Thursday, June 30, 2016

In my cocoon...

Blossom wanted to write a blog post the other day and ask you to pray for me, but I told her no...said 'I'll be fine real soon'. 
It's days later and I'm not real fine yet. I am on day ten of a pretty bad migraine. 

I've been hiding away like this guy who decided to build a cocoon in our garden at the weekend...




I just want to hide and heal in the quiet and the dark, holding tight to Jesus' hand.
Mr E has looked after me like the prince of husbands that he is, and today Blossom will take me to our doctor for some better pain relief. I am blessed with my dear family to care for me.

Until I can function again I will be resting up and being quiet on the blog, but I would truly appreciate your prayers for healing, and wisdom for my doctor (just in case this is something more than a rampant migraine)...

Much love and big hugs

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Trust...




Because of the hype, emotion, hope, expectation and expense associated with a 'dream' wedding these days, I often wonder about the bride and groom's long term plans - will they put as much attention and care into their marriage?

Many years ago Proverbs 31:11-12 became my goal as a wife, the compass I decided to use in order to maintain a right course through the journey of my own marriage.

It's wise to remember that marriage is not a wedding, just as a house is not a mortgage payment. It's one small part of something much bigger and grander, something far more challenging and yet astonishingly wonderful. When I look back on the day Mr E and I exchanged our vows the thing which stands out most is the commitment he made to me, standing at the altar before God, and the evidence today of his decision to live it out this last quarter century. In fact his commitment today is far greater than it was then.

Every day I thank God for my husband. Every day I feel unworthy of his faithful, joyful and forgiving love. Every day I look in the mirror and try to see past my aging smile into the blue eyes he wakes to each morning and wonder if they reflect the depth of love and respect and honour I have for him?

I know what I see when I look into his eyes.
Evidence that he loves Jesus. 
And because of that love there is boundless respect, delight, love, trust, commitment and care given to me.

We didn't have a big wedding, in fact I made my dress and our church family all brought a plate for the wedding meal. A friend from university had his brother bake our cake, another friend took the photos, and I borrowed the shoes, veil, gloves and bouquet. 

It was a simple event, a wondrous and happy event, a day we cherished. Promises were made and given before God, and people we loved were there to witness and celebrate our union, but we didn't fully appreciate that the wedding was nothing like the marriage would be.

Marriage is a page by page story you write from the heart, moment by moment decisions and choices that will build the union stronger or tear it apart until only shreds remain.

We didn't easily get to where we are in our relationship today. Many times over these past 25 years we've been pulling in opposite directions, not walking in our God given roles, seeking to be the one who was right and to have our own way. There are many tears, sorrows, losses and grief scattered along the highways and byways of this marriage, BUT...we stayed committed. 
We chose to forgive. 
We sought Jesus to show us a better way, and I read Proverbs 31:11-12 and took it to heart.
 Honestly, the teaching in those Scriptures changed me for the better more than anything else.

I love my man, and therefore I want his heart to safely trust me!
I want him to have no lack of gain.
I want to do him good and not evil all the days of my life. 

So I take one day at a time and praise God for the opportunity to be that wife, knowing there are days I'll fail and days I'll soar. The most important thing is that I keep this close to my heart and do my utmost to live it out. 

All glory to God,



Saturday, June 25, 2016

Stitching on a print fabric plus free pattern...

 

How lovely to get so many thumbs up on the blog, Instagram and Facebook over my decision to create a 'spin on prim' for the next set of Stitchery Club patterns. Thank you so much, sweet gals! 

Here's the third of six new designs, "Prim Spin Patchwork".

It started out as Redwork on a piece of taupe and cream pin-dot fabric which I'd been saving for ages, but about half way through I decided to add some dark teal accents and a little applique...


I think we underestimate the visual effect of using just two colours in an embroidery. Often we use a single colour, or a palette of various shades, but rarely do we marry two together and leave it at that.


Red and turquoise have long been a favourite duo of mine, and now I'm in love with darker tones of teal, especially on a patterned stitchery background. To bring a stitchery 'out' of a patterned fabric you need strong colours otherwise the fabric will compete with the embroidery and your wonderful stitching can be lost...

The addition of tiny pops of applique can also help to 'star' a stitchery on such a background...

...as well as sections of satin stitch.

Mostly I choose to stitch on a plain white or cream linen/cotton background fabric, but it's fun to shake things up a bit and choose a print occasionally.

Here's a few more I've made this way in the past ...



 If you've wanted to hand embroider on a print fabric but been a bit hesitant, these few things may encourage you to give it a try  -

* the stitchery is the star so choose thread colours which assert themselves and aren't lost in the fabric
* choose a very tiny print or a large pale/soft print, such as pin-dots, stripes or tonals
* choose prints that are pale shades of a single colour and avoid multi colour fabrics
* if the stitchery design can carry it, add small pops of applique to create visual dimension
* play around with heavier stitches, such as chain stitch, satin stitch or stem stitch, as these also add dimension

FREE PRACTICE PATTERN

Sort through your quilting fabrics and find one that has a lovely soft print, a fabric you think may work perfectly as the background for my free "The Gratitude Attitude" pattern. 



The free stitchery pattern is HERE.

For this design I chose a pale grey and white print which allowed the red stitchery to take centre stage. The flower petals were chain stitched so they stand out and make their presence known.
For further impact I stitched large red buttons onto the flower centres, but satin stitch could also be a vibrant alternative. 

Think about the colour you'll stitch with.
Red was perfect for the grey print, but what if you have a soft pink?

Lay your fabric on the table and audition threads by scattering them over it. The threads which draw your eyes to look at them instead of the fabric are worthy of consideration.

Back in 2014 I shared a tutorial for sewing this stitchery into a bag. If you'd like to follow it once your block is complete it's over here.


I hope you have a lovely weekend! We have our daughter Blossom and her DB coming over for dinner tonight so I'd best get the corned beef into the crockpot and shop for lemon meringue pie ingredients.
If you've been praying for our Blossom, thank you. She's recovering from the pneumonia slowly but surely, however all the coughing has caused her to crack a few ribs so she's still in some pain. 
The baby is just five weeks away from her due date so we'd appreciate continued prayers for a full recovery before the birth. 
((thank you))

hugs


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Making time, cherishing moments...

I remember when my first baby arrived.
My expectations of what life would be like as an 18 year old mother were overturned rather quickly.
No longer independent, I was now one half of a pair, a twosome who for quite a long time would cling to each other out of sheer love, powerful love.

Another six babies later and Blossom was born.
Her daddy and I had believed we were having a boy so her birth was a joyous ' surprise party' when the midwife announced a wee little girl had entered our world. 

Twenty two years later and that precious girl, the baby of our family, is awaiting her own introduction to motherhood, to that same powerful love which wraps itself around hearts. When she and this soon-to-be-born baby girl find each other's eyes, when her tiny fingers wrap around Blossom's, life will change wonderfully for our youngest child.

Yesterday, after a visit to the doctor for her now weekly checkups, I took my Blossom-girl out for brunch. Time together, mother and daughter, just the the two us.

The cafe was white, calm, afresh with blooms that made us smile in delight...
 






The food was delicious...





...but the best thing was being together, taking a moment in time to stop and celebrate our relationship, the ties that bind her life with mine, the memories we share and the hopes yet to unfold before us.

Blossom is recovering well from the pneumonia but must take things very easy until her lungs are clear and all sign of infection gone. Our brunch was the perfect gentle outing for such a time as this.

Is there someone in your life you need to gather close and share a special moment with?
Don't wait. Memory moments like yesterday with my girl can give so much more than you realise - to both of you. 

Have a blessed day,


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Prim With A Spin...

For the longest time I've loved 'primitive' style stitcheries and their one dimensional black thread on fabric display which emphasizes simplicity and calm. 
Having allowed ideas to drift in and out of my mind for over a year, recently I was able to spend time sitting with pencil and paper to doodle those ideas and when I was happy I pencilled them in to my diary for July's issue of The Stitchery Club.

The first two are now stitched so I couldn't wait to show you my "Spin on Prim"!

When I say a 'spin' on prim, I mean that my designs are not as raw as a strict primitive embroidery would be. Adding 'more' to a stitchery is something I love to offer in my patterns so while these new designs have the essence of Prim they're also filled with small pops of detail to fill them out.

Like my Prim Spin Sheep...



I have had a love affair with black faced Dorper sheep forever, but never dared to create a stitchery with one until now. He makes me think of being outside in an English country meadow with afternoon tea on a tartan rug, sewing in my lap, birds singing, bees buzzing, a flock of sheep in the distance and pretty flowers all around.
This cute sheepish little guy is destined to be displayed on a small cross-the-shoulder bag made from the leftover fabric I used to make Blossom's 21st birthday quilt...



The second "Spin on Prim" design was inspired by the enjoyment I get from nature, sewing, home and family. I chose to stitch the heart on a vintage linen napkin with a dark blue thread which matched the Tilda fabric I'll be using to turn this stitchery into a pillow. I've also added a self covered button using the same fabric...



The chain stitched needle-keep pops out from the heart adding dimension to the overall visual effect. I didn't notice this until I'd photographed the finished stitchery, but it's wonderful so I will intentionally explore that idea more in future designs...

What do you think of these "Spin on Prim" designs so far?

The patterns will be inside July's issue of The Stitchery Club, so if they tickle your fancy why not join up? You'll find all the details over here.



Thanks for all your prayers for my precious Blossom! She's definitely on the road to recovery and he cheeks are flushing pink again!
With less than six weeks till baby arrives she'll be taking things a bit slower to avoid a relapse, but she did take time out yesterday to pack her hospital bag. 

Have a wonderful week my friends!

Hugs


Sunday, June 19, 2016

As He loved us...


When I'm sick, in pain, under duress or simply exhausted from lack of sleep or overwork, I can become a snappy, irritable gal. It's not my intention during those times to react harshly to those I love, but sometimes I do.

I love this verse, walk in love.
As He loved us. 

So what needs to change for me to be that loving example of Jesus?

It's not my attitude because I believe wholeheartedly that I should walk in love as He loved me.
I guess then, that there's an underlying cause of my harsh responses which must be examined in order for there to be a change.

Sickness and sleep - sometimes there's nothing I can do to alter sickness, but keeping myself healthy with a fresh food diet and some gentle exercise every day, regular restful sleep patterns and time in the Word, will strengthen my immune system, bring wisdom to my state of mind, and build my spiritual muscle. The end result will be less illness, stronger immune system, and a calmer, more refreshed and caring Jenny.

Physical exhaustion - I push myself too hard with work at home and work in my business, forgetting to apply the brakes before I crash and burn out. Just because I can doesn't mean I should. Pacing my energy in the hours I have each day would be far wiser than running till I drop. 
Simplifying my home and work responsibilities is something I've been working on lately and already I see (and feel) an improvement in my breathing, sleep, and how I respond to important issues with the people around me. I expect an even greater improvement in the months ahead if I continue to make positive changes.

It's important to address our spirit and the sin within when we struggle to walk in love, but don't forget to assess your physical health as well because unless we have a caring and nurturing spirit/body balance, walking in love may continue to be a uphill climb.

Bless you heaps


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Life Is Sweeter...

Ah, the weekend has arrived, and after an early morning coffee at the beach with my beloved Mr E I'm ready to do a quick tidy of the house before settling down to some menu planning, reading, and stitching.
What's on your agenda this weekend? Hopefully something relaxing and fun!




Yesterday I was at Blossom's all day playing nurse while her DB was at work. She's like me you know, not kept down easily and preferably 'doing' rather than 'resting', but with pneumonia rest is the best thing so that's what I made sure she had.

By the time I left she was a little bit pinker in the cheeks, but Blossom has a way to go before she's over this nasty illness. Today her daddy and DB will do some clearing away around her house and she can keep resting. It's hard with a baby due next month, but if she takes it easy and lets us help I'm sure all will be fine. Thank you for your prayers, you are blessing our family and our precious girl!

 As you know I've been a Flower Sugar World Ambassador for Lecien Fabrics over the past year, but recently I chose to step down from this role to devote more time to my family, The Stitchery Club, my blog, and a wonderful Australian venture.

I do find it hard to work with a company in the USA when I'm all the way Down Under and have no desire to leave my shores, but I have to say that Yoko at Lecien is a delight and has made things as easy as possible for both of us this past year given that we're working half a world apart. It's been a privilege to design with their beautiful fabrics and I'm sure I'll continue to do so just for my own pleasure.

This month I completed my last design as Flower Sugar World Ambassador, a pretty mini quilt to make you smile!

"Life Is Sweeter" is 14 1/2 inches square and the fabrics used for the applique and borders are Lecien's new Flower Sugar Carnival. 
I love the white lace doily detail behind the floral sprays...


...and the tiny spots and rose bouquets which were perfect for some fussy cut appliques in my centre stitchery block.


I added a simple border to the block in order to highlight the fabrics, but also to let the stitchery shine...


"Life is Sweeter" now hangs on my office door, a happy cheerful greeting when I walk in there each morning!

The pattern is my welcome gift for all new members of The Stitchery Club but if you're already a current member, or you would simply like to have the pattern, it's available HERE in my Craftsy Shop and also in my Etsy Shop over HERE.

If however you'd like the pattern as a gift simply head HERE to The Stitchery Club for details.

Well, I must away to give the house a bit of love before I settle in for a relaxing two day break. 
Have a good time too, okay?

hugs
 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

More repurposing, and Blossom...

Back here I showed you how I'd made a set of nine washable bath mats for Blossom and her DB from their old towels and my supply of quilt binding scraps.


 With still a few towels left that I could re-purpose Blossom and I decided they'd be perfect as covers for her baby change table.
This morning I made four covers from two towels by cutting the towels in half and removing the bound edge opposite the centre cut, before finishing them with pretty mauve binding along the two raw-edged sides.

I've had the sweet bunny fabric for ages and almost gave it away a few times, but I'm glad I kept it because it was perfect for this project!
With a metre of the material on hand it was easy to cut the nice long lengths of binding I needed.
The first change mat cover cost me three machine needles, they were breaking left right and centre! 
Finally realising it was my fault and not the sewing machine, I removed the plate over the bobbin and gave the inside a good de-fluff and clean. A fourth new needle in place and my hard working Janome did her bit with no more hiccups and a smug smile...
In case you're wondering, the name of the fabric is "Naptime" by Darlene Zimmerman for Robert Kaufman.
Now about darling almost-34-weeks pregnant Blossom.
She has pneumonia. 
In fact right this minute she's being discharged from a night in hospital with an IV and heading home for complete bed rest.

Would you please add her to your prayers?
I'll keep you updated in coming days.

Bless your beautiful hearts,