Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sunday Scripture and free pattern - "living & powerful"...

Remember back HERE when I told the story of my beloved blue Bible and how it had been lost?
Finding it again gave my heart a burst of grateful joy, but it also made me look with fresh eyes at this constant companion of almost a quarter century to see how fragile it had become.

Each day tiny pieces of the blue bonded leather binding lay scattered on the tablecloth after I've read God's Word with my morning cuppa, and knowing that Blossom has her hand waving in the air for this heirloom to be handed along to her one day, I decided to sew a very special cover.
This will also become part of my Bible's history, so the verse embroidered across the front needed to be one that told younger hands of the treasures they could find within these worn pages...

Hebrews 4:12 is one of my favourite Bible verses. 
It reminds me that God speaks through His Word every day, every moment, directly into my heart and thoughts - that He is never limited by a particular Bible translation.

It tells me that He speaks to me from the very source of truth and life and hope, right where I am, in the very circumstances I'm facing - whether that be in the valley or on the mountain...

He knows my life, and all the hidden things.
When I open my Bible to seek Him, His Word offers me comfort, direction, hope, joy and correction...

It holds the answers I need  this side of heaven.
If I can find no answer for this life, then I trust Him that it was not needed. 

"Trust and obey for there's no other way..."  

 It tells the future bearers of my Bible that God will speak directly to them, that they need never doubt Him or the words within that worn blue cover. His Word is forever alive, forever powerful.
He never failed me. Never, ever.

Receive this blessing today as a gift from your Heavenly Father, who by grace alone guides my hands to sketch and sew for His eternal glory. 


Download the printable Scripture card here.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Our sewing essentials...

There are three redwork designs in the July Stitchery Club.
Each has a sewing theme and though they can be used in many ways as individual projects, I thought I'd stitch them together and display the set in a white frame on my sewing room desk...

Redwork is a very relaxing style of embroidery.
No mind twisting hours spent choosing the perfect thread colours; just pick out your favourite red and thread your needle.

But don't limit yourself to redwork.
Have you tried blackwork?

Here's an old design of mine which looked quite striking stitched with only black thread on white linen, and bordered with black and white pin-dot print...
This pattern is a gift for all my newsletter subscribers during July.
The newsletter is free and is emailed direct to you every second Friday.
Inside you'll read about the highlights shared on my blog over the previous two weeks, get direct links to any tutorials I've shared recently, have access to special offers, and receive a free monthly design to download!
Just sign up over HERE and you'll receive "Potted Daisies" as your first gift on Friday 3rd July.
If you sign up after the 3rd you will receive the pattern in the July 17th newsletter. 

 I'm planning to have another slow day (or two)...

Life has been quite hectic recently and I have precious family members arriving for a visit on the 13th, so before I set my muscles to scrubbing and sprucing and baking (as well as toddler-proofing the sewing room) I intend to spend a day or two with my feet up.
I shall drink many pots of rose-vanilla tea, finish hand quilting "at the heart of it all", and watch all my Jane Austen movies. 
I may even indulge in a little Poirot and some Belgian chocolate.

So until next week,
breathe, relax, laugh & drink in the beauty of a slow day


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Block 7 of 'My Vintage Kitchen"...

We're preserving this month in the vintage kitchen!

My Nana made jam, marmalade and ginger beer, but she also made the most delicious mustard pickles each year. I can still remember the spicy aroma that filled our backyard as she stirred her huge simmering pot over an outdoor gas burner while Pop and I sat on a rug nearby with lemonade and scones and newspapers and comics, keeping her company. It took about 3 hours, and felt like a sunset picnic.

When Nana died in 1982 I took my three little babies and went home for a week to spend time with Pop and try as best I could to prepare his little flat for life as a single man. He had declined my request that he come live with me, instead wanting to spend his last years where he felt most 'at home' and surrounded by the familiar things and places he and Nana had shared. 
Whilst stocking Pop's kitchen and fridge with meals and groceries to carry him through the first month of his widowhood I drew back the red gingham curtain from across the front of Nana's door-less pantry and saw three perfectly prepared jars of mustard pickle, the last few from her final afternoon of autumn preserving many months before.

Heavy tears fell as two decades of 'fragranced' and wonderful memories played across my mind. 

Later in the week I was packing my suitcase to leave (I lived in another state) and found myself doing it very slowly, trying to slow my departure time in order to spend every moment I could in those familiar walls with the grandfather I loved and respected more than words could say.

 I'd squeezed in Nana's dressing gown, and Pop had given me some of her jewellery and a few lovely bowls. They didn't own much you see, but lived with only what was needed in their tiny walk through flat so these few treasures now packed in the suitcase were to be cherished.
But as I was closing the lid Pop stopped me and pushed two jars of Nana's mustard pickles into the folds of her dressing gown, before pushing down on the lid and closing the locks with a final click. No words were needed. 

Perhaps you have your own memories of preserving season?
Hold them close to your heart as you stitch this month.
Nana's pickles held me together for the next six months after she went home to Jesus, and afterwards it was the memories which became loving stitches, gathering together the fragments of a treasured life lived as her 'daughter'. 

Block 7 "Preserves" is ready for you to download HERE.

Here in the tropics our strawberry season is winter because it's too hot to grow them the rest of the year.
July offers an abundance of the sweet little things so I'm going to set time aside this week to make a few jars of strawberry & apple jam and I've a mind to stitch a few of these little "preserves" blocks as re-usable labels. I'll show you if I follow through on that plan, but first, as a tribute to Nana and my love of all things 30's I'm currently stitching a small hooped version of "Preserves" to hang in my kitchen...

 I found this tiny blue plastic hoop at Lincraft yesterday and it already has a little hanging loop as part of the outer frame. Perfect for what I want to create...

The background fabric is a leftover piece of Retro 30's Child Smile.
I think the pink and blue are a match made in heaven...

What is your favourite preserve?


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

TUTORIAL - the simplest needle-book....

Recently my lovely friend Yoko from Lecien Fabrics sent me a parcel of 10" origami squares (layer cakes) to play with and I instantly fell in love with the new "Quilter's Basics Smoothie Color Set".
Many of the 'smoothie' fabrics are perfect for embroidery backgrounds with their pretty pastel spots and tonal designs...

As I was looking over the prints in the layer cake an idea popped into my head - now you know I love adventuring, so naturally I followed it along Idea Avenue and ended up with a very simple but oh so cute needle-book!

This would be perfect for Christmas gifts, birthdays, swaps, or to pop inside a thank you card.

Shall we start sewing?!

You will need one 10" square of fabric. I chose a light aqua herringbone print.
Fold it into quarters and finger press the folds so that you can easily see the four separate squares when you open it out.
In the bottom right square trace a stitchery design. 
Mine is closer to the centre than the bottom corner because we shall have a 1/4" seam in place later, plus a button and some hand quilting...

Fuse a 4 1/2" square of fabric stabiliser (I use Whisperweft)  behind the traced corner...

...and stitch your embroidery.

Cut a  9 1/2" x 4 3/4" piece of medium weight Pellon, or a scrap of quilt wadding, and fuse in place behind the bottom half of your 10" square, covering the back of the stitchery...

 Make sure you butt it up along the middle fold line before fusing with your iron.

If you have not done this before: cover the Pellon with a scrap piece of fabric before ironing it in place.  Do not iron directly onto the Pellon.

Fold your square in half along the middle line, right sides facing...

...and pin around the three open sides. With a 1/4" seam, sew down both narrow sides, then across the long bottom edge, BUT leave a 4" opening for turning out.

Turn the needle-book right side out, pressing in the open seams...

Slip stitch or ladder stitch the opening closed.
Choose a button and sew a buttonhole to fit your button on the right side edge of the stitchery...

Sew the button in place on the inside right of the needle-book. I used a 4-hole button to give the reverse side a pretty little cross stitch by sewing with two strands of embroidery floss diagonally across two button holes and finishing with a tie - then repeating with the other two holes.

Cut a piece of wool or felt 3 1/2" x 7 1/2" with pinking shears and attach it inside the needle-book with one machine sewn line down the centre.
(I use woolen Doctor's Flannel for needle-books)

Top stitch around the outside edge of the entire needle-book with two strands of complimentary thread. Mine was the same green I'd used in the "Spooled" embroidery...

Add a few cross stitches along the bottom and it's all done!

About the "Spooled" bird stitchery pattern:
This is one of 8 (yes, eight this month!) patterns all Club members will receive on July 17th. 
There's still time to join - details and photos are HERE.

Today I'm finishing three of the eight July Club patterns as a framed display...
 ...then off to the library for a quiet browse among the recipe book aisles.
I think a new audio book should be borrowed as well. Listening to a good book during my afternoon hand stitching is rather nice, don't you agree?

May your day be peacefully perfect and overflowing with blessing!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Doves and Cockatoos...

Last Thursday I escaped from the home office for a few hours to visit with my dear friend Heather (Mr E's long lost second-cousin-twice-removed)  and catch up on life over a cuppa and some of her freshly baked pumpkin fruitcake (which was delicious).

We were also quite excited to see what each other had been making!
I took my completed hussif to show her, and she had on display a gorgeous table runner for me to drool over...

Heather was inspired by this runner she found on Pinterest and after stitching the blocks (I'm so chuffed she used my 'Dove Garden" pattern).... was put together with only a few small patchwork hiccups...

 ....using some of her pretty Tilda stash.
Seriously, this girl is amazing at just seeing a photo of a project and being able to make it herself that day!

 While we were chatting a couple of visitors dropped by her front porch...

I had to sneak near the window to snap these photos as Cockatoos scare away quite easily.
This fellow thought he'd check from the eaves that the coast was clear before swooping back to his sunflower seed lunch....

I was so relaxed on arriving back home that I even forgot what day it was for a while.
It felt like a slow Sunday.

Here's a few show & tell photos that were emailed to me by lovely gals who've beautifully stitched some Elefantz designs...

"Ellie" and "M'Lady"



"Quilt Barn" - "Pincushion Bird" - "A Stitch in Time"

I seriously swooned over this wall hanging by Gabriele! She has stitched three designs from my Stitchery Club patterns and displayed them together. Her pebble quilting added that extra 'pop' of style - yes, very very nice indeed.

The patterns for each of the stitcheries above are available HERE in my shop as pdf downloads.

If you have been sewing my designs I'd love to see them! Email me with a photo or two and your work will feature in my next show & tell.

It's Monday and I have a friend from Charters Towers dropping in for a cuppa this morning so I'd best go bake something yummy and get away from the computer.  

Should have gotten Heather's pumpkin fruit cake recipe last week....or smuggled a few pieces out in my bag....yes, smuggling. Next time. Don't tell Heather (please)...