Pretty As A Pansy

Pansies are one of my favourite flowers. Their sweet faces brighten up the winter garden, and I especially love them in shades of purple and blue. When I saw this pansy fabric on Grandmother’s Garden Patchwork & Quilting website, I immediately began planning what I could do with it.

I made a patchwork table runner to cover my art table when I’m not using it.

Then with the leftover fabrics, and strips cut from the coordinating picture panel, I made a small wall hanging. I added some buttons, lace, and stitching, then I found two sticks in the garden – one from which to hang it, and one from which to dangle beads at the bottom.

Finn kept an eye on what I was doing.

This sweet pansy is called Matrix Denim.

In the language of flowers, pansy means friendly thoughts or think of me. These pansy cards are from my collection of vintage greeting cards.

With friendly thoughts from me to you, wherever you are in the world.

Crazy Patchwork Cushion

Crazy Patchwork Cushion

I have been doing patchwork and quilting for a few years now, mostly making quilts and table runners, but I always wanted to have a go at doing crazy quilting. This creative art form was popular in the Victorian era, when fabrics were pieced together in irregular shapes and sizes, then embellished with embroidery, ribbons, laces, cording, beads, buttons, and appliqued motifs. They were like art quilts, often made with beautiful fabrics and luxurious threads.

I decided to start with something small and make a cushion cover. I chose some lovely fabrics from my stash, in my favourite colours of green and purple, with some creams added for contrast. There are several methods for piecing, but I chose to use the traditional hand-pieced Antique method. I embellished my cushion with embroidery, ribbons, lace, buttons, vintage trim, and small pieces cut from vintage doilies.

I bought this vintage floral trim at an antique fair.

It’s been a while since I’ve done any embroidery, so I decided to stick to simple stitches like blanket stitch and French knots.

I found J. Marsha Michler’s book Crazy Quilting, The Complete Guide very useful. It has instructions for piecing, embellishing, and more than 100 embroidery stitches. Being left-handed, I particularly like that she shows how to do the left-handed version of all the stitches. It also has a gallery of beautiful projects. The book is hard-covered and spiral bound, making it easy to have it open on the table while working from it.

I really enjoyed sewing everything by hand. I found it quite therapeutic, stitching while listening to music, and am looking forward to working on another crazy quilting project.

Inside My Studio

It’s so nice to have everything organized in my studio now, so much easier to have everything in one place instead of scattered around the house. With the birds singing outside and sunshine flooding the room, it really is a pleasant place to work and play.

The Holly Hobbie quilt hangs over the front of the cabinet, hiding the boxes of craft supplies.

This chest of drawers, already full of crafting paraphernalia, was shifted from the house out to the studio.

The shelves that Nick built hold my books, journals and magazines, art projects, seeds, jars of buttons and beads, scrapbook papers, and knick knacks.

A small seating area for relaxing and for writing. The seat lifts up to provide handy storage underneath. The country style cabinets at either side came from Storage Box. They fit in the space perfectly. The baskets are made from water hyacinth and are great for keeping fabrics in.

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This is my latest work in progress, a new quilt I am making for our bed. It is a simple design of patchwork squares in colours of greens and browns. I just have to finish quilting the top and then sew on the binding.

The quilt draped over the back of the chair was the first one I ever made, at a beginner’s class I went to about ten years ago.

I like to listen to the radio while I am crafting. Magic FM is my favourite radio station, which plays songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

When it gets too hot outside, Finn comes in and lies under the table.

The view from the French doors on this sunny spring morning.

Wine Country Quilt Show

Every two years, Pukeora Estate in Waipukurau hosts the Wine Country Quilt Show, which attracts visitors from all over the country. As an avid quilter, (although mine are far from being in the same league as the show quilts), I had been looking forward to the show for a while. As usual, I was amazed at the quality and creativeness of the quilts. From traditional to contemporary, there was something for every taste. I can only imagine how many hours of work have gone into making them.

After admiring the many beautiful quilts, and browsing the vendor’s stalls, I returned home with lots of ideas and inspiration, as well as motivation to complete my own bed quilt, which I am about three-quarters of the way through hand quilting.

I hope you enjoy these pictures of a few of my favourite quilts from the show.

"Arum Bouquets" by Anne Yeo

“Arum Bouquets” by Anne Yeo

"Bugs and Blooms" by Shelagh Barber

“Bugs and Blooms” by Shelagh Barber

"Class of 2013" by Wendy Tavendale

“Class of 2013” by Wendy Tavendale

"Ever After" by Trish Fraser

“Ever After” by Trish Fraser

"Funky Monkeys" by Ros Lusk

“Funky Monkeys” by Ros Lusk

"Growing Up" by Heather Preston

“Growing Up” by Heather Preston

"H.M.S. Endeavour" by Anne Yeo

“H.M.S. Endeavour” by Anne Yeo

"Merry, Merry Snowmen" by Pam Smith

“Merry, Merry Snowmen” by Pam Smith

"Moonglow" by Allie Greenwood

“Moonglow” by Allie Greenwood

"Owl and Pussycat in my Garden" by Lesley O'Rourke

“Owl and Pussycat in my Garden” by Lesley O’Rourke

"Sisters" by Vivienne Franklin

“Sisters” by Vivienne Franklin

"Southern Blue Belle" by Rose Silvester

“Southern Blue Belle” by Rose Silvester

"Sunshine and Shadows" by Pam Ross

“Sunshine and Shadows” by Pam Ross