2015 is my year for bringing my heart back to home-making, and a slower pace of life. Will you join

2015 is my year for bringing my heart back to home-making, and a slower pace of life. Will you join

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Domestic Reflections ~ Psalm 84:2...

I'm not going to share any deep thoughts this Sunday. Instead, I would like to suggest that we each spend time over the next week pondering the things that give us JOY - because if joy hasn't been filling your heart lately perhaps you've forgotten to do the things that naturally create it?

Why not keep a little notebook close by and when you think of your personal joy-producers write them down.
You know what the next step is, don't you?
Walk in your joy.

Be blessed,

The printable Scripture card  can be downloaded HERE.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Reading, a peek, and other things...

I think I've watched the movie Julie & Julia about 27 times now.
It could be more because I can lip sync the dialogue. 
Yesterday, while sketching a new design, I watched it again. 
There's something familiar and comforting about having a much loved movie playing in the background while you're pottering around the house, playing in the kitchen, or doodling on a sketch pad.
In fact, I'm so familiar with the story now that as I watched the credits roll and sang along with Margaret Whiting to "Time After Time" (take a few minutes, close your eyes, and slow down while you listen)...

...I felt compelled to borrow Julia's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" from the library down the road to indulge myself in a little 'cordon bleu' education.
Dashing in just before closing the two volumes were on the shelf, waiting for me. I'm sure they were.
So I scooped them up and brought them home...

...along with a few other items that caught my attention.
It's amazing how many books can fill a library bag in just eight minutes.

Now that I've returned to my long-forgotten love of classic fiction after an eight year sabbatical, there was one book in particular which I'm looking forward to getting lost in - "Dumb Witness" by Agatha Christie. It's my favourite David Suchet film episode of Poirot, but I know the book will be even better.
The copy I found was an older one, and nothing says good classic like an old pre-loved edition. It gave me thrilled goosebumps...

So this weekend I'll be wandering through the pages of Julia's books, imagining her bending down to my ear (she was 6 foot 2 and I'm 5 foot 1),  laughing as she attempts to teach this French novice; preparing an applique block for the centre of my first medallion quilt design; and relaxing with a good dose of vintage Agatha.
I can feel my shoulders falling softly already, my mind excited but strangely calm, and a satisfaction in my heart of doing what I've too often planned to do, but not commenced.

And that new design?
I like it.
Lecien sent me some of their new  "Retro 30's Child Smile" fabrics to play with and they're so sweet that it's been no effort at all to create a design with them...

In a few days we'll be a third of the way through this Year of Gentle Domesticity.
I do believe I'm finally  getting the hang of it.
If you missed what my Year of Gentle Domesticity is all about visit HERE...


Friday, April 24, 2015

FREE Mother's Day stitchery...

As long time readers know, Mr E and I both lost our mothers when we were babies and were raised by our grandparents.
We never really celebrated Mothers Day the way most people do, however, as a mother myself I appreciate how precious that Sunday is.

So with Mother's Day just a couple of weeks away here in Australia I thought you might like a free little project to make for that special lady in your life?

I've stitched 'mum' the way Australians and English spell it, but included in the pattern are four alternate words you can trace within the roses: 'mom', 'mam', 'mamae' and in case you don't have a mum but do have a sweet sister, I've included 'sis'.

So gather some supplies...

...and download the "Mother" stitchery pattern HERE as my Mother's Day gift to you.
Please feel free to share this across your social media, or click on the buttons below my signature so this gift can bless far and wide... 


Thursday, April 23, 2015

A day at home...

This past week we've had a broken fridge, a broken car (twice,) and a broken rib (Mr E).

Mr E repaired the fridge and he repaired the car twice (he used to be a motor mechanic), but he cannot repair his rib. He's still at work every day, but moving carefully and slowly while his body mends.
The car is our beloved and very old  4WD, Luigi. There are so many parts to replace that we have decided it's time to let him go because this year the amount of pieces that have needed repair or replacement have added to a tidy sum and the trend is continuing. Sometimes you just have to stop trying and accept what you're faced with.

So I'm mostly housebound at the moment while Mr E takes my car to work each day but this is nice because I can 'flow' with my homemaking in my pajamas all day if I like, and I'm finding that shopping from the pantry is pretty good too. I did have to ask him to bring home potatoes last night, but apart from that I'm using what's on hand.

Like the last of our green apples.
Yesterday I made Amish Cinnamon Cake (recipe here)  but added a layer of thin apple slices across the middle before baking...

The recipe makes two cakes so I offered the second one to Blossom, who dropped by after work to pick it up and scurry home for taste-testing. 
The aroma in the kitchen when they came out of the oven was salivating! In fact the little cinnamon-y crumbs that fell off during cooling quickly found their way to my tastebuds... 

 Private Charlie watched through the kitchen door as I baked.
I had lamb in the slow cooker and I'm sure that's what kept his attention rather than my baking.
(Mr E shared some of his lamb with Private Charlie last night...he's quite taken with our foster dog)

The cake was delicious served with custard for dessert last night...

...and Mr E has two large pieces in his lunchbox for morning tea at work today.

 I also made fresh yoghurt yesterday. 
Breakfast this morning was thick Greek yoghurt served over my homemade granola, with fruit and a drizzle of raw honey from a local hive...delicious!

 I love playing in the kitchen, almost as much as playing in the sewing room - which is where I'll be today finishing a gift...

What was the last thing you baked that tasted amazing?


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Rose Bunting....

I'm working on something special.
It's a home-making project that I've had on my heart for about a year, and I shared a little about it back here.

You see we own a very old dining table given to us by friends who moved away in 2011, and three aged but comfortable dining chairs we purchased from a thrift shop in Alice Springs almost a decade ago. We used to have a fourth chair but our son carried it away when he moved out of home and we never got around to replacing it, so when we have a fourth guest I bring out my sewing seat as compensation.
Mr E rather likes our miss-matched-but-full-of-memories dining furniture so there is no hope that I'll be getting a new set any time soon.
Which brings me to the project I am working on.
Embroidered chair covers.

I won't tell you too much as they are still in the process of moving from a dream to reality, but I will  show you the embroidery I've designed as the feature of the covers...

Even though I only have three dining chairs, I plan on making a set of four covers because one day we will own another.
It's a pretty pattern and quick to stitch so I should have all four completed by the weekend - then I can start making the covers...

The covers will be mostly beige linen, but the green and red pin dot have their part to play in this project as well.
Perhaps next week I'll have a cover finished to show you.

"The Rose Bunting" design will be inside the Stitchery Club patterns next month (the theme for May will be 'Motifs for Everyday Projects")

I'd love to know what project you're making for your own home right now?
We can inspire each other.

Yesterday Wendy and I were over at Heather's for a morning of coffee, cake, and of course - stitching!
Remember the Amish Cinnamon Bread recipe I showed you on Monday? Well, bless her heart, our sweet Heather had it warm and waiting when we arrived...

 Wendy snapped this photo of me in cake-heaven...

....so I am going to bake it today for Mr E 'cause there's a whole lot of love ready to pour into the making of yummies for my man, and besides, I'll get to enjoy it again.

I don't think Heather and I got much stitching achieved over the course of the morning. She was working on this beautiful embroidery inside one of her vintage doilies (the floss is Apricot Ice from Cottage Garden Threads)...

...and I worked on "The Rose Bunting". But mostly we chatted and laughed and oohed and aahed over the things Wendy had bought down in Brisbane last month at "Let's Get Stitched".
In fact, Wendy was quite industrious as we nattered away! 
Opening one of her purchases after morning tea, she patiently needle-turned this cute little Sunbonnet Sue which will become a key fob when it's finished...

Too soon our morning was over, so we said our goodbyes with hugs and more laughter and plans for catching up again very soon.
Friends are a blessing, aren't they?

If you've not seen Wendy's free 'Block of the Month Fortnight' yet, visit her blog HERE and join in - it's called (you guessed it!)  "Friends"!

I'm off to put some lamb in the slow cooker, a cake in the oven, and then it's an apron I'll be sewing.
What are you doing today?


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

TUTORIAL - the sweetly simple sewing caddy!

When I showed you my first version of this sewing caddy last week (here) there was a resounding YES to the suggestion that I share a tutorial for making one of your own.
I spent a little time deliberating which of my orphan stitcheries to feature in the centre and finally decided on THIS one because I had a few fabrics that were perfect to compliment it!

I've refined last week's vintage style caddy by adding ties to the corners so it can be closed when you're not using it, and the modern palette of turquoise and red adds some fun.

So let's get started!

You will need:

One 14" square of large scale turquoise and red floral fabric
Four, 9 inch squares of turquoise tonal fabric
Two, 5 inch diameter circles of large scale turquoise and red floral fabric
80 inch length of 2½ inch wide red and white striped fabric
One 3 inch square of  large scale turquoise and red floral fabric
 One stitchery trimmed to 6½  inches wide (or stitch my "Bag Full of Daisies" pattern available HERE)
One 14 inch square of fusible Parlan or thin fusible Pellon (thin because the caddy will need to drape over the arm of a chair)
A small amount of polyester toy stuffing
One vintage button
1 yard of cotton lace
One, 1" hexagon template (available here)

Begin by cutting TWO of the 9inch squares in half diagonally to give you four half square triangles...

Carefully centering the point of a triangle with the middle edge of your stitchery, lay the triangle face down onto the right side of the stitchery block and sew across the long edge of the triangle with a 1/4 inch seam.
Press the triangle away from the stitchery.
Sew another triangle to the opposite side of the stitchery.
Press away.
Trim away the excess sections of the triangles...

Sew your remaining two triangles to the other sides of the stitchery block.
This now becomes the inside of your sewing caddy...

Fuse the Parlan or thin Pellon behind the inside of the caddy...

Trim the inside of the caddy to 12 1/2 inches square...
Fold the remaining two 9 inch squares of fabric in half diagonally and press the fold flat...

Sew a length of lace across the fold, so that some of the lace will show above the fold when the triangle pocket is turned over...

Position the pockets on opposite corners of the caddy so that you have at least a 1/2 inch space between the edge of the stitchery block and the edge of the lace. Pin the pockets in place, but keep your pins away from the outside edge...

Turn the caddy over and stitch the pockets to the caddy with a scant 1/8th inch seam...

Turn the caddy right side up again and trim away the excess fabric from the pocket edges.
Score (or draw) a line up the centre of the pockets. I use a Hera tool by Clover as it creates an indented line in the fabric without marking it...

Sew along this line to create a double pocket.

Make a 1" hexie shape with your 3 inch piece of floral fabric and the downloadable paper hexie template.
(You could also make a yo-yo or Suffolk Puff if you prefer, which is what I added to my first version of this design, but I chose a hexagon for this one as it's a great little place to stick my needle when I'm not using it)

Needle-turn it onto one of the corners beside the stitchery block...

...and sew a line of running stitch around it with some Red Perle #12 thread, or three strands of  Red embroidery floss. 
I also added some rows of running stitch along two sides of the stitchery block.

Lay the inside of your sewing caddy onto the wrong side of your 14 inch square of floral fabric and pin them together.

Make a length of quilt binding with the 80 inches of red and white stripe fabric. 
If you've not made or attached binding before I have a tutorial here.
Sew it around the sides of the caddy, mitring the corners as you go...

Trim away the excess backing....

If you want to add ties to the caddy (my first version did not have them)  you'll need 60 inches of ribbon, or fold some co-ordinating bias binding in half along it's length as I did, and sew it closed with your machine.
Cut into four, 15 inch lengths.
Make a knot in one end of each length.

Sew the un-knotted ends of ribbon or bias into the four corners of the caddy, on the floral side...

Fold the binding over to the floral side of the caddy and slip stitch closed with a thread that matches the colour of your binding fabric...

Now let's make the pincushion!

Place two circles of fabric right sides together, and sew around the edge with a 1/4 inch seam, leaving a 2 inch opening.
Turn the  circles right side out, pressing out the edges with a rounded tool such as a very large blunted knitting needle or crochet hook.
Fill with the polyester toy stuffing.
Ladder stitch or slip stitch the opening closed.

Thread your needle with a length of Red Perle #12 cotton thread.
Make a good size knot at one end.

Place the needle down through the centre of the pincushion.
Pull until it is snug - leave the knot outside the pincushion, don't force it inside.
Take your needle and thread over the side of the pincushion and back up through the middle, and keep doing this until you have eight little pillowed sections always sewing your 'pillows' opposite each other as you go because that will assure they are equal distance apart.

The knotted side of the pincushion will be hidden under the pincushion when it's on your caddy, but trim it to 1/2 inch if it's longer than that.
Position your pincushion near the corner edge of the sewing caddy, opposite the hexie. 
Sew it in place with a button and more Perle #12 thead - but try not to sew right through the caddy. Hide your stitches in the Parlan under the pincushion. 
Tie off the thread with a knot just under the base of the pincushion. 

All done!