Monday, 20 April 2015

A sewing retreat and 'Vintage Happy'

Hello lovelies, it's been pretty busy over here at Crystalbrook Cottage.  So I have loads to share with you so this might be a long post.  School holidays have been and gone, Easter too, and now the weather has decided its indeed time to prepare for winter.  Downpours of rain and some amazing lightning shows have occurred (usually at night which is convenient) so I'm afraid the heater has been put on a few times.  It's during these cold cold nights I am truly grateful for the roof over my head, the food in my belly, the clothes on my back and people who love me.  All this time indoors is a wonderful excuse to sew, would you agree?

Well last post I promised you a look at my Harry Potter Quilt... well its far from being a quilt at the moment... but its a start.  So far I've only managed three blocks.

Block 1

Block 2

Block 3

 I thought this project would be a good excuse to practice my foundation paper piecing skills.  This pattern was designed by one of my favourite designers/bloggers, Jennifer Ofenstein from  Check it out - there are loads of free patterns on her site.  If you don't already know Jennifer she is a paper piecing fanatic and lover of all things Harry Potter.  Jennifer does a vblog every Tuesday called Talk to Me Tuesday and her enthusiasm is contagious.  This Harry Potter quilt along is called the Project of Doom.

Jennifer's Harry Potter Quilt
Close up!

I'm afraid I wasn't much into Harry Potter when it first came out.  After reading Jennifer's blog for some time now I got curious and bought the books and the movies - wow, what a ride!  JK Rowling has some serious imagination!

Back in March Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne held the Australian Textile Exhibition to showcase patchwork and craft items with an Australian theme.  Whilst I'm not much into Australian themed prints, it was wonderful to attend and see what some very talented people have made.  Here are a few of the pics I took of things that made an impression on me:

Late March I decided that I really needed a few days away to recharge the batteries - a sewing retreat just for me.  So I scoured the internet for a little country hideaway and found Sinnamons Cottage, just a few hours out of Melbourne.  Its a renovated miners cottage as this area has a rich history in gold mining.  I intentionally chose this area as there are some lovely patchwork/craft shops as well as antique shops in the area - two of my favourite things.

I was not disappointed.  It was beautiful, quiet, quaint, charming, simple and luxurious all at the same time.  I must admit it was a little daunting at first... going away on my own.  What if I got lonely?  What if something happened?  Who would be there to help me?  But then I reminded myself that I'm a strong woman, who raised three children, part of the time on her own, and that I would most likely be too busy to get lonely.  And guess what??? I LOVED it!

From the street

Hidden behind a lush cottage garden is a little hideaway

Through the side gate

Sit out on the verandah and listen to the birds

A stunning rose in full bloom

Tea in the garden anyone?

Four chickens who said hello every morning
Fresh eggs for breakfast!

The garden path along the back

The lounge room - I sat by the fire each night with my hand sewing

Fresh cotton linen with fluffy pillows and a thick doona - oh and an electric blanket adds extra warmth - nice and toasty!

The dining table where I set up my sewing machine.

The back room containing the kitchen and laundry.

The kitchen has all the modern appliances.

I only had to look after myself, I could spend as much time as I liked doing exactly what I wanted.  And, I was so busy, that I didn't get much sewing done lol.  On the way up I visited Pick Up Stitches at Kyneton (a lovely selection of yarn and fabrics), then in Maldon The Village Patch (a great selection of general fabrics and novelty prints with wonderful prices) and of course, Threadbear in Castlemaine (an oh so gorgeous shop specialising in reproduction fabrics).  Everyone I met was so friendly and helpful.

Whilst I was away I managed to finish 'Vintage Happy'.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, the pattern for this quilt is here:

I am so so pleased with how she turned out (the pics don't really do it justice).  I was a bit skeptical about the orange binding, but once it was on it looked great.  I can't bear to part with this one.

Well I think thats possibly enough for this post but I have so much more to share - I'll leave that for the next post.

Until next time

Leanne x


  1. We have had all extremes with the weather lately and it is definitely preferable to be inside sewing at the moment. Good luck getting on with your blocks.
    The display at Cranbourne was wonderful - I went home quite inspired.
    Your hide away looks gorgeous. Such a peaceful setting. And the quilt finish is lovely!

  2. Wow!!!! thanks for the pictures of the art quilts. I love it. You had found such a beautiful house. It is on my to do list, to go away some time alone, but I never go alone. But you had a great time. I love the Harry Potter design. I will come back to see your blocks finished.

  3. Love your vintage happy quilt! Just lovely!

  4. Hello Leanne,

    Such a brilliant idea, going away for a quiet peaceful sewing holiday! The vintage happy quilt is lovely, and of course you can't part with it because it will always remind you of Sinnamon's Cottage.

    The quilts at the exhibition are really interesting, and unmistakably Australian.

    Thank you for linking up to Free Motion Mavericks!

    Love, Muv

  5. What a wonderful vacation. I am working on a quilt full of Lori Holt fabrics at the moment. She hit the nail on the head when she chose to include "Happy" in the title! Your finished quilt is adorable!