Friday, October 28, 2016

I was working on...

...something while we were in the car on our road trip. It began at home then came with me to be completed while we were away. 

During the late afternoon highway hours I tend to get very tired and need something to keep me awake so I can chat with Mr E helping his concentration as well, especially as early evening brings kangaroos, wild pigs and wallabies across our paths. Such was the case our first day on the road so out came my partially stitched block, needle and thread.
Strangely enough I chose satin stitch flower centres and buds to focus my sewing attention on in the waning light, which amused Mr E no end as they needed unpicking and restitching numerous times during the steep and winding mountain descent between Mount Molloy and Port Douglas.
Arriving at the motel as the sun was setting I packed my sewing away and decided I wouldn't even look at it again during our short holiday.

That resolve lasted all through the next day.

My needle resumed it's task on day 3 during the trip home, but this time we drove the coastal highway which had a lot of road works so there was plenty of stationary time to fix my Monday mistakes. Mr E again found this amusing. Gotta love that man.

Here's what my distraction-from-tiredness-in-the-late-afternoon-sun became...

The colours were inspired by a random fat quarter I found at Spotlight a couple of weeks ago and some vintage Bakelite buttons from my stash.
No idea what the fabric is, and I couldn't find any more of it.
If I could, I'd probably have bought the bolt. 
It even feels beautiful...

Last night I was exhausted, satisfied, but exhausted. Every muscle and bone throbbed.
4WD-ing over muddy and rugged terrain tends to do that. 
It's not until a day or two afterwards when the thrill and adrenaline have subsided that you realise the ache ringing out in your body is real and requires attention by way of rest.
But like I said, it was a satisfied ache, a 'slow-down-and-enjoy-simple-things-for-a-few-days' ache, so I made a big jug of fresh fruit and vegetable juice, sat down with pencil and paper, and drew a simple design to stitch. 
After all, stitching plants me in one space and stills my mind.

Mr E chose a movie, we sliced Ciabatta, cheese and salami for dinner, and I stitched this while we relaxed.
Very simple. Very easy. Very enjoyable. 
(the food was good too)

It's Friday afternoon here in my little corner of the world and we're winding down.
The weekend looms near with the promise of delicious curries at the Indian Festival and maybe some garage/yard sales at dawn tomorrow if we can find any selling camper-van gear.
With only three days left of Mr E's holiday break we'll take it slow and relish every hour, simply savouring the moments.

Hope you do too.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Where footsteps (and a Jeep) take you...

We went away!
Three days on the road, together - away from the everyday, the humdrum, the rattle and hum of work, routines and commitments. 

Just us, our cameras, the Jeep and a lot of 70's and 80's Australian music - which was perfect for this mostly off road trek through our beloved Aussie rainforest.

I'll share photos later this week, but here's a taste of where my feet have been the last three wonderful days with Mr E by my side.

We drove the muddy, rutted tracks of the Misty Mountains in the rain...

...and coursed many a river and creek.

We trod carefully (and swiftly) along the banks of mangroves where crocodiles hide...

...before retreating to the beautiful beaches of the Daintree.

It was magic.

Now we need sleep, and our own bed...and possibly chocolate.
And a plan for the next trip...


Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Master Craftsman...

Before threading my needle to begin stitching a new design I must first choose an array of threads, decide where to place their different hues along the traced lines, and hope there will be a beautiful marriage of colour and style at the end of my labour.

It's not uncommon for me to unpick sections of my work, changing a rich rose for a faded pink or a sea green for an olive shade. I may even pull out a line of backstitch and rework that section in chainstitch, my eyes surveying the overall effect as I go along and adjusting accordingly. 

Today's Scripture reminds me that God is the Master Craftsman of my life.

It is He who must unpick my worldly and selfish ways, and it is He who can be trusted to rework my less than righteous choices - but what He needs is my permission to do so. 

When I hold tight to the fabric of my life, closing Him off, even pushing Him out - well, gentleman that God is, He won't force His will on me. 
When I hold Him at arms length and declare, "No Lord, not Your will but MINE be done" then the stitches of my life are clumsy, the colours of my ideals clash and the final appearance of who I am to the world makes no sense at all. Jenny is a mess and everyone knows it.

BUT...hold out the cloth that is the background of who I could be and humbly offer it before Him, and now we're talking beauty for ashes.
My God makes every stitch count for His glory.
My God breathes life into each colour so that it shines with integrity and hope.
My God weaves a picture that no man could conceive possible in the life of one lost soul such as I. 

My God is The Master Craftsman and I desire that He keep stitching my life one lesson at a time, changing me from glory to glory until that blessed Resurrection Day when I meet Jesus returning on the clouds of Heaven! 

Oh Glory, I get goosebumps just thinking about that day! 

I pray I see you there, sweet friend.
In the meantime, who is stitching your life?


Friday, October 21, 2016

Pincushion time!

Do you have a wicker basket full of pincushions?
I love pincushions and needle-books even if they don't get used because they seem to possess a sense of domesticity, comfort and care. No matter where they lay throughout my home there's an instant picture being painted in my mind's eye of womanly productivity and delight. In fact, I simply tingle with joy at any evidence of sewing no matter whose house I'm blessed to be in. 

Which is why I'm spending a month making pincushions.
It's lovely offering six stitcheries through the Club each month, but how much fun to be given four different pincushion patterns too?

They'll be different sizes, different styles, different  colour schemes...but they'll all be pincushions.
In fact, I'll even share tutorials here on the blog in November.

These are the first two I've made.

Spring Bouquet (because it's Spring in Australia right now)...

This pincushion is nice and firm and I've added quilt binding around the sides for stability and a polished appearance. 

Pretty Poppies (because we're getting close to Remembrance Day)...

This is a nice big pincushion with front pocket for storing scissors and other bits and pieces, great for taking to your sewing group...

If you'd like to become a member of The Stitchery Club all info is over here.

I was going to sew a third stitchery into a pincushion this afternoon but got sidetracked de-cluttering the walk in wardrobe instead, then once I'd gotten into the groove of re-organising it seemed silly to stop so I pulled everything out of the linen cupboard and continued on!

At 2.30 Mr E (who had been working outside on the Jeep) came upstairs and asked about lunch. Oops! I do tend to forget about food when I'm on a mission.
Guess the sewing will wait for the weekend. In the meantime, my wardrobe and the linen cupboard look great and the car boot is loaded up with goodies for the Salvos. 

Is there a room or cupboard in your home that needs a clean out?
Why don't you make a point of getting to it before the end of the month?
My next task is the bathroom cabinet.
And I better scrub the bath while I'm there. Darn.

Have a lovely weekend no matter what you get up to!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Christmas stitchery for you...


You watched me make the stitchery in this Christmas design back here but at the time I was still unsure of how I would border it as a mini quilt.

Once that blog post was published and I returned to my sewing room the answer was clear...a simple floral border was all it needed, and a coordinating fabric from the same range as one of the gold tonal prints proved perfect.

I was also able to mix pink buttons with the red I'd originally chosen to use between the leaves of the wreath...

Want to make your own "Glory to God" mini quilt?

Download the free pattern here in my shop until December 31st.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tutorial - the 20 minute table runner...

About two years ago I bought many yards of Robert Kaufman's Essex Linen to see what it was like.
I use a similar cotton & linen blend fabric for most of my stitcheries, something we call Hanky Linen in Australia (though it is more of a tea towel weight than a hanky weight), but there was a bit of buzz about Mr Kaufman's linen and my curiosity got the better of me so off went an online order and within a week a lovely parcel arrived from the USA.

It's lovely, truly, and I did stitch a few designs on it, but it is a closer weave than our Australian hanky linen and not quite as easy to embroider on, especially if like me you have some osteo-arthritis in the fingers.

So Mr Kaufman's linen blend has been sitting patiently in my large box of stitchery background fabric for quite a while waiting for me to find some good honest use for it. Like I said, it's LOVELY! 
But just not right for me and what I do for a living.

Until yesterday.

It occurred to me that the solid weight of the Essex Linen would be perfect for a non-quilted table runner, or even smart tea towels. In fact, it's kinda fancy when you think about it, and totally elegant if you choose the right fabrics for trimming.

One yard of the linen will make four of these table runners.

Shall we start?

Divide the yard of linen into four fat quarters, and let's begin with the first fat quarter.

(If you're using a different fabric I'd cut any size you think you'll need for your table, or of you need specifics try a piece of white fabric 18" x 22")

One end has a selvedge whilst the other three have raw edges. Think of that selvedge as one end of your table runner, and sew a doubled 1/4" hem down both sides of the fabric.

The opposite end of the selvedge side will still have a raw edge. 
Cut two co-ordinating strips of fabric 2 1/2" wide and one inch longer than the width of your table runner.
I chose some leftover jelly roll strips from my Tilda scrap box...

Lay one piece right side down along the wrong side of the raw edge end of your table runner. Sew the fabric and linen together with a 1/4" seam.

Press the fabric away from the linen.

Sew your second piece of fabric along the edge of your first and press the seams open.

Press a 1/4" hem along the edge of the second fabric, and down the sides of the two fabrics.

Fold the fabrics over to the right side of your linen and press.

Choose you machine threads carefully. My linen was white so I chose white thread for my bobbin.
My fabrics had a lot of aqua/green so I chose that colour for the top thread.
This meant the back of my table runner would be completely white when I finished it.

Sew a 1/4" line outside the edge of the runner and either side of the seam between the two fabrics. 

Cut a piece of cotton lace the same width as your table runner and position it just inside the top edge of the second fabric.

Carefully sew the lace and fabric hem to the linen runner.

Sew a single length of 2 1/2" wide fabric to the other end of the linen table runner, right side of the fabric to the wrong side of the runner (as you did in the beginning).

Fold a hem across the top of the fabric and down the sides. Press and fold over to the right side of the runner. Sew across the top and sides with a 1/4" seam.

Here's how it looks from the back. Nice and white because I used white thread in my bobbin.

I loved how this turned out... I made another straight away!

You could use any fabric to make yourself one (or more) of these very simple and quick table runners, but I do love the clean lines of the white Essex linen in these two so I'm going to make more as Christmas gifts.

I think they'd be wonderful for fetes, Mothers Day, or a craft stall at the local market too, don't you?

I bought my Essex Linen at and it was about $9 a yard.
It comes in loads of colours so I may venture online and get some more in pastels...mmm.
Will I, won't I??? Decisions!

Are you after more simple projects that can be made up quickly?
My dear friend Fee is sharing regular tutorials on her blog through the rest of the month and into November to help us with Christmas gift giving.

Why don't you give her a visit!
Visit Fee HERE.

Mr E's Jeep has developed a severe case of 'car troubles' so here were are into the third of his four week holiday break and still no road trip. 
Parts are being flown in from Germany, the USA and Melbourne but are yet to reach Mr E.
That's why I'm blogging more than I thought I would be during October. We simply haven't gone away.

Praying they arrive tomorrow, or the next day...and then he'll spend time fixing the Jeep With No Name (first car Mr E's owned that he's not given a name) and if we're very blessed we could find ourselves hitting the highway, or a forgotten track in the Misty Mountains this time next week.
Like I said, we're praying.