Monday 20 October 2014

Being Sociable Again!

Hello, how are you all? It's certainly been a long time since I communicated through this little space - so long I have almost forgotten how to go about it!

Before going any further I'd really like to say a big thank you to you lovelies who have emailed to enquire about me! It really has meant a lot to me! The past couple of months or so have found me feeling a bit unsynchronised at times, so it's been better to just take one day at a time and not push myself to 'do' when what I really needed was to 'not do'!

Let's look at a few pics, shall we?

You may remember the little baby coverlet I had started after being inspired by  'The Sweetest Thing' from Australian Homespun magazine, May 2014 issue: here's my completed variation of it, much smaller than the original, but rather pretty I think.

And here's a little girl's quilt I made whilst playing hooky from blogland; I really had a lot of fun putting this together from little offcuts.

More recently this table runner has kept me busy, and interestingly enough this, as well as a couple of matching placemats, were produced from a little 'Scrappy Bag' of remnants bought recently from Textile Traders in Albany. The fabrics were so well co-ordinated, don't you agree? The backing fabric was one that I already had in my growing stash but seems to work quite well!

The placemats .. ..

I have been busy with a different style of sewing just recently too, but no pics yet, so will show you next time. Also I will make mention that, although I have not been too eager to spend much time on the computer of late, I have posted a couple of pics on Instagram and these you can see under Joyjinks if you care to take a quick look sometime.

On a particularly bright day a few weeks ago I noticed some very interesting shapes cast on the wall by the sun shining through the window and venetian blinds .. .. ..

Some birds make a lot of noise .. .. ..  like these White-tailed Carnaby's Cockatoos insistent on wrecking my next-door neighbour's lovely bottle-brush blooms .. .. .. This bird is unique to Western Australia.

Let's take a look in the garden, shall we? This is a wonderful time of year with so many blooms giving us so much pleasure!

Below you can see the native Irises: they decided to have a wee lie down but that's fine by me, I think they make a pretty picture relaxing on the wood-chips.

We love these little flowers - they close up when the sun goes behind the clouds and then open and shine when it reappears!

Do you recall my Clematis from last year? This plant only ever produces one (maybe two if we're lucky) flowers each season, but oh isn't it worth waiting for. The upper two pics were taken when it was young and fresh, and the lower two when it was older and faded, but still beautiful, don't you think?

Now to finish off I just must share a few of my gorgeous roses with you . . .

Below is 'Playgirl', one of my very favourites!

And last but certainly not least comes 'Blushing Knockout' which is still in a pot from last year and continues to bloom, flush after flush, and to me is reminiscent of a bride's bouquet.

Thanks so much for taking the time to be here, and for your lovely messages which always mean so much to me. Take good care of yourselves and I hope to catch up with each of you soon.

With love,

Joy xoxo

Friday 1 August 2014

Just A Happy Mix!

Hello again dear friends and I hope you're all having good times and enjoying some crafting fun in among all the other calls on your time.

This past week or so has seen me begin a couple of new projects which will quite possibly be works in progress for some time yet, but then, it's nice to have a couple of things to fall back on now and then when the creative nectar is not quite up to scratch and it seems difficult to decide what to do next! 

Do you have such times? I certainly do and, although it doesn't happen very often, when it does it hits with a bang and for me it's a good thing to have something waiting in the background, something that can be picked up and put down when needs must!

Before I show you those items I really want to let you see what I finally did with the cute tea towel that the lovely Robin so kindly sent me some weeks ago. I've been pondering regarding the best use for this lovely cloth, and I certainly didn't want to dry dishes with it - such a shame that would have been - so it finally dawned on me (yes, I wonder sometimes where my brain has been hiding!) that it was ideal to make another of the fabric baskets I've been making up lately, but this one's for me whereas the previous ones are intended for gifts.

I included a wee pocket in this one for hook or scissors or whatever, and every time I look at the lining it's good to be reminded about kindness, loving and caring!

Okay, let's take a look at the ongoing works …. 

Since I recently put the final touches to the 'round the colour wheel' blanket, I've been aware that I have a stash of leftover yarn - namely Stylecraft Special DK - that I can now have fun with. When I bought this lovely big load back in May of last year I was so excited about all the wonderful colours and have really loved the way it works up, especially as I had had no desire before this experience to use acrylic yarn of any description! 

Anyway, I digress; it was time to begin a new blanket and the V-stitch had caught my attention but, such a job I had getting the look I wanted. Anyway, I finally realised that instead of working into the actual stitches from the previous row, I needed to work between the two stitches in each 'set' …. have I explained that properly? Anyway, I think you can see in the pics what I'm trying to say. I'm really enjoying the way this is working up and hope I have enough yarn to make a nice size blanket. I've had the kitchen scales out and weighed it all up, and as long as all the colours continue to go well together it should be okay, and I'm loving how they're mingling so far! What do you think?

The other ongoing project is a baby coverlet. I saw a similar thing in the Australian Homespun magazine and rather fancied having a go so why not …

I like that there's a bit of machine stitching, hand sewing, and crochet involved here - ah yes, variety is the spice of life and I've said it so many times, sorry!

This is a reversible coverlet consisting of squares of fabric cut to six-and-a-half inches each and each pair stitched together in quarter-inch seams. Then they're turned out the right way, blanket stitched around, followed by a crochet edge worked into the blanket stitch. No wadding is involved in this so it should be a nice lightweight coverlet  when all those squares are pieced together. I've started off with six squares but will need to do a few more; I don't intend for this to be big big though, just enough to fit a pram or cot! 

This morning on our walk we spied a wee drift of snowflakes - not the real snowdrops - and a few jonquils close to the river so the phone camera was put to good use again …. 

…. and in the garden this week, well, our first daffodil of the season opened up to smile on us, and the jasmine buds from last week have begun to reveal their fragile little faces too …. signs of Spring in the midst of winter! Lavender too of course, as well as daisies and wallflowers - I think?

Thanks so much for visiting once again, and for your messages that always warm my heart and bring happy smiles. Have a wonderful week whatever you do!

With my love,

Joy xoxo

Thursday 24 July 2014

Morning Cobwebs to Full Moon

A few weeks ago whilst walking round the park quite early I saw what would have made a lovely photograph but didn't have my camera with me, not even my phone, so, a lost opportunity. However, the other morning I was walking in the same area and lo and behold, just a little bit further down the path was this lovely collection of cobwebs in among the weeds. After exclaiming that I should have had my camera with me, I then remembered the phone in my pocket ….

 I must explain: the sun was shining in my face, I could not see what I had focused on and there were other reasons that meant I had to rush so, I pointed the phone in the general direction of the cobwebs, clicked, and hoped for the best.

I was very happy to later find that the phone had captured this eerie look as well as the cobwebs and, although I don't think this pic could be classed as being 'technically correct' (and that is a debatable point in any case!) I really love this look and those colours and couldn't believe that the webs had come up so strongly. 

I haven't done anything at all to the original photo, above, but wanting to show the webs more clearly I then went on to crop, and then clicked the button for 'enhance', in iPhoto on my computer ….

 I would be interested to hear what you think about these pics, and if you do like them which one would be your preference? Personally I like the second one and Hubby likes the first; we don't agree on everything :) I have a love/hate relationship with my phone camera but perhaps I should think again about this!

Then we had a full moon and when I popped outside to take a look it struck me that it might be worthwhile taking a pic or two while the clouds were moving about, so picked up the Sony HX300 and just snapped ….

…. just humour me please, I'm practicing and having a good time!

Okay, on to crafty things: last post I said I'd picked up the crochet hook again and would show you next time what I'd done. Because I had felt like a bit of hooking again and didn't have anything in particular in mind, down came Jan Eaton's book from the shelf - '200 Crochet Blocks' - and on page 100 I found number 165 Coffee and Cream. As you can see I chose to use different colours (Rowan wool cotton, bought on our visit to Perth in April) so it's not coffee and cream at all, but oh how I love this yarn and these colours. I only worked rounds 1-6 as I wasn't all that keen on the rest of the block, and to be perfectly honest was becoming a bit confused with it, and then - and I won't bore you with the long story - decided to make four of these part squares and develop them into a cushion …. the rest of it is just Double Crochet, Half Trebles and Trebles - going with the flow and hoping it would work out okay!

When I make cushions these days I also make my own inserts as most of the time it's just too difficult to find the right sizes; for this cushion I made a pink one as I thought it would be a nice change to see the pink peeping through the crochet - do you like it? The pic bottom right is the back, a pretty little rose cotton that I fell in love with on one of my visits to the fabric store.

And more cushions ….

Some of these fabrics you've seen before in various projects, but the cushion bottom left consists of scraps from a dress my daughter Tracy made a while back, and the heart is one left from the little heart quilt I put together a few months ago. So as you look at the cushions you'll see the three fronts on the left and their backs on the right. I'm thinking I may change the fancy buttons on the French-look fabric to something more simple, but undecided at this point!

One more cushion, only one, really ….. plus another fabric basket ….

The strip of fabric in the middle of the blue cushion is from one of the Japan Made cottons bought a few weeks ago - it makes rather a strong statement don't you agree?
This bag is slightly shorter and wider than those I shared with you last post - it just worked out that way using two fat quarters and I rather like this size and shape for youngsters to manage. 

Hey, I made another cotton dress last week, for summer! It's a NewLook pattern this time, number 6068, and comes with a couple of variations - I didn't think until now that I could have photographed the pattern front, sorry! It can be made with short sleeves or no sleeves at all, and with or without the collar but I rather fancied a smart linen collar to finish it off and hopefully give the dress a lift. Of course being linen it does crease easily, as you can see, and being white it will show the creases but then, I like natural fabrics so have to put up with that side of things.

It all came together quite well I think and I like the rosy fabric, but when my Hubby kinda bites his bottom lip and half smiles at something then I know he's not really impressed. Men can be a bit funny - he seems to think this is not my style, but as I said to him, it's pretty and cool for summer weather  ….

In the garden this week? Well there's the lovely Nodding Violet in the pot ….

…. as well as the jasmine getting ready to open its lovely buds and share its delightful perfume with us. There's also this lovely plant that cloaks itself with the most delightful bells when the time is right for it - this little one is a cutting Hubby took from the parent plant a wee while ago and you can see it's doing well.

I think that's about it for this time lovely folks! I've been enjoying keeping up with all your news and crafts and derive great pleasure from your lovely posts, thank you. Thank you also for your kind messages here, it really cheers me to know you enjoy your visits to my little place.

An affirmation taken from a little book entitled 
'Ten Keys to Wellbeing' by Gudrun Kretschmann:

"Beautiful thoughts create beauty,
I choose to be always sustained by them"

Wishing you all happy fun days!

With my love,
Joy xoxo

Monday 14 July 2014

It Started With a Stitch

…..  just a cute cat that took my fancy in a craft magazine (Australian Homespun);  I really didn't know what it would become, which is not unusual for me when starting into these little stitchies …. so after I had worked this cute pussy cat onto a piece of linen my brain began to work overtime, just a little bit quicker than usual, you know, and I found myself looking again at the lovely piece of fabric Gilly included in my package along with the giveaway Kate pattern. 

It just came to me - "Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?" I'm sure you all know the nursery rhyme …. "I've been to London to visit the Queen", and so on …. so then I stitched a wee chair and mouse into the picture, added the lettering, and started to frame the piece with that lovely London fabric. Then of course came the quilting. Thanks so much Gilly! By the way I used back stitch for most of this, apart from the butterfly's head and the cat's ears and cute little nose which are done in satin stitch!

As you can see in the above left pic, I've stitched a sleeve through which a rod will fit in order to hang the piece. I'm really happy with how this has turned out and do think that that cat has the cutest face …. oh, and the piece measures about 18 x 20 inches, not big, just nice!

So, what else have I been busy with? Well I thought it would be a good idea to make a few little things to put away for gifts so I now have a few pincushions and a couple more lavender hearts in the stash ….

…. those pincushions with the ribbons around are inspired by Helen Philipps' books 'Simple Sewn Gifts' and 'Pretty Patchwork Gifts' - both lovely publications - and the others are just patchworked scraps from other recent projects that have kept me busy and out of trouble! 

You want to see more? Well, I made a couple of fabric storage bags which should be really handy to have - in fact the giraffe one would be nice for a child - and might encourage tidiness from an early age …. !!! I interfaced the fabrics and backed them with wadding before lining, so they are standing up quite firmly. I have some ideas for more of these so I may keep going with them for a while.

I have been making cushions as well, but haven't photographed those yet so they'll keep until next time. I know, it probably sounds like I do nothing else but sew these days but I actually have been busy with the crochet hook too - another thing for next time - but we have had a few days in a row when the weather was so bad the only sensible thing to do was lock myself in the sewing room and keep stitching, and boy did I have some fun.

But of course we are fortunate that we have pleasant weather in among the bad and so we have been out and about a couple of times so let me show you some more of our local countryside, all within less than ten minutes drive from home.

These pretty scenes are from up Mount Shadforth Road - and there's some old farm machinery for you to peruse again, just for a bit of variety.

And our local walk down by the river always presents a few opportunities for the odd pic or two ….

Nice and peaceful, take it easy, enjoy a leisurely stroll just as it takes your fancy ….

Last but not least, a pic from the garden - these gorgeous leaves are the new growth on the Lilly Pilly tree, the colour is out of this world; and the bottom pic you would recognise as a daisy - please don't ask me which one - I just enjoy them, isn't it so pretty!

Thank you so much for visiting me again and leaving your lovely messages, and special welcome to my new followers. I trust that life is treating you all well, and for those of you with kiddywinks at home during school holidays, enjoy the special time with them for they grow up much too fast - and if you don't have opportunity to blog as regularly as usual don't concern yourselves about it, we're a loyal bunch and I for one, and surely most others', will still be here when you do have time to share again.

Wishing you all good, happy, and healthy times!

With my love,

Joy xoxo

Thursday 3 July 2014

A Potpourri of Goodies

Hello one and all, and welcome to my new followers; I do hope you enjoy your visit with me and thank you for leaving me your pleasing messages of encouragement and support - I do appreciate your valuable time!

Last post I mentioned that there was something else I'd made but couldn't show you yet as it would  spoil a surprise - well, the gift has been happily received now so here is a quick peek:

A little wall hanging for a baby due a wee bit later in the year, and not knowing whether the little one will be boy or girl I tried to cover all bases with colour choices.The second pic below shows the placket on the back which will accommodate a rod yet not be seen when the quilted piece is hanging on the wall. It really was fun putting this little piece together and I'm happy that the baby's Mum is delighted with it.

I'm still dragging out the birthday - you may remember me showing a lovely piece of fabric that was part of Hannapat's  gift to me? Okay, well, it made up into a lovely cushion that pleases me no end: thanks again lovely Hannapat!

Isn't it a gorgeous cheery thing! And look how well it goes with my 'round the colour wheel' blanket too! Jo kindly mentioned that it is an Amy Butler fabric, thanks Jo!

Yesterday I felt like making another 'Kate' dress but hadn't shopped for fabric! Anyway, I had picked up a remnant the previous week to add to quilting stash - at a bargain price of $5 - not even considering that it might be enough to make something to wear, in fact hadn't even thought the fabric was my sort of thing .. to wear?!!! Anyway, I pulled it out, measured it up and realised there was enough to make the dress, only a bit shorter - in other words, a top! I always was rather careful when cutting out fabrics whilst dressmaking and practice paid off .. .. ..  what do you think?

Hubby reckoned it would look good with a scarf wrapped around my neck - yeah, I know, that's not my neck but it gives you an idea of how it would look anyway .. we're back to winter here again and I'm not posing ..

That's enough for makes isn't it! How about a few pics of our neighbourhood again? Okay ..

These were all taken from the same spot, about five minutes drive from home. We are very fortunate to have areas like this where we can go and sit quietly and be at peace, don't you think?

That's about it again folks, and I hope you've enjoyed your little visit - just a few shots from the garden this week .. ..

This is the most gorgeous deep red rose - I don't know it's name, it was here before us and is quite matured, and below are a few little looks at the hibiscus again, a young hebe, and the South African plant whose name I've forgotten again, again, again!!! 

Last but not least, this is another lovely mature rose that was also here before us and it's the most beautiful orange/red colour .. ..

See you all next time lovelies, and in the meantime keep well and be happy!

With my love,

Joy xo

Monday 23 June 2014

Flowers, A Dress, A Truck, and Water !

Hello everyone - I suppose the title could get your imagination going somewhat but basically this post is about my new camera with me supposedly at the helm, but since I don't really feel I've learned a great deal yet about all its workings then any idea of me being in command is sheer illusion - it's the camera that's in the driving seat! Of course the camera can do a perfectly good job by itself - unless I mess about too much with its buttons and bows .. .. .. .. 

However, I am going to show you what I've been up to just recently: this is the first Iris to peak out for us this season, and I love its delicate colours. I shot this just after the rain had stopped .. .. 

And a couple or so close-ups .. .. 

I have been busy sewing this past week but I can only show you one project as the other is a gift and I need to keep quiet for a couple of weeks!

I finally found a suitable fabric to make up into the 'Kate' dress, the pattern for which came to me as a lovely giveaway from Gilly  - thanks so much once again Gilly, I really enjoyed making this! Of course  if you compare the lovely versions over at Gillymakes with this one then you'll see that mine is a bit larger (make that wider!) as well as shorter for you will note that Gilly is gorgeously slim and a fair bit taller than me - I'm 5'1'' and not quite as slim as I used to be, nevertheless, this is a dress that is suitable for all sorts of body shapes and I've made mine to fit loosely and comfortably. By the way, I love the shape of the pockets although hubby doesn't like me to have pockets in my dresses for I have a habit of sticking my hands in them, which he thinks is not a good look! Tough! I LOVE pockets!

The fabric is a Japanese cotton lawn, very soft and kinda drapey and is a summer weight so, as we are in the midst of winter here and it has been very cold as well as wet, I am not modelling it for you, sorry! But you get the idea don't you - on its own for a warm day and with a skivvy underneath for the not-so-warm ones. These pics were taken with my point and shoot camera, just for comparison.

I have heard a few of you say that you haven't done much dressmaking and so I thought, whilst making up this dress, that it might be a good idea to offer a little tip that I've found useful over the years when one needs to fit sleeves and such like:

You see those two rows of larger than usual (gathering) stitches up there, well, when the pattern instructs you to do that and then tells you to fit that area evenly into a smaller designated space in the sleeve, or wherever, it is sometimes a bit tricky to keep the gathers even but, if you place a pin at each end of the gathered stitches then draw up the fabric to the correct width, you can then wind your threads around the outer pins to hold the gathers to that width while you distribute the fabric evenly. You see how I've figure-of-eight wound the thread round the pins? Yes, it wasn't showing very clearly so I used a turquoise colour just so it would be more noticeable for you. This really helps to keep things in place, as well as even. I hope I explained that clearly!

Recently when hubby and I were out having a drive around some of the back roads locally we came across a rusted out old truck in a paddock and since I didn't have the camera at the time we decided it was worth going back on a nice weather day to get a couple of shots:

And what do you think of the fancy little shed, don't you think that's cute?

The view below is in the same area - farm land, very pretty I think.

The next pics were taken in a picnic drive-in area on the other side of Albany:

And while I was messing around with settings on the camera this old guy came down the river in his canoe so, fair game, we'll 'shoot' him too!

And to finish once again, a couple of garden shots: a succulent, the name of which I have no idea, and my one and only camellia which has more blooms this year than ever, so I think it must like being where  we planted it after being in a big pot for years!

Thank you all for your very interesting and kind comments and a special hello to new followers - you are all most welcome and I'm very happy you're here!

Keep smiling and always be true to yourselves!

With my love,

Joy xoxo