Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Project journal: 15.04.14

It's slow times around here on the project front, I'm afraid. I feel like this year, work-wise, just hasn't even officially started. Despite having an extra day and a half a week to work, I think there have only been one or two weeks that I've been able to actually use all that time for work stuff. I either desperately need groceries or to do some kind of errand or there's some school activity that I want to check out (swimming, assembly, Easter parade, etc). So anyways, this trend will continue for the next few weeks as we just added THIS sweet face to our family:


Meet Pepper, our new dachshund moodle (Maltese/poodle) cross puppy. Pepper who is the sweetest little pea of a doggie but can't bear to be left alone for very long and must be within sight of me all the live long day (and a few times each night). So I've been getting not too much sleep and although today is one of my only work days during these school holidays, I'm camped out on the couch listening to the Feist and Ben Gibbard station on Pandora and getting some internet stuff done (including this miraculous and overdue blog post!) while puppers sleeps on her blanket beside me. I don't trust her amidst the chaos of my sewing room and I'm missing getting in there to do printing and sewing (even though my BRAND NEW and EXPENSIVE sewing machine had to be sent back to Janome for some super annoying sensor error so I'll have to use my old machine if I do manage to snag some time). I'm working on training Pepper to be alone for a little bit of time here and there so hopefully it won't be too long before I can get some good chunks of work time back in on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

In the meantime I'm working on a couple of new designs and making plans for the Craft & Quilt Fair which is only 10 short weeks away (sounds like a long time until you realise that is only 20 official working days for me... 20 official working days that I'll also be taking care of a puppy...). I'm scheming all sorts of new fabric goodies and waiting for some time to actually produce them!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Project journal: 05.04.14

Um, where did March go? Two weeks of everyday swimming at school for the five year old, a couple of Saturdays teaching, four weeks of my porcelain course and a head cold/flu for the past two weeks made the month completely fly. Luckily I did take a few photos so I can catch up with my project record:

Custom single quilt
Custom single quilt

I finished the custom single sized quilt I was working on and have since received beautiful photos of a gorgeous one year old girl snuggled up with it in it's new home - the best reward for creating, I think. OH! I was just about to talk about the quilting and I realised I haven't even shared the news here that I bought the new sewing machine that I was coveting!!

Is there anything more exciting than a new sewing machine???
I got a Janome Horizon 8900QCP and it is soooooooooo lovely. I can't believe the difference when quilting, it's really so much easier. And it comes with fun new stitches like this wave stitch used on my latest quilt, the picture below shows it really well.

Custom single quilt

So that was a bit of fun for my busy March days. I also made some custom oobees who went off to their new homes and had way too much fun creating porcelain vessels and beads in the workshop I was taking with Abby Seymour (about half of the goodies I created shown here):

These three custom cuties are almost ready to go too, I'll finish them off and wrap them up tonight. Big day at the post office tomorrow :)
A few of my finished pieces from the porcelain workshop I have been taking

And I did a whole lot of teaching with a great Freeform Patchwork workshop at Handmaker's Factory:
Freeform Patchwork workshop at Handmaker's Factory

A full day of Stamp Carving and Freeform Patchwork at the super amazing Treehouse Textiles (they have the most fantastic studio space, I highly recommend experiencing it!):
Stamp Carving and Freeform Patchwork at Treehouse Textiles

And I just did a great day of Stamp Carving and Freeform Patchwork with some wonderful members of the Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild, who produced some amazing work and were great, great fun! For some crazy reason I did not take a single photo of the Freeform Patchwork creations (I'm blaming coming down from my head cold meds) but you can find some taken by other members at their Flick site:
Stamp Carving workshop with the Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild

Whew, okay, I think thats me all caught up on projects. I'm just starting a couple of new things right now, will share them this week, along with some fun news of the puppy variety. Yes, I said puppy :)

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

March Giveaway : newsletter!

Even though part of me thinks it is so 2002, I've decided to set up a Maze & Vale monthly newsletter. Once a month, if you're interested and sign up, it will arrive in your inbox with a short update on what designs and colours have been added to the shop and share the date Sample Packs will be listed that month along with the odd surprise sale, discount code, free pattern or giveaway. Sound good? Head to the sidebar on your right where it says "Join the M&V monthly newsletter" and pop your email address in -->

To kick this newsletter business off, at the end of the month I'll be giving away a mystery pack of FIVE handprinted fabric panels to one lucky member of the mailing list. Sign up for the newsletter and you're already entered, easy peasy.

I've started a Maze & Vale newsletter and there is a giveaway at the end of the month involved! Head to my blog or Facebook page to join the making list :)

And to further whet your appetite, I'm also going to be doing a SURPRISE shop update in the next week or so with Sample Packs, new panels and a few other treats I have up my sleeve – I will be sending a note out to the newsletter mailing list a good 12 hours before I share the update anywhere else online so if you want first dibs, sign up pronto!

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Workshop news

Teaching Freeform Patchwork with @handmakersfactory today but you can join me next weekend at @treehousetextiles - such fun!
Baskets of fabric, ripe for the picking! Teaching Freeform Patchwork with @handmakersfactory today but you can join me next weekend at @treehousetextiles
Patchwork scraps
Freeform Patchwork happening @handmakersfactory

I had an excellent day today, teaching Freeform Patchwork at Handmaker's Factory to a lovely group of women. Everyone did such a great job and was super keen to just dive right in which I love! I also love teaching so but I'm going to be taking a little break after my next few classes as I just found out I got a space at the Craft & Quilt Fair this June which mean mucho printing and designing work ahead of me. I'm teaching next weekend at Treehouse Textiles for a full day session (with lunch) of block printing and freeform patchwork (only two spots left!), a full day of the same classes in a private session for the Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild in early April, then a Block Printing workshop with Handmaker's Factory at the end of April and then a break from teaching until The Craft Sessions in early September (registrations should be opening soonish). It'll be a cozy winter, working on quilts and printing :)


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Project journal: 11.03.14

image

I just spent the most splendid evening learning all about and playing with porcelain clay under the tutelage of Miss Abby Seymour (go check out her work, people, it is incredible) and I had SO MUCH FUN. It was so nice to play with an entirely new medium - okay, not entirely new, I've done quite a few ceramic classes over the years but never before with porcelain, which I found really great to work with, especially with all of Abby's knowledge and tools to help out. But it was just so nice to play with something creative with no real outcome expected, you know? I don't plan on becoming an ceramic artist or releasing a line of porcelain vessels or beads, I just wanted to create something entirely different for my own use and enjoyment. Loved it. I have three more sessions to go and can't wait to go back.

This quilt top is finished!!! Freeform Patchwork in bluey/greens and neutrals for a sweet almost one year old. If you'd like to hang with me and learn this super fun style of patchwork, check out my upcoming workshops with Handmaker's Factory and Treehous
I made the binding last night for the custom quilt I am working on, the last of the cotton I had digitally printed last year.

In other crafty news, the quilt top in muted teals and neutrals is finished and I've made the binding, just need to have the backing decided upon and then I can get quilting. Over the weekend I managed to convince myself that I really do need a new sewing machine but it's going to require the savings of quite a few pennies so it probably won't happen it in time to do this quilt, which is a bit of a bummer. My current Janome works just fine but it's 8 years old and was only ever a very standard mid-range machine (I think it was $599 when I bought it), not really designed for quilting or the completely ridiculous amount of work I've put it through over the years. To it's credit it hasn't missed a beat and I've never even had it professionally serviced (I do clean it out periodically) but the thought of having a super fast machine with a big open throat and lots of perks has finally won me over, especially with all the quilting I intend to do over the next few years. I foresee a massive drop of Sample Packs at the end of March to help nudge me towards sewing nirvana... :)

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Project journal: 04.03.14

dropcloth + linen quilt wip

I should have just titled today's entry, 'too many projects, too little time (and brain capacity)'. I have my fingers in quite a few pies but took a bit of a break last week to hang out with my mom before she headed off on further New Zealand and Australian adventures (lucky duck). So I'm back into it this week, working further on the custom muted teals + neutrals single quilt and the dropcloth bits + linen quilt tops (the latter shown here) and trying to plan my markets and teaching for the rest of the year.

dropcloth + linen quilt wip

I'm only just unpacking my goodies from what was a most splendid Craft Camp the other weekend (Craft Camp is a group of fantastic women, gathered by Suzie a few times a year at Sewjourn in Lancefield; an enriching, amazing experience that I am so very thankful to be a part of) and need to put a few finishing touches on the Wiksten Tova top and Merchant & Mills Dress Shirt that I made so I can wear and show them. Never did find a good quality, cotton french knit to make my Lola dress, might have to put that one on the list for next time...

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Project journal: 20.02.14

Thanks for the great response to my reinvention of this space, it's so nice to know people are still reading, I already feel more inspired to post and share here :) And I had a lovely message from someone who discovered the great patchwork shop Amitie through my last post and found that they not only loved it but were a long lost friend of owner Jenny Kingwell! And see, that is what blogging is really all about to me. Connections, tips, sharing and inspiration.

image
image

Speaking of Amitie, I finally popped in there today so rifle through their bins of fat 1/8ths to grab a few more prints for the teal/neutrals single quilt I'm working on (it's happening, Kirsty!!). The selection did not disappoint, as usual but unfortunately my trip to nearby(ish) Darn Cheap Fabrics wasn't as successful. I'm after a french terry knit to make a Victory Pattern's Lola dress at this coming weekend's Craft Camp and found nothing of the sort, total bust. I'll have to divert to Rathdowne Remnants on my way out of town and see what I can dig up.

So anyway, yep, off to Craft Camp this weekend and can not wait, although I'm feeling a wee bit guilty as my mom is here from Canada and I'm heading off. But who am I kidding, she's really here to see the kids and is probably pleased as punch to have them all to herself for the weekend. And I will be more than pleased to work on a few garments for moi and get some work done on a few quilts including the one above. I have a cot quilt, started last year, that is ready for binding so that is on the list for tomorrow (I'm attempting to make continuous bias binding for the first time, using a fat quarter of my Biased print - wish me luck) and I started a freeform patchwork* in linen and linen/cottons with small sections of my cotton canvas dropcloth, excited to get a bit more done on this one.

image

And speaking of Freeform Patchwork, I have two workshops teaching this technique next month and I cannot stress highly enough how FUN this class is. When I taught it for the first time at The Craft Sessions last year, I was initially worried that people would find it too easy, like they'd feel ripped off that they wasted workshop time on such a simple concept but in actuality it was amazing. Folks were challenged and confronted, not by the physical task of the patchwork but by trying to overcome their own perceptions about what piecing should be. I think everyone found it to be a truly valuable and inspiring exercise. I ran into one of the participants recently who told me the workshop last Spring had completely changed the way she thought about quilting (for the better) and if that isn't the highest praise there can be, I don't know what is.

So come play and stretch yourself, even if you've never done any patchwork, even if you've done patchwork for years. I bring all the scraps you need and you just know there will be some choice Maze & Vale gems in there! It's all happening at Handmaker's Factory on March 15th and at Treehouse Textiles the following weekend, March 22nd.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Reinventing this space

Pulling together fabrics for a custom single quilt, I think it will be very sweet :)

You may notice a new header up there, a new little gif that proclaims this here space to be my project journal. See the last couple of years have been pretty sparse in terms of blog posts, yes, I have been busy but I also kind of lost my voice here, lost my focus. In the beginning it was just me blathering on and then then it was all about the ups and downs of having babies and then I started to feel uncomfortable sharing so much about my kids publicly online and now, as they grow older, their story is not my story to tell to the entire world, you know? But all through that has also been my creative escapades and exploration and that's what I want to get back to. With the Maze & Vale banner at the top of the page, this space felt too "business" to me somehow, like I could only share M&V related work or something and I often felt like I was just rehashing things I'd already shared on the Maze & Vale Facebook page. So basically, here's the sitch - if you want the most current news on what I'm working on for Maze & Vale in short form and to find out about shop updates, check the M&V Facebook page. If you want to see other little peeks of my life plus Maze & Vale stuff, check my Instagram feed. And if you want more details than I can share on the aforementioned or enjoy a bit of rambling, then stay where you are and sit yourself down.

To kick this off, the pile above is a selection of fabrics pulled for a custom single sized quilt for a lovely client who I made a queen sized quilt for years ago. This quilt will be for her baby daughter who is turning one in a couple of months and I'm trying to fit in as many pops of cute prints as I can find in the colour scheme. I think a trip to Amitie or GJs for stash enhancement might be in order, something I haven't done for literally years but would so enjoy! Amitie would be my first pick but GJs is oh so close to Rathdowne Remnants which is always tantalising...

I was hoping to go today but I have dropcloth artwork to photograph, a sample to make for my workshops later this year at The Craft Sessions, market applications to send off and episodes of The Paradise to watch throughout. My work days are pretty ace :)

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Love

Printing custom yardage of an oldie that I never released as panels - might be time to print some?

My biggest kid started primary school this week and we're all just settling into the new routine that will see us through the rest of the year. What a bizarre set of emotions this experience has brought out, such a strange mix of nostalgia and sadness, excitement and bursting pride. She is SO keen, my Miss Mae and has been loving the first few days, as I knew she would. Our school is lovely and very local and she has a great set of long time friends in her class, it's really the perfect introduction to her school years.

I'm easing myself into my new work schedule, trying to catch up on printing as stocks are getting a bit low on some prints and doing a bit of custom work. I had a request for a meter of one of my older, never released prints, spotted by a very keen eye on a gorgeous quilt made by the lovely Kate of Two Little Banshees (I'd sent her a few pieces along with her order). And strangely, I'd just been thinking about this neglected LoveHearts screen the weekend before, not really sure why I have never offered it for sale. So I'll be printing some panels of this one, finally in Pale Grey and Perfect Red and popping them in the shop in the next couple of days, I hope they'll find good homes :)

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

January Giveaway :: winner!

Printing Biased in Pale Grey on organic cotton. Trying to get a bunch of work done this weekend since it is so hard to get much work time during school holidays...

And the winner of the January Giveaway is Leanne!

Thank you all so, so much for your kind words and excellent suggestions of where I can seek a bit more exposure, a few I'd already been considering and a few new ones to explore, all much appreciated :)

Leanne, I will email you now to grab your postal address, in the meantime, head over to my shop to pick out which four panels you'd like! x

Thursday, 23 January 2014

January Giveaway :: Four handprinted panels of your choice

Tribute

Surprise!! I'm having a fabric panel giveaway!! I've decided to hold a giveaway each month in 2014 and realised I'd better get onto January quickly before it slipped away. SO, all you lovely folk need to do is leave me a comment here in this ol' blog, Yep, old school, style. No extra sharing or reposting or liking needed (although, if you want to like my Facebook page, I wouldn't object. I post there way more than here!) and if you want to share or repost, I certainly will be thrilled).

I'm thinking of doing a bit of advertising this year, the odd banner ad here or there, so I'd really love to hear your suggestions of blogs or websites or magazine or what-have-you that you think would be a good fit for my work. If you can think of one, pop a link in the comment and I'd be extra grateful but if you can't think of one, don't stress, just leave some nice words and you're still entered. I'll draw a winner on January, 28th and that lucky person will be able to choose four handprinted fabric panels from my shop, delivered anywhere in the world. You can check out the goods on offer right here: Maze & Vale fabric panels.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Upcoming workshops with Handmaker's Factory and Treehouse Textiles

Stamp Carving
playing with scraps

This year is kicking off with some great teaching opportunities which I'm super excited about. My Block Printing and Freeform Patchwork workshops (which I first taught at The Craft Sessions last year) are so much fun and constantly inspiring to me, I love seeing what people create with a bit of encouragement and the space to play.

I'll be teaching at Handmaker's Factory, located within the Ink & Spindle studio in Kensington and also at Treehouse Textiles in Merricks North on the Mornington Peninsula, here are all the dates with links to full details and to sign up:

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Stamp Carving for Printing on Fabric at Handmaker's Factory
Saturday, February 8th, 10am to 1pm (only one spot left! Sold out - yay!)

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Freeform Patchwork at Handmaker's Factory
Saturday, March 15th, 1:30pm to 4:30pm

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Super Spectacular Full Day of Workshops at Treehouse Textiles
Block Printing AND Freeform Patchwork with scrumptious lunch and tea breaks
Saturday, March 22nd, 9:30am to 4:30pm

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Stamp Carving for Printing on Fabric at Handmaker's Factory
Saturday, April 26th, 10am to 1pm

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