter is starting to lighten up, or perhaps that is just hope talking.  How is Winter (or High Summer) treating you?

Photoshop frivolity

Yesterday Luke and I spent ages trying to get a shot of me that needs to accompany my work for the magazine deadline.  We had some trouble with the light, but got there eventually.  Once we sat down at the computer to have a good look at the shots, Luke started fiddling in Photoshop with all the kids gathered around him.  Here is what he came up with…

Rory as Lotta.  This was, hands down, the funniest.

Michaela with my glasses, nose and mouth (but still her eyes).

Amelia as Lotta (they all wanted to be Lotta).

Rory’s face on Amelia’s body, and the one that almost made Michaela cry…….

Michaela with Rory’s Mohawk.

Luke stressed that he did these with Michaela on his lap (giggling her heart out) so they are not very well done, but we certainly enjoyed them!

Oh and here is the final shot for the magazine.

Not very exciting after all the others, but at least you can tell it’s me!  Gotta get back to my deadline……once that’s done I will reveal the Sunset Quilt!

My Beautiful Sewing Space

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A few days ago I finished putting the “skirt” on my new cutting table – it is complete!

Made from two IKEA kitchen cabinets, an interior door, some small lengths of timber, little hooks and eyes, some stretchy, covered-springy-stuff that holds up the curtains, and about 5.5 metres of fabric (Shangri-La by Three Sisters for Moda – stolen from an uncompleted project).  I am so thrilled.

The top is painted in the same custom colour that we had mixed for the gutters and the heater surround at our last house – it is hard to pick from the photos, but it is a very dark kingfisher blue – verging on black and I love it.

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The cabinets are holding my stash, which is still stored in several plastic crates.  I am debating storing less attractive items under there, and putting the folded piles of fabric on my open shelves – but that is a pretty big job, I’m still thinking through the pros and cons.  Can you see these lovelies well enough – here is a better look.

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This is the other side of the space (which was the formal dining room for the previous family – you can see it here)

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My Mum has been extremely generous, and has given me her Horn Cabinet, to store my sewing machine in.  I have yet to colonize the space inside it with all my bits and pieces.  It will take me some time to decide where to keep everything – the thing is full of little partitions.

You will have noticed my little friend in the first photo.

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After Lotta’s recent clip, the weather turned cold again, so I had to put her in a coat, which I almost never do.  She is wonderful company in my beautiful sewing area, and pretty cute as well.  Stay tuned for more sewing room projects.

Does anyone keep you company when you are sewing?

Therapy

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It has been a while since I posted.

Long term, things in my family (see last post) are looking more positive than they were, but the current situation has changed very little.  In general, the sadness I feel is taking it’s toll, particularly creatively.  I have been taking my time to set up my new sewing area, and have been feeding off the creativity of others, spending lots of time blog surfing.

Overall this “therapy” has been slowing working its magic, and I am started to get ideas again – starting to get that urge to make something.

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I have been really enjoying our new house, the space is such a luxury.  At the almost-a-month-mark, we are almost all unpacked, (3.5 boxes left I think).  As I type this, I can hear Kookaburras laughing, which is magic, a real balm for the soul.  The older I get, the more I believe that it is the little things that make life worth living.  Sitting in the sunshine with a good friend, and a lovely cup of tea is a wonderful dose of healing, far better than buying stuff, even red shoes.

This week I have been enjoying the beautiful flowers (above) from a lovely friend (They opened Carolyn, and they are beautiful) and every time I look at them I am reminded of her visit.  I wish I could share the fragrance.

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Due to the hot weather, I have had our puppy Lotta clipped.  I asked the groomer (would that be he right word?) to clip her close all over, because there are a lot of nasty little weeds in the garden, that we are gradually tackling, but they have been getting caught in Lotta’s fur, especially her tail.  I think she looks like a completely different breed of dog now (the most recent view of her with her hair is here at the bottom of the post).  She reminds me of the fox terrier crosses I had growing up, especially my lovely “Silky”.

Lastly I thought I would share a site (The Visual Aid Shop) I found last night via Print and Pattern, it has a whole library of excellent posters designed by graphic designers on all sorts of things.  If you look at the Print and Pattern post here, you can see a pretty good selection.  I think they would make cool Christmas presents for the graphically discerning.

What simple pleasure is your therapy?

Matching Pegs has a new home among the gum trees

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We have made it to the other side of the move!  We are still feeling a little chaotic, but the space is pure heaven.  The garden is much more native than our previous one, as we are surrounded by gum trees (eucalypts).  There is plenty of scope to put in ground-covers, shrubs and flowers.

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The kids are loving having their own bedrooms – this is the one that Amelia chose, which is actually the smallest, she fell in love with the paint colour.  I think it is a little strong, but it does go well with her quilt and fairy wall hanging.

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Some areas of our home are looking more set up than others – there are still lots of boxes everywhere – but it is so lovely to finally be able to display some things that have never seen he light of day.  This is a quiet corner of the lounge room that we are going to use when we want to get away from the hubbub to do some work on the laptop, or some quiet writing.

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The lounge room also boasts the ugliest lights ever, strung low enough that several members of the extended family are going to have to wear hardhats to enter the room.  See those little specks of light on the ceiling? They are being thrown by the lovely mosaic bowl in the previous photo, which I was given by a dear friend for my last birthday (thank-you Leigh).  We are now calling it the reverse disco ball.

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You can see it here with some beautiful roses that my Mum bought from her garden this weekend.  I believe they are “Henri Matisse” Roses.

Our new home is a symphony of those 80′s colours – pale apricot and mission brown, with quite a bit of woodwork thrown in.  Even the ceilings and doors are painted pale apricot -the same strength as the walls.

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The meals area is the only living area in the house with a slightly different colour – a feature wall of textured dusky pink.  It is kind of growing on me, but Luke doesn’t think much of it.  It sure makes a nice backdrop to the beautiful flowers that our friends Rowena and Mark gave us to celebrate moving into our new house (thanks guys).

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On Friday we were reunited with Lotta, who spent the week at my Mum and Dad’s while we moved.  She is also loving the new space, and we are all happy to be together again.

I will be back to show you more as the house is unpacked.  Hopefully I will have a sewing area to show you soon, once we have created a cutting table – we have great plans that involve 2 kitchen cabinets from IKEA and a door.  Stay tuned.