Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Heralds of Spring

When I lived in Baltimore, bright red breasted Robins were the heralds of Spring. Here in England, Robins are much smaller birds that keep us enchanted in winter, perching on gates and pictured in Christmas cards. Here it's the Cuckoo who lets us know that Spring has really arrived. This past weekend we heard the Cuckoo for the first time. They nest in a big old tree down the lane by a field across the street from our house.

Bluebells are the other harbinger of Spring. They grow wild in woodlands and usually bloom in late April. On a good year you might find a dense carpet of bluebells shooting up and bending gracefully covering the woodland floor as far as the eye can see. The fragrance is similar to a hyacinth but much more delicate. I love bluebells. I look forward to the bluebell walk every year. The purple against the green, lit up by shafts of sunlight slanting through the trees is so magical. Someday it's going to find it's way into one of my quilts.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Easter Monday

This is our inside Easter tree. We've had fun collecting and making the eggs over the years. Our favourites are the one's we've made. There are 20 years of memories on this tree! But the oldest eggs go back even further.

Anyone recognise the 1970's vintage fabric on these eggs? The fabrics are from the first quilt I ever made. I made the eggs for Christmas tree decorations over 30 years ago, but I use them for Easter too. These are real eggs blown and covered with fabric using watered-down Elmer's glue. I can't believe they've lasted so long.

Vanessa from V and Co. has made another super tutorial for making something similar with more up-to-date materials. Here's the link:


All you'd need to add is a loop of thread so you could hang them. I sewed the loop when the eggs were still wet. Once the glue hardened it held nice and firm...for 30 years! It's a fun way to show case your favourite fabrics.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Easter Eggs Batik Style

We had so much fun dying eggs this year. We got the idea from Kaboose -an online site for family activities. Usually we use hot water, food colouring and a teaspoon of vinegar to help the dye stick.
But this year we added a tablespoon of oil to each cup. We used olive oil but any cooking oil would do.
It marbled the eggs.
The kids took them out and dabbed off the excess liquid with paper towels.
Then put the egg in another cup of different coloured dye.
The eggs look like batik...what a great effect.

"Mom, this year we made the best eggs ever!"
Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, 10 April 2009

Good Friday

"Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden
and in the garden a new tomb,
not yet used for burial.
There, because the tomb was
near at hand and it was
the eve of the Jewish Sabbath,
they laid Jesus."
John 19:42

Each year at this time my husband and kids make a little Easter garden. They use sticks and some string to make 3 crosses and bricks and stones to make a tomb. Then we go out for a walk to collect some blossoming branches for our Easter tree.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Basket Case

Look what I made this week! I've been wanting to make a basket like this for years. But when I tried it ages ago it kept getting unwound or tangled so I bagged it and gave it up as a bad job. Then a few weeks ago I came across a wonderful basket tutorial on the Moda Bakeshop blog by Vanessa from V and Co. Here's the link:


I'm so grateful for Vanessa for setting me on the right track. As soon as I saw her tutorial I was able to figure out most of the things that I'd been doing wrong. So this time, with a bit of trial and error, I managed it. I love the way the circle spirals around. It reminds me of rag rugs, jelly rolls and Danish pastries.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Last Daff

I wanted to try one more colour combination before I moved on to a new project. This daffodil is one of my favourites because the colour is so unusual. It begins a pale orange but fades to this beautiful salmon colour.

To capture the colour I used one of the new tone on tone colours from the King Tut range #908 Valley of the Kings. For the pale petals I used #214 Sandy Beach from the LAVA range. Click on the photo above for a good close up of the threads. For the thread painting I used a Topstitch 100/16 needle because the eye is twice as big. This meant that all the different threads from King Tut all the way down to Bottom Line had plenty of room to move around in the eye of the needle so I didn't have any trouble with thread breakage. I used pre-wound bobbins with Bottom Line. I'm hooked on these bobbins because they're so convenient but they also kept the flowers from getting too stiff.