Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Postcards from Heaven, block 6...

Hi, I'm just dropping in from my 10 day 'holiday at home' to remind you that today is Allie's turn to share a block in our shared 2016 project, "Postcards from Heaven".

I really love the verse she chose for June as it's a wonderful reminder that every day is new, every day is a joyous greeting between me and Jesus which promises I'll never walk alone. His breath lives in me, His life revives my weary soul, His love surpasses everything my life can offer.

Here is Allie's original and pretty KJV Redwork version. Isn't that rooster adorable!? Head over here to her blog to download the pattern... 

This is my version of Allie's postcard.
I write my verse in conversation style, as a father might write a postcard to his child... 

 If you'd prefer to use my wording you can download the template to trace it here...

 All my blocks have either beads or buttons added within the stitchery. These tiny gold glass beads sparkle in the sunrise...
 I also omit sections of the stitching (the postmark, verse reference and the word 'postcard') leaving them 'raw' with my brown Pigma pen, much like a postmark appears faded on a letter.

 NEW to our Postcards From Heaven BOM?

If you've missed any of the previous blocks I have the links listed here on the Postcards from Heaven BOM page.
Every Postcards block is free this year so you can start any time by saving the patterns to your computer and stitching them when you have the time.



 Well, that's it from me today. I'm back to my 'holiday at home' but will return for a quick blog post on Sunday to share the June block in my "Gentle Domesticity" BOM. If you don't have block 5 (May) download it by the 4th while it's still free. All info on the BOM is here, or go directly to my Craftsy Shop (here) for the pattern today.

 Blessings to you all!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

My Splendid Sampler block...

When I first answered Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson's call to design an embroidery block for The Splendid Sampler project it was August, 2015. Wow, almost a year ago! I had no idea at the time just what kind of buzz this Splendid Phenomena would create across the globe, but today we're on to block 31 of 100 and this thing gets more and more popular every week. Brilliant, eh?!

First off, WELCOME to all the new visitors to Elefantz. It's a pleasure to meet you, and I do hope you stay a while and have a look around. It's a friendly place where we chat a lot and I get to share bits and pieces of life, sewing, and Jesus.

So today it's my block you'll be stitching, and the brief I was given when designing it was to share a story about my love of sewing and bring that story to life in my block. So I did. 

It's called "Blossoming"...

....and the story it tells is of me and my precious daughter Blossom and how we taught ourselves to stitch and quilt in a tiny cabin atop the icy highlands in winter.

We learned from magazines and library books, everything was hand sewn, even our first quilts. That was 2005 and for the next four years my girl and I were rarely seen far from needle and thread or each other.

By 2010 Blossom had grown up quite a bit and her interests fell elsewhere, but by then I was designing and had been featured in a few Australian magazines.

The memories of those four years with my girl, learning the ropes in a new-to-us quilt and stitching world is a highlight of my life thus far. We were totally blessed to be 'blossoming' together. 

I've stitched this block three times now. Here's the alternate version on tonal fabric and in different 
thread colours...

Those two blocks were both posted away to Pat Sloan in the USA last year so this month I decided to sew a third version 'just for me'. I'm rather fond of adding little pops of applique so I tweaked it!

Perhaps you'd like to add applique to bits of your own "Blossoming" block?

Here's a few simple tips:

Trace the design onto your fabric but omit any sections you intend to replace with applique, like I did with this bird's wing...

Turn the pattern sheet over on your light box and trace the reverse shapes you intend using for the applique onto the smooth side of some fusible applique paper (I use Vliesofix)...

 Cut out each shape from the fusible paper leaving a 1/4" buffer all around. Fuse the shapes behind scraps of fabric with a warm dry iron.
Cut away each shape along the traced line with small sharp scissors. 

 Peel away the paper, fuse in position on your traced block with a warm dry iron.
Fuse some stabiliser behind the block (I've used Weaveline) and you're ready to begin stitching! 
I blanket stitch applique with a single strand of thread, and backstitch with two strands.

 One other thing - you'll notice I don't trace the petals of small daises.
Instead, I put a small dot where the lazy daisy stitch petals start and finish. This means no tracing lines show when you stitch the lazy daisy petals.

Need help with backstitch or lazy daisy stitch?
I have a tutorial just for you in THIS blog post, and it comes with a free practice pattern too!

Want to share photos of your completed Splendid Sampler blocks? Pat and Jane have a Facebook group with over 13,000 members sharing their versions of each Splendid block - head over HERE

If you'd like to stitch more of my designs you'll find quite a selection HERE in my Craftsy Shop and HERE in my Etsy Store. 

I also have a Stitchery Club! 
6 new patterns are emailed to my members on the 17th of each month.

Well friends, that's it from me today. I hope you've enjoyed getting to know a little about Elefantz and the story behind "Blossoming".

I should tell you that I'm about to take a 10 day 'holiday at home' break from Elefantz. Yay! I want to declutter a bit, potter around and sew 'stuff', take afternoon naps, watch good movies, read a book or two, and generally recharge my batteries after this incredibly long tropical summer which resulted in Autumn never arriving. 
I'll still blog the two free BOM's on the 1st (Postcards from Heaven) and the 5th (Gentle Domesticity), but that's all.

All going according to plan I'll be back on board per usual on June 7th - which also happens to be my daughter Aisha's birthday so it's one of my favourite days of the year!

Till then, be blessed, breathe deep, have fun and make memories.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

I will not fear...

It's easy to feel overwhelmed when the curve balls of life feel like they're aimed at you day after day, year after year. 
Trials and concerns affect every one of us at one time or another, in fact I've never met a person immune to them, but some seasons in life hammer us with troubles that arrive back to back or piled one atop the other, causing upsets and emotions we may find difficult to contain. 
A sense of hopeless anxiety, darkness and despair threatens to swallow us, and perhaps, if you're like me, sometimes we wish we could close our eyes and not wake up.

When I feel this way it's a red flag that I'm not spending enough time with Jesus; it's a sure sign I've closed my ears to His comfort and strength and bought into the lies of a world with no answer. 

If this is your life at the moment, if you have challenges which make no sense and life feels out of control, go to Jesus. Fall at His feet and let your tears wash over them. You don't have to be strong on your own, you need only to offer Christ your weakness because in your weakness He will make you strong. (2 Cor 12: 9-11)

He is our Helper, our Saviour, the Lover of our soul, our Redeemer and one true Friend. 
Give it up to Him, let it not fear.

Be blessed,

Friday, May 27, 2016

Changing a pattern to suit your needs...

I've spoken to many people over the years who feel quite overwhelmed at the thought of changing an original design with their own tweaks. 
Whether the change is different coloured thread, a fresh block layout in a quilt, alternate fabric, or moving portions of a stitchery around - the lack of confidence to jump in and make those changes can be rather daunting to them so they never attempt it.

In the June issue of The Stitchery Club I'm using portions of my stitchery designs to create entirely new pieces, and I thought you may like to see how I've done that. 

Firstly, look at a few of the patterns for June and take note of the sections which are inside a dotted circle...

There's a hand, a bee, a large flower, small daisies, a bird, a hanging heart, a large heart outline and small footprints.
All the designs above are destined for a newborn baby quilt, but as not all of you need to make a baby project how can you use these designs to create something unique that suits another purpose?

Let me show you.

In the design below I've used the circle outline from the original round patterns, added a large and small flower, scattered daisies, and a hanging heart. To give more depth to the new layout I chose to applique the heart before finishing the stitchery with a new message - "breathe deep and let go"...

In the blue pattern below I have used the heart design from 'our little princess', kept the large flowers, added a hand either side, and replaced the two little hearts with a small daisy. 
Using my alphabet sheet I've traced "made from the heart" to replace the 'princess' wording and now the design can be used as a label on a hand made gift!

When designing "love the life you live" (below) I drew a rectangle and filled it out with words, a bee, the bird (reversed from the 'cherished' design), a hanging heart which has a pop of applique in the centre, scattered daisies and French knots...

 I have ideas for using the footprints too, like on the cover of a passport with 'enjoy the journey' stitched underneath. I also like the idea of stitching the "Footprints" poem and framing it. 

When you let your mind wander you'll imagine all different ways of using these little motifs, and by tracing letters from the alphabet sheet (included with the June patterns) words, saying, quotes and messages can be personalised.

Take what you want from these designs and simply move things around to create a 'new' stitchery!

All eleven designs I've shown you today will be included in the June issue of The Stitchery Club, plus an alphabet for creating your own words.

If you join the Club before June 16th you'll receive all these patterns on the 17th via email in PDF format, and as I give a joining gift to all new subscribers you'll also receive this pattern within 12 hours of signing up.

JOIN HERE. It's that simple!

I'd love to hear how you'd use the motifs from my designs to create something new, and also what words would you use?
Leave a comment below and share your ideas, ok?
We can inspire each other.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The cinnamon scrolls ritual...

Every year on her birthday I bake a dozen cinnamon scrolls for Blossom.
She much prefers these to a cake.

This year I've baked the scrolls a day early so she and her DB can feast on them for breakfast tomorrow.

I was going to drop them over to her before dinner but she couldn't wait that long and while they were still baking in the oven she arrived in my kitchen...

...and as I spread the hot scrolls with her favourite strawberry icing she couldn't resist getting her fingers into the sugary sweetness to 'test' it.

While we waited for them to cool down Blossom traced off a design she is going to stitch for my sweet friend and fellow Flower Sugar World Ambassador, Minki...

You can see Minki's design here on her blog. She's created it with her own set of stamps and it's gorgeous! I just love her skill with freestyle machine embroidery and applique.
Minki had asked me to stitch her design in hand embroidery but as my own workload is so full Blossom offered to do it instead...

I can't wait to see Blossom's version of Minki's design, and I'll be sure to show you too. 

Mr E just suggested we drop over to Blossom's in the morning before he goes to work so we can share in her birthday breakfast. 
I just wonder if there will be any cinnamon scrolls left for us?
Her last text to me this evening simply said, "nom nom nom" so I have a feeling she and her DB are enjoying a pre-birthday cinnamon scroll supper instead. 

Gotta love family traditions that put a smile on your face!


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Working on... patterns for the June issue of The Stitchery Club.

Still a couple more to come, but the main theme will be how you can use various components of my stitchery designs to create a unique design of your very own - in fact, I'll be sharing a few ideas here on the blog later in the week so I hope you drop by to glean some fresh inspiration.

Want to join the Club?
It's as easy as hopping over HERE.

Blossom continues to bloom as her due date draws closer...
 ...but this week we're celebrating another birth, Blossom's own birthday.
I remember that day with pure delight and wonder as it was one of the most blessed experiences of my life. 
Today we went shopping for some good storage items to help organise her home before the baby arrives (she's begun the nesting process) and afterwards we stopped by a new cafe for a birthday week cake and coffee treat...
In our family we celebrate birthdays all week, most especially the day itself and a day either side. We even sing "Happy Un-birthday to you" on the day before and the day after! 
I know this is a tradition Blossom will be passing along to her little girl in the future, as well as all the other quirky family funnies that are so 'normal' to us.

Do you have birthday traditions unique to your family, too?