Archive for June, 2011

It Was a Fair to Remember

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

The 2011 Sydney Quilt & Craft Fair

For five days last week, thousands of excited people invaded the portals of the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre at Darling Harbour for the 2011 Sydney Quilt & Craft Fair.

As usual, caught up in this buzzing hive of passion, laughter and fabrics was Blueberries. At Stand H42, Jackie – had oodles of bargains, tips, demos and information to the ocean of humanity that flowed past in both directions.

“I saw a lot of people from the Central Coast,” she said. “There was such a great vibe there – really switched on and excited. It was a very busy, but fun five days.”

But what’s the gossip? What was hot in 2011? Who’s leading the charge?

“I sold a lot of One Day in May patterns by Melissa Grant,” says Jackie. “They were very popular. (check out her Facebook page). I also sold lots of Kim McLean patterns and for those who missed out on purchasing their copy of Flower Basket Medallion pattern (the quilt on display), more patterns arrived instore today.  Appliqué kits were also a big hit!  It seems there’s a bit of a surge of interest in appliqué right now. I hope everyone’s had a chance to try out their new kits, I’m expecting to see lots of appliqué quilts made over the next couple of months.”

Scroll down for photos from the Fair.

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Blueberries Kitchen

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Culinary adventures with Carmel

Phyliss’ Peanut Balls

This recipe is provided by a loyal Blueberries customer who lives in Maitland.

Ingredients

3 cups Rice Bubbles
1 and a half cups icing sugar
500g peanut butter, heated slightly
At least 2 large blocks Cadbury eating chocolate (not cooking chocolate)
Copha

Method

Mix the Rice Bubbles, icing sugar and peanut butter together and roll into small balls (a bowl of water to keep your hands wet makes for easier rolling).

Refrigerate for 20 mins to half an hour.

Melt chocolate and a small amount of copha in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Dip the balls in the chocolate and return to the fridge so they can set.

These yummy treats are perfect to have with a cup of tea while you’re reading Midweek Moments.

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Big ‘n’ Bizarre

Monday, June 27th, 2011

A road trip of Australia’s fiberglass monuments

The Big Cigarette

This oversized cancer stick is another Big Thing that raises the ire of fiberglass purists, mainly because of its double life. Like Buronga’s water purification plant pretending to be a Big Wine Cask, the Victorian town of Myrtleford has turned the chimney of its local tobacco factory into a Big Cigarette simply by painting it in the appropriate colours. And not only that, it actually smokes, although from the wrong end.

Myrtleford and its surrounds are at the very centre of Australia’s tobacco industry, although this slightly dubious career path isn’t something the town’s old timers would have ever envisaged sixty years ago. It started with a large influx of European immigrants after WWII and has been growing and harvesting the poisonous substance ever since. This has led to other, smaller local industries taking root on the coattails of the humble cigarette, including beer, wine and deforestation for, er… toilet paper. Somehow not what you’d expect from such a quaint and picturesque little community.

But back to the Big Cigarette. It was Tobacco Co-Operative of Victoria’s general manager, John Moore, who had the brainwave of transforming the tobacco threshing facility’s exhaust pipe into an official Big Thing. All this required was a coat of paint and a bit of publicity. Some internal controversy raged behind closed doors for a while over whether the Big Cigarette’s filter should be painted around the top of the pipe or the bottom. As you can see from the photo, it was the top side of the debate that won, making it the only cigarette in the world that actually smokes from its filter.

At a staggering 25 metres in height, the Big Cigarette can be seen from quite a distance away and has become a popular point of reference for locals. But Big Things purists still refuse to accept the Big Cigarette as a true Big Thing, arguing that it’s just an exhaust pipe with a coat of paint and has no artistic, historic or cultural merit. Look at the photo and decide for yourself. Maybe they’re all just non-smokers?

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What’s New

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

There are always two sure fire ways of telling that the end of June approacheth… tax returns and end-of-financial-year sales. (Of course, a third good method is to just check the calendar). As we all shiver through the darkest depths of winter (literally – it was the Shortest Day of the Year this week), there’s always sunshine and flowers and puppy dogs and lollypops at Blueberries. And from now until the end of June, you can take advantage of Blueberries’ very own End Of Financial Year Sale (EOFYS). What does this mean? A whopping 25% off all fabric, that’s what it means. But this narrow window of opportunity slams shut at the close of business on Thursday 30 June, so make the most of it while you can.

Meanwhile, the Sydney Craft and Quilt Fair opened its doors this week in Darling Harbour and will run through to Sunday 26 June. As usual, Blueberries will have a stall, so come along and say hi to Jackie and her helpers if you’re in the area. You’ll find additional info on some of great new patterns on display at the Fair in today’s Midweek Moments, so read on for the goss.

Click here to see a preview of our stand on our facebook page, the Kim McLean quilt is impressive!

What’s Hot at the Fair

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Sneaking a peek at some Blueberries goodies

With hundreds of different quilting and craft related stalls selling their wares at Sydney’s Craft and Quilt Fair this week, competition will be pretty fierce. The thousands of quilting freaks who’ll be filing through the entrance of the Exhibition Centre will certainly be spoiled for choice. But Blueberries has always known how to pull in a crowd and we have a couple of fabulous patterns up our sleeves that are sure to create a fantastic vibe at our humble little stall (H42 – the Meaning of Life). Here’s just a sample of what’s on offer.

The Fair might run for five days in June, but this range of patterns has the evocative title of One Day in May. Featuring the Waterlily Dreaming Brooch, Waterlily Dreaming Needle Keep and Cornflower Gathering Table Runner, these patterns would make beautiful gifts for anyone who appreciates elegant classic handiwork. The patterns themselves are easy to follow and can be bought for $12.00 or $16.50.

The Ric rac range by Jodie Carleton is another source of great gift ideas. It features the Three Little Maids, the elephants Parsley and Beet, and Reuben the donkey (pictured), who’s particularly fetching in his little green jacket and brown bumbag. Each of these pattern retail at $17.50.

Click here to view or order from One Day in May.

Click here to view or order from Ric rac.

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Material Girl

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Jackie’s tips, hints, advice and info and fabrics and products

Picking the hydrangeas

Well, it’s been a while since we last chatted but this week I’d like to draw your attention to a beautiful new range of fabrics in stock called Hydrangeas.

This gorgeous series comes in a range of patterns and styles but they all draw from the same colour palette with lots of fresh, soft blues, greens and violets. Many people list hydrangeas as being among their favourite flowers, mainly because of their colours, so this range certainly won’t disappoint.

These fabrics are particularly well suited to classic, dignified older style settings with a lot of dark wooden surfaces or furniture. They’re equally impressive as quilts, curtains or cushions.

Click here to view or order from the Hydrangeas range.

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Big ‘n’ Bizarre

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

A road trip of Australia’s fiberglass monuments

The Big Ned Kelly

The history books are wrong. They tell us that Ned Kelly’s legendary last stand in the sleepy Victorian town of Glenrowan occurred in June 1880. But this six metre high, 1.5 tonne fiberglass version of the outlaw begs to differ. He’s been boldly brandishing his rifle outside the Glenrowan post office since April 1992, and, barring anything short of an earthquake, tornado or stampede of wildebeest, will probably continue to stand there for a very long time.

We’ve crossed the NSW/Victorian border and ventured about 100kms down the Hume to Glenrowan, a charming little place deep in the heart of “Kelly Country”. This town would’ve almost certainly slipped through the floorboards of history had Ned Kelly not chosen it for the location of a two-day plundering and pillaging workshop in 1880 (meals included) that ended with his arrest. The town’s residents certainly can’t be accused of ignoring this brief but exciting piece of local history. You can buy anything from Ned Kelly burgers to Ned Kelly snow domes and almost every business in the town has the words ‘Ned’ or ‘Kelly’ somewhere in its name.

The current Big Ned Kelly is actually the third fiberglass version of the bushranger to take up residence in Glenrowan. Locals can’t remember exactly when the first one was built, but it was some time back in the 1970s and came to an unfortunate end when it was stolen and dumped in the river by a person or persons unknown. (Maybe some disgruntled visitor who’d specifically requested no pineapple in his Ned Burger.)

Big Ned number two appeared in 1980 to mark 100 years since the hanging of his flesh and blood counterpart in Melbourne Goal. This Ned’s career was far less exciting though, standing guard outside the cheesy new Kellyland Video Theatre and Museum. After about eight years of suffering this indignity he disappeared from public view when the Museum’s owner relocated him to a new spot inside the complex, leaving Glenrowan without a public Ned Kelly for tourism and photographic purposes.

Big Ned number three (the current one) was created in 1992 to fill this hole in the market. The owners of another Ned Kelly museum called Kate’s Cottage (named after Ned’s sister) commissioned a Sydney special effects technician to create the six metre high fiberglass likeness of Ned at a cost of $12,000.

And so it’s been for almost two decades, the infamous outlaw frozen in time outside Glenrowan’s post office, Ned Kelly’s real last stand. And such is Glenrowan’s idolatry of their fibreglass wild colonial boy that if he’s ever flattened by the aforementioned earthquake, tornado or wildebeest stampede, he won’t be kept down for long. The townsfolk will have another Big Ned erected faster than you can say “stand and deliver!”

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EOFY Sale 25% off All Fabric

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

EOFYS (End of Financial Year Sale)

Blueberries is having a 25% off All Fabric Sale from next Monday 20 June 2011 to Thursday 30 June 2011.

Dont miss this 10 day sale!

Available online and instore. Click here to visit our online shop.

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Secrets of the Sewing Circle

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Susan reveals her thoughts

Susan Carr can’t help getting passionate when discussing the immensely popular Blueberries Sewing Circle classes. As sewing circle coordinator, Susan has formed ongoing creative relationships with many of the regulars, and has a broad perspective on the class’s success.

“I’m continually impressed by the diverse range of projects covered each week by the lovely ladies who attend,” she says. “It’s exciting to see new ideas and amazing quilts evolve. It’s most exciting, however, to see the skill level and confidence of quilters change and grow as they come week after week for their fix of friendship and quilting.”

The Blueberries Sewing Circle is designed specially for busy people who may otherwise find it difficult to set aside time specially for quilting. The beauty of the classes, as well as their frequency, is the camaraderie, friendship and generous sharing of knowledge and ideas.

“Sewing circle is a place where old meets new in so many ways,” says Susan. “Women have been joining together to quilt and socialise for hundreds of years and there is clearly still a need in our lives for this tradition to continue.”

Susan reports that the evening classes are popular with the slightly more serious quilters as these classes only run for three hours, rather than six, and so people have to get stuck right into their work from the get-go.

Blueberries Sewing Circle provides support for continuing projects but is not a one-on-one tutoring class. The class also provides free in-class patterns to class members.

Click here to book into the Blueberries Sewing Circle.

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Fat Quarter Winners

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

New book now online! Fat Quarter Winners by Monique Dillard

11 New Quilt Projectsfrom Open Gate

$30, click here to purchase now.

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