Monday, January 26, 2015

Australia Day

Today is a public holiday here in Australia.  AUSTRALIA DAY to be exact.  So in true Aussie style, our family is heading down to the beach to meet up with a couple of other families, and will spend the afternoon sitting in the sunshine, having a few drinks and cooking up a bbq lunch.

Today, I'd like to share with you my perspective on being a quilter in Australia.  Angie from Gnome Angel threw the idea out thanks Angie!  You're making me think out loud!

Living in Australia can sometimes feel like you are so completely removed from the rest of the world.  At times, I watch news reports and read stories of far away places, and it's hard to imagine such things are happening?  But then other times, it's like the world has landed on our doorstep!

Being a quilter in Australia is somewhat the same!  By that, I mean you see all of these amazing quilt shows, websites and fabric stores in other countries and you think - "why don't we have that here?!?!!?"  And then next thing you know - you discover an amazing quilt shop and someone starts the first Modern Quilt Show in Australia!  You get yourself an Instagram account and discover UH-mazing and talented Aussies doing the stuff you've been coveting from international crafters!  And then, then you dig a little deeper, and you find an endless array of fabulous Aussies in the Blogosphere.  It's quite simply - Inspiring.

Australians are a loyal bunch.  And supportive - OH SO supportive.  We like to see one another succeed, and once a friendship is formed, it generally lasts forever (well, for me anyway!).  Over the past couple of years, I have been lucky enough to make friends with a whole bunch of Aussie quilters, and at times, they have been the ones who have encouraged me to go forward with ideas - whether it be patterns, fabric swaps or even just a quilt I'm constructing.   I've met a number of these lovely peeps, and although the majority of our interaction is online, knowing they live in the same country, and that I CAN actually go and catch up with them is really lovely.......

Had a lovely day with this fab chick!  #nolongermystalker @gnomeangel
Angie and I meeting up at the Quilting Show in Melbourne last year...
Yay!! @blossomheartquilts
Alyce and I spent the day fabric shopping in Tokyo in October....
White glove ladies.
Some of the gals from the Melbourne MQG on white glove duty at the Stitches & Craft Show in Melbourne 2014.
Proof that online friends do exist IRL! Had a lovely day fabric shopping and lunching today with @sewdeliciousros and @abbythingsforboys Be brave and meet your online friends!
Ros & Abby met up with me for a day of fabric shopping & lunch last year....
This past year has been HUGE for me.  I was published in Make Modern Magazine with my very own quilt pattern, and continue to write my Domestic Quilting Goddess column each issue.  I started the Aussie Charm Swaps, and in turn, am encouraging Australian quilters & crafters to support Australian businesses by having them as sponsors of giveaways.  AND I have expanded my small business to selling Aurifil threads here in Australia.  All of these things could not have been possible without the ongoing support of my Aussie quilting friends, and I am ever so grateful for that!  

The talent of so many Australian quilters is being recognised world wide, and I have so many wonderful people to look up to.  Wishing you all a very happy Australia Day and I hope that you are all spending the day doing something you love, with the people you love.

You can catch up with some other Aussies here:

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Stash & Giveaway Winner!

A funny thing happened early last week..... One of my Melbourne MQG friends posted in our FB group that Spotlight was stocking some gorgeous Cloud 9 canvas.  And said canvas was from the Koi range by Rashida Coleman-Hale!  What is funny?  Well, when I receive my Spotlight catalogues in the mail, I usually don't need anything, so I just throw them in the bin (gasp!). So on this day, I had to go rummaging through my garbage bin to find the catalogue!  And when I did, I knew I would be hot-footing it down to Spotlight on Wednesday, when the sale began.....

I hot footed it to spotlight this morning for the advertised #koi canvas! Found it!! #winning

I was there right on opening time, and whizzed down to the canvas section, and found these delightful pretties!  I promptly purchased the three prints on the right, and then exited the store.  That same afternoon, I pulled out my 241 Tote pattern pieces, and got started on my new handbag.

Yay for a new handbag! #twins #241tote #koifabric @iheartlinen

And by Friday afternoon, I'd made not only one, but two!  I changed a couple of things.  You see, these are my 6th and 7th 241 totes, so I am learning each time what works and what doesn't.  This time around, I added a zipper pocket to the outside that has plenty of room in it.  Although I love the look of the two little zip pockets on the original pattern, they aren't really that useful!  I have also enlarged the pattern, to around 110% when printing it out.  You'll see further down in the post a comparison photo with my original bag.  And lastly, I'm using the 640 fusible interfacing from Spotlight, which is a little more sturdier than others I've used.  Gives the bag much more body and strength.

I suck at modelling......but hopefully this pic demonstrates the size of the #241tote when enlarged! #koifabric @iheartlinen

And just for your amusement, I took this shot and shared it on IG so everyone could see just how big this yummy bag is!

And size comparison... #241tote @noodlehead531

Size comparison!  The top bag is the first I made, and as you can tell, is a little floppy due to a thin interfacing.  Can you also tell I have a thing for Rashida's fabric designs??  :)


And just in the interest's of honesty.....I actually went back to Spotlight on Friday - mainly to get more interfacing - but also to see if they had the Koi print for my Mum.  I found a couple of other prints too.  So - I grabbed myself the dragonfly and grey crosses too.....

If you're looking for some lovely quality canvas, then you should pop in to Spotlight (if you're in AUS) and check them out!

NOW - on to the giveaway from last week!  Thank you to everyone who entered for the chance to win a mystery pack of fabric from my stash!  With over 200 entries, it was really interesting to see who everyone's favourite designers and colour were.  But as always, there has to be one winner - and thankfully, Rafflecopter chooses for me!

A big congratulations to Suesewstoo!  I shall email you shortly and get your postal address.  Then send a mysterious little something out to you!

Thanks again everyone! 

Molli Sparkles

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

3000 - A Facebook Celebratory Giveaway!

A very exciting (and sneaky) number crept up on me.......I was doing a little makeover on the FB page today, when I noted that my number of "followers" had clicked over the 3000 mark!?!?!  What the!?!?!?

So, in the spirit of celebrating, I thought how about a little old fabric giveaway???

I have a tonne of fabric.  Literally.  I have no idea what I'm going to give away, but it will be at least a few fat quarters, some scraps, maybe more!  If you'd like to be in the running, just follow the Rafflecopter prompts below - it's easy peasy!

Thank you to EVERYONE who has been following my FB page - whether you've been there since it all began in 2010, or whether you only just clicked on this week.  I truly appreciate you all!

The giveaway starts now and ends 12am Sunday 25th January.  I will announce a winner here on the blog later that day/night!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sewing For Sydney - Team Blue!

You may have heard about a wonderful quilting collaboration - Sewing For Sydney - happening at the moment?  The delightful Molli Sparkles came up with a wonderful idea - to make quilts for the families of the two people who were sadly killed during the Lindt Cafe siege in Sydney before Christmas.  I was totally on board the day I saw the call out, and whipped up five blocks and sent them off.

A few days later, I noted just how many blocks Molli was receiving, which meant his goal of making a "couple" of quilts was going to be very quickly blown out of the water, and he may just need a little help?  I sent him a quick message, telling him I'd be more than happy to put a quilt top together if need be.  It was a resounding yes, and a couple of weeks later, 168 lovely little hashtag blocks arrived on my doorstep.

We have a layout! My 6 & 10 year olds just asked what I was making? I just explained the whole story of how @molli_sparkles and the world of quilters have come together and who the quilts were for and why. They were both very impressed and thought it was

And a couple of hours later, I had a layout, ready to sew together.  It was a very random layout, as requested by Molli, and I loved the way the colours all looked!

Done! #teamblue has a completed quilt top.....just needs pressing, which will have to wait until I get home from work tomorrow morning! #glitteratitotherescue #sewingforsydney @molli_sparkles

The quilt top was reasonably quick and easy to put together - it helped that I was directed not to worry about lining up the hashtag seams - cos that wasn't going to happen!!!

Hashtag Quilt For Sydney 

Yesterday was our Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild's sit n sew day.  I took the quilt top along, as the Blue Team's baton was being handed over to Andrea - a fellow Melbourne quilter who had offered to put the backing and binding together.  We showed the guild members - some of whom had contributed blocks to the cause.  It was a really lovely way to demonstrate how a community of quilters, from ALL over the world, can come together to hopefully bring some cheer to families who have lost such a dear loved one.

Hashtag Quilt For Sydney

So, this lovely quilt top will soon be off to our Team Blue's long arm quilter, for some magic to happen, before it is bound and sent back to Molli for distribution!

So - I just want to send out a big THANK YOU to Molli, for allowing me to be a part of this bigger picture.  You've done a good thing girlfriend. xxx

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Stash - It's been a long time between deliveries!

It would be fair to say, I have had incredible strength since returning from Tokyo in October.  Yes, I have made a few small fabric purchases here and there, but have not placed a large order since.  Did I want to?  Well, yeah!  But I basically couldn't justify it.  I have so much fabric, it's ALMOST ridiculous.  And I have such a small sewing room - it IS ridiculous! So I have made a rather conscious decision NOT to purchase fabric.

Until now.

You see, I can't even begin to explain just how much I have been waiting in excited anticipation for the second release of Cotton + Steel.  I had seen snippets of the ranges ever since Quilt Market, and I was being reallllly patient.  So about a week ago, when Hawthorne Threads sent their newsletter, and announced they had C+S in stock - I couldn't wait.  I wanted ALL the fabric.  But once again, showed great restraint and "only" got the following.......


I would apologise....but no.  I may have almost wet my pants when I opened the parcel up......


Mochie by Rashida Coleman-Hale.  Enough said really.....


Sigh.....  Bunnies.  Moons.


I also chose my favourite prints from the other designer's ranges - Tokyo Train Ride by Sarah Watts.  Playful by Melody Miller - I mean, View finders!!!!  I loved the other ranges in the collection, but controlled myself....


But did manage to pop in a couple of yards of the most divine octopus lawn!  It is seriously beyond amazing....

Voila!! One very cute and simple dress for this little monkey! @cottonandsteel  @sarahwatts #tokyotrainride

My parcel arrived on Friday.  And by 6.30pm Saturday, I'd made this cute little frock for the six year old.  My overlocker isn't working at present, hence why I haven't been making clothes of late.  But not even that little issue could stop me.  I worked out the overlocker stitch on my Bernina and came to terms with the fact nobody would be looking on the inside of the dress, so who cares if it's not overlocked?!?!  Chloe was THRILLED with this little dress, and wore it to a birthday party today!  Oh, and I used a fabulous little tutorial for the dress, by Girl. Inspired. - which required NO PATTERN PIECES.  I repeat - no pattern pieces!  You can find it HERE.  Just to top it all off....... I made piping for the first time!  WINNING!

I've hit the selvedge jackpot!! Thanks #hawthornethreads for cutting my fq bundle!! Lol @cottonandsteel

And just to end this post on a high - my fat quarter bundle of Mochie was delightfully cut ALL on the selvedge side of yardage!!!!  WINNING AGAIN!!!  I call it selvedge porn......

So that's it - my first Sunday Stash for 2015!  I can actually alllllmost guarantee you that I will not be regularly posting on stash additions, because I would like to think I'm going to be able to continue with my self control, and not purchase left, right and centre.........

We'll see.....

Molli Sparkles

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Anna Maria Horner Aussie Charm Swap - Limited Spots Left! (Edit: all spots taken!)

EDIT - All spots are now filled!  Thanks everyone! x

Good Thursday to everyone!  I have a little old favour to ask - There are SEVEN spots left in the AMH Aussie Charm Swap.  I have shared myself silly and would love to fill these last spots to give my swappers a full swap!

If you were on the fence about joining, or know someone who love AMH as much as Me, then head on over to the Facebook Group and/or shoot me an email - which you can do by clicking on one of the bright pink icons over there to the right of this post >>>>>


There are some absolutely STUNNING fabrics included in this swap, and if you're wondering what on earth you can make with charm packs, well, you just have to pop over to my group Pinterest board to see the endless ideas!

So, there you have it!  I'm actually begging!!  You can find ALL the details about what happens with a Charm Swap on this post HERE.

Have a fabulous day! xxx

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Anna Maria Horner Aussie Charm Swap OPEN!


The sign ups are now officially open for the Anna Maria Horner Aussie Charm Swap!  Anna Maria has some of my favourite fabrics and I think 112 of her fabrics mixed together will be quite simply - amazing!

Here are the details:

1) FIRST IN, BEST DRESSED!  This swap will be open to 56 participants, me being one of those!  You HAVE to email me to obtain a spot.  Your spot is not confirmed until you have received a return email from me! All of AMH's QUILTING COTTON fabric lines except for the SOLIDS can be included. The included lines are listed below.

2) Each spot is 2 AMH fabrics, 1 yard of each, and I strongly suggest that you purchase at least 1/4 yard more in case of any cutting mistakes you might experience.  Better safe than sorry.

3) Fabric must be new and unwashed and from a smoke free environment.

4) Press your fabric and remove the selvages before cutting. Cut your yardage into 5 inch squares (56 per yard) total = 112 charms. You can follow the great tutorial on how to cut your charms from yardage by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Frannson! found here.  Please sort your charms in to pairs, as demonstrated in this photo:

5) Post them out to me by 31ST OF JANUARY. Put them in a Ziplock bag and include your 112 charms, an index card with your name, mailing address and email address (in case your package opens up, your charms will stay safe and dry and your contact info will get them back to you. You must post them to me using a PRE-PAID SATCHEL.  You must also include a SELF ADDRESSED PRE-PAID SATCHEL so that your charms can be mailed back to you. Unfortunately due to the cost and complexity of shipping back internationally, this swap will be for Australian/Kiwi participants only.  Kiwi participants will be required to send a return shipping satchel, and will be invoiced via Paypal for return postage.
  Once I receive them all I will sort and return a stack of 112 different charms to each participant! You can sign up for ONE SPOT, however, if there are spots remaining after a few days, I will open up those remaining spots to existing swap members.  They will be in the mail to you 2-3 weeks later. I will be aiming to have them all in the return post by end of January/start of February - fingers crossed!

6) Very important!!! Please choose fabrics that have not been claimed by another swap member. Please join the MS MIDGE AUSSIE CHARM SWAP FACEBOOK GROUP - Once you have had your spot CONFIRMED, then check in the FB photo album before purchasing fabrics to see what has already been chosen; we want to avoid duplicates. Once you have chosen your fabrics please post pictures, with the Fabric line and specific print/colour information to the Facebook group Photo Album.  Once you've chosen your fabrics make sure you add the photos AND include the name/description of them.

7.  There is a $5 fee per swap spot.  This is to be paid via Paypal, once your spot is confirmed.  
So who wants to join in on the Anna Maria Horner fabric fun?
Your Name
Mailing Address
Email Address
Phone Number (just in case)
Blog address (if you have one)

When I email you and confirm that you are in the swap, I will include my postal address and Paypal information.

Here are all the Anna Maria Horner fabric lines that are included in this swap. Remember, no SOLIDS fabrics. Some of the older lines are a bit hard to find, but Google is your friend!  I have popped a little old blog button down the bottom of the post if you'd like to add it to your social media!

Ms Midge

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy New Year - Reflections on 2014

Welcome to 2015!  Crazy isn't it?  I feel like last year went past in a blur and I'm left sitting here, in the first week of January, wondering what happened?  I did sit down before Christmas and update my Quilting Projects for 2014 page on the blog, so if you want to see the 18 quilts and some of the other goodies I made, head over HERE.

We have had a lovely break over Christmas, heading up to The Murray River for five days of relaxation with friends...

Yarrawonga at dusk.
The Murray at work.....
I spent a fair bit of time lately wondering where I was going to let 2015 take me?  Because I feel like 2014 was quite crazy, and I didn't plan things well, and I guess that's how I ended up stressed out and somehow contracting the RASH FROM HELL!  In the lead up to the skin virus, I'd had cysts on my eye, mouth full of ulcers and was literally just run down.  I am making a concerted effort NOT to let life get the better of me this year, starting with looking after myself.  This began with lovely 10km walks with one of my best friends whilst on holidays, and I'm happy to say, has continued since returning home - with daily 6km walks around our local area.  I've also started taking a bunch of vitamins and supplements too.  Which I suck at remembering to do, but am trying!

I turned my sewing machine on a couple of days ago, for the first time since just before Christmas.  I had my December bee block to get done, and was happy to tick that off my remaining things to do.  But as I sat in my little sewing room, I wondered what to do next?  I have so much "stuff" in that room - fabric, notions, wip's, finished quilts, blah blah blah.  And it's all a little overwhelming.  I've said before that I am not a "list" kind of girl, but I'm thinking I really need to write down what I want to achieve.  I read Angie's Must Make List for 2015 yesterday, and felt compelled to make one for myself.  But still haven't!

So, where does that leave me?  Lots of babbling and no real plan.  My quilty new year's resolution (which I shared in the current issue of Make Modern magazine) is to slow down.  Stop rushing around, and rushing in to projects.  This is easier said than done - for me - as it's how I naturally go about life.  But these are just a few things I've signed up for this year, and have plans to do.....

**  Artistic Licence Bee with Melbourne MQG (January is my month!)
**  Aussie Charm Swaps - I hope to run at least four this year.  The first one is in planning stages,   and I've opened a FB Group for all interested.  So if you're an Aussie or Kiwi, feel free to join.
**  Hazel Hedgehog QAL with Gnome Angel
**  Charm Dash Blog Hop - Coming in March, so get our your charm packs!
**  Write up pattern for Confetti Cannon and decide how/where to publish/sell it
**  The Bee Hive with Blossom Heart Quilts - Get all the details HERE.  My month is November!
**  Make 3 more 40th quilts for my BFF's - and maybe fit one in for myself!
**  Continue writing my column for Make Modern magazine

On top of all of the above, I have a few custom order quilts already being planned and would really like to build my Aurifil business up.

Phew.  I guess I've just started a list!?!

Right.  Back to sewing.  I've just pulled this out of my WIP pile.....

Just pulled out my favourite wip from last year! #mustfinish #waterfrontpark

It is my favourite WIP from 2014, and I want to get it finished.  So that's my starting point for this year.....wish me luck!
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