Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Dear one....

Know, dear one, there is no limit to Who You Can Be ...as long as you believe and follow your heart.

remember to tell those you love and care for something positive everyday. There are so many negatives we need to be told something good about ourselves too....

Reports home yesterday and I am very proud of my Molly, the best comments are those relating to attitude, positive friendly nature and always giving her best. It really doesnt matter about being the best in the class or school or neighbourhood as long as we are being our best right?? I do so hope I have taught my girls that. (note that the grades were quite impressive too)

anyway, here is a peek at todays project for the Christmas Gathering...

hugs to you all tonight


Monday, 30 July 2007

Its in the mail....!!

Well it has gone. The manuscript is finished and posted. The deadline was end of July so I guess it may be a day or two late arriving but hopefully it is all okay. Rereading all of the information which was sent I had a bit more work to do with Author profile information and my 'professional' photograph. I dont know about you but I really dont like photographs of myself. I have hundreds of photos of my children and their dad around the house but there is probably less than 5 with me in them. I never like photos of myself.... So it was a challenge, and I dont know that I am 100% happy with it (I dont look like a 25year old model!) but would I ever be 100% happy? Anyway, they have gone to the publisher too so now it is too late.... I will have to learn to like looking at myself. So these are the two I shortlisted to, what do you think? too serious, too old, too snooty, to housewifey, too whatever?? and you can be honest, dont just say nice things......I am going to have to look at this splashed everywhere....
So now I am finally onto new projects. First its the three projects for the Quilted Crow Christmas Gathering in October. Leonie and Deirdre are holding due to popular demand another gathering at the Campagnia town hall on the 6th Oct from 10am to 4pm. Along with myself there will be Belinda Merritt from Phoebe Rose, Melbourne, Michelle Vince from Hobart and projects from the hands of Leonie and Deirdre. I am working on a funky cushion using Heather Baileys' wonderful FreshCut fabrics and next will be a Tree skirt. Also on the books is a project for Honeysuckle Cottage's Christmas club next year.

and of course I have a large new project, a new Tempter range, some baby patterns and some piping hottie projects all on the drawing board to release in November.

Now thats along with getting our Quizzles vista compatible and making them all downloadable as single Quizzles. They are soon to be profiled on the Quilt Show with Ricky Timms and Alex Anderson and we want to be ready with our new website and uptodate software by then.

oh, and the digitsing just for a new learning curve........

I am getting panicky writing all of this.....I think I need to write a list in a place other than this blog, I may have finished one major project but like all designers have far too many more in my head to do in my 24hrs a day.... So best get going...


Wednesday, 25 July 2007

school quilt

today was school quilt day again. We made some progress.
The lovely patient and encouraging Ruth took 4 perfect students and they stitched their quilt circles and turned them through. I took every child individually to transfer their 'funny photo' onto photo the old fashioned (and cheap) way with Turps. The range of abilities is very wide and I have to continue to be flexible with the finished idea. My worries will come when I have to somehow join the 28 mini quilts together and get it to hang sort of straight. It was lovely to see the enthusiasm from most still with their quilts out ready on their tables when we arrived hoping to be chosen as this weeks quilters.
I hope they are all learning at least something from this.... these kids certainly accomplished something today.

Monday, 23 July 2007

stitching in the valley

more organising and ordering for kits for my annual charity stitching day today. Have been finalising all of the projects this week, I hope the ladies will like them, they have a whole workshop collection here. Still waiting for promised fabric for the actual group charity quilt so cannot test that one yet..... For those of you who wonder how it works, it is similar to gatherings and friendship days held in every state but with a few differences. We all work one one block to make one quilt together first which is then raffled to raise funds for a chosen charity. This brings us together in the spirit of giving and sharing with others through our passion.

Then its onto their goody bags of patterns, kits and other goodies for the day. Inspirational speakers, entertainment and shopping, eating and chatting fill the rest of a wonderful day.

This is a huge commitment for me to organise, design and carry out each year with just the help of a couple of wonderful friends but it is my contribution to those less fortunate out there. And now that I have started it my ladies are not going to let me stop!

I've included a sneak peak at some of the projects for 2007. Bookings are now open with strictly limited numbers which are filling fast, so if you happen to have stumbled across this and wish to come, email now. I know we'll have another wonderful feelgood day.



Saturday, 21 July 2007


I have been asked so many times in the last few months about digitising my designs for embroidery machines that I finally gave in and did some research. I know nothing about embroidery machines, how they work, how the files work and how the designs are digitised but I have a couple of very experienced mentors who are advising me... I have just received some stitched out samples in applique, outline and fully filled versions. What do you think? What options do you think embroider's would like and use?? I am thinking of the outline version so they could still colourque and the fully filled version. It says it takes 21/2 hours to stitch this one girl - I could hand stitch it in that time almost!! but I guess its set and forget to a point and you have a machine and a thread collection then this is what you would expect.

So, any comments are most welcomed..... I have a big decision to make....



Merran's huggle hearts

If you have been following my blog you may remember I put out a call for Huggle Hearts for our friend Merran who is in Melbourne having 6 months of treatment. She has already received two quilts, one made by a lovely group out of fabrics she had chosen before she became sick with her mum for her bedroom and a Snugglybug quilt which she loves. This week whilst at the Quilted Crow I collected a bundle which had been left at the shop and will send them over to Merran this week. Thankyou thankyou to all who contributed, I think she will love them and enjoy reading all of the messages.

Monday, 16 July 2007

standard day

well today was pretty standard, 2 x BAS's, reconciling, paying bills, packing patterns.... gee, I would really just like to sew..... I did get a small amount done tonight on the projects for the Charity Stitching day this year. Yes the date has been booked and a new venue to try. 9th September at the Newtown Senior Citizens club (which is in Lenah Valley) so it is called 'Stitching in the Valley'. Lots to do, projects to design and make, supplies to order, kits to pack, patterns to write, entertainment and speakers to arrange, catering.... but the enjoyment and the feeling of warmth and sharing on the day makes it all worth it...and we do make a quilt to raffle for a very worthy cause.

Tonight when I was speaking with my mother (who lives in SA) she really wanted to be here for at least one of my charity days, so to cut a long story short, the tickets are booked, and my entertainment may be solved. We grew up with her playing the piano for dances, weddings and singalongs, I am sure she can still do it - are we up for a singalong of all the old favourites ladies??

I did waste some time today catching up on some blogs and following some other blog links. See Natalies latest pattern or keep an eye on Kim's exciting takeover in the next couple of days!

and for those who have asked, My grandmothers' not going so well afterall so we'll keep her in our thoughts and hope that she keeps the resolve to hang in there..... it can get better....but she seems to take one step forward and two steps back and even I would have had enough..

hugs for tonight

Sunday, 15 July 2007


Tracey and I and our 'webguy' have been discussing putting you tube videos on her site to demonstrate 'in movie style' how to use her rulers for longarm machine quilting. I have stumbled upon a couple of wonderful videos Patsy Thompson is trying out as a tool for her students. She didnt think the quality was great but I think they are wonderful. If you let the whole clip run first - it may break up a bit depending on your download speed, then go back and play it again, the second time it will play perfectly. She has DVD's available, I think I will have to search for them. mmmmm I may have to think about doing some of these, do you think it would be useful??
on another note, it has been a beautiful sunny day in Hobart today (I didnt say warm) so after a nice drive out to Richmond to the Christmas in July craft fair, lunch at the Brighton Bakery and them home to plant my winter vegie crop, whilst the sun was still shining I took my camera for a walk at the Cornelian Bay Cemetery. A feast of design ideas waiting there. Whilst I always get a little emotional I love looking at the headstones and trying to imagine the stories behind the people here particularly in Hobart where we have so much history.
here are some pics I took of iron lace 'tops', just think of the quilt ideas....
hugs, Helen

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Tuesday nights

I quite like Tuesday nights. My DH works every Tuesday so the girls and I can have a muck up dinner, eat when and where we like, tumble on the floor together and talk about girlie things. Tonight we had an extra, my neice Emma who has been here for the week while her mum and family have travelled north to install a longarm quilting machine and do some sightseeing. Only problem is the machines which were supposed to be here 3 weeks ago still havent arrived. Oh well, they have had a nice visit to Tassie. So poor Emma has ended up having a quiet week but wonderful for Tilly to have someone to play with. I have just gone online and booked her a ticket to the very first screening of Harry Potter tommorrow - she is a huge fan and at least she will have one holiday memory to take home with her from Auntie H!!

So after I turned the laptop on I have just been surfing some of my favourite blogs. They all look so good and have the most inspirational or philosophical things written on them, I think I have a long way to go but will keep tweaking when I have the time. Hope you can all stick it out with me...

tommorrow is week 2 of the school project. Wish me luck, we have to draw a circle with a 25cm diameter, then 3 smaller circles. Then each child has to choose two complimentary colours and find fabrics to match. I had a huge garbage bag of 'real' patchwork fabrics donated to me last year which I havent even looked at yet so I am going to let them do it for me... I may be in the pile rummaging with them if there are some I cannot resist!!

I also stumbled onto our own Lynne Wilsons new fabric range today - Porcelain. It is now up on the moda website and will be released in September. I need some!

Busy organising my Friendship day which has been set for the 9th September. New Venue and new caterer to find this year. Have the venue, still to find the caterer. And then start on the projects which are all in my head, but thats a long way from done.
I think I have almost finished my manuscript however. A few more step by step photos to take and final instructions once the quilting has been completed and they can be made up.

Was just reading Kims blog at Honeysuckle Cottage re telling someone you care before it is too late or just making someones day by doing something nice. My Grandmother had a major operation today which the Dr's didnt want to do because of the risk of surviving the anesthetic (SP?) and I forgot to phone her for a chat last night before it happened..... She has come out of the operation so hopefully I will still get my chance....
she is my only surviving grandparent and being a dressmaker, crocheter, knitter, embroiderer and later in life a quilter, she has taught me much and helped me get to where I am today. My thoughts are with you Gran.... will talk soon I promise
love Helen

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Island Threads Spectacular 2008!

Yes, I am getting in early this year. Our class project began this week with Class 4/5 Swift at Lenah Valley Primary School. We are going to be working with the class of 28 students each Wednesday for an hour. The theme of this years quilt is 'Images of our youth' and I began this week by talking about complimentary colours - each child has to choose two complimentary colours to work with, shape - we are working in circles only so we spoke about different circular objects we could work with to draw circles and to embellish with.... And then I took photos of every child 'making a funny face' ready to begin next week. Ms Swift tells me she wont be much help but I have seen her classroom artwork and I am sure she will be fine. I also have another guild member and (new) Grandma helping out. I know it is a challenge - 28 at once, but we will see how we go....

I will keep you up to date with a picture diary of how we are going. Tess has made her block as a tester but I wont show you yet.

Here is Tess's pic for her block

Matilda assisted with the photography and then decided it was her turn. This is what she observed as being a 'funny face' obviously..... certainly made me laugh when the pose was struck!! Never ceases to amaze me what they take into their little brains....

so, now she is part of the school quilt!

Tess' sewing kit

I think I promised a few days ago some pics of Tess's sewing things we made together for her sewing kit at school. The School has a 'craft' teacher who occasionally does things with the classes and she had them make a bag to hold things in, it was actually really well done... however, then she wanted something to put her needle in (each child has their own needle) and then something for her thread (they each had to take a reel of thread) and then one of those 'puffy things' to stick pins into...... get the picture.... and Tess being Tess, had to have them all matching (good girl, she does watch mum sometimes) so we set out to make the following three items from co-ordinating fabrics. Problem is now the original bag she made at school doesnt match....
They have a lovely teacher who tells me she cannot sew but at least she is including this almost long lost skill in her classroom. Another wonderful thing they do is Soup Day. Every Wednesday the children have to take a chopped up vegetable, a mug and spoon. They tip the vegies into a pan of boiling stock which simmers in the classroom until lunch when they all get to share it.. and it smells so good.... some of the children have never seen some of these vegies...let alone tasted them.... can you imagine this lovely warm soup to fill their stomachs on a cold winters day....

hugs, Helen

Tuesday, 3 July 2007


As you know I use coloured pencils to add colour to my patterns using my Colourque(R) technique. Today I have been working on my manuscript for the book on this technique and thought I'd share some hints and tips for my favourite pencils, the Derwent brand... They are all listed on the Cumberland Pencil Company's website, makers of the Derwent brand.

some info for sharpening your pencils: from their website with permission

Sometimes people forget that a pencil sharpener or a craft knife is a blade just
like a razor or a kitchen knife. You wouldn’t dream of using the last two for long periods
of time without sharpening the blades, but somehow we expect a pencil sharpener
to last forever.
Pencil sharpeners
To use a pencil sharpener, keep the pencil and the sharpener in a straight
line. Do not insert the pencil at an angle or the point will be subjected
to unnecessary pressure and may break.
Pencil sharpeners work very well when new and sharp, but do not last
nearly as long as people think. There are a couple of easy ways to check
whether a sharpener is blunt:
1. Examine the wood around the pointed pencil. If the surface of the
wood is smooth, then the sharpener is sharp. If the wood is rough or
‘furry’ then the sharpener is becoming blunt. A very blunt sharpener
will produce a very rough surface on the pencil point.
2. Watch the shavings coming out of the sharpener. A good pencil
sharpener will produce a long, continuous sliver of shavings.
The blunter the sharpener the smaller the pieces of shaving become.
If you start to see shard-like pieces coming out of the sharpener, then throw it away.

beginning a project with Tess' class at school tomorrow ready for the Island Threads exhibition in 2008. Had Tess trial it last night, had a few problems so will see how it goes with 28 of them in one class and a teacher who tells me she cannot sew - but I think she is more capable than she says, has lovely artwork in class all the time and has already had them sewing several things- they all have their own needle and we have had to make a set of things for Tess to keep hers in, I will take a pic of what she made for school tomorrow.

hugs for today