Shady Pine

Shady Pine

Shady Pine26th December 2014 – 30th November 2015

When I brought stuff home from my parents house three light shades were tossed into the car. I intended to put them in an op shop, but they went missing each time I bundled stuff up to be delivered.

One day I had to move them, and instead of stacking them upside down and inside each other as I had done up until them I stacked them right side up, sitting on top of each other. They formed a triangle a bit like a Christmas tree, and an idea was born.

( I really need to make more Christmas trees, as five-year Jake counted 13 two years ago, and decided there was still only 13 as a seven-year old a few days ago, but he was anxious to see if we had any electronic games he could play. I opened a tray of wooden blocks and tipped them out and told him to put them back in. Took him a while, but he told his Mum that it was a cool game!)

Two of the light shades had cream covering and I thought I could use them as they were, but on closer inspection the fabric was starting to rot, the glue holding the cover to the frame was starting to lose its grip, and they were rather dirty. New plan was to rip the covers off which took about 15 minutes.

(Thinking about it, Mum probably covered those frames when they moved off the farm … they lived in the town for quite a while … must find out when they moved!)

So, found some soft green furnishing fabric in the stash, and started a new project before the end of 2014 … hoping it will be finished in time to put away with the rest of the decorations … or next Christmas!

Now, I forgot to take photos before I started work, but maybe I could draw something in EQ to show what I hope it will look like! Another collection of Christmas tree appliques to be added to the collection! What do I do first, make the tree or do the drawings? I will try to concentrate on the real one … the virtual ones can wait until the real one is finished and in storage!

Update 31st December 2014

Copy of 2014 Light Shade Tree 1

Two light shades covered …

Copy of 2014 Light Shade Tree 2

… one more to go.

30th December 2014

All light shades covered, and the stick which will hold them up too.

2015 1 Shady Pine in Progress for web

Next step is to work out how to hold the stick/trunk upright!

Also the virtual designs are ready to be used in virtual quilts.

Shady Pines 1

The second in the top row is what I am planning for the real light Shady Pines.

Shady Pines 2


The rest are overkill!

All could use some decorations when they go into a quilt design.

Update November 30th 2015

Shady Pine

Click for a closer look!

The tree is holding up … by an out dated reference book … book hidden by matching fabric wrap … with glass bead drops tied on with ribbon. The finishing touches have only just been added and the tree put together, but after Christmas it will come apart again, so the light shades can be stored inside one another. Even the trunk will come out of the base to save room in the storage space.

One of few decorations which is allowed out of storage this year, as Butch will be on crutches from early December, and although he has been practicing, he is not too steady on crutches, and he hasn’t got a foot in plaster yet! Don’t want him to fall into a Christmas tree … he might get lost amongst the angels on there … or damage the tree!

Trees for Christmas

September 2009

We were staying with Blue and Leah, who are not interested in anything involving needle and thread, when I ran out of work to do. There was nothing much in their house of use in this situation, and I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a new project to fill in the remainder of the holidays. I had a sewing room full of fabrics, threads, tools, patterns, UFOs etc ….. I just wanted something to work on! I had assorted needles, scissors and a pencil, and Jordan had left a battered ruler and eraser on the kitchen table after doing his homework

The nearest craft shop had some wide cream homespun meant for a quilt backing as an end of roll special. They also had Perle thread and some thin iron on wadding to use as stabilizer. Leah had an iron and ironing board stored in the spare room which was our bedroom, so there was one tool I could make use of.

I started sketching ….. my skills are limited, but I managed the stick figure version of some different trees. I decided I would make them all the same triangular shape, but vary the style of foliage and branches. I found a cereal packet in the recycling bin, cut a rectangle as a template for the background block, and a triangle for the tree. I used the template to cut a heap of background pieces, and to mark the triangle onto some pages of the scrapbook I had found in Cheap as Chips – now my design book. A black marker turned the sketches into something I could trace onto the fabric.

(I chose a rectangle because it was easier to draw a rectangle when I was using the edge of a magazine for a ruler for anything longer than 5 inches … the length of th least battered edge of the ruler. The magazine also provided the right angle!)

By the time we came home I had six trees embroidered with simple variations of stem stitch.

November 2009

A weekend in Beachport …. more sketches, more embroidery.

July/August 2010

Took the bag with my holiday project to the Golden Harvest Quilter’s Retreat and did a couple more trees, but without the decorations at this point …… I think I am making a book of Christmas Trees …. there are too many trees now for a wallhanging, don’t see the trees making a wonderful quilt, so I will make them into pages of a fabric book. (PS 2010 have officially run out of room in this house for any more wall hangings .. don’t tell anybody, because I might still want to make some more!)

One of the new sketches was drawn from some young Norfolk Island Pines I could see from the cabin we stayed in during our stay in Beachport when I last worked on the stitcheries.

I have no idea how to decorate this one …. have ideas for all the others, but nothing for this one!

November 2010

Back in Beachport for another weekend of golfing (for Butch) and some stitching time for me.

All the photos so far were taken on this trip to Beachport.

Next outing … Marion Bay in December….. wonder how many more holidays before I need a new holiday project!

Christmas Toys

A collection of cards, pictures from magazines and some of my sketches of anything related to Christmas and toys to put under Christmas trees.

The card on the right with the rather ragged fairy was the inspiration for my Fairy Nice, and I have finally stuck it firmly into a scrap book.

Photos of Santas made while we lived in Yorketown, 1990 – 1995, a sketch for a doll I have never made, and some paper dolls from a magazine.

Magazine pictures, and Christmas cards … possible inspiration for toys, decorations and quilts.

More scraps saved from magazines.

The Christmas Tree who fell to pieces…..

Just like an old quilter!

I store Christmas trees in a cupboard with bags made from old curtains and sheets over them so they don’t get tangled together. (There are about a dozen in there.)

The biggest one is store bought, and comes apart for easy storage. However I store it in one of those bags standing straight and tall. Six feet tall. I removed a couple of smaller trees and started shuffling the big one out of the cupboard, and thought a little lift might be good weight training and assist getting it out of the cupboard into a small hall space already cluttered with previously removed trees.

I did say the tree would come apart for easy storage, didn’t I?

Well, it also comes apart when you lift by holding one of the upper sections. And come apart again when I tried to lift by gripping it a little lower, but still above the bottom section. I had managed to wedge myself in the cupboard to make more room for the tree in the limited space outside the cupboard.

The tree was still in the bag, but totally out of control, and sort of collapsed in a bent and twisted shape in what now looked like a body bag containing a very broken body, in this case held together by not one, but three, sets of lights.

At this point the five foot tall tree which had already made it’s escape from the cupboard, and the bag which it had worn over it’s head for ten and a half months, decided to join the party and fell over the big bagged tree and landed back in the cupboard to embrace me.

You are going to have to picture the scene all by yourself.

The camera was out of reach until I managed to get Humpty back together again. And thankfully there were no witnesses.

Bit tree with Handmade Tree Trims

This is what the tree looked likefor a previous Christmas, and all the decorations are still on there even after I untangled the lights and got it all back into one piece. Wonder if superglue will hold it all together. Or perhaps a few screws ……….

Christmas Tree with Tied Yarn

May 30 2008yarn-tied-on-2The idea for this tree has been

running around in the brain for a long time.

I didn’t have any idea how much yarn might be used,

so when I found green yarns in Spotlight I bought up big,

and started making the tree with about 48 balls of assorted yarns

in the stash.

The trunk is a broomstick, there is the usual wire and beads, held sort of upright with a pile of five books.

It took three very long days to tie on just 22 of the 48 balls of yarn.

This is about the most boring task I have ever set myself.

However, I knew after half a day the tree was going to look OK.

The only problem I have with the result is that I don’t want to add too many decorations because the tree itself looks so good.

5 ft 6 in (66 inches 0r 170 cm)

Charms of Christmas

2009 Scrap Books July 001The book is new, the contents newish, the cover new, but the title is recycled from a wallhanging.

2009 Scrap Books July 002

Some adverts, and some pictures of things I like.

2009 Scrap Books July 003

A pattern for an elf I might use one day. He is sooo cute!

2009 Scrap Books July 004

Some trees and one of the reindeers I just might need in the future.

Yahoo! The last of the Christmas scraps, and from now on  the plan is from here on all the Christmas and all the toys will go together.

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells

2009 Scrap Books 015

A new scrap book, homspun cover, and some slightly twisted snomen freehand cut from scraps of fabric and fused in place.

I really wanted to use the snowman theme in the title of the book, but in the finish went with the three bells which help hold the book together!

2009 Scrap Books 017

As with the other Christmas scrapbooks this one is filled with scraps of magazines, these from 1990 to 2005. (All the scraps from this period ended up in a rather large pile, which slipped, and became rather a large paper slide, so they are all mixed up.)

2009 Scrap Books 018

The overall theme is Christmas, but ranges from primitive through country style to Victorian.

2009 Scrap Books 016

The page on the right has a six page article about Ol’ Saint Nick.

Christmas in July Scrapbook

2009 Scrap Books 020

This is an old book which was partly filled with designs started soon after I started quilting with the intention of making a Christmas Quilt. The quilt was made, the book was never filled or covered. It now holds a small part of the scraps saved from a pile of magazines.

2009 Scrap Books 021

An article about Christmas cards, with a few secrets hidden under the loose leaf on the right hand side.

2009 Scrap Books 022

These two designs were not used, and I am so glad I didn’t use that snowman! He would give me the creeps there as well as here! Note to self …… change the eyes before using this fellow in the future!

The pattern pages have been given a touch of colour with a few small pictures added.2009 Scrap Books 023

I don’t know that these two are much better, but they were used. What was I thinking with the back view of the angel? (I was trying to avoid doing a face, as this was before I was designing my own dolls.)

Starry Starry Night

2009 Scrap Books 024

Tone on tone, with three stars cut from scraps of fabric fused onto a seeded homespun cover. The book has been stiched with gold thread and a bell added to the top of the spine.

Everytime you turn the pages bells ring!

2009 Scrap Books 025

Inside are bits and pieces saved from more magazines from 1990 – 2005, and sometimes I slowed down gluing stuff onto the pages to do a sort of collage instead of fitting in as much as possible.

2009 Scrap Books 026

And sometimes I still crammed them in loosely but with an eye for colours which didn’t actually scream at each other.

Oh Christmas Tree

2009 Scrap Books 027

Now I can have fun! New book, new cover, and I found some seeded homespun for covers!

A scap of fusible webbing, fabric scraps, iron, cut out some tall skinny, crooked triangles, iron again, cover done!

2009 Scrap Books 028

Contents have been culled from magazines from 1990 – 2005, including Country Sampler and Marketplace Treasures, and are pretty much all for those who love country and primitive decorations. With a touch of Victorian.

2009 Scrap Books 029

The piles of paper has diminished and I am taking a little time to play with layouts a little more instead of just cramming in a smuch as possible. I have used a pattern page which I will never use to fill  in some white space instead of adding more colour pictures.

2009 Scrap Books 030Feather tree, black and white illustrations, and a snow scene to cool down our usually hot Christmas weather. I have a growing collection of fabric and resin snowmen, as the real thing is hard to get in Australia at Christmas time.

Balancing Balls Christmas Tree

Would I try this again? Maybe, but without the paint!

(I have since tested acrylic paint on styrofoam and it behaves much better!)

The idea of three graduated sized styrofoam balls stacked on top of each other seemed simple.

But how to get a hole drilled though styrofoam, and how do you keep the hole centred.

Eventually I settled for punching smaller holes in opposite sides of the balls and gluing in a short piece of dowel to construct the tree.

Then I was ready for the paint job.

Found a can of spray paint so this was going to be easy!

Sounded good until I started spraying, thankfully outside!

The surface of the balls started bubbling and became a gooey mess! Who knows what toxic fumes were released into the atmosphere, but I decided to finish the paint job anyway as the balls would have been a waste product as well if I stopped at this point.

An hour or so later I found that the surface of the balls hard to the touch and looked a little like the surface of a green moon

So I went ahead and decorated the tree by using straight pins to attach an assortment of charms, many of which were supposed to be used on stemmed glasses to identify them in a crowd. The gold number one on the right of the photo below is a pin created by Holden, the Australian car makers to celebrate being the top selling cars in the country and it was presented to all their workers ….. and one of their workers is our son. There are also a few earings and a packet of tiny stars produced for the scrap book market.

This tree also appears here.

New Species Christmas Tree – Faux Feather

new-species-4-aFaux Feather tree made with

Faux Feathers yarn in the continuing story of working out how much yarn is used and the best way to put them


I carefully planned this one to go in our bedroom decorated with the Family Jewels, decorations which are really just all the broken bits and pieces of jewellery donated by several family members.

Only one piece of jewellery was specially purchased as a decoration, and that is a rose wreath brooch..

Turned out well, but it is too tall to go on the chest of drawers, so back to the drawing board to work out where it will go.

Made in May 2008

55 inches tall (140 cms)

Used five balls of Patons Feathers yarn, two light, three dark.

New Species Christmas Tree Fabric Foliage

fabric-foliage-no-1I tried to work out how much fabric was used for the tree made in 2002 and decorated with sewing collectables , decided it was all too hard, so made another tree with fabric foliage.

The trunk of this one is the curtain rod which was in the passage way at Kadina.

The beads came from an old car seat cover which I pulled to pieces many years ago because the beads might come in handy one day.

The books came with us from Kadina, but had to buy the wire from Bunnings.

The fabric includes three lengths of print from Bridge Agencies, two plains out of the stash, and part of a doona cover found at the Op Shop in Millicent.

I thought I may need about 15 metres for this tree, but used less than 7 metres.

fabric-foliage-closeupThe tree is 6 ft tall

But only 16 inches wide.

April 2008

Christmas Tree Makeover


Refurbished one of the original 2002 trees which had white fluffy foliage and a tendency to fall over. It is now more stable and has green fabric foliage.

New species Christmas Tree No 3

new-species-no-3Faux Fur Faux Feather tree

55 inches (1.37m) tall

The trees are getting bigger.

I had three balls of faux fur yarn to crochet over the wire branches.

I had to keep cutting more wire for branches, and by the time I had used up most of the yarn I was beginning to think the yarn was stretching.

There are 12 rows, with four branches in the first rows,

gradually increasing to seven in the last row.

The rows are a little further apart too, so that larger decorations can be used on the bottom of the tree.

Started in mid February, 2008, completed within two weeks.

Scrap Timber T Tree

timber-t-treeDuring a creative moment in January 2008 I went looking for a block of wood in the shed for another project.

Instead of the block I found a piece of a timber on the woodheap which had been used for transporting pipes.

Brian cut it in halves vertically for me, and I drilled holes, added oddments of dowel cut to length, and found just enough beads in the macramé jar to go on the ends.

Purchased 3 shelf brackets, and hey presto, a tree to go in a narrow space.

Plan to decorate the finished tree with trims which used to be on the Shed trees which were dumped when we left Kadina, but the branches are too close together, so will have to make another set of decorations.

New Species Christmas Tree No 1


In 2002 I made Christmas Trees for a Christmas in July exhibition, and sold quite a few, gave others away, and kept a few favourites. However, I didn’t take any notes about how much yarn I used, or wire, or anything else. I may be able to teach workshops, but first I need to be able to tell people what to bring, as well as modify the methods I used to make them back then!

The Family Jewels

The stack of books originally held up one of the original trees, but the trunk was too thin, broke and the tree now hangs on the wall.

This time the trunk is much thicker, the tree is taller, and the yarn is totally different!

There are 9 rows of 6 branches each, with double crochet worked over the wire branches before they were attached to the trunk.

The foliage used about 130 grams of yarn, there are 55 beads, and about 4 metres of wire, which should have been more to make it easier to put together.

Planned to decorate the finished tree with trims made with the family jewels or decorations made with beads, including snowmen, angels, tassels, stars and beaded ball. There are a few family jewels, but most of the decorations have been  collected or made using beads.

New Species Christmas Tree No 2


Feathers yarn Faux Feather tree

One ball of Patons Feathers yarn, a stick, some wire, beads, a piece of fabric, glue and an old book.

This was simply an experiment to find out how far a ball of yarn would go.

Started in January 2008 and finished a couple of weeks later.

20 inches, 55 cm tall


Creative Christmas

January 2008

Started the year by putting away the Christmas decorations, and making more! Started with the Christmas cards which had accumulated in the cupboard from previous years, glued fronts to backs, cut out pictures or shapes to make gift cards and tree decorations. Whole cards were strung together vertically to hang.

Then went through the paper collection, and turned bits and pieces into more tree decorations to add to collections already started. One lot of gift wrap I think was purchased when I was making little things for the Mother’s Day Stall at Woodside Primary School. Enough decorations for two trees from that one piece of paper! Will make about 15-20 white pompom snowballs to go with one lot.

Went out to the shed and found another box of Christmas cards which I brought from Kadina! Quickly sorted them and used about half, put some into recycling bin, and put a few back for future reference.

Painted a dozen wooden pencil toppers and mini doll shapes to make them snowmen.


The Styrofoam balls I bought before we left Kadina were moved a couple of times over the Christmas cleaning/decorating/un-decorating period, and as I also found, in the shed, some acrylic paints which had been ‘lost’ for the four years we have been in Bordertown, I used them to put some Balancing Balls Trees and Snowmen together, and finished a couple of the snowmen and one of the trees.

Bennie with a Beeannie and Painted Pete

Bennie with a Beannie and Painted Pete

A broom handle didn’t get away either, it got a white wash, a face and a very long cap to become Broomstick Snowman.


More broomsticks and dowels looked like tree trunks, and as I might need to know how much yarn and fabric goes onto a Christmas tree I started making trees, this time taking copious notes for possible workshops.

Just when the head was nearly bursting with ideas I went into Tania’s Scrap Shack, the local scrap booking haven, and came away with ideas for a whole series of arty, farty books, started one about Christmas decorations, decided it needed more time, so started and finished Popsicle People Patterns, because I was writing instructions for a forthcoming pattern at that

What I really intended to do in January this year was to use up some of the beads in the stash!

Broomstick and Scrap Christmas Tree


Most of the Christmas Trees I have made so far have a tendency to fall over or at least develop a lean.

While making the broomstick Santa I thought that it might be a good idea to try broomstick trunks.

Simply drilled holes in the broomstick, added wire, tied on strips of fabric.

It only used about half the scraps of green I had saved, but I really need to know how much fabric is required so I can publish directions and add it to the workshop list, so guess I will just have to make another one!

5 foot tall.