I’ve been cracking on with making a new quilt that I’m fabulously happy with. Even the scrappy little pile of trimmed edges looks delightful to me. It’s the colours you see, a successful colour combination never fails to excite and enchant me.
This colour combo is a cracker. Small piles of these fabrics have been waiting in a clear zip-lock bag for months, waiting until I had the time to embark on a new quilt. Yay, how wonderful it feels to start a new project!
Just quietly, I have a whole other bag full of cuts of fabric that are going to become an alternative-colour-way version of this quilt. I’m pretty thrilled with that colour combo too, but shh, this one is my favourite. I’m always in love with colours that you could describe as sunset inspired. The colours are a lot like those in Michaela’s Sunset Quilt that I finished back in 2010.
This photo doesn’t capture the colours precisely enough, it looks a little cooler here than it is in person.
Here you can see my “Hope is a Thing of Feathers” stitchery, (being worked in “peacock” (1201) stranded thread by Cottage Garden Threads) which is almost completed. I was sitting in the car, waiting for one of my children, when I realised that my nails and my coat matched it, (not to mention my iphone and water bottle, which were also on hand). Do you do that that too, discover that you have made more than just your clothing match?
We don’t celebrate Halloween here. There are not that many families that do in Australia, and we are not among them, however Amelia’s Taekwondo class was encouraged to come in (loose) costume for a bit of fun. This is what Amelia and I came up with – Zombie child. No one knocked on our door last night, even though I was prepared with some mini-chocolate bars, so they were all for us.
Did you do anything for Halloween?
This is the total amount of sewing I did in September. It was a rough month, (inside a generally painful year). I wish I could tell you why. In “real”, non-internet life I would probably tell you, because I’m a real sharer, but it’s not my story to tell, and I have no business putting it out there on the internet. I know these cryptic posts in blog land often turn out to be marriages on the rocks, or nasty terminal illnesses, and I can safely say that it is neither of those things. Someone in my family needed my every waking hour, and while I missed sewing, creating and blogging, family always comes first and I have no regrets on that score.
I did manage to make it to the fabulous bloggy meetup, “Crafty Hijinks” in Ballarat in September, which was a much needed day off to spend with lots of like minded crafters. Thanks to Jodie and Gillian for organising it!
Now that life has settled down a little, I’m back on my sewing machine and my computer trying to make up for lost time. Like so many other bloggers, in-between posts you can find me on Instagram. I’m often bemoaning the complexities of drawing comprehensible Illustrator diagrams, (the one above is the most complex diagram I’ve ever attempted, and I’m rather pleased with it) or extolling the virtues of chocolate, my addiction of choice.
On Instagram I’m matchingpegs, you can find me here.
Meet wonky little Miss Fairy Dolly. She’s a prototype that is in need of a few tweaks. If I was clever enough, there would be a whole back story about her life and personality*, but in the interests of actually posting something, you will have to meet her, sans story.
I can see all the things I am going to change about her, but one thing that I’m super pleased with is her bubble dress. It’s so bubbly that it’s practically effervescent. Her rainbow hair was tricky. Although I like it, it was hard to hide the stitching that attaches it to her head, so a less variegated yarn might be better next time. I’m already started on her cousin, the slightly less wonky Fairy, I’m hoping that you will be able to meet her soon…
*(Perhaps you can come up with the back story of wonky Miss Fairy Dolly).
For the past week, theatre has taken over my life. I have become a taxi driver, taking my eldest daughter to daily rehearsals in the city, at Hisense arena. Thousands of parents, from across the state, have been doing the same. Saturday was the culmination of all the months of work, with 2 performances of the Victorian State School Spectacular.
Amelia is a member of the Performing Arts Unit Choir, a choir of about 30 kids that lead the rest of the mass choir, which is made up of many seperate school choirs. She was sitting at the front of the group that you can see, that is lit up in pink, at the centre of this shot. All the people around them, with little lights, are members of the mass choir. Amelia has committed every Saturday afternoon to this choir all year, and they sounded terrific.
Our commitment has been to drive her every week, and in the past week, every day. On one particular day, I drove three return trips to the city, and racked up 5 1/2 hours of driving! A highlight of these lengthy peak-hour trips was seeing this car. I got Amelia to take a snap, because I knew Rory would love to see it.
The Spectacular performances are not the end of my job as a taxi/Theatre-Mum. Every day this week Amelia has a rehearsal or performance of her High School Production. That’s right, 2 solid weeks of singing every single day for Amelia, which means two weeks of driving at odd hours for me. This morning we covered new territory for both of us, when I applied her first lot of stage make-up ever. I was pretty glad that the school had given very specific instructions regarding what to apply and where. I think we did OK.
Due to all the driving and late nights, I haven’t had much creative energy, but I really needed to reward myself in some way. I decided that following someone else’s pattern was the best kind of distraction, so I have been making another of Nikki’s fabulous A-Line Skirts. This time I have drafted my own pocket, and have inserted it with french seams. Even though I have made it in stolen moments here and there, I am almost finished, just the hem to go. I can’t wait to wear it, and show you.
I know this doesn’t look like much, but it’s actually a Regency costume in waiting, just squint a bit and use your imagination. I have a book character costume party to go to this weekend, and I had plan A, B and C for the characters I was considering going as. I wasn’t planning on making a costume, but a trip to the costume store turned up nothing suitable (except for one dress, which would have been perfect without the multiple grey stains on the cream fabric).
This is plan D. I’m making a Regency dress because it’s achievable, and doesn’t require the same crazy amount of fabric and sewing skills that plan A,B and C would require. What you can see there is the lining of the dress. I adapting an old Empire-line Maternity dress pattern that my Mother already had, just using the pattern pieces to make the bodice. I’ve made the lining using the pattern pieces as is, while I am adapting the top layer to have lots of gathering in the bodice area. I’ve spent a lot of time on Pinterest looking at the many boards dedicated to Regency Dresses. They are both lovely and fascinating, but not particularly flattering. The idea seemed to be to disguise the real shape of a woman’s curves, and create artificially high boobs.
This is the pattern piece for the sleeve, which I have cut 3 slits into, and inserted paper to add volume along the lower edge to create puff. I was hesitant to add any bulk into the top of the sleeve, because it actually forms part of the neckline. It’s an experiment, so I’m not sure how it’s going to go. I have fair sewing skills, but no drafting skills to employ when it comes to garments, but I figure that I only need to wear this dress once. It’s not the wisest plan to be making this in the school holidays either, but I’m giving it a red hot go, wish me luck!
By the way, at this point I’m guessing that most of you will be thinking that I’m going as Elizabeth Bennet, but I’m not. I tell you after the party who I was.
What is your proudest costume creation?
Michaela decided yesterday that she desperately wanted to embroider a panda. She came to me with her drawing, all ready to go. Usually I would just scan her drawing, scale it to fit in the hoop, and trace over the lines in Illustrator to create a pattern. The scanner has been a bit temperamental lately, so I explained that I would redraw it in Illustrator, as closely as possible.
After recovering from the disappointment of hearing that she would not be able to operate Illustrator by herself, (it took me years to teach myself) she started directing me. She decided to leave out the eyelashes, and after looking at some pictures of real Pandas, she decided to make the face and the black-eye-surrounds more oval in shape.
She worked out her own colour plan and has chosen all of her floss. Now she just wants me to release a pattern!
If I design some more “Hoop Faces”, what do you think I should add to the collection?
Are you ready to get crafty with felt? This is my newest pattern, a Creative Card “Felt Blossoms”, (which will retail in Patchwork stores for as little as $6) which is making it’s way to stores as we speak. The pattern features really clear illustrations, that make whipping up a few of these blossoms very simple. You may find it hard to stop at just one.
Looking through my archive I discovered that I first designed these clips in June 2008. In this photo above, Michaela is wearing the prototype. She is not quite 3 years old, awwwwwww. After making several hair clips that were more generic flowers, I decided that I wanted to design one inspired by the Cherry Blossom. The bottom-right hair clip, in the top photo, (and on the cover of the Creative Card) is the same clip that I made back then.
I have made so many of these for presents, that I have lost count. They are a great hand-made addition to any store bought present. I’ve made all of my “Felt Blossoms” with 100% wool felt, most of which is from Winterwood, who sell online. The other ingredient you need to get your hands on are hair clips like these…
I bought these in a pack from Spotlight quite some time ago. Clips like these are listed under a myriad of names online, you may already have some in your house. The pattern illustrates how to sew them onto the blossom, through the hole. If you only had clips without the hole, I think that you could use some improvisational sewing to find a way to attach them, (or perhaps you could resort to the hot glue gun).
The Creative card looks like this…
If you would like to try making one of these, and your patchwork shop does not stock my patterns, you can politely ask them to get one in for you. If you mention that there are no minimums on orders from my friendly distributors, Creative Abundance, they might be more willing, (in other words, if they wanted to, they could order in one pattern only, just for you). Otherwise, you can find my patterns at one of the retailers listed under “My Patterns and Stockists” on the top-right of my blog. “Under the Mulberry Tree” stocks all of them.
Have you been making anything with felt recently?
I have created very little recently, but this is one ‘finish’ that I managed. This baby top is made of a lovely wool/cotton blend, that felt so soft and warm, but it was crying out for a simple embellishment. I needle-turn-appliqued on the heart.
The coordinating pants have a very sweet little ruffle across the bum. The baby is yet to arrive, but I finished these for the baby shower, which was a festival of pink, and sugar, and a lot of fun.
I had a quiet Mother’s day, with a morning at home, and an afternoon with the rest of my family, at my parents. The kids all gave me lovely presents, with special mention going to Amelia, who put in a lot of work on her hand-crafted Tardis, (a vehicle for chocolate delivery).
The kids have recently been introduced to the viewing pleasure of Dr Who, and love to watch it in their ‘Grandma-made’ beanbags, under their ‘Mum-made’ quilts.
In completely unrelated news, our new Dyson DC29 vacuum cleaner arrived this morning, and it will never look this clean again!
James Dyson has impressed me from the beginning. I remember discussing him whilst studying for my Industrial Design degree, and the way he doggedly worked at perfecting his design, when no one was interested in funding him. Luke and I were very early adopters, purchasing a DC02 as poor newlyweds, straight out of Uni. It was a pretty big financial decision at the time.
Our old machine happened to be a funky looking ‘DeStijl” model, inspired by the Dutch artistic movement of the early 20th century. By far the best thing about it was that it enabled me to manage my allergy to dust mites, as I could vacuum them out of our soft furnishings, without sneezing myself silly at the same time.
Dyson have now decided to stop manufacturing the replaceable filters for these early machines, but have impressed me again, this time with their service, and commitment to the environment. Because we can no longer buy the filters, they traded in our old machine, for $200 off a new one, and an automatic 5 year warranty, instead of the usual 2 years. We posted off the old one (reply payed by Dyson) to Sydney, where it will be taken apart for recycling. If you own a DC01 or DC02, you can read more about it here. Dyson vacuums are a great reminder that good Industrial design is about function and beauty, and can be found in all kinds of ordinary objects.
Finally, the beauty of nature, Melbourne’s beloved Yarra river, “the river that runs upside down”. Mum and I took a quick fortifying walk along it’s banks yesterday afternoon, as the sun was actually shining and it had been a particularly hard day. It really lifted our spirits. It has been a favourite place in my family, since I was a small child, and occasionally, (if you are quiet, and lucky) you can spot a platypus or two.
So I’ve just joined 2013 and upgraded to an iphone, and being the visual person that I am, one of the most exciting parts of getting this new technology, was decorating it with some beautiful Gelaskins and matching screen wallpaper.
It was a tough choice, but I went with “Almond Branches in Bloom” by Van Gogh, (I may even have put on matching nail polish to take this photo).
This technological development means that I have become the latest in a long line of bloggers to discover Instagram, now that I can take such lovely photos with my iphone. I’m not sure how much time I’ll be on there, but a fellow blogger I caught up with at the Australasian Quilt Convention tells me that “this is where all the bloggers are at these days”. You can find me on Instagram snapping away as “matchingpegs”, I have all of 6 photos so far!
These are the modest purchases I made at the AQC, I was pretty restrained, because I used it as time to catch up with fellow creative types, rather than a serious purchasing frenzy.
My new iphone makes it so easy to take narcissistic selfies. This is the photo I shared with all of Facebook to indicate that after 5 months I had finally had my hair cut.
And this one was to show that I had finally finished making a new a-line skirt, (Pattern by NIkki of You Sew Girl) the one that took me all 2 weeks of the school holidays to cut out.
To balance out this narcissism, I’ve also taken a few shots of the magnificence of Autumn in Melbourne. I took this one on my front lawn on Anzac day, which was suitable (at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them).
Last night I finished the last of the stitching on my “Hope is a thing of feathers” and now I just have to find some coordinating fabric to put some borders on it. It might be tricky, especially if I decide to hold out until I find a pale, dusty purple, which is not an easy colour to match.
I just love the way the filters on Instagram really make the coloured thread I have used come alive.
I have already shared some of these photos on Facebook. If you spend a bit of time over there, perhaps you would like to follow me, you can find a little link for Matching Pegs on Facebook and Pinterest, over in the right hand column. On Instagram, I’m “matchingpegs”. Come find me!
I’m still here, but boy the school holidays sure slow my creative output to a trickle.
I’m still not over my fascination with feathers, and so here is a little fusible applique I have designed, which I have put onto yet another super simple drawstring backpack.
These bags are so quick to whip up, with 50cms (or 1/2 yard) of fabric and some herringbone tape (also called cotton ribbon, or twill tape) or grosgrain ribbon. A pattern will be forthcoming soon, but I am working on a range of appliques to go with the construction instructions.
This is my space invader inspired, pixelated rocket. It’s quite tough to come up with motifs that are not too young, because I think that this bag is perfect for an older child, especially those that have to carry their sports uniforms to school to get changed.
In other creative news, I have taken the entire school holidays to cut out one simple A-line skirt. I’m using Nikki’s fabulous You Sew Girl pattern, and have high hopes for a successful garment on completion. It is not really surprising that it has taken so long, I have been busy with holiday trips to the Zoo, multiple parks, IMAX (to see Flight of the Butterflies in 3D, which was great) the swimming pool, and various friend’s houses.
Frankly, I’m impressed that I have made it through these school holidays with my sanity and good humor intact, given that I have a lot of stressful things that are happening in the background, and school holidays mean I am never on my own. I am more than a little keen to get back into the routine of the school term, but I have enjoyed some very lovely days with the kids. What about you, how do you cope with that never-on-your-own feeling?