Felt Blossoms

6 Felt Blossoms 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.
Michaela, June 2008, with the prototype "Felt Blossoms" Hairclip.
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. Lilac "Felt Blossom" Hairclip by Matching Pegs
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…
Teardrop shaped Metal Snap Clip with a hole in the end
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…
"Felt Blossoms" Creative Card (Pattern) designed by Matching Pegs, distributed by Creative Abundance
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?

This and That

Needle turned Heart Applique

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.
Outfit for a baby shower.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.
Paper Tardis and Chocolate Hearts
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).Watching Dr Who, on home made beanbags, and under home made quilts
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.
Dyson DC29
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.
Dyson DC02 DeStijl
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.
The Yarra river
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.

Social Media

New iphone5 with Gelaskins
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.
Beautiful iphone Gelaskins (art by Van Gogh)
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).
Rose from my Mother's garden
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!Purchases from AQC
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 latest haircut
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.
New, homemade, a-line skirt
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.
Melbourne Autumn Sunset
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.
"Hope is a thing of Feathers" stitchery by Matching Pegs
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!


New applique designs

Feather Applique designed by Matching PegsI’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.
Super simple drawstring backpack, with feather applique.  Designed by Matching Pegs
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.
Ingredients to make a backpack with a pixelated rocket applique.
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.Finally I have cut out the pieces to make a skirt
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?

Birthday Gifts

Arden's Birthday GiftsOn Wednesday my nephew turned 1.  Happy Birthday Arden!  Here are the gifts that I put together for him, (I had to wait until they had been received, before I shared them).  The bag is a simple drawstring backpack that I have made, for taking his change of clothes etc. to childcare twice a week.
This simple backpack is lined
Unlike the previous backpacks that I have made, I have lined this one with ‘ripstop’, which should make it better able to cope with wet or dirty gear.
Applique of Arden's name
I loved working with this adorable robot fabric that I have been hoarding for years, and enjoyed adding his distinctive name in a matching spotty red.  Along with the backpack, we gave Arden the “chubby” cars, which are just like an old one that we have at our house that he loves to play with.  The kids were so excited when were able to track down the same kind of car.
"A" shirt
We included a pair of ever practical overalls, perfect for crawling babies whose pants fall down, and a lovely, green long-sleeved tee.  As you can see above, I added an applique “A” to the front, which I needle-turned in place.  It felt so good to return to needle-turn applique, my favourite kind.
Arden, 11 months
Happy Birthday little man, many happy returns.

Do you have a favourite gift to make for really little recipients?

Trauma and Stress

Tiny Robot fabric
It has been two weeks since I last posted.  Two weeks of trauma and stress and upheaval for my family of origin.  The trauma that I have been dealing with is not one that I want to talk about here, except to say that it has had me so upset and heartbroken that I have not been able to even look at anything crafty or creative.  That is why I have been absent from Matching Pegs.  Today I have taken a tiny little step toward making something, and that something is inspired by these adorable little robots.  This fabric has been part of my stash for years, a hoarded treasure waiting for exactly this project.
Tiny Robot Fabric
Crafting is generally my therapy, and it gets me through most of the average stresses of life, but it is hard to craft when you feel anxious and helpless.  When I am too upset to craft, I turn to reading.  I love to read anyway, but I make sure that I have something to read in the evenings that is escapist (but not trashy) so that I will not spend hours tossing and turning with worry before going to sleep.  I read so that I can fall asleep thinking about the plot, and save my worrying for the waking hours.
Hope is a thing of Feathers by Matching Pegs WIP
I have been continuing to work on my feather stitchery occasionally, and I’m pretty happy with how it is going.  The message of hope on it is a good reminder, in a time when it is hard to be optimistic.
So this post is a step in the right direction for me, in an effort to care for myself, but the painful times are not over.  I will be here in my “happy place” when I can, and when I am not tied up with being needed elsewhere.  Thanks for being part of my happy place.

A New Hope

My new stitchery - the stitching has startedTa-Da!   I’m pretty impressed with my work so far on my new stitchery, and, as predicted, a large part of the delight is just in seeing how the colours turn out.  I have chosen to work the central “Hope” in “Nutmeg – 304” from the Cottage Garden Threads range.  If you are interested in the colours available in this range, you can see them here. I brought all my threads from Erica at “Under the Mulberry Tree“, so if you are interested in the particular colours that I am using, I know they are in stock there.Stitching has started on my new stitchery.  Chain stitch and Straight stitch

I wanted a variety of line widths in this design, so I have worked the outline of “Hope” in chain stitch, which is a first for me.  The “ladder rungs” in-between are just straight stitch, and I expect to be busting out the usual back stitch, in both a single thread and 2 threads as I work my way around the design.  I predict there will be a fair amount of television and cups of tea consumed by the time I finish this, and I expect the weather will be much more suitable for evening stitching by the time the finish line is in sight.  It feels faintly ridiculous to be stitching and sweltering.

Do you put away the cosy sorts of crafts while summer heat bears down on you?

*PS Geeks (like me) will recognise the title as the “first” of the Star Wars films, (number 4) which has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but it did make me smile.

School Crafting

Back to School 2013Do you ever feel like you are running on the spot; in a frantic hurry, but not getting anywhere?  The past week has felt a little like that, but exciting at the same time.  All the kids started school for 2013, last Thursday, but for Amelia it was a really big day, as her first day of High School.  There has been lots to learn, remember and experience, and not just for her, but the rest of us as well.  Our routines have had to change to accommodate the earlier departure for her in the morning, and the fact that she is now catching a public bus and heading in the opposite direction (literally) from her siblings.Personalising Amelia's art apronThere has been a bit of back-to-school crafting going on to prepare for High School.  Amelia chose a fabric and font to monogram her standard issue art apron, which is a serviceable, but uninspiring grey.  We are both pretty happy with it.Quick Drawstring backpack sports bag

I whipped up a quick drawstring backpack to hold Amelia’s sports gear, complete with lovely, neat french seams, (just like Michaela’s dance bag which you can see here).  We decided to use some fabric that Amelia has been saving, featuring the motif-of-the-moment, feathers.  Feathers seem to be everywhere on Pinterest, and seem to be the next step from putting-a-bird-on-it.  I must admit to being a fan of them myself (pun intended).

Amelia is not allowed to wear her sports uniform to school, but has to get changed just for those lessons, so this bag will spend most of its time inside her larger school bag.  I am thinking of writing a simple pattern for this bag, (probably as part of a 3-in-1 pattern containing other designs as well) and I was wondering how many other kids have the same rules?  Would you be inclined to make a bag like this for your child for sport, dance, martial arts or sleepovers?

Stitching on the Seashore

Hand Piecing my "Wheel of Fortune" Quilt, on the beach

For the past week, the Matching Pegs family enjoyed one of the most relaxing holidays we have even had, (post kids).  We stayed in a luxury cabin here, and the kids took advantage of every activity/facility on offer in the park.  Every morning at 9am the kids disappeared for a while to enjoy some craft, while Luke and I sat and enjoyed a cuppa and each-others company.  We had several forays to different beaches, and other local attractions, but mostly I was pretty passive, sitting and reading, or stitching additional diamonds to my “Wheel Of Fortune Quilt”, while watching the rest of my family in more active pursuits.

In the lead up to our departure, I had 3 days in bed with fevers and chills, brought about by tonsillitis, and while I felt a lot better by the time we departed, I was still very tired, so lolling about was just the recuperation that I needed.  It was an added bonus that the bed in our cabin was the best I have ever slept in, away from home.Lego Nicholson Street

Prior to the holiday, while I was huddled in bed, I missed a long anticipated event, the “Lego Brickvention“.  The rest of the family (and my BIL who used my ticket) went along, and Rory took over 400 photos to share the event with me.lego Elvis Helitanker

I was most impressed with the Lego replica of the Erickson S-64 Air-Crane helicopter,(Helitanker) nicknamed “Elvis” which is used to fight fires, (water-bombing) each fire season here in Victoria, and for obvious reasons is held in great affection by the people who live here.

At the end of this week, the kids start the school year.  This week will be taken up with getting-ready-for-school activities, and next week I will return to my usual crafting adventures.

Do you ever sew on the beach, or am I the only one to combine such diverse activities?

Junior Chef Giveaway

MIchaela when she was 3 1/2 years old, as a mini chef

This photo of Michaela wearing the prototype Junior Chef set, (which was also a present for a friend called Kaitlin) when she was 3 1/2 years old might give you some idea about how long I have been making these hats and aprons.  But it is not the whole picture.  I started making the aprons when Rory was not yet 2, over 8 years ago, (sadly, my scanner is refusing to work, which is a pity, because Rory was an adorable toddler).3 kids kneading dough

This photo, from 3 and a half years ago will have to do.

For many years an apron was my go-to present for any kid that was celebrating a birthday, because I love a present that encourages participation.  I’ve made them with fairy fabric, monkey fabric, robot fabric, flower fabric.Rory in his hat and apron

3 and a half years ago I added the appliques and the personalised hats.  I can still remember my reluctant model telling me that he would stand there, but only if he didn’t have to smile!  Originally the set was for a book project that didn’t get off the ground, and then, in 2010, they were published in Australian Homespun as a pair – the one above and the one below.Michaela in Chef's Hat and Apron

2 of my apron/hat sets have been to International Quilt Market, to show off Melly’s fabric, but sadly they didn’t make their way home again.  You can see one below."Little Menagerie" Fabric Apron and Hat

I’m really proud of this pattern, and pleased to release it with 9 different applique motifs to choose from.

Junior Chef Cover, Pattern by Matching Pegs

The instructions take you through fusible, raw-edge applique, but the appliques are designed to work as needle turn appliques too, as they are in the 3rd and 4th photo.  The hat and apron are adjustable, and suit 3 to 8 year olds. The set fits older kids, but the apron just starts to get shorter.  The hat fits my average adult head, right down to toddlers.

If you would like to win a copy of the Junior Chef pattern, leave a comment below, telling me what you think is the best thing to cook with a child.  I always loved making play dough with my kids, and think chocolate ripple cake is the best thing for young chefs to cook assemble on their own.

The giveaway is open to International folk as well as Aussies, and will be randomly drawn and announced on Monday the 17th.