Introducing 'Summer Blush'

Hi dear friends - I'm so thrilled to finally be able to share a little peek of my next fabric collection for Riley Blake Designs, called 'Summer Blush' which is coming out this summer (northern hemisphere timezone).

This line very much follows on from my previous collection, 'Sweet Prairie' and is specifically designed to coordinate well with it both in terms of scale of prints and the color palette, introducing fresh greens, peach, apricot, and watermelon hues to the color spectrum. My love of all things floral is still evident with four different floral prints featured in the line - balanced with great blenders. And yes your eyes don't deceive you - bias stripes are back!

Summer Blush will be available in stores from August 2018 - I will share the full collection nearer the time. Pre-sales are in full swing already, so if you are a shop owner and would like to stock it contact me for more info or get in touch with your local Riley Blake distributor.

Zakka Totes

I blinked and January is gone! The last few weeks of summer school holidays went by in a happy blur of parties, beach, play dates, pool, and family time. Not much sewing got done - but we made progress with the chicken coop - also known as 'Cluckingham Palace' - we are finally on the home stretch with it now. We also redecorated the kids' bedrooms, and got them new furniture, wall art, and accessories. Our little boy and girl are growing up so fast and it was time to update their room decors, and get rid of all the 'baby' stuff. Out with the old, in with the new - everything is organised, clean, and free of clutter! Feels so good.

School went back last week, so I'm back at work now, busy on my new book and a new fabric collection. But I found some time to finish the scrappy tote I started back in January - a gift for Alice's best friend. Of course, Alice demanded an identical one herself, so they could go around like twinsies. I added little tags with their initials to the bags so they don't get mixed up.

The style of these totes is very much early Nana Company - fabric designer Amy Sinibaldi's gorgeous blog which is one of my all time faves. A very 'zakka' look with lots of linen and pretty florals, and sweet little touches such as hand quilting on the panels, and linen patches.  I didn't use a pattern - used the same method as a tote I made last year (essentially a simple box bottomed bag) but added a pocket to the front.

A while ago I mentioned that I was planning to have a quilting studio built in the grounds of our property. I may still do that some day, but I got quite fond of my sewing room in the house and hubby and I would like to have the property landscaped first and have a custom library installed, like we both always wanted (priorities, people!). Which means I will be making alterations to my current sewing room instead, to make it work better as a dedicated sewing and design space. More decorating fun for me to come! For starters I need more shelving - much, much more shelving. Because, honestly, I don't think I can fit another fat quarter into my cupboards. You all know I'm a self confessed fabric addict, but I think I may have a slight 'problem' when it comes to notions too (as I found out when I was looking for something the other day). I can't help myself - I love vintage style notions, pretty buttons, lace, cotton trim, cute wooden boxes, scissors, vintage thread spools...the list goes on. I know I shouldn't keep adding to my collection, but look, aren't they pretty? I just know there are kindred spirits out there who will totally understand where I'm coming from. Having said that, I think a major destash is way, way overdue too!

Until later, when I will be back to show you my newest collection for Riley Blake designs, which is coming out in just a few months! What a thrill!

Hello 2018

Happy new year everyone! I hope 2018 brings you good health and happiness, and everything you ever wished for. I've had a lovely Christmas break with the family and am still in holiday mode this week, truth be told. We are doing a major spring clean at the moment - decluttering the house and garage, sorting out the kids' rooms, and a big tidy up in my sewing room. We still had unopened boxes since we moved house in April! We did a major cull amongst the kids' toys and clothes (they outgrow both so fast) and have thrown out heaps of junk and filled several boxes with clothes and toys to donate. I really think clutter and mess in one's living space is a reflection of one's state of mind so it feels incredibly cleansing and therapeutic to get rid of it all.

I was especially shocked to see how much space is taken up in my sewing room by all my UFOs so I'm going to make it a mission this year to finish them. Starting with this cot quilt and cushion set I made for a dear friend's new baby - I started it in our old house when my friend was still pregnant (*blush*). The house move got in the way, (and then, you know, life), but I'm so happy that it's finally finished and being enjoyed by an adorable little lady.

The lovely fabric I used is Lauren Nash's first collection for Riley Blake Designs, called 'Bunnies & Cream'. I adore the soft pastel colours - and the bunnies & strawberries are so stinkin' cute. It's still available in stores if you wanted to get your hands on some. It's perfect for fussy cutting and hexies!

The sweet doll and bunny in the photos are alas not hand-made (mentioning as I have used them before in blog posts and always get questions about them and requests for a pattern). They are from British retailer Mamas & Papas from a few years back - the rag doll is called 'Famiglia' and the bunny is from their 'Millie & Boris' collection.  You may get lucky if you search for them on ebay.

I gave myself some time off our decluttering mission yesterday to start a tote for another special little lady - I am winging this one without a pattern and kinda still suck at bag making so I hope it comes out OK! Here's the panel I made with some precious fabric scraps which if all goes according to plan, will turn into a pocket at the front of the tote. I love some of these fabrics so much I decided to hand quilt the panel so I could savour the pretty designs. Seriously, I love fabric so much, I think I may need help! Anyone else in the same boat?

See you very soon I hope, with pictures of the finished tote. If I don't ruin it!

*** EDIT: The pattern for the Bunnies & Cream quilt is now available in my Etsy shop ***

Happy Holidays + Zakka Cushion

Hi friends! Hope you all had a great Christmas with your nearest and dearest, and enjoying a happy and relaxing holiday week. Christmas was such a lovely day at our home - I made our first Christmas ham (with maple syrup and orange glaze - yummm). It came out of the oven looking so scrumptious and we were all so very hungry that I completely forgot to take a photo!! It was incredibly delicious, even if I say so myself. On Boxing Day we were joined by friends and their kids for a 'left-overs' party. It was a pretty hot day (34C) so we set up gazebos by the pool side, playing water games, cooking sausages on the barbie, and enjoying ice cold drinks. Great times.

Now for some selfish sewing! This year has been a really great year for me and Down Grapevine Lane - I’ve been so busy on the ‘business’ side of things - illustrating two new fabric lines, working on my new book, launching my quilt pattern series, sewing magazine commissions, collaborations, and so on and so forth. But a few weeks ago I realised I don’t sew for pleasure anymore! And the never ending quest to come up with something ‘original’. You know what? I just made this simple square patchwork scrappy cushion 'just because' - and it felt so good!

I wavy quilted the cushion front in Aurifil Pink 2410 (50wt), added a sweet little Zakka tag, and bound with bias gingham. So pleased with how it looks on my sofa in our living room.

Wishing you all a lovely holiday season and happy and healthy new year in 2018. The wreath in this image is a free embroidery pattern from my Tutorials section - you can download it here. Happy Holidays!

New Patterns!

Hi friends - it's almost time for Christmas, are you getting excited? As the countdown to the big day begins, I managed to squeeze in two final quilt patterns just before the holiday season kicks off. Both of these quilts have been sitting in my 'to publish' pile for some time - those who follow me on my social media will most likely recognise them. So I present to you 'Poppy Lane', which is a large throw size quilt, and 'Monthly Sampler', a sweet little mini quilt to hone your appliqué and hand embroidery skills. Both of these patterns were launched at the Australian Quilt Market recently and are available for wholesale order via Creative Abundance and Checker distributors.

My first pattern 'Poppy Lane' is a large throw size quilt depicting cute floral cottages lined up in rows - the fabrics I used are Liberty of London tana lawn florals paired with Essex linen in natural. It's simple and quick to piece, and suitable for all levels of quilters.

My second new pattern is a sweet appliqué and embroidery wall hanging, including templates for both Northern and Southern hemispheres. It's best suited for intermediate and advanced sewists - it may be a bit of a stretch for those who have no appliqué and embroidery experience, though I personally never let that put me off. Always the deep end, that's my personal sewing motto!

You can purchase these patterns from my Etsy shop (see below links). Or ask your local quilt store to order them in!

'Poppy Lane' quilt instant download PDF pattern ----->
'Poppy Lane' quilt paper pattern ----->

'Monthly Sampler' mini instant download PDF pattern ----->
'Monthly Sampler' mini paper pattern ----->

Thanks for visiting. Time to get back to sewing a few more presents before the fat man in red arrives!

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