Sunday, 17 December 2017

That's a Wrap!! The Year that Was

This Week at DD's

This week I quilted Lynda's Gorgeous Quilt, and it's the last quilt  for the year.
The Quilt pictured was created from a  Pattern, l designed for the Mystery Quilt Club (MQC) here at DD's in 2016, and this particular quilt is Lynda's take on it.

l love the vibrancy of this one. This Quilt is going to her Grandson for Christmas. A Cowboys Fan (NRL) 
The first clue was get together a light...medium and Dark fabrics, Lynda hit the brief exactly, It looks fantastic,  and l love seeing my patterns come alive...

The pattern for this Quilt will be available in January 2018 on both my Etsy and Craftsy shops...I am doing the final touches on the pattern...I can't wait for the release of the pattern, it will be my first full-size quilt pattern release...

So now I have finished up for the year of Quilting...I am looking forward to getting some Christmas Shopping done...oh the fun and Joy of Christmas...I am looking forward to the Holidays this year...I really Need a Break, So let us Look at the Year that was 2017

It has been a massive year on the Homefront and Business, Especially in the last few weeks. 
l have been incredibly ill, I lost my voice for little over a week. resulting in an inflamed throat and a Chesty Cough, but I am on the mend and feeling better every day, thank goodness.

So what has been Happening?

First, my Husbands business taking off more than we realized it would. A little Prep and being able to ease
into it would have been excellent, but it has been full steam ahead...Oh well, sink or swim right...I have been helping with all the background necessities of running your own business.

The Girls have been very busy too, The Divine Miss with her Dancing, 
Miss S with here Girl Guides, and both with School.
 Dancing exams, earning badges,  state camps, fundraising and academic awards just to name a few things that they have been up to...They definitely keep me on my toes :) 

and then there is what I love to do. 

My quilting has been steady, this year I have managed to Quilt 72 Quilts for my customers on the longarm, and around 15 mini's on my Domestic machine...Plus Class samples for all the classes that I run here at DD's.....

This year has also seen me leave my shop and go to another in a Neighboring town to Alisellou Designs in Nanango, to teach classes there twice a month...This was a big thing for me, as I had not had the opportunity to teach outside my shop here in Kingaroy before and it was a little scary...So after the initial nerves and the first class, I was fine...I have met some fantastic people, and I am looking forward to teaching there again this coming year...

This year also saw me make a few changes to my online shop...I closed my eBay Shop and made a move to Etsy...and I would have to say that was the best move I have made.
Not only have my sales improved, but I find it a more flexible platform to use...
I have been active over there for the last month, 
and I have made more sales there in a month than I have ever made on eBay...
I am so thankful that I made the switch...

We have also added more items to our store in the last couple months...we now offer Bag Making this point, we have 37 different bag hardware items listed with more being added weekly...We have over 200 sewing/quilting related items listed in total. With more and more being added weekly.

We are shipping worldwide. 
Shipping Worldwide is a new option for us, and we are still finding our feet, but we are slowly getting can check out what we have to offer Here...Pop over and Favor the shop or items, you will be pleasantly surprised at what we have to offer... 

This year also has seen me delve into the world of Pattern testing...
while I was scrolling on Facebook, I happened to come across a post looking for pattern testers.
It was for Pink Pony Design...I thought to myself why not give it ago, so I sent off an application, and the Lovey Maria accepted my application...
Much to my surprise as I have only really been making bags on and off for around 2yrs now...But I was delighted and could not wait to test the bag pattern for Maria...

I was a little nervous about it and I wasn't sure what was involved but the group was very supportive I got stared and here is the Bag that I made from the pattern it is called the 
Paris Purse 

how cute is this purse 

I love this bag, I made 2 in the end and you can see mine and many more 
that were made over at Maria's blog post  here
and you can also find the pattern here.....

2017 has also seen me expand my business to include 
Quilting and Bag Making Retreats...with the first one being Held in 
              May 2018 at the Bunya Mountains...and this is the accommodation we have booked for the weekend...
Just Beautiful...and the View is just divine 

It went on Sale in October and was sold out within a week...
We have created a FB group to keep everyone up to date on what is happening and what they need to get and a way for us to get to know each other a little before we get to the retreat...
The interest was amazing so much so that we now have a 2nd one Booked for September 2018that will go on Sale in February 2018 so keep an eye on that one...

So you might ask, what will we have planned for the retreat?...well we have a few surprises
on the cards...We check in on Friday afternoon with a get to know you BBQ and Drinks...
the first Full day of sewing we will be focusing on Bag Making...
then the 2nd full day of Sewing we will be making a Mini Quilt...(this one is a surprise project) shhhh
and then we check out Monday Morning...
We are keeping the groups capped at 23 Guest...with my Daughter and myself as the Hosts...
and to keep the costs down we are Catering the weekend ourselves...So I have my Eldest Daughter coming to help out with keeping everyone happy...with Coffee/tea...morning teas and afternoon teas 
Breakfast/Lunch and dinner will be self can see a sample of the menu 

Our Next one September...will see us add a Guest Co-Host come and teach us 
how to make one of her Bag Designs...we will have more details as they come to hand
....Keep an eye out for our FB/Insta/Google+ pages for details in the coming weeks...
these pages also have all that I do on a daily basis...Pop over and have a look at what 
we get up to...

So as you can see it has been a very busy year for me both home and business...There has been lots of planning and organizing going into everything from classes to retreats and Quilts for customers ...I am sure I have missed some highlights but you get a general idea... and next year is shaping up to be the same...

At this point, I would like to Thank my Family/Friends for their
continued love and support and encouragement...and for pushing me when I just wanted to give up...

And to you my Valued Customers and Followers for without you I would not be where I am today 
and for that, I thank you from the bottom of my Heart...
I am looking forward to you all being with me in 2018 for all my Quilting Adventures 

Happy Quilting ") N 

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Squeeellllll !!!! Its Retreat Time ")

Come Join the fun of a weekend of Quilt & Bag making,
We have a Massive weekend of quilting and bag making fun...with lots of games and prizes along
the way.

** SPOTS ARE LIMITED!!!! and filling fast...So book sooner rather than later to avoid
Disappointment. See below for contact information

**Full Price $320 per person ( we require $100 non refundable deposit to secure your spot.) ****
Please note if you can't come for any reason please contact me we are always happy to work
something out regarding your deposit.
**With option to pay remaining balance by 31st March 2018 via installments

**Food included (BYO- lollies/choc/chips, Drinks eg. coke/energy drinks etc & alcohol )
**Facebook information group. This Group will help you to keep you up to date, and get to know
each other a little bit before the Retreat with sneak peeks, games, etc.

** Lists of what to bring and supplies needed and what to Prep before the retreat will be posted into
the Facebook group, and you will be added to this private group once deposit is received. If you are
not on Facebook no worries, I will email you any relevant information.

** The above Cover picture is where we are staying overlooking a beautiful 20 acres of Bunya
Mountains อบอบ...Fireplace to keep us toasty warm, walking tracks for those that want to take a
break. A beautiful Relaxed atmosphere for all to enjoy.
** Weather permitting on the Sunday we are at the Retreat there is a local handmade market to have
a wander around before we start sewing for the day.

** To Secure your Spot Please click "GOING" Tab (and we will message you) or send a Message to
Darvanalee Designs Long Arm Quilting Service or email us at
and we will forward PayPal (preffered) or Bank Account for your Deposit and future payments...any
questions PM us and we will be happy to help....

** Extras are available at cost to guest such as Massage, yoga and spa treatments....the information
and prices are available on Request...advance bookings are essential...

***Please note we are 30+ Km's from nearest town...There are no ATM's, plan
accordingly…We will supply everyone with a Check list closer to the event.

DD’s Bunya Mountain Quilt & Bag Retreat
Hosted by Darvanalee Designs
96 Alford Street
Kingaroy Qld 4610
Ph: Mob: 0429551970 or 07 4163 6631
Nicole Reed (Buhagiar)

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View from the cabin where we are staying for the weekend

Till Next time
Happy Quilting ") N 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

OMG!!!! It's a Skirt ")

This week my Longarm went down 
and I am waiting for he repairman to 
come and sort out the timing...

So what is a girl to do, you might ask.

Well I got out all my UFO's and sorting them into 
Quick and Easy and Need a fair amount of time.
and have started doing some of them...But that is for another 
I also got out my binding Jobs and have been 
doing has been perfect weather for it.
It has been raining here on and off for the better part of the 
Next I got out all my bag patterns and went through
them and organised them into what I want to make and 
what I don't at this time, and if you are anything like me you 
have a collection of patterns...
It's almost to the point of
                                             Hi my name is Nicole and 
                                            I have a pattern collecting 
                            now is the time for me to make them well at least one every day or 
                  so. You can see some of what I have been making HERE .

Next I moved onto making some clothing for myself, and for me this 
is exciting as I have not made much in the way of clothing.

I have dabbled over the years but mostly in kids clothing 
as I can't really understand patterns as I am still 
learning...I got this lovely Rayon Fabric
Called Japanese Garden a few weeks back. 

Not know what I was going to make with it. 
Or even knowing where to start...I just fell in love with it.

So I started looking on YouTube for Circle Skirts
but unfortunately my fabric was not wide enough for me to 
make a full length on as that is the style of skirt I like...

Then it happened I clicked on the Crafty Gemini and sure 
enough like so many times before Vanessa, came through for the fans
with her Tutorial on how to make a Maxi Skirt and you can find the tutorial 

so with my measurements in hand I set up myself up 
to get I didn't have a ruffle foot. 
I set my machine to the longest stitch to 
create my gathering and as you can see from the pics it has worked a treat. 
I have since found out that I can also use my Serger for ruffles too, Thank you 
Andra for the tip. Will definitely be giving it a go :) 

next as I didn't have what Vanessa used, I used a Elastic that I had on hand 
but followed the step as Vanessa was a little bit difficult for it 
to line up but it was pretty close....and as this was my first skirt I was happy with it close enough...As you can see with the style of shirts I ware you can't even notice...

I have learnt a lot from making this skirt, that is for sure 
will I make? Yes another most definitely...
I have already started looking for some more 
I really like the Rayon and how it sewed together and how it drapes over my hips..and would like to try some 
different types fabrics ...but for now I want to learn all I can about Rayon and how to use it in Different applications...
Hmmm the mind boggles on what to make...
 but I would like to master 
the Skirt making process first before moving on to my next clothing item :) ..I decided that I am going to make a couple different types
skirts with some of the fabrics that I have 
collected over time and from what I can tell they are also Rayon 
...Yes I am also a fabric 
addict too....I am sure most of you can relate LOL

I am enjoying the time I am having off from quilting as I am 
able to delve into a different worlds of sewing...
There is so much out there...

If you have never tried to make your own clothing 
then I suggest giving it a go, I promise you will 
be very please with the result....and using a resource like 
YouTube has given me the confidence to step out of 
my comfort zone and it will help you too :) 

Till Next Time 
Happy Quilting ") N 

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Branching Out!!!

 Today I started up my Sub page from Darvanalee Designs Longarm Quilting Service....DD's Handmade Bags and More...What will I be selling on this page...Well for starters Handbags and Wallets including Vegan and Eco Friendly and some Home decor items too including quilts ...but mostly soft furnishings and Handbags ...All items are made to order and there will be some pre-made items too...for those of you that love it shop for handmade Australian made items and not have to wait for it to be Why not drop by and like my page on Facebook you can find it HERE and have a look around...we will be over the coming weeks adding more to the page along with some sneak peeks of new lines 

but here are some of our products that we have already listed with more 
to come in the next few days 

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Till Next time 
Happy Quilting ") N 

Sunday, 8 October 2017

SURPRISE for Sarah

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Some of you may have noticed that I have been a little quiet on Social media lately, 

well there are 2 reasons for that...
first reason I had a a very special quilt that I was asked to help with  the making of it for a very special lady and second I was going away for a 4 day retreat that I had to get ready for...but that is for a later blog entry..

Here is a little history about how and why we ended up making this wonderful gift for Sarah. 

A couple years back the Crafty Gemini put up a notice, that she 
was starting up a Online Quilt Club. 
When I first seen it I sort of skimmed over it, but then I thought it would be a great way 
to meet like minded people from all over world.
Even better Vanessa Vargas Wilson (aka Crafty Gemini)
was offering an Early Bird special. 
So I thought why the heck not join....Really I had nothing to loose.

Little did I know that was going to be one of the best decisions I have 
ever made about something online...

Not only did we get awesome Crafty Gemini Content 
as I expected nothing less, but I started to meet some of 
the amazingly talented women, 
but they were so Kind and generous with 
their time and comments, in the Facebook Group, 

During Live Studio Cams some of the ladies were just a hoot and the 
conversation flowed very easy, 
it was like we had all known each other for years...
and Vanessa was responsible for all of us finding each other....

Over the next 2 yrs a lot of the ladies have met each other in person at retreats and 
 but for us here Australia we had to watch from afar, but not once did I feel 
left out...They have included me into their lives and into their adventures along the 
way...Kimberly and her Best friend Tracey were on a mission to Do a Row By Row quilt 
the photographed their journey and shared it with us...and on most days it felt like I was right there with them, we also had swaps going and I was lucky enough to get to know my swap partners along the way from all over the world it was so much fun, 
And Sarah has always been there Cheering Everyone on...Never leaving anyone out 
not once, She has been there in During Celebrations, births, deaths and so much more 
Just to remind us, not matter what is happening she has our backs 
and sending us love no matter where we are in this big wide world.....

but sadly the day came that we knew would happen one day, As we had been watching Vanessa and her family business grow,
 I think some of us just knew this day was closer than 
expected...while others of us were shocked and a little upset, for the most part we were all very excited for her to be moving onto the next venture, and that was the  Video Bag of the Month Club (which I joined too) twice and now the Wallet of the Month Club 
you can find the link and info Here

The one thing that concerned us all and was a common question 
What about the Group???? 
Will it stay????
are we going to loose contact with everyone???
and there were many more...

The answer in Short was NO!!!
Lucky for us Vanessa could see the wonderful 
community that we have all built together
whew!!!! thank goodness for that 

So moving forward to this year, 
it took a little while for the shock to ware off 
and the group just didn't seem as active, although there was still people sharing 
but it was lacking there for sometime...I just think a lot of us were a little lost.....
 then something amazing happened, 

we started to interact again, some more than others 
and a couple just fell way altogether, we wanted to share again, to feel that connection....
 but not Sarah she was there 
still commentating and trying to encourage us all to be active 
assuring us we were on a good thing with this group 
of amazing people...

Sarah and Andra (BFF's) were not going to let that happened, 
so they had been talking to each other and coming up with some 
great ways to get the group moving again....
we have now started Show'n'Tell Mondays 
and I can tell you this goes off...and we have a lot of fun with it 
Show'n'Tell is where we have a topic and we share what we think 
or tell what we are up to, 
and I have been lucky enough to be the one to post first as I 
am at Monday before our USA friends, I started with just 
putting a few words, then I decied to do Videos instead 
and they have been a hit, and then others started to 
comment more and then some were starting to put pics 
and some have even done a few videos too, 

Our little community started to come alive once again YaY 
all the while Sarah's life was changing, her little family decided that it 
was time for them to move from their long term family home in California to Virginia to be closer to their daughter ......we were all there cheering her on, 
as she has been our biggest cheerleader for most of us if not all us, over the last 2.5yrs...

we watch as she packed up her life as she knew it...and as move to the other side 
of her country....

so the move was done and we were now sharing with Sarah her settling into her new home...
then the day came, Laura sent a message to Myself and Andra asking if we would 
be able to help make a Quilt for Sarah as a Housewarming gift. 
And if we thought it was a good idea...
we well I can assure you, we didn't have to think about it too long....
We were very excited about this and said yes we would help..

But How....How would we do this, so she would not find out 

so after some thought we decided on being really sneaky and creating a Secret Group on Facebook so Sarah would not find out.
we started to add people people that we had on our friends lists and adding a few more to our personal timelines so we could add them to the group...
 and everyone had a choice to say Yes or No as it was totally voluntary, as it summer break we knew that not all would be able to participate, but everyone had a choice  ...
the window for sign up was open for a week...once the time frame lapsed we took out the 
people that couldn't be a part of it for what ever reason.....
then we come the instructions on the block size also the how and what were we going to do and we justran from there....
Everyone got to make what ever block they wanted :) :) 
Blocks were 9" finished...but above all have fun 
while making your block...we are looking for blocks made 
with love and we are not looking for perfection....
Love and Fun what better ingredients are there in a Quilt 

so Slowly the blocks started to come in from all around the world.
We ended up have 57 of us participating
and as all of had got to know Sarah pretty well over the last couple years..... we knew what she liked. 
After all the blocks arrived we worked out the quilt 
was going to be a huge 96 x 106 inches. WOW was the first thing that came to mind
but Fitting for someone that has been such a big part of our Online lives. 

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Just some of the Blocks from the Quilt 

we also had to find out favorite colour and what sort of quilting she might 
like as we wanted to love her Quilt and use feel the love from 
each and everyone of us.... So I started putting up sneaky Polls on the Crafty Gemini Quilt club group to get the answers...Yes I know Sneaky Sneaky, but hey a Quilty Girls gotta
do what she has to do to get the Job right ....

All the blocks were in and it was time to start to put the quilt together, 
so slowly each night for 2 weeks I worked on the quilt until 
it was time to load into the machine and start quilting, 
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some of the row being pieced...

I found the perfect backing and binding to go with the Quilt 
there was lot of discussion in the group about what were doing...I was posting 
each and every step so everyone could be a part of the process, 
patterns were picked and cotton was selected and the Sampler Quilt 
started to take shape...we were all getting very excited, Some of us 
were extremely excited, I loved the feeling that this group 
was putting out there....

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The tape measures for the backing and the cross stitch for Binding :) 

The Rows were finally done and it was time to load up the quilt ready for Quilting 
we had picked the pattern and the cotton we were going to use...
and I must say both were very fitting for the you can see there was many, many colours in this Quilt...So a variegated Thread was in order...I decided on a pastel colour thread as I didn't want to take away from the blocks in the quilt.... 

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This is the pattern and thread we used for the Quilt 
then came the day, It was time pack the Quilt up for shipping, so I packaged the quilt up 
and sent it Directly to Sarah and we also got express post so she would 
get it in 4 days from Australia instead of 14 days...can you tell we were very excited 
lol...Honestly we were like kids in a candy store LOL...

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we even had a label for the quilt :) 

We had decided that we wanted Sarah to record herself opening up the quilt, so I made a lace 
embroidered Envelope that had OPEN FIRST on it (see pictures below)....and I stuck that to the top of the parcel....
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So off the Quilt went and we all sat on the edge of our seats staring at our Devices/laptops 
waiting and waiting, then the unthinkable happened, they tried to deliver 
the parcel and Sarah was not home

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 as this was a surprise we couldn't exactly say you need to stay home and now we had to wait for Sarah to organised another delivery time or go and pick up the parcel herself...I can tell you it I could here the collective Sigh from here...and the group almost went into melt down with GIF's and Comments LOL....
you will have to take my word for was so funny to read all the 

more than once we felt like this LOL

so after days and hours and seconds of waiting we had to wait some 
more...well I can tell you Sarah took her time the end I got Andra to say that it was the candy that I was sending to her so she really needed to go and pick it up...we were all dying a little on the inside waiting LOL...So what was supposed to be 4 days turned into 7 days LOL...and I was away when the day finally come and she posted up the Video of her opening it....( I won't be sharing the Video here as it is private) but I can tell you Sarah was blown away to say the least and very much rendered you can see from this screen shot from the recording :) 

this picture sums it up really :) 

We have since added Sarah to the Secret Group so she could read all about the 
history of her took a couple days to hear from Sarah as she took it all in...
Sarah has since put up an Thank you to all of us...But my thoughts are No Thanks is Necessary as it was an Honor and a privilege to be a part of something so wonderful 
for such a genuine loving person...

So why am I Blogging about this...
well the answer is simple....
The world has not been a nice place of lately, and I wanted to share this 
with you if you are feeling like love is Dying 
then you can rest assure that it is not.... 
I have found my Tribe and we are hell bent on 
making the world a better place, with one small gesture at 
a time ") 

So if you ever get asked to help with making a Quilt for someone 
in a pay it forward kind of way or maybe you want to start your own group and make quilts for the someone special...or maybe do some charity work of any kind....Then Do it...even if you are just 
making a Block, or even donating your time...or just having a coffee with that someone special.....
it is a wonderful way to share our skills and help others 
and you just don't know how you are going to impact someones life 
it could just be what they needed...

And For Sarah it has been a life changing event 
for she is always the one to be there for others...and 57 of us Turned the tables
on her....We love you Sarah and we all hope you get many many years of Enjoyment 
from your quilt :) :)

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Till Next Time 
Happy Quilting N ")