You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2010.

This little package of love arrived in the mail for me . . .

I ordered myself a necklace from Lisa Leonard and I just love it!

These three really do hold my heartstrings . . . and now I get to wear these hearts around my neck! In their own different ways these three lift me up and make my heart sing. How lucky am I?

Well, I’ve signed up for the next Friday Night Sew-In on the 19th of February over at Handmade by Heidi.

I found the last one to be just the bit of motivation I needed to get stuck in and spend a concentrated amount of time stitching! Anyone else want to join in the fun? Visit Heidi, add your name to the list (last time there were about 150 of us) and get set for a good night in!

It’s been a very busy week in our house with major re-shuffling of work and home stuff, so my little Suedio now has a few additions to be sorted through (I know, I thought I was done with boxes – these contain things that needed to come into the house once some storage was sorted out. But now they’ve been moved from the garage and into my space!!!)

So after all this re-location, I’m a bit weary and in need of one of these . . .

Hope the weekend brings joy to your world.

Well this week has been pretty much taken up with life that does not involve needle and thread . . .

However, I have managed to get some inspiration to make some progress on my ‘Little Pretties’ quilt. This has been a work in progress for almost 2 years !!! I got a bit bored with it and found it very difficult to face – so many LITTLE pieces (and a bit tedious to put together, if I’m being honest).

There are quite a few piles of squares waiting to be stitched together. After putting in a bit of effort (motivated by the Friday Night Sew-In a couple of weeks back), I joined some squares and have the top about 2/3 complete. I also layed out the rest of the squares (now those sweet little piles in the photo above) ready to join the remainder of the top.

I can see an end in sight with this quilt now, so as soon as I have a bit of time (hopefully by early next week, all things going well) I’ll be back to stitching. . .

What projects have you had stashed away for a while in your world?

Have you read this poem? Click here to read Linda Ellis’ poem – “The Dash”.

Food for thought.

How will you spend your Dash?

I’m very fortunate to have a craft space all to myself. Last year we bought our own place and it had a studio out the back – which my family promptly named “The Sue-dio”. They do like to say that the reason we ended up with this house is because it had the studio and that I didn’t even look at the house! That’s not entirely true. I mean, I was pretty sure there was a house that came with the studio!

Seriously, though, I really love our house. It’s just perfect for us. And it has a studio.

So, this is where I get to create, make a mess, be by myself if I want, or invite company in. This is where all the “stuff” is stored (or is that stashed?).

I’ve got a fantastic workbench which Gary made specifically for me. It’s handcrafted from solid Blue Gum and Ash timber. I sew most of the time standing up, so it’s a perfect height for that and also for cutting and assembling without too much back ache.

He’s inlaid an inscription in latin which translates to “prepared in mind and resources”. Well, I’m certainly prepared in resources – sometimes the mind’s not quite so prepared!

I also have these beautiful cabinets (and a matching pair with shelving behind doors) made from Tasmanian Blackwood (did I mention that Gary is a cabinet maker who loves to craft with traditional methods, and sometimes antique tools). The cabinets house “the stash” and then some!

There’s also the thread drawers, also made from Blue Gum and Ash. These are filled with Aurafil appliqué threads (Christmas present from a couple of years ago).

I know, I am VERY lucky!

When I’m working (or playing) in the Sue-dio I like to plug the iPod in and sing along (not too sure what the neighbours think of that . . .) I love having music playing while I’m busy creating, although I’ve had to make a playlist that’s just instrumental for the times I need to really concentrate or calculate or write. There’s just too much distraction for me when I’m singing to do the other stuff well. But the songs come into their own once I’m into production mode!

Sometimes the Sue-dio seems a little isolated, particularly now that it’s just Gary and I at home. But I must say that I really enjoy being able to just switch off the lights and close the door on all the chaos mid way through a project and know that it won’t be bothering anyone but me, and it’s all ready to go when I’m ready to take up needle and thread again!

Where do you create in your world?

Thinking of my Nan today on what would have been her birthday. Thinking of her always makes my heart smile!

Nan (with Mum and I)

Nan began to patchwork when she was in her 60s. I don’t know what made her start. To my knowledge she’d never really been a sewer at all before that. She had a treadle sewing machine in the house, but I’m not sure why. She never used it! Maybe it was the companionship of the craft group she joined (she always was very social) and the craft was just secondary. But once she got going she was a pretty prolific quilter!

She was by no means the neatest sewer in town, but she pieced with a vengeance. She hand pieced, machine pieced, machine quilted, appliqued but mostly hand quilted. Everyone in the family got something from her, whether it was a cushion (or two) or something larger. By the time my cousins and I were having babies, we were inundated with cot quilts! And Nan being Nan, they were all completely machine washable and useable!

She crocheted, too, so we all have crocheted blankets tucked away for those cold winter nights. And face cloths. I’ve still got face cloths that she sent for my kids when they were in their teens! They’re tucked away now for safe keeping till the next generation of babies come along.

I wasn’t so much of a quilter when Nan was around. I did lots of other crafts. And I sewed, but mostly dressmaking back then. I remember that she got a cutting mat, which she left in the car in the middle of summer – of course it was ruined and she was quite upset. At the time I didn’t really understand what all the fuss was about. Ahh, the knowledge gained with the passage of time!!

I have been fortunate to inherit 2 of Nan’s quilts and I thought today was a good day to share, given the string quilts that everyone (except me) seems to be working on at the moment.

Both of these quilts are machine pieced and machine quilted. One has the most awful binding I’ve ever seen, which I may have to cover over one day (don’t think I could bring myself to take it off). And in true Nan style, I’m still finding tacking threads in them – just when you think there couldn’t possibly be another one!

This quilt, with it’s lovely soft floral sashings, has the most hideous mustard binding (you can catch a glimpse – if you dare – near the pillows in the photo above). Not sure what Nan was thinking with that!

Neither of these quilts are very technically perfect, but to me they are beautiful. They are both quilts that she used on her own bed  (I guess when you find a style you like, you just stick with it!), not tucked away for best (as she had a tendency to do with things – she never seemed to think she was quite good enough for best, somehow). So I feel like they were something REALLY hers.

I wish my love for this craft had come along and timed a little better with hers.  The oohs and aahs we could have shared over patterns and fabric!

A little while back, my Mum brought her friend (who had just recently discovered quilting) over to see my quilts. When we were looking at Nan’s quilts we had such a blast – all the different fabrics! My Mum recognised some of them from clothing and furniture from years back. There was quite a fabric history on show, that’s for sure! Certainly nothing purchased specifically for these quilts. They are truly scrap quilts – in all their glory!

In my sewing box I have Nan’s badge from her craft group. I smile when I see it. I think of how we all – the ones here, the ones gone and the ones still to come – all of us – share this bond. The bond of sisterhood through stitching! And how lovely it is to be part of something so much bigger and long-lasting than just ourselves.

Love you Nan xoxo

Well, I love drinking tea.

And I love cups and saucers.

I’ve got a bit of a collection now.

Some I’ve acquired for myself.

Some I’ve inherited.

Some are gifts from my family.

And I think they are lovely!

A few years ago, for my birthday, we went to our favourite picnic spot and set up for High Tea. Some guests were shocked that I had brought along my tea cups for the occasion – there were more than a couple of “but they’re too good to bring out here” kind of comments. Well, I think that if they are too good for me and my loved ones to use, then what’s the point of them.

It was fun as each person chose their cup and saucer (some of the big boys preferred big mugs, and that was OK, too) to tell the story of how each cup came to be in my collection –

* the one that my great grandmother used to use every day *

* the one my mum won as a prize in a diving competition when she was a girl *

* the ones bought at a little tiny pottery tucked away on some acreage on one of our trips to the coast *

* the ones that came from my grandmother’s house, complete with paint splatter (she never drank tea in her life, and she repainted her kitchen every year) *

* the one given to me by my children for mother’s day . . . *

I love that my collection is a working one. No, I’m not leaving them tucked away in a cupboard (although they do reside in our lovely old kitchen cabinet) for safekeeping till I’m gone. They are used regularly – and for me, that’s how it should be!

What do you collect in your world?

Our craft group went out for our annual Christmas Dinner a while back, which also includes a decoration swap.  This time, though, one of the girls also brought along a surprise gift for each of us.  She had commissioned one of these gorgeous artworks – for each of us!

It’s a collage Babushka by Kate Mason of Something for Kate. You have just got to check out her out. Her work is fantastic!  The texture and colours are just perfect.

So thanks Lyn for the wonderful surprise and thanks Kate for the beautiful work.

Check out Cath’s blog. She (a) has some gorgeous Raggedy stitchery show and tell from Friday night’s  Sew-In and (b) is having a giveaway to celebrate her 200th post.

Well done Cath on 200 posts!

A few years back our craft group went crazy making bears. I still have enough mohair to start a small shop, I’m sure.

I made a few bears from commercial patterns and my husband kept asking “why don’t you design your own?”

So I did!

There were many odd looking bears before I ended up with a pattern I liked!

And I liked quirky – big noses, big feet! (It has been said maybe, too big. I will admit that, on occasion, that’s been an accurate assessment!)

I entered some of them in the Canberra Show, where they did quite well.

This one was a collaboration between Gary and I . He thought tiny and made of suede would be good. It was painful to stitch and, as you can see, I didn’t do a very durable job of the joints. He’s only 11cm tall. He has tiny (1mm) glass eyes, one of which came off when my niece came to visit one day! I could never find another glass eye the same size, so it became clear that a patch was in order.

But I haven’t made a bear in quite a while. The last one I made was actually needle-felted. It was really good fun – and very cute, too. This is from a pattern by Barbara Allen, based on “Gubbifluff(with my own take on the feet!), as seen in Australian Homespun Magazine No.54 Vol 8.11. The other one, Lilly Pilly is my own design.

The little bear is 3“ (sitting) and the big one is 10“ tall (from head to toe).

I have given a lot of the bears away and have packed a few away (they used to be all over the house), but these two are a reminder that not everything you do is the focus of your life forever, and what you do leaves an impression (sometimes quite tangible, like the bears, and sometimes far more subtle but no less real). I loved making bears – and I may love making them again one day. But for now I’m happy to just enjoy what I’ve done and move on.

Are there any crafts you used to do and have moved on from in your world?

About Me


Welcome to Sue's World. I'm a wife and a mother to 2 great grown-ups, living in Canberra, Australia.

My craft interests include patchwork, stitching, scrapbooking and photography.

Please feel free to stop by from time to time, and I'd love it if you'd leave me a message to let me know you've been.

Thanks for stopping in on my world.

Email Me

sue@trendium.net.au

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