Friday, 28 March 2008

New patterns

Well, we have survived yet another wet and windy Easter camping trip! a few hiccups with a blown tyre and late night doctor visits but all is well...

I am catching up here, trying to get my exhibition quilt finished - only 10 days til deadline, (will show you a pic soon) working on new BOM (will show you a pic of that too soon when I get time)and preparing for the exciting USA trip in only 5 weeks - yikes! Our Booth assignments have arrived and Lynette, Tracey and I are all in a row so it will truly be the Aussie Gals!

In the meantime I have released the last two gathering projects as patterns for all of you to join in the fun now. I know you have had to wait but it is only fair - its so much nicer going to a Gathering when the projects are fresh, new and never seen before. So here are some pics, order online or ask at your local now.

The pics above are on my new covers - what do you think? Not sure if I will still tweak them a little more but it was time to modernise and freshen up my look I thought. Now I just need a new website, blog artwork, about another 200 covers changed over etcetc....

Now my lovely friend and recent student Lorraine Hartley (long known as the Scquilters keeper of the badges) has phoned to say that she has found a great online supplier of the Presencia Finca#16 threads I love to use and have been showing you all recently. They can be purchased at - the finca threads are here - note that the 16 doesnt come in all colours yet.

Also a great online supplier for the Derwent pencils in individual colours are Oxford Art Supplies in Sydney. You can buy tinned sets or individual colours to replace those used in your sets or for that exact colour I have used.

Sorry overseas ladies, although both these places will no doubt post overseas to you they are both in Australia. So for everyone who was desperate to get your hands on some Finca 16 threads and couldnt find them locally, shop shop shop...

Of course beg your local to get them in as they are such beautiful threads to use.

hugs for today, Helen

Monday, 17 March 2008

Easter Blessings from above - my gift to you

I recently missed my first year anniversary of blogging as things have been so hectic around here of late. So to thank you all for visiting me and joining in over the past exciting year of blogging I have a little Easter stitchery for you all. With only four days until Good Friday you just have enough time to stitch him. The world of blogging has opened up so much for Hugs 'n Kisses and for me personally. I get emails and comments from all over the world. It never ceases to amaze me the breadth of stitching throughout cultures, demographics, nationalities and countries. Thankyou one and all, and keep coming back to share please. You make my day, all of you. Please send me a pic if you get it stitched in time. Download the PDF design here.


Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Missing in Action part two

Well after catching up with a few more old friends in Townsville it was on the plane to Brisbane and then a ride up to here in the beautiful green leafy Eumundi

now we thought we were spoilt with our rooms in Townsville but this was heaven... and the four lovely women who had been staying there on a stitching retreat for the previous two days agreed - what bliss - a retreat where you are spoilt rotten with the most exquisite food, waited on hand and foot, stitching peacefully in this setting, with likeminded passionate women, views and serenity, great tuition on hand and beautiful projects and inspiration all round...
This was my room...

This was waiting for me on my bed.... check out the quilting on the cushion, the theme was black and white obviously and there were little handmade 'things' everywhere in black and white..

This awaited us at breakfast, beautiful views, peaceful serenity.... and.....
the most delicious banana caramel pancakes!

I tried to get a photo of the front of the house but Sue used a photographer with a blimp to get the shot for the website so best to look

I know I always seem to take floral shots but gardening and flowers would have to be my second passion.... these were spotted amongst the lush tropical gardens of Kindred Spirits...actually between the studio/workroom and the main house... My Hosts Sue and Jim Daly are also the owners and designers of Patchwork with Busy Fingers - beautiful traditional paper piecing patterns and supplies.... Catch Sue on her blog here

Anyway, it wasnt all fun and lying around, I was brought here to work... I had a lovely room full of women on Tuesday night for a trunk show and slide show of Paducah quilt photos which always inspire... then on Wednesday it was a Colourque class on my Blessed Beauty wallhanging. In my class presentation I show the original pack of Derwent pencils that I saved up for about 30 years ago and still have... however I was pipped at the post here. One of the ladies had her original pack, we are not sure how old they were but had a batch no of 1924 - not sure if that means the year or not.. all of the colour names and numbers are still the same...

These were a few of the finished products - all ready to go home and begin the stitching...

Wednesday morning it was time to be delivered to Forest Glen to Penny's wonderful store the Patchwork Angel
Penny had made a lovely display of my patterns and samples which was a great inspiring start to the day.
A small but keen group spent the day colouring a pre quilted panel in the style of the Lace quilt. Below is Penny's mums wonderful effort. Jill is not a stitcher or quilter but quite enjoyed colouring in and I think she did a great job. I hope I have the spirit and energy of Jill when I am a Grandmother...

Alas, this saw the end of my teaching trip to Queensland... A lovely time was had by all, I hope I managed to share, inspire and impart some skills or knowledge or even just enthusiasm to the many wonderful women whom I met and chatted with.
so now, home again to my girls and DH, back to work and into my list of things to do to...

links and things

yes, Missing in Action part 2 is still to come. Will try to do tonight. Problem is I was wrapping a new book for a birthday present and just thought I'd peek at the introduction - say no more, I have about 20 pages to go and have done nothing else!!!

in the meantime I just had to share this wonderful bit of info I just surfed in on - quite old news but I must have missed it...

Karen Dirix won the Down Under Quilts best us of colour award at the Canberra Quilters Exhibition last year with her version of my Daisy Dance quilt. You can see it here - I am so pleased for her, this quilt is a mammoth effort of applique and dont you agree her colour choices are stunning... Its always so nice to see your own efforts being done so well by others and then to see them achieve such results is very gratifiying to me - to think that I had a little part in her enjoyment and helped with her passion of stitching is what its all about. I don't know Karen, so if you happen to read this and know her please pass on my congrats.

I found it whilst looking at this new online site - Its own very own Kerri Anne Kennerly's (you know - from the morning show on Channel 9 I think) new venture. For those of you who dont know Kerri-Anne has been on our Television screens for many years as a general talk show, variety show host and is very well known in Australia. And we dont think of those 'types' of personalities having any personal spare time to pick up a needle and thread. I'd like to see some of the projects Kerri-Anne has actually made.

Have a good surf, there is lots on there to inspire and heaps of ideas and suggestions. Lots of softies, see the great knitted cupcakes. It's rather hip and modern in a lot of ways but she is also into quilts, knitting and much much more....

And if I link here I might get to be a part of it :)

Thirdly, check out the sneak peek of Sharon Schambers new quilt entered into Paducah - they are not sure if is the one of two accepted or not yet (She entered two and one is accepted), but from this peek I am sure it is as amazing as her last two winners... This is one amazingly talented lady - and she is also very nice and generous! It and many more of her exquisite peices can be seen on her website at

I emailed to ask permission to put this picture on my blog and they have given me some links for discounts for you all! Just for asking permission.... how nice is that? so if you are blown away by Sharons quilting then maybe subsribe using these codes to get a nice discount. She has heaps of videos, some free and some if you subscribe on her great techniques - they are really worth looking at.
So if you go to
in the code box you can use the following codes

SSN03 = $10 off a six month membership
SSN04 = $15 off a yearly membership

hugs til tonight


Saturday, 8 March 2008

missing in action part one

Well what a week I have had. Let me fill you in. It was my pleasure to be invited by Tracy of Tinkers Cart to be a guest tutor at her When friends gather retreat in Townsville last weekend. It was especially exciting as I had once spent 3 years up there and was very much looking forward to catching up with old friends. On arrival I and Sharon Hawkins of Handmade magazine were picked up and taken to Tracy's lovely store. These three old souls were keeping watch out the door and with the friends and neighbours Tracy keeps its probably just as well!

The wonderful gathering of 110 lucky likeminded passionate stitching women was held on Saturday in a wonderful theatre space. Rosalie Quinlan, Janet Rowe and myself were the lucky tutors. Tracy did a splendid job of organising her first retreat and all of the girls left very happy and vowing to attend the next one - a very good sign of success.
Tracy had some very dedicated and loyal friends and helpers who worked tirelessly all day gathering up the atmosphere for all of us.

Tracy had requested a Colourque(R) project from me which was great as Colourque works really well at retreat type days where everyone can have a go. I was so pleased that at least two thirds of the girls got to have a go and colour their piece with many varied and wonderful results.

This effort belonged to Lauren a lovely young enthusiastic girl from Charters Towers, I can't wait to see more of her work as she was so keen to go and experiment further. It had a really fresh young look dont you think?

After a long day travelling and setting up and then another sharing with all of the wonderful old and new friends it was back to our accommodation which wasnt hard to take. This was the view from my 12th Floor window - Magnetic Island in the distance - many memories there.

after a freshen up and whilst waiting for dinner I walked and sat in the peace of the sun sinking, staring out to see, soaking up the tropical air and the lights of the magnificent Strand.

after dinner and debrief conversations it was bedtime for some... but who is this making the most of life and showing us her newly painted North Queensland toenails...?? See here for some more details..

We rested our feet in the pool, solved the problems of the world and the industry and had many laughs.... a lovely finish to the day... not to mention my photography efforts to catch the curlew on film - sorry nothing to show- the best I got was two white spots which I am sure are eyes!!

A final breakfast feast and farewell to some new and refound friends.... Rosie - who is living life with spirit and gusto, Melly on a mummy break (also the two best of friends and sisters) and Sharon -a truly beautiful person.

yes the photo is at breakfast, champagne and all...

footnote, some photoshop work below? - well no actually that is how it came out - see lots of laughs were had...

I will tell the rest of the story tomorrow....

hugs, Helen