Thursday, December 29, 2011

Giveaway - More Hexagon Charm Packs

The New Year inches closer and closer but it's not too late to enter the giveaway for my brand new Hexagon Charm Packs.

I've made lots more pre-cut hexagons for you to chose from. These are large hexagons, the same size as Moda's regular square charm packs. This batch includes Good Fortune, Sassy, Little Apples and others, plus the not yet released California Girl. You can find more details in the pbpatch store.



There'll be an Australian winner and an International winner. To enter, just read my previous post and leave a comment there before 2011 runs out. (If Blogger doesn't let you leave a comment, send me an email and I'll enter one for you.)

Good luck everyone!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Now available - Hexagon Charm Packs

Another busy week has flown by - busy in my day-job and busy at night making new products.

The new hexagon-shaped charm packs that I previewed the other day are now listed in my store. I have decided to sell them for around the same as the Australian retail price of the regular square charm packs from Moda.

Yes, that's right - a charm pack of pre-cut hexagons for the same price as the squares! (My local store sells the square ones for $17.95 and some eBay stores sell them for $15 so my hexagon ones are in between.) Ready for you to machine-sew or hand-sew without any further preparation.


I couldn't resist using another pack myself. Here's my latest charm quilt, using A Walk in the Woods by Aneela Hoey for Moda. I need lots more practice at free-motion quilting!


You might have noticed in my store that I often only have 2 or 3 packs available for each range of fabric hexagons at any one time. That doesn't mean that more aren't available, it just means I haven't made it for you yet!

I'm not a store so I don't have a lot of stock sitting on the shelves. I generally just custom-make my products when anyone orders them. If something is 'out of stock', that just means that I will custom-make it for you, so please do not hesitate to email me your requests. If the fabric is available, I'll make it for you within 24 hours.

I am determined that from the New Year on, I am going to spend a full day each weekend at my cutting table, making LOTS of stock so I can do LOTS of markets in 2012. I enjoyed getting out of Sydney so much in November to go to the Braidwood quilt event, so I want to do lots more of that.

Do you have a favourite market? I'd love to hear about it, so how about we make that the theme of a new giveaway.

This giveaway is to launch my new Hexagon Charm Packs. An Australian winner and an International winner will each receive a Hexagon Charm Pack of their choice. You can see what's available now here, but I will add more Moda ranges over the coming weeks.

Plus, each winner can nominate a friend to receive a surprise present. Keep it a secret for now, don't mention any names in your comment, just let me know their details when you win and I will send them whichever Hexagon Charm Pack you think they'd like.

To enter, leave a comment telling me about your favourite market, whether that's in Australia or overseas, a quilters market, flea market or whatever. I'll draw the winners on New Year's Day. Good luck!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

First quilt made from a Hexagon Charm Pack

Here's my first attempt at doing machine-pieced hexagons. I wasn't sure how I'd go with the set-in corners but they turned out to be quite easy. I think that was because of the larger size of the hexagons.


Construction was fairly easy. I joined the columns of hexs together to make vertical strips, just like you do with square charms, then I sewed the strips together. (I think I must have turned one or two strips the wrong way though, as all the florals are now clumped together.) There's a little trick to sewing the strips together. I'll tell you more about that later.

Initially I was going to add some red hexs, but I ended up trimming the sides to make the quilt square. I used just one hexagon charm pack (Ruby by Bonnie and Camille) and it ended up at around 55cm x 55cm. I used all 42 hexs in the pack, so there was absolutely no wastage.


My first attempt at free motion quilting was a little rough, as you would expect, but I'm so proud of myself for giving it a go. I think I did too many squiggles too close together so it looks a little tight and over-quilted. I think they key is to not try so hard.

Everything I needed to know about free-motion quilting I found in RetroMummy's video tutorial here. (Well, almost everything. It took me an hour to figure out how to drop my feed dogs!) I looked at quite a few other YouTube videos as well, but all the presenters just talked about FMQ, no-one actually demonstrated it.


My stitch length varied a lot as I tried to figure out the perfect speed to go at but I know this will improve with practice. I definitely need to buy some gloves like RetroMummy's, as it was hard to manouver the fabric smoothly without them.

All in all, I am VERY pleased with the fruits of this weekend's labour. I am very very tempted to start another little quilt tonight, I'm thinking of using Walk in the Woods. The large hexagons will show off the fabrics wonderfully.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

New Products - Notice something different?

I am so excited, I have a new product line for you. Notice anything different about these Moda charm packs?


That's right, they're hexagonal! They are the same size as the regular square charm packs (these are 5 inches from point to point), but they are already die-cut into hexagons (with 2 1/2 inch sides).

Now before you rush off to your local patchwork store looking for them, I have to tell you that they are ONLY available here at Possum Blossom Patchwork because they are all die-cut by ME.

They're not listed in my store just yet as I've only just finished cutting this batch, but I will list them over the next week. (If you can't wait, or if you want me to cut any other Moda ranges, send me an email.)

But first, I'm going to crack open one (or two) of these charm packs and spend the rest of the day sewing. I've never machine-sewn hexagons before. Is there a trick to it? I will find out and report back to you.

I am also tempted to try some free-motion quilting, I've never done that before, but I guess I better take it one step at a time and piece the hexagons first.

Anyway, I am very very happy with these hexagon charm packs, and I can't wait for my next fabric delivery to arrive so I can make some more for you.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Escape to the country 2

It rained and rained and rained, but I had a great weekend at Braidwood. It was lovely to get out into the wide open countryside and to meet lots of friendly quilters.

I was looking forward to the Airing of the Quilts and seeing hundreds of quilts hanging from the historic buildings, but obviously that got cancelled because of the rain. I guess no-one wanted to see the Washing of the Quilts. LOL.

I was lucky enough to find a completely dry spot underneath a balcony to set up my market stall, on the corner of the main street and right outside a cafe. This is the building I sheltered under, although the photo is from a previous year. (I forgot to take my own photos!)


I'm thrilled to say my pre-cut fabric hexagons were a big hit. It makes me so happy to know that I am saving people lots of time and effort. And I think quite a few people will be getting my handmade pendants in their Christmas stockings this year.

My Mum was a fantastic co-stallholder and a wonderful B-and-B host too. Thanks so much Mum! The weekend could not have gone smoother. I'm looking forward to returning next year, and I'll make sure I allow some time to see the exhibitions.

P.S. There's a small problem with my website - I can't seem to update any information e.g. product availability. (I think this happens due to automatic security upgrades. I haven't figured out how to fix it yet.) If you want to order any fabric hexagons, can you send me a quick email at joanne@pbpatch.com.au to check they are available first.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Escape to the country 1

I'm looking forward to going to the Airing of the Quilts at Braidwood NSW this weekend. I've been meaning to go for years. I hope the rain clears up!

The Airing of the Quilts started in 1995 with a display of just 25 quilts, and now it has around 500 displayed inside and outside all over this heritage-listed town.

I might be breaking copyright by showing this photo from the Braidwood Quilters website so I'll stick to just one photo. Click here for heaps more great images of their past events.


I just know I'm going to fall in love with this place - the absolute opposite of the day-to-day demands of working in Sydney. I'll be staying at my Mum's in Goulburn (thanks Mum!) and we'll be driving down on Saturday morning to set up a market stall.

I hope it's a sunny Saturday for the Braidwood Markets because I've been clearing out my cupboards and have got boxes full of my handmade pendants and rings (made from Japanese paper), badges and brooches (made from vintage kimonos and saris) and other stuff to sell (all at special market prices). I have also been busy die-cutting more packs of fabric hexagons and paper and card templates.

The markets and the Airing of the Quilts are only happening on the Saturday (26 November) but there are other events on as well. According to the website, there's also:
- an official opening on Friday night
- a major two-day quilt exhibition and competition (indoors!) on Sat/Sun
- various open gardens under the Open Garden Scheme
- a textile exhibition of West Timorese traditional weaving, and
- a collection of vintage wedding gowns.

Wow! I'm starting to hope it will rain this weekend, so that I have an excuse not to have my market stall so that I can visit all the displays instead. Only kidding, I can't wait to see all the quilts hanging up outside on all the verandahs of all the heritage buildings. (Mum, I think we'll have to go back on Sunday to do the other things!)

There are many other craft things going on at Braidwood this weekend, not just quilting, and you can read all about them here.

I'd love to hear if you're planning on going, or if you've been before. Feel free to comment and tell us all about it. Maybe I'll even see you there!






Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Other things I make - and other things I am

What makes a good blog?

A funny anecdote? A structured well-written storyline? Great photos? I'm sure I'm not the first person to fall into the trap of wanting to do all these things well, then finding that their blogging has slowed down as a result.

To be honest, I didn't really intend to start blogging, although it had crossed my mind a few times. But on the spur of the moment I thought I'd give it a go, share a few of my crafty creations, and maybe get in touch with some crafters out there in the big wide world.

And what I've learnt is, a good blog is all about sponteneity, openness, generosity of spirit, and humanness. And real life.

So here's what's real for me ...

I went to a seminar on the weekend about living with Aspergers Syndrome. I figured out about two years ago that I have it, but I haven't really come to terms with it yet. I realised on the weekend that I've been telling myself "I'm only a little bit Aspergers, so if I make an effort, I will grow out of it". It doesn't really work like that, does it. There's really no such thing as just a little bit Aspergers.

It's time for some self-acceptance don't you think? Time to accept the fact that I think differently than most people, I feel differently, I even see, hear and smell things differently. I process information differently, I make sense of the world differently ... and I have my own unique contribution to make to the world.

So maybe you'll hear a bit more about AS on this blog. And you are welcome to email me if you need to talk about it.

I apologise in advance if I inadvertently over-share. Just ignore it and come back for the next post, because I guarantee you that this blog will stay 95% about craft. OK, maybe 90% about craft and 10% about me. I'm definitely not dropping below 85% craft LOL.

I'll finish off this post talking about my life-long obsession with "making something out of nothing". I previously told you about the retro-cool pencil cups that I made from floppy disks that were thrown away at work. (They were more popular than I expected and I ended up making about five dozen!)

Well here's what I made last week from some used manila folders that were thrown away at work. Die-cut Christmas decorations!
I made heaps and heaps in a quite a few diffferent colours, but I really love the folk-art simplicity of these red-and-white garlands.


The loose die-cuts are a big hit with my colleagues. The pot plants are getting baubled (paper clips do the trick) and the windows are getting snowflaked. Makes a welcome change from the tatty tinsel that we usually drag out each year.


(In keeping with the spirit of self-acceptance, I won't apologise for my poor photos.)


Here's the window next to my desk. (The dust is on the outside not the inside!) A nice contrast with the brick wall behind the window LOL!


That's all from me for tonight. It's way past my bedtime!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Giveaway 4 winners, and birthday yumminess

I've had a yummy yummy birthday. Out to lunch at a favourite cafe on the bay (crispy-skinned barramundi drizzled with chilli oil - yummmm), phone calls from my family and friends, and a sweet sweet e-card from a lovely online friend.

To top it off, I have a piece of chocolate gateau waiting patiently to be eaten. I'm still too full from lunch! And I just splurged on a present for myself, I ordered some yummy yummy caramels from one of my favourite Etsy sellers, Fusion Sweets. (They're in the US but ship internationally.)

Their caramels taste as good as they sound. (This is starting to sound like a sponsored post, but I swear it's not!) I am trying Pumpkin Pie Butter caramels and Apple Butter caramels for the first time, and have reordered the delicate Rose Orange Vanilla caramels. (I'm not into hot stuff so I'm giving the Thai Habanero Butter Caramels a miss.)


I have also ordered my favourite favourite favourite ones - French Sea Salt caramels and French Sea Salt & Lavender caramels.

Speaking of lovely French things, it's time to draw the winners of my French-themed giveaway. I'll go and draw them right now. I'll be back in a minute ...

------------------------------

Hi, I'm back. Before I announce the winners selected by Random.org, I want to say a big Merci Beaucoup to everyone who participated. I have really enjoyed learning all the new words (parapluie and portmanteau = umbrella and bag, thanks Manda and Gemma) and new sayings (Journée ensoleillée = a day with sunshine sounds good. Thanks Anette J, that's beautiful).

I've also enjoyed being reminded of some great memories, like seeing Les Miserables on stage, and learning to play Debussy on the piano.

OK on with the draw ....

The winner of the pack of pre-cut fabric hexagons is Gill from the UK. (Sacre bleu!) Gill, you can choose from the Rounneries Deux pack or the Fa la la la la pack, or any other pack from here.

Lindi from the Hunter Valley, Australia, has won the Paris Flea Market fat quarters and Sue from Elderslie, Australia, has won a handmade pendant. I will contact you all to find out your choices.

I'm getting hungry now so I'm going to say goodbye now and go and have my chocolate cake.

Thanks again to everyone for participating. It has been a lot of fun.

Monday, October 31, 2011

In progress - Rough Terrain

I don't have much to say at the best of times, but when my job gets hectic (that is, even more hectic than usual) I do tend to shut down. My Forum friends will agree with that, they haven't heard from me for ages. Sorry!

And some sad memories have been on my mind lately, I've been missing what could have been. But let's not talk about that, I do appreciate that I'm very fortunate in many parts of my life. I'm single so I can indulge my need for a lot of quiet time, and I get a good paycheck so I can indulge my craft addiction.

So here's a peak at what I've been doing with all my time over the past couple of weeks. I tried and tried to resist starting another quilt (because I am so close to the end of piecing this quilt) but I obviously didn't resist hard enough.

I gave in to temptation the Tuesday before last and cracked open a pack of pre-cut hexagons. I couldn't resist the Terrain. It was like opening a little gift box of mixed chocolates! You're not quite sure what's in there, but it's fun finding out.

I glue-penned the pre-cuts to my templates in no time at all. Here's a picture of some of them ready to stitch.


I have since stitched up all the hexie-flowers and am half-way through piecing them together. I'm not entirely convinced that white is a good in-betweener, but the deep purple centres are absolutely perfect.

Here's where I'm up to. I'm pleased to say that it looks fantastic in real life. I'm so thrilled with it.


I am racing through this project as fast as I can (because I have a feeling that once I've put these hexie-flowers together, I might be tempted to crack open another pack and turn this small quilt into a large one).

So bye for now, I've got to get stuck into Row 5.

P.S. There's still time to enter the giveaway below. Did I mention that I'm drawing it on my birthday, Saturday 5 November?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Giveaway 4 - Ooh la la!

I promised another giveaway over a week ago, and here it is.

This giveaway is open to all Australian and International visitors, and there are three prizes altogether. Or should I say trois prix, as this is a French-themed giveaway.

The first winner pulled out of my chapeau can choose a pack of pre-cut fabric hexagons from either the Fa la la la la range or the Rounneries Deux range by Moda.

Rounneries Deux

Each pack contains close to 300 pre-cut fabric hexagons from close to 40 different fabrics.


Fa la la la la


The second winner will receive these pieces from my stash. They are from one of my first favourite fabric ranges, the lovely Paris Flea Market by Moda. They came out quite a few years ago, but who can forget the Paris city street map in ballet slipper pink.


The third winner might like to choose one of these pendants I made last year. They are made from genuine vintage Republique Francaise postage stamps set behind glass tiles, and measure 1 inch high by 3/4 inch wide. A thin silver chain will be included. (Sorry about the photographie terrible.)


This giveaway is open to all, and is open until 9.00 pm 5 November, Sydney Australia time. To enter, leave one comment below telling us your favourite French word/s. (I'm guessing that chocolat will popular.) If you can't leave a comment, you are welcome to email me. The winners will be randomly drawn.

P.S. I said the winner could choose from either Fa la la la la or Rounneries Deux, but actually you are welcome to select any pack of pre-cuts from my store. I have to confess that I opened one of the Terrain packs for myself last Tuesday night.

P.P.S. I'll extend my October free offer to coincide with the end of the giveaway. Buy any pack of pre-cut fabric hexagons from any of the Moda ranges between now and 5 November and receive a free pack of paper or card 1" hexagons.

* * * * * * * *

Hi Everyone, I'm really enjoying all your comments. Tres amusement! Thank you all so much.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Now available - October free offer

I worked like a wild thing all weekend to add LOTS of new items to my store. I now have packs of pre-cut fabric hexagons available in 18 (yes 18!) different Moda fabric ranges.

The latest additions include Fa la la la la, Rounneries Deux, Collections for a Cause - Hope and Collections for a Cause - Comfort. If you prefer bright fresh moderns, I've added Giddy, Sassy and Ruby and Reunion.

Plus, a brand new favourite, Good Fortune.
I should perhaps mention that when you see 'thumbnails' like this in my store, click on them and you will see a close-up all the fabrics in that range, like this ...


I've also added an extra item called "Free Offer". I'm sure it's not hard to guess what it is.

Buy any pack of pre-cut fabric hexagons from the Moda range and get a pack of 1" hexagons for free. Free pack can be either 100 paper, 100 card, or 50 paper/50 card hexagons.

Free offer available until 31 Oct. Browse here to see all the new pre-cut packs (and the ones that were already there). I hope you see something you like.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chookyblue, this post is for you!

Chookyblue, this post is for you! Thanks for your inspired suggestion.

Here's the Rough Terrain layout using a pack of my Hometown Pre-cut Hexagons. I guess I should call it Rough Hometown LOL.

I'm calling them "rough" because the final design details are unfinished. I don't think you can know what a quilt will look like when you just see it on-screen, you have to see it in real life. That way you can balance out the light and dark, the proportions and placement, and experiement with some finishing touches.

I think the Red looks a little overpowering in this one. Maybe it needs a bit more open space between the hexie-flowers. I usually piece my in-between rows, but if you appliqued the hexie-flowers on instead, you could play around with it until you found just the right balance of open space.


I'd like this grey-blue version to go with my Hamptons-style white wooden beach house please, a la Diane Keaton's house in Somthing's Gotta Give. I'd have to make this in king-size don't you think, so there is enough room underneath for one Mr K Reeves as well. (I can dream, can't I!)


But my favourite tonight is this one with a softer gentler yellow colourway. You can only see the hexie-flowers on-screen, but in my mind I can see finished off with a stylised curvy vine design appliqued on the yellow border and lots of swirly quilting all over.


I have a limited number of packs of Hometown Pre-cut Hexagons available here in the 1 1/2" size to go with 1" templates. Larger amounts or larger sizes can be custom-made on request.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

In my mailbox today

Crafters are such a generous bunch!

I keep finding inchy hexie flowers in my letterbox, which are the perfect flowers for me because I am allergic to most others.

They often show up for no reason, not as part of a swap, and it's always a lovely un-hex-pected surprise. (OK OK, that was a really really bad pun I know.) They always seem to show when I really need a pick-me-up (although I have to admit you could pick any weekday and that would apply).

Also in my mailbox today was a couple of metres of a gorgeous deep purple from Bella Solids. I'm sure you know where that will be going ... MUST resist ... MUST resist ....

Now that the purple has arrived it is so tempting to crack open a pack of Terrain fabric hexagons and get started on another new quilt, but I am determined to finish my Faux Wedding Ring first.

And I have a great idea for a giveaway which I really want to make for you this weekend. (That's what I said last weekend.) No hints, except to say "Oo la la, J'adore fabrique". OK, I give in, here's a visual hint too.
And tomorrow is the deadline for this month's swap and I still haven't done mine. I better crack on with that right now.

But before I go I just want to say a big thank you to EllieK for today's sweet flower and also to Mommaduck for her little bunch a while ago (sorry I neglected to thank you earlier) and also Doris and Shannon.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rough Terrain revised

Thanks for the tip, Diamant. You're right, it looks much better now.

(I think I'll leave the edges on the coloured ones though.)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Rough Terrain

I spent last Sunday getting to know the basics of EQuilt. I'm sure you're familiar with it, it's design software especially for quilters. I could so easily get side-tracked for hours playing with the hundreds of different block designs.

But I had a specific task that I wanted to do, so this morning I went back to using the regular graphics program that I was familiar with, and this is what I came up with.

I've always been the first to say that I am not a designer. I have talented hands and a talented brain but not talented eyes. What I mean is, I love making things and I love figuring out how other people make things, but I just don't think that I have fresh new ideas or an eye for colour.

(Thank goodness I can fall back on pre-selected fat quarter bundles and layer cakes. I'm sure you've recognised this is Terrain.)

But I still wanted to give it a go. After all, everything can improve a little with practice, and I'm not planning on being the next great new designer.

I thought my first effort looked crowded. Maybe that's because in the past I have been too timid about using bright bold palettes like this (I think starting the Candied Hexagon quilt cured me of that though) and maybe I'm just not used to the busy-ness.

I am happier with my second effort which has some breathing space in between the flowers.


This layout measures approximately 90cm x 90cm, not including the borders. I guess my next computer task is to set up a larger version, or maybe do one in another fabric range, but I'm itching to do some stitching so that's all going to have to wait. I haven't picked up a needle all week!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Now available - pre-cut Terrain hexagons

Just a quick post tonight to let you know that I have (finally) made some pre-cut fabric hexagons in the fabulous Terrain by Kate Spain. Sorry I took so long!


I have die-cut these in the 1 1/2" size, perfect for your 1" hexagons. The pack contains 294 fabric hexagons (that's 7 from each layer in this Moda layer cake) for $34.00. You can find the pack here.

I think the bold patterns in this fabric range would also look great in the larger sizes and other shapes too. If you have a particular size and shape in mind, let me know if you'd like me to die-cut some for you.

It is taking all my strength not to break open a pack for myself! I am dreaming of making a large stuffed dinosaur and calling him Terrain-asaurus Hex!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Other things I make - Floppy disk pencil cups

I hope all you Aussies out there had a great 3-day weekend. Well, 3 days minus 1 hour for some of us, due to the start of daylight saving. Back to the daily grind tomorrow.

I've had quite a productive weekend, but I'm not quite sure how much to tell you about it. Still, I've been a bit quiet in blogworld lately, so maybe I should explain why. I have a secret obsession and I know it's weird but if I don't give into it every now and again, it just gets worse until I do.

There isn't a fancy way to describe it. I like making things from things other people throw away. I like the whole idea of turning rubbish into something useful. That in itself isn't weird. I know a lot of you out there like doing this too, whether it's upcycling vintage clothes, giving beat-up furniture a lick of paint, or using found objects to make jewellery.