Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas in the Country

Every year on Boxing Day we escape to country Victoria for a week of relaxing, food eating and wine drinking. It's nice just to get away from everything and everyone for a week.

This year we've been lucky enough to have a cute and cuddly visitor in the tree outside our cottage. The koala arrived over night, and the following evening moved on. He spent the entire day eating and sleeping high up in the gum tree.

We've also been blessed with some beautiful sunsets, which we can watch from the veranda at the front of our cottage. The weather has been comfortable so far, but it's going to get hot over the next few days.

We had a beautiful lunch at a winery yesterday, and I had the most interesting dessert. It was listed on the menu as a lemon cheesecake, but as you can see, there is no cheesecake to be seen! The plate was elegantly arranged with lemon curd, ice-cream, raspberries and violet meringues.

The only downside so far is the lovely insect (mozzie or ant) who has left a whopping 28 bites on my right foot. Apparently I'm rather tasty.

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, and is looking forward to 2011 as much as I am!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Little Zip-Up Purse

I got the urge to sew today, but with only one more day until Christmas, it's not really the time to be starting any new big projects. For a while, I've been thinking about trying out a little zip-up purse, and did a bit of tutorial hunting online. I found a few, and this is what I ended up with.

It's a reasonable size, about 16cm wide and 12cm deep, and made from Fandango scraps. Handy for putting things in your handbag, such as a camera or iPod without it getting damaged.

The only problem I found it that my lining has ended up a bit bulky (too big), despite cutting everything the same size. Any suggestions from anyone whose made something like this? I might need to trim it down a little and re-sew it to make it a better fit.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Christmas just isn't the same without a little festive baking; for me it's usually shortbread and mince pies, but I've changed things up this year and made gingerbread.

Talk about hard to find a recipe; I scoured my cookbook collection, and couldn't find a single recipe. But I did find one on my trusty recipe website Taste.

It's a very easy recipe, and makes a lot of biscuits. I halved the recipe and still came up with about 50 biccies.

I also cooked mine a little longer, 8-10 min, which resulted in a crunchier biscuit, but if you want a softer middle just cook for the recommended 5min.

All decorated and ready to be shared and eaten. Yum!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Market Wrap-Up

Could I have picked worse weather for my first foray into markets? Possibly, but it wasn't the best. Overcast all day, then 20 mins before closing, a massive thunderstorm. The weather seemed to keep the crowds away and it was pretty quiet, though I managed to make enough sales to make the cost of the stall worth it, and the advertising for my business was priceless.

I'm happy with how my stall looked, and I certainly had plenty of kids interested in my toys, but not so many parents willing to open their wallets. Finances are still quite tight following the GFC.

I've got chrissy stockings to offload, so if you were interested, now is your chance. $35 each including postage within Australia, $40 overseas (though they prob won't arrive in time for christmas). Email me at All the stockings are quilted on the front, have batting front and back, and are fully lined.

Bliss--Whimsy--Hunky Dory

12 Days of Christmas

12 Days of Christmas

Peace on Earth

So the market wasn't quite as scary as I thought it might be, and I'll probably have another go. Just need to cross my fingers for better weather!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

One Last Stocking

I've had a bit of a break from sewing after going into full production mode for the maker's market, and just been taking it easy. But I'm heading into my old work tomorrow and wanted to drop off a gift for my friend's little boy.

So, I whipped up another stocking; this one using scraps of 12 Days of Christmas left over from the other stockings. Just 3" squares, then quilted on the diagonal.

Backed with another 12 Days fabric, and lined with Bliss tonal green. I love it!

I've also quilted and bound a second cot quilt for the market...I'm liking this one a lot.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New Website!

I'm very excited to announce that Bella's Patchwork has a new website! After months of nothing but trouble with my previous website courtesy of the hosting company, I've moved hosts and put together my own site.

I'm really pleased with how it looks, and hopefully it will be a little more user friendly. The shopping cart is 100% secure and operates using Paypal as before.

If you notice anything that doesn't seem right, let me know and I'll fix her up.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Simple Summer Pasta

I'm a pasta-lover, and could quite happily eat is several nights a week. The warm weather brings a dilemma however, and it gets too hot to be making and eating yummy warm sauces with my pasta.

For days like today I prefer a cool pasta, and this recipe is a sinch!

You just need:

  • tomatoes; either diced large tomatoes or halved cherry toms.
  • basil; grab a handful and tear the leaves.
  • a clove of garlic, sliced thinly or crushed. This adds a bit of bite to it.
  • olive oil. I usually add 6 glugs, but it would depend on how many serves you want.
  • a dash of red wine vinegar; I usually use about 1 teaspoon.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Let it sit for about half an hour, cook your pasta, drain, then toss it into the sauce. Mix it round then serve it up! The pasta will be slightly warm, but far more pleasant to eat when its hot.

It's hot enough here that Bella has taken to lying on the kitchen floor...looks a bit akward!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

First Day of Summer...

...And its pouring with rain! Admittedly, it's not cold; I'm wearing a sleeveless top. But it's not really the start to summer we've all been hoping for.

Not much sewing action happening here. I've finished up most things for the market, bar one cot quilt. I'm hoping to start something with Fandango shortly, but I'm not sure what pattern to go for, so suggestions welcome!

I did a final harvest of my silverbeet yesterday; the plants had bolted and were now taller than me! All the leaves have been washed, blanched, and packed into baggies in the freezer for use in quiches etc.

Just a note on Bella's Patchwork too; the shopping cart is currently malfunctioning, so if anyone is looking to place an order, please email me at I'm getting very frustrated with my provider and am looking into alternatives...not what I needed in the lead up to christmas!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mulgrave Farmers/Makers Market

With three weeks until I'm due to be at the Mulgrave Maker's Market, I thought I'd better go check out this months to see how it all works. Unfortunately the weather was less than helpful, being both cold and rainy. And I forgot to take my camera..

But the farmer's market has a great selection of fresh veg, fruit, meats and cheeses, which I'm sure I'll be returning too.

The maker's market section also looked quite good; a nice selection of fabric craft, as well as jewellery and other assorted items. It also gave me some good ideas on how to display my items.

(pic from the market blog)

The crowd wasn't huge, but I attribute that to the weather; hopefully next month the weather is on my side!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Trolley Make-Over and some Hunky Dory

This weekend just gone, I decided I needed a project which didn't require hours hunched over the sewing machine; with all the preparation for the maker's market, I'm all sewed-out, plus the weather was just beautiful. Instead I decided to makeover a trolley which I plan to use at the market.

Unfortunately, the trolley has been out in the backyard for most of its life, and the paint has faded and flaked away, leaving a few rusty patches.

So I got the trolley out on the lawn, brushed it down, and applied a coat of undercoat which is suitable for metal, left over from the filing cabinet I painted a few months back.

Then I took to it with the remaining pink spray paint. It's not perfect, its a bit bumpy where the metal had rusted, and there were a few missed patches where I couldn't get in behind the wheels. But overall, a much nice looking trolley than before; far more suitable for market. I'm not sure my mum is too impressed with her pink front lawn though....

Last night I got around to putting the binding on the Hunky Dory cot quilt. If I wasn't planning on selling it, I'd almost want to keep it!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Australian Quilt Market

As a new business, I made my very first visit to Australian Quilt Market (AQM) yesterday. While nowhere near as impressive as International Quilt Market, it's a good chance to see some upcoming fabrics in person and check out the latest from some fantastic Aussie designers.

I visited the Creative Abundance booth where I spoke to the very lovely Natalie Ross and collected a heap of catalogues, so I'll be ordering some new patterns in soon. I also managed to snap up a copy of Kaleidoscope, and a bundle of fat quarters of Where the Wind Blows by Melanie Hurlston of Melly & Me fame.

I also checked out the upcoming fabrics from Saffron Craig, and hope to get a few of those in stock at some point.

I must admit, the booth showing off Moda fabrics was a lot less impressive than I expected; just a table with a few new fabrics, and two or three quilts hanging opposite. I managed to snag a pack of charm packs of Just Wing It! , an upcoming range for MoMo which will be available in the new year. They are available in my store now.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sneak Peek

I've just finished quilting my Hunky Dory Coin Quilt, using straight lines for the first time.

Really pleased with how it looks, though the backing is more rippled than I'm used to, despite using a walking foot. Gives it a nice softeness though, so I'm not particularly worried.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Martinique on Sale

If you're after a bargain, Martinique by 3 Sisters for Moda is now on sale at Bella's Patchwork.
Fabric from the bolt is now $15 per meter, and layer cakes are $35 each.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Generational Differences

Afternoon tea with my mum and my grandma yesterday really highlighted the differing priorities of the generations. I was happily explaining my plans for next year: to finish uni, spend 5 weeks overseas then come home and apply for jobs for the following year. I figured I was unlikely to get a job mid way through term 3 or in term 4, and that it would be difficult to travel for that length of time (at that time of year), once I had a teaching position. While I don't feel I fit the media's portrayal of a Gen Y, I do feel that life if for living, and experiences such as travel make for a richer life.

My grandma was horrified. In her opinion, my priority should be to find a job, then a partner (I think she's quite disappointed I'm single and not providing great-grand children yet), then worry about travel.

Yet, she explains that she didn't get to travel until she was 51, having married very young and had three kids. Similarly, my mum (a Baby Boomer) married young, had me a bit later, and still hasn't been overseas.

Coincidentally, an article was published in a Sunday magazine yesterday regarding the exact topic. Many people of my generation still live at home and are still working out where we stand in terms of careers. Housing prices make buying your own place almost impossible, especially for a single girl like myself. The article even mentions a girl my age who had moved out of home, had the desired career and the long term relationship, but tossed it all in to travel.

Times have definitely changed, and us Gen Ys certainly have more opportunities than the previous generations. At this point in my life I choose travel, then job, then family. No regrets!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

12 Days of Christmas

When 12 Days of Christmas (by Kate Spain) came out, I didn't really pay it much attention. Christmas isn't really quilt weather here in Australia, where we can have days in the mid 40s. But in full market-preparation mode, I decided some christmasy stockings would go along nicely with the ones I've already made from Whimsy, Bliss and Hunky Dory.

Luckily I managed to find a store still stocking the range, bought myself a few nice fat quarters, and two hours later had two more cute stockings.

I'm loving these; it's a pity they aren't used all year round!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cot Quilts

Two cute little cot quilts. The first is done using the Wild Thing block, in a 4x5 configuration with a narrow border, and using Whimsy.

The second is a simple coin quilt, 16 coins per stack, 2.5 inch (unfinished) sashing and a 5 inch (unfinished) border, using Hunky Dory.

Late afternoon is not the best time for great photos!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Christmas Stockings

I've booked a stall at the Mulgrave Maker's Market for December, and am busily trying out new ideas for things to sell. Given the proximity to christmas, I thought a few stockings might be a good idea.

I used the pattern and instructions available on the Moda Bake Shop, but kind of went my own way and modified it a little (no cuff). Now that I've got the method down pat, I'm going to make a few variations in some more funky/modern fabrics.

Update: I spent the arvo working on two more stockings, out of Whimsy and Bliss charms.

Friday, October 29, 2010


I've been toying with the idea of having a stall at a maker's market for a while; I just missed out on getting a stall at Mathilda's Christmas Market, but I'm now eyeing off the new Mulgrave Maker's Market.

You might remember awhile ago I was playing around with some small owls; these developed a little and turned out as cute little squeaky owls.

The latest (additional) incarnation is a larger, 'hugable' owl. She (pink for girls?) is a child-friendly 22cm tall and perfect for cuddling.

Just need to come up with a few more products (I've got bunnies and rattle cubes as well) and I might just have the guts to apply for a stall.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Today is the second last day of uni, all my assignments are finished, and I've finally lined myself up a casual job for the summer.

And I finished my Bliss/Short Story quilt! I used a blue floral for the back, and one of the pinks for the binding.