Wednesday, August 24, 2016

More flowers to stitch...

Lately I've been pretty focused on getting two months ahead with my patterns for The Stitchery Club because Mr E is taking holidays from work in October and we'd like to enjoy that time together without me working too much. 
It's been 21 months since he took a proper break from his job and hopefully we can chill out, take a few long drives up and down the coast, and hopefully get closer to finding our very first home.

Remember I said the theme for September's Club issue is "Picking Flowers" when I showed you the first two designs (this blog post)?

Here's three more...

The final design for September is almost complete and it's just as sweet as these. I'll show you tomorrow!

Become a member of The Stitchery Club this month and your free gift pattern will be the "Merry Flags of Christmas"...

I don't think it's ever too early to stitch for Christmas, do you?

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Let me brag...

It's a Nana's responsibility to show off her new grand babies, right?

Cully May, 19 days old (Blossom's daughter)...

Austin Knox, 4 months old (Aisha's son)...

Just had to exercise my bragging rights.

Have a lovely day,

Monday, August 22, 2016


My beloved Mr E took me to Bunnings on Saturday afternoon to purchase a couple of gorgeous Azaleas. One for him to take cuttings off for new bonsai (his hobby) and one for me to tend with loving care and delight over. My last one died a dreadful death in the drought ridden summer heat last year, but I shall do all I can to save the new one.

We're only a week away from Spring now and the weather is already heating up again, remembering that during the entire three months of our tropical winter I wore a cardigan three times. Winter here is very mild and we live in t-shirts and thongs (thongs are flip flops for my American friends) all year round. It's also been dry a long time (we're in drought) and the yard around the house shows it. 

On Sunday Mr E raked up dead leaves, trimmed trees, and chopped up our endless supply of fallen palm fronds...

This home is surrounded by over 40 palm trees and as pretty as they are to look at they take a lot of work each weekend because palm fronds, very large palm fronds, fall every day. We don't have a mulcher so my dear love has to cut them all up by hand with secateurs whilst wearing leather gloves.
Some fronds are 12-14 feet in length...

The tall palms out front are weighted with gorgeous chandeliers of seed at the moment. 
These start off green, turn to white, and then if we get some rainfall they burst into brilliant red balls of fruit which bring a variety of bird life to feast upon. Last year there was no rain and they shriveled before getting past the white stage. 
The forecast is for a very heavy wet season this summer and autumn so we may have flourishing bird life in the trees again...

Once he'd finished the yard work (and washed my car - told you he's amazing, right?!) my beloved decided he'd re-pot all my plants on the deck. I admit that since I had pneumonia a lot of those potted plants, as well as the deck area, have been sorely neglected. So while he re-potted the plants I scrubbed the deck and the tables.

The plant on my little round table is a Geisha Girl. It has beautiful purple flowers and I'm hoping it blooms again in spring because it's one plant I've not killed (perhaps it likes me?)...

We juice a lot of pineapples each week so occasionally I plant one of the tops and now I have a half dozen growing very well indeed! I have success with the oddest things.

Our French neighbour, Arnaud, is a marine biologist with a passion for gardening. He gave me this Desert Rose when it had just two leaves and was barely an inch high. I promised I'd care for it, and fortunately for me it's a succulent (like pineapples) so it's thriving in our dry and warm winter. 
Mr E will re-pot it in a larger container next weekend...

My favourite succulents are the ones that flower.
The two Zygo Cactus (Schlumbergera) plants I bought earlier in the year are also flourishing, probably due to their tolerance of our climate and because I've been neglectful with watering. 
Mr E re-potted them as well and now they're happy in our front entrance where they get sunshine all day.

After tending to all my plants and clearing the garden of debris, my sweet man chilled out with his bonsai strikings. He makes up his special mix in the wheelbarrow and then using a single large plant he creates half a dozen or more bonsai.

There's a lot more involved but he's the expert and I'm not so I won't even try to explain all the other steps he takes to create tiny plants.

Last year he chose to bonsai Ixora plants and now we have some real sweeties but this year he'll hopefully give me some tiny azaleas to display in  our 'one day home of our own'. 
That's the other thing we did this weekend (and last weekend and the weekend before...) - we've been out in the country looking for a home. We hope this time next year to be tending our very own garden, and not that of another rental home.

God willing, as my Nana would say. 

Hope you have a lovely week, I truly do.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Are you ready?

A simple question.
Three little words, yet they carry eternal significance.

Are you ready?

If Christ came back tomorrow would your life reflect Him, would your heart be clean and your mind given over to Him? Could you say that you love Him with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength? (Matthew 22:37, Deuteronomy 10:12)

Are you ready for His return?

My husband and I have this question on our hearts and it's given us much food for contemplation and prayer recently.
Are we ready? Are we truly ready? 
Do we love Jesus with all our heart, soul, mind and strength? 

Or do we love the things of this world more than Him? We hope not, but we're putting our lives under closer examination because it never hurts to make time for a truth/reality check so we can correct our life and spiritual course. (1 John 2:15-17)

Have you done this recently?


Friday, August 19, 2016

Living the gentle domestic life (in an apron)...

A few months ago I began a Facebook group for those who are stitching this year's BOM project, "Gentle Domesticity". 

At first the conversation sprung from sharing photos of completed blocks, asking questions to do with stitchery, and generally comments pertaining to sewing. 
But then I began asking different questions to group members, questions like what we find important in our role as homemakers, chores we struggle to complete, or ideas for re-purposing items. 
I figured that if we're like-minded in stitching blocks about the gentle domestic life then maybe we should take advantage of the almost 600 strong membership and share our thoughts and ask questions about our lives as homemakers.
The conversations which followed have been truly encouraging, respectful, and interesting. It's a blessing to have such beautiful and wise hearts who are open to sharing their lives with us and I look forward to future growth in this aspect of our group.

If you'd like to join the Gentle Domesticity Facebook group it's quite easy. 
Just go here and either myself, Heather or Fee will approve you. 
As soon as that happens, introduce yourself and chat away!


When I think about the role of homemaker, or what it means to be one, the image of my Nana in one of her many aprons always comes to mind. They were faded, well worn, and as much the uniform of her 'profession' as a nurse in medical attire. Back in the day all women I knew wore an apron, but then there was this huge block of time when aprons became almost obsolete, in fact I think they were looked on as an embarrassment? 

Thankfully, the humble apron has had a resurgence in popularity, so I did a little wander around Pinterest the other night to find some new/old patterns that may be useful to you, patterns I'd like to make for myself - like this one from the Vintage Crafts & More website...

This simple pocketed apron has a tutorial and is kindly shared on the Yards & Yards blog...

This sweet half apron also comes with a tutorial! It's shared on the Sew 4 Home website...

...and don't forget the slip-over apron I made last year with a pattern shared by Amy Barickman. 
The link to download the PDF pattern is in this blog post.

Beautiful aprons made by my friends Fee, Barbra and Margaret hang by the side of my pantry with the ones I've made myself, and are used every day - but I always need a couple more. They're a joy to make, and especially lovely to gift for birthdays and special occasions.
(Even dear Blossom wears one of my aprons now!)

Before I go can I show you a photo of my dear Nana, complete with apron and hair in curlers?
As a child I noticed most women of Nana's age wore curlers at home - glad that's not come back in vogue!

The wonderful little black and white dog with Nana is Soxie.
He used to walk me to school every day, and meet me at the school gate each afternoon to bring me home again. My life fell to pieces as an 11yo when he died.

Simpler times, I miss them, but we cannot live in the past, only make the best of the day at hand and show love and care to the people we're blessed to have in our lives right now.

I hope you have a lovely weekend! 
Perhaps we'll all be making aprons? I know my friend Heather has just made a pretty one so I'm extra inspired, and I do hope she reads this and puts a photo on her blog...hint hint Heather dear...


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Applique, with a practice pattern...

I love adding pops of applique through my stitcheries. 
In fact that's what I love most about this year's BOM "Gentle Domesticity"! All my favourite scraps of fabric are finding themselves a pretty place to show off...

I don't throw away any fabric cut-offs that are 2" square or larger, but store them in two plastic containers which become treasure troves of sweetness, perfect for applique or making hexies.

Over the weekend I began two new designs for The Stitchery Club in September. The theme next month is "Picking Flowers" and most of the stitcheries will feature applique. Want to see?

A floral orphan charm square became a hooded cloak, whilst narrow strips of aqua gingham and pink roses married as a trim and peek-a-boo dress...

The next day I gathered larger pieces of fabric, two teal and two pink. 

When creating a design which will be displayed in a larger project it's time to dig into my fat eighths or fat quarters...

Yesterday and today I've spent time completing these two sweet patterns.

"She Picks Flowers"

"The Flower Thieves"

I love the gentleness in these two designs, made prettier with applique.

If you've not tried applique before I have a couple of tutorials that may help you get started, here ...

and here.

I'll even give you a free pattern to practice with!

Download the "Bird on Bloom" pattern here in my shop as a practice gift from me to you.

Bless you heaps!