Monday, 9 December 2013

Charity Patchwork Quilt - Only Kids Aloud South Africa Patchwork Project

photo og various Kaffe Fasset striped quilting fabrics

Earlier this year, Cape Town Opera invited the Only Kids Aloud choir from Wales to come to South Africa next April to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of democracy and the end of apartheid. As the world mourns Nelson Mandela, the preparations for next year's celebrations are especially poignant. 

Only Kids Aloud singing Mahler with Marinnsky Orchestra
Only Kids Aloud is an all-Wales children’s choir, sponsored through the Wales Millenium Centre, and working with the Only Men Aloud choir. My son is one of the 70 children, aged from 9 to 13,  from across Wales who were selected from over 400 entrants to form the 2013-14 choir. 

While some of the chosen choir members, like my son, are fairly experienced singers, others are new to singing and performing on a stage, and many have never been away from home before. Only Kids Aloud is a fantastic development opportunity for children from across Wales – “broadening their horizons through performing” as well as encouraging young people to continue the great choral tradition of Wales.   

Only Kids Aloud Choir filmed for Olympic Opening Ceremony

My son was also a member of the previous year's choir who sang in St Petersburg, Russia, and for the London Olympics opening ceremony - an amazing experience for an 11 year old.    

Although the exact details of the South Africa visit haven’t been finalised,  the choir will be singing in two concerts in Cape Town with Bryn Terfel and will be taking a brand new song specially written as a gift for the South African nation. It is hoped they will also visit a township and sing with local young people - but whatever they do, I know they will do Wales proud - bringing the Land of Song to the Rainbow Nation.

Kaffe Fasset fabric for the charity quilt
To help raise funds for this Wales Millenium Centre project, I am designing and creating a patchwork quilt that brings together elements of both Wales and South Africa. 

I am still working out the pattern - but it it will be an unique one off design in at least a large lap size. 

I've already bought the fabric - I'm intending to use these glorious Kaffe Fasset African Stripes fabrics around a strong geometric central panel that will feature hand quilted motifs based on traditional Welsh quilting patterns.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

The Old Button Swop Number 3 - Glaspirations and Stitchers Anon

Earlier this year I took part in a crafting blog tour and decided my post would be a call for crafters to take part in a swop. I had interest from lots of really talented craftpeople from jewellers to patchworkers to painters.  And they work with such gorgeous different materials too including wool, vintage silk, felt and glass.

Today is the story of two crafters from two Celtic nations very close to my heart - Glasspirations from North Wales and Stitchers Anon from Ireland. 

Red and green christmas tree glass dish by Glasspirations
Christmas tree glass dish by Tracey for Gaynor
Tracey from Glasspirations created this stunning Christmas Tree fired glass dish for Gaynor. 

Gaynor said she loves anything made from the heart and this little trinket dish certainly fits that brief. Tracey had to do a number of firings to create this beautiful dish - I just love the sparkly green of the tree and the fine gold garland. 

I think it really works with the red and white candy cane background and the little gold flecks are like a golden snow storm. 

Gaynor just loved her glass dish and I know how she felt. I bought myself some of Tracey's glass last year  - a black and white soap dish - and I can honestly say is is beautifully created and arrived so nicely packaged.

Glasspirations Butterfly Coasters

You'll find loads of lovely gifts for yourself or a loved one on Glasspirations website - I just love these stunning butterfly coasters. 

And if you want to find out more about how Tracey creates her fantasic pieces, have a look at the Glassy Lady's blog.  You can also find Glasspirations on Facebook and on Twitter

Green and Red Christmas Tree Patchwork Runner by Stitchers Anon
Christmas Runner from Gaynor to Tracey

For the return swop Gaynor from Stitchers Anon made this beautiful Christmas wall hanging or runner for Tracey.   

Originally from Zimbabwe, Tracey loves cats and green and gets her inspiration from nature. 

Gaynor pulled together some gorgeous christmassy prints to make this stunning patchwork piece. The centrepiece is a lovely green Christmas tree on a strong red and green background. I love the way Gaynor has added the nordic style borders - they frame the centre beautifully and the trees and leaves add to the nature theme.  

Tracey was thrilled with her gift, which can be used either as a table runner or as a wall hanging - Gaynor cleverly added two triangular pockets on the back for a wooden rod or wire hanger. And she popped a cute crochet robin too in the parcel too. 

Gaynor is talented in loads of different craft areas - she loves to knit, cross stitch, embroider, quilt, sew, draw and paint, write and now designs cross stitch charts. Wow! You can see just some of her creations from 2013 on Stitchers Anon blog as well as find some gorgeous ready made Christmas stockings for sale. 

And if you or someone you know loves cross stitch, you can find lots of designs on Stitchers Anon blog or Facebook page. 

Many of the charts are free for personal use although Gaynor also sells some patterns such as this lovely Christmas scene. They would make fantastic Christmas gifts. A percentage of each sale goes to cancer support and research charities. 

I'm sure you'll agree that both Gaynor and Tracey both designed and created fantastic swop gifts for each other. And I'm just really amazed that they both came up with a Chritsmas Tree design withought knowing the other was doing the same. Obviously perfect swop partners.