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

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

ufo progress tuesday....

You noticed, right?
This is not my usual UFO Finish Tuesday.
This is 'fessin-up' Tuesday if the truth be told.

You see way, way, way back in 2009 I began sewing sweet churn dash blocks to make a large bed quilt for Mr E and I. 
See, the date is even printed on the churn dash block pattern I printed off the web...

I actually declared  on this here blog that I'd sew two blocks every day until it was finished. 
Now if I'd carried through with that promise to myself we would have been snuggling under this dream quilt for about 5 years by now. 
It would have that frequently washed, loved intensely, can't-believe-I-made-it-myself feel about it.
But no. 
I kinda got side-tracked with becoming a designer, and that beautiful vision I'd held so dear to my heart got lost in a wall of thread, fabrics, blogging, and hundreds of patterns to write.
The few times it came to mind (usually when moving house the four times between then and now)  I told myself it wasn't the right season because Princess Sophie was moulting and cat hair would over the quilt, so I'd best wait till the following autumn.
Do you make excuses like me? 

Well, I've wanted this quilt so bad, and because this is my Year of Gentle Domesticity - bringing my heart all the way back to the love of homemaking - I'm going to finish it. True this time.

The box where I store the fabrics and blocks is unhidden and sitting in my sewing room...

I'd forgotten how many beautiful repro and 30's style prints were in there...

...until I went searching through layers of them to find my churn dash blocks!

In my head I thought there might have been about 14 blocks (haven't been inside this box to count them for at least 3 years)  but when I took them out from under the fabric and counted them I had 23!

I'm in love all over again so I've decided to put any more UFO finishes on hold until this one is complete.
I've got the original block pattern to make more 8" blocks, and if you're wondering where it's from you can still find it HERE...

What's your longest waiting UFO?
Are you ready to finish it?


I've been nominated for best embroidery photography in the Craftsy Blogger Awards!
If you believe my pics are the best in that category I'd love you to vote for me over HERE.
Voting closes midnight Wednesday.
Thank you. xx


Monday, January 26, 2015

after the rain...

It's the wet season here in North Queensland, and though the rain brings thick humidity, it also brings beauty.
I love to take my camera outside just as dawn is breaking to capture the raindrops...

This little fellow had been taking cover under the large palm fronds out front...

...and you know what follows the rain, don't you?

It's a long weekend here in Australia because we're celebrating Australia Day!
I love the laziness of weekends like this. They come with relaxed breakfasts of oatcakes and fruit...

...and early morning walks with Mr E and Charlie by the marina park at The Strand.

Afternoons are spent watching the tennis and stitching a set of new designs...

...or reading and planning 'what next'?

I've also been taking time to appreciate friendship as I admire the gift that Wendy made me for Christmas. She gave it to me last week when she visited, and it's so beautiful!
(in case you want to know where you can find the pattern it comes as a kit from HERE)

To top off our weekend, sweet daughter Blossom came for dinner on Saturday evening, and whilst watching an old favourite movie her daddy had chosen for her (The Princess Bride), she began stitching a Sparrow block to send to Sparrow Ministries.

If you missed that blog post it is HERE, and to answer those who've asked, you can stitch the small block in any colour you like, or use any fabrics or threads in the larger version...

Well, I'm off to enjoy the last day of my long weekend with Mr E because tomorrow....drumroll.....he starts his new job! 
My sweet man will begin his new career as a car salesman, so if you're in Townsville or surrounds and are after a 'new' used car, let me know and I'll send you his info. 
This is way different to being a teacher, but he's excited and enthusiastic and hoping to follow this path with integrity giving all glory to God.
{{thank you for your prayers}}


Sunday, January 25, 2015

domestic reflections sunday ~ mark 10:16...

It's just a short devotion this week, more of a thought really,  again about our 'hands'.

In this passage Jesus has rebuked the disciples for wanting to turn the little children away from seeing Him, saying, "...do not forbid them: for of such is the Kingdom of God..."

But as well as the lesson Jesus teaches his men, there is a further description which the gospel writer Mark gives of this incident...

And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.
Isn't that precious?! Imagine it, those eager and excited little beings, obviously attracted to the pure gentleness and love of our Saviour, wanting nothing more than to be as close as they could be to Him.
And His  response showed pure delight in their actions.
In fact, He draws them into His arms and HE BLESSES THEM.

I wonder if the parents of those little ones ever did such a thing?
Have you ever laid your hands on your children and blessed them?

I believe the laying on of hands with a blessing, to each of our children or grandchildren, is something that brings joy to Jesus.

Let's do this as soon as we have the opportunity, ok?
No matter how old they are.

Download the printout and Scripture here.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


I've decided not to blog on Saturdays this year, but I'm making an exception for this very important project because there is no time like the present to be involved in something that offers life, love, hope and security to orphans and children in need.

Recently I received an email from a member of Sparrow Ministries, requesting permission to stitch my free "Sparrow" design with the purpose of selling them through the ministry's online shop.
Well you know, I do not allow individuals to profit from my patterns, but when it is a registered and legitimate charity who approaches me to use one of my free designs that's a different matter.
But even in saying yes, I felt the Lord press His finger on my heart and say, "There's more than can be done". So I prayed, and I waited, and I listened.

I emailed Cynthia from Sparrow Ministries with the idea and she was overjoyed, so after clearing it with one of the founders, her daughter Sara Drinkard, the plan unfolded.

Here is what WE - yes, me and YOU - can do to help.

Just stitch a Sparrow block.
That's all, so easy...we love to stitch, so let's stitch for love.

I've made the pattern in two sizes now. The larger one is the applique version, and the smaller is the redwork. 
Choose to stitch whichever you like, or make both - any Sparrow block you stitch will be gratefully received by the volunteers at Sparrow Ministries, who will display it in a hoop ready for listing in their online shop.

You don't need to make the "Sparrow" block into anything, just stitch it up, and post in a card or secure envelope to Sparrow Ministries.

The fabric sizes you'll need to stitch the design onto so that it will fit in a hoop afterwards are included in the pattern, as well as the postal address, information about Sparrow Ministries, and ministry links.

Inside the pattern you can read the story of Sara Drinkard and her husband's experience adopting their son Cole from India....

Here's a little of the Sparrow Ministry story from Sara Drinkard...

When my husband and I brought home our son, Cole in 2009, we were immediately thrust into a spotlight. Not just because we adopted internationally but because our family looked so glaringly different now! One of the responses we got time and time again was, “We would love to adopt but it’s just too expensive.” Very aware of how expensive it is but also aware that there are numerous ways to fundraise and organizations to help out, we decided to start Sparrow Ministries with the original goal to raise money to support Christian families willing to adopt.

5 years later, our ministry is led by two families and has grown to focus on not one, but three areas of orphan care:

1) Adoption grants: We continue to gift money to qualifying Christian families in need of financial assistance. To date, we have 10 “Sparrow families” who have brought their children home (or are in process to do so).
2) Foster Care: We have partnered with a local agency and are working to help support not only the foster kids but the families and case workers who serve them. Last year, we provided gifts and a baby shower to a young mom-to-be, still in the foster care system herself, donated toiletry items for foster teens and assembled food baskets for foster families at the holidays.
3) Puebla Project (New Beginnings): Missionaries Kevin & Andrea Bult minister to institutionalized orphans living in Puebla, Mexico, and have a desire to create a godly, Christ-centered home for orphans. Sparrow is partnering financially with the Bults to help establish this new community.

In the past, our main fundraising event has been an annual Holiday Gift Market in which we sell handmade items lovingly made by those in our community. Hoping to expand that, we have recently updated our website to include a more efficient online store featuring these items and allowing people from all over to shop year round!

Share this blog post as far and wide as you can by clicking the social media buttons below my signature.
The free pattern which includes both sizes of design and all you'll want to know about the amazing ministry we are helping, can be downloaded HERE
The pattern is called "Operations Sparrow" and is near the top of my shop page.

Please feel free to use the button (below) on your blog and link back to this blog post, or the pattern link HERE as it's all explained inside.

 Visit Sparrow Ministries today and find out more. HERE is their website.

Bless you heaps!

Friday, January 23, 2015

The girls catch up, and apple jelly...

On Wednesday I had the best surprise because 'finally' dear friend Wendy had a day to spare and could come north to visit!
Our little sewing group have not had time with Wendy since Heather's birthday last August and five months between catch ups really is toooooo long. 
We only had a day's notice that we could meet up so Wendy drove the 100 klms to my house, and from there I took us another 25 klms north to Heather's house for some relaxed stitching and some fun in the kitchen.

I've been promising the girls for about two years that I'd bake them some of Nana's Rice Pudding and guess what, I actually kept my promise this time - they are so patient and forgiving.  In fact, I even made some fresh apple jelly (jello) to serve with it. (recipe later)

Heather is a great hostess, and her home exudes 'welcome'...

She even let me wear her favourite apron, which has polka dot pockets and pom pom trim!
(I tried to sneak it home with me but she has eagle eyes, you know...)

After some of Heather's yummy cake for morning tea, sandwiches for lunch, and wonderful cappuccinos, I set about preparing the dessert I'd brought...

Wendy snapped photos between fits of laughter...

...and pretty soon I was ready to serve!

Nana's baked rice custard, fresh apple jelly, fresh mango and blueberries...
We missed Barb and Michelle as this get-together was such short notice, but when an opportunity to catch up with Wendy comes along we grab it.

If you want to make my very quick fresh apple jelly (jello) the recipe is below the photo...

You'll need:

These are Australian measures-

400 ml of fresh apple juice 
(or the 100% cloudy kind like Nudie Juice that you find in the cold section of the supermarket -you can also make this using fresh orange juice)
100 ml boiling water
1 tablespoon powdered gelatine

Dissolve the gelatine in the boiling water.
Pour the apple juice into the gelatine water and stir well.
Place in your blender for 30 seconds (this creates the foam top, kind of like marshmallow!)
Pour into a tray to set. This takes about 15 -20 minutes.


US measures are:  1¾ cups of juice / 7 tablespoons boiling water / 4 teaspoons gelatine powder

Good friends, good food, a welcoming home. You can't ask for more.
Hopefully next time all five of us can catch up.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Quick tasks that reflect who you are...

Have you printed out my free "Walk The Room" sheet yet?
I'm so happy to have my lists because when I am feeling a little overwhelmed by work, I go have a look at the ideas I've written for each room and choose one that I know I can accomplish in my given time frame.
On Tuesday morning, whilst another baked rice custard (pudding) was in the oven, I decided there was time to clean the top of my DVD shelving - which is actually a $10 bookcase we bought years ago at a garage sale  - and refresh the display.

Removing the ornaments and runner that had been there for too long, I polished the wood...

...before dusting off my ornaments and trinkets.
I'll need to make a simple 'made-to-fit' runner for the top of this bookcase another day, but for now I used a smaller one that was made a couple of years ago for a magazine and filled the empty space with a pretty cream doily....

Rather than displaying more pears (which I seem to have everywhere) I brought some of my birds together with a sweet message Blossom gifted me a while back...

...and added my "Year of Gentle Domesticity" framed stitchery and the Dream inspiration that Vikki sent me for one of my birthdays.

I didn't stress over whether the colours all co-ordinated, but allowed this little vignette to represent things that hold a place in my life...

When it was done my heart smiled.
15 minutes of my time and a small but nourishing-to-the-soul  task was completed.

Are there some little projects like this on your "Walk The Room" sheets too?
If you don't have them yet, they are still a free gift download over here. and you can read how I use them on this blog post.