Friday, 30 March 2012

Raffle for New Wheels!

Sometimes you can never expect what life will bring, how it will change us. A little over six years ago, I was getting ready for my wedding. Jem, by beautiful friend here behind me, and her husband Ben, also in our wedding party, had married a year earlier. Jemimah had spent most of the year sick with Glandular Fever. And they had just moved to country NSW to mentor young people in a small Christian community, open to people who wanted to explore faith, life and spirituality.

So when, soon after our wedding, Jem started to feel tired and sick again, we all wondered if this virus was taking longer to budge than we thought. Then came the exciting, yet unexpected news. Jem and Ben were pregnant! And they were 16 weeks already! AND there were TWO! 

Then, only two months before this photo was taken, Ben and Jem, at only 23 years old, were told they were having triplets. These beautiful babies, born five weeks early, were welcomed with great celebration and trepidation! They were named Anwen, meaning beautiful, Mahalah, tender, and Gideon, powerful warrior.

18 months later, after a million trips to Sydney, tests, appointments with specialists, Ben and Jem were told the devastating news why all three kids were still not sitting up, crawling or weight-bearing. Anwen, Gideon and Mahalah were all diagnosed with 'Merosin Deficient Congenital Muscular Dystrophy', a rare, genetic condition which effects the protein in their muscles. It's not degenerative, like the more common form of Muscular Dystrophy, but impedes muscle strength and development their whole life.

They did not know it at the time, but for Ben and Jemimah, each child they conceive has a one in four risk of having Muscular Dystrophy. Incredibly, all three of the triplets were affected.

You can imagine the work, and change of goals, this has meant for Ben and Jem, who have both had to put other work on hold to become full time carers. They have born this with courage and strength. In fact, we named our little girl, Eve Lily Jemimah, after Jem because of they way she has strived to find beauty and hope in such challenging circumstances. I've watched her parent with patience and kindness and listened as she explained to the kids why they can't run around like other kids. I want Evie to grow to be courageous like her.
Gideon, Anwen and Mahalah are now 5! Socially and mentally, they are just like any other five year olds, they are just really skilled at buzzing these chairs around!

And now they have outgrown them. And I'm helping Jem and Ben raise the $55,000 they need for new ones. Want to join in? There's lots of prizes!

A remnant pack of Anna Maria Horner's Little Folks! This includes a bundle fat 1/4s, fat 1/8s, 1/4 yds of this super soft and bright cotton voile!

Then, for the boys, we have a spunky pair of shorts (your choice of size -1-6yrs- and colour), matching flannel bibs and a cool monkey from Monkeys in the Kitchen!

For the little girls, check out this amazing bundle! A $20 gift voucher from Twiggy Nest's Madeit store, a Pinny from Tickle & Hide, an adorable owl hat from Bubz, Bibz and Bobz, a beautiful headband from Dan's Headbands and some yummy flannel bibs!

For Newcastle (Australia) locals, we have a wonderful gift for mums! A $25 gift voucher from the beautiful Hopscotch Sundays Market and 3 pairs earrings/clips from Cloudberry!

And for the BIG prize!
A "Meet the Gang" Drawstring Quilt by Tickle & Hide, a custom pair of boys/girls shorts by Corduroy Corner, a $40 gift voucher for the very popular CocoCooie's funky wall art and a beautiful pair of glass earrings by Cordelle!

Wow! Thank you so much to all these little businesses for their generous donations! All their links are on my Facebook Page. Please visit and 'like' them! Want to know how to win?
I'm running this one on my Facebook Page this time. This is how you enter:
 - Head over to and donate to the Read kids' fundraising page. It can be as much as you like and as little as a dollar - every little bit helps! You need to include your name in the donation which matches your Facebook profile/business so we can check.
- Then click on my Giveaway Album and leave a comment to say you've donated. 
- Then, if you want, 'like' the photos you'd like to win. It will help me delegate prizes at the end!
 - Share the album (publicly) on your profile/business page for a FREE ENTRY (only after donation, please)!

Thank you for helping me support some very dear friends! Winners will be chosen randomly on the 14th April! International entries welcome!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Warm Spinning Stars.

I (almost) finished another quilt! There's still a bit of  hand-quilting to do but I really wanted to enter it, with binding, into the "Festival of Scrappiness." I just don't usually really like my quilts till I've binded (bound? My husband and I were just having this discussion...) them.

For this one I used Anna Maria Horner's "Spinning Stars" pattern (you can download it free here.) and all my warm coloured scraps. Even the white was cut from scraps leftover from my "On Parade" pinnies!

One of my favourite moments in making this quilt was realising this Herringbone by Joel Dewberry, a print I've pulled out and put back on the shelf so many times, would be just perfect! Because I mostly make clothes, it's always exciting when design I feel a bit ho hum about looks much better in quilt or binding form than worn on a little person.

I'm hand-quilting this one, because it's my new favourite thing to do. I find it so relaxing and I just love the look.  A glass of wine (or coffee, depending on the time of day), a movie (last night I watched 'The Help") and rocking the needle back and forth is my (perhaps crazy) idea of the perfect evening. :)

 Hey, before you go check out all the other amazing scrappy quilts (there's HEAPS!) why don't you head to the top of my page, click 'Like' on the Facebook thingy so that you can join in a huge giveaway I'm running later in the week. There's 8 little crafty businesses involved! I'll tell you more soon. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

In the Making: Catching Up

Hello! It's been a while! My head is so full of ideas and colour and fun orders, I'm letting myself get lost in the sewing room and at the park with the kids and snuggling in front of a movie, rather than being online. I'm not sure how long it will last but I hope to give you at least a weekly update while it does. :)
Here's just some of the things I've been making this week...

Some pretty dresses, including some from scraps! Will reveal more soon!
And some more blocks for my red scrappy quilt...

Warm jackets! I just can't get enough of putting these together: the colours, the gathers. Most of my customers are from the other side of the world and getting ready for spring, but when it's cloudy and cold, I can't help it. All I feel like making is warm winter jackets.

I'm making a second 'Meet the Gang' drawstring quilt. It's easy as pie to throw together. You can buy the pattern for the drawstring binding (and a stripy quilt) here and instead of making a patchwork hexagon, I just used a whole piece of this 'patchy' design. I'll show you more soon.

A while ago, I made a quilt top out of pastels and then put it aside. I just wasn't sure about it. So yesterday, I took to it with the scissors and cut two pinnies from it. Ahhh, that's better! Can't wait to see them finished!
And last but not least, soft flannel bibs! These, once finished with velcro, will become part of a very special giveaway I'll announce next week. My biggest yet! Stay tuned!
Well I'm off to sew in the quiet. Chat soon! xx

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday...

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Working with white (and LAMINATE!)

Custom orders always excite me. They give me a chance to work with colours and ideas that I hadn't thought of before. So when a lovely customer from London approached me with her special request, my mind started buzzing!

She had three requirements for her quilt. It would be made in creams and whites, it needed to be insulated against their cold tile floors, and she wanted it to be waterproof to be able to use for picnics or nappy-free time. And on top of this, the quilt really needed to be machine washable. I agreed to do some research for her.

 I am so thankful for the crafting community and how helpful they were. I received such quick and helpful replies from Kathy from Pink Chalk Studio and other Etsy sellers. I asked if I should use wool batting, what laminated cotton they recommended, what it was like to sew with, and to wash.
Then Kelly from Oilcloth Addict came up with the idea that made it all possible!

She suggested I use Insul Bright, the wadding used for pot holders and cooler bags. Of course! It was much easier to wash than wool, and its special insulating properties return the heat or cold back to its source. She also told me that the laminate could be washed on a gentle cycle, and even put in the dryer! (though this alters the feel of the laminate slightly)
I ordered this laminated creamy dot print from Heather Bailey as well as some other fun prints at the most amazing price and postage rate. (I still don't know how these girls fit that yardage in the prepaid envelope!) I highly recommend Oilcloth Addict for their service, expertise and range. Thanks Kelly!

The laminated cotton was hard to sew, especially with the laminated side down and my small machine. In the end I opted for quilting the top, Insul-Bright and an extra layer of cotton together and then hand-stitching the laminated back on. Adding the binding was super easy, and because the laminate is soft and supple, it gathers into the bag really nicely.
Oh the ideas it opens up! Can you imagine that little autumn jacket made in beautiful, bright laminate? Or a drawstring quilt with a pocket so it can double as a change mat/nappy bag as well? If you don't hear from me for a while it's because I'm lost in my sewing room!

Have you worked with a new medium lately? Has it opened up a whole new world for you?


Thursday, 8 March 2012

making a day, or two.

I received two special gifts this week.
We were sitting in Aunty Gina's lounge room, the kids finally asleep, sipping tea and chatting while I stitched away at my woven mini. Suddenly Gina's eyes lit up with regognition.
"I think I have something you could use!"
She rushed off to another room and came back with this plastic box. I opened it to find the most beautiful array of perle cotton.
"I found it at an op shop (thrift store) and didn't know what it was but knew it had to be special and someone would love it!"
I could hardly believe that person was me! For my hand stitching I'd been using left-over cotton from an old cross-stitch I never finished. This was just beautiful.
It made my day.

Then, in the post came a little parcel.
A few weeks ago I asked Collette from Poppy & Poochie to make me one of her sweet needle books for me and told her I would pay more than she was asking because I know the work that goes into handmade, and I didn't just want to be paying for materials. We agreed on a price and she went to work.
A couple of weeks later this little package arrived at my door with not just a needle book, but the most adorable pin cushion wrist band. Collette! You were supposed to keep the extra for yourself!
Later when I told a friend the story, she couldn't believe how much I'd paid for a needle book. But I hadn't. I'd paid for valuing someone's time, making their day and then an extra special surprise! Make sure you have a look at Collette's shop on Etsy.

Next time you're in the market for a day-maker, buy handmade! You get something for yourself aswell!

(And don't forget you can vote for my Woven Mini HERE till Friday. Thanks! xx)

Wednesday, 7 March 2012


“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”
G.K. Chesterton

A friend read this quote to us after dinner on Monday night. It was after a weekend of delicious, uninterrupted conversation about motherhood, creating, teaching, being. Of my kids having constant companions and interesting new toys.  I felt so full up, energised, ready to grow my children with grace and patience and initiative.
And then Monday came, and Tully's Daycare mum (he goes to Family Daycare) was on holidays. And I had plans to finish my mini quilt. And there wasn't any beautiful teenage girls or toddlers and their toys to make it oh so easy anymore.
So you can probably imagine that by Monday night, with dear friends in my lounge room, this beautiful quote by Chesterton cut right through to me.
I feel like I spend so much time with my kids competing with them. I'm trapped with a million ideas in my head, without the capacity to shape them into flesh. If I plan to use sleep time, chances are my efforts will be foiled. (Just now, as I write this, Tully has come out of his rest time twice, the first to ask for Buzz Lightyear, the second to show me the comfy bed he made for him.) I decided to experiment. For the next week, I'm going to stop and listen to my kids. I'm going to follow their lead, be on the look out for their needs, let them set the agenda and hand over mine. And just see if I get any less done. Maybe I will, but with a whole lot less stress. I'm going to see what I can learn from them and if I can rewind some of this 'growing old.' I felt some of that weekend energy creep back.

Well, yesterday was the first day of my challenge and I woke up with anticipation. I had goals, but I would hold them lightly. The sun was shining, a cool breeze was coming through the kitchen window. And there was enough milk left for coffee. We ate breaky, chatted, tidied up, played with the trains. Then Sharon arrived and offered to play with the kids outside while I got some cutting done. I felt like it was my little gift. A pat on the back. See? I didn't need to fight. Maybe I don't even need daycare anymore. It was afterall only 2 days, and we could use the extra cash. And we were getting along so swimmingly. By the end of the week, I was going to be one of those Supermums, asking Tim if we could have more kids and writing a book about how to parent with half the effort and double the warm feelings.
At 11, we put Evie down for her sleep and put on a movie for Tully so Sharon and I could sew together. But he didn't want to watch, he wanted to hang out with us. That's ok, I said. And he helped Sharon with the pins and made a bed for Buzz and pulled out all my scraps. I started to feel my energy evaporating.
No, it's ok, I told myself. It's only mess. He's having fun.

At 2, Evie woke up and I asked Tully to help me tidy up. By this stage, my scrap box which is like Mary Poppins' carpet bag, was spread from the lounge room to the dining room. I put Evie in her highchair with some lunch and suggested we race her to tidy up the fabric.
"It'll take too long!"
I suggested a game. Find all the blue ones. See how many you can fit in your hands. See if you can fill that box before I can fit this one.
And then, "Tully, you need to tidy up your mess or you'll have to go lie down on your bed." He chose tidying, but he didn't.
An hour later, I was so sick of using my patient voice and I'd run out of things to bribe Evie to stay in the highchair. And about three pieces of fabric had been put in the box. I'd been fun, I'd been firm, and I didn't have anything left. He was sent to his room while I tidied up.
I was so tired and disappointed. And slowly becoming aware that I'd just shifted my goals from my sewing to perfect, agreeable children. My hands were no more open.
Day 2 and Tully has just come out a third time, been told he needs to rest or we won't go to the museum this afternoon, gone back to bed crying and woken Evie up after just a hour's sleep. I'm not sure I feel like being warm and open handed any more! I feel just as old as ever. But I'm going to go get Evie out of bed and give her a cuddle. And try not to think about what is required of me for the rest of the day and whether I'll have enough.
And tomorrow I'll wake up and try to listen again. And maybe at the end of the week I'll have something I've gleaned from the exercise that I can share with you. Or maybe you could share with me, how you develop a posture of living and learning and creating with your children, while maintaining some kind of identity and keeping up with the washing? I'd love to here your thoughts (and encouragement!!)
Jodi. xx

In with a grin!

I'm in the finalists! I can't believe it! There were so many beautiful mini quilts, I feel very chuffed to be picked out of the bunch. So, what happens now is that you can vote!  Head over to Jennifer's blog at Ellison Lane Quilts and pick your fave mug rug and mini quilt (mine, I hope!)
Thank you!!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Woven Mini

We spent the weekend in Brisbane (about 10 hours away, 300 if you have small children - thankfully, we flew up) for my brother in law's birthday (my Spinning Stars quilt was for him) and to catch up with some dear friends and family. A mini quilt is a great thing to take away for hand quilting, especially when you little toddlers are being doted upon so that you can stitch and drink tea. I came home exhausted but all full up of rich memories and conversation.

Welcome if you've stopped by from Ellison Lane's Modern Mini Challenge! I wrote in an earlier post about my inspiration to make a quilt after I saw this art by Lucy Barker. It evoked such strong memories of banana lounges by the pool as a kid, lazing around, looking at the way the colours sat with each other, following their pattern. It was perhaps a sign of a passion to come, for colour and line and shape.

I came home and made this template out of woven, coloured card.

And stitched the colours together to make a mini quilt, 24 "x 30".

It was a risk for me to finish it. And I'm still so drawn to the flat, patchworked top. I chose hand-quilting so that it was easy to stop and start, to follow the weave. And I experimented with my stitching. I'm still not sure how I feel about the introduction of texture to the quilt. What do you think?

And I found one tiny mistake, in the layout, just this afternoon, as I was deciding when to stop stitching. Can you see it? I actually like it. I don't usually plan a quilt so meticulously. It's like a little joke between my mini and me. 

Modern Mini Challenge