Saturday, 12 April 2014

What's on my inspiration wall?......Portuguese azulejos

The colours of Portugal are gorgeous. Coming here, where there's not many people quilting, I didn't imagine there'd be so much around to inspire me as a quilter. But I've been really taken by some gorgeous azulejos (ceramic tiles) and can see some new block designs and colours singing out....

I've been enjoying wandering the streets of Viano do Castelo and the local towns and here are some typical azulejos from the Minho region in northern Portugal. They are mostly located on the exterior of homes and apartments. I love the colours and am inspired by the designs which may be translated into patchwork blocks.

Azulejos (tiles) on the exterior of an apartment building in Viana do Castelo

I was also inspired by some Portuguese tiles that was featured in an old Dwell magazine and i read about in a blog by Factotum of Arts. They are just gorgeous. I love the colours and the design and although the colours aren't the usual, they do sing Portugal and are so fresh. I would loooove this on my bathroom floor!

I can't wait to get back home and go through my fabrics, new and old, and see what i can come up with. I do hope they inspire you too.

Linking up for Really Random Thursday at Live a Colorful Life

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

In the making or the giving?

While i do have several quilts that i've purposely made just for me, most of them have been intended as gifts. The fabrics and design have been especially selected for the person or occasion. Looking back, and looking ahead, i wonder if it is the making of the quilted gift or the giving of the gift itself that is the best part of the quilting process. For most of the quilt gifts i've made, it has been extra special to be able to bless someone with something so personal and something handmade. In an era when it's so easy to purchase something off the shelf and there are occasions which encourage super consumerism (i'm thinking here especially of Christmas in Australia!), i reckon there's nothing better than a handmade gift.

I do know that some of the people i've given quilts to, probably don't know how much effort and expense went into making them, but i reckon that's okay too, because i have enjoyed so much making them and knowing they are going to someone special. I can remember giving one of my good bloke friends, who had just had a little baby girl, a cot quilt i'd just made fo her and he said 'thanks heaps for the blanket'........hehehe, it made me laugh....classic!

I recently have had the privilege of giving some quilted gifts to my family here in Portugal and it has been very special. Rosa Maria and Ze Carlos like their Dreaming of Jacarandas quilt very much and have decided to use it on their bed in their house in the north of Portugal.

Dreaming of Jacarandas, here on the granite pillars that are common here in the Minho region in northern Portugal, mostly used to support grape vines.

Ze Carlos and Rosa Maria with their Dreaming of Jacarandas quilt
To my aunts i have given some quilted placemats (placemats here and here also) that i made especially for them and it was so nice to give them something i made, like a little piece of me.

Giving quilt placemats to our Aunt Silvia (R) and Milu (L)
But, i'm still not sure. Which is it for you...the making or the giving that is the best reward?

Linking up with Lorna for Lets Bee Social

Friday, 4 April 2014

Rainbow by the meter

This week i had the pleasure of meeting Paula who owns the Arco Iris a Metro ('Rainbow by the meter' in English) patchwork shop on the south side of the Tejo River in Lisbon, Portugal. Quilting shops are quite rare in Portugal, so this was a real treat. It's a lovely shop with many delightful fabrics, and if you're ever in Lisbon, i encourage you to include a visit here.

Paula tells me that making bags is very popular here at the moment, so not as much interest here in making quilts as art or for putting on our beds.

Of course, i couldn't resist purchasing some beautiful fabrics including some Portuguese fabric which is 100% cotton that is called CHITAde ALCOBAÇA (typical from a city called Alcobaça).

For my Mum, I purchased some fabrics that reminded me of the colours of Portugal and one that has some Portuguese themes..... so pretty....

And for me, i couldn't resist some colourful blues, purples and greens....

Thanks Paula for showing me your beautiful shop. I do hope that one day, you will make it down under to Australia so i can take you to some of our local quilt shows, shops and hangouts.... i wish you many happy quilting hours!

Linking up with Milli Sparkles for Sunday Stash