Thursday, January 20, 2011

Teddy's Body Detail

You'll notice that this teddy is made in two pieces - his head and his body.
Ooooh ..... no, he's in four pieces. He has paw pads as well!
Ooooh ..... no again, he's in five pieces. He has a nose as well!
In my previous blogs I explained how I make the noses, and also how to prevent blanket stitches around curves from rolling over. This time, I'm giving you the secrets of finishing off the body detail.
I use an acid free permanent marker (Zig Millennium brown with a very fine tip) to mark in the arms, legs, etc (do this over a light box before you fuse your teddy onto the background fabric).
Work the rows of blanket stitch along these lines for definition - as you can see in the photos.
And, "voila!", below we have the finished teddy!
Must dash - I have triple choc-chip muffins and coffee a-waiting. And Himself is hanging around. Wonder what he wants?
P.S. Anyone who orders two or more patterns from my website will receive a free mystery pattern (until the end of February). Because I'm feeling generous!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Blanketstitch Woes

Does this happen to you? Does your blanket stitch curl over on those tight curves? Here's what to do to prevent this from happening.
Work your blanket stitch as usual (see above).
Before working the next stitch, put your needle through to the back of your work, right next to where your previous stitch ends (see above).
Then bring your needle back through to the front, inside the previous stitch (see above).
Then keep working the blanket stitching as usual.
I like to make one of these "anchor" stitches every three or four stitches on tight curves such as a bear's ears.
Yesterday I opened the laundry door to put out the washing (yes - we actually had a day without rain!), and found I had a visitor! A HUGE praying mantis took a liking to my screen door! (Doesn't the camera pick out the dirty door!!!!!) His body was four inches long.
Here he is from the outside - you can see him "praying". Isn't he (or she) a beauty!
I carefully transferred him/her to a nearby bush. He was getting a bit spaced out with all the door swinging!
Here in Victoria the flood situation has worsened. There are now 43 towns affected, with many, many people evacuated from their homes. It is unbelievable to think that not long ago, we were suffering from severe drought and the landscape was brown and dry. What grass there was in our back yard was "crunchy" to walk on.
In Queensland the "big clean up" is happening. Let's hope that they get a reprieve from the rain for a while! I heard today that one of the patchwork shops that we supply patterns to, Patchwork Paradise, in Rockhampton, has been flooded. Margaret, if you read this, I hope it doesn't take too long to put your shop back together - I'll be in touch soon.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Noses, Birds and Views

This is for all the ladies out there who keep asking me how I get my nose so neat and even (that's the bears' noses, not mine!). Here's my secret and it's really quite easy. Fuse a nose shape onto the teddy's face and use it as a template - simply satinstitch over this shape and there you have it! The photo above gives you a better idea. When you've finished, give it a press - it's amazing how ironing can even out stitching as well!
Remember in my last blog I showed you the little burrow in our garden? My friend Sue came up trumps - she knew what the birds are. Pardelotes! We have named them Port-a-loo and Passe Partout. Quite brave little birds. They like to sit in the bush over their nest and wait until all is clear until they dart back in. "I know you're there and I'm not going back into my nest until you've gone because I don't want you to know where it is!"
Baby bird names ..... hmmm ..... Pantaloon, Party Plan, Pas de Deux ..... any more ideas?
By the way - you HAVE to go the Sue's blog and meet the new Irishman in her life. His name is O'Reilly. That's all I'm saying.
It was our monthly quilt group last Saturday - the first for 2011. This is the view from our meeting room. It's amazing we get anything done!
P.S. Our thoughts are with everyone in Queensland and New South Wales - they are going through the most traumatic times with the floods up there. They were magnificent during our bushfires a couple of years ago, and now it's our turn to be able to offer assistance.
My thanks for all the emails from overseas - we are fine here, although there are small parts of Victoria that have been flooded and people evacuated.
Also - let's not forget the Western Australians who have suffered bushfires - talk about a country of natural disasters! Droughts and flooding rains! Bushfires! It really tests the Aussie spirit.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year

Look what we found in Archie's Christmas stocking! Archie, of course! His Christmas stocking was big enough to double as a sleeping bag! Maybe I'll have to make up a pattern for this one!
Keep an eye on Teddlywinks - it may happen!
It's hard to believe that he's almost two months old! Don't you love his Tigger "Sleepy Head" gro-suit?
He's a happy little chap - but then, what do you expect - Rach and Mark are such lovely parents.
We have spent all week trying to tame the garden - with all the rain it has grown out of control, so massive trimming has taken place!
We found a little bird's nest in a tiny burrow where David is building a retaining wall (he said he saw a bird fly in the hole, and I said it was nonsense - it must have been a mouse, but he said, no it was definitely a bird, and I said, have another drink, and he said, you don't believe me, and I said ....... and it went on until we both sat there watching for HOURS until I saw the bird!
Then I said, I told you it was a bird .....!
The blue circle shows where the nest is - the hole measures just under 3" (7 cm) across.
That's it below, right in the middle of the photo.
We were working around it on Sunday and the little birds were not too concerned about us, they continued flying in and out all day. They appear to be a very tiny variety of finch.
As you've guessed, all work on that part has ceased until the baby birds have flown the nest!
I hope you all had a happy Christmas, and that 2011 is all that you hope for.
P.S. I've been out of action for a couple of days - the expression "Better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick" comes to mind. The way I feel at the moment, anything is better than that! It happened in the garden when I was ferreting around under a particularly dense bush, trying to get rid of the weeds, and a twig snapped back into the corner of my eye. Oooooh, the pain! Off to the doctor, where he found a tiny puncture in my eye. (Wasn't wearing the safety glasses, which I usually do!) So now I have a swollen, sore (red hot poker stuff), red eye, but it should clear up in a day or two. Can't be bothered doing anything! I spent yesterday in front of the TV watching movies, but even that was an endurance!
I have drops to put in, but I don't know if they are just having a placebo effect - maybe I'll wear an eye patch for sympathy ........