Monday 29 April 2013

sewing with flower press - part 2

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One of the most wonderful parts of making fabric is seeing what people transform it into. While I love my stash of crisp folded fabrics, it really comes to life for me when it is taken and sewn by clever people. And I have been spoilt recently with all the clever people who have been sewing Flower Press fabrics into inspired projects.

A while back I got an order for some of my fabrics from the talented and lovely Anna Graham of Noodlehead blog fame. Anna is well known for her wonderful quilting and pattern making skills and so it was really exciting to send her some Flower Press prints.

Imagine my delight when I arrived back from holidays this week and catching up on my blogs came across her post showing these wonderful bike bags she made for her (beautiful) girls. The patterns used are my Triangle Twist, Marble print, and Hundreds and Thousands designs. Anna provides the pattern for these as well as many other wonderful tutorials on her blog.

Here are some more great projects which some of my customers have been generous enough to share with me, and now with you. And if you missed it, Sewing with Flower Press Part 1 is here.

From top:

Mel covered her stools with my Filigree tea towels in different colours, an inspired idea which is also really practical.

Deb's amazing applique marble bag mini quilt made as part of her ongoing Stitching the Ditch project. She was inspired by my treasure bags photos here.

Melanie from Enchanting Crafts made this ipad cover with the Bricks fabric. So neat I want one for our iPad!

Megan from the mousehouse blog is making the most amazing handcrafted 'busy book'. I was so delighted when she made this wonderful marble run using my marble print.What a great idea even used on its own for a littlies activity. Megan shows how to make it on her post.

Kristy from Creative Corner made these peekaboo project sacks for her block loving boy. What a great idea. There is a link to the tutorial on her blog.

Becky in France's treasure bags made with her kids. This simple drawstring pattern makes an easy beginner's sewing project with lots of straight lines and simple cutting. Kids always have a use for little bags like this and I think it makes it more special if you have been involved in its making. I shared the tutorial here.

The wonderful Jodie (of RicRac fame) made this amazing laminated bunting to brighten up the school libary where she works. Check out her post to see how she used this iron on vinyl.

If you have any projects you've made with Flower Press fabrics or tutorials, I always love to see them. Send me a photo, my email address is up there on the right.

I'm hoping to introduce some new patterns soon too, so keep an eye on this space.

While I'm here I must apologise for the absence of both Show & Tell and pattern Friday this month. I think I'm going to have to just go with the flow regarding both these projects while I catch up with other things.

Thursday 25 April 2013

Bloom cheater quilt fabrics

bloom cheaterbloom cheaterbloom cheaterflower bed series of fabricsbloom cheater

A million years ago now I designed a Cheater print for a Spoonflower competition. I was delighted when the resulting Bloom Cheater Quilt design made the top ten. Since then though it has sat in my Spoonflower design library, getting no no attention from me, but prompting quite regular emails asking me to release it for sale.

I love the idea of a cheater print, for the less quiltily inclined of us. This one was made with great care and I had such fun designing each of the repeats which go into it. A couple of these I have printed - Chicken Spots and Bloom, both of which are favourites in my stash. Such clean crisp girl patterns that aren't too pink, for me the colour palette is another success of this design.

Anyway, at last, after a few tweaks to the repeat, I am proud to say the Bloom Cheater panels are (finally) for sale in my Spoonflower shop. The repeat is designed to sit perfectly across the generous 42 inch width of the cotton quilting fabrics. A yard would make a lovely baby size quilt. I love the Kona cotton for its weight and quality, but the basic cotton is a nice fabric too. Match it with some yardage of the coordinating prints and you have a quick and easy baby project.

There are some other of my prints available in the shop too so why not visit.

Wednesday 24 April 2013

chorizo & olive pasta

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This Chorizo & Olive pasta isn't very complicated, my homemade recipe cooks up from ingredients we generally always have in our pantry and fridge.

That said it is a firm favourite round here and one that is on our regular rotation. So I thought I'd share it here. I know I'm always looking for inspiration for those quick and easy family dinners. This is a good one for late soccer practice, or if we are eating at different times, and its great made in bulk and reheated.

We buy our cans of tomato in a slab these days from the local Italian greengrocers and usually choose the ones that are prechopped. I find the texture more to my liking than passata and the can size is usually perfect for our needs.

With growing kids I seem to be making larger and larger quantities, in the (vain) hope that there will be a bowl of leftover pasta/curry/pie for my lunch the next day. So this is quite a bit. You could cut down to one can of tomatoes and just use slightly less of everything else and it would be as delicious. So adjust the quantities to suit your gang, or make this as a double batch and freeze some.

Chorizo & Olive pasta

1Tbsp olive oil
1 brown or purple onion chopped finely
1 chorizo sausage sliced (woollies and coles have these in their deli section)
2 cans chopped Italian tomatoes
1 can water
1.5 cups frozen peas
1 cup kalamata olives (I buy big jars of these already depipped, great for salads, stews and nibblies)
1 dessert spoon raw sugar
1 bag pasta 500g (or less but it matches this much sauce) (I like penne with this)
salt, black pepper to taste
shaved parmesan to serve

Put saucepan on high heat, add olive oil.
Add onion, cook 2 minutes, add chorizo and cook till onion translucent, abt 5 minutes.
Add two cans tomato. Add one can of water and about a dessertspoon of sugar.
cook on low for 45 minutes until tomatoes reduce.
Cook pasta.
Five minutes before serving add peas and olives to sauce.
Strain pasta and mix through sauce.
Top with shaved parmesan.

Do you have a favourite pasta sauce recipe? We have pasta at least once a week so it would be nice to try out some new recipes. I've already shared a couple of mine here, Marcella Hazan's simple ricotta, bacon and pea pasta and Hugh Grants macaroni. Both very popular with us.

Tuesday 23 April 2013

nature study


We snuck away this past week, to a little house down the coast we have been going to for over ten years now, wow. I was reminded the other day of one of our first trips and when I used to snorkel and swim off the beach. The boys, just toddlers, used to weep and wail on the beach (with their Dad looking after them) till I came safely back. We were a sight! These days they are swimming happily alongside me.

I do miss my babies, but its so wonderful having older children and bushwalking and exploring together. On the last morning I snuck in a quick bushwalk with camera in hand, up the hill directly behind the house. My boys came with me, taking photos of the lizards and birds, coming across the skeleton of an old 20s car chassis, leeches in the wetland pools, a beehive in an old tree, frogs and birds and insects. It was fun discovering and exploring this new trail with them.

It makes me so happy that they share our love for the natural world, for walking and swimming and fishing and exploring. I was tickled when we ran into an older local man on our walk, in the middle of nowhere, carrying fuzzy boom mikes and other bags of paraphernalia. He greeted us with the words 'loving the planet?'. When I asked him about his equipment he told me he was going to record the sounds of a nearby creek in flood. Apparently every creek has a slightly different soundscape of tinkles and trills and he likes to record them.  A kindred spirit. I only wish I'd had the time to come and sit quietly in the sun and listen with him!

We encountered a couple of my favourite birds while we were away, the blue crane and the black cockatoo, and luckily I had my 'bird lens' at hand. I also captured this little Eastern Spinebill through the kitchen window one day.

I have some more photos of our time away but I'll save them for another post.

Saturday 13 April 2013

gocco in spectrum

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I'm really sad about the demise of the Gocco printer, this little Japanese system got me into screenprinting way back in 2007. It was actually the simultaneous discovery of Gocco and Etsy that set me on the road to my Flower Press business, and blogging, and all the wonderful rest of it, way back then.

My twin boys had gone off to preschool that year, and I suddenly had time to get back into some creative work. I'd finished the horticulture studies I'd been doing while they were little (my little spot of brain space after having three kids in three years!) And I was feeling the need to make again. So when I saw the Gocco it was love.

I'm a big fan of printing in its many forms, and the idea of being able to produce and print my own screens at home was, and is, a revelation. These days I'm still working on making my own screens and printing them, but its a much bigger more complex production than with the Gocco!

Riso the company that make Goccos shut down ink and bulb production in 2008, and while there are stockpiles of materials still available, it doesn't look like an alternative supply will come along any time soon. It seems like the end of Gocco style printing.

In today's Sydney Morning Herald there's an article in the Design section of Spectrum (with a picture of me!) about the Gocco story with comments from Karena Colquhoun (Magic Jelly), ghostpatrol and me. Its a nice acknowledgement of the Gocco phenomenon, and I'm pleased to have helped celebrate it before its gone.You can read it here.

That's me with my little PG-11 printer in the photo. I still have some supplies, hidden away, but I'm loathe to use them, and sad to think about the end of this much loved art.

I still sell some Gocco prints and digital copies of Goccos like my well loved Ruby Slippers and Teapot prints above in my shop, which I have finally updated. I'm hoping to have some new products and designs in there soon too, and maybe a giveaway so watch this space!

Friday 12 April 2013

pattern friday - autumn


Friday again already, time for another pattern. Another oldie, this autumn pattern, but tweaked, recoloured and repeated. You may recognise these leaves from a block print pattern I made a couple of years ago. I'm a big fan of leaves and their wonderful shapes and designs which come in infinite variety!

I got my precious boys back from camp this afternoon. Its been quiet around here for the last few days, which has seen me very busy screenprinting and playing with screens and colours but also missing them dreadfully and wondering about what they're doing every minute!

I'll be back tomorrow with an exciting feature, you might know about it already if you follow me on instagram. See you then.

Thursday 11 April 2013

My Creative Space - swap


A couple of weeks ago I went to a screenprinting sun exposure workshop which I blogged about here.

It was perfect timing for the Handprinted Swap which I joined in with for the third time this month. What could be more handprinted than a home exposed silkscreen with my own design, printed by me!

This new design Field will be in the shop soon. I've reshot the screen and I'm printing, but I'm away next week so listing it will have to wait. If you want to reserve a piece, in this blue on linen/cotton base though just email me :-)

I have some more designs coming through too, which I'm really excited about.

As usual I was spoilt with lovely handprinted fabrics in return. I love the way that all of our fabrics complement each other. Each have a round symbol somewhere in the design. Spots for Jane and Suz's fabrics top, circular designs and spotty blossom on Kirsty and Micala.

Make sure you go and see what the other creatives are doing over here.

Friday 5 April 2013

pattern friday - rocket


Another Friday pattern. I'm enjoying posting here, its been fun looking through my designs and sharing some favourites.

I've had this pattern doodle as my phone screensaver for a few weeks, and I still love it, always a good test. You can see my process here, I drew it in pencil, outlined it with pen and then scanned it in to the computer.  I then had a play around colouring the sketch.

The next step is fix the linework and do a proper repeat. These flowers remind me of rocket (arugula/rucola) flowers, which are very simple, but very beautiful.

Tuesday 2 April 2013

penny's quilt

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penny's quilt penny's quiltpenny's quiltpenny's quiltpenny's quilt

Aaaah, thank you Easter, I needed that break. How lovely to have four whole days of sleeping in, planting seeds, playing with screen making, wrapping presents, baking sweets, sharing easter eggs, watching a daytime movie, playing tennis, having tea, slow cooking. Credit to Autumn too for pitching in with the weather, I'm loving these cool nights and warm days, the beautiful autumn light slanting across the garden and making inside cosy without having to shut the doors and windows in the evenings.

Today it is my darling boys' birthday (two for one!) and they are turning 12! OMG! Its slightly bittersweet, as all their birthdays are. If I could put bricks on their heads now and keep them as my babies forever, well... I would be very tempted!

They opened one present each this morning but have to wait all day for the rest. Then we have a sleepover tent party on Friday for seven boys. Phew, they will be bouncy! We are going to take them out for pizza and then come home for homemade icecream sundaes.

On the crafty front, I sneaked a little project in last month, which I want to share before I forget. Its another little baby quilt/playmat, using my baby quilt tutorial with larger squares. Its for little baby Penny who was born last month.

One of my favourite features is the checkerboard backing which I pieced together because I didn't have a large enough piece to back the whole quilt. It gives the back some interest. Like Poppy's quilt I used the self binding method and sewed it by machine, so quick and easy. Best of all not only did all fabrics and batting come from the stash, but there are a few of my flowerpress designs in there too. Makes it feel even more personal.

Miss Penny is the little sister to two big brothers, so I enjoyed making it a little girly colourwise, though not too pink. If you haven't tried a quilt before, check out the tutorial. I actually referred to it myself this time, to remind me of the steps :-)